tv Politics Nation MSNBC April 23, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
preciate your time here on "the ed show." that is "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. "politics nation" with reverend al sharpton starts right now. good evening, rev. >> good evening, ed. and thanks to you foorr tuning in. we start with breaking news. loretta lynch making history to become our next attorney general. president obama talked about it just moments ago. >> i've been looking forward to saying this. that i am very pleased that loretta lynch has now been confirmed as our next attorney general. [ cheers and applause ] and, you know, america will be better off for it. she's spent her life fighting for the fair and equal justice. that's the foundation of our democracy. she's going to do a great job helping our communities, keeping them safe but also making sure our citizens are protected by
equal justice under the law. >> it took 166 days for the senate to confirm president obama's nominee. >> on this vote the yeas are 56, and the nays are 43. the nomination is confirmed. >> the main holdup senate majority leader mitch mcconnell refused to schedule a vote. but after dragging his feet for months mcconnell voted yet. he and nine other republicans backed her confirmation including many up for re-election next year. was this was never about miss lynch. this was about far-right republicans, hijacking her confirmation to attack president obama, and the current attorney general, eric holder. in senator ted cruz's speech
today, he mentioned hold at least ten times and used the word "lawless" at least six times. >> the consistent pattern of lawlessness. attorney general eric holder -- eric holder has abused the office -- she chose to embrace the lawlessness of the holder justice department. she agreed with the holder justice department. the holder justice department. the holder justice department. she will continue the holder justice department's lawlessness. eric holder -- same lawlessness -- lawlessness -- lawlessness. eric holder. >> senator cruz sure had his talking points down. but when it came time to vote he was nowhere to be found. his campaign said he had a commitment in texas. maybe it was this. a fund-raiser for senator cruz starts about an hour from now in dallas. apparently a fund-raiser was more important than voting on
this historic nominee. and it shows. that maybe this whole fight was more about politics than about substance all along. joining me now, congresswoman karen bast democrat from california. she serves on the judiciary committee. and dana milbank, from "the washington post." thank you both for being here. >> good evening, reverend. >> thanks for having us. >> congresswoman bass i have to ask you first, did you think this day would ever come? >> well i'll tell you, i was really beginning to wonder. the only thing that made me think it would come was the way it went after attorney general holder. the question was, did you actually really want him to leave? well if you wanted him to leave, then confirm loretta lynch, and finally they did it 100 days late. >> i would say at least 100 days late. dana, what do you make of senator cruz skipping this vote apparently for a fund-raiser? >> well reverend i hear he may be running for president. but i think -- >> that's a funny way to run, not to vote on the attorney
general of the united states. >> well exactly pip mean this is sort of a -- it's a perfect bookend to the whole thing that began as this farce and ended the same way. but it shows the extent to which over the next 18 months or so how the business of the congress and of the senate is basically going to be hijacked by the presidential aspirations of marco rubio and rand paul and ted cruisedz and whoever else decides they want to get involved there. so i think this is really a taste of things to come. it was pointless, but it did some real damage here for the republicans to manage to keep a man they don't want on the job, in the job longer. but more to the point, loretta lynch now has much less time to serve, to get her people in place, and to run the united states justice department the way it should be run. so they've really done the country a disservice not just loretta lynch. >> congresswoman, let's look at how the 2016 gop contenders voted here. senator cruz as we said didn't
show up. senator graham voted yes. senators paul and rubio voted no. did paul and rubio need those "no" votes for the gop primary, you think? >> well i think that's absolutely right. i think that's exactly what they're doing. and you know one of the things that people really have to realize, in these 100 days while we were waiting for her to be confirmed, work at the justice department has been stalled. so a lot of things that needed to happen have not happened. so it wasn't just a matter that a confirmation was lingering, but this really has hurt the country. and frankly, i am so excited about her confirmation because i hope that she continues the tradition of eric holder especially in regard to criminal justice reform something that our country has desperately needed. >> and voting rights as well. >> absolutely. >> but you know dana there was a lot of pressure today on the republicans up for re-election next year in states that president obama won twice. here's how they all voted.
four in favor, three against. how could those yes and no votes affect them as they tried to get re-elected in blue states, dana? >> well look it depends on how this election is shaping up but this is going to be a presidential year and in the last several cycles democrats have done a lot better in the presidential year. so i don't think it's at all surprising that rob portman, who's got a serious challenge in ohio would want to take this issue away from the democrats or that kelly ayotte in new hampshire would want to do the same thing. you know just as the republican presidential candidates need this to whip up the base there are others there who are actually looking at the broader electorate and not just looking at the primary electorate, and they're realizing that voting against the first african-american woman to be the attorney general after a half a year delay would probably be a good idea to just let it go through at that point. >> you know congresswoman, when president obama nominated loretta lynch, she made a promise to the american people. listen to this.
>> sure. >> if i have the honor of being confirmed by the senate i will wake up every morning with the protection of the american people my first thought. and i will work every day to safeguard our citizens our liberties, our rights and this great nation which has given so much to me and my family. >> congresswoman, what do you think a lor retrot lynch justice department will look like? >> i think a loretta lynch justice department is going to be excellent. i'm excited about her confirmation, really look forward to working with her. you mentioned voting rights act, and we need to do everything we can to protect voting rights around the nation and really look at the whole voter suppression that's happening right now in our country, that as far as i'm concerned, is just a 21st century version of the poll tax. and i know that she will be there fighting hard against the voter suppression, and i look forward to working with her, as well as the criminal justice reform, as i mentioned earlier.
>> dana what do you think it will look like? what is your guess? >> i suspect we won't see a huge amount of change if only because she has such a short period of time to serve on the job. but one thing you will see is a change with the relationship with congress. the relationship between holder and congress had gotten so toxic over the years, and he clearly had very little use for them after a while. and i think you're going to see a fresh leaf turned there. which is all the more reason why it was silly that the republicans held this up for so long. >> congresswoman, before i let you go i know you serve on the foreign affairs committee. >> yes. >> the african subcommittee of that committee. and i have been raising that there's been more attention to some things going on in africa like the 900 that went down on the migrant boat in libya the other day, almost no notice no
rally, and 200 girls, a year later, still missing in nigeria. how do you respond to that and how do you respond to the almost deafening silence about it as a priority in this country, even in the media? >> well first of all, rev, i just have to thank you for your coverage. i think it's so important to bring attention to this. this is just horrible. i mean over the weekend, you know, close to 900 people died. i mean this year alone, a couple a thousand people have died. people are fleeing libya, this really is an international problem, and frankly, i hope the eu steps up in a much bigger way, because these people that are leaving libya are dying off the coast of italy. and we need to do everything we can, as the international community, but the eu obviously, has to take the lead on this. >> thank you, congresswoman. congresswoman karen bass, dana mill milbank, thank you both for your time tonight. >> thanks reverend. >> coming up, we're following breaking news on a terrible tragedy. an american hostage killed in a u.s. drone strike on al qaeda.
what happened? and what does it mean for the future of drone welfare? and, breaking tonight, the eyewitness who shot the cell phone video of the arrest of freddie gray, speaking out for the first time. >> once i got around to see where freddie was, i instantly started recording. they had him folded up like he was a crab or like a piece of origami. and a "new york times" story is raising questions about potential conflicts of interest for hillary clinton. how is she responding? and a new book calls michelle obama the most unlikely first lady in modern history. a personal look at her journey is ahead. please stay with us.
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breaking news from baltimore. demonstrators gathering outside city hall protesting the death of freddie gray. he died earlier this week after sustaining a severe spinal cord injury allegedly while in police custody. gray's family has now received his body. the funeral is set for monday. cell phone video captured the 25-year-old screaming in pain while being placed under arrest. kevin moore, one of the eyewitnesss who shot this video, is speaking out for the first time in an interview with "the baltimore sun." >> once i got around to see where freddie was, i instantly started recording. they had him folded up like he was a crab or like a piece of orrigami
origami, you know what i mean? he was all bent up and he had his knees -- the officer had their knee in his neck and he was just screaming. he was like screaming for life you know what i mean? he couldn't breathe, he needed an asthma pump which he let them know. he couldn't breathe, i need an asthma pump. they ignored it. when they went to pick him up off the ground he was limp. the heels of his feet was in his back and he couldn't move. and they yell stop resisting, stop resisting, but there was no resistance. there was no resistance. he couldn't move. >> history has shown we need to be cautious about witness statements, but they certainly need to be investigated. and in fact "the baltimore sun" reports kevin moore has spoken to two detectives in police department departments' office of internal oversight. joining me now is congressman elijah cummings, democrat of maryland. he represents parts of baltimore.
thanks for being here tonight. >> it's good to be with you, reverend. >> congressman, what's your reaction to this new claim from a witness that freddie gray was bent over like a crab or an origami figure? i think that this witness's testimony is extremely important, reverend. if you look at the film he -- his legs are dangling, when they attempt to put him in the police van. and sadly, this is a situation that we are seeing far too often, throughout not only our city, but throughout the country. and we've got to address this and we've got to address it immediately. >> now the police commissioner's office released a statement today, saying quote, the baltimore police department has a policy requiring all prisoners to be properly seat belted during transport.
but listen to what a police union official said about freddie gray yesterday. >> do you know if mr. gray was secured when he got into the transport van? >> he was placed in the transport van. whether he was seat belted in is that what you're asking for? i don't believe he was. >> now -- >> yeah. >> are you concerned that police may have failed to follow their own policy and that led to gray's injuries congressman? >> i am -- yes, i am. i am extremely concerned and reverend, we have to -- this matter needs to be investigated independently, and we have to see exactly what happened from the time the police first laid on mr. gray until the time that he died. we need to have all the facts. and yeah if he -- he may have been -- and again, this would come in in an investigation, already injured when they put him in the police wagon, and
certainly, if a man is handcuffed and perhaps with shackles on his feet and he's already injured and not seat belted he has no way to protect himself. so, this is a major problem. but i'm confident that the feds we, senator mccullski and i, congressional delegation, we've all joined in in asking the department of justice to come in and look at this case because we all have concerns and, as i've said to police officers many of them are wonderful people and do a good job, but we've got some who perhaps should not be on the force. but what i've said to them reverend, is that you know in the past they've asked me to work with them and get, what we've had crimes to take place in our community, to ask the public to come out and testify, and to be you know to provide evidence. and i'm saying to them to the police, somebody knows what happened here. and they don't have the right to
remain silent with regard to somebody who they were supposed to be protecting and serving, and now, sadly, freddie gray is not with us anymore. there's something wrong with that picture. >> well, let me put this one before you. on the street there's a thing called a nickel ride. when a person is tossed into a police van and intentionally knocked around by reckless driving. in baltimore, in 2005 a jury awarded a $7.4 million judgment for a man who got a fatal broken neck in this fashion. and in philadelphia in 2001 the city paid out $2.3 million in settlements to people who went through this including two who were permanently paralyzed. now, we don't know if that's what happened here but it's something that investigators should look at don't you think? >> absolutely, reverend. we need to look at every single
second of what happened here. again, we need to look at what happened before the film began rolling, and it's good to have the testimony of the gentleman that you just had on the witness who shot the video, but then we need to look at how, what kind of drive was taking place to get him to the station and why it took so long for them to get medical care why he was not seat belted. if he was not. a lot of questions, but reverend the thing that's really important right now, is that we have to have transparency, we have to have independent investigation, and we have to be very thorough with regard to what went on here. >> all right. well, this is a big story, a big concern to many many many americans. we're going to stay on it. congressman elijah cummings thank for your time tonight. >> thank you, reverend. now to news out of ferguson missouri. today michael brown's family
announced the filing of a civil lawsuit against the city of ferguson. officer darren wilson fatally shot brown last year. the department of justice did not fine civil rights charges against wilson and the grand jury chose not to indict officer wilson for a crime. this case will now go to civil court. coming up we're following breaking news. an american hostage killed in a u.s. drone strike on al qaeda. president obama takes full responsibility today. more on this terrible tragedy, next. why pause to take a pill? and why stop what you're doing to find a bathroom? with cialis for daily use, you don't have to plan around either. it's the only daily tablet approved to treat erectile dysfunction so you can be ready anytime the moment is right. plus cialis treats the frustrating urinary symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently, day or night. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medicines, and ask if your heart
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we're back with more breaking news as we learn more about the two innocent hostages killed in u.s. drone strikes on al qaeda. the attacks were launched in january, over the afghanistan/pakistan border. the victims, 73-year-old dr. warren weinstein, an american aid worker held hostage since 2011, and italian aid worker, giovanni lo porto, kidnapped days after he arrived in the region to help with flood recovery in 2012. today, president obama took full responsibility for the tragedy. >> as president and as commander in chief, i take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations, including the the one that inadvertently took the lives of warren and giovanni. we believed that this was an al qaeda compound that no civilians were present, and that
capturing these terrorists was not possible. and we do believe that the operation did take out dangerous members of al qaeda. what we did not know tragically, is that al qaeda was hiding the presence of warren and giovanni in this same compound. >> the strikes also killed two american al qaeda members, though neither were specifically targeted. today, weinstein's widow released a statement on behalf of the family saying "those who took warren captive over the three years ago bear ultimate responsibility. he would still be alive and well if they had allowed him to return home." but the tragedy is raising questions about america's drone strategy which might not be as clean cut as most americans would probably like to think. but is there a better alternative to fighting
terrorists that doesn't involve yet another ground war? joining me now is mr. cory our counterterrorism expert, thank you for being here today. >> thank you, rev. >> so the president said there was no intelligence that there were civilians at this compound. does al qaeda use these hostages as human shields? >> so ever since the united states launched a number of air strikes on al qaeda sites in afghanistan and pakistan kind of narrowing them down kind of suffocating them in a few corners in that border region, the very restive border region we can just expect that the hostages being taken by al qaeda would be in a pretty short proximity from their operatives. of course in this case we had signal intelligence, but we did not have human intelligence that would confirm whether or not there were hostages or not or whether there would be al qaeda leaders ss or not. >> now, the president said today there would be a full investigation of what happened. listen. >> already, i've directed a full
review of what happened. we will identify the lessons that can be learned from this tragedy and any changes that should be made. we will do our utmost to ensure it is not repeated. and we will continue to do everything we can to prevent the loss of innocent lives, not just innocent americans, but all innocent lives, in our counterterrorism operations. >> could for affect a u.s. drone policy, drone warfare, in the future? >> we know that a drone strategy has been extremely controversial, not only in the middle east and north africa but generally speaking, worldwide. but they know they are much more precise than launching a full-fledged war. the drone strikes have taken out many important members of al qaeda and other violent, radical movements out there, but we cannot say they are going to be 100% precise, in taking them out. there's always going to be some human loss just like in any war. and of course the president does not want to put any boots
on the ground anyway because the american people stand against it people worldwide stand against it this is one of the very few options that the united states has in its pocket. >> but that's the problem, laith, isn't it? because they don't want to put boots on the ground, and the administration has made drones a key part of the fight against terror. in pakistan alone, 364 strikes against terrorist targets have been launched under president obama. is there a viable alternative to drone strikes, without having to put troops on the ground? >> i believe cooperation between the united states government and other governments in the region where these movements operate, is absolutely key. when the government let's say the pakistani government confirms locusts where they are providing the only signal intelligence, but as well as human intelligence when you put these two key elements together, then we have a much better view of what's going on there. but if we don't have the full picture, sometimes you have to take a chance. this compound was clearly an al qaeda compound.
clearly the united states received intelligence on targeting it but they did not have full intelligence on who was exactly inside. killing two key al qaeda members that have been on the hunt for many years but, of course tragically taking out american citizens. >> laith, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you, rev. and as we wait for the investigation into this tragedy to be carried out, we remember tonight that two families are grieving the loss of their loved ones. our thoughts are with the victims' families this evening. if you take multiple medications, a dry mouth can be a common side effect. that's why there's biotene. it comes in oral rinse spray or gel so there's moisturizing relief for everyone. biotene, for people who suffer from a dry mouth.
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obama tradeing barbs on trade. our panel weighs in ahead. and a new book on michelle obama, explores her life from chicago's south side to the white house. the author calls her the most unlikely first lady in modern american history. he joins us, ahead. reat if hiring plumbers carpenters and even piano tuners... were just as simple? thanks to angie's list now it is. start shopping online... ...from a list of top rated providers. visit angieslist.com today. meet the world's newest energy superpower. surprised? in fact, america is now the world's number one natural gas producer... and we could soon become number one in oil. because hydraulic fracturing technology is safely recovering lots more oil and natural gas. supporting millions of new jobs. billions in tax revenue... and a new century of american energy security. the new energy superpower? it's red, white and blue. log on to learn more.
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moderate to severe crohn's disease is tough but i've managed. except that managing my symptoms was all i was doing. and when i finally told my doctor, he said humira is for adults like me who have tried other medications but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease. and that in clinical studies the majority of patients on humira saw significant symptom relief. and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to
areas where certain fungal infections are common and if you've had tb hepatitis b, are prone to infections or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. ask your gastroenterologist about humira. with humira, remission is possible. time now for "conversation nation." joining me tonight, political strategist angela rye, ryan grim washington bureau chief for the "huffington post," and margie o'mara democratic strategist, and co-host of the podcast, the pollsters. thank you all for being here tonight. >> good evening, reverend. >> first topic, hillary clinton on the defensive. "the new york times" story is raising questions about potential conflict of interest. between the clinton foundation
and clinton's role as secretary of state, this story details how a russian firm bought up a company controlling one fifth of all uranium produced in the united states. the deal had to be approved by the state department. "the times" says a foundation linked to that company gave over $2 million to the clinton foundation, during the approval process. a russian bank tied to the deal also paid former president clinton $500,000 for a speech in moscow. "the times" says it's quote, unknown whether those donations played any role in the approval of the deal. in other words there's no smoking gun. and a clinton spokesman says, quote, no one has produced a shred of evidence that hillary clinton ever took action as secretary of state in order to support the interests of donors to the clinton foundation. "the times" admits some of its
reporting was originally based on material from the book "clinton cash," which critics say is a right-wing hit job. ryan let's talk about the strategy here. how damaging is this and how does clinton need to respond? >> it's one more occasion where, you know, she's spending time, you know, on the defensive. you know a couple things can be true at the same time. one, you know on the one hand you can have kind of a -- you know, people that don't have her interests at heart, you know putting a lot of money into trying to dig up dirt and putting it in the light least favorable to her. at the same time, you have you know, the clintons doing things that allow these sorts of things to get spun out. you know the state department wasn't the one necessarily leading the approval of this but, you know, secretary hillary clinton is a huge figure, and so does the clinton foundation need
to be taking that amount of money from these russian sources, from these canadian sources, you know, in the middle of this approval process? and why didn't they disclose it? you know these questions are going to be continue -- >> yeah the problem was, though, the disclosure also is something that they raise. margie, mrs. clinton did a press conference a few days ago, dealing with some things. does she need to come out and deal with this? we're talking about a huge "new york times" story, a reuters story, a "newsweek" story, no disclosures, re-doing taxes. does she need to come out and do another press conference and take on all the questions? >> well i think her team is answering, is addressing a lot of the, a lot of these accusations, by saying -- you know reiterating, as you mentioned, that there is -- there has been no evidence that she had anything to do with the approval the main contributor that was cited in "the new york times"
times", actually sold a share of the business several years before any of this happened. the guy who wrote -- the author who wrote the "clinton cash" book is a known republican operative, conservative operative. there are a series of things here that call into question what are we really dealing with or is this a nothing burger? that said, there are still -- it does reinforce some of the narratives that are out there, about hillary clinton, that i think something from a campaign and political perspective, she'll need to address down the road. i don't think she needs to overcorrect by immediately responding, because i think her team is doing an excellent job responding. >> so do you agree, angela that she should let her aides respond, even when you have the lack of disclosures and the fact that you have the real allegation, that there were conflicts, and that they're goings to also re-do some of the tax statements that the foundation has given the irs?
>> well rev, let's address a couple of things. one is something that appears to be a conflict is not in and of itself a conflict. of course the optics right now look bad because you haven't heard a response from secretary clinton. but her team has been very clear about saying not only is this a republican hit job, not only has secretary clinton not been -- they haven't claimed anything about her wrongdoing in this effort, this is totally just a smear job. in fact, recently there was a republican strategy call about this very thing, about the clinton cashbook and about the fact that this is one of the places where they could -- they need to hit her hard because their potential candidates are not as strong as her on foreign policy. these are the things that we need to look into when we also look at potential conflicts. that's not what this is. this is a hit job and we need to call it what it is. now to an unlikely feud between president obama and senator elizabeth warren over the fast track trade deal. the president says the deal will
help middle class workers, while warren worries that fastracking any trade deal sets a dangerous precedent. here's what president obama told my colleague, chris matthews earlier this week. >> i love elizabeth. we're allies on a whole host of issues. but she's wrong on this. now, i would not be doing this trade deal if i did not think it was good for the middle class. >> senator warren responded last night on the"the rachel maddow show" show". >> if it's a great deal for families, like the president says or a great deal for workers, then put it out there and let them see it before we have to grease the skids to get the deal done. my view is when the process is rigged, then the outcome is likely to be rigged. >> and moments ago, president obama obama responded to her response. listen. >> i've got some good friends who are opposed to this trade agreement, but when i ask them specifically, what is it that
you oppose they start talking about nafta. and i'm thinking, well i -- i just come out of law school when nafta was passed. that's not the trade agreement i'm passing. so you need to tell me what's wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago. >> margie this is an issue that divides many democrats, am i right? >> it is something in the news you hear a lot of folks on the left talking about it. i think what's a pending question is will this matter going forward, both in terms of how people feel about the president and how people feel headed into the primary. and that i'm not as sure about. >> brian? >> i think, you know, elizabeth warren is probably on the safest rhetorical ground when she says okay, look mr. president, you know, tell me what's in the
deal, and then i'll tell you what's wrong with it. you know that's a very hard challenge, you know to meet. i mean it's quite simple. look, if this is a good deal let us see it. and if it's a good deal the american people will agree, and it will go through congress. so, you know there are a lot of skeptics out there, you know, who are discouraged about the deal, by the fact that they're not allowed to review it they're not allowed to review it with staff. there are a lot of parts of it that are classified so that you can't even talk to reporters about it. so this idea of like tell me what we should change you know, that leaves a little bit to be desired from the one side. >> angela? >> andsy syi just have to disagree with this. the biggest issue that we have right now is the fact that people are confusing trade promotion authority with the tpp, the trade pacific partnership. that is the real challenge here. so we have to be honest in our dialogue and our rhetoric to say, this may not be nafta, but
i'm afraid because of what nafta did, how do we ensure this does not become the next nafta, and the best way to do that is by having a real honest dialogue. are we going to deny this president, which would be the first one since eisenhower to not have trade promotion authority? that's unfortunate. that just give him the ability to negotiate a potential agreement, that would then have to go to congress to be voted on. none of this is being done in the dark. i think we have to be really honest, and it's okay to have a debate, but let's at least debate with facts. >> we can have different opinions but we can't have different facts. everyone, stay with me. when we come back marco rubio is leading all gop contenders. and later, a revealing new biography of the first lady. the author joins ss us, ahead. with a cruising riding position and the most advanced vehicle stability system in the industry... you'll ride with a feeling of complete freedom and confidence. visit your can-am spyder dealer and test drive one today. the new spyder f3. riding has evolved.
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we're back with the panel. angela, ryan and margie. now to the gop primary. a new poll of republican voters show marco rubio at 15%, leading the rest of the field. angela, good news for rubio. does this poll surprise you? >> the poll doesn't surprise me rev. as we all know marco rubio is the least tested and tried, and so they don't know any of his baggage. he's the least known, so he has the least amount of baggage, that's all this is. >> what do you think, ryan? >> i think some of it is you know the republican party would love to see a latino candidate. you know as the one out there.
they think that that's one of the ways to kind of counteract this demographic push you know, that democrats have been trumpeting for the last couple of years. >> margie? >> well he's had a bigger bounce, post-announcement, than other candidates have announced so far. cnn shows him doing better than the rest of the field, among non-whites. a mason-dixon poll shows him beating jeb bush in his home state. he's seen tying or leading the field in terms of who represents the vision for the party of the future among republican voters. so i think he really has some real advantages at least for now. >> all right. angela, ryan and margie thank you all for your time tonight. >> thank you. >> thanks rev. coming up a new book describes her as the most unlikely first lady in modern american history. the life and times of first lady michelle obama and her major impact in that role. the author joins me ahead. (son) oh no... can you fix it, dad?
last night on "the tonight show" show", jimmy fallon had some fun with obama expressions. and i think you'll have a good laugh. >> this first lesser known expression is from a recent white house press event. this is called the "sup bae?" this one is great. it's from obama's visit to an irish pub. it's the, "am i pretty
president?" this next expression is from a recent press conference. check this out. this is, "ay oh! this guy over here". here's another one you don't see as often, that's the, "hey!" that's a rare one for my president. >> that was great. and we know first lady michelle obama is no stranger to "the tonight show" stage. but the first lady didn't always like the spotlight. her new biography calls her the most unlikely first lady in modern american history. it's a personal re revealing portrait of one of the most famous women in the world and the author joins me, next. ♪ if you're looking for a car that drives you... ...and takes the wheel right from your very hands... ...this isn't that car.
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through her incredible journey from growing up in a working class family in chicago's largely segregated south side, to her ivy league education at harvard. all the way to the white house. >> my ancestors came here in chains. my parents and grandparents knew the sting of segregation. yet, i attended some of the best universities in this country. i had career opportunities beyond my wildest dreams. and today, i live in the white house. >> in a rose as wife to president barack obama, mom-in-chief to their two young daughters, activist and organizer, she has become what the author calls, quote, the most unlikely first lady in modern american history. joining me now is the author
peter slevin thanks for being here tonight, peter. >> great for being here, reverend. >> as i say, you call her the most unlikely first lady in american history. why is that? >> she calls herself a statistical anomaly. she's always saying you know i'm not supposed to be here. when you think where she came from on the south side of chicago, when you think about her grandparents who came north in the great migration, three of them, how unlikely it was for her to get through princeton and harvard, it is a remarkable story. >> you know, the book got very personal. you write about her growing up on a largely segregated chicago south side, as you say, and then attending ivy league university. how did those experiences, though, shape her to who she is today? >> you know i think if you look at what michelle obama is doing and saying now, the way she talks about inequality the way she talks about unfairness you can trace that right back to her upbringing, the stories she heard growing up the life she's
lived, and the history that she's lived. and i think you can see her drawing those connections, in the way she says you know, the deck is a little bit stacked, but, you know, hang in there, stick with it and you can be there too. you know she had a grandfather who really did suffer the sting of discrimination as you say, but he also told michelle obama, when she was a girl you're destiny was not written the day you were born. >> you've been working on the book for four years, i believe, is that right? >> that's right. and i covered her before that for "the washington post". >> all right. before for the four years that you were working on the book what surprised you the most as you worked on this about the first lady and her story? >> you know what's striking? we think of michelle obama striding through life really confidently. you know, she hula hoops on the white house lawn on late-night comedy shows she's a force on the campaign trail, but one of the things that really surprised me was how often she talks about her own self-doubt, about what motivated her, what worried her
growing up. what worried her and made her feel lonely at princeton and harvard. and she tells those stories especially to girls who she says, you know, you can do it too. if i did it you can do it. she talks about the power of her own trajectory. >> and she does it passionately. i remember one night, she lectured my daughter a good 20 minutes, and i think she connected with dominique better than i ever have. she really, really keys in on young ladies. >> that is her audience. you know she is a mentor to her bones. and she tells those stories of her own life and of barack obama's life and she says we are here you can be here too. it's going to be tough, she said, you're going to get knocked back sometimes, but you've got to stick with it. that's right. >> now, you mentioned her campaigning, she played a key role in campaigning for her husband. take a look at this clip from the 2012 dnc. >> if we want to give all of our children a foundation for their
dreams and opportunities worthy of their promise, then we must work like never before. and we must once again come together and stand together, for the man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward, my husband, our president, barack obama. >> what impact has she had on president barack obama's presidency? >> you know she talks about those very opportunities that she has had, and she also talks about all the people who were left behind, who didn't have a lucky break, who didn't have the chance that she had. and in his presidency she is sounding those themes. if you think about what the two of them are talking about in this second term reverend i think you'll hear that same theme of fairness where they're working together on it in very much the same way that i found as writing the book, they were
working on it early in their marriage. and as for her relationship with barack obama and his presidency people told me that she is the most "do what's right" person in her circle. valerie jarrett says that she is direct at all times with him. now, of course michelle also says, you know when barack obama crosses threshold every night for dinner he doesn't always need me haranguing him. she said she picks her moments. >> now, what do you expect to see from her after the white house? >> she has said that she will keep talking, she wants to do some writing, she has also said she wants to keep working on education, which as you know is what her most recent project is all about, called "reach higher," helping disadvantaged kids. she says she wants to keep working on education, because it's the greatest civil rights challenge of our time. >> peter slevin it's a great read, by the way. >> thank you so much. >> thank you for your time tonight. again, the book is "michelle obama: a life." thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton.
coming up next on "hardball," chris speaks with the man who landed a gyrocopter on the capitol lawn. "hardball" starts right now. drones kill. this is "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthewsback back in washington. two big stories tonight. first, a u.s. drone targeted to kill terrorists kills two captives including an american. also the mainstream media targets the bill and hillary clinton financial juggernaut that runs through their global foundation, bill's speeches and hillary's state department. is this a serious story of how top politicians use power or as the candidate herself argues merely a distraction. before we get to hillary clinton and later to speak with the