tv Meet the Press MSNBC June 22, 2015 1:00am-2:01am PDT
this sunday -- after charleston. the worst race attack since the civil rights era. >> racism is a blight we have to combat together. >> i'm be joined by family members of reverend daniel simmons, one of nine who lost his life. 2016 presidential contender mike huckabee joins me. plus the dynasty candidates is america ready to embrace or reject them. and brand new from our nbc news/wall street journal poll.
convicters murderers and their regrets over ever picking up a gun. >> i took his buddy away from him. me? how does that sit with me? >> i'm chuck todd and joining me for insight and analysis this sunday are "the new york times" david brooks eugene robinson of "the washington post"," helene cooper and gerald seib. welcome to sunday, it's "meet the press." good morning. this is the scene outside the emanuel african methodist episcopal church this sunday morning where the congregation is gathering for the first service since a gunman murdered nine people there on wednesday evening at bible study. the victims, rev end clementa pinckney, sanders ethel lance, myra thompson rev end
middleton-doctor. reverend daniel simmons sr., ms. jackson and cynthia hurd. it was the worst racial attack in decades. it brings back horrific memories the civil rights activist in june of 1964 in mississippi. in charleston the process of healing has already begun, that was shown when family members of the victims showed such remarkable dig any for the killer dylann roof. first, i want to go to my colleague ron allen outside mother emanuel this morning. tell me about the scene out there on what looks like a very nice sunny sunday morning. >> reporter: it is chuck but it's also a very emotional time a disturbing time a very powerful moment. people have been gathering at
the church throughout the week paying their respect, public mourning grief and sorrow. also a time for healing and a time to celebrate the lives of nine souls whose lives are lost. this church has existed in this congregation for 200 years. at the other time it was at the forefront of slave encarnations. icons like michael king jr. and others have worshipped here. and north charleston is not as far from here where walter scott was killed by a north charleston police officer not long ago. today is about healing, celebrating the lives of those who lost their lives and trying to move this community forward. a real sense this could be a turning point for the community fnt the rest of the nation as well. >> charleston has been amazing in all this. ron allen, thanks much.
reverend daniel simmons sr. was one of the victims wednesday night at bible study. he not only served paritionor, he was also a vietnam war veteran. his family joins us who met the man in court and said, hate won't win. thank you, simmons family, for joining us this morning. i join with the entire country in offering condolences. >> thank you. >> alan thata, let me start with you. hate won't win why was it important to send that message? >> all of this week when the family spoke, i was actually inspired by some of the other families who immediately forgave the suspect when they had the
opportunity to speak to him. and that made me think of how strong love is. and although my grandfather and the other victims died at the hands of the hatred of this man the love of the community and the love of christ and the -- just the love of all of the families for the victims was so overwhelming that it outweighed the hate he had. >> dan yeshlgs tell me about your dad. >> my dad was a loving father. he was a great inspirational leader. he cared for his family, his community, his faith and he loved god. >> what would he say how the community should respond to this horrific attack. what would he be telling you? what do you think he would say to you if he were here to sort of bring the community together.
>> first of all, i would like to thank the city of charleston, how they have come together and shown unity and love. he would be so overwhelmed with how everyone has been unified to act on one accord. >> my grandfather really loved charleston. one of our best memories of him was coming down two summers ago and he took us on this grand tour of charleston and he kept talking about how great the people of charleston were. and we saw that. we saw that this week. >> alana, a lot of people want to use this incident to have a bigger conversation, to try to do something. racialle reconciliation, guns, a lot of issues people want to grab onto. what do you want the country to take away from this? what do you want our country to be having and our political leaders to be having a conversation about?
>> we elect not to talk about politics and policies or race issues at this time. at this time we just want to focus on our grandfather and the other victims and making sure the families and communities heal and move on from this tragedy. >> daniel the importance of his faith, the importance of faith to everybody in that room that is mourning your father, explain it. it's easily explained. it's love. >> that was a good answer. we love each other. we love our grandfather and the outpour of love from the community and the officials, from our community in hampton roads virginia, it's given us -- all of us i would like to
say, a grace. >> your family is quite an example for all of us in this country. reconciliation, forgiveness, love, faith. unbelievable. my condolences. >> charleston has been a great example to the rest of the country as well. we just really, really appreciate how everyone has come toeshgs together, peechl all races all orientations gender. prayer vigil friday night, everyone was there. it was so overwhelming and so wonderful to see everyone coming together. not to bash or to talk about the suspect, but to celebrate the lives and to heal together. >> it's too bad that it took a tragedy like this to make it happen, but perhaps if this is what comes out of it maybe we're a better society for it. thank you, simmons family. >> thank you.
>> i'm joined by the democratic congressman from south carolina, james clyburn. of course, welcome back to "meet the press." congress, my condolences. >> thank you very much for having me. thank you very much. >> these folks were constituents and personal friends. tell me about your friendships. >> first off, thank you so much for having me. speaking with his family, he and i are the last age. last time i did a morning service at emanuel, i think he was a pastor there at the time. i've gotten to know his family very very well his in-laws, constituents. pinckney this guy was absolutely the salt of the earth. i first met him whefsn he was a student here at allen university in columbia. and, of course, his hometown, home church, all in my district.
emanuel is just one block out of my congressional district. malcolm graham has been on various shows this morning, his sister cynthia was one of my daughter's best friends. she was a librarian, like my wife. there's so much interwolfeven in here. middleton, he called himself my ame campaign manager. i know these people personally. >> congressman you're from a generation that was in the middle of the civil rights movement. you saw the pain and protests of the '60s some attacks that took place in the '60s. did you think this was at all possible, that something like this could happen in the 21st century?
>> unfortunately, chuck, i did. i've been saying my friends in the congressional black caucus will tell you. i've been saying there's a right-wing drift that's going too far. people get emboldened by all this. we hear all this discussion about the confederate battle flag. what's so interesting about that, chuck, that's not the confederate flag. that's a battle flag that flies in front of the state house. that's a flag of rebellion. we would not be having this discussion if that were the confederate flag -- or the flag of the confederacy of america. that flag is not a symbol of hate. when you see the resurrection of this, a young man 21 years old wearing apartheid things on his shirt, burning the u.s. flag,
certainly you're creating a climate that allow this kind of thing to happen. >> about ten years ago you led a compromise effort on the flag and there was democratic presidential candidates threatening boycotts and you were trying to be the peacemaker back then of saying, let's find a compromise on that flag. looking back, had you just pushed harder to say, wish you wouldn't have compromised? >> no sir. if they just followed the compromise, we wouldn't be here. the compromise was to put the flag in front of the office building in flont of the the way it happened statue. the legislature out of defiance put that flag where it is today in front of the state house. that is not what the compromise was. the compromise was to put it on the backside of the state house, out of public view, so it would
not have any appearance of sovereignty. that's not what the legislature did. they're coming back here to do the budget, they can very well take it up. they keep saying it takes two-thirtsdz totwo- two-thirds to bring it down. that's true. but it only takes a simple majority to get rid of the two-thirds law. >> interesting way to put it. senator clyburn, thank you for coming on "meet the press." i know it's a rough rough morning at church today. >> thank you so much for having me. the panel is here, new york times, david brooks, eugene robinson of the"the washington post" and helene cooper, pentagon pentagon, and gerald seib. eugene, i start with you, this is your home? >> yes. my uncle had a blacksmith's shop
around the corner so it is personal. to what congressman clyburn said just now, quickly on the flag issue. do you know when that flag was first flown at the state house? >> 1961. not 1861. >> exactly. >> 1961. and why? >> well, it was es-- forgive this but give the middle finger. it was all this nonsense of honoring the valor of southern manhood 150 years ago. they didn't have any urge to do that for a century after the civil war. it was only after brown v. board, after little rock, after desegregation began. south carolinans adopted it as
part of their state flags. it was massive resistance. >> let me put up the two flags. you heard congressman clyburn mention one is actually not the confederate flag. the actual flag of the confederacy is the one on the left with the circle stars. what is known as the confederate flag today is the battle flag of the north virginian army led by robert e. lee that was sort of adopted in the '60s. david brooks you write about character, morality. your reaction to all of this. i didn't think in the 21st century we would have race-based massacres. >> well, there were two sides of the seats. the massacre, the shocking sides and the families' reactions and what we saw at the top of the show was an equally newsworthy event. someone used grace. to see that human reaction, and natural action is hatred with
hatred ee veng are we veng but what we saw in the courtroom and just now, lives transformed by faith people walk the walk, talking the talk. here's a bunch of families who have forgiven that. >> donald trump was the story this week. anything more opposite of wanting to discuss in america? you're absolutely right. >> i just thought that was first a beautiful example of what faith can play in our lives. >> we have this online poll conducted by survey monkey we asked what does the confederate flag symbolize? it's split right down the middle. i wonder if that's a racism process when it comes to the confederate battle flag. >> we could be talking about how wonderful charleston is and peer talking about the flag. people in south carolina are asking themselves, is that the
conversation we want to have or not? i think not. people like to tend to think racial issues behind us. african-americans do not think that. >> can i just tell you, the president's first head of the white house faith based initiative, he wrote this in "the bale beast," will we convince ourselves of the delusion that this is the only one who is sick or will we examine our national conscious and get ourselves well. one of those steps has to be the white occur actual. we say we have to have a conversation with blacks and whites but we never call on white america to look inward. >> no we don't. i thought it was an extraordinary essay. i was glad to see he wrote that. i don't know if i'm necessarily to be the person to talk about white america at the dinner table but we the media don't
calling on when we talk about race. we talk about blacks and whites having a conversation. i know when i first got hired by "the wall street journal" and i had not really been very south before. i was hired in the atlanta bureau of the wall street journal, driving across the border and realizing at the time 1994 the georgia state flag had the confederate flag on it. as a black woman, i blanched. i can't describe four, when you see that battle flag for me it's a symbol of hatred. it's very hard for me to cross that bridge and understand -- i understand a lot of people in the south believe this is heritage but i'm just -- as a black woman, i see that and it's a tough one for me. >> we're going to pick up this conversation a little later in the show. when we come back we're also going to pick up the other subject that's been brought up after this massacre, guns. a unique look at gun violence in
america. it's a video of inmates who committed murder talking about their regrets about ever picking up a firearm. >> and they say to themselves if i'm careful, if i'm careful, i can reach this good thing as wish your skin could bounce back like it used to? new neutrogena hydro boost water gel. with hyaluronic acid it plumps skin cells with intense hydration and locks it in. for supple, hydrated skin. hydro boost. from neutrogena.
and so i refuse to act as if this is the new normal. or to pretend that it's simply sufficient to grieve and that any mention of us doing something to stop it is somehow politicizing the problem. >> that was president obama friday in the wake of the charston massacre on the issue of availability of guns in america. earlier we heard the moving words of family members of the victims. this morning we wanted to take a look at american gun violence from a different perspective. from that of the person pointing the gun. we have a remarkable video to show you. nbc news producer volunteered to make a video about gun violence on his own time with convicted murderers at sing sing the infamous prison north of new york city. the circumstances you are about to see are very different from the racist violence in charleston. in this case the inmates are african-american that you'll hear from but their lessons remain important. we simply ask you to look at this as a color blind issue and just simply about gun violence. dan put these folks alone with a
camera and asked them to do something unique. talk to their 12-year-old selves. what would they say now that could have made them put down the gun that ended a life and landed them in prison? >> my name is tyler abraham. i'm 40 years old. i made a choice of guns that i held in my hands. a gun when i first held one gave me a sense of power. it made me feel strong. it made me feel like i was invincible. >> you could be the bad thing that happens to somebody. think about that right? there could be a family there's a child and a father and there's a mother and there's a family. they come here from africa to build a better life and they say to themself if i'm careful,
if i'm careful, then i can reach this good thing as long as nothing bad happens. and then i happen to him. you want to be the bad? you want to be the bad? >> when i was 17 one of my friends suggested to me why don't you carry a gun? you need this. so i took up a gun. i held it. and then this gun became my security. >> the bullet shot into the crowd were real last night at a premiere of the movie "godfather 3." >> i head to the movie theater with a group of friends. another group of teens came in yelling. pretty soon an argument erupt twed that group and my group. one of them pulled out a gun and fired it. i returned fire. >> police rushed in to find four innocent victims wounded in the crossfire. two of them teenagers, including tremayne hall. >> i didn't think i was going to hit anybody, but i did it
anyway. a little boy was shot. he died that night. >> and it's that fast and it's over and it's done and you don't even know what you did. and by the time you understand it is too late. >> when i think of that i think of what happened at my trial. his father got on the stand. his father called this kid his buddy. that was his buddy. i took his buddy away from him. me. how does that sit with me? >> david, you write a lot about character and culture in general. it's usually among always when you do passed around things. the political conversation is one conversation on guns. this is a different way to have
it. >> first thanks to coming for me first. that was tough. that was powerful. you know i think what comes out of it you've got so many young men who feel psychologically weak and then the gun is the source of power. it's all they have got. they in some cases don't have privilege and we saw this in the charleston kid's photo of him with the guns. it has the psychological effect the gun is my thing. >> that one man described the security he felt holding it. >> so that's a powerful look at how the gun becomes the psychological totem of who i am. it's almost as if using the gun is going to be the expression of how i make a difference in the world. that is a distorting cultural effect of just the physical presence of a gun in the hands of someone who feels he has nothing else. >> gene, changing a law, passing a law isn't going to change the culture.
>> no. but passing the right law, passing a law that we're frankly not going to pass would take a lot of guns out of circulation and make the gun not the normal thing one reaches for when one wants to agrandize one's self-esteem. i thought that was a very powerful piece. one small thing i would mention, because i haven't seen the whole piece, is it wasn't a terribly diverse set of people who were talking. right now we're talking about a horrific crime committed by a white man. we're talking about the search for two escaped murderers who are white men. so we should point out this was not just an african-american problem. >> no, no no and it wasn't intended to be that way. helene guns in our culture, that's what makes it politically so difficult. >> yes, that is what makes it politically so difficult.
we've seem in this country to be very wedded to them. i've heard so many different reasons for why people say that gun control can't pass in congress and that taking it on is political suicide. the first thing i thought, you know when charleston happened was that this isn't going to change the debate because of newtown, connecticut, isn't going to change the debate we're not going to do anything about people -- somebody going into an elementary school and shooting up a binchunch of kindergarteners, we're certainly not going to do anything because a lunatic walked into a black church and shot nine people. that was a really cynical reaction on my part and i think that's sad. i think that says a lot about, you know sort of giving up hope, about any sort of change or any real attempt to address gun control in this country. and i think that says a lot about the media and how we approach it. that the first thing we say, forget it. >> yeah forget it. >> well that's true. but it's interesting, we're all washington creatures here so we think what are politicians and
the government going to do? we've used the word conversation several times. if nothing else there are conversations going on in society, and that's not nothing. that's kind of the reaction i have to that video and to watching the families in charleston. >> by the way, that inmate video is being shown to young people by, among others the new york city police department. you can see the entire video on our website, meetthepressnbc.com. when we come back republican presidential candidate mike huckabee joins me. [ female announcer ] when you're serious about fighting wrinkles, turn to roc® retinol correxion®. one week fine lines appear to fade. one month deep wrinkles look smoother. after one year, skin looks ageless. high performance skincare™ only from roc®.
everyone. >> when i was asked to intervene on behalf of a woman who could not speak up for herself i stood on her side. i stood on the side. terri schiavo and her parents. >> many messages to evangelicals were familiar. this week another religious leader introduced a new topic, climate change. that was a big part of pope francis' incyclical, which turned out to be a 184-page indictment of the globe as a whole. humans are at fault and turning the earth into a, quote, immense pile of filth." well suddenly several republican candidates for president were put in the awkward bind of arguing that religion and religious leaders should stay out of political debates. >> i don't get to go for economic policy or things in politics. i got enough people helping me along the way with that. >> the pope can talk about whatever he wants to talk about. i'm just saying, what should the pope use his moral authority for? >> mike huckabee former
governor of arkansas, former baptist minister. welcome back to "meet the press." >> thank you chuck. great to be here. >> before i get to that topic and the intermingling of religion and government, let me start with a couple of things in charleston and get your reaction. the flag debate was something you were a part of in 2008. i want to play what you said when you last ran for president when the issue came up during the south carolina primary. >> you don't like people from outside the state telling you to come down and tell you what to do with your flag. if someone came to arkansas and told us what to do with the flag peld tell them what to do with the pole. >> how do you feel? >> i still think it's not an issue for a person running for president. the question underlying all of this is we're asking, is south carolina a racist state because of the flag that flies on their capitol grounds? here's what i can tell you as a frequent visitor to south carolina. this is a state that largely white people elected a female
governor of indian dissent and the first african-american united states senator from the south. they have more diversity in the people they have elected to statewide office than new york, connecticut or massachusetts. there's 4.8 million people in south carolina. i don't think you could say that the presence of one lunatic racist, who everybody in this country feels contempt for, and no one is defending, is somehow evidence of the people of south carolina. i think we've seen the people of south carolina and their character by what you saw in charleston with people of all races, democrats, republicans from every perspective, hugging praying. nobody was burning down their community. they weren't breaking windows. they weren't beating up on cops. they were exhibiting a true christian spirit that is really, i think, exemplary to the rest
of the country. >> should government be sanctioning a symbol that a large chunk of residents believe is a symbol of racism? >> well, it depends on which level of government. if the state government of south carolina wishes to address an issue in their state, that's fine. but, chuck if you can point me to an article and section of the constitution in which a united states president ought to weigh in on what states use as symbols, please refresh my memory on that. but for those of us running for president, everyone's being baited with this question as if that has anything to do whatsoever with running for president. my position is, it most certainly does not. >> would you ever fly the flag? would you -- >> as president you're focused on the economy, keeping america safe. some really big issues for the nation. i don't think they want us to weigh in on every little issue in all 50 states that might be an important issue to the people of that state but not on the
desk of the president. >> are you comfortable displaying the confederate flag in snub. >> i don't personally display it anywhere. that's the issue for the south carolina? do you display it? i doubt it. does anyone on the panel display it? i doubt it. for us it's not an issue. >> let's move on to the larger question about race relations in america. if you were president of the united states today and you look -- you have this racially-motivated massacre that took place in charleston, but we've had social unrest as well this trust issue between african-americans and law enforcement officials how would you be addressing this today if you were president? >> i think the best way to address it is the way that we have seen from the church members. there at emanuel ame church. if you look at the pastor, the pastor who was murdered it occurs to me that here is a shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep.
the greatest example of biblical love, the christian spirit. when you hear the family members, as we heard on that very powerful interview earlier it reminds us that christianity is not this cartoonish contemptible, laughable faith that people today try to marginalize. it is a powerful force of healing and reconciliation. and while i know there are many people in our culture who don't want people to bring faith into the discussion, chuck, after watching that family and seeing the members of this church in court the other day, i would say that most americans stand back in awe and maybe would understand that it is precisely faith that would help this country have true racial reconciliation. let me just add this personally. when i was a young pastor in my 20s i stood in front of what had been an all-white church. this was well over 30 years ago. and i welcomed the first
african-american member to that church. i had death threats. there were people who said they would leave the church. but instead i held my ground. i said, if he goes, i go. the result was our church grew exponentially. even though people said they would cut off their giving. the very next month we had a record level of giving in that church. sometimes it just takes courage to stand up and call out something to be evil and to express the reason it's evil, because it's a defiance and defilement of god's grace. we've seen god's grace in the emanuel ame church and its members, a great testament to that pastor who instilled such a faith in those members, that when they were faced with the greatest crisis of their experience, they reflected all that he had taught them. that, i believe, is the greatest witness we could hope for. >> let me go to the question that i introduced this topic on, and that is what the pope said about climate change. what's interesting is the way he based his position on climate change is actually very similar to the way you have based your
position in the past. have you said this back in 2007 whether there is or isn't, it doesn't release us from the responsibility to be good stewards of the virnlt. it's a spiritual issue. the earth belongs to god. i have no right to destroy it. it sounds like you agree with the pope as sort of a faith-based focus on dealing with climate change. do you still believe that? >> i've always believed the earth is the lord's and the fullness thereof. i don't believe i'm the owner of the natural resources. i'm just a manager, a steward. i get to use them but i don't get to abuse them. i think what the pope has done is to help us to help us start talking about our stewardship. let me be very clear. i think one of the ways we would really help a lot of people, is to use the energy we have until we develop energy that right now is not that economically viable. i would also say to the pope, if we could get the prices of energy down and make it more affordable, the difference
between $5 a gallon gasoline and $2 a gallon of gasoline is a pay raise to a single mom strapping kids in carseats on her way to work. it's the difference that a woman can turn her air conditioning on in the hottest days of 100-degree august sweltering sun. those are true moral and economic issues for a lot of people. our goal is not just to say, let's not use the resources. let's use them in a way that empowers people to live the best life they can possibly live. >> i understand that. go to the key point of climate change. a, do you believe it's manmade? b, if you're elected president this has to be on your agenda? >> whether it's manmade or not, i know when i was in college, i was being taught if we didn't act very quickly, we would be entering a global freezing. and, you know, go back and look at the covers of "time" and "newsweek" from the early '70s
and we were told if we didn't do something by 1980 we would be popsicles. now yearwe're all told we're burning up. science not as settled on that. the left has completely embraced the pope's message on climate change, but the pope in that very same incyclical talked about the science of life and how there's no justification of taking the life of an innocent person when we know the science is settled on the biology of the human life coming into being at the point of conception. so, let's embrace all of the pope's message. and i'm waiting for the folks on the left who love this part about climate change i'm waiting for them to also agree with him on the sanctity of every human life and there's no such thing as disposable human change. >> if you're president climate change is not on the top of your agenda? >> climate change is maybe the wrong question.
good stable energy prices and making america an exporter of energy, not just for economic reasons but, quite frankly, to disrupt the balance of power with russians and saudis. this is a game-changer and america needs to use the resources they have, use them responsibly, but, for heaven's sake use them to empower americans, help poverty and also change the global balance. >> govi have to leave it there. we had a lengthy conversation about the horrific thing this is week. it's a long campaign. be safe on the trail, sir. >> yes, it is. thank you very much, chuck. up next just out this morning the latest nbc news/wall street news poll on
last week we introduced our new segment -- "meet the next," the idea is to bring you interesting or intriguing ideas from around the country. it comes from the working group on presidential campaign debate reform. they have many ideas they would use to improve the debate process. among them, a chess clock like this one. the idea is this, instead of allowing a set time for each answer, for candidates to give, instead they would get a total
amount of time for the entire debate. let's say you're ted cruz and your position on health care is crystal clear. repeal every word of obamacare. hit the clock. you'll have time for other answers. they also had other ideas but the chess clock was the most intriguing one and the only one i wanted to embrace. i'm told i'm out of time so we'll be back introducing a whole new way to enhance your eyes. it's 1-day acuvue® define™ brand contact lenses. the eye enhancement lenses that comfortably accentuate your eyes' natural beauty. ask your doctor today about 1-day acuvue® define™ brand.
in this week's "nerdscreen" we have brand new nbc news/wall street journal poll results. the big headline, america is not all that concerned about jeb or hillary's last names. in fact, we asked people to tell us what their top concerns about the upcoming presidential race. we gave them a list of choices. here's what came out on top. ready for this? 33% were concerned that wealthy people and companies will have too much influence that was number one. number two issue, with 25% was the idea there will be more negativity in the campaign instead of actual debate about solutions to problems. that was a big surprise, that both issues were process issues the country was concerned about. only 4% chose too many people from the same families running for president as their top concern. conventional wisdom has been the names bush and clinton are an issue to voters but our poll
shows people are much more worried about how the campaigns will be conducted and paid for not who's running. speaking of these famous last names, there's more good names for jeb bush. in march 49% of republican voters said they could picture themselves supporting jeb bush eventually as the nominee. guess what, after his announcement, that number is now 75%. a huge jump for him and a big noteworthy point post presidential announcement. as for the other guy that got into the race last week, donald donald trump, 66% of republicans said they could not see supporting him. that's by far the highest on the list of can't support republicans of all the candidates we tested. guess what, the good news for trump it was better than a showing in march which was 74%. here are the top five republicans who have the most potential support in the primary. jeb bush, marco rubio, mike huckabee, scott walker and rick perry. there is your top five among the
republicans that say they could see themselves supporting as the nominee. there's your sneak peek on the nbc news/wall street journal poll. we'll have a lot more tomorrow. if you can't be in front of a tv to see "meet the press" live, we're always available on demand and make us a season pass on your dvr. even if it's not sunday, it's still "meet the press." back in a moment. wish your skin could bounce back like it used to? new neutrogena hydro boost water gel. with hyaluronic acid it plumps skin cells with intense hydration and locks it in. for supple, hydrated skin. hydro boost. from neutrogena.
>> announcer: time now for "meet the press" "end game" brought to you by boeing, where the drive to build something better inspires us every day. the panel is here. i want to go back to the gun video we showed because we've gotten a lot of comments on social media already. one tweet says, unfortunately "meet the press" decided to show guns don't kill people but black, powerless kids kill people. wrong time. gene, you brought that up. that was the first reaction you had. that was not -- we wanted to have a different conversation about guns, the societal issue why choose go get guns. it wasn't meant to be a black/white issue. >> you know, the -- here's one thing it teaches is, you know, we have to be conscious of the way we talk about race and we ought to do it more often. if we did it more often and it
were part of the general conversation, then it wouldn't be so spriking ingstriking and noticeable to so many people when you do gun violence and only black people in it. let's keep the dialogue going and let's broaden it as well. >> david, look, the reason to bring up gun violence is we looked up these statistics. 50 americans since 9/11 have been killed in terrorist attacks. we're up to nearly 400,000 people since 9/11 have been killed by firearms. >> right. but the way the news events have happened with ferguson and this and a bunch -- baltimore, a lot have had racial -- huge racial components. then the conversation slips over into poverty and things like that. we've overly mixed race and poverty. most poor people in america is white. the family breakdown crosses racial lines, high school dropouts. but because of the flow of
events, we've confused racial issues which are trans-racial. >> this is the challenge for political leaders. it may go to the fact that the president is -- he went guns not race in his immediate aftermath. i talked to people close to him. the president is self-aware, when he talks about race he think it's it polarizes the conversation and defeats the purpose he wants to have. >> this is the irony in the first african-american president. he finds it difficult to talk about race because he's not seen as a neutral observer. he's not having much effect. i think you see the frustration when he talks about these things on either front, the racial front or guns front. you can tell that bothers him. >> helene i had long conversations with aides, why guns not race? they said gun is believe it or not, less polarizing. >> yeah it is sort of ironic. i don't necessarily think obama has problems talking about race. i think he has been jumped on
when he has in the past. i remember at the beginning of his first term where he said the police behaved stupidly for arresting henry gates for trying to go into his own house. when he said it i remember sitting at the press conference thinking, that's what i thought. that kind of made sense to me. i remember writing a story and the next day came the backlash and everybody was going, why is he going after the cambridge police? these are police officers. that sort of has dogged him for years ever since. he gives the initial reaction and that ends up being polarizing because of who he is and because he is a black man. when he has spoken about race in a real issue, he can be great on it. he can be awesome. >> his symbolism may be more powerful than anything else. gina, to go back to the gun video we showed it is a reminder that -- in fact in law enforcement, that white people
do not see this issue the same because i've never been pulled over because of the color of my skin by a police officer. >> and white parents don't have to have that talk with their sons about how to act when you're approached by police and don't make any sudden movements and keep your hands visible and that sort of thing. look, we could talk about this all day. mass incarceration. we could talk about disparities in drug sentencing a lot of things. i do want to point out at the conference of mayors the other day, hillary clinton gave a very tough speech on race where she really went in to the issue in a very tough way. and also president obama on the second day. >> yes, he did. >> in fact did get into race in a more substantial way than he did the first day. hillary clinton was very tough. >> it's father's day. heavy day for a lot of people heavy issues. happy father's day to all the
dads and granddads out there. we'll be back next week. if it's sunday it's "meet the press." it's monday june 22nd. right now on "first look," be on alert. that's what police are telling two parts of new york as officers comb through opposite ends of the state in the hunt for the escaped murderers. breaking news. explosions rock afghanistan's parliament while the government is in session. emotional sunday services in charleston following the murder of nine at a bible study group has heated up a battle to remove the rationally charged confederate flag from the state's capital. 43 million americans are in the path of severe weather today. plus another $100 million weekend for dinosaurs at the movies. and taylor swift takes on