tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN April 8, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
president. >> not a good night. >> when the story hit, the option was, what is the most vigorous response that we can give to deal with this. you knew you had to be aggressive. >> "race for the white house" sunday, 9:00 p.m. eastern. another good one. right now "cnn tonight" with don lemon. the battle for new york is getting personal. this is "cnn tonight." i'm don lemon. if you are bernie sanders, you probably wish you'd never said hillary clinton was unqualified to be president. >> seriously, i've been call a lot of things over the years, but unqualified has not been one of them. >> but the senator is not done with his criticism of hillary clinton. listen to what he tells our jake tapper. >> i have my doubts about what kind of president she would make. >> imagine what will happen when they go head-to-head in our cnn
democratic debate next thursday. meanwhile, bill clinton has second thoughts about his confrontation with black lives matter protesters. >> so, i did something yesterday in philadelphia i almost want to apologize for but i want to use it as an example of the danger threatening our country. >> here's a good question. is the campaigner in chief helping or hurting his wife's white house run? what will it mean for black voters? plus, how much have we really changed in 21 years? i'm going to talk to the creators of the hit tv series "the people v. o.j. simpson." let's begin with the battle for new york. joining me is cnn's own michael smerconish. good to have you here on a friday evening. can't wait to watch you tomorrow. bernie versus hillary. what do you think of this battle? >> stakes are huge, i think, for him and her. but he needs to continue the momentum. if he can defeat her here in the
empire state, then all of a sudden, it's a totally different race. otherwise he's run a wonderful race but he's just not going to get there. >> yeah. bernie sanders isn't back pedaling about whether she's qualified to be president. listen to what he tells jake tapper. >> i just want them to be that we've tried to run an issue oriented campaign but we're not going to be attacked every single day. our record not going to be distorted. we are going to fight back. and what i said is that a candidate like secretary clinton who voted for the disastrous war in iraq, who i supported virtually every disastrous trade agreement which has cost us decent paying jobs and who receives incredible amounts of money, tens of millions of dollars from every superpac from every special interest you can think of and from the billionaire class. i have my doubts about what kind of president she wourld make.
>> you can catch that full interview sunday on "state of the union" at 9:00 and noon. >> i thought he looked pretty when he said she started it. >> like donald trump. >> like a counterpuncher. but the reality is she didn't really start it and she really didn't question his qualification for office. he waded into this. it was a mistake. there are many things you can say about her. i don't think this is one of them. >> bill clinton was asked about the original comments today. watch. >> i just wanted to ask you, these comments bernie sanders has made about hillary not being qualified, if a man with the same resume had, do you think that gender is a piece of this at all? >> of course it would but he walked it back a little today. >> for him to say it at all, do you think gender was a factor? >> i don't know. you guys commented.
i think shooe'd be the best president and that's obvious by a country mile. that's all that matters to me. yes, i think there are some different standards. >> when he's running, he can be -- >> you can see the wheels turning. >> what's your reaction? >> i think every time a microphone is put in front of him and they are asking about her qualifications, they are loving it. no matter what his answer is, it's playing right into their wheelhouse. look at the remainder of the stage both republican and democratic side and tell me who has more qualifications than secretary clinton? a lot of negatives you can raise about her. this isn't one of them. >> qualification, not one of them. do you think she should be worried about new york? >> she need s to be worried abot new york only because the momentum is on his side. if she believe the polls she has a great comfort level but she can't take anything for granted at this stage. >> bernie sanders announced he received an invitation from the vatican to go four days before
the new york primary. do you think a trip like that is going to help him or hurt him leaving the country? >> does he get the meeting or not? is he going to get the meeting with the pontiff? to go over there and come home without having been in the company of the pope, i think makes it a trip that was perhaps not worthwhile. i get why he'd want to go. a lot of catholics in the mid-atlantic states, like my own, pennsylvania, that are about to vote. i hope they know they're going to have that papal audience. otherwise, i think it doesn't look so good. >> if he does meet with him, don't you think that will make him look like a statesman? >> absolutely. it puts him in a different light. foreign policy is his achilles heel. you have to wonder what's going on behind the walls of the vatican. they must be assessing the united states political situation and deciding, hey, this guy sanders from vrmermont are we going to give him a meeting with the pope and the former secretary of state. don't think she doesn't have some pull at the vatican.
behind closed doors they are working the phones and saying, don't meet with him. don't give him the audience. >> you took the words out of my mouths. him going to the vatican, possibly meet with the pope. ted cruz making matzo in brooklyn. she's riding the subway. on and on and on. >> she looked like me at the subway. that's always me. three and four times trying to use the pass card. >> sometimes it takes a couple of swipes. >> the only people critical of that, they've never been on the subway. >> ride in limousines or taxis all the time. >> i want to ask you about the ge ceo. bernie sanders is taking some heat. he says ge is destroying the country's moral fabric. and so they are upset about that and firing back. is this good for bernie sanders to be doing? >> i don't think it's good for bernie sanders. i thought jeffrey immelt had quite a strong response to
bernie sanders. i wonder why. i get the income inequality discussion. he's deserving of a lot of credit for that. but would it kill bernie sanders every once in a while to use the word entrepreneurship and talk about the virtue? ge is not a small business. talk about the virtue of small businesses in the united states? he never says those sort of things. it's a disadvantage. >> the statement was they pay lots of taxes but they've never been popular with socialists. i'm paraphrasing. >> that's a good paraphrasing. let's talk about the republicans. donald trump canceling his campaign trip to california saying, you know, i have to stay away from the campaign trail. so great to be in new york. catching up on many things. remember, i am still running a major business while i campaign and loving it. do you think it's bad for him to be away or good to remind people that he is a businessman? does this help him out? >> i don't believe he ever takes a day off. behind closed doors he's working a different strategy that's focused on retail politics only in new york but also in a
strategy to get to 1,237 pre-cleveland. i watched that interview this morning on "new day" with chris cuomo. i was impressed with paul manafort's presentation. it seemed donald trump hired an adult and a recognition on trump's part that he's brought it this far but needs professionals to carry him the rest of the way. >> finally, an adult in the room. >> his chief virtue this far has been he does this all himself. no focus groups or advisers. it's based on the strength of his personality. >> you can only do that so long. >> correct. he reached that point. maybe he reached that recognition point too late. you have to believe behind closed doors there will be tussles between the current campaign apparatus and the new guy. >> he's going to do well in new york, donald trump. he's a new yorker. is he going to get to that magic number? >> i think he's going to come up shy of 1,237. i really do. and, don, if he doesn't go into cleveland with the majority of delegates, i don't think he
comes out with the nomination. that's why manafort was brought in. >> you are a straight-shooter. what do you think of this new york values thing? some are saying it was an anti-semitic trope. >> i parsed that paragraph. i -- and like three-fifths of it are fine. the usual argument you'd hear made by a conservative about liberal values. why money and media. it's like my antenna went up when he gets to money and media. i said this on radio today. you say money and media and put it in the context of new york, i'm thinking jewish. that's probably what he had on his mind. >> it sounds like a dog whistle. >> it does. why would he say that in new york? it will wreck him here. he's not going to win here anyway and probably helps him with his base in the south. >> thank you, michael smerconish. 9:00 a.m., "smerconish" airs here on cnn. also donald trump takes
questions in our town hall. his wife melania and daughter will be there. we've got you covered. smerconish, wolf, anderson, me, jake. >> good team. when we come back, why bill clinton says he almost wants to apologize for his dust-up with black lives matter protesters. is he helping or hurting hillary clinton's campaign? you know we said we'd take a look at our retirement plan today. not now! i'm cleaning the oven! yeah, i'm cleaning the gutters! washing the dog! washing the cat! well i'm learning snapchamp! chat. chat! changing the oil... (vo) it's surprising what people would rather do than deal with retirement. pressure-washing the... roses. aerating the lawn! (vo) but with nationwide it's no big deal. okay, your retirement plan is all set. nationwide? awesome. nice neighborhood. ♪ nationwide is on your side
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bill clinton says he almost wants to apologize for getting into a shouting match with black lives matter protesters at a rally for his wife. in fact, he didn't quite apologize saying he didn't like the protesters trying to drown him out. but is there more to this public dust-up? i want to talk about this with van jones, angela rye, who is the former executive director of the congressional black caucus and political commentator bob beckel who looks like he's raided larry king's closet tonight. >> you have no idea. >> hello to all of you. bill clinton has had an interesting 24 hours. let's look at yesterday's rally in philadelphia when he and black lives matter protesters faced off over his wife's use of the word superpredator and the effects of the 1994 crime bill. >> i don't know how you would characterize the gang leaders who got 13-year-old kids hopped
up on crack and sent them out on to the street to murder other african-american children. maybe you thought they were good citizens. she didn't. she didn't. you are defending the people who killed the lives you say matter. >> here he is today. >> i like and believe in protests. i would be a hypocrite if i didn't because i engaged in some when i was a kid. but i never thought i should drown anybody else out. and i confess, maybe it's just a sign of old age, but it bothers me now when that happens. so i did something yesterday in philadelphia i am want to apologize for but i want to use it as a danger threatening our country. we all have different experiences. we cannot learn anything unless
we listen. and we are all just, as i was yesterday vulnerable to when somebody says something and we say, i don't want to listen to this anymore. >> mr. van jones, did he get a talking to? >> he definitely got a talking to. basically everybody that i know either got to him or tried to get to him or was online. but let me just say this. first of all, that's was -- i don't want to go back to the bad old days of the clinton. that was a triangulated apology. you can't just give a straight apology? we're triangulating on apologies. i was the guy, don, and you know i was the guy when they said they're going to bring bill clinton back. i said let the big dog bark. i can't wait to hear from him. they said he's going to make mistakes. i said i didn't care. put the big dog back in the dog house. it wasn't just the tone. the content. that superpredator tag was a racial dog whistle that did
untold damage. he's got to know that. he's not a dummy. >> you think it's more than off message? he didn't pick this fight intentionally. >> i don't know if it was intentional or not. it was wrong, mean-spirited. you don't want black lives matter to go to war with the dnc or to go to war with the clintons over this. there's no excuse in the world for bill clinton to be yelling at those young people and defending the indefensible. the dog needs to go in the dog house. >> go ahead, bob. >> van, i'm amazed you're saying this. what he said, and this was a little of the sister soldier moment, remember when he did that? >> also despicable. >> also in south carolina where he said jesse won this state, too. >> right. >> but when he says these predators who -- >> are you going to -- >> let him finish, van. >> wait a second. i am a recovering drug addict. i've seen it.
>> that doesn't give you the right to call anyone a predator or superpredator. >> they are preying on little kids and you know it and i know it. >> okay. but who are these guys? we need to start being careful with the terms we use. the first mistake bill clinton made yesterday was he doesn't understand what the philadelphia coalition for real justice stands for. this is a black lives matter chapter basically in philadelphia. he has no ideahat black lives matter is all about. it has nothing to do with defending gangsters and drug dealers. it has everything to do with the value of a black life n ensuring that people of power begin to recognize what it means to want to be alive and free in this country in 2016. so he -- it was an epic fail yesterday for bill clinton. not only did he have to walk anything everything hillary clinton has done this campaign to demonstrate her remorse for the '94 crime bill and 1996 super predator comment. now here he is undoing all of that after just last year, bill,
he was -- i mean bob, he was in the space where he was trying to apologize and saying he regrets this bill when he talked to the naacp convention in philadelphia, this very same place. now saying something completely different. >> and nobody is -- >> van, van, let him respond and i promise i'll let you. go ahead, bob. >> nobody is defending that bill or the welfare bill. i was against both of them. it was ridiculous and horrible. but i have a hard time when i see that organized african-american groups, like black lives matters, and they are very good at what they do. has anybody said anything about the gang warfare in chicago that's killing kids left and right? >> every day. >> that's a fox news talking point. you cannot be serious. >> oh, my -- >> organizing -- >> are you serious? >> who is in chicago? name me one -- >> al sharpton, reverend jackson, prince, the rock star went and did multiple concerts.
you don't know what you are talking about. we go to those funerals. we have to live in those neighborhoods and look at the teddy bears and flowers on the sidewalk. >> you don't know what you're talking about. >> that's not right, van. >> it's a fox news talking point. it's not accurate. >> you spend too much time on fox. that's terrible. >> go ahead. defend yourself. >> defend myself? i don't have to defend myself. i have said all along that when i deal in the recovery community and see the addicts that come out of the organized like the black mafia people who organized most of the cocaine distribution in this country for a long time and who got addicted and who died? it was black kids. and i have no place in my mind for them at all or any of these people who don't -- are not willing to stand up. you may say prince gives a concert and sharpton goes in for a day. but it's an organized issue -- >> that is not true. >> angela and van, so to -- i
think here's what bob is saying. when you look at black lives matter, it's a great cause. police brutality, incarceration, mass incarceration and all of that. he's wondering where are the groups with the stature of a black lives matter who are saying, let's stop the gang violence. is that -- is that a fair point? >> no. >> you want to go ahead? >> go ahead. >> sorry, go ahead, van. >> either one of you. >> listen. there are groups that -- there's so many organizations that spend so much time trying to deal with this. you have people like shaka singor who came out of prison remorseful -- >> van, i understand you are absolutely right. what i think what bob is -- where are the people shoutsing down presidential candidates and yelling at presidential candidates and going on television who are making their voices heard at events? >> it's totally different. do you expect for -- don, i'm sorry. do you expect a gangster who is shooting and organizing drive-bys to have the same level
of accountability as a presidential candidate? please tell me we understand the distinction between law enforcement utilizing excessive force, killing kids, killing women, arresting people without cause and gang members who -- >> what does that have to do with bill clinton and hillary clinton? >> everything to do with bill clinton and hillary clinton. because of them mass incarceration. we should have called the '94 crime bill the mass incarceration bill. it was the tipping point that started everything else. three strikes you're out. federal and state level. those are bill clinton's words. he has actually said that. he's acknowledged that federal crime legislation paved the way for states. it ensured more prisons. ensured more police officers -- >> yes, i agree. >> and i think people agree with -- i think he admits that. the secretary, everybody admits that it was a bad bill. it was a bad bill. but -- we'll talk. hang on. let's go to break and then we'll talk right after this.
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comments about black lives matter protesters. the secretary, former secretary of state and current presidential candidate, how she has responded as well. bock be bob beckel is back and van jones and angela rye. angela and van, not sure if you understood my question. yes, i agree. black lives matter very important. but i asked the question and this is what i think bob was trying to say. where are the people shouting down presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle for kids who are gunned down innocently, for people who are killed every single night. explain that to our audience. >> i think a couple of things. that's the gun control movement. that is what folks are standing for whether you are talking about jordan davis' mother who is standing with other moms who kids have been lost to gun violence whether it was from a gangster as bob said or from a rogue police officer or vigilante. it's the same thing. and so that is a battle that there are bills that have been proposed. we couldn't get background
checks bill passed through the senate. that should have had bipartisan support. >> it doesn't get covered but you say it happens every day. >> there are stop the violence organizations all over. you can go to any city and you can find mull pell stop the violence organizations. they go every -- >> are they at hillary clinton's rallies? >> listen, they don't get any attention? listen, they don't get attention. they go to every city council meeting. they go to state legislatures. they beg for help and program dollars to do something. get kids off the street. they get their programs cut and then the funerals happen and it doesn't get covered in the local papers sometimes. people have been crying about this. so this lie that black people are not screaming about this, we're not heard when we scream about that. when there's a police thing, yes, we get more attention for that. i got to say something now. this does not make any sense. bill clinton himself just months ago took this off the table. hillary clinton said this was a bad thing. bill clinton then under pressure
it turns out he thinks it's a good thing to call children superpredators. he defended the indefensible racially coded term superpredators. we thought that had been taken off the campaign. they put it back in play. that's horrible. >> he's hurting her? >> and he won't apologize. >> can you tell me what the value of using your energy, which is so well used in city councils and the rest of it, against bill clinton and hillary clinton? i understand -- >> that's not what he said. his point was that black people are organizing on all levels to stop gun violence and have for years whether the cameras are covering it or not. >> i agree with that. >> the point remains that this is bill clinton's bill. he signed it into law. >> angela, so listen. i agree with you. and i know about those organizations. and i have worked in local news and they don't get coverage. but what black lives matter has figured out is that they get the attention because they go where the cameras are. they go to the presidential
rallies and other people are not doing that. but is it time for people to do that as well to draw some attention to that? >> don, we can critique the strategy of black activists. i want to crit seek the strategist of the clintons who want to go back into the white house. the base vote of this party is the black vote. we give not 50%, not 60%, not 70%, not 80%. 92% of our vote to this party. i've never seen a republican go on tv and insult their base voters. their base voters are white evangelicals. they would never, ever have a republican candidate front-runner, spouse, stand up and disrespect white evangelicals at anything. and yet bill clinton feels like he is free to stand up there and say not just mean things or rude things but content free racially -- to defend superpredators? to defend that term? >> do you not think -- >> that's wrong. >> do you think that a vast
majority of african-american community agrees with that about predators? they live with them every day. >> wow. wow. did that just -- really? >> yes. >> no, it's not true. i am not going to -- >> you want to live them with? >> i'm not going to allow you to call black people predators. i'm just not going to do it. >> i'm not calling -- neither was bill clinton. he's talking about people who are drug dealers and shoot people. >> that's what he defended yesterday although he tried to walk it back today. >> he didn't try hard. >> at some point why crime existed in communities like this anyway. where were the jobs? >> a good idea if you didn't take people who have been very strongly in support of black lives matter and -- >> wait. >> -- and dump on them -- >> don't explain to us why we should be grateful to the clintons. >> i'm not going to be grateful to anybody who disrespects people who look like me. i am not okay with people who look like me being called predators and irherrently violent and playing into that
dangerous rhetoric, particularly in this campaign cycle. it's time-out for that. it's 2016. if they were wrong in 1994, they are still wrong today. we've reaped the consequences in unbearable ways. thesis communities and families have been ravaged. that's why a child born in 1994 can go to a rally tomorrow or yesterday and say to bill clinton, enough is enough. you jailed my brothers and sisters and uncles and fathers and mothers and you need to answer for this because we are not predators. that language has to die. >> who in the world -- >> amen. >> said predators? >> bill clinton. >> there are predators out there who are drug dealers. i know a lot of them and they kill people. >> nobody is up here defending drug dealers and kim ellers. >> that's who we are talking about when we talk about predators. >> he says some of these people incarcerated spent too much time in jail and so much time in jail that they wasted the resources that's would have educated them and -- >> angela -- >> that's for sure.
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rye and bob beckel. let's continue our conversation here. van, i asked you earlier. and you brought up triangulation and all that. i asked you earlier if bill clinton was trying, if he did it intentionally to pivot towards the general, turn this toward the general for hillary clinton and pick up some conservative votes. i don't know. >> i can't get inside his head and some are saying this is a part of the strategy. bill clinton did this despicable thing in 1992 and attacked a young rapper named lisa williams and sister soldier. >> here's the sister soldier moment that they call it. here it is. it's coming. here it is. >> just listen to this. what she said. she told "the washington post" about a month ago, and i quote if black people kill black people every day, why not have a
week and kill white people. so you are a gang member and you normally kill somebody. why not kill a white person. last year she said you can't call me or any black person in the world a racist. we doint have the power to do to white people what white people have done to us. even if we did we don't have that lowdown dirty nature. if there are any good white people, i haven't met them. where are they? right here in this room. that's where they are. i know she is a young person but she has a big influence on a lot of people. and when people say that if you took the words white and black and reversed them you might think david duke was giving that speech. >> that was a turning point for his bid for the white house. >> listen, first of all, lisa williamson was completely taken out of context. she was trying to explain what other people were thinking, what other people were saying. she was trying to be a translator. he knew that. he took it out of context and
used that to send a message that that was by the way done at jesse jackson's rally with the young woman sitting there, her career being destroyed. he did that to show white america he could stand up to jesse jackson and black activists. and what that did, i tell you. i was at that time 23 years old. at that time i was a very moderate democrat. he pushed me out of the democratic party and a whole generation of african-americans who felt we were being used as toilet paper. come to us for the vote but all of these racially coded moves he did. it hurt a lot of people and then he went from that speech to the white house where he went with this crime bill, which did so much damage. >> so bring it back to today for us. >> so tonight, you have a lot of african-americans and people who understand these issues angry and hurt and disappointed and shocked that a bill clinton all these years later would do a similar move. if it's a calculated strategy to
chase white votes at the expense of young people who are hurting because their communities have been devastated by excessive incarceration. i don't like criminals and i don't like crime. the way the police have responded in our communities. and let me say one more thing. i'm watching now heroin being treated with compassion when crack was treated the opposite way. i'm watching white communities devastated by heroin and they're helped and what can we do? how can we help you? we understand it's a health issue. 20 years ago when it was crack it was send in the cops and put everybody in prison. this is why everybody is upset. he's wrong. they should not do a tria triangulated half apology. don't go down this same road. >> bob, this is your issue and addiction. if they deflect, i want you to talk about this. if black voters defect from the clintons, where do they go? bernie sanders? is that the only viable option
for them? >> well, probably, but, listen, the fact is that it is very true that not only was crack ignored, but if you had crack, you spent more time in jail than if you had powder cocaine. same amount. which is ridiculous. now i happen to be involved in the heroin opiate project now with my foundation in california. and it is a critical thing that needs to be done. but i also have sat in prisons. i've lived in a crackhouse myself. and i can tell you this. if you don't believe that there are -- we're not painting brushes here. if you don't believe there's 2,000, 3,000 or 4,000 predators out there who are black who are taking advantage of these kids and poisoning them, then you're kidding yourself. >> bob, let me talk to you now. yes, there are bad things that are happening in our communities. it's the label of superpredator that was so dehumanizing. that label became the grease to
pass all of this stuff. >> van, i know where you're going. you're right. listen to this. where do we go from here? i want angela, i don't know which of you wants to wrap this up. so where do we go from here? hillary clinton has apologized. she told me in the debate it was wrong that the 1994 crime bill was wrong. her support of it was wrong. using the term superpredator was wrong. she'll never use it again. now what? now what? >> so hillary clinton rolled out a robust criminal justice reform plan when she launched this campaign. and i think they need to get back to the heart of that. bill clinton needs to stop trying to defend his legacy. if he wants to be helpful to his wife as a surrogate, he needs to be knocking on doors and staying off the mike unless he can let go of -- >> is this a mortal wound for them? >> say that again? >> is this a tough blow to the campaign? >> it is a tough blow, but i think they can scale it. there are people like bob who agree with him who are also black. they are all in my twitter feed.
>> i see it now on social media saying, yes -- >> a substantial number of people who also find this language offensive and find the results of that 1994 mass incarceration bill offensive because they've lived through it. they have to let it go. they've got to change course and pick up where barack obama left off and bill clinton should stop saying things like he's not a changemaker. he is and bill clinton needs to follow suit. >> i appreciate your candor and honesty. van, angela and bob, thank you. have a great weekend. bernie sanders and hillary clinton will each be guests on cnn's "state of the union" with jake tapper at 9:00 sunday morning on cnn. and they'll go head-to-head in cnn's democratic presidential debate in brooklyn next thursday on cnn. coming up, we all remember where we were when the o.j. simpson verdict came down. even president bill clinton weighed in. >> my god, it's clinton. >> you got the president.
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were when o.j. simpson, when that verdict was announced. 150 million people watched it live. now 21 years later, the smash hit fx series chronicled the trial of the century. >> mr. simpson, would you please stand and face the jury. >> i would caution the audience during the course of the reading of these verdicts to remain calm. if there are any disruptions, the bailiffs will remove the person responsible.
all right, mrs. robertson. >> superior court of california county of los angeles in the matter of people of the state of california versus orthenthal james simpson, we the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant not guilty of the crime of murder in violation of penal code section 187a, a felony upon nicole brown simpson in count one charged in the information. >> oh, my goodness. do you remember that? i mean, and my heart is beating just like it was then. joining me now are the writers and executive producers of "the
people versus o.j. simpson, american crime story." that's amazing when you watch the scene and 21 years later there's still that drama. why is that, guys? >> it's really interesting. there's been this joke the entire sear where people say don't spoil it for me, which you just did. even we were worried about it. our marsh orders were to tell you a side of the story you didn't know. we were always worried about episode ten, the final verdict. what we found was actually knowing the ending, knowing how it turned out, it actually gave the episode almost more power. it was almost like the "titanic" or united 93, you knew this horrible thing was about to go down and ruin people's lives it gives this tension in your belly
that you wouldn't have if it was a surpriseerdict. >> i did an interview the other night and they asked me what i was watching and i said the news is better when you look at politics when you look at what's happening with donald trump and ted cruz and hillary clinton and on and on but you can't write this stuff. my dvr is backing up because i'm watching the news. but this has been amazing to watch. so my question is, the show is based on a book by my colleague and friend jeffrey toobin. it's call "the run of his life." so were you true to the book and to the story line? and where did you deviate? >> i think we were very true to the book. larry and i are research freaks, we love getting it right. jeff's book is the gold standard for journalism on the o.j. trial. i think where we made it different was we ended up really liking all these people, and johnny, chris and marsha,
particularly, who had become caricatures over the last 20 years, the more we read about them, the more we felt bad for them and you see how passionate they were and how much they cared. so i think we wanted to feel for them in a way that you don't necessarily have to do in a piece of journalism like jeff was writing. >> so let me ask you this because you did a lot of research and you did ten episodes. so what do you think? did he do it or not? >> i think, you know, all the evidence points that he did it. there isn't another suspect. when o.j. in the final episode says he's going to go off to find the real killer, he never went off to find the real killer. all evidence points that o.j. simpson was the killer. what the plot of our show is, though, is more about trying to understand the verdict, to try to understand how this trial became about something that -- else, it stopped being a trial
about the murder of two innocent people and it became this circumstance circus and for johnnie cochran and the african-american community. we wanted people to come to the end of ten episodes and understand the verdict. even though i think o.j. may have done it, i understand how those people in the jury room came to their decision. >> was there discussion among the cast and was there disagreement about whether or not he did it? did you guys talk about that? >> i don't think the cast talked about it a lot. i mean, obviously everyone kept asking "do you think he did it? do you think he did it?" because we didn't have the benefit of the book -- the book says on page one "he did it." and for our purposes we're going to show all the evidence. it really looks like he did it. o.j.'s blood is in her house,
her blood is in o.j.'s house and then we're going to spend nine weeks showing how everything got questioned and all these little chips got taken out of that solid idea that he could be the guy. so o.j. was played neutral by cuba in the show. he wasn't necessarily guilty, he wasn't necessarily innocent. it's a bit of a rorschach test where you read into it. >> just about everybody involved has been revisiting this case. she talked about slate. >> i think a lot of us felt it was largely a payback verdict for rodney king and in general a payback verdict. and i'm sure that for some of the jurors that's true. one of the money left the jury box raising a fist, but i don't think it was true for all of them. i'm convinced some of them really did come in with a frame of mind that said i'm willing to look at the evidence, i'm willing to convict if i need to.
the trial was so out of control and became so awash in racial epithets and racial slurs that i think it became impossible to believe anything beyond a reasonable doubt. >> would it ever have been possible to separate the racial climate of the time from this case, considering rodney king had happened not lodng before that? >> well, when we opened the series with the rodney king verdict and the riots and we wanted to put it in the context of that. the thing is when the murder happened and o.j. ran off in the bronco, it want a racial case yet. it was really a case about celebrity. it was about a very famous person who most likely murdered his wife and went on the lam. it want until robert shapiro got the idea of bringing johnnie cochran in that it became about
those issues. and once cochran got involved, he solidified that. >> scott, thank you. i appreciate it. did you want to say something real quick? >> in terms of the race issue, we set out to make a period piece, and as we were writing the show over the last three years and all these events started happening in the country in terms of ferguson and eric gardner and all these actions of police brutality against black americans, we realized that the show was about today. we were not writing a period piece anymore and it was really important to keep this overlay over the whole story. it a show about the country we're loiving in now and we wanted to show people that black americans and white americans have different perspectives and live different lives and have different experiences. hopefully it starts a conversation. >> again, scott alexander, larry, it's an amazing series.
thank you for coming on. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> when we come right back, another story that shocked america in the 90s. i'll talk about "confirmation," the clarence thomas confirmation hearings years ago. with one notable difference... the all-new audi a4, with available traffic jam assist. the bud light party believes in change. that's why bud light has a new look... and we want to share it with everyone... from our national parks...
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