tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC May 19, 2015 8:00pm-9:01pm PDT
the studio stagehand is drilling the holes dave is sort of like westfully watching him drill. and he goes, like, god, an electric drill. i tonight on "all in" -- >> i made a mistake, plain and simple. >> hillary clinton enters the iraq debate on the trail. congressman barney frank on the question of knowing what we know now. then, how nicki minaj's bar mitzvah gig explains presidential speaking fees. plus, bill carter on the end of "letterman."
>> his impact is enormous. you see the cross comedy. >> why lebron james' parenting skills are in the news today. >> i don't know how to answer that question. >> on what would have been his 90th birthday, the legacy of malcolm x on the black lives matter movement. "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. today for the first time since declaring her 2016 presidential run, hillary clinton discussed the vote she made in 2002 when she was a senator to authorize the iraq war. she enters the fray as the disastrous 2003 invasion of iraq has appropriately, though surprisingly, become a major issue on the campaign trail particularly among republicans. it all kicked off monday when presumptive candidate jeb bush was asked on fox news if knowing what we know now he would have authorized an invasion of iraq and bush said yes. he then spent the next three days trying to explain that answer. first saying he misinterpreted the question and then dismissing
it as a hypothetical before reversing himself before saying he would not have gone into iraq knowing what we know now. rand paul and rick santorum, among others, hammered bush on the unclear answer while another hopeful, marco rubio, struggled sunday when he got the very same question. >> was it a mistake? >> it was not a mistake for the president to decide to go into iraq because at the time -- >> i'm not asking you that. >> in hindsight. the world is a better place because saddam hussein is not there. >> so it was a mistake or not? >> i don't understand the question you're asking me. >> knowing -- and we sit here -- >> that's not the way a president -- a president cannot make a decision on what someone might know in the future. >> was it a mistake? >> rubio eventually adopt what had has become the consensus position. george w. bush made the right decision to invade iraq based on the intelligence he had at the time, but we now know that
intelligence was flawed so, yes, he may have made a mistake. but it's that faulty intelligence, not the president, that deserves the blame. it is true there were problems with the intelligence. it's also true the bush administration manipulated that intelligence at nearly every turn to push the country into that war. as the senate intelligence community concluded in 2008 in the words of committee chairman jay rockefeller the bush administration presented intelligence as fact when in reality it was unsubstantiated, contradicted. >> as for hillary clinton who was damaged in her first presidential campaign by her vote to authorize the iraq war, the refusal to repudiate it, she is trying to keep her answer as simple as possible. >> look, i know that there have been a lot of questions about iraq posed to candidates over the last weeks. i've made it very clear that i made a mistake, plain and simple. >> the bigger question at play here than whether that specific vote was a mistake. the question about how fear works in a democracy and why it is so hard to learn our lessons when it comes to war. joining me now from the campaign trail robert costa and from the
washington, d.c., jess mcintosh. you were there today when secretary clinton took questions. she clearly was prepared for that question. are you surprised covering this campaign the way the iraq issue has erupted in? >> i'm not surprised at all. you hear from democratic voters and from republicans outside of clinton's event. they want to hear more about iraq. they look at what's unfolding with the islamic state. it is not just about past decisions but future policy. >> you know, i thought that obviously if anyone is prepared to deal with iraq and reckoning with that it is, i think, hillary clinton because she already ran a presidential campaign that she lost largely. because of her vote on iraq. you saw that today. there wasn't a ton of equivocating. i can't help the nature this time around is not we're getting the kind of debate you're getting on the republican side because the field isn't as populated. >> first off, i was surprised to
see the iraq war sort of explode on the stage at this point in 2015 largely because i expected jeb bush to have an answer to that question. yeah, hillary has run for president before and spent more time on the issue. it was his brother that made the decision, so the idea that he didn't have an answer -- and i think really exposed how the republican party doesn't really -- their answer is just absolutely stretched to the limits. i think because being in favor of the iraq war in 2016 is so unpalatable to any part. forget the reason the democratic party isn't debating this is there's no debate within the democratic party about it. there's little debate within the republican electorate about it. the fact the candidates are tying themselves into knots making their positions palatable right now bodes really ill for the next 18 months. >> let's be clear, robert.
my read on the situation as it's unfolding in the last week and i'm curious your take being on the trail is the candidates have been led by -- it's the kind of process of a stand-up comedian trying out material. the candidates have been led by the way these lines are working or not working has led them to the, yes, obviously it was a mistake position. that was not the opening bid from the candidates. >> exactly right. this wasn't a consuming issue. it was fascinating to be outside the clinton event and inside. inside reporters were asking clinton if she had any regrets and she gave her usual answer. outside there were a lot of democrats who have questions for secretary clinton about iraq, about the trade deal before congress. they don't really see a serious primary threat for her from the left. so all their angst has really nowhere to go and they still appreciate clinton and like her. >> that is really interesting and that gets me on this issue that i think sort of hovers over
all of this. . we are having a technical debate. and then another technical debate about the intelligence. the broader thing is about what the u.s. does and how it conducts foreign policy and whether war is a good idea generally. >> absolutely. >> how ready -- >> where is rand paul? no one is making a counter argue. the hawkish strain is fading out and it's fading out of the republican party. but no one yet on the right is taking up that argument. >> as much fun as it is to watch the republican field twist in the wind over this question, it really is fun, i think there are more important questions like the men who manipulated the intelligence that led us into the iraq war whether or not bush made a mistake in trusting that intelligence, will those men be part of your foreign policy advising team if you are president. >> or how about this, how about the libya intervention which we know secretary of state clinton pushed for, is on the record for, which is, i think, very difficult to view as a success
in any way, shape or form if isis takes a stranglehold, and yet no one seems to want to litigate that. people want to talk about benghazi and iraq. here is a very real thing that happened, the woman who is running actually participated in and as far as i can tell is not getting litigated anywhere. >> she did get a question today on the trail about sydney blumenthal and the kind of advice she was getting as libya unfolded. it's bubbling you up but it's not a central debate. >> the sydney blumenthal is an adviser who had freelance e-mails, that is the perfect point, right? everything is getting debated in this technical sense as opposed to the deep reckoning that amazingly to me in 2015 it seems we haven't had what iraq meant, what foreign policy has meant to the region which is a flame. there's no reckoning to be as large as the problems that have been created. >> it's a conversation about syntax.
the bush struggle to answer the question, who is next in line for momentum is senator rubio is an advocate for muscular foreign policy. he's getting mired in the weeds. there's no real debate about the big picture about the u.s. role in the world. >> that's my question that will be interesting to see play out in the democratic primary, do people come to play that role, right, to stand up on a debate stage and say defend the libya intervention, defend the role we've played in terms of a broader picture of what exactly we're doing. >> well, she's not going to be alone on that debate stage. we have critical thinkers in the party looking at the race or are already in the race and i expect we're going to have a really long time to have those discussions. right now she's in the early stages of her campaign where she wants to make sure she is setting the tone.
and that tone is taking the questions that are being given to her by the everyday iowans that she's meeting with and she has some tough ones today. it's not like they're pulling their punches. >> it's more the economic -- >> yes, that is also true. when you're on the trail most of the questions you're going to get are going to be about jobs and about the economy. >> and that's great to frame the campaign that way. >> thank you both. the question being asked of presidential candidates on iraq whether they would have authorized the invasion knowing what we would have known now ignores the fact that it turns out there were a lot of americans who oppose the war knowing what we knew back then, hundreds of thousands, in fact, took to the street to protest the war. more than 150 members of congress took a stand against it including nancy pelosi who was asked about her access yesterday. >> at the time we were taking a vote, i had been the senior democrat on the intelligence committee. my statement at the time was the intelligence does not support the threat. so the terminology, knowing what we know now, no, knowing what we knew then there was no -- this intelligence did not support the
threat. >> joining me now former massachusetts congressman barney frank who also voted against the iraq war the. he's an nbc contributor, are author of the new memoir "frank." are you tearing your hair out at this knowing what we know now question as if, you know, obviously the natural thing to conclude at the time was that, of course, you had to go to war based on the intelligence as if you didn't exist, as if nancy pelosi didn't exist and hundreds of thousands across the world were saying no, no, no, please don't do this. >> chris, to be honest, the only hair pulling i see right now, and i have to tell you this, is many people in the media who were so upset hillary clinton isn't getting attacked from the left the way mitt romney was from the right. i'm kind of glad, frankly, and i think the reason you're not going to see virulent debate as much on the democratic side we are more in agreement and that includes on foreign policy.
as for libya, we were all wrong on libya. . here was a situation in libya, in iraq what you had was -- and you're right. it wasn't about intelligence. this was dick cheney making stuff up in defense of his world view that america had to bring order to the world. i was disappointed in some of the democrats. but it if you look at who voted for it, take john kerry who made his career as an anti-war crusader, who voted against george h.w. bush's intervention into kuwait which retrospectively looks reasonable. he voted for the war in iraq. hillary clinton and joe biden. the reason it's simple in my judgment and it's not a predictor how it will go in the future. by the '80s and '90s there was a view among all kinds of political experts that for a democratic liberal to get elected president he or she had to show toughness on the military field.
so you look at who voted for the iraq war on the democratic side, the major supporters on the side you would expect them to vote no were those running for president. i wish i hadn't done that. now the country has shifted, so i don't see them doing that again. >> isn't that an indictment? gloss it over and say, well, the reason they did it is because they wanted to be president. >> yes. it's an indictment of democracy, it is true. >> no, i'm sorry. don't let them off the hook. it's an indictment of the people who made that vote. >> yes, it's an indictment of the people who made the vote but what does it say about the future? it says when people are very interested in running for president and believe strongly in a whole set of issues that they will be influenced strongly by what they perceive to be public opinion. frankly, you're shocked there were politics involved. let me make this one point whether it's about war or any other decision. if you don't want a decision to
be made politically, don't ask 535 politicians to make it. and what i say is, yeah, i voted against him, against that. what i am trying to differentiate is this, to what extent is this a predictor of what people will do in the future? and i think if you look at those democrats who voted uncharacteristically for this particular war because they thought it was so popular that you couldn't run for president unless you were for it, that does not say how they will vote in the future. you want to make a moral judgment on them, you can do that, but that does not, to me, invalidate the argument about the future. >> here is the bigger issue. this broader lessons learned, the predictor of the future and where the center of the country's politics are and if and how we have learned to avoid this kind of thing. >> i believe we have. we are seeing the debate in the presidential election with republicans overwhelmingly critical of president obama and secretary clinton for not being sufficiently aggressive, for not
continuing the troops in iraq so, yeah, i'm further along on that. i agree with you on much of this. i don't want to deny this is a very important issue. you start with lindsey graham who i think would invade chicago if he woke up in a bad mad and then not pay for it and worry about the deficit. here is the deal. every republican president, marco rubio with his muscular foreign policy, every republican president candidate is critical of obama for not doing enough. i would like obama and clinton to do even less militarily. i'm critical of obama for giving into the pressure to go back. that will be a major issue next year. maybe you were critical of libya intervention. very few people were. yes, it turned out badly. i thought it was a good idea to get rid of a terrible dictator. i think it turned out to have been a mistake given how -- but as far as the republicans and anybody else is concerned, i don't remember any member of congress speaking out against that.
when you're looking for someone to attack hillary clinton because she supported the overthrow of gadhafi, i don't know who that will be. i don't think it was anybody in politics. i'm just making a factual statement to you. there's nobody there to make that claim because nobody was on that side. >> you're right. all i'm saying is what i want, what i'm driving at, to bottle the sentence i thought it was going to work out well when we did this intervention "x," right? it's that sentence. of course everyone thinks the intervention we're doing at that moment will work out well. >> does that mean, excuse me, are you for no intervention anywhere? in fact, some interventions do work out well. i think george h.w. bush's intervention to expel saddam hussein from the cruelty he was inflicting on kuwait was a good idea. that was my mistake. i voted against that. i think he handled it well. bill clinton's use of airpower to free the bosnians from what was going on in the former yugoslavia was a good idea. are you telling me no intervention is ever justified? i don't think that's a sustainable position
intellectually. >> we can talk about it. >> you sound like marco rubio. we can talk about it. talk about it. are you for saying we should never intervene militarily? >> let's talk about the records since 2001. >> let's talk about my question that you don't want to answer, chris. >> i want to answer it. >> are there ever times? >> of course there are. we should have fought world war ii. >> but nothing since then? >> let's look -- >> what about korea? >> i don't know. let's look at 2001 -- >> you don't know? >> let's look at 2001. >> all right. >> the post war on terror. >> okay. >> the war that everyone said was the good war, that was 100% morally justified which is the war are in afghanistan, they murdered our citizens, we went in there. that war turned out terribly. what lessons have we learned? >> i think here is the deal with afghanistan.
people haven't learned the lessons about trying to bring order. i supported the war but think it should have ended when saddam hussein was killed and when there was a significant diminution of the capacity of people who wanted to attack us. the war's purposes got broadened into getting rid of the taliban. george bush was perfectly happy to co-exist with the taliban for a while. had we not gone in there after osama bin laden you would have seen a continued pattern of attacks not just on america. he started killing hundreds of african-americans. >> the debate that i would like to see on the debate stage. we'll continue this some other time. the network that monitors her health. the secure cloud services that store her genetic data the servers and software on a mission to find the perfect match. and the mom who gets to hear her daughter's heart beat once again. we're helping organizations transform the way they work so
in order to really enjoy campaign season you have to separate the substance from the art of spin, misdirection and stylistically you just have to tip your cap to governor chris christie's take on his abysmal polling numbers. his explanation is something along the lines of the spurned citizens of new jersey are lashing out at the mere notion he mate leave them for the presidency. >> the polls in new jersey right now say by a 65% to 29% margin we were below the 88th southern parallel. we had traveled
for over 850 miles. my men driven nearly mad from starvation and frostbite. today we make history. >>bienvenidos! welcome to the south pole! if you're dora the explorer, you explore. it's what you do. >>what took you so long? if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance you switch to geico. it's what you do. >>you did it, yay! a kid in new york city had his bar mitzvah and it got a lot of publicity thanks to this instagram photo of nicki minaj surrounded by little hunks as she calls them. one of the top grossing hip-hop acts in the world with matt, the bar mitzvah boy.
matt the is the son of andrew merstein, president of medallion financial corp. and this is nicki minaj performing a censured version of "super bass." how on earth did this happen? why is nicki minaj there? she got paid, a lot. according to "newsweek" the elder merstein cannot it tis close what he dished out but it was in the $300,000 to $500,000 range. there are some very rich people out there with very rich money in their hands who hire famous people to their events just to show they can. hedge funder roger rotnum once paid kenny rogers an undisclosed sum to sing his classic "the gambler" over and over again at his birthday party. after the 12th rendition rogers reportedly called it quits though his agent said he did not sing it dozens of times but only
a few. that's the world we live in. that's how i understand headlines like this one from last night about the enormous speaking fees hillary clinton collected in silicon valley. clinton delivered a 20-minute talk at an ebay conference that earned her $315,000. why pay almost $16,000 a minute for what's possibly an abbreviated version of her stump speech? because she's hillary clinton, because they can. reporter for "the new york times" who covers money and politics, the speaking fees is an interesting angle. it's money flowing in the opposite direction or it's distinct from raising money for a campaign. it's just this income. what is your understanding of this world and why it's as lucrative as it is? >> well, i have mixed feelings on this. in the scheme of things that a
politician can do to monetize their public service and the fame they have, having a speech and giving it over and over again at trade associations is not the worst thing you can do. >> you could -- >> serving on corporate boards and working for the lobby or whatever. i think in some cases these events are big conference s and the conferences want a big draw and they want people to pay the conference fees so it pays for itself. in some cases, though, for example, financial firms will pay her to come speak. it's a draw but also a conversation they're going to have about income equality and how she'll approach it. the same financial firm is contributing to the family foundation as maybe running money for her campaign, it begins to feel like the beginning of a relationship being built. >> right. that is the question. how much of this is a
relationship, how transactional is it, how much are we dealing with influence pedaling and, yeah, i show up, give my spiel, get back on my jet. you brought up the foundation which i'm glad you did. first, before we get to that i want to note hillary clinton responded to questions about speaking fees when she took questions today. this is what she had to say. >> bill and i have been blessed and we're very grateful for the opportunities that we had but we've never forgotten where we came from and we've never forgotten the kind of country that we want to see for our granddaughter, and that means we're going to fight to make sure everybody has the same chances to live up to his or her own god given potential. >> we're americans and we're hustling. >> i'm trying to achieve the day i can get a quarter of a million dollars for a speech. >> it's called the american dream. >> it's a weird political approach to tell people the way you can i.d. with them, your dream was to make money this
way. it's an exotic thing. it's a weird way. >> it's weirdly politically honest in the sense -- the core is, look, we're on our grind. we're hustling. we're all hustling. we're americans. that's the pitch. you mentioned the foundation. this is something i've been thinking about. i think a combination of the way it has come ported itself with lax checks on who might be expecting favors for giving money and the way the conservative media has covered the foundation has combined to turn it into a super pac. you give money to the clinton foundation. like you're giving money to hillary clinton. whatever you want to say about the clinton foundation, they really do buy mosquito nets for people in africa, they really do get people water and aids drugs. the coverage has turned it into something that whatever problems there are, it's still ultimately
a charity. >> it's being analogized to political institutions. they hire people at the foundation who are like old political friends of theirs to do stuff. it becomes like a holding pen, first of all, for their campaigns. second of all, the thing that is the strength of the foundation is also kind of the weakness in the sense that it is designed for bill clinton to be with bill clinton, to convene to hold summits, to be a post president which is part of having power and prestige in politics and so the thing that makes it effective as an institution that has charity -- >> how many people. >> and so it's this stage in which all these different kinds of transactions, good and bad, can happen. that's reasonable. >> nick, a pleasure. thank you. still ahead on the eve of david letterman's last ever show, i talk with bill carter about letterman's impact on "late night." >> i'm a little shocked, frankly, dave.
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professional athletes have to face all sorts of questions from reporters, most of which can be generally answered with some combination of the words, one game at a time, 110%, et cetera. last night kyrie irving was being interviewed during the few days' lull before his team faces the atlanta hawks in the eastern
conference finals. he was asked, we think, whether his teammate lebron james was a father figure for the team or maybe he was asked if lebron james is actually his father. it seemed to be one part awful question and one part -- >> would you call lebron james a great father? >> what? >> yes, he did. >> a great father? >> oh, a great father. it's irv's dad -- i thought you said a great father to him. >> called him a great father. what type of parental role has he played with you and your teammates? >> you were right the first time. >> parental role? i don't know how to really answer that question. he's been a great leader for us. i have one father. that's my dad. but for us in terms of learning the nuances of the game and also
how to win on the court and also how to carry ourselves off the court, i feel he's been a great influence in that role. >> lebron james is 30 years old. kyrie irving is 23 years old. that's a seven-year difference, making the father figure thing kind of hard. one might imagine there's a mentorship happening there. with seven years between them you'd be hard pressed to think of lebron james as a father figure. for the record kyrie irving was raised by his father after his mother died when he was a child. i suspect his father will be watching his son's next game.
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i understood what a big deal it was. tomorrow not only marks the final "late show" but the end of a career in late night television that spanned over three decades. bill carter was outside the ed sullivan theater. so tomorrow is the big final night. >> yeah. >> it's funny. i was remembering, i found myself emotionally affected by it even though i don't know david letterman. why is it emotionally affecting me? i remember watching the first one from here, and that's a long time ago. >> it is. and i remember being here standing on the street of the day of it. and it was a hot day and a guy from minnesota came and he had carved dave's head in a thing of butter. >> i remember that.
>> it was melting here on the street and it was a huge scene. just like it's going to be tomorrow. >> well, it's already a huge scene here today. that moment was such a distinct moment in pop cultural history not just in television or late night. obviously you wrote extensively about this. what was it about that sort of period, that rivalry that got set up, all the attention? >> it was all these things coming together. obviously the idea of who would succeed johnny carson was a huge thing. but then when david letterman, who was expected to get it for 11 years and didn't get it, then it became this whole almost shakespearean aspect to it. like the royalty that the kingdom had turned over. >> the royal succession. >> these two guys had such interconnected lives. dave learned how to do stand-up watching jay. jay learned to do tv watching dave. he became dave's favorite guest. >> jay was on all the time. >> all the time. they had this interconnection and that was part of it. also, it was a network taking on "the tonight show" really taking it on. a network never succeeded doing
that before. >> what happens is it succeeds in a ratings standpoint this in the beginning -- >> it succeeded but it was number one -- >> and then jay moves ahead. >> right. >> it's really interesting to listen to letterman now. >> yeah, well, it's always interesting. >> i've been reading all these interviews and you realize that, like, him being number two, it's still at some level mad for him. you're david letterman, who the "f" cares? >> he never cared about anything so much ever in his entire life as getting "the tonight show." from the time he was a young guy in indiana it was his dream to do it. and he only started telling people after he started doing stand-up comedy, but that was his dream. not to get that always nagged him and it scarred him. he picks at the scar, like he couldn't let it go. even though he succeeded and the guy was making over $30 million a year. he was so influence. he was way are more influential than any other talk show host. >> exactly. he's beloved and everyone sort
of coming up in that generation of comics cites him. >> of course. and his impact is enormous. you see it across comedy. it's not just in late night. you see in commercials, the attitude, ironic detachment. >> how would you characterize that influence? >> it is this sort of -- i'm in this thing but i'm also commenting on it from the outside and making it sort of a parody about but i'm also taking part in it. >> and there's also comedic sensibility that he really had when he was doing "the late show" after "the tonight show" that brought over a little bit which you see every are where. it's so ubiquitous in advertising which is something is funny because it's random and i'm going to hold it out there long enough that you think about it and it becomes funny. >> right. exactly. it's not -- they used to call that found humor on the letterman show. it was not scripted. it was just some idea they had that sounded funny. and if you put dave in that situation, he would make it funny.
he'd go to a store that was just bulbs and order a shade, a lamp shade. no, we only have bulbs. he would do something out of nothing. they looked for that, crazy ideas. one idea he particularly liked they took a humidifier and dehumidifier and let them fight each other. it's just a funny idea. >> that to me, you see now in fallon particularly, he's kind of self-contained bits like that. that was before a thing could go viral. that completely would have done that. >> in those days it went viral word of mouth. everybody would say, did you see what letterman did night? we see jimmy fallon do a contest with a guest. dave did elevator races with the guests. he put them in barber chairs. he wanted to makes up the format. that's one of the things he did. you can see everyone else doing that. >> one of the things i was talk
ing about, they would do all these weird things and they had freedom following carson. he talked with about the pressure when they came over here and talking about when you have two options to do the weird thing or the conventional thing, you struggle over it but obviously in retrospect you want to do the weird thing. did the convention, did the ratings pressure, do you think, affect what this show became? >> it did partly because there was a period of time they looked so closely into what "the tonight show" was doing. if "tonight" booked somebody they would try to book somebody different and similar. it was too splashy in some ways. a lot of the best ideas why small, small ideas. they tried to do bigger and more elaborate ideas all the time. i don't think that was his strength. i think it was much more him being clever and witty. >> what strikes me now that i couldn't appreciate before until i became a television broadcaster was the hardest thing to do on tv is to be
natural, is to be calm. the adrenaline kicks in and people that are really good at it -- carson was the master, coolness, letterman is, to me, the most remarkable thing as a broadcaster. >> no doubt. >> he sits there and it's become truer and truer. if you look at early stuff, it's much -- he has much more nervous energy. now at this stage in his career he sits there. i'll never forget about the monologue after 9/11 where he came out and just talked. >> unscripted. >> and he's just so present. and that's a really inimitable quality. >> the word many of the people around him have used is authentic. that's him. he's authentic. a lot of times hosts are doing a little version of themselves, they're certainly performing. this guy is real and the guests have really liked that. sometimes it scared them because he was very intense. if they didn't -- if they weren't pleasing him, he'd let them know.
it was real. a real connection going on there. and the really strange thing about that dave off the stage was very diffident. he came alive on the air. he said to me on several occasions he never felt fully alive except for one hour a day, when he made the show. >> my thanks to bill carter for a great conversation. still ahead on what would have been his 90th birthday, why malcolm x is still an icon. i am totally blind. and sometimes i struggle to sleep at night, and stay awake during the day. this is called non-24. learn more by calling 844-824-2424. or visit your24info.com.
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this is the pattern that's followed in every case of police brutality across the country. >> that was from 1962 from a man as relevant today as he was then, malcolm little, born may 19, 1925, in omaha, nebraska, to a baptist minister a follower of marcus garvey. a mother who looked like a white woman,malcolm's own words. malcolm little would change his name to malcolm x saying my "x" replaced the white slave master name of little which some blue-eyed devil named little has imposed upon my paternal forbears. >> who taught you to hate the color of your skin to such an extent that you bleach to get like the white man. who taught to you hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? who taught to you hate your own kind? >> during a pilgrimage to mecca he transformed himself again, converting to become a sunni
muslim. >> the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you're living at a time of extremism, of revolution, a time when there has to be a time of change. people in power have misused it. a better world has to be built. the only way it's going to be built is with extreme methods and i, for one, will join in with anyone as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth. >> as we watch the 21st century civil rights movement galvanize over black lives matter, young people look back at malcolm x for inspiration. herb boyd, journalist and co-editor of "the diary of malcolm x." we'll talk about things you should know or perhaps don't.
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to listen to dr. martin luther king and give him what he's asking for and give it to him fast before some other faction comes along and tries to do it another way. what he's asking for is right. if he can't get it the way he's trying to get it, one way or the other. >> a press conference in selma, alabama, 1965. malcolm x advocating in support for black voter registration. phillip agnew and herb. let me start with you. how do you understand what lessons you draw from malcolm x, how relevant do you think he is to those like yourself who are organizing today? >> malcolm x is extremely relevant. he was an inspirational figure to a generation of black nationalists while striking fear in the hearts of white liberals and white conservatives around this country. he was uncompromising in his indictment of the hypocrisy of
our two party system and believed this country will not redeem itself. he decided to take the issues of this country and elevate them to the international level building solidarity with anti-colonial african movements. al shabazz was the most hated muslim in america before america learned to hate all muslims. i think malcolm x wasn't a man ahead of his time, he was right on time. that's why they had to take him out before his time. there were a number of lessons by brother malcolm little we can take and he still inspires a generation of people for those reasons. >> you helped to edit his diary. i spent a lot of today looking at clips of him. his charisma is genuinely remarkable. obviously people know that. he was instantly iconic. you can't overstate how charismatic he is. >> i was looking at the david
letterman segment, malcolm would have had fun with him. he would have had an opportunity to share his impressions within the context of humor. >> that is one of the things that comes through, the idea of him rage filled or dour, he is extremely playful. much of the success of his rhetoric is in hugh are more. >> exactly. >> you have to understand that it was not done -- it was a sardonic humor but always an opportunity to teach through that. he was talking about the system in a way. it was a way to reduce and not to minimize the righteous i go dig nation but it will bring you in, to suck you in and drop it on you. he called it american dollarism. so he could play along with words at the same time but if you talk about a chicken, he had this one little story he used to
tell about a chicken and a duck. a chicken can't have a duck egg. he was talking about the possibility of black americans ever having total freedom within this system. it won't happen. however, if a chicken ever did have a duck egg, it would be a revolutionary chicken. >> do you think part of the appeal -- coates has written about this and others -- the figure of malcolm x, this figure of tremendous discipline. preaching a discipline, self-discipline, there's always impeccable dress and this is a great little find of an fbi informant writing about malcolm x who is being paid by the
government to essentially spy on this. brother malcolm is an excellent organizer and untiring worker, fearless and cannot be intimidated. he has most of the answers at his fingertips and should be carefully dealt with. he neither smokes nor drinks and is of high moral character. that's striking by an fbi informant who is following him around. >> he was a paradoxical figure, somebody who embodied all of the contradictions of black america. when people were thinking black leaders were one way, they could only do one thing, he exhibited to a generation of black nationalists the contrasting qualities. you saw the high level of respect and he exuded that at home and out in the world. that's why he remains an iconic
figure for everyone, including myself. his autobiography opened up my eyes to an entire new world of we go. that's why the media wants to portray him as a demagogue or somebody who was a hatemonger but he told us at one time the media, if you're not careful, will have you thinking the oppressed are the oppressor. he was able to use that with his sense of humor to our favor. we'll always love him and always remember him. >> it is amazing to me how playful in contrast to the way he is remembered. >> one of the things and certainly phillip stands of a solid continuation of malcolm ideas and thoughts. amazing to find people so expressive and can speak with the kind of power like malcolm did. if phillip is emblematic of that. we have nothing to worry about
in terms of the legacy of malcolm x. >> you thank you for joining us. that is all for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. >> well done. the clips are amazing. thank you for joining us. we have a big show tonight. we have lots ahead in this coming hour, one of those shows with the ten-pound show fit into a five-pound bag. but if you know anybody who works in the beltway media, tonight might be the night to ask them to go out for after work drinks, and that is because your friend in the beltway media today is likely to be in a good mood. people in a good mood are likely to pick up the tab and more fun to be around. the press corps is over the moon! because hillary clinton spoke to