Return to Transcripts main page
Should Atty. Gen. Lynch Have Met with Bill Clinton?; Who Will Support Trump at the GOP Convention?; Are Polls Missing "Hidden Vote" for Trump?; Should Elizabeth Warren Apologize to Native Americans?; New Silent Majority: "Complacent Voters". Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 2, 2016 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:18] MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Michael Smerconish. Happy Fourth of July.
The fireworks, they've already begun. Bad optics or worse judgment? U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, head of the Justice Department whose FBI is investigating Hillary Clinton, met on a private jet with Bill Clinton. And how does it look for Hillary once she does interview with the FBI? What are the chances there's an indictment?
Headline of the week, I hate Donald Trump, but he might get my vote. So even though the poll numbers are bad, are there actually a lot of closeted Trump voters out there?
Trump has been caught making many fabrications in this campaign, but his attacks on Elizabeth Warren for her claim of Native American heritage, that might have some validity.
And what better respite from all the partisan politics that this deservedly viral rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" in? Assistant principle and Internet singing sensation, Star Swain is here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: But, first, the FBI investigation of the Clinton e-mails has been hanging over her candidacy for months. The FBI's final interview, the one they'll do with Secretary Clinton herself, could change the landscape. How will it affect her presidential chances? Might it make a boost to Donald Trump? And most importantly, what are the chances that investigation ends in an indictment?
Joining me now on this and other topics, CNN political commentator, Van Jones, and Trump national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson.
Van, you'd have a hard time convincing me that Bill Clinton knocked on the door of Loretta Lynch's plane and said, please don't indict my wife. But, wow, what bad judgment in even approaching her in Phoenix.
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it is an unforced error on top of the unforced error on top of an unforced error. The entire situation with the server is something that is so frustrating for us to have to deal with because it's been a huge distraction. And frankly, Hillary Clinton's record is so strong, her support among the Democrats is so strong that we now have to talk about these side issues.
I will say that if anybody knows anything about Attorney General Lynch, the idea that she was somehow going to be swayed by a Bill Clinton, and like it's just completely ludicrous, but it never ever should have had that meeting. She is tough as nails.
SMERCONISH: Well, it put her --
SMERCONISH: To your point, it puts her in a horrible position. It put her in a horrible position, because what is she supposed to do. You know, he is literally knocking on your door and you're going to say to the former president of the United States, no, I'm not going to allow you to come in.
So, anyway, so I think that at the end of the day, this will be a snowflake, a soap bubble, and a story that will go away. But it does add to the impression that there is something here when there's not. The reality is they have a long standing relationship that goes back and has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton or the server or the campaign. I can understand how you make those mistakes, but they have to stop making mistake like that, which is giving ammunition to the other side.
SMERCONISH: And to that point, Van, and let me just stick with you for one more moment, should there be no indictment at the end of the road of this investigation? It plays right into Donald Trump's hands and those of his supporters insofar as they will, say, well, of course, there wasn't an indictment, the fix was in since they met on the tarmac in Phoenix.
JONES: Well, first of all, I'm going to tell you this, -- the career prosecutors, now for frankly, for fear and terror for all Democrats, but those career prosecutors at the DOJ level, they are insulated, double insulated, bunker insulated from politics. They are -- that is the way that it works.
And especially the Department of Justice of all of them has more independence than anybody else, and those career civil servants have more independence than anybody else. If they come back with an indictment, it's because it's real, and if they don't, it's because it's real.
SMERCONISH: And, Katrina, to Van's point, Loretta Lynch did say at the end of the week in Aspen, when she was asked, she said, look, I'm not going to change the outcome, whatever the recommendation is from staff, I will honor it.
Is that good enough for you?
KATRINA PIERSON, NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Well, I'll say that I will make history, Michael, and agree with Van Jones on one thing that this does look really bad, and no, I don't think that it is going to be sufficient, simply, because I think to Van Jones' point is that there is a relationship between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch prior to this happening which makes it worse mainly because we have now a pattern of government agencies that have been corrupt to the core from targeting Christians and conservatives all of the way down the scrubbing jihadi references and Islamic references from data. The FBI for crying out loud.
So, no, I don't think this is not going to bode well for them, and this is not going to go away considering with the e-mail scandal, and the Clinton Foundation, Bill Clinton himself could be under investigation.
[09:05:08] SMERCONISH: Van, respond to what Katrina just said.
JONES: Well, you know, I disagree. First of all, I appreciate your agreeing with me on something, so I will turn the favor by saying, I do see it differently when it comes to some of these things that are become almost lore or mythological legend on the right just turned out to be not factually sound.
For instance, I will talk about this personally, there's this myth that the IRS went after the Tea Party and discriminating against the Tea Party. Guess what? I'm not a Tea Party member. I had a 501c3 and c4 organizations that were denied for the exact same reason that the Tea Party groups did, they just cracked down across the board bureaucratically, and yet, the Tea Party screamed and yelled.
These myths that you change up a press release and that is somehow --
PIERSON: But, Van, Van, did the IRS ask you for the books that you were reading? Did you ask for the sermons -- did you ask for copies of your prayers? Did they ask you any of that?
JONES: No, it is worse than that, and they did not ask me for very much and just denied the thing outright, because they said that our organization is too political to be a C3.
So, my point is that lots of people have problems with the government, but it doesn't always have to be turned into this political thing except for in this era now where you got to figure out some way to stop Hillary Clinton and you're going to come up with the conspiracy stuff.
SMERCONISH: Katrina, the best thing that your candidate has going for him --
PIERSON: But the problem is -- SMERCONISH: -- are her negatives, on questions of honest and
trustworthiness, and this will only fuel the speculation of people who were inclined to support Donald Trump that she can't be trusted.
PIERSON: That's the point. And this is go to further show that this is political. I mean, we have the State Department that literally lied about the attack on Benghazi and then tried to cover it up by blaming a YouTube video.
So, this isn't just one thing that's occurred since Obama has been in office and with Hillary -- with regard to Hillary Clinton for crying out loud. Again, we are still talking about the e-mail server and also the Clinton Foundation where it looks as if millions of dollars were paid to Bill Clinton while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state, and favors were returned like a uranium deal that went to Russia or the Swiss banks getting out of the tax evasion investigation.
SMERCONISH: Van, isn't this a Rorschach test? I mean, I'm listening to the two of you respectfully and I'm thinking, I don't know that minds get changed. Everybody's views instead are just reinforced?
JONES: It could be. Can I just say one kind thing about the Clinton Foundation? I think it almost become like a right wing talking point. And the Clinton Foundation has done more good than probably any organization that I can easily name. It is remarkable to me, and I have been to some of the meetings and you will get these groups from third world countries that have every problem in the world, and Bill Clinton brings out the philanthropists, and the groups go home with help and support. That is something that's laudable. I have much more proud of Bill Clinton for using his presidency for that than anything I've seen from George W. Bush so far.
So, I don't want to get into the back and forth on the foundation. But just to say, at some point, Democrats start thinking after the fact that he has saved millions of lives around the world with that dadgum thing.
SMERCONISH: Well, and to that point, Katrina, I have to say, I read David Farenthold's work in "The Washington Post" this week on the charitable inclination of your candidate which, by the way, is not so much, at least according to "The Washington Post".
PIERSON: One thing I can tell you is Donald Trump is not taking in millions of dollars of hostile nations that seek to kill Americans, to behead Christians worldwide, funding terrorist organizations, suppressing women and executing gays in public. And I think that will be the difference in November.
SMERCONISH: Van, final word. Make it quick.
JONES: I can't even respond to all of the things that were just said, I do hope that Americans can see through some of the errors and the silly thing, and if you are in public life long enough, you will do some silly things. But I think the Clintons have done much more good than bad for this country and we need to remember that in November. SMERCONISH: Van Jones, Katrina Pierson, thank you both for being
So, back to that meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton -- does it speak to a larger pattern of behavior by both the Clintons that has kept Hillary from being fully embraced as a candidate?
Jeff Greenfield explores this question in his new "Daily Beast" column entitled, "Is this why Hillary Clinton is trusted by so few Americans?"
Joining me now is Jeff Greenfield, the former political analyst, and multi-Emmy Award winner for CNN, CBS, ABC.
Jeff, you wrote that he, meaning Bill Clinton, he is absolutely sure that there is nothing wrong with having that kind of an encounter. So what would he make of all the criticism?
JEFF GREENFIELD, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, I think he'd make it what they generally make of the criticism, and these are people opposed to all of the good things that he wants to do, they have a political agenda, they are making a mountain out of the mole hill.
And my point about this was, it seemed to me that almost anybody else faced with the situation would have thought, wait a second, I can't go to have a private meeting with the attorney general, and she is in charge of and she is in charge of the department that is looking into my wife's behavior with her server.
[09:10:15] But my belief that goes back decades is that the Clintons behave the way they do in part because they know in their own minds that they are on the side of the angels. Therefore, the people opposing them are on the side of the not angels, and what they do however sketchy it may seem to some is all in the purpose of the greater good. And that explains to me a lot of what in other people would be, and what sounds to me like tone deaf behavior all through their political career.
SMERCONISH: Here is a quote from the piece, and I will put it up on the screen. You wrote, "It really does appear that both Clintons regard themselves as so removed from the grubby motives that tempt lesser mortals that they are to be judged by a wholly different set of standards."
And in coming to that language in your piece, you articulated and id identified instances in the past where there are lapses of judgment, and it brings you to that conclusion?
GREENFIELD: Yes, and it is not just lapses in judgment, but I was struck a few months ago when Terry Gross of NPR's "Fresh Air" was asking Hillary Clinton about her change of gay marriage, and Clinton got testy and defensive of the thought that even this could have been out of political calculation. And I would not find it disabling if she like the great majority of most politicians changed her views to her political benefit, but it struck me that she was acting like, how could you possibly think that about me. You look at what she said about gay marriage when most of the country
was against it, and it is very, very strong language. This is the bedrock of the foundational institution, and instead of just saying, well, you know, I changed my mind -- there was this pushback and again, it struck me as, no, I'm Hillary Clinton, and it is the same thing if I can go one step further during the impeachment when Bill Clinton compared himself to Rubashov, the character in Arthur Koestler classic novel "Darkness at Noon", the old Bolshevik who is executed by Stalinist terror, and he says, I feel like I'm in a nightmare and they are telling lies about me.
Well, the fact is, as he ultimately acknowledged, it was Bill Clinton who was disassembling and even lying. But the idea that he could see himself as a tragic figure out of a novel when, in fact, it was a rather, what is the right word I should say, tawdry episode at best in misbehavior is another example. I just think that there is something about them that maybe it is the early involvement in progressive causes that has given them the belief that no matter what they do, it's not to be questioned.
SMERCONISH: Your piece is really insightful. Congratulations for writing it.
GREENFIELD: I appreciate it.
SMERCONISH: Thank you, Jeff Greenfield.
Still to come, with the conventions around the corner, the V.P. picks are down the wire, the latest rumors have Trump thinking about Newt Gingrich and Chris Christie. Would either ticket make political sense? I'll ask Pat Buchanan about that and more.
Plus, the GOP big shots are all saying they're not going to the convention. Is anybody going to stick up for the nominee?
And polls, polls, and more polls. They've been trying to predict every turn of this unpredictable election. Is part of the unreliability because some among us are embarrassed to tell a pollster for whom they intend to vote?
[09:16:26] SMERCONISH: Just two weeks from today, I'm going to be in Cleveland for the GOP convention. Here's who won't be, the past two GOP presidents both named Bush and the past two GOP nominees John McCain, Mitt Romney, plus the home state Republican Governor John Kasich, he remains uncommitted.
Who will be showing up? Reportedly, some sports figures and other celebrities. People will tune, of course. But what does it mean for the party and the general election?
Former presidential contender Pat Buchanan joins me now.
Patrick, I want to know. Have you been invited to speak at the RNC?
PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I have not, and I'm not sure I am going out there quite frankly, Michael.
But what you have described is the reason all there's elites and the leadership of the party and the old leadership of the party is not showing up is because Donald Trump, the nominee, is conducting an insurrection against those individuals and against the policy they produced, in trade, immigration and foreign policy.
SMERCONISH: So, your argument is, it's actually a good thing that the past two Republican presidents and the past two Republican standard- bearers won't be there?
BUCHANAN: I'm not saying it's good or bad, but I'm saying I understand it. Look, if Donald Trump wins this election, he is going to take the country in a new direction. He's running an insurrection against the political, corporate, and media elites in Washington, D.C., and he's running an insurrection against the Republican elites, and he has succeeded.
It is populist, patriotic, ethno national, economic nationalism, and that's not the defining philosophy of the incumbent Republican Party of Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney.
SMERCONISH: After one of your appearances with me here on CNN, Trump himself tweeted congratulations. So, one more question on this, if he asks Pat Buchanan, will you speak in Cleveland?
BUCHANAN: I don't expect any requests to come to Cleveland to speak.
BUCHANAN: But I think that Donald Trump should speak what he believes and he knows what I believe.
SMERCONISH: I ask that question, because you are a culture war speech from 1992 remains famous or infamous to some, and I went to reread the transcript this week. Let me remind you of one paragraph from that speech that maybe stands the test of time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: The agenda that Clinton and Clinton would impose on America -- abortion on demand, a litmus test for the Supreme Court, homosexual rights, discrimination against religious schools, women in combat units, and that's change all right, but that's not the kind of change America needs. It's not the kind of change America wants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Does that paragraph stand the test of time?
BUCHANAN: It does indeed. I said there is a cultural war going on in this country. At root is a religious war of what we most deeply believe, but there's no question about it, Michael, and the left and the radicals have made extraordinary gains towards a victory in that war with the majority of the America's young, and significant slice of the American population. But that culture war, and the phrase -- I was denounced for the phrase
but it has been used in 100 book titles. Everybody knows we have a Kulturkampf going on in this country.
SMERCONISH: The speculation is that Newt and Chris Christie are both on the short list. Which of the two or someone else should he select?
BUCHANAN: I think he's looking in the right direction for this reason -- as I said, I think he is conducting an insurrection. And I think when you're doing something like that, you don't look for a balanced ticket or pick up a moderate in order to make us look good on Capitol Hill, I think you go all-in.
[09:20:01]And so, I think that if Trump picked a Chris Christie or a Newt Gingrich, he is saying to Hillary Rodham Clinton and Elizabeth Warren, let's get it on. You are over here and we are over there, and let's get it on and let the American people decide which way they want to go. You will have real political clarity.
SMERCONISH: It doesn't sound like a battle for the 42 percent who are the eyes and not affixed to one end or the other of the political spectrum.
BUCHANAN: Basically both parties, Michael, have about I would say, about 40 to 42 percent. They're going to get that, each party, you are doing the battle from about 16 or 18 percent.
I think one of the major things that's in the hearts and minds of those folks is that we have had it with the political media corporate elite in the nation's capital, let's go for somebody who will really give us real change, and even though I've got doubts about this fellow Trump, I think that he will do that.
SMERCONISH: OK. Speaking of doubts about this fellow Trump, I want to show you a headline. I think it was the most provocative headline of the week. It was in "The Washington Post." "I hate Donald Trump," it reads, "But he might get my vote."
It is a first person essay by a retired financial adviser named Jim Ruth. It got a huge reaction, Pat. I had a lot of callers on my Sirius XM radio who said, you know, this guy, he speaks for me. Here's one paragraph I want you to hear.
"So, why then would rational, affluent, informed citizens consider voting for the Donald? Short of not voting at all -- still an option some of us are considering -- he's the only one who appears to want to preserve the American way of life as we know it."
Pat, those are fighting words to some, because they hear those words and they say, that is a preservation of the white America that this guy is talking about.
BUCHANAN: There is nothing wrong with the country I grew up in, Michael. It had some things wrong on the civil rights and things like that, but it was a good country, and what these fellows see are the same things I'm seeing is, we are losing the best of the country that we grew up in, the government here in Washington, A, is incompetent, B, its system is rigged, and C, we are being pulled away from the center, and I can understand entirely what that fellow is saying, because there is a lot of people I run into, I grew up with who feel exactly the same way.
SMERCONISH: I just --
BUCHANAN: I don't know about this fellow Trump, but I think I'm going to vote for him.
SMERCONISH: I just had the conversation at dinner Thursday night with my father. He was making some of the same points you are, and it was me saying, dad, you are not recognizing all the advancement and good things that are taking place around us. We are so fortunate to be in this country in 2016, and still the greatest country on the face of the earth.
BUCHANAN: Look, we are growing -- and the growth rate, and what, 1 percent in the first quarter of this year, and you have the nation divided as it has never been divided. You've got words like racist, sexist, homophobe, all -- everyday and ,every way on every TV set, people are calling themselves names.
In that sense, we are not one people and one nation the way we were in 1960 under Eisenhower, when we were making progress in some of the things that concern you. And so, I see it and you will see the country abroad, we have gotten into all of the wars over the Middle East, you see the trade deficit, you see all the -- look, in Monessen, you know the place in Pennsylvania.
SMERCONISH: Sure. I know where your family is from.
BUCHANAN: Mon Valley. That's Filburn (ph) and Charleroi and Monessen, that's where my uncles and mom, they look -- I went up there after World War II as a kid, the place was booming. It was steel town. They're making all the steel in World War II.
My wife, Shelly, is from Detroit, downtown Detroit. Her daddy went to war and that's the city that built up America that won that war. Look at Detroit today, and look at Hiroshima today, and you will see a real change in second place, and it's not to the better.
SMERCONISH: But, Patrick, there's still -- look, it's the nation's birthday this weekend. They're still no place you'd rather be than here. That's the only acknowledgment I want from you.
BUCHANAN: It's the greatest country in the world, and it can be made greater still.
SMERCONISH: OK. On that, we can agree. Pat Buchanan, thank you.
BUCHANAN: Good talking to you, Michael.
SMERCONISH: You know, there is another line in that essay I was sharing with Pat Buchanan. It says this, "Come November 8th, you'll find many of us sheepishly sneaking into the voting booths across the United States. And that brings me to polls, and everybody loves the quote the polls especially here at CNN," which brings me to polling. Everybody loves to quote polls, including we here at CNN.
But this election season is exposed them to be not just off but sometimes dead wrong, and I mean on both sides of the aisle.
For instance, Nate Silver, the poll guru, who had so successfully crunched numbers in last couple of election cycle. Last August put Trump's chances of getting the GOP nomination at 2 percent, and even as recently as January, he said at most 12 to 13 percent, which must mean I'm in good company, and yet, we are clinging to polls.
This week, we were again told that Hillary Clinton will trounce Donald Trump in November, but as I said, these numbers are way off until after the conventions and indeed up to election day.
The pressing question now is, are the pollsters still missing huge swathes of the electorate who are going to show up and maybe vote for Donald Trump?
[09:25:03] Joining me now, Republican pollster and strategist Ed Goeas, and Republican strategist Adam Goodman.
Ed, let me begin with you. Why is Donald Trump such a difficult figure to poll on?
ED GOEAS, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Well, I don't think that he is. I don't know if I agree with the premise. What you have in a lot of the polling today is that there is methodological differences, and there are sampling difference, and a carryover from the 2012 campaign when many of the public polls were trying to pull a sample or weight a sample to what they thought that the electorate would be as opposed to sitting back to using the methodology to get to the right place.
But I see no indication in the polls that they are missing anything in terms of the Trump voters. It's more of the individual polls. This week alone, we had one poll that the Clinton leading by 12 points, another poll had Trump leading by four. Nothing happened to change those polls. They're just approaching in a different way. They'll come together as we get closer to the campaign.
SMERCONISH: But they all can't be right, Adam, right? I mean, something is going on out there to cause that disparity.
ADAM GOODMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, addressing the polls, "The Washington Post" had a sample that had Democrats and oversample of Republicans by 12 points, it's going to be closer to 4 to 5. It's a bad sample. So that is part of this.
I believe what's going on, and, Michael, and this is going to be just different is that more Americans than ever have seen behind the curtain. They have seen how the process works, and they are kind of upset about it. And I think this is a referendum on the system.
We have two candidates who clearly right now have high negatives. If you were to have a popularity contest, Ed Goeas is elected. But I think what people are looking for is someone that's going to take on the system that's been letting this country down and the polls there had been very consistent for 12 years, showing by 2 to 1, Americans think we've been moving in the wrong direction.
And I think at the end of the day, in the quiet of the ballot box or the voting booth or the absentee that you will be filling out at home, in that quiet moment that hidden moment, I think a lot of people are going to be weigh in and that's going to be what they're going to weighing in on, and that's why I believe Donald Trump at the end of the game, if he's close to Hillary Clinton is going to be right where he needs to be to win.
GOEAS: Michael --
SMERCONISH: Ed, Adam has written on the subject of the -- I don't believe he called it this, but I will, the reverse Bradley factor. He made reference to a campaign in which I worked, which was a Rizzo campaign back in '87. There was no doubt about it, Frank Rizzo was the guy who always would outperform the polls presumably because people were embarrassed to tell a stranger who called their kitchen that I am going to vote for Rizzo.
Is the same thing going on with Trump?
GOEAS: No, it's not. And I think what a lot of people are missing is look, everybody is looking for little nuances, little movement. The fact of the matter is, this campaign started over a year ago with both of the nominees with over, or at a 55 percent unfavorable rating. After a year of campaigning, they are both hovering around 55 percent to 60 percent unfavorable.
And not only that, you have 80 percent of the electorate having strong feelings either favorable or unfavorable on both of the candidates. These numbers are baked in. Everyone is looking for big nuanced jumps, when in fact, this is going to be a campaign of inches. If you look at the data, the segmentation of the data, only 3 percent of the country liked both candidates and 26 percent of the country disliked both candidates.
There is going to be the voters voting on Election Day, that it's not that they are hiding their vote. They are trying to come to the conclusion of which person do I dislike the most. That is what you're going to see with some undecided or some soft vote going into the election. But, you know, when I look at the data, I agree with Adam. There is absolutely nothing in the data that shows that Trump can't win this election. He has some pluses, he has some minuses, Hillary has some plusses and minuses, both of them have huge minuses.
And at the end of the day, with this campaign, it is going to come down to who do they perhaps dislike the most as opposed to who do they like the most?
SMERCONISH: Adam, I'll give you the final word. I would typically say, maybe we should follow the money and just follow the lead of the bookies, except they didn't do so well with Brexit.
GOODMAN: Right. They were pretty off of that.
Michael, as an alum of the Frank Rizzo club, I can -- you lived through the campaign as we all did. He won that campaign at the end, because he said, "You and your family will be safe again," and it is the one thing that in the cool of night that brought him to victory.
I believe this campaign in the cool of night after what we will see in terms of the debates which is going to be like super bowl epic contests that were actually going to have a break in this field in the polls, and they are going to go for what they feel is necessary to get this country back on its feet again, and working again, and that is where I believe if he is close, Donald Trump will pull a Frank Rizzo, and become president of the United States.
SMERCONISH: Ed, Adam, thank you both so much for being here. I wish I had more time. But I appreciate it.
GOODMAN: Thank you.
[09:30:02] SMERCONISH: Thank you, men.
The war on Pocahontas, it's not going away. Donald Trump continues to go after Elizabeth Warren for her claims of Native American heritage. Might he actually be right?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: And Pocahontas is not happy she's the worst. You know, Pocahontas -- I'm doing such a disservice to Pocahontas, it's so unfair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SMERCONISH: Donald Trump continues to go after Elizabeth Warren for her claims of Native American heritage. He's repeatedly called her Pocahontas.
And on Wednesday, at a Trump rally in Maine, one of his supporters mocked Warren by introducing Trump with a Native American war cry.
Warren's heritage is an issue I looked at four years ago. Here's what I found in 2012 -- in 1994, Warren was recognized as a distinguished faculty member at my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Her recognition was listed in the Penn Minority Equity Committee's 2005 report. Eight names are listed in bold, meaning minority status. Three are African-American, three are Asian, one Puerto Rican, and then there's Warren.
[09:35:01] Additionally, from 1986 to 1995, while teaching at the University of Texas and Penn, Warren listed herself as a minority in the Association of American Law School's directory. Warren only removed her minority label after Harvard hired her in 1995. And still, at Harvard, the school paper noted, "Although the conventional wisdom among students and faculty is that the law school faculty includes no minority women, Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren is Native American."
Though she insists she never capitalized on her minority status, she also last has never substantiated her claim. Well, this week, a Native American writer took her task for this and more in a CNN.com piece titled, "Elizabeth Warren should apologize to Native Americans."
Simon Moya-Smith is the citizen of Oglala Lakota Nation and culture editor at "Indian Country Today". He joins me now.
Simon, for what should she apologize?
SIMON MOYA-SMITH, NATIVE AMERICAN WRITER: Well, she's perpetuating the stereotypes, like high cheekbones. That's a racist, antiquated stereotype. Just because you have high cheekbones doesn't make you Native American.
Also, when she wrote to Trump that this country was built on things like decency and concern for our neighbor, that's a blatant lie. She needs to apologize for that one. Not just to Native Americans. We know this country was not built on decency and concern for our neighbor.
SMERCONISH: In your CNN essay, you said that she's both played the Indian card for decades and has avoided the community. How has she played the card beyond perhaps what I just offered and how has she avoided your community?
MOYA-SMITH: Well, she hasn't been involved. Nobody knows where she's at. She plays the card by saying she's Native American and then disappears.
We want to know why she isn't involved in the community that she claims to be a part of. And that is problematic, because she is only addressing Trump for his poor business record, calling him a loser. She hasn't addressed directly the racism directed at Native Americans. The political -- we're made into political fodder and she's not saying anything about it.
So, she has this history of claiming to be Native American but she's nowhere to be found.
SMERCONISH: There's something that you wrote that I want to put on the screen and ask you about. It begins this way. "Yet Warren continues to perpetuate a false reality of who Native Americans are today while in turn inadvertently or not encouraging the claims of millions of convenient Indians who self identify as Native American for their own gain."
Is that what you think she is, someone who is a convenient Indian who has self-identified for her own gain?
MOYA-SMITH: She's convenient in the sense that she's claiming to be Native American but she's not addressing these issues. I don't hear her say anything about, for example, that Native Americans are statistically more likely to be killed by police. I don't hear her talking about domestic violence of Native American women 3.5 times more likely than any other women in any other demographic. We just don't know why she's at.
She uses this heritage and she's gone. And then we're left to have to pick these fights, we're left to tell people, you know what, you can't mock us that way, that war cry, that's very racist. Even though people still do that at baseball games and football games, it's still racist. She's not addressing those.
SMERCONISH: Simon, what about the way in which Donald Trump is using this issue against her by calling her Pocahontas?
MOYA-SMITH: He uses it like a pejorative, and that's racist in itself. I mean, obviously, he's a troll. Obviously, he has a documented history of attacking Native Americans. So we expect it from him.
We're wondering where she's at in this situation. Why she doesn't recognize the indigenous people now? Why she only attacks his business record and not his racism against allegedly her people, us, Native Americans?
SMERCONISH: All right. I'm hearing that he's a troll and she's played the Indian card without being a full member of the community, that's your beef.
MOYA-SMITH: Well, the problem also is she perpetuates the stereotype of things like high cheekbones. She's like the patron saint of the wannabe. There's millions of people out there that claim to be Native Americans because they think they can go to school for free, or they think they're going to get casino money. She has an opportunity to take this and make it into a teachable moment. But she hasn't. She's completely silent.
SMERCONISH: Simon, you're an equal opportunity offender. That's a good thing in my book. Thank you for being here.
MOYA-SMITH: Yes. Thank you.
SMERCONIS: Up next, a tourist in the Lincoln Memorial is egged on to sing the National Anthem and her rendition brought the whole place to a standstill and then took the Internet by storm. She's here and I intend to ask her to sing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:43:28] SMERCONISH: For this Fourth of July weekend, nothing has moved me more than this story. Lincoln Memorial, it's crowded, people of all backgrounds are roaming around. They're taking in the scene, and then one tourist, an assistant principal from Tallahassee, is encouraged to sing the National Anthem. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want too much attention.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, don't you do it. Let the music speak.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And kids, y'all stand over there and don't get in the way.
(SINGING NATIONAL ANTHEM)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:45:47] SMERCONISH: So the clip has become an instant Internet sensation. More than 15 million views on Facebook and joining me now is Star Swain. You were named correctly Star Swain, holy smokes.
I was going to say where did you learn to sing like that? But you are blessed, you have a gift, right?
STAR SWAIN, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL TURNED INTERNET SINGING SENSATION: Yes, yes indeed a gift.
SMERCONISH: And where have you sung before?
SWAIN: Oh, my, I have sung so many different places, and I did a whole lot of singing with the Marching 100 when I was with the band in college. So, that afforded me the opportunity to be able to sing in front of thousands of people, but never millions of people.
SMERCONISH: You sing in church?
SWAIN: I do. I do. I sing in church all of the time, and that is something that I have been doing for a long time since I was a kid.
SMERCONISH: I love the voice and I'm paying attention to what I am hearing, but also, because I have watched it five times.
SMERCONISH: And of the 15 million, five of them are mine.
SMERCONISH: And I'm taking note of the people in the audience, because it is kind of cool to see, initially, it is like, what is going on over here, and it is wow, where is this going, and by the end of it, they're all -- were you aware of that while you were singing? SWAIN: I wasn't, because I was kind of in my own world at that moment
when I closed my eyes and I have to go somewhere else just to keep me, you know, in the groove and not get too nervous. So I didn't know really what was going on with the people.
SMERCONISH: And at the moment when you are then finished you must know, hey, I got their attention and this is what I want to know, when did it hit you that all of the sudden, you are a YouTube Facebook sensation?
SWAIN: I don't even know that it has still hit me, because it is kind of an outer body experience. I can't really believe it. It's almost like the dream, like pinch me, because I know that it's real.
SMERCONISH: You are an assistant principal. So, this is a summer vacation. You came up from Florida I guess as soon as the kids all went home.
SMERCONISH: And has it occurred to you when you go back to Tallahassee and everybody is talking about what they did on the summer vacation, Star Swain has got a pretty cool story to tell.
SWAIN: That I do.
SMERCONISH: You're in New York City, you've got a lot of options here. I'm thinking the Statue of Liberty, the Memorial to the 9/11 victims downtown, where might you pop up on the monument next?
SWAIN: I don't know. You just have to see --
SMERCONISH: I can see a tour though, and you can come to my hometown in Philly and show up at the Independence Hall or Liberty Bell, and all of a sudden, this is your thing.
SWAIN: That will be wonderful actually, I would love to do that.
SMERCONISH: Am I embarrassing you if you would please indulge us with the portion, because it is a holiday weekend, we're celebrating the birth of the country. It's only the CNN newsroom.
SWAIN: It's only --
SMERCONISH: But can you dig deep and do the final portion?
SWAIN: I sure can, yes, sir.
SMERCONISH: You got a rise out of this crowd, huh? And at home, too. Happy July Fourth weekend, thank you so much for being here.
SWAIN: Thank you for having me. SMERCONISH: Privilege is on our part.
The media is reporting that anger is the buzzword of the 2016 presidential campaign, that the electorate are acting like the anger in the 1976 Oscar-winning movie "Network" screaming their rage. Well, I have a different theory, a plan of action. I will announce it in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to go to the window and stick the head out, and yell "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:53:16] SMERCONISH: If the 2016 presidential campaign were a movie, it would surely be the 1976 Oscar winner "Network". You remember? The newscaster pleads to his viewers to go to the window and yell, I am mad as hell, I'm going to take it anymore." And they obey.
Reports of that cacophony of anger have dominated this presidential cycle. I Googled "angry" and "Republicans", I got more than 45.6 million hits and another 20 million if you Google "angry" and "Democrats". But I don't buy the story line.
The callers to my Sirius XM radio program from across the nation, they are rarely angry. And when I recently polled them, 68 percent describe themselves as hopeful not angry. My anecdotal data and unscientific survey is backed up by one of the longest running measures of American's views on the economy. The index of consumer sentiment which found by the end of last year, people were nearly as upbeat about the economy as they were at the end of 1983. That's when Ronald Reagan was president and it was morning again in America.
So, why the disconnect? I would argue that it's the outsized influence of the passionate people. And what they exert on our political process -- those who are most participatory versus the rest of the nation. Passion is always strongest at the extremes of the political spectrum. It's where you find the activists, the most reliable voters, the people who put up the yard signs, hang a bumper sticker, write the checks.
I believe that the loud voices of those who are angry have muted too many of the rest of us. And that's because we let them.
But I also believe there's a new silent majority in the nation. They are neither Tea Party activists nor millennials feeling the Bern. They are tens of millions of Americans who are not angry but remaining silent.
[09:55:05] And one of the ways that they're remaining silent is by not voting. That's a huge problem. For instance, the Iowa caucus, when all was said and done, only 20 percent of the people who voted in the general election in 2012. They were a smaller percentage of the total eligible voters.
So, the highly motivated voters dominated the primary process and Donald Trump was the beneficiary. Whether there are enough angry voters to win the White House, well, that's a different story. And my answer is, it depends on whether we let them.
General election voters, they tend to be more racially and ethnically diverse, more female, more young. But perception in politics can become reality. If coverage continues to highlight views of the angriest among us, portray them as being more omnipotent than they really are, then less passionate people may stay home.
There are steps that can be taken to lessen the influence of the most angry. More overall participation, more open primaries, fairly drawn congressional districts, campaign finance reform, expand the debate participation to allow third party independents. All of that would help.
But most of all, we need to recognize that entertainment choices have consequences. And more of us need to stop conflating our news and entertainment choices and differentiate between information and blather. And we need to hurry. Do you remember when network anchor Howard Beal asked Americans to shout outside that they were mad as hell and many followed? It's time for the rest of us to close our windows.
That's it for this week's show. Have great holiday weekend. Follow me on Twitter @Smerconish. I'll see you next week.