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Biden Establishes New National Monument Honoring Emmett Till; No Labels Teases Third-Party Unity Ticket Despite Concerns Over Spoiler Bid; Democrat Senator Manchin Floated As Possible 2024 Third- Party Candidate. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 25, 2023 - 12:30   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I was writing. I'm not joking. I can't fathom. I can't fathom what it must have been like. It's hard to believe. I was 12 years old. And I just -- you know, I know no matter how much time has passed, how many birthdays, how many events, how many anniversaries. It's hard to relive this. Brings it all back, we're talking about, Rev, as if it happened yesterday.

The images in your head, things you remember. But it's inspiring to see how many of your family have continued as mother's courage to find faith and pain, purpose and pain. That's a -- that's a remarkable thing, it seems to me.

Insisting on an open casket for her murdered, and I might add, maimed and mutilated son, 14 years old, 14 years old. She said, let the people see what I've seen. Let the people see what I have seen. My God. All of us have lost children in other ways. How hard it is even to close the casket or keep it open or what a debated is.

But to see the child that had been maimed in a country, and the world saw, saw and not just heard the story of Emmett Till, and his mother, as a story of a family's promise and loss in the nation's reckoning with hate, violence, racism, overwhelming abuse of power and brutality.

It's hard to fathom. Hard to fathom this even a war for me. It's hard to fathom. But today on what we've been -- would have been Emmett's 82nd birthday. We had another chapter in the story of remembrance and healing.

Just as we joined together when I signed the law in his name to make lynching a federal crime and think how long that took that to happen. I mean, and we screened the movie "Till" at the White House.

Today, we joined together as I sign a proclamation, designating Emmett Till and maybe Till-Mobley National Monument in both Illinois and the Mississippi.


We ended lynching as a matter of law. We talked about wanting to do this with the support from the community. It's been so overwhelming. I thank you members of Congress for their support. And more than that, their leadership.

At a time when there are those who seek to ban books, bury history, we're making it clear, crystal, crystal clear.


How darkness and denialism can hide much. They erase nothing. You can hide but they erase nothing. We can't just choose to learn what we want to know. We have to learn what we should know. We should know about our country. We should know everything, the good, the bad, the truth of who we are as a nation. That's a great nations do and we are a great nation. That's what they do.

For only with truth comes healing, justice repair, and another step forward toward forming a more perfect union. We got a hell of a long way to go. That's what's happening. That's just going to happen with visitors of all backgrounds, to learn the history of Emmett Till and maybe Till-Mobley through our national monument.

Look, telling the truth and the full history of our nation is important. Supporting our children, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren, to our nation as a whole. I've said it before, it was the lesson I learned coming out and not like real leaders in civil rights movement, when I came out of the Civil Rights Movement as a kid, as a public defender and I used to -- you know, I used to say think that you pass something that was good, hey, you can make hate go away.


Hate never goes away. It just hides. It hides under the rocks. And given a little bit of oxygen by bad people. It comes roaring out again. It's up to all of us to deal with that, up to all of us to stop it. Up to all of us. The best way to do it is with the truth. Excuse in a different context, but I think it's applies here.

Silence is complicity. I will not be silent, nor will you be silent about what happened.


It was really critical work ahead to continue the fight for racial justice and equality for all Americans. And my administration is committed to leading a path forward. And I know the members of Congress here are even more committed than that.

I'm going to close with this. The reason the world saw what Mrs. Till- Mobley saw was because another hero in this story, the black press.

Oh, I'm serious. Jet magazine, the Chicago Defender and other newspapers and radio announcers who told the story or unflinching the bravery which was they told us, to -- making sure Americans saw what they saw.

Ida B. Wells once said, quote, "The way to right wrong is to turn the light of truth upon them. The way to right wrongs and shine the light of truth on them." Well, that's our charge today.

Another important thing, did you ever think we'd be talking about banning books in America? Banning history? I'm serious.

The Till family and to all of you here today, we thank you for your courage for never given up. Never, never given up.

And before I say, what's more is on my mind, I'm not going to leave this podium. You know, it's just barbaric. Barbaric what happened. And seriously, all you moms out there, imagine the courage it took to say let them see, the courage.

It's now my honor to sign this proclamation in memory of Emmett Till and Miss Mamie Till-Mobley. And I thank you all for being here. And I am I know I'm considered too much of an optimist. But I believe if we keep pushing, we're going to continue to make progress. We're going to continue to make progress. It has already been made.

The idea that when that 14-year-old was buried, that in his Indian Treaty Room, this many people of color, holding powerful office, changing the direction of the country would have been beyond our comprehension. And we're just getting started.


DANA BASH, CNN HOST: President Biden is now signing a proclamation that officially makes the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument. It is a monument that will be in three separate locations. One will be in Mississippi, near where he is believed who have been murdered. The other will be at the courthouse in Tallahatchie County in Mississippi, where an all-white jury acquitted Emmett Till's murderers. And then also back in what was his home state of Illinois, specifically in Chicago, at the Roberts Temple Church of God. That was the church where, as President Biden just referred to, his mother demand under that the funeral she was having for her 14-year-old son.


BIDEN: Establishes the Emmett Till Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument.


BASH: Location for this monument will be in Chicago at the church where Emmett Till's mother demanded that her son have an open casket funeral, despite -- or because of the fact that he was so maimed. And he was unrecognizable. And she wanted now famously the world to see what they had done to her son.

Eva, your thoughts?

EVA MCKEND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I thought it was tremendously powerful. Kamala Harris -- Vice President Harris said, we won't be better if we forget. They directly linked the significance of this important date, what we are seeing throughout the country. I have talked to black parents in Virginia, for instance, who feel as though that what all that they fought for is under assault. And that we are at a place in this country where depending on where you live, were going to be taught different things about our history. And so the fact that they weave that in into this moment, I think, was important.

BASH: He didn't just weave it in. There was no subtlety, Ely. And the fact that -- this could have been a standalone event, talking about a moment in history and not forgetting it. And they hit the political message incredibly hard. You couldn't miss it. Both the vice president and the president about banning books, also for the vice president about what was going on in Florida, which she has been trying to spearhead criticism of the way that they have written the school education guidelines about slavery.

ELI STOKOLS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO: The subtext here was pretty clear.

BASH: Yes.

STOKOLS: And a lot of that is in the context of the run-up to a presidential election next year where, you know, whether Ron DeSantis the nominee or not his policies, his push to erase chapters from the history books, that is something the White House wants to focus on.

Banning books, that was something that they focused on in the president's official launch video for his reelection. They believe that this is not just -- this is a winning issue for them, that parents broadly do not want the government whitewashing history telling parents and schools what they can and cannot teach.

And the battle over history, you know, I think as much as this is political for the president, it's also personal. I've watched him give a lot of speeches, and you could feel more conviction and more personal attachment to this issue. I mean, he reflected on the fact that Emmett Till was 14 when he was killed and the president was 12.

This is someone who is essentially a contemporary of the president's. He lived through this history. And this is not the first time. Yes, he signed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Bill. He screened the film "Till" at the White House.

But back in 2021, just months after taking office, he went to Tulsa to mark -- to mark the 100th anniversary of a race riot there that most people in the country don't really know about.

So this has been not just important to the president, politically, leading -- you know, leading up to next year. But it's important to him personally, I think, to make sure that the full story of American history is told and front and center. And if there is a contrast to draw with Ron DeSantis, other Republicans, this White House is eager to draw that ink and could press pretty firmly.

BASH: They definitely dovetail. Leigh Ann, when you talked about banning books, burying history, we're going to make it crystal, crystal clear, it being what the history really was and is.

LEIGH ANN CALDWELL, CO-AUTHOR, WASHINGTON POST EARLY 202: And that's a large part of why they are doing exactly this. This is something that has been a long time coming. It's been, you know, nearly eight decades, and this is there now. Emmett Till and his family are now just getting a national monument.

And just last year, just last year, the -- wasn't federal anti-crime, anti-lynching bill that was signed into law that President Biden signed into law. So this is -- as President Obama has likes to say, there's a long arc of history and President Biden is doing what he can to move that arc forward.

BASH: And the murder of Emmett Till and the way that his mother handled that in the aftermath of the black press, as the president was talking about did -- that did help spark the civil rights movement and that is another part of the history that we can't forget. And the fact that a young boy was brutally murdered.


Thank you so much. Everybody, stand by. We're going to turn back to the raw politics of 2024 and about anxiety growing in the Democratic Party over a potential third-party presidential bid from the bipartisan group, No Labels. Could the group play spoiler in 2024? We're going to speak with its chief strategist, next.



BASH: Insurance policy or election spoiler? The political group, No Labels, is currently funding an effort to get a third-party unity ticket on the ballot next November. A move, they say, will ensure voters get a, quote, strong choice separate from the two major political parties.

Now, some skeptics, they call such a bid a one-way ticket for Trump back in the White House.

Joining me now to discuss, this is the Chief Strategist of No Labels, Brian Clancy. Thank you so much for being here. It's nice to see you in person. So your organization is now building an infrastructure to get the party on the ballot across the country.

Your website says, we will only run under the proper environmental conditions which must be met for us to proceed. What are those environmental conditions? What are the metrics there?

RYAN CLANCY, CHIEF STRATEGIST, NO LABELS: So the key thing is there's going to be an opening for an independent unity ticket to win about six to nine months from now. So we'll make a determination sometime in between Super Tuesday, when we typically will know who the major party nominees are. And we're having a convention in Dallas in mid-April of next year. BASH: How do you define opening? How will you determine whether or not you have that opening?

CLANCY: So if you look at some of the metrics we're looking at today, where you see two-thirds of people don't want a rematch of the 2020 election. When you see a poll we did a couple of months ago where we asked if it were Trump-Biden, would you be open to a moderate independent alternative? Fifty-nine percent said yes.

That suggests there's a big opening now. Six to nine months from now, that story might change. And if it does, we're not going to force it and we won't offer our ballot line to anybody.

BASH: And what do you say to Democrats? Most of whom say that the way they see it, if No Labels runs a presidential candidate, and it's Donald Trump versus Joe Biden, you are electing Donald Trump.

CLANCY: So we're already on the record. We will never fuel a spoiler candidacy. I think when people think about a spoiler, we got to agree what we mean by it. To me, it is a candidate that can't win. And two, it's a candidate that whatever votes they get are coming from one side disproportionately. So Ralph Nader, spoiler, Jill Stein, spoiler, Cornel West, if he goes all the way, that's a spoiler.

BASH: Ross Perot?

CLANCY: No. He took votes evenly from both sides. There was a huge exit poll after that election. And they asked Perot voters if there hadn't been Perot in the race, who they voted for, 38 said Bush, 38 Clinton, 24 said they would have voted at all.

BASH: So I just want to be clear. What you are saying is that if you can somehow determine, which could be pretty hard to determine before the votes are taken, but if you can somehow make a determination that if you run a third-party ticket, that it will take more votes from Joe Biden than Donald Trump, if he is the nominee, you won't do it?

CLANCY: Yes. We do not want to feel any kind of candidacy that is pulling votes disproportionately from one side. Absolutely not.

Look, we're a year out from the election. So for anybody to say, a year out, we have no idea where the country is going to be, we don't know who'd be on the ticket, which party would be on the ticket. Anybody who says they know exactly how that would impact the race, they're just speculating.

BASH: I'm going to ask you about your funding.


BASH: There is a lot of money in your war chest, again, right now it is -- you're going to, I believe, tried to spend about $70 million to get your placement on the ballot. That's not easy to do.

You're not sharing details about who exactly is funding that. As you well know, there is a lot of speculation among Democrats that you're big funders are Republican donors who are looking to elbow Joe Biden out of the White House.

CLANCY: Yes. That's ridiculous. So first of all, to put my prayers on the table, I came up in democratic politics were chaired by Joe Lieberman, former vice presidential nominee. Dr. Ben Chavis spent 60 years in the Democratic Party in the civil rights movement.

There's a reason though that we don't share our donors. We are not a political party. We are a nonprofit group. Sixty years years ago, the state of Alabama tried to get the NAACP to divulge their donors and the Supreme Court sided with them unanimously and said, you don't have to do that, because people who want to join a nonprofit group have a right to privacy and freedom of association.

Here's why that matters today. The reason they protected the NAACP then is because they wanted to protect their supporters from intimidation. There's no trying to lean on us --

BASH: So you're not going to give me names. But can you confirm and say on the record that there are not big ticket Republican donors who are fueling your cause?

CLANCY: We have -- I can tell you that our voters are -- that our supporters are --

BASH: Pro-Trump.

CLANCY: We don't have any -- no, we don't have pro-Trump supporters filling this effort. Absolutely not. The money we raise is even from both sides. People -- a lot of the ways people know us is the fundraising we did for members of Congress. Go look at it previous election cycles. It's 50/50.

BASH: OK. Let's talk -- let's talk specifics.


BASH: Because if you get -- if you get a ballot -- a ballot access, you actually have to put people on the ballot.


BASH: You haven't picked a candidate yet. West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin's name has come up a lot. Do you think he's the strongest candidate?


CLANCY: We haven't started looking at candidates yet. Now, we, of course, had our launch event with Manchin --

BASH: Yes.

CLANCY: -- and Huntsman a couple of weeks ago. A lot of people started speculating then, but we're going to have another event in September keyed around our Common Sense policy book that we released. BASH: Politico reported that your team, including yourself, you've been floating the idea of Joe Manchin based on data that you're getting --


BASH: -- to the donors that you're seeking money from for this effort. Is that true?

CLANCY: No, it's made up. We haven't -- we have not put out any names of potential candidates. Every name you see out there is a name that was put there by somebody else.

BASH: The idea of this has to -- when you're running a ticket --


BASH: -- you're going to need a presidential candidate and a vice president, right, vice presidential candidate. How will you determine whether the top of the ticket will be Republican or Democrat?

CLANCY: So sometime after Labor Day, we're going to put out more details on the process. So this is something we've been looking at really carefully. You have to get it right because, you know, you don't -- on the one hand, wants some smoke-filled room process. On the other hand, you don't want some internet free-for-all, which is what happened a decade ago when another group tried to do this.

BASH: So again, the metrics there are going to be?

CLANCY: We'll be looking at a lot of the polling that we've been doing. We're going to do another huge poll in the fall. We're going to do another one early next year. And so we'll take a look at the conditions then.

As I said, if the opening isn't there, we're not putting up a ticket.

BASH: OK. And then what are you going to do with all this money raised?

CLANCY: Look, we're building a movement. Ultimately, what we've been trying to do for the last decade is build the common sense majority in this country. And if at the end of this, the common sense majority has more influence, they're talking about the ideas and our Common Sense policy booklet, that's a win and that's success for us.

Bash: Ryan Clancy with the No Labels organization. Thank you so much for coming in. I really appreciate it.

CLANCY: Thanks for having me, Dana.

BASH: And thank you for joining INSIDE POLITICS. "CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts after a quick break.