Melissa Harris-Perry | March 03, 2013
>>> it's march, and in honor of women 's history month we are highlighting some of the amazing women who helped shape our country this. morning we are remembering political pioneer ann richards who despite all of her accomplishment perhaps remains best remembered for this iconic member in the 1988 democratic national convention .
>> poor george. he can't help it. he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
>> still good all these years later this. thursday a new play aptly named "ann" opens on broadway at lincoln center starring actress holland taylor , and it captures the essence of the tough as nails texan.
>> i'll tell you what though. if i got turned down over my concealed weapons veto, so be it and sayonara, more guns in people's pockets meant more people dead. there was no compromise to be. now i did tell them. i told them that i might consider a law that let guys carry guns hanging from a chain around their neck because that way -- that way we could say, look out. he's got a gun!
>> i am pleased to welcome ann richards daughter who is, of course, the president of the planned parenthood federation of america . lovely to have you here.
>> great to be here, melissa.
>> i spent some time reading a buy oefrks your mother last night, "let the people in." and hear it is a moment when we're remembering the feminine mystique and talking about the feminist movement, and i keep thinking it is impossible to imagine a woman like your mother as governor of texas today. what has changed in the world?
>> well, actually, i mean, texas , you know, we've made a serious right turn, but things are coming back, as you've been reading, but i actually think mother would be thrilled to see so many incredible women in office . look at the last election. the women who came in who are each independent, feisty and heidi hide camp from north dakota to elizabeth warren in massachusetts to everything in between. i think it's a good time for women in politics .
>> the fascinating thing to me about who governor richard was was her focus -- on women certainly but also on women of color and people with disabilities , her sense of attachment to barbara jordan and to other women who had sort of paved the way for her. how do we take that message into this 113th congress that now has a record number of women ? how do they be more than just women in office but women like governor richards in office ?
>> look, i do think women in office do reach -- reach back, and they carry other folks along with them, and i know when mom was governor, there were many things she was proud of, but certainly appointing more minorities, women , open gay and lesbian people to office and to positions of power was probably one of the most important things that she did because it did open up government. i see that happening with women in the senate, women in the house of representatives . they are -- they have an interest, both for their own political future and frankly for the better of the country of getting more folks from different backgrounds in office . and each one who joins the congress makes a big difference i think.
>> what would she have thought of the castro brothers in texas ?
>> loved them.
>> would have loved them.
>> in fact, it's interesting because they come from a strong family of social activists , a very, you know, committed public servants , and i think what mom would say is she sees in the castro brothers the future of the state of texas . i think a lot of us do. i think it's very exciting.
>> it feels to me like that position that we just saw on gun control , saying, hey, i'm a texan. i'm a tough lady. i'm from a land where people understand guns, but this is ridiculous.
>> is there something we can learn from that moment as we go into our own gun control policy debate?
>> i think absolutely. one of the reasons why people related to mom is she was plain spoken and also used humor and talked about the reality of people's lives. i think we can do a lot more of, that less pontificating and more down home honest to goodness talking, the way people talk at their dinner tables or the kitchen tables.
>> it's interesting to hear you talk about governor richard as mom, and i think to myself that question of being able to be mom and be an elected official and do all of the things that she did, this is exactly what we're fighting for for young women today, that ability to make choices about reproductive moments. when are you going to have kids and control your fertility so that you can do fantastic things like being governor?
>> actually mother, her path was not the same as i think a lot of women now. she was a house wife as we called them back in the day and she raised four of us before she ever got into public office . really the only reason she got to break in was because sarah weddington , a young woman lawyer, wanted to run for office and the frankly the men political establishment in texas weren't interested in running her campaign. it was a very different type back then. i think the struggles that women face going and running for office are still pretty steep.
>> there's no doubt, that you know, as we like to say on the show the struggle continues, and yet it was nice in this moment that is women 's history month to pause and remember your mother, the fantastic ann richards and people should absolutely go see.
>> it's really fantastic and there's nothing mother would have loved better than going to broadway.
>> and i hope she would have come to nerd land had nerd land been around at that time.
>> coming up, otts car night tweet seen around the world.
>> why would you ever call a 9-year-old the "c" word and how sojourner truth finally helped republicans see the light , and the real harlem shake . the real one. more at the top of the hour.