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tv   News Nation  MSNBC  August 13, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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hall. we begin with a legal battle brewing in north carolina over that state's new voter i.d. law, considered to be one of the strictest in the country. the naacp, the aclu, and at least two other groups are pressing ahead with lawsuits challenging the sweeping new restrictions. without any formal ceremony or cameras president, north carolina's republican governor silently signed that measure yesterday afternoon. it limits early voting in the state and requires voters to show photo i.d. at the polls. pete williams joins me now live about this. certainly there's been a lot of backlash about what this north carolina law means and also how the governor is reacting to it. >> well, the governor did put out a ewe tube video. he said voter i.d.s are what most states now require, that you have to have an i.d. to board an airplane or even to buy antihistamines at the drugstore, so why not do it to make sure the election process is safe and fair and eliminates fraud, or at least reduces the chances for fraud. what this does -- i think one of the reasons it's attracted a lot
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of attention, thomas, is that in one single act, the legislature not only imposed one of the toughest voter i.d. requirements in the nation with a very limited range of photo i.d.s issued by the government that will be honored at the polls, but it also cut early voting back by a week to ten days from the earlier 17. it ended same-day registration at the polls, and it also ended a program in the state in which 17-year-olds could preregister so they'd be ready to vote by the time they turned 18. the minority groups who are challenging this law say look for example at early voting. african-americans tend to use early voting much more than whites and same-day registration more often because african-americans tend to move around more. if you move, you change your draer address, you have to update your registration. they do that more at the polls. not only that, if you cut a week out of early voting, you're going to vastly increase the long lines at the polls. they say about half of the state's voters actually voted
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early in north carolina, before election day. if you eliminate that period of time or reduce it by a week, you're going to make lines longer and that will do more to discourage voter turnout. >> pete, and the groups that are bringing forth these lawsuit, what are the grounds? do they have good standing? >> i don't think the standing is an issue. i think they will certainly be allowed to go into court and make their case. i think the big question here is, what's the federal government going to do? in the past, the federal government would have been able to use the voting rights act, the preclearance requirement, because north carolina was a covered state. they could have -- north carolina would have had to get permission in advance to do this. because of the supreme court ruling in june, it doesn't have to do that. i think it's quite likely that the justice department will join these groups and will go to court and may even go as far as the government has done in texas and ask the courts to say that because of a history of discrimination that continue, north carolina should have to
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get permission in advance before making any voting changes. but you can be sure that there's going to be lots of court battles on this. the law doesn't take effect in 2016, so there's plenty of time to duke this out in the meantime. >> pete williams, thanks so much. appreciate it. i want to bring into our conversation zach roth, national political reporter for msnbc.com, judith brown, who's the codirector of the narc advancement project, and sirius xm's michael smerconish. judith, i want to start with you. we have the north carolina governor putting up this video on youtube, not giving interview, but putting up a straightforward clip on youtube to respond to what the law means. take a look. >> let me be direct. many of those from the extreme left who have been criticizing photo i.d. are using scare tactics. they're more interested in
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divisive politics than ensuring that no one's vote is disenfranchised by a fraudulent ballot. protecting the integrity of every vote cast is among the most important duties i have as governor. >> all right. judith, what do you make of the fact it was signed without any fanfare? there weren't any cameras there. also, in the statement, the governor goes on to equate voting rights to getting on an airplane or to cashing a check. do you think that these comparisons are fair, and is it the real reason why he made this youtube clip, so he doesn't have to answer the tough questions? >> thomas, he was reading out of the republican playbook on this one. we've heard those talking points before. we heard them in 2011 and 2012 when states moved to disenfranchise voters through voter i.d., which we know is not necessary and actually, you know, we don't have cases of
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voter fraud that would be fixed by this. but what's also important is that this north carolina law is not just voter i.d. it is a bill that undermines democracy and equality in this country. it goes after most of the provisions of north carolina's election law, which will make it harder to vote. not only is it i.d., but also cutting same-day registration, cutting early voting. 70% of african-american voters in 2012 who voted, voted by early voting. we know this law is about making it harder to vote for those who turned out in record numbers in 2008 and 2012, namely african-americans, latinos, and young voters. it's much bigger than i.d. by the way, thomas, you actually don't need a state-issued photo i.d. to get on a plane, but that's another point. >> i want to play this for everybody. hillary clinton, former secretary of state, has not dipped her toes in the political
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waters. yesterday she did in a speech in san francisco while speaking at the annual american bar association conference. one of the topics she addressed specifically was voting rights in north carolina. take a look. >> legislators in north carolina have pushed through a bill that reads like the greatest hits of voter suppression. restricted early voting, no more same-day registration, or extending voting hours to accommodate long lines, stricter photo i.d. requirements that disqualify those issued by colleges. we've seen a sweeping effort across our country to obstruct new obstacles to voting. often under cover of addressing a phantom epidemic of election fraud. not every obstacle is related to race, but anyone who says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in american elections must not be paying attention. >> zach, is this the most on-the-record we've seen hillary clinton in terms of tipping her hat to wanting to run for the
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election in 2016 to be president? >> it's certainly one of the key signs she's made so far that suggests she may run. this was the first in a series of policy speeches she plans to give. we can expect some more. just to jump back to the north carolina issue, if i may, one of the things that i think is attracting a lot of outrage is the photo i.d. provision itself is stricter even than some of the other photo i.d. laws that other states have passed where it requires not only that you have a current valid state i.d., but that i.d. matches the name on your voter registration card, which is tripping up a lot of plaintiffs. >> michael, what do you make of this? we're looking at images that we remember from florida, the long voter lines that we had there in the last election. this is just going to be a precursor to what we might get coming up in north carolina. what do you make of the criticism against these laws and about the fact that hillary
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clinton has stepped out there publicly now and gotten political? >> well, first, with regard to the governor, i think he's made a gross miscalculation. notice, thomas, how he characterized the opposition to what he's done as coming from the extreme left. i'm not sure what the extreme left is, but i know i'm not a part of it. i'm just offended by this because it represents, i think, a changing or warping of the rules. i've long believed that in the 2020 campaign where it was romney against obama that this came back to haunt the gop because this became associated with the gop brand and the people who are not participasan extremes in the middle who said, this smells bad. it's not right. beat them fair and square at the election box, not by manipulating the polls. >> well, it was almost a dare. i dare you to try to take away my voeting rights. okay. i'm going to have to meet these burdens, which are ridiculous. it was almost a dare. so people did show up. we saw record numbers of people
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turning out. that was the whole reason why the supreme court felt and ruled the way it did, that the voting rights act was unnecessary for the oversight that pete was telling us about. then here we are. hardly the ink is dry on that ruling and here we see states reflexively pulling these muscular and discriminatory voting rights acts, tactics, that is. >> it's important to note that the north carolina legislature was still in session when the shelby county case was decided by the supreme court. this law, this proposed law had been pending. after that decision, they moved pretty swiftly to pass it. then for the governor to sign it. what's also important to know is that we are bringing this lawsuit under the voting rights act. we are asking the court actually to rule that they have also violated the constitution and we're trying to get them under the provision of the voting
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rights act that would require approval of any changes that they make, similar to what the justice department did in texas. we know that north carolina has a history of this. our main plaintiff is a woman who voted -- who registered to vote in the 1940s. she's 92 years old. she had to pass a literacy test where she had to recite the constitution, the preamble to the constitution. here it is all these years later, 70 years later, where we are going backwards, where she may not be able to vote because the state has passed a law that will not make elections free, fair, and accessible. >> how did they get around this being considered a poll tax? >> well, one of the ways they got around it is that the federal government, because of the supreme court's ruling in june, doesn't have the ability to force them to preclear the law. as judith was saying, the justice department can still sue under what's called section two of the law, which bars racial
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discrimination in voting, and maybe a court will decide this is too big of a burden on racial minorities. certainly, a major tool that the justice department used to have in its tool kit to challenge these kind of laws no longer exists. that's been a big factor. >> michael, do you think congress will take up a new and improved voting rights act? >> no. frustratingly, the answer is no. superficially, you look at this and say, of course they will. in the last reauthorization it was nearly unanimous. in fact, i think in the senate it was a 98-0 vote, so it was unanimous. it's one of those things where in the light of day, when you hold them accountable, they have to stand up. are you for the voting rights act? of course i'm for the voeting rights act. backstage where sausage is made, where now the heavy lifting has to get done, the gop controlled house is running for cover. there's nothing they'll do about it. what they ought to do is have a federal standard for federal elections. congressional, senate, and president have a uniform ballot. no more shenanigans. uniform rules of operation. that would be a big step
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forward. will that happen in the gop house? it won't. >> they had the responsibility of doing this, and they failed us. they failed the american people by not taking it up. >> they're underestimating the blow back. this isn't just a partisan issue. people will be so offended when the facts get out of what's being attempted. >> thanks for being here. good to have all of your insights on this topic. not going anywhere any time soon. within the next several hours, this other story we need to pass along where israel is expected to release 26 palestinian prisoners as it preps to resume long-stalled peace talks. this is a live picture coming from an israeli prison where they will be released. israel also announcing it's going ahead with plans to build 900 new housing units in eastern jerusalem. that's on top of the 1200 new settlement homes in east jerusalem in the west bank announced on sunday.
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nbc's ayman mohyeldin joins us live from cairo, egypt, where he's watching the developments in that region. ayman, let's start off with the prisoner release. it was part of this deal to resume the peace talks. as we say, those are fragile at best. now could israel's settlement construction derail those peace talks before they ever begin? >> reporter: well, that is certainly what is coming out of the palestinian side. palestinian negotiators say israel is not serious about negotiations because of the fact that it has already gone ahead and announced these new settlement constructions, which is a very sensitive topic for palestinians at large. they want the west bank in east jerusalem as territory for a future state. so any attempt to try to sabotage that with the announcement of new settlements is perceived as such by palestinian society at large and specifically palestinian negotiators. nonetheless, the u.s. administration is putting pressure on the palestinians to not react negatively and go to the tables tomorrow and see what that brings, which is also important given the fact that israel has announced that it is
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releasing these 26 prisoners tonight as a confidence-building measure. they want to indicate they are serious about these talks. despite the fact many of these palestinians being released have israeli blood on their hand, israel said it is going ahead despite the fact there was a legal attempt today to try to block the release of these prisoners. they're expected to be released within the hour to return to a hero's welcome in the west bank. certainly palestinians will be welcoming these 26 and many others as heroes. they also cite the number of nearly 5,000 palestinians that remain in israeli custody that they want released in a larger peace deal. thomas? >> ayman, stand by. we have now joining the conversation from washington "time" magazine senior correspondent michael crowley. john kerry got these negotiators together in washington last month. he's said that the palestinian president is committed to holding these peace talks with israel. so from your per spektdive, what you know from your sources, why
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would prime minister netanyahu potentially have put these talks in jeopardy at this stage? >> well, a lot of what happens around the talks -- i mean, we don't know for sure. a lot of it is posturing for domestic audiences. each side does things and reacts to the other side as part of somewhat of a choreographed dance. i think to some degree, you know, you see the settlement announcement around the same time as the prisoner release. that's probably not a coincidence. john kerry said these announcements were largely unsurprising. it might have been a little more than they were anticipating. i think to some degree what's happening here is each side has to show they're going into the negotiations where they're not caving, they're protecting the interests of their people, they're playing to their bases at home, so to speak. you know, the israelis would say a lot of settlement construction is in areas people think is going to be part of land swaps anyway, so it's not really blowing up the peace talks, at least for the people who sit
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around the table and look at the maps carefully and know what a final result is going to be like. i think a lot of what's happening around these talks will be for domestic audiences and maybe we should take it with a grain of salt. >> certainly secretary kerry, who's been pretty instrumental in getting to this point, would expect both sides to at least come to the table as honest brokers. israeli and palestinian negotiators, ayman, have set a goal for a peace deal to be reached within nine months. is that correct? >> reporter: that's correct. the negotiations are expected to at least last for nine months to deal with all of what are known as the core issues. now, the u.s. secretary of state was keen on saying that this is not a deadline, but this is the timeline that they want to try to address these. given the complexities of these negotiations, you can certainly rest assure that it is going to be used throughout the course of the nine months. the question really is going to be the kind of progress and the rate of progress that will emerge early on from the talks. many of the critics are saying that given the environment,
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given the climate, these talks are already set to fail given some of these recent announcements and developments on the ground. >> michael, what do you make of that timetable, nine months? as we know, every president over the last five decades has tried to broker deals just like what the hopes are anticipated out of this one. what do you think, nine months? >> well, you know, i think it's doable. i think to some degree, the issue is are these two leaders, are these two peoples kind of ready to make this leap. i don't know that the question is do they have enough time to grind it out. to some degree, it's are they really able to do it? i don't know that this will be decided by hashing out hundreds of little details. it's going to be a deep breath, holding hands and jumping. the climate is either there or it isn't. i mean, to some degree, the longer you let it drag on, the more you let events come in, maybe people want to use violence, terrorists who want to
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sabotage the progress have time to do that kind of thing. i think it's enough time. the question is really whether the political will is there. >> michael crowley from "time" magazine joining us and ayman mohyeldin live from cairo. gentlemen, thanks very much. we've seen these moments before. hopefully something better will come out of these peace talks again. we have this developing news coming to us now back here at home. want to take you to the jersey shore. that's where 16 lucky winners of last week's huge powerball jackpot have come forward. they are public employees who bought one of the three winning tickets to the $448 million prize. it's all part of a lottery pool that this gang was in. they're each going to take home just shy of $4 million after taxes. nbc's katy tur is in toms river new jersey making quick friends with the ocean 16, i hope. hi, katy. >> reporter: i'm trying to become quick friends with them. lord knows i could use some of
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that cash. we're expected to see them in about 15 minutes. they're going to show up, all 16 of them. they've been affectionately dubbed as the ocean 16. they're county workers here in ocean county at a vehicle maintenance garage. they're going to get about $3.8 million each. thomas, that may not be quite enough to completely retire on. in fact, a lot of them say they will be going back to work. they have been going to work since they've won. now, toms river, a little harbor where they bought the ticket, part of oceans county. it was hit really hard during hurricane sandy. so this is coming as a little bit of good news for the people around here. in fact, one of the winners was a victim of hurricane sandy. she had seven feet of water in her house. she's 63-year-old sue nichols. she says it's going to help her get back to normal. she's not retiring. she's about a year and a half to go before he gets her pension. she says she's going to allow, very nicely, her husband to retire, and she's going to make him her butler, which i think is a great idea. >> i think that is very kind of sue. it's always a woman's
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prerogative to change her mind. so after her husband retires, she could probably retire and feel pretty good about it. katy, thanks so much. >> reporter: i could be her butler. >> yes. again, you'll be making fast friends there. waiting for the ocean 16 to show up. we'll see their faces shortly. katy, we'll be back to you. another developing story from new jersey. just six hours left on voting to fill new jersey's open senate seat. while polls show that the newark mayor cory booker could win that today, he's now facing questions about his personal finances. and florida officials say the worst is over when it comes to that massive sink hole near disney as we hear more from the people inside the building when the ground literally opened up beneath them. look at that. >> things flying, glass flying, people jumping out of windows. >> as always, join our conversation on twitter. you can find us @newsnation.
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to florida now and the latest on that massive 100-foot sink hole that swallowed part of a resort near walt disney world. it is open for biusiness, and i doesn't appear the sink hole is getting any bigger. remarkably, nobody was injured. for that, people are praising the quick and heroic response of the security guard who jumped into action when he realized what was going on. >> the building was coming down so quickly. you don't have time to think. you just go knocking door to door and getting people out. the devastation there, if you saw it, the people inside wouldn't have made it. >> absolutely amazing. diana olick joins us from
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clairemont, florida. what's happening today at the site? they've made the announcement it's not getting any bigger. what are they doing to try to clean up that space? >> reporter: actually, early this morning we saw engineers rolling in. they were towing these very large drills. they parked behind what was left of that piece of the resort there, that one building. there are actually 53 buildings on this resort. they evacuated two around that. what they're going to do is drill down into the ground and see if they can determine how stable the land is around there, see if any of the other buildings are in danger. that's what developers generally do in florida before they start building. there are certain codes and building permits which say you need to drill and look in certain areas. the trouble with sink holes is they develop over time. while this resort is about 15 years old, 15 years ago there may have been no issues whatsoever. now, of course, we saw what happened. there are really actually now over 19,000 known sink holes in florida, which is some people call it sink hole central or the swiss cheese state because there are so many of them. in fact, many of the lakes we see in florida now were made
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from ancient sink holes. what some real estate experts are telling me is the situation is really getting worse over the past decade because of development. that is builders who are having to move farther out into different areas because there's just no more developable lots closer to cities, et cetera. so they're going out into land that may not be as stable as some of the lands they've already built on. we've seen this kind of activity in sink holes grow dramatically in the last five years. there are businesses who come in to remediate this for homeowners. they pump cement into the ground. it's just not going to go away any time soon. given the development here, it's likely to get worse. >> we're looking at these aerial images. it's amazing nobody was injured in this. so what's happened to the surrounding buildings of that spot of this resort? >> reporter: well, as i said, they've closed down two of them and evacuated them and are determining over the next couple of days whether or not they're going to reopen those buildings.
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the rest of the resort -- the quote this morning was we are open for business. we've spoken to folks around here, some who escaped from that building, i said, why are you still here? why would you want to be in a neighboring building? they said, look, you know, this is florida. we know what we're getting. it's mother nature. you do what you do. they're keeping their timeshares, some of them saying, in other parts of florida. they don't seem deterred by this given the possibilities here. >> the images are amazing. diana, thanks so much. appreciate the report. want to take everybody back to new jersey now. we were telling you about that press conference that's going to take place where the ocean 16 are. they're a group of people who bought one of the three lucky powerball winners. let's take a listen. >> tabitha long. [ applause ] brian mccarthy. where's brian? [ applause ] sue nichol.
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[ applause ] joe oderado. [ applause ] lisa prisudo. [ applause ] they love lisa because she bought the ticket. [ cheers and applause ] elaine sanchez. [ applause ] willie sealy. [ applause ] donna staton. [ applause ] these 16 people came to the lottery yesterday in a chartered bus and brought in the ticket. brian mccarthy brought the ticket in. he's the spokesperson for the group. we had them in our commission room waiting for the ticket to be validated. when the security officer walked in and said that's the winning ticket, you could have heard the cheers all the way down here to
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ocean county. this is the happiest group i've seen in a long, long time. i couldn't be more thrilled to ask brian mccarthy to come up here and speak a little for the group. [ cheers and applause ] >> look at us. look at this group of people here. i couldn't think of anyone else i'd rather be with right now. this is just an awesome group. we're truly blessed for what we received. it's just been great. i think i speak for all of us when we turn around and thank our director, mr. james bine. [ applause ] when we found out on thursday that we were the winners, it was a little bit of a roller coaster ride. his leadership and direction really kept us all focused and kept us protected from everyone out there that we really didn't want to see right away. but we are really blessed, and we want to thank everyone for all their support, our families and everyone else out there. on a personal note, i'd like to
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say a personal thank you. this is for a gentleman i used to work with, colonel anthony lashore with the national guard. i want to thank him for providing me with this opportunity to be at this place in my career and share this moment with these special people. thank you. cheers, everyone. [ applause ] >> i know you want to ask questions, but i want to introduce someone else who's here today. i want to the introduce the manager of the acme store, matt. he'd like to say a couple of words. [ applause ] >> so real fast, great job, lisa. look forward to seeing you again. it's been busy the last week since that happened. the lottery line has been getting it longer and longer. importantly, your winning ticket enabled us to give back to the community. not only have you won, the food bank in tuckerton and the local organizations we've been
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donating to the last couple weeks have been the real winners. being in the company for 32 years and the company being in tuckerton for 47 years and seeing what happened with superstorm sandy last year, it couldn't happen to a better group of people. congratulations. best of luck. god bless. thank you. [ applause ] >> thanks, matt. each store that sells a winning ticket gets a $30,000 bonus commission. the super stop and shop received their $30,000 commission and made an announcement last week that they were using funds to support their favorite charity. it's nice to hear that not only does the lottery do good work with the revenue that it earns to support state education and institutions, but even our beneficiaries and our retailers continue those good works. so with that, i'll open this up for some questions. i think there might be some questions that you might want to ask of some of our group. i know one question that
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everybody had was, lisa buying the ticket at the acme, can you tell us why you bought the tickets there that day or where do you usually buy them? and is everybody thanking you for buying that ticket at that time? >> yes, they are. >> can you come to the microphone a minute? [ applause ] >> thank you. honestly, i went to acme that day to pick up our group tickets because i needed to pick up my prescriptions from the pharmacy, and i needed to pick up a few things for dinner. so acme it was. >> do you always buy tickets together as a group? >> as a group, not always. when the jackpot gets big. we play when the jackpot gets big. >> how many times in the past have you all gone in together, approximately? >> oh, guys?
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>> six years. >> quite a few years. five, six. >> are there some people that work in the same division who did not opt to go in with you? >> it's the same group. we're the same group. >> let me just mention that when i spoke with brian mccarthy the other day and talked about the pool, i asked him about the pool members because we always give advice that people should know who's in the pool. they ought to write the names down, make copies of the front and back of the tickets before and after the draw. so everybody knows how many tickets were purchased and what tickets they are. brian told me that's exactly what they did. they did everything right. they knew who was in their pool. they had a list. they all had copies of the tickets. they were able to check right away and know they were the winners. >> is anyone going to retire
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now? [ applause ] >> can you come up to it the mic f -- up to the mic for a second and talk? >> that's what happens when you raise your happened. >> what's your name, sir? >> joe. >> tell us what your thinking is here. >> just a miracle and shocking, and after 34 years and almost retirement last year, this happens. you just don't have another choice. [ applause ] >> barbara, would you come up and talk about your father's efforts to start the lottery? >> this is truly a miracle.
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i lost both my parents in a very short period of time the last two years of each other. when this -- when we actually hit this lottery, i not even in my mind did i remember my father was the father of the lottery. when i called my sister to tell her, she said, oh, my gosh, barb, dad is just smiling down. she said it's his lottery. i said, oh, my god. your mind is just everywhere else. but my father was bigger than life. he was always my hero. i couldn't ask for a better dad. i wish he was here to share in the moment. the only thing i wanted to do that next morning was pick up the phone and call him and call my mom, and then i realized i couldn't do that. but this is a real special moment, and i thank you all. [ cheers and applause ]
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>> god bless america! [ applause ] >> when i met barbara the other day and found out she was john brown's daughter, the two of us were brought to tears thinks about just what kind of fate is it that brings it together like this. i can't explain it. some people would say he was smiling down from heaven. i believe that. i think one of our other members, willie, wanted to say something. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> my fellow americans -- i just wanted -- this is my best outfit. as most of y'all know, we decided it's not there yet, but
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a tornado went through the town just north of where i live. i was out on the fire truck, so i was a little late getting here today. i met with barb. i lost my mom to cancer. my dad is going through it right now. that was the first place i stopped, pop's house. started crying in front of him and told him i loved him and you got nothing to worry about now except getting better. so we're a happy bunch. we're very happy, happy, happy. some of my friends would say. we got some great camping at bakers acres down at the shore. i had to plug that in. i'm just going to continue watching nascar racing sunday. maybe i'll be at my log cabin on multiple acres of land. i don't want to be -- i could stay up here and talk -- i didn't do it. >> you better pay for it! >> i think i can afford it.
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maybe more air-conditioning in here. i would just like to thank everybody. everybody's been so overwhelming to us all. it's -- just happy, happy, happy. thank you. [ applause ] >> so before we totally destroy the equipment -- >> is anyone else quitting their job? >> is anyone quitting their job? >> that's right, willie! >> could be a possibility. >> i know susan was a victim of hurricane sandy. >> who are the victims of hurricane sandy, that had property damage? sue did. >> would someone be able to come to the mic and talk about -- [ inaudible ]. [ applause ] >> what's your name? >> darlene.
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>> what's your last name? >> ricco. we lost our home in the storm. i was just renting. we lived there for five years, me and my daughter. now i stay with my brother for a few months and got a little apartment above a store front. so the first thing i'm going to do is buy me and my daughter a home and bring my dog back home. [ applause ] >> what does that feel like for you? >> i don't even have words to explain. when i found out that we won, i was just -- i was speechless. i thought they were joking with me. i thought it was like the worst joke ever. i even woke up in the morning just assuming we didn't win. yeah, i'm still in shock. >> to go from being very unlucky to one of the luckiest people on the planet, i mean, that's got
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to be incredible. >> it has been an extremely rough year since then. but i did -- when we lost everything, this whole group here and everybody i work with really pulled together and helped me through. so i mean, this has been a great family for me. >> you guys going to stay friends? >> oh, yeah. we have a bond now. we definitely -- >> first party's at my cabin. >> all right. we've been watching the ocean 16. what a lucky cast of characters we've been witnessing here. i don't know if we were watching an episode for future players of "duck dynasty" or whether or not they're going to make a reality show, but these guys are a really, really nice group. i think we heard our katy tur there asking from the back of the room about what a rough year it's been. about five hands came up out of 16 who suffered damage from superstorm sandy. the young lady up there talking now lost her home. she said she was renting. as it boils down, they're going to walk away with about $86
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million split between these 16 public service workers. roughly about $3.8 million apiece. we heard from lisa -- i didn't catch her last name. she bought the ticket. also, one of the other ladies who came up to the microphone, her mom was instrumental in bringing powerball to new jersey, the father of the lottery. so it was fate. we're going to be back with much more after this. getting your vegetables every day? when i can. [ bop ] [ male announcer ] could've had a v8. two full servings of vegetables for only 50 delicious calories. the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ ♪ honey, we need to talk. we do? i took the trash out. i know. and thank you so much for that.
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the stoppins the president's go to make? >> reporter: thomas, good afternoon. we understand he's going to make several stops next week, including to scranton, buffalo, syracuse, and binghamton. the white house hasn't confirmed those stops yet. we do know that he's going to be traveling to those places to talk about the economy. this is really a part of his broader economy tour. as you'll recall before he started vacation, he made a number of stops, five total, talking about the economy, mapping out policies he would like to see. he called for winding down fannie mae and freddie mac, decreasing the corporate tax rate as a way to invest in infrastructure projects and create jobs. i'm told by one white house official we can expect him to announce some new plans during that trip next week. no word on what those specifics are yet. we'll have to wait and see. but of course, thomas, the broader goal here is to really tee up the budget battles he's going to be having with republicans in the fall, including the budget showdown,
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the debt ceiling debate. i can tell you that republicans are already starting to drive their own narrative, sending out e-mails accusing the president of campaigning instead of legislating. so the rhetoric has already begun, even though congress is not back in session until september. and i expect president obama, leading up to september and congress returning, will continue to make these trips talking about the economy, talking about ways to improve job growth. thomas? >> kristen, i want you to switch gears. what's going on with the weather? this is supposed to be a vacati vacation. >> reporter: supposed to be a vacation. it is raining. >> is it a downpour or what? >> reporter: we have our umbrella. it's been quite a downpour today. we've been inside for most of the day. although, my producer shawna thomas did venture out for a quick bike ride. it has just been a downpour for most of the day.
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quite unpleasant. that might be why president obama went to have lunch. he got a lot of comfort food. >> comfort food on a rainy day. kristen welker reporting from martha's vineyard. thanks so much. >> reporter: thank you. our first read team notes with president obama on martha's vineyard and john boehner's on the congress recess. it's giving them time and space to ponder what are to do after a disappointing spring and summer. joining me now, nbc news senior political editor mark murray. first read is putting out that the president is still searching for a notable second-term legislative achievement, something rond raald reagan wase to accomplish, tax reform. talk about what the president is going to be trying to do after his vacation. he's trying to hit the road. he wants to drum up support for what he wants this congress to do when they get back. >> thomas, there are two big initiatives. first it's immigration reform. a lot of that's out of his
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hands. that's in the hands of the house of representatives. he's going to be able to hope to use any kind of power at his disposal, whether it's persuasion, to be able to convince in some form or fashion for house republicans to take up the immigration legislation that the senate passed several weeks ago. the other thing is the budget battles going on. funding the government, raising the debt ceiling, and maybe being able to finally come to an agreement on getting rid of sequestration, having a deal that is a compromise deal with republicans and tries to make everyone happy. of course, we've seen so many attempts at a grand bargain. they've all failed. thomas, this is the time to regroup. we're seeing how republicans regroup to see what their strategy's going to be. this is almost going back to the drawing board time. >> let's talk about the government shutdown. the timing of that, as i understand it, would be the end of september with the ultimate goal trying to defund obama care. open enrollment begins on october 1st.
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>> that's right. we've seen a lot of rhetoric from republicans who say they want to defund obama care, and they're holding that and threatening to shut down the federal government. one development we've seen over the past three or four days now, thomas, is that a lot of republicans seem to be very hesitant to making that kind of move, noting they only control the house of representatives, not the united states senate, and any type of move to defund obama care resulting in the shutting of the government would not only blame them but be futile because they can't do anything in the united states senate. that's a situation right now. >> mark, thank you. coming up, does paula deen have a chance to save her empire now that a judge has dismissed the racial discrimination lawsuit against her. we've been bringing people together. today, we'd like people to come together on something that concerns all of us. obesity. and as the nation's leading beverage company,
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we can play an important role. that includes continually providing more options. giving people easy ways to help make informed choices. and offering portion controlled versions of our most popular drinks. it also means working with our industry to voluntarily change what's offered in schools. but beating obesity will take continued action by all of us, based on one simple common sense fact... all calories count. and if you eat and drink more calories than you burn off, you'll gain weight. that goes for coca-cola, and everything else with calories. finding a solution will take all of us. but at coca-cola, we know when people come together, good things happen. to learn more, visit coke.com/comingtogether
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a federal roadblock for a major airline merger tops our look at the stories around the
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news nation today. the justice department is joining six states to challenge a proposed merger between u.s. airways with and american airlines. the doj says the merger, which would create the world's larger airline, would mean higher fares and less competition would be born. american insists it would provide industry competition. a medical examiner is performing an autopsy on the georgia man who fell to his death at last night's atlanta braves game. it appears to be an accident. the victim's family says they're considering to get a lawyer. it is time for the "news nation" gut check. the racial discrimination suit against paula deen has been thrown out. this lawsuit was filed by a former manager at a georgia restaurant owned by deen and her brother bubba. it claimed both sexual and racial discrimination. now a federal judge has thrown out the part involving alleged racial bias, only leaving sexual harassment, saying that deen's
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accuser was white and not the target of that racial discrimination. nbc's mara salchiavocampo has t story. >> reporter: paula deen's public persona may be in tatters, but now she scored a legal victory. the judge's ruling says the former employee is, quote, not an aggrieved party when it comes to alleged racial discrimination at uncle bubba's seafood and oyster house, specially because jackson is white, she has no standing to sue over alleged racial bias aimed at african-americans. >> if you allowed everybody to sue under the statute, then the flood gates of the entire court system would open up. >> reporter: a lawyer for jackson had no comment on the ruling. but deen released a statement saying she's, quote, confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness, and fairness for everyone. but the damage in the court of public opinion has been extreme. in a deposition stemming from the lawsuit, deen admitted to
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using racial slurs in the past. that led to online apologies -- >> i beg for your forgiveness. >> reporter: -- and to an emotional "today" show interview with matt. >> are you a racist? >> no. no, i'm not. if there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you're out there, please pick up that stone and throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. >> reporter: after that appearance, qvc cut ties with deen, joining other former business partners, including the food network, target, and home depot. but despite the fallout, deen still has plenty of supporters. >> it has nothing to do with today. people say things all the time they don't mean. >> she's a nice lady. they need to leave her alone and let her go about her business. >> that was mara schiavocampo reporting.
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the food network had no comment about this, while sears is saying its position has not changed. what does your gut tell you? do you think the dismissal of the lawsuit is going to help her rebuild her reputation? go to facebook.com/newsnation to cast your vote. that's going to do it for this edition of "news nation." i'm thomas roberts. "the cycle" comes your way next. s sit down with you and ask. being active. and being with this guy. [ male announcer ] getting to know you is how we help you choose the humana medicare plan that works best for you. mi familia. ♪ [ male announcer ] we want to help you achieve your best health, so you can keep doing the things that are important to you. taking care of our customers. taking care of her. and the next thing on our list is bungee jumping. [ male announcer ] helping you... now that's what's important to us. folks have suffered from frequent heartburn. but getting heartburn and then treating day after day is a thing of the past. block the acid with prilosec otc, and don't get heartburn in the first place.
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declaring war on the war on drugs. i'm krystal ball. who's really on the front lines of this new battle, and what will mission accomplished look like? we thought new york politics were all about sex and sleaze. seems like you're kind of right. let's go to new jersey. today in the guest spot, a young democrat who comes from a remote part of west virginia. he's christian, but he's also gay. we're not the only ones out there who think he could be the next big thing in politics. if you watch this show often, you're well aware that krystal has that elusive sports gene, but can anyone develop it? even, say, other people on this
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show? ♪ federal prosecutors across the nation are starting to implement attorney general eric holder's two-step plan to declare war on the war on drugs. first, the feds will stop charging many nonviolent drug offenders with offenses that are tied to mandatory minimum sentences. instead of default imprisonment, holder wants the focus on these offenders to be on drug treatment. last year alone, 60% of federal drug offenders received mandatory minimum sentences. step two is to get congress to act on a bill giving judges greater discretion in sentencing. but with congress being congress, let's focus on step one. 17 states are already doing something similar to what holder is suggesting, by diverting taxpayer money away from prisons and toward drug treatment and supervision for repeat

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