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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  August 25, 2013 9:00am-11:01am PDT

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heartburn relief that neutralizes acid on contact and goes to work in seconds. ♪ tum, tum tum tum tums! chemical reaction is the u.s. poised for a military strike against syria? new details today on a developing situation at this hour. blood on that bridge in salma, alabama for the right to vote. >> stirring words and a call to action. will this march on washington affect change, especially when it comes to voting rights? the burden of history, what should the president say to the nation this week? 50 years after martin luther king's "i have a dream" speech. in florida, the saga of a teenage girl and her underage love interest takes a new twist. we'll tell you what she did that landed her in jail. hello, everyone, it's high noon in the east and 9:00 in the
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west. i'm mara schiavocampo in for alex witt. developing news out of syria right now, the syrian government reached an agreement with the united nations to allow inspectors to visit the site of an alleged chemical attack last week. word just a short time ago from a u.n. spokesman saying inspections will begin tomorrow. a senior white house official tells nbc news the decision by the syrian government is, quote, too late to be credible and says any evidence has likely been damaged or destroyed by continued bombings. meanwhile, the syrian government warned that any military intervention by the united states would set the middle east aflame and iran says u.s. action would have severe consequences. this morning, republican senator bob corker called for a surgical response. >> i hope the president, as soon as we get back to washington, will ask for authorization from congress to do something in a very surgical and proportional way. something that gets their attention, that causes them to understand that we are not going to put up with this kind of activity.
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>> the u.s. navy moved a fourth ship armed with cruise missiles into the eastern mediterranean sea this weekend. this morning, defense secretary chuck hagel said they are ready to act if the order is given. >> president obama has asked the defense department to prepare options for all contingencies. we have done that. and again, we are prepared to exercise whatever option, if he decides to employ one of those options. >> we have two reports on these new developments. nbc news's kristen welker and amaa reporter also. what's the latest and what are the options being considered. >> reporter: the white house, you're absolutely right, saying
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there's little doubt that chemical weapons were being used by the assad regime. they're reacting to the fact that the syrian government will let u.n. inspectors into the alleged site of the chemical weapons attack. the white house expressing concern that it could be too little too late. they say that area has been shelled for five straight days. here's a statement from the administration, an administration official, that we just got this morning. this avenue says, quote, at this juncture, any belated decision by the regime to gran access would be considered to late to be credible including because the evidence available has been significantly corrupted as a result of the regime's persist enept shelling and other international actions over the last five days. so some real doubts about how much the u.n. inspectors are going to actually be able to corroborate the fact that chemical weapons or the allegations that chemical weapons were used by the assad regime. we know high-level meetings have been going on for days here at the white house. president obama met with his national security team on
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saturday. high level meetings ongoing throughout the day as the administration tries to figure out how to respond. we know that they are considering a number of possibilities, strikes from those cruise ships as you just talked about, a potential possibility. we know that president obama has ruled out the possibility of putting boots on the ground at this point in time. we also know that they are not considering imposing a no-fly zone. those two options really off the table. but the question is what happens next? there is increasing pressure, mara, for this administration to do something as the death toll mounts in syria. mara? >> kristen, a new reuters ipsos poll taken finds that only 25% of americans would support u.s. intervention if it turns out the assad government is guilty. is u.s. public opinion a factor in the white house's decision on this? >> reporter: well, look, i think this is something that has certainly been at the backdrop of these negotiations. for the past several months, this administration is acutely
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aware of the fact that the nation is war weary in the wake of the war in iraq and afghanistan, as that war continues to wind down. so it is something that the administration is mindful of, the president certainly proceeding with caution. he doesn't want to repeat mistakes that were made in the past. he doesn't want to act without having all of facts. that's what the white house says. that is why you're seeing a deliberative response. that is why the president is saying he's not going to make a definitive decision until he knows exactly what happened and has absolute confirmation about the fact that chemical weapons were used by the assad regime. mara, meetings continue to go on at the white house behind the scenes. mara. >> kristen welker, live at the white house, thanks so much. we go to cairo. ayman, iran has reportedly warned that the u.s. should not cross syria's red line. what's the feeling in the middle east about where this crisis is heading?
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>> reporter: certainly it's a situation that is rapidly escalating beyond syria's borders. when you take a look at some of the syria's regimes a lot of the fighters are coming from outside syria, including its close ally in iran and hezbollah. there is a growing concern that any military action against the syrian government that could destabilize the government or the in the region would have a knockoff affect on syria's allies. a senior iranian lawmaker has come out and warned that this kind of regional conflict would be a disaster for the united states and regional allies. it's almost impossible to predict how this would unfold, to what extent would these allies come to the defense of the syrian regime by attacking either u.s. facilities, u.s. interests or u.s. allies. and there are plenty of them across the middle east all within the vicinity of iran and hezbollah. it is a serious situation that has gripped the attention of
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many people here but at the same time, the humanitarian situation has spilled beyond the bored he's of syria and it has become the most pressing humanitarian issue in the region, including countries like jordan, turkey, iraq, and lebanon. that has put a strain on a lot of the countries that are close al lilies of the united states. as the days go ahead, it is a serious consideration on the minds of the leaders in many of the countries. >> thank you. turning now to politics, and the rallying cry for voting rights still resonating today after saturday's march on washington. >> i gave blood on that bridge in salma, alabama, for the right to vote. i am not going to stand by and let the supreme court take the right to vote away from us.
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you cannot stand by, you cannot sit down, you've got to stand up, speak up, speak out and get in the way! >> joining me now, reuters d.c. correspondent andy sullivan and "the washington post's" emily heil. thank you for being here. it was suggested that there was gop support for replacing the anti-discrimination providings in the voting rights act. is it that there will be bipartisan support on this or does it look like it will be more of a partisan showdown? >> i think there's probably going to be some partisanship at play. it's difficult to imagine anything not feeling partisan right now. and certainly attorney general eric holder has a number of republican critics who find fault in just about everything he does. so i'm sure there's going to be some partisanship here but i think there will be some gop support for this. it was interesting, i was down
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at the mall yesterday, while i didn't hear eric holder speak, i understand he got a bunch of applause for his lines about voting rights. he was not quite as strong as congressman lew but he made it clear this was going to be a priority for him. >> the justice department, speaking of holder is suing texas over the new voter law. they wrote it's good to see the justice department so emphatically oppose laws that would check minority rights. unfortunately, fighting them is far easier said than done. how much can the department of justice do without the preclearance provision that was struck from the voting rights act? >> they can challenge these provisions, it just gets more difficult. in particular, in texas, which passed a voter i.d. law and redistricting plan last year, and the justice department was able to preemptively block them under the law as it was written. the supreme court struck down that part of the law and so the justice department is now
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returning using another section of the law saying we're still going to go after these provisi provisions, but right now they have to fight the law which is already in place, which is more difficult. they basically have one tool in their tool chest that's been removed. they still are showing it is a priority. >> i want to switch gears to this talk about impeachment. i want to play what senator tom coburn who calls president obama a friend said wednesday at a town hall. let's listen. >> you have to establish the criteria that would qualify for proceedings against the president. and that's called impeachment. those are serious things but we're at a serious time. and so whether -- i don't have the legal background to know if that rises to high crimes and misdemeanors. but i think they're getting perilously close. >> what are coburn and other republicans talking about here? what specific things do they believe the president has done that might be impeachable offenses or is this whole thing
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really just more about being a dog whistle for base. >> they're fuzzy on the details. >> that's a problem here. >> right, right, right. that's kind of the crux of it. they haven't been specific about what high crimes and misdemeanors the president may have committed. they're also unclear about the process they would use to actually impeach the president. i have to think that for some people, you know, they really do believe this. but it is used as a political ploy some some instances. this goes back to the presidency of george bush. we heard a lot of the same -- it's almost the exact same sort of scenario. you had some people on the far left in congress talking about impeaching president bush. and you had the leaders of their parties saying, we're not really interested in that. that's a side show, a side track. but for republicans it seems to be a fever dream they can't shake, that they really want to impeach this president. it seems odd, there's certainly one way to get rid of a president who's unpopular and incompetent. that's through an election.
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and i think obviously, that ship has sailed. >> and andy, you know, just to touch upon that if you could follow up on that, prior to the recent election, the gop way to go forward was to try to defeat him in this election, in fact some of them said it was their soul priority. we know that didn't happen. what should we be doing to making sure they are making gains in 2014 and 2016. is this the way to win elections? >> no, it's not, mara. i think the impeachment story is overblown. everybody is out of town. there's no real news. if you look at what senator coburn is saying, he's not specifically calling for impeachment. this idea has no support among republican leaders because they know it would blow up in their faces like it did in the 1990s. you see republicans stepping back from these confrontations.
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they know impeachment, shutting down the government to block obama care are not popular among voters. they're stepping back. you've seen john boehner say we're not going to shut down the government. we're going to keep it going when we return. i was just in a few town hall meetings in texas this past week and i was struck by how much they seemed to be looking for a solution immigration. they're saying we're not going to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants but they're saying we're going to look at options to make the system more workable. and the people i have spoken to see this as a positive sign for immigration. >> important points there. reuters emily sullivan and "the washington post's" emily heil. thank you for being here. >> my pleasure. >> thank you. we go to weather now, and the fight that's trying to contain one of the largest fires in history. they could also be fighting the weather. nbc meteorologist diylan dreyer
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joins me. >> it's hot, it's dry, we're not going to see rain anytime soon. humidity is down around 20% to 25%. any random thunderstorms that do develop are dry in nature meaning you get the lightning but you don't get the rain that comes with it. the lightning is what's triggering some of the fires. on top of that, you have wind gusts up to 25 to 40 miles per hour, helps to fuel the flames. it's hot, too, temperatures will be in the mid-80s and we're not going to see a whole lot of improvement in the areas through california and into parts of the west. but further to the southwest, that's where we have most of the rain, actually the remnants of what was tropical storm evo, that is going to make its way into the southwest over the course of the next couple of days. as that moisture streams in from the southwest, that's going to problem perhaps up to 3 to 4 inches of rainfall in the desert southwest. that could lead to flooding. we have flash flood watches and
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warnings in that region over the course of today and into tomorrow as well. the heat is on in the middle of the country. we're looking at temperatures to be well above average by about 15 degrees. we're not breaking records here but it is going to be up around 100 degrees in parts of the upper midwest and plains. that is going to spread eastward as we go into tomorrow with chicago getting back into the lower 90s. the east coast is enjoying the nice dry weather with sunshine. low humidity and temperatures staying around 80. mara? >> dylan, thanks so much for that. bradley manning is now chelsea manning. is leavenworth prison legally obligated to grant the prisoner gender re-assignment surgery? and is she in any danger in a men's prison?
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chelsea manning has now begun her prison term at the army's ft. leavenworth where
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she's been sentenced to 35 years. the already politicized case became more complicated last week where manning formerly known as bradley announced that he was now identifying as a woman and requested that the military provide hormone therapy. joining me now is a professor at st. mary's university school of law and director of its center for terrorism law and retired lieutenant colonel in the army. thanks so much for being here this afternoon. >> my pleasure. >> i want to get your reaction to manning's sentence, 35 years with the possibility of parole in seven years. does that fit the crime in your opinion. >> no, it doesn't. the defense counsel was shrewd, they elected to go with a judge and not the jury. they got a judge that gave a light sentence, considering the fact that he's eligible for parole in the military system he'll probably get it, so we'll be out in the streets in about seven to eight years. we wanted to send a signal of det
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deterrence. >> and in terms of now his mission to basically -- i don't know how far he wants to go in reassigning his gender but he is asking for hormone therapy. the military doesn't provide hormone therapy or sex reassignment surgery. manning's attorney says he's going to do everything in his power to get this for manning. >> it's curious he decided to change his identification right when the sentence came out. he's an air began the person and all criminals are arrogant. this is his brand of arrogance. i've checked the d.o.d. regulations, the military is under no obligation to provide medical expenses associated with his desires to change from one sex to the other. you know, he can probably make that announcement all he wants to. we're using the he/she here. we're all saying, like, really? >> the reason i'm using she is
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because that's what his request was through his attorney. we're trying to honor that request. you were talking about the motivation, you say clearly he's arrogant. do you think it's that or is there a big concern on her part she will spend the next seven years in a male facility. >> i don't coddle criminals. here's your suit, your jail cell, have a nice day. that should be the approach of most americans. this is outrageous that we should coddle this criminal. the job in the military is not to engage in this type of supersillious activity. let's move on, love him up, and hopefully that will be a deterrence to others. >> do you i this the government has responsibility to protect his security in being in an all-male facility if he -- she rather -- identifies as a woman, that there could be questions about her safety and there is an
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obligation to protect them from imminent harm. >> he's a male, he has male genitalia. he's going in to serve with males. if i'm convicted i can say i'm a female, throw me in with the female prisoners. we can't bring ourselves down to the level of these type of criminal -- he's a criminal, a convicted criminal. he doesn't have these rights. his right is to go to jail and serve your time, we'll protect you as we protect any other prisoner, have a nice day. >> there are also two other options that are being tossed around, one is transferring her to a nonmilitary person where there are designated wards for transgender facilities. the other is offering to let her serve her time isolated. what do you think about that? >> no and no. >> 40% of fortune 1,000
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and now today's list of number ones. we begin with popular plastic. american express is deemed america's favorite credit card. that's the seventh straight year american express has topped the j.d. powers survey of credit card customers. discover card is the runner-up and chase is third. > ♪ yahoo!
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yahoo!'s 196.5 million visitors last month beat out google by about 4 million to claim the top spot for the first time in more than two years. microsoft websites came in third with about 180 million visits followed by 142 million for facebook and 117 million for aol. he's one of the most powerful men in congress, now he tips the hill newspaper's list of the richest on capitol hill. as of 2012 darrell issa amassed an estimated fortune of at least $355 million. he overtakes michael mccaul of texas who slumped to second with just over $100 million after losing two-thirds of his net wealth mark warner is third wealthiest with 88.5 million. >> i don't think -- >> with his political wit jon stewart is laughing all the way to the bank with estimated
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earnings between $25 million and $30 million a year. but he's still a distant second on a new tv guide earnings list. judge judy is the highest paid person on tv with a massive $47 million annual paycheck. and those are your number ones. [ male announcer ] these days, a small business can save by sharing.
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unlimited talk and text on smart phones. now, everyone's in the spirit of sharing. hey, can i borrow your boat this weekend? no. [ male announcer ] share more. save more. at&t mobile share for business. ♪ welcome back to weekend's with alex witt, i'm mara schiavocampo in for alex. a lawyer representing amanda knox says she will not return to italy. she and her exboyfriend will be tried for the murder of meredith kircher. she's not required by law to attend the retrial. donald trump is being sued by the state of new york over trump university. new york's attorney general says they steered the students into mostly useless seminars.
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trump says the attorney general is trying to extort him with a civil lawsuit. the join the panda that gave birth to a healthy cub on friday delivered a stillborn cub yesterday. the first cub appears to be doing well. we turn to california and one of the wildest wildfires ever. the destruction is staggering. tom costello has the latest. >> reporter: good day from california. this is one of the biggest fires in state history, the latest numbers we have, 135,000 acres, about 205 square miles or so. that is about the size of the city of chicago. and the biggest concern here continues to be the winds with kick up in the afternoon and into the early evenings, 30 to 40 miles an hour. they pick up the embers that helps fan the flames and anxiety of the people who live in this area and watch nervously from nearby ridge and rooftops to see the fire and spoke approaching ever so slightly and in some
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cases so quickly. as for yosemite, the fire remains in the northwest corner of the park. it is in no way jeopardizing or close to those tourist areas of park but the fire and concentration of the firefighters is really north and west of that location in the small towns in which we have about 6,600 people under an evacuation advisory. that is not an order, it's an advisor advisory. it tells you the of the severity of the issue here and the concern. it is not contained, 8% contained only. they have a long way to go to fight this fire. thankfully and fortunately, so far we have no serious injuries or deaths. mara, back to you. >> tom costello, thanks so much for that. on wednesday, 50 years to the day since martin luther king jr. declared he had a dream, president obama will stand in king's footsteps at the lincoln memorial and deliver his own speech. tens of thousands gathered saturday in washington to commemorate the anniversary. the speeches from civil rights
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leaders and politicians were celebratory but they also issued a call for the fight to continue. >> it is our moral obligation to pay it forward. >> we must stand up and fight the good fight as we march today. >> the task is not done. the journey is not complete. >> it's time to march for a new america! >> joining me now is james peterson, director of africana studies and presidential historian, dennis berkelrinkley. thank you for being here. >> thanks, mara. >> before we get to president obama's speech, let's talk about yesterday. what was your reaction to that event. >> it was an incredible event, exciting to be there, exciting for our network to be there, to be honest with you. to be able to engage our fans and to engage the american people directly i think was very, very powerful. i was excited to have my family
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there. literally, mara, it was like history was walking around. you could speak to other congressional members of the congressional black caucus, reverend jesse jackson, reverend sharpton was there and activists and organizers from all over this country were there, all to both commemorate and think critically about how we continue the legacy of the kind of activism that was generated through this march and around this march 50 years ago. i was moved, excited to be there and i'm also energized and galvanized having been there this weekend. >> a lot of people did bring their families, young kids, people wanting to share that moment with them. douglas, president obama is speaking on wednesday. he doesn't often speak about race. there was the 2008 speech in philadelphia and recently he addressed the george zimmerman trial. how has this president handled the issue of race and how does it compare to his predecessors. >> i don't think there's anybody to compare him to because he's the only nonwhite president
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we've had. i think he deals with race well all the time. you know, he did weigh in on the trayvon martin recently, yesterday, julian bond connected emmett till to trayvon martin. many at the rally did, too. i will be curious if he talks about trayvon martin. barack obama this week went to seneca falls where the women's movement began. in his second inaugural he connected sealma voting rights. i think we'll be looking at a speech like the second inaugural that has great hope and aspirations like martin luther king jr. but connects it to a larger struggle for human rights. >> and james, you know, we heard douglas mention the obvious, this is the first black president. because of that, because of his unique position, a lot of people have on wwondered throughout hi first term and now second if he has a special obligation to the african-american community and
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to address the issues of race. >> i don't think it's a special obligation. i think it's a special opportunity. if you look back at his comments around the trayvon martin situation, it was important for the nation to understand that the president of the united states had a personal connection to profiling and the kinds of ideologies that lead to laws like stand your ground. so he has a unique opportunity to address issues from a perspective that's more connected to the long history of race here in the united states. what i'd like to see on wednesday, though, is for the president to divvy up the tasks across the other speaker. so i'd love to see president carter speaking about international and foreign affairs, the challenges in egypt. i'd love to see president clinton speaking about the economic challenges and all the different ways in which globalization affects poor and people of color around the world, particularly in this nation. i'd love for the president to focus on wroting rights act, the criminal justice system, the work he's been doing and the work attorney general eric holder has been doing to address the challenge here in the united states. >> douglas, i want to read to
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you from an op-ed written by tavis smily where he argues that president obama needs to be more like martin luther king. this is what he wrote, a thermostat, not just a thermometer, he should use his power and not settle for recording the temperature of public opinion. it's time to take some risks. what's your take on that? >> i agree with tavis smily on that. i think the president probably will. you're seeing it already. eric holder, attorney general spoke there yesterday, strong words about the state i'm in. the federal government is suing texas right now. i think you'll see the president echoing attorney general holder in this idea that we are going to defend the voting rights act of 1965. it was a jewel of the civil rights movement. and the president will have to weigh in very mightily on this. you see it happening already with the justice department going after texas. >> and james, i want to take a
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quick listen to john lewis yesterday and we'll talk on the other side of it. >> i am not going to stand by and let the supreme court take the right to vote away from us. you cannot stand by. you cannot sit down. you have to stand up, speak up, speak out and get in the way. make some noise. >> james,voting rights the first priority in this fight? >> i believe voting rights is the first forefront simply because if you look at what's going on in different states with voter i.d. laws, shortening events, i really feel like that is a battle front we have to stay focused on. at the same time, there's two things we have to also consider with that, one, in the
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meanwhile, people have to get i.d.s. we may not be able to challenge every single voter i.d. law. we have to have organizers work around getting other folk and people that don't have the state issued i.d.s to get them. we need to beat the dream about engaging in elections that are not national elections. we need greater participation in the midterm elections. we need everyone to become super voters essentially which means we want folks to participate in all the elections. all of those things are important when you look at the different challenges we're faced with as a nation right now. >> one of the other big civil rights issues of our time is the right for same-sex marriage. do you think the civil rights community at large has embraced that particular battle? >> i think they have, julien bond who has been outspoken on that and taken a leadership role, so has joe biden and the president of the united states, you might see the president evoking gay rights, gay marriage tomorrow. right before the election, he went to caesar chavez's grave,
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and prayed, barack obama and sat with the widow of caesar chavez. yes, we can, coming from the chavez movement. it might be an opportunity to bring the latino movement into the fold and have a talk about the poverty situation, that no one should be afraid of a midnight knock on the door. there's a lot of opportunity for the president. again, reread the second inaugural and i think this will almost be a component speech to the social justice part of what i thought was an excellent second inaugural. >> you know, it will be interesting to see how he ties the issues together. finally, james, i want to get to something i found interesting from "the washington post." they issued a mea culpa, turning out the "post" missed a lot of things in their coverage in 1963. they were forthcoming about this. the front page lead story in 1963 about the march didn't mention martin luther king jr. or his speech. the words "i have a dream" appeared once on a-15 in the
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fifth paragraph. did people really grasp the significance of what was happening at the time or have we been able to appreciate that more through the lens of history. >> mainstream media did not grasp it. people were afraid and a little bit concerned about how this exactly was going to unfold. once it was peaceful and successful, there was probably chagrin at the fact that it didn't end up being a disaster the way some were predicting. mainstream media may have gotten it wrong. organizers and historians, particularly within the black community, understand this had been planned for a long time. they tried to stage marches earlier and couldn't get them to be successful. folks on the inside understood what this could be. the mainstream media had negative predictions. i think that's why the reporting was lacking. great look for "the washington post" to issue that mea culpa. now we can understand the historical nature of that march 50 years ago. >> we'll have to leave it there,
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james patterson and douglas brenk brinkley, thank you for your time. >> thank you. it's off the cutting room floor and into the best of office politics. scenes you should see, coming up next. [ man ] this isn't my first career. but it might just be my favorite. [ female announcer ] welcome to the new aarp. we're ready to help you rediscover purpose and passion with programs like life reimagined to inspire you and connect you, resources to help turn your goals and dreams into real possibilities. aarp, an ally for real possibilities. find new tools and ideas for work, money, health and fun at aarp.org/possibilities.
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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. [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. this week's office politics, a little bit of housekeeping. in clearing the shelves we discovered parts of interviews that never made air but upon a second look they definitely deserve to, at least we think so. here's your first look. my mentor is willard scott. could not, would not be doing what i'm doing today if it wasn't for him. the best personal, professional advice was from willard. one, always be yourself. because that's all you've got.
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and two, never give up your day job. >> hosting the "today" show. >> there is pressure. i honestly try to do the best i can. i try to study my segments really hard. i troo i to listen to the guests when they're being interview. i try to be interested in everything from the serious to the silly. i try to be in a good mood. a good cup of coffee can set things going in the right direction. >> there's no typical day at the white house. one day i came in, it was 7:10. i had my computer open, i heard sort of the news alert go off. i looked and i said, gadhafi has been captured. i was in front of the camera about five minutes later going live for hours. >> even when i was in law enforcement, there was enough to keep me up. even at the end of an 18-hour day, i usually slept pretty well. >> for years i wanted to do something on television because congress. i don't think people would read a book about how awful it really is and why it is the way it is.
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>> as winston churchill said you can always count on americans to do the right thing after they've exhausted all other options. we've exhausted all other options. >> we've accomplished so much to include hanging with the president of the united states, hanging with is an overstatement. >> that afternoon was clearly the highlight of my professional career. >> the first time you anchored -- >> the first thing you're worried about is how are you reading the prompter? don't worry if the entire prompter crashes, the notes are in front of you. if you ever really get that a real serious issue, talk, talk, talk and we can throw to commercial if it gets to be a nuclear bomb. when i'm done hosting for just one hour, my mind is mush. >> you never know exactly how a story is going to play out. i've had stories that i thought
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were huge scoops that should set the world on fire, that i go on the air with and they're done. >> i'm not a politico. i'm not someone who had spent my entire life, you know, dreaming of politics. but what i know is people. i know what it looks like in america. my goal is to do a better job than to let it be jargon. >> i am ocd, kind of. i like order and neatness and so i'm a little bit freaked out because your crew moved things around a little bit. >> what is the one key that m e makes "morning joe" work? >> coffee. >> and mika. >> coffee and mika make "morning joe" work. >> she's locked up for having a relationship with a teenager. why her parents are saying her prosecution is persecution. mpg.
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a gay florida teen already charged with having sex with her underage girlfriend is facing even more trouble. kaitlyn hunt fought back tears last may after prosecutors charged her with lewd and lascivious battery on a child. she was reportedly in a consensual relationship with her basketball teammate who was 14. hunt was 18. she was offered a plea deal with no jail time but that was revoked after a deputy testified she's been contacting her alleged victim, sending thousands of text messages, even nude photos and videos. joining me is legal analyst lisa green. thank you both for being here. we do not lack color here this afternoon. we're like a pack of starburst candies. sima, a judge this week, as i mentioned noted she would be held in jail without bond and revoked her plea deal because of
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the alleged exchange of tex messages. do you think that's fair. >> 20,000 text messages, it's completely fair. it's the prosecution that rev e revoked the plea deal. the judge did this because the defendant, miss hunt, violated a court order. in essence it's an order of protection that miss hunt has no contact with the victim. it's very standard. not only has she had contact through electronic means but i believe they've even set up meetings where they engamed in sexual activity. >> if you read the document that prosecutors put forth to revoke the plea deal, just eye popping, appalling one would think to the prosecutors who have offered two different plea deals which didn't go through. now they find this defendant set up in-person meetings, sent 20,000 texts, photographs, video that we can't really talk about in any family setting. what's more appalling, i'm sure
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to the prosecution, is that even kaitlyn's mother, according to them, tried to reach out to the victim and say delete those texts and photos. what you see is potentially a much larger case. it does put in context some of the concerns people raised about the nature of the charges in the first place, because it was a same-sex relationship or not. once the best behaves this way we're talking about a different set of circumstances. >> one thing i do find interesting is these kids sending all of these text messages that can be used as evidence against them. do they not understand even when you put it in writing, even though it's electronic, it can be used against you. i'm astounded by the fact that people continue in this behavior putting in writing incriminating information. the detective in this case testified in some instances it was the younger girl who had reached out to this defendant here. does that matter who initiated contact? >> it was the defendant kaitlyn
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who was obliged under law to cease contact with the 14-year-old victim. it ought not to matter in terms of the court's decisions about what will happen with kaitlyn. kaitlyn who correctly predicted, i think, in one of the texts to the 14-year-old, if anyone finds out about this i'll be sitting in jail until this trial. >> she knew the consequences. sima, a lot of people are saying this case is about the fact that they were having a same-sex relationship. if it would be an 18-year-old boy with a 14-year-old girl, it would not be prosecuted. >> that's not correct. i think we'd be so angered if it was an 18-year-old boy, man, and a 14-year-old girl. it would be even more of an egregious behavior. i think everything is not a political movement here. that is what these parents are turning this into. just because they have a same-sex relationship doesn't mean we have to get the aclu and every lbgt organization involved
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under the guise that it is in fact a discrimination case. it's not. it's just the law. it makes sense in this respect. >> the law is very clear. it says that if an kid is under 16 they can't consent to any sexual -- >> by law. >> that's in florida and a number of other states. if hunt is found guilty she'll have to register as a sex offender. we're talking about a consensual relationship. do you think these laws are exactly what they should be or do they need to be re-evaluated? >> it is under hot debate. we know teenagers can have consensual relationships that their parents find objectionable. i want to point out there's something called romeo and juliet laws in some states that will, in florida's case, take away the sex offender appalachian if a court decides the two teens were young lovers, it was consensual. i think kaitlyn hunt has diminished considerably any hope that that will happen to her,
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given this cache of texts, videos and photos. >> it was part of the plea deal. she was getting a plea deal that would include her not having to register as a sex offender. >> now it's off the table. >> off the table. >> thanks, guys, we appreciate your perspective this afternoon. he made history at the white house as an african-american well before president obama. we'll get his thoughts on the 50th anniversary on the march on washington in just a bit. throu. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. with 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day women's 50+.
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critical developments in the situation in syria. just within the past few hours it appears chemical weapons were indeed used on civilians. now the big question, how will the administration respond? is the u.s. close to military action? we'll ask a congressman on the foreign relations committee. also, the fallout from a leading republican using the so-called "i" work. we'll talk about impeachment
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backfire in the gop. one of san diego mayor bob filner's accusers was in the room when he made the apology. was it enough? we'll ask her, just ahead. hello, everyone, welcome to "weekends with alex witt," i'm mara schiavocampo in for alex. it's 1:00 in the east, 10:00 out west. a u.n. spokesperson says tomorrow they'll visit the place of the alleged attack. a senior white house official is brushing off the decision by the syrian government saying it's, quote, too late to be credible and the evidence has likely already been damaged. meanwhile, the u.s. navy moved a fourth ship armed with cruise missiles into the eastern mediterranean sea but without immediate orders to strike
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syria. this morning, republican senator bob corker called for a surgical strike to the situation. >> i hope the president as soon as we get back to washington, will ask for authorization from congress to do something in a serge cal and proportional way. something that gets their attention, that causes them to understand that we are not going to put up with this kind of activity. >> let's go to washington now for the latest from the white house. joining me now is kristen welker. after being cautious on this, the white house is saying they do believe the syrian government was behind that chemical weapons attack. what are you hearing? >> reporter: well, that's absolutely right, mara. senior administration officials today saying there's very little doubt that the syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people. the white house is responding today to the fact that syria is saying they will allow that u.n. inspections team into the site in question.
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really with concern. they are saying this might be too little too late. here's aly b little bit of what white house is saying. at this juncture, any belated decision by the regime to grant access would be considered to late to be credible including because the evidence available has been significantly corrupted as a result of the regime's persistent shelling and other international actions over the last five days. we know conversations are going on behind the scenes here at the white house. president obama met with his national security team on saturday to discuss how exactly to respond, of course, he has called the use of chemical weapons a red line in syria. but the question is, what happens next? we know that president obama has ruled out putting boots on the ground. he is unlikely to establish a no-fly zone. we know what he is more likely considering would be limited air strikes that would potentially
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be launched from war ships. that is one thing that is under consideration. but there are a number of options and as you pointed out, mara, defense secretary chuck hagel is preparing for any contingency, if and when president obama should make his decision. we want to underscore the point. he has not made a firm decision yet. mara? >> kristen welker, live at the white house. thanks so much for that. >> thanks. would president obama have congress's support if he decides to launch a strike? joining me now is democratic congressman, gregory meeks, member of the foreign affairs committee. in a statement issued today, senators john mccain and lindsey graham is calling for, quote, standoff weapons, the use of standoff weapons without boots on the ground. what do you think of those options and what are the best possible options. >> >> it's a tough situation but i think the president has been doing it right. if we looked at in the past how the president has worked he's probably doing the same thing,
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doing things in a multilateral way. behind the scenes the president may be haven consultation talks with nato and members of the arab states, based upon the evidence that if it's too late with reference to the u.n. inspectors going in, they're talking about that. if not, give the u.n. inspectors an opportunity to come back and give what their view is. if their view comes back that in fact it was too late, we'll get together multilateral in a similar way that we did with libya. he does not want to be at go-along, just based upon the situation as we did in iraq. therefore, we got stuck in a war and other consequences. the president has shown he's deliberate and thoughtful. he knows how 20 bring people together, which he's done in the past, working with our allies in a multilateral way. when it's time to act, the president knows what he needs to do. once he does that, he'll have the support of congress. >> in terms of putting together a coalition, is there any indication we would have support
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from other partners on this? >> yes, i think you hear our conversations. i know from our allies in turkey and from our allies in nato, you know, we heard from france and london. i think that, you know, if we move forward, it will be in consultation with them. the biggest obstacle and the reason why i think we have not moved or done anything through the u.n. internationally has been the opposition of russia and china. from my viewpoint, it is my hope that with the u.n. inspectors, if they come back and say the evidence is con testimony naturnaturdk contaminated because of the delay, that would compel russia and china to move from the position they have had. right now russia claims it was the rebels and so we have that conflict which stops us from being collectively united as an international community. it's my hope way way or the other, if the inspectors come back and say it's been
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contaminated, the evidence clearly shows that in fact the syrians delayed the inspectors from coming in so that the evidence could be contaminated. if they can come to a conclusion one way or another, hopefully that will bring us together as it did with libya and we can act as a united community. >> it seems consensus is forming around the notion that this was in fact the use of chemical weapons by the assad regime. does that mean the white house is compelled to do something or is inaction something they're considering? >> i think the white house is acting and that he have acted previously. you have to make sure you're doing something, not just spontaneously, for example, you have to make sure the weapons you give are put in the right hands and not in the hands of someone that can come back to bite you. it's not something that you can do. i know the president has to be weighing this heavily, just at the spur of the moment.
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guess what, if you do it wrong it can come back to bite you. this president has been clear, he's going to make sure the people of the united states are protected and our interests are protected. i'm sure he's working closely with others. he will make a decision. i think one thing that is clear also, once it becomes clear to him, he's never shown he's been indecisive. >> that's a very good point. if iraq tells you anything, it's that you have to have an exit plan. i want to take a listen to a quick interview with colin powell and we can talk on the other side. >> to think we can change things immediately just because we're america, that's not necessarily the case. these are internal struggles and the parties inside those countries will have to sort it out amongst themselves. >> if the u.s. does launch a strike, then what's next? what happens after that? and what do we know about who might step in to fill a power vacuum? >> that's why you have to negotiate it beforehand. you can't strike and then negotiate it afterwards, because then you may not have willing
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partners because it's all over the place and then you own it. that's what happened in iraq. we went, we did not wait on the u.n. inspectors. we made an attack and, therefore, we owned the whole situation in iraq and trying to bring a coalition together after the fact. that's why you have to do it before the fact, so that you can do it in a unified manner. and it doesn't continue to cost taxpayers forever and ever. later on we find out that something was wrong, that maybe we should have done, shouldn't have done. and we're stuck into a war as it were in iraq for a long period of time. i'm sure that's what the president is putting together because he's learned the mistakes of the past. that's what's important. >> i want to shift gears and talk about the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. the actual anniversary is this wednesday. it was celebrated with a large march. a lot of what we heard yesterday from those who spoke at that event was about the call for action on voting rights what do you think the way forward when
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it comes to this issue, what does the way forward look like that? and a lot of it has been put in the hands of congress. >> it is in the hands of come. i was shocked by the supreme court's ruling. congress now has to come together. i think that's what the call of yesterday's march was, in a similar fashion of what the call was in 1963. congress has to come together to come with a comprehensive voting rights act. that's what the court asked for us to do so we could make sure that all americans have access to the ballot box. that's key. we go along and we go over over the world talking about democracy. the basic element of democracy is the ability to vote. if as we've seen happen once the supreme court made its decision, we've seen it in north carolina and seen it in texas where these states are going in to try to hinder the people's ability to vote, that is undemocratic, should not be what we as congress want to take place and, therefore, we need to step in and come with a comprehensive voting rights act that makes sure on insures that every
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american has the right to vote and not the draconian acts that some of the states are trying to put into place to limit the access to the ballot box to some people. that is the wrong thing to do, unamerican. i would hope that the members of the united states congress coming together collectively will say we do not allow that unamerican kind of act to continue. >> thank you for your time this afternoon. the mayor of san diego has resigned and apologized. is that enough for women accusing him of sexual harassment? we'll speak to one of his accusers, coming up next.
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in san diego, it's mayor bob filner's last official week in office but he's not going out easy. filner's he's ig nation ends the week's long drama over whether he would step down amid accusations of sexual harassment by more than a dozen women.
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the city council unanimously voted to accept his resignation and moments later during a nearly 15-minute long speech the embattled mayor had this message for the city council. >> the hysteria that has been created and many of you helped defeat, is the hysteria of a lynch mob. i am responsible for providing ammunition. i did that. and i take full responsibility. but there are well organized interests that have run this city for 50 years who pointed the gun. and the media and their political agents pulled the trigger. >> well, joining me now is laura fink, one of filner's accusers. she attended friday's city council meeting and spoke against the outgoing mayor. thanks for being here. >> happy to be here. >> you were there, you called it a dark chapter in the city's history. you heard filner refer to the
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backlash in particular as an affront to democracy and a political coup. what's your reaction to his characterizations here? >> you know, mara, it was a 7-0 vote, it was bipartisan. the original folks that came forward and presented this case and shed light on the allegations of sexual harassment were from his own party. i myself am a democrat. i think that this is just a demonstration of his lack of accountability and his lack of processing exactly what he's done. >> now, during his speech, filner said he never sexually harassed anyone but issued this apology to his accusers. let's take a listen. >> all the women that i offended, i had no intention to be offensive. to violate any physical or emotional situation. i was trying to establish personal relationships, but the
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combination of awkwardne nesnes to the behavior i think many found offensive. >> you've accused filner of patting you on your behind in 2005 when you were deputy campaign manager to his congressional campaign. he says he was trying to establish personal relationships what do you make of the apology. >> it reminds me of the apology when i documented the irns dent and requested an apology and that this hat happen, this was almost the exact apology i receive. after describing in my documentation how his behavior humiliated me and it was inappropriate, he mumbled that he was sorry and proceeded to tell me that i just didn't understand what had happened. i feel like the same words are being spoken here. that he's apologizing but, again, not accountable for his behavior. >> apparently he's being misunderstood by an awful lot of women. the city council voted unanimously to accept his
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resignation. at friday's meeting there were clear and audible cheers from his supporters. as one of his accusers, what's the reaction to the support he's been getting. >> it's challenging. i worked for him for two years and i saw he did do a lot of good in certain communities. i think that's what we're hearing. it's hard to process the fact that this man could exhibit just deplorable behavior and yet still really do some good things over the course of his 30-year career. >> and let's take a quick look at the terms of his deal with the city of san diego. in exchange for his he's is resignation, they'll pay up to $98,000 if he wants to hire his own attorney. so now the city is obligated to provide his legal defense, he's stepping down but what do you think might come of this lawsuit against him? what do you think of the terms of this agreement? >> i think it was an incredibly hard call that our city council made. no one wants to put taxpayer
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dollars in defense of someone who exhibited such poor choices and behavior. i thought it was a smart choice. it caps the damages or legal fees the city can pay. on balance it's a good deal. in terms of the future litigation, i just want to remind everyone that irene's suit was a catalyst for encouraging the resignation. i don't know that we would have seen it without that. my hope for her is she achieves justice and a settlement that is reflective of what she had to go through. >> and laura, do you plan on filing your own lawsuit? >> you know, i'm not eligible for a lawsuit and i don't plan to file one. i did report my claims to the sheriff's office to demonstrate the pattern of behavior that's been exhibited. my hope is that we trust the folks to do their jobs, complete their investigation and will move on from there. >> laura fink, thanks so much for sharing your story with us this afternoon. >> thank you, mara. lee daniels "the butler" is expected to win the box office for a second straight weekend. why is it drawing so much
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to politics now, new today, ted cruz beat the drum for defunding obama care this morning, even if it means shutting down the government to do so. >> we now how this play goes forward, president obama, harry reid will scream and holler that the mean, nasty republicans are threatening to shut down the government. and at that point, republicans have to do something we haven't done in a long time. stand up and win the argument. why is president obama threatening to shut the government down to force obama care down the throats of the american people? >> joining me now is politico reporter for "u.s. news and world record" lauren fox and a reporter, christine know valentino. what do you make of this spin? do you think the voters will buy
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that? >> the first part of what he said is exactly right. president obama and senate majority leader will say that republicans are threatening to shut down the government. that idea, we've had this multiple times when you've got these big deadlines of government funding about to expire, these threats loom. and people do tend to blame house republicans, not necessarily senate republicans. when you have a divided government like this, senate democrats have a lot of ability to stop anything that republicans want to happen and house republicans have the ability to stop anything senate democrats in the white house want to happen. you end up having a tradeoff of blame and polls show that the american people do tend to blame republicans more. generally they're just very, very angry at congress for not getting anything done. the rhetoric doesn't necessarily help anybody when you've got everybody trying to push instead of trying to make a deal. >> speaking of polls, lauren, you point out in a gop poll, more than 50% of republicans are opposed to shutting down the government over obama care, 53%.
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john boehner encourages his to avert a government shutdown in a conference call last week. >> i think the speaker is concerned as well as the majority leader this could lead to trouble in 2014 in the midterm elections. republicans have a stronghold on the house and it would be difficult for the republicans to gain a majority there. if this government shutdown happens and the american public view this as the house republican's fault, it puts that majority in jeopardy and i think that's very concerning to speaker boehner and majority leader eric cantor who has especially been on the side of some of the tea party groups in the past but is also urging members to back away from the shutdown rhetoric. >> christina, republicans are threatening to seek impeachment. senator tom coburn said the administration has come perilously close.
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what do you make of this talk of impeachment. >> this is what republicans are hearing from their intwts and of course, you can look at all the different factors in that and many of the republicans come from safe republican districts so the people that show up at their town halls tend to be conservative, not likely that they voted for president obama's re-election or his election in the first place in 2008. they're in part responding to what their intwts are saying to them. but if you read between the lines, senator coburn has gotten grief about this, he's talking about things that he doesn't necessarily like to see. he's responding to what the process would be. all of the rains that i've spoken with on this know that it is absolutely not possible to impeach the president. they're not going to mount an effort like that. so the talk that rhetoric that you're hearing back home isn't going to be coming back to washington. you're not going to be seeing people file articles of impeachment. it's just not going to happen. >> lauren, a lot of people after the election thought that the party, the gop, would move more to the middle. do you think we're seeing that happen right now?
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>> definitely not. august is a time when the microcosm of the country becomes clearer. a lot of the voters are conservative and they're not going to be backing off of their principles. in fact, they'll be reiterating what they believe in which is these conservative principles at these town halls they're showing up to. right now it feels especially like the gop is not backing off of this because they're having to respond to some of the most conservative members of the kauctionz at the town hall meetings. >> thank you both for being here this afternoon. >> thank you. >> have a day. syria's opening the door to inspectors to examine the site of the alleged chemical weapons attack. a live report from the region, coming up next. hey kevin...still eating chalk for heartburn? yeah... try new alka seltzer fruit chews. they work fast on heartburn and taste awesome.
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has been monitoring the situation. ayman, good evening to you. what are you hearing from investigators? >> reporter: both the syrian government and united nations have confirmed that an agreement has been reached. the u.n. undersecretary general for disarmament angela cain was in damascus holding the talks, pressing the syrian government to allow inspectors who 4 been there to inspect previous chemical weapons attacks. all of the u.n. movements have to be coordinated with the syrian government in advance. that means they must give them prior notification. they won't simply have free rein. the government has been denying responsibility for this attack. yesterday on syrian state television they put out footage allegedly claiming to be of
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chemical weapons used by the rebels. the question is going to be whether or not the u.n. inspectors will be allowed to meet with the rebels. this is something that we've seen in our past, in our time in syria reporting on the ground that is sometimes restricted by the syrian government. they don't give united nations officials to go and meet with all of the parties, if you will, of this conflict. the other point is going to be whether or not the u.n. will have access to the locations where these alleged weapons attacks have happened without any type of interference with the government. all that remains to be seen. nonetheless, the united nations says its inspectors will begin by visiting the areas of damascus where the alleges have happened. >> thank you. new reaction this afternoon on controversial remarks about president obama. this past week, republican senator tom coburn says prob is, quote, perilously close to impeachment. he's just the latest and most moderate republican to stay the
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dreaded "i" word. this morning, carly weighed in. >> i think he's saying he's incompetent in these matters and secondly, the executive branch used power in a way that is arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional. >> joining me now is democratic congressman john yarmuth. thanks for being here this afternoon. >> my pleasure, mara. >> if he's not on the far right, he's said that the president is his friend. what does this say about where the gop is right now? >> well, it's mind boggling in a way. they ought to go back and reexamine the clinton era. they don't have to go back too far to see what kind of self-destructive behavior this is. the impeachment against
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president clinton was a disaster for the republicans. they lost the midterm elections. in '98. and in this is the kind of nonsense the american people are fed up with. i think there were a lot of people who would have made the same claims about george w. bush during his eight years in office but i don't recall any democrats calling for his impeachment. it's irresponsible. it demonstrates certainly a lack of understanding about what impeachment is for. it's for high crimes and misdemeanors and not for behavior that you disagree with. >> do you think this might cost them politically in 2014? >> that's the problem we have right now, with the house being redistricted in such a way, most of the republicans are in very safe districts so they can almost say anything or do anything they want with impunity. the only risk they have is something from the far right will challenge them in a primary. i doubt if the house members will pay a price. i certainly think there's some senators who might pay a price
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in next year's elections. >> let's switch gears and talk about president obama's speeches last week. he hit the road to promote his plan to make college more affordable. the big bullet points were tieing financial aid to performance, getting colleges to offer more affordable options and capping student loan payments at 10% of monthly income. do you think president obama can get these things done? will congress work with him on this? >> i think it's probably doubtful in this term. in this term of the congress we can't get much done. you know, there are very few things i agree with rush limbaugh about but i agree with him, i don't think people are listening to the president right now, particularly about something that doesn't affect many americans. yes, there are tens of millions with kids in college but ultimately, this is a longer term process. it's things that are not going to affect this year's school year and americans certainly, i this i, are very, very interested in things that affect them right now, not necessarily
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in long term thinking. i would suspect that there's not going to be a great deal of momentum behind doing anything about long-term college costs right now. >> the bus tour was titled a better bargain for the middle class. do you think the cost of college is one of the biggest issues the middle class is facing? >> i don't think there's any question about that. it's something that's been an intractable problem. we have to deal with it. we need to make more college more accessible to more and more americans. all the jobs that will be created between now and the next -- over the next couple of decades will require higher education. you're not going to be able to do it with a high school degree. we have to make sure this happens, we have to work on financial aid as well as the cost of college. i think the ideas the president put forward are reasonably good ideas, it's just a question of how much can be done now and how soon those can take effect. i think he was talking about something that might take affect three or four years down the road. the attention span of the
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american people doesn't really match that kind of a time frame. but, again, i think this is something we ought to be doing. we talk about it a lot on the education committee. we haven't been able to do too much about it. we fortunately have been able to prevent dramatic increase in the cost of student loans, the interest rate on student loans. that was a pretty contentious exercise but we got that done. again, this is a longer term process to bring down the cost of higher education. but it is, i agree, a national -- an essential national agenda item. >> now, the anniversary of the march on washington this week really puts the focus on economic inequality. the unemployment rate for african-americans is almost twice that of white americans. one of the demands from the original march in 1963 was to ease unemployment. here we are 50 yards later. what specifically do you think congress can do to erase that gap? >> it's not just the gap between minority and majority populations. we have a huge issue with income
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and income disparities throughout sew sigh ociety. it's a major economic problem. education is one area where we con have an impact. i think cutting back right now as republicans in congress want to do on things like infrastructure, things like research and development expenditures by the government are things that are counterproductive in terms of creating the kind of opportunities for middle class and lower income americans that will help bring everybody up to a higher standard of living. this is, again, very, very short-term thinking. these are investments we absolutely have to make if we can expect to provide more opportunities for americans. >> thank you for your time, sir. >> thank you, mara. now to history in the making as we couldn't the down to wednesday. that's when president obama marks the 50th anniversary of the march on washington with a speech on the steps of the lincoln memorial. joining him will be former presidents clinton and carter. meanwhile, a movie featuring
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our former and future presidents, the movie "the butler," how much is fact and what's fiction? joining me now, fact are director of the executive residence and white house rear usher, also a consult and the for the film. thank you for being here this afternoon. >> it's grade being here. >> before we get to the "the butler," you have a fascinating story yourself. how did you come to work as the first african-american chief usher in the white house? >> as the movie accurately depicted those jobs were by word of mouth. i was contacted with only 90 days left in uniform, i served 36 years with the coast guard. and someone called me from the white house wanting to know if i would interview for chief usher of the white house. of course i didn't think that sounded very glorifying and they
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began to tell me the importance of the job in preserving the most historic house in america. so i went through nine interviews, finally one with president bush and there i was, i had the job. >> wow, nine interviews. you were also a consultant on the movie "the butler." it was based loosely on eugene allen. how true did the story line remain to the life of eugene allen? >> well, i think it captured it very accurately. thanks to the genius of "the washington post" writer will heygood and danny strong and the director, lee daniels. and the actors, you know, forest whitaker played the part so well, eugene allen was a humble man. very distinguished, a patriot. and so the movie really nailed it quite well. >> is there anything in the film that you would have liked to
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have seen that, for whatever reason, wasn't able to be included? >> that's a great question. i think it was done so well. it didn't open up with a heartwrenching scene and it ended on a high note. at the end, the young actor who portrayed me in the last scene, a fabulous actor, i took to lunch and he wanted to study me but i wish that i could look that young. >> you mentioned that you were a character featured in film. you were portrayed as an educated, confident young man, the next generation so to speak. did you feel that way at the time? >> well, at the time, that i met the butler, the real butler? >> no, at the time that you took that position, the time that you started that, did you feel the way you were portrayed, in hindsight, do you feel all of that was happening at the time it was taking place? >> well, certainly.
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i was the first african-american to have that position. and so leaving the high position i did in the military, you know, running that staff with 95 staff members and taking care of the president and the first lady and the first family and distinguished guests, certainly required a degree of leadership and confidence. and so i thought it was a good match for me. >> and given your role in history in african-american history as you noted in your position at the white house, what's your perspective on everything we're seeing right now with the 50th anniversary of the march on washington and some of the calls to action to move us forward in terms of the civil rights movement? >> well, you know, i believe harvey weinstein, that distributed this movie, timed it just right, to open up in august, right at the 50-year anniversary. and i received scores of e-mails
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and texts and -- from people that, in my era, who lived in the south during that period. it brought back maybe not so fond of a memory but it certainly says that we've gone a long way but we still have a ways to go. and so that we have to keep that dream alive. so it did bring back a lot of memories that people appreciated, even more so, for young people to go to this movie and see it, to see where we came from and not to take that for granted. >> admiral, thank you so much for your time this afternoon. >> thank you. senator coburn may have a hard time convincing the american people about impeaching the president. that's next with the big three. is being streamed. a quarter million tweeters are tweeting. and 900 million dollars are changing hands online. that's why hp built a new kind of server.
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today's big three topics, the "i" word. former senior adviser to president george w. bush and msnbc contributor and former senior adviser to senator dick durbin and msnbc contributor. thank you for being here. i want to start with you. tom coburn said the obama administration was getting perilously close to impeachment. >> as it happens, i spent most of the past week in oklahoma talking to republican officials there. i think tom coburn is in an interesting position because he is friends with the president and yet his base -- >> some friend. >> yes. he said he's my friend but he's perilously clowe to impeachment. these calls for impeachment are
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perilously scant on details. no one has said what allegedly empeachab impeachable offense the president has committed. there is no grounds for impeachment. this is about a particular, narrow base and getting them whipped up and getting them to believe they are fighting against president obama's agenda. >> robert, i want to play david axelrod's response to coburn's comments. let's take a listen. >> what we've seen is a serial attempt to disqualify, by both sides, but i think more so by the republicans, disqualify whoever is the president of the united states, not just debate them or disagree with them, but render them ij legitimate. that's dank raus for th-- dange this company. >> is this indicative of a larger problem? >> absolutely. let's go back to the impeachment talk. it's a bunch of silly talk. the president has done wrong or illegal. we candice agree with the
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president on policy debate, whether it's immigration, abortion, going down the list. the talk about impeachment is a bunch of silly talk.congressmen to take a look at the constitution. you don't write a bill to impeach the president. let's have a serious conversation. because there are legitimate policy differences between my party and the president when it comes to help care and implementation of health care, when it comes to egypt, when it comes to some of these legitimate questions that the american people want answers to. >> jimmy, this may rev up the base, but does it do the gop any favors with the moderate voters? >> no, it doesn't. i like history. i want to go back to what happened in 1998. don't forget there was this guy called ken net starr -- >> i don't remember him. >> ren him? only investigating whitewater. they found out there was nothing that happened in whitewater, et
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cetera, et cetera, then all of a sudden ken star tar decided he needed to send up the starr bill to capitol hill. no one was talking about impeachment when it came to whitewater, it was just another scandal. let's look back and see how the clinton impeachment started. it was a small cry. it was just from a relatively -- very few congressmen, all of a sudden it became huge. let's be honest, the national review online, they're advocating impeachment has legs. i said six months ago what the republicans were going to do is figure out a way to impeach them. because they didn't like the outcome of the actual election. here we are talking about it. i bet you ten bucks, more and more of these members of congress are going to talk about impeachme impeachment. the constituents want the president impeached, that's what they're doing, being mouthpieces
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for their right wing constituents. >> we'll tackle more of this on the other side of the break. a surprising change of heart on same-sex marriage. accomplishing even little things can become major victories. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. when i was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, my rheumatologist prescribed enbrel for my pain and stiffness, and to help stop joint damage. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders, and allergic reactions have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. you should not start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores, have had hepatitis b, have been treated for heart failure, or if you have symptoms such as persistent fever, bruising, bleeding, or paleness. since enbrel helped relieve my joint pain, it's the little things that mean the most.
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after describing in my documentation how his behavior had humiliated me and how it was inappropriate, he told me that he was sorry. he mumbled it. then he proceeded to tell me that i just didn't understand what had happened. i feel like the same words are being spoken here. that he's apologizing, but again, not accountable for his behavior. >> we're back now with our big three panel. that was laura fink, one of san diego mayor bob filner's accusers. she talked about how the apology didn't seem that sincere. his apology in front of the city council could be kind of considered a nonapology. does he not get it? what's your reaction to this? >> i feel like it's too little, too late. this man has clearly been based
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on the allegations of the women that have come forward a serial offender. he has been aware of his actions and has repeated to perpetrate them. any brief statement is not really going to mitigate the fact that he has so much to apologize for, all he really needs to do is be removed from office. at last that is the case. >> i want to get quickly to the must-reads. we have one minute. robert, i want to start with you. what's yours? >> my must-read is today's "new york times" has a fascinating story on a conservative catholic who has now switched sides on same-sex marriage. it is a must-read. everyone should take a look at it. >> jimmy, how about you? >> "new york times" as well, adam has written a great piece on the supreme court justice. ginsberg likes to water ski. who knew. >> who knew. arin, you get the final word. >> a great account of writing down the dream offenders for the march on washington
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commemoration, intergenerational activism. >> thank you, guys, for that. that wraps up this sunday's edition of weekends with alex wit. have a great sunday. [ male announcer ] when you wear dentures you may not know that your mouth is under attack, from food particles and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth and kills bacteria for fresh breath. ♪ fixodent, and forget it.
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♪ now you can give yourself a kick in the rear! v8 v-fusion plus energy. natural energy from green tea plus fruits and veggies. need a little kick? ooh! could've had a v8. in the juice aisle. this sunday special "meet the press." the american dream. >> i have a dream. >> 50 years ago this week, dr. martin luther king jr. changed history with his "i have a dream" speech. he had a vision for equality and economic progress and issued a challenge to america -- to live up to its democratic ideals. how does america measure up today? i'll ask our guests, civil rights pioneer and georgia congressman john lewis, mayor of newark, new jersey, cory booker, and governor of louisiana, bobby jindal. also, we'll explore the overall state of american dream -- civil rights, the struggle of the middle class, is a

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