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tv   Up W Steve Kornacki  MSNBC  August 31, 2013 5:00am-7:01am PDT

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either john kerry is going rogue or we're about to hit syria. the president officially remains undecided about what, if anything, to do about what his own secretary of state
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characterized yesterday as overwhelming evidence that bashar assad's regime killed 1, 429 civilians, including at least 426 children with poison gas. the statement that john kerry made strongly suggested that the only remaining question is when and not if the missiles will start flying. >> if we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murderer like bashar al assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity, even after the united states and our allies said no, and then the world does nothing about it, there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will. >> president obama spoke briefly to reporters shortly after kerry made those remarks. he was less emphatic, his message was similar. >> part of our obligation as a
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leader in the world is making sure that when you have a regime that is willing to use weapons that are prohibited by international norms on their own people, including children, that they are held to account. >> the team of u.n. weapons inspectors invest galting tigai attack have now left syria. pentagon officials tell nbc news that five guided missile destroyers are in the eastern mediterranean sea and nearly all of the targets have already been loaded into the warheads of some 200 tomahawk cruise missiles. a strike would be limited and tailored to syria's chemical weapons program. president f president obama were to order such a strike it will come without support from great britain. prime minister david cameron suffered a humiliate regbuk in parliament after they voted against military intervention. cameron says he will honor their wishes. france's leader says they are
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in, and he -- any american strike would also come without the blessing of the united nations security council where russia and china, staunch allies of syria, both of them loom as impeniterable barriers. it would also come as no authorization from congress as more from both parties are first saying they need to clear any attack with the senate. for a sense of where the public stands on this, although the results are somewhat murky. 42% say the u.s. should take military action in the face of reports of chemical weapons use by the syrian government. 50% say we shouldn't. the numbers flip, though, when people are told the attack will be limited to air strikes. then 50% say to go ahead. and only 44% say no. there's a lot to talk about here. let's go first to nbc news foreign correspondent ayman moyheldin live from beirut, lebanon. and ayeson, can you give me a sense of the mood of the region over there? this potential attack has really
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been clearly telegraphed, you know, on this side of the ocean. are people just sort of bracing for the when and not if reality of this? >> absolutely. i think most people we've been speaking to here and reading of the situation, it's a foregone conclusion that some type of military strike is going to happen. even the syrian government anticipates it. syrian state television has been broadcasting for the last couple of hours patriotic songs, nationalistic songs to try and rally the morale of the country, perhaps even the troops and those in government. at the same time, they themselves have reportedly come out and said they expect and anticipate a strike on the government or on the country in any given point. here in lebanon, those weapons inspectors that you mentioned crossed over from syria into lebanon. they left today. they are expected to present their findings in as early as two weeks. they will give some initial conclusions of their reports to the u.n. secretary-general as early as monday. the situation in lebanon does remain tense. the government has beefed up security but a lot of foreign governments are asking their citizens either to leave lebanon
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or in the case some of, to avoid any nonessential travel to the country. so it gives you a sense that anxiety here in lebanon and across the region is reaching new levels of nervousness. steve? >> you talked a little bit there about some of the preparations that the syrian government is taking in terms of broadcasting patriotic songs. given how sort of publicly all of this sort of deliberations here in the united states, about whether to attack or not have played out, has that given -- do you have a sense, has that given the syrian government an opportunity to make specific preparations for what the u.s. is about to do. >> well, certainly the syrian government has been deny anything responsibility for chemical weapons attack. they say this is part of a larger conspiracy of western aggression on the country to weaken it. now there are reports that are coming out from various opposition sources about various troop movements that their military has evacuated some buildings that they anticipate being hit. now that's very difficult to confirm because it is coming from the opposition sources who do have scouts on the ground and are monitoring the situation.
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one of the senior commanders of the opposition said his groups were going to try and attempt and exploit or capitalize on the momentum. that may be created from a u.s. strike on syrian military facilities. but in terms of the syrian government coming out, they have remained defiant saying they will defend their territory but no indication of anything official in terms of movements, steve. >> ayman moyheldin in beirut. now for the latest on what president obama may be thinking, we kurn to kristen welker at the white house. what can you tell us from washington. >> reporter: good morning to you. i can tell you that administration officials will be briefing congressional republicans today as they continue to build their case. president obama has said that he hasn't made a final decision yet about how to proceed. but, look, the military has a plan in place. they have five navy destroyers in the mediterranean. submarines there ready to move in and attack, if that is what president obama, in fact, decides to do. so, really, a military strike could come at any time.
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we expect president obama to continue to reach out to his foreign counterparts today. i know that he placed phone calls to the prime minister of britain yesterday as well as the president of france. of course, the administration has not been able to build that broad base of international support that they were hoping for. particularly surprised by the fact the british parliament voted against joining in any military effort. but it does appear as though france is on board. president obama has vowed that any military strike would be limited in scope and still vowing no boots on the ground. >> thanks to kristen welker, live at the white house. appreciate it. i want to bring in ed hussein, from's council on foreign relations. and mark insburg, james jeffrey, a former u.s. ambassador to iraq and turkey. and miriam elder, a former moscow bureau chief for the guardian and the foreign editor at buzzfeed.com.
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thank you for joining us. i'll start by an open question and feel free to speak up here if you think this, but is there anything right now, does anybody on this panel think anything could happen in the next few hours in the next day or two that would stop the united states from launching a military attack? does anybody think anything could change that at this point? >> yes. i mean, i could say there are several things. could very well be the president feels that for all of the reasoreason s at this particular second he does not want to launch this attack and yet he's reserving the right to. the element of surprise, whatever that may mean in the end has been lost here in so far as the syrians are concerned. there's nothing in my judgment that's going to change the equation between him now doing it today, tomorrow or two weeks from now. other than the fact that the media and the white house, frankly, has created this buzz that this attack is inevitable. the fact that the president is going through the necessary motions of briefing the congress and trying to at least make sure that congressional leadership is
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on board, may take a few more days. so i am not convinced that this could happen within the next few hours. >> you are convinced there will be an attack? >> i'm convinced there will be an attack i'm just not prepared to say it will be right now. >> you talk about the buzz created by this. ambassador, i wonder if there's -- so if what marc is saying is correct that maybe this takes a few days, maybe even a few weeks before there's an attack. so much of what we've heard is about the united states needs to follow through on this sho to s its word means something. every day there's a delay that story only seems to build. >> that's true but i think the president has almost certainly taken a decision. he'll probably await the preliminary report from the u.n. inspectors. that's only prudent. the only thing i think that could stop it would be some dramatic dramatically strategic effort on the syrians. it's never wise to assume a future course of action is absolutely etched in stone because we've seen when there
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can be changes. for the moment i think you can operate under the assumption that he's ready to cross the line. >> we talk about how this has been telegraphed publicly. the other question is we have the president saying this would be limited and narrow in scope if that's what he's considering. that's certainly the expectation. of the reporting that's come out, the source stuff from behind the scenes has indicated that. but is there a possibility that this ends up being more involved than we thought of, a more significant military action than has been telegraphed? >> absolutely. i think that's why a lot of people are questioning whether this is the right course of action. you can want a limited strike but the variables are unknown. let's say we react to a chemical strike today and then assad reacts with a chemical strike on his people again in two weeks time, a month's time in six months time. how does the u.s. respond then? >> maybe ed you can pick up that point. you have lots of reservations about the united states doing anything right now. >> there's a real risk the more
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we obliterate his conventional ways of striking, he will resort toution extreme forms of weaponry in his defense which include weapons of mass destruction. there's that concern. there's a concern the very allies that we're trying to protect, i.e., turkey, jordan, israel, will be first in the line of being attacked by assad in the form of retaliation. in that same vain, still premature for the united states to respond now. this is a response primarily that ought to come from the region. between israel, turkey, jordan and other nations in the region, they have the military sophistication to strike assad in a way that forces him to rethink his actions, again, without the u.s. dealing a blow at this juncture. if our allies aren't competent enough to strike him and his military's defense systems adequately, then i think it's responsible for the u.s. to act. or if those allies are struck in a way they need backup, much in the way the nazis were obliterated because france and the uk weren't up to the job of
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containing the nazis, that the united states rightly went in. and i think at that juncture if the war were to spread beyond syria in a way that requires u.s. response that the u.s. military force ought to be brought in. let israel, jordan and turkey do the job. >> i see you shaking your head, marc. what confuses me overall about this is what is the objective, if this is a limited in scope strike, that if what's sort of been reported the idea that assad needs to pay a price for crossing the red line that was established by the president last year. but at the same time, the united states doesn't want to knock him out of power because that would unleash chaos. i don't see what the real objective of that is from assad's standpoint if you are trying to make him pay but let him stay in power, what do you really accomplish? >> in a perfect world if it was the perfect world, we'd have a coalition of turkey and israel and saudi arabia and qatar, but it's not the perfect world in the middle east. the fact of the matter is that this is not an isolated
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situation of determining american credibility with respect to syria. when i hear all of the commentary about saying, well, we have to do what is only, you know, why is the united states taking the lead here. let's remember. it's not merely a question of syria being a test of american credibility. it's what will israel do if the united states does not act with respect to a red line in syria and attack iran if the united states is not prepared to stop iran from developing a nuclear weapon. >> so stopping israel from attacking? this is about stopping israel. >> north korea. there are so many other variables involving the credibility. it was not i or you that said the president of the united states needed to come out and say there was a red line that was crossed. it was the profit the wroesiden united states that put the united states' credibility on the line. the united states' credibility, not president obama's, but the united states' credibility is on the line with respect to our allies and to iran and to
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israel. >> i want to pick up that point in a second, but first ambassador jeffrey, you want to try to answer that. if the united states' credibility is on the line with the red line that was established, then the question is, how does this very surgical strike that does not disrupt assad's power do anything? >> what we're trying to do is get assad not to use chemical weapons in the massive way he did for two reasons. in and of itself, this is a horrible crime and a real threat to international security as the president said yesterday and to american national security. secondly, this can be a game changer on the ground that can go from syria going from relative stalemate to assad rolling up the opposition over time if he continues to use these massive strikes combined with conventional forces. we don't want to see assad win. we may not want to see him lose but we certainly don't want to see him win. we're using a model we used effectively in kosovo, bosnia, libya and against iraq in 1998
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in "desert fox" against key military and other command and control facilities. we degrade the ability of the other side to conduct military operations and get them to rethink what they want to do. that's the objective the president would have. >> there's a question of what happens if the strikes do not accomplish anything. do not cause assad to rethink what he's doing. does the united states get sucked in? do we have to escalate a little bit? i'll pick that up after this.
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so what does the president want to do? the president apparently wants to have a kind of a cosmetic strike, launch a few missiles and then say, well, we responded. this is the same president that two years ago said bashar assad had to go. it's also the president who said there would be a red line if they used chemical weapons. maybe that red line was written
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in disappearing ink. i don't know. but we need to -- >> okay. >> we have to be as good as our word. is there any good options? no. >> senator john mccain last night on "the tonight show." seeming to say right there that what's on the table at least what's been publicly revealed about what the administration wants to do here is not going to be sufficient. at least in his view. i want to pick the point up with you, ed. we started to get into this with ambassador jeffrey before the break. he laid out the best case scenario for what intervention can accomplish. it can sort of cause a change in the thinking of assad maybe getting to the table. the flip side of that i raised before the break was, let's say there's this, as john mccain calls it a cosmetic strike. it does not change assad's thinking and instead assad responds by launching more chemical attacks. what happens then? what does the united states do in that situation? >> then assad is in control of the battlefield by forcing the united states to respond just by
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mere virtue of the domestic considerations inside syria. the fact the u.s. has laid this precedent, every time there's a significant chemical weapons attack, the u.s. now feels compelled to respond. that means the u.s. is drawn into yet another middle eastern war, arab war and muslim war in which we don't have support from the arab league or support from the u.n. or european allies which forces the u.s. again to be isolated and to be sucked into a middle eastern war. and the worst situation is that in the kwaquagmire that we crea we see jihadis become more powerful in the middle east. so the risks of attacking are extremely high and we're not paying enough attention, i think, the retaliation that we'll see from russia, hezbollah, iran, syria. we're just thinking by just attacking we're doing a job. we can retreat and say, oh, the president has kept his word. it's not only about keeping the president's word. the president will be forced to amplify and ramp up this war and create a mess that is beyond our
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control. >> so miriam, ed just mentioned russia. and that's a huge factor. we talk about how russia is blocking -- stands as this obstacle to the security council taking action. we just laid out the scenario. this attack does not force assad to rethink anything and there are more chemical attacks. is there a point where russia reconsiders its posture on syria? >> where it drops its support for assad you mean? >> sort of acknowledges the same chemical evidence the administration is now sort of promoting. >> i find that very unlikely. russia's position in the world in general is just to kind of be this force to stand up to the united states. i don't think that they are willing to go far enough to be part any of response to a u.s. attack on syria. however, it's in their interest to just kind of have america involved in this mess in the middle east for as long as it can and wants to see the u.s. bogged down. but it doesn't have the strength or the desire to really respond to the united states. >> how important is syria to russia right now. >> i think it's important in mainly a cosmetic way.
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they do have this port there but calling it a port is kind of an exaggeration. it's like this rusted sort of thing in the sea to reload its own ships. it's an arms client but not a major arms client. it's more like its last holdout in the middle east. more something for its own prestige. >> so i once said we'd revisit this issue of the red line. and it seems, again, i've heard two different justifications for potential military action here. the case that john kerry laid out was the humanitarian case. 426 children, 1400 civilians and you look at that and it seems like if the united states can do something, every instinct in your body is to say, we should do something. but at the same time, i hear it almost feels like that may be cover for a different case. the case being the president laid down this red line. we have other countries we need to, in the world, that we need to tell we mean something when we say red line. is that what this is about? >> yes, and i think kerry was very explicit in laying out our allies and he named them, who
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can be -- what did he say? a stiff breeze away from damascus? that's a consideration. also american credibility in half a dozen frozen conflicts or other very difficult situations from north korea all the way through the middle east. these are all things that the president also has to take into consideration. the president said something very important yesterday. he said this is all about american national security. not just the national security of the people of syria or the people in the region. that we have major, major stakes here. and finally, in terms of getting bogged down, anything is possible. particularly when you go to something that approaches -- but i've worked for president obama. if there's ever a president unlikely to get us bogged down, every instinct is not to get tied down in a ground war, it's president obama. >> does that really change their thinking if -- again, we're saying, the one thing i guess if we launch this strike and assad, you know, rethinks everything.
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but if this is a strike that sort of doesn't change that much. it just leaves assad in power. he's not at the negotiating power. we've enforced our red line, launched a strike. doesn't iran look at that and take the oppositing message that we can act with impunity here and suffer a minimal cosmetic strike? >> it's not merely a question of that calculus alone, steve. in a very troubled middle east, where american interests are not just regarding humanitarian issues in syria but involve our interests in the persian gulf. we have other allies that we actually have a defense agreement with. it's not just israel. it's the united arab emirates. we do a great job of military cooperation with egypt if we ever restore relationships there. if it were merely a question whether the united states was sitting on this side of the atlantic and it was a chemical weapons attack and for humanitarian reasons alone, americans were aghast at what they saw on the television, well
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then we could say we had no further interest in the region other than punishing assad. but whether we like it or not, it's not a question of us getting dragged into a situation in syria. look, the bottom line is the bottom line. the contagion of the syrian civil war is going to affect this region for decades to come. it's going to redraw sectarian and religious lines in the region. the worst thing we could do here is to pretend as if somehow or other this is an isolated situation that doesn't affect american interests elsewhere in the world. that's what the president is talking about. when the president said this is an issue of american national security, he understood, as secretary kerry did, that the ramifications of not doing nothing could come back and haunt us years to come. >> ed, let me finish with you because you said, and i asked at the very beginning, if anybody thinks there's not going to be military action here and you said, with everybody else, you think there's going to be. you don't think it's a good idea, but we do have, you know, as ambassador jeffrey said, there are incidents in the past
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where humanitarian efforts have helped, bosnia, kosovo. do you think this could actually work out? >> there's a possibility that assad and his allies may not ramp up the conflict, but given the probability that they will simply because it's a fight to the death for them, simply because syria is a country which reflects the sectarian, religious, ethnic composition of the middle east in a way that no other country in the region does in terms of numbers. even lebanon doesn't come close to the numbers syria does. any involvement in syria at the moment where we have hezbollah fighting al qaeda, our enemy fighting our enemies and let them fight. let them die. like henry kissinger said, it's too bad both sides can't lose. by the u.s. getting involved and assad responding and, therefore, ramping up the conflict and the u.s. getting even further involved, despite reservations about not getting involved simply because of the fact that assad may not be using chemical weapons again. there's no guarantee he won't. if he does, we're even more
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involved. >> we're involved anyhow. >> the only way to end this is to have boots on the ground. we're not prepared to do that for understandable reasons. unless the international community or whether it's the jordanians or turks are prepared to put soldiers on the ground that separate fighting faction from fighting faction and force both sides to the negotiating table. >> we're involved no matter what we do. we're providing intelligence support, fasfa sill tating arms transfers. we've been providing the turks and jordanian ooze oonget that's different from striking. that's different from striking. >> we're really involved whether we like it or not. >> direct or indirect is the question. i'd rather indirect than direct involvement. >> it's the biggest story going on right now. we'll pick it up next hour. we'll be talking about it all weekend. we'll be following all the developments in syria throughout the day on msnbc. the next hour we'll look at how president obama's decision compares to what bill clinton faced in 1998 in kosovo. for now, thank ed husain, marc ginsburg, james jeffrey and
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miriam elder. president obama has talked about race plenty in his political career. but is he talking about it differently now that he'll never have to face the voters again? that's next. we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] ...office space. yes, we're loving this communal seating. it's great. [ male announcer ] the best thing to share? a data plan. at&t mobile share for business. one bucket of data for everyone on the plan, 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. ♪
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♪ break through, man, it doesn't matter who you're talking to ♪ [ male announcer ] completely redesigned for whatever you love to do. the all-new nissan versa note. your door to more. ♪ the way barack obama talked about race played a big way in his climb in just four years. >> there is not a black america and a white america and latino america and asian america. there's the united states of america. >> but when he won re-election, the climbing ended. he'd enjoy all the powers of the presidency and none of the pressures that come with having to run again. this is how president obama in his second term talks about race. >> we must remind ourselves that the measure of progress for those who marched 50 years ago was not merely how many blacks could join the ranks of
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he's now furiously studying for panels here on "up" he's on thegrio.com. he says president obama is more willing to talk more bluntly about issues of race and class now that he's won a second term. "obama did not want to turn his presidency into one focused on his race but would feel more comfortable engaging cultural issues that were broader than just policy concerns like health care and the economy." in just the past few months the president has spoken at length and in deeply personal terms about the acquittal of george zimmerman and the death of trayvon martin. at the 50th anniversary of the march in washington this past
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wednesday. that's where he stood on the steps of the lincoln memorial and channeled many of the social and economic themes that animated the original gathering. >> with that courage we can stand together for good jobs and just wages. with that courage, we can stand together for the right to health care in the richest nation on earth for every person. >> not everyone thinks we're seeing a different president obama when it comes to race. reacting to wednesday's speech, the daily beast jamel buoy wrote, 350 years of bondage and oppression can't be ameliorated with 50 years of citizenship rights, tepid liberal programs and color blindness. that includes the president who works hard to avoid race and its role in shaping our problems. here to join susperry bacon jr. and bill share. the executive editor of the blog and podcast liberal oasis.com.
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kate from buzzfeed.com and curtis lee from the "denver post." i'm going to start by outlining what you wrote this week. first term obama, second term obama, twhwhen it comes to race there's a difference. >> he's mostly a person who is pretty optimistic about race. doesn't want to be bogged down and only talking about racial issues. he doesn't want to be defined as the black president or the black senator before. look at the second term. he talked about trayvon martin for two minutes in 2012. he talked about it for 18 minutes in 2013. i think the white house advisers said this personal tone he gave about trayvon martin is unlikely to be something he would have said in 2009, they were a little wary about certain kinds of issues. also eric holder what he's done. a lot of things on mandatory minimum sentences. he's been very aggressive on voter i.d. laws and trying to
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reverse what's happened in texas and looking to north carolina. i think if you look at michelle obama made this comment about hadiya pendleton is me and i was her. this is a young girl shot in chicago earlier this year and michelle obama -- a black woman. and michelle obama personalized it. it's not a huge shift but they are more willing to engage on these kinds of issues about culture, about race, and also about income inequality. obama was this community organizer. that sort of animated his career early on but the first term was very bch the economy and the middle class versus now he sounds much more liberal in terms of talking about the problem of income inequality. he said if we have more income inequality it can hurt race relations in the country, which is a bold statement and something i think he would not have said in 2011. >> is that something do you attribute it to the idea of the first term president who has to run for re-election and is just thinking of playing it a lot safer and the second term president is more emboldened and liberated? do you think something else is
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going on? >> i think the first thing is winning re-election does free you to say certain things. one of the people i talk to in the white house says, this is second term obama, perry. think about it. i think meaning the -- meaning he's free to say some things. also the issues have changed where i think in the first term there was a sense if we don't talk about certain issues, income inequality, race it will help the republicans work with us more. versi was with valerie jarrett and she was talking about the point that we don't want to be blocked by the republicans all the time. they'll oppose us on anything anyways. so we can't shy away from certain kinds of issues because the republicans were scared of them. they are always going to oppose us. we need to lean on issues that are important to the country and the president can't avoid those kind of issues. >> i'm curious what everybody made of the president's speech this week on wednesday. i heard different takes. i've heard -- we head jame jamel bouie's take from the daily beast this week where he
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was saying this was another example of president obama bending over back wards not to make anything race explicit. this is not just about black americans. this is about all americans. he said not picking up any kind of change there. curtis, i wonder watching this speech this week what you made of it. >> going back to what perry was saying. in president obama's first term you didn't hear him speak about race that often outside of the trayvon martin incident where he said trayvon martin looks kind of like his son. the henry lewis gates issue where the president said the officer acted stupid in arresting. coming back to his speech on wednesday he came out and stroke tones with race. he addressed black unemployment and how it's been high in the four years he's been in office and it's continued into his second term. and he really hit on tones that, you know, that with -- where -- with race. it worked out well. >> if we mention the gates thing from 2010 twice now. it seems like that was one of
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those moments that was sort of a revealing moment for a lot of people but i think for the white house, too. where the president said something that i think, it felt like a natural sort of instinctive response for him and he was surprised. i was surprised by the blowback that that ingendered. but he was, too. that seemed to shape the white house's attitude for the next two years. >> i was really interested in your piece just because the reaction that i heard on the hill was that he didn't talk enough about the voting rights act. he wasn't forceful enough. and, you know, i was there on saturday watching the speeches as well. and i saw eric holder come out and very forcefully talk about this is what we're going to do with the voting rights act and we're not going to allow people to take this away. so i was interested from you why you thought that the president was -- was more forceful. >> this is more forceful than he was in 2009. not as forceful as the cbc would like him. two different points. the first is that the white
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house view of this is, any issue we talk about becomes more partisanized. so their argument would be, of course, we want a new voting rights act. if the president gave three speeches about that, that would be the worst possible way to make that happen. i think there's a lot of evidence for that to be true. in some ways eric holder works for the president. so the fact that eric holder is being more assertive on these issues is not an accident and not something the president is not aware of and therefore involved in as well. the second point, i think the more broad one, there is a real legitimate point here that the president talks in terms of the economy, in terms of still in a very color blind way. in 1963, african-americans earned 55 cents for every $1 whites earned. in 2011, 66 cents for every $1. so there's a real policy point, whatever you think of the rhetoric that maybe the president's view is just wrong in that we need -- you may need to have more race specific policies to address the huge disparities in this country. and whatever you think about how
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often or how he talks about race, you may need to have different public policies to address these disparities. and that's what jamil was talking about and what i hear. you may need to lean in more colorblind policies may not work at all. >> we have to -- we have 3 1/2 years left of a second term. i have a feeling we will revisit this a few times between now and then. there was something that was missing from the march on washington festivities. it starts with "r" and ends with epublicans. let me show you. right over here. here, feel this. wow, that's nice. wow. the soft carpets have never been this durable. you know i think we'll take it. get kid-friendly toughness and feet-friendly softness, without walking all over your budget. he didn't tell us it would do this. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. right now, get up to 24 months special financing when you use your home depot credit card.
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if i had to say i had a disappointment, that would be the disappointment that we didn't have more bipartisanship. >> that's martin luther king's son, martin luther king ii just after wednesday's 50th anniversary commemoration on the steps of the lincoln memorial. you've probably heard about what he was talking about. the complete absence of prominent republicans from the program at wednesday's ceremony. big name democrats like barack
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obama, bill clinton, caroline kennedy and martin o'malley all took part. but the two former president bushs, john boehner, eric cantor, jeb bush, john mccain, mike huckaby, they are all among those invited but declined to attend. there were obvious disclaimers. there are health reasons why george h.w. bush could not make the trip to washington, d.c. george w. bush just did have heart surgery, although i think i saw him at the smu football game last night. there are also apparently some dispute over how much notice some of the no-shows got from organizers. while we can quibble over they got one, two or three weeks notice, what we do know is this milestone event, the 50th anniversary of the march on washington, was not one that republicans marked on their own calendars and made it a priority to commemorate. after all, they didn't have to be invited to speak to just show up and pay their respects. let's not pretend this is surprising because part of the story of the civil rights movement, a big part is how it
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fundamentally remade both political parties. leaving one a lot more interested in and responsive to the plight of black americans than the other. this graph tells the story. it shows which party black americans have identified with since 1936. you can see in the early years there around the depression and world war ii, it's basically a tie. african-americans were just as likely to call themselves republicans back then as democrats. in fact, the graph doesn't show it, but if you went back farther than that if you looked at the 50 years between the end of reconstruction and the depression, you'd probably find that republicans were more popular with african-americans than with democrats back then. that's because the gop of that era was filled with liberals from the north who in the wake of the civil war briefly managed to impose a measure of racial equality on the south. that equality didn't last, though, because conservative white democrats in the south fought it and imposed jim crow, where segregation came from. by world war ii, both parties
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are equally popular with african-americans with democrats gaining favor because of fdr and the new deal. look not 1948. that's the first key turning point in modern history. an obvious reason for it, too. 1948 is the year that a democratic president, harry truman, signed an executive order integrating the armed forced and the year northern liberals successfully ratified a platform plank at the democratic national convention calling for civil rights. that move prompted a walkout by southern segregationists who then nominated their own rump ticket headed by strom thurmond. that explains the sharp spike in support among african-americans for the democratic party in 1948. it was the year the forces of integration in civil rights began to win the party's internal war. the year when african-americans could really start to see their political future in the democratic party. and now look at the next spike. that would be 1964. that is the year after the 1963 march. it is the same year that a democratic president, lyndon
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johnson, finally broke the south's filibuster and pushed the civil rights act of 1964 through congress and into law. and it is also the same year, 1964, that the republican party nominated for president a senator, barry goldwater, who had joined the south's filibuster. and now you can look at the years and the decades after 1964. and you can see that nothing really changes. african-american support for the republican party teeters between very low and microscopic. these are the same years and decades the center of power within the gop centered from the north and the midwest to the south. to the white conservative south. the years of nixon southern strategy, of ronald reagan's infamous trip to philadelphia, mississippi, now to the dismantling of the voting rights act and restricting voting laws we're seeing. is it disappointing that republicans weren't part of the march on washington anniversary? of course it was. but is it a surprise? not really. it's the story of the last 50 years. real football fans love a good
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snowball. if you are the governor of the state hosting the first outdoor cold weather super bowl ever, are you really supposed to say that's what you are hoping for? we'll tackle that next. we believe it can be the most valuable real estate on earth. ♪ that's why we designed the subaru forester from the back seat forward. the intelligently designed, responsibly built, completely restyled subaru forester. love. it's what makes a subaru, a subaru. and this park is the inside of your body. you see the special psyllium fiber in metamucil actually gels to trap and remove some waste. and that gelling also helps to lower some cholesterol. it even traps some carbs to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels as part of your diet. now that's one super hard working fiber.
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super bowl xlviii is going to be held next february at metlife stadium where the jets and giants play. it's the first time ever that the nfl's premier event will take place in an outdoor stadium in a cold weather city. and this week we learned the farmer's almanac is predicting a bitterly cold upcoming winter, meaning, i guess, the field could be covered in snow for the big game. new jersey governor chris christie was the guest host monday on a sports talk show -- talk radio show. he gave a defiant response to that possibility. quote, listen, i've already got the plows fired up. they're good to go. they're ready to go. let me tell you, nobody is going to be slipping on ice and not being able to get to the stad m stadium. we're from new jersey. i'd like a blinding snowstorm during the game.
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it would be amazing. so i am struck by this that the -- this is the marquee showcase event for the state of new jersey. the whole world will be watching and the governor is saying, yeah, i'd like a natural disaster. seems a little strange. >> on the up side for christie it makes him sound like a regular guy, a football fan who wants a crazy game. the thing that catches my eye is i've got the plows fired up. he better have the plows fired up if it snows. many politicians has been befallen by a snowstorm. nobody likes when they can't get to the game. he better make sure all his ducks are lined up before the game starts. >> i don't know if the governor of the whole state is supposed to be saying this. he's probably supposed to say it's going to be 50 and balmy and all of that. i do love a football game in the snow. something almost romantic about it. >> you played the afc championship game in new england and the nfc game in green bay some years. it's cold throughout. this -- what christie is saying, he's a football guy. that's what football fans want. they want to see a blizzard out there.
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>> and then they send them to a dome, miami or san diego. that's not real football. real football is, the frozen tundra of lambeau field and all that. >> thank you for explaining all of this. >> but it's -- i'll tell you. the reason i have the soft spot for snow football is i'm from new england. i'm from massachusetts, and one of the greatest moments in new england patriots history was in january 2002. it was the snowball game against the oakland raiders in the playoffs. that's where tom brady -- it was clearly an incomplete pass but some say he fumbled it and the refs overturned it. obviously an incomplete pass. i have a real soft spot for football in the snow. the novelty of seeing the super bowl messed up by this would be interesting. but the governor of the state, i think you are the chamber of commerce guy. you are supposed to be hoping for nice weather. that's chris christie for you. when the rest of his party was rolling over from michael bloomberg four years ago there was one new york democrat who stood up and ran against him and almost pulled off a stunning
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upset. now bill thompson is running again. he's an underdog again with ten days to go before the democratic primary for mayor of america's biggest city, bill thompson will join us at the table. that is live. that is next. [ male announcer ] this is brad.
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his day of coaching begins with knee pain, when... [ man ] hey, brad, want to trade the all-day relief
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of two aleve for six tylenol? what's the catch? there's no catch. you want me to give up my two aleve for six tylenol? no. for my knee pain, nothing beats my aleve. the big story in the race for mayor of new york this month has been the sudden and dramatic rise of bill de blasio. the most recent, a "new york times"/siena college poll put de blasio at 32% trailed by bill thompson with 18% and christine quinn with 17%. the primary is just ten days away on september 10th. if none of the candidates break 40% that day, a run-off will be held three weeks later. this race is probably more fluid than the poll makes it look. a surprising reason that de
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blasio's support has risen he's made major inroads within the african-american community. according to this week's quinnipiac poll, 1 in 3 black voters are backing de blasio compared to 1 in 4 for thompson. the thompson camp says those numbers don't capture the black and latino voters who will actually line up behind him in the campaign's final days. thompson, in case you need an introduction, came within four points of a stunning upset of michael bloomberg in 2009. this after the political and media class in new york and nationally had written him off. he also enjoys support from the city's teachers union and was the comptroller of new york for two terms from 2002 to 2009. here to talk about the race for mayor and how he's going to catch bill de blasio is bill thompson. thanks for joining us. i appreciate it. we can go back and forth on where the polls are now. where exactly de blasio stands relative to you. clearly the evidence from every poll shows that deblasio struck
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a cord with democrats who are most dissatisfied with mayor bloomberg, and i look at you and i say, you actually ran against the guy. you ran against mike bloomberg and you almost beat him. i wonder, why do people not see you as the candidate of change and why are they looking at bill de blasio as the candidate of change? >> i think as you look at the polls and responses there, they haven't -- they've always proven to be relatively inaccurate. look at my last election in 2009. had me deadlocked with african-americans with mike bloomberg for two days to go and i won three quarters of the vote. i think what you are seeing now is the electorate still making up its mind. just focusing as we're ten days to go. i'm real confident that things in the end will coalesce. i'm going to do well. if there is a run-off, i'm in that run-off and i'm going to wind up being the democratic nominee after that. not worried about the poll numbers. it's a question of going out, getting the job done, continuing
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to reach out to voters each and every day. that's how it's going to end. >> but we set this up in the introduction. there's something that's somewhat extraordinary that seems to be going on. that is that this assumption from the media and political class and big city elections and new york city elections when you look at david dinkins, the first black mayor of new york, the black support he got. you mentioned the plaque support you got in 2009. to actually have black voters split right now, the way they are in these polls with a black candidate in the race and with a white candidate, bill de blasio in most polls leading or competitive, i wonder if you take that and you say, this is a sign of progress. this is, you know, we're sort of moving away from identity politics and it's sort of a jump ball with any constituency. >> well, anybody who assumes that black voters are all just going to vote for somebody because you are black, that's never been the assumption. i've never take ten that way. you have to go out and earn those votes. that's what it indicates. that's the one thing that is -- is it a sign of progress?
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it's a sign of where it always has been. you always have to go out and compete for black voters. you have to speak to the issues. you can't just show up. i am confident in the end that black voters as well as others are going to be there on election day. >> the other thing i wonder, we had bill de blasio on a couple weeks ago. he talked about the role his entire family, his wife, two children play. very actively campaigning for him. his son, his 15-year-old son stars in probably his most famous campaign ad. i wonder if you think people look at this family, this attractive, compelling, it's a biracial family. do you think that maybe african-american voters look at that. and has that helped him at all with african-american voters? >> bill's family has been out there. you know, my wife has been out there. my kids are not quite as -- they report looking for -- they aren't as comfortable in the camera. so i think it is a question of what your family is comfortable with. do i think that presents a bit of a compelling picture? possibly. at the same time, i think in then it's not a question of who your family is.
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it's what policies you are talking about and what direction you're going to take the city of new york in. >> i want to get to -- you probably know this is coming. in "the new york times" today there's a big story on the front page. it came up overnight. they're saying they looked at your record as comptroller of new york. you controlled the pension funds for the city of new york, one of the largest pension funds. they're saying you engaged in pay to play. and that is that you gave pension business to people who had given you campaign money. there's a couple quotes here. this is sort of their conclusions from their reporting on your record as comptroller. this is from "the new york times." again and again, mr. thompson reaped political gains from those he awarded city business. routinely mr. thompson's political fund-raisers arranged for him to meet investment managers pursuing city business, sometimes within days of when the donors made their contributions to his campaign. so they have a number of examples here of people who raised money for you, whose sort of business associates raised
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money for you and then turned around and they got city business. pension business from your office. how do you respond to the story? >> in the end, the one thing the times tends to overlook is that i wasn't a sole trustee. the city comptroller, there are five pension boards. each of them have multiple trustees. >> but you are making recommendations as the comptroll ber who is -- as i understand it, the city comptroller's recommendations almost always win out. >> no, that is not true. as a matter of fact, the mayor chairs the bord boards of all pension funds. it isn't just me making recommendations. it's outside consultants who work for each of the boards. it's the trustees doing interviews of all the people who look into managed funds. when you look at it probably more than 35 trustees on five different boards. each one of them with a vote who are making decisions based on what they think is in the best interest of the pension fund. it's absolutely not true and particularly within my office there was always a separation
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between anybody who had going to do with fund-raising, never anything to do with the pension and fund-raising side at all. >> they show sort of a pattern here. i want to ask you about some of these specific cases. you met with somebody in some cases, more than one meeting with people and then they turn around and got business. some of these are unsavory characters. somebody later pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks to get business from the new york state pension fund. somebody later charged with document forgery in a california pension scandal. a third had to return $78,000 in fees because he wasn't licensed to be doing what he is doing. i wonder if people look at this and say whatever the exact sort of bureaucratic web of this is, should the city comptroller be meeting with people who he's -- who are raising money for him and looking for business from the city. should you be doing that? >> the one thing i wind up meeting. those are singling out here's three or four people. i had an open door policy. i met with people all across the
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board. managers in different areas, whether it was private equity, whether it was asset management. i'd meet with people, with staff and be able to sit and let them make a presentation. so that was part of my job job to sit down and meet with individuals. the times selected a few. i probably met with hundreds of individuals because we did have that open door policy. >> go ahead. >> you are hitting de blasio pretty hard for meetings that he didn't disclose with lobbyists and so i'm just wondering where you kind of see the difference between what the times is talking about here and what you are accusing mr. de blasio of having done. >> absolutely. with bill de blasio, time after time after time, saying one thing and doing something else. he said he'd disclose any meetings he did with lobbyists. in the end it turned out to be not accurate. so bill has misstated, again, the same thing he did with the term limit issue. in saying that he supports -- well, when he was rung to be
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speaker in 2005, he supported changing term limits through the legislative back door, through the city council. and when he was doing something else, in 2008, he opposed it. same thing about supporting member items. he supported member items when he was a member of the city council. that's slush fund. he supported it. he was a huge beneficiary of. after he was no longer in the city council, he opposed to. what i talked about bill de blasio is saying one thing and doing something else. that's what new yorkers want. they want somebody who is going to be honest with them. >> you mentioned this race should be about what direction the city should go in. it seems like de blasio is getting the leg up because he's painting a very clear liberal, progressive direction for the city. just take one issue. universal prekindergarten. he's for a plan that would create 50,000 more full-time slots. you've called that a fantasy plan knocking his revenue source would be going to albany and asking for an income tax which the governor rejects. but why aren't you aiming high
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for 50,000 -- they say your plan will only do,000 slots. why not aim for de blasio's goal and find a more realistic funding goal? >> when you want to present a real ifltic picture. it's not a question of just a fantasy. it's a question of realistic. when you talk about and you are running and saying we're going to do universal pre-k but then the funding stream for it is almost impossible to get, then that's not accurate. that's not true. you're not being honest with the people of the city of new york. i support universal pre-k. if you look right now, we return dollars each and every year for part-time pre-k. half day pre-k. we need to work with the governor who indicated he wants to add dollars to pre-k and universal pre-k. why aren't we working to reprogram them to push for universal pre-k to get the additional dollars the governor is talking about. that's leadership. that's realistic. that's not a fantasy. i think that's the problem when you talk about, we're going to go tax the wealthy to be able to do pre-k. we all would support taxing the wealthy. it's a question of what for and
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in this case, it's not realistic. >> that's one of the areas where i think de blasio has rhetorically distinguished himself. another is stop and frisk. you have an ad up right now and in the debate you went toe-to-toe with him saying he's not being honest on how he portrays his position on stop and frisk. i'll grant you that point in that if you look at it he does not want to actually end the practice of stop and frisk. he wants to take the racial profiling out of it. you don't want to end stop and risk, you want to take the racial profiling out of it. i was talking to someone last night who was supporting bill de blasio. he said i still support de blasio because he made a point early in his campaign of talking about it and highlighting it and making it an issue in this campaign. do you regret looking back that you were not more outspoken and forceful on the issue early in this campaign? >> no, i think i continue to talk about eliminating racial profiling and stop and frisk, about, i mean, when you go back. in the 2009 election back then, i said i wouldn't keep ray kelly as the police commissioner
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because of racial profiling was one of the issues or at least the misuse and abuse of stop and frisk. so it has been a point that has been made in 2013 also. i think bill has gotten more attention for it than others have, but at the same point, his position is not different. and i think that's the other point. and again, misleading the public and talking about he's the only one who would eliminate the abuse. >> may 29th, 2013, "new york times" story, you are quoted as saying there's an overreaction -- overreaction to stop and frisk. do you regret that remark or you stand by it. >> the quote was not about the reaction to stop and frisk. and that perhaps is a little bit of a misquote. what the point was making is we're pushing legislation at that point to bring change about to stop and frisk when what we needed was a mayoral change and a police commissioner change and a mayor who had the courage and conviction to say we're not going to allow racial profiling in our city. that's what it was regard to. racial profiling and the way stop and frisk has been used, i've opposed that for years.
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it is wrong. it is stigmatized, and it is stereotyped, and it is wrong. >> i want to get you on the record on one other important issue. this is one of the republican candidates for mayor. joe lhoda. there was an incident where two kittens were found. they shut down the line for two hours to rescue the kittens and joe lhoda says, no, i would have let the trains keep going even if the kittens would have died. >> as my wife and i have two cats, we're stopping the trains, okay? i mean, i can't believe that joe lhoda said something so insensitive. is that what we've become in new york city these days? i don't think so. >> bill thompson is opposed to killing kittens. >> thank you for joining us, bill thompson, candidate for mayor of new york city. the secretary of explaining stuff is making a comeback. that's next.
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now people ask me all the time, how we got four surplus budgets in a row. what new ideas did we bring to washington? i always give a one-word answer. arithmetic. >> that is bill clinton at the democratic convention in charlotte one year ago nearly to the day. a speech that mesmerized the crowd and prompted a grateful barack obama to bestow a new nickname on him. >> after he spoke, somebody sent out a tweet. they said you should appoint him secretary of explaining stuff. i like that. secretary of explaining stuff.
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>> and now that secretary of explaining stuff is due to make his return this time to address obama care. the former president will deliver a speech at the clinton presidential center in little rock this coming wednesday in which he'll do his best to explain a law that much of the public still does not understand. comes at a crucial moment. the exchanges at the heart of the affordable care act are due to open in a month and convincing americans, particularly health eyoung americans to sign up will be crucial to the law's success. and there's also the politics. republicans are banking on lingering distaste for obama care to carry them in next year's midterms. arkansas senator mark prior, a democrat who is facing a difficult re-election campaign in 2014 will not be at clinton's little rock speech on wednesday. i'm not sure where to start with this one. i want to pick it up on the politics. one that that kind of jumped out at me talking about this. we're always talking about hillary in 2016 and maybe the clinton restoration and all that. if hillary clinton does run in 2016 if she is the democratic
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nominee and becomes the president of the united states, she's going to have to run on, defend and continue implementing this law. so there's a very sort of basic interest here for the clintons in rallying around this right now. >> and i think you will see bill clinton try and explain exactly what we can do to make the law better. that was a point he hit on in february when he met with house democrats at the democratic retreat. and i was reporting on it and he said you guys need to get caught fixing this thing. you can't just -- you can't just walk around and say, you know, we want to keep pre-existing conditions. that's great. you need to defend it from republican attacks, but you need to get caught fixing it. and i think that you might hear him say we need to work together. we need republicans on board to try and fix it. it's the law. that the democrats are the problem solvers in this case, as opposed to the ones trying to just stop it from happening. >> so like i'll grant the point that he is a great explainer. that speech really accomplished
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something kind of meaningful for the obama campaign last year. but, bill, i guess i look at the last 3 1/2 years since the passage, really go back four years since the thing was kind of working its way through congress, the affordable care act. i don't know there's anybody that can really explain this. explain the complexities in this in a way that's going to break through that sort of partisan divide, that has governed public opinion. that's going to make the republican who just says obama care, no, it's socialism, it's a big spending train wreck and say, yeah, exchanges are a good idea. i don't know that's going to happen. >> this is the one issue bill clinton was not able to explain well when he was president because it's a complicated issue. but it is the centerpiece of obama's legacy and it's critical to the entire liberal progressive project of proving that active government is good for america again. the implementation has to go as smoothly as possible. therefore, you bring out every possible tool you have at your disposal to explain it to the public so they understand it. you have -- in food stamps, which has been around for 40 years, 13 million people who are
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eligible don't get the benefits. it's not that simple. just to show up and get what's coming to them. so you have to have, as deep and thorough a communications project as possible, so it's not just clinton. it's going to be a much wider range on that. >> so let's think about this practically. we talk about these exchanges are going to open up and people will be eligible for them. it's going to be run by your individual state. let's say you're in montana. i don't know the latest status in montana. it won't be called obama care. you won't be signing up for obama care. you'll be signing up for the grizzly bear exchange or whatever they call it out there. >> the thing is, this is now out of bill clinton's hands, out of barack obama's hands. the huffington post did a great story where they are in kentucky at the state fair there and somebody comes up to the counter and the counter is called kentucky connect. that's what their exchange is called. kentucky connect. and this guy comes up and explains to him. he responds to the person explaining, wow, this sounds
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much better than obama care. and that's exactly what the goal should be to disconnect this as much from obama or clinton or the democratic party. in kentucky they are worried about making this a law about health care and not about politics. i think the chief explainers who are most effective are people going door to door to your house in your neighborhood. like the enroll america group the obama staff set up to enroll people in their neighborhoods and communities. they'll go to your house. neighbors, people you know. go to the state fair where it will not be obama campaign volunteers but something called a kentucky connect or montana connect and those people are going to have a much bigger role than bill clinton will have. >> polls show 40% of americans don't even know if obama care is essentially a law. that's how astonishing this is. with the president now, the administration coming out and getting the message out, this is a key time with millions set to enroll in health care. >> that's the thing. i can game this out and assuming
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none of these repeal efforts are successful. i could see a scenario where this is a perfectly successful law where people sign up for kentucky connect or the grizzly bear exchange or whatever the heck it's called out there and they're still against obama care. they think it's this big spending train wreck that needs to be repeeled and i wonder how you'll reconcile those two. the obama/clinton relationship. we always remember 2008 and how tense and hostile everything got. the moment that i remember, though, was think back to the 20 of 2010 when bill clinton showed up at the white house in the white house briefing room. >> it was a great moment. >> let's just play this. this was the two of them together three years ago. >> here's what i'll say is, i've been keeping the first lady waiting for about half an hour. so i'm going to take off. >> i don't want to make her mad. please go. >> you're in good hands. and gibbs will call last question. >> help me. thank you. yeah, go ahead. >> i mean -- >> please stay, but, yeah.
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>> i don't know what the interpersonal relationship dynamics were at that point. i always interpreted that as, to me, that was the low point. barack obama literally left. bill clinton didn't want him to stay and bill clinton was there for 45 minutes and was like, this is how you do it. >> this is how it's done. i think the speech in arkansas is going to be so important because it's really going to set the tone for the rest of the speeches that the white house is saying are going to come. the administration officials are talking that there will be more high-profile speeches about the law, but, you know, you can't get anyone better than bill clinton to fire people up about this. >> bill clinton is good at explaining stuff. you notice some of the lines in the speech were used by the president and the vice president and their staff after that. my guess is we'll hear some lines that you haven't heard before that will help you and i and other people who do this for a living understand this better. >> the it's arithmetic thing. i remember that popping up a few times. i think obama tried it in the
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bay and it didn't quite work the same. >> one point about the whole clinton/obama drama. never have two blood feud enemies been so helpful to each other for so many years in a row. woodrow wilson had a -- these guys, whatever friction there might be, maybe they aren't best of friends but they have made the calculation for a long time they are in this together. they help each other. it's good for the party and good for their beliefs. >> it's an alliance of mutual interest. 2016 hanging there. the idea of hillary running as the -- almost heir to obama. and somewhere joe biden saying, what about me? we're just getting started with bill clinton because he's the president a lot of advocates of a military strike in syria are pointing to right now. kosovo, boss niainterventions of the 1990s and what they do and do not mean for syria. labor day is coming, and that means...
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do our interests in kosovo justify the dangers to our armed forces? i thought long and hard about that question. i am convinced that the dangers of acting are far outweighed by the dangers of not acting. dangers to defenseless people and to our national interests. if we and our allies were to allow this war to continue with no response, president milosevic would read our hesitation as a license to kill. >> bill clinton in march of 1999 telling americans he'd decided without the consent of congress or the united nations that the united states would take the lead in a nato air campaign against yugoslavia. it was billed as a humanitarian intervention to top yugoslav president slobodan milosevic's bloody crackdown against the ethnic albanian population. it worked. after 78 days of bombings, the serbs withdrew and the violence stopped. this week "the new york times" called that intervention, quote, the obvious precedent for air
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strikes against syria. actually kosovo wasn't the only successful intervention of the clinton years. "operation deliberate force" was crucial in ending the bosnian war in 1995. humanitarian interventions can work. but do the lessons of bosnia and kosovo really apply to the dilemma on syria? let's welcome military analyst and medal of honor recipient, jack jacobs. thanks for joining us, colonel. so maybe start with taking these one at a time and look at kosovo, what "the new york times" calls the obvious precedent for syria. you see some similarities there. the serbs had an alliance, traditional alliance. the russians were willing to block anything the united nations aimed at holding them accountable. it was going to happen without the u.n. goes without saying, happened without congress. you had sort of massacres of civilian populations that prompted the united states to act. and then 78 days of air strikes and a positive result. do you see any encouraging signs there for syria?
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>> no, i don't think so. you said it yourself. 78 days of bombing. we're not going to -- we're going to have one to three days of targeted rockets hitting specific places inside syria and facilities. most important, though, the object sieve completely different. the objective there was to stop it. the objective in bosnia was to stop it, to end it. our objective is not to end it. our objective is to send a message to assad and the world that says that you can't use chemical weapons. by the way, that's not going to necessarily stop them from using chemical weapons either. >> and that was also part of the story with kosovo, that when the bombing originally started, the response from the serbs was to escalate fop go after more civilians in macedonia and then the response then was for escalation on the part of nato with the air strikes. i wonder if you see sort of -- if that's sort of a warning sign
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for what we may be getting into with syria. if assad responds, not by saying, okay, i give up. i got the message but with more attacks on civilians, would that be the response from the united states? >> yeah, probably would. we'd probably bomb them again and an escalation and involvement with israel and already with jordan and lebanon and so on. this has all been discussed in the white house. and that's one reason why the president and the secretary of state made it abundantly clear that we weren't going to do that. and in fact, this was just to back up what the president said a year ago. >> but how do you -- when you think about it from the humanitarian aspect, though. you look at the evidence john kerry laid out yesterday. 426 children. 1400 civilians and the other intervention in the 1990s was bosnia and the massacre at srebrenica. at what point should we be prompted to action here for out of the similar concern? >> we do have a similar concern but if we react ed any time by
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just the massacre of civilians, we'd be bombing north korea right now. and other places, too. we'd be much more heavily involved in sub-saharan africa, which we are not. we're a superpower. we can pick and choose our fights. we've decided that we're going to respond to the chemical bombing, but not because of the chemical bombing. he bombed -- he used chemical weapons against his own citizens a dozen times before. i think the president of the united states is kicking himself in the back side for having said what he said a year ago because what it does is reduce our optionality going forward. now you kind of suck. you have to do it. >> i don't personally buy that he's going to change his entire foreign policy based on one comment he made. it he thought it was a bad idea he could walk it back any number of ways. i take your point it may not tactically work. most of us on our bar stools
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across the country can't speak to whether a military tact sick going to work or not. i don't think that's what our role in a democracy is. we have a role as far as directing our country's vision and direction. and i personally believe, at least, that, you know, this is -- this may not be a kosovo for a number of ways. it's also not iraq. it's not neoconservativism. >> it's none of those things. >> it is trying to maintain international norm on the use of chemical weapons. and i think longer term, trying to create an untenable stalemate in syria that would allow for a power share agreement to form. >> but if we're going to use military force in order to enforce international norms against using chemical weapons, then why didn't we act two years ago? >> well, i think obama's approach for many of these subjects is, what's going to work? i'm not going to use a cookie cutter strategy for every foreign policy crisis in front of us. the way he handled libya is not how he handled iran or egypt.
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>> no, i'm talking about against syria. syria has been using chemical weapons -- >> but a much larger scale tactic than before. this possibility he'd get more international support this time around. >> clearly not. i agree exactly -- i think exactly the opposite. he would have gotten much more international support two years ago than he does now. he has no international support. >> he just started making the case. i don't know if we can judge that. >> the case inside the halls of power was made a long, long time ago. we all agree you're not allowed to use chemical weapons. if we are serious about making sure that no chemical weapons are to be used, we -- the time to make the case was, you know, 14 attacks earlier. >> that's one of the questions that hangs over this, too, is we -- chemical attacks on civilians, you talk about the international -- it is an atrocity. there are also 100,000 people who have been killed over the last two years. and it does seem strange on some level that this is what -- this
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is what intigates international action when the 100,000 before this didn't. anyway, i want to thank msnbc military analyst colonel jake jacobs. we're just getting started with bill clinton and i meant it because everything we're seeing from republicans on capitol hill today can be traced to four lessons they took from the clinton years. those lessons are next. [ male announcer ] these days, a small business can save by sharing. like carpools... polly wants to know if we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] ...office space.
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points ahead over all. i don't know that he's in a great place. >> and now vindication. a new poll from quinnipiac shows the race between spitzer and scott stringer dead even. tied at 46%. there's stringer momentum in the air. i called it. just like i called it when i sized up the scott brown. >> martha coakley race a few years ago and wrote the noise on the right about scott brown pulling up a shocking upset to fill ted kennedy's senate seat is just that. take it from this bay state native. it ain't happening. or when i analyzed harry reid's re-election campaign that year and concluded by the end of the year, reid will be done. both as leader and as a senator. so, okay, i'm not exactly kornacki the magnificent. i always thought this would be a hard race for spitzer to win. now i think it's starting to show. soft would be great, but we really just need "kid-proof."
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we were just talking about the lessons for today from bill clinton's foreign policy. there are some catastrophic fights looming over government and the debt ceiling. it's a familiar story by now. but the unified and sustained obstruction that president obama has faced has its roots in the clinton years. there's a difference, though. back then in the face of republican overreach of two government shutdowns and even an impeach; bill clinton's. lairity just kept going up. sahill capor says that today's republicans led by john boehner have learned from the '90s and have perfected the art of obstruction. he wrote a piece this week highlighting what he says are the four big lessons the gop has learned from the clinton era. here to talk about it is the father, sahil kapur. so before we get to the individual lessons, just talk maybe in general about, we have the same basic dynamic in washington today that we had in the clinton years. the democratic president, the republican house. the very conservative republican
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house. i guess the slight differences, this republicans had the senate back then. they have the democrats do now. but very basic similar parallels between how washington is structured today and how it was back then. >> that's exactly right. the president's first midterm election, newly elected democrat. a huge backlash from conservatives and they swept into congress. now they controlled the house. massive majority. and what the base really wants is for the new congress, for the new republican congress, to thwart the president and to go after him in every possible way. and what the republican leadership did in the '90s, they did a variety of things to try to please the conservative base and go after clinton. they learn the lessons and they've kept those in mind as they are trying to actualize some of the same goals with obama. >> the tea party revolution in 2010. the gingrich revolution in 1994. now let's look at these individual lessons to perfect the art of obstruction. number one, don't shut down the government. so explain that. >> they did that twice. late in 1995 and early 1996.
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newt gingrich stared down bill clinton. he shut down the government over budget disputes. it turned out really badly for republicans. newt's popularity, the gop's brand was damaged. clinton's popularity just kept going up and up. this time speaker boehner who is leading a republican congress that's practically tailor made for shutdowns. the budget disputes are so wide and significant, they've always managed to avoid a shutdown. he was part of the leadership team in 1998 and learned from that. >> i guess, i wonder how long can that go up. i keep hearing them talk about that. >> keep hearing talk about it and then at the end of the day, what you get is these very small budget deals, right? you are just kind of leapfrogging from one deal to the next. so we're never -- we're not shutting down, but we're also doing this every -- >> crisis of confidence. >> crisis management. so i don't know how long they can sustain it. i'm wondering from you, you also talk in your piece about
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impeachment and how -- >> oh, we're getting there. >> oh, i'm sorry. >> we're doing the -- let's take that as the segue to go to lesson number two. and this is, don't overreach on scandals. so explain that. >> so the series of scandals that started with whitewater and culminated in the monica lewinsky scandal, also worked out badly because the public saw it for what it was. an expression of primal distaste and just dislike for a democratic president. and bill clinton, he was not impeached, as some democrats think, for the misdeeds he did and he was not -- he was ultimately impeached because he was a democrat in the white house. and that's what -- and the mismanagement, i guess, or the obsession with sort of bringing him down is something republicans have learned from. you have issues like the irs scandal and other things that the president -- that the president is worried about now, which republicans are not going after in the same way they did
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under clinton. they aren't keeping the focus on him. ev even darrell issa. >> you don't think there's a chunk of the party waiting for the right moment? >> i think back to the '90 pps i remember i was like 13 years old. like a month after clinton was inaugurated in 1993. nothing had happened yet. i saw an impeach clinton bumper sticker. that captured the mood of the right for the entire 1990s and it took until 1998, 1999 to say, okay we can say obstruction of justice, suborning perjury with lewinsky. i hear the talk of impeachment and, if they just inhave the moment, they'll do it. >> there will be republicans who want to impeach the president and when they find it they will jump on it. the leadership in my view, won't go for it. >> benghazi turned out to be nothing. the irs turned out to be very little. obama is not giving them any
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kind of big moment. they're ready for one and haven't found. fast and furious wasn't it. they just haven't found the moment. >> let's get to lesson three. this is don't impeach the president for political gain. so they didn't impeach him, but they are about to. not about to, but we're saying they are waiting for the moment. >> and a lot of conservatives and republicans want to. especially the ones who weren't around in the '90s. but the impeachment in 1998 worked out very well for clinton. the second term of a president and that almost never happens. and it was partly because the public was disgusted by the obsession with the lewinsky scandal and a distraction from what they thought would be the right thing to do would to be govern. >> we have lesson number four. and this one is opposing health care reform is politically lucrative. so bill clinton tried to do health care reform 20 years before obama did. >> and he was one of many presidents who tried to do it. president since going back to teddy roosevelt have tried to do it and they've always been
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blocked. president obama is the first to succeed. under oclinton their insight was it's easy to scare the public because the public is scared of big changes. if you oppose this, conservatives will turn out conservatives will turnout for republicans in the midterms and a lot of the independents who are skeptical of this will also turn out. and that worked out very well for them in 1994. they applied this lesson again, they decided from the beginning, to oppose any health care reform whatever president obama came up with. and i think what they didn't count on that he would actually succeed this time the way no president has. and if i were to add a postscript to this, 20 years from now, if we're in a similar position again, i think republicans will have learned the lesson of, if you want to oppose a democratic president's signature initiative, don't say it's going to destroy people's freedom and everything they love, because then the base is going to demand you do all sorts of radical and possibly irrational things to shut down the government to try to stop it. it's not an argument to say this law is so bad and it's going to destroy everything you love
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about your country, but it's not worth closing down national parks and zoos over. >> that's the question. in 1994, they would say, hey, we killed health care reform. how do republicans get out of this -- the moment of saying, okay, we can live with this. >> i think since 2011, when republicans took back control of the house, they voted about 40 times on repealing and defunding obama care. to no avail. obviously, that's not going to work. the president has veto power, the senate is in control of democrats. so kind of, just even over this august recess, republicans are in town halls, tea party republicans, and they're just denouncing obama care, continuously. they're signing letters, 80 republicans recently signed a letter to leadership, basically saying they want this defunded and they don't want any spending bills that are going to come out. they want obama care to be defunded. obviously, house leadership is not signing on to this. >> but i do think that leadership sees is an opportunity when the administration keeps delaying
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portions of the law or is trying to, you know, manage different parts of the law to make it work better, when implementation does go in. but they see that and they can, look, the administration is admitting it's not working, they're delaying it. >> which just speaks to the, if you're in that mind-set of your base says, this is socialism and it has to go, then you're going to look for every opening you can to please that base and say, this is the latest example of why we can't have it, why we need to repeal it. and i just wonder, at what point will we stop -- when will the last repeal vote be in the house -- maybe we'll start a pool. i'll take november 23rd, 2029, or something. what do we know now that we didn't know last week? we've got your answer right after this. equipped with droid zap for advanced photo sharing
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all right. we're going to find out what everybody knows now that they didn't know when the week began. kate, we'll start with you. i learned that liberals and conservative in congress can come together on something and
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that is when to approve the war in syria. they want the president to call congress back and have a vote on that. >> it is bipartisan. curtis? >> in colorado, two democratic state senators are up for recall elections a little over a week from today. and michael bloomberg, the new york city mayor, opened up his pocketbooks this past week and donated $250,000 from an issue committee. they're basically calling recall for their support of tougher gun legislation in colorado. >> i have a feeling we'll talk about that next week. >> ruth bader ginsburg said she's not -- she has no intention of retiring under president obama and that's, i think, extremely important, because come 2016, there'll be three justices who are 80 or older and one who's 78, which means the 2016 may be the most important supreme court election of any of our lifetime's. >> "new york times" this week showed that obama has done no better than picking women for high-level jobs than bill clinton did. and what i know from that, if larry summers is being picked to
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be the fed chair, there'll be a very, very big backlash. >> and i know my favorite football team will have a very long year against north dakota bison. they were defeated, a shocking upset. my thanks to curtis lee, perry bacon jr. thanks for getting up and thank you for joining us today for "up." join us tomorrow at 8:00 when n angus king of maine joins us. coming up next is melissa harry perry with coverage of the rapidly changing situation in syria. see you tomorrow. from our marketing partners, the media and millions of fans on social media can be a challenge. that's why we partnered with hp to build the new nascar fan and media engagement center. hp's technology helps us turn millions of tweets, posts and stories into real-time business insights that help nascar win with our fans.
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this morning, my question. should everyone but the players be making big money on college football? plus, the millions of workers just trying to make $15 an hour. and the 12-year-old taking on north carolina's governor over voting rights. but first, will the u.s. have to go it alone on syria?

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