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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 4, 2014 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. rachel has the night off. there's a lot of news in the world tonight including a possible move away from violence in gaza in a huge federal court ruling regarding abortion law in alabama. but we begin tonight with this. it was a byline that caught everyone who read it by surprise. it was a byline that shocked the political world as it woke up on the morning of march 29th, 1991 and opened up "the new york times." the headline "why i am for the brady bill" and the byline, author who wrote it, is ronald reagan, former president of the united states. a republican president. a staunch opponent of gun control, but now here he was coming out vehemently in favor of a gun control bill that the nra was bitterly resisting. >> good evening. federal gun control, one of the most emotional issues on the political agenda, has an unexpected new ally tonight.
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former president ronald reagan. he has endorsed a seven-day waiting period for the purchase of handguns, and president bush may follow. >> he looked and sounded like the ronald reagan of old, but what he said was far from it. this darling of the gun lobby endorsing a gun control bill. >> and i'm going to say it in clear, unmistakable language. i support the brady bill and i urge the congress to enact it. >> all this left the national rifle association all but speechless. day released a terse one-page statement which simply reiterated the nra's opposition to the brady bill. >> it appears now that the nra has lost the white house on this one, but the powerful gun lobby is now expected to turn its sights on congress, where it's enjoyed considerable success in
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the past. >> that bill that ronald reagan was supporting back then, that bill he supported in defiance of the nra, it was named in honor of james brady. james brady worked for the reagan campaign in 1980. he then came to the white house with reagan to serve as his first press secretary. that meant he was with reagan just three months into his first term when a gunman tried to take out the president. >> these are policemen in raincoats waiting for president reagan to come out. this is the advance guard now with the secret servicemen coming out. here's president reagan waving. right arm up in the air. suddenly everybody ducks. mike is down. everybody's down. three policemen jump on top of the assailant, wrestle him to the ground. secret service police have drawn their guns. absolute pandemonium with one aide after another yelling and screaming. >> president reagan is in good condition tonight in a washington hospital after several hours of emergency surgery. his press secretary, james brady, is in extremely serious condition with brain damage. >> so you've heard the expression before, but when it came to james brady, it was literally true.
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he took a bullet for the president. and because he did that, he suffered the most serious injuries that day. he nearly died. he was left partially paralyzed. he was left with permanent brain damage. but he did survive. he and his wife, sarah brady, then dedicated themselves to trying to stop what had happened to them and their family from happening to anyone else. to any other family. they became activists. and they became the most recognizable advocates of gun control legislation anywhere in america. that was the legislation that president reagan to the surprise of everyone came out in support of back in 1991. it was legislation that could be traced directly back to that attempt on his own life. the lives of others around him a decade earlier.
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two years after reagan made that surprise announcement, the fall of 1993, the brady bill actually passed congress. it was signed into law by bill clinton. the brady bill, now the brady law as it's now known, mandated all federally licensed gun dealers perform background checks on customers in conjunction with federal law enforcement authorities. they couldn't just check off some background check form, put it in a drawer and never tell anyone about it. there were teeth in the law. the brady law changed the way people bought and sold firearms in this country. 1993, james brady sat next to bill clinton as he signed that bill. and today, james brady passed away. 73 years old. the bill that was named after him wasn't the only piece of gun legislation that was passed during bill clinton's first term. a year later, september of 1994, clinton signed the federal assault weapons ban. it was written by a senator from california who, herself, had been witness to a political assassination. senator dianne feinstein. she was the first person on the scene to find the body of the supervisor member harvey milk when he was shot and killed in 1978. president clinton inaugurated in
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1993 and in the first couple years of his presidency, two major pieces of gun control legislation passed the house then they passed the senate. they make it to his desk. bill clinton signs them into law. one in 1993, the other in 1994. two months after he signed that assault weapons ban in 1994 came this. 1994 midterm election. those were elections in which democrats famously got absolutely clobbered. they call it the republican revolution. the revolution of '94. newt gingrich became the speaker of the house. republicans won more seats in congress in that election than they had had in 40 years. it was a seismic political event. the political narrative that started being spun about that 1994 election was that it was about guns. it was their support of gun control. it was those gun-control laws that they had passed that helped fuel the republican revolution. that's what some democrats started to say. now, this was, to put it politely, a questionable claim. there were a lot of reasons democrats took such a big hit in 1994. it was the kind of thing that a lot of smart people, even a lot
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of smart democrats, started saying and repeating to themselves and to everyone. it was something that even bill clinton started saying. something that became conventional wisdom. this idea that gun control was costing democrats voters they would otherwise win over if they would just stop talking about gun control, if they would stop doing anything about gun control. and then came the event that really cemented that thinking in place. that event was the election of 2000. everyone remembers florida as the key state that year. the florida recount, the hanging chads and all that. a lot of democrats looked at the electoral map in 2000 and what they saw was a bunch of states with big rural areas. states with lots of gun owners. states with deep gun cultures. states that bill clinton had won twice in 1992 and 1996 but now al gore lost. missouri, kentucky, west virginia, tennessee, arkansas, and ohio. forget about florida. it gore had won any one of those
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states, he would have been president. the recount wouldn't have mattered. that's what a lot of democrats saw when they looked at the 2000 map. the idea that gun control had cost them in those states, that it had cost them the white house. it was why they were stuck, why the country was stuck with george w. bush. now you can argue whether that conclusion was right or not, but it is the conclusion that has shaped how a lot of democrats have looked at the issue for the last decade plus through one horrific gun tragedy, one ghastly mass shooting after another. just before the 2000 election, there was columbine. then there was the virginia tech shooting rampage in april of 2007. there was the shooting in tucson, arizona, where congresswoman gabrielle giffords was shot. there was the aurora movie theater shooting. terrible, devastating tragedies that everyone bemoaned, but that produced from washington no real response. no legislation. no new laws. one attempt to close a big loophole in the brady law, the gun show loophole, after columbine. that attempt was made, it
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failed. after that, nothing. and then came newtown. the shooting that left 20 first graders and 6 teachers dead at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut. when that shooting happened two years ago, when we all absorbed the unspeakable shock and sadness around that shooting, that did jolt a lot of people in washington, did jolt a lot of democrats who had been shying away from gun control for so long. they were jolted into trying to do something. it was after newtown that democratic senator joe manchin from west virginia, republican senator pat toomey from pennsylvania, came together to sponsor bipartisan legislation to try again to close that loophole that was left open in the brady law all those years ago. the gun show loophole. the toomey/manchin bill would
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have expanded federal background checks program to include not just anyone trying to buy a gun at a federally licensed gun dealer but also anyone trying to buy a gun at a gun show. that's a lot of people. would have extended background checks to cover basically every private sale. president obama pushed for it as hard as he could and many democrats, most democrats, came together and pushed for it, too, but ultimately, failed to pass the senate. failed to even get enough votes to get a vote in the senate. there weren't 60 votes to break a filibuster to have that real vote. that moment, that was the moment it turns out that president obama has said was the single most frustrating moment in his entire presidency. >> i have to say that people often ask me how's it been being president, and what are my -- what am i proudest of, and what are my biggest disappointments? and i've got 2 1/2 years left. my biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of
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the hands of, you know, people who, you know, can do just unbelievable damage. we're the only society -- we're the only developed country on earth where this happens. and it happens now once a week. and it's a one-day story. there's no place else like this. and i will tell you that i have been in washington for a while now, and most things don't surprise me. the fact that 20 6-year-olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible, and this town couldn't do anything about it, was stunning to me. >> just try to imagine a president sitting down to sign legislation like the kind of legislation that president
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clinton signed back in 1993 and 1994. try to imagine that legislation making it through the house. try to imagine that legislation getting those 60 votes to even get a vote in the senate and then passing the senate. try to imagine a republican as big as ronald reagan coming out and supporting that legislation. telling people in his party, it's okay to support that legislation. try to imagine that, but you find out it's impossible to imagine that right now. when you look at it at the federal level, our system is broken down completely when it comes to the issue of guns, and there was no symbol of that that was more potent than the failed background check bill in the wake of newtown. here's the other side. if you look state by state, get away from congress, get away from washington, get away from the federal government and look at places like connecticut and new york and colorado and california and maryland and a
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host of other states, if you look there, then you see that there actually has been some movement on this issue, that the system isn't broken when it comes to guns. took 12 years after president reagan and james brady and two others were nearly killed when they were shot and then nearly killed before the federal government passed gun legislation. passed the brady bill in 1993. it has been about a year and a half since newtown. is our federal government now broken beyond repair when it comes to this issue? has the battle now moved away from washington into the states? is that the future when it comes to gun control? joining us now, sarah clements, gun violence prevention advocate. her mother is a teacher and survivor of the shootings at sandy hook elementary schools. sarah, thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. >> i'm really interested in how you look at this issue because you're much younger than me. i think you were probably born in the late 1990s. after a lot of the stuff we were talking about in the intro. i remember the run-up to the
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brady bill, run-up to assault weapons ban becoming law and there was a sense of real momentum that it was going to happen, it was a matter of time. you had republicans like ronald reagan coming out for it. i look at the situation now where a background checks bill goes to the senate last year and can't even get a real vote. do you feel any sense of momentum when it comes to the federal government doing anything about this, or do you look at it and say, it's just not going to happen? >> i absolutely am optimistic about legislation being passed on the federal level. especially on the state level right now, but also on the federal level. it was absolutely a devastation for the universal background check bill to fail. it was a devastation for communities everywhere. it also motivated a lot of americans who otherwise were just sitting on the sidelines who "a" didn't even know that there was a gun show loophole or that you could buy a gun online without a background check, and "b," it angered so many people, including young people, including millennials like myself most disproportionately affected by gun violence in america to get up and fight this. i think we're sort of in this
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turning point right now where moms and students are -- and other sort of demographics are coming together on the grassroots level to advocate against the gun lobby and to prove that average americans can have more political power than the gun lobby and that's never happened before. >> yeah, maybe you could tell us a little -- there's the protect all women movement that's out in washington. in california they have this gun violence restraining order idea. there are some interesting things happening or trying to make happen at the state level. tell us about some of them. >> exactly. even though universal background checks have been put on the back burner on the federal level, that doesn't mean other legislation can't be passed especially on the state level like you mentioned. in california, they're looking at the -- the state legislature is looking at this gun violence restraining order which would give parents, you know, family members or intimate partners a mechanism and a process, an efficient process to work with law enforcement to ensure that a loved one who they fear might be dangerous to themselves or to others in the future, in regards to owning or buying a weapon, a
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firearm, it provides that mechanism to ensure that everybody stays safe. an example is the ila vista shooting a few months ago. we heard in the aftermath the parents of the shooter didn't really have a way, a mechanism, a process, to work with law enforcement to ensure that when they went to the shooter's apartment that they could seize his firearms for just a short amount of time, just like a domestic violence restraining order would happen, and make sure that whatever issues that he might have, like a mental health issue, or substance abuse issue that might trigger a violent act, are taken care of before he's able to possess those firearms, again, and potentially that could have stopped that shooting as well as other domestic violence shootings, things like that, and suicides. >> one more question.
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i'm just curious. i mean, we all -- obviously the images and the emotions of newtown are just permanently sort of a part of all us. i wonder how is the town? how is newtown now almost two years later? >> you know, the town is strong. healing and moving forward as we have been for the last 19 months. but to me the heroes in our town are the advocates who are standing up and saying, like richard martinez, not one more. advocates who i work with every single day in town like my mom who is a survivor of the shooting and coming out in support as a survivor and teacher to stand up and say that it's enough, that we have to act. and survivors and victims all around the country who are coming together and building bridges between every type of community to show that we have -- we can have more power than the gun lobby. >> all right. i appreciate the time tonight. incredibly well spoken, too, i have to say. i wish at your age i had been half as well spoken. >> well, it's an honor to be on, especially tonight, you know, in the wake of the passing of jim
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brady. he's a hero to all of us in this movement and in this country, and millions of activists around the country hope to move forward his legacy of one day ending gun violence in america. >> i'm sure that mean a lot to him. sarah clements, founder and chairwoman of the junior newtown alliance. thank you for joining us. appreciate that. more to come on the show tonight. there appears to be movement away from violence between israel and hamas at least for the moment. there was a big deal federal court ruling regarding alabama and abortion law today that may resonate elsewhere. former president bill clinton did something over the weekend that not even he ever thought he'd be doing. stay tuned. [ male announcer ] if you suffer from a dry mouth then you'll know how uncomfortable it can be. [ crickets chirping ] but did you know that the lack of saliva can also lead to tooth decay and bad breath? [ exhales deeply ] [ male announcer ] well there is biotene. specially formulated with moisturizers and lubricants, biotene can provide soothing relief and it helps keep your mouth healthy, too. [ applause ] biotene --
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about the way your wealth is managed? wealth management at charles schwab there is important news from the war between israel and hamas in the gaza strip tonight. late this afternoon, it was reported that israel and hamas have agreed to a 72-hour truce. first proposed by egypt. the deal would allow the two sides to negotiate a longer-term cessation of military hostilities. the truce would begin tuesday at 8:00 a.m. local time which is four hours from right now. promise of a halt to the deadly violence is, of course, tempered by the brief history of the current hostilities. at least four cease-fires have been broken since the war broke out back on july 8th. most recently, struck on friday, crumbled within hours of its start. shelling resumed from both sides. a responsibility for that agreement's failure was disputed by both sides. earlier today, it had already
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been reported that israel was ramping down its military efforts. israeli officials indicated that the mission to destroy tunnels linking gaza to israel was nearly achieved. israeli troops were withdrawing its ground forces from gaza on sunday before news broke of this latest truce. the troop withdrawal came on the heels of another day of deadly shelling on and near a u.n. shelter in gaza where displaced civilians sought safety. ten people were reportedly killed. in the wake of that incident, the u.s. state department strongly condemned the actions saying, "the united states is appalled by today's disgraceful shelling --" excuse me. "the united states is appalled by today's disgraceful shelling outside a u.n. school in rafah sheltering some 3,000 displaced persons. the suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes to put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians." those civilian casualties added to the grim total on human life on this war. palestinian authorities say at least 1,800 palestinians have been killed, 64 israeli soldiers and 3 israeli civilians have
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reportedly been killed as well. all of those casualties have come since july 8th. even today as the 72-hour truce was being finalized, we were reminded how fragile a cease-fire can to be maintain. violence in jerusalem took another life. a man attacked a truck using the excavator's shovel to tip it over. palestinians want a full and complete israeli withdrawal from gaza and an end to the israeli blockade of that territory. they want hamas prisoners released by israel and want international help rebuilding and reconstructing gaza. israel wants gaza to be completely demilitarized giving up all weapons. for now, we will wait to see if and for how long the violence stops. then we will see what more is possible. be right back. meone's face? don't let it be you. one swish of scope kills millions of bad breath germs,
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on june 25th of last year, the "washington post" got a scoop on a story they had been doggedly chasing down for weeks. it was about a governor in trouble. it was about a governor suspected of carrying out official state actions in exchange for gifts. that day, the "washington post" edit it from reliable sources that one of the gifts received was a fancy new rolex watch worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $6,a00, personally engraved with the
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inscription, 71st governor of virginia. that would be then-virginia governor bob mcdonnell and that rolex has sort of come to symbolize the heart of the case against him. that he performed official state actions for a wealthy businessman in exchange for gifts like that $6,500 rolex. last week was the first week of the bob mcdonnell corruption trial and now after more than a year of waiting, we finally have gotten to lay our eyes on the rolex watch in question. this is the watch right here, you're looking at it. the watch that virginia businessman jonnie williams
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bought for bob mcdonnell. see right there on the back of the watch is the inscription. "robert mcdonnell, 71st governor of virginia." there's mcdonnell, himself, proudly displaying his rolex in a photo that was texted to the wealthy donor who brought it for him. that watch was brought inside the courtroom last week during the trial and was passed around among the jurors so each one could handle it and inspect it personally. today, the businessman who purchased that watch for bob mcdonnell was on the stand for another day of testimony. the government still has to prove that the gifts that mcdonnell and his wife received from him were given in exchange for official state actions. right now, any time you google bob mcdonnell, any time you google him from now and any point in the future, these are now the search results that you're going to get. a few years ago, they were talking about bob mcdonnell ending up on the national gop president someday. vice president, president, who knew how high he'd go. now, this is what it's come to for him. we'll be right back. (vo) friday night has always been all fun and games, here at the harrison household. but one dark, stormy evening... she needed a good meal and a good family.
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government for republicans in 21 states. thanks to their 2010 midterm landslide. one of the things that republicans have been doing with that uncommon power on the state level, something this show has been reporting on for the last 3 1/2 years has been a drive at the state level to close down abortion clinics. in multiple states around the country, legislatures have passed nearly identical laws that place restrictions on abortion clinics with the intent to shut them down. or at least to make it very hard for them to stay open. these are known as t.r.a.p. laws, one of the most frequently used t.r.a.p. laws require doctors performing abortions at clinics have admitting privileges at local hospitals. it is a requirement that may not sound like a big deal, but one that has proven nearly impossible for many abortion clinics and providers to fulfill. since 2010, republican controlled statehouses have passed a version of this particular t.r.a.p. law in kansas, in mississippi, north dakota, tennessee, alabama, texas, wisconsin, and just this year, in louisiana and oklahoma. same legislation, same potential, same intentional effects. in texas, this law has already
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resulted in the closure of half of all the clinics in that state. in oklahoma, likely shut down all but one clinic for the entire state. in louisiana, the law there passed just last month will close all but one or two clinics in that state as well. in alabama, that same law was likely to shut down all but two clinics in the whole state. two clinics for the state's 2.5 million women. in alabama, republican governor robert bentley who won his seat in that 2010 republican landslide, he has been very clear about his objectives for abortion access in his state. he campaigned on a pledge to bring more antiabortion legislation to the state of alabama. when he was asked about it in 2009, he said that he'd even prefiled antiabortion legislation. so that's the backdrop for some very big news that came just
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today. it was a decision of a federal district court judge in alabama to strike down part of that state's t.r.a.p. law. finding that the state's case in favor of the restrictions on abortion providers was, "weak at best." in a lengthy 172-page opinion, the federal judge referred to the history of violence against abortion providers in the state which reduced the number of doctors willing to take on the task. quoting testimony from abortion doctors in the state who continue to feel threatened finding that, "against the backdrop of this history of violence, abortion providers and women seeking abortions in alabama today live and work in a climate of extreme hostility to the practice of abortion." "the attorney general said his state will repeal the decision. what happened today comes a week after the fifth circuit court blocked mississippi's version of the same law. which would have closed the very last abortion clinic in that state.
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fist circuit ruled in that case that mississippi was going too far in its effort to shut down its only remaining clinic. a state cannot close every last clinic within its borders. it was that very same court, the fifth circuit court of appeals that earlier this year ruled in favor of the restrictions that have successfully closed half of the clinics in texas. and this week, texas will be forced to defend in court another challenge to those restrictions which have closed every clinic in texas' rio grande valley, an area that's as big as the state of connecticut. it's a challenge that will ask the court whether a law that effectively eliminates access to a legal procedure in an area that big can stay on the books. joining us now, nancy northup, president of the center for reproductive rights. nancy, thanks for being here tonight. so this alabama ruling, if you just explain the meaning for abortion clinics in the state of alabama, for women in the state of alabama, for the state of
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alabama. how final is this ruling today? >> well, it's a huge win because the federal court in alabama called out the politicians that passed this law for the underhanded tactics that they're using and said this is not a law about advancing women's safety, it's about a law that's going to hurt women's health because it's going to close clinics. and that the state is unjustified in its reasoning, and it's a very, very important decision that comes after other positive decisions in this area that we've seen. >> can you explain -- i think for sort of the layperson who's just sort of following this maybe for the first time or doesn't follow it that seriously, when they hear this idea of laws on the books that say, doctors have to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. that probably sounds like a reasonable thing. all things be equal, give one a doctor who has admitting privileges. why is that such a difficult thing for these clinics to fulfill? >> i think the most important thing to remember is groups like the american medical association have come out against these type of laws because they're not medically necessary. and like the court in alabama today, they showed that these laws are really about shutting down the clinics. because what they know is going
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to happen is that the hospitals aren't going to give admitting privileges because, again, the judge today did such a beautiful job, really, in going through the horrific history of violence in the state of alabama. i mean, alabama had the murder of an abortion doctor. >> hospitals wouldn't want to be associated with a doctor that could potentially bring violence to the hospital or anything like that, public outcry. >> exactly. a very hostile environment. the court goes through that in their decision. what's happened is you go from the violence that tried to close clinics in alabama 20 years ago to this attempt to do by the back door what couldn't be done by the front. which is pass a law that sounds like a health and safety law, the ama is saying it's not, and not necessary, and that's a devious way to try to shut down the clinics. >> it sounds to me if i'm reading this right that far of the decision here is basically, look, the supreme court through roe v. wade says abortion is a legal procedure in the united states of america and cannot pass a law that effectively in a state effectively outlaws it by not allowing clinics to open. to you think that logic that prevailed in alabama today, when you look at the challenge now taking place in texas where an area that big, rio grande area, the size of texas now, the
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clinics have been closed, do you think that basic logic will prevail in texas? >> trial started today on another restriction in texas which you pointed out. that's a restriction that's so onerous it makes every clinic in texas have to be a mini hospital despite the fact abortion is one of the safest procedures there is. despite the fact that one in three women in the united states will make the decision that ending a pregnancy is the right decision for her. and in the rio grande valley now, there is no clinic. it's been closed. >> what are those -- you say they have to become a mini hospital. what does that mean? what are they forcing them to do? >> they have to have all of the kind of hall widths and storage spaces and all kinds of regulations that doctors in private practice who are doing similar -- so, for example, if you're an ob-gyn and do
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miscarriage completion in your office, similar procedure to an abortion procedure, you don't have to follow the regulations and be a mini hospital. that's what the courts are looking at these comparisons and saying this isn't about health and safety. if it were, it would apply to every similar type of medical procedures. they're really about the fact that clinics would have to spend millions to comply and know what that means is they will close down. >> how does this all get reconciled? the ruling in alabama today. texas, earlier this year in texas they upheld the restrictions in the state. other states ruled sort like we had in alabama today. do these all at some point get reconciled so there's one sort of definitive ruling on these t.r.a.p. laws? >> we're certainly looking for the court of appeals in texas, the federal court to reconsider that decision, but eventually, there's only one court that can decide what is the one law for the nation. and that is the supreme court. and we are looking to that court to do what the alabama court did today, in a very well reasoned 172 pages which would say when you look at the facts, what american medical association is saying, these are unnecessary regulations, unjustified and are hurting women.
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>> when you look to the supreme court, you're looking to one justice it almost seems, anthony kennedy. it's a to be continued story. appreciate the time tonight. nancy northup, president of the center for reproductive rights. in the event you were under the impression that august was a sleepy month in news and politics, there is in the great state of kansas, things are getting a little testy. >> you've told kansans, given your word you'd give a debate. you said it multiple times in multiple places. you told us you're tough, trusted. i want you to keep your word. i want you to debate. >> this is not the time. we have a regular scheduled event. this is not the way to conduct myself. >> when would be the time? >> this is not the appropriate time or place. >> where would be the time, senator? i'll go anywhere you like. you've given your word to debate. let's just debate. >> for the record, there was never a debate, but those two guys are going to be on the ballot facing off against each other tomorrow. the whole story coming up after this.
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whether it was from bloomberg or other republican united states senators. through the acts that they took, the actions that they took, they moved more than 40,000 democrats into the republican primary and in so doing, mistakes were made. some of those weren't mistakes. some of it was very intentional. what we're going to show is a pattern of conduct on the part of a number of people that demonstrates a problem with this election. the evidence is clear. >> the mississippi republican senate primary race is the primary race that never ceases to amaze. also that never ceases. period. today, chris mcdaniel who narrowly lost to incumbent republican senator thad cochran in june 24th runoff, today chris mcdaniel announced he plans to prolong the contest even further. mcdaniel's legal team filed a formal challenge to the state's executive committee to prove that mcdaniel and not cochran was the rightful winner of that runoff six weeks ago and that he should be on the ballot as the republican party's nominee this november. mcdaniel's legal team argues the votes that put the six-term republican senator cochran over the edge in the june 24th runoff were illegal or questionable
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because they contend many of the predominantly black democratic voters that the cochran campaign turned out on june 4 24th had previously according to the mcdaniel team had previously voted in the june 3rd democratic primary. state law says that you cannot vote in one party's primary and then turn around and vote in the other party's runoff. mcdaniel's team is pushing that argument hard, although they have yet to prove that anywhere near enough illegal votes were cast to potentially effect the outcome of the runoff. but it is a reminder that this summer of strange primary elections still isn't over. the next one to keep an eye on is happening tomorrow in kansas, where pat roberts is generally expected to win his party's nomination for a fourth term, but his team party challenger
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may have him sweating a little bit on the eve of the primary. >> you told kansans, you've given your word you'll give a debate. you said it multiple times in multiple places. you told us you're tough and trusted. i want you to keep your word. i want you to debate. >> this is not the time. we have a regular scheduled event, listening tour event. this is not the way to conduct ourselves. >> when would be the time? >> this is not the appropriate time. >> when would be the time, senator? i'll go anywhere you'd like. you've given your word to debate. let's just debate. >> that was senator pat roberts being confronted in the street last week by his republican primary challenger, milton wolf, then scurrying away from him as quickly as possible. milton wolf is actually, believe it or not, a distant cousin of president barack obama. he's also a radiologist who caused a stir earlier this year
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when it was revealed he used to post x-rays of some of this patients' various ailments on facebook. pat roberts, incumbent senator, hasn't exactly done himself favors in this race. he spends a lot more time in washington than he does in kansas. that's a big no-no especially in the tea party era. turns out his official primary residence in kansas, the one that he, himself, claims, is a friend's recliner sofa. the senate conservatives fund, and other outside spending groups have spent heavily trying to knock off roberts tomorrow. the polls have been tightening a little bit in the last few weeks. pat roberts fits the profile of the kind of republican incumbent who's been caught sleeping by the tea party in one primary after the other in these past few years, especially after eric cantor's shocking primary loss this spring, this kansas race is one political observers have been keeping a close eye on. could there be one more big tea party surprise in the works here? that primary in kansas is tomorrow. it's along with primaries in michigan, missouri, and washington state. we're going to have updates.
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with deals for tonight from and you might want to get that pipe fixed. >> a memorial service held over the weekend and the eulogy delivered was in one word extraordinary. not really for the word that were said, although they were certainly nice, but it was extraordinary for the simple fact that the eulogy was ever delivered. actually, i'm not sure there is a word that fully captures just how baffling and bizarre and just plain unlikely it was. this is david brock, you probably think of him as a lefty, started media matters aimed at combatting conservative misinformation and democratic super p.a.c., american bridge and correct the record. they're dedicated to defending hillary clinton against attacks
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from republicans. david brock wasn't always a man of the left. back in the early 1990s he was a young ambitious conservative journalist looking to make a name for himself. and if you were looking to make a name on the right in the early 1990s there was one obvious way to go about it. go after bill clinton. when clinton was elected president in 1992, the resistance from the right was instant. it was heated. it was often way, way over the top. suggestions he had been involved in drug running, he had been involved in murder things like that. there was a lot of money behind the resistance too. a lot of money to be made by channelling it. this is how david brock first got famous. linked up with the magazine, american spectator. a fairly small and very conservative publication. but the man who was bank rolling it had big plans. his name was richard mellen scaffe, right-wing billionaire inherited a fortune from his father. he poured a lot of money into
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publishing. for decade he had been the single biggest supporter of "the american spectator" magazine. basically the guy keeping the thing alive. like the right, he couldn't stand bill clinton. heave couldn't believe he had ever been elected. he believed he was unworthy of the presidency and convinced. there were deep, dark secrets back in arkansas that would bring clinton down if they ever came to life. that's what he wanted american spectator to do, do the digging that would unearth the scandal that would destroy bill clinton. scaffe and his team called this the arkansas project. david brock was the young, ambitious, conservative reporter going to go out and get richard scaffe and american spectator the big juice gy scandal. he had gun one to arkansas and r state troopers to say they
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arranged extramarital encounters for clinton when he had been the state's governor. the story caused a bit of a stir. it wasn't huge news. by that point people knew bill clinton hadn't maybe always been faithful to his marriage. it got bigger. the story mentioned one of the women any first names. paula. and the real paula got upset about this. decided she wanted to come forward. and some well-connected conservatives wanted her to come forward too. this is how the world met paula corbin jones, 1994, publicly accused clinton and sued him for sexual harassment. a question of whether she could do that, sue a president over something like that. fortunately for paula jenz she got help from a legal team, with deep connections to richard mellen scaffe. so she got to go forward with her lawsuit. then her lawyers came up with a strategy. they wanted to ask bill clinton under oath about a bunch of will hen was rumored to be involved
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with to prove a pattern, that was their just fif kaification doing that. they heard rumors about intern monica lewinsky. they asked him. he denied it. seemed to deny it. then ken starr, independent counsel, investigating whitewater, remember that. investigating whitewater. he caught wind of this. next thing you know, starr put ow a report, catalog of bill clinton's sexual habits and the republican controlled house impeached him. that was american politics in the clinton era. a conservative movement intent on taking down a president who believed had no legitimacy. and richard mellen scaffe at the heart of the movement. he is who hillary clinton probably had in mind when she went on the "today" show after the lewinsky story broke and she had this to say. >> i mean, look at the very people who are involved in this. they have popped up in other settings. the great story here for anybody
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willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspireing against my husband since the day he announced for president. a few journalists have caught on and explained it. but not yet fully revealed to the american public. in a bizarre sort of way this may do it. >> the vast right-wing conspiracy. hillary clinton took heat for saying that. she and her husband felt it deeply. what started with richard melon scaffe, david brock talking to state troopers the ultimately led to bill clinton being impeached and having embarrassing details from his private life aired for all the word to snicker at. richard mellen scaffe did not succeed destroying bill clinton in the '90s. they tried their best and sure inflicted their share of damage. richard melon scaffe passed away last month at 82.
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near his estate in pittsburgh there was a memorial service. the eulogy delivered by a man he especially requested to take part, a man with whom he forged a late in life friendship few people could figure out. that man was bill clinton. >> if someone had asked me on the day i left the white house what the single most unlikely thing i would ever do this would rank high on the list. our differences are important. our political differences. our philosophical differences. our religious differences. racial and ethnic differences are important. they help to us define who we are. but they don't have to keep us at arms length from others. >> i guess there is a lesson in
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here, something about if bill clinton and richard scaffe could end up coming together there is hope for all of us. or maybe it is in life maybe crazy things >> or maybe the lesson is bill clinton can be strange sometimes. >> strange and very forgiving, i guess. >> yeah. extraordinarily forgiving. thank you very much, steve. nate silver has a new and very important political prediction tonight. >> what a huge crowd for senator mcconnell's retirement party! [ cheers and applause ] >> we can't afford a leader who thinks the west bank is a hollywood fund raiser. >> mitch mcconnell and allison grimes face off. >> thanks to you, d.c. stands for "doesn't care." >> congress started a five-week recess. >> with very little accomplished? >> the narrative right now sucks. >> the center of the political universe --


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