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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  January 17, 2022 1:00am-2:00am PST

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loved. >> she is and i have been. and she is in our hearts. >> they are lacey. >>. >> this sunday, joe biden's troubled presidency. >> do you want to be on the side of dr. king or george wallace? >> after making a last-minute plea for voting rights legislation -- >> will we choose, democracy over autocracy. i know where i stand. >> president biden concedes defeat when democratic senator kyrsten sinema says no to reforming the filibuster. >> i will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country. >> with his poll numbers falling and his agenda stalled, how does joe biden repair his presidency
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in year two? my guests this morning, democrats congressman jim clyburn of south carolina and democratic strategist james plus growing fears that russia is taking steps to invade ukraine. >> we have been very clear with russia on costs and consequences of further military action. >> now the u.s. is accusing russia of sending saboteurs into ukraine to create an excuse for an invasion. i'll speak with mitt romney about that and about the state of the biden presidency. also, the covid surge. there are many hospitals in the country on their knees. they're overwhelmed. >> cases, hospitalizations, deaths on the rise. testing, too, but is that too late? >> should we have done that sooner? >> we are doing it. >> should we have done it sooner? >> we are doing it. >> are rural hospitals ready for this wave? joining me for insight and analysis are nbc news chief washington correspondent andra mitchell, eugene robinson, amna
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nawaz, and anthony continetti of the american enterprise institute. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." >> announcer: from nbc news in washington, the longest running show in television history, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. >> good sunday morning. every new administration enters office with an agenda of optimism. for president biden, the plan was that covid would be defeated, the economy would fully recover, and he would be able to deliver a return to normalcy, but plans have a way of going sideways. a year into mr. biden's presidency, unemployment is down, wages are up, but inflation is also up to a 40-year high. build back better is stuck at neutral. most important, though vaccines are available and effective, delta and omicron have dealt a one-two punch to the economy, the supply chain, and that promised return to normalcy. and on thursday the supreme
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court blocked mr. biden's vaccine or test mandate for large businesses, perhaps taking away the last effective tool in his covid toolbox. that same day mr. biden's last-minute push for voting rights bills was dealt a likely fatal blow. democratic senator kyrsten sinema said exactly what she's been saying for months, she's opposed to changing the filibuster to pass this legislation. so now what? all of this came just as the president, by the way, was heading to capitol hill to lobby fellow democrats to change the senate rules. it was quite the exclamation point on a terrible week. >> this is something we did get done. >> president biden, after one of the worst weeks of his presidency, touting the infrastructure bill he signed two months ago. >> there was a lot of talk about disappointments and things we haven't gotten done. we're going to get a lot of them done, i might add. >> with the looming failure of voting rights legislation -- >> i will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division. >> -- and his economic plan, build back better, stalled in
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the senate. >> i cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. i just can't. >> -- president biden has been unable to bridge the wide gap between progressives and moderates in his own party and is satisfying neither group. >> it is about the democratic party trying to restore faith with the american people that they actually stand for something. >> democrats need to step up and lead this country. >> many democrats are calling for a reset, worried a stalled legislative agenda will hurt the party which is already facing headwinds this fall. and a year after promising a change in tone -- >> we can join forces, stop the shouting, and lower the temperature. >> -- president biden has failed so far to do that. >> do you want to be on the side of dr. king or george wallace? do you want to be the side of john lewis or bull connor? >> so much for unifying the country. >> perhaps the president went a little too far in his rhetoric. >> outside of the infrastructure
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bill, a significant victory. mr. biden has been unable to build a small coalition for bipartisans that some swing state democrats have been pleading for. >> i wish there had been a more serious effort on the part of democratic party leaders to sit down with the other party. >> for the third time in three months, president biden went to capitol hill in person, this time for voting rights. >> the honest to god answer is i don't know whether we can get this done. >> and for the third time walked away with nothing to announce. >> one year in mr. biden has the second lowest approval rating ever measured in the white house and has never been less popular nationally. >> these guys said they would come in and bring competence. the only thing they brought to washington is they're not donald trump. >> president biden successfully passed covid relief legislation and the infrastructure bill, but has failed so far to move not just votes rights but police reform -- >> let's get it done next month. >> -- gun control legislation --
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>> we can do this and save lives. >> -- and fulfill his promises on climate change. >> we are resolving to take action. >> he struggled on the afghanistan pullout and on the economy, while a record number of jobs have been created, inflation is at a 40-year high. >> joe biden is the president of high prices. >> perhaps most consequentially for november, biden, who ran for president promising to beat covid, has failed to beat it back. >> i am concerned about the pandemic in that worldwide it's not slowing down. joining me is congressman jim clyburn of south carolina whose endorsement of joe biden was critical in helping him secure the democratic nomination. congressman clyburn, always a pleasure to have you. welcome back to "meet the press." >> thank you very much for having me back. >> i want to start with something that's in today's "new york times," and it's written well by bishop reginald jackson, and he wrote an op-ed, pretty frustrated on the voting rights issue. let me read you this excerpt. he said last week in their
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speeches, mr. biden and ms. harris strongly and passionately denounced the law, meaning the georgia voting law changes that took place -- but as they spoke i kept asking myself where had that strength and passion been during the past ten months. congressman, i'll put up this graphic we put together here of presidential events, in-person events with the president. he did 60-some events on covid, not surprising, over the last year. 39 on either build back better or infrastructure, and we only have two where le focused on voting rights, and the second event was that speech in atlanta. do you agree with bishop jackson that he didn't do enough in the last year? >> i see the frustration that mr. jackson has. i know bishop jackson very well. i'm an ame myself. the fact of the matter is, he did not have to deal with the senate on covid-19 or the infrastructure bill. he had to deal with the senate on the so-called filibuster for voting rights, and that's not
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new. that's been around. my senior year in high school, 1957, is when my state senators -- united states senator strom thurmond set the filibuster record against voting rights, and it's been there during the '60s. so that is an issue that the president tried to work around. so we needed to get covid-19 under control, and i think the president has done a good job with that. hopefully we'll never run out of the greek alphabets. we haven't yet. omicron is giving us a problem that nobody expected. we remember the delta and what it had visited upon us. so you've got to work -- people have got to be in good health or these other things don't matter. i learned that at an early age. so people need to go to work.
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people need to go to school. people need to do a lot of things. but you've got to get their health squared away first. so i think the priorities were in the right place. >> so let's talk about now voting rights going forward. you spoke the other day -- you expressed some openness that, look, the electoral vote act is not something you want to do first. you would prefer to do the voting rights bills first. but you seem open to doing something there, and since there is a bipartisan interest in doing something there, do you think you could build a bill out, perhaps with mitt romney who will be on the show later, put a bill together that might fix what we saw on january 6th, protect election workers. i think you even mentioned perhaps getting the voting rights act preclearance issues in that bill. is that something you think is worth pursuing? >> absolutely. i also think it's worth us having this vote. back in the '60s we used to sing a song.
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john lewis loved that song. "which side are you on." we know there are people who are freedom fighters, and we also know there are people who would rather have favor. so we know that. people tell me they are for this legislation but they're against the processes that we need to get the legislation, then i don't think you're on the right side of history. so we've got to fight. we've got to have these votes, we've got to see which side people are on, and if that were to fail as people project it will, then what's the next best thing? remember now the electoral college will not kick in until 2024. i want to know what's going to happen in 2022 when someone is start standing in the line and need as drink of water, when you've got thee six- or serve-hour waits in line in
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black communities and 20 minutes in white communities, when you've got a committee there set to overturn your vote if they don't like the outcome. that's the thing we need to do now, and that has to be done before we have any other elections in this country. so 2024, we've got a lot of time for that. >> i understand that. you want this vote to go ahead next week. >> absolutely. >> i'm just curious, do you worry at all it's just going to shine a spotlight on democratic disunity where suddenly it's a pile-on on sinema and manchin? where it's democrats versus democrats, which as you know can get demoralizing in an election year? >> yes, that's always a threat. the fact of the matter is, i've said it and i'll say it again, we need to know who is with us and who is not, so we'll know how to conduct ourselves going forward. we operate now in the blind. let's have these votes. let people have this debate, and let's see where we stand so
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we'll know how to conduct ourselves. >> did you have a problem with president biden's remarks? we know dick durbin thought they went too far. mitt romney took issue with feeling as if he was being lumped in with the bull connors and the george wallaces of the world. he thought that wasn't fair. what did you make of the president's remarks? >> i endorse them wholeheartedly. look, when we came out of reconstruction in 1876, we started losing the right to vote, we started losing other freedoms, and we called it jim crow. we had a very successful election in 2020. people voted at higher levels than they ever had before. and in reaction to that georgia, texas, and 17 other states started passing draconian voting rights laws. that to me is jim crow 2.0.
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and so i like the way the president said it because that's exactly what it is. >> you are somebody who is a pragmatic when it comes to the political landscape. what's your advice to the president? what do you need from the president to improve democrats' chances in 2022? >> i think he's on message. stay on message. don't let people get him off message. you know, my father was a fundamentalist minister. he used to say to me all the time, son, the darkest hour of the night is that moment just before dawn. so, yes, things may look dark. keep pressing. when we came out of the 1964 civil rights act, people told us we couldn't get voting, and we got voting the following year in '65. it may look bleak now, but we are going to keep pressing. we're not going to give in on this because i'm convinced if people of good will are going to step up and help us get this done.
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>> congressman jim clyburn, democrat from south carolina, always appreciate your perspective on the show. thank you, sir. >> thank you for having me. joining me now is a familiar face, democratic strategist james carville. he's been pretty outspoken talking about what democrats need to do and what we need to stop doing in 2022. welcome back to "meet the press," sir. >> good morning, chuck. >> let me start with what we're seeing right now. we're about to be at the one-year mark. it's a tough moment for this presidency. i know you argued 2021 is the greatest story never told. but i'm curious. >> right. >> you have a public that's just in a bad mood. you know they are. covid, they're in a bad mood. how do you sell the good stuff you believe he can sell to a country that's not very receptive right now? >> you gloat and you promote. you talk about the fact that we pretend to care about child
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poverty, although, no congressman in our region ever talks about it. it's the lowest child poverty rate we've had in history. we claim we care about hourly workers. hourly workers today have more leverage than any time we've had in my 77 years of existence on this planet. you talk about we want jobs. all right? you talk about we want jobs. 6.4 million jobs. more jobs than any president ever created in the first term. what you do, chuck, you run on what you got. you don't run on what you didn't get. the stuff you got is pretty good. if they don't pass voting rights, if they don't pass build back better, run on that in 2022. all they're going to run on is the 2020 election returns, getting adam schiff or jamie raskin revenge. so just focus on what you've got, what you've done, and what you want to do to make people's lives better. that's it. you've got to go out and you've
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got to gloat and you've got to promote. if inflation is still at 7% in november this year, we'll lose anyway. a lot of people don't think that's going to be the case. >> you've got a situation right now, the biden coalition, nobody is happy. progressives aren't happy right now with how build back better has gone. african american activists are not happy with how voting rights has gone. if you look at voting, the thing that's cratering the most are independents, the folks that wanted the temperature turned down. you're the president. what do you fix first? >> first of all, i agree with jim clyburn. there's an expression i love. it's called soldier on. all right? i don't think we have sufficiently -- if you're a part of the democratic base and you don't care about child poverty, ewe don't care about hourly workers, then you're really not a democrat. all right? now, i think a lot of the democratic base has not been told or informed of the things that president biden and this congress has accomplished.
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but to me, those are the things that, if i'm a democrat, i much more care about that than some word in a dictionary that children are going to bed with a full stomach and, you know, a warm house. i care that some hourly worker is not sitting there working away at $7.25 an hour, and i see these signs all over louisiana and south mississippi, $700 signing bonus. those are real accomplishments. it's something you can run on. again, you don't talk about what you didn't get. that's what these -- democrats whine too much, chuck. quit being a whiney party. get out there and fight and tell me what you did and tell people the exact truth.
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the republican party stands for nothing other than relitigate the 2020 election. >> is there something joe biden can learn about the experience you helped bill clinton get through after '94? >> soldier on. you know, you had a bad week, but you had a good year. people at the end of the day are going to judge you on your year and not your week. this is a tough, hard business. you've got ups and downs. you get bruised. you get beat up, but every president goes through this. i think president biden had the competitors record, what's been told as a huge differential. i think -- i've been talking about infrastructure since eisenhower built the in-state highway system. we have a trillion dollars' worth of infrastructure coming up. the children that are not living in poverty today are going to ride on better roads, have better broadband, cross better bridges. i mean, this is something we ought to be really proud of as americans.
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we ought to talk about it. we ought to brag about it. we ought to tell people about it. if we do those kinds of things, we'll end up with a better outcome. i promise you. >> james carville, always a pleasure, sir. i know you got a kick out of those lsu boys winning up in cincinnati. i know you're happy about that. >> yeah. go tigers. he's on the right track, too, dude. i tell you. up next, the u.s. says there's new evidence that vladimir putin is establishing a pretext for a russian invasion of ukraine. i'll talk to senator mitt romney from the foreign relations committee about that and a lot more when we come back. lot lot more when we come backrld. ♪ ♪ plus, 90-day refills and same day delivery. larry? that's even less to medicare about. fill your medicare prescriptions with walgreens and save.
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welcome back. the biden administration is warning there's new evidence that russia is planning to invade ukraine. u.s. is accusing russia of sending a false flag operation in order to create a pretext for an invasion. a week of u.s./russian
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diplomatic talks failed to ease tensions. u.s. wants them to pull back the roughly 100,000 troops at ukraine's border and russia wants them to pull back to 1977 levels. joining me now is republican party senator mitt romney of utah, a member of the senate foreign relations committee, he's been warning about the threat of russia for years. senator, welcome back to "meet the press." always a pleasure. >> thanks, chuck. good to be with you. >> let me start with the current situation. it looks like talks failed. i guess my question is, i know you're probably somebody who says don't give up on diplomacy. but is there a point where we're rewarding putin by keeping the talks up? >> i think it's fine to continue to talk, but i think the most important talk we have is with our allies and making sure that russia understands that if they take action to overthrow the government in ukraine or invade ukraine, that there will be consequences of a severe nature. we didn't do that as effectively as we should have after the
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invasion of russia by georgia. they have to understand there will be extraordinary consequence. military options are things we don't talk about. but other consequences we can align with our allies and make sure the russians understand this time it's going to make a real difference. >> what does that look like? why should putin believe it, if he's somehow made it through all these tough sanctions before and he's probably calculated probably correctly there isn't a political will for the u.s. to engage militarily? so what is it that the u.s. could do that could really convince putin he should back down? >> well, the clearest thing we can do is to make sure he doesn't have the nord stream 2 pipeline. that's a pipeline that provides extraordinary wealth to putin and to russia. it bypasses ukraine, and the big mistake we made is to allow him to build that and bypass ukraine. that nord stream 2 pipeline is not going to operate. he's not going to have that wealth.
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if he does any action to overthrow the government in ukraine. i'd shut it down now, as a matter of fact. a huge error not to have done so already. the type of sanctions we've put in place have to be of a different nature than those in the past i. he has to understand it notes just the u.s., but all the eu will come together on a collective basis. we recognize, vladimir putin wants to re-establish a type of the soviet union. mccain used to joke that russia is a gas station parading as a country. no one buys anything from russia, other than military hardware. their population is 1/10 of what china's is going to be. he's trying to re-establish what he had before. that can't be allowed to happen, and that's something we're going to have to come together and strange then nato. he's trying to take nato apart and weaken it. we need a strong nato, not just for russia but the emergence of china. >> if he goes into ukraine, are
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you supportive of this idea saying we've been very public saying we do, of us supporting an insurgency, basically what we did to the soviets in afghanistan and arguably what others may have done to us in afghanistan? >> absolutely. i think he has to understand the consequences are going to be significant. will there be insurgency there? yeah. the ukraine people are proud and know how to fight for what they believe in, their independence. that and other features will be affected by virtue of russia's malevolent action. >> in your opening op-ed as a senator you wrote, in order for america to resume its leadership in world politics, the country had to repair failings in our politics at home. it was obvious what you were pointing to at the time. frankly things look worse than it was than when you penned that op-ed in 2019. i am curious, where do you think we stand? if you just read "the new york times" op-ed this week, there were two columns on civil war, one where america is coming
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apart at the seams. is that where you are? where do you think the nation is right now? >> there's no question the nation is severely divided. president biden said he would try to unite the country. obviously as you pointed out in the last segment, his comments in georgia did not suggest he's trying to pull us back together again. he's got to recognize when he was elected, people were not looking for him to transform america. they were looking to get back to normal, to stop the crazy, and it seems like we're continuing to see the policies and promotions not being accepted by the american people. james carville just said he's had a bad week, but not a bad year. as a matter of fact, he's had a bad year. he's had 52 weeks of bad weeks. people are 7% poorer now because of biden inflation. gasoline prices are, what, 50% higher than they were when he took office. the border is a mess. covid was resurgent. he didn't have in place the tests people needed to keep themselves safe.
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and then, of course, there was a disaster in afghanistan. russia is threatening ukraine. things are not going well. the president needs to stop and reset and say what is it he's trying to accomplish? if it's to try to transform america, he's not going to unite us. bringing us together means finding a way to work on a bipartisan basis. he had one success, the infrastructure bill. that was done by republicans and democrats in the senate working together. build on that kind of success. >> you know, here's the thing with that, and this is what the white house would push back on you on and they would say this. 147 house republicans basically don't accept the idea that he won fair and square. you, yourself, thought he had a really tough challenge to bring unity together when you have half the country not believing in the results. there are only a handful of you willing to work with him. so what do you do? >> well, actually there are a lot more than a handful willing to work with the president.
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we're willing to work on issues that we care very deeply about. we care, for instance, about family security and making sure our kids have the resources they need to be able to have a bright future. we care about education. we care about health care. we obviously care about infrastructure. there's a lot we can do together. we care about immigration. these are things we can do together. the president has been in the senate. he knows what it's like and how you have to work in a bipartisan basis. the idea of saying blow up the partisanship and say whatever's got the slight majority can do whatever they want, that's not the right way to get things done in america and it's not the way to unite america. uniting america finds a pathway in bringing people together and working on a collaborative basis. >> if the president calls you up tomorrow and says, senator romney, i'd like to figure out something on voting rights, can we sit down and have a conversation? you heard jim clyburn about the electoral vote act. it may not be what some want on the left, but is that a place to begin and would you participate in that process? >> yeah, and chuck, i already
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am. a group of about 12 senators, republicans and democrats that are working on the electoral count act, will continue to work together. sadly, this election reform bill that the president has been pushing, i never got a call on that from the white house. there was no negotiation, bringing the republicans and democrats together to try to come up with something that would meet bipartisan interests. sure, we can work together on almost every issue where there's common ground. i would note on this, on the bill they put together, they want a real dramatic change, which is they feel that instead of elections being run at the state level, they should really be managed and run at the federal level. recognize the founders didn't have that vision in mind. they didn't want an autocrat to be able to pull a lever in one place and change all the election laws. instead, they spread that out over 50 states. i think in part to keep autocracy from finding its root here in this country. we can work together.
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i think it's important to reform the electoral count act to do so. >> i understand you don't want to federalize elections. are you comfortable with creating sort of floors that you've got to offer -- take jim clyburn's comments that african americans spend longer in line than other voters. if you have a state that has that issue, are you for a baseline that says, hey, you can't have those discrepancies. we're not going to tell you how to fix that discrepancy, but you have to fix that discrepancy. that's what the voting rights act, some believe, is for. are you in favor of things like that? >> well, the answer is, of course, and that's what exists in the 1965 voting rights legislation that is still the law of the land, and that is you cannot have practices which discriminate against people based upon their ethnicity. and that's why the justice department is using that act as we speak to go after one state that has apparently, according
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to the justice department, gone across that line. so we have laws to prevent discrimination based upon race, and that should be the case, but what i think -- i think we have to point out here is a state like georgia, which everybody's talking about because the president went there, it's easier to vote in georgia even under the new legislation than it is to vote in delaware or to vote in new york or to vote in new jersey. and no one is saying that new york has discriminatory practices. new york's practices are more stringent, more difficult to vote there than georgia. this is clearly a political play to appeal to a base in the democratic party, and an effort to work on a bipartisan basis hasn't really happened yet. > senator ndsey graham said he couldn't support mitch mcconnell if he doesn't develop a working relationship with donald trump. is that a litmus test that you think is fair? >> oh, i think there's full support for mitch mcconnell.
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no question about that. i haven't heard anything other than a solid support for his continued leadership. people are always trying to placate donald trump. i don't fall in that camp, of course. but i wouldn't attribute that as a comment about mitch mcconnell as much as a comment about donald trump. >> the january 6th committee, what you've seen with their investigation, do you believe what they're doing is legitimate? >> there's no question that they are finding things that we didn't know. i think that's appropriate. there was an attack on the united states capitol. there was an effort to try and prevent the peaceful transfer of power. that's unacceptable. we need to understand why there was not a rescue effort launched well before what finally came. and they're delving into that. i think it's an important and legitimate effort. >> senator mitt romney, republican from utah, appreciate you coming on and sharing your perspective with us. thank you and happy new year. >> thanks, chuck. when we come back, how does president biden dig his
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administration out of this hole and avoid a midterm disaster for his party? the panel is next. the panel is next.
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welcome back. the panel is joining us. pbs "newshour" chief correspondent amna nawaz, nbc news chief white house correspondent andrea mitchell, "washington post" columnist eugene robinson and matthew continetti of the american enterprise institute. jonah goldberg's newsletter that sort of made us put these two things together. here is a bit from the president's inaugural coupled with what he spoke about on tuesday. >> this is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. and we must meet this moment as the united states of america. >> do you want to be on the side of dr. king or george wallace? do you want to be on the side of john lewis or bull connor?
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do you want to be on the side of abraham lincoln or jefferson davis? >> now, i think it was james carville's book that said all is fair in love and politics, meaning that there's nothing -- some peoplely's nothing unfair in politics. it is what it is sometimes. mitt romney took offense to that change in tone. was it too harsh? >> well, you know, voting rights is a crucial important issue. you're talking with mitt romney about shouldn't there be a floor, shouldn't there be a standard for elections. yes, there should be a standard that includes new york and delaware and new jersey. but that deals with some of these clearly antidemocratic voter suppression laws that are being passed around the country
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in response to the big lie about the 2020 election. so, yeah, president biden got worked up about, that and i get worked up about that, you know. i think it's an important issue. can't we unite behind the idea that everyone should be able to vote freely and have their vote counted fairly. >> andrea, has he done enough -- romney said he wasn't invited to a meeting on voting rights. i think he would have come to any meeting the president asked him to. >> that's the one thing about senator sinema's speech, and i had a problem with her timing, a freshman senator making that speech as the motorcade is warming up. it was so in your face. everyone knew where she stood. but to do it so publicly, that said, not reaching out to romney, not reaching out to this group of 12 is such a critical mistake. it could be done to try to find
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along the margins, and there may well be a compromise that could have been available and still might be available. and you said earlier this week, chuck, on "mtp daily," was this just messaging or trying to placate the base or was this a real strategy. it wasn't a strategy, it was messaging, and it was great rhetoric. was there something in the middle? >> i was told by somebody in the white house who said activists are angry. he had to do this. that was the argument. if he didn't do this, they weren't going to have people to lick envelopes in senate races and house races. the curious question i do have is do we really go through with this vote next week and high light disunity for a second week? >> yeah, they do, because i think they want to show, as the president has said repeatedly, where do you stand?
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history will judge. >> that's what clyburn said. >> the president said it, too. history will judge where you stood on one issue. you can see people running on this in '22. you have to message to your core supporters. you look at the where the democratic base is, who has benefited to voting rights and access? those are people of color, women of color, people in america. i'm not sure what the other message is when they're still fighting covid and clawing back on the economy in the way that they are. those activists, you saw them angry because they said these are just words, these are not actions. if you were serious, we would have seen this rhetoric much earlier in your presidency. >> sometimes you see it on the right when it comes to the a abortion issue where cadence will give rhetoric and where activists will say it's just rhetoric. >> you don't win elections on your bears alone. biden's political problem now is independents are abandoning him. hispanics are in the process of abandoning him. you can reach out to the base, try to placate the base for much of what he's gone in the last year. it's not going to help him in 2022. he needs to adopt a center-out
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strategy instead of a left in strategy. you mentioned the motorcade, andrea. he's been acting more like the head of the senate democratic caucus than the president of the united states of america. he should not keep going up to capitol hill. this is the third time he's visited capitol hill and failed. he needs to stay at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. >> gene, we were talking about this with the staff. when does a president ever get good marks for working with congress? it usually drags you down. >> i do agree. i do think there should be more sitting in the white house summoning people saying you come to me. that sends a signal. that said, there is a time and place for everything in politics. and there is a time when you have to talk to the base, and there is a time when you try to expand and go out. biden has another three years almost before he would have to stand for election again, and there is time before the midterm.
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the midterm, is it really going to be about president biden's stance on voting? i don't think the midterm is going to be about that. >> it's going to be about inflation. >> you heard carville say there, and he's not wrong about that. inflation whipped three presidents -- >> but there's time to do some compromise on voting rights, which clyburn acknowledged. >> what is the legislative window realistically at this point before the campaign season makes it impossible? >> i think congressman clyburn is also right, as you said, where do you stand. they did want this vote. they want this vote to show exactly where the republicans stand because they want to run with the base against republicans on voting rights. >> what if it's -- i was going to say what if it ends up -- i don't think it will be just two democrats that vote against getting rid of the filibuster. you may have three, four, five. >> maybe not. i think there's still a chance to have it as an election issue,
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to lose this vote and come up with a compromise that goes beyond the electoral college recount that includes perhaps some of the other aspects of voting rights between now and let's say the summer. >> i don't think mark kelly and jeanne shaheen -- >> you mean megan hasan. because she's the one. >> and mark kelly in arizona. they don't want it. >> that's the question. amna, what is the window? >> to andrea's points, if there are steps ahead, it will be for the individual kind of things that some of the existing legislation, the clearance, campaign finance disclosures, making it harder for gerrymandering. when you talk about all the things in the legislation, the freedom to vote act was the compromise. that was the smaller, narrower compromise. >> correct. that manchin signed. >> build back better and voting rights, a busy spring or frustrating one for democrats. when we come back, covid case numbers are still breaking
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welcome back. "data download" time. a look at our current covid surge and how various parts of the country are experiencing it quite differently, just like we've seen at other times. remember back in 2020 when the virus first spread, it spread rapidly in the coastal cities before eventually moving across the country. that pattern seems to be continuing and is only being aggravated by local differences
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in vaccination rates and hospital capacity. let me show you what i mean here. obviously, look at these numbers. a huge peak a year ago, averaging 250,000 cases a day. right now omicron, just a gigantic 780,000 cases a day. but we're handling this much better. why? there's really one big reason. 63% of the country is fully vaccinated. a year ago we didn't have that kind of vaccination rate. overall, by the way, nationally, 83% of icu beds are in use. obviously, with the coastal cities hit first with icron, the vaccination rates in the coastal cities are higher than 63% and hospital capacity is better. let me give you an example. both in south florida and in the new york city metro areas, the case counts are two and three times the national average right now. it looks horrible in some of these places. but look at this. icu beds availability is actually not that bad.
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why is that? very high vaccination rates in these counties in addition to actual major hospital capacity. but let me take you to some parts of rural america. here's just five counties, tennessee, nebraska, oklahoma, montana, and wyoming. right now their case counts are below the national average. omicron surge has not come to these counties yet. but right now, icu bed availability, it's not a typo. we didn't form get to fill out this graphic. it is zeros across the board, and omicron, has it come, the vaccination rates in these counties are below 50%. you see where this could be headed. rural america and rural hospitals having to batten down the hatches. when we come back, the hostage crisis at a texas synagogue is over, thank god, but will we see copycat efforts to free terrorism suspects again? stay with us. copycat efforts to free terrorism suspects again? stay with us
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welcome back. a little focus on national security. i want to spend a big time about russia.
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amna, you spent a lot of time covering afghanistan and pakistan, and that hostage situation at the synagogue in the dallas-ft. worth area has ties to somebody we've held in prison, and i guess the concern when you look at the story, everything ended safely here, but this -- the hostage taker was talking about a woman who is in prison who's become a bit of a cause celebrity for some fundamental lists. tell us about her. >> her name is aafia siddiqui, a pakistani national, u.s. educated woman, arrested in 2008. they say while she was in custody there and being questioned, she got hold of someone's weapon and attempted to kill u.s. soldiers and fbi agents. they brought her to the states, tried her on terrorism charges and sentenced her to 85 years. she's serving that time in texas. she has become something of a cause celebre. in pakistan she is held up as a
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hero, someone who was unjustly imprisoned, wrapped up in this global war on terror that the u.s. led. even human rights organizations in the u.s. have questioned her detention. she says she did not do any of that, we should say. but she has also said some anti-semitic comments in the past, saying that israel was behind the attacks of 9/11. it's deeply concerning at a time of rising anti-semitism. >> i assume now that synagogues and military installations are probably the two highest profile targets for anybody on this topic. >> i'll tell you i spoke with a law enforcement official this morning. he said they're still investigating the moe active here. but what they're preparing for is not potential copycats, but
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this year unprecedented levels of violence in 2022 because of the volatility of the threats. >> my goodness, never mind our own domestic situation. let's turn a little to russia here. i'd like to finish this conversation there. andrea, it is pretty clear the u.s. is trying to prepare europe and the world this is going to happen. is this what's happening there? >> absolutely. we gave them the intelligence, the intelligence we were all briefed on on friday, which is there are saboteurs in eastern ukraine in the russian areas who would be attacking, planning to attack russian forces, their own russian proxy forces, blow them up in order to create a pretext for a russian invasion. that is the intelligence. i was just checking today because after 2003 and wmd and all of that, we're all very careful. we can't determine whether this intelligence is accurate. we have to rely on these intelligence sources. they say it is. the allies have been briefed on it. the one area where i think senator romney was particularly incorrect on or not well informed on, i think
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they've done a terrific job. i was in the meetings, the nato meetings with secretary blinken. they have a unified alliance, pretty much germany, too, despite the new government. >> there's a more anti-russian foreign minister in germany than under the merkel regime. >> but because of the green party as well, which is not as excited about the natural gas and nord stream 2. it gets complicated. in any case, the alliance, they've worked that hard. also, what i was checking on today is this new threat that the russians are proposing or suggesting, that they will put nuclear missiles in cuba and in venezuela. cuban missile crisis 2. the u.s. intelligence thinks that's is bluster. >> okay. this is one of those -- tom brokaw used to see his ufo, the unform seen can occur and it can change the dynamics of the politics of anything.
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this adds to the president's long list. >> it does. imagine a large-scale ground war in europe, you know, an insurgency happening in europe that we support perhaps. i mean, this is serious stuff, and it's not the sort of stuff you anticipate. >> right. >> it obviously can go in any direction. i'm -- i mean, it's interesting to hear you say that the allies are all with u.s. policy on this and secretary blink ken because that was sort of my question. >> let's see when it happens. i was going to say, this could be -- trust but verify with the europeans on this. >> could he have overplayed his hand in this. >> you can have an alliance. it's great. when putin invades, will the alliance be willing to take the next steps? so far they're mouthing the rights words. actions will be decisive here. >> i'm curious, matthew. i know in a weird way the republican conference is split, you have real hardliners who want to get tough on russia, and
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then you have others like trump, let's not get ourselves bogged down on this. can this split the party? >> i think the invasion of ukraine by russia will split some of the rand paul wings. these are longstanding dy visions when it comes to the conservative movement and the gop. i think the bulk of republicans want us to take an aggressive stance towards russia starting now, not wait until the invasion begins. >> all right. well, here is hoping it doesn't happen. it is a little spooky. the 2008 olympics, putin goes to georgia. the 2014 olympics, after it's over, he does the crimea business. what have we got coming up? there's a lot of concern coming up. >> he's going to beijing. >> he is. is he going there as a spectator or something else? that's all we have for today. thank you for watching. we'll be back next week, because if it's sunday, it's "meet the press."
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celebrating the life and impact of dr. martin luther king jfrmt today's federal holiday shines a light on the hard-won progress and the push for a more perfect uni, but with looming uncertainty over looming rights, the question is that progress risk? plus, a dangerous situation in texas over the weekend as a man takes hostages at a synagogue. president biden called it an act of terror. the question is what do we know about the suspect? and australia says good night, mate, to novak djokovic.

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