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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  October 28, 2013 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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mitchell reports," whose listening now? european leaders seething after extensive reports about u.s. spying on spain, nsa eavesdropping on german leader angela merkel's cell phone. for more than a decade, the white house claims, without president obama's knowledge. u.s. ambassador to spain called on the carpet in madrid. today on capitol hill european union officials demanded answers from chairman of the house intelligence committee. >> i think confidence is damaged. we've identified some questions. therefore, we are -- have to work hard that confidence is established. >> what does this all mean for president obama's relationships with world leaders going forward. on six minute top cia officials talks about the fallout from the
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edward snowden leaks. >> this is the most serious leak, most serious compromise in the u.s. intelligence committee. >> because of the amount of it and the type. >> the amount and the type. >> website reboot. secretary of hhs kathleen sebelius faces questions on capitol hill wednesday after went down over the weekend adding fuel to the criticism and more fodder for snl. >> i have a number of friendly tips to help you deal with those problems. for example, have you tried restarting your computer. sometimes it helps to turn the computer off and turn it back on. we don't know why. it just does. >> poetic license, the literally legend maya angelou joins us
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this hour. children's love for books. >> good day, i'm andrea mitchell in washington. edward snowden's leaks keep coming faster than the white house can even respond. over the weekend the nsa claimed president obama had no idea angela merkel's personal cell phone was tapped back since 2002. so how credible is that denial? joining me now is chuck todd nbc's white house correspondent, political director and host of "the daily rundown." "new york times" white house correspondent mark landler who had a fascinating interview with national security adviser susan rice. that was in the sunday times. mark, first to you. this white house denial that the president even knew about the snowden leaks regarding angela merkel. is the denial he saw the product
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in the presidential daily brief in what they were learning from germany but didn't know the source. how could they have such a source, angela merkel and not have it in the president's pdb. >> well, andrea, the brief the president gets every day has sort of a binder that's attached to it that has a lot of other supporting documents. i think one of the questions here is, is it possible that the actual intercepted data and background material was in that supporting document, which the president wouldn't receive in his daily brief but would be available to his top advisers, national security adviser, chief of staff, and others that take part in the briefing. so one of the questions is if president obama didn't know, did senior officials who regularly brief him know. if they did know, then why wasn't he told? after all, the relationship he had with angela merkel, leave aside the fact germany is a
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close ally with the united states, it was personally one of the closest relationships he's had with any foreign leader. the idea that top aides of his might have known more about this and not told him is another troubling question that arises in all this. >> also, chuck todd, the degree to which he pays attention to this daily brief, how important it is to him. we've known presidents who have both really -- bush 41 intensively studied that brief. a former cia director himself. others have been criticized for not paying enough attention. george bush 43 criticized for not paying attention before 9/11. >> there's a trust this president has of his intelligence team now. you can logically get to he's not going to get into sources and methods on the pdp on this front. the question is whether -- did his aides know and did they deliberately keep him out of the loop, plausible deniability,
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came up with reagan contra. those infamous days. but to go back to this core issue of what we've done with germany, a couple of things snowden exposed we haven't talked about. number one, it is regular standard procedure if you're a diplomat and you work in pentagon state national security council, if you acquire phone numbers of your important counter-parts, you are to turn them over to the nsa. >> really. >> that is apparently -- >> that is standard. >> that is fairly standard. i've talked to a number of people who say when asked they have given contact information to potential counter-parts and other governments. i found on the one hand you're sitting there and saying this has been done for years. that's something snowden's files have known has happened. we now know how that cell number got into the system. it wasn't like it was stolen. this is nsa memos. that's one part. the second part has to do with
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the fact the white house is now saying we're not going to do it going forward. you get the sense that they know they are embarrassed by the revelations. they are not necessarily embarrassed by the tactics but embarrassed they got caught. >> take a look at what some of the eu parliamentarians came, axle voss from germany speaking on capitol hill to frank. >> frustration, anger, the feeling no one is controlling the nsa, no one is respecting privacy rights. no one is respecting data protection standouts. therefore we are in a mix of anger and frustration but also trying to keep the relationship
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alive. >> but they want answers. they said these were frank discussions. mark, you and i have covered foreign policy a long time. this is a very unhappy group of people. to a certain extent there's spying everywhere. we know that. it's a little shock. there's gambling at mr. rick's. the germans want the same special relationship of no spying agreement that we have with the uk. at the same time, i think there really is anger about they said the flash point was merkel's cell phone. >> yeah, i think that's right, andrea. it's not just anger but embarrassment on their part. remember, the first allegations of potential nsa surveillance in europe came up during the summer. at the time the germans were among those saying we understand it. we think as a dispute it's ebbing away. our concerns have been more or less met. i think there's now a feeling they climbed down and didn't make a huge case out of it in
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the summer only to find out it was more persuasive, lasted longer and involved the top official and their government. so they have a lot of egg on their own face. what was interesting about the long article der spiegel published over the weekend, it went into some length of the embarrassment and sense of almost humiliation on their part they sort of willingly ratcheted this down and found out it was even worse than they thought. some of this is for their own domestic audiences. that's also why chancellor merkel picked up the phone and called president obama. she needs to show her own people they aren't going to take this lying down. that will be true not only of the germans but spaniards as well. for the president who has not emphasized europe to the extent that make of his predecessors have in his foreign policy, he's going to have to do some serious fence mending here. >> let me ask you both about,
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mark, your interview with susan rice. there's a lot to unpack. she outlined her national security, middle east policy, the priority placed or not placed on the middle east. i was so struck, mark and chuck, by the fact the secretary of state was not part of this team and there was an implication, tell me if i'm wrong, in the story they only included middle east, israeli-palestinian negotiations as a top priority because secretary kerry had already launched them. help me here, mark. >> yeah. you read the implication correctly. in this internal debate, which really hadn't been talked about up till now, there were certain topics and certain priorities that were relatively clear. quite clear. the civil war in syria, however inconclusive the administration policy has been, they recognize it's a high priority to try to get diplomacy to deal with chemical weapons issue.
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iran, election of rouhani, opportunity for them to pursue diplomacy in a way they hadn't been able to for the entire obama presidency. the middle east peace process, remember, they did try with secretary clinton. it was a major priority in the president's first year. it went nowhere. the president was frustrated and and to sort of give up on it certainly for the period of time leading up to the election. when secretary kerry came in, he really threw himself into it. in this internal review from what i've been told, the thinking was the secretary is committed to it, thrown himself into it, we need to make it a priority as much for that reason as for its intrinsic importance. no one is doubting a peace agreement between israelis and palestinians would be significant but it's not clear to me that absent john kerry that would have been in that top tier of priorities. i think that was interesting. you raise another good point,
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just quickly, which is this idea it was, in fact, a group of six or seven people inside the west wing of the white house. although secretary kerry and secretary chuck hagel were briefed on a weekly basis by the national security adviser, it was what has become sort of a typical pattern of a very close hold foreign policy made out at this white house. >> this is not interagency. this is not the national security council. this is white house. >> it is. every administration seems to do more and more as sort of the guiding force here. this goes to the president is very much now in uber practicalism mode. he's not reaching. sometimes a second term you want to reach for unreachable, make the large effort. there has been, i've noticed this, this is about pragmatism. this isn't about legacy building.
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mark's story gets to they realized what they have to deal with. everything is managing crisis. part of this from my understanding, vice president biden almost advised this to president obama. you're not going to -- this is a 25-year thing in the middle east. you're not going to have some great -- there isn't some great fix that can be done on the timetable between now and the end of your presidency. this is about managing a crisis. one more thing on going back to spy, likelihood germany gets a special arrangement is very high. the personal relationship between merkel and the president matters a lot. the french, good luck with that. it's interesting. you hear -- you talk to administration officials, they are sympathetic and embarrassed about what's going on with germany. they do not have the same reaction when it comes to france. >> thanks, chuck todd, both of you, great reporting. mark, that was a great interview. thanks for sharing with us. >> thank you, andrea. >> congressman joins me from the
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house, oversight reform committee. congressman, you heard this conversation. first of all, is this an acknowledgement egypt is not working, syria is not working, libya is in collapse, iraq is having all sorts of problems that basically maybe we were too ambitious but this president really does want to deal with what is possible and iran may be the most possible. >> lets also add afghanistan and pakistan to that list. look, the president has got to be nimble on this. it's a very difficult and dangerous world. i don't see much we can point to that is a success. i do worry right at the top of that list has to be iran and the threats they have made. they want to expand their nuclear capabilities. they want death and destruction to the united states, israel, and others. we have to be able to deal with this, not just containment but to be proactive. >> let me ask you about nsa spying. mike rogers, peter king and others, republicans as well as democrats, have defended the
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policy and there's been criticism. you've gottlieb r liberal left libertarian right, all generations joining to criticizes the extent of the spying. others dchding it. others saying everyone does it. this is what the u.s. has to do in the post 9/11 world. i know you have a strong opinion about this. what about the way this administration has handled it? >> i think dick cheney said it very well. he said, look, our friends don't trust us and our enemies don't fear us. i think that's the right synopsis. there have to be certain lines, certain boundaries. i don't think it's good enough for the president and team around him top claim ignorance, wasn't involved. he's been in charge five years. he's got to be personally involved in where the lines are. nsa, snooping on americans who have had no suspicion in any sort of crime, they should not be spied upon. i think this administration must declare to the american people
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post jones -- jones was a supreme court case in which law enforcement was putting on gps, geo location device and following somebody for 28 days. the supreme court ruled 9-0 that was a violation of the fourth amendment, yet this administration refuses to issue guidance on what they are doing now on geo location. that's something i'm doing with senator wyden in a very bipartisan way. issues out there. website, without encryption where people are typing in on social security numbers and it's not encrypted. this all kind of fits together in a big huge area of concern. >> at the same time the former deputy director of the cia mike morrell was on "60 minutes" and he talked about the breakdown of trust and politics he believes is undermining national security. >> what really keeps me up at night is the inability of our
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government to make decisions that push our economy and our society forward. there's been a change from a willingness of the two parties to work together to get things done to today the two parties at each other's throat and simply trying to score political points. i don't know why that's occurred. >> doesn't the government shutdown play into this feeling that the country isn't working, secretary kerry spoke about it in a speech last week, undermining the way we are perceived around the world? >> i think there's a lot of validity to that. i appreciate the "60 minutes" story done on that. i thought they did a very good job and he certainly with his career. look, i sponsored a bill, andrea, that the president, then senator barack obama sponsored. i then sponsored it in the house. we passed it out of the house, it sits in the senate. i can't get a bill barack obama,
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the senator, sponsored himself. i can't get the democratic senate to bring that up. how in the world can that be. if you haven't paid your federal taxes, you said, if you want to get a federal contract you should be prohibited from doing that. barack obama the senator agreed with that, i'm agreeing with it now, yet we till can't get that kind of bill done, it's just another symptom of the two sides working together. i want to be that person. i'm a tea party guy but i want to work in a bipartisan way to strive forward but it's just not happening and it's very frustrating. >> at the same time on health care, do you think with all the problems with website, we're all acknowledging and ridiculinridin fact people tell me, i.t. people, if you don't know what is wrong with the code, you're really going to have to start from scratch. they don't know how there's an easy fix to this. at some point if the website works, is it possible republicans in general were
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wrong, that giving health care to however many million more people is bottom line a good thing? >> i'm not opposed to a website. i am concerned about a website that is not open and transparent, that is transmitting information that is not encrypted, that is causing more headaches than ever. we've got hundreds of thousands of people being dropped off their current health care. we want the website to work. i don't like the underlying policy and i do think even though it's just been days since we took this position, we have been begging and pleading. lets delay it. lets delay. i understand how democrats could never support the idea we were going to defund it and i voted 40 plus times to do that. okay. i get that. but delay. come on, that's got to be bipartisan support for that, given the pathetic launch we had. i think that's a reasonable common ground to do. lets delay it, let it get a reboot. i don't like the law.
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i'll fight against it every step of the way. at least we ought to be able to delay it. it's not ready for prime time. >> thanks very much. thanks, congressman. >> thanks, andrea. >> good to talk to you today. just a few minutes ago james comey sworn in at the fbi, ten-year term, top justice department official in the bush administration, took over for robert mueller, stepped down after 12 years the head of fbi. today president obama paid tribute to the new fbi director. >> i interviewed a number of extraordinary candidates for this job. all with sterling credentials. but what gave me confidence that this was the right man for the job wasn't his degrees and wasn't his resume, it was in talking to him and seeing his amazing family, a sense this is somebody who knows what's right and what's wrong. ♪
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welcome back. president obama made the promise over and offer again if you like your current health care plan you can keep it. there are americans across the country who beg to differ. joining me from "the fix" chris cillizza and "washington post" writer ruth marcus. first to you. the health care plan you can keep it except -- >> you can keep the health care plan if you like it except if it's so bad you shouldn't like it and we think you should have more. i think there was an asterisk there he didn't quite get to. >> if people have plans that
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don't provide maternal care, pre-existing conditions, those plans are going to expire. you need to get another pan. >> if you had a very bare bones plan, you are not going to be able to keep that and you may need to -- probably will need to pay more. you may be better off in the end but it's not exactly what the president promised. i was going to say what the doctor ordered. not precisely what the president promised. >> is this, chris cillizza, after the website gets fixed is this going to be the next stage? already we're hearing people say their plans are no longer valid after november. >> it could be. the reason for it, it gets right to the rub republicans have always had with this, which is it takes -- at least for some people, it takes the decision making power out of your hands to a certain extent, as ruth put
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it. you have bad health insurance and you need to do better. it may be better for you in the long run. the republican argument is, look, i have a right to choose my bad health insurance if i so choose to do that. it's sort of that's what i think the debate between the two parties, if you break it down to its barest bones, what should the federal government be doing and how much decision making about things that affect your life, but also other people's lives, how much of that should the government be involved in. >> the white house argument would be you have to have car insurance, for the good of society you have more health insurance, car insurance, that you do a lot of things. so that's the counter-point there. >> absolutely. >> lets talk politics, virginia governor. bill clinton was out campaigning for terry mcauliffe and ken cuccinelli, his opponent, republican opponent bringing in rand paul. this is a special relationship. this goes beyond politic, bill and terry on the road again. >> the ultimate buddy movie.
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they have been paling around for years while he was in the white house, after the white house. i see them all sorts of different places. when the president wakes up in the middle of the night and wants somebody to play cards with or wants somebody to chat with on the phone or read drafts of his autobiography to, that was terry mcauliffe. for those of us who have covered him for many, many years, the thought of him being governor is an amazing new chapter in this buddy movie. >> i also wanted to ask about dick cheney because chris cillizza, dick cheney has been doing interviews, of course, about his new book, "heart." asked about the man running against liz cheney and this is what he had to say. >> mike and i also said we're fishing buddies, which is not true. never happened. the fact of the matter is
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washington is not going to elect the senator from wyoming, the people of wyoming will elect that senator. mike has a record if you go back and review his finances of getting about 84% of his campaign funds from washington-based pacs that's more than any senator of any other party. >> that's tough stuff, chris cillizza, that is dick cheney going after enzi, popular senator from wyoming. >> two things. dick cheney has never been known as someone who dances around delicate issues. he certainly didn't there. fact two, this is his daughter. 84% coming from pacs, that's out of the opposition research handbook. liz cheney, he didn't mention this, liz cheney lived in mclane, virginia, moved back to wyoming last year to run against mike enzi. it is going to be a pretty nasty and certainly for mike enzi very expensive primary. he's never had a race like this
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before. my guess is, andrea, one other point. liz cheney is going to raise plenty of money outside wyoming. two, there's only so much money you can raise in wyoming. both of them if they want to run big campaigns we expect they are going to be looking elsewhere, including washington, d.c. for funds. >> we have to live it there, chris cillizza, ruth marcus, thank you both very much. one year since superstorm sandy made landfall devastating communities in new york, new jersey, connecticut. congressman chris smith from new jersey will be joining me to share how his district is still rebuilding, still recovering. one year ago today the storm was barreling up the east coast. here is a look back at lester holt reporting on "nightly news" as millions were bracing for its impact. >> the wind is howling. just over my shoulder the roiling chesapeake bay telegraphing power of sandy parallel to us, off the coast.
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medicare open enrollment. of year again. time to compare plans and costs. you don't have to make changes. but it never hurts to see if you can find better coverage, save money, or both. and check out the preventive benefits you get after the health care law. open enrollment ends december 7th. so now's the time.
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visit or call 1-800-medicare it doesn't seem possible but tomorrow will be one year since superstorm slammed mid-atlantic region causing unprecedented damage up and down the eastern seaboard. new jersey was one of the states hit hardest by sandy while much of the eastern shore has been rebuilt. 26,000 people are still not back in their homes. congressman chris smith represents new jersey's fourth congressional district now. thanks for coming in. >> thanks very much. >> i know a lot of people have gotten help but you've been pointing out people for whom this is not their primary home and there are a lot of second
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home owners, they don't get the help. >> exactly. >> federal help. >> i have relatives with rental homes, one in neptune. she is out of luck. simply cannot get the kind of assistance, when floodwaters from the river poured into her home, she can't get any help. many people in new jersey do rent out their homes. a lot -- it's a great source of income, or was. now they are out of luck. that's definitional issue but unfortunately the law. >> is this the law affecting federal flood insurance or home owners insurance. this has nothing to do with fema. >> i have a really big bone to pick from fema. fema has done some very good things. chris christie has certainly stepped up to the plate. the houses and community faith-based organizations that have been excluded in very large
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measure from getting any kind of fema help, they can get it from the sba or others, it's far less. saint rose in belmar, the building itself is a community action oriented building where they help the poor and homeless, all kinds of great work. they have been told you're not going to get it. the upper floors not affected by sandy are used by other things. that's a discriminatory policy. >> this past the hour, blocked in the senate. >> nonprofit disaster assistance passed 354-72, absolutely bipartisan, liberal, mod ral, conservative, everybody joining in and saying it's discriminatory. >> does not violate church and state. >> sba would be equally violative of separation of
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church and state. you know, when you have a hurricane or natural disaster or home mid one like oklahoma city. in oklahoma city churches were repaired. damage is damage. when something happens there's a neutral basis applied and that's the key phrase. if you've been hurt by the storm, you should be on equal access, you should be helped. fema has denied that. >> congressman, what about people inland? a lot of focus has been on what we know and love as the shore. a lot of us grew up enjoying the jersey shore. people inland are complaining they didn't get as much attention from the federal government. >> goes to where declarations were made, which counties. certain rules do apply if you've been malaffected -- >> you have to be within the boundaries. if your individual home is affected not in the area they
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don't get the help. >> there were a number of homes in mercer county and some other counties where it was an electrical problem or something fell on their homes. a large tree, perhaps. thankfully some insurance has taken care of that. we're also hearing a lot of complaints about insurance. people had higher expectations as to what that bottom line would be when they got the check. the elevation problem. fema promulgated a map or maps throughout the area that requires an elevation of your home in order to get a better insurance policy you can afford, expect there will be another large storm in the future. many of those people -- there is money available but only some of that has gone out the door. a lot of people are looking at the cost of elevating a home versus what they have left in their own bank accounts and what they are getting from the government saying we're going to be a loser on that one, too. >> a year later, a lot of work.
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>> a lot of unfinished business. this nonprofit disaster legislation, which again passed february 13th, 354-72. it absolutely has to become law for not just sandy but every other hurricane or disaster that's in the future, we should not have a discriminatory policy towards faith-based organizations. the obama administration is doing that now. they can change that in a heartbeat through administrative change. they have not done that. they need a legislative change and stop the legislation. >> thank you. thanks for coming in. >> appreciate it. coming up next, a legend. dr. maya angelou joins us. she'll tell us why she's lending her voice to a new fight curbing standardized school testing. stay with us. [ male announcer ] when it comes to doing what you love,
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a group of will authors urging president obama to curb mandatory school testing. they sent a letter saying we are alarmed at the negative impact of testing mandates including your administration's own initiative on children's love of reading and literature. dr. maya angelou is one of the authors had signed and joins me from carolina. thank you for being with us. tell me why you think mandatory school testing is hurting the love of books? >> well, all of a sudden one is not asked what did you get from a book, what instrument tu use to learn more about being a human being but how many books did you read, what are the
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numbers. not what is the intrinsic information that you get, that a child gets from reading a book. that concerns me. because i know a young man, a young woman of seven or eight or ten who owns a book has a particular personality that he, she develops, that evolve into the citizen we want in our country and to the mothers and fathers and the teachers and preach e preachers. these are the people we know, we need. just testing them to what have they learned by rote does not help our country, does not help a young man to grow. this is most important. to understand i am a human
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being. nothing human can be alien to me. with a book, the young man gets a chance -- the young woman gets a chance to say oh, in russia, there are kids who think just as i think. in south africa, there are kids who think -- who are afraid of the dark. oh i see in france, there are people who long to have a sandwich after school just as i do. so that brings the world closer to a young man or young woman and him or her closer to being a global citizen. >> dr. angelou, i wanted to ask you about race to the top and some other obama administration programs that were created to try to counter-act the decline in test scores, international test scores where american children were falling behind
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their counter-parts. how do you rationalize the new programs like race to the top and others test-based, forcing teachers to be more account able with this problem of getting -- of having children still feel inspired and feel engaged with the books they read? >> race to the top seems to me to be more of a contest, not between what did you learn, what can you report, what can you conclude, rather than saying i've read this number of books, not that i have learned this much about the human being. race to the top is more a contest rather than an understanding. if you read a tale of two
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cities, or "go tell it on the mountain," you read a book set in russia and you internalize that book, all of a sudden you know i'm more alike than i am unalike. if it's race to the top, it's really how many books did you read and how fast did you read them and how quickly did you memorize. that alarms me. i'm really concerned. >> i know you've been very involved. i saw you here at a charter school event, the maya angelou school here. you've been involved with the children. they named the children after you because of your engagement here in washington, d.c. what have you learned from your involvement with that school and interaction with the school here. >> i was a mute for six years of my life, from the time i was
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seven until i was 13. i didn't speak to anyone but my brother, but i read books. somehow i was further along because i had read the books and people didn't frighten me as much. i think we have racial prejudices and age differences and all these sexual differences, because we really think we're different from other people. if you read and you understand i'm not really that much different. we might see an end to racism and all the other idiocies that plague us. so i'm very keen that a young man, a young woman in school in harlem, in school on fifth avenue and a private school and a very public school, i'm very keen that they understand more about what it is like to be a
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human being, not just how many books did you read and how many times did you skip -- did you do hopscotch. that's not enough. the writers, whether they are tolstoy, if they are james baldwin or nicky giovanni, the writers are really interested in forming young men and women. here you belong here. this is your world. this is your country. this is your time. i don't think you can get that by racing to the top. >> maya angelou. thank you for being with us today. very important lessons for all of us. >> thank you very, very much. i'm a fan of yours, miss andrea. >> i thank you, because i can't tell you how much we are all fans of maya angelou. thank you and we will be right back.
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and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? chris cillizza is back with us. in the next 24 we'll have game five in st. louis, but can you come up with another finish the way -- a pickoff at first base and i felt so terrible for this poor cardinal rookie. he was in tears apparently. and of course he did mess up badly but the fact is -- >> i felt bad for my father-in-law and wife -- my wife grew up in st. louis and my
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father-in-law -- >> they had a real chance. >> but two of the strangest world series games, as a lifelong fan, two of the strangest innings, you'll ever see, obstruction call in game three and pick-off in game four. >> the obstruction call, whether intentional or unintentional, the umps had to have a briefing, it was a crazy way to lose a game. game five tonight. thanks so much, chris, it's great to be back. thanks to all of my colleagues and kristin welker and peter alexander. that does it for me and tamron hall has a look at what's next on "news nation." >> coming up in our next hour, the white house responds to report president obama went nearly five years without knowing the nsa was spying on dozens of world leaders as more revelations trickle out from edwardsnowden, a british man has been charged with hacking into the networks of u.s. federal
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agency, including the army and the u.s. missile defense agency. we'll get a live report from pete williams on that story. chris brown in court, charged with felony assault, for breaking a man's nose in washington, d.c. could it be a violation of his probation? all coming up on "news nation." which means it's never been easier to get a new passat, awarded j.d. power's most appealing midsize car, two years in a row. and right now you can drive one home for practically just your signature. get zero due at signing, zero down, zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on any new 2014 volkswagen. hurry, this offer ends october 31st. for details, visit today. i started part-time, now i'm a manager.n. my employer matches my charitable giving. really.
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