Skip to main content

tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  August 23, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

2:00 pm
good evening. i'm chris jansing in new york tonight for chris matthews, and leading off east coast earthquake. if you've been watching tv, listening to the radio or following social media, you already know the headline. a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the east coast just before 2:00 this afternoon. tense of millions of people who think of quakes is something that happens to someone else, something that happens to people on the west coast, were jilted into a rare and nerve-racking e part of the state, but flt as far south and georgia, west and chicago and north at martha's vineyard where the president is vacationing pap powerful earthquake. no reports of major damage there may well be hidden structure
2:01 pm
damage. in washington, d.c. and in new york, people poured out of buildings for an unscheduled mid-day break. and washington evacuated until it was clear to return to that building. all the details and bring you live reports throughout the hour here on "hardball." also what would otherwise have been our lead story tonight took place on the other side of the world. in libya, where rebel troops overwhelmed pro-gadhafi forces and poured into this compound. the victorious rebels fired weapons in celebration and grab wlad they could, but colonel gadhafi's whereabouts remain unknown. we'll get to that story later on in the show. but we begin with today's earth -- east coast earthquake. let's bring in bob bazell, nbc's chief science and health correspondent. bob, how big a deal is this? we don't have these here on the east coast. >> we do, but not that often, chris. that's the point. a 5.8 earthquake is not a small earthquake. let's not forget the earthquake that struck haiti, port-au-prince in january 2010
2:02 pm
was a 6.0. not that much bigger. a lot of what happens after an earthquake depends where it strikes and what kind of shape the buildings are in. right close by it. this is a powerful earthquake. no mistake about it. it seems from all reports we've heard we've been lucky. we heard structural damage here and there but not a single report of an injury. when is really amazing. this happened in the central virginia seismic zone, an area of the world that was formed when the appalachian mountains grew up. 400 million, 500 million years ago. it's not so active as the western part of the united states, the sierra nevadas, which came up 30 million years ago and still is an active zone. earthquakes in the east, because the ground tends to be much hard are and older causes the energy to dissipate much more quickly. that's why the shaking was felt over such a wide area. in the west, the earth is softer. so the energy gets more absorbed
2:03 pm
by the earth. so it's not felt as far away. but this soo big earthquake. we were very lucky today. >> from what i've been able to tell, the anecdote, people on the west side of manhattan felt it more than the east side of manhattan. is that crazy? >> not at all. it what do with where the rock formations are under manhattan, and what kind of building you're in and how the building responded to do. a couple, one good thing about this, a power plant, the north anna plant, nearby. 2 shut down properly. the generators cooling off the rods as they should. everything is fine there. it shows us, again, for things like older structures and power plants, bridges, tunnels, if they're old, earthquake dos happen in the east. this should be a wake-up call. we have enough things to worry about, obviously. we think about it all the time. but there are eastern earthquake and they can be severe. >> a spokesman at the white house said it shook pretty good here. it was felt in martha's
2:04 pm
vineyard, not significantly where the president is. and the national cathedral in washington, d.c., they evacuated all sorts of buildings. union station, shook the foundation of the pentagon. the capitol, the house, the senate. so what happens now? because these are not buildings that were built to be earthquake-proof obviously, especially in the nation's capital. can they determine quickly these are all okay? >> all of those have good engineering staff to come in and make sure nothing is going to fall down. the reason people do go running out of builds when they see an earthquake, of course, you're worried not in a the earth wake will continue, something that will crack and fall down on your head. >> we're not used to it. had i lived in california, people would sit and have dinner, continue dinner parties through earthquakes. >> 1345as a matter of fact, i w having lunch, sitting with a bunch of people, just an earthquake. they said, you're nuts. they said to do me. for other reasons before, but -- >> for a particular reason. >> i grew up in california and
2:05 pm
have been in haiti and japan and knew exactly what it felt like. you're right. >> it doesn't feel different here, because you and i were in japan when there were so many aftershocks. these were aftershocks 6 and higher, and it did have that rolling feeling to them. also a situation where the buildings are meant to withstand that. so you feel this rocking that goes on far after the earthquake is over. does it feel different on the east coast? on the west coast? or in japan? >> depends where you are. it didn't feel that much different than a standard earthqua earthquake. although here in new york it was less than a 3 compared to the 5.8. the people who really felt the earthquake strongly were the people who -- particularly around charlottesville, virginia. the university of virginia went running out of the buildings in a big hurry. for them, this was a very big earthquake. fortunately, no major damp and injuries. they felt it strongly. here, even though it's transferred through the ground efficiently, it's a long way away from the epicenter. we didn't feel the kind of
2:06 pm
earthquake that you and i are used to from the aftershocks in japan, which, of course, were at 6. >> are aftershocks almost assured? >> they've already occurred. a couple in the magnitude of 2. very small, almost inperceptible. the national geologist survey saying an aftershock of 4 or more would not be surprising. >> really? >> absolutely. that's standard for an earthquake. to get back to this other point. for nuclear power plants and everything else that's extremely dangerous, it's a wake-up call. there are earthquakes throughout the united states including in the east coast. >> and when you have something that's this big when i say this big comparatively, this size of earthquake, has not happened in how long? i have that somewhere. >> 1897. >> yeah. >> about the same area. >> not something that's happened in a very long time. sdp that make us more vulnerable or more likely they'll be another -- or another 100 years?
2:07 pm
>> no. the last one just over 200 years ago and this one, the haitian earthquake, hadn't been an earthquake in port-au-prince in 200 years. in geological time, that's the flash of an eyelash. faults formed 400 million years ago. so 200 years is nothing. >> how long could the aftershocks go on? >> for a while. but unlikely tham be another earthquake in this region for a while. i don't think the earth's aftershocks are in this case something we have to worry about. it's much more the idea of the reminder that we are susceptible here in the east coast to earthquakes. >> you've got to put this thought though, i don't disagree with you. having been through a quake in california and in japan, you see the difference when you have buildings that are meant to sustain them and people who have prepared and who have retrofitted. given frankly the current economic situation, i don't see much happening on the east coast. do you? >> yeah, but it's not a bad idea to look at all buildings, place
2:08 pm
where bricks are hanging over even in an earthquake, a jolt can cause things to fall down. kinds of things to look for to make sure things are safe. i would like to know the homened tunn holland tunnel is safe to withstand and earthquake. i'd like to know power plants in an earthquake all do like the one that did today, shut down safely have. as we poircnt ud out in other c texas the india point nuclear power point in westchester has 6% of the u.s. population living within it's evacuation zone. if it didn't shut down properly, the consequences are unimaginable. yes, the money's not around for everything. we can't protect against every danger but this is a reminder that is a danger that we have to think about. >> bob bazell, thank you so much. joining me on the phone, the mayor of mineral, virginia, the
2:09 pm
epicenter of the quake. mayor, how are you doing right now? >> everyone in town is quite shaken up, but with the sigh of relief, so far i've heard of no injuries. >> tell us a little where you were, what you felt what you experienced. >> actually i was sitting at my kitchen table. we had groundbreaking for our new town hall on friday and i had come home and sat at the table to write thank you notes for everyone that helped us with that, and fortunate that we're starting a new building, because our town hall appears to be the worst hit building in town. inside the walls are quite cracked. a lot of plaster has fallen. the top of the building has a lot of bricks that have become dismantled, and the other damaged -- all the old homes in town, i didn't see one that the klimny chimney was not broken. they all have old brick, and every one had been broken off. only one other building in town i had noticed that is unsafe to
2:10 pm
go back in and that's made out of cinder block and it has been cracked from top to bottom, and fortunately, the high school and the middle school is about a half mile out of town, and all the kids were able to be evacuated, and all safely gotten home, either the parents picked them up or they rode the school bus, and schools are closed tomorrow. today -- the seventh day of school. we started back early. now they're going get a little setback until they see if the buildings are structurally sound to get the kids back in. but we're doing good, considering the magnitude of this earthquake, and the plant shut down like it was supposed to. so that was one worry that, one concern we don't have to have. other than that, everyone's cabinets have been emptied. a good time to clean out your cabinets, because nature did it for us. >> i like the way you think.
2:11 pm
putting a positive spin on what had to be a pretty terrifying situation. now, not many of us are used to this. did people just go running out of their houses? was there panic? >> well, s when it happened, actually, i had no idea what was going on. we have heavy freight trains that come through here quite often and they sort of rumble 9 earth a little bit when they come through. that was my first thought. we've got a big train coming through, but then it continued. so i went to the back door, and all of my neighbors were standing out in the road. everybody just left their homes and were out in the road. so after i saw everybody here was okay, i ran up town in my vehicle and that's the same thing that was happening up there. all the businesses and the homes, everyone was out on the sidewalks. so i think everyone -- felt what was happening. >> give me a little sense of your town, how big is it, and how well prepared are you for what will surely be a task ahead to get cleaned up, and
2:12 pm
obviously, the financial implications of this? >> ah, that's a. >> question. we're a small down. we only have about 430 residents. the town is about one mile square. sizewise, we have lots of older homes that structurally are a little weak anyway. so until everything is evaluated, we don't have any idea how much it's going to cost. the local grocery store, i went by there. all their shelves had been emptied into the aisle. so it's going to be a lot of labor and bulk to get things straight. >> we wish you well. you certainly have a positive attitude and thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. >> thank you so much. back to our cleaning. >> mayor pam harlow, at the ep e center of the quake. let me bring in andrea mitchell, of course, nbc news cheer foreign correspondent but she actually felt the quake today in washington.
2:13 pm
andrea, you were on the air? >> i was on the air and i've now been reminded that, in fact, this happened two years ago. i was with president clinton in pakistan and islamabad, broadcasting live tr-from-there. >> will you to be reminded of that? >> reporter: yeah. everything was shaking there. no one was saying, get out, get out. no safety concern. he, our technical managers cleared everyone out. i was here, computer logged in. finding my notes from the broadcast and everything just started rattling and rolling and it sounded as the mayor -- the mayor there just said to you, like a freight train. we didn't know what was happening until smarter people told me exactly what was lapping. me not being a californian. i was struck by her spunk and spirit, getting back to cleaning. we are so unaffected here in washington, but in has been some damage. damage to historic buildings. most notably, the national
2:14 pm
cathedral, a heartbreaking situation for all who love it. it's about an hour from here. luke russert grew up on that campus, went to school there at st. albins and really stares damage to the pinnacles and spires. those stone masons worked more than 100 years to complete. so that is a sad moment, but no real damage, and the president was briefed. he had a national security briefing with fema and his national security team at 2:50 this afternoon from martha's vineyard and told there's no real emergency in any of the states. a hideous traffic jam as people try to get home. >> i mentioned earlier somebody in the white house said it shook pretty good. is that a good description of what you felt? >> reporter: more than just shaking. it just was everything going at once, and i've talked to people in virginia. also people, by the way, the colonial williamsburg, where the foundation reports all is fine in those buildings. the oldest buildings in america
2:15 pm
from 1607. they did not suffer damp that they know. >> amazing. >> reporter: it say mazing. the capital briefing, about 3:30 today. their briefing was they were going to take several hours to go through the most important buildings, other than the white house, the capitol, and to make sure that the capitol itself and all the office buildings, some are older than others, as you know, are safe. there's so much that is historic from the rotunda on down. there's a lot to look at in terms of structural damage there. but they're not letting people back in in any of those buildings, the office buildings or the capitol. chris kuntz was the designated senator on the air with tam ran hran -- tamron hall. and they gathered and the session is pro forma, no recess. therefore, no presidential recess appointment. that is what the opposition
2:16 pm
party, republican party, demanded. they are actually in every day for a couple of seconds. he being close by from delaware was the guy today and he actually held that pro forma session, i believe at the postal service, which is an historic building nearby. >> andrea mitchell, chief foreign correspondent. probably talking about libya at the time pap few things going on over there. >> reporter: you got it. >> and lived to tell the tale we are happy to say. good to see you, andrea. thank you. >> reporter: thank you. coming up, we'll talk a little more how prepared the east coast is for a major earthquake. what are the implications? you're watching "hardball." only on msnbc. another laptop bg or hires another employee, it's not just good for business -- it's good for the entire community. at bank of america, we know the impact that local businesses have on communities, so we're helping them with advice from local business experts and extending $18 billion in credit last year.
2:17 pm
that's how we're helping set opportunity in motion.
2:18 pm
excuse me? my grandfather was born in this village. [ automated voice speaks foreign language ] [ male announcer ] in here, everyone speaks the same language. ♪ in here, forklifts drive themselves. no, he doesn't have it. yeah, we'll look on that. [ male announcer ] in here, friends leave you messages written in the air. that's it right there. [ male announcer ] it's the at&t network. and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say.
2:19 pm
welcomes back to this special edition of "hardball." how prepared are people and governments on the east coast for earthquakes? a lot of people instinctively rushed to the exits of the
2:20 pm
buildings. is that the right thing to do? from the american red cross, good to see you. have you been getting a lot of calls? >> are we have. here at red cross head 3 quarqu we felt it like everybody else. we stopped is thas truck going on? when it was going on an extendered of time we knew in it was and wasn't something we were used to dealing with. >> the first time i ever felt an earthquake i was in california, realized what it was, ran out to the newsroom, as i'm running they're divingeneder their desks. >> yes. >> we saw people rushing out of buildings. what is the right thing to do? >> we recommend people duck, cover and hold on. get down on the floor, get under a sturdy piece of fun dhof furn hold on.
2:21 pm
once the shaking stops it's okay to go outside. people looked around today, because here in d.c. and on the east coast, we're not used to it. they had to think for a minute what they should do. and, you know, people thought, should you get in a doorway? run outside? the duck, kov are and hold on is what we recommend people do. if you feel any aftershocks, in the coming hour, that's exactly has you need to be doing. >> obviously, the big buildings, they immediately have engineers going in and checking them out. making sure that they were safe and there was no structural damage, but in that part of the country, there are a lot of much older homes, obviously, not plent to withstand earthquakes. for the average person who might be nervous now what should they do? >> they need to make sure they do a walk-around through the house. make sure there are no obvious structural damage. the kind of thing you want to do after any quake to make sure your family is safe. it really reminds us how people
2:22 pm
need to be prepared. we don't necessarily think about earthquakes here. we were actually spending the day here at red cross headquarter, getting ready for hurricane irene. we're used to that. bean ire between irene and the earthquake, you need to know what to do during an emergency of any kind and have certain supplies on hand as well. >> can we talk about that? again, weren't of the things that sort of -- i mean, it hits you when you live in california or live in, say, florida or north carolina where they get a lot of hurricanes. but wherever you are in the united states, what should people have in an emergency kit? >> you know, the emergency kit needs to contain a few basic things. food and watered. three-day supply we recommend. battery operated radio. of course, a flashlight. any kind of family paperwork you need. basic medications you might need. things that coop you comfortable and safe and heldy during an emergency, throw a first-aid kit in there.
2:23 pm
basic things. keep it in your car, keep one in your house. it's good to have those things on hand. the other thing i recommend, here's what i saw today. as soon as this happened, people went outside, first thing, got on their blackberries and phoned and started trying to find their loved one. where's my husband? or are the schools closing? what's going to happen with my kids today. a big part of having a family emergency plan and knowing what you would do, where you would go and how to get in contact with each other, because immediately people found that the phone lines were pretty jammed here. they couldn't get calls out. so we all standing outside of our building. on text, on twitter all day, really trying to figure out where our families were and what to do next. >> laura howl of the red cross, a busy night ahead. >> thanks. joining me, david applegate for natural hazards at the u.s. geological survey. i understand you got caught in traffic trying to get to our camera. how was the ride over?
2:24 pm
>> that's right. it was a bit slow. a reminder that there are all sorts of hazards involved here. >> where were you? did you feel it? tell me a little bit about your sense of this earthquake? >> i was as the u.s. geological survey's headquarters oust in reston, virginia, not too far from dell us aerum dulles. >> you closed? >> i understand a lot of them stayed on the job. we're used to this happening to our offices out in the west coast. this was a bit of an unusual situation. >> what's the first thing you forkes look for from a technical standpoint? >> well, a partnership along with, you know, we're focuses on the earthquake itself. how broadly it was experienced. what are the likely losses? we have a system called pager that gives us a quick look at what is the likely fatalities, what are the likely economic
2:25 pm
losses from an order of magnitude system. in this case, pager results were showing a green alert for fatalities. we were not expecting a high likelihood of that but were expecting some pretty significant damage. this is a quake felt from all the way up in massachusetts down to georgia all the way out to ohio. there's going to be a lot of small damage that's going to add up. we estimate could be over $100 million and up to $1 billion. >> what's the difference between earthquakes here on the east coast and out on the west coast? >> well, the big difference is in how broadly they're felt. a magnitude 5.8 earth quake as this one was, these happen on a fairly regular basis out in california. the earth's crust there is very broken up. so the shaking will be knelt a small area. -- felt in a small area. we're not at the edge of a tete tonic plate where they're crashing against each other. we have very old rocks. they're very cold. they basically ring like a bell. so the energy from this
2:26 pm
earthquake gets transmitted efficiently over a very broad area. on top of that, you have six sentiments that accumulated on the surface. that's going to amplifies shaking even more. a relatively moderate earthquake, but this is an order of magnitude smaller than the one, for example that did so much damage in haiti, and it's several orders of magnitude smaller than the japan quake. >> you know, the funny thing -- it's not funny -- but the interesting thing is that we're in a place where you have so many older buildings. especially around the d.c., virginia area, and very few new buildings, i'm getting, that are built as they are on the west coast, to earthquake standards. are you surprised -- i don't know how much you've had an opportunity to hear about the damage or see the damage. were you surprised that it wen mo wasn't more significant? >> we're fortunate that the event itself was in a fairly
2:27 pm
rural area with virginia. you're actually right. these older buildings are the ones we're particularly concerned about. in fact, building codes for modern buildings, they build into that the seismic provisions from our national seismic hazard map. we recognize that earthquakes are a national hazard, that you can have damaging earthquakes in the central and eastern u.s. but, you know, these 19th century buildings that are unreinforced brick come down quite easily. even if the building itself doesn't come down, you can have failure of chimneys, get a lot of has we call non-structure damage. so the building itself is fine, but you could have bookcases falling over, light fixtures. that's why the red cross, i mentioned in your previous government, drop, cover, hold on. get under something sturdy. odds are your building may be okay but you can still be injured by falling debris. >> david applegate, who fought through the traffic to get on
2:28 pm
tonight. we appreciate it. thanks so much. >> thank you. up next, we'll talk to a couple of our other correspondents in washington who felt the earthquake. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
2:29 pm
at liberty mutual, we know how much you count on your car and how much the people in your life count on you. that's why we offer accident forgiveness, man: good job. where your price won't increase due to your first accident. we also offer a hassle-free lifetime repair guarantee, where the repairs made on your car are guaranteed for life or they're on us. these are just two of the valuable features you can expect from liberty mutual. plus, when you insure both your home and car with us, it could save you time and money. at liberty mutual, we help you move on with your life. so get the insurance responsible drivers like you deserve.
2:30 pm
looks really good. call us at... or visit your local liberty mutual office, where an agent can help you find the policy that's right for you. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
2:31 pm
welcome back. well, the national capital definitely felt the effects of today's rare east coast quake, among other things, flights suspended at least for a time in all the washington area airports. the philadelphia airport. atlantic city and a couple of new york city airports. jfk and newark. now, it didn't last long, but you know what the domino effect is when they back up flights even for a short period's time and when talking about major east coast airports that can resonate all through the evening. so be happy if you're not flying tonight or don't know anybody who is. let's talk more about how d.c. was affected. nbc jim miklaszewski was there.
2:32 pm
pete williams. gentlemen, good evening. how are things at the pentagon, jim? >> reporter: i was sitting here in my plush office -- thamplgts is the most gross overstatement i heard even on "hardball" i've been there. >> trying to make everybody feel better. i was at my computer and suddenly felt a slight shimmer. quite frankly, chris, like many other here at pentagon thought oeshs, my god, we've been hit again, because it felt the same way here in the pentagon as it did when american flight 77 slammed into the building on 9/11. but as it proceeded to shake and got ever-more violent, the whole room shook. some books fell off our shelves on to the floor. i suddenly realized. no. that's an earthquake. i got up. people were running down the hall, evacuating the pentagon. luckily, nobody here was hurt. it was no severe damage. although there was some broken
2:33 pm
water pipes on one of the upper floors that flooded an entire section of the pentagon, which is still shut down now on a corridor, some couple hundred yards away from where we are. and eventually they deemed the building otherwise safe, and everybody was brought back in. no serious damage, and, of course, no injuries. but i tell you, it did bring back haunting memories of ten years ago, chris. >> yeah. here in new york as well. you know, you're still shaking and one of the first things you think is, what's going on? i have to say, mik, the pentagon is one of the first places i thought about. it's so sprawling. is it still the biggest complex in the country? >> reporter: the biggest low-rise office complex. it is a huge building, and the fact is that it is made of solid concrete. built just before and during the opening days of world war ii to be able to withstand the impact of that airliner on 9/11 and
2:34 pm
just take out a small section of the building is testament to the shear strength of this building. the fact is, this building -- it shook like a jell-o mold on a plate. that's what it felt like. >> let me bring in pete williams as well, and, pete, aren't you right by the homeland security folks? i mean, give us a little sense. i mean, you start to think about places like the pentagon, and homeland security, and are they functioning? are they damped? what's happening to folk there's? >> reporter: yeah. we're right across the fence from them, quite literally here, chris. we're both located in the same parts of washington for the same reason. at a high point in the city. we're at a high point to transmitting an ten fla to reach the city for affiliates and they're in because of jammed to house a navy intercepting and code-breaking facility from world war ii, right across the street. employees there sort of running out of the building on their own. no formal evacuation order at
2:35 pm
first. essential personnel stayed in. all over town, different responses. people seemed to leave buildings on their own. formal evacuations as the white house, u.s. capitol and adjacent bimdings there. it bass a matter of hours building inspectors went around and sdidecided which were safe reopen. the supreme court never closed. never stopped operation, but in the meantime, federal officials, federal workers, have been sent home by the hundreds of thousands, traffic is snarled all over the washington area and to make matters worse, the washington, d.c. subway system, the metro, many of its training are operating at slower than normal speeds because they're trying to inspect the track at the same time the tracks are running. it raises real questions about what the city would be like if it were actually evacuated for real. but for the most part, it was more or less business as usual now. tomorrow we'll see what happens. whether all federal employees
2:36 pm
will come back as scheduled. some of those national mall places will, may or may not be open tomorrow. the smithsonian is trying to decide. inspecting buildings that are big and old. similar questions about the national monument and memorials on the mall. the lincoln, the jefferson and so forth. a lot of inspection has to be done there, too. >> let's hope that's all okay. i'm thinking about all the people this week to the be first to go see the martin luther king jr. memorial. >> reporter: if it happens, because of the hurricane. it may be put off. >> and then we have the hurricane coming. you're right. >> reporter: right. >> pete williams and jim miklaszewski on a very busy tuesday. guy, thank you so much. >> you bet. up next, a different type of earthquake. in libya today. the rebels storming moammar gadhafi's compound in tripoli. but where is he? you happen to have any brilliant silver altimas? yea, right over here. look at 'em all. what about a black frontier with utilitrack? absolutely. oh, great, that's awesome. what about a platinum graphite rogue
2:37 pm
with touch-screen nav, bluetooth, and...a moonroof? with or without leather? we got 'em both. [ sighs ] i gotta get back. [ male announcer ] the most innovative cars are also the most available cars. nissan. innovation for all. [ grandpa ] relationships are the basis of everything. [ grandma ] relationships are life... if you don't have that thing that fills your heart and your soul, you're missing that part of your life that just fulfills you. ♪ [ male announcer ] for us at humana, relationships matter too. the better we know you, the better we can help you choose the right medicare plan. that's why humana agents sit down with you to figure out your medicare options. and we have nurses you can call anytime, even at 3 a.m. because when you're on the right humana medicare plan
2:38 pm
and taking good care of yourself, then you can be there for the people who matter most. [ grandma ] my family is my joy, my hope... they are my heart. it's the reason we get out of bed in the morning... [ grandpa ] the reason we fall into bed at night sometimes. [ grandma ] yes. that's right. [ male announcer ] humana.
2:39 pm
as much as i can about a company before i invest in it. that's why i like fidelity. they give me tools and research i can't get anywhere else. their stock screener lets me search for stocks with more than 140 criteria. i can see what their experts are thinking and even call them to bounce an idea off of one of their investment professionals. a good strategy relies on good insight. if you wanted to learn more about a company, i think you'd actually have to be there.
2:40 pm
welcome back to "hardball." big developments in libya today as rebels stormed moammar gadhafi's compound in tripoli. gadhafi's whereabouts, however, are still unknown. the rebel, though, seem to be the momentum. for more let's bring in nbc news correspondent stephanie gosk on the phone from tunisia. i was on the phone earlier today around 10:00 eastern time when the rebels broke through the western gate, and then it went from there. describe the assault as you know it. >> reporter: well, what they did, coordinating assault and what we've been learning about the rebels over the last six months there aren't a lot of coordinated assaults. in the last week that's exactly what we've seen. a coordination at all the gates of the compound in one account
2:41 pm
thousands of rebel forces surrounding the compound, and they engaged in a brutal firefight for hours, but then eventually prevailed. you only will to look at faces of the rebels to realize how significant and important it was for them today. practically speaking because this was one of the last bastions of control in the city for gadhafi loyalists, but also symbolically and psychologically. this was gadhafi's home. where he gave speeches. this was the center of his power. it was also a milliitary compou and in a lot of ways a fortress of hisby going over, taking it and looting it, it was a symbol of the end of his more than four decades reign. a lot of questions re s remain. first and foremost, where is gadhafi himself? is his son? his hometown, where his tribe is from. last week they've fired two scud
2:42 pm
missiles out of cert. a large military presence there. there could be a battle there. and places ongoing with the capital. most significantly a number of journalists, more than three dozen, or almost three dozen, basically held inside one of tripoli's hotels surrounded by a number of loyalists that are using that kind of as their last holdout and using these journ journalists really as human shields. >> stephanie gosk, thank you. let me bring in a "time" international editor who talked about the symbolic importance of this. over the last six months since fight hag gone on we've seen this video of moammar gadhafi going around in this golf cart and that's where he has made pronouncements from. so where is he? >> reporter: i think he's smart enough to know that is the first place they would look. i think his instinct, head south. the east and west are both taken essentially by the rebels.
2:43 pm
any european country he wants to land in will immediately hand him over 0 the international court. so south is where the desert is. south is where there are more places to hide. south is where the rest of africa is and places in africa where he is popular and well liked. so i think every instincts of his would be to head south. the big question is, was he able to get out of tripoli? even the way out was blocked by rebels when they began to come in. >> i think the other question is is this really over? even if it seems to be military xwli is it over until we know where gadhafi is? >> it's over in the way baghdad fell in 2003, it didn't matter that saddam eremained at large another seven months. it was important the regime had fallen. i think we're pretty close to that in tripoli. another day or two, if the rebels keep their momentum going and get the majority of his army to surrender, his exact whereabouts may not matter so much. he may be in a rat hole just as
2:44 pm
saddam was, but his regime has fallen. >> after this, a series of meetings. already we've heard from the transitional council, talking about the money they're going to need, the international support, because they're worried about food and water and medical supplies, the kind of basic stuff. so what's next? even if we don't know where he is and there are apparently still random pockets of fighting? >> the important thicng, these rebels, they actually have something like a gft. the transitional national council has had six months to prepare for this and have had help. in touch with western governments, with the u.s. government. they have a certain amount of expertise and organization. may not be terrific, but it is the there. so it could be easier for them to get the ball rolling than we've seen elsewhere. >> is this going to be perceived do you think here, certainly internationally, as vindication for obama's actions in libya and as you well know and view others certainly no, so much criticism
2:45 pm
from people like john mccain that the u.s. wasn't doing enough? >> i don't think internationally, certainly not -- people are not thinking of the u.s. right now. i think years from now, anyway, months from now, when people look back, that might be the conclusion for the u.s., did they make the right call. rye now it's all about the rebels, about finally freeing this country from gadhafi's rule after 42 years. who exactly gets how much of the credit is something for historians to work out. >> what's your gut tell you? we'll find gadhafi soon? in a bunker somewhere seven months from now? >> i don't think seven months. i think we'll find him sooner, hiding like a rat. >> good to see you. thanks for coming in. up next, switching gears to local politics. rick perry, republican candidate, compares african-american's struggle tore civil rights buy the gop's threat for taxes. we'll break that down. [ artis brown ] america is facing some tough challenges right now.
2:46 pm
two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs. at our kearl project in canada, we'll be able to produce these oil sands with the same emissions as many other oils and that's a huge breakthrough. that's good for our country's energy security and our economy.
2:47 pm
2:48 pm
2:49 pm
we are back and rick perry has recently received scrutiny for expressing his 2010 political manifesto, but a comment about civil rights over this past weekend has managed to overshadow that completely. perry was in rock hill, south carolina this past saturday, asked a question about the significance of the civil rights movement and sit-ins. he gives a winding answer and then ends up comparing the civil rights struggle to republicans' fight for corporate tax rates. listen. >> america's gone a long way from the standpoint of civil rights and thank god we have. we've gone from a country that's made great strides in issues of
2:50 pm
civil rights. i think we all can be proud of that, and as we go forward, america needs to be about freedom. it needs to be about freedom from over taxation, freedom from overlitigation, freedom from over regulation and nerns, rega american regardless of social and economic back gound, can you come to america and havetrue, b economic climate will be improved. >> so does perry believer african-americans' struggle for civil rights is comparable to the gop's fight for lower taxes? joining me is alex wagner. okay. is this ignorance? he was asked about the friendship nine sit-in, so maybe he didn't know what it was, so is it ignorance of the civil rights? complete insensitivity? >> i think it demonstrates a certain if not pronoun insensitivity to the struggle of
2:51 pm
the black experience in america, especially at this time. if you look at what's happened to michb norse, the disparity between rich and poor, the census shows white americans make more than 20 times more than black families, for him to type corporate tax rates to the civil rights movement i think demonstrates a pronounce insensitivity. >> this is just the latest. when you look at this series of quotes from the book, you have to sit back as a political analyst and say, is he too far off even for the gop? >> this is also not the first time he as shot his mouth off. we have the stories about wanting to kneecap bernanke. rick perry marches to the tune -- walks to the beat of his own drum. i think there is a real concerned on part of at the
2:52 pm
establishment committee he's not ready for primetime. this certainly doesn't do anything to improve that image, especially we're about to see the unveiling of the mlk memorial in washington. as i said, the country is facing particularly different economic climate. have we seen any sort of symbol from the perry camp this is maybe not something he should have said? no, not as of yet. >> you even have peter king saying you can't be questioning whether barack obama loves america, that type of thing, so there's a republican saying that. let me play for you also something that mitt romney had to say, because this really i think speaks to the larger sort of gop theme here. let me play this for you. we don't have it? all right. i'm going to read it. i have to put my glasses on, though. >> go ahead. >> romney on corporations at the iowa state fair -- corporations are people, my friend. of course they are.
2:53 pm
everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. where do you think it goes? whose pockets? human beings, my friend. is this a theme we're going to hear? >> a couple things there, chris. one is the gop has shown a resilience. every time someone says, hey, that's not appropriate, mitt romney got all sort of blockback, yet it doesn't create pause. there is -- seemingly they are well to go to far ends of the earth to demagogue these financial issues, and we forget perhaps sometimes that dr. king's teachings, the civil rights teachings led to the establishment of johnson's great society programs, which was government taking a role to decrease the gap between the haves and the have-nots. those are the very principles that rick perry and mitt romney have called into question with their own economic policies. i think it is hypocrisy on a
2:54 pm
level we have not -- >> and you have to wonder does it create an opening for somebody else. despite they say no, no, no, could chris christie get in, or marco rubio was invited to the reagan library to speak. you have to wonder if there's an opening for someone who is not sarah palin. >> that's why paul ryan has to keep coming back to the stump to say i am not running for president. there's a real hunger for someone who is not a far right conservative, but can speak to the principles. that person is not yet on the stage i think for a lot of americans. >> alex wagner, good to see you. thanks for coming in. the latest on the east coast earthquake. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. a network of possibili. in here, the planned combination of at&t and t-mobile would deliver our next generation mobile broadband experience to 55 million more americans,
2:55 pm
many in small towns and rural communities, giving them a new choice. we'll deliver better service, with thousands of new cell sites... for greater access to all the things you want, whenever you want them. it's the at&t network... and what's possible in here is almost impossible to say. maybe not. v8 v-fusion juice gives them a full serving of vegetables plus a full serving of fruit. but it just tastes like fruit. [ male announcer ] get five dollars in money-saving coupons at
2:56 pm
iuntil i tried this.ons nothing helped me beat arthritis pain. it's salonpas. pain relief that works at the site of pain... up to 12 hours. salonpas.
2:57 pm
2:58 pm
welcome back to "hardball." joining me from just outside 30 rock. nbc's peter alexander, a 5.8, but what's going on there in new york? because people, you know, i think it's the whole 9/11 thing. pete williams and miklaszewski were addressing this. when it first starts to happen, you don't know what's going on. >> there's definitively an added
2:59 pm
sensitivity. we could learn a duck-and-cover lesson every child in california learns. here indeed people returned to the streets, some running down 50, even 60 flights of stairs to get there. what if nothing else this reveal is it changed the way we communicate. some learns about the quake by twitter before they even felt it, and others trying to reach loved ones at home, but no longer using home phones. they tried on the cell phones, and those suffered serious congestion for a period of time. there was some urgent moments. few people were able to reach each other. >> give us a sense of what you saw in the minutes after it happened. it was kind of weird in new york, because it seemed like certain parts didn't feel it at all, other parts pretty good. >> reporter: you know how it goes, sometimes people say what are you talking about? and others that's never crazy. i felt