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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  November 21, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST

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i'm ari melber in for alex wagner. joining me today the editor in chief the always busy ben smith, heather mcghee, richard wolffe, from "the washington post" msnbc contributor jonathan capehart. secretary of state hillary clinton is on the ground in the middle east. yesterday, president obama released clinton from their joint asia trip and sent her to jerusalem for an urgent meeting with ben ja man netanyahu. this morning clinton flew from jerusalem to the west bank to meet with mahmoud abbas, president of the palestinian authority, before returning to jerusalem with additional talks with netanyahu. secretary clinton is in cairo where she met with president mohamed morsi of egypt who's mediating the discussions. as secretary clinton carries the official white house message
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there is new attention being paid to the president's strategic options in the region. "the washington post" writes president obama's decision to send his top diplomat on an emergency middle east peace making mission tuesday marked an administration shift to a more active vist role in the region's affairs and offered clues to how he may use the political elbow room afforded by a second term. beyond a cease-fire agreement, the president could try to throw his political clout behind a larger, long-term solution here. so far, no deal has materialized between israel and gaza. also, a bus bombing in tel aviv could push both sides further apart. 19 people were injured, three critically, in what was the first terror attack in israel in four years. police say, however, the incident was not a suicide bombing. joining me now, former assistant secretary of state, p.j. crowley and from tel aviv, nbc news correspondent stephanie gosk. thank you, both. stephanie, i want to start with
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you, is the attack we were just discussing in tel aviv an indication that cease-fire talks are not actually on track? >> no, that's not the case, ari. they aren't necessarily connected. at the very least they're are probably -- it's probably complicating the conversations, but right now, the talks keep going on, the negotiations keep going on. israeli officials saying they still are looking for that guarantee that rockets aren't going to come out of gaza towards israel. that is their stipulation. we heard the defense minister ehud barak say today that right out of the gate, what they want most likely is something like a 24-hour period where they can see whether or not hamas is capable of stopping those rockets. so negotiations ongoing and we are hearing some more kind of rumors and hopefulness coming out of cairo that perhaps a cease-fire deal has been reached, but we are waiting to hear confirmation from that and secretary clinton. >> how important is secretary
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clinton in that process, both in providing some calm, relative calm in that there won't be a ground invasion according to a lot of reports while she is there and she can reach out to egypt in a different way that netanyahu? >> well, there are a lot of people in this region that want the u.s. more involved in this process and for the last four years -- well, arguably the last 12, the u.s. administrations haven't paid too much attention to the palestinian be/israel conflict and now you have -- you have secretary clinton on the ground here sent by president obama. there are a lot of people that are glad that she's here but it's made more difficult because the u.s. does not have a diplomatic relationship with hamas. hamas is considered a terrorist organization so they have to rely very heavily on egyptian president mohamed morsi to bridge those two sides together. >> stephanie, thanks for your report and stay safe there. p.j., i want to go directly to you and pick up on what stephanie was talking about, in particular, the contrast with
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what secretary clinton is doing on the ground now, being obviously very engaged with all parties versus a period in the first term when, obviously, there was a lot less attention on the middle east and specifically on any hope of a truce and progress between israel and the p.a. i want to point out to you that although it is not the exact same scenario, it is worth noting that condoleezza rice made about 23 visits to israel during her term as secretary of state, while hillary clinton, including this one, has made just five. can you shed any light for us on that contrast and what it means to have a secretary of state on the ground there now? >> well, i'm not sure i agree with the premise. coming into office four years ago, you know, president obama on day one nominated george mitchell to be his special envoy and the united states spent two years and the obama administration, some political
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capital, trying to broker a negotiation between mahmoud abbas and prime minister netanyahu and ultimately was not successful. i do agree over the past couple of years, there's been a pause in the peace process, you know, to try to see if conditions, you know, could be created to bring us back to a negotiating table. but i would also say that, you know, it's -- the environment today is much different than it was even four years ago. you have had the arab spring and everyone that's involved in this is doing careful recalculations of their strategic interests and that's even going on i think in the heart of the negotiations that are ongoing for a cease-fire. >> just to follow up, are you implying too many visits just means it's a bad situation there? >> well, you'll recall, the environment between 2003 and 2008, you know, the united states was involved in an act of war in the middle east.
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so again, the agenda to some extent drives, you know, where a secretary of state spends the bulk of his or her time. but clearly over the past couple of years, arguably the dominating story in the world has been the middle east, but perhaps, you know, not just the palestinian/israeli situation, but also the arab awakening and also the concern over iran's nuclear, you know, ambitions. now, that kind of discussion takes you not necessarily to the middle east. that takes you to a place like geneva where the p5 plus 1 have had a series of meetings with iran over the last couple years to see if we can't change iran's direction. >> richard, let's pick up on that. it's true all the attention in the middle east recently has not been focused strictly on israel, gaza, but on these broader developments, especially with egypt. listen to something elliott abrams said. he, former aide to bush '43,
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said the egyptians have got to know also that there will come a point in their support for gaza when they are really putting their relationship with the u.s. at risk, and he assumes they don't want to do that. what the administration can say is there's a hold on foreign aid to egypt now and if this goes on, this is going to become more and more difficult and then impossible to lift. i mean the post-arab spring environment is a different egypt. how does obama and clinton deal with that? >> elliott abrams is a smart man but was responsible for some very stupid policies. put that in context here. the man responsible for the occupation in iraq as the leading white house official. he his approach is still the muscular threats as if that is going to be what changes the dynamic for this new egyptian government. a smarter, longer term view of the rise of islamist governments across the arab region, would be in many ways looking at the
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model of what happened in turkey where an islamist party came to power, president adawan has become a moderate islamist force. there's no moderate islamist force for neocons. you're with us or against us. you have to be pushed into being pro or anti-american. that's not going to work here. what has to happen in this broader context is a strategic realization. first of all from -- for israel and everyone in the middle east, this president is here to stay, right. so the testing of president obama is over, it's done. they need to accept that and move on. that was not the case in the first term. secondly, these new governments in the region have to learn their position as governments, as regional leaders especially for egypt, and for israel. there's a new strategic relationship as well. iran is out there, a huge priority, can they continue with the status quo with the palestinians and deal with iran and recalibrate their relationship with their new neighbors? that's a very different mix of
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things than anything someone like elliott abrams had to deal with. >> you know -- >> although, i'm not sure if this is in elliott abrams' defense, morsi has, whether for longer term reasons or because he's worried about payments from the u.s., but relatively careful here and it was the prime minister of turkey who was out there saying israel was, you know, engaged in terrorism in gaza. >> that's an interesting concept. i want to bring you back, we won't ask you for a full view of elliott abrams' entire career, although it's always good to question where our sources are coming from. ben smith brings up turkey and if you look relatively recently, say 2005, turkey was trying to really rebuild its ties with israel, was seen as a very different sort of pivot in the region. by 2012, you know, you had turkey labeling israel a, quote, terrorist state and a very different domestic politics playing out in the global geopolitical scenario. now you have turkey saying that
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they're doing some sort of back-channel communication with israel but they wouldn't describe anything like warm ties or the ability to broker anything. so is part of the challenge here for president obama and his team how to work with so many chess pieces on the board that have moved away from israel and away from that kind of leverage? >> well, on your former point, i agree with ben wholeheartedly that morsi has so far played a very constructive role and he's balancing difficult political constituencies. within the muslim brotherhood there's a natural affinity for the palestinian cause and hamas. morsi does recognize his long term national interest is getting his economy back on track and to do that he needs the help of the international community and the united states. so he's got to carefully try to balance these two issues. i think he recognizes that a conflict along, you know, egypt's border with israel is not in egypt's interest any more than it's in israel's interests. so -- but these are people who
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have long been in opposition and they're having to learn to balance these political calculations as they go forward. >> right. and there's no rest after election day when you're the active president. p.j. will stay with us as we turn to another discussion right on point with president obama's foreign policy team. many republicans are attacking ambassador susan rice, a top candidate to replace secretary of state clinton. the senate has spiked some key nominations from president obama before, from elizabeth warren to nobel peace prize winner peter diamond. there is one number that suggests obama is likely to win this battle. we will look at the math after the break on "now." so you say men are superior drivers? yeah. then how'd i get this...
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while hillary clinton navigates the complex politics on the ground in gaza, president obama's top diplomat at the u.n. is facing angry politics in washington. susan rice, the president's u.n. ambassador and a leading candidate to replace clinton at the state department, has been subject to withering and sometimes outlandish attacks from a wide range of republicans. senators john mccain and lindsey graham, two foreign policy leaders have slammed rice for her initial comments about the source of the libya attacks with mccain threatening to filibuster if he's nominated. many other republicans have joined in. 97 members of the house sent the president a letter monday opposing rice. now president obama is not backing down. the white house has confirmed it's still considering promoting rice and last week the president
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said if mccain and graham want to go after someone, they should go after him. rice was not exactly a household name during obama's first term. but all this heat from the political players is drawing some media fire. "the new york times" maureen dowd has knocked rice as an unsavvy washington player. while the "times" editorial page came out with an endorsing of the ambassador announcing it's time to leave rice alone. jonathan capehart one of the interesting things about this debate there's a lot of talk about what susan rice has done, specifically about libya, and then there's sort of this vague idea that republicans can stop the president no matter what. take a look at something, we talked about 97 republicans in the house oppose rice. ten of them won't even make it to january when we probably have a vote in the second term. but when you look at the people who have a vote under the constitution on these nominees,
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you only have six republicans who actually are on record saying they would vote against the nomination and the number drops to three when you look at people who would filibuster it. my question to you, jonathan capehart, master of washington, is do the republicans actually have any leverage over this nomination process? >> i would say yes, if the president hadn't given that full throated endorsement of ambassador rice by saying, you know, don't go after her, if you want to go after someone, come after me. however, having lindsey graham and senator mccain, i can't remember which one, saying that, you know, i'll just put a hold on the nomination, that's a pretty big thread. >> what is a hold? >> a hold is when -- basically, any senator can put a hold on a piece of legislation or a nomination, just because. they don't have to give a reason and usually the hold is secret. i mean that's the culture of the senate. >> to me, it doesn't sound democratic.
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>> i mean but it's the rules of the senate. so you got to play with the rules that you got. it looks like the president -- >> or change them. >> or change them. good luck with that. but i think the president's willing to have this fight and with everything that's going on in the middle east, and around the world, quite frankly, be the united states can't afford to have the top of the foreign policy chain out of commission. >> let me bring in p.j. >> or empty is the word i was looking for. >> you know a lot about this and these are colleagues, former colleagues of yours, but on the substance, where are we on these allegations against ambassador rice? >> well, i know it will be a shock to your distinguished panel the politics are out in front of the facts. there is within the state department an accountability review board that is under way and it will kind of lay out, you know, what happened and who knew what when and actually try to, you know, to explain the most significant issue surrounding libya, which is the security
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questions over that particular diplomatic post. i'm surprised by john mccain's, you know, stance. he said that, you know, because of her misstatements, she's actually not qualified to be secretary of state. well, john mccain voted for condoleezza rice in 2005, who was, in fact, a very fine secretary of state, and, of course, you know, she had her own share of misleading statements about iraq in 2003 -- >> p.j., let me jump in there. that is sort of the weirdest part of this, is that someone's entire career is being boiled down to a media interview that occurred, you know, shortly after a crisis when they were dealing with what they knew. i want to look for a moment at ambassador rice's resume if you will. she has been at the u.n. now for the first term. she basically helped negotiate the agreements with several u.n. security council members to get a u.n. authorization for libya. that goes back from before some
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of this scuffling. she went to stanford. oxford. was senior director of african affairs at the national security council. u.s. assistant secretary of state for african affairs. worked at brookings. heather and ben, she worked for the obama campaign. so at a messaging level, i think i made my point whether people agree or not about why there may not be the votes to stop her. have the republicans achieved something here by putting her entire record to the side? >> i mean, that's funny. the objection to susan rice, she's too blunt, too plain spoken, not a good diplomat. in her career has been the complaint about her. i mean, i think that it seems like the republican line is not holding on this. marco rubio and others came out of a briefing, a classified briefing last week, saying the question isn't really susan rice and looks like that came from the director of national swe intelligence office, the misstatements, but the question is the security of the embassy is what they want to dig her teeth into. i think she makes it.
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>> i think this has been sort of a victory in terms of the media narrative for fox news. the house republicans letter was all about, you know, she doesn't have the appearance of credibility anymore. that's paraphrasing. all of that comes from the sort of relentless media attention before it ever came on to networks like this that started from fox news. it's sad when we see something as serious as what's going on with libya, with the sort of future of, you know, the u.n. and our place in the world, really be driven by what's just raw politics and ratings. >> that goes back to the whole point about who has the power to advise and consent. there may be a dialog between talk radio, fox news and the house republicans, but the senate republicans are not exactly a bunch of quails. they tend to make their views known when they oppose obama nominees. that's why i mention elizabeth warren. whether it's responsibility or a political calculation about foreign policy and the issues you raised, they're not weighing in on this.
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p.j., i wish we had more time. thank you so much for joining us on an important news day. i wish you a thanksgiving that is productive and happy. >> and back at you all. >> thank you. who do you trust more on the fiscal cliff? ben bernanke or rush limbaugh. rush thinks he holds some cards in the looming negotiations. can congress cut out the middlemen, the drama and make a deal? we will discuss next on "now." look, if you have copd like me, you know it can be hard to breathe, and how that feels. copd includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. spiriva helps control my copd symptoms by keeping my airways open for 24 hours. plus, it reduces copd flare-ups. spiriva is the only once-daily inhaled copd maintenance treatment that does both.
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we are going to cairo where secretary of state hillary clinton is speaking. we -- we are expecting a press
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conference to begin momentarily here. p.j., i'm going to go to you first, as we await remarks from secretary of clinton there, what do you think we might hear? obviously we don't know yet what's happening on the ground but we know the meetings secretary clinton has been in? >> i would strongly suspect and hope that we hear that the ingredients of a cease-fire are being put in place. that's vitally important if we're able to kind of freeze events in place without a need for an israeli ground incursion. that's good news all around. i doesn't solve the longer issues, but as we have always said everyone push the shovel down which is progress. >> having been in some of these rooms and meetings before, when prime minister netanyahu said he's not interested in anything short term because from his
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position and his leverage, he believes that only a long-term solution, a drastically freezes the kind of bombings they've been dealing with is acceptable, how do you get from there to the stop gap measures we heard at least suggested in reports today about these negotiations. >> obviously conflicts exist for a reason and those who are combatants have particular objectives that they are trying to achieve. part of the challenge of the last 48 hours, while there has seemingly been interest in a cease-fire, everyone wants to make sure that they get what they need and that the conflict, if it stops, does not restart within days or weeks. so i think it's been over these assurances, you know, we'll stop firing if you do this. we're not going to agree to do that before you stop firing. you get into these kind of cart and horse situations and that's where the value of having, you know, president morsi and his
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team communicating with hamas sand secretary clinton being able to, you know, augment the existing channels of communication between israel and egypt, have been, you know, is very useful. >> what does president morsi need if he's going to sell any kind of agreement without knowing the details of where we are yet? if he gets any short-term agreement what does he need to tell his citizens in egypt? can he basically resort to, you know, the most fundamental argument, which is less conflict on the border is a step in the right direction, or given the fundamental shifts in that country's leadership and the power of the muslim brotherhood does he have to take something back to his populace that suggests a check on prime minister netanyahu? >> well, what morsi needs is a safe border, and i think part of the challenge from morsi is somewhere in this calculation has been can egypt be the garn tore that once a cease-fire is declared, that hamas will hold
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its fire? and obviously hamas is a major protagonist in this, but not the only one. i think from egypt's standpoint they also recognize there's a dynamic between hamas and bedouin groups along the israeli/egyptian boarders that have been causing troubles over the past year. i think if the security situation is stabilized, that can only be good news, you know, for mohammed morsi and egypt. >> from your experience if diplomatic engagements if secretary clinton does make progress here, does he leave town and monitor from afar or is there any situation where she might try to do more than a stop gap measure by staying in the region or nearby? >> no. i think this is a major achievement and if the cease-fire is in place, then you have the first of what i think are three, you know, critical situations.
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the first is, stop, you know, holding the immediate -- getting the cease-fire in the immediate term. the middle is what to do about gaza and obviously the flow of weapons into gaza. again, this is a critical element for egypt. you know, the embargo that israel has had in place has largely failed. what do all the parties, you know, do about that. and then the larger question earlier today, she brought the president of the palestinian authority, literally back into the picture, you know can you get from this crisis in gaza back to a negotiation between the israelis and the palestinians? so there will be lots to do in the coming days and weeks to see whether we can use this crisis to move a more abundant peace process forward again. >> thank you very much. >> looks like we are going to hear from the secretary. >> i want to thank president morsi for his personal leadership to deescalate the situation in gaza and end the
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violence. [ speaking foreign language ] >> this is a critical moment for the region. egypt's new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace. [ speaking foreign language ] >> the united states welcomes the agreement today for a cease-fire in gaza, for it to hold, the rocket attacks must end, a broader, calm return. [ speaking foreign language ] >> the people of this region
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deserve the chance to live free from fear and violence and today's agreement is a step in the right direction that we should build on. [ speaking foreign language ] >> now we have to focus on reaching a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security, dignity and legitimate aspirations of the palestinians and israelis alike. [ speaking foreign language ] >> president morsi and i discussed how the united states and egypt can work together to support the next steps in that process. [ speaking foreign language ]
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>> in the days ahead, the united states will work with partners across the region to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of gaza, provide security for the people of israel. [ speaking foreign language ] >> improve conditions for the people of gaza and provide security for the people of israel. [ speaking foreign language ] >> ultimately, every step must
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move us toward a comprehensive peace for all the people of the region. [ speaking foreign language ] >> as i discussed today with president morsi as well as prime minister netanyahu and president abbas, there is no substitute for a just and lasting peace. [ speaking foreign language ] >> now that there is a cease-fire, i am looking forward to working with the foreign minister and others to move this process. [ speaking foreign language ] >> thank you very much. foreign minister.
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thank you. thank you. >> we are looking at live footage of secretary of state hillary clinton with her counterpart in egypt. we have an announcement of an agreement for a cease-fire between the parties of the palestinian authority and israel. we are now going to go to cairo where nbc's jim maceda is. jim? >> how are you? >> there you have it. hi. i'm good. can you hear me okay? >> we can hear you now. tell us what you know about the agreement that was just reached, what we just heard again, msnbc reporting secretary of state hillary clinton announcing an agreement of a cease-fire. >> right. and this agreement which we suspected would happen in terms of its form, and format, is a two-staged, a two-phased agreement. the very first phase is about the principles. both sides, egypt -- sorry, egypt has brokered this so both
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sides, israel and hamas, agree in principle to a truce. the principle is a quiet in exchange for quiet. i'm sure that this will come out later, be but i'm sure that the presence of hillary clinton was instrumental in nudging both sides and the egyptians towards at least this basic guarantee of safety, guarantee of quiet right now. they have a cease-fire, they have a truce. there is absolutely no agreement at all on any of the key demands. that means that starting in the second phase, there will be lengthy discussions and we know that these will be monitored by and organized by the egyptians and that secretary of state clinton will be intimately involved in these ta will deal with the issues of smuggling arms into gaza and the sigheny. this was a demand that israel
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was adamant about that had to stop and also on the part of hamas the lifting, of course, of the 6-year-old blockade. they could not reach an agreement on either of those key demands. they decided to split it up, agree to stop the fire and in the days or weeks ahead, to begin a second phase to get into the weeds and to figure out the hows and whens and wheres of these other issues that are still up in the air. >> jim, thank you for that report from cairo. i want to turn to p.j. crowley and really take a close look at what we heard just now from secretary of state clinton regarding an agreement on a cease-fire. i'm sure you noticed, p.j., she talked about a durable outcome with regional stability. as jim was reporting that would go all to the phase two of this where you would get some agreements on the blockade and other sticking points. what did you make of what we just heard? >> well, i think it is -- it's a
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creative way to, you know, to at least, you know, stop the firing and -- but it doesn't necessarily solve the, you know, larger issue. so there will have to be, you know, greater work and then i think there's potentially a phase three. obviously the secretary has been very careful to connect, you know, the immediate crisis to the long-term need to resolve the conflict once and for all, to get back to these negotiations. of course, that's going to be a difficult challenge in the backdrop here, you have hamas that has to feel good about itself. it made some political gains at the expense of the palestinian authority. and obviously for israel, you've got not only the immediate crisis, but you've got elections coming up in late january. it's going to be a challenge to see in the middle of this environment how you can resolve those difficult issues such as smuggling and also -- also security. >> sure. well and p.j., i want to ask you
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one other thing before i let you go, jim reported from cairo that there was basically a feeling on the ground there that the secretary clinton's engagement was instrumental in his words, was helpful to this process. what about the role of egypt here? isn't this a big test for a relatively new government brokering something? this is not a government that, you know, was a party to camp david or other accords, although they said they would uphold them. isn't this a stronger test? what does this tell us about the role they can play in this difficult conflict? >> well, i think as she said, egypt's willingness to assume responsibility to this is vitally important. now that said, obviously egypt will come to these, you know, next phase of negotiations with far more sympathy for the people of gaza than perhaps if that was a conversation that happened two years ago or three years ago with the government of hosni mubarak. i think part of this challenge will be how much can the united
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states push israel, which has a legitimate interest in the issue of weapons smuggling to gaza, but how can it find a way to achieve this right balance so that you can increase assistance to the people of gaza while meeting israel's legitimate security needs. that's going to be a very difficult task. >> excellent. thank you, p.j., for helping us interpret this news. we will continue to monitor the cease-fire throughout the day. please stay with us. ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] choose the same brand your mom trusted for you. children's tylenol, the #1 brand of pain and fever relief recommended by pediatricians and used by moms decade after decade. throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+.
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if we're going to raise taxes we're going to do it on everybody. that to me is fairness. i don't think anybody's taxes ought to be raised. i'm offended listening to the people responsible for this blame the american people because they're not paying enough in taxes for the problem. that's not our problem. our problem is a spending problem, first, second, third, fourth, fifth, on down to number ten. >> the countdown is on and we're 42 days from running off the so-called fiscal cliff. yesterday as you heard, rush limbaugh came down hard against raising taxes to solve this problem. he lamented the gop infighting whether to let the bush tax cuts expire on the richest americansp during a speech yesterday,
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federal reserve chairman ben bernanke who coined the term fiscal cliff warned of dire consequences if congress doesn't get their act together. >> spending cuts that make up the fiscal cliff absent offsetting changes would pose a substantial threat recovery. by the reckoning of the congressional budget office, the cbo, and that of many outside observers a fiscal shock of that size would send the economy toppling back into recession. >> let's translate that. according to the congressional budget office, falling off the cliff would cut the deficit but stop economic recovery in its tracks. now presidents in both parties usually try to put money in people's pocketses to stimulate the economy. president bush sent taxpayers a refund check while obama has cut payroll taxes. p falling off the cliff is a reversal of that approach. that's why the cbo estimates economic growth would drop under 1% to just .5%.
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and unemployment could jump over a point to 9.1%. heather, we know the costs, we understand this game because the republicans have been playing it for a while. do you think anything has shifted post-election in way that will actually get a deal done? >> i think what's really come to roost for conservatives has been the fact they were pushing a vision for our economy that included basically just this, except for the tax increases, right. they said starting in 2010, the deficit is the most important thing, it's the most important thing, and now, they're basically faced with immediate deficit reduction and realize, oh, this is actually going to cost jobs in the near term. the majority of the american people want deficits and jobs are going head to head which they are, if you're cutting spending an raising taxes particularly on the people who spend their money in the economy immediately. the american people want jobs two to one. and so this is going to be the real challenge for us to sort of navigate this obstacle course
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and get squarely back on the issue of jobs to make sure that we're actually spending more in the short term and, you know, if you read the tea leaves with bernanke he's saying what he doesn't want is any immediate austerity that includes spending cuts as well as just tax increases. >> ben, do you agree with that sort of view, as ben bernanke as a secret liberal? >> i mean -- >> he's trying to fix the economy. >> i don't think there's any disagreement, nobody who's pro cliff, the framing of it and the whole idea was that this was something so horrific they would be forced to negotiate in good faith and reach a deal before it. i do think -- you're right. it does cast into relief the pretty broad consensus that immediate austerity is not necessarily a great idea. >> jonathan, you know, we have a new message from congressman boehner today saying that the president's health care law adds a massive expensive unworkable government program at a time when our national debt already exceeds the size of ur country's entire economy, we can't afford it, we can't afford to leave it
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intact and goes on to say that's why he's been clear that law has to stay on the table as both parties discuss ways to solve our nation's massive debt. i made an error. i just realized i made an error and need to correct myself. that is not a new message. >> it's not. >> the same thing. if i'm not mistaken, correct me if i'm wrong, this goes back to the debt ceiling negotiations from last summer when they just threw that on the table. what speaker boehner and the republicans can't do legislatively and they've tried, time and time again to repeal obama care, and have failed, they're trying to, you know, thrust this in a situation in a must-do situation. and quite frankly, you know, the supreme court came out and said the law is constitutional, they've tried time and time again in the house for sure, in congress, to repeal it. they haven't been successful. when will john mccain -- when will speaker boehner just stop and move on? >> richard, doesn't this go to the point heather was making which is we had an election, elections have consequences.
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>> right. >> and unless you're the house republican majority, in which case maybe they don't, david fromme, a recovering conservative of sorts made a political observation that in the last six presidential races, republicans have won a majority of the votes, exactly once in 2004. here we are again in a post-minority moment, and they are acting like they have the biggest mandate ever. >> yeah. you know, they're asking for the cranberry sauce when they need to cook the turkey first. they need to have the deal done, do the work, and then think about the rest of the agenda. all the trimmings of the, you know, health care and everything else they want to do. first thing's first. compromise. they know this is going to happen. this is the head fake. this is them saying, we really are trying to go for something else, but first of all, we've actually got to compromise because we lost. >> who's the head fake for? >> well, i think it's for people like rush limbaugh, to be honest. they've got to dress this up. people like grover norquist. in the end they are not going to
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vote for a tax rise. technically they will be voting for a tax cut because the rates will expire, that means that taxes go up so they can all go and campaign and to rush limbaugh i voted for a tax cut, not a tax rise. it just so happened that taxes went up at the same time. >> let me ask ben this. you spent a lot of time looking at the sort of texture of the political boundaries on these parties, right. and -- >> is this a thanksgiving metaphor? >> it is. it's a stuffing metaphor. richard's talking about what would strike most political observers as a gimmick. wait a week and don't get to call it a hike. there's a movement we've talked about on "now" before, that says that grover norquist is yesterday's it news, he's out of date and you had some house republicans say they're willing to break with him without a gimmick. do you think there's any districts where republicans can actually benefit by saying, i'm going to do something bigger than grover norquist? my boss is the constituents and not these washington insiders? >> no. i don't think anybody -- i don't
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think grover norquist is a household name but a lot of these guys signed a pledge they would not raise taxes and then these sort of trap of that and the effectiveness is there aren't a lot of constituents who would say i'm glad he broke that. >> heather? >> that's so sad the idea that constituents would say i'm upset you broke a promise to your donor. that's what grover norquist is. let's be clear. the reason why the club for growth has so much power because of the connection with the funding. so i have to think and the polling has shown that the majority of republican voters actually want to see social security intact, medicare and medicaid intact, and not a spending only deficit reduction package. so there is a degree to which the donor class that sets the agenda in our current washington between the campaign finance rules, the lobbying rules, the donor class is setting the agenda and the donor class is more upset about the deficit even than the republican base.
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>> the last word to richard wolffe, give us your best guess of the date that this deal gets done by? >> i think it gets done early. they want to go home, they want to have christmas at home. the timing and sequencing of when things come into effect is optics but this deal gets done i'm going to say middle of december. >> all right. we will be watching. for the richard wolffe prediction. i want to thank everyone on the panel, ben, heather, richard and jonathan. that is all for "now." we wish everyone a very happy thanksgiving. we will see you back here on monday at 12 noon, 9:00 a.m. pacific. find all of the "now" team's favorite thanksgiving treats on our facebook page, i'm not kigd, check it out. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. into their work,
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their name on the door, and their heart into their community. small business saturday is a day to show our support. a day to shop at stores owned by our friends and neighbors. and do our part for the businesses that do so much for us. on november 24th, let's get out and shop small. monday at 12 noon, 9:00 a.m. [ emily jo ] derrell comes into starbucks
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with his wife, danielle, almost every weekend. derrell hasn't been able to visit his mom back east in a long time. [ shirley ] things are sometimes a little tight around the house. i wasn't able to go to the wedding. [ emily jo ] since derrell couldn't get home, we decided to bring home to him and then just gave him a little bit of help finding his way. ♪ [ laughs ] [ applause ] i love you. i love you, too. breaking right now on
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"andrea mitchell reports" cease-fire, secretary of state hillary clinton and egypt's foreign minister, jointly announce a plan to bring an end to the violence between israel and hamas. >> the united states welcomes the agreement today for a cease-fire in gaza. forb it to hold the rocket attacks must end, a broader calm return. >> as israel remains poised to invade, we've got it all covered. nbc's stephanie gosk in tel aviv, ayman mohyeldin in gaza, am bass tore to the united states, michael or rin, former ambassador to israel and james zogby founder of the arab-american institute. >> moments ago in cairo, secretary of state hillary clinton and egypt's foreign minister announced a cease-fire which will begin they say at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. >> the people of this region deserve the chance to live free from fear and violence and today's agree