tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC December 13, 2012 10:00am-11:00am PST
right now on "andrea mitchell reports" the president says it's a work in progress, but who is to blame for the fiscal standstill? our new nbc news-wall street journal poll says people are fed up with the deadlock. today speaker boehner points the finger of blame at president obama. >> i have been pushing all year for us to address this problem, but here we are at the 11th hour, and the president still isn't serious about dealing with this issue right here. it's this issue. spending. only 19 days left until the fiscal cliff. why are republicans letting congress go home? >> once again having a two-day workweek in the congress of the united states. you have to ask the question why are we going home instead of working very hard to forge an agreement to avoid that fiscal cliff? >> hillary clinton heads to
capitol hill next week to testify about the benghazi terror attack armed with poll numbers that make her the envy of the political world. does that mean she'll run four years from now? listen to her response to barbara walters. >> what would it take to convince you to run in -- >> that's all hypothetical because right now i have no intention of running. sfoo right now at least. and a might of 1,000 rock stars in new york city. the boss, paul mccartney, bon jovi, billy joel, alicia keys, among others, all coming together to raise money for hurricane sandy victims. keep fans rocking well past midnight. ♪ ♪ who says you can't go home there's only one place they call you one of their own a hometown boy born a rolling stone ♪ >> and a late night for those of you watching at home. good day. i'm andrea mitchell live many washington. we're another step closer to the cliff, but still far from a
deal. our nbc news-wall street journal poll shows that both sides of the aisle are going to catch a lot of heat if there isn't a compromise. joining me now for our daily fix, chris and managing editor post politics.com and nbc news senior political editor mark murray. thanks to both of where you. both of you have been writing about the poll, absorbing the poll, looking at all the details. first to you. what is your biggest take-away about the warning signs for a politician in both parties if they don't reach a deal? >> well, first of all, there is that number 56% in the nbc juz-wall street journal poll say they would blame both president obama and republicans if no deal is reached. if you look at the poll broadly, that is a little bit of good news for republicans only because most other data that i have seen suggests that the blame would fall more on republicans, so a lot of republicans pointed me to that number. one thing i would say if you look at the poll broadly, what you see and mark wrote about this this morning, i wrote about
it this morning, the republican brand as it comes through and questions us in that poll is badly damaged. they ask an open-ended question, what single word or short phrase would you use to describe republicans? 17% of people offered something positive. 60 plus percent offered something negative. that's an issue. it's an issue in this fiscal cliff fight. particularly if we go over the cliff and it turns into a pr battle. it's a problem longer-term, 2014, 2016. the party has to find a way to remake what people think of it and they're not there yet. >> and when you look, mark, at the optimism, pessimism, you find that people who are evenly divided, 48-48, as to whether there will be an agreement, they really want an agreement, though? >> this is a pessimistic are but a realistic public right now, and it's the public that watched what happened in 2011 during the debt ceiling standoff there. it was really interesting. we actually asked the question in december of 2008 after barack obama won his first presidential contest, and at that time 52%
actually said we think the next congress is going to be an era of unity and willingness to compromise in congress. now when we ask that xwe, the newest poll, 69% actually are predicting disunity, division, and so this is a much more realistic public right now that is seeing everything that's going on, but still hoping that division, you know -- that there is still some optimism that something can be done, but the biggest thing they want is compromise. sthoo they want compromise, but whom do they trust? chris, alissa, who do they think is more likely to produce results? >> well, it's interesting. you know, i think president obama does benefit a little bit from the fact that he just got re-elected. his approval rating in nbc journal-wall street journal poll is back 53%. i know mark can correct me if i'm wrong on it. he has a very healthy approval rating in the nbc-wall street jushl poll. republicans in congress don't. that's not news, but they don't. i think that there is this desire for compromise, although
president obama is more popular, there is this sense and it weaves throughout the poll, that people want the two sides to work together. they want congress and the white house to find a deal. you know, i'm always amazed that we see poll after poll honestly, andrea -- we see poll after poll, including this one, which i think is top of the field in terms of its quality, that suggest people want compromise, and, yet, all the clips that i see coming out today suggest that maybe we're going to get compromise, but we're nowhere close to that right now, and, in fact, what you are seeing is sort of john boehner blaming the white house, the white house blaming john boehner. we're the exact opposite of moving towards compromise at the moment. >> one big area of movement is on same-sex marriage. let's talk about that. this issue has just changed by light years. you've talked to the pollsters and peter hart and bill macinturf about the sea change in public attitudes towards
same-sex marriage. scloo this is one of the most remarkable changes in a relative short period of time that they've ever seen on a social issue, andrea. back in 2004 only 30% of americans actually supported same-sex marriage. you kind of understand why george w. bush and his allies actually campaigned against gay marriage in that presidential election, but in this poll, a majority for the very first time 51% now support gay marriage. a huge change of 21 percentage points, andrea, in just eight years. >> and that is the sort of thing that doesn't or does influence the supreme court. i guess they don't really look at the politics of it, but we know this huge case, two cases, are going to be heard sometime this winter and a decision next spring or summer that could entirely change the landscape of this. >> i would say, andrea, if it doesn't influence them and they'll insist it doesn't, one thing it does do is if the rulings, one or both, on doma and on the california prop 8 gay
marriage initiative, if the rulings are in favor of the gay rights position, the gay marriage position, it just builds that momentum. the ball that's rolling downhill just picks up speed in terms of a public opinion perspective because now the supreme court is essentially said okay, you know, take public opinion add the supreme court, and i think you might see those numbers move even faster in the coming years, if that does come to pass. >> chris, alissa, thank you so much. mark murray, thanks for jumping in there. hillary clinton is iffing to be testifying to the senate and house foreign policy committees representing a report, presenting a report, to congress. the much anticipated findings of that independent investigation into the security failures that contributed to the benghazi attack and, of course, killed four americans, including the u.s. ambassador, chris stevens. joining me now from harvard is nicolas burns, professor of international politics at harvard's kennedy school, and the former u.s. ambassador to nato, greece, and a number of other places.
nick, great to see you. you are such an old hand, veteran diplomat, and were at least at the state department. i think you were serving in greece. the last time we had one of these major reports, which was on the 1998 bombings. this report has been done by two senior experienced people, tom pickering and admiral mike mullen, and my indications are that it is really going to be very tough on the state department. hillary clinton has to defend this and present it to congress. >> well, andrea, i don't have a preliminary indication of what the report was saying, but i think secretary clinton would drae grae to testify publicly, but there are obviously congress has an obligation i think they have chosen to highly objective non-political, non-partisan people in tom pickering, ambassador tom pickering, and admiral mike mullen, and we'll see what the report says, but clearly the administration does need to deal with these issues
before we get to 2013 and the president's inauguration. >> and one of the questions that is being examined is all of the warnings and the incident -- there were five separate incidents that preceded the fatal attack -- whether or not we have to have a whole different attitude towards either securing these outposts, which are not official embassies -- this wasn't even an official consulate -- or better securing them or not being in these places, and that's always the push-pull for diplomats because they're on the frontlines, but they are not in military service. here pet in danger zoosh one of the questions that's been lost in the three months since the horrible terrorist attack in benghazi, is that congress has not fully funded embassy security worldwide in the last two fiscal years. so one would hope that one of the issues that congress would now debate is whether or not we need to put more money into embassy security. i certainly think we should. we obviously also immediate more money for diplomacy in general,
and for the state department budget. we've been thinking about this for decades since the beginning of the age of terrorism, which we've all lived over the last three decades, at least, and that is we obviously need as job number one to protect our diplomats, and do everything we can to make sure that our embassies, our consulates, and the way we do business is fully, fully responsive to the need for security, and at the same time we train young men and women as diplomats to go out and to meet people and to integ gate themselves themselves into the society. they need to leave the walls of the embassy. there is this tension between these two competing priorities and we -- i dealt with this when i was an ambassador, particularly with our younger officers who wanted to go out and meet people, and there are times when you have to err on the side of security, because the situation demands it, and there are times when you have to let those officers go out and do
their jobs and encounter and meet the people of the country, and i think we should never get away from the reason that we have diplomats and that is to do the work on behalf of the american people, and that will end with this debate that we're having over benghazi. >> and, in fact, it was after the 1988 -- 1998 bombings that -- and the inman report that we began putting our embassies behind high walls and cutting off access, and chris stevens, to his eternal credit, was one of those diplomats who ventured out and engaged with the people. i wanted to quickly ask you about syria, nick, because the russian deputy foreign minister is now suggesting that assad may lose power, and that is another sign of a shift. it's all very incremental, but these are hints that perhaps vladimir putin is ready to give up on assad. >> andrea, i found this statement by the russian deputy foreign minister to be highly, highly interesting this morning and significant because the russians don't speak loosely. he is a very senior member of their government, and to put out that they think that assad will
leave is really an indication that russia is finally facing reality and let's hope that this will lead to a reconfigure rags of the russian position. secretary clinton met with -- it may be that the united states and russia will now have an opportunity to work together. if russia could try to influence assad to leave as quickly as possible, that would certainly help the situation where too many people are being killed, and both russia and the united states have an interest in making sure that the chemical weapons stocks in syria don't fall into the hands of a radical islamist group or terrorist group which could happen in the event of the fall of the assad government, so american and russian interests may be converging at the end of this phase of the syrian conflict more than they were certainly, say, a year ago when russia was an unstinting supporter of the assad regime. >> nicolas burns, ending on an up note. thank you very much. >> good to see you. this just in. president obama moments ago
outside the white house walking over to blair house talked about the state of the fiscal cliff talks in answer to a question. >> how are you feeling about a deal? optimistic? >> still a work in progress. >> he said it's a work in progress. coming up next, it's all about hillary, but, first, sir paul mccartney paying tribute to hurricane sandy. first responders. while rocking the 12-12-12 benefit concert. ♪ remember, we're playing to lose.
>> you know your husband wants you to run in 2016. what do you say to him? >> he wants me to do what i want to do, and he has made that very clear, and some of what i want to do is just kick back. stoo kick back. will she or won't she? no two political figures are more popular in our new nbc news-wall street yurnl poll than bill clinton and hillary clinton. bill clinton has a magic 60% approval rating. secretary clinton trails just two points behind that. way ahead of president obama at 53%, and the democratic party at 44%. joining me now is former congresswoman ellen. she was also the state department's top arms control official and margaret carlson, political columnist with bloomberg view coming to us from new york. welcome both of you. margaret, what is your take? you've watched, you know, these clips with barbara walters, the
interview, and what -- even barbara walters couldn't get more out of her, although she always gets the best answers. she says she wants to watch hgtv, you know, that's home and garden tv, i think, ladies. i don't know. it's beyond me. tell me about this. >> for those that do watch it, yes, that's home and garden, and, by the way, i'm with her, sister. >> i sort of can't see that with these numbers. i mean, clearly, she deserves time off and a good break and a lot of fun and travel if she wants to and no travel, but what do you think she's going to do? >> well, andrea, you and i covered the bhous together, and hillary clinton is a completely different person to me from the way she was then. you know, we watched her every move. she was criticized for almost everything. wearing the head band, not wearing the head band, hellry care, and on and on. now she can do no wrong. i mean, she has become, you know, that woman in the dark
glasses on the jet going around the world and just letting loose all the time to my it's an amazing transformation, but maybe i just didn't get her back then. when she says i really want to kick back, what i think sshgs you know, life looks different when you are rested, and it will take about three months, and it's like saying, oh, have i to get organized, and then, you know, your sock drawers are all organized, and you say, well, what do i do now? she's going to say, you know, i think a year from now, yeah, i feel differently about this. i'm tanned, i'm ready, i'm rested. i'm going to take a crack at it. >> you worked with her and saw her as a member of congress and then from the state department as well, and that iconic picture of her in the sunglasses taken by diana walker, you know, on a military jet going into afghanistan or iraq, i forget
exactly which she was going into. that says so much. i mean, there's no question that she has a commanding presence on foreign policy, but these are very deeply personal choices. that was a grueling campaign. >> yes. you know, she says beaches and speeches, and she wants to write, and she wants a rest. she deserves it. i think no one is more ready to be president someday, but frankly, you know, she deserves a chance to reassess after she's had some rest. i think it's difficult for people to know how tiring it is to be out of the country 80% of the time, to be working literally 24-7. everything has to be in perspective. she's got a loving family. she's got friends, and she's been absent for really four years. almost 20 years when you consider how much she was closetsed in the white house and in the senate. i think this is important she gets the rest, but i think that no one is more ready to be president someday, but that's her decision.
>> when margaret was talking about those days back in the white house, she was almost like hunted prey because from the very first days when they were in those primaries and new hampshire, the early primaries, and all the exploding controversy going on about his personal life and this and that and the other, and everyone wanted a piece of her, and i recall, you know, thinking often that she was not prepared. who would be prepared for that? she's a very different person now. she's at a very different stage in her life, margaret, and people evolve, and seeing it from the height says of her current popularity, also informs it differently. >> she's very prepared now. i mean, look at what she's been through. in her own campaign, could anybody have been through more than this person in public life? maybe richard nixon, but she's been through a lot. you know, one clue will be what does she say in her next book? how revealing is it? what kind of speeches does she
give? is she going to be totally open and nothing left to lose, or is she going to be, you know, restrained and preparing for another run by not telling too much? i think that will give us some indication over, say, the next six months or so exactly -- well, not exactly, but inexactly about what her plans are. i think when i was watching barbara walters, i was thinking, you know, she doesn't really know because she doesn't know how she's going to feel. at this moment i bet she feels like she just wants a good long nap and a marathon of hgtv. >> i could relate to that. at least the nap part of it. let's take another look at one of barbara's questions about 2016. >> what would it take to convince you to run in 2016? >> you know, that's all hypothetical because right now i have no intention of running. i just want to -- i want to make a contribution. i always feel that's who i am
and what i want to do. >> will it be political? >> i don't think so. i think it will be philanthropic. it might be academic. it might be business. i mean, there's a lot things. >> all doors are open. >> all doors are open, which is a wonderful opportunity. >> and she could go the route of an expansion of what she's done with women's groups, with vital voices, which she started really as first lady in 1995, when we went to beijing, and she first said that women's rights are human rights, and then it was considered very controversial. she could be part of the clinton initiative and change his foundation as well. >> now, i think that there's all the world's opportunities are open to her, but she is a public servant at heart. she is someone who has a deep love for the american people and tremendous experience around the world and a rolodex that i think probably second to her husband's is second to no one's. i think this is really a question of get rested up, kind of assess what the world has -- how the world has changed since she's been working so hard, and what the opportunities are. >> i tell you what has not
changed, is the way women in politics are treated in temz of their appearances, because as always, there's the question of the hair. this is the way they treated it last night. barbara. >> so i have to ask you this very personal question. your hair -- [ laughter ] >> i know that it's one of the great fascinations of our time. i do not travel with any hair dresser, and i'm not very competent myself. i've been admitting that for years, which should be obvious to everyone. it just got to be really burdensome to try to find a hair dresser in some city somewhere, so i said enough. we're just going to try to go with as simple as possible. >> nobody asked the men that. >> have you noticed? >> yeah. >> margaret, nobody asks the men. >> no, they don't. hey, solidarity with hillary. let's all pull our hair back. you know, it is an extra burden, and, you know, you don't want to be asked about it all the time.
she's terribly good humored about it, and, you know, she said in an earlier interview, i can't remember, she said, listen, if i want to put my hair in a ponytail, i'm putting it in a ponytail. you go, girl. >> i remember her saying once during the 2008 campaign that one of the things she was looking forward to at the end of that campaign was she she could let her hair grow and not worry about being so in fashion all the time. >> that's right. >> it's true. i mean, i think that those of us that have been in public life are subject to a lot of questions about how we look and what we're doing, but the truth is no one is ever more prepared and though one is ever more able to represent the american people than she has been and no matter whether her hair is short or long, she's still the best. >> and a team player with the team of rivals. >> that's right. >> thank you very much. this is fun, and margaret. >> thanks, andrea. next up, our politico briefing. more fun with roger simon, are republicans in need of a makeover, maybe better hair? first, putting politics aside at the concert to benefit sandy
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i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone. connection to doctors who get where i'm from. and tools to estimate what my care may cost. so i never missed a beat. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. our new nbc news wall street journal poll shows that republicans don't exactly have public support for their bargaining position in these fiscal cliff talks, so how will the negotiations now affect the party's efforts to rebrand itself after losing the presidential election? roger simon is politico's chief political columnist and joins me now. great to see you again. thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> they're going in against real headwinds. the president having 38% support in his positions. john boehner, only 19%.
more than three-quarters of those polled agree with the president's bargaining position about upper income -- >> the republican party has a lot of problems. i mean, three big ones. your poll asks people to pick words to describe the republican party. they picked bad, broken, weak and lost. those aren't the greatest words. >> that's not a bumper sticker you want. >> the second is the hand that they're playing. if they get what they want, they get no tax increases for millionaires and billion aurs and cuts to medicare, medicaid, and social security. is it a great land to play for 2014? thirdly, they just don't have a leader. i mean, who is the leader of the republican party? i guess john boehner comes the closest, but this afternoon president obama is not spending his time talking to john
boehner. he is giving interviews to local tv stations, to change some of the numbers that we just saw on your poll so that by the time we hit the fiscal cliff fall-off point, the public will not equally blame the democrats or the republicans. they will blame the republicans. i don't think john boehner can do local tv hits and change people's minds. >> that's always, of course, the megaphone that the white house enjoys, and they add this to the schedule because they can tell day by day how it's tracking. >> sure. >> how is this going to affect issues coming up? for instance, immigration. >> well -- >> which the president said to "the des moines register" before the election, is one of his top priorities. >> i talked to people in the white house who are very familiar with the legislative agenda of the president, and they say comprehensive immigration reform -- we're not talking just the dream act that affects children and doesn't do anything about the 11 million. we're talking about putting 11 million people on a road to
citizenship that the president is committed to this. it isn't just a political ploy to get hispanic votes, though it will. it's going to come out -- it's going to come up right after immigration. i'm sorry. the inauguration. he is very serious about it, and they feel it's win-win for them. if they get it, it's another historic piece of legislation to go along with health care. if they don't get it, guess who gets blamed. the republicans in 2014. they lose even more hispanic votes. >> sounds like a centerpiece of the state of the union. >> absolutely. >> people are going to hear a lot about that. as soon as we get passed this fiscal stuff, if we ever do. stla that's a big if. roger simon, thank you. coming up next on "andrea mitchell reports" could tougher gun laws have prevented the killings in oregon? first, the piano man, billy joel, plays for sandy victims in new york.
a suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the u.s. base in kandahar, afghanistan, today, killing one u.s. soldier, wubding they're other americans. on the hours of secretary leon panetta visited the base. officials say there is no indication that panetta was being targeted, but it is the third time this year that there has been a major security issue during the visit by senior pentagon officials. you were there also when secretary panetta had meetings with karzai, which are fairly controversial. what is the latest from kabul? we understand now that karzai has agreed to a meeting with the president on january 7th.
>> that's right, draen. well, we start with that bombing today outside of the kandahar airfield. that is, of course, the main u.s. military base in southern afghanistan. you mentioned, of course, secretary of defense was never in harm's way himself. he had already come back to kabul and left there about two and a half hours earlier. it's worth noting, we did just receive a statement from the taliban claiming responsibility for that attack. they said it was a suicide attack and that the attacker exploded himself in a 4 x 4 car full of explosives. now, the secretary, of course, was down there to address u.s. troops who are still there. there's about 14,000 troops in the area. he spoke to a smaller group of about 300 thanking them for their service, thanking them for their sacrifice, and thanking them for spending this upcoming holiday season away from their families. he also spoke about the tremendous progress made so far. he wanted to thank them for the work that's been done, and the attack just on the heels of his departure shows how much work there is to be done. in his private meeting with president karzai today back here in kabul, we understand the
security was, of course, the main topic of conversation. his invitation has been exed to mr. karzai, and, of course, one of the biggest topics that they're going to be talking about is what the continued american presence will be after the drawdown in 2014. this has been a very controversial topic. previously when discussed mr. karzai had said they would have to be subject to the court jurisdiction, if there was u.s. military presence. we'll see what happens in the new year when he comes to the united states. andrea. >> that is going to be a very important meeting, indeed. thank you. and topping the headlines right now on andrea mitchell reports, former president jimmy carter is in china this week where today he met with the new communist leader to discuss a wide range of controversial chinese policies. with him, of course, roseland carter as well. in pakistan hundreds of students rallied against naming a college against malala, the
activist school girl that was shot by a taliban gunman in october. according to pakistani government officials, students are concerned that naming the college after malala will cause a security threat to them. in oregon today officials say that jacob tyler roberts, the 22-year-old gunman who killed two people and seriously wounded a 15-year-old girl before taking his own life in an oregon mall on tuesday knew none of his victims. police say that roberts acted alone, using a semi-automatic rifle that he had stolen the day before. the day before the shooting rampage at that crowded mall. roberts had no significant criminal record. authorities said other than a few speeding tickets. that tragedy in oregon is only the latest in a series of mass shugts, and people ask could tighter gun laws have prevented the attack? some people are looking to reform on-line gun sales after an investigation found that 62% of on-line sellers agreed to sell guns to buyers who could not pass a background check. a share of on-line gun sales is
largely unknown because under current law many on-line gun sales leave no record to trace. joining us is dan gross and john loy director of the brady center's legal action project. welcome, both. i'm so glad you could come here to talk about this. dan gross, this goes all the way back with me. i covered the reagan years, known jim and sarah brady, so there's an issue here, and we're not talking about second amendment rights, but we're talking about reasonable background checks. what is the state of play right now? >> the state of play, you know, we're incredibly optimistic, because very clearly after you see the mass tragedies happen, this is a conversation that the american public wants to have. the american public knows that as a nation we are better than this. not only are we better than a nation with mass shootings and movie theaters and schools and places of worship, but we're also better that than a nation that loses 32 people to gun murders every day, and the reality is there are things, as you have pointed out, that we all agree on that have nothing
to do with the second amendment that can prevent these tragedies from happening. a big one of those things is doing something about the 40% of all gun sales in this country that aren't subject to background checks, and a big part of that is the gun sales that happen over the internet, and that's -- so that's -- that seems to be a place where we can come together as a country. you know, if you believe in your second amendment rights, as a law-abiding citizen, preventing a convicted felon or convicted domestic abuser or terrorist from buying a gun at a gun show or over the internet, it has nothing to do with the receipts of the law-abiding citizen who might want to hunt or collect guns or might want to even protect their home. it just has to do with keeping guns out of dangerous hands and making this the safer nation we all want and deserve. >> now, john, if you are to believe the initial reporting out of oregon, though, this shooter, who then killed himself, had no legal background that might have prevented him from getting a gun legally because he only had some speeding tickets. he could have passed a back
ground check. >> if you look at the big picture, the 100,000 americans who are shot every year, one of the big problems is, as dan said, 40% of gun sales take place without a background check. the internet can exploit that gaping hole in our laws and make it easier for dangerous people to get guns. >> one of the things that we do focus on is these semiautomatics and the ammo because with those clips, you know, you can just cause so much more damage. aurora, colorado, was certainly an example of that. >> it's clearly part of the conversation that the american public wants to have. with every one of these tragedies, you see that course growing and you hear the conversations about what we can do to take these assault weapons that are made for no other purpose thaen killing people off the streets, and that needs to be a conversation that then -- that needs to be a conversation we have. it's also very important as we
talk about these mass tragedies that we don't just look at these in the context of, you know, what could have prevented that one tragedy? you know, like we said, there are 32 murders that happen every day in our country, and what can we do so maybe this guy would have slipped through a back ground check, but, you know, there are 40% of all gun sales that aren't subject to background checks, and every day there are conflicted felons, domestic abusers, dangerously, mentally ill who don't get any background check at all. >> it's important to look at these problems comprehensive in terms of what we can do to save lives, because that's a value we all share. >> the assault weapons ban has expired. there's no action. this president has said sympathetic things, but not been -- the on-line sales are really hard legally to get out
because on-line traffic, as all sorts of different laws. >> well, there are things we can do. the first thing we can do is require background checks for all gun sales, and that would -- >> even on-line. sxl even on-line. that is a major thing, but as you say, politicians have been slow on this issue, but the american people are head of the politicians, and they think this is -- the american people realize that we are better than this. we're better than the america that we have right now, and the people are going to lead the leaders in this case. >> one of those social issues that's been so difficult to resolve. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> really good to see you. >> up next, rock center's meredith vieira introducing us to a rock star author who is captivating children all over the world. ♪ any tree on this lot is on me. i'm the messenger, by the way. what's your name? joanne. with the hundreds that i save with progressive on my car insurance, this tree is on me.
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number of copies. more than 100 million copies worldwide. they've been translated into 32 languages. the magic tree house series is written by mary pope ozborne, and on tonight's rock center with brian williams, nbc's meredith vieira explores how she captures the imagination of children the world over, like 9-year-old erin brullard. >> sounds like she means a lot to you. >> uh-huh. i really like the books. >> you heard it right. books. it wasn't a pop star or even a movie star who inspired this homeless third grader. it was an author. her name is mary pope ozborne, and her magic tree house chapter books are so wildly popular among 6 to 10-year-olds that as far as they're concerned, she is a rock star. [ chanting mary ] >> you are a rock star. >> their enthusiasm comes gushing out in fan letters. that one aaron wrote is just one
of millions mary has received. >> your books are the best in my life. don't stop them until you die. please. i love them so much. >> mary's books chronicle the adventures of jack and annie, a brother and sister who discover a magic tree house filled with books that let them time travel back to wherever the book is set. her books are right behind that other children's book series bay boy with a lightning bolt scar on the "new york times" best seller list. if you are still scratching your head wondering why you are never heard of mary pope ozborne, it's probably because in spite of her success, she has adamantly refused to commercialize jack and annie. >> there are no costumes. there are no action figures. there's no movie franchise. why haven't you done that? >> because the books were selling really well, i had the privilege of not having to license the characters for the sake of income, and i could really decide to do what my heart wanted to do, which was not take jack and annie out of
children's imaginations. >> and nbc's meredith vieira joins me now. that is, first of all, remarkable and charming and lovely, but the excitement of these books and the kid's reaction to them, you have really captured that, meredith. >> it's amazing. i didn't know what to expect. we went to several schools in nigh ark. we were with her there. the reason we were there, actually, was because only 38% -- if a child cannot read well by the end of third grade, they are four times more likely not to finish high school. if they don't finish high school, they're four times more likely to end up in prison, and those are figures figures that important to mary pope osbourne, you why she is so focused on kidding 6 to 10, to get them reading and really reading well. they love her books she clearly do had one little kid who wrote her a letter saying i will keep reading if you keep writing. she intends to write, she says, for as long as it is humanly possible. >> it is actually true, according to a lot of academic
studies you that, the harry porter series already changed literacy among kids and really moved the needle up. and these obviously have reached a whole new audience. what is the magic of it? is it the whole -- the fantasy of getting into this different world and different venues? >> ask the kids, they say they love jack and annie, the two characters who have remained 8 and 7 years old, she never wanted to able her characters, even though she has been writing the books for 20 years, the kids can relate to them. annie is the very brave one, somewhat defiant and jack hangs back a little, a little more wary, interesting because normally you would think the boy is the one a little more adventure white house but the girl in the case of the magic tree house books. i think they just love the stories, they are transported through time travel to all different periods of history, you know? one book they might be visiting with lincoln, the next book on the "titanic." those are stories that capture kids' imaginations. along with those books, the
fiction books, mary and her husband, will and her sister have a companion book called "the fact tracker". and those are not fiction, they are fact books, that go along with the fiction books so you can learn even more about the time period. >> i love t meredith vieira, introducing me to a whole new world. i got stuck in nancy drew. >> that's not bad either. >> thank you. it's great to see you and we love that you came in to do the show today. thank you. >> thank you so much. >> don't miss meredith's report on "rock center" with brian williams tonight at 10/9 central on nbc. and we will be right back. avoid bad. don't go over 2000... 1200 calories a day. carbs are bad. carbs are good. the story keeps changing. so i'm not listening... to anyone but myself. i know better nutrition when i see it: great grains. great grains cereal starts whole and stays whole. see the seam? more processed flakes look nothing like natural grains. you can't argue with nutrition you can see. great grains. search great grains and see for yourself. for multi grain flakes that are an excellent source of fiber try great grains banana nut crunch
chris cillizza is back. we have had some fun today looking at the golden globe nominations. >> yes. >> a lot of political subjects. steven spielberg and daniel day-lewis, of course, for "lincoln," extraordinary movie. >> great movie. i saw it this weekend with my wife. >> and ben affleck is nominated for "argo," of course that interview with him, and "zero
dark 30" coming out soon, causing a lot of buzz because of its controversial take on the hunt for bin laden and "game change," the hbo series with -- inspired by the book by our friends, heilman and halpern. >> man, if those guys don't have big heads already this is just gonna make it worse, you know? >> it's gonna make it a whole lot worse, say nothing of sigourney weaver and jeff daniels in "newsroom" and "downton abbey." >> our a favorite. thanks so much. >> a plug for "homeland" very quickly. great show. >> "homeland." that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell report." tomorrow, joe lieberman and jeffrey goldberg joining us. tamron hall has what is next on news nation. >> in our next hour, signs that efforts to avert are the fiscal cliff may be headed in the wrong direction. we will play out the day. and with no talks currently planned between the president
and house speaker boehner, are leaders now starting from scratch at this point in the game? we will talk to house budget committee member gwen moore. and americans have some harsh words for our elected leaders. we will dig deep near the nbc news poll. and gonna find out which words folks used when they thought about the republican party and when they described democrats. quite interesting. we are up in three. something m? campbell's has 24 new soups that will make it drop over, and over again. ♪ from jammin' jerk chicken, to creamy gouda bisque. see what's new from campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do.