tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 20, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
that on the table because that really is a game changer. >> well, we're going to find out if speaker boehner wants his job back or if he wants a deal. that's really where we are right now. >> that's about it. you're about right. i agree with you. >> can he go back and get you enough republican votes, mix them in with support of the president over on the democratic side, and come away with something that's going to save a lot of hurt for a lot of people in this country and i think the tea party tonight showed that they do not want this president to succeed in any way, shape, or form. they want the economy to go down. and if we go off the cliff there might be a pretty good chance that that could happen. howard dean, great to have you with us -- >> i don't think so. >> go ahead. >> okay. i think we'll get -- we probably will have a couple quarters of recession but when we come out of it we'll be much stronger. >> yeah. governor dean, good to have you with us tonight. thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks a lot, ed. >> that's the news tonight. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. for more let's go to "the rachel maddow show" starting right now. >> when it rains it pours. do you believe the amount of stuff that happened tonight? >> it's so much rain it's almost mud wrestling at this point. >> seriously. with better outfits.
thanks, man. i appreciate it. an incredible night of news. thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. do you want to know what just happened tonight in washington? do you want to know what just happened, with congress just unexpectedly imploding and the republicans in congress dissolving into a huge internal fight, including screaming matches within their own caucus and all of a sudden they're just turning off the light and abandoning what they were doing and nobody really knows why and nobody knows what happens next? do you want to know how we got here and why this just happened and why it's really important? let us start here. okay? this is jim demint. jim demint was re-elected senator for south carolina not this past election, 2012, but in 2010. you might remember he was the guy who had the good fortune in 2010 to be running against a young man named alvin green on the democratic side. it was not a hotly contested race. mr. demint won by 34 points. and that freed him up to spread a bunch of his own campaign cash and his own energy that year on other campaigns and other
candidates that he favored. and that has been the way that jim demint has built his influence in politics. he has treated all of his time in the u.s. senate not as an opportunity to get anything passed. he has no legislative record at all. he spent his time in the senate trying to become a kingmaker, trying to make the republican party over in his own image. trying to shape other people's races. to have more conservative litmus tests for republican candidates. so jim demint was elected for the first time in '04. he was re-elected in 2010. they serve six-year terms. right? so jim demint doesn't have to face re-election again in south carolina until 2016. but jim demint just quit. a couple of weeks ago. he just announced with no warning that he was leaving the senate right now, immediately, before his term was out. and today jim demint gave his farewell speech, which including this very telling and weird
moment. >> i hope that we can create more common ground between the political parties by showing everyone that ideas that work for their constituents and our constituents are right in front of our faces if we're willing to set aside the pressure groups, the special interests, and just focus on what's working. >> jim demint saying good-bye to the senate today, pleading with them on his way out the door that senators should stay focused on the practical, stay focused on policy, keep their heads down and stop paying attention, as he said, to these pressure groups. jim demint is leaving the senate to go run a pressure group. when i stopped doing talk radio to come work here, this would be like me on my last talk radio show saying i really loved all my time here on talk radio, but i'm going to go work on msnbc now. my closing words to you here on the radio as i leave this job to go work on cable, my closing words to don't watch cable. it's a really weird way out the door, right? he's going to go run a pressure group.
his closing words are don't listen to these pressure groups. doesn't really make any sense, right? so that's jim demint. consider also dick armey. former republican congressman who also left to go run a pressure group, a group called freedom works that likes to be known as a grassroots movement, just regular folks who are somehow able to cough up an $8 million golden parachute for dick armey when he announced he was leaving the group this year. diblg armey said he didn't want to make the announcement that he was leaving the group until after the election because he didn't want to give anybody the impression that his part of the conservative movement was in any form of disarray. so he waited, like jim demint, until after the election. and actually since the election with dick armey on his way out the door freedomworks does appear to be in disarray but they are trying to stay relevant. yesterday they posted this, cheering on house speaker john boehner and his big high-stakes negotiations that he's having with president obama right now. they didn't like everything john
boehner is proposing, but as you can see in the headline there, they thought it was worth two cheers, two cheers for john boehner. they proclaimed it as good news that john boehner was announcing that he has pulled out of the fiscal cliff talks with president obama and is moving toward the approach that freedomworks has been urging. good news. two cheers for john boehner and his plan b. they posted that yesterday morning. we know that because our friend james carter was able to access the old web archived version of it because the current version of it doesn't look like that anymore. they had to change it. they had to change it because apparently that isn't really the freedomworks position on john boehner. at least they don't think that's their position -- actually, you know, we're not quite sure. they put up an update on their earlier announcement saying that despite their earlier support, after further review freedomworks had decided to oppose john boehner's plan b thing. they were for it yesterday morning.
they were against it this afternoon. so that's dick armey's group. consider also grover norquist. grover norquist is the guy who founded the pressure group club for growth. he's the one with the pledge about the republicans never raising taxes no matter what. he has been telling republicans this week that it is okay, it is okay by him if republicans support john boehner's latest proposal in his negotiations with president obama. this plan b thing. "the l.a. times." grover norquist signs off on boehner's plan b tax proposal. that was yesterday morning. then yesterday afternoon grover norquist came out and said he does not want to be misconstrued as being in favor of john boehner's plan b tax proposal. huh? so jim demint, leader of the conservatives in the senate, on his way out the door from the senate to go run a pressure work that's saying don't do what john boehner wants. and on his way out the door to go run that group jim demint
says don't listen to pressure groups. then you've got dick armey's group saying what john boehner's doing is good news and also, they're against it. then you've got grover norquist saying it's cool with him to support john boehner, and also, he does not want to be seen as supporting this john boehner guy. what's going on? we liberals have spent a generation, we've spent all of this envious time studying the strength and depth and singular focus of the conservative movement like they have got themselves so together. and then days like this you pull back the curtain and it turns out it's just this little tiny guy going i'm the big powerful oz, i'm the big powerful oz, somebody find the curtain. they are a complete mess. they are a complete mess. i'm not talking about the republican party. i'm talking about the conservative movement. and that's more important. because the conservative movement is the dog and the republican party is the tail. because the permanent infrastructure of activists like these guys in the conservative movement is what drives the republican party on policy way more than anything else in the party itself. you think reince priebus is calling the shots here?
yeah, right. it's the conservative movement. and because of the chaos right now in the conservative movement, in their k street fake grassroots big money used to be a think tank revolving door conservative influence lobbying and fund-raising machine, because that is such a mess right now, republicans trying to do policy work now on capitol hill is also a mess. i mean, without any coherent guiding structure to tell them what to do and what to think, republican members of congress, their attempts to actually participate in policy on capitol hill are turning out to be total chaos. the starting point for these talks in washington, right? was the position that the president campaigned on. you might remember that he won by 3 million votes. and that was the opening position in the negotiations. what he campaigned on. last week john boehner made his opening offer in response to that. and then two days later president obama responded with a counteroffer. he actually came quite some distance toward what mr. boehner had suggested, which freaked the
left out a bit, understandably. but this is how a negotiation works, right? i mean, whether or not you like the content of how exactly they are negotiating, it seemed like they were making the right mechanical gestures at least. here's my start. well, here's my start. well, here's another idea. and now it's john boehner's turn. and now john boehner's done nothing for basically a week, until tonight. when he decided that rather than making any further offer he would insist that the house, house republicans, the house of representatives, would vote on something basically totally unrelated to the entire discussion he's been having with president obama. it's not a counteroffer. it does not address any of the things they're supposed to be negotiating over. it was in effect just a conservative wish list. tax policy center and the center for american progress looked at what speaker boehner wanted the house to vote on tonight and said that basically, bottom line, it was a way to lower taxes on rich people. also, it guts obamacare, and it
screws food stamps and it screws meals on wheels for old people. it cuts wall street reform. it gives a pony as a going away present to jim demint and dick armey and grover norquist. it's just a random conservative wish list of stuff republicans like. and that's what john boehner had them doing in the house tonight. it has nothing to do with what they thought was -- what we all thought was being worked on in washington. the president's not going to sign this thing. he's not even going to have a chance to sign it because it would have to go to the senate and the senate is never even going to look at this, let alone pass it. and it turns out that the house itself, john boehner's house, the thing he is in charge of, couldn't bring itself to vote on it because they were going to lose their own wish list. with food being brought in to the capitol in anticipation of late-night votes tonight, the house unexpectedly went into reset. this was unplanned.
they passed one conservative wish list bill with cuts for food stamps and meals on wheels. they passed that. but not by much. and not by enough to make john boehner think that he could pass the rest of this supposed plan b thing that he was working on. 22 republicans voted no on their own party's plan. and then the house republicans just suddenly gave up, turned off the lights, and announced they were going home for christmas, they considered themselves to be done. nobody knew this was coming. the republicans had no idea this was coming. speaker boehner issued this statement by way of explanation. he said, "the house did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass." this whole episode has been like watching a puppy having a frenetic random action period before collapsing asleep in its own bowl. i mean, it is adorable. it's transfixing. but it is motion without meaning. it is motion without mastery. it's chaos. it is chaos in the caucus that john boehner is supposed to control. and the thing they are doing, this motion without meaning, even this is still controversial on their own side, making all their think tanks and their activist groups and their pressure groups flip their positions even within a single
day, turn on themselves and fight it out. it made them adjourn the house tonight and have a huge fight amongst themselves and ended with them walking out without voting on their own idea. and while that is interesting to watch, the reason there are supposed to be negotiations, really negotiations going on in washington right now is because something really does need to happen. i mean, the bush tax cuts expiring would not be the worst thing in the world for the country. all of the bush tax cuts expiring at the end of the year in terms of their economic impact. but congress really did set up this big trap for themselves so at the same time as the bush tax cuts expire all of these automatic things start happening, some of which you might like, some of which you might not like. but in total they would have such a suddenly contractionary effect on the economy. they would happen automatically and it would be such a sudden contraction in spending they would have a very serious negative impact on the economy. all sides agree we would go into a recession. if they can't get it together enough to do something. i mean, republicans right now are in a particularly thorny and dense part of their own
conservative wilderness. but it matters what they do. look at jared bernstein put together today. you know they just revised the number for economic growth for the country for the last quarter. they just revised it today. and it was a good revision. it was a revision upwards. so the third quarter, this last quarter this year we were growing at a rate of 3.1%. it's up almost two points from the quarter before. if they don't get their act together, this is what the congressional budget office says is going to happen to the economic growth rate this quarter. 2%. and look what happens next quarter, the first three months of next year. that's bad. maybe as howard dean was saying with ed tonight, maybe we can endure that and we'll come back stronger than ever. but that's bad. that is an economic catastrophe that will hurt a lot of americans for a long time. and maybe you want to bear that brunt. but maybe that happening accidentally because of so much chaos on one side that they
can't tell which way's up, which way's down and who's on their own side is not the way to get that. this is like being wheeled in for heart surgery and looking up and seeing that it is actually edward scissor hands leaning over you in a mask and scrubs ready for thorpgs on which your life depends. joining us now is jared bernstein, a senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities. former economic policy adviser to vice president joe biden. and he's an msnbc and cnbc contributor. jared, it is always a pleasure to have you here. thank you. >> my pleasure. >> let me ask your opinion as somebody with a background in economics that you have about how big a deal it would be if we don't do anything. i refuse to use the word "cliff" on this show. so please try to avoid using that. because i won't say it out loud even if i'll put it in a graphic. but how big a deal do you think this would be? how much pain are we talking about risking here? >> if we went over the thing and stayed over, it would be a very big deal. the numbers that the cbo predicts -- i've been watching this kind of thing for a long time. i don't recall the cbo ever predicting that policy x would lead to recession y. but they did in this case
because it's such a huge fiscal contraction to all take in one year. so if we go over and stay over, we'll return to recession. and that means that the gains that we've been making on the unemployment rate, too slow, mind you, but gains that have been pushing the rate in the right direction would reverse. and if we stay over the cliff, the unemployment rate could go up as high as 9% by the end of next year. this would be a disaster for people who are still struggling with the residual of the great recession. if you look at middle incomes or paychecks, people are still climbing back. and so all that alice down the rabbit hole craziness that you just took us through with great aplomb over the last few minutes really does end up in a place that matters to people because it's going to hurt the real economy and undermine a recovery that has a little bit of momentum to it at this point. >> well, what does it say to you that the republicans dissolved essentially tonight and went
home? i mean, eric cantor put out a statement saying we are going home, good-bye, maybe we'll see you after the holiday. they're essentially giving you. i mean, what we saw they were planning to do tonight is they were planning to spin their wheels. when they tried to spin their wheels, the engine wouldn't start. so they just left the thing sit k in mud and went home. are you unnerved by this? did you expect this? >> no, i am completely unnerved by this because i figured that if they had the theatrical vote on this plan b, which i thought was already a really terrible idea, but at least they wouldn't have the vote unless they had the votes to win it. so this is political dysfunction on steroids here. i mean, the idea that we would even shift to this plan b -- earlier in the week you actually saw leader boehner working with president obama to come up with a compromise, more of a balance. and you described it very well in your introduction. the president started at 1.6
trillion on revenue. he came down to 1.2 trillion. john boehner started at 800 billion on revenue. they weren't that far apart. earlier this week they were haggling over price. and some of us thought maybe they'd get there. i never thought they could bring the house republicans along. but you know, at least they were in a place where a deal maybe was taking shape. now boehner has gone exactly the other way. he was at 800. now he's down to something like 300 on revenue. but even that couldn't get over their transom. so really what happens next, i mean, unless some very weird scenarios that i could spin out for you that are about as likely as the president joining the tea party unfold, i think we have to put on our cliff parachutes at this point. >> wow. this is a weird situation anyway, a self-designed crisis. but to be failing in this way, careening into it, seemingly totally out of control, with the republicans blaming each other,
it's a very strange situation to be in. >> and remember, rachel, this is -- i know you know this, but we also have to remind ourselves, this is a completely artificial, self-inflicted wound. a trap we set for ourselves with dysfunctional politics. you know, our economy is very resilient. as you see, it is improving. you showed the graph earlier. but you have to ask yourself, how much policy abuse can this economy take? and my judgment is not a whole lot more. >> this was designed to be a big enough jolt to the economy to be scary, and now we're just taking it. amazing. jared westernstein of the center of budget and policy priorities. we'll be talking to you more about this shortly, i'm sure. thank you, jared. >> thank you, rachel. >> we'll have more on this breaking news, really this amazing breaking political news coming out of congress tonight where the republicans in the house have basically just decided to have a big fight, scream at each other, blame each other, send out competing press releases, turn out the lights, and go home saying they quit. a night in washington that we did not expect.
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i want to talk about news from competing parallel universes tonight. here's two statements we've got tonight hot off the presses. the first from eric cantor's office. "the house has concluded legislative business for the week. members are advised that the house will return for legislative business after the christmas holiday. when needed." that's from eric cantor. statement from the press secretary to president obama tonight. "the president's main priorities is to ensure that taxes don't go up on 98% of americans and 97% of small businesses in just a few short days. the president will work with congress to get this done, and we are hopeful that we will be able to find a bipartisan solution quickly that protects the middle class and our economy." the president saying, i'm looking forward to working with you guys. eric cantor saying, we're actually gone already. it's a weird night in washington. more live from capitol hill when we come back.
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there is breaking news to report tonight out of washington. strange breaking news out of washington. within the last hour republican house speaker john boehner appears to have completely lost control of his own caucus. a dramatic turn of events as the white house and house republicans were trying to negotiate a plan to avert the across-the-board tax increases and deep spending cuts looming on january 1st, which is just 12 days from now. mr. boehner planned to hold a vote tonight on his own john boehner house republican plan to avert the growth-killing taxes and cuts combination that the cbo says will put us into recession again in the new year. his self-titled plan b, which
has nothing to do with emergency contraception but rather was basically just a wish list of conservative ideas, his plan b was a vote to preserve tax cuts for all income below $1 million. passage of the plan was essentially supposed to be a sign of republican unity against president obama. is in other words, we have our plan, we'll just go ahead and pass that, and that'll put you on the spot. the burden to get something done is going to be laid in the lap of president obama and the senate democrats because look at how unified we house republicans are behind our speaker. well, just about an hour ago john boehner was forced to pull his own plan off the floor because it turns out he did not have the votes from his own side to pass it. he didn't have enough republican votes to pass the republican plan. after it was clear that he did not have the votes speaker boehner called an emergency republican meeting to twist the arms of his own members. at one point republican senator rob portman of ohio was called in to help mr. boehner in the
arm-twisting department. but it was ultimately to no avail. he could not convince his own side. john boehner canceled the vote. then he put out a statement saying it's now up to democrats to figure it out. and then the house went into recess and house republicans started going home for christmas. >> mr. chairman, you're close to the speaker. you serve with him on the education committee. does this feel like defeat tonight, when he could not cajole enough votes out of his caucus? >> well, yeah. that's exactly what it is. and he understood it, and he said have a merry christmas, we'll see you after christmas. >> we'll see you after christmas. yes, this was a defeat. this was not how it was supposed to go, but that is what happened in just the past hour. joining us is luke russert, nbc news congressional correspondent. luke, thanks for being here on short notice. appreciate your time. >> what a story, rachel. happy to be here. i've never seen anything like this in my 3 1/2 year on capitol hill.
very rare moment. and talking to people who have been here for a while, this doesn't happen very much. >> what are your sources telling you about what happened inside that emergency republican caucus meeting? what happened in there? >> so it's interesting. it was a meeting that we were all told was to try and corral votes, but what it ended up being is john boehner in a very somber manner went before his conference and said i don't have the votes. he made a plea, sort of saying we really need this, we need this to keep our negotiating power with president obama. folks inside the meeting just shook their heads. at one point representative mike kelly from pennsylvania got up, stood in front of the entire house gop conference, and started screaming, saying they needed to rally around the speaker, they needed to stay unified, this was their moment, and folks just shook their head and they acknowledged they didn't have the votes, at which time john boehner said, well, all right, hopefully we'll see you after christmas. and rachel, i can just tell you that the last time anything close to this happened was
during the debt limit. boehner had a thursday vote. he had to scrap it. but it wasn't one that had this much significance. and it wasn't one that was deemed -- it was more controversial than this one. you have to understand, there were sweeteners put in for this bill to get that conservative support. aside from the ones you mentioned that preserved -- eliminated cuts to defense and preserved d.o.d. you had the ones you mentioned about the food stamps and the meals on wheels. but also the tax rate a million or above. what we learned tonight is it doesn't seem to have any effect on the house gop conference, that inaction means tax cuts go up for everybody. that message has been completely lost. it's been diluted by folks on the real right, the heritage action people simply saying you cannot support this because it's a bad deal and it amounts to a tax increase. it's really something wild in all the history i think when we look back on this in terms of the growth of the republican party and just very much who's in charge right now. >> in terms of who is in charge right now, is that what's going on here, luke? i mean, we saw a statement issued by one of the conservative members who got booted off his committee assignments earlier this month
by speaker boehner, essentially crowing that this was a conservative victory, that there has been this failure. i just got a note about congressman steve latourette from ohio saying tonight we're not going to be here until after christmas, maybe we don't come back at all this year. it's unbelievable. this is horrible. i'm angry. i'm sad for my friend the speaker. i'm sorry for the country." it seems like there's a schism going on within the conference. is speaker -- is john boehner's speakership at risk? >> we don't know. i would say that probably not. that what you often see is when you have moments like this the real conservatives like to gloat. but what you do see is a real problem in him being able to get together a coalition that can deal with this very large problem that's on the horizon, this big drop-off. we won't say the word you don't like. but here's one thing that i find very fascinating.
i spoke to some members who are walking out of there. and they said, well, if this was really the last possible deal we could get, maybe we would have supported it. but they did not want to go along with this sort of kabuki theater, if you will, this sort of dancing around the issue. and they knew the senate was going to reject it. so that leads me to believe that there still is some faith in john boehner. but make no mistake. the question about whether or not he can retain his speakership will certainly be asked of a lot of his colleagues because this was deeply embarrassing. and the question now moving forward is if in fact you're going to let harry reid and president obama come up with some sort of compromise and you're essentially removing yourself from these negotiations, removing yourself in the republican point of view what happens in this? does john boehner have to violate the hastert rule, which is you have a majority of the majority for anything you put on the floor. does he put something on the floor that can only get 45 gop votes and depend on nancy pelosi to bring it across the finish
line? that would be something that i think a lot of conservatives would find extremely troubling. >> this is just -- imagining what might happen, every potential eventuality from here, is really, really weird. but what just happened tonight tops it all in pure unexpected weirdness. >> absolutely. and watch out for the dow future markets. a lot of the economic republicans, those establishment guys who are the wall street guys, they are very worried tonight. they think they this could have a very dismal effect on the markets tomorrow. an absolutely wild night, rachel. you don't see too many of these. >> congressional correspondent luke russert. it's great to have you here tonight. thank you so much. appreciate it. you think about how the republicans must be thinking about whether or not john boehner can stay as their speaker. think about this. you're president obama. you've got to negotiate with somebody in congress in order to get this done. yes, he'll work on something with harry reid now and try to take over from the senate, but in terms of negotiating with the house to get something passed there, who do you talk to? when you work something out with john boehner, it does not manifest as the house doing what john boehner says they're going to do. why would you keep negotiating with a guy who can't deliver what he is negotiating for? why would you keep talking to him?
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two shotguns, a semi-automatic handgun and a rifle. these are the actual weapons that they used in that massacre. that shooting rampage took place on tuesday april 20th, 1999. it was in littleton, colorado. one of the tragic ironies of the timing of the columbine massacre, it was just a sad coincidence, was that the national rifle association, the nra, was holding their annual convention a week later in colorado. in denver, colorado, only about a 20-minute drive from where the columbine massacre happened. the nra said they would not cancel their conference because of columbine, but they did scale it down to a one-day event. it had been planned to be a three-day thing. and in response to the tragedy at columbine and the awful coincidence of the nra conference that was being planned for just a few days after the shooting the nra put out a statement in the form of a letter to its members that said, "our spirits must endure this terrible suffering together and so must the freedoms that bring us together.
we must stand in unshakeable unity, even in this time of anguish." about a week after that an nra spokesman said it really was "not the most appropriate time and place to debate public policy." so not a good time to talk about policy. that was the nra's response to columbine. fast-forward almost exactly eight years to april 16th, 2007. a student at virginia tech in blacksburg, virginia shoots and kills 32 people before killing himself. a day after that shooting another statement from the nra expressing their sadness, saying they join the entire country in "expressing deepest condolences to the families of virginia tech university." then a few days later, another nra statement, "this is not a time for political discussions or public policy debates." so not the time for policy debate, not after virginia tech either. fast-forward to january 8, 2011. jared lee loughner kills people and injured congresswoman gabrielle giffords. she was in a grocery store parking lot near tucson. a 9-year-old girl was killed that day. the nra statement that day, with the our thoughts and prayers are
with the victims of this senseless tragedy. we join the rest of the country in praying for the quick recovery of those injured." and then four days later, the at this point requisite follow-up statement from them. "at this time anything other than prayers for the victims and their families would be so still not appropriate to broach the topic of policy in this country. not the right time after tucson. not the right time after virginia tech. not the right time after columbine. tucson was january 2011. fast-forward to this past summer, july 20th, a midnight screening of the batman movie "dark knight rises" at a movie theater in aurora, colorado. gunman opens fire, kills 12 people and injured 58. on the day of the attack the nra's official comment on the aurora shooting is "our thoughts and prayers with with the victims, their families, and the
community." but four days after that "the nra believes now is the time for families to grieve and the community to heal. there will be an appropriate time down the road to engage in political and policy discussions." that appropriate time will come but it will be down the road. and down the road came newtown, connecticut. 20 children dead. all 6 and 7-year-olds. six staff members of sandy hook elementary school dead. the alleged gunman's mother also dead. but for anybody waiting for that initial nra statement that seems to come every time something like this happens the immediate statement about their sadness for the tragedy and then a statement a couple days later about how this isn't the time to talk about policy, it did not happen that way this time. they're breaking pattern. this time the nra went completely dark online for several days. various nra news personalities, they sponsor like news shows that's just talk radio that's pro nra. they spouted their beliefs about gun control. but nobody paid attention to that. in terms of an official
statement from the group, the nra as an organization did not put out a statement of any kind until four days after the newtown attack. and at first it seemed to follow the nra pattern. they're just going to express their sadness, right? and say this isn't the time that talk about policy. but this statement actually was different. "the nra is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again." the nra's planning to hold a major news conference in the washington, d.c. area on friday, december 21st. a major news conference planned for tomorrow in response to that mass shooting. as far as we can tell, the nra has never reacted to a mass shooting in the way that they are very proudly promoting this news conference for tomorrow. they've certainly never said anything like they said in this statement about being prepared to offer meaningful contributions to make sure this doesn't happen again. it's -- they are touting this thing as big as they can. they would like as many media outlets as possible to report on this. they will probably get their wish. it's a big deal they are doing this. one word of caution, i would say. if what you hear at this news
conference is an nra leader lamenting violent video games or calling for us to study mental health issues in this country, be aware that while those may be things that we should do as a country they are also ways for the nra to avoid just talking about guns. if the nra is prepared to make meaningful contributions to make sure elementary school children are not massacred again in our country in their classrooms, they will need to talk about guns. that's where they are powerful. they will need to talk about the work they do to keep gun laws the way they are. if they do not talk about guns tomorrow, then this news conference tomorrow is a sideshow, it is a distraction from a policy debate that we needed to start happening many, many years ago. joining us now is bob herbert.
he's a distinguished senior fellow at dmos and he's a contributor at policyshop.net. bob, it's great to see you. >> hi, rachel, how are you doing? >> good. what do you expect tomorrow? >> not much. i think that the nra has spent the last several days deep in public relations mode. i do think that they're worried that their brand has really been damaged. i think they've been thrown by the tremendous outrage in the country since newtown. i mean, this has been an extraordinary outpouring of grief but also outrage at what has happened. and so they seem to feel that they have to respond. but the whole raison d'etre of the nra and the gun manufacturers who are their allies is to get as many guns into as many hands as possible, and it would just -- not just surprise me, i mean, it would shock me if they did anything that would be counter to that. so i don't expect them to say or propose anything significant in terms of gun control. >> you know, i went back and looked at transcripts of nra officials doing public appearances, press appearances after those previous horrible incidents that i just listed there. and an nra executive went on an msnbc show the night of the
littleton -- the night after the columbine massacre. it was an msnbc show that was hosted in part by oliver north, who was an nra board member at the time. so he knew he was in friendly territory. what he did was he got on our tha show and talked about how violent our vikds are and how violent our culture is and how this isn't a gun problem, america needs to change its culture. i find myself believing that's what's going to happen tomorrow, that they're trying to make it seem like it's a debate they're responsive to, this they want to be part of the solution, to but it has nothing to do with their core issues. >> it has nothing to do with guns. the president of smith & wesson, a fellow who took over last year, before that he basically sold garbage bags, now he's selling guns, but he put out a statement, i believe it was in the fall, where he said he gets excited over the social acceptance that he sees now for guns in this society. and that's what really is going to have to change, in addition to significant gun control if you want to bring down the number of gun deaths in this society. we have to change the culture so that it's not socially acceptable for everyone to willy-nilly have guns.
and this is not a position that i can imagine the nra or any of the large gun manufacturers taking. >> what do you think about the policy impact but also the cultural impact of gun buybacks? we talked on the show last night and showed a lot of visuals about some of the surprising numbers that have come in for gun buybacks since this shooting. and we know there's a community in connecticut very near newtown that's going to have -- has just scheduled a gun buyback and a number of other communities that hadn't had them scheduled, have put them on the schedule right away to try to take advantage of this moment. what do you think the impact of that is? >> i saw a story that said just in the past couple days that camden, new jersey, a very tough town, that there had been a huge gun buyback. i'm very much in favor of that. what you want to do is get guns out of people's hands. you know. in any way that you can do that. there's a range of ways. and the gun buyback issues, very often these guns are in the
hands of people that really, really should not have guns. for whatever reasons they decide, you know, they're going to turn these guns in. so i'm very much in favor of that. >> it's one of these things that -- talk about everybody's looking for low-hanging fruit, what can be done, if only to prove that something can be done. on a voluntary basis because it can happen with no action at the federal level. any community can organize it. you can talk to your sheriff -- >> exactly. you don't need legislation. it's not a constitutional issue. it's a great tool. >> bob herbert, it's great to have you here. nice to see you. >> take care. historically, a president's cabinet is at its most effective when it isn't full of holes. president obama, when are you going to have a second-term cabinet? that's coming up next. ♪ if it wasn't for you
share "not even close." share "you owe me..." share "just right." the share everything plan. shareable data across 10 devices with unlimited talk and text. hurry in for a droid razr m by motorola for $49.99. hi, i'm ensure clear... clear, huh? i'm not juice or fancy water. i've got nine grams of protein. that's three times more than me! [ female announcer ] ensure clear. nine grams protein. zero fat. in blueberry/pomegranate and peach. i talked at the top of the show tonight about how republican senator jim demint is leaving the senate to go run a conservative pressure group instead. south carolina's governor has said that she will name congressman tim scott to take over jim demint's seat in the
senate since demint is leaving. that frees up tim scott's seat in the house. do you want to know what's going to happen to tim scott's seat in the house? nbc news can confirm that former south carolina governor mark sanford is planning to run for that house seat. it does not include part of the appalachian trail. as far as i know. but i'm going to look it up. we'll be right back.
president ronald reagan was re-elected in 1980. you don't wait for the second term to get started you get on it both to give yourself time to get those nominees elected but frankly because the country gave you a national endorsement by re-electing you. you would like to name that nominee quickly after the election. your political capital after the election. ronald reagan was elected in 1984 by a lot. within 23 days he had named his nominees. then clinton named his within 30 days.
in 2004 it was president george w. bush. and within eight days of being re-elected. president obama, the 44th president. so far 44 days, and counting. it has been 44 days since the election and he has not named a single nominee for his single term cabinet. why is that? nobody knows, but republicans seem to be psyched about it. it may be the term you are looking for is invalid. susan rice was only a rumor, nothing official, but republican criticism forced her to take her name out of consideration for the secretary of state job appear there were able to stop that before it even happened.
former republican senator chuck haegle come on, they are trying to shut that down as well before it even happens. even though chuck is himself a former republican senator. it was up to the white house, who has not even nominated him yet, to defend him today. the had to defend a nominee even before they have named him. this president has already waited longer than any president in living memory to name anybody to the second-term cabinet. republicans clearly think that they are the ones in control of who president obama gets in the second-term cabinet. what is he going to do to disabuse them of that notion, if anything? it's not like previous presidents, first nominees to their cabinets, second-term cabinet for easy picks. it's not like they picked she wins that there would not have to fight for.
george w. bush, his first two cabinet nominees were alberta gonzales for attorney general and condoleezza rice to the state department. it only took george w. bush eight days to get around to nominating them. we are at 44 days for president obama. if this is any current signed, the republicans are taking this delay as a sign of weakness in the white house. i don't think that's how the white house sees it, but i would love to know how they do see it. . or you can get out there and actually like something. the lexus december to remember sales event is on. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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surrounding tissues. if you drink too much, your cells release histamine, which causes those fragile capillary blood vessels to dilate, which causes a telltale red flesh. the health and performance of your capillaries can cause a redness in your physical appearance. armed with that knowledge, let's go back to the rain gear. some reindeer as a cold weather adaptation have evolved so they have an unusually dense competition of capillaries in the part of their face that is first to the win, the nose. they have a big concentration of capillaries in their nose. they have red noses, not everyone here has one, but a subset do. norwegian and dutch researchers are looking into how a dense concentration of capillaries in the nose actually functions with regard to regulating temperature. they took a bunch of reindeer, not kidding. they got them all sweaty on a treadmill, as you do, and then they filmed the hot, sweaty rain gear with an infrared camera