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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  January 6, 2013 12:00pm-2:00pm PST

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than just trying to ban those high capacity ammunition clips as they refer to, the magazines as well as the expired ban on assault weapons and would include a variety of other things and among them it would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale through a national database as well as stiffening penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors. there is also discussion according to this reporting again from the washington post that the administration is looking for ways to work with business, among them businesses like wal-mart and using that as a way to find proposals and some plan to help them better circumvent the pro gun lobby as they try to find a way going forward. >> what are you also hearing about the reports that the president will name former republican senator chuck hagel
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to be the next secretary of defense. >> our sources are telling us that is supposed to be in the next few days. the former republican lawmaker, the former nebraska senator chuck hagel has been a long-time friend of the president. when the president was senator travelled together to iraq and afghanistan. but there is already heavy opposition to the selection of chuck hagel if it is to happen, if he is to be nominated, most of it from within his republican party because he was fiercely against the troop surge led by george w. bush and a lot of opposition for comments he made dating back about seven or eight years ago when he referred to the jewish lobby as opposed to
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the pro israel lobby. senator lindsey graham described this as if it happens to be an in your face nomination. >> we will check back with you later. let's get back to the issue of raising the nation's debt limit. lindsey graham pretty much stated the republican position today. >> if you raise the debt ceiling by a dollar you should cut spending by a dollar that is the way to go forward. >> president obama insists he will not compromise raising the debt ceiling and said any future efforts to reduce the deficit must include a combination of higher revenues and spending cuts. joining me to talk about it jake sherman. senior editor for the new republic. noam wrote a book called "the escape artist." the president has declared that
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he will not negotiate over whether to raise the debt limit. why don't you believe him? >> well, i don't believe him for sort of practical reasons and partly for the history of his negotiating style. the practical reason is we have a couple of things coming up that he is clearly going to negotiate over, one of which is the sequester, the automatic spending cuts that they delayed for two months when they did the fiscal cliff deal. that is going to expire late february and early march. it is hard for them to say we are going to negotiate but don't call it a debt ceiling negotiation. we'll just call it a sequester negotiation. i think that is a difference without a distinction. i think what the president demonstrated in the end of the fiscal cliff negotiation and a couple of previous negotiations is he is a guy who wants a deal even when he is holding all the cards as he was in the fiscal cliff negotiation. he is not a guy who wants to
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tempt fate. he doesn't like chaos. he wants to get a deal. he wants both sides leaving the table thinking they got something. he wants to prove that washington can work. when you put yourself there it is difficult to draw a line in the sand and expect the other guys to think you won't back off of it. >> there was a closed door house republican conference friday. what do we know about what the newly reelected house speaker john boehner said to the troops? >> he said exactly what the president doesn't want him to say, they need spending cuts to raise the debt ceiling and they don't believe that the president is a willing partner in negotiating. john boehner is going to turn his attention towards the house and the senate. what his advisers are telling me is that he is going to pass products out of the house and into the senate and the president can sign it if he wants or not sign it. >> noam, david gregory
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repeatedly asked senator mcconnell if he is prepared to shut down the government. he refused to say no. who will have the upper hand if there is a battle over shutting down the government? >> i think what the president has improved very much on in the last year or so of his first time is taking his message around congress and directly to the public. he was very skilled at that during the campaign and in the run up to the fiscal cliff end game. i think he is going to continue to be good at that. the public clearly doesn't want massive cuts to medicare and social security. i think he will be good at setting the table and putting himself in a position to get a better deal. the question is, in the end game i think that is when obama tends to back slide a little bit. he will do a good job bringing
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the public to his side, framing it as these guys wanting to hold the country hostage. having done that there is always the risk that the white house worries that the house gop is basically an irrational actor and you can't trust these guys to do the right thing. i think they will give concessions in the final hours of negotiations. >> jake, also on "meet the press." allen simpson compared our debt situation to europe. take a listen. >> we're the healthiest horse in the gluery right now, the trajectory of debt, deficit and interest will match any of the pig countries, portugal, italy, spain, match it. we are lots bigger. >> accurate in. >> it is an interesting way to
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say it but that is what house republicans are trying to get across but the divide is how you do it. do you cut medicare, medicaid, social security. one thing noam said is the president is going to take to the pulpit. we have seen it in the house that they are less willing to work with them if he is pounding congress time and time again. it makes for tough negotiations when the guy you are trying to cut a deal with is going to the road and campaigning against you specifically. it is a delicate balance that they have to strike as they go forward with the debt ceiling. >> we will have you guys back a little bit later in the hour if you don't mind. a defiant syrian president blaming outside forces including al qaeda for the violence. bashar al assad dismissing any prospect of meeting with the
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rebel leaders. was anyone at all surprised that president assad ignored the scope and the root causes, if you will, of the uprising there? >> reporter: not entirely. we haven't seen a lot of bashar al assad in recent months. this was a big speech. he presented it in damascus in a crowded auditorium. he spoke for nearly an hour and really at the end of the speech probably isn't going to change much. he called -- we heard familiar refrains. he called the opposition terrorists and accused them of being made up mostly of al qaeda and made little mention of syrians taking arms against his government and countries in the region are funding and arming the opposition and says he won't negotiate until they stop funding them and went on to propose a new political
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initiative which would include eventually a new government, new constitution, national reconciliation but said that won't happen until the weapons are put down and these quote/unquote terrorists are no longer funded. he didn't spare his words when it came to the west either. he said the west is really trying to kill two birds with one stone in syria to destroy the country and distract al qaeda from attacking them. >> what does it mean for the international envoy that is there? >> reporter: it's tough. basically reached this dead lock where the rebels won't negotiate with assad. assad says he won't negotiate with them. and they are really stuck at this point. the russian foreign minister involved in the talks, as well, russia being one of the few
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allies of syria says the negotiations aren't going anywhere. already 60,000 people have been killed since this began almost two years ago. coming up president obama's pick for defense secretary will not be an easy one. we will lay out the widely expected appointment of chuck hagel. plus patrick kennedy now leading a new campaign against legalizing marijuana. we will tell you why. you are watching msnbc. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. your soups are so awesomely delicious my husband and i can't stop eating 'em! what's...that... on your head? can curlers! tomato basil, potato with bacon... we've got a lot of empty cans. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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this is a total, total disaster in helping most people that we are saying today we are helping them.
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isn't that wonderful? what is our jobs? we are not doing anybody any favors. that is why we were sent here. try it once in a while, democracy. you may like it. >> he looked like he was a few seconds from cussing. one of several northeast lawmakers who took to the house floor this past week to express outrage over the handling of financial aid for sandy victims. although about $9 billion was released a vote for another 50 billion is set off until next week. the white house has just released a picture of the president signing the first bill into law earlier today. joining me now new jersey democratic congressman whose district includes long branch, union beach. good to have you. you said you are not satisfied by the process here even though that a vote has been set. are you convinced that vote will happen on the 15th or do you think it will take longer?
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>> i am not convinced it will happen on the 15th. we have to get the senate to pass the total package and the vote on the 15th is being divided into two different amendments. we have major hurdles here and the result is more delay. more delay means that the shore doesn't get rebuilt fast enough. >> what do you think is happening? >> i think it is the right wing. we call them tea party republicans and speaker boehner said you are voting for me for speaker the next day so we are not bringing it up until after it is over with. we missed the opportunity when the senate had passed the bill to pass it in the house and get it signed by the president and start the rebuilding process at the shore. >> governor christie made headlines and he has indicated that he thinks there is a bias at work here, bias against the northeast. this is just a snippet of what he said.
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>> americans are tired of the political partisanship of this congress which places one upsmanship ahead of the lives of these citizens who sent these people to washington, d.c. in the first place. new jerseyens and new yorkers are tired of being treated as second class citizens. >> do you think there is a bias? >> absolutely. the tea party people are mostly from the south and the west. if this had been alabama or louisiana or kansas they wouldn't have held this up. they would have had the vote. >> guns will be back in the news tomorrow when james holmes, the man accused of the shooting massacre in colorado. he will go to court tomorrow. we know much will be focused on the national debt and the fight over raising the limit of the debt ceiling. do you think we get to gun control, as well? >> i think we should.
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whether we do or not is anybody's guess. i admire that the president is trying to move forward on an agenda to deal with gun control. we have to address it. >> as the tragedy in newtown becomes more of a distant memory, what does that do to the political feasibility of something like what we are talking about? >> i do fear people start to forget. i think the president is determined and i know that the democratic leaders in the house are determined to bring it up. we are going to move forward and hopefully we can get action on gun control. >> there is word that you are considering a run if frank does not run. you appear to have a pretty good relationship with the senator. have you talked to him about it? >> the senator knows that i would like to run. and i, of course, have been talking about this for a long time t. is definitely something that i am considering and i am interested in.
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>> there is another guy who expressed interest, his name is corey booker, widely popular. do you think you could beat corey booker in a primary fight? >> let's wait and see what develops with corey. >> he has already said he is all in. >> we have to concentrate on getting these bills passed like the sandy relief bill. i think we should be worrying about the senate race a little later if that is all right. >> you are not going to answer the question? >> no. >> so you don't think you can beat him? >> i'm not saying i can't beat him. we need to concentrate on getting these bills passed in washington and deal with the senate race later. >> new jersey democratic congressman with a nice dance on this sunday afternoon. good luck to you. mr. karzai goes to
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washington. afghan president arrives tomorrow. will we see a faster withdrawal? a live report coming up. up next michelle obama setting perhaps an example for women everywhere. travel light. we'll explain. >> announcer: did you know there are secret black market websites around the world that sell stolen identities? >> 30-year-old american man, excellent credit rating. >> announcer: lifelock monitors thousands of these sites 24 hours a day. and if we discover any of our members' data for sale, lifelock is there with the most comprehensive identity theft protection available. [♪...] [squealing, crash] call 1-800-lifelock or go to today. [ male announcer ] the more you lose, the more you lose because for every 2 pounds you lose through diet and exercise, alli can help you lose one more by blocking some of the fat you eat. let's fight fat with alli.
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satisfaction guaranteed i've always kept my eye on her... but with so much health care noise, i didn't always watch out for myself. with unitedhealthcare, i get personalized information and rewards for addressing my health risks. but she's still going to give me a heart attack. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. three weeks from today the swearing in of president president obama. this year two times the fun. the president will be sworn in on january 20th as dictated by the constitution. since the 20th falls on a sunday that ceremony will take place at the white house. there will be a second more public inaugural ceremony at the u.s. capitol the next day, monday january 21st. let's take a look at other stories. apparently americans are not the
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only ones excited about the president's inauguration. ♪ four years have passed but president is still the man ♪ ♪ >> the irish group is at it again with the second song for the president. the first song went viral and earned the duo an invitation to the president's inauguration. this time the president's distant cousin will present a copy of the new song to the president for which he was given a co-writer credit. we'll find out for sure if formerer senator chuck hagel will be nominated for secretary defense. hagel wore that joe biden for
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president outfit to a senatet foreign relations committee meeting. and leon panetta seems to be okay with james gandolfini playing him in the film "zero dark thirt." the first lady arriving and departing hawaii in the same exact dress. although she did choose to accesses are it a little differently. not so good news at the gas pump. how much you are going to be paying to fill up. the former commander of u.s. forces in afghanistan is talking about the tensions that he felt with the white house. one former congressman no stranger to the long arm of the law says he is against legalizing drugs. we'll tell you why.
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neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night. howt about congress? the united states postal service has recorded a $15.9 billion loss for 2012. congress concluded last year without passing legislation to help the post office slow the bleeding. let's look at other top stories. a preliminary hearing for james holmes is scheduled for today. he is accused of killing 12 and wounding 58 others during a shooting rampage. families of the victims are suing the theater and many are angry that it plans to reopen this month. the low gas prices that we saw last month are now up nearly 10 cents a gallon. another hike is expected through early april. analysts blame rising crude
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prices. and good news from south africa regarding nelson mandela. doctors say the 94-year-old former president has recovered after being hospitalized for the persistent lung infection. they say he continues to improve at home and is focusing on getting back to his daily routine. next year is supposed to be the final one for u.s. combat operations in afghanistan. that is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to america's involvement there. tomorrow afghan president hamid karzai arrives in washington to meet with president obama and talk about what happens after 2014 including how much economic aid that the united states is willing to provide. what can we expect to come out of tomorrow's meeting here in d.c.? >> reporter: i think both sides, both president hamid karzai and president obama will want to
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walk away from this week's meeting with a clearer picture of how many troops will remain in afghanistan post 2014. there are roughly 66,000 troops based here in afghanistan. both sides will want a clearer picture of what that looks like beyond the pullout. some numbers are reported being considered by the obama administration are 3,000, 6,000 and 9,000. those are considerably smaller levels than the numbers that were proposed by general john allen who is the head commander here in afghanistan for the u.s. forces. he suggested that the troop level should be 6,000 to 20,000. the thinking is if there is a smaller contingent they will assume more of a nimble and more specialops type of deal. if there is a larger contention then they will assume more
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conventional roles. now, a lot of this may hinge on this notion of immunity. president karzai will have to decide if he will grant immunity for whatever troops remain here. that would give legal protection for troops based here in the event that they break local laws. that is a big deal because when the u.s. decided to withdraw from iraq it decided to leave no troops because the iraqi government decided not to give immunity. there are a lot of questions on whether that will happen and there is a lot of concern on the streets. some afghans welcome the idea of a smaller foreign foot print but many are fearing that when the u.s. does lessen it could mean a resurgence of violence. and the taliban issued a statement saying if u.s. troops are left here they vow and promise more war and destruction. >> thanks to you. be safe, as well.
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the numbers being floated in terms of how many troops the u.s. might leave in afghanistan have ranged as high as 20,000. they are as low as 3,000. let's get to the war room. former chief of staff for west virginia. a republican strategist and former aid to president george h.w. bush. what do you think that we will hear from this meeting between president obama and president karzai. >> president obama i'm sure will listen to the laundry list of complaints that president karzai has. i think both are concerned about the local audience, that is to say the domestic audience. president karzai is concerned about the audience at home and president obama has to consider the bigger picture. >> chris, with the political reality is that the public wants out of afghanistan.
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and the political reality in afghanistan is that they want u.s. troops to leave, why, then, keep any troops in afghanistan? >> that is a really good question. i think you are seeing a lot of questioning amongst political leaders on the hill as to whether we need much of residual force. there is an argument made more so for counter terrorism than anything. but the real discussion i would argue is not about troop size. that is clearly a big part of it. the bigger part is aid. when you look at afghanistan's gdp it is effectively a gdp funded by the american taxpayer. given the tough financial fiscal choices we have to make in this country it is going to be tough to build the kind of political will to continue to aid afghanistan for years to come especially given the serious questions about corruption and incompetence that government has ignored. >> i want to read a quote here
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from general mccrystal's new book. he writes the beginning of president obama's first term saw the emergence of an unfortunate deficit of trust between the white house and the department of defense largely arising from the decision-making process on afghanistan. the effects were costly. big difference between having different opinions about what is needed to succeed in the mission and having a deficit of trust. is it fair to say the decision making has hurt the war effort? >> i think you have to realize that the president of the united states whether a democrat or republican is the commander in chief. whoever the commanders on the ground are have to respect the issues and wishes of the commander in chief. general mccrystal and others i think may have been slow to come to the terms that the commander in chief didn't necessarily
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agree with them in matters with regards to them moving forward. >> all of this comes as we are looking at the possibility of chuck hagel as the next defense secretary. this is what mitch mcconnell said on "meet the press." >> views with regard to israel and iran and all of the other positions that he has taken over the years i think will be very much a matter of discussion during the confirmation process. >> you are not predicting smooth sailing for chuck hagel? >> i think it will boo be a lot of tough questions of senator hagel but he will be treated fairly. >> we haven't heard from a lot of chuck hagel friends on television over the last few weeks. we know there is resistance from republicans and we know jewish groups and gay community is talking about action. if the president does nominate him, is it a good gamble? >> you know, it is clearly a
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gamble because i think the white house, if it looks like they are going to put hagel forward they have to go out there and aggressively defend this nomination because those who oppose him have been vocalal and quick to be vocal. this is not going to be an easy nomination. i think there will be tough questioning. i think he probably gets confirmed because it is tough to say no the president's choice. it is a question of how much political capitol you spend when you have really tough issues coming down the pike in the next two months. the white house will be really aggressive about this. >> how surprised are you that the white house has decided to go to matt, former republican senator. >> he is also a friend of president obama. >> the president has other friends that he could have nominated. >> chuck hagel has said you
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don't put party or president first, you put the country first. he was not always -- he was oftentimes out of lock step with president bush and vice president cheney during the years of their presidency and a very outspoken critic. he is somebody who is very independent and has not earned the friendship and support of lots of republicans but he is somebody who i think the president can get through because at the end of it all he is very independently minded. >> you want to give me a redskins score prediction before you get out of here? >> redskins win, man. >> that's what i like to hear. we only have redskins' fans on this show. two leading economists say the sheer cost of the war on drugs has been ridiculously high. is it time to take the cuffs
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off? first it was 12 years ago today that our long national nightmare was finally over. we flashback to a historic moment on capitol hill. this is msnbc. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do. "are you a cool mom?" i'm gonna find out. [ female announcer ] swiffer wetjet's pads are better than ever. now they have the scrubbing power of mr. clean magic eraser so you don't have to get down on your hands and knees to scrub away tough, dried-on stains. hey, do you guys think i'm "momtacular" or "momtrocious"? ♪ [ female announcer ] swiffer. now with the scrubbing power of mr. clean magic eraser.
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five days later, i had a massive heart attack. bayer aspirin was the first thing the emts gave me. now, i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ woman ] learn from my story. congratulations to former president george h.w. bush and former first lady barbara bush. they got married back in 1945 three years after meeting each other at a christmas dance. they are the longest married presidential couple. how about that? january 6 must be a lucky day for the bush family. back in 2001 a joint session of congress declared george w. bush president elect. the supreme court finally settled the contested election that came down to five electoral
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votes. it was al gore who declared the winner out loud to congress but not before congressional members staged one final protest. this is the nbc nightly news story from that day. today's passions the result of 35 days of doubt in florida after the november vote. almost all of the objections came from members of the congressional black caucus in protest of alleged voting irregulari irregularities. they were destined to lose because federal law requires at least one senator to sign to an objection from the house. >> it is a sad day when we can't find a senator to sign objections. >> the objection is in writing and i don't care that it is not signed by a member of the senate. >> the rules do care and -- >> in the end members of the black caucus walked out venting their anger at both parties at a
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news conference cht. >> we will never get over this. we will take this to my grave. >> the count went on state by state with the expected outcome. >> george w. bush of the state of texas has received for president of the united states 271 votes. al gore of the state of tennessee has received 266 votes. may god bless our new president and our new vice president and may god bless the united states of america. >> seems like just yesterday. the high court begins its first session of the new year tomorrow. the court will be hearing about a dozen oral arguments. most court watchers are focused on two cases that may not come up for some time. both of them dealing with same sex marriage. i want to bring in reporter mike sacks. what is on the docket this week? >> it is kind of dog days of january.
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there aren't many cases that will take much position. we will have at the end of the week a case called missouri v mcnealy whether the police can take blood sampling from a not warranted person pulled over for a dui. and can the police constitutionally take his blood? >> the cases with regards to marriage rights when will those happen? probably in march. >> march is generally when the high court decides on the grand daddy cases? >> it is based on when they take the case. they took the case when january and february were scheduled. president obama has appointed two justices. he did that in his first term. any current members likely to step down? >> barack obama's reelection
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insured that ginsburg can retire in peace. >> her health at this point my understanding is she has health issues that might require her to step down. >> she looks frail but she is resilient lady. she has had several bouts of cancer and survived that. >> when she decides to go and sometimes things happen with regards to health that the justices can't predict, if there is an opening on the high court who is on the short list for the president? >> for the president you might have the attorney general of california. she has been floated by a name. he is kind of the supreme court predictions. she is one of the top on the democratic side. you could have lou who was put on the california supreme court after the senatet refused to hear his nomination.
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those are pretty liberal folk. if justice doesn't last or justice kennedy chooses to retire or god forbid dies then it will be a nuclear battle on the senatet floor to try to get anyone confirmed. >> i have always found it interesting because i think sometimes if i were supreme court justice and i were watching this and having two men talk about my potential demise it would be odd. >> it is the down side of life tenure. >> thank you for coming by on this sunday. former congressman patrick kennedy who has admitted an addiction to pain meds in the past is leading a crusade against the legalizing of pot. i've always had to keep my eye on her...
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but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters... my individual health profile. not random statistics. they even reward me for addressing my health risks. so i'm doing fine... but she's still going to give me a heart attack. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare.
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and there's about to be a new effort against legalizing marijuana. it's being led by retired rhode island congressman patrick kennedy, son of the late senator edward kennedy. the eight-term democrat is taking aim at what he sees as knee-jerk support for marijuana legalization among his fellow liberals. kennedy, a self-confessed former oxycontin addict, plans to unveil the efforts of the group that he's heading in a news conference wednesday in denver. that effort comes after the november election saw voters in washington state and colorado become the first in this country to approve measures to tax and regulate pot sales for recreational use. back with me now our panel of journalists, jake sherman, congressional reporter and gnome scheiber, senior editor for "the new republic." legalization backers have argued that the so-called war on drugs launched in 1971 by former president nixon has been an
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abject failure, it hasn't stemmed marijuana use and has instead saddled otherwise law-abiding pot smokers with criminal records that keeps them from getting a good job. are we witnessing a paradigm shift in this country with regards to decriminalization or even legalization? >> i think we're witnessing a paradigm change or a change. i wouldn't quite refer to it as a paradigm shift. i think the analogy with gay marriage is very instructive. both of them poll sort of roughly the same. you have slightly more americans who favor legalization than oppose. slightly more americans who favor gay marriage than oppose, and the age demographics tell the whole story. 18 to 29, wildly popular. >> true. >> 30 to 34, pretty popular, and then as you get up through the demographics until 65 and up, then it starts to become very unpopular so people have theorized in both cases that as the young cohorts age, these things will become impressively more popular. i don't think that's right. i think gay marriage will
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continue to become very much more popular as people interact with gay and lesbian americans. they are not going to forget that they are just ordinary people just like them. >> sure. >> as they get older, but i think with pot and drug legalization generally, it's a different pra jectry. i think you do, even if you're open to it as a younger person. as you get older, you have kids. they become teenagers. >> sure. >> you tend to become a little more conservative on the issue us a age so i don't think the paradigm is going to radically shift. i think it's going to be baby steps, you know, over the coming decades. >> jake, the department of justice, of course, still developing a policy with regard to the new state laws passed in colorado, passed in washington state which violate federal law. what do you think the obama administration will ultimately decide to do about those states that have legalized pot essentially? >> the administration has signaled many times that they are not going to prosecute people in states where marijuana is legal, but it's important to note that this is not something that washington is going to take up any time soon, especially in congress. republicans who are in control
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in the house see it as kind of going off on a tangent. they don't want to take this up. it even splits democrats so it's not really an issue that you find a lot of unity on. so it's a long way from being an issue in washington, in congress, but the president is getting a lot of pressure to -- on both sides of the equation, both to prosecute people who are illegally smoking marijuana and selling marijuana and to not, so it's something that is a hairy issue right now we don't see a resolution to. >> i do find it particularly interesting, noam, we know of patrick kennedy's history with drugs, does want cancer patients and others with serious illnesses to be able to obtain marijuana but in a more regular way and wants increased funding for greg dependency as well so those caught using marijuana might avoid incarceration and get help. any chance that this becomes an issue that does pick up some bipartisan support? >> well, you know, i think what
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will have support is this idea that we should, if we were to take further steps towards legalization, we should not just use it as an opportunity to save money. obviously the war on drugs is very expensive and people argue that that money has been wasted. i think it would be a mistake, and i think there's probably a lot of political support for the idea that it would be a mistake, just to try to take that money and refund it as taxes, and as representative kennedy said put that money towards treatment or have had drug problems, find jobs, help reintegrate them into the mainstream so to the extent he's trying to accomplish that that's a very healthy force in this debate. >> thanks to both of you. we do appreciate your time. >> thanks for having us. >> thanks. >> after the fiscal cliff tax deal with the vice president, does mitch mcconnell, does he need to watch out for the right side of the republican party? we're going to talk to the head of the tea party express a little bit later. and wanted, a few good women to
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run for president. both parties are actively searching for women candidates. we'll go through the roster you're watching. msnbc, the place for politics. [ male announcer ] where do you turn for legal matters? maybe you want to incorporate a business. or protect your family with a will or living trust. and you'd like the help of an attorney. at legalzoom a legal plan attorney is available in most states with every personalized document to answer questions. get started at today. and now you're protected. if we took the already great sentra apart and completely reimagined it? ...with best-in-class combined mpg... and more interior room than corolla and civic? ...and a technology suite with bluetooth, navigation and other handy stuff? yeah, that would be cool. introducing the all-new nissan sentra. it's our most innovative sentra ever. nissan. innovation that excites. now get a $169-per-month lease on a 2013 nissan sentra. ♪
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this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work?
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you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. president obama back in washington fresh off the fiscal cliff fight. now he and the democrats face a debt fight with the gop. at the same time we expect a nomination for a new secretary of defense now, but for many the name chug hagel has their hair standing on end. good afternoon. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics and what role, if any, will the tea party play in the mid-term election? we'll talk to the head of the tea party express and is it time to revisit one of the most revered documents in our american democracy? first though president obama back at the white house fresh off the hawaiian family vacation facing a fresh fiscal fight with
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republicans, even as he and his family return to from hawaii. republicans were firing new shots on the sunday morning talk shots in the battle over raising the nation's debt limit. >> if you raise the debt ceiling by a dollar, you should cut spending by a dollar. that is the way to go forward. >> dealt with the revenue issue. now the question is will the president lead? you know why should we have to be bringing him to the table? why isn't he leading us in the direction of beginning to solve our long-term debt and deficit problem? it's perplexing to me that the president of the united states, elected to lead the country, is so reluctant to engage on the most important issue confronting our future. >> nbc news white house correspondent peter alexander joins us live now. pete, the president has been pretty adamant here in the past saying that he will not compromise over raising the debt ceiling and that reducing the deficit has to include some sort of balance new revenue
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and spending cuts. do we expect him to give in at all? >> nice to hear the sound lights from lindsey graham and mitch mcconnell. you can see the holiday cheer has made it well into the beginning days 2013 right there. continued antagonism on both sides right now with tough talk as we go forward. remember this debt ceiling. we hit that. our nation's borrowing limit, money already owed and already been spent just a couple of months from now, so this is going to be a top priority in a very near future as we go ahead right now. as you heard from mitch mcconnell, he said that presidential leadership is desperately needed. he said specifically that the last-minute deals are not the way that the government should be run right now. the question is what the president and what the administration is willing to concede on. the republicans again in the house and senate are calling for entitlement reform. they want the medicare age to be raised. they want means testing, as we heard, again today, and it's important to note on "meet the
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press" when mitch mcconnell was speaking to our colleague david gregory he declined to answer whether he would rule out a government shutdown as a way of effectively enforcing that need for spending cuts. craig? >> in addition to all the fiscal stuff that the president will be dealing with over the next few months, there's also gun control. there's also immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform. how concerned is the white house that all of the budgetary issues are going to drown out the other issues? >> well, the white house feels very strongly that it won that last fiscal cliff battle t.thinks it continues to have the momentum, pointing to polls, and they believe american agreement with the policies that the president is trying to institute going forward, but -- but recognize. even mitch mcconnell today said that the next couple of months will be donnellnated by gun and fiscal issues, and the president said when he speak in the briefing room a short distance from where i'm speaking to you, one of his top priorities, something he would not allow to
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be kicked down the road like a lot of washington committees as he acknowledged at that time, so it's definitely a balancing of multiple challenges right now, and another one, us a noted, on his plate with administration officials telling nbc news within the last minute that that announcement of chug hagel as secretary of defense will happen tomorrow, monday. >> all right. peter alexander, breaking some news for us at the end of this as well. thank you, sir. appreciate you. >> more now on the battle escalating over raising the nation's debt ceiling. joining me now jared bernstein, former chief economist for vice president joe biden, now a senior fellow at the center on budget and policy priorities. also an msnbc contributor and perhaps has one of the longest on-air introductions of anybody. >> sorry about that, craig. >> that's okay. >> and now we've got to go. >> i want to start here with what could seem like a simple question. it's one that i've had for some time now, and you're probably one of the few guys that can answer it. what should be or what is a
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healthy level of debt? what should we be carrying as debt in this country? >> i think the current level of debt, which is around 70% sounds very, very high to a lot of people. i actually think it's perfectly appropriate. we've just gone through the deepest recession since the great depression. when you think of the periods in history when debt was higher, of course, world war ii was one of them, and obviously that was a national emergency. well, when you're talking about the kind of financial meltdown, housing meltdown, economic meltdown, unemployment melt up, that's an emergency, too. the question now though, craig, is less about that level of debt as to which direction it's going in. the essential thing is to get the debt to gdp, debt-to-gdp ratio to start coming down once an economic expansion is truly under way. >> how do we do that in a balanced way? >> it's -- it's actually a question like i can answer with
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numbers. and -- and the key word there is balanced. if you actually run the numbers given what we've cult so far, we've actually cut $1.5 trillion in spending. that was part of the 2011 budget control act. don't let anybody tell you we've not cut any spending. we have. we've just increased taxes by 600 billion in the fiscal cliff deal. if you kind of put all the numbers together, we need another 1.2 trillion in deficit savings to get to a point where the debt is no longer growing faster than gdp. that stabilizes the depth-to-gdp ratio. 1.2 trillion sounds like a lot, but that's over ten years, and it's about half a percent of gdp. to do it in a balanced way, means 600 billion on the revenue side and 600 billion in the spending cut side, and i think that's the answer to your question. >> that is the answer to my question. the debt limit battle that we're looking at here over the next month or two, what's the potential that that battle could once again, not just affect the markets, but also affect the
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credit rating that this country has? >> well, right. i think the market impact, while certainly important, it pales behind that of the potential impact on economies our own and the global. the potential is huge. i mean, the fiscal cliff was a scratch on your arm compared to the damage that we're talking about here. in fact, many ways the fiscal cliff, as we saw, was more -- we actually went over the fiscal cliff for a few hours there, and you didn't see really any economic damage at all. once you breach the debt ceiling, that's a default and it's an economic cataclysm. it means you're stiffening your creditors and will have to pay huge interest rates to finance the debt, and it technically means, and this is key, and i don't know why congress doesn't wrap their head around it, it means you're not paying for things you've already obligated the federal government to pay for. >> right. >> this is exactly analogous to
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deciding at the end of the meal that you're just not going to pay for that meal. these are payments that this congress, this congress, has obligated itself to make. payments to defense contractors, payments to creditors, payments to everyone who does business with the federal government, that all of a sudden they are suggesting they are going to renege on. how can you do business like that? >> how serious do you think mitch mcconnell and some other republicans who have spoken out on this, how serious do you think that they are about this idea of shutting down the government? >> you know, there are two schools of thought on that. one says they are bluffing, and the other side says they are not and i'm pretty convinced to say that they are no. i don't think they understand the magnitude what have they are fooling around with. i think they aren't willing to understand the logic of what i told you in my last response, the idea that these are obligations that they themselves have signed on to, that congress has spent that money hand now it's saying it doesn't want to pay for it. i just think they are not -- to say they are not being serious doesn't go far enough. i think the recklessness in
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their position is very extreme. >> our favorite economist jared bernstein, thanks to you so much on this sunday afternoon. do appreciate it. >> sure. >> developing news now. moments ago nbc news confirmed that former republican senator from nebraska chuck hagel will in fact be nom nail theed for defense secretary tomorrow at at white house. chuck hagel is a decorated vietnam war vet. he would be succeeding leon panetta at the pentagon. again, nbc news confirming that chuck hagel will in fact get that nomination tomorrow from the president at white house. law enforcement on both sides of the aisle meanwhile have been saying that chuck hagel simply the wrong choice. >> frankly, chuck hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking i believe on most issues regarding foreign policy. i expect the president to nominate people than i would think. i'm going to vote for senator kerry. i don't agree with him a lot, but i think he's very much in the mainstream of thought. chuck hagel, if confirmed to be secretary of defense, would be
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the most antagonistic secretary of defense towards state of israel in our nation's history. >> with me now new york democratic congressman elliot engel, ranking member of the house foreign affairs committee as well. congressman, i'm guessing you don't probably agree with lindsey graham a whole lot, but you have also expressed some similar concerns about chuck hagel. what are they? >> let me say this. i think that what we neat to do now. the president obviously has made his decision. the president has a right to choose his cabinet, and we have a process where the senate vices and consents. there will be hearings held. lots of things come out, and i think we out to hold our powder until then. that's the process that's happened, and i think we ought to just move forward with that. >> holding our powder, something we don't see a whole lot offous of washington, d.c. the president has defended chuck hagel as a patriot and someone who has done extraordinary work in washington. how much weight should his
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tenure as a soldier care? >> the president has to make those decisions with people he's nominating. nominating senator kerry and nominating senator hagel, and i think they will be very thorough investigations into both of them. the president, whatever criteria he uses, that's up to him. now it goes to the senate, and let's see what unfolds there. >> hamid karzai coming to d.c. this week. we know they will be talking about the u.s. role in that country beyond 2014. you said as far back as october 2011, i want to make sure that i get this right, that it was time to move on from this war. would you be okay with any agreement that leaves troops in place and commits money after 2014? >> well, i wouldn't give a blank check. i'd have to say, but i think the american people are tired of afghanistan. it's already been our longest war. sometimes we get the feeling that what we're trying to do there is not appreciated. i would just see what happens. if there would be a small force left over and it wouldn't be too encoupleberg on the united
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states, then it's something that i would look at, but i think it's time to leave afghanistan. we left iraq. now it's time to leave afghanistan. >> when we do leave that country, will we be leaving as victors? >> well, i think we will have accomplished largely what we set out to do. remember, you know, the war in afghanistan, in my opinion, was the war we should have fought at the beginning. as new yorker, 9/11, we all remember what happened. we all saw the devastation, and we went into afghanistan to get at the taliban who were really behind, harboring the criminal and the terrorists that were behind 9/11, and so i think we had a good reason to be there. we're told that al qaeda is on the run. obviously we can't just walk away. >> right. >> we need to continue the drone attacks and other things that we're doing, so i think by and large we have accomplished what we set out, to but, you know, we cannot be there indefinitely or be the policeman of the world, and at some point we have to say
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we set out to accomplish what we planned to do and move on to plan "b." >> this week marks the second anniversary of your colleague, gabby giffords, and the lack of gun control legislation should be a black mark on the congress. >> gun control legislation has been swallowed up by everything that i've been in congress and this is my 13th term. >> why is that? why does congress lack the political will to do anything about gun control? >> those of us that represent new york or the northeast, we don't understand it either because we think sensible gun control legislation is what's necessary. you do have the nra influence all through the country and people who believe more guns are more than anything. nobody is opposed to second ament rights, i'm not. i'm for sensible rights and i think the founding fathers could not have seen the automatic weapons or these clips 200-plus
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years ago, and i think people know what's common sense. nobody wants to deprive a hunter or someone that needs a gun for security of it, but why people have to get automatic weapons and clips where they can murder people. we saw what happened in newtown. we saw what happened in aurora. i mean, it's enough also, and i think that we need to move forward in this country. people on both sides of the aishl aisle, and have common sense gun control legislation that upholds the second amendment but isn't just stupid. >> what did you learn about your colleagues this week during voting for sandy relief? >> i was very disappointed. we had been told that wednesday morning there would be a bill for sandy relief. you know, i have in all the years i've been in congress voted for aid for every region of the country when there's a natural disaster, and we expect the same in the northeast. what infuriates me when my colleagues who represent places like biloxi, mississippi.
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>> sure. >> or missouri, florida. >> missouri or florida, where we have all voted for aid for those people and they deserved it, and now we deserve it. >> what do you think happened this time around, that there was some sort of regional bias? >> well, i do think that some of my republican colleagues are trying to burnish their credentials against spending, and they want to perhaps see some offsets. you know, we don't need offsets in times of national emergencies or crisis. in the past 20 years this is already the longest any part of the country has had to wait in order to get any help from a natural disaster. it's already been 66 or 70 days, and this hasn't happened that long. with katrina we moved quickly. we've moved quickly in other places, and i would point out to my colleagues that states like new york and new jersey, we are donor states. we give more to the federal government than we get back in return. now we need the help, and so we need the help, and, you know,
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can you argue about what the federal government should be doing. no one should argue that the federal government needs to be there when american citizens' lives are at stake, and that's certainly what happened with the sandy disaster. >> we'll have to leave it there. new york democratic congressman eliot engel. thanks so much. appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> up next, tax and consequences. the head of the tea party express says that she's disgusted with the deal that was made on capitol hill, and you know what, congressman, i'm going to ask her about the sandy relief bill as well. we'll talk to her next. >> and later when asked about their religion, how many members of the new congress checked the box none. the answer may surprise you. stay tuned. this is msnbc, the place for politics.
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the single biggest issue we have right now is the massive, massive debt hanging over the heads of our children and grandchildren. we need to address it, and the american people elected divided government. they expect us to deal with the problems, even though they are hard to deal with when you have different points of view. >> republican leader mitch mcconnell there trying to put the fiscal cliff in his rear view mirror but some on the right may not let him. mcconnell is now one of several republicans being targeted by tea party groups who say they are ready to take on the establish nntment again in 2014. with me is amy creamer, head of the tea party express. >> good to see you. >> president for the americans with prosperity, tim phillips said in part, quote, lawmakers will not be judged solely on how they voted on the fiscal cliff, but it is a big vote to get wrong. obviously he's referring to republicans that supported the legislation. that includes 85 house
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republicans, 33 republican senators. should all of them consider themselves on notice from the tea party, amy? >> well, look, i think that every member in congress, both chambers, should be watching what they are doing, because at the end of the day they work for us, we, the people, and we've sent these people there to cut the spending, and all they do is spend and spend some more. and that's really the problem is that the cuts never come. they never came with reagan. they never came with bush 41, and now even the sequester that's supposed to be automatic spending cuts, that's been pushed off for another two months. the cuts never come, and it's unacceptable when you have this amount of deficit spending. >> why don't you think the cuts come? >> because i think that they don't have the courage to do it. it's not easy, and, i mean, we know that, that it's not going to be easy to cut some of this stuff, but they get up there. i think they go there with good intentions, and then they get there and it becomes more about remaining in power, staying in
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office and the money and staying on the d.c. cocktail circuit than it does representing we, the people, and there's no accountability. they are literally up there with a card, and every time they vote they swipe that card, and can you imagine what $1 trillion is. most people can't even imagine $1 million. we have $1.6 trillion in deficit spending per year, and you can't even imagine it, so there's no accountability. >> i want to get your take on -- i just promised the congressman i'd ask him about it, the sandy relief bill. >> sure. >> the first part was passed. the second part of supposed to come up for a vote, but it's also become very contentious. what do you think the role of government should be with regards to disaster relief? >> well, look, i think that we need to help those in need. i do, but, craig, the problem with this bill was there's so much pork in it. >> there's pork in every bill, you know that. >> exactly. listen, that's the problem. why not just pass what is needed for the residents in new jersey and new york and connecticut,
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all the states that were affected by this. why are you putting pork in there for alabama and alaska and louisiana? >> there was pork in the fiscal cliff bill as well. there's pork in every bill and all of a sudden there's so many lawmakers that have drawn a line in the sand here with regards to sandy relief. why -- why start there? >> this is the thing is that the -- if -- if there's money for those programs, whatever it is, write the legislation, bring it to the floor, debate it and then have an up or down vote on it, but when you are passing legislation under the cover of darkness and literally giving these members of congress three to six minutes before they have to vote on it, that's not acceptable. the american people, it doesn't matter what party you're. in the american people should find that inexcusable. those bills should be posted online for 48 to 72 hours so they can be read, and the members can read them. you wouldn't go sign a contract without reading it. >> right. >> you'd lose your job, and they
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should, too. this is not acceptable, but -- let me say something. >> let me -- if i don't ask you, you can request g on for like four or five minutes and i can't get questions in. another tea party leader matt kibbe from freedom works said the presidential politics sucked the oxygen out of local races in 2012 and 2014 looks a lot more like 2010. what are the expectations for the mid-term? >> i think matt is absolutely right. i mean, presidential politics, well, first of all, i'll say, look, when the tea party drove the messaging of fiscal responsibility and smaller, less government in 2010, we had huge victories n.2012, when the republican party was driving the messaging, we lost. not only conservatives, but moderates as well. so i look forward to 2014 because we are not going to have presidential politics driving the messaging as well as sucking all the money up, and, you know, it's expensive to run ad buys
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and commercials in a presidential race, so i look forward to it, and i think matt is right about that. i look forward to us having big victories again because most americans want less spending. they want washington to live within their means. >> but don't you agree, amy kremer, people say government should be smaller, the budget should be smaller. we should spend a lot less, but when you ask them about specifics, start talking about trimming social security, trimming medicare, then all of a sudden people really don't like the idea of certain government programs being trimmed. isn't that the real dilemma? >> well, right, people don't like it, but you know what? this is the problem is that those conversations are not happening, i mean, where the american public can hear them. they are happening behind closed doors and all of a sudden the legislation comes out and we've got to vote on it to see what's in it. why don't we have an open and transparent government. let c-span and cameras be in
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there and let the american people hear the debate and they can decide but it's not right for these negotiations to be going on behind closed doors and put legislation out there that you're voting on three to six minutes later. >> always appreciate it. chairwoman of the tea party express. >> have a good day. >> it's at the center of so many of our debates these days. there it is, right there, the u.s. constitution. is it perhaps the problem and not the solution? our brain trust is going to debate that issue straight ahead. first though one former gop candidate points out that compliments aren't always helpful, especially when they come from key members of the rival party. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics and friendship. [ male announcer ] what are happy kids made of? bikes and balloons, wholesome noodles on spoons. a kite, a breeze, a dunk of grilled cheese. catches and throws, and spaghettio's.
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news. confirmed by nbc news, an obama administration official could be firming to nbc news that president obama will in fact nominate former republican senator from nebraska senator chuck hagel for defense secretary. the 66-year-old hagel was wounded during vietnam and initially backed the iraq war and later became a fierce critic of the bush administration's defense policies. if confirmed, republicans and democrats have vowed quite the fight over this nomination. now, let's go ahead and take a visit to our political playground. spotted a trend this week of politicians taking digs at each other in an interview with the "new york times" magazine. former presidential candidate and utah governor jon huntsman had this to say about cerne people who gave him props during the campaign. quote, you have people like michael moore, bill clinton and jimmy carter coming out and giving you kudos as a sane republican. that does not play so well in the primary phase of iowa or south carolina. to be fair, huntsman was referring to the kudos as an
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added strike against him on top of his tendency towards honesty, even when inconvenient during the campaign. but by singling those three out, especially bill clinton, jon huntsman probably doesn't have to worry about any future endorsements. and a move that could signal some progress. during thursday's swearing-in ceremonies house speaker john boehner met the husbands of both democratic representative shaun patrick maloney of new york and mark pokan of wisconsin and how is that for family friendly and a new pew report notes members of the 113th congress are getting bold when it comes to their religious affiliation. they are at the same 2% level as americans who refuse to specify their faith. democratic congresswoman kirsten cinema to describe her religion as non-but ten of her colleagues didn't specify any religious affiliation and that's up from ten members in the previous
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comment. an update on nelson mandela's health. the 94-year-old civil rights icon doing a little bit better. straight ahead -- >> what's going to dominate washington for the next threements here is going to be spending and debt. >> senator mitch mcconnell doesn't think gun control gets any movement in congress any time soon, but the white house may have something up its sleeve. we've learned a little bit more about what it's planning. we'll tell you about it and some rare unpublished color photos of the beatles first u.s. tour have been recovered. they are up for sale as well. you can probably get a really good deal on them. we'll give you a preview. this is msnbc, the place for politics and beatles stuff as well on sunday afternoons.
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. here's a quick look at stories making news right now. doctors say former south african president nelson mandela is recovering well after being hospitalized for a lung
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infection and surgery to remove galstones and hockey fans, good news for you. the nhl announcing a tentative agreement for a new collective bargaining agreement with its players, and the deal would still require a majority of approval from the board of governors and members of the national hockey league players association, but it looks like hockey is coming back, and these unpuplished early and rare color pictures of the beatles are about to hit the auction block. they were taken when the fab four first toured the u.s. back in 1964. >> well, the white house may take a broader approach to gull crone than previously 000 thought. according to the washington a working group being headed by vice president joe biden is seriously considering a number of measures for law enforcement, one of them a universal background check, a national database to track sale and stiffer penalties for carrying firearms near schools as well as
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mental health screening. thanks to all of you for come in on a sunday. boys, let me start with you. what kind of a fight is the white house going to have on their hand as a measure? >> there is going to be a firkts but i as a republican would say it's better to work with the white house on this. this is a bipartisan issue for two very important issues. one, we've definitely seen an uptick in this gun violence and it's awful. two, the president got re-elected. the majority in the senate democratic. for us to pick a fight on this, mental health checks, background checks, these are things that i'm in favor of and a lot of moderate republicans are in favor of, something that's almost necessary in the world we live in today when guns are more accessible than they used to be. >> senate majority leader mitch mcconnell from "meet the press"
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this morning, and i want you to take a listen to what he said about the possibility that gun rights won't even be on the agenda for months. take a listen. >> what we need to do first is see what the vice president's group comes up with, what their recommendations are. there will be plenty of time to take a look at their recommendations once they come forward. what's going to dominate washington for the next three months here is going to be spending and debt. >> bob, have republicans underestimated the outrage in this country over what happened in newtown, connecticut? >> well, to be honest with you i think that the democrats and the administration may be overestimating their ability to overcome the gun lobby, to be very bluntly honest about it. i think that joe biden promising the boston mayor that there would be a package that was out and on the president's desk by january, by the end of january, raises my question of what -- what year are we talking here? this is not something that's going to go easily. what could happen though is that the president, through executive
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order, could make some of these things actually occur, so i suspect that we will see a package, but senator mcconnell is probably right. it's going to be quite some time before congress does anything meaningful, if it ever does. >> is the nra, is it as powerful as it would have a lot of folks to believe? >> you know, the question becomes is the nra actually representing its members is the first question i would ask. you know, what we do know, and boris hit this on the head when he just said this, the majority, vast majority of gun owners, 90% of gun owners, 90% of the members of the nra, absolutely believe that some kind of stricter gun regulation that keeps guns and firearms out of the hands of people who could be harmful is a good thing, and so the question becomes who is the nra actually representing, and at the end of the day it's profiteers. it's the gun lobby that are people who are padding their pockets with selling those weapons, and those are the people that mitch mcconnell are beholden to. the last election has proven they are not as powerful as
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folks would have us believe. what we know is that only something like 1% of the millions of dollars that they invested in races went to campaigns that actually won. >> i haven't seen you, boris, since the nra had that bizarre press conference where they called for armed guards at schools. do you think that is -- is that even where we should start? should that be a part of the conversation? >> should be a part of the conversation. that's important to have because you're seeing a lot of gun violence in school when shooters are coming in armed, and there really is only one way to battle that. if there's an armed -- >> is a 64-year-old retired police officer down in the gym? is that a real -- >> someone who is specifically trained and also you don't need to have one blanket policy for everywhere in the country. look at some schools that may be more in danger. but newtown, an upper middle class area, wouldn't necessarily think that that's an area where something like this would happen. that's part of the conversation and something that's very important is they are taking a look at a loophole where folks
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who buy guns at gun shows don't need to submit to background checks. walmart and entities like that would be supporting getting out of loophole. buying guns with background checks, that's a good thing. >> there,will not be an issue we let die. stay with us. we've been talking about the guns and second amendment. we want to take a step back and also spend some time talking about scrapping the constitution all together, not my idea, but this is an idea that has been floated by a really smart guy. in fact, he taught at your law school, boris epstein. this is msnbc, the place for politics. [ dylan ] this is one way to keep your underwear clean. this is another! ta-daa! try charmin ultra strong. it cleans so well and you can use up to four times less than the leading value brand. oh! there it is. thanks son. hey! [ female announcer ] charmin ultra strong has a duraclean texture that can help you get clean while still using less.
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all right. we've been talking about cons and constitutional rights with the brain trust. aisha moody-mills and syndicated columnist bob franken and boris epstein, contributor for "the
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daily caller" and one u.s. scholar says we ought to scrap the constitution. louis sideman, law professor, writing in the "new york times," quote, our obvious session with the constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system and kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. have constitutional restrictions paralyzed the process of governing, bob franken? >> well, dr. sideman will be so proud of me because i'll cut james madison from federalist paper 51 who said you must first enable the government to control the governed and in the next place oblige it to control itself, and that is the beauty of the constitution. that is to say it protects against the tyranny of the majority, as john adams said and then detoqueville said, and in fact makes it more difficult on the one hand to get things done, hence his complaint about dysfunctional government. on the other hand. it stops bad things from being done. it is a unique document in that
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it provides for a balance of power, and it does slow things down, but it's also guaranteed a stability and an ability for the united states to thrive ever since it went into effect. >> there is one phrase, aisha, that comes up in constitutional arguments frequently. professor sideman writes, quote, the idea that the framers what, would the framers have done? that's a frequent question. is it counterproductive to run the government on what a lot of folks might have thought some 250 yearsing. >> reporter: >> no. we certainly don't need to get rid of the constitution. what we actually need to do is enforce the constitution. the first amendment explicitly prohibits states, for example, for seeking to silent voices they don't agree with, and that's exactly what we've seen happen over the last couple of years. you've got a gerrymandering system that's happening in the states where districts are being created to silence democratic votes and make sure that those votes are meaningless quite frankly and that's why we have the mess that we have in
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congress because we have a majority that is made up of republicans in congress, even though in the last election democrats received something like 1.4 million more votes in general. >> in the house. >> yeah, in the house. >> in the house. so how is it that if democrats are receiving more votes in the house, the power dynamic is flipped. if we were upholding the constitution we wouldn't see that happening. >> boris, do you think that the constitution itself, should it be a living, breathing document? should it evolve as our society has evolved? >> to a degree, yes, and it was written that way. that's why there are four ways in the constitution where it can be amended and expanded and changed, so absolutely. >> none of which are possible, by the way. >> there's 27, right, so it has been done and done recently in the 1990s, and amendment passed and disagree with the professor on that. having said that the whole idea of scrapping the constitution is completely unpractical. he writes we need things like the first amendment, freedom of
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speech, freedom of religion but those should be held up out of respect, not out of necessity. we've seen what happens when government suspends their constitution. it is not a pretty sight. you're talking about fascist germany, fascist italy. you're talking about egypt, and even most recently what happened in egypt when morsi said he's going to suspend the constitution and take all the rights for himself. people went out on the street. that should not happen in america. we do not have a broken system. >> bob, the electoral college is a product of the constitution. is that just one more example of an out-of-date 18th century document ruling a 21st century nation? mean, we can't even -- we can't even do direct voting in this country? >> well, you know, james madison, once again, it's james madison day here on msnbc, is the one who argued in favor of the representational democracy as opposed to the direct democracy for the same reasons that we've already discussed. you have to worry about the
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passions, to use the word that was used in the fed papers, the passions of the moment that in fact could take away liberties. the electoral college is one example of that. probably that should be revisited the but the whole concept of representatives as opposed to a direct kind of vote which is fundamental to the constitution. particularly important these days when we debate the impossibility that all things could be decided by an internet vote. that could be kind of chaotic. >> stay right there, guys. up next, calling all ladies. we're going to start with you, aisha, since you're the only lady here. both parties aggressively searching for women candidates to run for president. we are going to go through the lineup after this. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy. great taste. mmm... [ male announcer ] sounds good. it's amazing what soup can do. if we took the already great sentra apart
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back with the brain trust. let talk about women here. political reporting that the democrats are already looking for the right woman to run in 2016. who do you think?
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who do you each think is the right woman? democrat or republican for 2016. aisha, i'm going to start with you here. >> well, the good news is we've got several, and that's what's exciting about this so-called year of the woman with record numbers -- >> i thought last year was the year of the woman. is this the year of the woman, too? >> 2012, we had some exciting victories, yes. i'm looking forward to seeing if kirsten gillibrand from new york, if she jumps in it or if senator amy klobuchar jumps in it from minnesota. >> you pulled one kind of out of right field. >> both of them are absolutely awesome candidates in terms of their values. i think they both have a lot to offer. they are young and fresh and can raise money. we'll see. >> i'll do one from the opposite team first. i think kathleen sebelius is name that needs to be watched, has done well also in the cabinet and clearly partisan for the democrat line. from the republicans i think we're looking at nikki haley.
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>> really, have you ever talked to someone who lives in south carolina about nikki haley. the approval rating outside the palmetto rate is considerably higher than it is there in south carolina. >> but she's obviously done well. she's the governor, and she is generally liked around the country and also she is the kind of republican i think that we're look for. not overly conservative, and she would gather the party behind her. >> she's pretty conservative. she's a tea party favorite. >> but she's a tea party favorite but appeals to the moderate, the business republicans, which is where i stand. >> aisha, you think nikki haley? >> my whole entire family lives in south carolina, and i don't know anybody who likes nikki haley. >> who are those voters then. >> my whole family is in south carolina and i don't know a lot of folks who think really highly in her the way she's talked about on national level. >> what about all the voters voted for her in south carolina? >> that was a long time ago. there's been issues in the palmetto state, especially most recently. >> a lot of issues. >> especially most recently with
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the identity theft crisis and the way that was handled. i think -- >> neither of you liked mine. >> klobuchar would be pulling somebody from left field. >> that's true. >> secondly, actually i have a bir binder full of women. >> bob is really funny. >> and here is what i would love to see. i would like to see kelly ayotte who is the republican senator from new hampshire run against jeanne shaheen the democrat from new hampshire, and we could just let the 12 people who live in new hampshire would decide it. maybe a few flaws. what do you think? >> we'll have a conversation at some other juncture, bob, about the role of places like iowa and new hampshire, the role that they have in our electoral process because, you know, one could argue that their roles are a bit outsized.
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small states do play an important role and that's where the electoral college comes in because it gives an equal voice to the states. >> is the voice equal or perhaps a little louder? >> and another comment about nikki haley, there are many people who would say that any candidate who doesn't have a high approval rating in south carolina might be okay. >> you know what, bob franken, i can't sit you and dog my home state like that, but we are going to have to leave it there because we're out of time. thank you so much for your time and insight, and a big thanks to you as well. that's going to do it fours today. keep it right here though on msnbc. for all the latest news. i'll be back next saturday from 2:00 until 5:00 eastern. this is msnbc, the place for politics. [ other merv ] welcome back to the cleaning games. let's get a recap, merv. [ merv ] thanks, other merv. mr. clean magic eraser extra power was three times faster on permanent marker. elsewhere against dirt, it was a sweep, with scuffed sports equipment... had it coming. grungy phones... oh! super dirty! and grimy car rims...
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to volunteer to help those in need. when a twinge of back pain surprises him. morning starts in high spirits, but there's a growing pain in his lower back. as lines grow longer, his pain continues to linger. but after a long day of helping others, he gets some helpful advice. just two aleve have the strength to keep back pain away all day. today, jason chose aleve. just two pills for all day pain relief. try aleve d for strong, all day long sinus and headache relief. defying the rules. >> there's no greater adrenaline rush. >> there's something wrong with me. >> defying the odds.
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>> it is just in my dna. >> i have a lot of fun and take a lot of physical abuse at the same time. >> even defying gravity. >> well, i think i would jump out of an airplane. >> when i do a big jump, anything can happen. >> it is all in a day's work for the extreme athlete. >> what we are doing is really a different sport altogether. it is extreme and it is dangerous. >> and in sports like these, you can't reach such extremes without risking your very life. >> it is not as glamorous as it looks. you could get hurt a lot. >> it is a huge, like, six-foot wall, solid wall of snow just like mowed me over. >> this is not happening. this is surreal. this just happened. >> i had a major injury. i had bleeding on the brain. i broke all of my ribs, i punctured both spleen. >> these folks would have it no other way. >> this is like the coolest job in the world. it's like fonz, you know?
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>> the game is on. >> "caught on camera," the danger zone." welcome to "caught on camera." i'm contessa brewer. what do you have? an extreme athlete. they take risks and push boundaries, breaking records, breaking the rules and breaking a few bones along the way. and danger, it is all part of the game. remember how your mother would say, if everyone jumped off a bridge, would you? well, daryl freeman may have said yes, but only if he could do it on a skateboard. in our first danger zone video, he does exactly that. >> i've done a lot of stupid things, but i guess that's the first one that i actually caught on camera with a lot of different angles. i would consider myself an