tv Martin Bashir MSNBC April 8, 2013 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
♪ >> breaking news to report. nbc news can confirm now that margaret thatcher, the longest serving prime minister of the uk, and the only woman to serve in the post, has died. >> loved, loathed, never ignored. >> what we've got is an attempt to substitute the rule of the mob for the rule of law. and it was not -- i have only one thing to say. you turn if you want to. the lady's not for turning. >> we've lost a great leader, a great britain. >> life must go on as usual.
good afternoon. and this moment, the president is en route to hartford, connecticut, where he'll speak to the need for urgent gun safety reforms in what is a critical week for gun legislation. the president will meet with family members of newtown shooting victims, some of whom will fly back to washington with him on air force one. he'll be introduced today by nicole hockley who lost her 6-year-old boy. she spoke to "60 minutes" last night. >> they need to not just look us in the eyes but look our children and the lost ones and see those faces, see what's gone. >> and we'll have much more on that just ahead. but we begin with the passing of an iconic world leader who was a great friend to this nation. former british prime minister margaret thatcher died of a stroke at the age of 87. mrs. thatcher shattered the glass ceiling becoming britain's first and only female prime
minister, leading with a tough no nonsense manner that earned here the nickname, the iron lady. the flags at downing street and buckingham palace are at half-staff. her ma jessjesty the queen exte her condolences. david cameron offered this testimony earlier today. >> we lost a great prime minister, a great leader, a great britain. as our first woman prime minister, margaret thatcher succeeded against all the odds. and the real thing about margaret thatcher is that she didn't just lead our country, she saved our country. >> the president joined in this chorus of appreciation issuing the following statement. "with the passing of baroness margaret thatcher, the world has lost one of the great champions of freedom and liberty, and america has lost a true friend." taking over a country in economic and political turmoil in 1979, mrs. thatcher introduced incredibly divisive
policies, breaking labor unions, deregulating the sector and privatizing many public utilities. in doing so, she engaged the rough of many. but to those who wanted her to change her political approach, mrs. thatcher had a few choice words. >> to those waiting with bated breath for that favorite media catchphrase, the u-turn, i have only one thing to say. you turn if you want to. the lady's not for turning. >> and her toughness resounded on the foreign policy front. thatcher won a war with argentina for the forkland islands in 1982. one of the last outposts of the british empire. she became a close confidant of president ronald reagan, inspiring intense affection from republicans to this day. former first lady nancy reagan said in a statement, "ronnie and margaret were political soulmates, committed to freedom and resolved to end communism.
as prime minister, margaret had the clear vision and strong determination to stand up for her beliefs at a time when so many were afraid to rock the boat." both former presidents bush mourned the loss of a staunch american ally. but it was perhaps republican house leaders who were most defusive today, with speak ur john boehner's statement. "the greatest peacetime prime minister in british history is dead. margaret thatcher, a grocer's daughter, stared down elites, union bosses and communists to win three consecutive elections. establish conservative principles in western europe, and bring down the iron curtain." house majority leader eric cantor tweeted, "you inspired the world to empower people and families over government. in doing so, you helped save it. rest in peace, lady thatcher." perhaps boehner and cantor were enamored about what mrs. thatcher said about the notion of civic community back in 1987.
"there is no such thing as society" she said. "there are individual men and women and there are families." for more now, we're joined by nbc's michelle kosinski live with us from london. michelle, baroness thatcher had been diagnosed with dementia ten years ago. she'd suffered small strokes in 2001, 2002. so was it the case that her health suddenly deteriorated? >> not so much, at least not that we know right now. her family gave some information today saying that she passed away peacefully after a stroke. her family could not be with her today, but they didn't release much more about how it's been very recently for her. we do know about the mini strokes in 2002. and it's been reported today that she moved into the ritz hotel in london around christmastime so that she could be closer to care. her daughter and son, her twins, were traveling at the time she died. now we know she passed away
within the hotel. recently it's come out, she wasn't able to attend certain big events like the royal wedding. there was this general sense she had had the strokes. the dim men thementia was deter. she couldn't appear publicly very often. she had been from time to time seen walking. we know she needed more medical care and that she led pretty much a reclusive life up until now, martin. >> now, michelle, here in the united states, there is a very warm view of baroness thatcher's legacy. but we're hearing that in addition to much sadness in the uk at her passing, there are also others who are hosting parties to mark her death. is that right? >> right. we're seeing that appear on facebook. making up songs. celebrating to the tune of the wicked witch is dead from the "wizard of oz." and it's hard to describe, i think, to american, especially -- i think most peanut recently americans are used to seeing the movie. they know that the movie "the iron lady" starring ma inring mp
was out. they may have if they saw that learned more about her if they weren't around or paying attention to what was going on in britain in the 1980s. she cemented the friendship at the height of the cold war with the united states. sharing ideas with ronald reagan. to describe how divisive her policies still are in britain. to this day, if someone mentions her name, that might spark an argument right there in the street. really depends on someone's family background. whether their parents were, say, miners who belonged to the union and she was this renowned union buster who wasn't afraid to do that. i mean, by that sector of society, she was called a milk stealer. who seemed to be against the poor. on the other side, though, you have those who felt she really reformed the economy here. really transferred britain into the modern age and was a champion of the free market. so you have those two sides, very much today, debating what she did and whether at the time
it was for better or for worse. it still sparks that kind of passion here to this day, martin. >> michelle kosinski, thanks so much, michelle. let's bring in our panel. msnbc political analyst, richard wolffe. vp of msnbc.com. here with me in new york, msnbc political analyst, jonathan alter, a columnist for "bloomberg view." richard, we've heard lionizing of mrs. thatcher today. particularly from conservatives. her record domestically is complicated and her leadership was deeply divisive, wasn't it? >> complicated is the nice way to put it, martin. she was a radicalizing fig wrur for people on the left. she was obviously lionized by people on the right. and there was nothing in between at all. you know, she did break through the glass ceiling. she was a pioneer as a woman. she also brought a sensible of what the middle class wanted in britain which was to get on. for people to buy their own
public housing, flats as they call them over there as you know. yet on the other side, she destroyed communities, willingly destroyed entire industries. yes, she was, as president obama said, a champion of freedom, but a champion of freedom for maybe people in argentina, a champion of freedom if you're behind the iron curtain. but not a champion of freedom, as you pointed out, throughout the day, if you are black and inside africa, where she was very happy to cozy up to the apartheid era leaders. complicated is certainly one way to put it. >> yes, indeed. referring to one side, nelson mandela, as a terrorist. jonathan, just an example of the conservative fervor, republican congressman steve stockman has tweeted earlier "the best way to honor baroness thatcher is to crush liberalism and sweep it into the dust bin of history. what are you doing this morning?" why is it she inspires that kind of devotion? >> because she got it done.
most conservatives are big talkers, but they don't have the political skills to actually deliver on what they're saying. to turn their ideology into action. and margaret thatcher and ronald reagan were able to do that. and that's why they, you know, they would like to see them on, both of them on mt. rushmore. i think if they could carve her in there, they would want that as well. what's interesting to any, though, is that in some ways, both thatcher and reagan on the larger issue of the day, which was the cold war, not, you know, taxes and budgets in britain. >> domestic policy. >> domestic policy. >> the larger issue of the day, she was not a radical knneocon, not a super hardliner. she met gorbachev before ronald reagan did. >> she did. >> her line upon meeting him was, i can do business with this man. which meant that it was time to open a whole new era in detaunt
and move toward the end of the cold war in a peaceful way. >> incredible. >> she did often brandish the west's nuclear capability in ways that were sometimes a little bit frightening. but at the end of the day, we managed to end that cold war without people dying. which i think is something that we take for granted too much nowadays. >> remarkable achievement there in 1989. richard, i have to note that discussing mrs. thatcher's complex legacy is not welcomed by some. on twitter today, i've been called a vile pond scum, arrogant, a scumbag communist pig, a propogandist, a sea sucking arab. >> a normal day for you, martin? it. >> pretty much. i suppose the iron lady can rest in peace assure she does have her ardent defenders at the ready. >> well, yes. look, it's much easier to
idolize these leaders overseas when you don't have to deal with their messy domestic record. i think, you know, maybe people here also idolize tony blair in a way that's very hard. people on the left, especially for people on the left overseas. and, you know, there are reciprocal feelings about barack obama overseas where he has much higher popularity in some parts of europe than he does actually here. so if you ignore all the domestic stuff, if you ignore, say you're a conservative, you might want to ignore the fact margaret thatcher was ultimately fell by her pretensions to be regal. in fact, sound like the queen of the united kingdom in her later years. you might want to overlook the fact she introduced a poll tax on an entire country, scotland. i know there are many scottish-americans here who might find that offensive. might want to ignore the fact she treated northern island in pretty cavalier ways and catholics, especially. so, you know, you can be very selective if you like and just focus on the bits where she was being mean to communists and
socialists. if that's your cup of tea, that's great. >> don't you think richard's point applies both to margaret thatcher and to president reagan, there has been a revisionism about both or be it in the case of president reagan over a much longer period of time? >> this is what makes studying history so fascinating. dutch historian said history is an argument without end. there will be constant revisions. she's a large enough figure people will be studying her for generations. i mean, when you think about the fact that she was the first british prime minister, could have been the first in the 19th or early 20th century was a nonentity. it turned out that the first woman was also, herself, a historic figure. one of the things i just would say to the viewers who are upset with you today is that there's a difference in british obituaries and american obituaries. the british are much more honest and in a fair assessment. the americans more often tend to
get all weepy and feel like they have to only say good things about the person who just died out of a sense of politeness. it's much more honest for history to give a full balanced appraisal of -- >> one is not being disrespectful in doing so. jonathan alter and the great richard wolffe. thank you both gentlemen. next, the number of republicans in the senate vowing to block a gun safety vote grows. will they have the courage to look newtown? the eye? stay with us. [ male announcer ] this is joe woods' first day of work. and his new boss told him two things -- cook what you love, and save your money. joe doesn't know it yet, but he'll work his way up from busser to waiter to chef before opening a restaurant
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control at the university of hartford tonight, the senate is back in session and it's still anyone's guess as to whether a bill including background checks can survive a possible filibuster. already, 13 gop senators are threatening to prevent, even de debate on a bill, an approach the senate majority leader lashed out for today. >> the people who sent me a letter saying we're going to filibuster everything as it relates to guns. talk about speaking out of both sides of their mouth. this is the poster child of that. >> joining us now is my colleague and host of "the daily rundown" nbc's chuck todd. chuck, can you sum up for us just how important this week is? because we've had the president, the newtown families together in washington meeting legislators. how important, how crucial is this week? >> reporter: it's very crucial, and the president is up here.
it's all -- it is a campaign of sorts. it's trying to start a campaign to lobby congress. so the president's up here. newtown families are going to fly back to washington on air force one with the president. tomorrow, they begin going on capitol hill, almost member to member, starting on the senate side. you have vice president biden doing, launching an event tomorrow. michelle obama on wednesday giving a speech on gun violence in chicago. the vice president, again, coming on our network to host a roundtable on gun violence. so this is seen as sort of the last best chance to do this. our own reporting suggests that chuck schumer, who's the leading democrat, trying to find any republican to come onboard on a background check bill. and martin, let's be clear. there's a lot of pieces of the gun legislation, there's the idea of limiting the size of certain magazines. there's about gun trafficking.
the assault weapons ban. but the one bill that has a chance at getting bipartisan support is that bill that 90% of the country supports, which is increased background checks. and chuck schumer is trying to find a republican. tom coburn from oklahoma is a possibility. he's working on another piece of gun legislation and telling, talking with the white house, as we speak. and then there's pat toomey, a conservative republican on fiscal issues but who comes from a state with a lot of suburban and urban geography to it in pennsylvania. >> right. >> reporter: where this issue is very popular. and he would be up for re-election in 2016. so he's a possible. if you get that, martin, you might get more republicans onboard. >> let's see what happens. nbc's chuck todd. thanks so much, chuck. for more, we bring in democratic congressman elijah cummings of maryland now. good afternoon, sir. >> good afternoon. >> let me start by playing you a piece of sound from one of the newtown fathers who was on "60 minutes" last night. listen to this, sir. >> it's going to happen again.
it is going to happen again. and every time, you know, it's somebody else's school, it's somebody else's town, it's somebody else's community. until one day you wake up and it's not. >> congressman, nobody is suggesting that the law should only be defined and developed by the victims of crime. but this is now something that 90% of americans strongly support. so are these senators simply too fr frightened of the nra to do the people's bidding? >> i tell you, martin, it's incredible to me that you can see a father like that in so much pain and even have the knowledge of 20 beautiful children being killed in their own classroom and then try to stop the debate. i mean, that -- martin, i -- i'm
wondering where -- what is that about? even senator mccain said that there's something wrong with this picture, that his fellow republican senators are trying to block debate. don't even want to talk about it. >> yes. >> and so, you know, i think that the parents from sandy hook coming to washington hopefully will have some effect. but that father's absolutely right. martin, i never thought it would happen to me, but on a friday at 12:00, it was 2 years ago, i got a call my nephew had been killed. shot to death at 5:00 in the morning and he's dead at 21 years old. so we've got to deal with this. the other thing, martin -- >> but congressman, is that what needs to happen to move these senators to stop threatening a filibuster? is that really what needs to happen? that you need to have a member of your family killed in order for you to do what the american
people want you to do? >> i hope not. i don't wish this pain on anybody. >> none of us does. >> no. no. i -- if we can't act now, if they can't act under these circumstances, martin, i don't know when they're going to act. keep in mind, all we're asking for is a vote. all we're asking for is a debate. >> yes. >> and they're saying we don't even want to talk about it. >> of course. >> we don't even want to talk about it. >> let me credit you -- >> i'm trying to find out win world they live in. >> let me quote you, one of your house republican colleagues, of virginia, told the "washington post," i'm quoting him, "if the issue is killed in filibuster, then we, meaning the party, are in deep trouble." why don't these 13 gop senators realize that? wasn't last year bad enough for them? they got spanked at the presidential election. they lost seats in the house. they lost seats in the senate. and they still don't listen to what the american people want. >> well, i think the american
people, i've often said the american people are reasonable and voters are smart. and they have looked at this situation and they understand it. they understand that nobody's trying to interfere with anybody's right to own a gun. and they want common sense legislation. like my bill, the trafficking, anti-trafficking bill. >> yes. >> which is common sense. the only people that can be against that bill, martin, are criminals and those who want to buy guns illegally for criminals. and they won't even -- this bunch in the senate don't even, wouldn't even want to have a discussion on something like that. and by the way, just this morning, i was in a school and i asked about -- i guess it was maybe 150 kids how many had known of somebody who had died from gun violence in the last year? and martin, two-thirds of them raised their hands. >> congressman elijah cummings, thank you, sir. >> thank you. coming up, beyonce.
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spoiler alert: it's low. it's guidance on your terms, not ours. e-trade. less for us. more for you. i'm up next, but now i'm singing the heartburn blues. hold on, prilosec isn't for fast relief. cue up alka-seltzer. it stops heartburn fast. ♪ oh what a relief it is! from the fears of a clown, and little kim jong-un, to marco polo. here are today's top lines. compromise. >> wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus. >> you can change magazine clips in a second. there's no evidence that that, you know -- >> i get the most attention and that's what he's paid to do. >> he left the smaller capacity magazines at home. that was a choice the shooter made. >> i mean, this guy is so out of whack, it's unbelievable. >> there are a handful of senators led by senator cruz who
said they want to filibuster it and not even allow us to debate this bill. >> i don't understand it. what are we afraid of? >> up or down? >> they have to vote. >> it's going to happen again. it is going to happen again. >> here are tonight's top stories. >> outside the lines obtained practice video showing exactly how far she has gone. >> [ bleep ]. that ponytail off. you put it through that hole and i won't hit you with the bat. >> the leader over there, if that's what he is, little kim. >> i don't know what kind of game this young man is playing. >> translator: after much thoughtful consideration, i have decided to lift our nation's ban on same-sex marriage. >> clarence thomas said he cannot make an informed decision on lesbian relationships until he reviews more videotape. >> marco rubio, senator from florida, has not signed on yet. >> marco. >> rubio! >> no, you think he'll be part of this? >> marco has been very important. >> marco! >> rubio! >> you're not implying the most
influential minds in the republican party are influential stuck in their teen years. i don't know where i could get that idea. >> if the president would lead on this, and he showed some leadership. >> well, it's not my ideal plan. it's a compromise i'm willing to accept in order to move beyond a cycle of short-term crisis-driven decision making. >> he's showing some signs of leadership that's been lacking. i'm encouraged. >> let's get right to our panel now. joining us is karen finney, newly minted anchor on msnbc as well as the former communications director at the dnc. and bill cohen, of course, the columnist for "the bloomberg view." karen, let's talk about south carolina senator lindsey graham. first he tells "the new york times" that any time you challenge the president, it's good politics. quote. then he goes on with david gregory and says, there are "nuggets that he finds optimistic in the president's budget." is he confused or is this a deliberate strategy? >> yeah, i think he's a bit confused because actually it means the deal that the president put on the table, whether you like it or not, is
basically the last best offer he put on the table last year that the republicans walked away from. the president throughout this process has been extremely consistent about a balanced approach and how he wants to do these things. personally, i actually looked at lindsey graham's comments as his being the one person who maybe understands the politics of this because i think boehner sort of dismissing it out of hand made him look foolish and played into this narrative the republicans are the not willing to compromise at all. maybe lindsay fwrey graham is t to sound reasonable. >> i think speaker boehner was being himself. we're expecting the president to descend from air force one at any moment. the plane just landed in connecticut. there it is. the president will be arriving very soon. bill, the president has said that he's opened to cutting social security and he didn't get much praise for that. take a listen here, again, to senator graham. >> i'm looking for the biggest spending cut in american history by reforming entitlements,
saving those entitlements. president is showing a little bit of leg here. this is somewhat encouraging. his overall budget is not going to make it, but he has sort of made a step forward in the entitlement reform process. >> bill, we've also heard from congressman paul ryan who said he commends the president for challenging his party on entitlements. do you think, when you listen to that, that there are signs of some kind of potential agreement here as the president descends there from air force one? >> martin, i hope i'm not so cynical that i don't think there's potential for a deal here, but on the other hand, you did hear senator graham say his budget's dead on arrival, and you've heard other senators say it's a nice first step. we do have these republicans in the congress on all sorts of issues. unfortunately, i think it would be very nice if they showed bipartisan leadership here and actually move forward on a real budget that would help the american people and help
businesspeople realize where the country is going and make some decisions. unfortunately, i don't see it. i'm not hopeful for it. >> okay. karen, many progressive democrats came out strongly against the president's proposal to switch the index that calculates the cost of living adjustments to social security. they call it chain cpi. the index of switching may not be as great as many assume. now, does that mean some democrats may come around to the president's position in the light of that? >> well, i think it's unclear at this point. i mean, again, i think there's a lot of anxiety among progressives and frankly not just progressives. there are a lot of even nonport dan organizations very concerned about what the impact of chain cpi would be on the seniors, middle class seniors, middle class families. those of us u or parents, if their benefits get cut, guess what, they're move in with you as my mother informed me. i think there's a lot of concern. i think if the numbers bore that out, i saw what peter had said,
maybe that would lighten things up a little bit for the president. but, again, you know, i think to the point we were just making, the republicans have already said, well, the budget's dead on arrival, we like the fact he's willing to take on his party. again, the fpresident has been very clear. chain cpi and looking at entitlements, he's only willing to do that in a context of a balanced approach. if they take the rest of it off the table, i think we unfortunately end up where we've been. >> to bill's point. bill, washington may, as we discussed, be thinking of cutting social security. there doesn't seem to be any effort to cut the perks for the executive class. "the new york times" reports this weekend that the typical perks package last year for the nation's 100 highest paid ceos was worth over $320,000. that's just -- >> that's just perks. >> and the highest paid ceo, larry ellison of oracle, got $1.5 million just for his security detail. does that go down well with shareholders? >> oh, my god. you know, of course not. i mean, and that's not -- you
didn't mention larry ellison's $98 million compensation package. he's worth $40 billion, martin. the fact he needs another $98 million is mind-boggling. the average ceo of these top 100 made $14 million each. you know, again, one should be shocked. it's shocking. it's outrageous. on the other hand, since this crisis happened in 2008, the whole structure of congress with the t.a.r.p., with the fed and quantitative easing programs they've designed has been designed to shore up the top of the pyramid. it's been designed to reestablish the status quo as quickly as possible. no surprise at all the wealthy among us are doing far better than anything else. >> republicans are saying you're using class warfare. you're just bitter and jealous. >> listen to david stockman who is obviously was ronald reagan's budget director. >> yes, indeed. >> he says the exact same thing. he agrees with me. i agree with him. this is a real problem.
>> karen? >> guys, the point i would just make here, folks are going to say what they're going to say about the top 1%. again, the data, the economic data continue to show us it's not just the disparity between the top 1% and the poor is increasing, it is the middle class that is getting further and further left behind and the top 1%. the point is larry ellison and those guys can say all they do. they're trying to make it look like their compensation is less by pushing things into other types of compensation and benefits. the point is -- it's not actually less -- but the point is, it's not trickling down. the middle class is still falling farther and farther behind. great for them that they're doing well, but, you know, in the words of elizabeth warren, hey, how about the rest of us? you have a lot of hardworking people who just want a shot at that. >> absolutely. >> and it's linked to the budget uncertainty, martin, because without the budget resolution, then corporations don't know how to proceed. >> and therefore they -- >> they don't hire. >> right. >> karen finney, bill cohen, i wish we had more time. thank you. coming up, did hedge funds try to profit from the newtown
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campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. that takes me back to another modern day poet by the name of jay-z in one of his songs, he wrote, it's funny what seven days can change. it was all good just a week ago. >> yes, it was all good just a week ago for jay-z and his wife, beyonce. they left for cuba to celebrate their wedding anniversary. five years of marital bliss. and a belated happy anniversary to the pair of them. however, that trip did not please two house republicans from florida who in a letter to the treasury have demanded to know whether their trip to cuba actually broke existing travel restrictions. never mind that dennis rodman was just in north korea visiting a man who since threatened this country with a nuclear weapon. or that if rodman wanted to go
to iran, for instance, he's welcomed so long as he gets a visa. no. the greatest threat to democracy today is mr. and mrs. jay-z. joining us now is angela rye, a political strategist and principal of impact strategies and jonathan capehart, a political writer for the "washington post." john, reuters is quoting a source who says the treasury department did, indeed, authorize this trip. but regardless, dennis rodman can tgo to north korea, but jayz and beyonce can't go to cuba? >> apparently. they have no problem with the multi-tattooed, multi-pierced dennis rodman going to the mysterious to see kim jong-un and walk around and be in the skies company. yet, beyonce and jay-z can't go to cuba on a vacation to celebrate their anniversary? i mean, to me, martin, this is sort of, you know, one more battle in the ongoing sort of
proxy war with president obama. >> okay. well, angela, to that point, beyonce and jay-z are two very high-profile supporters of this president. i have to ask you, angela, does that have anything to do with this subjection to them going to cuba? >> it very well could, martin. >> it very well could? >> i'm just saying. you know, i'm trying to give the republicans the benefit of the doubt. it's a little bipartisan olive branch for them. here's the thing. when you look at the most severe consequence here, we're talking about a trip that maybe wasn't approved, so then we're talking about a fine that's up to $250,000 for each of them. hello, they're one of the richest hip hop couples in the world. so it's just a drop in the bucket to them. no, we're not encouraging that, you know, laws be broken, but we are saying that it looks like the trip was approved by the treasury department. so why are we really focused on this? they begged for the president to come out with a president. the president's budget was a
little late. they were mad he had an ncaa bracket. this wednesday, we have an immigration bill we're looking for this week. we've got gun control we're trying to get wrapped up this week and they want to focus on jay-z and beyonce. what's the world coming to, martin? >> i wish i knew. john, cuba is certainly a representabrep hence reprehensible. i mean, do they make any sense? >> doesn't make any sense to me. personally, i think the embargo with cuba is outdated. you know, governments from president obama, president george w. bush, president clinton have been easing the restrictions on money transfers and all sorts of travel to cuba. one day cuba will be free, and americans will want to go there. and there are people here in the united states, cuban-americans,
who would love nothing more than to have more contact with their family members. so i understand, you know, sort of politically where these two members of congress are coming from. i just think, like a lot of things within the republican party, these two members of congress are stuck over here while the country is over here. >> right. angela, by one estimate, we were able to find in "the new york times" about 400,000 americans traveling to cuba since this president eased travel restrictions. the "associated press" found pictures of jack nicholson and danny glover, among others, visiting. isn't the horse well and truly out of the barn on this one? >> it's been out of the barn, martin. even before the travel restriction were lifted, folks just had to take a stop over in another country to get to cuba, and they've been doing it for years. certainly i understand the positions of both members of the house that have, you know, strong feelings about the cuban government, but there are many other folks that don't have those same sentimentses. there are folks that could look at american history and see it
as an oppressive government. hello, witness. at the end of the day we have to give some people some space here, trust their judgment. if they got the trip approved, i think that's all that matters and we need to move right along to real issues. >> as ever, angela rye speaks truth. so does jonathan capehart. thank you, both. next, did some on wall street try to profit off the newtown tragedy? stay with us. but first, john fortt has the cnbc market wrap. good afternoon, john. >> the stocks staged a big rally in the final hour of trading. the dow up 48 points. s&p up 9. the nasdaq up 18. now, consumer stocks did particularly well. telecoms not so much. and alcoa at the bell reported results. revenues a little bit light. for cnbc, i'm john fortt. more after the break. [ male announcer ] at his current pace,
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every one of these measures deserves a vote. a yes or a no. no hiding. no running from the issue that has captivated america. >> that was majority leader harry reid just moments ago on the floor of the senate. talking about having a real vote on gun reform legislation. moments from now, the president will be speaking on this very subject in hartford, connecticut. back here in new york, however, one of the city's top officials has decided to stop waiting for action from congress. instead, he started a new campaign to get investors, especially on wall street, to pull their money out of companies that sell military-grade weapons and high-capacity ammunition on the civilian market. and i'm delighted to say we're joined now by that very official. new york city public advocate, bill deblasio.
the business of selling guns has never been stronger than it has been since the massacre at newtown. the overall economic impact of the gun industry is estimated to be $32 billion. so you've helped stop this movement, but you've got a long way to go, haven't you? >> we do have a long way to go, martin. look. the bottom line is the public after newtown felt a clearer sense of consensus ever in our histo history that it was time for fundamental change. there was a safety problem affecting us all now. and the fact that that deep public consensus has resulted in so little change on the legislative front is the reason why we have to go at the core economics of this issue. our power rests in our status as consumer shareholders in the power of local and state governments, their pension funds. these are the new frontiers, and the assault weapons ban and other tragedies we've watched
before our eyes that should have been a given after newtown, recommend a more economic strategy to hit the industry and the nra in their pocketbook. >> what you seem to be saying is you're admitting defeat in the legislative terms of this debate, politically you're saying we have to do something economic? >> i will -- i'm only going to contest admitting defeat on one level. the game is rigged because the fra has such a stranglehold on legislative process. we were talking about most issues, we nigmight not have to feel quite so pessimistic. i think you're essentially right, that now let's turn to where our strength would be which would be the economic venn withdrew. >> okay. financial firms and hedge funds invested $79 million during the last quarter of 2012. the same time, roughly, that newtown happened. how much of a role does wall street play in financing the gun industry that then spreads these weapons throughout the nation?
>> we looked at 12 firms, just 12 firms based in new york, or with a major presence in new york. we found $1.5 billion in gun investments just running through those 12. >> $1.5 billion. >> this was not exhaustive. this was looking at the leading light. when you think of the exposure of public pension funds, clearly there are economic triggers. now, when we started a movement to go after these 12 big firms, we call them the dirty dozen, to be clear. several of them got the hint that the public was dissatisfied with investmentses in guns and ammunition. military-grade guns and ammunition. sol some of the firms quickly changed their approaches. as you said, behind them came new firms. in the first kbaquarter of this year we saw a slew of gun investments. we're calling on consumers, shareholders to get involved. we have a website,
wallstreetforchange.com. we're trying to organize people from all over the country to call into these companies, have a blitz of calls saying get out of the guns and ammunition business, you're not only hurting us and our families, you're bankrolling the nra. the nra depends on direct funds from the guns and ammunition industry. >> final question. given these funds exist to make a profit, aren't they always going to err on the side of making money as opposed to making sense on this issue? >> you're right, but when the reputational damage starts to be felt at an investment firm or with an individual company and stock, that's when things start to change. we remember the wall street mexico bribery scandal that fundamentally affected stock price and reputation. we want to create a focal point around gun issues that change behavior. >> new york city public advocates, bill de blasio. thank you so much for coming into the studio. we do appreciate it. good luck with your efforts. >> thanks, martin. >> we'll be right back.
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