tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC June 25, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
i staaid, oh my god, he gave a shout-out to the divestment movement. the climate movement has had a radical shift over the past few years and created this moment for where obama's at right now and are going to keep pushing. >> i think he reck niced how important it is. former epa administrator christine todd whitman. climate activist tim dechristopher. that's "all in" for this evening. the "rachel maddow show" begins right now. thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour. it's lx day in massachusetts. went to the polls. the polls in massachusetts closed almost exactly one hour ago. and as far as we know, right now, it's undecided. 49% of the vote in. right now ed markey leads gabriel gomez 51%-48%. again, that is 49% of the vote in at this point. and so we do not yet have any sort of winner to announce.
the results of tonight's election in massachusetts will end the short senate tenure of mo cowen who you see on the left there. mo cowen was picked essentially as a place holder for the seat by massachusetts governor deval patrick. mr. cowen promised not to run for the seat on a permanent basis. he's spent his months on capitol hill essentially keeping his head down, keeping the business of the massachusetts senate seat rolling. he's been voting basically the way john kerry would have voted and been keeping the seat warm for the dually elected next u.s. senator from massachusetts who has been chosen by the voters of massachusetts today. again, the polls close the an hour and a minute ago. we'll keep you posted as we get further news. again, right now with 49% of the vote in, ed markey, the democratic candidate, leading gabriel gomez, the republican candidate, by 51% to 48%. we'll keep you posted. now on the other side of capitol hill today from the senate, on the house side of capitol hill today, today was the day when they had to make a decision about stan musiel, the
baseball player who played for the st. louis cardinals. quite possibly one of the greatest hitters of all-time. baseball legend. a legendary hitter, a legendary gentleman, legendary nice guy. for 22 years, stan the man played for just one team. played for the cardinals. he loved the cardinals and his fans loved him for it. a few months ago stan musial passed away. there's a new bridge being built. and st. louis which is the home of stan musial's st. louis cardinals, st. louis sits on the mississippi river and when it came time to propose a name for the new bridge, missouri lawmakers agreed that this new bridge should be called the stan musial bridge. should be named after the st. louis baseball legend. across the riverbank on the other side of the bridge in illinois, lawmakers there decided, stan musial is nice and
all, but it's not like they care about him that much in illinois. in illinois they instead want to honor american veterans. they want to call the bridge the veterans memorial bridge. so the two states on the two sides of the bridge disagree. they have a border dispute over the name of this bridge which, after all, they both sort of have a right to name since the bridge goes between their two states. if you think about this, this is not the most difficult dilemma in the world, right? one side wants to name it the stan musial bridge, one side wants to name it the veterans bridge. stan musial is, himself, a veteran. so this is not exactly a problem, right? you can just call it the stan musial veterans memorial bridge and everybody would be happy. problem solved. but because these two states did propose different names, the final choice of the name is apparently now a federal issue. it has to be decided by congress. so today in the house of representatives in washington, congress considered this vexing challenge of what to name this
bridge. how can we possibly name this bridge the obvious thing it obviously should be named? and, yes, members of congress from both states, from both parties in both states, agree that it really ought to just be freaking called the stan musial veterans memorial bridge. and so, yes, congress considered it today and they debated and they voted that the stan musial veterans memorial bridge just should be the name. congress was able to do that. maybe. now it has to go to the senate where who knows, anything could happen. and will it be filibustered? then if it passes there, it will go to the president for his signature then maybe, maybe we will have confirmation that even this congress can manage the achievement of saying, uh, okay, whatever, to something that is already obviously been decided already and is basically fine with everybody concerned. this is the level of decision-making that our congress can reliably handle right now. maybe. so when president obama made his big announcement today about climate change, and pollution, the reason it's such a big deal
is because the things he announced do not depend on congress. so these policy changes he announced today are things that actually will happen because nobody has to count on congress to make that true. i mean, imagine what would happen if congress was where we had to make these kinds of decisions on this kind of issue. >> we don't know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. could be dinosaur fladulance. >> who knows. it could be dinosaur farts. that is republicans in control of the half of congress that is the house. because of that, today we're getting a list of policy changes on climate change which are mostly pretty centrist lower common denominator policy changes. the up most important thing they all have in common is they are executive actions that involve the dinosaur flatulance.
that void, that place where hard decisions don't go to die, hard decisions to go to laughed at there. that void is where the supreme court of the united states today threw voting rights. in the most consequential blow against civil rights law in a generation. last night on this show we highlighted one example of how the voting rights act works. this is a community college district in the greater houston area. they tried to change the way they conduct elections in this district. they tried to cut the number of polling places in this district from 84 polling places down to 12. and the list of 12 proposed new polling places had one very notable feature. the new list made if really easy to vote if you were a white person and really hard to vote if you were not a white person. look, the site with the smallest proportion of minority voters, so the whitest voting site was set up to serve 6,500 voters. the most heavily minority site serves over 67,000 voters. the big new election idea in
this election district in texas is it should serve ten times as many voters as the whitest polling place. the justice department told that election district in texas that they could not do that. they could not make that change. the justice department looked at that plan and told them to try again. to try to find a way that was more fair. that happened because texas officials have to get an advanced okay from the justice department before they change their election laws. because of texas' history of racial discrimination in elections. discrimination like, oh, say, making the polling places for black and brown people handle ten times as many voters as the polling places for white people. because texas has done and has kept doing stuff like that, texas needs preclearance when they make changes. if they think they should not be on that preclearance list anymore, texas could apply to opt out. they could try to prove that they are not trying to discriminate anymore. texas has not been able to opt out. so the justice department was able to block that plan in that
greater houston area college district. also the justice department was able to block texas republicans' voter i.d. plan. rick perry signed this law when he was trying to make a splash running for president. the justice department said the texas voter i.d. law would be a disaster in terms of racial discrimination in texas elections. since hispanic registered voters are more than twice as likely as non-hispanic registered voters to lack the i.d. that would be required to vote in texas under the new law. so texas plans like that. new laws to block hispanics from voting at more than double the rate of non-hispanics or killing 80% of the polling places and setting up new ones where white people get ten times the service as non white people. plans like these from the last few years in texas, they were blocked from ever coming into effect. even though texas wanted to do them, they were blocked from coming into effect because the justice department could block them. because of the voting rights act. as of today, that's over.
the court did not change anything about the basic idea that some places could not be trusted to make new election laws on their own. they should have to get preclearance from the justice department. the court left that in place theoretically, but they invalidated the existing list of places that qualify for that kind of special scrutiny. they threw that part of it instead to congress. in its infinite wisdom to come up with a new way of identifying places that need that special scrutiny of preclearance in order to change their laws. until congress gets around to working on that, it is open season on voting rights right now in america. in texas, today, the republican attorney general announced with today's decision, the state's voter i.d. law will take effect immediately." in mississippi today, same thing, the republican attorney general announcing "the process for implementation of voter i.d. begins today." in alabama today, same thing, the republican attorney general and republican secretary of state announcing "voter i.d. will be the first process that we will go through under this
new ruling." north carolina, same deal. republicans had been holding back from voter i.d. there because they knew it would be too racially discriminatory to pass the preclearance requirement. now that that requirement is is gone, hey, full steam ahead. now we can go with the full bill, says the republican rules committee chairman in north carolina's republican-controlled senate. why stop just with voter i.d., he says? he predicted an omnibus voting bill would surface in the senate next week that could go beyond voter i.d. to include issues such as reducing early voting, eliminating sunday voting and barring same-day voter registration. they might not have been able to get away with racially discriminatory policies like that before today, but as of 10:00 a.m. today, go for it. the flood gates are open. the flood gates are open. anything these states with a history of racial discrimination could not get away with before, because they were covered under the voting rights act, and the justice department blocked them, now they can go ahead. and they are.
day one, they're already rushing forward and there's nothing to stop them. unless congress fixes it. what are the odds of congress fixing it? no, really. what are the odds? >> the voting rights act that broke the segregationist lock on the ballot box rose from the courage shown on a selma bridge one sunday afternoon in march of 1965. on that day, african-americans including a member of the united states congress, john lewis -- [ applause ] -- marched across the edmond pettis bridge in a protest intended to highlight the unfair practice that kept him off the voter rolls. today we renew a bill. my administration will vigorously enforce the provisions of this law and we will defend it in court.
i am proud to sign the voting rights act reauthorization and amendments act of 2006. >> the vote in the senate that made it possible for then-president george w. bush to reauthorize the voting rights act seven years ago, that voice was 98-0, famously. in the senate it was unanimous. in the house it was not unanimous. it was still an overwhelming vote, but there were 33 no votes in the house. 33 republicans in the house who voted no that year. and of those 33 house republicans who voted against the voting rights act, 19 of them are still in house as republican members of congress. and occasionally, house republicans do pipe up on this issue. as georgia republican paul broun did last year. he introduced an amendment to block the enforcement of the voting rights act. he braulought it up in the midd of the night. john lewis, that democratic georgia congressman beaten to an inch of his life on the edmond
pettis bridge, john lewis was there in the house in the middle of the night last year, in may of last year, to answer paul broun when powell broun tried to block enforcement of the votie ing rights act. when john lewis confronted him, paul broun collapsed, apologizing and stuttering and wishing he had not brought it up. >> maybe some of us need to study a little contemporary history dealing with the question of voting rights. just think, before the voting rights act of 1965, it was almost impossible for many people in the state of georgia, in alabama, in virginia, in texas, to register to vote, to participate in a democratic process. it's shameful that you would come here tonight and say to the department of justice that you must not use one penny, one
cent, one dime, one dollar, to carry out the mandate of section 5 of the voting rights act. >> i apologize to my dear friend from georgia. if he's gotten angry with this amendment. it's never my intent to do so, and i'm going to ask unanimous consent to withdraw the amendment. >> so which is it now, republican party? are you paul broun stuttering and apologizing and saying he never meant any offense, taking it back? or are you paul broun introducing the stealth amendment in the middle of the night trying to kill the voting rights act? are you every single republican in the united states senate voting to reauthorize the voting rights act? standing proudly by as your republican president, when he's with your republican president as he signs it, or the 33 house republicans who that same year voted no, voted to kill the voting rights act? are you eric cantor marching with john lewis this past year to re-enact what happened on the
edmond pettis bridge, to re-enact the human toll and the human endurance of violence that brought us the voting rights act? or are you these republican state officials in alabama, in mississippi, in north carolina, in texas, rushing ahead today with the laws that were too racist for the voting rights act to allow, but that now can be forced through because the voting rights act is dead? dead unless republicans in congress agree that it should be saved. which republican party are you? in a blistering, long, incredulous descent from the court's ruling today, ruth bader ginsburg said the court dramatically overreached. he said, "hubrus is a fit word for today's demolition of the voting rights act." john lewis put it in terms just as stark. he said "the supreme court put a dagger in the heart of the voting rights act." the thing about this dagger in the heart, though, is that the patient with the dagger in the heart is still alive.
and the doctor standing over the body thinking about what to do next turns out is a republican. the voting rights act did not have section 5 struck down. preclearance still exists theoretically. the voting rights act can be saved right away if congress decides to save it. the democrats want to save it. unanimously. the democrats, they control the senate, their judiciary chairman in the senate today said he'll get to work immediately on legislation to save it. the republicans control the house, so far their judiciary chairman has said nothing. this is the cornerstone of american civil rights law. this is legacy time. what are you guys going to do? congressman john lewis joins us next. la's known definitely for its traffic, congestion, for it's smog. but there are a lot of people that do ride the bus. and now that the busses are running on natural gas, they don't throw out as much pollution to the earth.
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congressman ed markey has won the u.s. special election for that senate seat in massachusetts. polls leading up to this contest had indicated that congressman markey was comfortably ahead of his republican rival, gabriel gomez. now it is official. with 82% of precincts reporting, ed markey ahead 54% to 46% and the "ap" called the race. senator-elect markkey, next year he'll be up for re-election for a full term. gabriel gomez is hinting he wants to run again the next time around. why the republicans would run the same guy again that just lost tonight? tonight, the breaking news that democrat ed markey is the new u.s. senator from massachusetts. we'll be right back. migraines mean powerful pain, and when you have a migraine
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what's your reaction to this big court ruling on the voting rights act? >> well, i haven't read it yet. obviously it's an important bill that passed back in the '60s at a time when he had a very different america than we have today. my state is not covered by the voting rights act. there may be others who want to comment on it. at this point i think i'm going to have to read it first, but i would say i do think america is very different today from what it was in the 1960s. anybody else want to comment on that? >> well, nobody wants to talk about it? all the other republican senators standing there with him. nobody. u.s. supreme court ruling today on the voting rights act left in
place the basic idea that some states, some counties, have sketchy enough records with regards to racial discrimination and elections that they should have to get preapproval from the justice department if they want to make changes to election laws. the court threw out existing lists of what those places are which means nobody needs to get preclearance anymore. nobody is getting any scrutiny at all with changing their election laws until congress manages to find a new way to figure out who ought to be on that list. republican governors and state legislatures are already today, the day of the ruling, rolling out new round of ways to make voting harder in ways that are racially discriminatory enough that they could not have done them when the voting rights act was still in effect yesterday. joining us now is john lewis, congressman of georgia, one of the 13 original freedom riders and a civil rights activist who nearly died trying to secure every americans' right to vote. congressman john lewis, thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you very much, rachel, for having me tonight.
>> you called this supreme court ruling a dagger in the heart of the voting rights act when you first heard about it today. since then, have you heard anything from your colleagues in washington that gives you any more hope about saving this law? >> several of my colleagues on the democratic side have said that we must go back and reauthorize the act the same way that we did in 2006. and i did read a statement that the majority leader, eric cantor, made that because of his trip to selma last march, that was moving to him, it had a profound impact on him, that he would take a serious look at the decision and whether we should reauthorize that section of the voting rights act of 1965.
>> do you agree if congress was able to act, maybe that showing of support from congressman cantor means that republicans might be willing to do it. if congress could act post-haste, could that limit the amount of damage that i know you think has been done to voting rights in the protection of my for minority voting rights in this country in particular by today's ruling. >> well, i think it's important for us to act now. if we fail to act, the hopes and dreams and aspiration of many people to participate in a democratic process would be denied. so it is my hope that democrats and republicans members of the house that we would come together in a bipartisan fashion and fix it. today it is shocking, it's unbelievable. it makes me so sad to see we
have to fight this fight all over again. if somebody told me on august 6th, 1965, when president lyndon johnson signed the act into law that we would be fighting this fight, this battle again in 2013. >> what do you make of john roberts' argument and the majority ruling in this case? chief justice roberts arguing that essentially this law is a vestige of an earlier era, that the kind of discrimination that justified this type of remedy in the first place no longer require this kind of remedy? we need some different way of approaching these matters now, times have changed. >> well, the only thing i would have said to justice roberts if i had an opportunity to talk with him, i would say not to forget the past. not to forget the history. i would invite him and the other four members of the court to walk in my shoes. to travel with me through
alabama. through the delta of mississippi. through southwest georgia. and not just walk in my shoes, but walk in the shoes of others that stood in those unmovable line. there's some history there. we cannot forget that history. as justice ginsburg said, if we tend to forget it, we will repeat it. in another period in our history, more than 100 years ago, people of color, african-american, former slaves, could register, they could vote. they ran for office. they got elected. and a few years later, they lost it. we cannot go back. we must go forward. >> congressman john lewis of georgia. thank you for your time tonight. i'm sure this has been just an emotionally exhausting day for you, sir. thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> thank you. all right. here is is a live shot from austin, texas, where we are in the middle of a real life
nonstop talking filibuster to try to stop the proposed antiabortion legislation that's being pushed by republicans in texas. this is happening right now. this is live, and the democrats are winning. we've got details on that next. vo: i've always thought the best part about this country is that we get to create our future. you get to take ownership of the choices you make. the person you become. i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved and staying engaged. they're not sitting by as their life unfolds. and they're not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is "how did i end up here?"
people were tweeting about your shoes. whether you wore shoes for standing. >> right. as you can see, i have my typical shoes on right now. >> no filibuster today? >> no filibuster today, but when i came on that night, i had flat shoes on. it's the first time i've worn flat shoes on the senate floor. >> one of the reporters, one of the female reporters, i bet she's going to do it, she's wearing flats. turned out to be right. >> that was from the first time that texas democratic state senator wendy davis brought the state of texas to a standstill with a one-woman filibuster. that was 2011 when she single handedly saved billions of dollars for education in texas by filibustering republican efforts to cut that funding. filibustering in texas is hard. the rules say only one person can filibuster, so you can't trade off with a colleague to get any relief. you cannot sit down. you cannot eat. you cannot touch the podium or the desk where you are standing. you cannot lean on anything. you cannot leave even for a
second for any reason including having to go to the bathroom. you cannot just read the telephone book. you have to stay on the topic of the bill you are filibustering. filibustering in texas is hard, so, yeah, do not wear high heels if you are going to do it. having learned that lesson the last time, today in the texas legislature, that same state senator, wendy davis, she wore sneakers. and she wasn't shy about them. look. nice. wendy davis has spent all day, all day today, all day alone on her own not stopping, not eating, not drinking, not leaving, not peeing, forgive me, not leaning, not straying from the topic. texas senator wendy davis has spent all day today personally filibustering the republican bill that democrats otherwise had no shot of stopping. governor rick perry called a special legislative session in part to try to pass antiabortion legislation that republicans couldn't get passed in the regular session. the abortion bill would ban
abortions statewide in texas at 20 weeks, shut down more than 80% of the state's clinics. there would be zero access to legal abortion of any kind in all of west texas which is giant. and so this, right now, is wendy davis, right now, she started speaking and standing there about nine hours ago. earlier in the day, she read testimony from men and women across the state who had wanted to testify against the republican bills last week, but they were not allowed to. at one point she broke down in tears while she was reading a letter from one woman who had to have an abortion when doctors discovered severe abnormalities with the child that she wanted but that could not live outside the womb. republicans tried at one point to end her filibuster by saying she wasn't staying on topic because she started talking about the financial impact of the antiabortion bill, but they had no luck there. wendy davis was allowed to proceed. this is what it has looked like today in the senate gallery. i think we've got the gallery shot, don't we? every spectator seat has been filled in the gallery. there's been people there
wearing orange shirts in solidarity with filibuster. there's been a long line of people waiting to get in all day to watch the state senator talk without stopping, stand without stopping for 13 hours. just like they did on thursday night, and, again, on sunday night, hundreds and hundreds of texans, again, showed up today at the state capitol to protest this republican effort to ram through the country's most sweeping abortion restrictions and to support the democrats who are trying to stop it. also there today, in the senate fwalry, cecile richards of planned parenthood and daughter of former texas governor ann richards. what's going on in texas right now, this is a big deal. there are about 3 1/2 hours maybe, 3 hours left in wendy davis' filibuster and apparently is still going strong. now theoretically governor rick perry could call another special session for the legislature if the republicans cannot stop her before midnight. which is when this session comes to an end in texas tonight. but if they cannot stop her by midnight tonight and she keeps
talking all the way until midnight tonight, this round goes to the texas democrats. they are winning this thing. as wendy davis speaks, still, as we speak, she's doing it right now. ♪ [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me. it appears it's an agent of good. ♪ [ agent smith ] ge software connects patients
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so this morning the supreme court of the united states pretty much gutted the foundation of american civil rights law. tomorrow they are expected to issue their biggest landmark ruling ever on gay rights. for the last ten hours a democratic state legislator has been standing in the state senate in texas single handedly resisting the passage of a draconian law. and ed markey just got elected in massachusetts. what was the president up to all day? turns out he was giving a speech that on a lot of other days would have been the lead story in the whole world. it's been a busy day. hold on. that's coming up. with thermacare heatwraps. the only wrap with patented heat cells that penetrate deep to relax, soothe, and unlock tight muscles. and now, introducing reusable thermacare cold wraps. pain relief without the shock of ice. bjorn earns unlimited rewards for his small business.
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so there was an early sign that something was wrong. there was a visual clue. there's president obama standing at the podium about to deliver his big speech on climate change today. and wait a second, what's wrong at the top? that's what's known in the bunting business as a wedgie. i don't know if there is a bunting business. bunting number one and bunting number three are fine, but bunting number two, the important one right above the president, bunting wedgie. that was the first time maybe it
was not the white house "a" team doing the advance work for today's big speech. the next sign of that was an audible one. >> last year i took office, or the year that i took office, my administration pledged to reduce america's greenhouse gas emissions by about 17%. from their 2005 levels by the end of this decade. >> president obama essentially being forced to do his first carey grant in north by northwest impression, drowned out by the unsetingly close sound of airplanes. throughout the speech. over and over again. they had the president speaking outdoors today at georgetown which apparently nobody on the advanced team noticed is is right in the middle of the flight path for national airport. so after this one today with the bunting and the flight noises drowning him out throughout the speech, then a couple of weeks ago somebody forgetting to president put the president's
speech on the podium for him. he had to stand in front of the press, people, people, can i get my speech, people? in terms of white house advanced work, somebody needs a pep talk. the substance of the speech, president obama had to live up to a dramatic prespeech buildup. we were told far in advance to expect something big. on the same day president obama spoke about climate change and other matters at the brandenburg gate in berlin last week, his aides started leaking to the press back in this country that something big was coming on that issue back home. we were told to expect a high-profile presidential address on this issue. over the weekend the white house announced in an elaborately produced video that address was coming not just soon, it was coming this week. then today was the day with the wedgie bunt and airplanes flying overhead, president obama took on the issue of climate change in a way he has not done this aggressively in at least this much granular policy detail up until this point.
>> the question is not whether we need to act. the overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements has put all that to rest. i don't have much patience for anyone who denies that this challenge is real. we don't have time for a meeting of the flat earth society. the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. and how we answer will have a profound impact on the world that we leave behind not just to you, but to your children and to your grandchildren. as a president, as a father, and as an american, i'm here to say we need to act. >> when he says there, over the
engine noise, we need to act, i think what he really means is he plans to act. what the president announced in this speech today were a series of concrete actions that he, alone, is taking on this issue without congress. things like limiting the amount of carbon pollution emitted by new and existing power plants. taking federal action to increase fuel standards in new cars. increasing the amount of renewable energy that is produced on federal lachbnds. the president announced in the next seven years the federal government, itself, will get 20% of its energy from renewable sources. that may sound like an insider deal but it's a big deal in absolute terms because the federal government is one of the biggest organizations on earth. on the issue of the keystone pipeline, the president said today he will not approve its construction if it significantly increases the overall problem of carbon pollution. so this was a speech that had a lot of news and a lot of presidential pronouncements that lots of people have been waiting for and, frankly, pushing for for a long time. and that leverage that has been
exerted essentially against the president on this issue, pushing him to do this, is leverage that the president now would like to try to apply to the problem at hand. listen. >> i'm going to need all after you to educate your classmates, your colleagues, your parents, your friends. tell them what's at stake. speak up at town halls. church groups. pta meetings. push back on misinformation. speak up for the facts. broaden the circle of those who are willing to stand up for our future. convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. invest. divest. remind folks there's no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth, and remind everyone who represents you at every level of government that sheltering future generations against the ravages of climate change is a prerequisite for your vote. make yourself heard on this issue.
>> make yourself heard on this issue. joining us now is bill burton, former deputy press secretary for the obama administration. he's now senior adviser to the league of conservation voters which, itself, seems like an important part of the political news here. bill, thank you so much for being here. >> hi. thanks for having me, rachel, and, but, i don't thank you for having me follow john lewis and wendy davis. >> yeah, i know, it's kind of a big night. can i ask you a petty question, first, as a guy who was on the inside of obama communications? >> you can, because i think it's going to give me the opportunity to defend some of my friends. please go ahead. >> nobody knew about the whole flight path thing? it seemed like he was dodging crop dusters the entire speech. it was absolutely completely distracting. i'mdistracted from a policy speech ps that was crazy. >> i was there at the speech. the thing that was most distracting was the fact it was so hot. it was 110 degrees in there. >> put him inside. >> he was outside in a big city. there's airplanes. the folks on the presidential
advance staff are hardworking folks. they get there at 4:00 in the morning. they stay until 2:00 in the morning. they have crazy jobs. i don't think we can blame them for one little piece of bunting getting blown away by the wind or airplanes outside in a big city. that's what happens. >> i say, you know, it's going to be 100 degrees and you're in the flight path, inside. i'm an idiot, come on. inside. >> when i was sitting there, i was sort of wishing that it was inside, too. it's a climate thing. you sort of have to be outside. >> bill, let me ask you about how you going from team obama to team conservation voters, which has been pushing the white house to be more aggressive on issues like the ones we heard in this speech today. what is your involvement in this issue? what was your decision to make that move? and what do you do on this issue? >> well, you know, after i left the white house and i did the superpac, i went to global strategy group where one of the big projects that we've taken on is is league of conservation voters and the fight to stop the keystone pipeline from moving forward. it's something that, you know, as the president laid out today,
this is a generational issue. and for me and for the folks who i work with, we thought it was important to get involved with and it's an important project, and today was a critically important day for that in. it is an important project, today was a critically important day for that fight. >> well, specifically on keystone, the president tied his upcoming decision on keystone to what the president had to say about emissions. what did it mean in practical terms? what did you understand him to say? >> well, the reason it changed, he changed the terms of the debate, it is not about what the candidates say, it is about what science says that will make the project worse off if it moves forward. for us, we think that yes, the science is there. and shows that it will make the climate far, far worse. and so i think what we need to do in the coming days, we need to show grass roots activity and show the scientific reasoning behind it.
and make sure the decision-makers at the state department, the white house knows that. none of it is to distract from the historic announcement today. this is an amazing announcement. i know you called it lowest common denominator policy, but a 7,000% reduction to 2020 will make a phenomenal difference in the arc of global climate change, this is an important announcement today. we have a fight ahead. >> and the promises, what we got was meat on the bones about actually getting there and making policy changes that will cut back and make a big impact in terms of those bottom lines. i mean, over the past few years, we have heard consistently aspirational statements from the president and administration what they wanted to do. but we haven't before today seen the very concrete changes,
policy prescriptions, i guess for things that are not being asked from congress but things that are actually being done. do you understand what happened politically to make it go ahead to change and make it go ahead today? >> well, what we noticed, congress as you point out has a hard time naming the veteran's bridge between illinois and missouri, what the president did today was something he has been talking about since the early days of the the campaign when we all started with him, january or february of 2007. now, there is a lot of different things that have been happening here and there, the auto bailout, the fiscal, the financial industry bailout. two wars, there have been just a lot of things going on. if we're going to get something aggressive done, the president knew he had to act, and that is why he did it. >> in terms of the relationship between the scientific consensus and the political consensus, the president today ridiculing the
flat society, people who deny the problem. do you think this as a scientific issue becomes more blatant? >> i think it is interesting the speech was given on the same bay as the gomez race. it is a state where in this race, climate was on the ballot. and if you look across the country, especially generationally, this is an issue for which most americans, especially of the younger persuasion, this issue has been settled. but when you look at republican leadership in washington and look at mcconnell, and john boehner, you hear the rhetoric, for them it is not if the issue of climate change is right, it is settled, republicans are isolating an entire generation of voters. >> bill burton, now with the
league of conservation voters, senior adviser, thank you for joining us. >> thank you, rachel. >> i do actually think the last point bill made there is important. it is going to end up being interesting and important and maybe a weird circumstantial coincidence that on this day, ed markey went to the senate. ed markey today graduated to the u.s. senate on the day that president obama made these huge promises in policy in this field. this may be sort of a turning point day. i'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] pain not sitting too well? burning to feel better? itching for relief? preparation h offers the most maximum strength solutions for all hemorrhoid symptoms. from the brand doctors recommend most. preparation h. don't stand for hemorrhoids.
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i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved and staying engaged. they're not sitting by as their life unfolds. and they're not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is "how did i end up here?" i started schwab for those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. right at the top of a pentagon press conference today, the army chief of staff announced big news for the u.s. army. right now there are 45 combat
brigades of active u.s. duty soldiers, but tonight, the army announced they are cutting them down to 33 brigades as part of an overall to cut the army, they are cutting out 12 of them. even after cutting 80,000 troops out of the army we'll still have an army that is 10,000 soldiers larger than the force we had on 9/11. today, they announced a major attack in kabul, specifically one of the parts in kabul that is supposed to be one of the safest parts of the city, where the u.s. embassy is, and the nato headquarters is. one of two taliban vehicles made it through that area of the supposedly secure capitol. the second taliban vehicle was stopped and that is when the taliban fighters started to shoot and then blew up one of their vehicles. this was in broad daylight, early this morning, in supposedly the safest and most
heavily guarded place in the country. the taliban claimed credit for it, saying their real target was the cia compound. here is the worst part, the reports that the attackers were driving the types of vehicles that diplomats were driving there in afghanistan and that other people generally do not have. more worrying, also reports today that they had nato id cards, now fake ids are not exactly a news flash there or anywhere, but getting into the compound? the alternative explanation is that the nato ids were not fake, they were real, and the taliban attackers were the guys issued the ids in the first place. if that is the case, that is even worse, so yes, we are winding down the war in afghanistan, there are diplomatic efforts to get peace talks, responsibility for security in afghanistan has been handed off to the afghans from
u.s.-led forces. but there are 68,000 americans still there, just in the military, plus cia, plus state department, and journalists and contractors and everybody else. and the winding down phase in afghanistan is due to the last year and a half. it is still a hell of a dangerous place. that does it for us tonight. now it is time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell, thank you for joining us. the supreme court found part of the voting rights act unconstitutional today. and the jury in george zimmerman's murder trial saw pictures of trayvon martin's body for the first time. trayvon martin's mother had to turn away when the pictures were shown. you might want to do that, too, when we show the pictures later in the show. >> breaking news from the supreme court, the decision part of the voting rights act. >> the supreme court strikes down the key enforcement
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