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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 28, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PDT

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tend to be situations where you see one hand on the other hand. >> arthur caplan. seth mnookin. that's "all in" for tonight. the "rachel maddow show" starts now. thanks to you at home for staying with us the next hour. you might remember back in april, it was a really weird day on the stock market where the market took a huge sudden tumble, but it wasn't for any market-related reason. may have stuck in your mind what happened that day back in april because that was the day the stock market dove because of a tweet. a false tweet which said that president obama had been injured. >> it all began about 1:07 this afternoon. with this tweet from "associated press." "breaking, two explosions in the white house, and barack obama is injured." the message went to "ap's" 1.9 million twitter followers and spread like a virus. re-tweeted almost 5,000 times within a minute.
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but it was a fake. "ap's "account had been hacked. >> it partly explains the unusual activity in the dow. >> the dow began plunging, and within three minutes, dropped more than 140 points. >> you looked around the floor. you saw people running. you saw people upset. not sure what was going on. just watching this market trade lower. >> automatic trading programs kicked in. >> human beings weren't making these trades. these were computers. algorithms designed to skim the headlines and find negative or positive words and help companies profit on the results. >> minutes after that first message "ap's" corporate account tweeted it was bogus and suspended the "ap's" twitter page. >> i can say the president is fine. i was just with him. >> the syrian electronic army took credit for the hacking as well as for hacking into cbs' "60 minutes" twitter account over the weekend. >> the syrian electronic army. syrian electronic army took credit for that hack of the "associated press" twitter feed
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back in april which for a long and scary instant made people think that something terrible had happened at the white house, in which temporarily at least tanked the stock market that day. the syrian electronic army is a group of hackers we don't know that much about. they're pro-syrian government, they are pro-bashar al assad. they are said by u.s. officials to have close ties to the syrian military, but they're anonymous, their hackers, we don't know much about them. their attack on "ap's" twitter account was april 23rd. less than a week later it happened again. same perpetrators apparently. this time they hacked the twitter account of the "guardian" newspaper. then about a week after that, the same hacker group went after the "onion." seriously. yes. america's beloved and brilliant satirical newspaper. when the syrian hackers took over the "onion's" twitter account, they responded as only they could. "syrian electronic army has a little fun before inevitable
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upcoming deaths at hands of rebels." so it was the "ap," the "guardian" newspaper, the geniuses at the "onion." ten days later it was the "financial times" to promote and link to a violent graphic video. in july, the same pro-syrian government hacker group hit "reuters" again taking over the "reuters" twitter account and this time posting political cartoons about the syrian war. they were able to control "reuters'" twitter account for more than half an hour which is a long time for something like this. a month later the same group reportedly hit the "washington post" and also cnn and also "time" magazine. when it launched that last attack, the syrian electronic army tweeted an image to show they had taken over the domain names. between late april and mid august, four months, this anonymous unknown hacker group, allied with the syrian government, successfully attacked and took over websites
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or twitter accounted connected to the "associated press," and the "guardian" and "financial times," "reuters," cnn, "time" magazine and "the onion." today it happened again. 3:00 eastern this afternoon, "the new york times" website,, no longer worked on my internet machine. i say it that way. weirdly, a friend working in northern new england who i was e-mailing with about something at the time said he was still able to access "the new york times" website, but in new york and most places, nobody could get it. "the new york times" quickly posted this message on their facebook page, acknowledging many people, most people were unable to access their website. they said "our initial assessment is the outage is most likely the result of a malicious external attack. in the meantime, we're continuing to publish key news reports.
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here's our latest article about syria, accessible to everyone." that link led to this reporting on the potential for american military action against syria. all this was happening at around the time that people started tweeting that they were seeing this image. this the syrian electronic army's logo. people started tweeting that this image was popping up for them on their computer screens when they were trying unsuccessfully to refresh the broken "new york times" website. then it was not just "the new york times." but also the "huffington post's" british version. syrian electronic army allegedly took over that domain for the site sometime this afternoon. they then took to twitter to claim credit for their hacks today. then they also apparently attacked twitter, itself. both in the u.s. and in the uk. only disrupting some service, in kind of a minor way, but they did publicly let twitter know they had changed the firm's
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online information to show that twitter now technically was owned by the syrian electronic army. we owned you. yeah. which is the kind of stunt that is so sophomoric it's actually an insult to call -- it's an insult to sophomores to call it that. we do not know who the syrian electronic army is, specifically, but they are pro-syrian government hackers. they support the syrian government. they support bashar al assad. and they've been really effective at carrying out these mostly dumb but occasionally crippling attacks on the highest profile websites on the earth. just moments ago, just a few minutes ago "the new york times" site came back online after being down all day long. is this a freelancing effort by assad's supporters? or is this syrian policy? is this cyber warfare being waged by syria's military at the direction of syria's president? is this one of the things that syria feels it can do to lash out at the rest of the world as that country gets increasingly
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isolated and condemned among the nations of the world? today syria's foreign minister warned at a press conference that if western powers intervene in syria, if western powers attack the syrian government and syrian military, the country's response should not be underestimated. he said, "we have the means to defend ourselves and we will surprise everyone. we will defend ourselves using all means available. i don't want to say more than that." whether or not you think syria's got anything that it can do that should worry the rest of the world, are they going to be attacked by another country? are they going to be attacked by us? is the u.s. military, with or without international allies, about to launch a military attack on that country? if you kind of take the binoculars off your face and turn them around the wrong way, and just take the very short-sighted view of the very short-term discussion that's
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just happening just inside the beltway, it really seems like that attack is about to happen. before "the new york times" website went down today, you could have seen that the main headline online there, this afternoon, their main story on syria was titled "momentum builds for military strike in syria." at the "washington post" tonight, it's this. "obama administration lays groundwork for possible military strike against syria." at cnn, and the fox news channel, it has apparently been difficult to turn away from the pressing issue of critiquing the dance moves of miley cyrus, but even they have moved to front page -- not the question of whether there will be a u.s. military attack on syria, but when that attack will happen and what it will consist of. so in the short view, it's definitely going to happen, it's a question of exactly when and what it's going to look like. take one click, though, toward a wider view, that reveals more of a debate and less of a certainty that this attack is going to happen or at least that it should happen. when you see those weapons
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inspectors in syria now, the ones who were shot at by snipers yesterday, when you see the weapons inspectors in syria looking for proof, evidence to substantiate allegations about the use of chemical weapons, those weapons inspectors, their most famous predecessor is this man, hans blix. he ran the u.n.'s nuclear agency for six years and the weapons inspector for iraq in the three years leading up to when we invaded back in 2003. you'll recall that war in iraq was started under the false pretense that iraq had chemical weapons and biological weapons and soon to be nuclear weapons. those allegations were made with dead 100% certainty by u.s. officials in 2002 and 2003 and though hans blix and his team were in charge of looking for proof of those allegations, the u.s. decided we could not wait for them to get the proof, we were so sure that we would go
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ahead on our own terms. screw the u.n. we told the u.n. weapons inspectors back then to get out, to stop their work and leave. the u.s. government told them to get out of the way so we could go ahead and start bombing because our government did not need their stinking proof. our government was so sure they were right. and, of course, our government was wrong. turns out. should have stuck with the weapons inspectors. well, today, with weapons inspectors still on the ground inside syria, and these threats that u.s. military action might start anyway, maybe even while the weapons inspectors are still in that country, today good old hans blix is trying to make sure the lessons from the last time this happened were not forgotten. asked today, he's not shy about it. he said "the indications are certainly in the direction of the use of chemical weapons. the circumstantial evidence points to the assad regime carrying out the use of such weapons.
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however, since the western powers have asked for u.n. inspections and syria has accepted and the inspectors have been put in the field, we all should wait to see the report of the inspectors before action is taken." he says "as we have seen before, the political dynamics are running ahead of due process." he was then asked if he feels like this is an echo of the iraq war issue under president george w. bush. he says "in a way, yes. then, too, the americans and their allies asked for inspections. then, too, they said, forget it. we have enough evidence on our own to act. we are the world police." only last march" he says "the west was satisfied with inspections concerning the use of chemical weapons. why can't they wait again now? in one month when you have accurate tissue samples, we will know for sure exactly what kind of chemical weapons have been used and who possesses such weapons." he's asked of the difference between president obama on this issue and the lead-up to the
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iraq war. hans blix said president obama some time ago talked about international legality. i was heartened by that. i feel the politics of the moment are pushing him in a direction we've seen before in the united states." "if the aim is to stop the breach of international law and to keep the lid on others with chemical weapons, military action without first waiting for the u.n. inspector report is not the way to go about it." if you have ever wondered why it is that presidents age so fast while they are in office, it is is probably decision points like this. who should respond to this? how long should anyone wait on the u.n. for a truly international response? if the u.s. doesn't want to wait that long, then what can be gained by not waiting and going ahead alone? why rush? what targets do you hit if you are going to hit them? if the goal is not to just full-on join the war to depose that government inside that country, then when do you know you should stop hitting those targets? when do you know you've accomplished your objectives? since you can't really hit chemical weapons facilities,
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themselves, without, duh, dispersing chemical weapons or at least leaving them vulnerable to be taken by anybody, what if the government we've decided to bomb responds to us bombing them by turning to more chemical weapons attacks on their own civilians? this is a hard decision. this is a hard decision for any president. this is a hard decision particularly for a president like the one we've got right now who professes a belief and who has demonstrated such a belief in multilateral action and to the united states being a leader among nations. not a leader despite nations, but a leader among nations. who believes in international action. this is a hard decision. fortunately, there's an app for that. it's an old one, but it still works great. article 1, section 8 of the constitution of the united states enumerates the powers
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that are given in our country to congress, to congress specifically, not the president, but congress, and the 1 1th clause of that section says "the congress shall have the power to declare war." everyone will try to say that the kind of military action being considered against syria right now is technically not war, just looks that way. it's the kind of limited temporary military action that presidents have been taking on their own recognizance for decades now. if you want to argue precedence, that's how we've dealt with issues like this in the past. if you want to argue the constitution, frankly it's supposed to be congress. unless somebody is attacking america, us, and the president needs to take immediate action to defend us with no time to consult congress, it's supposed to be congress who makes the decision about using force. and then once the decision is made, it's the president, as commander in chief, who commands the u.s. forces who have been committed to the fight. who have been committed to the fight by the decision made by congress. that is not the way it works now. most times. but that is the good idea that the founders of our country had for how it ought to work. might those guys have been on to something when they came up with
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that system? in this hard decision on syria, might the country not benefit right now from a rollicking debate on what to do here? on what's right and what's prudent and what is in keeping with our values and our obligations and, frankly, our means to make a difference? today a congressman who represents a district that has one of the largest concentrations of active duty and retired military service members in the country spearheaded a letter to president obama calling on him to please talk to congress about this issue. "dear mr. president, we strongly urge you to consult and receive authorization from congress before ordering the use of u.s. military force in syria. while the founders wisely gave the president power to act in emergencies. active engagement in congress prior to committing u.s. military assets. engaging our military in syria when no direct threat to the u.s. exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of
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powers that is clearly delineated in our constitution. if you deem military action in syria is necessary, congress can reconvene at your request. we stand ready to come back into session, consider the facts before us, and share the burden of decisions made regarding u.s. involvement in the quickly escalating syrian conflict. sincerely, 37 members of congress." at least as of a few hours ago. joining us, congressman scott ridgell. it's really good to have you with us tonight. thanks very much for your time. >> thank you, rachel. i listened to your introduction. i think you framed the issue well. it's really a serious matter. >> i think -- thank you for saying that. i think your constitutional argument in your letter is sound. you can tell from my introduction that i agree with it. i disagree with you on one point where you say congress stands ready to come back into session and share the burden of decisions on this issue. i know you say you are and your
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co-signers must be, but as a whole, do you really think congress stands ready and able to do that right now? >> well, i believe that deep inside each member of congress, regardless of party, is the desire to do the right thing. the right thing in this case, should the president call us into session, if he really believes that the use of force is both warranted and imminent, as i expressed in letter, signed and joined by democrats, now over 40, and i believe we'll have more tomorrow, then he has a duty to call us into session, give us, say, for example, 24 hours to come back. there are members of congress around the world on different trips. some are at home, of course, but that's enough time to get here. this is what we do, rachel. there's no more important issue before the american people than the use of american force and putting our young folks into harm's way. as you mentioned, i have the privilege of representing a district that has the highest concentration of men and women
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in uniform in the country. we'd be here, the president should come forth and lay out the most compelling case, present the facts as much as he can, and, of course, respecting the intelligence sources that we have and give us a relatively short time to deliberate and then to, should it be warranted, provide statutory authority. this is the moral foundation upon which he could proceed and if the facts are there, he'd have the support of the american people. >> there's no reason that the president, himself, has to call congress back. congress could reconvene of its own authority. obviously this is an independent responsibility of congress to make its own assessment on these terms. do you think that's possible, and would it make a difference who called for congress to take such an action? >> well, it's theoretically possible that each respective leader of each body, speaker boehner could call us back into session. that's his prerogative. i'm sure the same is true of majority leader senator reid. now, it's very clear, though,
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that the president has that authority. it's clearly delineated in our constitution, and, again, if he believes that the facts warrant intervention, that's a serious matter, he'd really have to lay forth the strategic objective. simply punishing the assad regime, however heinous it is, he could characterize it easily as criminal. punishment is not in and of itself a strategic objective. >> in terms of the way to move forward here, obviously members that has been troubling to a lot of republicans. in this case, when i read those comments from hans blix today,
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when he's obviously making this very inflammatory comparison to what happened a decade ago in the lead-up to the war in iraq, i am compelled by his argument that the u.n. weapons inspectors are there. they have at least limited access to that site. there's no reason not to wait for their definitive proof. if for no other reason that it if for no other reason that it might bring more international [ lane ] do you ever feel like you're growing old
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hollywood who were scheduled to begin entertaining the crowd at 10:00, did not arrive to the airport until 11:15. the whole affair began to take on the spontaneity of a church picnic. before the entertainment was to begin, groups of high school students were singing with improvisations and hand clapping all over the monument slope. civil rights demonstrators who had been released from jail in danville, virginia, were singing move on, move on until all the world is free. members of local 144, allied service and employees union from new york city, an integrated local from 1950 were stomping, oh freedom, oh freedom, we shall not be moved just like a tree that's planted by the water. and odetta's great full-throated voice carried almost to capitol hill. if they ask you who you are, tell them you're a child of god. the march to the lincoln memorial was supposed to start at 11:30 behind the leaders but at 11:20 it sat off spontaneously, down constitution avenue behind the kenilworth knights, a local drum and bugle corps dazzling in yellow and silk blazers, green trousers and green berets. the leaders were lost and never did get to the head of the parade.
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it was the greatest assembly for a redress of grievances that the capital has ever seen." that was just the news story. the front page "new york times" reporting from e.w. in 1963 and what happened tonight at check it out. here's the thing you need to know for tomorrow. if you can watch tv during the day, watch from 1:00 p.m. eastern on. that's going it be the official let freedom ring event on the national mall. after 1:00 p.m. is when there are going to be speeches and everything by president clinton and president carter. at about 2:45 eastern time, that is when president obama is going to give his big address. then at 3:00 p.m., they tell us, bells will toll. at that moment 50 years ago when dr. king reached that point in his speech, let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops in new hampshire. he goes through the long list of everywhere he wants to hear freedom ring.
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every mole and mole hill of mississippi. you know that portion of the speech, right? at the 50-year anniversary of that moment at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow, bells are going to ring in d.c. and across the country and even apparently in places as far away as switzerland and japan. that's tomorrow afternoon. here's the other thing you need to know for tomorrow, though. even if you're not in a place where you can watch tv during the day, take a note of this for tomorrow night. this is something that never happens. tomorrow night, wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern, msnbc has moved heaven and earth to get permission to air the "i have a dream" speech uninterrupted in its entirety. you think you have heard the whole speech, but you really probably haven't. access to the tape of the speech is very, very highly restricted. it is almost impossible to get permission to play even any large piece of it, let alone the whole thing. but tomorrow here on msnbc, at 8:00 p.m., we have moved heaven and earth to be able to play "i have a dream" uninterrupted in
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full. you should plan to not miss it. this is not something that happens every day. we'll be right back. among the most important
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among the most important leaders on one of the biggest civil rights issues in the country today is not who you would expect. the accomplished, connected republican who's fighting that
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unexpected fight joins us straight ahead. stay with us. [ female announcer ] what's the biggest news in volume? covergirl's new flamed out mascara for max volume. the volume igniter brush shapes lashes up and out for bigger, hotter, maxed out volume. new flamed out mascara from easy breezy beautiful covergirl.
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in britain, in the uk, the two major political parties are
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the labor party on the left and the conservative party on the right. there's also the liberal democrats and some other smaller parties, but the two biggies are labor and the conservatives. the conservatives currently hold the largest number of seats in the british parliament. that means the current prime minister of great britain is also from that party, david cameron, this guy. under conservative party leadership in britain, under conservative david cameron, britain has just legalized same-sex marriage. the bill cleared all the hurdles it needed to clear in parliament, pretty much without breaking a sweat. the queen gave it her royal stamp of approval and marriage equality was made so across the pond. on this issue, david cameron says "conservatives believe in the ties that bind us. society is stronger when we make
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vows to each other and we support each other. i do not support gay marriage despite being a conservative. i support gay marriage because i'm a conservative. on this side of the pond, though, things are different. as we reported in breaking news on the show last night, in new mexico, a state judge just ruled last night that under that state's own constitution, that state's and constitutional protections against discrimination, county clerks in new mexico should no longer be allowed to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples who want them. there's no statewide law either way in new mexico about same-sex marriage, but because of last night's court ruling, this morning in the most populous county in the state, the place where albuquerque is, bernalillo county, they started issuing licenses. though it applied to the one big county, a couple other counties in the state decided they would follow suit as well. the response from the republican party in new mexico has not been positive. "gop lawmakers look to take legal action against gay marriage." republicans are not only against marriage equality in new mexico, now that it is upon them in some way because of the state's constitution and this ruling by the state judge, republicans are trying to sue to stop. see a similar dynamic at work in the great state of illinois.
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earlier this year the chairman of the state republican party in illinois voiced his personal views that he supported same-sex marriage rights, and even though illinois is thought of as a pretty liberal state with the people in the state who support equal marriage rights far outnumbering the people who don't support equal marriage, the state republican party in illinois drew a hard line. they were so upset with their state party chairman saying he personally was in favor of gay rights that he eventually had to resign as chairman of the party. here's the thing, though. the aclu in illinois today hired that guy. the former state republican party chairman who got forced out for being too pro-gay for the republican party, the aclu just hired him to try to bring other republicans along to his way of thinking.
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to try to bring that state along, thereby, to the pro-gay rights side of this issue. that is specific to illinois today, but the aclu nationally has launched a $10 million effort to do this across the country, to get republicans to move republicans. to get conservatives to move conservatives on this issue. the idea is that there is nothing inherently liberal about supporting equal rights for gay people. it should be seen as a conservative value as well, and the idea is the people who can best make that case to conservatives and republicans are other conservatives and other republicans who are maybe a little less in the rick santorum mold and a little more in the david cameron mold. the guy who the aclu hired to head up this national effort is a heavyweight. he worked on capitol hill as communications director for the national republican congressional committee. that's the part of the republican party that elects people to the house. he was one of the top strategists during president
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bush's re-election effort in 2004. he was a deputy assistant to president george w. bush in the white house. he directed the strategic communications around the nomination of john roberts to be chief justice of the supreme or the. he led the whole effort to get sam alito appointed to the supreme court. when republican governor arnold schwarzenegger ran for re-election in california in 2006, he ran that effort. then he was the senior strategist for the next republican presidential campaign. which of course was the effort to elect john mccain. he has been everywhere and has done everything and knows everyone in republican politics. and he knows what he is talking about and this is what he is working on now, and he joins us next. [ lane ] do you ever feel like you're growing old
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remember that love and loyalty and understanding are the foundations of a happy and enduring home. >> i can't believe this is happening. >> calm down. >> that was new mexico where state judge there last night ruled that under that state's own constitution and that state's constitutional protections against discrimination, new mexico's county clerks should stop denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples who want them. joining us now is steve schmidt, very accomplished republican political strategist. he's now working with the aclu to help win over republicans on the same-sex marriage issue. steve, thanks for being here, my friend. it's nice to see you. >> good to see you, rachel. >> so how do you move republicans on this issue besides telling them they need to be on the right side of history so they don't lose elections? how do you make the substantive case to fellow republicans on this? >> look, i think you make the substantive case the way david cameron made the case.
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other republicans, lisa murkowski, rob portman made the case, dick cheney made the case, that freedom means freedom for everybody, and when you look at the republican party, you look at our history, you understand our history, you understand the importance of liberty and freedom to our party. we don't want to disenfranchise people who want to make a lifetime commitment to each other through civil marriage. we're on the wrong side of history on this issue. the country is not with us, and when you look at republicans under 40 years old, you look at republicans in regions of the country like in the northeast, the fact that there are more republican votes in the new
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hampshire legislature for marriage equality than there were democratic votes, you know, partly because of the function of the size of the majority, but nevertheless, it's an important moment. so as we look at this issue and how quickly it's progressed nationally, where president obama was against marriage equality in his first term, came out for it. that i think you will see the same thing happen with the republican party over time. although there will be republicans who will fight this tooth and nail all the way to the end when one day every american has the right to marry whomever they wish to marry. >> steve, trying to follow the -- not the sort of general election debate but debate among republicans on this issue leads to all sorts of surprising results. you see in the -- when alabama republicans were fighting about it this weekend, they decided they were not going to discipline the alabama college republicans president for having said she personally supported gay rights. in illinois it went completely the other direction. in new hampshire, they ended up with a more pro-gay rights decision in the legislature there. when you're looking at this as a
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republican strategist, what do you look for for signs of hope for your ability to make progress on this issue? >> well, look, you look at this issue regionally. not all regions of the country have the same sensibilities on this issue. look ahead to oregon where this fight is coming, to illinois, to states like new jersey, very different sensibilities on the issue than the state of alabama that you mentioned. but even there, the republican party, and there's a sentiment in it, obviously, hey, let's hunt heretics. i'd say that's antithetical to the notion of conservative and individual thought and freedom, but one of the things that you'll continue to see is this younger generation of republicans not just in the northeastern states, but in southern states, who've grown up, have gay friends, know gay people, and want to see them be able to have the same rights that every other american has. and so i think that you will see over time that this right for americans to marry whomever they
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wish to marry will be extended to every american, and it will happen in every state. it may take another supreme court decision to do it, but this issue will progress and it will progress with millions of rank and file republicans joining the cause for liberty and for equality. >> incrementally on the way there, we get these moments like what just happened last night and then this morning in new mexico, where a judge weighs in and says, yeah, there's no law on this issue in new mexico, but i am ordering the county clerks to go ahead on this. we saw the supreme court ruling striking down the defense of marriage act. as a liberal who supports gay rights broadly, i look at those court rulings and see, you know, progress. i see things marching forward. do conservatives look at moments like that, though, and say we don't want these things to come from the court?
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does that create an ideological problem in terms of that being the way forward? >> there's no doubt that there are republicans who are supportive of marriage equality. who don't want to see the final decisions at the state level come from the judges, come from the courts. there will be republicans who will fight this tooth and nail all the way to the end when one day everyone has the right to marry whomever they wish to marry. >> steve, trying to follow, not the general election debate, but the debate between the republicans on this, leads to surprising results. i mean, when the republicans in alabama were fighting about it this weekend they decided they were not going to discipline the republican alabama president, when she said she supported gay rights. in new hampshire, they ended up with a more pro-gay rights legislation. when you're looking at a republican strategist, what do you look for as a sign of your ability to have hope on this issue? >> well, you look at this issue
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regionally, not all regions of the country have the same sensibility on this, when you look at oregon, where the fight is coming. to illinois, to states like new jersey, very different ideas on the issue than in the state of alabama. but even there, the republican party, and there is a sentiment in it, obviously, hey, let's hunt heretics, let's cast people
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might have wanted to keep secret, steve, thank you for joining us. nice to see you. >> thank you. big news that may possibly make you sleep slightly easier tonight, particularly if you live in new england. that is coming up next. we tend to think of the state of vermont as a deep blue . i've got a nice long life ahead. big plans. so when i found out medicare doesn't pay all my medical expenses, i looked at my options. then i got a medicare supplement insurance plan. [ male announcer ] if you're eligible for medicare, you may know it only covers about 80% of your part b medical expenses. the rest is up to you. call now and find out about an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. like all standardized medicare supplement plans, it helps pick up some of what medicare doesn't pay. and could save you thousands in out-of-pocket costs.
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we tend to think of the state of vermont as a deep blue state, as far for the left as you can get. but in the state of vermont, you can still find republicans that get elected to statewide office. in 2002, they elected jim douglas, who was first elected in 2002, reelected in 2004, then in 2006 and 2008. in each of those election battles, he won by huge margins, the republican governor of vermont. but in 2009, jim douglas announced he was not going to run for re-election again. he said he had served long
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enough. the guy who hoped to carry on his legacy was his long-time lieutenant governor, a man by the name of dubie. in the 2010 race, he faced off between the estate senator, peter shumlin. and with him poised to inherent that mantle as lieutenant governor, it was going to be a close race. nationally it was rated as a toss-up. in that hard-fought race, one of the ways he distinguished himself was by campaigning against this. this was the nuclear power plant located in southern vermont. vermont yankee is kind of hated by all the people there in vermont. lots of people in vermont just wanted it out of the state. and the democrat in that race,
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peter shumlin, campaigned against it. his republican opponent was vaguely in favor of it. there were ads of him supporting it. his opponent, peter shumlin, who never ceased to tell the voters that, ultimately won. he had to fight his way out of a five-way democratic primary to even get in that race. he was by no way a shoe-in. he beat that opponent due to see opposition to his opponent's ideas. once he became governor, he couldn't just close the place down, they were trying to pass laws for years and years trying to get vermont yankee out of the state. but they have been stopped by the states because the nuclear power and safety are regulated by the federal government. it didn't mean a whole lot when they got to court. the state legislators and the
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governor have been unable to locate that nuclear plant, even though they want it. until today, today, the surprise company that operates the vermont yankee nuclear plant said they plan to shut down the plant next year. they say it was not a result of political pressure, but economic pressure. namely, cheap and abundant natural gas. reacting to that announcement, peter shumlin said it is the right decision for vermont, and vermont clean energy future. this was the fukushima nuclear disaster that took place in japan two years ago. the nuclear meltdown that took place at fukushima was the result of the disaster from the tsunami, and it caused the reactors to melt down. fukushima happened in march 2011, march 11, 2011. the day before that happened, on march 10th, the vermont yankee got its license renewed, they got it renewed the day before fukushima happened.
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and here is why that is important. this is what the reactors at fukushima looked like before they melted down. does that look familiar at all? yes, it is exactly the same design as the vermont yankee nuclear plant. both plants were made using the exact same ge nuclear reactors. they were designed and built way back in the 1970s. after fukushima happened, lots of attention was paid to potential design flaws in the specific reactor. that is in part what ramped up the pressure in vermont to get vermont yankee shut down. well, now it will be shut down next year. and once it is shut down for good that means there will only be 22 more reactors at plants across the united states using the exact same design and reactor used at fukushima. fukushima, which is still an ongoing nuclear disaster, two and a half years later. for nuclear opponents in this country, it is now one down, 22
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more to go. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow night. thank you for joining us. good wednesday morning. world leaders are gathering with their closest advisers to decide what military retaliation will be taken against syria for using chemical weapons. a bird's-eye view, california's out of control wildfire and the massive air and ground assault to put it out. 50 years ago today, dr. martin luther king jr. delivered one of the world's most memorable messages. good morning, everybody, i'm betty nguyen. senior u.s. officials tell nbc news a u.s.-led military strike against syria could be launched as early as tomorrow. momentum for action against the alleged chemical attacks appears tobu