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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  September 24, 2013 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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east and north africa. >> the united states of america is prepared to use all elements of our power, including military force, to secure our core interests in the region. we will confront external aggression against our allies and partners as we did in the gulf war. >> president obama made syria, iran and the israeli peace process the focus of his speech, with the president saying america is prepared to do whatever it takes to halt the use of chemical and nuclear weapons and prevent terrorists from finding safe havens. his speech was being closely watched for what he would say on iran. its new president, hassan rouhani has been reaching out to the u.s. with a softer tone over the past few weeks. obama announced that he was pleased with the overtures. >> we are encouraged that president rouhani received from the iranian people a mandate to pursue a more moderate course. and given president rouhani's stated commitment to reach an agreement, i am directing john
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kerry to pursue this effort with the iranian government, in close cooperation with the european union, the united kingdom, france, germany, russia and china. >> in the meantime, president obama could come face to face with rouhani, who is speaking later this afternoon. and the big question today, will the two speak to one another? if they do, it would make history. it would be the first meeting between u.s. and iranian leaders in more than 30 years. the white house says that no meeting is scheduled. joining me now for more on all of this, former ambassador mark ginsburg, a former white house middle east adviser and rula gibrio. what did you make of the president's speech? >> as someone who is totally immersed in the middle east, this speech is almost entirely devoted to middle east issues, from the israeli/palestinian conflict to the efforts to try to forge some accommodation with iran. but the large focus, the most significant focus of the president's speech was on syria.
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and it's interesting, after three and a half years of conflict in syria, it has become front and center at the united nations as a major issue of concern. clearly a goal of cooperation for the united states with the other members of the security council. >> and let's talk a little bit about syria. you know, the president called for a resolution that could be enforced obviously, that's a key here, but we know russia would most likely veto anything that called for military intervention in terms of enforcement, so how are they going to get this actually enforced? this has to have teeth for it to be something that's going to be effective. >> well, russia has to come around somehow because they don't want any strikes against syria. they don't want the regime to collapse and disappear. this is their last ally in the region somehow. because they were scared, suddenly russia is coming around and let's negotiate over wmd and let's make the deal. if it wasn't for the military threat, they would never come
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around. if it wasn't for the military threat, assad would have never mentioned about his chemical weapons or listed them or gave access to anybody to eventually dismantle them. i think for the first time we're seeing that all the players are very concerned, very tense and willing to do something about it. >> and i should note we're also joined by ambassador nick burns, harvard professor and former state department undersecretary for political affairs and the lead negotiator on iran's nuclear program. i'd like to bring him in at this time. ambassador, i want to turn back to the issue of iran. we know that rouhani is essentially operating as a representative of the supreme leader, ayatollah kme, and there certain key issues here. do we have any indication that the ayatollah is willing to give him room to negotiate on those key issues? >> we really don't and i think that's the most important question here. the ayatollah is the supreme
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authority in iran. he wields most of the power. he has control of both the revolutionary guards and the army. and so he's given president rouhani some room here to begin negotiations with the united states. that's a very positive thing. of course president obama is right to accept that offer to negotiate. i expect that we'll have negotiations between the permanent five countries and germany with iran in the next several weeks and i would expect there to be direct negotiations between the united states and iran on the margins on that. but it really is an open question about how far iran will go. we've seen a charm offensive by president rouhani. he's a very different figure man ahmadinejad but will he be allowed to make the kind of compromises on iran's enrichment program that are going to be necessary to get american, french, british, german and russian support. and that is an open question. it was a very good "new york times" article today casting some doubt on whether or not
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they are interested in a new relationship with the united states. so i think president obama is right. test this, see if the iranians are willing to make on paper and in negotiations the type of compromises that are necessary in order -- we need to see actions, not just words. >> ambassador ginsburg, for the ayatollah in a lot of ways, this is a win-win. if talks go well, they could see an easing of sanctions. if they don't go well, he can go back to railing against the united states. what are the potential risks and benefits for the united states? >> well, the risks obviously if iran continues its nuclear program and there's verification by outside agencies like the atomic energy agency that it's continuing to enrich sufficient uranium above the peaceful threshold, which is 20% and at the same time building a nuclear weapon or at least beginning to appear to be building a nuclear weapon, that's going to put the united states on a collision course with iran as well as israel.
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remember also the sanctions, the economic sanctions of the obama administration and the rest of the world has imposed on iran is what has gotten iran to the point where the ayatollah wants to see if there can be a negotiation. he wants those sanctions lifted. he's going to do everything he can to try to charm the united states into having those sanctions lifted without having to give up his nuclear program. that will be the test. how far are we willing to go in order not to accommodate the ayatollah's desire to see sanctions lifted before we get verification on wiending down their nuclear speech. >> all of this speech was issues related to the middle east. what are some of the other things you heard that you thought were key. >> i think a lot of things. there's a domestic pressure in iran. remember the 2009 election, remember way before that all these protesters that are rejecting not rouhani, they are rejecting the supreme leaders and the hard-core policies that they were applying in iran and
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elsewhere. they don't want anymore. the people in the streets, 70% are under 30 years old. they want democracy. they want prosperity. they want a different iran. they don't care about atomic bomb. what they care about, freedom, internet and have a different lifestyle. this is what the iranian leader is more concerned about more than the americans themtsselves >> the one thing that was interesting, there was a veiled warning to mr. putin that he should not try to recreate a cold war overseeria a i-- over and the rest of the middle east. it's a very interesting sentence where the president said this is not a game. this is not a question of -- it's a zero sum game on who wins and who loses. it was a vaeiled warning that w are not about to start a cold war. >> also a warning when he said look we are willing to help you, both sides, guarantee the security of israel and put a two-state solution and support that, but you need to do your
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job. he said israel absolutely have to have a democratic and a jewish state. when he mentioned jewish state, these two things together, combining them, he knows that most israelis know that the future will have to be either two-state solution or one state but the one state cannot be a democratic and a jewish state because the majorities are arab today. that means if it will be one state solution the arabs will not have the right to vote and the right to exercise their citizenship and moviesally and to be citizen in their own country, that means we are heading towards apartheid. >> i'd like to get ambassador burns in on this as well. ambassador, what do you think were the key points related to middle east policy in this speech? >> it was extraordinary that the speech, which is on america's global foreign policy would be so focused in the middle east, maybe not such a surprise given the events there. the president had a bad month on syria policy and it was very inconsistent and very uneven. he has how as opportunity to
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make this deal work and you saw him take, as mark said, a very tough stance on the russians and he was right to do that. he has this new opportunity in iran, and frankly that's a bigger issue for the united states. it more directly speaks to our national interests and those of israel as well. so i think you'll see the administration focusing first on iran to try to get these negotiations started, but there's no question that we need to keep the sanctions in place against iran. we shouldn't take them off unless iran gives us something of great value, of concrete value in these negotiations. on syria, it's a question of implementation and making sure that assad does what he said he would do. if the russians put pressure and heat on assad, that's a big if. a lot of people think assad will not implement this agreement. so making sure this agreement is implemented and driving a very tough bargain, those are the two priorities for the united states in the month or two ahead. >> ambassadors nick burns and mark ginsburg and rula, thank you all for being here this morning. >> thank you.
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the siege on a mall in kenya now in its fourth day with more gunfire and explosions heard this morning. we'll have the latest on reports that several americans and a british woman known as the white widow may have been involved in this attack. plus -- >> to the majority leader was to pass the continuing resolution that the house of representatives passed, and if that had happened, there would be no government shutdown. a government shutdown would be taken off the table. >> senator ted cruz's crusade against obama care setting him on a collision course with senate republicans. and maryland congressman chris van hollen joins me coming up in just a few minutes. plus, today's big question. is the budget debate a win-win for senator ted cruz regardless of the outcome? weigh in on twitter or facebook. with a mission of providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. if you look at a khan academy video, they cover everything from basic arithmetic to calculus, trigonometry, finance.
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in kenya, there is still sporadic gunfire and at least one explosion reported in the area of a mall standoff in nairobi. it's now been four days since gunmen launched their deadly attack on that mall, opening fire and throwing grenades. in spite of officials insisting they have taken control of the situation, the hostage standoff is likely not over. joining me is a global post senior correspondent for africa. tristan, we heard kenyan security forces had taken back the mall and then reports of explosions and gunfire. do we know whether or not that mall has been secured? >> reporter: well, the kenyan army insists that it is in control of the mall but we've had these gunfire and explosions as recently as an hour ago, and so what we're left with is one of the most disturbing aspects of this ongoing siege which is the lack of information and, indeed, contradictory reports
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about the hostages and civilians who may still be trapped inside the mall. the kenyan government has been insisting that there are no more hostages inside but al shabaab's twitter feed says there are in fact hostages still being held by the gunmen within the mall. >> all right. tristan mcconnell reporting live from my robe -- nairobi. u.s. officials say they have no information of americans involved in the attack but kenyan officials say otherwise. >> from the information that we have, two or three americans and i think so far -- the americans from the information we have are young men, about between maybe 18 and 19. >> joining me here in new york on set is nbc terrorism analyst evan kohlmann. thanks for being here. >> thank you. >> based on what we know about al shabaab, is it realistic to believe that there are in fact
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americans involved in the attack? >> oh, yeah. there have been dozens of americans who have traveled from the united states, from communities like minneapolis, seattle, san diego, and have traveled all the way over to somalia to join shabaab. some of these guys have achieved fairly high positions of prominence. one who was killed last week after getting in a firefight with his former allies as one point was the head trainer for every american coming in. he was an al shabaab field commander. so these guys are achieving prominence and it's quite possible they were there. i think the question is, is the kenyan foreign minister -- what information is she referring to? is she referring to what came out on twitter, which doesn't appear to be legitimate, or do they have some other source of information indicating there really are americans, there's a british national, maybe even a woman involved? >> now, nbc's pete williams has reported that u.s. officials believe there's as many as 50 americans fighting for al shabaab and as you mentioned one of them is amar hamami.
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>> one reason we're staying here away from our families, away from the cities, away from ice, candy bars, is because we're waiting to meet the enemy. >> how are they being recruited and radicalized. >> that was taking a group of guys from minneapolis out in the field to launch an operation. >> out in the field where? >> in somalia. these guys are lured here for a variety of reasons. some say somalia has been invaded by foreign countries, we've got to fight off this invasion, it's your nationalistic duty. some people are lured there with the idea that there's a radical jihad taking place and they can participate in a holy war against the crusaders and their allies. people go there for different reasons. the problem is, is that because there's a variety of different reasons drawing people there, there have been a diverse group of people, more so than al qaeda or other terror groups.
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shabaab has had success recruiting americans and from communities that we don't think of as being hubs for terrorist activity and that's what makes it a challenging problem not just there but where. >> kenya's foreign minister says there's a white minister involved in the attack, a british mother of four involved in terrorist activities. what do we know about the possibility of her being involved in these attacks? >> it's hard to know right now. there was a kenyan army officer who said that apparently there was a white lady carrying an ak-47 who was taking part in this operation. obviously you have the comments from the kenyan foreign minister saying that there was a woman involved. but we have to hold off here. there's no doubt whatsoever this lady has been involved with al shabaab, she's been involved with al shabaab's efforts to carry out terrorist attacks in states neighboring somalia. it's very plausible she would be involved in something like this or it is plausible, but at the moment we're still not sure where this information is coming from and how credible it is.
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given the lack of credibility the kenyan government has by suggesting this hostage siege is over, i think we have to be very careful before we assert there are definitely americans who are part of the assailants here. there is definitely a woman. i don't think we really know that for certain right here. >> but this white widow as they call her is such an interesting figure. she's a british woman, she's a mother. she's not at all who you would think was involved in terrorist activity. does this speak to the reach of that appeal in terms of recruiting and appealing to westerners? what would compel a brit, a mother to essentially fight with terrorists? >> she's irish. she then married the guy, one of the guys who carried out the 7-7 bombings in london. she has a very strong determination to pursue this. it's not clear where exactly or how exactly she got radicalized but it happened early on. and the fact that her husband killed himself in carrying out a terrorist attack was not enough
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to deter her and she traveled all the way to somalia in order to pursue this. whether or not she's involved in this, there's no doubt she's a problem, she's part of al shabaab. and again she's part of a group of people, a group of women who are now trying to join this organization or trying to carry out acts in concert, you could say, with groups like shabaab or al qaeda. >> evan, thanks so much for your perspective. >> thank you very much. senator ted cruz's campaign against obama care. is he winning a war even if he loses the battle? the agenda panel will jump into that in just a few minutes. plus -- >> that's because i'm scared of my wife. >> did you hear that? president obama saying he's afraid of his wife. we'll tell you what's behind his open mic moment. so ally bank really has no hidden fees on savings accounts?
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two of them are believed to have fired shots. the others are suspected in playing a role in the shooting. police say one of the men was shot in the leg earlier in the day, sparking the attack that left a 3-year-old boy fighting for his life. a complicated custody battle over a 4-year-old girl whose become known as baby veronica is over. her biological father, a member of the cherokee nation, has handed the 4-year-old over to her adoptive parents. the oklahoma supreme court ruled it had no jurisdiction over the child. in california, closing arguments begin today in the michael jackson wrongful death suit against aeg. lawyers will replay video showing the performer during rehearsals to show that he was in the prime of his career. vice president joe biden sat down for an interview with al roker after touring the flood damage in colorado yesterday. he assured flood victims that they are not alone. >> right now anyone listening to this broadcast should not worry that fema is going -- if there's
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any bill that defunds obama and his health care plan is dead on arrival in the senate. we are not going to bow to tea party anarchists. america will know exactly who to blame. republicans, fanatics in the house and the senate. >> i wish the majority leader had not objected to doing so right now. i wish the majority leader had not said that he intends to continue to use the threat of a default to engage in brinksmanship to try to force
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obama care on the american people. >> senate majority leader harry reid and senator ted cruz giving us a preview of the impending slugfest in the spending showdown in washington. the democratic-led senate is set to start voting on a series of bills as early as tomorrow that would result in stripping language from the house bill tying funding the government to defunding obama care. senator cruz is trying to rally fellow republicans to filibusters it as a delay tactic but signalling a serious split in the party, mitch mcconnell and john cornyn is refusing to do that. cruz is fighting pack saying he will use everything to defund the law. >> i will use every procedural means to fight this fight. this is a multi-stage fight. everything including fill bust sdpler a preview of the ping-pong battle that could last
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until the 11th hour, six days from now. joining me is chris van hollen, democratic from maryland and ranking member of the budget committee. thanks for being here, sir. congressman, a final vote could happen on sunday giving congress only two days to avoid a government shutdown. a new national journal poll soez 63% oppose shutting down the government to debufund obama ca but there could be equal blame for president obama and republicans if the government does shut down. >> i think everybody loses, most of all the country and american people. so i'm hoping people will come together to work this out. in fact that's what we should be focused on, trying to work this out rather than trying to figure out who gets the blame. right now in the senate, you see republican senators who are turning on senator cruz. i mean they have made statements saying, for example, that it's the dumbest idea they have ever heard. that it's silly. senator mccain called it
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irrational. so senator cruz is rapidly losing support for his approach because it's so extreme. because it says that he's going to shut down the government if you don't end the affordable care act, which is already today providing millions of americans with more protections. >> but to the end of trying to make things work, what, if anything, are you and your democratic colleagues willing to compromise on? >> we've made it clear that we want to work with the speaker of the house to make sure that we keep the government open. so the big question will bow once the senate strips out this provision that says they're going to repeal obama care and sends that bill back to the house of representatives, whether speaker boehner will allow a vote on that or whether he will be pressured once again by his tea party extremists in the republican caucus to add another obama care provision or another unrelated provision rather than getting on with the business of making sure we keep
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the government open. there is another very important debate here over what the appropriate level of funding is. i believe that the sequester which is in place, which is a washington speak word for job killer, is having a very negative impact on essential investments. the congressional budget office, a nonpartisan agency, says it will cost us a million jobs approximately by this time next year. so we have to come together at some point to replace that sequester. but right now the question is whether the speaker, when this bill comes back, will allow it to move forward or whether he'll once again attach these unrelated provisions. >> now, president obama kicks off a six-month rollout of obama care during a conversation with former president clinton later today. when it comes to the communication battle here and selling this law to the public, do you think the white house has failed in that in allowing critics to dominate the conversation? >> well, what we've seen from all the polling is when people
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are asked about the individual provisions of the affordable care act, whether it's making sure kids don't get kicked off of their insurance plan because of asthma or other pre-existing conditions or the fact that seniors on medicare don't have to fall into the prescription drug doughnut hole, people support it a lot. what you've seen is a massive, a massive misinformation campaign. a campaign of distortion and scare mongerring. i think as the other part of the law kicks in and people see that it will provide millions of americans with more affordable care that all that scare mongering will be proven false. in fact i think that's what the opponents are most nervous about, that all their negative claims will be proven false and that people will see that these exchanges provide more affordable care, in addition to the parts that are already today providing help to millions of americans. >> all right, maryland congressman chris van hollen, thanks for your time this morning.
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>> thank you. well, is senator ted cruz winning his kamikaze crusade or is his campaign to defund obama care crumbling. and the clinton campaign. joan walsh is the editor at large for salon and msnbc political analyst. steve ben an is a msnbc contributor and judd legam is the editor in chief of think progress. thanks for being here this morning. i want to start with senator ted cruz here. there's no shortage of headlines about him today. the "washington post" writes ted cruz happy to be outlier in show down. the week says is ted cruz brilliant or deranged and the daily beast writes can cruz win by losing. the plan is obvious enough. to emerge as the next acknowledged political leader of american conservatism, which has had no agreed successor since newt gingrich's retirement from congress in 1998.
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joan, what do you make of that assessment. is cruz simply out for his own political survival? >> i think that david is absolutely right. ted cruz is not thinking about the american people, he's not thinking about his colleagues, his republican colleagues in congress, he is thinking about those early primary and caucus voters, those very conservative voters who dominate the republican primary process in iowa and south carolina and new hampshire. so that -- i think that's what's going on. i was really struck in that clip you played earlier when cruz says that it's harry reid who is forcing obama care on the american people. i mean that is so brazen. obama care is the law of the land. it has been for several years. the supreme court upheld it. we had a 2012 election that centered on it. the idea that harry reid is forcing it on us is just -- it's reprof preposterous that this is the rhettic he's using and why he's making no friends on either
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side. >> the gop fears obama care will eventually be credited for w slowing the rise of health care costs to a more manageable rate. i want to play a clip from cruz on what he calls a discrepancy in the prediction of obama care costs for the average family. let's listen. >> the president promised a $2500 cut for the average family of four. instead you're looking at a $7500 increase. that's a $10,000 swing. judd, these numbers, is that accurate? >> well, it's not. you know, we delved into the numbers on our website, think progress, and found that actually the reason why there's going to be a little more spending or quite a bit more spending on health care is because eventually 30 more million people are going to get coverage. so if you already have health care, the idea that your costs are going to go up by $7500 just isn't accurate. by the way, that's also a ten-year figure, which is sort
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of glossed over by senator cruz as well. but i think -- >> go ahead, i'm sorry. >> i was just going to say that it's really important to remember that what cruz is doing is really a distraction. he doesn't have the support of his other republican senators. in all likelihood the bill will come back to the house and that's really where the rubber is going to meet the road as far as what's going to happen and whether we're going to be able to avoid a government shutdown starting early next week. >> now, cruz also has this crisis of personality, so to speak. in a new gq profile, his former classmate says that he wouldn't even study from people that what he deemed as minor ivies. here's what he said about these personal attacks. >> i have civil relations with every one of my colleagues. there's some folks in washington that are trying to make this issue about personalities. it's not personal about anyone in washington, it's about our doing our job listening to the
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american people. >> steve, he may call them civil relations but he certainly hasn't made many friends in washington. is his personality going to be a political liability? >> yeah, i think that's fair to say. i think that ted cruz looks at this as a moment in which he could have a triumphant moment. he'd be a great leader of the conservative movement. all of a sudden he's finding himself alone. he's alienated house republicans, he's alienated senate republicans who think he's kind of nuts. he's alienated the public. he's aliilienating his college friend who considers him something of a jerk. so ted cruz is stacked alone and he's losing. >> steve, we're having some technical problems with your connection there and we'll try to get those worked out. i want to turn to the clintons. the former president kicked off his global initiative after weighing in on letterman last night about whether or not
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hillary plans to run for president. let's take a listen. >> if she is running to your knowledge, blink twice. >> i blinked once. you know that if i did know, i wouldn't tell you. but i honestly don't know. chelsea doesn't know and hillary doesn't know. >> meanwhile, he's also out there saying, quote, we're not nearly as political as everyone thinks that we are. so, joan, this one is for you. come on, is it really possible that she hasn't decided yet? this is one of the most shrewd political couples in american history. don't they know exactly what she's going to do? >> i think everything they're doing and everything she's saying points to her running, her wanting to run and intending to run, but i think they feel like from their perspective she has the luxury of time to look at what happens, what unfolds in syria, with iran, domestically. my assumption is that she's running, but i don't have any inside information either.
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i can't blink twice. >> you can't blink once or twice to give us a clue. now, our first read team here at nbc points out that president obama's speech with bill clinton later this afternoon is the one to watch, because health care will be the defining issue of his legacy. judd, with president clinton helping to sell obama care, do you think that will make a difference? >> i think it could make a difference with public perception as we head into this budget fight, which has now been tied to obama care. i think what ultimately helps the perception of obama care is to get past the rhetoric and the spin and as people start to see how it impacts their lives. so you already have a lot of young people able to stay on their parents' plan and then you're going to start to see people be able to get into the exchanges, you know, starting next year. i think that's what really has created this crisis is that the republicans are worried what's going to happen when people start to see, well, this isn't quite as bad as we've been telling people it's going to be. >> judd, in some ways doesn't
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perception run the risk of becoming reality? people have to enroll. they have to participate in this. so through this what you call misinformation, do we run the risk that it could have a real effect on how the program is carried out? >> oh, i think so. i think there are active efforts, the koch brothers have some advertisements and other online campaigns really to discourage people from enrolling. so that's a really very real threat because if people don't enroll, obviously it's not going to do -- it's not going to do them much good. but i think over time more and more people will enroll and there's obviously a lot of efforts on the other side to encourage people to enroll as well. >> i want to take a quick look before we wrap up of these two magazine covers with hillary clinton. one is from "new york" magazine and one is from "new republic." joan, you put it out there saying that you already have hillary fatigue. is that a risk here? >> i was speaking about something very specific, and that is the clinton's ties to
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wall street and the global corporate elite which sometimes i think can go too far and have been a problem for the democratic party. overall i'm a big fan of hers, but i think that she runs the risk by being coy and out there and not making a decision actually of contributing to clinton fatigue and this will she or won't she thing is going to get old actually. >> all right. our agenda panelists, joan walsh, steve benen and judd legum, thank you all for being here. you can find more from our panel on follow the link to thomas roberts name. tune in today at 4:45 p.m. for live coverage of a special live event on health care featuring presidents obama and clinton. again, that's today at 4:45 p.m. eastern right here on msnbc. and today's producer pick comes to us from our executive producer, who is wishing this could be her story today. one man is now a millionaire. all because a store was out of
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hot dog buns. the latest powerball winner came forward to collect his winnings in south carolina yesterday. now, we don't know his identity because that state allows people to remain anonymous, but here's what we do know. according to lotto officials, he went into a convenience store for gas and hot dog buns. the store was out of buns so he used the money to buy a ticket instead and now he's got plenty of dough. you can read more by heading to thomas roberts facebook page. [ male announcer ] house rule number 33. coffee should come in one size: mug. stay grounded with the rich, bold taste of maxwell house coffee. always good to the last drop. a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion.
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at humana, our medicare agents sit down with you and ask. hanging out with this guy. he's just the love of my life. [ male announcer ] getting to know you is how we help you choose the humana medicare plan that works best for you. mi familia. ♪ [ male announcer ] we want to help you achieve your best health, so you can keep doing the things that are important to you. keeping up with them. i love it! [ male announcer ] helping you -- now that's what's important to us. an update now on our top story. president obama's speech to the united nations general assembly. the speech focused mostly on syria, iran and israel. the president announcing he's directed secretary of state john kerry to pursue an agreement on nuclear weapons with iran. president obama also said he is aware of the hostility that the nation's engagement has stirred up in the muslim world and took a little jab at a recent op-ed
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from russian president vladimir putin. >> i believe america must remain engaged for our own security, but i also believe the world is better for it. some may disagree. but i believe america is exceptional. in part because we have shown a willingness through the sacrifice of blood and treasure to stand up not only for our own narrow self-interests but for the interests of all. >> president obama also called on the security council to agree on a resolution calling for consequences for syria if it does not dismantle its stockpile of chemical weapons. today marks national voter registration day. it's an effort to reach out to all eligible voters to ensure they're ridge terd -- registere vote but this comes in the midst of what call is a wave of policies restricting voter rights. one state that may soon be added to that wave is ohio. just last week republican representative john becker introduced a new measure that would require i.d. at the polls
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in that state. 11 states currently require voter i.d. at the polls. several other states have pending legislation on that matter. now, policy matters say 900,000 lack i.d. and 200,000 are african-americans. what's the reasons being given here? >> it's obvious what their reasons are. they're trying to disenfranchise a certain group of folks and because they don't have candidates with better ideas who can compete, they try to rig the system. this is unamerican what they are trying to do. there are 900,000 folks and some of those people are elderly people, people who make less than $35,000 a year fall into that color. so it's an all-out attack on people of color, elderly people and people who are economically
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challenged. this is an assault against the very fabric of our democracy. we stand strong in this country, one woman, one man and one vote and all people should have access to the ballot box. >> we saw in the 2012 presidential election that despite voter i.d. laws there was very high black voter turnout. black voters made up 12% of eligible voters but 13% of voters who turned out at the ballot. so what would you say to those who argue that these laws don't actually disenfranchise anyone. >> absolutely they do. and what you saw in 2012 in the state of ohio and across this country was a fight where people were fighting back against voter suppression efforts. again, we cannot stand for this in the greatest democracy on the face of the earth. what we hold true and dear in this country is that folks have access to the ballot box. mara, it makes no sense to continue to put up roadblocks. voter fraud is almost nonexistent. even here in the state of ohio, less than 1% of 1%. people don't just show up on election day trying to impersonate other people.
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it is a solution in search of a problem. we do have things we need to take care of in the great state of ohio and that is making sure we educate our children, putting people back to work. but wasting taxpayers' dollars in this way is wrong, but it is an assault on our democracy and we cannot stand for it. >> all right, ohio state senator nina turner. thank you for your time this morning. >> thank you, mara. >> al weighed in saying the thinking that cruz wins by losing is the opposite of the kind of thinking that will do any good for anyone ever. from scott on facebook, unfortunately, it is for him, a big win for him and his crazy base, but at the expense of the country. and laura said i thought we couldn't see anyone more of a narcissist than pailin. oh, how wrong i was. well, keep the comments coming on twitter and facebook. sneezes] [ coughs ] i've got a big date, but my sinuses are acting up. it's time for advil cold and sinus. [ male announcer ] truth is that won't relieve all your symptoms.
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not so fast. it's time now for the poli
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sidebar. the new jersey senate race between cory booker and steve lanigan is heating up. meanwhile, just over 40 days left until election day for virginia governor, democrat terry mcauliffe has a five-point edge over ken cuccinelli. in just two days the two will square off in a debate moderated by our own chuck todd. mcauliffe leads cuccinelli 43% to 38%. that's a reversal from may when cuccinelli led by three points. it's no secret that american presidents love their golf. in fact 15 of the last 18 have played, but when it comes to the flak that president obama gets for his tee time, here's what former president george w. bush told the golf channel in an interview set to air tonight. >> i know what it's like to be in the bubble.
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and i know the pressures of the job. and to be able to get outside and play golf with some of your pals is important for the president. it does give you an outlet. >> it's a good release then? >> i think it is. i think it's good for the president to be out playing golf. elsewhere, an open mic moment revealed the real reason president obama does not smoke any more. >> no, no, i haven't smoked in six years. that's because i'm scared of my wife. >> scared of his wife, as every man should be. at the clinton global initiative this morning, b bono had a litt fun with former president clinton. >> when i first met bono, he walked into the oval office and actually i thought it was a member of his own road crew. he wasn't really dressed right. actually i felt like the rock star on that occasion. >> i must be really easy to make
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fun of. >> that's pretty good. well, that wraps things up for me. "now with alex wagner" is up next. don't go anywhere. ♪ ho ho ho [ female announcer ] at 100 calories, not all food choices add up. some are giant. some not so giant. when managing your weight, bigger is always better. ♪ ho ho ho ♪ green giant
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president obama's goals today at the united nations, stand firm and possibly shake hands. it's tuesday, september 24th. and this is "now." in the most widely anticipated united nations address of his presidency, amid talk of a possible detente between the united states and iran, president obama made one thing clear. if detractors have criticized his recent approach to syria as emboldening bad actors, no one should doubt american resolve in the middle east. >> america prefers to resolve our concerns over iran's nuclear
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program peacefully, although we are determined to prevent iran from developing a nuclear weapon. conciliatory words will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable. >> on syria, the president sounded a similar note. failure to relinquish the country's chemical weapons stockpile will not go unpunished. >> there must be a strong security council resolution to verify that the assad regime is keeping its commitments. and there must be consequences if they fail to do so. if we cannot agree even on this, then it will show that the united nations is incapable of enforcing the most basic of international laws. >> the president's words of warning and reiteration of american commitment to action came as iran's new moderate president, hassan rouhani has made recent overtures towards the west. rumors of a possible meeting