Skip to main content

tv   News Nation  MSNBC  November 21, 2013 11:00am-12:01pm PST

11:00 am
never been more frustrated with washington. and one of the reasons why that is is that over the past five years, we have seen an unprecedented pattern of obstruction in congress that's prevented too much of the american people's business from getting done. all too often, we have seen a single senator or a handful of senators choose to abuse arcane procedural tactics to unilaterally block bipartisan compromises or to prevent well-qualified patriotic americans from filling critical positions of public service in our system of government. now, at a time when millions of americans have desperately searched for work, repeated abuse of these tactics have blocked legislation that might create jobs. they have defeated actions that would help women fighting for equal pay. they have prevented more progress than we would have liked for striving young immigrants trying to earn their
11:01 am
citizenship. or it's blocked efforts to end tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas. they've even been used to block common sense and widely supported steps to protect more americans from gun violence. even as families of victims sat in the senate chamber and watched. and they prevented far too many talented americans from serving their country at a time when their country needs their talents the most. it's harmed our economy. and it's been harmful to our democracy. and it's brought us to the point where a simple majority vote no longer seems to be sufficient for anything. even routine business. through what is supposed to be the world's greatest deliberative body. i realize that neither party has been blameless. for these tactics. they have developed over years and it seems as if they have
11:02 am
continually escalated. but today's pattern of obstruction, it just isn't normal. it's not what our founders envisioned. a deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the results of an election is not normal and for the sake of future generations we can't let it become normal. so i support the step a majority of senators today took to change the way that washington is doing business. more specifically, the way the senate does business. what a majority of senators determined by senate rule is that they would restore the long-standing tradition of considering judicial and public service nominations on a more routine basis. and here's why this is important. you know, one of a president's constitutional responsibilities is to nominate americans to to have positions in the executive and judicial branches. over the six decades before i took office, only 20
11:03 am
presidential nominees to executive positions had to overcome filibusters. in just under five years since i took office, nearly 30 nominees have been treated this way. and these are all public servants who protect our national security, keep our air and water clean. this year alone, for the first time in history, senate republicans filibustered a president's nominee for the secretary of state who used to be a former senator. they tried to hold up the epa administrat administrator. they blocked our nominee for our top housing regulator at a time when we need more help for families to afford a home and prevent what has caused mortgage meltdowns from happening again. and in each of these cases, it's not been because they opposed the person. there was some assessment that they were unqualified. that there was some scandal that
11:04 am
had been unearthed. it was simply because they opposed the policies that the american people voted for in the last election. this obstruction gets even worse when it comes to the judiciary. the constitution charges the president with filling vacancies to the federal bench. every president has exercised this power since george washington. first named justices to the supreme court in 1789. but my judicial nominees have waited nearly 2 1/2 times longer to receive yes or no votes on the senate floor than those of president bush. and the ones who eventually do get a vote generally are confirmed with little if any dissent. this isn't obstruction on substance. on qualifications. it's just to gum up the works. and this gridlock in congress causes gridlock in much of our criminal and civil justice systems. you have seen judges across the country including a bush
11:05 am
appointed chief justice of the supreme court say these are vital vacancies that need to be filled and this gridlock has not served the cause of justice. in fact, it's undermined it. over the past three weeks senate republicans again denied a yes or no vote or three highly qualified americans to fill vacancies on the second highest court. even though they have the support of the majority of senators. four of president bush's six nominees to this court were confirmed. four out of five of my nominees to this court have been obstructed. so the vote today i think is an indication that a majority of senators believe as i believe that enough is enough. the american people's business is far too important to keep falling prey day after day to washington politics. i'm a former senator. so is my vice president. we both value any senate's duty
11:06 am
to advise and consent. it's important, and we take that very seriously. but a few now refuse to treat that duty of advise and consent with the respect that it deserves. it's no longer used in a responsible way to govern. it is rather used as a reckless and relentless tool to grind all business to a halt. and that's not what our founders intended. and it's certainly not what our country needs right now. i want to remind everybody what's at stake is not my ability to fulfill my constitutional duty. what's at stake is the ability of any president to fulfill his or her constitutional duty. and public service is not a game. it is a privilege. and the consequences of action or inaction are very real. the american people deserve better than politicians who run for election telling them how terrible government is and then devoting their time in elected office to trying to make
11:07 am
government not work as often as possible. now, i want to be clear. the senate has actually done some good bipartisan work in year. bipartisan majorities have passed common sense legislation to fix our broken immigration system and upgrade our courts. our ports. it's passed a farm bill that helps rural communities and vulnerable americans. pass legislation that would protect americans from being fired on their sexual orientation. we know there are folks there, republican and democrat, who want to get things done and frankly, privately, they have expressed to me their recognition that the system in the senate had broken down and what used to be a sporadic exercise of the filibuster had gotten completely out of hand. i believe, i'm confident, that that spirit will have a little more space now. i want us to make sure that we can do more work together to grow the economy and to create jobs.
11:08 am
and if there are differences in the senate, then debate should be had. people should vote their conscience. they should vote on behalf of their constituents. but they should vote. that's what they're there to do. and ultimately if you have a majority of folks who believe in something, then it should be able to pass. you know, americans work hard, they do their jobs and they expect the same from everybody who got sent here. as long as i have the privilege of being in this office i'll keep working as hard as i know how to make sure that the economy is growing and we're creating good jobs and we're widening prosperity and opportunity for everybody. and i know that that's what the majority of folks in the senate believe as well. but the gears of government have to work. and the step that the majority senators took today i think will help make those gears work a little bit better. thanks very much, everybody. and now josh will answer all of your questions.
11:09 am
>> we were listening obviously to the president. his reaction to the 52-48 vote senate democrats took today, deploying the so-called nuclear option. the president said that the time had come, that this move was necessary. expressing reluctance in having to go to this point. but saying it was necessary because the people in this country bring in legislators to vote and not to in his words gum up the words. we'll have much more on what we heard from the president and senator blumenthal will join us as well to react to the news. there's another developing story to bring to you right now. in fact, let me show you the live pictures out of wichita, kansas. where a boeing 747 operated by atlas air is set to take off any minute now. this massive plane landed at the wrong airport last night. it is set to take off and here's why we are watching this breaking news. the runway is just over 6,000
11:10 am
feet. that is far shorter than what is typically needed for a 747 to take off. as we understand, throughout the night, experts have been i think -- engineers i should say have been running calculations all night to determine if it's safe for this massive cargo plane to take off. it originally left from jfk and landed 12 miles away from its intended mark. tom costello is standing by and he's here with me now. are you there? >> i am, tamron. this is a real embarrassment for this crew. they thought that they were landing at mcconnell air force base which as you mentioned is eight to ten miles away. what's interesting here is that the mcconnell had cleared them to land and the crew didn't realize they were at the wrong airport until they got on the ground and then they still didn't know where they were. in fact, they thought they were at yet another airport, a third airport. the controller at mcconnell had
11:11 am
to say, we think you're at jabara airport. the crew was so disoriented, they didn't know where they were. this is a very small airport outside of wichita. this plane normally fields about 9,000 feet to take off safely. they have about 6,100 feet here. so they have taken some fuel off of this plane. they have brought in a new crew. they have done everything they can to essentially maximize the performance of this aircraft on a takeoff and they're going to put the pedal to the metal in a few minutes and go as fast and as steep as they can to get this plane off the ground. they have shut down some roads, including the kansas highway, just in case this plane is low on the takeoff. they don't want to come too low and take off the top of somebody's car that might be passing by on one of the nearby kansas highways. but this has been an on going drama for the better part of 15
11:12 am
hours or so right now. and we're waiting for the final moments when they're about to -- to see if this take off at a good speed. >> they were supposed to take off at 2:00 eastern time and they're 11 minutes behind schedule here. they normally would need a runway of 9,199 feet. this runway is just over 6,000. that's a difference of more than a half a mile here. >> yeah. >> stressing no passengers on board here, but obviously there's no control tower. this airport normally does not handle a jumbo jet that size. and the other major question is how does something like this even happen, that a crew would be so disoriented that they landed in an airport and they don't know where they are. >> so i have had multiple conversations with people who are experts in this field and i asked them that very same question. the bottom line is -- by the way we should explain, why does this plane look the way it does? it's a special cargo plane that helps transport huge pieces of the 787 across country for
11:13 am
assembly. so that's why. they have put other planes inside this plane. ferry it across country and then put the pieces back together again. the explanation as to how this could happen, when you type into the computer, you type in the airport code you're going to. these two airports have different codes obviously. mcconnell air force base and jabara. they're only eight or nine miles apart. their runways are very, very close in terms of their lined up. one of them is runway 1-9 and the other is 1-a. if you're coming in for a landing, and you see a runway that looks like that's about where the runway should be, lined up in the proper direction, and perhaps you get your -- you get tunnel focused. you pay attention to that runway and the lights that are on as opposed to the one you're supposed to be on. in the view of many experts that's how it can happen.
11:14 am
it's still a major miscalculation. >> i hope you can hang on for us. we're seeing a little bit of movement but we'll carry this live to see how -- certainly our thoughts and prayers to the people on there. we know that this is a tense situation. as the engineers have tried to study and do the calculations all night. tom, we're going to come back to you as soon as we see movement of this massive aircraft at what is absolutely an embarrassment also it's a very serious situation as well. thank you, tom. i want to bring you the latest on the news from capitol hill. we heard from the president, the senate democrats deployed the so-called nuclear option, it became a reality today. a move that changes the rules by eliminating the filibuster as a way to block presidential appointments with the exception of the supreme court. now, the president's nominees could be approved with a simple 51-vote majority. only three democrats voted against their own party. and today's vote changes rules that have been in place for over
11:15 am
200 years. now, "the new york times" is calling the change, quote, the most fundamental shift in the way the senate functions in more than a germany race. senator harry reid who has threatened to use this nuclear option said before the vote that years of obstruction by republicans forced his hand in bringing it to the floor. well, today, republicans called it a power grab designed to distract from the health carrollocarrole rollout. >> even the confirmation of the nominees has become completely unworkable. for the first time in the history of our republic, republicans have routinely used the filibuster to prevent president obama from appointing or confirming judges. the senate is a living thing. and to survive it must change. >> they just broke the senate rules. in order to exercise the power grab. so i would sum it up by saying it's a sad day in history of the
11:16 am
senate. >> in my view, this is the most important and most dangerous restructuring of senate rules since thomas jefferson wrote them. >> well, today's move comes after senate republicans blocked three consecutive nominees to the d.c. circuit court of appeals. the second most important court in the country after the supreme court. let me bring in now connecticut senator richard blumenthal. sir, thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. >> the president speaking a short time ago, reacting to this decision. he points out that this is years in the making with both sides, democrats and republicans. but now you have republicans saying that they will reciprocate when they control the senate and the white house again. >> i actually think that this rule change will make the senate work better. it will enable us to get things done which is what the american people want. the democrats may some day be in the minority. but at least the government will work on doing its constitutional duty. >> senator, i have to pause you
11:17 am
for one second. we are following breaking news here, a potentially dangerous situation in kansas where a massive 747 had landed at the wrong airport. there was great concern it would not be able to get into the air. as it is 9,000 feet or more needed for this aircraft. now we see it's been a successful takeoff, but obviously major questions as to how this mistake could have been made. that the 747 lands at the wrong airport. the crew disoriented, not knowing where they had in fact landed. and they turned out to be at an airport where the runway was far shorter than was needed. it took engineers in an overnight situation. but i wanted to update the audience on that. my apologies, senator. crew members were on there, highways have been closed off there near and around that airport. it could have been a perilous situation. we're happy it's concluded in a safe way so far it seems. so sir, back to what we were saying. this important conversation of why this was necessary. >> it was necessary because the senate has a constitutional
11:18 am
obligation to advise and conseptsconsen consent. a minority of senators were blocking votes, not just voting no, but blocking up or down votes on nominees, creating unprecedented abuse and also virtually unprecedented numbers of vacancies on the court. 25% of the judgeships on the d.c. circuit court of appeals, one of the most critical courts in the country, second only to the supreme court in its importance. and a quarter of its membership was completely vacant. so this kind of obstructionism really is a disservice to the american people and that's why this rule change was so necessary. perhaps regretful to some, but quite honestly i came to the united states senate saying i want the filibuster abolished. completely. and today's a step in the right direction. but i'm hoping that we can make government work even better on those substantive issues apart from the nomination. >> i think that's a great point.
11:19 am
you're one of 40 new senators since 2008 and there's a question of whether or not there simply were too many senators elected who saw this as a norm rather than understanding clearly that a filibuster is not the norm. that it is majority rule and some of the practices that we have seen over the past few years were a new phenomenon in many ways. what's happened today is how it's supposed to work. >> it is supposed to work by majority rule. that's the way americans are accustomed to making decisions. the majority wins. i served in the state legislature, i was attorney general in our state for 20 years. i was accustomed to the majority making decisions the way american families operate and for a small minority to prevent government from moving forward and from our constitutional duty to advise and consent, i think is intolerable. i think today is a historic and very exciting step in the right
11:20 am
direction for democracy. >> thank you so much for your time and your patience as i tried to update the audience on the breaking news. i appreciate your patience. thank you. and joining me now is is a contributor and thank you both for joining us. patricia, let's first start with the president's tone here. i think it was chuck todd who noted before the president was set to speak that there's no celebration from his standpoint. this is more about -- as he sees it the only way to get some business done given the clear line that's been drawn by republicans. >> yeah. well, i think certainly he was not celebrating but this lifts a huge road block to president obama getting his nominees forward and starting to cement his legacy. he's going to be able to appoint a number of judges with lifetime appointments. this will far-reaching consequences by virtue of the fact by who will get through from now on. i think it's important to know that republicans were really not only filibustering nominees for president obama, they were also
11:21 am
putting anonymous holds on nominees. when the epa chief came up every republican on the committee that was supposed to vote on her just skipped the vote entirely as a protest against her. so there were multiple levels of ways that republicans were blocking the nominees. not just the filibuster. >> and levels that were noted as extraordinary, and as by chuck hagel by those who had been his ally. >> you saw from top to bottom, from the beginning of this president's term right into the second term, republicans hellbent on stopping his agenda. a big part of stopping the president's agenda is stopping his nominees. in fairness the democrats tried to do the exact same thing to president bush and that's why we have this debate spark up in 2005. i think what -- >> by the numbers, it had become more frequent. >> it has become much more frequent. it's become extremely aggressive
11:22 am
and to your point it has become the norm for people to not -- to simply not get votes in the u.s. senate. even if a majority approves of them. i think what democrats have to think about going forward though is when they're in the minority, how is this going to look from the other side of the aisle? >> right. >> they will eventually lose the majority. and i think that they're going to look back on this day and wonder about the wisdom of it. but progressives really pushing the president to make this change and make the senate make this change, stop asking for the approval of republicans that's what they wanted him to do. >> the president noted as our first -- as our team noted as well, a lot of this, it had nothing to do with ideology or qualifications. which is the major sticking point here. >> well, he made the observation that there would be a hold put on some of his nominations and then they would be approved by unanimous vote or something that was close to a unanimous vote. to me, it's symptomatic of the dysfunction in government and
11:23 am
note that the republicans are casting this as a break from tradition or trying to put it in a historical context. what you don't hear anyone say is, but wait, the system was working so well. because of course it hasn't been working so well. unless the sole objective is to thwart him at every turn and they can't say that. >> and to the question of what is tradition. again, i think rachel maddow has done a fantastic job making the point, the way we have become accustomed to the notion of the filibuster is not the way that things have been done. what is in fact tradition here? >> well, you're not going to find this stipulated in the constitution and i think that's the reference that you're making. >> yes. >> even though it's been the practice for a period of decades, it's not something that has its roots with our founding fathers. i think by and large, americans watching from the sidelines just want to know is this going to help government function? it would seem that it would. >> that is the question. thank you very much, michael. patricia, thank you as well.
11:24 am
well, still ahead, john kerry is pushing back at claims that the troops will be in afghanistan indefinitely. more on the final draft of the u.s./afghan security deal. plus, family and church. the methodist pastor suspended after officiating his son's same-sex wedding will join us. why the pastor expects to lose the right to practice as a minister when his suspension is up. and join us on twitter. find us @tamron hall and news nation. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great. the money you spend here, stays here. in this place you call your neighborhood. small business saturday is november 30th.
11:25 am
get out and shop small. see, i knew testosterone could affect sex drive, but not energy or even my mood. that's when i talked with my doctor. he gave me some blood tests... showed it was low t. that's it. it was a number. [ male announcer ] today, men with low t have androgel 1.62% testosterone gel. the #1 prescribed topical testosterone replacement therapy increases testosterone when used daily. women and children should avoid contact with application sites. discontinue androgel and call your doctor if you see unexpected signs of early puberty in a child, or signs in a woman, which may include changes in body hair or a large increase in acne, possibly due to accidental exposure. men with breast cancer or who have or might have prostate cancer, and women who are or may become pregnant or are breast-feeding, should not use androgel. serious side effects include worsening of an enlarged prostate, possible increased risk of prostate cancer, lower sperm count, swelling of ankles, feet, or body, enlarged or painful breasts, problems breathing during sleep, and blood clots in the legs.
11:26 am
tell your doctor about your medical conditions and medications, especially insulin, corticosteroids, or medicines to decrease blood clotting. in a clinical study, over 80% of treated men had their t levels restored to normal. talk to your doctor about all your symptoms. get the blood tests. change your number. turn it up. androgel 1.62%. yep. got all the cozies. [ grandma ] with new fedex one rate, i could fill a box and ship it for one flat rate. so i knit until it was full. you'd be crazy not to. is that nana? [ male announcer ] fedex one rate.
11:27 am
simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. welcome back. secretary of state john kerry says the u.s. does not intend to be in afghanistan indefinitely. he spoke to andrea mitchell today after announcing a final draft of the u.s./afghanistan security deal has been reached. >> it was way shorter than any kind of years and years. it is to help the afghan
11:28 am
military train, equip, we will advise. there's a period of time, but i have no contemplation that i have heard from the president or otherwise about some -- >> not until 2020 or potential -- >> no, ma'am. >> meanwhile, hamid karzai announced or addressed his country's grand counsel, urging them to support the deal. but he also said he wants to defer signing it until after next year's presidential elections. something the state department says will not be possible. and in a move that's sure to ruffle feathers in washington, karzai told the 25 tribal elders and political leaders, quote, my trust with america is not good. i don't trust them and they don't trust me. during the past ten years i have fought with them and they have made propaganda against me. he went on to say, quote, i thought about telling the u.s. to just leave afghanistan and we'll deal with our own situation, but i was always patient and thinking about our country. we should be careful not to take
11:29 am
a wrong step forward. well, as the council debates the deal here in the u.s. the coalition of senators opposing the deal is growing with six senators now backing legislation that would require the president to get congressional approval. however, the man who led u.s. and nato forces in afghanistan until earlier this year is praising the plan. retired john allen tells the daily beast, quote, it respects the sacrifices of the forces who serve in afghanistan and it acknowledges that we as a people and the afghan people are bound together in a common future. richard engel joins me now and senator kerr senator kerry said our troops won't be there forever, but karzai said prepare for the doubling. what have you heard? >> if you heard that doorstep interview by the great andrea mitchell and she stopped
11:30 am
secretary kerry, he said we don't plan to be there years and years, but he didn't say what years and years really means. today, the afghan president, hamid karzai had a very specific idea of what years and years means. he addressed a large gathering of tribal elders here and said that they should be prepared for american troops numbering 10 to 15,000. probably closer to 10,000, staying here for at least a decade. and then gradually drawing down from there. whether that is the official agreement that has been put in place between the u.s. and afghanistan remains clearly undecided. >> and richard, regarding the time line karzai requesting or desiring that it not be completed until after the presidential election, tell us why he is trying to stall there. >> it's hard to know. you have to really read into karzai's thinking to answer that. he could sign it right now. he could have signed it in fact
11:31 am
days ago. instead, he decided to call this l loya jirga in order to get their approval which is not really required by afghan law. it seems to and this is according to the politicians and analysts that we have spoken to that karzai is thinking of his legacy. he doesn't want to be the man who signs the document, committing his country to have foreign forces here for a decade or more. he would rather be remembered as the person who brought afghanistan with u.s. help out of the dark ages and changed it from a country that was run by the taliban where girls couldn't go to school to a country that's more modern and sophisticated and prefer to have the next president sign the document and deal with the legacy of what will happen in the next phase in this country which is far from certain. >> all right. richard, thank you very much for the latest information out of
11:32 am
kabul. greatly appreciate it. still ahead, kennedy cousin michael skakel freed for now after making bond in the 1975 murder of martha moxley. her family reacting just within the past hour over their disappointment. >> i think that's a little -- it's disrespectful for the judge who heard the evidence, the jury, you know, he was convicted by a jury of his peers. let peopy the deep sweep power brush by oral-b for the first time. wow. it's "wow," you know? wow. wow. that feels wow! [ male announcer ] oral-b deep sweep, featuring three cleaning zones with dynamic power bristles that reach deep between teeth to remove up to 100% more plaque than a regular manual brush. it seems like it gets more to areas of your mouth that you can't reach with a regular toothbrush. [ male announcer ] guaranteed "wow" with deep sweep from oral-b. #1 dentist-recommended toothbrush brand worldwide.
11:33 am
11:34 am
it's not the "limit the cash i earn every month" card.
11:35 am
it's not the "i only earn decent rewards at the gas station" card. it's the no-games, no-signing up, everyday-rewarding, kung-fu-fighting, silver-lightning-in-a-bottle, bringing-home-the-bacon cash back card. this is the quicksilver card from capital one. unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere, every single day. so ask yourself, what's in your wallet? well, michael skakel is free for now. for the first time in more than 11 years. this is video of skakel leaving the courthouse in just the past few minutes. a state court judge in connecticut ordered him released on bond while he awaits a new trial for the murder of his neighbor, martha moxley, when both were 15 years old. >> i'm going to set a bond of $1,200,000 an i'm going to put
11:36 am
on conditions. the defendant mr. skakel live here in the state of connecticut. he may not leave the state without the approval of the court. he's going to have to wear a gps tracking device. he is to have no contact with the victim's family. >> skakel and he attorneys then got up and walked out of court to post bond. he was convicted in 2002 of bludgeoning moxley with a golf club and sentenced to 20 years to life. then after more than a decade of unsuccessful appeals, a judge ruled last month that skakel's trial attorney failed to represent him adequately. martha moxley's brother and her 81-year-old mother spoke after today's decision. >> we stand behind the state. we know the state will appeal and we're confident that the -- that the judge bishop's decision will be overturned. >> i guess we knew that the day would come and so i wasn't, you know -- i wasn't completely
11:37 am
destroyed but i wish it hadn't happened. it would have made my life much easier not to have this happen. >> ron mott joins us right now. the judge who made this decision for this new trial said that skakel's trial attorney, michael sherman, failed to adequately represent him in 2002 when he was convicted and he also said that the attorney failed to locate a witness who backed up skakel's alibi. i think a lot of people wonder after so many attempts to appeal how this worked this time. >> well, i think tamron, a lot of folks are asking what happens now because when the judge made that ruling, took a most unusual turn. skakel went from being presumed innocence when he was indicted, he was found guilty in 2002 and he's presumed innocent in the death of martha moxley back in 1975. the state says they believe they have pretty good evidence in this case that won them a conviction in 2002. but what happens now is that
11:38 am
they're going to appeal this judge's ruling. if that's overturned, then michael skakel can be returned to prison with no new trial. if it's upheld, then the state has to make the decision about whether it's worth retrying him. keeping in mind he's served 11 1/2 years in prison and his attorney tide moday mentioned a point that people who were convicted of murders for 20 to life back in the mid '70s would have served 12 years and the state would consider that sort of maxing out that sentence. so a lot of things for this state to consider. a lot of folks are obviously upset. there was a raucous applause when the judge announced he'd give bond and skakel would haven't to return to prison. he got it put together and within the last 30 minutes walked out. he's going to be home for the holidays, looking forward to reuniting with his son. >> he has support in the kennedy family. robert kennedy, jr., campaigned
11:39 am
to have the conviction overturned. >> i think they have spent a lot of time and money trying to win his freedom. robert f. kennedy, jr., said that skakel has rock-solid alibis, that he was many miles away from the home when this went down in halloween of 1975. he's in a lot of gray area legally speaking. he's criminally indicted for this murder. whether the state was going to pursue the charges again in court, we'll have to wait and see. he could be a free man for a long time or may be returned to prison within a few months or years, depending on how this works out with the appeal from the state. >> thank you very much. and new jersey governor and possible 2016 presidential candidate chris christie is now the head of the republican governors association. christie took the reins today at the group's annual gathering being held in scottsdale, arizona this year. part of the mission is to rebrand the republican party with the message we're focused
11:40 am
on serving problems in a conservative way and we're not as focused on president obama in washington. that's something that governor christie emphasized a couple of hours ago in a news conference. >> you talk about the common sense solutions we are bringing to the people of our state and the things that are getting done on their behalf. and that's what our focus is going to continue to be. >> nbc's kelly o'donnell joins us live. so kelly, we know a big part of the story line is if -- i guess his colleagues love him as much as an parentally the voters -- apparently as the voters in new jersey and if he can avoid the missteps that mitt romney fell into when he led the group and had his sights set on the white house. >> well, tamron, there's certainly a check in the box for chris christie because his republican colleagues chose him to be that are leader for next year and bobby jindal of louisiana to serve as vice chair. this is a competitive group to be sure and there are many within the ranks who might have
11:41 am
national ambitions. but all of them said let's not talk too much about that, because they have more pressing electoral issues to deal with and that is the elections of 2014 when a majority of their governorships are up for re-election. they're trying to defend some of the tough seats and maybe elect new candidates. that's what they're trying to talk about, even though they're asked often about 2016 aspirations. especially when it comes to chris christie. here is how he responded yet again at a news conference a short time ago. >> we have 36 races. we have 20 incumbent governors up in 2014. and i think any one of us in our individual capacity or many of us as leaders of this organization on the executive committee start thinking about 2016 at our own peril. but worse at the peril of our colleagues. 2016 is a long way away and i'm two weeks out of a campaign. i'm not, you know, looking to
11:42 am
start speculating about other campaigns already. we have until 2014 to deal with and that's what we'll deal with. >> and the job of being the head of the republican governors association lets christie travel the country, raise money for fellow governors and if he can be successful at keeping some of those republican governors in office, helping others to get elected that's one way to judge his national springboard. if he ultimately decides to put his name in the hat for 2016. he knows the interest is there for future ambition, not just him but others as well. we talk about rick perry and bobby jindal and maybe be on a ticket. you certainly hear from governors they would rather see someone who's led a state be on the ticket as opposed to washington. one thing they agree about -- they're all running against washington even though washington is certainly republican -- republicans are part of the issue there.
11:43 am
they say that's something their party has to deal with. they think governors have a better story to tell. that's the theme we have been hearing during their convention here in arizona. tamron? >> all right, thank you very much. still ahead, we'll talk with the methodist pastor who was suspended after officiating his son's same-sex wedding. reverend schaefer said he was called by god to be a lgbt advocate, but is he willing to lose his position to fulfill that calling? [ chuckles ] wife beats rock. and with two checks a year, everyone wins. [ female announcer ] switch today and get two safe driving bonus checks a year for driving safely. only from allstate. call 866-906-8500 now. [ dennis ] zach really loves his new camera. problem is...this isn't zach. it's a friend of a friend who was at zach's party and stole his camera. but zach's got it covered... with allstate renters insurance. [ female announcer ] protect your valuables for as low as $4 a month when you add renters insurance to your allstate auto policy. call 866-906-8500 now.
11:44 am
what are you doing? we're switching car insurance. why? because these guys are the cheapest. why? good question. because a cut-rate price could mean cut-rate protection. you should listen to this guy. [ female announcer ] with allstate you get great protection and a great price, plus an agent! drivers who switched saved an average of $498 a year. call now and see how much you can save. just a few more ways allstate is changing car insurance for good. [ female announcer ] call an allstate agent and get a quote now. [ female announcer ] call an allstate agent i started part-time, now i'm a manager.n. my employer matches my charitable giving. really. i get bonuses even working part-time. where i work, over 400 people are promoted every day. healthcare starting under $40 a month. i got education benefits. i work at walmart. i'm a pharmacist. sales associate. i manage produce. i work in logistics. there's more to walmart than you think. vo: opportunity. that's the real walmart.
11:45 am
11:46 am
♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] own your obsession with the exceptional values during the season of audi. visit today. ♪ well, today the group fateful america is calling on the united methodist church to stop putting on trial pastors who perform same-sex weddings. they'll deliver a petition asking the church to drop quote, immoral anti-gay rules. it comes after the united methodist church suspended frank schaefer for 30 days. he was punished for officiating the wedding of his own son who
11:47 am
is gay. on the witness stand this week, schaefer said he has to minister to those who hurt, saying it's a new calling from god, but that move could lead to defrocking. the church accepts gay and lesbian members but it rejects homosexuality as quote, incompatible with christian teaching. >> a marriage is designed by god to be between a man and a woman and i think that's correct biblically. >> and pastor schaefer joining us live now. thank you for your time. >> thanks, tamron. >> your son asked you seven years ago to officiate his wedding and you're quoted as saying you did it out of love for him. but you had to know at the time that it would not settle well with many within the united methodist church. what has made you have the courage to move forward? >> well, when he asked me, i had to say yes because after he came
11:48 am
out in 2000 to us, to my wife and me, we just affirmed him and said we love you, son, and we believe that you were made in the image of god, just like everybody es. especially given the fact that he had considered suicide at one point after he prayed to god to make him quote/unquote normal, to take, you know, this away from him and it didn't happen. he considered suicide. he shared those stories with us and there were so much tears and we just affirmed them and said, look, this is not a choice, you didn't choose to be homosexual. so this is the way god made you. you're beautiful in the image of god. that's the way you are. so when he asked me to perform his wedding, there was no way i was going to say no to him. because that would have negated all those affirmations all these year. >> you could have avoided a trial had you agreed never to
11:49 am
perform another same-sex marriage again. you refused to do that. and knowing so, if you decide to officiate another same-sex marriage in a sense you're surrendering what's called your credentials by church leaders. are you prepared for that? >> yes -- that's -- that's a good question. i have to tell you this. it was a remarkable when i addressed the jury just two days ago and said to them, look if i'm going to be a united methodist minister tomorrow i want you to know that i will stand as an advocate for the lgbt community and i will not refuse ministry to anybody based on their sexual orientation. i thought for sure they were going to defrock me on the spot. instead, they came back with this -- with this ruling with the sentence that gives me 30 days to make up my mind. if i could hold up the methodist church's rules, the laws,
11:50 am
including, you know, this very discriminatory law, and at the same time, be a minister that i feel that i'm called to be to the community. >> so you -- i don't want to put you on the spot because you have these 30 days to determine this, but does your heart have the answer? are you able to live by the church's rules? in the statement, these are difficult issues for people of faith and i recognize this causes pain for people in our church and we hold all of those affected in our prayers. but on this day do you know if you're prepared to leave in a sense -- that would be leaving the church in your role. >> yeah. that's what i'm trying to determine right now, tamron. you know, it's very hard for me because i love the church. i have been a minister in this church for 17 years and the ordained ministry. i love this church.
11:51 am
i love being a minister. at the same time, my heart tells me i cannot discriminate against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people. there's so much hurt as you mentioned. there's so much hurt in this community. we have to put a stop to this. i can't stand for this any longer. so i'm going to have to make a very, very hard decision at the end of that period. >> well, your son wrote and i'll read it quickly, my dad is one of the few people who lives what he preaches. every decision he makes one he makes out of love, based on what jesus would do. certainly we want to follow up with you on your decision as it is one that will not just impact your family personally, but obviously members of the church and those who believe as you do. so we really appreciate you joining us and i know the complexity and the difficulty of the situation and we don't make light of it at all. thank you so much. >> thank you. still ahead, new jersey putting its money on internet gambling today. launching a five-day test run.
11:52 am
should online bets be expanded across the country? should you have the right to get online and let the voices roll? big money, gop donor, sheldon adelson said it's not good. make a monday mornin' feel like a friday afternoon with some nestle toll house morsels. let's close our laptops and open our ovens. these things don't bake themselves. we have to bake them for one another. we can bake the world a better place one toll house cookie at a time. nestle. good food, good life.
11:53 am
nestle. i'to guard their manhood with trnew depend shields and guards. the discreet protection that's just for guys. now, it's your turn. get my training tips at
11:54 am
11:55 am
the state of new jersey begins a five-day test run leading to a full rollout next week of gambling. they plan to tax it at 10%. online gambling is also legal in nevada and delaware and on the federal level there's two bills have been introduced to legalize it. but not everyone is ready to roll the dice. including opponents with the coalition to stop internet gambling, born by casino mogul adelson. it could be a $9 billion business by 2020 and that's more
11:56 am
than vegas and atlantic city combined. so what does your gut tell you? do you believe online gambling should be legal across the country? go to and that does it for this edition of "newsnation." see you tomorrow, friday. "the cycle" is up next. .. [ man ] hey, brad, want to trade the all-day relief of two aleve for six tylenol? what's the catch? there's no catch. you want me to give up my two aleve for six tylenol? no. for my knee pain, nothing beats my aleve. losing thrusters. i need more power. give me more power! [ mainframe ] located. ge deep-sea fuel technology. a 50,000-pound, ingeniously wired machine that optimizes raw data to help safely discover and maximize resources in extreme conditions. our current situation seems rather extreme. why can't we maximize our... ready. ♪ brilliant. let's get out of here. warp speed. ♪
11:57 am
a man who doesn't stand still. but jim has afib, atrial fibrillation -- an irregular heartbeat, not caused by a heart valve problem. that puts jim at a greater risk of stroke. for years, jim's medicine tied him to a monthly trip to the clinic to get his blood tested. but now, with once-a-day xarelto®, jim's on the move. jim's doctor recommended xarelto®. like warfarin, xarelto® is proven effective to reduce afib-related stroke risk. but xarelto® is the first and only once-a-day prescription blood thinner for patients with afib not caused by a heart valve problem. that doesn't require routine blood monitoring. so jim's not tied to that monitoring routine. [ gps ] proceed to the designated route. not today. [ male announcer ] for patients currently well managed on warfarin, there is limited information on how xarelto® and warfarin compare in reducing the risk of stroke. xarelto® is just one pill a day taken with the evening meal. plus, with no known dietary restrictions, jim can eat the healthy foods he likes.
11:58 am
do not stop taking xarelto®, rivaroxaban, without talking to the doctor who prescribes it as this may increase the risk of having a stroke. get help right away if you develop any symptoms like bleeding, unusual bruising, or tingling. you may have a higher risk of bleeding if you take xarelto® with aspirin products, nsaids or blood thinners. talk to your doctor before taking xarelto® if you have abnormal bleeding. xarelto® can cause bleeding, which can be serious, and rarely may lead to death. you are likely to bruise more easily on xarelto® and it may take longer for bleeding to stop. tell your doctors you are taking xarelto® before any planned medical or dental procedures. before starting xarelto®, tell your doctor about any conditions such as kidney, liver, or bleeding problems. xarelto® is not for patients with artificial heart valves. jim changed his routine. ask your doctor about xarelto®. once a day xarelto® means no regular blood monitoring -- no known dietary restrictions. for more information and savings options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit
11:59 am
i'm abby huntsman. straight ahead, nuclear energy. harry reid tries to decontaminate the senate. i'm toure, the republicans invited the democrats to publicly talk about obama care at the rnc headquarters? a handful of stores have decided not to start the rush on christmas day. >> that plus new claims about who may have killed jfk beside oz walt. but does anyone believe that
12:00 pm
washington could have kept this under wraps all that time? neither party has been blameless for these tactics. they've developed over years and it seems as if they have continually escalated. but today's pattern of obstruction, it just isn't normal. >> president obama speaking just months ago about a huge day in the divided u.s. senate. >> under the precedent set by the senate, today, november 21, 2013, the threshold for cloture on nominations not including those to the supreme court of the united states is now a majority. that is the ruling of the chair. >> democrats, the majority