tv Jansing and Co. MSNBC February 25, 2014 7:00am-8:01am PST
check out the white house at this very moment, a snowy morning at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. president obama and speaker john boehner meeting behind closed doors in the oval office today, that's in about an hour. we're going to go to the white house for a live interview with the top economic adviser. and former president bill clinton is in kentucky today trying to unseat mitch mcconnell. that's a big move for democrats and it's drawing strong pushback from kentucky's junior senator. we're going to take you down south to the tempest in louisville. and politics broke out right here at nbc headquarters in new york last night, vice president joe biden stopped by late night with seth meyers and brought jokes. >> i was planning on making a major announcement tonight, but
decided tonight was your night. >> your 2016 plans? >> i'm going to run for president. >> great! vice president of the united states, joe biden, everyone! >> good morning, i am ari melber in for chris jansing here at 30 rock. next hour, president obama will host a pretty rare one-on-one meeting with speaker john boehner at the white house. after a year in which the two couldn't seem to agree on anything, aides say the president and the speaker will discuss a broad range of topics, could include immigration, of course, as well as the president's call for an up or down vote on the minimum wage, a big issue, and one that blew up during yesterday's governors meeting at the white house. >> i think there are things we can do instead of waving the white flag of surrender and declaring this economy to be a minimum wage economy. i think our america can do better. >> i don't know what the heck was a reference to white flag, but comes to people making $404 a week, that's the most insane
statement i've ever heard, quite frankly. >> later this afternoon, president obama will deliver remarks in the east room announcing new steps to boost manufacturing and middle class jobs. let's get to it and bring in "washington post" political reporter and "the huffington post" senior political reporter amanda terkel. karen, let's start with what we just saw. we know when the governors get together, they try to keep it fairly bipartisan. nothing wrong, however, with having a full-throated debate about the jobs issues. what did you make of that skirmish and how it plays into the meeting with boehner today? >> well, first of all, i think the fact the meeting with boehner, this kind of meeting hasn't happened in over two years tells you, you know, this is not a chemistry between these two guys where they actually get much business done, and so i think the meeting itself is probably, you know, more theatrical than anything else. the governors, i interviewed quite a few of them when they were here this weekend for the national governors association meeting, and, you know, they are
very focused on the fact while their party is really sort of drilling down on the affordable care act as a campaign issue, a lot of the governors, including bobby jindal, told us, you know, this could be a mistake for the republican party, that they really do need to go back to a much broader focus on jobs and the economy. >> yeah, when you look at that idea of focusing on jobs and the economy, let's look briefly at what the president is proposing, which i'm sure he'll be pushing on the speaker, chemistry or not, job training is a part of this $56 billion package, early education, something the white house argues pays for itself, manufacturing hubs, and trying to close tax loopholes and do spending reform. amanda, this comes at a time where the white house has credibility because they are dealing with the sequester in a real way over at the pentagon. we're going to get to that in a minute, as well, with a pentagon spokesperson, but do they argue they are taking cuts seriously
but there are still things worth investing in? >> absolutely, and i expect this will come up in the meeting between the president and speaker boehner and this is something democrats and the president feel there could be some bipartisan cooperation, whether it's between congress or some republican governors, because jobs, manufacturing, job training, early childhood education, these are issues that do well with more than just democrats, with independents and with republicans. so i expect that this is something that president obama thinks that, you know, he does need congress's help, he can do a little bit through executive action, he does need congress's help and hope this is maybe something he can work with republicans on. >> karen, i want to go back to you, we're looking at live shots here of a beautiful and snowy white house. it goes well with the snow. it's white on white, but i wanted to bring you in and talk about a little bit of the tax reform package ideas coming out of the white. here's what we're hearing from the republican party right now.
two income tax rates is one proposal that's being floated around, a 10%, a 25%, and a 10% surtax on income over $450,000, that's reporting from your paper, "the washington post." and while on the one hand you can say this is not going anywhere fast. on the other hand, what does it say to you they are both pushing a flat tax proposal and recognizing the reality you've got to do something more at that upper income bracket? >> well, first of all, nothing is going to happen between now and the election. the republicans have essentially announced they are closed down for business on anything major for the rest of the year, but i think what they are trying to develop here is something that would give a sense to voters of how they would govern, not just what they are opposed to, but how they would govern. by the way, on some modest things, for instance, job training, the republican leaders of the house also sent a letter to president obama a couple of weeks ago pointing out that some of the things, some of the more
modest proposals in his state of the union address, are things that have also passed the house, and again, consolidating job training programs is one of those things, and it's gotten stuck in the democratic-controlled senate, so i suspect that will be talked about today. >> yeah, amanda, what do you think of karen's point, the house is doing little again to the boehner/obama meeting, which is a rarity. is that the frustration that undergirds the whole thing, the president feeling few votes in this speaker's house? >> yeah, i think honestly that's speaker boehner's frustration, too, there are things he's tried to do but hasn't been able to get a majority of his republican caucus to do it and he's been stuck in this is why we ended up getting the shutdown. karen is right, not much is going to be getting done between now and the election. it's going to be more about pot ticks and messaging and trying to convince voters they should elect them in 2014, but frustration that nothing is going to really happen, i mean, that's going to be throughout the meeting between obama and
boehner. >> yeah. well, we are going to keep an eye on that and the snow today. i know you are already indoors working hard, but stay warm and safe out there. thanks for your time. >> thanks, ari. >> absolutely. now let's take a quick check of the news feed and what you need to know this morning. the ukrainian parliament voted to have its ousted president, viktor yanukovych tried. of course, he first has to be captured. yanukovych remains in hiding. what officials hope to do here is work out a reform package so the west and the e.u. can consider financial help for ukraine's economy. meanwhile, here at home, new jersey governor chris christie is unveiling his budget for the upcoming fiscal year. the governor won re-election on a fiscal responsibility agenda, but his political capital has been declining in the wake of the bridgegate controversy. in fact, look at this, a new
poll shows among registered voters, christie's approval has dropped below 50% for the first time since 2011, and a year ago, 70% approved of the incumbent governor. three brave women who survived a nearly ten-year kidnapping ordeal. annual courage awards were awarded to amanda berry, gina dejesus, and michelle knight. >> no one rescued them, they rescued themselves. first by staying strong and by sticking together. and then by literally breaking out into freedom. >> ariel castro kidnapped berry, dejesus and knight as teenagers and held them captive for a decade. castro took his own life in
prison last year. quite a story. and turning to the winter that won't quit, bitterly cold temperatures, the average temperature in chicago since december 1st is 19 degrees. last weekend's thaw dumped ice on shore, swallowing a truck. now, coming up, we are heading to the white house where the snow continues to fall, and we have more on the president and the economy. a live exclusive interview with top economic adviser to the president, gene sperling. that should be interesting. first, we're going to kentucky where senate candidate allison grimes may shun obama as a surrogate, but clinton is there in the bluegrass state today. et a little bit hungry ♪ ♪ and there's nothing good around ♪ ♪ turn around, barry ♪ i finally found the right snack ♪ [ female announcer ] fiber one.
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federal workers would get a modest 1% pay hike next year under a new budget proposal unveiled by the white house next week. already the proposal have some conservatives saying there should be no pay raise, while the largest union calls the hike pitiful. gene sperling is president obama's top economic adviser and director of the national economic council. how are you? >> i'm doing well. you have quite a pretty backdrop here. >> gene, it's beautiful, but it almost looks fake, it looks so idyllic, but it's real, you're real, tell us about what's real in the president's executive actions. you're pushing some economic and jobs proposals today. >> you know, this is a very important policy action the president's taking. it's something he called for in the state of the union two years ago, in which he's followed through on, which is great, manufacturing innovation hubs in our country, and what that means is that when we have things that
are very important to the competitiveness of our advanced manufacturing sector, but where no one company has an incentive to take on all the risks themselves, we do competitions that create manufacturing innovation hubs in different regions of our country, and this does a few good things, it attracts manufacturing here, it makes the united states more of a magnet for job creation, more of a magnet for innovation and creates positive effects throughout our region, not just for the larger manufacturers, but for small businesses in the supply chain. and i think, again, i think one of the things that makes this such an attractive model and a successful model and something that's now getting bipartisan support is when you see something created like this, and you see universities, big companies, small businesses, all working together, more people want to join that region, and then you are in a process of attracting a stronger economic regions that are well connected.
once you start joining them, people don't want to leave, and that's part of the president's strategy for creating more good middle class jobs, which is to have more of an innovation economy and create more and more incentives for people to locate jobs here. we are having a lot more movement of companies looking to locate jobs back, not outsourcing, u insourcing, and this is the type of strategy that helps put more wind at the back of that type of decision to move jobs back here. >> yeah, gene, you mention insourcing, the proposals you have put out, i was looking at some of the white house plans here, detroit, chicago, $280 million, that's at home and this is in contrast to what we were talking about at the top of the hour, the frustration nothing is happening in congress, that doesn't mean there's nothing happening in government or washington or the jobs programs, which i think are exciting to a lot of people. i did want to also get to another piece of the budget that's gotten some heat here, which is the approach to social security, social insurance, a
bedrock program, and as you know, the white house previously proposed what effectively are cuts and changed cpi to social security. now you have backed off that completely, which sort of seems to respond to either the criticism or the muse of folks like elizabeth warren who said, if anything right now, we should be growing social security. does that reflect the fact from a negotiating perspective you guys were wrong to put out those cuts initially in the budgets of years past? >> let me quickly answer your first comment and i will get right to the question on the social security cost of living. i just want to point out that in the state of the union the president called for 15 of these manufacturing innovation hubs at a billion dollars. what he's actually done is actually find existing resources, so by the end of this year, he'll be more than halfway and near 500 million, and for every dollar we put in, there's a private sector match, so this is a great example of the
president using existing authority, existing resources, leveraging private sector capital, where we're going to be nearly at a billion dollars total, nearly halfway there in the number of institutes. on your second point, a traditional budget puts out your ideal proposal, then you say this is the president's vision, and we are willing to negotiate on things we would not ultimately support as part of the deal. what the president did in 2011 and 2012 is that he said that even though he does not prefer to do a change in the social security cost of living, if that was the only way to get bipartisan support for a larger deal that would get more infrastructure, more job growth now, deal with the long-term deficit in a balanced way that includes mandatory savings and revenues, that was a compromise he was willing to do, and really an extraordinary effort of good faith, he put that compromise offer in his budget last year to kind of make clear to the republicans that he was still willing to compromise. >> did that work, though, gene, from a negotiating point of
view? >> well, that's exactly what happened. after a year of them not coming forward, the president said, i'm still willing to negotiate, but i'm going to go back to a more traditional budget where i put my ideal vision, which is one that would have smart mandatory savings, but would have more -- it would also have significant revenues and would focus, as you say, right now much more on what we need to do to get job creation going, get more momentum in the economy, because if we could pass some of the things the president talked about in terms of infrastructure investment, in terms of the manufacturing innovation institutes that he's doing right now, that could give more confidence, and we really do need to grow faster. while it's nice to see the unemployment rate go down from i think it was about 9.4% when i started here to about 6.6%, we have such a serious problem with long-term unemployment, that we need specific action on long-term unemployment, but we just need more growth so more employers are looking deeper in the labor force, giving more workers a chance, that second
chance they need to get back on their feet and support their family. >> gene, you mentioned when you started there, and i know you are leaving shortly, you have lived through an incredible time to be at the center of the economic policy, what do you see here as partly your legacy, as you prepare to leave the white house, briefly? >> well, i think that what has been a positive legacy over the last 20 years is i think that you've been able to see two democratic presidents show that you could get control of your fiscal situation, both president clinton and president obama inherited high deficits. they showed that we could bring that down in a way that's progressive, that's still investing into the future and has done things like increase the amount of tax credits for low-income families, so that instead of lifting 9 million more people out of poverty. so i think what i feel proud to have been a part of is an effort to show that you can be pro growth and progressive, you can
bring down the deficit and still protect those investments that are good for the middle class and help more people work their way up. i think the one thing that we as a country will need to work on is to make sure that we get back, you know, we don't let the sequester levels stay in place, because they rob us of the future, that robs us in the investment in children, early childhood, higher education, and the research that, you know, creates the innovation of the future that we all benefit from. >> yeah, and the sequester is so front and center, it's, obviously, a big part of the pentagon budget that you guys also put out. gene sperling in the snow, you know what yogi berra said is true, everyone always talks about the weather, nobody ever does anything about it. thanks for coming out in the snow for us today. >> thanks for having us. >> absolutely. now, you have heard about the controversial bill in arizona, sb-1062. it would potentially allow businesses to discriminate against gay citizens. now what you might not know, and this is new, is there is intense
pressure now building on governor brewer. several major american companies have joined the fight, that includes apple, the nfl, both are saying, this is actually just bad for business, breaking news on that last night. and we are going to dig in with our strategists of why brewer isn't acting faster. and there's already outrage over the pentagon's plan to shrink the army. we're going to go to the pentagon directly and speak to the spokesman for secretary of defense chuck hagel.
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ground and grimes could be his first real senate challenger in decades. nbc's casey hunt has been following this case and sam in louisville, so you have good seats there. casey let me start by playing some of your interview with lundergan grimes. >> you say you're an independent thinker, i want to talk about president barack obama, would you want him to campaign for you? >> this race is about putting the people of this state first, and i speak for myself and don't need any other surrogate to do that. i stand in stark contrast to the president in many of his ideas and platform. >> what she's doing there, obviously, threading the needle. the reference to the surrogate is striking today, because she does have a presidential surrogate, right, in town? >> she does. she does not seem to have a problem with appearing with bill clinton, who is a long-time family friend of the grimes family, but that's going to be the trick for grimes, if she can
keep this race from becoming about president barack obama and make it instead about leader mitch mcconnell, that's going to be the main test over the next few months and it will be interesting to see whether or not grimes makes any mistakes as she slowly steps out into the spotlight. she's been cautious so far in taking strong stance on issues and part of that could be because if she does, mcconnell's team would seize on it immediately and they haven't had too many opportunities yet to do that. >> yeah, and yet when pressed, mcconnell, of course, facing pressure from the left and the right here with his tea party challenger. i want to play some of that, sam, and specifically his view of his conservative credentials. take a listen. >> i've been a pretty solid conservative throughout my career. i don't think there's any particular reason for conservatives to be upset about my performance. >> and you see that there and the wings, the other kentucky
senator, rand paul. they have a complex relationship, but sam, is that enough? is it enough for mitch mcconnell to just assert that he is a true conservative in this state? >> well, i think so. at least that's what we're seeing right now. you know, it's easy to make the case that senator mcconnell is not well liked, but it's a difficult sell to say he's not conservative. there's not a lot of room to run on his right, you know, you remember this is the same guy who said his top priority was denying president obama a second term. president obama is not popular here in kentucky. he was following a mission that a lot of kentuckians here wanted him to do. >> yeah, and that's a place where you see the national politics work for mcconnell, even though we've paid a lot of attention to the primary. the primary is in interesting, it's democracy a lot of these incumbents don't have primaries very often, yet also the national attention allows him to be the number one guy, republican face, against president obama. kasie, i want to play more
sound, though, as we touch on senator rand paul. take a listen to this, i know you've heard it. >> you know, it concerns me. i mean, the thing is, i think workplace violence is a serious thing. think about your network, if the president of your network had relations with a 20-year-old girl who was there from college, i think the president of your network would be fired. we don't accept that in the workplace, so if that's what bill clinton, you know, did multiple times, really they ought to be concerned about, you know, being associated with him. >> kasie, tell us about your conversation there. >> sure, well we had asked him whether or not grimes should be campaigning with bill clinton. that attack was, of course, something that rand paul rolled out kind of in a national level in the context of a potential hillary clinton bid, but he was pretty quick to take it to alison grimes and continued on and also brought up woody allen, who's been a campaign donor to grimes, and he referenced the accusations made against woody allenby one of his children of sexual abuse, and he said, you
know, that doesn't play well in kentucky either. and he charges that grimes needs to decide whether she's kentucky or hollywood. >> sam, give us your take on that going into this event here. >> no, i think kasie nailed it. look, president clinton did very well here in '92 and '96, then the state takes a hard right. you look at the percentages president bush and mitt romney won with 61% of the vote. there was a definite moral outrage and backlash, there was a degree of moral outrage that i don't think in all parts of the state has gone away. president clinton has no doubt enjoyed a universal, near universal image rehab, but there's still pockets of the state here that don't feel that way. >> yeah, and that put it in the context of what is it about the clinton era that folks want to pay attention to. there's a lot of folks nationally who feel the sort of fixation on the scandal part of his presidency has been overdone, but in politics,
especially in a republican primary field, which is what mitch mcconnell is dealing with, that may be a focus senator paul is helping him with. kasie hunt and sam youngman, thank you both for your reporting and we will be right back. [ male announcer ] go pro with crest pro-health. [ tisola ] the first time i tried crest pro-health, it felt different, i mean it felt clean. [ male announcer ] crest pro-health protects all these areas dentists check most. she's going to do backflips when she sees this. [ male announcer ] 4 out of 5 dentists didn't spot the difference between a professional clean and a pro-health clean. i am extremely impressed. i guess that's what happens when you go pro. [ male announcer ] go pro with crest pro-health. excuse me, did you say you want to see my teeth? oh, i'm sorry.
welcome back. pressure is mounting, moment by moment on arizona governor jan brewer to veto sb-1062, the arizona bill getting national attention now. it would provide a legal authorization for business owners to deny service to gay customers. now that's typically not allowed under the law, but the bill attempts to create an exception for people who invoke religious beliefs. here's what new today. what began as some would argue a parochial debate has drawn american airlines into the ring, america's largest airline weighed in, with the ceo calling for a veto of the bill because it, quote, sends the wrong message.
then, apple, which has a stake in arizona, as it turns out, because they have plans for a manufacturing plant there, have asked the governor to vito, as well. and this is big, one of the most popular professional associations in the country, the nfl, which will host the super bowl in phoenix next year, that's $150 million event, they stopped short of a veto call, but reaffirmed their own antidiscrimination policies. national republican senators, including two from arizona, john mccain and jeff flake, have also been quick to call for the governor to scrap this law, but her most recent comments, which we should mention came before this business backlash, didn't reflect much urgency. >> when i receive the bill, i'm going to read it and be briefed on it. we have been following it, and i will make my decision in the near future. i have until friday or saturday morning to determine that. >> now for many business leaders and national republicans, there isn't much reading necessary. joining us now, strategists
msnbc contributor james peterson and susan del persie. tell me as we look at this issue, this is not one that i don't think the governor can continue to say is a matter of time and studying the bill. how long do you have to study the values of equal treatment under the law to know where you stand? >> she has until saturday morning, she's going to have to decide based on her schedule, the earliest is thursday they are saying. but there's also besides all those big names that you mention, three state senators who originally voted for the bill are now calling to a new vote because they want to change their mind on it. small businesses throughout the state are putting up signs, welcome to everybody. the five republican candidates for governor have all come out against this bill. because it's wrong. it's discriminatory and there's no place for it in our society. >> i appreciate your point there. i think it is potentially more
complicated than that. they may be coming out because it's wrong and because they got caught. obviously, the folks who originally supported this thought they could play the politics a certain way, or, and i want to bring in professor peterson, or they thought they could cast this as a strictly religious freedom issue and we take religious freedom seriously. it does not typically extend this way, though. to be fair, i want to play for you professor and get response some sound from a group that has been supporting this arizona rule. take a listen. >> i don't buy the arguments on the economic impact. i believe, again, this is about protecting people of all faith, protecting religious beliefs, and that the politics, outcry against the bill, has nothing to do with the actual merits of the bill and language of the bill. it's simply a political tactic carrying the day the last few days. >> your response, professor? >> i'm not sure i understand what she's saying there. i mean, clearly, there will be an economic impact. there's no question about that,
and let's just review the tape here. look at the ways in which the country has been trending nationally around the issues, around marriage equality, the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the first openly gay player play a game, michael sam come out a couple weeks ago, probably the first nfl player. this is an untenable position from a political standpoint, as well as an economic standpoint, and i expect the governor will veto this as soon as possible, if not today, as soon as she can get back to business on thursday. >> yeah, and that really is a fascinating piece of it, because the governor has this authority and state power to deal with the bill, but she's no longer dealing with it, only in the way it had been pitched, as i mentioned, on religious freedom. she's dealing with it as a national business question and moral question, you could argue, and that comes right now as attorney general eric holder in washington is addressing a conference of attorneys general and made interesting claims and
landed on the front page of "the new york times" today. while he was careful not to disavoi their laws, officials who carefully study bans on gay marriage could refuse to defend them. as an example, mr. holder cited the brown v. board of education case, which forced public school integration in 1954, quote, new quote from the attorney general, "if i were attorney general in kansas in 1953, i would not have defended the statute that put in place separate-but-equal facilities." that goes to the point about the national, cultural, and legal moment that we're in. the gay marriage issue, much more complex, i think, than a straight discrimination question, but again, arizona seeming very out of step here. >> well, i think you made a great point when you said it seems like they got caught, and i think you're right. they didn't expect the national attention that they got on this piece of legislation, and that should be a lesson to, frankly,
all states and their legislatures when they go ahead and try to do these kind of little -- they think it's an internal state matter and it turns into being much more than that and it's something that the republican party has to face. right now, it is a gop versus gop fight on this. >> right, and i think you can give credit, as we mentioned, to senators like mccain who have spoken out clearly. and professor peterson, another issue that comes up, well, is this even legal? can you even do this? not that that excuses the politicians, they have to decide what's right first, and the answer, according to the supreme court precedent that we want to put on the screen for viewers, is probably not. there was a 1996 case on this that was not close, it was 7-2, about a colorado statute and justice kennedy said, look, that rule is unconstitutional because its purpose was inexplicable but anything but animus towards gay
citizens. even if there would be defenses like freedom of religion, if the point is to discriminate, it's not okay. >> it's not okay, and if there were to get past the governor's desk, think about how many legal challenges it would have on the ground in the state of arizona. you would see the courts tied up with so many cases around discrimination specific to this, but also logistically, ari, how do they prosecute this kind of law? who's the bouncer at the door of these restaurants and gatekeeper that says this person is gay or this person looks gay or this person doesn't look gay? logistically it doesn't make sense and the court of law will ultimately see it's too discriminatory. i don't think they want to see the legal future of this. just on the merits of that, as well as the economic piece, the governor's got to veto this bill. >> you're seeing that pressure now, professor peterson and susan, thank you very much. important topic. coming up, we're going to head back to snowy washington. we have the spokesman for the
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new research may have identified a safer way to detect tumors. instead of the current whole-body ct scan method, stanford university researchers have developed an mri-based method that uses nano particles of iron, instead of radiation. the mri technique was just as accurate as the ct scan. now we turn to some fierce new reaction pouring into defense secretary chuck hagel's proposal to shrink the army to its smallest size potentially in 74 years. here's republican congressman of colorado, chairman of the house armed services committee. >> i think that what we're trying to do is solve our financial problems on the backs
of our military, and that can't be done. if it could be done, it shouldn't be done, but it can't be done. >> those are strong words. let's look at the details. the army would lose up to 80,000 soldiers, drones would replace the u-2 spy plane, and the military would install 1% raises. secretary hagel says these remgts recommendations are to put an emphasis on versatile and agile forces that can project power over greater distances. as we wind down wars in afghanistan and iraq, we don't need the force we had two years ago, and that's the argument from the pentagon. john kirby, thanks for being here. >> appreciate it, glad to be here. >> i want to ask right up front, when you look at the required cuts, is secretary hagel making these reforms because he wants to, or because he has to?
>> i think it's a combination of both, ari, to be honest with you. the military, with or without the budget discussions coming off 13 years of war, transitioning to a war footing to a peacetime footing and we have to be talking about restructuring, resetting, and rethinking the way we arm ourselves, the way we man ourselves anyway. it was driven, absolutely, in part by the fiscal constraints that the whole country's facing right now. the budget we put together, the bipartisan budget act, president's budget complies with that law and does require us to make some hard choices. we believe that we can still execute the president's defense budget, we believe there's going to be some additional risks because it doesn't give all the dollars we had planned for in last year's budget. there's some risk. we think we can execute that strategy and think it's important moving forward into the future post-afghanistan. >> yeah, and, sir, i understand what you're saying, particularly about the congressional baseline
here, which secretary hagel referred to. senator marco rubio, looking at this said, "i'm concerned, we're on a path to repeat the mistakes we've made during past attempts to cash in on expected peace dividends that never materialized." got to ask you, when you look at something like this, and there are, obviously, people of good faith on both sides, these are tough issues, but do you find it frustrating working in the pentagon to hear a senator who's required these cuts then attack your boss for the way he's implementing them? >> look, i think we all understand the frustrations on both sides of the aisle in congress and that's not for us to get involved in, in that particular debate, but what i will tell you, finding the elusive peace dividend is very, very difficult. we thought we'd see one at the end of the cold war, didn't materialize. we'd be fooling ourselves once the combat mission ends in afghanistan, there's another peace dividend out there. i don't think the commander in chief or secretary hagel expects
that to be the case. this is still an uncertain, dangerous world. the security environment is more complex than i've ever seen it in my 27 years in the military. and we want to make sure that we're postured to handle as many of the contingencies as possible. >> briefly, sir, one of the facts we hear most frequently is the u.s. spends so much more than any other countries that are anywhere in the ballpark, do you think that's very relevant here, or not necessarily the right way to think about our preparedness? >> i think it's a little simplistic way to look at the way we fund ourselves. i mean, yes, we have a very large military. yes, we spend more on our defense than so many other countries, but we also have many, many more security commitments around the world and our leadership is expected. and we need to rise to that leadership. >> understood. thank you so much. admiral john kirby. >> thank you so much for having me. now for a slightly different perspective, we're going to
bring in retired four-star general barry mccaffrey. your response? >> i think it's entirely inappropriate to have an active duty military officer defending what is essentially a political and budgetary maneuver. we ought to get him off tv and have the secretary have his civilian political appointee do the argument. i think, look, the bottom line is -- >> general, speak to that more, what you're arguing there, because this is a budgetary political battle with congress, it matters who speaks for the pentagon here? i just want to understand you. >> absolutely. this is secretary hagel and the president are in charge of the u.s. armed forces, congress under article i is charged with funding them. you appropriately asked a pushback question about senator rubio. we have no business having the chairman or military spokesman be the lead on this debate. let congress and the media and
the american people sort it out. you know, chairman colin powell used to tell us, make military arguments on their merit and let the politicians sort out how it eventually comes out. >> general, then on the substance, then, your views of this kind of reform? >> well, look, the biggest reduction in the armed forces in three-quarters of a century, putting the army back where it was in 1939 when my dad was sworn in prior to world war ii, you can't create a fire department after the fire starts. we're moth balling navy ships, we're standing down all the a-10 ground attacks air force planes, we're slashing the size of the army. this is a budgetary argument, not a national security argument. they need to step back and think what are we actually doing? china's resurgent in the pacific rim, north korea with a sociopath running a country,
iranian threats, and by the way, we still got 35,000 troops in combat in afghanistan. >> yeah, so general -- >> -- and we're talking about -- >> pardon the interruption, the argument from secretary hagel is they don't see another large land war. are you saying that has to be a strategic possibility for deployment ability? >> we need to look at history, not what the budgeteers have said. that's a silly statement. warfare, as you look at the iranian threat, at the pakistani issues, at the push from china in the pacific rim, all of them require joint military forces, which basically take 15 years to create and sustain and train. thankfully, we're keeping f-35 and the navy's carrier battle group, but the rest of this budget looks to me like an attempt to solve the social security, medicaid, and medicare problem with the tiny defense
budget. >> i mean, that's an interesting point you raise there, because, of course, that goes back to where you started, this is a political budgetary question that's driving some of the preparedness issues. very to have the benefit of some of your expertise today, general. >> good to be with you, ari. >> we will be right back. retirement account. before he opened his first hot chocolate stand calling winter an "underserved season". and before he quit his friend's leaf-raking business for "not offering a 401k." larry knew the importance of preparing for retirement. that's why when the time came he counted on merrill edge to streamline his investing and help him plan for the road ahead. that's the power of streamlined connections. that's merrill edge and bank of america.
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we turn now to some breaking news, an update on a story we just had a long conversation about earlier this hour. three sources close to governor jan brewer say they expect her to veto that controversial measure that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay citizens on religious grounds. brewer will meet with people on both sides of the issue and likely make her decision thursday or friday, this according to new reporting by nbc news. we shall see. that wraps up this hour of "jansing and co." "news nation" with tamron hall is up next, and this is classic,
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good morning, everyone, i'm tamron hall. and this is "news nation." developing now, we are following two big legal battles over two critical issues, voter i.d. laws and same-sex marriage. a lesbian couple's lawsuit challenging michigan's ban on same-sex marriage went to trial this morning in federal court in detroit. the couple is also fighting for the right to adopt children together, and that issue is expected to trigger heated debate in this trial. more on that in a minute, but first, minutes ago, wisconsin's supreme court began hearing arguments in two lawsuits challenging the state's voter i.d. law that requires all voters to present a government-issued photo i.d. county judges struck down the law, which took effect in 2012,
but an appeals court later found it constitutional. lawyers for the state will argue the law prevents voter fraud, while opponents say it restricts voting, particularly among minorities, also the elderly. the challenges to the law were filed by the ncaap and by the league of voters, joining me now, elizabeth mcnamara, also judith brown, who is the co-director of the advancement project, which is a civil rights organization. thank you both for joining us today. >> thank you. >> thank you for having us. >> judith, let's start here with where this stands at this point. the argument, obviously, is that laws that exist in wisconsin and other parts of the country, which we discussed especially before the november general election, that these laws by design are meant to keep minorities, as well as perhaps even some elderly people, who let's face it, tend to vote more for democrats. keep them from the ball