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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  January 27, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

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not a professional. >> i know. thank you, will. >> fake science. patriots are innocent of which i'm saying not because of any scientific >> now i've seen everything, rachel. "the rachel maddow show" playing with balls in men's bathrooms. >> you wouldn't expect it from everything you heard with this show would you? >> i've seen everything. >> thank you my dear. >> thank you, rachel. i need a recovery minute here. with president obama's poll numbers steadily increasing, republicans who thought they could run for president by bashing president obama have to think again. >> president obama's at 50%. >> he's on his way up to 55%. >> our economy is growing and creating jobs. >> he declared that the american
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economy has recovered. >> at the fastest pace since 1999. >> this looks to be a very good year for the democrats. >> this is good news, people. >> it really is around the issue of economic recovery. >> the president's prescriptions with income inequality have actually made things worse. >> who is benefitting from this? >> very heart-warming to see mitch mcconnell standing up for the little guy. >> what do you got for us? >> chris christie is starting a presidential pac. >> there is economic stagnation in this country. >> republican governor scott wilker took his first step towards a presidential run. >> the rich are getting richer. >> we need to stop strangling small businesses. >> we need to repeal every word of obamacare. >> oh it's the exact same [ bleep ] thing. >> of course. i mean, of course.
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>> president obama's approval rating has reached 50% in another poll. it is this time the gallop presidential approval poll, the first time the president's number has been that high in 20 months in that poll. this good news for the president follows a period of stronger economic growth for the country, including falling oil prices. and an increase in consumer confidence. a recent nbc news poll shows 49% of americans approve of president obama's handling of the economy, the highest since he won re-election in 2012. nate cohen from "the new york times" writes, the modest improvement in mr. obama's standings suggests that the republicans cannot count on an easy midterm-like victory if the economy continues to grow. republicans running for president now face the choice of updating their talking points or denying reality. >> under president obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality have gotten worse. their liberal policies are good
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every four years for a campaign but don't get the job done. >> we'll never be able to build a strong economy when we punish productivity and reward reckless irresponsibility. >> obamacare is clearly a job killer. >> there is uncertainty in our country, and it is a product of the failure of leadership and that failure has happened at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. [ applause ] >> on friday, chris christie launched a political action committee, a standard step in running for president. today, another republican governor, scott walker, launched his pac. this weekend, scott walker spoke at the iowa freedom summit where he walked on the stage to the tune of "shipping up to boston" by the drop kick murphys. ♪ ♪ >> thanks. thank you.
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>> the drop kick murphys responded to that moment in a tweet -- >> governor walker please stop using our music in any way. we literally hate you. love, drop kick murphys. >> joining me now is washington post columnist e.j. dion and co-host of msnbc's "the cycle" krystal ball. so republicans, they're never careful enough in choosing the music. there's a lot of potential problems in there. >> they have a tough time with this. this is not the first time that a republican candidate -- >> i literally hate you, they say. >> you have to admire that they're very direct. they support union rights and maybe should have checked that out. -- checked that out before he picked the song. but scott walker, of all the candidates that went to iowa, seem to have a breakout performance. people talk about chris christie being able to win over the crowd, which is a key test in a conservative state.
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but scott walker has a good talking point for the republican primary electorate. he can say i won three times in a blue state in four years. i think that's compelling, and he is kind of an icon in terms of the union busting stuff he's done and the koch brothers seem to like him, which doesn't hurt. >> e.j., we should preface any discussion of republican presidential possibilities with this confession from me which viewers of this program will remember. i predicted early on that tim pawlenty would get the republican nomination last year, and i did it through a process of elimination showing there was something horribly wrong with every other candidate and nothing particularly wrong with pawlenty, which made a lot of sense to me proving that i know nothing about the republican primary electorate. but i'm starting to suspect, and remember, this is coming from me, that scott walker may be the tim pawlenty of this group,
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meaning on paper you can see the case for him. but on a stage he won't find a way of rhetorically standing up. >> you know, i was going to say, until you read that e-mail, that scott walker had finally done something i agreed with, which is to pick that dropkick murphys song. theory and practice. i think your theory on pawlenty is still right. it didn't work out, but it was an intelligent theory. i think that is true of scott walker. i am actually starting to hear your theory from other republicans, and that his positioning in the republican party may be just about right, because he is to the right of jeb bush a little bit. he's to the right of chris christie. and he's probably -- he can position himself if he wants to the right of mitt romney, because you're never quite sure where romney is positioned. but there's a question about
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him. he has won a lot of campaigns, krystal's right about that. but you just wonder what's the depth there? does that sort of last? how do these scandals, sort of scandals that have never quite gotten there in terms of campaign finance, do those heat up? the connection to the koch brothers, maybe that helps him in republican primaries. i think there are some vulnerabilities there. he's the remainder guy in this race, just like tim pawlenty. >> if i could. if the ethics stuff, the question marks around that, if that doesn't heat up more, i don't think the stuff that's come out so far is going to be hard for him to overcome. i think there's a bigger question about how he's done in terms of jobs in the state of wisconsin, it's ranked somewhere around 35th in terms of job creation. so his record in terms of growth and trying to run on that is not particularly stellar. >> if you compare it to next door in minnesota, which pursued
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a very different democratic policy there's already been stuff written about it i think we're going to see that comparison a lot, as well as a comparison to the country quite a lot if scott walker gets somewhere. >> next door in minnesota where pawlenty was governor. so chris christie is continuing to make every necessary move for his presidential campaign. he's started the pac, and i need him to run, because my prediction for chris christie is -- and he should take heart that the prediction's coming from me -- that he's the giuliani of this campaign. he's going to flame out just as quickly as giuliani. >> i agree with that. i don't think the bridge gate stuff is enough to write him off, but because they already had some question marks about whether he was really one of theirs, there was enough to start of tarnish the brand. i really feel like christie's time to run was the last election cycle.
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he was on the upswing. he was the new, exciting governor, taking it to the people. he was straight talking. now that style has worn a little thin, and it just feels like him yelling at people rather than being the tough straight shooter, and conservatives do rightly have some questions about where he is on the issues. and we're talking about scott walker with 35th in job production. new jersey is 48th 49th somewhere in there in terms of job growth. so not exactly a great record either. >> e.j., the way i look at candidates this far out is how are the others going to attack a particular candidate? i don't care what they're going to say as their positive campaign, and it's how they're going to attack. with chris christie, i think the way bridge gate brings him down, the other candidates can run tapes of him saying these words, i delegate enormous authority to my staff. -- to my staff and my cabinet. that's what he said in response to bridgegate. he also said that staff humiliated him and new jersey. so you don't have to teach people in iowa or new hampshire the details of bridge gate. you just need to hear chris
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christie say that's how he governs. >> that's another one of your longstanding predictions. and i so hope you get to run the footage of that in somebody's political ad. there's one extra problem for christie, which is his big claim on the party is, i'm actually pretty conservative, and i'm really popular in a blue state. guess what? he's not popular in new jersey anymore. his numbers are way down, and i think that has an effect on him. if i can take my flyer, if he decides to run and scott walker doesn't prove to be the tim pawlenty of this year, the guy i'm watching is mike pence, the governor of indiana. he hasn't made any moves yet. he says he's going to wait until after the legislative session in that state. he could be the same guy if scott walker doesn't make it. >> he's the one i think might be the tim pawlenty this time.
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>> when we say tim pawlenty, do we mean the loser or the guy who should win on paper? >> who should win on paper. got everything lined up on the resume, but doesn't really do it for the voters. we did forget the number one liability for chris christie, which is that hug with president obama. that is not going to go away. >> this thing about, i do well in a blue state. since when have any republican primary voters cared about that? >> i think there is maybe a moment right now to make the case for this and play devil's advocate, where republicans are concerned that they are becoming this regional party, and they want to feel like they can expand their coalition and be able to potentially win over states that weren't winnable before. frankly, they have to think that way, because if they don't, they're going to lose. so i think the electability argument is ultimately the one that mitt romney made and was successful for last time around. >> e.j., before we go, the republicans, lot of them were planning to simply run against
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president obama. that was all they figured they were going to have to do. that's not looking like it's going to work quite so well. >> no. if this economy keeps going the way it is, what's really striking in that gallup poll is that some of obama's biggest gains are among the youngest voters, under 30s. there has been a little bit of weakening in that group. that group may not vote in midterm elections, but they do vote in presidential elections. and so that's good for obama, but it also could have -- it could be really good for the democrats. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. coming up, federal agents uncovered some real russian spies here in the united states. not quite the way they're being portrayed on "the americans," that tv series about russian spies. also coming up, the details
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about the real american sniper that are not in the big box office movie. and in the "rewrite" tonight, what i think about during blizzards. i've been called a control freak... i like to think of myself as more of a control... enthusiast. mmm, a perfect 177-degrees. and that's why this road warrior rents from national. i can bypass the counter and go straight to my car. and i don't have to talk to any humans, unless i want to. and i don't. and national lets me choose any car in the aisle. control. it's so, what's the word?... sexy. go national. go like a pro. the lightest or nothing. the smartest or nothing. the quietest or nothing. the sleekest... ...sexiest ...baddest ...safest, ...tightest,
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boston got buried under two feet of snow overnight and today. and the staff at brigham and women's hospital posted this picture on instagram. our sincerest thanks to all employees who have gone to extraordinary lengths to get to the hospital during the storm. this is vivian chan who snowshoed into work. and there's this one. we love our staff. dr. kelly loughlin. department of emergency medicine cross country skis into work. and this one. we have so thankful boston police officer gets vhw nurse to
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work safely during the blizzard. two feet of snow can't keep heroes like that away from work. coming up, drunk droning. how president obama had to respond to a drunk guy landing a drone on the white house lawn. next. ♪♪ expected wait time: 55 minutes. your call is important to us. thank you for your patience. waiter! vo: in the nation, we know how it feels when you aren't treated like a priority. we do things differently. we'll take care of it. vo: we put members first... join the nation. thank you. ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪
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betray my country. >> life tried to imitate art this week. the u.s. department f justice charged three men with running a russian spy ring in new york city. but the complaint filed last friday showed that being a russian spy isn't always like the fx series about russian spies, the americans. two of the russians charged were recorded complaining about the mundane aspects of their job. the three are charged with running the spy ring, are accused of trying to gather intelligence on the u.s. sanctions on russia, and how the new york financial systems work. one of the defendants, who posed as a banker in new york city, appeared in federal court yesterday. two other men are russian diplomats who are no longer in the united states. joining me now is gary burnson, former cia operations officer, and shane harris author of "war, the rise of the military internet complex." shane, how did these guys get caught?
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>> well, they finally got caught when they saddled up to somebody they thought was a would-be casino investor, who was an informant for the fbi. they thought they were getting involved with him in a potential deal in finding some information that would be useful to russia. in reality, he was feeding them what they thought were official u.s. documents. but they've been under surveillance for a couple of years before that and the fbi was recording their phone calls and catching them in other illegal acts of espionage on u.s. soil. >> gary, what is your reaction as an intelligence professional to the information that's been uncovered? >> clearly here, these were not the highest level case officers that the russians have. this was terrible trade craft on the russians' part. usually, their best assets in the u.s. would be illegals. these were not illegals. these were standard case officers under diplomatic cover
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at the u.n. >> gary, let me stop you, what do you mean by the term illegals? >> an illegal, which was the old sort of term we used is the russians would take an individual, move them out of russia, they would live in brazil for two or three years, they would get brazilian passports, change their identity emigrate to the united states and burrow deeply into our corporations or the u.s. government to steal secrets. those were the most dangerous agents that we had inside the united states. not the ones operating out of the embassies, the illegals were the real dangerous ones. >> there's a passage in the criminal complaint that has details about some of the things these guys have said. one of them was talking about trying to use college girls somehow. he said, i have lots of ideas about such girls, but these ideas are not actionable because they don't allow you to get close enough and in order to be close, you either need to have
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sex with them or use other levers to influence them, to execute my requests. so when you tell me about girls, in my experience, it's rare that something workable will come of it. shane, i guess the question there is, he's talking about getting them to execute his requests. what kind of requests might he have been made then to these girls if he had been able to recruit them? >> it's sort of baffling. the complaint doesn't go too much into that why in the world they would want to be recruiting college students why they thought they would be able to get their hands on sensitive information, it's hard to imagine. maybe they envisioned themselves as james bond types recruiting young women into their service and manipulate them. but it's not clear what they thought they would be working in some capacity, in some company where they might be able to provide information. but you're right, they
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complained about the fact that they can't get them to do what they want and puff up their own egos talking about how stupid these college girls are, but in reality, they're the ones who can't seem to recruit anybody to do their bidding whatsoever. >> gary, we have these guys that don't appear very professional to you and they're trying to recruit actual amateurs. >> lawrence, they sound like morons. the truth is, you recruit people that have access to intelligence that your government needs or you want to collect or someone you believe had a high chance of seated into an organization. these guys had no idea what they were doing and it's almost comical. like a version of the gang that couldn't shoot straight. you may recall that movie from 25 years ago. but look, on a more serious note, the russians have a professional intel service. they run sophisticated operations. this is the exception, not the rule.
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>> gary, do you think they run sophisticated operations in the united states? >> you bet. i bet today 24, 25 russian agents around the country are stealing intel from companies and people and doing things and weren't caught today. count on it. they're here in large numbers. they would be in this country. they have a great interest. we're the only country that threatens them, you know, militarily, strategically, financially. they're here and they're collecting with a large number of assets on the ground. >> shane, is there some reason to believe that the two diplomats who were involved got wind at some point, or a sensation that there was a possible investigation or close to a prosecution and that's why they left the country before this arrest? >> yeah, there is. and the complaint talks about when this would-be casino investor got close to them
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there did seem to be some suspicion about him. there's a third individual we haven't talked about who has been arrested. he was someone who was here on what's called an artificial cover. so he would be one of these illegals we've been discussing. that individual met with the would-be casino ambassador. so it was at that point that these other two guys seemed to get the feeling that something was amiss. they weren't sure why he was approaching them. that may be the point where they left the country, we don't know for sure yet. >> i would like to add you would never have an illegal in contact with normal case officers. the illegal would be out far away, handled out of country. if you were really using good trade craft. these guys used awful trade craft, and i'm sure they'll probably be fired when they get home. >> gary, thank you for your experience. and shane, thanks for joining us. coming up, the secret service is trying to figure out how to protect president obama from drones flying near the white house. drunk droning is part of that problem. and next, the truth about the movie "american sniper."
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>> oh, that's not me, no. >> what's not you? >> i just was protecting my guys. they were trying to kill our soldiers and i'm willing to meet my creator and answer for every shot i took. the thing that haunts me are all the guys that i couldn't save. >> in the spotlight tonight, what "american sniper" teaches us about war. joining me pop culture writer for "the washington post" and courtney duck worth who fact-checked "american sniper" for alyssa, your piece in "the washington post" was entitled "american sniper's" missing element, the man behind the gun. what is behind that headline? >> one of the things i found interesting about "american sniper" is that in life chris
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kyle was very comfortable with who he was. if you read his memoir he was politically conservative he tells all of these stories about getting into bar fights after the war. if you read profiles of him he claims he went to katrina and shot people from the roof of the superdome. so he tells all of these larger than life stories. he's very clear in his politics, but much of that didn't make it into the movie. i may be the only person in the country who thinks that "american sniper" might have been a more interesting movie if it was more conservative and more specific to who chris kyle was, how he wanted to be seen and what he believed. >> yeah, it's fascinating, having seen the movie, there's a lot of choices in that screenplay that could have gone in the directions you're talking about in your article, and it is just -- it's a more difficult movie to write and it's a more difficult movie to make work.
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i think this movie worked very well on its own terms from start to finish. courtney, i read your piece studying what's true in the movie and what isn't true in the movie. and it seems like some of the essential glue of the screenplay is the stuff that isn't true. >> right. exactly. i mean, i feel like more than any specific detail what isn't true is the character of chris kyle. that climactic moment where he kills the iraqi sniper, you know, those moments simply didn't happen. and much of the movie is based on those factual inaccuracies. like the character of mustafa. >> if i can jump in -- >> let me just make this point here. i for one don't care ever about these precise historical accuracy of so-called historical
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films. none of them are perfectly accurate. all you're dealing with is who gets the prize this year for the least or the most accurate one. and what i'm seeing here are a bunch of screen writing decisions that just hone the drama in the direction that the writer -- and we've invited the writer and clint eastwood the director, they couldn't make it which is not surprising in any way. but it just hones it, alyssa, and it makes it a smoother road from start to finish in the movie. you have the motivation being 9/11 in this movie, even though he joined the military years before 9/11. but without that 9/11 moment, you've got a much more difficult motivation to write in the script. and then this climatic moment where he gets, you know a tremendous distance away from this other sniper, the opposing sniper, which is not true, is just the kind of book ending and
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climax stuff that screenplays need. >> but at the same time, eastwood doesn't entirely take advantage of the potential involved in that choice to set up kyle and mustafa has sort of rivals, right? it's common to create a double for your main character who forces you to reflect on the character's motivations and how his choices are different. you know, the way that mustafa is set up in the movie, he is shot like a serial killer. you have him lovingly looking at his gun. he's twirling bullets on the table, you see him putting on his head scarf as this almost super villain costume. but the movie never grapples with whether or not chris kyle is like this guy is. he's presented as this sort of impassive, incredibly impressive killer, but maybe with morally dubious motivations. "american sniper," in part by taking away some of the other
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details of kyle's life doesn't really explore what's set up as the movie's central question -- is kyle a sheep dog or has he become a wolf? >> you know, my general advice to people involved in these projects is just don't talk about the real person. just try to, in the public presentation of it, just try to get away from that, because it's never really what it's about. this is a work of inspired fiction, inspired by a lot of nonfiction. >> at the same time, though, there's challenge with this movie, and clint eastwood talked about it being a character study in part to avoid trying to make the movie into a partisan football. cooper said specifically this is meant to be a nuanced character study of chris kyle. not a commentary on the war in iraq. eastwood has said more broadly
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it's an anti-war film, but i understand the desire to say it's a character study. the problem is that eastwood and his writer made a number of choices that make it less a character study and turn chris kyle into more of a stand-in for everyone that fought in iraq. to promote the movie, they needed to say that it's biography, a character study, that it's psychological. but to make the movie work at all, they needed to sand off what made chris kyle unique and turned him into a generic stand-in. >> courtney, would you rattle off some of the major inconsistencies with the known truth that the movie presents? and i invite that not to in any way attack the movie, but just to let audiences know what they're seeing. they're seeing what they might still find to be a highly enjoyable, dramatic experience from start to finish. but there's a bunch of stuff that they should not think is true. >> for one, the opening sequel in which he kills the woman and
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the child. the woman was never going to send a child to kill american soldiers with a bomb. so kyle doesn't kill a child, only a woman. also, he's never invited in by a family that is actually secretly hiding weapons. i thought that was particularly suspicious. that an innocent iraqi family. mustafa existed, but kyle didn't kill him. he thinks that someone else did. and the butcher isn't in the memoir at all. >> thank you very much for joining us on this controversial subject. coming up in the rewrite, the person whose life was
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terrible things happen in terrible storms. lives can be lost. dreams dashed. but wonderful things can happen, too. nine months after big blizzards, maternity wards always have a few more babies than they would have had without that blizzard. lives can be changed by the unpredictable effects of wild weather. i always think of tim russert during blizzards, because tim had the best blizzard story i ever heard. tim was in his 17th year of hosting "meet the press," with what should have been 17 more years to do when he died of
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heart failure. you might have never heard of tim russert were it not for a blizzard. in 1976, he got his start in politics in the buffalo campaign office of harvard professor daniel moynihan who was running for senate in new york in a crowded field of celebrity democratic candidates that included congresswoman bela abzook. the moynihan campaign was a risky bet for a young guy in buffalo who had just worked his way through law school and was feeling his way through politics. but the bet paid off and in january of 1977, when senator moynihan took the oath of office, tim russert took that same oath of office as a senate staff employee running the new senator's buffalo office. three weeks later, buffalo was hit with the blizzard of '77. which made front-page news all over the country. snow drifts were as high as 25 feet. the snow was so high at the zoo that three reindeer were able to just step over the fence.
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mail delivery was suspended for almost a week. tim russert urged the harvard boys running the office to get senator moynihan up to buffalo as fast as possible. he started researching the possibilities of emergency federal assistance and when senator moynihan arrived, tim made sure the local media knew it. federal judge richard eaton, who was then running senator moynihan's other upstate new york office, told me tonight "tim did such a great job with the buffalo press it sounded like pat moynihan was shoveling your sidewalk." when the searpt got on the plane back to washington he took tim with him. tim got on the plane in his boots and parka and wasn't dressed for the formality of a washington office. and later that day tim russert wrote a letter to the president
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of the united states asking for federal assistance. tim went to the white house and delivered the alert to president carter's chief of staff. he then tells what happened in his book -- >> i took my first shower in days and showed up at moynihan's office in the morning where i called in the buffalo reporters and helped arrange interviews for senator moynihan with every radio and television station in buffalo. after a day or two, liz moynihan turned to me and said you know you're pretty good at this. why don't you stay here and help us out with the press. >> the senator's wife was always his best talent scout and is still the best political analyst i know. tim rushed back to buffalo, packed a bag, and drove his 1972 gremlin down to washington where he became senator moynihan's press secretary. two years later he was the senator's chief of staff.
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four years after that in 1982, he ran the senator's re-election campaign. winning 66% of the vote. by then, everyone knew who tim russert was. when senator gary hart's campaign was struggling in 1984, in a private strategy session, senator hart said get me a russert. that is the line that every political operative in washington dreams of, get me a russert. they all want their name at the end of that sentence, get me a russert. but tim certainly didn't think he was on his way to becoming that kind of legendary political figure in his first year in washington. about that first year, he wrote -- >> my difficult moments came not with the press, but with a few of moynihan's other staffers. they were serious, high-powered intellectuals, ivy-league graduates. i was sometimes intimidated in their presence. >> one day tim confessed this to senator moynihan saying that half the time he didn't
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understand what some of the staff was talking about. the senator burst out laughing. there was no one in his senate office that he felt closer to than tim russert. pat moynihan and tim russert were a couple of irish guys that grew up in cities where no one handed them anything. tim russert worked on a garbage truck to pay for his education. pat moynihan shined shoes in times square. tim's father always had a steady job driving a newspaper delivery truck for the buffalo evening news. pat moynihan's father abandoned the family when pat was 10 years old. pat's mother was a bar tender in hell's kitchen. moynihan appreciated and respected education and expertise, but he also valued political instinct and street smarts, the stuff that can't be taught. the stuff you learn shining shoes and tending bar and earning your own way through life. senator moynihan didn't say any of that to tim. he just put his arm around tim and he said let me tell you
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something. what they know you can learn. but what you know, they will never learn. so that's what i think about during blizzards. i was not expecting to get a ford. we went around the country talking to people who made the switch to ford. it felt nicer than my bmw. good gas mileage... ecoboost makes a four cylinder engine feel like a six cylinder. my dad went and turned in his lexus and got the exact same car as me. he had to have it... i'm very happy with my escape. i don't know if i'll ever not buy a ford. make the switch to america's favorite brand. check out special offers on ford escape at or see your local ford dealer. ♪ you park your car. as you walk away crunch! a garbage truck backs into it. so,you call your insurance company, looking for a little support. what you get is a game of a thousand questions. was it raining? were your flashers on? was there a dog with you? by the time you hang up you're convinced
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it seems nothing stimulates a dating app quite like a blizzard. the people at mobile dating app hinge reportedly saw an increase of 22% in activity, including a record number of log-ins per user. according to this chart, a significant lift in the hinge sessions began around 3:00 p.m. around fell off around 10:00 p.m. the director of marketing said "most of our users are young professionals, and new york will -- and knew work would be closed on tuesday. who wouldn't want a play date on
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a snow day?" up next, new details about drunk droning in washington and how a drunk drone landed on the white house lawn. 1954 mercedes-benz grand prix race car made history when it sold for a record price of just under $30 million. and now, another mercedes-benz makes history selling at just over $30,000. and to think this one actually has a surround-sound stereo. the 2015 cla. see your authorized mercedes-benz dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial services.
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well, at least one person in washington learned a very important lesson this week, never drink and drone. the drone that landed on the white house lawn in the wee hours of monday morning was operated by a drunk off duty national geospatial intelligence agency worker. the worker lost control of the drone while he was playing with it at a nearby apartment. law enforcement officials say the drone was too small to be detected by radar at the white house. the national geospatial intelligence agency will not identify the worker who turned himself in on monday. nor will they comment on what disciplinary action, if any, has been taken. president obama responded while in india. >> i've actually asked the faa and a number of agencies to
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examine how are we managing this new technology. because the drone that landed at the white house you buy at radioshack. >> joining me now, susan crabtree, white house correspondent for the washington examiner. they were lucky this time it was just drunk droning, but that drone you buy at radioshack could also be carrying something harmful. >> that's right. this is a real game changer for the secret service. it's sort of a nightmare scenario come true. they had been planning for this type of issue for many years, remote controlled ied devices, and they've been working on jamming technology but there's so many different problems. the jamming technology would present a force field, kind of batman-like around the white house grounds, but that would cause problems because a jamming technology would interrupt tourist phone calls.
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some say 911 phone calls for safety phone calls. and the secret service, as you know, has had a very difficult year, and this is just one more thing they have to deal with now, how to stop these would-be drones from coming in over the fence. we've already talked about how the fence needs to be raised and higher. but you can't protect against this kind of drone dropping in on the white house lawn with a higher fence. >> susan, you've done a lot of work on what the secret service has been going through and all their problems. listening carefully, it sounds like they don't have any idea to -- what to do about this. >> i think that they're working with the military on, like i said, this jamming technology. but they haven't come into an agreement with other organizations that are concerned about tourists and keeping the white house as open as possible and accessible. it is the people's white house, and they want to keep it accessible to tourists and not prevent, you know, phones from being jammed when they get near
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it. so they haven't worked it out. it's been a difficult situation for the secret service. as you know, they've had a tumultuous year this year. they just lost all their top officials, five of them exactly, just this month, when the acting director clancy told them that they needed to leave and be reassigned in the department of homeland security. so what i had asked the secret service and they haven't been able to answer me yet, is whether those officials are still in their jobs. and if that's the case we have some people that know they're not wanted in charge of making decisions at a top level position at the secret service and they're still there but haven't been replaced yet. i just don't think that's a good scenario for a long period of time. >> susan, i can imagine how the first family feels about this. that there's not a lot more information that the secret service is capable of giving them about how they will be protected from drones.
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>> well, they know that the motorcade currently is protected by a jamming device. we don't get too much information at the white house press corps. we often joke that we feel like our own cell phones are being jammed by the secret service. when we get too close to the presidential motorcade, or when we're in the motorcade itself and we need to send our reports in. but i do think that there's great concern on capitol hill about the security of the president in light of these security lapses. we're not talking about fence jumpers anymore. this is sort of a game changer. we're talking about drones going over the white house fence. you have the park service that imposed recently made a decision and said no more drones in the park service, because they interrupt the wildlife and the tourist experience. you had drones dropping on mt. rushmore. i talked to a park service official, and she said this is a big dilemma with them. but rather than just an
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experience, a natural experience, we're dealing with the security of the president of the united states. >> susan, thank you very much for joining us tonight. up next "hardball" with chris matthews. escape for new york. let's play "hardball." >> the catch 22 for all of them stares us in the face. many think the only route to the nomination is the clown car