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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 18, 2015 1:00am-2:01am PST

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solution. for right now the priority i think really has to be access and affordability. >> i love the idea of scott walker going tonight school on the campaign and saying actually i got it. the rachel maddow show starts now. >> thank you chris. you know the font size on newspapers used to be a lot smaller than it is now. look. this, for example, this is want front page of the "new york times" on april 30th, 1903. seven column the wide, thousands of words on just the front page. even the big stories have tiny headlines. the lead story, front page, 1903, about a disaster in canada.
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it happened in a town called frank. the deadliest landslide ever in the history of that country. there is a little town at the foot of a mountain basically, and for some unexplained reason, in the middle of the night, the top of that mountain decided to slide down that mountain and bury the town at the base. there was no warning signs. this is a reconstruction that was done to explain what it might have been like. this is not footage. people did not have any warning signs that it would happen. the whole town was buried while they slept in their beds. and today, that mountain top is still sitting at the foot of that mountain where the town used to be. it makes for an eery moon like area. it looks particularly weird this
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second because there has been a giant train crash at that excite site. where that rail line crosses the 100-year-old rubble if that hold famous landslide, there was a derailment at that exact spot. see all of the piles of limestone? that is the rubble sight. that is where there was a train derailment. this is the sight of the town formally known as frank. the train that derailed was carrying crude oil. 12 of the oil tanker cares derailed, a couple flips over, miraculously, none of those blew up. on that same day, there was
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another oil train derailment elsewhere in canada where they did blow up. that was in northern ontario. they were headed east across canada, and there was another giant derailment and in that one, the same day as the other one, seven of the rail cars full of oil did blow up and they blew up in the way that oil cars do. they give you a cinematic display of what the end of the world will probably look like. both of those crashes happened on valentine's day. then two days later, this was the scene in west virginia. this oil train was 109 cars long. it was on it's way to york town, virginia.
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a lot of the trains traveling through towns large and small. on that 109 car long train, car number three, four, five, six, all the way back to 28 came off of the rails. seven of them that derailed did not blow up, but 19 of the cars that derailed did blow up. 19 cars full of oil, one after the other. miraculously only one person was hurt yesterday. one man was hurt, he has been hospitalized since the explosion. he had the misfortune of being home when the derailment and explosion happened. the explosion set his house on fire and destroyed this man's house. sent him to the hospital. it is a miracle that he was not killed and that no one else was injured. more than 2,000 people were evacuated. power lines melted. telephone poles caught fire.
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hundreds of people are without power tonight. several homes have been without water for 24 hours including a local hospital and schools. the company says they think they will be able to draw clean water, but even if they get clean water running through their tabs, people are still advised to boil any water they may consume. when we first reported on this on last night's show, we had all of this footage taken over the court of the day showing what it was like when the derailment happened, when the cars started to blow up. we talked to a local resident in boomer, west virginia. this was the view from the living room. he was home with his wife who was disabled. he said what it sounded like and looked like. he and his wife were convinced
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that a full sized jetliner crashed into the ground across the river from their house. he said he only learned when his wife got through to 911 that it had been a train derailment. after talking to him, we went to a local reporter who was on the scene. this was about 9:30 p.m. and the first thing he told me was by the way, the fire is still burning. so we had been showing all this footage of the fire burning over the course of the day. i should have known. seeing how big the explosions were. it happened at 1:30 yesterday afternoon. at 9:30, those fires were still burning while we were covering it on the air last night, as of tonight, at least, as of when we got on the air six minutes ago, it is still burning right now it burned all day long last night.
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each of the rail cars full of 30,000 gallons of oil, have been going off like bombs. first responders could not even get to those fires or put them out. here is the headline about it today. fires from derailed csx train allowed to burn. allowed to? that is generous. allowing them to burn implies that you have a choice. how many options did the local fire crews along the river in west virginia actually have for putting something like this out? the same thing happened in lynchburg, virginia last year. the same rail cars, the same route. taking the exact same oil on the same way to the exact same terminal.
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last year, that was lynchburg, virginia. i remember that incredibly dramatic footage. all through a populated area. this is not the middle of nowhere. when those train cars went up in these mushroom clouds, local firefighters there had no choice. they let that guy burn out. what else are you going to do? that kind of risk, the fact that they travel through many populated areas. that this is the increase we're experiencing right now. this is the kind of increase we're experiencing right now for the amount of oil being shipped by rail. it is a multiple thousand increase. what they look like when they blow up, and how helpless we are as humans when it happens, how
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few options we have to contain the kind of damage or put out the fires when it happens, you combine all of those things and this is becoming a real source of concern. >> you run these tankers through our state, do changes need to be made? >> i think that is something the national transportation board and federal agencies that will be here later today are better to answer. can they be operated afly. >> governor earl tomblin. for much of the day today, tomblin appeared along with represents from csx. they made themselves available today, but that doesn't mean they had many answers.
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for example, we try to run a safe railroad. obviously something has gone wrong there in west virginia. you think? that is the basic truth here. stuff does go wrong. in west virginia yesterday, two days before that, it was two different oil trains and two different parts of canada in the same day. remember the huge derailment and oil train explosion, that huge one from december 2013. it happened again there less than a year later. it happened just this past november. this time they didn't have to evacuate the whole town. the oil tanker cashes that flipped over and crashed again in the second wreck, this time they happened too be empty. lucky lucky in north dakota. but before cassleton, it was the lynchburg, virginia crash they
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had to let burn out. before that alabama, before that quebec. it happens. stuff goes wrong. oil trains derail. and crash. and blow up in huge apocalypse-like fire ball. part of the way to help is to keep them from blowing up. the other fight, or at least it seems like what ought to be the other fight, is over what is allowed to go into those train cars in the first place before they take off across the country. last year after the quebec disaster that killed 47 people, and the casselton, and the lynchburg, after all of those happened in relatively quick succession, it was a national news story that north dakota,
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specifically, was pumping oil on to oil trains that were setting off all across the country. putting oil on those trains that was particularly dangerous to put on trains. here is what i mean. when oil is produced in texas, oil producers there use a big piece of equipment called a stabilizer to take out of the oil what they call the light enemies. super flammable natural gas components mixed in with their crude oil. they use the big stabilizer machines to remove all of those super flammable compounds from the oil. this is in texas. texas does that with the oil they pump before they transport it. north dakota does not do that.
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we're experiencing an energy renaissance in this country, right? the north dakota oil fields is making the united states an energy producing area. they have man camps in north dakota to house all of the people coming into that state to produce the oil. but texas is taken better care of their oil than north dakota is. why doesn't north dakota have to do that too? here is the story. this is incredible. in september, north dakota held hearings about whether or not they too should start doing it. if they should start stabilizing their oil before they put it on to bomb trains and ship it off. the hearings were in north dakota. people who were concerned showed up.
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people came to make the oil industry not safety case. north dakota decided to split the baby, sort of. they decided to kind of sort of gesture in the direction of making the oil their shipping more safe. they decided late last year after the spate of terrible explosions and terrible publicity, they decided to require the kinds of stabilizers they use in texas, to make the oil less flammable. they decided they would have oil producers in north dakota do something with the existing equipment they had on hand. they would do something called conditioning the oil. it is not the same as stabilizing it. it is not as safe as what has to happen to the oil in other parts of the country, but at least north dakota decided late last
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year to do some processing of the oil. to make it at least a little more safe before that stuff gets put into the rail cars and shipped to your town. those new regulations in north dakota were agreed upon and announced in december. they made the plan, they announced in december, they will make it a little more safe. they agreed to do it in december, that regulation goes into effect on april 1st. so that means after this -- for the hundreds of people that live in these little towns in west virginia that have been evacuated, who don't have power, don't have water, don't know when they will get water, everyone that counts on that river, the guy in the hospital tonight after his house was quite literally blown up by a fire ball.
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would it have made a difference if north dakota acted six weeks faster? those regulations going into effect on april 1st, would they have kept those little towns from catching fire? would they have kept that part of west virginia safe? are we doing anything that will make this safer in a material way and are we doing it fast enough? joining me is russell gold. he is author of "the boom." thank you for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> as they start to investigate what happened here in west virginia, do we know anything about the crude that was on those rail cars in terms of combustability or anything else? >> they find it is combustible and volatile. it has a lot of light ends and
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it has a tendency to explode. this first caught our attention when the amateur videos came out. we were looking at these enormous fire balls coming out of these trains and asking wait, this is not the crude we know. this is not crude that we have grown used to. crude does not explode like that. we began asking what is going on? we found that up in north dakota there is very little infrastructure. instead of removing these light ends, and shipping them off elsewhere, they were putting them into the crude and trying to get them to coastal refineries to be processed through virginia, west virginia, philadelphia, chicago, portland, oregon, et cetera, et cetera. the towns along the way have to think about who makes the decision, but what is likely to affect the decision of these oil producers about how safe this stuff will be that gets pumped
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through their towns, is it prohibitively expensive for oil producers to separate this stuff out? i would have no reason to doubt their case that it is expensive, except for the fact that in texas they think it okay to do. >> it will add a few cents to the cost. you can take a step above to separate it. the problem is once you removed it, what do you do with it the oil field has grown so quickly they don't have enough pipelines to move all of liquids or gases anywhere. >> the in the rush to produce oil, producing 1.2 million gallons a day, they move very if they had the pipelines in place,
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this would be an easy fix. now they're building the pipelines and infrastructure required for safe operations. >> they're pumping oil and other stuff, pumping the oil and selling the oil because they can and there is a market for that. they never bothered to create a system for dealing with the other stuff, whether it is the highly flammable compounds they can deal with, or the other kinds of waste they have not figured out how to process. the filter socks, and everything that comes with waste water disposal that comes with oil drilling, they never had to get their ducks in a row on that stuff. >> essentially they pumped first and now they're trying to figure out how to deal with this. they're building salt water disposal wells as quickly as they can. they're trying to figure out what to do with the socks that
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catch materials. they are coming up with solutions as they go. >> they're coming up with solutions or not and the rest of the country paying a price for it depending on where they can ship this stuff out to. an incredible story. russell gold, thank you for your time tonight, i'm glad you have written a book on it because i feel like it is a story that needs telling at length. >> thank you, appreciate it. a lot more ahead tonight including hillary clinton and elizabeth warren meeting on the same room with each other. brushing alone does less than half the job leaving behind millions of germs. complete the job with listerine®. kill up to 99 percent of germs. and prevent plaque, early gum disease and bad breath. complete the job with listerine®. power to your mouth™. also try listerine® floss. its advanced technology removes more plaque.
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this was last thursday on this show. >> i usually finish a report by this by saying watch this space. in this case, really watch this space. it really feels like a outbreak of shenanigans. i had a scooby sense that shenanigans were on the way.
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so there was an unexpected oh no moment this morning when ash carter pulled up outside of the pentagon for his fist day of work. washington dc is very icy right now. they have been shut down, but the icy conditions were not enough to put off his swearing in ceremony today and his trip to the pentagon for his first day at work. his car pulled up to the pentagon in very icy washington dc. he got out of the car, greeted some people, he turned around, and then then something went down. it went down just off camera, but still, watch.
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whoa, whoa, what happened? what happened is that ashton carter's wife, stepped out of that big car, and she slipped and fell down. it's a real blessing she was not hurt. i think it is also a small but significant blessing that the cameras did not capture the fall itself so she never has to see that on film. she got up, she was a champ, she joked about it as she made her way up the stairs, so it ended up okay. it happens to everyone. also so does this. at least this happens to pretty much everyone that has ever met vice president joe biden. during the swearing in ceremony, there was a moment when vice president was trying to get mrs. carter to stay on the stage, he was trying to keep her from shying away from the attention and the camera shot on her husband's big day.
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but he did so in a very vice president biden way. gave her a shoulder massage and whispered in here ear. somewhere between the fall and the shoulder rub, we got a brand new defense secretary. ash carter was sworn in officially. president obama's fourth defense secretary. he nominated ash carter in december of last year. he sailed through his confirmation hears. the vote on him was 93 to 5. he was an uncontroversial highly qualified nominee that did really well in his confirmation hearings. that was ash carter and also loretta lynch, the nominee to be the next attorney general. an incredibly experienced prosecutor. she did great during her
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confirmation hearing. no one laid a glove on her. to the point of it getting weird because senators decided they would just ask her questions about other people and get her to say stuff like this. >> you're not eric holder, are you? >> no, i'm not, sir. >> no one is suggesting you are, but of course attorney general holder's record is heavy on our minds now. >> she was nominated for her job a month before ash carter was nominated for his job. and neither of them had a single hiccup in their confirmation, had a single scandal or accusation, neither of them even got a hard question. now ash carter is our nation's defense secretary, and loretta lynch is still waiting for a vote. and for awhile, it seemed like republican senators were admitting there was no objections to her nomination.
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it seemed like she would get a vote. then for some reason, now she reportedly doesn't have enough republican support to win confirmation as attorney general. republicans have cooled on her, whatever that means. if you're confounded, that is because it is confounding. in part because of what job she is supposed to get, right? who she is supposed to replace, there is almost no one that republicans and congress reject to more than do the current attorney general. republicans in congress don't try to disguise their malevolence about eric holder. here they are with a highly qualified totally noncontroversial nominee to replace eric holder. instead of voting on her, they decided to keep eric holder around for awhile. even eric holder seemed perplexed by this. >> of course it is up to congress when i leave office.
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you would think loretta's process would have been sped up for their desire to see me out of office. logic has never been a guide of theirs. >> eric holder saying today basically hey, congress, you hate me. i know you hate me, everybody knows you hate me. this is your opportunity to get rid of me. you know that, right? maybe the reason we can't have a new attorney general is that republicans love hating eric holder touch. they love hating him so much they can't get away from him. raising money off of him or something, i don't know. maybe it is taken about five minutes into this current congress for republicans to go all ted cruz on this subject. it was texas senator ted cruz who said that they should block all of president obama's nominees until he changed his mind and reversed his decision
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on immigration policy. and he argued they should not only block all qualified employees, they should not even worry about shutting down the government. that would be totally worth it to get president obama to change his mind on immigration. republicans in congress decided to not go a full ted cruz and shut down the whole government, they decided to do a half ted cruz and just shut down the department of homeland security. funding will end next thursday. if republicans in congress don't act to fund that department. they say they won't act to fund that department unless president obama changes his immigration policy. the republican party also decided not to go a full ted cruz. they were happy to confirm ash carter, but they apparently are going a half ted cruise on that strategy as well. not blocking all of his nominees, but they are blocking loretta lynch as a protest
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against president obama's policy. good for ted cruz. he has been half getting his way as a way of trying to block the president's nomination, get the president to not implement that policy. today the calculus on all of that changed in a big way. today a conservative federal judge blocked his immigration order anyway. the president said today's administration will appeal that ruling, but the policy that the republicans hate so much is on hold, not happening, it is not on hold because the republican party made threats and promised to shut down homeland security, not on hold because they said we can't have a new attorney general. the reason the policy is on hold is because it is getting held up in the courts. at least temporarily. hoar is the big unanswered question. now that the conservative complaints about his immigration
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policy is being handled in the courts, does that mean that the country will please be allowed to have a homeland security department again? can we have it since immigration is blocked? can we have a new attorney general? can we have a new one of those, or do you realliment to keep eric holder around forever? . or do it right. for almost 90 years, we've stayed true to the belief that if you put quality in, you get quality out. it's why everything we build, we build to last. build on progress. build on pride. build on a company that's built for it.
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to the extent that political parties can be said to have souls, senator elizabeth warren
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is all of that and a bag of chips, a root beer, a flexible straw, and a cookie. >> you build a factory, god bless, but part of the under lying contract is you take a hunk of that and you pay forward to the next kid that comes along. >> she gave that unscripted speech in 2011, this year she keeps saying she is not running for president in 2016. but she has, today, become a signal that something is going on in the presidential race for 2016 that may be an unprecedented thing in american politics.
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the republican field for president feels cluttered. they're very nice people, i'm sure, but there are a lot of them. the democratic field, however, not cluttered. sparse, minimalist. there is jim webb, who announced he might be running late last
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year launching this campaign with a video he found from a fisher price video camera. he seemed to maybe change his mind saying he might not be able to raise enough money to actually go through with running for president. then martin o'malley who had an interesting and totally weird physical injury happen to him. we're told he is apparently doing his campaigning with his arm in a giant brace because he broke his elbow in a mysterious weight lifting accident that no one will explain. even with all of that human interest, even with that human interest level, we can't show you campaigning for president with his elbow brace cast on because we can't find one anywhere because no one is taking pictures of him. there is bernie sanders, a technically independent senator. he is making noises about
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running. i believe his run will probably be a run to get his ideas out there on a presidential platform more than anything else. there is a large and committed effort you may know to dry to draft elizabeth warn to run. she is not doing anything you would typically do. today there was a jolt of excitement when the "new york times" reported about a one on one meeting in december between senator warren and hillary clinton. it apparently happened at mrs. clinton's house. asking her to come on over and talk policy. what is unknown is why this unnamed democrat is leaking the information now.
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what is clear that senator elizabeth warren reason does not seem to be running for president and that forces a difficult question of who is left. is hillary clinton going to run effectively, if not literally unopposed. as a matter of history, that would be almost unprecedented for an open run for the presidency. in 1968, the republican and democratic parties created what we consider the modern nominating process with binding caucuses. since then, since 1968, you want to know how many nonincumbent nominees ran unopposed? zero. the closest is vice president when al gore faced bill bradley. that election, al gore won every single primary and every single caucus.
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he was also running as the sitting vice president at the time. there was a few years with ronald reagan, mitt romney in 2012, through was competition pushing that front runner, and they didn't win 100% of the delegates. i mean hillary clinton running unopposed for an open seat. that would be unlike anything that has ever happened before in american politics. that means we can't predict how it would turn out. is an uncontested nomination be a good thing? or would it be a bad thing for the democrats chances of hoping to hold on to the presidency? if a primary toughens you up for the general election, she is not really going to have one. is there a plan in hillary clintonville, to plan around
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that problem. so compensate for that difficulty that she might have while republicans fight amongst themselves to pick a nominee. joining me now is a political correspondent from "the washington post" assigned to cover hillary clinton and her possible campaign. let me ask you, am i asking the right question? do i -- the way i just framed this, is that the way they are approaching the prospect of her candidacy? >> yes, and a little bit no. so on the yes front, certainly all of the many hillary clinton backers, and hillary clinton insiders are delighted that at this point there isn't some giant primary problem that she has to overcome. anything on the order of barack
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obama in 2008. it makes things easier in terms of assemblying a campaign operation. and essentially posting to what looks like a nearly uncontested election. at the same time, many democrats, and many close to her, know that is, in many ways, unorthodox, and not a great idea for not having a battle tested candidate for the general. you don't want all of the things that might come your way to hit you in the general election. you want some of that to be worked out in the primary, at least that is the general theory of why primary opposition is good. and she won't, at this point have much. it certainly doesn't look like she will. >> is there any way that you know they can plan around that?
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part of the reason that i think people are intrigued is people want elizabeth warren to run to give her someone to run against. democratic issues get flushed out and fights get flushed out. the idea of them talking if not colewding while one will run and one isn't has piqued people's interest in how the clinton campaign might get around this constraint they have. >> absolutely, and it was a nice scoop that maggie had today on that meeting. and you can only kind of imagine what the conversation must have been like. and give than it really does not look at all like elizabeth warren will mount a campaign of her own, she is a very smart politician and she is using her
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leverage in exactly, it seems to me, the most effective way, which is to, and in this case she was invited by hillary clinton to come and talk to her. to keep clinton honest, to say here is a, here i represent a very large potent and important part of the party, certainly a big important part in particular in the primary stages. and i'm going to tell you, elizabeth warren, what that part of the party thinks. it's not like she doesn't know already, but she has someone that personifiys what hillary clinton is not. and that is an important thing in the primary faze. at this point it is the closest thing that clinton has for a primary opposition. an undeclared and extremely unlikely candidate embodying that she will have to get the support and enthusiasm that she
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needs. one thing that clinton supporters don't want to see is be close to a nomination and have the party be board stiff. >> it is one thing to consolidate, it is another thing to make everyone forget what is happening because there is no politics on tv any more. thank you ann, we appreciate it.
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today is the last day in office for the longest serving governor of oregon in the state's history. he got elected to his first term in 1994, then another term in 1998. then took a few years off. then he came back and got elected again in 2010. then he just got elected again in 2014. he just got elected again this past november.
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but today his last day in office as he steps down. technically, voluntarily, but under a ton of pressure after all the other major democratic leaders in the state called for him to do so after the ethics investigation spread to the state attorney general office to the fbi. he leaves office under raging storm clouds of suspicion and recrimination, mostly about the role of his girlfriend in his administration, and alleged efforts of him to cover his tracks as governor once the investigations into her role started. oregon is a state that's had far less than a state's usual share of political scandal and corruption. so from all accounts, him leaving office under these terms, the scandal that got him to this point may have left the state more than a little shook up. tomorrow, secretary of state
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kate brown will be sworn in as oregon's 37th governor. as secretary of state, kate brown is next in line since oregon doesn't have a lieutenant governor. becoming a new governor when you never expected has to be hard for anyone. taking the reigns when the state is in chaos and shock is a challenge for the ages. good luck, brand new governor kate brown, oregon's new governor as of 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. i take metamucil everyday? because it helps me skip the bad stuff. i'm good. that's what i like to call the meta effect. 4-in-1 multi-health metamucil is clinically proven to help you feel less hungry between meals. experience the meta effect with our multi-health wellness line. real transformations can happen as much inside a person as out. that's why you should take the listerine® 21 day challenge. use listerine® and over 21 days you'll experience a transformation. take the listerine® 21 day challenge and start your transformation today. what's that thing? i moved our old security system out here to see if it could monitor the front yard.
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why don't you switch to xfinity home? i get live video monitoring and 24/7 professional monitoring that i can arm and disarm from anywhere. hear ye! the awkward teenage one has arrived!!!! don't be old fashioned. xfinity customers add xfinity home for $29.95 a month for 12 months. plus for a limited time, get a free security camera call 1800 xfinity or visit we spend a lot of time on this show talking about people
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who give politics a bad name. politicians who are convicted felons. politicians who run as family values crusaders with a hooker thing going on at the same time. politicians who steal speeches from wikipedia or steal quarters from parking meters. it's hard to think why anyone would want to go into politics when you look at who goes into politics.
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not quite a year ago, the mayor of charlotte, north carolina was arrested in an fbi sting for taking thousands in bribes. the city council chose a state senator to fill his shoes. when he resigned to take over, there was a vacancy in the senate seat. under the rules of the democratic party, 49 people gathered in a charlotte church to choose the new senator for the open seat. 49 people, there were four candidates. the winner with a grand total of 25 votes, was this guy. his name is jeff jackson.
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although really the biggest winner of the night was his stepson, because mr. jackson promised if he won, he would get his kid a puppy. he's an army veteran, served in afghanistan and serves as an assistant district attorney, prosecutor. you probably have heard that snowy, icy weather has been pounding north carolina and much of the southeast. senator jackson arrived at work this morning at the north carolina state capital in the middle of the snowstorm and discovered that he was alone there. nobody else had showed up to work in the hall legislature. you or i, if we were in the north carolina state legislature, we would think snow day, turn around and go home. but he didn't do that. instead he said, quoting from his facebook page, i feel like i should hurry up and pass medicaid expansion. anything else while i have the place to myself? and then this, just came back there the senate chamber. all votes were unanimous, medicare expanded.
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north carolina is quickly becoming a national model for progress. then about an hour in, i'm now receiving lots of call from actual lobbyists. even the false appearance of power gets their attention. another hour down, just had a debate to cut our university system even more. i just defeated a filibuster because i needed a drink of water. in the end, he presided over a five-hour, one lawmaker, totally fake, but fun-to-watch legislative session. he was like a guy diving into his backyard snow drifts just because they were there. winter gave senator jackson of north carolina the chance to be a legislature of one today. and you know what? the guy dove right in. almost the best new thing in the world today.
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looks like weather has canceled all of north carolina's legislative business tomorrow, as well. gleeful north carolina state senator jeff jackson get back to work. i'm sure you have more to do. senator jeff jackson, get back to work. i'm sure you have more to do. good wednesday morning. right now on "first look," winter fatigue reaches epic proportion, snow where to put it anymore. some are making the best of it. what cease-fire? russia's putin calls for ukrainians to surrender to the advancing rebels as washington applying more pressure. police need your help in tracking down a lone gunman who opened fire on ooh city bus near kansas city. fat tuesday gives way to ash wednesday for over a billion catholics worldwide. then a very awkward joe biden moment with the defense secretary's wife and finally best in show on this wednesday, february 18th. thanks for joining us on this wednesday