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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  August 4, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT

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all of us are. thanks, my friend. and thank you at home for joining us this hour. it's exasperation day. here's the thing, the republican party really, really wants wisconsin to be a swing state. now, true, it has been 32 years since a republican won a presidential race in wisconsin, but even as republican presidential candidates lose there year after year after year, even michael dukakis won wisconsin, republicans still have kept their hopes alive that wisconsin could be theirs. and i think they've kept their hopes alive all these years in part because even though they keep losing there every four years, sometimes they only lose by a little. so every four years, they call wisconsin a swing state. the republicans make a huge effort to try to win. they do always lose there. but they really think they can
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win. and this year, they really, really want to think that. they really want to think they've got a shot at wisconsin. they're running against hillary clinton who didn't do great in the wisconsin primary on the democratic side. hillary clinton lost the wisconsin primary by, like 13 points. so that's against her. also in the primaries this year, more people turned out to vote in the republican primary than turned out to vote in the democratic primary in wisconsin. the kind of numbers can matter. republicans in wisconsin have control of the state senate. republicans have control of the state senate, of the governor's mansion with scott walker. republicans have also under scott walker pushed through really draconian voting restrictions that could mess with wisconsin, particularly among minority voters and poor voters. although in the very recent past, in the last couple of weeks, courts have stepped in to block some of the worst of the wisconsin voting restrictions. so, on paper, i think the
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republican party is thinking, if they were ever going to pull off wisconsin, maybe this is going to be the year they can do it. theoretically, this ought to be a very exciting time, a very auspicious time for the republican presidential nominee to come campaign in the great state of wisconsin. right now, in this republican party, the republican presidential nominee coming to wisconsin, it should be like a republican all-star game. the chairman of the national republican party, wisconsin. the top republican in washington, wisconsin. the most celebrated republican governor in the country, like it or not, wisconsin. and on top of all of that, wisconsin has one of that handful of incumbent republican senators who is up for re-election and who the republican party desperately needs to hold on to his seat if they have any chance to hold on to the senate. they really need ron johnson to hold on to his senate seat in
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november. the latest polling said he's going to louis it to russ finegold. so there's a lot of reasons for republicans to be excited about, and energized by, and desperate to campaign in wisconsin. wisconsin ought to be the republican party's laser focus right now. there could not be, on paper at least, there could not be a more auspicious time for the nominee of the president of the republican party to barn storm the state of wisconsin. and, yeah, this time tomorrow night, donald trump is due to be in green bay, wisconsin. wouldn't you know it, turns out that the national republican party chairman, who is from wisconsin, and the speaker of the house, who is from wisconsin, and the most celebrated republican governor in the country, is from wisconsin, and that endangered ron johnson who cannot afford to be anywhere but wisconsin, turns out, all of them are going to be
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washing their hair tomorrow. every single one of them will unfortunately have to miss this auspicious visit to wisconsin by the republican party's presidential nominee. donald trump and mike pence will be campaigning together tomorrow in green bay, wisconsin. but they might as well be in canada or in mexico, or on mars, as far as the rest of the republican party is concerned. they're just scattering as soon as he gets there. it's like, if donald trump was pac-man, and all the little republican ghosts were circling him, chasing him around, but then he eats the power pill, gets the nomination, and poof, all the ghosts scatter, they all take off, because suddenly is the threat to them, waca, waca, waca, waca. today the speaker of the house, wisconsin republican paul ryan, today he told a conservative talk radio host that he is distressed.
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he finds distressing donald trump's campaign for president, but he does still endorse donald trump for president. even if donald trump doesn't endorse him to be speaker of the house, which he still doesn't. that same dynamic is now at play with donald trump and john mccain. and with a number of other prominent and endangered republicans across the country. we'll be talking about that a little bit later on tonight. but this wisconsin trip that is scheduled for tomorrow, it should be a fascinating thing to watch. wisconsin ought to be a very different thing than it is right now in republican politics. and the only reason it is what it is right now, which is a mess, is because donald trump is their nominee. so, wisconsin tomorrow. today, donald trump spent the day, inexplicably in the state of maine. now, donald trump's trip to maine today is not being described as one of the big gaffes of the week. right? it's not being treated as a strange political decision that he was in maine.
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it's not being described as one of the latest things to go wrong this week. another bizarre turn from donald trump and his campaign in this super strange week, but you know what, it really is. and i think this trip to maine should be seen that way. look at the state of the race right now. look at the polling. take a snapshot. there's a lot of attention on national polls, there always is. national polls right now are brutal for donald trump. tonight the nbc/"wall street journal" poll came out, showing hillary clinton with a nine-point lead over trump. following fox news poll showing hillary clinton with a national lead over donald trump of ten points. there was also a national reuters poll that came out today that had hillary clinton leading donald trump by four points. and there's a national mcclatchy marist poll which showed hillary clinton leading donald trump nationwide by 15 points. journal" poll came out, showing hillary clinton with a nine-point lead over trump. following fox news poll showing hillary clinton with a national lead over donald trump of ten points. there was also a national reuters poll that came out today that had hillary clinton leading donald trump by four points. and there's a national mcclatchy marist poll which showed hillary clinton leading donald trump nationwide by 15 points.
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which is insane. that said, we don't vote nationally as a country. we don't vote all at once as a country. we vote state by state, and it is the swing states who are determinative in terms of who wins the election. those polls really are more important than national polling. and right now the polling situation in swing states for donald trump is a disaster. it's absolutely dire. in florida, hillary clinton, the latest poll, leading by six. in michigan, the latest poll, hillary clinton leading by nine. in pennsylvania, the latest poll, hillary clinton leading by 11. in new hampshire, clinton leading by 17. 17? when you're losing that bad, after the conventions are over, when you're losing that bad in all of the swing states after the convention, not to put too fine a point on it, but if you're a presidential candidate, you have to change that. that's an emergency. swing state numbers like that, in all the swing states, that's a five-alarm fire.
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if you're running for president, there is nothing you can do in a polling circumstance like this that is more important than trying to turn around your numbers in states like this. in places like florida and pennsylvania and new hampshire. a campaign that is losing all of those states, all of those states, all at once, by these kinds of margins, less than a hundred days out. that's a campaign that is on fire. that's a campaign on fire, that is sinking into a lake that is also on fire and the fire truck that just showed up to help is on fire, and what's shooting out of the fire house is more fire. you're just cooked. you're in terrible shape. that's irredeemable. you have to fix that. in the swing states. and so, in the face of those horrific swing state numbers, donald trump spend the day today in maine. and i hear that maine is very nice this time of year, but you know what, there's nothing donald trump can do for his campaign in maine.
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he might as well have been in mexico or canada for real. i mean, barack obama won maine against mitt romney by 15 points. obama won maine against john mccain by 17 points. even when the republican candidate was george w. bush, who sort of lived in maine, who summered in maine or whatever, his parents lived in maine, john kerry beat george w. bush in maine by almost ten points while also losing the rest of the country to george w. bush. maine is not going to help. current polling has donald trump losing in florida, ohio, pennsylvania, michigan, new hampshire, even missouri. hillary clinton right now is currently taking down her ads in virginia and in colorado. not because they think that i losing there, but because her campaign is getting so confident that she has put virginia and colorado away, they don't even need to try there anymore and waste their money. they've got them in the bag. and in the face of that, donald trump is campaigning in maine.
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he's not going to win maine. what is he doing in maine? even if he did win maine -- i mean, there is the political scientists among us, will note, if they're drunk, will note that there is the drunk political scientists among us will note that there is an argument to be made after midnight with people who don't know very much, that maybe donald trump spent today in maine because he was trying to win that one electoral vote that gets awarded separately in maine. maine is one of those weird states where they have one congressional district that awards its electoral vote separately from the rest of the state. remember? barack obama got that one vote out of maine in 2008. hillary clinton is making a play to get that one vote out of nebraska this time around. so maybe that's what trump is doing in maine, trying to get that one electoral vote out of that somewhat more conservative
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congressional district in maine, even though it's never, ever awarded its electoral vote separately from the rest of the state before, so theoretically it's possible. so maybe that's what he's doing. still a weird thing to focus on when you're losing florida and ohio. but maybe that's what he's going for. that one. no, turns out that's not what he's going for. because even though donald trump went to maine, he didn't even go to that district where in an alternate universe he might get that vote. if he was, he would have been to bangor. but no, he went to portland. if you are a person who was hoping for donald trump to win the presidency of the united states, donald trump going to portland, maine, today, is electoral malpractice. i mean, it's like if hillary clinton were losing this election badly, but she decided the way she was going to try to pull it all back together by spending her time campaigning in oklahoma.
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it just makes no sense. but there was donald trump in portland, maine today. where his security decided to throw out protesters in a crowd, for the offense of them standing and holding up pocket copies of the united states constitution. the trump crowd responded by screaming at the protesters as they were being thrown out of the event. they screamed at them "usa! " which is an awkward thing to scream at people who are just standing there holding the constitution. usa, yes, exactly, usa. but that is what happened while donald trump was in maine. the dominant narrative in the political press, the coverage of the political campaign right now is that donald trump is such a frustration to other republicans. donald trump is turning out to be a frustration even to his own campaign. and i don't think there's
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anything wrong with that. i mean, he must be frustrating. today the trump campaign had to spend the day cleaning up after him, when he started talking inexplicably about a video he swears he has seen, a video made by the iranian government, which he saw this morning, showing cash being offloaded in tehran. he said iran made the video and showed it here on the news to embarrass us. he was very upset to see that iranian video. there is no iranian video of the type he was describing. ultimately over the course of the day, maybe what he was talking about was watching the news and being confused by what he was seeing, when he was looking at file footage of something unrelated. and so now the campaign has to deal with the question of how somebody who is that easily bamboozled by standard video footage in a tv newscast should never be expected to handle classified intelligence
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briefings, which he's now receiving as of this week because he's the republican nominee for president. i get that for the people who are trying to elect him, he must be a frustrating person to work with. but i will add this. the evidence suggests, i think any fair look at the evidence suggests that it's not just him. that there's also something wrong with the effort to elect him. with the work that other people are doing on his campaign. because you know what, somebody made a decision to send him into wisconsin tomorrow to be openly snubbed and rejected by all other republican leaders in wisconsin. and somebody made the decision today to send him to freaking maine, where donald trump has the same chance of winning that state, as i have of winning miss teen usa. and i know, i know -- [ laughter ] for real.
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betting outfits in the uk right now are taking bets on whether donald trump is about ready to quit the race for the presidency. the l.a. times reports today, quote, that serious senior lawyers have been researching how the rules would work if the republican party had to replace donald trump on the ticket. i mean, honestly, it seems like a ridiculous possibility that the republican party's presidential nominee would quit the race in august, after the convention, when nobody else can get the nomination. but you know what, whether or not you think something like that is possible, whether or not you think donald trump is a ridiculous candidate for president, the campaign to elect him, the campaign by other people to make him president is also starting to look like a ridiculous campaign. and that is not all on donald trump. that is on the republican party. he's their guy. at least he is for now.
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this hasn't had a lot of attention today, but i think it's amazing to see. something rare and fascinating on the campaign trail today. protesters interrupted a hillary clinton rally in las vegas today. protesters interrupting a campaign event is not a rare thing. but what happened here, this particular protest was for some reason, alarming enough to the secret service that hillary clinton's secret service detail rushed onto the stage and grabbed her. and then surrounded her. and then the agent who was first onto the stage, who initially grabbed her, ended up inadvertently speaking into her microphone as the situation resolved. it was a very strange situation. >> i know you're going to do the right thing to send kathryn cortez masto to the united states senate.
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>> you're okay, keep talking, we'll handle. you're not going anywhere. >> okay, here we are. >> keep talking, keep talking. >> okay, we'll keep talking and apparently these people are here to protest trump. because trump and his kids have killed a lot of animals. so, thank you for making that point. >> so this was a group of animal rights protesters at the vegas rally today, and we're not sure exactly what they did that caused a way bigger reaction than protesters usually get at a campaign event protest, but that was a dramatic moment when the secret service rushed the stage, seeing them in action is always sort of impressive. hearing the secret service agent give his protectee a calming pep talk, doubly impressive and also a little unsettling.
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keep talking, we're not going anywhere, keep talking. that was today in las vegas. lots more ahead, stay with us. [chains dragging]
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[eerie music playing] [crickets chirping] [owl hoots] announcer: if you don't fix them, sparks from dragging tow chains can cause a wildfire. and that could be scary. bye, smokey! only you can prevent wildfires. the first time john mccain ran for president in 2000, he did not win. he lost the primary to george w. bush that year. but he made an impression, he rode around in a bus, called straight talk express. he talked to reporters about anything and everything. he was willing to say impolitic things that politicians are not supposed to say. he got a big portion of the
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political press to fall in love with him in the process of doing that. so john mccain didn't win in the year 2000. but he did build up a lot of goodwill in that primary run. after he dropped out of the race in march of 2000, he used that good will for the good of his party, used to help down ballot republicans get elected. in august 2000, john mccain went to madison county, indiana, to campaign for a republican who was running to fill an open seat in congress. that indiana republican was named mike pence. and mike pence had lost two previous runs for congress by that point. in august 2000, tried to get into that congressional seat, he was in a very tight three-way race. so john mccain's visit to come help him out, this national profile politician from out of state, that was big news in madison county, indiana. the local paper said it was the first time a presidential candidate had visited madison county since gary hart came by in 1984. so john mccain went to madison
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county, raised money for mike pence, called him a very fine candidate, who would represent the values of indiana in the house, and thank you, john mccain. mike pence did eke out a win in that race for congress. got just over 50% of the photo, a bare majority, and that's how he got to washington. and then he spent the next dozen years there. so john mccain and mike pence have some history together. and now mike pence is on the republican presidential ticket with this guy. >> he's not a war hero. he's a war hero. >> he's a war hero because he was captured. i like people that weren't captured. i hate to tell you. >> if you're john mccain, bad enough that your party picks that guy to be your presidential nominee, fully a year after he says what he said about you, but john mccain also basically
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slingshoted mike pence into his first congressional seat in washington. and mike pence rewards him, shows his loyalty, by signing up to be a running mate to that guy. and to add injury to all that insult, john mccain happens to be in the fight of his political life right now. he's got poll numbers that are terrible for an incumbent who's been in the senate as long as he has, particularly one from a state as red as arizona is. the democratic candidate running for his seat, he'll be running for it in the general election in november, that democrat has already been pounding john mccain with ads for months, replaying every time that john mccain had has to reaffirm his endorsement of donald trump for president. john mccain has paid a painful price for supporting donald trump. this week, donald trump is not endorsing john mccain, because he's not done a good job for the
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vets. not like donald trump has. so donald trump says john mccain is not a war hero, and he's bad for vets. and trump isn't endorsing him. and mike pence, the guy who got his bacon saved by john mccain in 2000, the guy who arguably owes the start of his congressional career to help from john mccain, this morning on his campaign plane, mike pence was asked if he would endorse john mccain. he declined to do so and that lingered all day. and then this evening, mike pence's spokesman, because he has one, released a one sentence statement. quoting, correctly, mike pence endorses john mccain and kel ayotte in their primary bids. that's it. 12 words. and two of them are "kelly ayotte." john mccain is still an endorser of donald trump for president despite all the indignities donald trump and his campaign have heaped on mccain.
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why is that? does it make sense? and does it make sense for other endangered republicans around the country? that's next, stay with us. ♪ using 60,000 points from my chase ink card i bought all the fruit... veggies... and herbs needed to create a pop-up pick-your-own juice bar in the middle of the city, so now everyone knows... we have some of the freshest juice in town. see what the power of points can do for your business. learn more at see what the power of points can do for your business. staying in rhythm, it's how i try to live, how i stay active. and to keep up this pace, i need the right nutrition. so i drink boost®. boost® complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals,
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this has been a strange week in politics, i think we'd all agree. one of the stranger moments was when donald trump, the republican presidential candidate decided to do a
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lengthy sort of candid, provocative interview, with a newspaper that he has black listed. he's got a lot of news outlets on his black list, but "the washington post" is one of the newspapers that he will not allow its reporters into his events. nevertheless, he decided to sit down with that newspaper for what turned out to be a really strange interview with "the post's" national reporter, thank you very much for your time tonight. appreciate you having you here. wait, can we hear him on tv, but i just can't hear him in my ear? a ha. we're having audio drama. going to take a quick break. we'll be right back. hey look, it's those guys.
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[music] shawn: look at those pearly whites, man. [music]
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bud: whoa, cute! shawn: shut-up. jess: are you good to drive? shawn: i'm fine. [music] [police siren] jess: how many did you have? shawn: i should be fine. jess: you should be? officer: sir, go ahead and step out of the vehicle for me. shawn: yes, sir. bud: see ya, buddy. today, shawn's got a hearing, we'll see how it goes. good luck! so, it turns out buzzed driving and drunk driving, they're the same thing and it costs around $10,000. so not worth it. if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, isn't it time to let the real you shine through? introducing otezla (apremilast). otezla is not an injection or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently.
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so you had this remarkable, long, in my view sort of strange interview with donald trump this week. i say it was strange, in part because i got the impression that he was basically seeking you out, in order to tell you, in order to get it on the record that he was not endorsing other prominent republicans, including house speaker paul ryan and john mccain. was that your sense of how it went down? >> i don't know that it was that strategic. the interview came together at the last minute. i asked him about paul ryan and john mccain and some of these other leaders, and the impression i got was that he was sort of speaking his mind at the moment and this was not necessarily something he and his staff had prepared to break in advance. certainly created some headlines and he knew they would, but i don't know it was a strategic plan at all. >> the part where you say he knew that he would, one of the theories of the case about how mr. trump has captured so much media attention, and how he's been so unusual as a candidate
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is that he doesn't know enough about politics and american political norms, to know when he's saying something that's extraordinary. to know when he's saying something that will be shocking, that will be seen as unprecedented. is that your view from talking to him? >> yeah. you know, i don't think this stuff is quite as calculated. i think he kinda says what he thinks and deals with the consequences after the fact. and what he said about paul ryan and john mccain, that's what he believes. he doesn't really like these guys. he let that be clear and it's created a lot of problems in his campaign and with the republican party at large this week. >> it has been argued that the endorsement mr. trump got from paul ryan was maybe the most important endorsement he's received from anybody, because it basically normalized him within the republican party. >> it did. >> it put to rest a lot of questions about whether or not he would be somehow formally rejected by the party, or they'd
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try to get rid of him at the convention. given that, and the way mr. trump has responded, by refusing to rerip row kate, could other endorsements be undone, could people take them back? >> i don't think they will be right away. if trump continues with future offenses, going into september and october, perhaps that could happen. but you're right about the ryan endorsement normalizing trump. he made trump an okay nominee, not only to other elected republican leaders, but to the republican establishment donor base that has kind of come on board with reince priebus to raise money for trump. and at this point, this week, they're pretty embarrassed by how the nominee has performed and by his behavior in a number of instances. >> for down-ballot candidates, for sort of endangered senators like john mccain, kelly ayotte, ron johnson in wisconsin, is
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there evidence that trump being at the top of the ticket is hurting their re-election bids, something that might affect their calculus about whether or not they'll stick with their endorsement? >> there is. and this is something republican leaders have been fearing, and we're seeing polling evidence that shows he's really a drag. new hampshire, a poll came out showing him losing to clinton by 15%. kelly ayotte, running for re-election in the senate, she's losing to her democratic challenger by ten points. if the drag on trump is so bad in these swing states, it's really going to pull down the senators and possibly house members as well. and that's the fear all among washington among republicans right now. >> i think if the election were held today, it seems impossible, but maybe even the house would be at stake between the two parties. philip rutger from "the washington post."
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it's really nice to have you here. >> glad we could talk, thanks. so president obama had a birthday today. a big one. how he celebrated it was not what you'd expect. but that story's coming up. one coat, yes! ♪ one coat guaranteed marquee interior. behr's most advanced paint. come find our top rated paints, only at the home depot. be the you who doesn't cover your moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. be the you who shows up in that dress. who hugs a friend. who is done with treatments that don't give you clearer skin. be the you who controls your psoriasis with stelara® just 4 doses a year after 2 starter doses. stelara® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections and cancer. some serious infections require hospitalization. before treatment, get tested for tuberculosis. before starting stelara® tell your doctor if you think you have an infection or have symptoms such as: fever, sweats, chills, muscle aches or cough.
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always tell your doctor if you have any signs of infection, have had cancer, if you develop any new skin growths or if anyone in your house needs or has recently received a vaccine. alert your doctor of new or worsening problems, including headaches, seizures, confusion and vision problems these may be signs of a rare, potentially fatal brain condition. some serious allergic reactions can occur. do not take stelara® if you are allergic to stelara® or any of its ingredients. most people using stelara® saw 75% clearer skin and the majority were rated as cleared or minimal at 12 weeks. be the you who talks to your dermatologist about stelara®. announcer: they'll test you. try to break your will. but however loud the loudness gets. however many cheese puffs may fly. you're the driver. the one in control. stand firm. just wait. [click] and move only when you hear the click that says they're buckled in for the drive. never give up till they buckle up.
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i'm terhe golf. but i'd like to keep being terrible at golf for as long as i can. new patented ensure enlive has hmb plus 20 grams of protein to help rebuild muscle. for the strength and energy to do what you love. new ensure enlive. always be you. your president's birthday is today. it is the eighth time that president obama has had a birthday in office since he's been president. two things particularly important about this one. first is that he's turning 55. so that means senior discounts. he can now get 15% off at denny's or kohl's. he can get discounts on some cruises and at his local pharmacy. other thing that's important about this particular birthday, it's the last one he'll have in office as president, and that's created a little burst of sentimentality around this one. he got this charm bracelet tweet from joe biden today.
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he also got this tweet from bill clinton, happy birthday, president of the united states, barack obama. i would have sent real balloons, but we used them all last week. a lot of people were very nice to president obama on his birthday. in terms of what he did to celebrate the day, to mark the occasion, what he did for his birthday today, he held a press briefing at the pentagon. wah, wah. but he mentioned at the closing of his remarks, he expects this would be his last pentagon conference. and he was asked if he trusts the republican nominee with nuclear weapons. >> what is your assessment today, as you stand here about whether donald trump can be trusted with america's nuclear weapons. >> um, you know, on your second
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question, and i'll sort of address this to any additional trump questions, i would ask all of you to just make your own judgment. i've made this point already, multiple times. just listen to what mr. trump has to say and make your own judgment with respect to how confident you feel about his ability to manage things like our nuclear triad. >> with respect, sir, it suggests that you're not confident. >> well, as i recall, i just answered a question about this a couple days ago and i thought i made myself clear on it. i obviously have a very strong opinion about the two candidates who are running here. one is very positive, and one is not so much.
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i think you will just hear any further questions that are directed at this subject, i think you'll hear pretty much variations on the same thing. >> president obama at the pentagon today. at the outset of his remarks today, the statement he made to kick off his last president press conference, he basically did a long defense and explanation of the newest place in the world that the u.s. military is at war, for lack of a better term. u.s. jets started bombing parts of libya this week, the latest expansion of the map in terms of where u.s. military troops are involved in using force against isis. we're at an unpredictable moment in u.s. history. it's unclear whether or not the wars we are in, the use of military force, will become a political issue again in the united states anytime soon. it's been a long time since we've had a real honest to goodness political fight about it, but you're starting to feel
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that issue kind of claw at the edges again. part of it you saw last week with the democrats great political discomfort as people shouted "no more war." first leon panetta and then at the democratic convention. whatever you thought about the strategic value of disrupting the convention during those speeches, that chant "no more war" isn't usually a controversial chant at a democratic event. so there's a little discomfort around there. and there's robust discussion about whether or not the republican nominee, donald trump is the kind of person who should be trusted with the nuclear codes, or with the ability to send america troops into war. on the democratic side, the issue of the wars is raised in an interesting way by hillary clinton's choice of tim kaine. he's not a particularly controversial figure. he's a person over the course of his political career has made way more friends than enemies. he doesn't pick fights. but the one big fight he picked
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is over wars and that we don't have political debates about the use of military force. >> today marks the completion of nine months of america's war against isis. tomorrow, may 8th, starts the tenth month of this war. here's what hasn't happened, mr. congress. congress, the article one brnch, whose most solemn power is the duty to declare war, has not done its job, has not debated this war, has not taken any formal step to authorize what was started unilaterally by the president nine months ago. how strange it is, we're in a congress that loves to punch this president as an imperial president, threaten lawsuits against him when he does stuff, without congressional approval, in the most solemn responsibility under article 1 that congress has, we have been silent. isil's not going away.
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this is a threat, and the president started military action for a narrow and limited reason. how long will congress continue to be silent about this? >> when hillary clinton picked tim kaine to be her vice presidential running mate, she didn't pick a controversial choice. she didn't pick someone who is known for starting gratuitous fights, but one fight he has started is the fact that wars don't end, they're basically on political auto pilot. as the obama years wrap up, it's clear there are things that are very different about the obama presidency compared to the last one. one of the things that is not that different is us being at war all the time in a way that civilians are fairly disconnected from. is that now permanent? are we stuck on that? is that just the bipartisan, now matter who's president weather now? part of the reason people voted for barack obama in 2008, people wanted a change on war and peace.
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we got a lot of different kinds of change. we didn't get a huge change on war and peace. is this something the next election might finally unstick? joining us now, the great rosa brooks, senior fellow at the america foundation, a law professor at georgetown, former policy adviser at obama's pentagon, and she's authored a new book, called "how everything became war and the military became everything." it's nice to see you. >> great to be here. >> i have been obsessed with a variation of this idea for a long time. >> you are the only cable co-host who has written a book about it. >> your book is way better on mine on this same subject, in part, because you're way better informed on it. let me just ask you, this issue of our war never ending, the space between war and non-war becoming hard to identify, whether you feel like that is permanent, or whether you feel like it's up for debate. >> i think that unless we do
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something radically different, it's going to be permanent. we've put more and more stuff into that box we call war. we counterterrorism into that box, cyber is in that box. it changes the rules and the politics and our ability to debate stuff. i don't see that changing in this election at all. >> in terms of the congress and whether or not we have political fights, that's in part why this is so value, you're working at the pentagon. you get the sense that the pentagon is permanent and governments come and go. and there's civilian leadership of the military, but it's such a big institution, it's so massively resourced, that its ways, they sort of happen independent of whatever's going on in congress and even in the white house to a certain extent. >> i think there's some truth to that. i think the level of understand, even if congress of what happens at the pentagon, the range of activities that the american military undertakes is really pretty low. and the attention span is pretty low. so a lot of stuff just chugs along.
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the thing that was amazing to me, there is nothing the american military doesn't do at this point in time. they fight wars in the old-fashioned way, blowing up stuff, killing people. they launch microenterprise for afghan women. they counsel parliamentarians in iraq. you name it, the u.s. military is now doing it. i don't think most people quite realize how much that is true. something you talked about in your book, but most people think it's like saving private ryan, the invasion of normandy, but it's very different today. >> when hillary clinton was named secretary of state, she and bob gates, from the bush administration secretary of defense, they did a traveling roadshow, where they talked about the need to up the responsibilities and up the budgets of civilian agencies like the state department. so that the pentagon wasn't called on to do everything. why didn't that work? they seemed like such rutgers. >> heart burn letter and it was
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literally after the defense department submitted its budget to congress. he would say here is what i don't like about our budget request, i assumed, of course, pentagon would ask for x amount of money and that letter will say give us back that money we want. in fact, it was the opposite. in the first year in his letter there were 14 or 15 items he wanted to argue about congress with and 11 were we said we don't want that money, we don't want that weapon system, this is a stupid idea, give usless money, give the statement department more but didn't have any impact whatsoever that's because nobody has a little factory full of manufacturing foreign service employees. but lots of people have lots of people manufacturing weapons. >> do you think there is anybody -- i mean, you've articulated this very well. you've had a really interesting career. what you've argued here is not
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something actually that is radically controversial. i don't think there are a lot f people that will say we haven't drifted into the military doing too much. we haven't drifted into war and war not being blurry in the ways that our laws have kept up with. that said, i don't know of anybody who has come up with a good political argument for changing it. is there anybody who is waging good politics on this? >> the people who are really in denial about this, i -- i can't figure out if they don't get it or if they're figuring high level is the obama administration, right, which is saying the lines are very clear. it's clear that drones, this is not that complicated. i think in fact it is a lot messier than they're really in acknowledge. congress acknowledges when it's convenient to them but not when it's not and frequently it's not convenient to acknowledge zblit rosa brooks the book is called
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how everything became war. i wrote a book called "drift" which is about some of these ideas. this is way better and smarter and -- >> not true at all. >> not true. >> it comes up with more reasonable ways of more ways to make it right. >> thank you. >> great to see you. >> all right. we'll be right back. polo! marco...! polo! marco...! polo! marco...! polo! marco...! sì? polo! marco...! polo! scusa? ma io sono marco polo, ma... marco...! playing "marco polo" with marco polo? surprising. ragazzini, io sono marco polo. sì, sono qui... what's not surprising? how much money amanda and keith saved by switching to geico. ahhh... polo. marco...! polo! fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
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in case you thought this election was not already weird enough, that this wasn't a weird
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enough week in this election, today something happened that, once again, i am positive has never happened before in american presidential politics. i keep saying there's nothing new under the sun except for this one thing, well, today it happened again. it was something about the race for the white house. it was not specifically about the presidency, but it's brand new. it was kind of adorable and that's straight ahead. stay with us. at carrabba's, we've never celebrated our grill like this. for a short time, choose two or three grilled favorites on one plate -
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violated her visa. she was yet to be resolved, complicated by mr. trump's hard core antiimmigrant proposals. there's no truths about the immigration status. enough questions about plajerrism. not your run of the meal, they're heavy complicated issues than we're usually use to dealing with when it comes to the first lady. that's why it was almost a relief to have this arrive in our inboxes today, new new york city group to make mrs. trump the nation's new first lady. they're announcing "the formation of a group who believe businesswoman and fashion leader melania tramp would make the nation's best first new lady" the name of the group is "let's
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move melania into the white house. immigrants and the nation. they say their intent is to basically run melania trump for first lady. let's move melania into the white house, they promised in their announcement, great visuals with about 17 explanation points when we asked for the visuals they sent us photos of the person who launched the group. his group is not at all affiliated with the trump campaign. they just think he would make a good president, but more importantly his wife would make a great first lady. to our knowledge this is the first effort anywhere to run someone for first lady. technically by being married you're automatically running for first lady. but i've got to admit, charm to you.
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it's not a thing in american politics but maybe you guys can make it one. that does it for us tonight, thanks for being with us, we'll see you again tonight, now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnel. >> rachel, thank you for teeing myself segment about melania trump. >> it turns out she -- donald trump's eyes any way, be guilty of something worse than plagerism. let's this be a warning, you might have a problem with the story we're having to discuss tonight about how she came to the united states from slovania. it could be that he could be married to the kind of person he says he hates the most.