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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  February 23, 2017 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

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with it. corrections officials in oklahoma, on the record, in court documents, have said, actually, scott pruitt is lying about that. he was involved in it. it was his office. he has been lying publicly about his role in this botched thing. and we are about to get documentation from oklahoma about that execution that may shed light on scott pruitt's real role in that and whether he's been lying about it all this time, too. that's on top of all of the oil and gas stuff. and that's coming out in the next two to three weeks. so congratulations, republicans. good thing you rushed the vote on scott pruitt. if scott pruitt does end up taking fall because of this growing scandal around him, he will be falling for a much greater height because of the way republicans rushed him into the cabinet. that does it for us tonight. see you again tomorrow. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. >> rachel, i have worked on tv dramas where we have tried to write cliff hangers at the end of a particular season or episode, but the cliff hanger you just left us is better than anything we could come up with in tv drama. >> and when the republicans decided they were just going to put a brick on the gas pedal and jump out of the car, they could see the cliff and they did this anyway. >> and in the past, wherever
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clouds like that developed around nominations, the party in power always pumped the brakes a little bit, because they were afraid of exactly this. like, we don't want to confirm him this week and be in trouble two weeks later. >> exactly, they would at least delay it if not just yank it to avoid the controversy and now they're about to pay the piper. >> thanks, rachel. today, the "columbia journalism review" said the elephant in the room, that's their phrase, the elephant in the room is donald trump's mental health. we'll have more on that tonight with the author of that rally and a psychiatrist who believes donald trump is unfit to serve as president. at cpac today, the elephant in the room was the most powerful man in the white house, steve bannon. >> more jobs, less taxes, and abiding faith in the goodness of the american people. >> i want to thank you for finally inviting me to cpac. >> interesting look. >> donald trump's rise involved
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breaking one after one the institutions of established conservative power. and that is true for cpac, too. >> well, i think by tomorrow, this will be tpac. no doubt. >> if there is an animating ideology in the white house right now, it feels as if steve bannon is driving it. >> broadly, deconstruction of the administrative state. >> the blow up government argument. >> if the party and the conservative movement are together, it can't be stopped. >> save our health care, save our life. save our health care, save our life. >> hold us accountable. hold us accountable for delivering on what we promised. >> yun, steve, you're a really likable guy, you should do this more often. >> he's not so bad. >> he's not so bad. >> just over an hour ago at
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cpac, mike pence proved once again he is the most dangerous person in the world for donald trump. and earlier today on that same stage, steve bannon proved to the world that he is the most powerful person in the white house right now, including the president. mike pence thrilled the right wing republican audience tonight in ways donald trump never could. it he did it without ever mentioning banning muslims or building a wall on the southern border. he did it the old-fashioned way, not by sounding like donald trump, but by sounding like ronald reagan as much as he possibly could. he spoke in awe about the bible that he used for his swearing in as vice president, his reverence for that bible was completely believable to a republican audience that knows donald trump has no reverence for anything. and mike pence's reverence for that bible was split between
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what he believes is the divine wisdom therein and the fact that ronald reagan used that very same bible for his swearing in as president. that bible, that bible got a big cheer tonight, in mike pence's speech. mike pence repeatedly brought the audience to their feet in standing ovations and he closed with some of that oldtime religion that donald trump could never deliver, and i do mean literally religion. >> we need one more thing, if you're inclined. we need your prayers. >> if for some reason mike pence has to replace donald trump in the presidency, that audience tonight would not miss trump for a day. and since this is an administration already under fbi investigation, speculation about impeachment is already in the air, and because donald trump continues to appear unhinged in
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public, psychiatrists continue to call for his removal from the presidency, using a provision of the 25th amendment that can only be activated by the vice president. a provision that allows the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to install the vice president as the acting president wherever they believe the president isn't capable of fulfilling his duties as president. and a new poll shows mike pence more popular than donald trump. none of that is good for donald trump. earlier in the day at cpac, steve bannon made it clear that he knows he is the most powerful man in the white house and he made it clear that donald trump knows that, too. we have never seen anyone this powerful in the white house, who was not the president of the united states. karl rove was often referred to as bush's brain, much of the irritation of george w. bush, who graduated from yale college and harvard business school
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without any help from karl rove. compared to steve bannon's job, the likes of which has never previously existed in a white house, karl rove's role was relatively minor. karl rove had nothing to do with foreign policy in the bush white house. he had nothing to do with war policy in afghanistan and iraq. he had very little influence over domestic policy. karl rove's job was simply to publicly spin the policy decisions made by others. karl rove had no voice in the writing of the bush tax cuts into law. that was done by the bush team at the treasury and republicans in the house and the senate. karl rove's job was to spin the fantasy that the bush tax cuts would not plunge the united states deeper and deeper into debt, which of course they did. vice president dick cheney was commonly thought to control president bush's thinking on war policy, but no one ever argued that dick cheney had anything important to say about domestic policy. no one cared what dick cheney
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was thinking about tax cuts or the medicare prescription drug plan or any other domestic policy. and we now know that there were some significant disagreements between president bush and dick cheney in which the vice president was on the losing end of the argument. so, no, there has never ever been anyone like steve bannon in the white house and he proved that today at his public appearance at cpac, sitting beside the white house chief of staff, reince priebus, and he proved it without saying a word. steve bannon spoke, but the words didn't matter. in trump world, image is everything. everything. and that is the singular point of convergence between trump world and washington. image. image is important in washington, and that is why washington, d.c. is the least interesting fashion center in the united states. everyone wants to look like mitch mcconnell or a law professor. in other words, everyone wants to look serious, deeply serious. everyone wants to look camera-ready for their senate confirmation hearings every
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minute of the day, except steve bannon. imagine someone showing up for a supreme court confirmation hearing looking like that. secretary of state? now, rex tillerson might look like that on a sunday afternoon, but he's never going to let us see him look like that, because rex tillerson needs you to believe he is a deeply serious man doing a serious job. everyone outside of the washington cult is likely to make the same mistake looking at steve bannon, the mistake of thinking you're looking at someone who doesn't care what he looks like, just doesn't care about his appearance. but inside the washington cult, everyone knows, you're looking at someone who cares about his appearance more than anyone in washington and that is why he refuses to submit to the conventions of dress and appearance in washington. steve bannon is not the first very powerful staff person in washington who has toyed with the conventions of appearance just to show how powerful he is. but no one has so completely defied those conventions as steve bannon, and it isn't even a more powerful statement than
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ever because it is being made in the trump white house, the most image-conscious white house in street. axios reports that the president was not happy with sean spicer's physical appearance the first time he entered the white house briefing room. here's what a source close to trump said about spicer. it would be one thing to wear a pinstripe that fit him perfectly, but it was like he had a gap in his collar. see that gap in the suit collar behind the blue color of his shirt. he had a gap in his collar, and this person said, oh, god, he's going to get reamed, i was getting text messages, can you believe what he's wearing, four people texted me because we know the boss, trump is very much about present yourself in the best light, if you're going to represent him, even more so. except, of course, for the most powerful person in the white house, steve bannon. steve bannon us was representing the president today at cpac and
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he broke the trump rules because he is more powerful than the trump rules. axios reports, trump pays close attention to ties, says a source that has worked with trump. you're always supposed to wear a tie. if it's not a trump tie, you can get away with brooks brothers, but i suggest armani. there's reince priebus obeying the trump rules and there's steve bannon who obviously lives above the trump rules, who obviously very much wants you and the world to know that. now let's match steve bannon's power with donald trump's brain. the brain that psychiatrists are increasingly publicly worried about. we will discuss president trump's mental health with a psychiatrist later in the hour. but for a moment, let's consider his knowledge. just his knowledge. what does donald trump know about government? he has proved time and time again throughout the campaign and during his presidency that the answer to that is absolutely nothing. nothing. he is operating at an ignorance level never seen before in the presidency. he had to call one of his advisers in the middle of the night, recently, to ask, what is a strong dollar, what is a weak dollar, and which one is good
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for america. in that empty section of donald trump's brain that should be occupied by knowledge and opinions an governing policy lives steve bannon. virtually everything that comes out of donald trump's mouth about policy and foreign and domestic is a version of what he has been told by steve bannon. the president's dark anti-american inaugural address came from steve bannon. steve bannon has more power than any white house staffer has ever had, but it is a power that is now in direct conflict with some members of the trump cabinet. those people who along with the vice president have the power to remove the president in favor of the acting president. while steve bannon was preaching to the converted at cpac today, secretary of state rex tillerson was in mexico, appearing with the mexican foreign minister, who publicly complained about trump/bannon policies affecting
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mexico and the secretary of state did not speak one public word of defense of the trump/bannon policies. education secretary betsy devos reportedly disagrees with the trump/bannon position on rolling back protections for transgender students. people like steve bannon, who spend their lives attacking government, always think that governing is easy, until they get inside the government. and now steve bannon has discovered that the unconstitutional executive order on immigration that he so foolishly co-authored has been killed by judges, judges more powerful than steve bannon, more powerful than the president. and although the trump/bannon presidency insists that the situation at our borders is an emergency, the white house continues to struggle and fail to come up with a rewrite of that executive order. sean spicer sunk into bureaucratic double speak today
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at the white house briefing, trying to explain the delay in coming up with that emergency executive order. steve bannon is without a doubt the most powerful person in the trump white house, incoming the president. but the question tonight is, how much failure is donald trump willing to suffer under steve bannon's guidance. how low do donald trump's poll numbers have to go between -- before steve bannon's supervision of donald trump has to go? joining us now, david corn, washington bureau chief for mother jones and msnbc political analyst. also with us, christopher dickey, former editor for the daily beast and an msnbc contributor. and christopher, it's great to have you here in new york. and you always bring us the european perspective, where you spend your life. so what do they think they're watching, as they watch this from europe? >> well, last week, during the munich conference on security, you really had a sense that they felt they were looking at a jekyll and hyde administration. that on the one hand, you've got this -- these reasonable people, what the rationales, as they're called in europe, like pence, like secretary tillerson, like secretary mattis. these people are people who know how government works and know what they're doing.
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they know how europe works, they know how the world works. and then you've got the radicals, the bannon faction, which is like mr. hyde. who are really interested in just feeding their own egos, feeding their own impulses, really. and that sense that you have this impulsive president is something that scares the hell out of the europeans. >> that question that we heard from europe to pence last week. who should we listen to, you or the president? is that the essential question in europe after mike pence's tour? >> well, absolutely. not just mike pence, but the many other people in the cabinet that were there, mattis was there, kelly was there, tillerson was running around europe. and yes, absolutely. they were like, who do we listen to? who's running the show here? where do we go from here? because, remember, europe is at play right now. nato the threatened in a lot of different ways. you've got trumpistas like marine le pen in france that are threatening to tear apart the european union. is the whole establishment in europe is saying, we need some leadership and we can't turn to the united states for it. what are we going to do it. >> david corn, at cpac today, steve bannon guaranteed everyone there that the situation with the news media was going to get worse. and of course, he said that because they will continue all of their great successes, none of which they've actually achieved yet, and that the news media then would become more and more angry. so in a way, he is protecting for the president, things will get worse, the noise will get worse, and maybe even your poll
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of their great successes, none of which they've actually achieved yet, and that the news media then would become more and more angry. so in a way, he is protecting for the president, things will get worse, the noise will get worse, and maybe even your poll numbers might get worse, because, of course, the polls are all fake. and so he seems to be kind of predicting turbulence for the president, so the president won't then look at steve bannon a few weeks and months from now and say, hey, what's with all this turbulence we're in the middle of. >> well, let me take issue for a moment with what chris just said.
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and i have tremendous respect for him, in that i don't think what steve bannon is doing is just impulsive. i do think he has a plan. i think it's to be disruptive. i think it is to break -- you know, to sort of, make alliances with nationalist movements overseas. and he goes to germany and he's not interested in making nice with angela merkel or others. he's there to sort of deal with others who want to sort of see europe break apart or have this sort of countermovement towards diversity, towards immigration, towards accepting refugees. and i think he sees russia as an ally in that effort. all part of this war, this civilizational clash against islam. and today at cpac, he essentially said that he's a revolutionary. and that, you know, he's out to bust up the government here and to deal with the globalism and
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media elites and others. and i think he tells donald trump every day, this is our mission. and it's going to get nasty, because you're going after some big targets who trump already has a bias against. he's always had a thing about the media. and i think bannon is trying to reinforce this notion that we're going to do this, we're going to change the world, you're going to be an historic figure. but the price is, you're going to get a lot of slings and arrows from those sleazy scumbag, you know, folks in the media who are the enemy of the american people. that's where trump is getting this. so right now, i wouldn't worry so much about trump turning on bannon. i think he needs to take a long while for that alliance, that intellectual alliance to fall apart. >> well, i think two things. david's right, i don't think bannon is impulsive. i think the president is impulsive. and i think that's visible every time he gets up in public. i think that's well known. no, bannon is a terrible snob. you know, he didn't say he was going to bust up the government. he was talking about the deconstruction of the
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administrative state. deconstruction is a word he got from the french philosopher, who's known for his criticism of modern philosophy. that's typical bannon, see how smart i am, who's going to catch this? deconstruction. i bet people at cpac were tuned into this word, but anybody in france would hear it and they would see that this is a guy who is not only powerful, but he reeks of the arrogance of power, intellectual arrogance. and that i think trump is impressed by him. i think trump looks at him and listens to this and says, wow. >> does steve bannon have an image yet in europe? has his image crossed the ocean yet? >> it's very negative. >> so what do they think when
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they see the guy who looks like he slept on the subway and he's the one with the president? >> they think he looks like someone without a fixed home. they look at him and say, who is this slob, this guy sclumping around, who at the same time is trying to interfere with french politics. he really is a sinister guy, vp in french politics, even when it comes to marine le pen, he said, he's support of the le pens, meaning the whole family, not marine le pen, and singled out the le pen in her 20s, blond hair, very pretty, and all you could think when the french press was running the picture of him and the picture of her is dirty old man. >> david corn and christopher dickey, thank you both for joining us tonight. >> former speaker of the house, john boehner, was not at cpac today. instead, he was somewhere where he felt he could speak the truth and what he had to say is exactly what democrats had been hoping to hear. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. gets it. they offer free cancellation, in case i decide to go from kid-friendly to kid-free.
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a new mcclatchy/maris poll out today shows donald trump's job approval at 41%, disapproval, 49%. a new cbs poll finds 9% job approval, 59% disapproval. those are record bad numbers for
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a month-old presidency. the mcclatchy poll also found that 58% of people polled say that president trump's conduct makes them feel embarrassed. oh, you don't have to feel embarrassed. you didn't vote for him! up next, what a difference a year makes at cpac. so donald trump is skipping cpac. i accept i don't race down the slopes like i used to. i even accept i have a higher risk of stroke due to afib, a type of irregular heartbeat not caused by a heart valve problem. but whatever trail i take, i go for my best. so if there's something better than warfarin,
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i'll go for that too. eliquis. eliquis reduced the risk of stroke better than warfarin, plus had less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis had both. don't stop taking eliquis unless your doctor tells you to, as stopping increases your risk of having a stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily... ...and it may take longer than usual for any bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. i'm still going for my best. and for eliquis. ask your doctor about eliquis. >> what a difference a year makes.
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you can never accuse cpac of being consistent. last year at cpac, donald trump came in third in cpac's presidential straw poll behind ted cruz who finished first and marco rubio who finished second. tomorrow, donald trump will try to turn cpac into a trumpism festival. but he has a very tough act to follow. his own vice president who turned cpac into a reagan festival tonight. >> you know, from the outset, our president reminded me of somebody else. a man who inspired me to actually join the cause of conservatism nearly 40 years ago. president ronald reagan. i believe president trump is given voice to the aspirations and frustrations of the american people like no leader since reagan. >> we're joined now by liz mair, republican strategy and president of mary strategies.
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also joining us, rick wilson, republican strategist and contributor to the daily beast. liz, as i listened to the pence speech tonight, he mentioned president trump frequently throughout the speech, but if you took out the words trump, everything about it was kind of good old-fashioned republican reaganism, all the way through, no build the wall stuff, no ban muslims, none of the modern trademarks of trumpism. >> right, and what you're going to see, this divergence between what pence said tonight and what trump is going to say, really, i think, is emblematic of the divisions you're seeing amongst the cpac attendees. i was down there today and it's very interesting seeing people trying to navigate this. because you do have a lot of traditional conservatives, the people who usually are sort of the rank and file at cpac, setting aside the younger sort of ron paul liberty crowd. and you do have a new infusion of people who are very pro-trump and are walking around in their baseball caps with make america great again. and there are these divisions.
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and it's very interesting to see how that's playing out. i mean, today, i talked to a number of people who i would describe as more traditional conservatives, and one of the things they commented on is they felt like the great irony of this, is cpac is now playing host to this anti-political correctness squad. they felt like they were going around, having to be hyperpolitically correct to avoid offending the trumpites who were trying to take over the whole gathering. it's definitely a complicated scene, this year. >> let's listen to marco rubio at cpac, last year. >> being a conservative cannot simply be about how long you're willing to scream, how angry you're willing to be, or how many names you're willing to call people. that is not conservatism. conservatism has never been about fear or about anger. not at its best. >> rick wilson, it seems like marco rubio, i think, is not scheduled to speak this year at cpac. >> no, in fact, marco rubio is far, far away on another
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continent right now. and frankly, no republican senators, except for ted cruz, who was there for the swimsuit part of the competition, to be the next supreme court nominee, showed up at cpac this week. so, it is certainly something that i think that as kellyanne conway joked, it has become tpac, you know, the trump personality cult has taken over where a forum for the conservatives for over 30 years had used to sort of get together, compare ideas, bump up against one another and talk about where the movement was going. it is now, you know, largely been given over to donald trump's personality cult. i will say, lawrence, that your observation about mike pence's speech today was absolutely on target, because, you know, look, if donald trump us with eaten by wolverines tomorrow, every republican in the country would go, okay, cool, except for the parts of his cult. those folks there today ate that up with a spoon. that's classic mainstream republicism. some may disagree with that, but
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the fact of the matter is, pull out the trump praise in there, and that would have been a speech that people would have nodded their heads and said, that fellow looks like he could be president some day. >> that's what i kept being struck by. that same speech with just editing out the word trump here and there could have been given any previous year at cpac. and mike pence's delivery is one that lifted that audience to their feet several times lout that speech. and of course, the speech was completely coherent. the sentences had verbs. it was all the english language from start to finish. donald trump can't do that. >> well, it will be interesting to see how he handles speaking to cpac and what the difference response is. i think it's possible that mike pence is going to be getting some angry phone calls and e-mails, just by virtue of the fact that he actually gave the crowd what they sort of typically want and what they were really looking for. but, you know, i will say one thing, just to slightly moderate
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the point about this becoming more like tpac. i think cpac has done some pretty strange things with regard to its speakers this year, not just the one that has been forced to withdraw. and i think to some extent, that's moving it away from traditional conservatism, too, and also away from what we would be consider within the vein of trumpism. you've got an ftc commissioner who is an obama appointee, who's speaking there, which is kind of interesting. you also have ed schultz speaking there. i think giving ed schultz from basically the kremlin-supported news outlet a platform at cpac was an interesting choice, that maybe it looks like it's trumpist in some quarters, but certainly looks like it may be trying to make the tent so broad, it's inevitably going to collapse. >> yeah, rick, ed schultz now on russian tv, which has been condemned as this propaganda arm
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of the putin government. apparently shares donald trump's views on international trade and that's what he was there speaking about today. i didn't see him speak, when he spoke. but again, those views are complete opposite of the cpac's views on international trade in years past. >> call me crazy, but i don't think that the buckley, burke, hyatt, kirk tradition of the conservative movement is well reflected by a sort of rising nationalist statism, tinged with a delicious, you know, curry of authoritarian symbolism. and i just find that the direction it's gone, it's following an intellectual fashion. it's following a fad right now of this hypernationalism, hyperpopulism. and that's fundamentally not where conservatives are. you're supposed to resist the impulsive kinds of change that are represented by trumpism and i don't think cpac is really -- i've probably been to cpac 15 times in my life. and this is a very different creature than we've ever seen
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before. >> 15 times, cpac veteran, rick wilson gets tonight's last word on cpac. rick, liz mair, thank you both for joining us. coming up, john boehner speaks the truth that democrats want to hear. of all people. there are over 47 million ford vehicles out here. that has everything to do with the people in here. their training is developed by the same company who designed, engineered, and built the cars. they've got the parts, tools, and know-how to help keep your ford running strong. 35,000 specialists all across america. no one knows your ford better than ford. and ford service. right now, get the works! a synthetic blend oil change, tire rotation, brake inspection and more -- for $29.95 or less.
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former republican speaker of the house, john boehner, the much-beleaguered former speaker
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of the house, does not believe donald trump. >> we are going to be submitting in a couple of weeks a great health care plan that's going to take the place of the disaster known as obamacare. it will be repealed and replaced. >> john boehner now says donald trump and congressional republicans have no plan to repeal or replace obamacare, and they never will. >> i think they'll do -- they'll fix obamacare, and i shouldn't call it repeal and replace, because that's not what's going to happen. they're basically going to fix the flaws and put a more conservative box around it. >> republicans have not been getting much encouragement back in their states and districts for repealing obamacare. >> will you commit to
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replacements in the same way that you committed to the repeal? [ applause ] >> thank you, katie, let's take a couple more questions or comments about health care. >> short of endorsing your position, what are you trying to do to make sure my health insurance is affordable? >> there's no question that some people have had a good experience with the aca, with obamacare, but most people have had a very bad experience with it. >> you're the man that talked about the death panel. we're going to create one great big death panel in this country that people can't afford to get insurance. obamacare, improve it, for god's sake. >> tonight, to the ultra-friendly audience at cpac, mike pence tried to sound confident in the face of those protests. >> despite the best efforts of
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liberal activists in town halls around the country, the american people know better. obamacare has failed and obamacare must go. despite all the fearmongering from the left, make no mistake about it, we'll have an orderly transition to a better health care system that finally puts the american people first. that is exactly the kind of talk that's getting republicans booed off the stage at their town hall meetings around the country. john boehner seemed almost gleeful today in watching the agony that republicans are going through. remember, he was driven out of his speakership because of the perceived failures of his from the right wing of his party, including john boehner's failure to magically repeal obamacare. >> in the 25 years they served in the united states congress, republicans never ever, one time, agreed on what a health care proposal should look like.
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not once. >> dr. howard dean will join us next, with his diagnosis for the future of obamacare. we've done well in life, with help from our advisor, we made it through many market swings. sure we could travel, take it easy... but we've never been the type to just sit back... not when we've got so much more to give
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i could tell you three members of my family, including me, that would be dead, dead and homeless if it was not for aca. i'm an angry constituent! you work for us. >> that was last night at republican senator tom cotton's town hall in bentonville, arkansas. joining us now, dr. howard dean, former chairman of the democratic national committee and an msnbc political analyst. howard, these town hall meetings, first of all, this is real. anybody watching these things can tell that. you might be able to get some
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sort of, you know, political committee to put together half a dozen people here and there to go to these meetings. it's impossible to blanket the country like this. and stories like that, that that woman just told, very personal. she believes she or the people in her family would be dead or homeless. the homeless part being really important, because of before the affordable care act, so many people's inability to afford health care, going bankrupt because of that. that's one of the parts that's been lost in all of this. is just how much actual economic support for the family exists within the aca. >> well, i think boehner knows that and boehner, of course, is not running for office, and that's why he said what he said. it's really an extraordinary thing that he did that. but it's true. you know, i think the republicans make a mistake when they talk about liberal activists going to the meeting. when you saw that lady say that, she does not fit the stereotype of a liberal activist. and my guess is 100 million people have seen that clip, because it's all over the place,
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on the evening news. i watched two evening newses tonight, two networks, and she was on it. i mean, these things, this is what's politicians alive and the republicans are really in significant danger of looking like they don't give a damn about the american people. they are in tough shape and that's why i think john boehner's probably right. >> yeah, and the -- this, of course, all comes on the heels of this massive demonstration of resistance that we say the day after the inauguration. the biggest protests in the history of this country, biggest protests in the history of the -- the short history of inauguration protests, obviously, there's a huge resistance that has been activated. and at the end of that march, they were all publicly talking about what do we do next, what do we do next, and this is exactly the kind of thing they all promised to do next. >> yeah, and i don't want to mix
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all my businesses together, but the election on saturday is going to have a lot to say about this. right now, these folks are not liberal activists or even democrats, necessarily. and they're not all bernie sanders people. they are people, they are young people, and they are so far ahead of where the democratic party is right now in washington and we'll see what happens with the dnc race. that's why i came out the other day, we just got to have a young person for the middle of the country, who served two terms in afghanistan. that would be a pretty good chairman. we have got to go out of the box in the democratic party if we're going to catch up with all the folk -- the organizing that's going on all over the country. >> can't leave the night without having you use your dnc expertise to give us an unbiased, even though we know you have a candidate, prediction about how you think that race is going to go. >> i don't know how it's going to go. i think there's a deadlock between keith and tom perez. i think keith has been hurt a little bit by some of the endorsements, because people in
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this race don't like endorsements, because these are outsiders. tom has been seen as the establishment candidate. i think pete's got a shot. he's in third, he's not one of the two front-runners, but a solid third. i know he's picking up delegates, because he's already picked up a group of delegates today from states that really matter, that voted for donald trump. i think a lot of guys see this guy as the guy who is the anecdote. and he's young. he knows how to organize. we're behind the curve here. we need to catch up with the curve, not tell all these people how they're going to run life, but take a cue from what they're doing. >> howard dean, thanks for joining us tonight. appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, the elephant in the room. that's what "the columbia journalism review" calls donald trump's mental health. a former professor of psychiatry will join us. america's beverage companies have come together to
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the elephant in the room, that's what the columbia journalism review called donald trump's mental health today. the president's sanity is something that everyone thinks about and most journalists have not figured out how to discuss. as more psychologists and psychiatrists come forward, publicly diagnosing donald trump as unfit to serve in the presidency, some mental health professionals continue to insist that no diagnosis should be offered without privately examining the patient and then no diagnosis could be offered because of patient confidentiality. that puts two rules in conflict for psychiatrists and psychologists. the other rule being the duty to warn. mental health professionals have the duty to warn people when other people's conditions could do them harm. and no one in the world could do more harm to more people faster than the president of the united states who could plunge the world into nuclear war in minutes.
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writing in the "columbia journalism review," lee siegel says, mental illness does not need to be professionally diagnosed. we don't need to be told by a doctor that the guy who is coughing and sneezing at the other end of the train car is probably sick. though we don't know if it's a cold, the flu, bronchitis, pneumonia, or an allergy. when someone is compulsively lying, continuously contradicting himself, imploring the approval of people even as he is attacking them, exulting people one day and abusing and vilifying them the next, then the question of his mental state is moot. the safe thing to do is not just stay away from him, but to keep him away from situations where he can do harm. lee siegel will join us next, along with dr. lance doethis, a former psychiatry professor at harvard medical school.
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the last word tonight will be about the mental health of the president of the united states. that's next. for lower back pain sufferers,
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he did not see that. was he lying? was he delusional? is either one of those answers acceptable for the president of the united states. joining us now, lea siegel, columnist for "the columbia journalism review" and author of the upcoming memoir, "the draw." and also with us, dr. lance dodis. i would love to go to you for a diagnosis of that particular piece of videotape. what do you see when you see him see saying that. >> again, he's lying and the question that has been so confusing about him is this diagnostic issue. it actually has a perhaps surprisingly easy solution. the traits that are important, lying, cheating, hurting people without any remorse, these are the traits that go into any diagnosis. and it's the traits that are important. the final label, the diagnostic label, changes all the time.
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we're on the fifth edition of the diagnostic manual now. there will be a sixth and seven. the labels just don't matter. people argue over it ruthlessly. but we know, as a fact, that he has these traits which indicate important personality disability, and those are things that make him dangerous. so without haggling over the diagnosis, there's no question about his having a mental instability and that being a danger. >> lee siegel, you have watched the journalism world haggle over, bargain with itself over this very question. how do we discuss, should we discuss at all, the candidate trump's mental health, now president trump's mental health, and it seems like you're finished haggling. >> yeah, i'm tired of hearing that, with you know, we're faced with a clear and present danger and an imminent danger. i think that what people are talking about around their kitchen tables should now converge with what people are talking about in public.
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and there are very few taboos in american life. i don't know why the president's mental health is still a taboo in journalism. this guy is sick. this guy is mentally ill. we make these judgments every day. we make them when we encounter a babysitter or nanny or teacher and on and on and on. and this man has the power to do great harm. for me the criteria means that he is inhabiting his own world, which all due respect to the doctor, he may not be lying. i hope he is lying. because at least that means that he knows the difference between fact and fiction. compared to this guy, nixon is like gandhi. if he's not lying, and he believes what he's saying, then he corresponding to the definition of psychosis, which is a safe whose combination has been lost. and i think that's what he is. >> doctor, go to that point that lee siegel just mentioned, the issue of whether he's lying or not lying about what happened in new jersey. we know it didn't happen.
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so what difference does it make whether he knows that what he's saying is false or he doesn't know and it's completely delusional? >> well, i think that it makes a difference to us if we were going try to treat him. but it doesn't make any difference in terms of his danger. either way, it's a big problem. lying in the way that he does it repeated, dangerous lying, makes him unfit and is a sign of serious mental disturbance. and to the extent he doesn't know reality, and i agree, by the way. i don't think he does know reality, clearly, he doesn't have a clear grasp of it, because he changes it. he makes up reality to suit his internal needs. but in any one case, whether it's one or the other, either way, he's unfit. >> lee, do you have sympathies with the journalistic struggle about how to deal with this? or are you fed up with the journalistic struggle that's gone on too long and they should get on with it?
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>> i understand it, that people are trying to do the right thing. this is a situation that's unprecedented and people are trying to find their way. and i think journalists are very cautious about being turned into scapegoats and having steve bannon, who's dictum is the breitbart dictum of the best action being the enemy's reaction, of having that turned against the press, but i think they should get over it and just, you know, man up and say the guy is bonkers and develop a framework for that. >> dr. dodes, quickly before you go, what do you make of lee's point about when you're ton on the subway car and you see somebody who's coughing and sneezing and has all these issues, no one has to tell you that that person is sick. is that a reasonable example to use in this discussion? >> it is. and that's important, because that's one of the problems with the goldwater rule and while it's really no longer applicable. 40 years ago, it might have been okay. but you actually do not need to do an interview with somebody in order to diagnose these traits, which are in themselves diagnostic, you might say. absolutely, that's true. >> lee seeing.
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today is february 23, 2017.