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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  December 12, 2017 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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numbers. and then the one that i call the yoda of the campaign, giles perkins. [ cheers and applause ] giles has had his own issues to deal with over the summer. but this campaign and what he has done, whenever the history is written about alabama politics, remember those names, giles perkins, doug turner and joe trippi. there are too many people. i think want to say this. folks, we have come so far. we have come so far. and the people of alabama have spoken. they have said -- [ cheers and applause ] they have said to each other that this i have said from the
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very beginning, this campaign has never been about me, it's never been about roy moore. it's been about every one of you, every one of you and your sons and daughters. it's all of those volunteers that knocked on 300,000 doors. [ cheers and applause ] it's the volunteers who made 1.2 million phone calls around this state. [ cheers and applause ] it's those volunteers to make sure that we knew. it was every community. you know, i keep hearing about the different communities in this state. the african-american community. thank you! [ cheers and applause ] my friends, my friends in the latino community, thank you! [ cheers and applause ] to all my jewish friends, happy hanukkah! [ cheers and applause ]
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we have built this, everywhere we have gone. we have had that same energy. we've had that same excitement. at the end of the day, this entire race has been about dignity and respect. [ cheers and applause ] this campaign, this campaign has been about the rule of law. this -- [ cheers and applause ] this campaign has been about common courtesy and decency, and making sure everyone in this state, regardless of which zip code you live in, is going to get a fair shake in life. [ cheers and applause ] and let me just say this, folks.
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to all of my future colleagues in washington, i've had such wonderful help. but i want to make sure, in all seriousness, there are important issues facing this country. there are important issues of health care and jobs and the economy. and i want -- i would like as everyone in the entire probably free world knows right now, we've tried to make sure that this campaign was about finding common ground and reaching across and actually getting things done for the people. [ cheers and applause ] so i have a challenge. i have this challenge to my future colleagues in washington. don't wait on me. take this election from the great state of alabama. [ cheers and applause ]
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let me finish! take this election, take this election, where the people of alabama said we want to get something done, we want you to find common ground, we want you to talk. take this opportunity in light of this election and go ahead and fund that c.h.i.p. program before i get up there. [ cheers and applause ] put it aside. let's do it for those million kids and 150,000 here in birmingham, alabama. i am not going to talk too much longer, it's been a long night, it's been a long campaign. let me just say -- i know i've forgotten so much. i've forgotten so much, there's so many thank yous and how we feel. this vote, this vote, i've said it before, alabama has been at a
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crossroads. we have an at crossroads in the past. and unfortunately we have usually taken the wrong fork. tonight, ladies and gentlemen, you took the right road. [ cheers and applause ] usa! [ crowd chants "usa, usa" ] on a very personal level, let me tell you, and i said this at the top, and i do mean this. i want to thank each of you for helping me fulfill a lifelong dream of serving in the united states senate that started out with my mentor, howell heflin. and ever since then that has been my dream. thank you for that. [ cheers and applause ]
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as we approach this crossroads, we have work to do. we have work to do in this state to build those bridges within this state, to reach across with those that didn't vote for us, to try to find that common ground. i'm pledging to do that tonight. but i will tell you, tonight is a night for rejoicing, because as dr. king said, as dr. king liked to quote, the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. [ cheers and applause ] tonight, tonight, ladies and gentlemen, tonight, tonight in this time, in this place, you helped bend that moral arc a little closer to that justice. and you did it, that moral arc,
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not only was it bent more, not only was it aim truer, but you sent it right through the heart of the great state of alabama in doing so. thank you all. i love you, thank you. thank you and god bless you. and god bless the great state of alabama and the united states of america. thank you all. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ >> doug jones the apparent winner tonight in the state of alabama. it is believed he will be seated in the u.s. senate during their first session of the year in january 2018. and the balance of power in the u.s. senate will thus shift from 52-48 to 51-49. you see there the election victory. this is the layout of the u.s. senate. steve kornacki is at the board with us. steve, roy moore goes back to being a retired former judge.
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we have a new senator-elect from alabama. how did jones do it? >> how did he do it? a couple of things i want to highlight from these results. if you're looking at this and saying, there's still votes out, it's only 10,000, how can we be sure? the bottom line is we still have a lot of votes around birmingham, a lot around montgomery, a few around mobile, all democratic areas. if jones is up 10,000 now, he's got this thing. what are the keys? two things jump out to of me number one is -- oh, that's not supposed to happen. the enthusiasm of black voters in the heavily black counties here, their turnout relative to the 2016 presidential race was much higher than in the republican counties. black turnout was key tonight. the other thing was an absolute disaster for roy moore. woe talked about jones needing to make inroads with traditionally republican suburban voters, white college
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educated commuter class, that sort of thing. this tells the story, right outside birmingham, shelby county, this is the county with the highest concentration of college degrees in the state. donald trump won 72% of the vote here. roy here five years ago when he nearly lost a race for chief justice got 63. tonight, 56. look, he still wins this county, you're looking at this saying this is a red county. if a republican is getting 56% of the vote in shelby county, that's a catastrophe for a republican in alabama. the margin sits at 9,000. the margin in an election like this should be 30,000 for a republican. and by the way, when you look at these numbers, if it was 30,000, moore would be sitting there ahead of jones right now. so a lot of things had to break right, everything had to break right for doug jones. but when i look at shelby county there, we talked about those suburbanites, they got them to flip, they got high black
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turnout, that's the model, that's how a democrat wins. >> we neglected to say, while casting aside the formalities, this is day 327 for the trump administration. this will have to pass for the 11th hour, here we are at 11:20 p.m. on the east coast. john heilemann joins us in the studio, john, you have terrific time, you get to be the first of our analysts to analyze just what we saw. what did we just witness tonight? >> well, we witnessed a race, an outcome that many people thought was impossible. we witnessed an outcome that is an earthquake in a lot of ways. the virginia, the off-year elections we saw in virginia, new jersey, other places, obviously a huge repudiation for donald trump in the republican party. this, orders of magnitude greater in some ways. virginia has become basically a blue state. new jersey is a blue state. this is an -- >> alabama, on the other hand -- >> one of the three or four
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reddest states in the country. i made a long list of winners tonight and some losers. it's worth thinking about them a little bit. doug jones and his campaign ran a fantastic race, they did everything technically right in terms of how they got their campaign together, in terms of the turnout, what steve kornacki has been talking about all day, how hard it was to balance those things, drive up african-american turnout while also helping yourself in the suburban republican parts of alabama, and keeping the turnout from rural precincts low. they got it exactly right. it was an inside straight. they pulled it off. new south alabamians, who wanted to be seen like an atlanta, worried about being embarrassed by the election of roy moore. they did what they needed to do
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tonight to get things to go the way they wanted. roy moore's accusers big winners tonight, seeing the man they believe violated them not go to the united states senate. senator shelby, richard shelby who came in at a crucial moment and sent a pivotal message to republican suburban professionals that it was okay to stay home tonight. >> as senior senator. >> as the senior senator, as a republican. an incredibly important thing he did over the weekend on sunday. mitch mcconnell in some ways a winner tonight, did not want to see roy moore in the united states senate, kind of won here. the national democratic party with that shift you talked about, just that one extra seat, 51-49, now a democratic senate, hard to do in 2018, a little easier to do, within reach for democrats. and on the grandest cultural
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scale, the #metoo movement won this race. this race was nationalized in million ways, but it took place, roy moore's alleged crimes, in the context of the national moment we're having, was one of the big volatile factors injected in this race. for those part of that movement, this was a big night. roy moore lost tonight in a big way. the two other big losers. steve bannon, someone who was down there in alabama last night, and i would say made a fool of himself in many ways in his election eve speech last night, talking about himself. >> went after condi rice, went after richard shelby, went after joe scarborough, mocked him for not getting into georgetown and harvard, not exactly symbols of
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populism in the deep south. this is the candidate steve bannon forced down the throat of the republican party, even donald trump has paid this price, managed to lose this unlosable seat, and finally donald trump himself who won this state a year ago with 62% of the vote, tonight at exit polls was at 48. a republican president under 50% in one of the most republican states in the country at 48. that tells you a lot of the story right there. this became a referendum to a large extent on donald trump who went all in for roy moore. he's now lost this race twice, in the primary and then in the general election. an incredible rebuke to the president. >> there are red counties in alabama that went 90% for donald trump back at election time. we've just heard from donald trump. "congratulations to doug jones on a hard fought victory." note this, "the write-in votes played a very big factor but a win is a win.
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the people of alabama are great and the republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time." it never ends, of course not this seat because it's a six-year term. >> that's true. >> i'm not clear what he meant at the end there. let's check in at moore headquarters. we saw a lot of long faces on the live camera coverage earlier. vaughn hillyard is our man who has covered the moore campaign throughout. hey, vaughn. >> reporter: hi, brian. let's set it up this way, if i could. i've been here now on the ground since that "washington post" story came out on november 9th. it's been more than a month we've been on the ground with the moore campaign and the doug jones campaign. the contrast between these two campaigns couldn't be more clear. roy moore, out of the last seven days, he was missing for six of those, brian. he was nowhere to be seen on the campaign trail until last night when he appeared with steve bannon. there was a ten-day stretch in which he didn't appear on the campaign trail. over the last month, brian, he never visited mobile county.
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he never visited shelby county. he avoided the press at every single turn along the way. i talked to a campaign official last night, i said, why has your candidate not been out here meeting voters, answering questions? he compared it to a football game, running out the clock. he said at this point they felt comfortable with where they were and didn't need to put the candidate in what they called a dangerous situation, addressing questions from the press. you compare this to the doug jones campaign, over the course of it last week, i was with them two weekends in a row in selma. you talk about the black vote. dallas county, 80% african-american. not only did they turn out a greater share of black voters but at a greater margin than hillary clinton did a year ago. but he also visited, brian, doug jones did, places like tuscaloosa county, places like madison county, where huntsville is. these are conservative districts. in tuscaloosa, they had set upfield offices, they had
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canvassers, they had phone banks. doug jones visited these place. tuscaloosa went by 19 points to donald trump a year ago. this time, 15 points a margin for doug jones. huntsville, a 36-point swing in favor of doug jones because they put themselves out there. they addressed the questions from the media. i think people need to give credit to the fact that doug jones was taking on really the role of actually running an operation, compared to roy moore who believes that they had just the republican name next to them, they were going to be able to take this through, brian. >> vaughn, was it a suburban myth or did roy moore spend the weekend in philadelphia at the army/navy game? >> reporter: he was gone this weekend for 2 1/2 days including that time at the army/navy game, brian. >> all right, vaughn hillyard outside the roy moore headquarters. let's go to the doug jones headquarters, the crowd exploded there a half hour or so ago,
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catie beck our correspondent there. >> reporter: hi, brian, the atmosphere is electric. democrats who came here tonight were cautiously optimistic, hopeful that maybe what they never thought was possible might be possible tonight. they haven't seen it in over 25 years in the state of alabama. so obviously, as those margins started to close in and jones started to take the lead, you could just feel the energy in this room start to rise. jones really took a positive road when he gave this speech. he did not mention roy moore by name. he kept the campaign focused on his objectives. he said it was his lifelong dream to be a u.s. senator. he got teary at certain points in the speech, i think realizing the historical significance of what just happened. and we heard that throughout
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date from voters here in birmingham. so many voters we talked to coming in and out of the lunch diner, telling us we are not going to waste or vote today. we may be conflicted, we may be unsure, we may be casting a vote for a party we haven't before, but we're not going to release this vote. this is the -- the national spotlight is on us and we have to make a choice. obviously turnout tonight was the big story. turnout in the african-american community especially. a lot of energy from democrats in the state of alabama. >> catie beck, thank you very much for that live report from the victorious doug jones headquarters. eugene robinson, pulizter prize winning columnist for "the washington post," to answer the question, what just happened, gene? >> brian, we may have gotten an indication of what a paper tiger trumpism is and what an anomaly this whole phenomenon is and how the fundamental character and
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nature of the country wasn't all changed by what happened in november 2016. what's happened since, in november, in virginia, which i would consider a purple state, and i live in virginia, it's getting bluer, but it's not really bright blue yet, certainly. and there was a democratic tsunami in that election, in which democrats made gains they hadn't dreamed of. and now in alabama a democrat elected to the senate, not just any democrat but the democrat who prosecuted the evil men who bombed the church and killed those four little girls in birmingham. that democrat was elected to the u.s. senate, in an utter repudiation of steve bannon and what he stands for, and an utter
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repudiation, by extension, of donald trump and what he stands for. so i think we will look back on this as part of a continuum and a very, very significant night, not just for the democratic party, but for this country. >> eugene, thank you. as always, you just put things into relief and context. ashley parker is standing by to talk to us, live from "the washington post" newsroom. ashley, this may call for specification on your part, but it's late. beyond this tweet we've seen tonight, how will the trump white house and political operation respond tonight? >> reporter: sure. so his tweet tonight actually i thought seemed pretty optimistic and not as angry as you would necessarily expect. but i can tell you a number of aides i talked to inside the white house tonight are already speculating to that question. they say they have not yet talked to the president personally but they're expecting him to be quite unhappy tomorrow
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morning. and the aides themselves and senior advisers are already going out of their way to distance themselves from roy moore. the decision to support him. one aide told me that -- and this is not an incorrect sentiment necessarily, but you can't just ride a populist antiestablishment wave as the president did, you also have to be a quality candidate. and roy moore clearly was not. so there is a lot of distancing, a lot of blame. i've heard some griping about the political shop. and there's a lot of worry about how the president might react tomorrow. >> so ashley, i'm looking at the president's tweet. and again, the sentence i found vexing, "people of alabama are great and the republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time." doing the math as we did live, senate seats are for six years. this particular seat is up in 2020. so i guess that's what he's talking about. >> reporter: i guess potentially. i learned it's always a little tricky to parse every single
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thing the president means in a tweet, as we learned this morning with his tweet against senator gillibrand. the other thing i thought was interesting that jumped out at me is when i president said a win is a win. it seemed to me, there was at least for now, and this could change when we wake up tomorrow morning, but a grudging respect for doug jones and the fact that he did win. if there's one thing trump understands, it's winning. that's partially why he cast his lot for moore. he was shown internal polls by his team that said that moore was going to win and he wanted to pick a winner. >> ashley, if you can stand by for us, there's so much to talk about. i want to come back around to what we witnessed today with senator gillibrand from new york. johnathan lemier is with us, ap white house reporter, temporarily in new york. again, back to his wording, back to this seat, why this math? >> that is right. they feel like the republicans who obviously are very distraught and surprised by tonight's result feel like that jones is someone who can be beat
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within the right candidate in 2020. >> in a very short period of time. >> in a very short period of time as the president put it. clearly roy moore was not that candidate. but as much as, as he points out, a win is a win, trump lost twice in alabama. he backed big luther in the primary, as he told people around him, against his better instincts, he felt like he had a better overlap with more in terms of the base, he felt like his supporters were with moore. but the political calculus he was talked into, he says, was to support strange. he lost. then he comes for moore, from a distance and then a full-throated endorsement, he embraced him. not just holding a rally in florida, 20 miles from the alabama border, but fully embracing him, robocalls, this is my guy. and he lost again. i do think there is the name steve bannon who helped get trump on this roy moore train here. and i think that the bannon camp
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is already sending out signals that they're not going to take responsibility for this defeat, they think mitch mcconnell is to blame. they're saying the republican establishment never supported moore, that they didn't back him with the appropriate resources and endorsements and things like that. they feel like they're still going to be a player in 2018 and beyond. now, whether that remains to be seen, the knives are out for bannon in certain quarters in the republican party. >> what's it like to be mitch mcconnell and paul ryan for that matter? >> i think they're breathing a big sigh of relief. i'll just point out that steve bannon, who has said he's at war with mitch mcconnell, now they're going to blame mitch mcconnell for not helping them with this candidate? you want to wage war with mitch mcconnell, wage war with mitch mcconnell, but don't blame him when your candidate loses. it's sort of ridiculous.
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those two guys, mcconnell and ryan, knew if roy moore won this race, it would be a pyrrhic victory. democrats were in a no-lose situation here. they were either going to win the seat, or lose the seat and make every republican senator who is up, every republican challenger, every house member was going to be called a member of the party of predation, roy moore was going to be the poster child for the republican party in 2018. for mitch mcconnell and paul ryan, they've dodged that bullet, and almost certainly trump was wrong when he argued that roy moore would be a reliable vote for the republican agenda, or certainly the trump agenda. mcconnell doesn't have to deal with a wild card in the senate who he can't control. he doesn't have to deal with the ethics process of trying to get him out of the senate because of his alleged predation. and on top of that, he avoids the political albatross that moore would have been in 2018. so i see those guys -- nobody
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likes to lose a seat, but man, if there's not june i will as l in the mcconnell and ryan households, there is relief. >> in this era of the exposure of sexual assault and harassment, we putting together a year-end special and we decided to call this period, this wave of social change, the reckoning. and doesn't it seem right now, this minute, as if it now includes everything? >> reporter: you saw those women who have accusing trump to come out in a press conference, in this #metoo environment that has
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brought down powerful men, and maybe get a second airing of those allegations. there was a sense in the white house initially that the president was invincible. what they pointed to was that voters knew all of this, which is true, and they elected him anyhow. he was caught on the "access hollywood" tape literally boasting about women's genitals and voters voted for him anyhow. i think what you're seeing with moore going down and more of these allegations come out and democrats especially sort of seizing the moral high ground and using it to attack republicans, and the president specifically even calling on him to resign, this is going to be a bigger issue. there is concern among trump allies that while he escaped it during the campaign, it might be tougher now when all of america is trained on this. >> vivian solana is with us, long time ap correspondent who these days works for us at nbc
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news. vivian, talk about the hit to the president's prestige, the would-be coattails that he could bring to this reliably republican state of alabama where roy moore has gone down to defeat. >> reporter: ryan, the president's ability to choose a winner suffers, but also the power of his endorsement. go back to the robocall he put out on sunday, he said "i need alabama to vote for roy moore, i'm trying to make america great again." he didn't mention roy moore again, he didn't mention anything about the state of alabama. it was all about how he was going to advance his agenda, how he was going to make america great again, and suddenly his guy didn't win. he will take that as a hit to everything he's trying to do. it's also a hit to the legitimacy of steve bannon's ability to mobilize the party. here we are going into 2010, a
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midterm election. we've had a lot of senate raises especially that democrats were embattled, how you're going to start questioning that going into 2018, to say well, maybe not so embattled, maybe those raises are more questionable than they were a few months ago. alabama of course had unique circumstances that led to tonight's results. but really, with the president and the republican party trying to find itself and really kind of chasing its tail around in the last couple of weeks over this race, we'll see what the outcome is come 2018. >> johnathan lemier, with this, as we said at the top of the broadcast, roy moore goes back to being an ousted and retired former judge in alabama. >> he does. and being accused of pedophilia or wanting pedophilia clearly is not something you want on your resume when you run for office. that's a lesson learned here.
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this was a perfect storm that led to the democrats taking this seat. we don't know if it can be repeated elsewhere. >> i'm told we should here what's being said at moore headquarters. >> i've just talked to the as is john merrill. he invites you to come to his office tonight at 11:00 p.m. if you're up to going to visit with the secretary of state at 11:00 p.m. so he can explain in detail the steps that are required from this point on. because you see the vote has to be certified later this month, and then after the vote is certified, if it's within 1/2 a percent, the law requires there to be a recount. you know, the military ballots aren't even in yet, they've not been counted. so -- [ cheers and applause ] we thank you for your enthusiasm. we thank the team. we have such a wonderful team and part of them are standing with me tonight. but the most important member of
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this team, i want to bring him on the stage right now, judge roy moore. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you. thank you. thank you. you know, i really want to thank you for coming tonight and realize when the vote is this close, it is not over. and we've still got to go by the rules about this recount provision. and the secretary of state has explained it to us. and we're expecting that the press will go up there and talk to them to find out what the situation is. but we also know that god is always in control. you know, part of the thing, part of the problem with this campaign is we've been painted in an unfavorable and unfaithful
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light. we've been put in a hole, if you will, and it reminds me of a passage in psalm 40. i waited patiently for the lord. he inclined to me and heard my cry and brought us out of a horrible pit, out of the mirey clay and established my goings and put a new song in our mouth even praising toward god many shall see it and hear it and shall be moved by that. if you will. and that's what we've got to do, is wait on god and let this process play out. i know it's late. we can't wait and have everybody wait until after 11:00. but the votes are still coming in. and we're looking at that. may god bless you as you go on, may he give you safe journey and thank you for coming tonight. it's not over. it's going to take some time. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] >> okay. here's what's going on. you see the raw totals at the
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bottom of your screen. you also see the wording that e we, using caution, have been using tonight, that jones is the apparent winner. the gentleman who introduced roy moore came out there at election headquarters to say it's not over. and you heard how he cited just the whiff of possible illegitimacy about tonight's vote being over. but again, raw vote totals at the bottom of your screen there, talking about the vote needing to be certified and officially counted, they're talking about military ballots coming in and needing to be counted. so while we look into all that and while we -- do we have steve at the big board? okay. we are hustling steve kornacki over to the big board to explain our math. we have long time former "new york times" executive editor
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howe howe howe howell raines standing by for us. >> i can, brian. it's a historic night in alabama. >> talk about it. what just happened in your home state? >> well, i think doug jones used the metaphor of the crossroads. i think that's right. and for the first time in 175 years, we took the indisputably right road. whether that is permanent or not, but we can say two things with certainty. alabama, for the moment, has thrown off the dead hand of george wallace. and we've crossed a demographic divide in which the modern urban educat educated, upwardly mobile population of alabama has
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coalesced and for the first time brought alabama to a place that atlanta and georgia, for example, passed in 1970. >> so you think what happened tonight, this is important, is for keeps, and put another way, there's no going back demographically? >> no, i'm not -- i know alabama too well to be that optimistic, brian. demographically, yes, there is no going back. and i think our feet are on the road that will take us in a different direction. but i think there could be significant bumps in the road. and you saw tonight from the churlish response of judge moore and for the president's comment, trying to cheapen the victory of doug jones by talking about write-ins. this is still a volatile, shifting environment that we're experiencing here. but that doesn't take away from
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the fact that this is a night like no other for alabama. and i don't want to bore people with history, but in 1844, alabama elected to congress a man named william yancey who led alabama and the nation in the civil war. since then we've had a terrifically harmful habit of electing people who are viewed as pariahs by the rest of the american political family. and tonight was the most radical departure from that pattern in my lifetime. and i think something else that bears talking about is what i think is an historic step taken by senator shelby, when he refused to vote for doug -- for judge moore. >> what will the impact of that be, now that it's done and dusted, we were talking about it up here in new york, that it seemed to cement his role,
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certainly with what was left of the center of republican voters in that state, as the senior senator from alabama, the veteran republican. >> yeah, and he's more than that. let me read the tea leaves a little for the benefit of those who may not follow alabama politics quite as closely as i do. senator shelby is the guardian of that institution, and he is the patriarch of the business community that is symbolized by the mercedes plant in his hometown of tuscaloosa. and that mercedes plant is part of a network of foreign owned businesses, honda, airbus and so forth. so this was, for a student of alabama politics, this was not
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just senator shelby departing from tradition and inserting himself in a race, which is very unusual for alabama congress members to do. but it will also be read here as the alabama establishment. there still is a republican establishment in alabama that was not thrown into disarray by the trump revolution. that was an important signal that movers and shakers of the republican party in alabama who are usually hidden, the business leadership, that senator shelby was saying to them, we are cutting roy moore loose and we want you to use not only your vote but your influence to make sure that that happens. and knowing the state as i do, i can tell you that two of the most important players in the state, paul bryant jr., the son of bear bryant, and nick saben
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were in no way surprised by what happened when senator shelby went on cnn on sunday. >> it all comes down to alabama, especially during football season. it's a fascinating place where you live, from mobile across the water to the gorgeous town of fair hope on north through talladega, and then birmingham, all the way to huntsville. hal raines, a real pleasure to have your viewpoint on air with us, thank you very much. >> thank you, brian. >> we've hustled steve kornacki, after a telephone call to our decision desk, to the big board. someone comes on stage and says it's not over yet. tell us what you think. >> well, i mean, look, the bottom line is you're seeing all the votes that are being tallied today. they're all counted from today. so you can see, we've been monitoring this spread. it's up north now of 20,000 votes, almost 21,000 votes for jones, the democrat. look, it is obviously a very close race.
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but there's close wins, 2,000, 200-vote margin, and there's close when it's a 21,000-vote margin. i think you have to say, when you're looking at 21,000, that's a close race where if you have a few outstanding ballots, if it's military ballots or something, you're not going to have the number of total ballots out there, let alone the share of them being moore, that you would need to overcome a 21,000 vote deficit. if we were sitting here talking about jones leading by a thousand votes or something, that would be one story. if you're sitting here north of 20,000, that's actually pretty comfortable territory for a democrat to be in when all the ballots are counted in alabama. >> you're going to force me to quote rumsfeld again, it's sort of known unknowns. there is somewhere a figure of how many especially outstanding military absentees there are in the state of alabama. and if we had the time and inclination and computer strength, i bet you we could figure this one out. >> we'll find 'em.
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>> steve kornacki, thank you very much. robert costa has been able to join us from "the washington post" newsroom. robert, we've been anxious to talk to you. we know you've been on the phone, we know you've been te s texting. >> reporter: my sources around president trump say that moore had his problem but they were trying to make sure they could bolster the president's base in the deep south, in his core state of ael of alabama. that's why he went to pensacola, that's why he did the robocall. you saw his reaction, not rage but an overture to doug jones because the president knows the senate now has a 51-seat republican majority, very narrow. he's going to need doug jones, they say, to get anything done next year especially with senator collins, a moderate, senator paul and other conservatives often wary of any
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legislation that's proposed, he needs jones now. the environment's changed. >> tell me what a 51-49 senate looks like as opposed to 52-48. >> reporter: it's a big difference, because now moderate republicans and democrats can shape the conversation in a way that they have not over the past year. it's such a narrow majority that when i talked to david axelrod tonight, bob shrum, veteran democrats, they say now democrats can have a say in the way things are tilted. they may not be able to change the tax debate that's moved so far, so fast, democrats are probably not going to be able to stop that before jones is sworn in. at the same time, the bigger projects of next year, infrastructure, welfare reform, things republicans have talked about, democrats either want to stall it or pull it back. because of the 51-majority in the senate for the republicans, they think they can do that. >> i want to put up the headline from the "usa today" editorial
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tonight. this is not the one we were looking for. we're going to try to get that on screen. they wrote an editorial tonight about what happened today between the president and kirsten gillibrand of new york. we're looking -- i'm sorry, what i need we don't have, that is part of the body of the piece. robert, you've covered this guy for a long time. were you surprised at how he chose to engage a senator from new york? >> reporter: never surprised, brian. if you've followed president trump's career, he's had this kind of style in public life since the 1970s, very combative, incendiary when it comes to his comments about women, about different kinds of groups. but democrats now think they can seize on this, they think the president now will pay a political cost. our friend phil rucker was at a dinner tonight with senator klobuchar of minnesota. she said on record to rucker,
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you look at virginia, alabama, the suburban voter, they've had enough, not just with roy moore perhaps but with the temperament at the top of the republican party. and that's the way the democrats who have struggled to make an economic argument at times amid president trump's populism, now they see an opening in the culture, an aversion, sometimes even a revulsion against the tactics and style of president trump and the republican party. it's a year away from the mid-terms, you don't want to lean into too much, but the democrats tonight are optimistic. >> i now have the quote standing by. it reads, "a president who'd all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets in obama's presidential library or to shine george w. bush's shoes. obama and bush both failed in many ways. they broke promises and told untruths. but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt. donald trump, the man, on the other hand, is uniquely awful.
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his sickening behavior is corrosive to the enterprise of a shared governance based on the common values and the consent of the governed." what say you to that, mr. costa? >> reporter: i mean, that kind of hard hitting editorial, you're going to maybe see across the country. that kind of language, though, brian, i mean, it makes me cringe as a person to hear those kind of words in our national political discourse, but this is the time we live in. those are the words we sometimes hear. and the democrats believe in alabama and elsewhere that this is the turning point, that the president's language adds fuel to the fire when it comes to people's concerns in some of these suburban areas, suburban areas that may have went for him a year ago because of anxiety and grievance because of the global economy. now because of the president's behavior and conduct, things are turning. we're in a different era than a year ago where these kind of questions about conduct are at
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the fore in a different kind of way. when the president had women come out with allegations, he still won the election. now people are not always sure that the president's denials and his combative statements like he did with senator gillibrand today that had a swift backlash, whether that same dynamic they saw in the campaign will replay again this year. that kind of confusion over the kind of battleground we're in political, we're all in, covering it, whether you're in it as a player or as a reporter, that kind of uncertainty vexes the white house tonight. >> one more question and i'll let you go. do you buy this theory out there today also among headline writers that the president might have just met a formidable 2020 opponent from his home state of new york today? >> reporter: senator gillibrand and senator warren have come under intense scrutiny, criticism, attacks from president trump. why? it's simple, brian. people close to the president say he wants to attack those who are looking to run against him in 2020 and those who he sees as strong contenders.
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so in a way, what senator gillibrand has endured today, she may mind personally uncomfortable and distasteful, so do many democrats and republicans. but it's a sign the president is paying attention to senator gillibrand. >> thank you for mentioning that you just filed your story and we'll all go to "the washington post" website. >> reporter: it's my day job, brian. >> we have chris shays here with us in studio. i've been thinking about you a lot lately, you've come on to talk about, as we jokingly call it, your former republican party. what do you make of tonight's result, congressman? >> i know that roy moore was quoting the bible. i just want to say thank god. thank god he lost. praise to the african-american
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community that rewarded a man who stood by them, doug jones, that's a touching element to this story. i just feel a lot better about my country. and now speaking as a republican candidate and office holder, can you imagine how hard it has been to be a republican? can you imagine what it would be like if roy moore had won? it would follow you the rest of your time. and to your next election. and steve bannon has been terrorizing this party. he's making it smaller. and he lost big time. so he's not going to be the terror that he's been. so praise the lord. >> johnathan lemier is here with us in the new york studio. i should reference, you might want to take a good look at the congressman, a rare bird, a republican who had democrats cross over and vote for him. while i'm attempting to
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embarrass you, congressman, but will we see your brand of republicanism again? >> the bell curve of where the american people are, left to right, is center right is cent. in congress it is an inverted bell curve. there is no one this the middle. you are starting to see that, there are some young members both republicans and democrats. you are starting to see that. they have never known a congress that worked together. some of the new members want to find it. >> here's jonathan lemere with the "associated press" where you do truly do on a daily basis write the first draft of history. how many lead off articles have you wrote about polling, about americans being frustrated with their congress? the people are tacitly asking for what the congressman is talking about.
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>> sure. people want to see washington work. they want to feel like their representatives have their best interests in mind. they want to see their problems addressed. the best way for that to happen is for democrats and republicans to work together. partisanship has grown, this president is always looking to fight. he is not accused of being a great uniter. that's not his style, he is a counter-puncher, it's us versus them. he rallies around his base a common goal, a common entity, in most cases himself and pushes forward that way. tonight, yes, there does seem to be a change. it's unlikely for a democratic to win in alabama. i don't know that we should draw huge lessons from one night. this was a special case, roy moore was a special and damaged candidate. i don't think, despite the
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graciousness from the president i don't know that we should expect that to be hisian tone going forward. this is a brawler. i think the president what he has seen worked for him that got him in office is more of what we saw this morning with the attack on senator gillibrand. that is the president trump style. he's not going to be reaching across the aisle very often. >> vivian salaama is listening to our conversation in washington. with the experience under her belt of having sat in that white house press briefing and covered this president for so long. vivian? >> brian, the amazing similarity that we are seeing between the alabama race and last year's presidential election is this constant response from so many people we spoke to that say i voted for this candidate because i didn't want to vote for the other guy or the other gal as the case was last year in the presidential election. no one is inspired anymore. no one talks about the candidate like they move me, their words, their actions, and what they stand for. we don't hear that language a lot. and whether or not you support
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president obama, people voted for president obama, it's -- you know, you can't really argue the fact that it was a major driving force to get people to the polls in record numbers in 2008 is that this whole -- this whole any of change, that he was going to bring change to the white house and he inspired all these voters. you know, you don't hear that language anymore, whether or not it was true or it was just superficial for the obama race that won him the election. you don't hear it anymore. it is an interesting symptom that's come out in our political system in the last year or two where thing are just changing and the mood is i think chaing. and unfortunately, what jonathan was just saying, the president hasn't really taken action to inspire people and to motivate them and to really look into character and into -- >> that's going to cost him. >> and what they stand for. >> congressman? >> it's going to cost him. you are right, it's going to cost him because people are going to get for and more turned
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off by this man and members of congress are going to say i don't want to be like him i don't want to follow him. >> he attacked another sitting u.s. senator today. >> i know, but he's making himself look like a fool. may i put in a good word for republicans. shelby, a courageous man, i respect what he did. >> that's what republican senators used to do. >> yeah. and i think that's elevating this discussion. >> thank you for saying that. vivian, thank you. i'm told steve kornacki is back at the board with more numbers. steve does it speak to this this is not over point they are trying to make. >> yeah, we can take you through the numbers on the question of absentees, providingals, military, the headline, it's over. a 21,000 vote lead for jones as we said. morris folks are saying there are absentee votes out there and military ballots. let me take you through this em. absentee ballots that's the
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lion's share, hoarse the thing, they were counted, they were submitted ahead of time. counties counted them up, they were basically among the first counted. you can forget those. the provisional ballots and the military ballots, there are going to be some of those. we don't know the exact total but the total is probably 1 thun to 15,000, but even if you gave every single one of those when he is down 21,000, he is only down 20,000 once those are counted in. i have got the nail this one down. i think there may be an option for moore if he wanted to pay for it to have a refund. again all the things you would be looking at to normally say too close to call, we don't see any of those right now, this is a solid lead for jones the democrat. >> i'm surprised to see what
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they callologically the black belt. so named because of the color of topsoil in alabama, which is tonight, in electoral map terms, a strip of blue across alabama. and jones can really tharch the get out the vote and the vote operation there tonight? we get to follow up on these things because we talk ad nauseam in the run up about the importance of turn out. this area of the state in particular is what you are talking about here. here's the metric we were more on thing to judge turnout. the share -- take the total vote, what share is it of the 2016 vote? basically in this area you were seeing 70 to 75% turnout level when you compared it to the 2016. 70 to 75% of the public of people who turned out last year. this is the heavily democratic black areas of the state. down here these are rural heavily white areas. what were you seeing, 5 # to 60%
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of the 2016 level. that says more energy here than you saw here and here. more energy in the democratic race than in the republican base made a huge difference. >> steve kornacki at the board. thanks so much. ng back with jonathan lamur and congressman hayes. congressman, i hate to do this, we want to tell our viewers chris matthews is stabbeding by live to take the next hour three minutes from now. do you think it will be some kind of marketing that some republicans, if they are watching the wins, if they are measuring the wins -- >> and they are. >> do you think some of them are going to run in shall we call it the chris hayes model, they used to call you a moderate republican. >> send rhys republican would be good thing. and doug jones has the opportunity of a lifetime. everybody is going to watch him. if he goes and doesn't back part
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of the partisan mess in the senate and reaches out to republicans it is going to be a very moving thing for other people to see. >> jonathan lemere, what will you be watching tomorrow. >> where do you want to be situated? >> in front of my known,, at real donald trump trump. >> is that -- >> is where we need to be tomorrow. won't be surprised. we know how the president tweets early in the morning, often during fox and friends. if he sees something that inkers him about the race then you will see a different tone than he had tonight congratulating doug jones. we will see the ram picks. certainly democrats are energized. this is a huge unhillary clintonly win, one not many would have predicted months ago. they feel like they can build off of this, virginia and new jersey a few months ago. and after a tough year or two for that party have energy going into 2018.
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>> in era we have decided to call on our hour the reckoning and all that it entails. the president also finds pressure coming in from that side. he may feel a little bit like he's in a compactor. >> there is no question. certainly the white house aides have warily watched some of this me too movement right now. they know the president survived this a year ago after the access hollywood tape after those women came forward. we heard sarah huckabee sanders say at the podium repeatedly, this issue was litigated because the president won the election. that might not be the case. the voters have taken this moment to resurface their allegations. we have seen senators calling for his resignation. we have seen dozens call for investigations, congressional probes into the matter. we are also seeing it as something that could weaken further a president already saddled with poor poll numbers who has seen his agenda stall
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and tonight he was dealt a stinging blow when a republican senate lost a senate race in alabama. >> thank you gentlemen, both of you for your contributions tonight. as i said in an adjacent studio, a live edition of hard ball with chris matthews starts right now. roy moore is no midnight cowboy. let's play hard ball. ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington with major breaking news. the man who rode to the polls today on horseback ends tonight dismounted and defeated. the next senator from the state of alabama will be a democrat. according to nbc news, doug jones is the apparent winner in the state. in the end, it seems, judge roy moore proved to be a step too far even for alabama. the victory means a


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