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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  December 28, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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colleagues at the networks of nbc news, good night. rachel has the night off and we start tonight with that very important breaking news. you know, one of the things that was almost most surprising about the former-senate majority leader harry reid was just how quiet he was. in fact, during interviews, it was not uncommon to be almost unable to hear him. that's how soft spoken he actually was. but there was another side to harry reid in all this. in fact, in the late 1970s, harry reid was the chair of the nevada gaming commission overseeing the state's very important casinos. now, this is the story of a man who tried to bribe him from a new yorker profile back in 2005.
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in part, it reads in july of 1978, a man named jack gordon who was later married to latoya jackson offered reid $12,000 to approve two new gaming devices for casino use. reid reported the attempted bribe to the fbi and arranged a meeting with gordon in his office. by agreement, fbi agents burst in to arrest gordon at the point where reid asked "is this the money?" although he was taking part in a sting, reid was unable to control his temper. the videotape shows him getting up from his chair and saying you son of a bleep, you tried to bribe me. and attempting to choke gordon, before startled agents pulled him off. i was so angry with him for thinking he could bribe me reid said at the time. nevada democratic senator harry reid -- he was quiet, except when he wasn't. senator reid died today at the age of 82. he spent 30 years in the u.s. senate, eight of them as majority leader.
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spent another five years in the house, before that. and he earned a reputation as a gritty, determined, behind-the-scenes fighter in the capitol. now, that reputation was never more deserved than when he managed to steer president obama's landmark healthcare bill through the senate in 2009 over unified republican opposition. possibly -- possibly his greatest legislative achievement. but harry reid will also be remembered for presiding over the senate during a time when republican entrance gensy reached new heights. actually, i had the opportunity to speak with senator reid last year on election day. here is what he had to say about the republican party now. >> do you feel that the republicans have adequately resisted, in any way, shape, or form, what the president has done and said to try and paint this electoral system as rigged?
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>> united states is a country that people look to with envy because of our two-party system. it's worked out well. i believe in the two-party system. i think the republican party, democratic party. donald trump was willing to brand the republican party. that's why you have a lincoln project and many other republicans who are outwardly saying we can't have trump again, we got to get rid of him. and that's the truth. i am so -- i think that where we see in the senate, my colleagues in the senate. i think they've been very disappointing to me. they should not have put up with trump has done. he's done so much damage to the institution of the senate and the country. we've had republicans, except for mitt romney, nobody will speak out against him. >> and as you can imagine, reaction is pouring in. in fact, harry reid's successor as the democratic leader in the
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senate chuck schumer put out this statement tonight on reid's passing. in part it reads harry reid was one of the most amazing individuals i ever met. he was tough as nails strong but caring and compassionate but always went out of his way quietly to help people who needed help. he was a boxer who came from humble origins but he never forgot where he came from and used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting, the poor, and the middle class. he was my leader, my mentor, one of my greatest, dearest friends. he is gone but he will walk by the sides of many of us in the senate every single day. chuck schumer, of course, is now majority leader of an evenly divided 50-50 senate. it is worth noting here that the last time that happened -- the last time the senate was split 50-50, republican senator jim jeffords of vermont switched parties and actually handed control of the senate to the democrats. the man who made that switch happen was harry reid. reid even gave up his committee
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chairmanship to sweeten the deal and to get jeffords to make that leap. but of course, harry reid was not just a senate leader. he was a senator from nevada. and so, of course, he left his mark most especially on his home state and his constituents. in fact, just two weeks ago, las vegas renamed its airport in reid's honor. travelers to vegas will now fly into harry reid international airport. joining us now is john rawlson, coe of nevada independent. he was first to report the news of reid's passing tonight. it is great to have you with us. i know it's such a sad state -- a sad night for your state, and certainly for people across this country. let me start by getting your reaction and the reaction of -- of people you are talking to in nevada tonight. the family and constituents of that great state. >> well, you know, it -- it is a sad night no matter how you felt about harry reid, he was a remarkable figure in -- in nevada's history and.
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you know, i am -- i am writing a book about reid and -- and -- and it's clear -- been clear to me for a while, and even more so after the research i did, that he is the most influential, most important public figure in the history of nevada. and obviously, because of his time in the u.s. senate, one of the most influential of the last quarter-century or so. and -- and you mentioned a lot in your intro, of -- of what makes him such a fascinating figure. one -- one who doesn't lend himself to the social media clips of today and you are already seeing the -- the pro and the con for. and he was a very contradictory man. he was ruthless as any person i ever covered, and yet he also -- there are so many stories of -- of private, kind gestures to people, high and low, of -- of harry reid. i mean, all of the lore that you hear about harry reid and the -- the son of a hard rock miner and
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who grew up in abject poverty. then, ran for mayor of las vegas and got crushed and should have disappeared from the political fevment. was the gaming regulatory chief and by the way, there was so much about his time there that is not known, including the story that you told about jack gordon and reid wanting to strangle him after the bribe attempt. there is a lot more to that, too. he is just one of those politicians who doesn't fit into some easy description on twitter or facebook and there are so many stories that i know and have been told since i began to research this -- this book. he truly is one of a kind -- was one of a kind. >> yeah. and i want to speak to you a little bit about his legacy, and how he changed our national politics for good or for bad but i do want to just go back to
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that point you were talking about there and, that is, his humble beginning. his legacy in nevada really began all the way back with, as we just mentioned there in that setup, his -- his tangling with the mob when he was the head of the nevada gaming commission. but undoubtedly, it must have shaped his world view, his politics coming from such humble beginnings to the height of american legislative power. talk to me a little bit about this and his early legacy before he entered national politics. >> yeah. you are right on both of those things that you mentioned. the time in the gaming commission, but especially when he was -- when his character i believe was forged in this tiny speck of a town in -- in nevada called search light outside of las vegas where he lived most -- most of his early life. he -- he -- he had to hitchhike to get to school. he had to learn to swim and in a swimming pool at a brothel. all of those stories are true. but the -- he -- he really lived
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in horrific poverty with -- with his family with an alcoholic father who would later commit suicide. and reid then committed himself to some legislation on suicide. and there's a lot more that he did. but that toughness, that grit that no patience for anything or anyone except to continue moving forward in his life was forged in -- in that tiny town of search light. and it certainly came out during his time as -- as the state's chief gaming regulator when -- when the -- not only was that bribe attempt part of history but his car -- a bomb was planted in his car. and only by -- by happenstance, did -- did that not blow up. and he told very poignantly of his little 5-year-old son appearing out the window when -- when law enforcement came to
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diffuse that bomb in his car. there was a famous video clip. i urge everyone to go see it. of harry reid confronting the mobster or mob front frank rosenthal during a gaming commission meeting. it is a fascinating piece of -- of video. frank rosenthal. to make him more accessible, was the person that robert de niro's character in "casino" was based on. it is really worth watching that clip to see the toughness of harry reid. >> and, john, i mean no disrespect to the state of nevada and to the residents of that great state, but he also managed to get nevada to punch above its weight in our national political discourse because even after his retirement, harry reid continued to play an extremely important role in nevada politics and the way that nevada politics impacted our national politics. his endorsements were key in the early nevada presidential primaries. everybody knew where to stop after iowa and what happens to
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nevada's democratic political machine after this is really i guess up for grabs. how does it change nevada democratic politics and who is in line to take his place? >> yeah, it's a great question. there will never be another harry reid, ayman. and his dominance of nevada politics as a gatekeeper, as a person whose ring needed to be kissed and even if you kissed his ring, he still might slap your face with his hand and say he's not going to support you. he was absolutely ruthless in that role, as well. but he was a tremendously polarizing figure, both nationally and in the state because of the way he just had to patience for the niceties, as his famous hanging up on people without saying good-bye. from president obama, all the way to some person that -- that -- a friend of his who might have called him. there is no one who was going to replace harry reid. his machine is still intact and -- and -- and the gears are still being oiled by the same
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people he put in place. but it'll never be the same. and again, i use this word way too often and i will use it again. i think for the third time in this interview, his ruthlessness was part of what defined him but he always thought he was being ruthless in -- in service of what he thought was the right goal, including, by the way, if i may say, his going nuclear on -- in 2013 i believe which many republicans now rejoice that he did. saying he's responsible for those three supreme court justices under the trump administration. when i interviewed him for the book -- and i have 24 zooms on this computer with harry reid which is more than he talked to -- to -- in almost his 35 years of service -- he has no regrets. and i mean no regrets for -- for -- for doing that. but it'll be one of the things he's remembered for and not so favorably by members of his own
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party for many, many years. >> and listen. two things. one, make sure you back up the harddrive on that computer because we are going to want to see every minute of those 24 zoom interviews you did with him because there is a lot of insight in those interview, i'm sure. but i am curious to get your thoughts, john, on this. when you look back at whether -- the way he changed or impacted the filibuster, his ability to pass the obama care bill. whether or not his views og doon away with the filibuster now that he wrote about as recently as september of this year, what do you think harry reid's legacy will be? what will he be remembered for on the national stage? >> well, i think some people will -- will remember him for -- for that and -- and -- and not in a good way. some people will blame his leadership style for the beginning of the degradation of the legislative process. the polarizing partisanship.
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but you cannot take away from him what his legislative genius was. barack obama would never have passed the healthcare bill that bears his name -- obama care -- without harry reid. president obama would acknowledge that and so would everyone else around him. his tenacity, his legislative skil -- bribery of some of his colleagues to get their votes, ayman. i wrote back at the time and i believe now even having collected more data and reporting on what happened during then, it should be called reid care as much as it should be called obamacare. and maybe, only harry reid possessed the skills that he honed over all those decades in public life and -- and his dedication to knowing everything about the senate. only he could have gotten that done. >> john, i couldn't think of a better person to speak to
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tonight on the life and legacy of harry reid. ceo of the nevada independent, thank you so much for joining us on this night. greatly appreciate it, john. >> appreciate your having me. thanks so much. >> as we mentioned earlier, out of nevada, longtime senate majority leader harry reid passing away this evening at the age of 82. when we come back, a big update from the cdc about the new omicron variant of the coronavirus. it is leading to a lot of questions, and we will get some experts to try to answer those questions for you. but first, unfortunately, one more thing to share in addition to news of harry reid's passing. sad news tonight for football fans around the world. john madden -- the legendary coach and broadcaster -- died today at the age of 85. madden, of course, rose to fame by winning the super bowl in 1977 as coach of the oakland raiders at the time. he then embarked on a decades-long career as the league's signature broadcaster. in fact, madden called 11 -- 11 super bowls between 1979 and
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2009. he also became the face of the popular madden video game franchise for younger generations. tonight in a statement, nfl commissioner roger goodell said there will never be another john madden. we will forever be indebted to him for all he did to make football and the nfl what it is today. hall-of-fame coach and broadcaster, john madden, was 85. we'll be right back. we have to be able to repair the enamel on a daily basis. with pronamel repair toothpaste, we can help actively repair enamel in its weakened state. it's innovative.
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so today, the cdc is making a big update to how much of the coronavirus in this count vi actually the new omicron variant. last week, the cdc estimated that omicron made up more than 73% of the previous week's covid cases. this week, though, they are actually saying that they overestimated. and they overestimated by a lot. they revised last week's reported number down from 73% to about 23%. now, as for their update this week, they say omicron now accounts for about 59% of
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circulate koeg vid cases in the u.s. and it's important to note here that these are pretty significant changes but here is the bottom line in all this. it is that omicron is now the dominant strain of this virus in this country. those changes, also, tell us that tracking a virus that is rapidly spreading and mutating is actually really hard work. it's even harder work to do in real-time. the cdc can only provide estimates based on the data they have available and when they have new data, they react accordingly. that is what the cdc has been trying to do as we all work to combat this pandemic with the ground constantly, constant shifting underneath us. that is the job. yesterday, the cdc published another update, this time to guidance for people who test positive for covid. specifically, on how long they have to isolate themselves. now, the cdc now says that as long as you are not showing any symptoms of covid-19, you only have to isolate for five days after you test positive. that is actually down from the
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original ten days that the cdc was recommending. but that recommendation and the caveats -- they include, you know, for people who are vaccinated, people who are boosted. for unvaccinated, that actually has sparked a lot of confusion. it has sparked criticism and as you can imagine, it also has praise -- raised some praise as well and we certainly have a lot of questions so we want to try to get some of those answered for you tonight. joining us now, andy slavitt, the former senior adviser for covid response for the biden administration and president obama's former acting administrator of the centers for medicaid and medicare services. also, ashish jha. dr. jha, i would like to start with you here for a moment. we know that you have been advocating for a shortened isolation period for some time now. i follow you on twitter. i know a lot of people in this country do, as well. you also recommended that people that test negative at the end of those five days should leave
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isolation. but your key point was testing neg at the end of five days. we also know some airline ceos wrote to the cdc last week to ask them to shorten the isolation period to five days and they also asked for a negative test to end isolation. you obviously know that the cdc did not make that specific recommendation. what do you make of the cdc's decision yesterday to shorten isolation to five days without requiring a negative test at the end of it? >> so thanks and thanks for having me back. um, i do think a shorter isolation period makes sense for a lot of reasons. ten days is unnecessary for a vast majority of people and it's pretty disruptive to people's lives. people can't get back to their families and their kids so there is a lot of good reasons to shorten it. i really think a negative antigen test at the end of five days helps a lot. now, the cdc obviously decided not to use that. and instead, what they are saying is people should mask up for another five days. if people actually complied with
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that and had a high-quality mask, i think that'd be a reasonable alternative. i just -- i just worry about how much people will follow it and i think a negative test would have been much more effective. >> mr. slavitt, are we unable to require a negative test to release people from isolation after five days because there are still not enough tests in this country? i mean, is that a public health failing on the part of this administration? i am curious to get your thoughts as to why the cdc did it this way because i know there is reporting that the biden administration dismissed a plan pitched back in october to ramp up at-home testing ahead of the holidays. so, the need to increase rapid testing around the holidays seems to have been a known concern, at least for officials. >> yeah. well, and i can speak to that story because i was actually part of that call. the vanity fair reporter actually didn't get it quite right but be that as it may, the cdc has to balance a number of
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things when they make these decisions. unfortunately, there are no perfect decisions that this pandemic presents. you have to essentially make judgments that are going to be the smartest and soundest judgments. and as -- as ashish has said, you have -- you know, even if 5% of people are infectious slip through the cracks because they leave too early, you have to remember that there are also 95% of people that were staying home, not going to work, not seeing their families. if they were being isolated for too long. so saying that you can -- you can leave isolation after five days if you have no symptoms, and i agree with ashish completely -- ideally, you take -- you take a test to show and a negative -- a negative result. um, you know, it -- it is unbalanced a data based -- data-driven kind of response from the cdc. there is going to be people that are going to criticize them at all times on both sides and i think that's -- but they just have to continue to put their heads down and do their jobs like they are doing. >> yeah, and you have such unique perspective because you
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were on the inside of that decision-making process. i know that there have been several public health experts who have been saying that publicly that this decision is based on science that is a year old, and actually excludes data on the omicron variant which is the dominant strain in this country as we were just saying there base on the cdc. if that is true -- and tell us if it is not true -- but if that is true, is this guidance a bit of a gamble? why make the change now before we have more data on how long people who have omicron are, in fact, contagious? >> well, dr. jha can talk a little bit about the difference between omicron and delta and whether that has any bearing. what i can say is that the cdc makes its judgments on their own with their own scientists based on the best data they have and they adjust as they go along and the white house, for sure when i was there and i think this continue, really doesn't meddle in the science. we may make policy based on what the science tells us and interprets -- interprets.
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but if the cdc believes that the vast majority of people aren't going to be infectious after five days, they view it's their obligation to say so. whether or not they are going to get criticized or praise doesn't enter into the situation. whether or not an airline's ceo feels one way or another doesn't enter the situation. cdc doesn't run a popularity contest. they do the best they can with the data. and i think as we know with this pandemic, it is always better to -- there's no one thing that works perfectly whether it's a vaccine, whether it's a test, whether it's -- it's anything else. a mask. so, i think smart people always suggest you do layered activities. and so, if you are going to leave after five days, um, isolation, then taking other steps makes a lot of sense. >> dr. jha, to -- to andy's point, he had an interesting point about, you know, how people, you know, if 5% slip through the crack and perhaps interpret things differently. and it had me thinking here for a moment because we know that
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isolation is meant to minimize the spread of the virus by changing a person's typical behavior after they test positive. we know many people are already misinterpreting the cdc's guidance because we know that a lot of people will not be wearing masks, certainly not after the five days of mandatory quarantine. they may not be wearing scientific masks or high-quality masks like n95. we know that anti-vaxxers are unlikely to participate in other mitigating factors but the issue of the asymptomatic or mild symptoms seems to be so subjective because a lot of people in country are going to say i feel like this is a mild symptom for me, not knowing they could still be contagious. will this isolation guidance, um, as the general public will apply to it their behavior, work? >> yeah, it's a great question. i have two thoughts on that. first of all, you have to remember if you have a ten-day isolation, that also creates a disincentive for people who have mild symptoms or feel pretty well to even bother getting
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tested because they know if they test positive, they are isolated for ten days. so, anything we can do to lower the barrier puts more people into isolation and if the first five days are the really contagious time, anything we can do to get more people isolated for those first-five days is critical. now, on the issue of whether people will, you know, what their behavior will be, i think this is pretty variable. in my mind, will there be people who, after five days, not wear a mask? you bet. lot of those people probably weren't isolating, anyway. and to the extent that they do, they may not. but as andy said, there is a balancing act here because what you do is you create incentives for more people to get isolated. and second, you allow people to get back to their families and lives who are not contagious much, much faster and that has real benefit, as well. >> dr. jha, there is a new study that is out from south africa that actually indicates that people with omicron, especially the vaccinated, develop enhanced immunity from the delta variant which was the dominant strain just before we got hit with
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omicron. and according to the study, this actually could have a silver lining. it means that the omicron variant could or will push out the delta variant. what are the implications of this if this is true for the country? >> yes, preliminary data from a really high-quality research group, the siegel lab, they have done fabulous work on this. and what you basically find -- what they find is that people who got infected with omicron generate a vast number of different types of antibodies, including ones that work against delta. look. this is obviously good news. this is not how we want to generate antibodies against delta by getting people infected with omicron. better to do it through vaccines. but if you have been vaccinated, you will get a boost against delta. if you have not been vaccinated, you may get quite sick but if you recover, you will have some protection against delta, as well. so, overall, i see this as part of one of the few silver linings of getting infections but let's be very clear. getting infected with omicron is a pretty tough way to generate those antibodies.
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vaccines are much better. >> yeah. and -- and andy, i wanted to ask you about this op-ed you wrote in "the washington post." you -- you make the case for why we need to have boosters certainly mandatory and you write in part, businesses, sports leagues, colleges, hospitals, and schools should require anyone who risks exposing others to have that third shot. protocols such as this that keep up with the latest evolving science should be routine and without much controversy at this point in the pandemic. obviously, we have not reached that stage, yet, in this country. why do you think we have not seen many booster mandates yet? and do you expect to see that in the near future? >> i think they are starting to -- to happen. they are starting to come in much more broadly from -- from sports leagues, um, from schools. and i think the evolving science suggests that if you want to have an environment which is safe for people who are immunocompromised to come in and when people don't have to worry about getting covid, that there
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needs to be a higher level of antibody response than you just get from two doses. and i think it will remain to be seen whether or not the supreme court is going to allow, as we think they should, hospitals and employers to keep safe workplaces. to keep places that are safe for patients to come in. but i -- but certainly, employers don't have to wait for the supreme court. they have got all the ability. everybody out there has the ability to decide for themselves whether or not their space is going to be a place where people are going to be able to get covid or not. and they should take every step -- every step according to the latest science to make sure that happens. in some cases, it will mean a little bit more aggressive steps like a third boost. in other cases, it will mean less aggressive steps like the cdc says today people don't need to isolate for as long. so it's i think a lot to keep up with but if you want to keep a safe space that you control, that's the way to do it. >> andy slavitt, the former senior adviser for covid response for the biden
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administration. president obama's former acting administrator of the centers for medicare and medicaid services and dr. ashish jha, dean of the brown university school of public health. gentlemen, thanks for answering some of our questions tonight. greatly appreciate your time this evening. still ahead here tonight. we are going to be joined, live, by senate majority leader chuck schumer in a few minutes to get his reaction to the passing of former-majority leader harry reid. stay with us. ith us it's fast, powerful long-lasting relief with a revolutionary, rollerball design. because with the right pain reliever... life opens up. aleve it... and see what's possible. you could be working with someone outside your company and wait for back and forth e-mail, or a call to be rescheduled for the third time. orrr... you could use slack. and work faster with everyone you work with, together in one place. slack. where the future works.
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kentucky's republican senator land paul is creating a stir with his latest bonkers tweet describing sinister motives to democrats' standard and perfectly legal get out the vote tactics. citing an article how biden won the badger state in 2020, the kentucky senator made sure to add this qualifier, first. he writes, quote, how to steal an election. paul then quoted from the
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article seating an area heavy with potential democratic votes with as many absentee ballots as possible targeting and convincing potential voters to complete them in a legally valid way, and then harvesting and counting the results. i mean, targeting and convincing voters in a legally valid way? as one georgia law professor put it plainly, quote, this is what we call -- wait for it -- voting. of course, georgia has become the epicenter of the fight for political power in this country after delivering democrats the white house and control of the senate last cycle. all eyes will be on georgia, once again, next year with a critical senate race, governor's race, and several house seats in play. and georgia republicans are pulling out every trick -- every trick in the book to dismantle recent democratic gains. you will remember rachel covered the absolutely mind-boggling story out of georgia where the republican board in lincoln
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county -- a small, very rural county with no public transportation -- and how they are seeking to shut down six of the seven polling places in that one county. that was made possible after the republican-controlled georgia general assembly passed legislation earlier-this year disbanding that county's board of elections. well, thanks to another bill republicans have purged black democrats from county election boards. all, in the name of the so-called election integrity fight that they have been waging. here is the headline from the atlanta journal constitution just yesterday. alleged dead georgia voters found alive and well after 2020 election. in part, it reads false claims that there were thousands of ballots cast in the names of dead georgia voters can now rest in peace. election investigators found just four absentee ballots in the 2020 presidential election from voters who had died. all of them, returned by relatives. in case you didn't hear me, it
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was four ballots across the entire state of georgia, not the 5,000 that trump claimed constituted -- claimed that was definitive proof that he had, in fact, won georgia. but now, nearly all republicans running for statewide office in georgia, including the governor who refused trump's -- to say the 2020 election was fraudulent last time have embraced the former president's obsession with voter fraud. almost every single one of them. now, to win georgia, republican candidates are running on the lie that widespread and out-of-control voter fraud exists. while republicans in the state legislature are actually simultaneously stripping away voting rights from the citizens of that state. joining us now is latosha brown, she is the co-founder of black voters matter. a group that's been campaigning to get georgia based businesses to come out against this wave of state legislation to restrict voting rights.
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miss brown, thank you so much for being here with us tonight. greatly appreciate your time. how can proponents of voting rights fight back against this wave of restrictive voting rights that we are seeing republicans pass in your state this year? is there -- is there a way to outorganize this or a way to fight this? or is this going to require some type of intervention from the federal government? >> i mean, i think it's going to require a bunch of things. i think there there are levels of -- of ways that we need to address this. first thing, i think there are four things that come to mind. the first thing is we need to repeal the bill. that is, this legislative session coming up, there are going to be organizations and groups and people like myself that are actually calling for repeal of s.b. 202 and we can't just let that stand. here it is a bill that was passed to punish voters because of the way they voted or who they voted for and so there has to be a push and a movement here in georgia to repeal the bill. the second thing is we need new leadership. the governor was the head -- the -- the leader in chief to lead these efforts.
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um, and to sign and bring this bill forward to punish the voters of georgia and there is a governor's election coming this year and i think that the best message to send is we have to send him home. there have to be serious consequences to what he has done, as well as republicans in this state. the third thing is every single republican -- i don't think just in georgia but all across this nation -- should be challenged on the local, state, and federal level. we have to literally let people know how serious we are around voter suppression and we are not going to allow that. and the fourth thing is we have got to continue to push for federal legislation. we cannot out organize. what we can do is organize ourselves and put pressure points. it's like death by a thousand cuts. it is going to require us bringing many tools to the table because they have brought many tools to actually suppress the vote. >> miss brown, i know, you know, your organization and others that have been tracking this, do you think these voting restrictions in georgia will have the effect of depressing democratic turnout? or will they actually motivate more democratic voters to go to
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the poll? what do you think the net effect will be, based on what you have seen so far? >> listen. let me say -- and we've said this from the beginning -- that this is going to be an uphill battle. you know, the challenge is -- you know, i think one of the things that the republicans constantly do is they underestimate the power and the resiliency of black voters in this state. and i think what you are going to see, um, in the state of georgia is i think we are going to see a historic turnout again. that does not mean that it is going to be a walk in the park because here we are dealing with circumstances that our voters are more vulnerable. that we are dealing with circumstances that republicans have done everything they can to not only marginalize and make it harder to vote, but also to take over the administrative process. to weaponize that in a way that, if they don't like the results, they can actually challenge or turn over the results. and so, i think that is really important this year i think it is going to have a -- a -- an impact, overall, around literally making it harder to vote and putting additional pressure on organizations to actually turn out the vote. but i also think that it also
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has, um, another impact that what i have been talking to black voters, they are frustrated. they are teed off at this particular moment. i think we are going to see historic turnout next year. >> all right. latosha brown, co-founder of black voters matter. greatly appreciate your time tonight. thank you for joining us. >> thank you for having me. up next here tonight. we are going to have more on the passing of former senator -- senator and majority leader harry reid. we are going to be joined, live, by the current senator and majority leader chuck schumer. that's next. that's next. with a revolutionary, rollerball design. because with the right pain reliever... life opens up. aleve it... and see what's possible. (gong rings) - this is joe. (combative yelling) he used to have bad breath. now, he uses a capful of therabreath fresh breath oral rinse to keep his breath smelling great, all day long. (combative yelling) therabreath, it's a better mouthwash. at walmart, target and other fine stores.
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we have to be able to repair the enamel on a daily basis. with pronamel repair toothpaste, we can help actively repair enamel in its weakened state. it's innovative. my go to toothpaste is going to be pronamel repair. tributes continue to pour in tonight for former senate majority leader harry reid, who has died at the age of 82. former-president barack obama writing tonight, in part, here is what i want you to know. you were a great leader in the senate, and early on you were more generous to me than i had any right to expect. i wouldn't have been president had it not been for your encouragement and support, and i wouldn't have got most of what i
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got done without your skill and determination. most of all, you have been a good friend. as different as we are, i think we both saw something of ourselves in each other -- a couple of outsiders who had defied the odds and knew how to take a punch and cared about the little guy. and you know what? we made for a pretty good team. the nevada democrat spent 30 years in the senate, including eight years as majority leader. his successor is democratic leader is the current majority leader chuck schumer. tonight, leader schumer announced that flags at the capitol are being lowered to half-staff in reid's honor. schumer says in a statement, quote, he was my leader, my mentor, one of my dearest friends. joining us now on the phone is the current senate majority leader, chuck schumer, who took over for reid as the top democrat in the senate following reid's retirement. senator schumer, it's great to have you with us, sir, thank you so much for your time. i know that harry reid was a towering figure during his time in the senate.
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he was a personal friend of yours. talk to me little bit about how his years in washington changed washington as majority leader. >> well, i think harry really had such strong conviction. and courage of his convictions, you know, he came from very poor beginnings. and was a boxer. you know, the story of how his father -- he used to call him a hard-scrap miner. died of alcoholism. how his mom would take in laundry from the brothels to -- because that was legal in nevada, in those days, and now is still -- to pay for things, he hitchhiked 40 miles to go to high school. he was, you know, he was brought up -- he never forgot where he came from, so he had a steep abiding affection for the little guy, for the middle class. and when in washington, that was clear to everybody. he just was who he was. he never wavered from who he was. he never forgot his origins.
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he never -- he was a tough guy. but tough in a very caring and compassionate way. and when he felt something was wrong, he would speak about it. he gave speech after speech about the koch brothers and helped define the bad things that they had been doing to america. um, in a -- in a very strong and courageous way. he was also of few words. you know, i was very close to harry. and so, he never said good-bye on the phone. he just hang up when he thought he said what he had to say and said what you had to say. and i would get call after call from members, is harry mad at me? and i said what makes you think that? well, he didn't -- he just hung up on me. i said, no, no, no, that's harry. so, i know, he was just incredible. he always told me -- i mean, he looked out for me. he -- you know, we had different strengths and we -- we -- we relied on each other all the time. we spent countless hours talking about things. he would interrupt the conversation, oh, did you see this movie? did you read this book? he was very well-read and very -- very, you know, great
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deal of knowledge. but he was always telling me i got to get better shoes, i have got to get better suits. even though he came from a poor background, harry always had his shoes signed -- shined. he always had a haircut. he looked out for people. he just looked out for people. he had a deep love for landra. in the last few days, i would call almost every day. and he couldn't get on the phone but, you know, i'd speak to landra. he called her his sweet, little landra. when she had a car accident, was in real trouble, that was the only time i nearly saw him in tears. um, you know, he was not that emotional on the surface, although he had deep emotions inside. and they had an amazing marriage of 62 -- 62-year marriage where they depended on each other, and he would rely on her for advice, as well. so he was an amazing person. he was generous. you are never going to meet another person like harry reid with the strength he had, with the compassion he had, and with the fighting spirit that he had to make the country better and to help people who needed help.
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>> and he undoubtedly left his mark on washington and -- and one of the things as we saw earlier in the program, senator, um, was how he left an imprint on the rules and procedures of the senate. and you certainly know this better than anyone, as former majority leader, harry reid was one of the most important voices to call for an end to the senate filibuster which, again, as you know a lot of attention these days. >> he -- he saw what was happening to the senate and there was a group of people on the hard right who gained ascendancy on the other side of the aisle. and they decided to tie it in a knot and he said that wouldn't -- that shouldn't happen. and they did it by blocking, you know, all kinds of legislation that had been bipartisanship before and his views evolved. and he was a strong advocate of changing the ruleless of the senate, which i hope we carry with us forward in the next few weeks. >> yeah, that's a very important point. and you also talked about the personal relationship that you
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had with him and as we also noted in this program, reid was known as a mentor, not just to you, but to other important political figures over the years. elizabeth warren, senator elizabeth warren. president barack obama. yourself. how would you say his role has, you know, as a elder statesman of the democratic party shaped the democratic party? >> well, when harry saw somebody that he thought had real merit, he would try to elevate them. he did that for me. barack obama. he and i visited barack obama and said you ought to run for president. it was one of the first times it was suggested. harry and i had discussed it earlier in the week and, you know, i said you know i think -- i think this guy could do it and harry said i think so, too. let's talk to him about it. we did. he saw that elizabeth warren had amazing talent when she just got to the senate. he got some criticism, you know, elevating her to the leadership team but when he saw talonent, he raised.
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it and contrary, he didn't mind different views, his views evolved but when he saw that someone was not telling him the truth or would go back on his word, he would remember that. and in ways that that senator might never know. harry would remember. let's put it that way. >> and let me just ask you, finally, how are you going to miss him? what are you going to miss the most about him? >> well, you know, i lost my father a month ago and harry, as i said, was such a friend and mentor to me. be but when you lose someone who is that close to you, they are always with you. and i believe that harry will continue to walk by my side and the side of many senators every day. so his -- he is gone, physically, but his legacy, his spirit, who he was is going to be with us every day. every day. >> senate majority leader chuck schumer, i appreciate you, sir, joining us this evening on short notice. and for this unfortunate news. thank you so much for your time, sir. >> thank you, ayman.
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when you have xfinity, you have entertainment built in. which is kind of nice. ah, what is happening. binge-watching is in the bag, when you find all your apps, all in one place. find live sports faster just by using your voice... sports on now. touchdown irish! [cheering] that was awesome. and, the hits won't quit, with peacock premium included at no additional cost. all that entertainment built in. xfinity. a way better way to watch. that does it for us tonight. we are going to see you again tomorrow. now, it is time for the last word, jonathan capehart is in for lawrence tonight. good evening, jonathan. >> hey, good evening, ayman. of course, you were covering the breaking news of the passing the senate majority leader harry reid. i was preparing for the show tonight. i understand you had an interview with the current senate majority leader, chuck schumer. quickly, tell us what -- what did he tell you?
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>> you know, one of the -- he talked about his personal relationship and he obviously knew the -- the late senator very well. so, he talked about the personal relationship and the shadow he cast over not just him but other notable politicians, like barack obama and senator elizabeth warren. but interestingly saying that he hopes to carry what harry reid talked about with doing away with the filibuster in the weeks and the months and the year ahead. it's obviously a big point of contention in the senate, and a lot of people are calling for democrats to do away with the filibuster to get things like voting rights done. we'll see if he heeds the advice of his late friend. >> that is big news, ayman. thank you very, very much for sharing that with us. >> thank you. >> and see you tomorrow night. tonight we begin with the breaking news of the hour. former senate majority leader harry reid, democrat of nevada, has died at the age of 82. harry reid led the senate democratic caucus for more than 15 years. he was first elected to congress