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tv   Craig Melvin Reports  MSNBC  January 21, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PST

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we got a great deal on our hotel with kayak. i was afraid we wouldn't go.. with our divorce and.... great divorce guys. yeah... search 100s of travel sites at once. kayak. search one and done. a good friday morning to you. craig melvin here. any minute now president biden will talk about how his administration is working to increase our supply of semi conductors. in case you're not sure about why you should care about semi conductors, well, here's why this is important. one reason it's important, at least. the president wants to make more of them in the united states, and that could drive down the price of cars, appliances, a host of other things as well. when this presentation at the white house starts, we're going
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to take you there live. the president is facing a big foreign policy on this friday. a potential russian invasion of ukraine. our secretary of state, tony blinken, just spoke for 90 minutes with his russian counterpart. what we're learning about that meeting, and whether russian aggression is inevitable. plus you want to see why voting rights are so critical right now? new voting laws in texas are taking root and a harris county judge says one in three, 33% of the vote by mail applications in her county is being flagged for rejection. i'll talk to her about that, especially with the midterms looming just a few months from now. and we're also learning about a new push on capitol hill to pass some sort of election legislation on the federal level. not exactly what activists and most democrats had hoped for, but there does seem to be some movement afoot. but we are going to start with our team standing by for
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president biden, mike memoli, also with me jake ward. michael says effort to address broader economic concerns, and a big part of the speech is the announcement from intel. the company says it's going to be opening a new facility in ohio. zblenchts one of the fist planks was about trying to revive american manufacturing. when you look at his first year in office, one of the major challenges his administration had to deal with, the supply chain disruptions. especially as it relates to semi conductors, the chips that are part of so much of the goods that we use on a daily basis. according to one white house estimate that supply chain estimate shaved 1% off gdp of our economy. the president is eager to use
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this announcement by intel of the new factory being built in the ohio area. as an example of how the administration has really made progress on both of these issues. as the president has said often, one of the ways to deal with the issue of disruptions to the flow of goods to america is to make more of those goods in america. and so intel is part of a broader expansion of the semi conductor market in the united states. it's going to be announcing the new factory. 7,000 construction jobs it's going to create. 3,000 new permanent jobs as well. and this is something really obviously the president as he's pivoting to year two, is eager to promote. it also begs the question as we've heard from the white house that he wants to get outside of washington more, why not do this announcement in ohio? the president is happy to do so at the white house today. >> especially the swing state that it is -- >> exactly. >> you raise a good point, mike. jake, help us drill into why semi conductors are such a hot
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topic for the white house right now? and why they are so ubiquitous? >> well, craig, as you say, they are ubiquitous. literally the western capitalist modern world. i mean, really the world cannot function without semi conductors. they are the thing that makes everything possible from mini vans to microwaves to military aircraft. and unfortunately for the united states and for president biden at the moment, we live in a world in which one country provides the vast majority of those. taiwan produces more than 60% of the semi conductors in the world, and when it comes to the most sophisticated ones, the ones that are thinner than ten nanometers, that is about a 90% figure. we were just talking about total dominance. we're talking about the possibility of trying to create a home-grown supply. actually, i went and toured the sort of facility that they are hoping to build in ohio.
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one that is built in phoenix, arizona. it is extraordinary to see the sophistication of this. because creating semi conductors is a matter of both manufacturing and it's kind of like growing something. it is a chemical and manufacturing process. it requires space age technology. you literally walk into the equivalent of an in-door city populated by robots. humans are only there to manage the machines that do the work. and overhead robots fly past carrying trays of chips. it's extraordinary. that's why each one of these buildings, according to the ceo of intel, is about $10 billion. that's why we're look at such enormous figures being promised to the state of ohio for this. and if it does come through, experts say this could be the possibility of a new world in which we do not have so much dependence on a single foreign supplier of semi conductors and we won't be running out of microwaves and menny vans the way we did during the pandemic.
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>> jake, quickly, with regards to the semi conductors, i mean, is it also part of the materials that are used to make them? i mean, i guess a lot of folks are trying to figure out how it is we managed to get beat so early to the punch on semi conductor manufacturing in our country. >> well, what it really is was a significant investment on the part of the taiwan government. as early as the 19 0s, they began to see the possibility of being a world leader. they punched a lot of money into the sector. at this point we have congress considering the chips act which would put about $50 billion into a domestic semi conductor industry. the largest manufacturer of semi conductors in the world, tsmc, they are going to put about $100 billion over the next three years into rnd alone. so the early investment that that country made in semi conductors is why they are so far ahead of the game now. >> mike memoli, let's pivot for a moment. of course, the big story in our
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country continues to be our fight against this raging pandemic. the white house making an announcement that they are going to be rolling out a phone number to help with that. what more can you tell us about that? >> craig, when you hear the white house talk about covid response, often they also talk about insuring equity in the response. of course, you have the announcement by the white house earlier this week, the launching of the website where americans can request four take home tests to be shipped to their home. there's an equity issue where some people don't have access to the internet. the white house announcing this 800 number where they can call to actually request those take-home tests to be shipped to them as well. according to a white house official, it can be staffed, english, spanish. the white house saying as they considered the requests for the tests, they've using a social vulnerability index to try to prioritize to make sure the people in locations which have
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higher risk of covid infection being -- leading to more serious hospitalization and even death, are those getting the prioritized as these tests get shipped out. >> we should put that phone number back up on the screen one more time, mike, for our viewers at home and listeners own the radio. i will read the number. again, this is the phone line to order those free covid-19 tests if you don't have internet access or you rather pick up the phone and dial. 1-800-232-0233. >> we'll come back to the white house when that event gets underway, and jake ward, appreciate semi conductor 101 on this friday morning as well. thank you for that. the other issue that the administration is facing this morning, of course, that critical meeting as tensions build between ukraine and russia just a few hours ago, the secretary of state, anthony
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blinken met face to face with his russian counterpart, foreign minister in geneva. we're told the meeting lasted roughly 90 minutes. secretary blinken describing the talks as, quote, frank and substantive. with me now, nbc's matt bogner in moscow. also joining us richard engel is in kiev, ukraine for us. mr. engle, we'll start with you. this meeting coming as the white house looks to put the dust up over president biden's minor incursion comments behind them. what are you hearing from ukrainians after this face-to-face in geneva? >> reporter: this was not a particularly good end to a second round of diplomacy. first, and it's important to remember, all the context here. because here in ukraine, they're following the developments at least on the ukrainian
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government level, blow by blow. we had a week's worth of diplomacy a week ago. that didn't achieve any result. and then this round of talks was quite last-minute. it was hastily organized. you had the secretary of state anthony blinken rushing over, coming here to kiev, meeting with embassy staff, then going to germany, and then culminating today with the meeting with lavrov. there was a renewed sense of momentum that maybe on the second round they would be able to achieve a breakthrough that they weren't able to achieve in the first round. but it all got tremendously complicated by that speech by president biden when he had his marathon news conference and spoke quite extensively about ukraine, and injected a confusion into it. confusion which he, then, clarified and the white house was quick to clarify, but which annoyed the ukrainian government, and frightened the
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ukrainian government to a degree when president biden suggested that a minor incursion would meet a limited response or a different kind of response as compared to a full scale russian invasion. and you saw the ukrainian president issue an angry tweet, saying in english, so the audience was not -- would not be mistaken that to the great powers, he wrote, there is no such thing as a minor incursion like there are no minor casualties when suffering a wound with the loss of a loved one. so he was responding directly to this idea that you can't just have a small invasion, take a little piece of this country away, and that would be okay. so what we saw today and yesterday from the white house, from secretary blinken was a reiteration, a reclarification of the u.s. position. that's not an ideal way to go into a diplomatic talk at the end of a two-week process when
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you're having to clarify your point and drive it home. so if you look at this like a wrestling match or boxing match or any kind of competition, you have russia coming in with its troops poised on the border. there have been no leaks from russia. vladimir putin has not spoken about this subject at all. it's speaking more with his actions. and then you have the u.s. coming in, trying to clarify the message the last minute. let's just say it was a tough 90 minutes and it's been a tough couple of days for the secretary of state. >> all right. richard engel in ukraine. let's go to russia now. matt is in moscow where it is apparently snowing there. matt, where is lavrov telling his fellow russians about what has come out of that meeting? >> reporter: thank you, craig. we're hearing there's a few things to point out from lavrov.
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the way i would describe the russian position right now is much like i would describe the american position. what we're seeing is essentially a restatement from both sides of positions that are very familiar to all of us at this point after the past two weeks. focusing on lav love, one of the things that stuck out to me is again the way that he characterized this meeting. essentially as the americans coming to geneva to seek clarification as they prepare a formal written response to what lav love -- and we've heard others, treaty proposals. we've seen that come up. i think they really like this framing. it's the americans coming to us. there's an implication of a position of power. lavrov was asked to kind of give an evaluation of the meeting. he was asked by task, one of the russian state news wires whether the meeting essentially was on the right track q on the bad track. lavrov said it's too soon to say. they can only evaluate how things are going after they receive this written response
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from the americans. so russia is kind of talked its way into making it all about a written response. kind of it seems almost as if they're holding out hope that the written response might somehow differ from all the public statements we're hearing from the americans, from their western allies that essentially are a rejection of as the russians would call it, the treaty proposal. >> matt in russia, richard in ukraine. a big thanks to both of you on this friday. thank you. as we mention, any minute now we expect to see president biden give that speech on supply chain issues. more specifically, this new semi conductor plant that is going to be built in ohio. when that starts, we'll take you to the white house. also we know the pandemic has been brutal for just about everyone, but it has been especially hard on health care workers. the new push to help keep them safer at work both physically and mentally. also ahead, a shortage of
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we expect president biden to start his remarks any moment now. again, the president expected to spend some time talking about this new semi conductor plant that is being built in ohio. and what it is beginning to mean for the supply chain issues that continue to be a thorn in the side of many americans. also we've now passed the two-year mark since the first recorded case of covid-19 in the united states. we have a better understanding of the virus. a better understanding about the effective vaccines in boosters. but our hospitals and health care workers are still overwhelmed. >> i'm here to tell you we're tired. we're exhausted and we're literally on the edge. >> it's very tough. i go to the bathroom and cry and some back. then you do it all over again. >> there have been more deaths than i have seen the whole time in one week than i normally see
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in a month, let alone in a day. >> well, now the chair of the senate health committee is calling on the biden administration to take more workplace safety actions for health care workers. in a new letter she's urging osha to create permanent safety standards that, quote, ensure robust protections for health care workers. i am joined by the director of the boston university center for emerging infectious diseases policy. also an msnbc medical contributor. doctor, let's start there. what kinds of federal permanent safety standards should be in place for our health care workers? >> two years into this, the burden on health care workers as you started out with is disproportionate to the rest of the population rate. about 14% of the cases of covid-19 globally reported to
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who are health care workers. we talk about the mental strain. studies from 2021 that show 50% of public health workers reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition, and about one-third of health care workers have stress, traumatic stress, depression. other issues that come from just living through the crisis for two years. craig, what we did right after 9/11, there was a world trade center health program that was created to help with both the physical and the mental health of the first responders in that crisis. what's important is to recognize the last two years american health care workers have seen the deaths, the levels of deaths we saw on that day repeated over and over again, and you cannot underestimate the impact this is going to have on them physically, mentally moving forward. and so i welcome both the efforts to provide potential mental health services, but i
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think as the senator is working on looking at safer workplaces including personal protective equipment standards, making workplaces safer, but also looking at patient health care worker ratios. that's something that only comes if you can give them more help to make working conditions safer for health care workers. the one thing i will say on behalf of all my fellow health care workers as somebody who is about to go back on clinical service again with covid still raging out there, is we want this crisis to end. that's the best thing that we can do for health care workers is to not be in a setting of emergency for so long. >> doctor, i almost want to ask you about this tweet from a new york city emergency room doctor, dr. spencer, who we, of course, all came to know during the ebola crisis many years ago. dr. spencer is citing new york city covid data, and says, quote, all signs point to an omicron wave in retreat here in
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new york city. what say you to this? based on what you're seeing there where you are and data from around the country, is this latest surge in retreat? >> it is. i think not everywhere. i think that -- and not only that, but we have to know that even if the cases are receding, hospitalizations and deaths always lag behind. boston's always been behind new york and it speaks to what we're seeing as well. the cases are starting to go down. and the hospitalizations are different. let me just correct this. it's not the same crisis, because what you're seeing is a huge percent of the changes we're seeing with the new tools at hand are doctors are able to do more with the patients, but the patients who are severely ill in hospitals right now from covid itself, not incidental covid, but people for covid itself are people who are unvaccinated. it's even more frustrating
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because you see if we get more people vaccinated, we might not see what we're currently seeing this. but we may see the cases go down, and then a lag in hospitalizations and hopefully by february, we're going to see the peak behind us for deaths. >> doctor, thank you so much. enjoy your weekend, if you can. thank you again. we expect to see president biden any minute now for that speech on supply chain issues and tech. when the president begins to speak, you see him there standing in the background. when he starts to speak, we'll take you to the white house. first, is election reform back on the table in the senate? what we're hearing about that, next. we're hearing about that, next
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county. harris county, of course, the most populous county in texas. it includes houston. the judge joins me now to talk about it. judge, let's start there. why are so many vote by applications being flagged right now? do we know? >> absolutely we know. as you know, this -- over the past few months in the past year, the big lie has been used as a pretext to corrode our democracy to weaken our electoral systems. in texas that meant that past october, laws passed that would allow poll watchers to get as close as they could to voters, that could suppress the votes in various ways. and one of the ways is they now require that if you submit an application to receive a mail ballot, that you now have to put in your driver's license number or your social security number before all you needed to write was your name, your first and last name, and, obviously, the address. and so what that's leading to is
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if folks registered to vote with a driver's license number, but then requests a mail ballot with a social security number, their ballot gets marked for rejection. if they simply don't include their social security number or driver's license number because they say why am i being asked for this, their blot is rejected. we could flagging up to 30,000 blots for rejection. that can sway the results of an election. >> all right. judge, i apologize. we have to get back to the white house here because president biden is speaking now. let's listen in. in america, american workers, this group of washington reporters have heard me say many times, it's never been a good bet to bet against america. we have the most qualified folks in the world here in the united states of america. and i want to thank brown and portman. they deserve an enormous amount of credit for us getting to this point right now. bipartisanship. the idea that we can work
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together is always just beginning to dawn on people here, i think. now, i want to think congressman romundo. look, they laid out today's big announcement. why one of america's most important companies. the historic investment for ohio, one of the largest investments in semi conductor manufacturing in american history. a brand new $20 billion campus outside of columbus, ohio. 7,000 construction jobs. 3,000 full-time jobs. i said i may need a job. he said it's not bad. he said over $100,000 on the line, but i have to get some training. look, at the singular -- look, to be able to say made in ohio, made in america, we used to
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always be able to say 25 years ago. that's what this is about. but folks at home might be wondering, why it's such a big deal for manufacturing something so small, the size of a postage stamp. why is that so important? well, semi conductors are a small computer chips that power virtually everything in our lives. your phone. your car. your refrigerator. your washing machine. hospital equipment. the internet. the electric grid. and so much more. and here's the deal. america invented these chips. america invented these chips. and federal research and development led to the creation of these chips. taxpayer dollars. these chips helped power nasa, mission to the moon. the federal investment helped bring down the cost of making chips to build a market and an entire industry. as a result, over 30 years ago,
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america and had about 40% of global production. since then american manufacturing is the back boeb of our economy got hallowed out. companies moved things overseas especially from the industrial midwest. we used to invest 2% of our gross domestic product in research and development. we invested 2% decades ago of our gross domestic product in pure research and development. today it's less than 1%. we were ranked number one in the world in rnd. guess what. we now rank number nine. r&d. china was number eight in the world three decades ago. now they're number two. other countries are closing in fast. as a result, today we barely produce 10% of the computer chips despite being the leader in chip design and research. we don't have the ability to make the most advanced chips right now. but today 75% of the production
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takes place in east asia. 90% of the most advanced chips are made in taiwan. china is doing everything it can to take over the global market. so they can try to outcompete the rest of us and have a lot of applications including military applications. folks, look, during this pandemic your pocketbook felt the consequences. inflation. higher prices. whenever a factory shuts down in one part of the world, the production and shipments of goods to shops and businesses gets disrupted. covid-19 has compounded that problem. many times over, especially with these computer chips. as a result, everything from cars to dishwashers are delayed getting to showrooms and customers. just as demand for them is up because the economy is growing. and because supply is low, because supply is low, we find ourselves in a position that we're really behind the curve. prices are going up.
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in fact, one-third of the recent price increases have been seen nationally are due to car prices as mentioned earlier. you know, i cannot -- i'm going to turn to the boss here. what percentage of chips are needed to build the cars today? and what's going to happen in the next five to ten years? >> 4 % today. 20% by 2030. >> 20% by 2030 is going to be required -- that's what the car is made of. 20 % of it is going to be computer chips. historic as today's announcement is, we need to be -- this is just the beginning. this is an important part of today's message. right now there's a bill in front of the united states congress, because the two men behind me are pushing it. u.s. innovation and competition act. it includes several of the ideas i proposed last year that would accelerate the progress in a big year. the bill calls for authorizing nearly $90 billion for research
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and development manufacturing and supply chain. look, including empowering the national science foundation, to bring together local communities, universities, community college, private companies, and more and more partnerships like this. and by the way, speaking of community colleges, you all know this. the washington press corps does. my wife said it's the best kept security in america. this is the community college graduate who skipped his senior year in high school, went to a local community college and went on. my wife's got to meet you, man. look, this includes a $52 billion incentive for more companies to build manufacturing here in the united states of america. i want other cities and states to make announcements like the one being made here today. and that's why i want to see congress pass this bill right away and get it to my desk. let's get another story piece of bipartisan legislation done. let's do it for the sake of our
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economic competitiveness and our national security. let's do it for the cities and towns all across america working to get their piece of the global economic package. let's do it for the dignity and pride of this country and the american worker. i made clear while i was running for president, and from day one of this administration, we are going to invest in america. we're investing in american workers. we're going to stamp everything we can, made in america. especially these computer chips. vice president harris and i along with secretary monodo and our team have met with congress and both parties because this is a bipartisan issue. we brought business and labor together to see where we could ramp up production and help resolve bottle necks. soon after i was sworn in, i signed an executive order to revitalize american manufacturing and making our supply chains more resilient to disruptions whether it's a pandemic, climate change, or
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cyber attacks. in some cases, building resilience will mean increasing our production here at home. in others, working more closely with trusted partners, nations that share our values so the supply chains are not used against us as leverage. i made this clear to president xi of china. we need not have confrontation, but we have a stiff technological competition, and we're going to insist everyone, including china, play by the same rules. that's what we're doing here today. as a result of the progress we've made, record economic growth, record job growth, faster economic recovery than any nation on earth. we're better-positioned globally than we have been in a long, long time. historic investment is one example. it's not the only one. last year the largest semi
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conduct ere companies committed $80 million to build new facilities in the united states. why are the companies choosing us the united states? because they know we're the most productive workers and venture capitalist position. i think we're better positioned than any nation to seize these opportunities. we have to keep it going. i think our best days ahead of us. last year we took a big step toward that front with the bipartisan infrastructure law. and i want to thank senator brown, senator portman for their hard work and getting that done. that law is going to upgrade everything from roads, bridges, airports, transit, railroad, to make our economy move faster and reduce prices for families. it's going to create better jobs for millions of americans across the country, rural, urban, suburban. it means america is the most attractive place for companies like intel to invest and make
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their products. because the law this year for the first time in two decades, our infrastructure investment will grow faster than china's. for the first time in decades. this is a game-changer. now, now we have to build on that progress. that's what this day is about. it includes congress acting on our competition bill which i mentioned earlier. and my administration is going to keep using all the tools we have to reshore our supply chains, strengthen our economic resilience, and make more in america. because the end of the day, this is about national security, economic security, and it's about jobs. good-paying, decent jobs you can raise a family on. jobs. jobs now. jobs for the future. jobs in every part of the country. jobs that show and bring the industrial midwest back. it shows the world that we're always going to fight for american workers. in fact, these facilities are a symbol of what america is all
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about. p. h.d. engineers, scientists alongside community college graduates. as my wife says, the best kept secret in america. pat went beyond that, but people with different ages, races, backgrounds working side by side. they're all working together to do the same thing. the most sophisticated manufacturing we have ever seen. tiny computer chips the size of a stamp. they're showing what i've always believed. there is nothing, nothing beyond our capacity as a nation if we do it together as the united states of america. and i want to thank pat again, and intel. i can't wait to see this next visit that you're about to have in ohio today. and i want to make one last comment. you know, folks, and i asked pat this. i've asked many other corporate leaders around this nation. when the united states of
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america, when the government makes a decision to invest considerable amounts of resources in a new industry or in an area that we need to build up, that encourages businesses to say they're doing it, this is going to happen. i'll get in, too. i asked pat if that was part of the judgment. am i misstating it at all? and it is, but i just want everybody to understand. when -- i'm sure there were people who looked at both my colleagues who helped lead the fight in this chips act, trying to pass, saying we're going to spend a lot of money. that money attracts money. it attracts investment. it demonstrates we're all in. so, folks, i'm going to say what i've always said. there's not a damn thing this country can't do. not a single thing we can't do. you've heard me say it before, and i'm going to say it again. i was talking to the -- i spent about an hour and a half today
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with the japanese prime minister on a virtual meeting with our staffs. and i told him about when president xi asked me, can i define america when i was in china with him. i said yeah, one word. one word. possibilities. possibilities. we can do anything if we put our mind to it. god bless you all, and may god protect our troops. and the reason we're not going to have any time for questions now is these guys have got to get quickly on a plane and do a major announcement in ohio. and you guys will ask me about russia and not anything having to do with chips. >> reporter: if you could, can you guarantee the raw materials will be available since many come from out of the outside and including some countries like afghanistan. >> we're working on that. there's a lot not in afghanistan. we've been finding out, and
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moving on directions to find where the raw materials are. we're making contracts to make sure we have access to them. and we are doing things that we're finding out here in the united states, we still have assets we didn't know we had in terms of raw materials. thank you. and there you have it. president biden there making that announcement of a $20 billion facility outside columbus, ohio. it is going to manufacture chips. we heard from the president of intel there, the company that is picking up the tab for this facility. and the president talked about the 12,000 new jobs that are coming to ohio as a result of that $20 billion facility that is going to be constructed there. mike memoli is back with me. and mike, of note there as we saw standing over president
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biden's shoulder, both senators from ohio, a democrat sherrod brown and republican rob portman. >> reporter: that's right. there was big news from the president in terms of american manufacturing and our global competition, in terms of our supply chain. it has to be said that it's also big news, whenever we see a republican at the white house, especially in the highly partisan times, and when you think about the challenges president biden has had during one year and one day in office, it has been about the promise of bringing americans together and working across the aisle. and one of the areas in which the white house is now putting its foot forward to show is there are smaller issues beyond build back better which has really exposed the visions within the democratic party. where there is bipartisan progress. you heard him talk about the innovation and competition act. it's passed the senate. we've barely talked about that on the air during the course of the last year. but it includes more than $50 billion to promote the public/private partnerships that led to the intel factory in the
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united states. the president there shining a spotlight on some other movement here in washington on capitol hill that can help boost our economy that may not be getting a lot of attention, but welcoming rob portman who was at the white house for that bipartisan infrastructure bill signing late last fall as well. so the white house trying to show an important bipartisan effort here. maybe not one we've talked about a lot, though. >> no. no, we do not get the chance to do that a lot. mr. memoli, thank you. enjoy your weekend. this morning the world is grieving the loss of legendary singer and actor, meat loaf. he died on thursday. he was 74. meatloaf was beloved by fans all over the world for his theatrical and dark-hearted anthems. when he wasn't in the studio, he starred in classic films. we can't forget "fight club". a statement posted to his facebook page reads in part,
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quote, we know how much he meant to so many of you, and we truly appreciate your love and support from his heart to our souls, don't ever stop rocking. also in the last hour, we found out about the death of another beloved star. actor and comedian louie anderson. he died this morning from cancer complications. he was known for his funny standup acts, his emmy winning role on "baskets" and the hit show "life with louie" that was based on his childhood. anderson was 68 years old. anderson was 68 years old.
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voters who feel like he's not delivering on promises that he made. now, some allies, congressman jim chiburn, a close friend of biden, are calling on the president to get more aggressive in the fight. nbc's kristen welker traveled to god's country, my home state of south carolina. i know you talked to voters who shared frustration with you. what did they say? >> reporter: well, they had a range of frustration, craig, it is your home state, you know better than anybody. african american voters are key for candidate biden to become president biden. they helped him to turn around his campaign to win that big win and super tuesday and then went on to win the white house. now, they want to see more action from him. it was the state that saved joe biden presidential campaign. >> thank you, thank you, south
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carolina! >> reporter: south carolina voters turning out in force to help him win the primary, ultimately, the white house. one year later, we went back to see what those voters are thinking now. helen bradley, one of president biden's most fervent supporters telling us they is disappointed. do you think president biden has fought hard enough for black voters? >> i do not. >> reporter: bradley, just outside of columbia, says her top priority was voting rights legislation which was defeated this week. she blames president biden for not pushing for it earlier. >> our an self-ers fought hard. long and hard, to get these rights for us. for them to be taken away would be dead tramental. >> reporter: bradley praises the president's handling of covid, but not the economy. >> when you go to the grocery store, you find things three or four higher than it used to be but our paychecks are not.
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>> reporter: blankston hooks is also worried. what president would you give the president right now? >> d-mean us in. >> reporter: he has room for improvement? >> he does. >> reporter: fletcher smith longtime biden supporter commended the president for passing the covid bill. his agenda. more outreach. >> he needs to be walking sides by side, not behinds us, not in front of you, but side by side as martin luther king jr. did. >> what do you say to the black voters who say you do not have their backs as you promised on the campaign trail. >> go back the entire career, i've never not had their back. >> reporter: long time biden ally james chiburn urges patience. >> he's elected to a four-year
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term. he's been in office one year. i think it's a little bit, let's say, disrespect spl to expect everything to be laid out, it's going to be completed in the first year of his term. >> reporter: will these voters give the president more time? >> i will never turn my back on joe biden. >> he has to show me a little more. i don't really want to commit to that at this point. >> reporter: the president needing to re-energize key supporters in a critical election year. so, craig, those supporters do want to see action on the vote rights and economy. fletcher smith said something really interesting, he said he wants to see president biden start to hold televised prime time fireside chats where he essentially talks to the american people directly about what he is working on. he said outreach is really the key in this second year. craig. >> our chief white house correspondent kristen welker, thank you very much. we'll see you tomorrow morning
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on "today." meanwhile, new this morning, the minimum wage is going up for thousands of federal workers. the biden administration just directed federal agencies to start raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. that's according to new guidance from the office of personnel management. this directive will impact nearly 70,000 federal employees. that's going to do it for me this hour. have a fantastic weekend. "andrea mitchell reports" starts next. weekend "andrea mitchell reports" starts next aleve it... and see what's possible.
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