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tv   Craig Melvin Reports  MSNBC  January 27, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PST

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washington, gearing up for what could well be a huge political fight. it puts a microscope on democrats's extremely slim majority. we'll dig into that fight with someone who knows what it's like firsthand. and the major implications for democrats heading into the mid-term elections. plus we'll look at the short list of black women who could be the very first to sit on the high court. also today, quote, few reasons
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for optimism. that's the line from the kremlin this morning after the u.s. offers a diplomatic off ramp to the standoff off ramp. >> and the u.s. blows past 73 million covid cases suns the start of the pandemic. but we start with what happens now that justice breyer is retiring. peter alexander is standing by. leann caldwell is with us and also joining us aaron haynes, an msnbc political contributor. peter, do we have any word yet about when we might see the
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president and justice breyer today? and what can you tell us about where the white house is in terms of choosing a nominee? >> yeah, chris, no official guidance from the white house. in fact, this gathering with both justice breyer and president biden is not even on the official white house schedule but we are getting indications that this could happen within the next several hours here at the white house. and it is a significant moment for president biden. it's also a rare one. very rarely do you see a sitting president ever sort of honor and vet an outgoing supreme court justice. that in itself will make today significant. in terms of the timeline, as you noted, the white house does agree that they want this process to move, not so much quickly but they want it to move deliberately in the days and weeks ahead going forward. and the president has been on this decision for many months, even dating back to his transition where some of his top advisers presented him with a formal presentation of some of
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the best potential candidates for this selection. you know some of those names, among them the 51-year-old interest the u.s. court of appeals, the district circuit here in washington, d.c. there on the left, judge ketanji brown jackson. she clerked for justice breyer and was confirmed last summer with 53 senators supporting her, all 50 democrats as well as three republicans, which could make her a popular choice. >> just leondra kreuger and the white house -- the president has been the one who said stre little about any of this, even though we heard from so many voices on this issue. i asked him for his thoughts on justice breyer's retirement and he said he was going to let the justice say it on his own terms and he'd have more to say about it later. we do expect to hear more on
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that later but one significant note is the white house did come out and was very clear from jen psaki at the podium yesterday in reaffirming the president's intent as he first said in 2020 during the campaign that he will select a black woman for the seat. >> that leads us to the senate, where the key word we're told is speed. how are the democrats' plans shaping up right now to get this process down? >> hey, chris. democrats on capitol hill are breathing a hugh sigh of relief today. they know they could very well lose their majority in the mid-term elections in november and they wanted this supreme court nomination to come before that and that is why they want to move very quickly as well. the majority, 50/50 split is very slim. anything can happen in such a small majority of the senate. democrats don't want to take any
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chances. we're getting indications from senate leadership offices that they do want to move this quickly. of course they have to wait for the nominee to be named. and once that happens, they want to waste no time. we were told that the senate judiciary committee members, the democrats anyway, are holding a zoom conference call later today to start strategizing their plan. the head of that committee, senator dick durbin also said in a statement yesterday he wants to move quickly. moving forward they know it's going to be a good thing for democrats that could unite the party but ultimately the way the process is going to work out, as much as leadership wants to move quickly, will determine on the members. if the members have more question, if the members want more time to examine the nominee's record, that could slow things down. but all indications at this point right now is the democratic party wants to move quickly and get their party united and give the democrats a big win heading into november, chris. >> which leads us to the
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candidates, that list the president has had on his desk for some time. you know the confirmation process intimately, you helped justice breyer three decades ago. what's going on behind the scenes right now? >> you've been getting ready for a while actually. it's no secret to the three of them and maybe a few others and then there's even a broader bunch of hopefuls but certainly brown jackson, you know, has this great advantage of having been confirmed before. they'd be very hard pressed with the three republicans to now vote against her. on the other hand, very important to note, manchin and sinema, they have always voted for every one of biden's nominees. so i think the democrats and actually the republicans, this is how i interpret what graham said yesterday, are calculating
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that even though it's the thinnest of margins, it's a fairly good one. i think the republicans may be thinking let's let biden take his victory lap quickly rather than fight it over a few months and lose and then we can go back to bashing him. i don't anticipate the kind of blood bath we've had for the last few trump nominees. >> so, aaron, what do you think? this is a president who needs a win. how does he get one? >> you know, i think of all the campaign promises president biden made as a candidate in 2020, this one is among the most important. that's why you saw black lawmakers and black activists and black voters reminding him of that campaign promise
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yesterday. lesse listen, the president has nominated more black nominees, so far eight. five have been noted in terms of their year one accomplishments. he has single handedly increase the percentage of black women on the federal judiciary. no black woman has ever been nominated to the supreme court. so the idea that this is long overdue, i will point to a poll that came out just that week, the only national organization that is dedicated to harnessing black women's political pourer power 86% supported nominating a black woman to a supreme court seat as soon as it became available. this is incentive for president
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biden to keep his campaign promise and this is something that i've heard myself from black women. i tweeted just yesterday you saw multiple black congresswomen calling on the president to fulfill this promise there are currently no black women in the senate. when and if the time comes to confirm a black woman supreme court nominee, there will be no black woman to confirm her. >> one of the reasons there isn't with is because she is now vice president of the nights. we heard from jim clyburn and he's stressing the importance of it being a black woman. help us to put it into historical context, what this would mean. and as president biden looks at, frankly, a slate of black women who are eminent live qualified, what do you look at? how do you judge one from the
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other? >> i mean, you mention congressman clyburn. it was congressman clyburn who got that campaign promise out of candidate biden when he said on the debate stage to black voters across the country and south carolina that he pledged to put a black woman on the supreme court for the first time if, in fact, he was able to win the election. and black voters, black women in particular, were very motivated by that surprise announcement at the end of that debate brought such applause from the audience and definitely on the minds of voters that i talked to when they went to the polls. i think what's going to be interesting, while it certainly seems this is something that president biden is inclined to do to fulfill that promise as jen psaki reiterated yesterday, black people like jackson and the others that we hear
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mentioned in this conversation who are nominated to a federal judgeship. we have a story now talking about the challenges for these kinds of nominees who research shows face longer delays by the senate before they are confirmed. they are seen as more partisan and radical than white nominees. these are factors that could come into play for the black women, picks for the highest court. it's not clear whether there's going to be bipartisan support for this nominee or not but they don't need it really thanks to a 2017 change in the filibuster rules. this would certainly be a boost to president biden, particularly with the black voters that delivered him victory, for them to deliver something like this for them would be something that they would largely welcome. >> so let's talk again about the specifics about the candidates being talked about. i'm going to start because we just got that tape in of jim clyburn who made these comments
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just minutes ago. take a listen. >> how many times have you heard it said that black women are the backbone of the democratic party? well, you just can't say it, you got to show it. i believe it's their deeds that matter, not their words. >> so, again, harry, we are hearing from the white house that is the president's intention here. i want to read something from "the new york times" because it speaks to what it means for the overall supreme court. "squot, stephen breyer has just done something that liberal supreme court justices in the modern era don't always do he has timed his retirement so that an ideologically similar justice is likely to replace him." he's likely going to replace that person with a black woman, but is it always an even swap from liberal to liberal? obviously you have in stephen
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breyer somebody who could essentially go across ideological lines, who the head of the supreme court, justice roberts, would say i want you to write this opinion. and anybody who comes in, they're new, they don't have those long-term relationships. is something lost not because it's a black woman but because it's a new person, even if you're swapping out somebody with what it perceived to be similar, you know, leanings? >> maybe. a few quick points breyer, though a classic liberal was to the right of the others so probably any of the people in contention will nudge things a little bit to the left. of course the monolithic five remain. . candidates, brown, jackson and kreuger both have classic, impeccable resumés but kruger is, a, younger and, b, has an
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attribute of having argued before the supreme court. it matters a lot if you have take on alito and gorsuch and those will be the sort of talking points i think of these three main candidates. >> i'm going to go back to peter now. i understand we have now some guidance? >> the white house has now made it official that justice breyer is retiring and president biden will delivery marks on his retirement at 12:30 eastern time, an hour and 15 minutes now from the roosevelt room at the white house and he'll be joined by justice steven breyer at the time. this is a significant day for a lot of reason, not the least of which is that president biden will become the first president
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who ever presided over senate judiciary chair the confirmation hearings for a justice who he will now be picking a replacement for. >> thank you, we'll see you later to talk more about this. what happens next in the nomination process and what it means for democrats with the mid-term elections on the horizon? intelligent agencies say they see an increasing possibility of an incursion at the ukraine border. at the ukraine border uh, i-i'm actually just going to get an iced coffee. well, she may have a destination this one time, but usually --
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(swords clashing) hmm. ca-had enough? anyone! -no... arthritis. here. aspercreme arthritis. full prescription-strength? reduces inflammation? thank the gods. don't thank them too soon. kick pain in the aspercreme. we've just learned that president biden is set to speak with ukraine president.
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zelensky today. his government has added more troops to the ukrainian border. after the u.s. offered a diplomatic path forward in a standoff on wednesday, the kremlin spokesman said this morning there are, quote, few reasons for optimism. nbc's matt bradley is in ukraine for us. the ukrainians and their government seem to have a pretty relaxed attitude over all of this. tell us what you're seeing and hearing on the ground. >> they're so cavalier and relaxed. when you walk around in kiev, it does feel like everybody is
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pretty blase. i've spoken to some who are closer to the american government, they don't really know, is this something the ukrainian government is projecting this image of being so relaxed in order not to provoke or to calm fears or do they really believe there won't be an invasion or if there is, they'll be able to fight off the massive force of the military. we got to remember here, chris, that this country when it comes to ukrainians' perspective on this, they feel they've been at war for the last eight years anyway, fighting against separatists. there's also a practical reason
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they might be trying to diminish thoughts of war and fears. it's because of damage to the economy. there's already this feeling among a lot of people here in ukraine that their economy is already being damaged and they're already paying the price for a war that hasn't even happened. >> thank you for that. i want to turn to democratic john garamendi, who is the chair of the subcommittee on readiness. you traveled to ukraine and met with president zelensky. >> there's no doubt that russia is preparing to invade. the question is will they invade and that takes us to the diplomatic and sanction issues. there is in the senate
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legislation by senator menendez that will require should russia take any action, invasion military or any other action to overthrow the democratically elected government of ukraine, those sanctions would automatically go into place and they are heavy duty. they would cripple the russian country as well as the senior leaders of the russian military and political establishment. that bill needs to pass. on the diplomatic side, the state department is doing exactly what they should do, rounding up the support the nato and the european countries. european countries are stepping up, they're providing armaments, defensive to ukraine as is the united states. so russia has a very significant choice to make and putin is going to have to assess the probability that should they
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invade that russia will be harmed not only physically and viciously but economically for decades to come. >> it was just on tuesday, i think it was the third package of usa that we saw arriving in ukraine. i think overall since they invaded crimea, there's been $2.7 billion of american money sent to ukraine. how much of that is a deterrent and are you concerned about some republicans on the right who seem to be suggesting very publicly that the united states should just stay out of it? >> the united states can't stay out of it. let's keep in mind that russia has over the last decade invaded and taken over territory that was of a sovereign country. crimea and ukraine, also the eastern area of ukraine and a
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significant part of georgia. all of these were independent countries russia invaded and took them over. as a result of that, the united states for the last eight, seven years now has instituted what it calls defend europe. we have spent from 3 to $5 billion a year shoring up nato's presence in the eastern european region, as well as being prepared to deliver troops and supplies anywhere in the european theater. all of that's taken place. now we are clearly ramping up at this moment -- actually, over the last year and a half, we're ramping up the supply of defensive weapons to ukraine as well as certain humanitarian efforts and economic support for ukraine. that is coupled with the european union's support for the economy of ukraine. simultaneously we're looking at,
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okay, the sanctions need to go into place because russia's doing a cyber operation to try to topple the government. those efforts are under way to backfill the shortage of gas that would result from the sanctions. the united states can do that with lng and other methods delivering to europe the necessary gas and energy supplies that they need to be able to maintain their economy and their population in the dead of winter. >> congressman john garamendi, as we continue to watch the situation unfold, we appreciate you taking the time. >> imagine being a student. your substitute teacher walks into class and it's actually your governor. that happened wednesday in new mexico for one kindergarten class. next, more on the measures that state is taking to address a
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major teacher shortage. today is international holocaust remembrance day, demonstrated to mark the liberation of the auschwitz death camp. in poland, the auschwitz museum is observing its 77th anniversary of that day. the u.n. is holding a virtual ceremony that will include testimony from holocaust survivors from canada, israel, a south africa and the u.s. there were 6 million jewish victims of the holocaust, millions more were killed because of the nazis. president biden said there's more urgency now that, quote, fewer survivors remain to share their stories. we must never forget because that's the only way we can stop it from happening again. m happe.
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omicron vaccine for adults. joining me is the medical director of gramercy pediatrics. i want to start with this news from moderna. millions of americans have already gotten their booster shot with the existing vaccines so the question becomes what's the need for something that's specific to omicron, especially if the numbers are going down? >> well, you know, we are still seeing reinfections. luckily the vaccine has been so successful in keeping people really out of the hospital, which was the goal, but there are still adults who are getting significantly ill from omicron. and any vaccine that could be more specific would be even better and we're similar more variants will be more similar to omicron so we're hoping this new booster will offer more protection. we always say this is not to prevent you from being infected,
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this is to prevent you from getting hospitalized or dying, god forbid. >> a new study out of london found more than two-thirds of the participants who tested positive already had covid in the past. does that throw out the window what a lot of people thought, if i had coronavirus one, i'm probably safe or at least safer than people haven't had it. >> yes, it is. but most of the people who ended up with reinfection didn't end up in the hospital in the surge in march/april 2020. everybody is becoming an at-home virologist. as a physician, we change the flu vaccine every year. sometimes you can get your flu shipment as a doctor in august and sometimes it doesn't arrive in october or november. they're working on basing the flu vaccine from the year before
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or what the flu epidemic was like in australia that year and they want to see if we need to change our flu vaccine. this is not uncommon with vaccines that we tweak it to cover new variant and mutations. it's just new that every single person in the united states and all over the world is now an expert in the vaccine. >> and also be speaking of variants, u.s. health officials are now tracking a subvariant, which is something i didn't know existed, seems to be spreading pretty quickly, including in denmark and the u.k. what else do we know about it and how worried should we be? when people were hearing about subvariants, you've got to be kidding me was the gut reaction from folks. >> we don't know much. i looked in the literature. it's so new. it doesn't seem to be more virulent or dangerous at this point. i feel like when every new variant comes out i say the same
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thing but we have to wait and see. it's too new. it doesn't seem alarming to the doctors. the omicron search has made the teacher shortages we've seen across the country even worse. in new mexico, 20,000 students don't even have a teacher so the governor has called in the national guard. i know you grew up in new mexico, you've got family members who are dealing with these issues personally. what have you heard in classrooms and who else, by the way, is stepping in to teach? >> yeah, hey there, chris. this has just become such a perfect storm of crisis after crisis. first had you this longstanding teacher shortage that has plagued the state since way before the pandemic. we're talking 20 years when i was in school, this was still a situation with so many leaving the profession year after year
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saying they didn't make enough money in teaching to make ends meet. then comes the pandemic, the number of teachers leaving doubles and now we're seeing over a thousand vacancies. that works out that number that you mentioned to about 20,000 kids without permanent teachers. then you have omicron and that is when things go from dire to critical. at one of the school districts we went to, the superintendent told us some days they'll see up to 25% of their teachers sick. so these national guard soldiers are reinforcements that couldn't come soon enough. the fascinating things about a lot of these soldiers is that they have deeply personal connections to the schools where they're now helping out. like this one service member who we talked to yesterday who graduated five years ago and now she is substitute teaching in a math class that she used to sit in for her former teacher. we asked her if her teacher even knew she was stepping in. she said, no, she doesn't, but
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she had lesson plans from him and was carrying out the orders. >> i'm from this area and even when i was in school they were short staffed so it's been to help out. >> when the governor asked us to do this, i rose my hand right away and i'd like do all i can to help all the other schools around the state fix this problem. >> all right now. the program is fast tracked substitute teaching certifications for a bunch of guard members and state employees as well. the governor spent some time teaching in an elementary school, teaching kindergarteners. she's working on pursuing a 7% increase in teacher salaries in the upcoming year. a short-term fix, getting state employees and getting the national guard to try to help. long-term fix, paying teachers
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more and giving them more support in the classroom. back to you, chris. >> it's a problem we're seeing all across the country. new mexico the tip of the iceberg. i'm glad you got to be home and see some of your family. thank you for that report. >> funny you should mention that. they did a driveby but a bunch of my family members are teachers and they all called in sick with omicron. so my dad's a high school teacher, he's got omicron. my brother teaches second grade. he was home last week. >> are they okay? >> they're okay, yeah. it's kind of worrying. my dad yesterday i was talking to him. he said he was grateful he got the vaccine because he was having a little trouble breathing a couple of days ago. this omicron spread is so rapid in new mexico and four of my family members that work in school districts have had to stay home because of omicron. >> wow. we are going to keep a good thought for them. please give them our best, everybody here at msnbc. and i'm sure it did their hearts
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good to know that you were there and to be able to see you. thank you, gadi. appreciate you sharing your family story. >> up next, the new vacancy on the supreme court is upending the political world again. what happens next and how this could boost democrats ahead of the mid terms. d how this could boost democrats ahead of the mid terms.
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the political landscape again. i want to bring in someone who understands this very well, jim messina. and erin haynes, an msnbc contributor. jim, you're quoted in that piece i just mentioned. you say this fundamentally changes the mid term. show us the landscape as you see it right now. >> if you look at why the democrats lost virginia and the leading of biden's poll numbers, it's been with women voters in the suburbs. this supreme court fight along with the supreme court's like live decision in june to roll out roe v. wade could for the first time make abortion a front-and-center issue in the mid of the election and allows the biden white house to stop having talk every day about inflation numbers and ukraine and focus on an issue his base
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feels very strongly about, the base of the supreme court. it comes at a time for biden to shift the narrative, these are very fraught times and huge fights. >> to the huge fights coming, we're past the time when fom knees got confirmed by large majorities but where do you see this going in terms of the politician right now? >> black voters are going to be so key to this -- in terms of the mid-term messaging that a potential black woman supreme court nominee could do to really galvanize and energize that crucial constituency that delivered democratic victories to both the white house and to congress. something like this could give democrats on the primary campaign trail this year a major win to tout, to help remind them
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of the states headed into the fall. as i mentioned earlier, while there are no black women in the senate to confirm a potential nominee, it is absolutely black women who made this possible. they turned taught amid a pandemic to deliver democratic victories and what they told me on the campaign trail then is that, you know, they wanted a return on their investment, as in their vote and that this is absolutely what they voted for, somebody who was going to be on the bench reflecting their lived experience. >> jim, when this news broke for pete williams 23, 24 hours ago, we were on the air together and we talked about the fact there's two parts to this. who can you get through the process? so you start the vetting, you figure out how you can actually get confirmed and then you go to the process of doing that.
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talk about how you prepare for these fights and how you think the biden team is going to work this. >> preparation has already started for this. they probably already put together a long list of potentials. they were ready for this moment. the president's chief of staff who ran those processes for barack obama will be heavily involved. i remember at one point having to sneak one of the finalists through the tourist entrance, put a hat on him and raced him past the reporters who didn't see him trying to get this through. all the smart lawyers will sit in the room and figure out who the best two or three candidates are and then they'll walk down to the political hacks and say, hey, who can actually get the votes and i think they're going to look very closely at justices who have already opinion confirmed by the senate and had a couple republican votes and who can excite their base, exactly as erin talked about. those two things, exciting your base and being able to actually get confirmed are going to drive this process. >> does the experience in the
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white house matter? does the fact that the president was the head of the judiciary committee and he obviously knows what it is to be in the middle of an extremely contentious confirmation fight, that his chief of staff also knows how this works or is it always something new or different every time? >> it's super helpful. the president cares very deeply about these issues. he's former chair of the judiciary committee. we had both picks. i was in the room for the final pick and he lobbied president obama very hard, he cared very deeply about these things, he made calls to senators to sound out names. he's going to be a very active president on this because he understands the truth, which is it's his legacy. 30 years from now they will say biden's pick ruled on this. he will care very deeply about it and be involved and he will know which of these senators is going to be gettable for some of these votes on some of these picks. >> jim, erin, thanks to both of
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you. erin, happy second anniversary for the 19th. there are always doubters in this day and age, so many new startups but you guys have rocked it. congratulations on heading into year number three. >> thank you so much, chris. time flies when you're making history. we appreciate you saying that. >> i also appreciate you're part of our team. jim, always great to see you and thanks you for sharing our experience. still coming this morning, we are learning that the economy in 2021 grew at the fastest pace since 1984. that doesn't mean we're not still facing soaring costs on everything from groceries to clothes to cars. with inflation running hot, the fed signals it will likely raise interest rates soon. what it means for you and your wallet next. soon. what it means for you and your wallet next.
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this morning new signs the u.s. econaim is roaring back. the gdp, the total output of all goods and services, grew 5.7% in 2021. the bigsh one-year jump since 1984. this after fed chair jerome powell said they will likely raise interest rates in march.
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senior business correspondent joins me now. help us understand why the fed is upping the interest rates and what it means for every day consumers like us? >> in the immediate for us, if you're looking to get a mortgage or big loan, if you have private student loans, before they raise rates, this is when you want to get the mortgage, renegotiate finance and lock that in. the economy is doing well. they lowered rates to zero during the pandemic because we needed a boost. now that it is, the economy is going to quickly and inflation is roaring. and that's why raising interest rates is going to try to slow that down a bit. but we are in recovery. i spoke to commerce secretary and talked about that very thing. >> the hope and i think the reality would be prices will come down. and so, to the extent that folks are frustrated by inflation, i
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think you'll see relief on that. i am just so confident that these are the right things to do. and at some point in time, in some number of months, people will feel better because they will see improvement. >> she's right. interest rates, over time, should lower prices. but the problem is, chris, think about the immediate. so, now, if you want to borrow money, it costs more. chances are your 401 is going to be down. this is difficult for biden from a political standpoint. >> gdp grew significantly, despite the pandemic. all-smart people you talk to, what do they think that bodes for 2022? >> look where you see the economy go up and see the drop. it's completely tied to covid. things boom and when we get a flair up a bit, they're suppressed. they're probably going to be a bit lower than last year because
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omicron was with us. it's a reminder our economy is linked to covid. one of the reasons there's so much demand is because there's so much cash in the system. the good news, i know people don't feel great about it. but the economy is good. >> always good to see you and by the way, let me be among the first of millions to congratulate you on your new role as the host of "the 11th hour" on msnbc. we're so excited for you, steph. >> i so appreciate you saying that. i'm excited to keep working with you. >> we will, my friend and you're going to continue to be the chief business correspondent for cnbc. >> whatever it takes for msnbc to have me working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, i'll be doing it. >> no truer words were spoken. just half an hour from now we
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expect to see president biden with just breyer at the white house. ident biden with justi breyer at the white house. never misses. you could say it's the steph curry of footlongs. you could, but i'm not gonna. subway keeps refreshing and refreshing and re...
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♪ ♪ the pandemic made teaching and learning really hard. but instead of working to help students safely return to the classroom, the san francisco school board focused on renaming schools and playing politics. and they've even saddled our district with a $125 million deficit. our children can't wait for new leadership. here's our chance for a fresh start. on february 15th, please recall school board members collins, lópez and moliga before our kids fall even further behind.
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what happens when you block heartburn with one prilosec otc in the morning? before our kids fall heartburn doesn't stand a chance - day... or night. excess stomach acid can cause heartburn. prilosec otc works differently by preventing excess acid production. so don't fight heartburn, block it. prilosec otc. one pill in the morning blocks heartburn, all day and all night. ♪ good day, everyone. this is andrea mitchell reports in washington where supreme court justice stephen breyer is expected to appear with president biden at the white house about half an hour from
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now to formally announce his retirement. after nearly 28 years on the court, breyer will retire in june, allowing president biden to name his replacement and fire up his shrinking support among black voters ahead of the midterms. while democrats still control the senate. this would pea the first conformation in the supreme court justice in the history in a 50/50 equally divided senate. at the south carolina presidential debate, under pressure from congressman clyburn, biden promised to nominate a black woman to the court. >> i'm looking forwardo making sure there's a black woman on the supreme court. that we in fact get every representation. >> also this hour a massive escalation in russia's front line mobilization. war ships in the black sea, tanks rolling across the frozen tundra. multi-front threat sending shock waves through the european


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