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tv   MSNBC News Live  MSNBC  October 5, 2009 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT

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armed intruder on the campus at the library. officers were on the scene for quite a period of time, david, searching for a suspect and we saw again minutes ago, this man in handcuffs being taken in by authorities. on the phone with us is gil alva, a former new york city detective. and gil, thank you for joining us. >> yeah, thanks for having me. >> we are watching this play out. the university has an alert system, a website system, presumably this after what we saw happen at virginia tech, meant to alarm or alert students of a possible danger and went out armed intruder on campus at the library and then we saw this play out there. do you know anything about what we saw here, what's happened here? >> yeah. well, you know, it's important how they got this intruder in the first place. i'm not sure if somebody on campus saw him or somebody either text messaged or called the university ahead of time, you know, from offcampus telling them there may be an armed intruder by the library. so it doesn't necessarily have to be in the library at this
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time. this guy could have went some place else. he may have had a gun and somebody is reporting him and he went by the buses to try to get on a bus or hide around the buses, just like anybody else, and that's why the police went after him. at this point that is all a possibility or they still may have somebody inside the building. i'm not too sure about that doesn't look like they have somebody in the building but, i mean, that is a possibility. >> it is interesting because early on, the police were asked if they thought this was a credible alert and the quote was, "you have to take them all seriously. we are on the scene and we are in the library now." this individual we saw taken into custody was not armed, nonetheless, does not mean if he is the suspect they are looking for doesn't mean he didn't ditch the gun somewhere. it is incredible now, you have got these response system it is place, gil, at these universities to alert these students to try not -- to stay out of harm's way. >> that's the number one issue with these universities, high schools or anything else, is a response like this and notifying
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anybody. have the students stay in their dorms and everybody off the bus, everybody clear the area or lock downs or anything else. even if this -- nothing happens here it is a good practice and a good system to test the system and you this howe this works. this is a big university and here is an isolated library spot. so everything should be working very good. >> gil, let me interrupt you real quick, we want to listen in to the local chopper pilot who is over the scene right now. let's listen in. >> those students taken off to the left side of your screen, away from the area and then they continued to look through the buses. shortly there jafter, they brought out one gentleman in a blue-striped shirt, talked with him for a minute, then handcuffed him and led him to that squad car at that location right there. that's what we have seen. we haven't heard any shots fired. we don't know exactly what
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transpired or if this is the same individual you are looking at now at the other building. all the activity seemed to flow from one to the next. as far as we know, police have stood down their efforts, put their guns away, so apparently this situation has now been defused. for news channel 8 this is judd chapin from eagle 8. >> that is the chopper pilot you heard over the scene this all start, according to reports, when someone called police saying they knew someone who was on campus near the library with a gun and a bomb. police were told someone was seen in the bus parking lot. as a result, you have seen someone taking into custody. not confirmed if he is a suspect. >> certainly good news the police putting their guns away this appears to be over. the concern that the person they have arrested is the one who made the threat but it does seem
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like police are -- have concluded this is over. tamron, now moving on, in the big picture there is a huge meeting this afternoon at the white house. president obama's laying his next step in afghanistan and be talking with defense secretary gates in an hour this comes after u.s. forces suffered their deadliest blow over the weekend in more than a year. eight american soldiers were killed when militant fighters ambushed two american outposts in northeastern afghanistan. the attack happened early saturday morning. taliban-linked insurgents struck using rifles, grenades and rockets. the u.s. military was in the process of dispantling and withdrawing from the base when the attack happened. part of general stanley mcchrystal's strategy to shift troops to populated areas to focus more on protecting civilians than battling insurgents. nbc's adrian mong join us live from kabul, afghanistan. aided dree yen what is the move there what is the description of what went down over the weekend? >> reporter: hi, david. well, the attack has been described as being well
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coordinated, this was the words of the u.s. military. the military told local leaders about their decision to withdraw from the outposts. both of the small combat outposts are located in a very, very remote region in nuristan province which straddles the afghanistan/pakistan border, one was in a mountain, the american soldiers were able to defend successfully right away. the other outpost, however, was at the bottom of a valley surrounded by very, very deep -- steep, rather, mountains. the fighters launched rpgs and heavy gunfire at the ought potp some 50 enemy fighters, possibly some senior leaders possibly
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killed. the gun battle raged more than six hours with the americans using apache helicopters, heavy machine gun fire as well as air attacks, air strikes. the area is sealed off and a combination of forces are engaged in an offensive against taliban positions in the region but military official dees mied this, telling nbc news that while there may be still small skirmishes going on there is no offensive taking place and that their plan it is to shut down this outpost will proceed. >> adrienne, some reporting today this particular outpost was supposed to be closed down weeks ago but not because of delays. any new reporting as to what caused those delays?
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>> there have been logistical issues to get equipment and supports and move the troops out also reports that president karzai's government here in kabul does not want the soldiers to leave because they are worried if they do, these areas will fall right away into the insurgents' hands. >> adrienne mong in kabul. thanks for the report. we appreciate it. in the bigger picture, the white house says leaving afghanistan is not an option, this comes on the heels of the fierce debate over the obama administration's strategy in that war zone. are more troops needed to, in fact, win the war? in less than an hour, president obama will meet with secretary of defense robert gates, the first of two meetings this week on the direction of the war. despite the divide, even within the administration what to do next in afghanistan, secretary gates says the military will do whatever president obama decides. he also says that the president's war strategy advisers need to keep their
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advice private. >> imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberation, civilians and military alike, provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately and speaking of the department of defense, once the commander in chief makes his decisions, we will salute and execute those decisions faithfully and to the best of our ability. >> secretary gates' comments come after the commander in afghanistan, general mcchrystal, said the u.s. is in danger of failing if more troops aren't sent to the war zone. mcchrystal also said he does not support a new counterterrorism strategy being floated by vice president biden to use more drone missile strikes against terrorist attacks. he called it "chaos "istan." before we talk about how far the conversation has got ton a new strategy this back and forth, general i believe it was gates asked whether or not this was
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hurting the situation, the public debate, when off general on the ground and the president only meet for 25 minutes in copenhagen. how does this affect what is going on? >> certainly not a positive development, the fact this is such a public discourse right now. the public, frankly, is not that inform about the subject so probably shouldn't be having as great a role as it is having right now. these are very, very serious discussions at a strangle eachic national security level and to be having that in the form of cable news is probably not helpful. >> mcchrystal said waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome can. activists -- ambush. i want to put it in perspective, the ambush we just saw. >> this is not the first time. the third time. >> certainly bold energy wake of this conversation, does this then put even more pressure on the president that you have at least eight american lives now gone? >> this is not the first time one of these tiny outposts has been comp prom miced, u.s. officials say, no it wasn't overrun because there is an
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emotional attachment saying that one of their outposts was overrun but it was clearly compromise and security put in jeep dirk the fact that eight soldiers were killed on this one outpost. i have known of this happening at least three times, this being the third time. so, this is a serious problem and it shows that when general mcchrystal says he needs more troops, he needs help, he is not kidding. they need help now, particularly eastern afghanistan, spread out to tiny ought posts difficult to resupply, many cases as we saw difficult to protect. the large he question, what happens next, give them a little bit of relief, which i think they probably need in the short-term, does that mean you are engaging in afghanistan to try to change the war and engage in an entirely new strategic dynamic in the country? that, i think is a more
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difficult he question and probably one that is not going to succeed but in the short-term, i think they probably need help. >> richard, can you describe this particular area in northeastern afghanistan where it happened and what was the mission of this particular outpost and soldiers who were there and were they at all able to accomplish the mission given some of the reports that they simply weren't leaving this particular base? >> if you look at afghanistan, i see you pulling up a map now, southern afghanistan is mostly flat, mostly desert, so a lot of the missions in there are in vehicles and the main threat that they are facing is ied attacks. so oftentimes, the soldiers that are there don't even see the taliban, they just step on an ied and sometimes get killed. eastern afghanistan, where these small outposts are very different. it's covered in mountains. there are many different militant networks that operate in the area, the hakani network probably being the most powerful one there. and there are many outposts in these mountainous valleys and what they are designed to do is
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to block the traffic that the militants use when they go back and forth into pakistan, sometimes smuggling weapons, sometimes smuggling drugs, sometimes smuggling personnel, so, they are spread out to try to interdict the transit of militants and their goods it means, in many cases, they are on their own, days away from any kind of resupply and in very treacherous terrain. this particular outpost was on the bottom of a valley. so, therefore, if you get high positions and you can shoot down into the outposts, you can be very exposed and that is what happened in this case and that is exactly the same strategy that the militants used when they were fighting itself yets, you draw itself yets into the valleys and the hell couldn't verse to fly low. they come very close to the peaks and that's where you shoot at them and that's what happened over the weekend as well. >> incredible. thank you very much, richard, for your insight. david, we will obviously, we end these conversations often by saying we will see, but quite honestly that is all what is left with this have to wait and
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see what the administration says is the strategy. >> very serious conversations that the president and secretary of defense will have, and the next couple of weeks, try to figure this one out. united nations is temporarily closing its offices in pakistan after a suicide bomber kill 7-day outlook people. the bomber, disguised as a security officer, evaded security and struck the lobby at the headquarters of the u.n. food agency. the attack came a day after new leaders of pakistani taliban vowed new assaults. coming up, president obama brings out some doctors in an attempt to get his attention back on health care. we will have the latest on what happened in the rose garden today. but his real problem may be some lawmakers within his own party. also coming up, republican lawmakers square off against the chairman of the republican national committee. what exactly is their problem with michael steele today? >> plus, today's crossing the line, should students have the right not to pledge allegiance to the flag?
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tell you about the debate and what the supreme court says. the latest in the david letterman scandal. for the first time, we are hearing part of the suspect's side. you are watching the big picture on msnbc. dad, here-look at this- your p.a.d. isn't just poor circulation in your legs causing you pain. ok-what is it? dad, it more than doubles your risk of a heart attack or stroke! you better read about plavix. if you have p.a.d., plavix can help protect you from a heart attack or stroke. plavix helps keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots- the cause of most heart attacks and strokes. talk to your doctor about plavix? (announcer) if you have a stomach ulcer or other condition that causes bleeding, you should not use plavix. taking plavix alone or with some other medicines including aspirin may increase bleeding risk. tell your doctor before planning surgery or taking aspirin or other medicines with plavix, especially if you've had a stroke. some medicines that are used to treat heartburn or stomach ulcers, like prilosec, may affect how plavix works, so tell your doctor if you are taking other medicines. if fever, unexplained weakness or confusion develops, tell your doctor promptly.
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in entertainment news, less than 15 minutes, david letterman is scheduled to begin taping his first show since making its surprising announcement last thursday, when he confessed to having sexual relationships with female staffers and announced that someone tried to ex-tort $2 million or that person would go public. an executive of letterman's company, worldwide pants says the affair ended before letterman married his long-time girlfriend last march, they have a 5-year-old son. robert joe halderman was arrested in a sting operation,
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pled not guilty on friday and released on $200,000 bail. he faces another court hearing on november 10th. meanwhile, his attorney appeared morning on the "today" show. >> it is not only the motive, intent and conduct of joe halderman, it is the motive, intent and conduct of david letterman as well. as i have said, i look forward to cross-examining david letterman. >> nbc's jeff rossen has been following the developments. jeff, any indication as to whether or not david letterman is going to address
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robert joe halderman's attorney and he also said, look, an extortionist doesn't take a $2 million personal check, usual think is cash it is money that's wired. so he is clearly beginning to build a defense, he also came out and said at a it, that my client is innocent the "today" show this morning but said they don't usually take checks, extortionists, but he wouldn't go into any more of the defense after that. >> what is the status of joe halderman at cbs news? is he suspended, an internal investigation going on? >> cbs is, of course, looking into this matter. what i find fascinating, cbs executives themselves didn't find out about this until, what, just a few hours before the taping and that goes up to the top of the cbs food chain, les moonves, letterman was keeping this from everybody, clearly, that was part of his intent, to keep this private, with the police also, as they were doing that sting -- that investigation and the sting operation.
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joe halderman was arrested outside of cbs headquarters and yet many cbs employees didn't know about it until letterman said it. >> nbc's jeff rossen reporting for us. thank you very much. >> sure. >> tamron this story does underscore in terms of crisis communication, david letterman was ahead, frame this on his terms and maybe one of the reasons why he is benefiting right now is the court of public opinion. >> peter alexander was covering the story with jeff rossen. 58% of his audience are women. so i will be curious if -- what he says tonight and if there will be any backlash from that, we hear more stories that may to thely well with that side of the gender conversation. especially, you know, talking about young women in the office. still ahead other hoon "the big picture" "saturday night live" takes on president obama and boy, did they. what happened when the president becomes a punchline eight months into office. is it funny because it's true? also, a man lives to talk
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welcome back. a man accused of stalking, david, and secretly videotaping an espn reporter is in a chicago courtroom. it is what you need to know. 47-year-old michael david bar set accused of trying to sell videos showing reporter erin andrews naked. they say he was trying to sell this video to celebrity website, a jordanian teenager accused of trying to blow up a dallas building last month is in federal court. a judge will decide if there was enough evidence to move ahead with the prosecution of the 19-year-old. he drove a truck that he believehood a live bomb into it
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in a garage of a 560-story building. he dialled a phone he thought would ignite the blast. and massive flooding across southern india has killed, look at the picture, more than 250 people. millions of others are now homeless. officials say they expect the death toll to rise. we will look at whether the obama administration staff needs to step up their game a bit in all of this. announcer: trying to be good to your heart? so is campbell's healthy request soup. low in fat and cholesterol, heart healthy levels of sodium, and taste you'll love. chef: we're all kind of excited about it. guy: mmm! i can see why.
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it can lift your mood, help rebuild muscle... and improve your concentration. tylenol pm works with your body to ease the aches and pains that keep you awake, and helps you fall asleep in a non-habit forming way. because the better you sleep, the better you feel. i'm bertha coombs with your cnbc market wrap. right now, dow jones average up more than 00, up nearly 120 points. is s & p 500 up.
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oil prices rising today as well, lifted by the weak dollar. oil up 46 cents to settle just above $70 a barrel. and a new sign the economy may be headed for a recovery, the institute for supply management says the u.s. services sector grew in september for the first time in 13 months. the private trade group says its index hit 50.9, up from 48.4. any number above 50.6. the chrysler group by fiat has split its dodge brand into two groups, dodge ram trucks and dodge car brand. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to msnbc. welcome back, i'm david shuster live in washington. >> i'm tamron hall live in new york. want to get an update on the breaking news story we started at the top of the hour out of the university of south florida. police say one person, this guy is in custody after someone
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reported a person with a bomb, a gun near the library. police called in the tampa police bomb team to investigate the individual's belongings. that happened 90 minutes after they received a call about a possible gunman. police say they received more information about someone on a bus and were attempting to locate that person and secure the area. officers have now moved to the business college and are still, at this time, questioning people. now let get back to politics, the latest poll, david, showing nearly 70% of doctors and nurses support major health care reform. president obama, in fact, invited many of them, some of them to the white house today, lab coats in all to help kick off this week's efforts in pressuring congress. >> yeah, quite a photo op, tamron. the president spoke in the rose garden just a couple of hours ago. there was at least one doctor or nurse from every state in the union. president obama said these doctors and nurses support his plans because they know, better than anybody, that changes need to be made. >> you are the people who know
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the system best. you are the experts. nobody has more credibility with the american people on this issue than you do. and so if you're willing to speak out strongly on behalf of the things you care about and what you see each and every day as you're serving patients all across the country, i'm confident we are going to get health reform passed this year. >> not every doctor, of course is on board with the president's plan. and there are plenty of conservative editorial pages willing to provide that minority view with a platform. today, three doctors wrote an op ed in the "wall street journal" arguing the public option should be taken offer the table. "if the goal of reform is to provide the best possible patient care." the senate finance committee is waiting for the congressional budget office to score their legislation before voting on the measure and it appears that the
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cbo report may take most of the week, delaying a committee vote by max baucus until next week. meanwhile, two democratic senators on the committee have not yet said if they will support the plan. senator ron widen says enough is not being done to hold insurance companies accountable and senator john rockefeller says a public option needs to be included in legislation. kelly o'donnell, any possibility this will not pass the baucus committee because the democrats won't be on board? >> reporter: one of the things tough account for here is strategy and for ron wyden and jay rockefeller, withholding their vote is the chance to keep the point in the news, you and i are talking about it people trying to weigh does it have potential? it is a strategically good move to hold a vote and not -- not really show your hand too soon. now, will they at some point come together and be able to get all of the democrats on board?
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that's certainly what chairman baucus needs to do and wants to do. everybody is waiting for one of the most important scores we will see all season, the cbo number, bigger than the super bowl, bigger than the final results at the world series. when you are on capitol hill that tells you how much will it cost? how close to deficit-neutral might it be? it tells us everything in terms of big numbers that we need on this baucus blueprint for health care that should come within a couple of days and then all of the senators on the committee will get a chance to read it over, take a look, see if there are any surprise there is and then cast their votes a big priority for democrats is to get everybody to fall in line. david? >> kelly, there was some interesting sound from chuck schumer who is on the committee, the democrat from new york, explain, put it in context for us and lead us to that. >> reporter: strategy here, the public option, we know it didn't pass the finance committee. chuck schumer of snork a huge proponent of it. to keep that conversation going, he says he still think there is
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life in a public option because there are members of the senate who are were not on the committee and certainly lots of members of the house it who still believe in it here is how he put it together. >> the house is all for it and they are going to have it in their bill so if you have a conference committee where the house has it strongly, almost rock solid in their bill and the senate, we could have it in the bill, then it's done if we don't have it in the bill, there are 54, 55, 56 democratic senators for it how are they going to report back a bill without it? >> reporter: that is some of how you handicap these votes and where is legislation going. for those of us who love politics, david, this is fun to watch, the behind-the-scenes dealmaking, the wake of what can possibly get through, the ultimate goal for all democrats in congress is to get something done. the second goal is to get something done they can be proud of. david? >> nbc's kelly o'donnell reporting for us. thank you very much. tamron, you know this are some democrats who might take issue with the way chuck schumer said
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democrats say it is not 54 an 55, some democrat support, the headcount is intriguing here. >> also intriguing, didn't talk about it with kelly, the cbo scoring will certainly play a role with senator olympia snowe and what direction she may go in, the scoring, the numbers keep swirling. we will see. also in the big picture at this hour, david, more fallout from president obama's failure to sway the international olympic committee committee and sway the 2016 games to chicago. the president made the trip to copenhagen, thinking chicago had a chance to win. this is what valerie jarrett told the chicago tribune "chica
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>> i think last week, it was pretty clear that valerie jarrett is running the white house this is amateur staff work. you never send a president of the united states around the world to something you don't know the outcome. >> the olympics to afghanistan to the economy to health care, is team obama leaving too much to their boss? what happens when the president's personality and his charm simply are not enough? joining us from the newsroom, msnb contributor, jonathan capehart, you have got mike murphy saying amateur night at the apollo, others saying not so fast. sounds like almost like an afghanistan strategy if they had intelligence saying it was a good shot here but what's going on with this team? i mean, it seems that so much is left to the popularity of the president and his popularity, as a result is taking a hit. >> look, the negotiations, the back room dealmaking, if you want to call it that, in terms of figuring out who is going to get the 2016 olympic games a
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messy affair, as we have seen, learned in the aftermath, the united states olympic committee isn't exactly held in high regard. you have to question the intelligence, i don't think we should criticize the president for trying to -- to try to bring jobs and, you know, another international event to the united states. >> which is what we are looking at, jonathan. not just about the olympics it is about handling the jobs and getting the message out, health care and what we watched happened in the month of august, the argument get away from this, about the strategy in afghanistan. he is commander in chief but what about that team of ast supposed to blow the lid off of business as usual in washington, d.c.? >> one thing that mike said that i would take issue with here, valerie jar set not running the white house. i think it is unfair to pin this on her. what we have to remember, the
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president came into office, extraordinary circumstances, a barack obama or john mccain who could have been president would be facing the same things, an economy that's in the tank and two wars that one's going kind of okay, one's not going well at all, the middle, trying to figure out what to do, so many things on the president's plate that demand attention right now. some things can't get attention right now, but they all have to be focused on now the president is the one thing in that administration who is the best advocate for what he wants to do or the direction he wants to take the country and if anything, the olympics, anything, need to develop another team who can go out there and advocate the president's message, administration message so that the president's influence and capital isn't expanded on things that would belittle him or the office. >> jonathan, is the president being -- trying to be too nice
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to too many people and maybe therefore the staff as well you never see earthquake with the exception of rahm emanuel, anybody in the white house staff willing to make somebody pay for making mistakes. for example, cut so much slack to max baucus, a lot of slack to mcchrystal about speaking for the need about 40,000 troops and the defense secretary making the military criticize him, you don't hear anybody in the white house saying, wait a second, you are out of line. >> i haven't talked to anybody in the white house about this, but remember the mantra in the campaign, sort of carried over into the administration, which is no drama obama. they are not about the distracts who is fighting with whom, who is getting in the way of what decision. all about what he is at goal and how do we get there without deviating from our mission. >> sometimes without drama then, people respect afraid of you and you lose some respect from people who might end up crossing you if you feel like you can get away with it. >> in terms of afghanistan,
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trying to figure out what to do and maybe someone will get knocked upside the head during that process. the health care reform package, in the middle of that process, only talking about the senate finance committee coming out with that bill and the real action happens when the senate majority leader harry reid tries to stitch together the package and one of the things coming down the road. the other thing coming down the road is the conference committee between the senate and house leadership to put the bill together where the house and senate can vote on it and send something to the president. a process nowhere near finished and plenty of opportunities to knock people beside the head and club them in the knees if they have to. >> jonathan capehart, mob talk there thanks, jonathan. you sound like the godfather -- what is it, godfather, you love, respect or fear, can you have respect when there is no fear? but we are going to play that snl clip, too, where they kind of spoofed the president on this
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laundry list of things he wanted to do and some say still maybe behind the curve on it. >> one of the things, so fired up about this, heard on the hill, they described, this is the white house nobody fears this white house, no consequence if you cross them. what is the consequence for cross the president on the olympics? valerie jarrett says the olympic committee promised us something but didn't deliver. no should be waging war today against whoever crossed them on this should be much stronger against mcchrystal for speaking out about the troops, health care, who as far dragging their feet. if the white house is not respected, get double crossed. >> david schuster, i know in a fight whose side i'm on, bridging the heat. >> just ahead, speaking of fighting, knows how to do it, the republican party versus one of their own, michael steel. >> michael steele says he is "from the streets" he knows how to fight. why the rnc chairman is having troubles with republican heavyweights. you are watching "the big picture" on msnbc.
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welcome back. in today'smaking their case, have republican also it with rnc chairman michael steele? >> according to a story today on politico, gop leaders had held a heated meeting with steele last month and told him he was overstepping his duties. apparently, republican congressional leaders like john boehner and senators mitch mcconnell and lamar alexander were not happy once steele unveiled a so-called senior health care bill of rights back in august without so much as consulting the congressional republicans. they want him focused on governor's races in states like new jersey and virginia and not trying to establish policy. and then there was steele's criticism of president obama's efforts to went olympics for chicago. first, here's steele and then the white house reaction. watch. >> i think while it is a noble idea for the president to want
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to pitch his home city, chi town for the olympics, the goal should be creating you know, not job opportunities seven years from now but job opportunities today. >> who's he rooting for? hoping to hop a men to brazil and catch the olympics in rio? >> so, is michael steele's freelancing helping or hurting the republican party, the way some of the congressional leaders subject. here to make their case, a political reporter for the daily and a blogger for the brian, let's start with you, it's your party, is michael steele helping or hurting you guys? >> oh, i think michael steele is helping a little bit of this back and forth is understandable. he hasn't been chairman all that long, a number of months. this is going to happen sometimes and happened with his counterpart, tim keane. the rnc has twice as much money to spend as the democratic counterparts, leading races in virginia and new jer sapd putting more money into those races. >> just a scolding there by the
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congressional leaders saying, look, you are stepping out of bounds and you need to stay in your lane. >> well, i think that -- i think that policy comes from the congressional people. i think there should have been better coordination, i don't see this as a big deal. i think it is trying to make a story out of nothing. >> benjamin, the democrats say they love michael steele because of the fodder that he gives you guys. >> well, first of all it is not "you guys" i'm a reporter here. it is true the democrats have been elated with many of steele's gaffes. this case, it is one that could be damaging for the democrats. in the short-term, seniors are very concerned about health care, a lot to have is fueled by inaccurate figures a lot how the medicare cut will be handled, the way steele has gone about, this raise the fears up and exploit them has been essentially inventing new poll city for the republicans single-handedly just completely inconsistent with everything they have been saying all throughout the years. so it might help the democrats in the sense that republicans might get on board with medicare
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all of a sudden but i really think it is more that steele is overstepping his browns. >> brian, i know you said it is not the that big a deal, but according to this report, steele was taken aback by this meeting, a pretty aggressive meeting and told to back off from rolling of out policy initiatives after he discussed medicaid. i mean, that sounds like a -- i'm not just trying to blow the whole party up here but sounds like there certainly needs to be some folks getting on the same page. always a big deal. >> i agree. like i said, i think will should be better coordination but some of this is bound to happen in the rough and tumble of politics, like you were talking about, the democrat does use a little bit more of this speaking out when folks are get out of line and trying to coordinate efforts. like i said, for a committee that's got twice as much money as the democrats, winning races in virginia and new jersey, i just don't see that this is a big issue. >> benjamin, is there a lesson for the democratic party in this?
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should the democrats get more of the rough and tumble spine the republicans have and say you have got to stay in your rape and got to have more discipline when it comes to message? >> i don't know about message but bring up this old issue of medicare in a way that's favorable for themment they could start pointing out as many have in the dnc and elsewhere that republicans' record on medicare is not really so in touch with seniors' actual opinions. they wanted to privatize it, and make cuts to it. this is a key plank of newt gingrich when he was running the party in the '90s, so gives him an opportunity to run this issue in the news. >> thank you so much for coming on today. tamron, michael steele is such a fascinating subject on so many levels. and the way the parties handle this, the republicans are not afraid to slap down one of of their own and say, look, you've got to stay in your loan and shape up. >> that's what we were talking about president obama and democrats, when there was a problem and someone has messed up, you've got to call them out on it, and you have to rule in some cases with fear of consequence.
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but it is interesting that one of the things that the congressional leadership, david, was upset with michael steele, was about him unveiling the health care bill of rights. and you know, the party has been very criticized heavily for not having an alternative to this health care debate, other than in some opinions just saying no. so i think that's an interesting thing they were upset with him about. up next, though, some students in florida not allowed to opt out of saying the pledge of allegiance do you know there is a law in florida the kids have to say it every day? the supreme court heard the case. what did they decide? it's a part of "crossing the line." >> and later in the show, trying to set a world record on a very, very crowded way. you don't want to miss this video.
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welcome back. in today's "crossing the line,"
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the supreme court, a pledge of allegiance law in florida, and one student willing to take the law on. today the supreme court has rejected an appeal to review a florida law that requires public school students to recite the pledge every day, unless their parents give written permission to excuse them. the law was passed in 1942, and apparently gone unchallenged until 2005. that's when cameron frasier, a jr. at boynton beach high school had this exchange with a teacher after he refused to stand or recite the pledge. the teacher said, quote, you clearly have no respect. you are so ungrateful and so unamerican. do you know who is out there fighting our war, that flag you refuse to show respect to. the kid's response, reportedly, was no, our soldiers are fighting the war, the flag is annin man mat piece of cloth and cannot hold a gun. the supreme court gave no reason for not hearing the case. lawyers asked whether frasier
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and other students have a right to constitutionally refuse. not their parents. >> the right belongs to the students and struck down the florida law. but a federal appeals court panel later upheld the law on grounds that the first amendment right belongs to parents of school-age children, not the children themselves. the court would not say if this was crossing the line. so you be the justice. crossing the line? you tell me. let me know what you think. it is almost 4:00 in the east coast, and there's a lot more ahead. the white house is saying today that leaving afghanistan is not an option. so what is the next step? in just a few minutes, president obama will hold a crucial meeting with defense secretary robert gates. plus, do those hand sanitizers really help stop the spread of swine flu? we'll talk to doctor nanr. nanc snyderman about that, and who should get a swine flu vaccine. much more on the sex and extortion case surrounding david letterman. new details emerging. he is also taping his first show since the bombshell
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announcement. we'll have the latest right here on "the big picture." that's what's gonna happen here. because you're tasty... with toasty whole grains. (crunch) wheat thins. toasted. whole grain. crunch. have at it.
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on "the big picture," new details about the horrifying battle in afghanistan that left eight u.s. soldiers dead. >> i'm telling you, they fought a hard fight and fought it very well. >> at this hour, president obama's meeting with defense secretary robert gates tells how badly afghanistan is deteriorating. and what are the u.s. options. updates from the white house and the front line. and later, eight months after the rhetoric of his inauguration -- >> all this we can do, all this we will do. >> -- the reality of the obama presidency, and the slow progress is prompting brutal pop culture parody. >> when you look at my record, it's very clear what i've done so far. and that is -- nothing. plus, the conservatives who cheered when chicago lost and the olympics


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