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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  November 19, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EST

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congressional ethics? good night and good luck. now to discuss where the right still thinks rescuingm was the wrong thing to do as we the little bird parents push the gm bird out of the nest and see it soar, ladies and gentlemen, here is rachel maddow. >> i love the idea of general motors as a tiny baby bird. >> like woodstock off the top of snoopy -- i lost the analogy. take it from here. >> thanks to you at home for joining us. we have breaking news for you on the military's don't ask, don't tell policy. an alaska television station, ktva, scoring a scoop. a declaration in an interview to be aired in alaska tonight from the senator who looks to be possibly the deciding vote for repealing don't ask, don't tell. the ban on gay people serving openly has been in place since 1993. the white house contends that
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the way the statute was written and passed precludes the option of president obama unilaterally stopping the policy by executive order. the white house has advocated that congress street repeal the ban. the house did just that in may, voting to allow the military to repeal the study if a pentagon study said it is feasible. that study is dual in less than two weeks. early leaks suggest repeal is feasible. in the senate, an effort to pass a similar repeal failed when john mccain ledded a filibuster of the entire spending bill for the pentagon in order to stop the don't ask, don't tell provision, which was attached. to defeat mccain a filibuster, ç 60 senators must vote to pass it with the repeal of don't ask, don't tell attached to it. signs that that 60-vote threshold may have been reached. >> senator collins and senator luger have indicated in the last couple of days they're prepared
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to vote for cloture to take up the defense authorization bill, including don't ask, don't tell. >> senator joe lieberman at a don't ask, don't tell conference today with two promised republican votes in favor of repeal. in this camera angle, the handsome bald guy, lieutenant colonel victor fahrenbach facing discharge. after senator lieberman made his announcement about republicans collins and lugar being willing to vote for repeal. we learned in an interview to be broadcast tonight, republican senator lisa murkowski said he is willing to vote for a bill that repeals don't ask, don't tell.
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today for the first time there is a way to see this policy ending. that said, i don't necessarily trust my own counting. joining us now is somebody whose counting i do trust, ken strickland. with the three republican pledges today, do you see a mean of counting to 60 to beat the filibuster and get this policy repealed? >> let's start with senator lieberman. he's been talking to people privately. the one thing that he said specifically was that there would be 60 votes there if the process for bringing the defense authorization bill to the floor -- that's the bill you that has the don't ask, don't tell provision in it, if that was a fair and open on process. you remember before the elections, senator collins ç specifically voted no. she voted with the republicans not to bring the bill to the floor.
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because the process was not fair and open. first and foremost, harry reid will have to convince republicans when they bring this bill to the floor it will be open. how open is a question. there will be a number of amendments that can be voted on debated. i you did talk to somebody in senator murkowski's office. there are a couple of things they want to make sure people understand. murkowski's view is once she sees that report it has not hurt morale or recruitment. there are three things we need to watch. first thing is, does that report get the defense secretary gates on december 1st. and how quickly does it get to congress?
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what do they think of it? >> carl 11 promised to hold hearings. those hearings will be key. who will come to those hearings? what will they say? how will republicans interpret what they hear? according to murkowski's office, if they meet those tests, troop support and doesn't hurt morale, then there might be a path to 60. then there's the passage of this broad sweeping defense authorization bill. whether or not they can get that done in a manner to pass the overall bill. >> in terms of how you understand the calendar on this ken, if we've got that report coming in on time, in terms of a vote, senator lieberman saying he wants a fair and open amendment process. that's the condition on which senator lugar and senator collins are voting, offering their repeal votes. if you've got a fair and open amendment process and got the schedule they've got set up for the lame duck process, can all of this it happen before christmas? >> that's a good question. if you look at it the way -- the way senator majority leader
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harry reid and the things he's laid out that he wants to ç accomplish in this lame duck process, it's hard to see how that happens unless they stay in it through christmas, new year's and february. it's a very ambitious list. bringing a bill to the floor doesn't necessarily mean it's going to happen quickly. the defense authorization bill is a huge bill, hundreds of pages. even when there's nothing controversial in it, it could take a week, two weeks, maybe three weeks. is there political will between democrats and republicans to shorten it down or move through it quickly? that remains an open question. what about the bush tax cuts and the calendar gets smaller and smaller each time you add another provision that you want to vote on. will he be able to manage the calendar in a way that republicans can feel confident that the process will be fair and will be open? >> ken strickland, senate prosecutor for nbc news. really appreciate it. >> you're welcome. >> i should mention two other senators' comments that should be on the record. senator uhdal said although the plan is for the senate to ad jaurn in the lame duck session
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he personally would be happy to stay through christmas eve working on this. it should be noted that the washington blade, a good gay paper out of d.c. today is reporting gash quoting the stone wall democratic club of southern nevada. their communications director saying activists in favor of repealing don't ask, don't tell met with staffers from senator john ensign's office today. republican senator ensign of nevada. they say his regional representative on military issues, a staffer assured them that john ensign too would be willing to vote to repeal don't ask, don't tell. we've been trying to get confirmation of that being reported in the washington blade. interesting. joining us in studio is someone who knows the ins and outside of the studio, my friend lawrence o'donnell. thank you very much. >> good to be here. >> three republicans, maybe four, now indicating they are on board to repeal don't ask, don't tell. are these chickens not yet hatched or is it time to start hatching? >> they are indicators of what is to come. when you see susan collins, you can expect olympia snowe has a better than 50% chance
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following. you are at a number of indicators that look like it's going to be easy to get over 60. it'll end up being over 60. it won't be that one of these republicans will have to then be blamed as being the one who delivered this bill. they'll get over 60 in the waive it's trending right now. leaving aside all of that procedural stuff you went ç through with ken. how you get it all done. they stayed till christmas eve last year. they know how to do this. harry reid made promises in order to get re-elected. he got re-elected by the skin of his teeth. he's got a promise on don't ask, don't tell. he's got to deliver on these promises and got to bring this up. the way it looks now, and when happens in the senate, you get the feeling of it looks like we're going to make it. but you never know you've made it until they count the votes. >> blanche lincoln and mark
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pryor voted with the republican filibuster before the election. they raised procedural objections. neither said it was an anti-gay vote. they said they were concerned about the way amendments hand. call for a free and open amendment process. for those of us who don't know the senate intricacies, is a free and open amendment process something prohibitive in terms of time? >> no. the truth is it's almost always a free and open amendment process. neither side really wants a free and open amendment process. they want an amendment process we agree on. the health care bill, they agreed on an amendment process that was actually extremely negative to the republicans. they will probably find an agreement that works on how to go forward with it with amendments. the murkowski break is very interesting. look at her political
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calculation. she just got relelected, literally last night. she knows, as she sits there today, if i have a political price to pay for this, it's six years from now. she's just been re-elected for six years. she's looking at this and saying, what is alaska going to think of this issue five years from now if it goes away and basically in january of 2011, if that goes away? i think the reasonable prediction is alaska isn't going to care. >> lawrence o'donnell, host of "the last word."ç your interview with murkowski last night was great. >> chris hayes. it was my first night off. >> it was sort of weird to hear chris' voice. >> he did very well. i can take more nights off. still ahead, i will use the
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words democrats and spine in the same sentence without also using the phrase, where is your. also, texas governor rick perry -- hate to break it to you -- general motors is not dead. my condolences, sir. please stay with us. no, i know. it's great, right? but, dude, i've been thinking like, this is such a great opportunity for us to write at least an hour to two every single day. you can see this? of course i can see you. but, steve, i'm thinking-- it's like you're standing-- it's like you're standing right there. it's like i'm touching you. yeah. introducing cisco umi, together we are the human network. cisco. it's like i'm talking to you from the future. i won't. ♪ [ female announcer ] clear some snow. ♪ or spread a little warmth. maxwell house gives you a rich full flavored cup of coffee so you can be good to the last drop.
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i'd just as soon not talk about glenn beck, seriously. i'd refer it if glenn beck refrained from talking smack against iraq and afghanistan veterans. that's ahead. ♪ [ male announcer ] what does it take to excel in today's business world? our professors know. because they've been there. and they work closely with business leaders to develop curriculum to meet the needs of top businesses. which means when our graduates walk in the room, they're not only prepared... they're prepared to lead. devry university's keller graduate school of management. learn how to grow the business of you at
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in the news where all of the disparate political developments of the day make sense together. where there appears to be a theme about what's going on in the news. today's theme -- it's kind of gross but you get the point spinefulness. i know spinefulness isn't a word but spinelessness is. that's the word people are always applying to democrats. today they did not live up to that. even though there's no such word as spinefulness i am using it anyway. we'll talk a lot more about this stuff later in the show. in just the past 24 hours in washington, democratic backbone is turning up in the most unexpected places. after republicans hinted and gestured about how they didn't want to extend unemployment benefits, they talked about it openly to their base. they weren't eager to trumpet that nationwide.
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eager to stick it to people who lost their jobs in this country, democrats in the house made republicans put up or shut up. democrats forced a vote on extending unemployment benefits. republicans voted overwhelming against it. it needed a two-thirds vote to pass and didn't pass. never before as a country have congress voted to deny benefits when the unemployment rate was over 2.7%. today republicans did just that. democrats forced them to do it in the record. have you lost your job in this economy? these people scrolling by are the people who voted no on that. we know their names thanks to democratic leadership forcing them to put up or shut up. the full you list posted at our website,
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there's a super top secret ç spy versus spy component. on capitol hill, the top democrat, harry reid said there would be a vote on the secret nukes treaty. senator dick it lugar turned on his policy and told democrats they should call his own party's bluff and demand a vote on the nuke treaty to force republicans to decide if they really are going to not just drag this out but vote no on something lugar said would be so dangerous for national security. he says call republicans' bluff and do it now. harry reid appears to be taking his advice on that and said they will vote on it on the lame duck. democratic spinefulness. am i asleep, am i dream? did somebody slip the booze into my coffee tonight such there is
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more democratic spineful in evidence on what has been the biggest political issue in the country for months now. one in which democrats have the choice of doing what they want, which is what the large majority of the public wants, they have a choice between that or caving completely. on the democratic plan to cut the deficit by killing the bush tax cuts for the with they, democrats had a clear choice by taking a big popular public stand or caving. of course, everybody thought they would cave. today, news they won't. steny hoyer, the number two democrat in the house told democrats at a caucus today they won't cave. george sergeant and the washington post reporting democrats will schedule a vote on a tax cut for all income up to a quarter million dollars. if republicans want to add $700 billion to the debt by giving tax cuts to income over a quarter million dollars, they'll have to do that on their own time.
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good luck to them given the public polling, which is with the democrats' position. and given that poll they have about the debt. given that january, republicans will still only control one house of congress. signs of spinefulness, right? signs of spinefulness are forcing the other party to takeç a spanned on things that put them at odds with public opinion and put them at odds with how that party wants to be perceived. and not letting the other party stretch things out forever to give themselves time to give popular ideas like insurance reform or now, treaty by how they're getting batteried around in washington. it's a shine of spinefulness to decide things on your own timeline. to make your opponents own up for their unpopular positions. all of these things in evidence in washington today. democratic spinefulness has broken out.
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so what i'm about to do i do not enjoy. i don't like swatting at media figures for saying provocative offensive things.ç but i can't let this one go. here's what happened. when a woman named denise called into glenn beck's radio show to allege there's something shady going on with the nonpartisan veterans group, iraq and
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afghanistan veterans of america. here's what denise had to say. >> let's go to denise in new york. >> i'm an iraqi vet. i was invited to march in the parade in new york on veterans day you. and the organization that invited me was the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. so they treated us like royalty, literally. they gave us breakfast, lunch, dinner, a spread like you wouldn't believe. i questioned, where do they get the money for all this? i checked them out online. come to find out, that they're actually funded by, which totally shocked me. i told my boyfriend, you are not going to believe what i found out today. george soros has his hands even in the military, our american military. >> i have worked in radio. i understand the pressure of that giant chasm of time. when that comes in the form of a
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boogeyman, i'm sure it's more than tempting. when it comes to talking smack about a worthy esteemed institution like iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, it's an appropriate response. it's not the one glenn beck had. >> what they're doing is they're creating the misery and they're coming out and they're organizing all of these people under the guys of labor unions or something as innocuous sounding as the iraqi and afghanistan veterans foundation. but it is soros and communists and radical money. and they are tying and duping people in as much as they can. so that way if you trust them -- if you didn't go out and do your homework and weren't sceptical, you would trust them. you'd say, you've got to stand with us on this issue. you would be used. you already were. >> you're absolutely right. that's the amazing thing.
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people don't realize, they wineç and dine people to the point where they treat you so good. how could on you ever say anything bad about them? >> denise, when people are hungry and this kind of money is available, and they wine and dine and athlete you right and show you a piece of the good life, how many people will be duped by it and just take it. because it's better than the alternative. denise, thank you so much for paying attention. thank you so much for standing guard. >> thank you so much for standing guard against these communists masquerading as a veteran organization using you for their communist purposes. thank you for standing guard against news communists duping you. news communists have veterans in afghanistan and iraq. there are people all over america today who listen to glenn beck who now believe iava is a communist front group because glenn beck said so. they are not a communist group.
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they don't have a commucommunist. they have do not take money from move on or fox men. even if they did, it would still be the patriotic equivalent of a mortal sin to do what glenn beck did this week when he in totally made-up detail launched this 100% false attack on iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. a nonpartisan group that does nothing wrong and nothing like what all glenn beck's listeners now think they do. i generally try to be of good cheer when it comes to people being dumb in the media. this is just disgusting. leave the veterans alone. d she'n with no protective gear? her hands could dry out. [ female announcer ] dawn hand renewal with olay beauty. it helps your hands seal in moisture while you do the dishes. dawn does more...
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that is the piped-in sound of a chevy camaro engine revving at the new york stock exchange this morning.
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it was a good day in particular for the people you saw opening the stock market, the folks from general motors. the dow closed up 173 points today. because the government bailed out gm, this is not just an american business story. it's also a politics story. there's a little bit of awkwardness in politics over the fact gm is doing really well right now. >> you know what's going to happen? congressmen are going to be causing the president of general motors to drive his hybrid car to washington to talk about hiring your grandmother, what kind of car are you going to have. where are you going to buy your engine. they're not going to have time to make any cars. >> that was senator lamar alexander of tennessee making a very specific, very odd prediction last year about what would happen to gm because of the government bailout. you know, people make bad predictions. i am a very bad predictor myself.
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you might remember me saying hillary clinton was going to have a big floor fight it at the democratic convention in 2008. that did not pan out. i have sympathy and empathy for people who say things are going to work out a certain way and then don't. a lot of republicans made the same prediction about gm. a lot said when the obama administration wanted to bail out gm it would be a disaster. it wasn't just lamar alexander, it was mitch mcconnell and john kyle and jim demint and tom price and eric cantor and michael steele just to name a few. they said the gm bailout would not work and it worked. gm's first day on the stock market was today. it was the biggest ipo in american history. they made more money in its ç initial stock offering than any company ever. it was bigger than google's first day or ebay's. gm raised more than $20 billion. also in the past week, the car
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that more than anything gm is staking its future on, the chevy volt, won motor trends car of the year. this is not a we feel sorry for you, way to make an effort, most improved kind of award. this is motor trends car of the year. this is like best car, period. the point is it's a very good time for general motors. gm, because of the government bailout, did not go out of business. a brand-new study found the bailout saved 1.4 million jobs. with the new financial headlight of the company, gm is on track to have its first profitable year since 2004 and to pay the government back the bailout money. it is a success. it's one thing to predict something in america is going to fail and have it not fail. so what, you got it wrong. pleasant surprise. things went well for the country. america ended up actually winning out. isn't that good news? so what you got your prediction wrong. that i understand. what i don't understand is not
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being psyched that something went right in america. now you that we know the gm bailout worked and worked beautiful, what do you make of critics of president obama on the right who still wish it had not happened or denied there was any success at all? >> they plowed ahead from the very beginning with one piece of legislation after another written by liberals for liberals. and so by the spring of 2009, they had bailed out automakers that should have been allowed to reorganize or to fail. >> you look at the gm bailout today. an example of huge federal intervention. a bailout of a private company. yet today, gm is still around. going to do its ipo. taxpayers in a position to get back a big chunk of that money and potentially millions of jobs saved. does that diminish your feeling that washington should have a much diminished role? >> no. as a matter of fact, it probably
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is a good exhibit of why ç government should not be involved in the private sector. the fact of the matter is those jobs would not have been lost. they may have been transitioned by a private sector acquisition. >> just so i understand you're not saying if gm had gone bankrupt, no jobs would have been lost? >> at the end of the day, that's how the process is supposed to work. at the end of the day if you have a company is not profitable, it goes through bankruptcy and it shakes out. >> the gm bailout worked. the bailout money on track to being paid back. the company in good shape and getting better all the time. gm is working. here's a question for you, governor. are you for that or are you against that? joining us now is ron blum, senior adviser to the secretary of the treasurer and member of the task force on the automotive industry.
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what does today's stock offering say about the wisdom of this bailout? >> i think it's a good day. i think it's a good day for the country and general motors. it's a good day for the country. look, 17 months ago, this company did enter bankruptcy. but you if it had been allowed to enter bankruptcy on an uncontrolled basis, which is what some of our critics seem to think it should have been done, it would have been gone into liquidation. studies have shown at least a million, maybe two million jobs, would have been lost. the entire automobile industry in america could have been come apart. the automobile industry in america is very interconnected. the ford motor company applauded our decision to help gm. they understood that it's the suppliers who supply gm -- if gm had failed, then the suppliers would have failed and ford wouldn't have made cars, nor honda or toyota.
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we were in the depths of the worsts depression since the great depression. this was a difficult deal. but the stake holders came together. the employees, managers, creditors, the suppliers, dealers. everyone came together and agreed to make tough sacrifices. on that basis and that basis ç alone, the president extended a helping hand. and general motors has now taken a very important step forward. as you pointed out today, over $20 billion of private capital said that they believe in general motors. i think it's a pretty good day for america. and the president and the obama administration is doing what we said we would do. we are exiting this investment as soon as practical because we don't think in the long run it is proper for the government to own these companies. but in an extraordinary time when the economy is teetering to lend a helping hand to those who
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are willing to execute self help as well seems to me to make all the sense in the world. i think today's a very important validation of that strategy. >> governor perry is essentially making the case that the government shouldn't have gotten involved on principal, saying that's how the process is supposed to work. if you have a company that's not profitable, it goes through bankruptcy and it all shakes out. he's essentially making the case that this rewards mismanagement. it sends the wrong message in terms of capitalism, sets up the wrong incentives. what's your response to that. >> i'd say two things. number one, this was not an ordinary time. this was an extraordinary time. number two, general motors is, because of the place it sits in the economy, absolutely critical to a very, very broad base of our economy. so this is not just any company perform it's not just the jobs at general motors that were at stake. general motors was employing 70,000 or 80,000 people. we're talking about over a
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million people whose jobs would have been at risk. that's the first thing. the second thing is i think we can't underestimate the sacrifice that the president did insist on from the stakeholders. this was not a fairy godmother thing where the obama administration said, we'll give you anything you want. retirees took reductions in health care benefits. workers took pay cuts. creditors took reductions in obligations they were oweded. there was a wholesale reorganization of the gm management.o'oç dealers couldn't sell their cars. suppliers took sacrifices. this was a very tough-minded restructuring. we worry about this issue of the moral hazard. but i don't think this is a good example at all of that. this is a very, very tough deal. but what it shows is that when people come together and when we are at a moment of extraordinary crisis and they're prepared to
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sacrifice, i think it's entirely appropriate that the government lend a helping hand. >> ron blum, senior adviser to the secretary of the treasury and member of the president task's force on automotive industry. thank you for your time. coming up on the last word, lawrence o'donnell talks about jim morris from the band, the doors, potentially being pardoned for his indecent exposure conviction. also, people are strange. coming up, loose nukes, debunking sarah palin and the serious consequences of removing facial hair too soon. n the past, so i've come up with some mnemonic devices to help me learn your names. hello, a "penny" saved is a "penny" earned. oh, that's 'cause fedex ground helps you save money. that's right, penny. do you know ours? heavens to betsy. dwayne the bathtub. magic wanda. yeah! what's mine? uh, you're a dan fool. oh. it's just a device, dan. you can't take it personally.
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debunkz junction, what's my function? i love this story. >> the man charged with plotting the embassy bombings nearly walks free. >> is that true or false? false. unless you consider 20 years in prison minimum, no parole, to be nearly walking free. in a federal court in new york,
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a former guantanamo prisoner who was tortured in u.s. custody and thought by many to be unprosecutable was convicted. he was convicted of conspiracy in the 1998 embassy bombings. the charge carries a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison without parole. prosecutors will be pushing for a life sentence. on fox news, that was reported as nearly walking free. 20 years without parole. minimum. story number two. true or false. sarah palin has waded into the ballots between congressman ed royce and spencer baucus over who should be chairman of the senate financing committee? she said spencer baucus was for the wall street bailout. is that true or false? that is false. spencer baucus was for the wall street bailout. sarah palin may be anti-spencer baucus for many reasons. but it cannot be true that palin
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is against baucus because he voted for the wall street bailout. that's why she says she's against baucus. but that can't be the reason. because sarah palin herself was for the wall street bailout. >> as for the economic bailout ç provisions and the measures that have already been taken, it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in, playing an appropriate role to shore up the housing market and make sure that we refine out some of the potentially frozen credit lines and credit markets. government did have to step in there. >> david corn did a great piece on this. he said governor palin said she is anti-spencer baucus and lisa murkowski before they were for the bailout but she was for that bailout too. there's got to be something else going on there. story number three.
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u.s. senate race in alaska is done. is that true or false? false. all three falses today. the associated press called it for incumbent and write-in candidate lisa murkowski. senator murkowski declared victory last night. but the tea party nominee, joe miller, is not giving up. we'll ask our correspondent, bill wolf. bill? >> fake? i lived there for 28 hours. had a beard for three weeks. joe miller is not going quietly into that good night. we learned from the associated press, he asked a federal judge to issue a temporary or preliminary injunction against certifying the election results. on his website, he has six affiliates of alaskan voters, which suggest write-in voter fraud you and ballot box stuffing. despite the fact that the alaska republican party told him to
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give it up, is rage, rage, raging against the dying of the light or something less poetic. >> i don't mean to be weird, but since joe miller is still fighting, do you think you might have been a little premature in shaving off your alaska election beard? >> i did come prepared for this eventuality. >> who says you can't have it both ways? [ clear some snow. ♪ or spread a little warmth. maxwell house gives you a rich full flavored cup of coffee so you can be good to the last drop.
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let's support the small business owners getting our economy booming with the first ever small business saturday. on november 27th, shop small. it's going to be huge. [trumpet playing "reveille" fades to silence] so most of what we cover on this show is politic, but one of the most intense and just sort of baseline awesome stories that we have covered here in the past year that wasn't politics was a -- we should have the music for this -- a super secret dead of night deep cover saving us from the end of the world mission to secure nuclear material.
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a mission that was interrupted, i kid you not, by a giant earthquake in south america. do you remember this story? u.s. officials went on a secret mission to chile to secure 39.6 pounds of highly enriched uranium and transport it back here to the u.s. for safekeeping. 12 hours after they managed to extract all of the uranium and secure it inside these specially made unbreakable casks, an 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck chile where they were. the biggest earthquake anywhere in the world in 50 years. the uranium was safe, but the scientists were forced to embark on a middle of the night secret convoy to the port through an earthquake ravaged country side in a desperate and ultimately successful trip to get that uranium out of the country. it's an incredible story. thank god it ended well, but this week, the drama of that story has been eclipsed. the chilean mission recovered 39.6 pounds of enriched uranium. enough to make one atomic.
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this week the u.s. went on a mission to recover enough uranium to make 800 bomb along with three tons of weapons grade plutonium. the largest lockdown of at-risk nuclear material ever. this was the biggest unsecured ç pile of nuclear material anywhere in the world outside of russia and the u.s. and you now where it was? it was about five proverbial minutes from chechnya. you know, war-torn chechnya. as in al qaeda-associated muslim extremists chechnya. yeah, about 800 bombs worth of nuclear material was located just across the caspian sea. we the people did not know about the mission to lock down that nuclear stuff until this week, but what u.s. officials did
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there was incredible. this nuclear reactor is in the western coach of kazakhstan, right across from chechnya. the reactor was used to provide power for that area. after the soviet union broke up, this reactor was left up with three tons of plutonium in a totally dangerous part of the world. what do you do with all of that stuff? well, in secret, nuclear experts were flown in from the u.s., and they embarked on a super top secret mission to transport this stuff. i mean, we're talking 800 nuclear bombs worth of nuclear material. 800 bombs worth of material. they wanted to transport it clear across the country. an 1,800 mile, 13-day over land journey to the other side of kazakhstan. how do you safely transport 14 tons of lethal nuclear materials that every terrorist in the world would love to get their
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hands on? you do it very, very carefully. secret teams of officials sent in to upgrade the rail system along the route so it could handle 110-ton railroad cars. why did they need 110-ton railroad cars? because the precious cargo riding on top of the cars were these specially built super unpenetrable casks full of the nique leer material. stainless steel casks that took years to design. each has two bolted on sales and a third sale that welded on. the casks were locked into the specially built rail cars, and the mission was to truck these super heavy rail cars, carryingç the most dangerous thing in the entire world, the thing that al qaeda wants more than anything to get, across this central asian country with nobody knowing what they were doing. it was not until all these casks were safely moved all the way across that country and locked down in a brand-new state-of-the-art nuclear
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facility run by the u.n. that we even knew that any of this was happening, and we only know about it now because of a great mcclatchy story that had all the details this week. dry runs were held in sub zero temperatures to test all of the equipment, and in the end, it was a huge success. all of that nuclear material is now controlled. it is now safe and sound. it is under the control of the international atomic energy agency, under the control of the u.n. it is no longer five proverbial minutes away from chechen insurgents who would love to get their hands on it or know a guy they could sell it to who would love to get his hands on it. if you actually care about that whole smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud thing, if you believe what al qaeda says when they say they want nuclear materials, not only was this a huge success, this was a huge freaking success. if you believe in the end of the world, not necessarily in religious terms, but in terms of
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people on this earth who are trying to achieve the means of causing it, then this is probably the best news you will hear all year. locking down loose nuclear material was barack obama's pet issue when he was a united states senator. then as president, the president went to prague last spring and set out a goal of securing all the world's loose nique leer material within four years. after that, he hosted this never before like it summit in washington to actually seal that deal, to walk up all the loose nuclear material in the world over four years. this is a huge hairy del. it did not become a huge hairy political deal, though, because who's against this? right? the american press, we like to cover conflict when we talk about politicians. there's not a lot of conflict about the wisdom of locking up loose nooks. a key part of the president being able to make huge leaps and bounds forward steps on ç this, though, is that there isn't -- not only is there not national resistance to it here,
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domestic resistance it to, there really isn't credible international resistance to it, either. and the reason there isn't, the key is that while we're the big gorilla in the room in terms of how many nuclear weapons we have, we have tied these efforts of locking up loose nukes at counterproliferation, we have tied those efforts to us also making deals with russia to reduce our numbers of nuclear weapons. us and russia have almost all of the nuclear weapons in the world and we've been reducing those numbers, and tying counterproliferation into that makes progress on this stuff possible. and that's why madeleine albright even henry kissinger and sam nun and bill cohen all met in d.c. with president obama to express their astonishment that republicans in the senate led by jon kyl of all people are currently blocking the president's new treaty on nukes with russia. this group is not a democratic, partisan crew. these are not liberals. this is republican and democratic secretaries of state and defense saying this is one thing you guys really don't want to screw up.
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after this show of bipartisan force in washington today, the white house says they think they've got the votes to get the treaty past. as we mentioned earlier in the show, governor dick luger so incensed asked democrats to put this up for a vote and call the republicans' bluff. harry reid suggesting today he plans to do just that. we'll see. >> the importance of this treaty transcends numbers. we have listened to the wisdom in an old russian maxim, though my pronunciation may give you difficulty, the maxim is trust but verify. >> the man who negotiated the first of the treaties like this before between ronald reagan and the soviets talked last night about what's at stake if we do not pass this treaty. >> we have to look at the consequence of what happens if this treaty goes down. we lose the verification system that has already lapsed under the