tv The Last Word MSNBC May 6, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EDT
o'donnell starts right now. the commander in chief meets and greets and thanks s.e.a.l. team six. >> the president of the united states, barack obama. >> hello, ft. campbell. >> the president congratulates the team that killed osama bin laden. >> i want to thank them. >> a spectacular operation. navy s.e.a.l. team six. >> al qaeda is now confirming the death of its leader. >> job well done. >> right now, that entire network is scrambling. >> we are learning the cia spent months down the street from bin laden's compound, the secret hot house. >> a lot of medications relating to stomach ulcers. apparently it's more stressful than we gave him credit for. >> more analysis of my interview of condoleezza rice.
>> i resite things we know were wrong and proven wrong. >> because, what you know today can affect what you do tomorrow. what you know today cannot affect what you did yesterday. >> republicans who want to be president debated on how to defeat the president to just kill osama bin laden. >> i do congratulate osama bin laden for the fine job that he did. >> the decision was a tactical decision. it wasn't strategical. >> the united states conducted an operation that killed osama bin laden. >> how would you define winning? >> at this point, i don't know all the facts. >> let me say, i make a lot of decisions. >> get the troops out of afghanistan. >> still waiting for the big players. >> where was sarah palin? >> sarah palin's message to the president is this, you have to see the entire task through. it's important presidential
advice. she had to quit her job as governor to be able to tweet. >> good evening from new york. this morning, al qaeda put out a statement officially announcing the death of osama bin laden. this afternoon, president obama delivered a personal thank you to navy s.e.a.l. team six. the team that killed osama bin laden. the president met the team members at ft. campbell, kentucky and was briefed on the operation, but even he was not told which of the s.e.a.l.s actually shot the shots that killed osama bin laden. he then met with the full asult force that carried out the mission. they got the highest honor that can be given to a unit. afterward, president obama spoke to a larger group of service members where he offered this
public praise for the secret unit. >> today, here at ft. campbell, i had the privilege of meeting the extraordinary special ops folks. it gives me the opportunity to say, job well done. job well done. [ applause ] there are america's quiet professionals. success demands secret si. i will say this, like all of you, they could have chosen a life of ease. but like you, they volunteered. they chose to serve in a time of war. knowing they could be sent into harm's way. they trained for years, they
practiced tirelessly for this mission. when i gave the order, they were ready. recent days, the whole world has learned just how ready they were. >> the president also spoke about how the events of this week figure into the larger war against terrorism. >> we're making progress in our major goal, our central goal in pakistan and afghanistan. that is disrupting and dismantling. we are going to ultimately defeat al qaeda. >> vice president, joe biden, offered insight on how the president gave the order. >> i have been around a great while and watched presidents make difficult decisions. sitting in every meeting, getting ready and planning for this mission to get bin laden, i
saw something extraordinary. i saw a president who was told the odds weren't much more than 50/50. he asked our advice. we gave him our advice and told him a little of this and a little of that. he said i have faith in these guys. he walked off on his own without guarantees of his own and he decided. he didn't hesitate. i know bob for a long time. he said it was one of the gutsiest decisions ever made. this is going to go down in history. the white house posted this video from inside the west wing after the mission had been accomplished. >> the reason i'm calling is to tell you, we killed -- we killed -- >> good job national security team. your guys did a great job. >> u.s. government officials are
combing through material found inside the compound where bin laden was killed. one told nbc news bin laden was not retired or isolated. every morning, he woke up and tried to come up with ideas to attack the homeland. u.s. officials say they have found evidence of terror plots around the world, but don't plan to release details. joining me now is michael. >> good evening, lawrence. >> what do you make of the meeting the president had at the base today with the people who actually conducted the mission and the decision to not let even the president know which of these s.e.a.l.s pulled the trigger on osama bin laden? >> interesting. i'm not sure what to make of it other than as a reporter, we would like to hear from the
s.e.a.l.s themselves. we have heard so many counts of what happened during the raid and so many conflicting accounts which is story has evolved and changed at times. it would be great to hear from the people who were there. i don't get the sense we are going to hear that anytime soon. >> listen to what president bush said when he spoke about what he imagined osama bin laden was doing. listen to this. >> i know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. and, i, you know, who knows if he's hiding in a cave or not. we haven't heard from him in a long time. the idea of focusing on one person is really indicates to me people don't understand the scope of the mission. terror is bigger than one person. he's just, he's a person that's
been marginalized. i don't know where he is. i just don't spend that much time on him to be honest with you. we haven't heard much from him. i wouldn't say he's at the center of any command structure. >> michael, at the center of a command structure. we have statements coming from intelligence officials telling us he was, indeed, trying to come up with ideas every day to attack the homeland, the united states. the ideas he could communicate. we didn't find him in a cave. >> absolutely. we found him a mile or two from pakistan's west point in an area teaming with pakistani military officers. look, you know, that was 2002. we actually don't know the full history of where bin laden has been since the end of 2001.
the compound had been there since 2005. his wife said she was there since 2005. the implition being that bin laden was, himself. we don't know that for sure. there's still a lot we need to know before we can make final judgments or assessments of these many years bin laden has been elusive for this. clearly, what we are learned this week seems to conflict with much of what president bush was saying back then. >> the president today sounded optimistic and bush-like in his optimism when he said we will ultimately defeat al qaeda. we have to cut off their head and we will defeat them. it was very, very definite. if we are going to defeat al qaeda, the resources devoted to that, that are expended in afghanistan or pakistan? >> look, that's a great question and clearly, part of the fall
out of this is going to be does our strategy in afghanistan continue to make sense if the head of the snake of al qaeda has been cut off? if al qaeda has been disrupted in operations, do we need to be spending the -- making the expenditure we are making in afghanistan if al qaeda is a weakened -- as weakened as we would like them to be. but, you know, al qaeda is -- we have looked at it as the central threat, but if you actually look at where most of the terror plots have come from in the last few years that have really worried u.s. officials, it's al qaeda affiliates like al qaeda in yemen. allied organizations like the pakistani taliban. you know, these sort of mere yad of other islamic militant groups.
it's not clear yet what their ties to al qaeda were. clearly, they were aligned. clearly, they wanted to work together but destroying al qaeda does not necessarily make us any safer in countering these many other groups that have been the real threat to the u.s. in the last few years. >> michael, with all the materials they have collected at the compound, the hard drives and computers and everything else, how long will it be before washington, the pentagon and services coordinate and have a sense of how big an intelligence collection that was? >> i think we are going to be learning more in the next few days. we will be hearing more about what was in the compound. right now, they are describing it as a treasure trove. thumb drives, dvds, certainly about al qaeda central and bin laden, you can't help but conclude this is a mother lode
of intelligence. is that really a mother lode about what we should be worried about, the terror threats the country is facing. that, we have to wait and see. >> thanks for joining me tonight, michael. >> thank you, lawrence. one of the most dramatic images we have seen from the bin laden takedown is the one part of the raid that didn't make it back, the special forces helicopter somehow crippled during the 40-minute operation. navy s.e.a.l.s blew up the chopper to get their secrets out of the wrong hands. leon panetta referred to it as blackhawk helicopters. experts taking a closer look at images like these say they are seeing evidence of something more elaborate than a common blackhawk.
the world may have been tipped off to a new weapon of war, the stealth helicopter. joining me now, david ax, thanks for joining me tonight, david. >> my pleasure, lawrence. >> david, what do you make of the helicopter? how much did we know about this kind of stealth helicopter before sunday night? >> well, we knew the pentagon experimented with various kind of stealth modifications of existing helicopters and also scratch built from new the comanc comanche. we have seen them before, we didn't know they were operational. >> what makes them stealth? how do they, for example, the first thing i would wonder is how do they quiet a helicopter? it's an incredibly noisy, moving
vehicle. >> very true. there's three kinds of stealth when it comes to helicopters. much of that signature they call it is focused on the tail rotor of the helicopter. generates heat, noise. if you address those problems, you can surround the tail rotor with pieces that smooth out the radar return. you can muffle the sound and apply special paint that absorbs the i.r. signature. focus on the tail and you address those problems. >> how quiet can those get. bin laden had to hear them coming down in his backyard, didn't he? >> that's true. i'm not sure the stealth helicopter was intended to fool bin laden. i think the reason pentagon used
the top secret choppers and risked losing them as it did was to ensure they could not prevent the raid from arriving at the compound. >> the pakistani's have hauled it away. are we going to have trouble getting it back from them? >> i'm not sure we need to. the secrets, so to speak, of a stealth helicopter are not secrets at all. the design principles are widely known. few nations have the skills militarily speaking and the resources to actually build, train and operate these. any nation who can build a helicopter and can spend a few hundred million could do so. the secrets were not the design elemen elements. the secret was that we had them at all. it was a surprise, but not surprising, if that makes sense. >> what is the best theory as to
what disabled the helicopter that we had to leave behind? >> i would guess power settling. the helicopter had enough juice to reach the compound and land, but not enough to take off again, which requires a lot of horsepower. it's not uncommon to see helicopters land and are stranded. when a helicopter is stranded at the compound, the operators had to make a decision. they made a decision to blow it up. piled into an extra helicopter orbiting nearby and maybe didn't realize they left behind a large, intact portion of the bird. >> david ax, thank you for much for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, the republican field for president's held its first debate and fox viewers said the run away winner was her man cain. what does that say about the republican party's chances in 2012 and what does it say about
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last night fox news and the republican party of south carolina hosted the first republican presidential debate. the only candidate present with any chance of winning the nomination was former minnesota governor, tim pawlenty. pawlenty was joined by congressman ron paul, rick san tore um and two guys named herman cain and johnson. as we all know, there are numerous other candidates that are looking at a presidential run and thank god. the recent news that president obama led a successful mission to kill osama bin laden made foreign policy the focus of the debate and eliminated at least one way the candidates could attack the president. >> i do congratulate president obama for the fine job that he did in taking some tough
decisions and being decisive. he did a good job and i tip my hat to him that moment. that moment is not the sum total. he's made a number of other decisions relating to our security that i don't agree with. if it turns out many of the techniques he criticized during the campaign led to osama bin laden's being identified and killed, he should be asked to explain if he does or does not support the techniques. >> a focus group of south carolina voters were asked who won the evening. >> who won the debate. let's go in alphabetical order. herman cain. we can stop right there. >> this is a sampling of what those voters heard last night that convinced them that herman cain was the republican party's best chance to defeat barack obama. >> herman cain, former chairman
and ceo of godfather's pizza, you don't have your own plan yet about what you would do in afghanistan? >> no. the experts and their advice and their input would be the basis of me making that decision. >> a tax cut for the wealthy and tax increase for the middle class. >> i support replacing the current code with the current tax. i'm proud that i haven't held public office before. >> during that debate, a cbs news reporter spotted house speaker john boehner at morton's stake house in washington. he said he'll read about the debate tomorrow. he added, there's more time for people to get in. joining me now from south carolina, slate.com political reporter, dave weigel who attended the debate.
thanks for joining me tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> the romney boycott of the debate was that the right move at this stage? >> i don't think mitt romney or anyone on the romney team stayed home and bit their lips about what they were missing from this. i spent time with voters yesterday and today. there's not that much about romney not being there. south carolina is a state romney tried to win last night. neither of them has come behind him this time, a reason, being a mormon republican signing the sweeping health care law. he doesn't have much of a chance here now. jon huntsman, none of them felt they missed a great opportunity. >> the major candidates were
pawlenty and rick. they have a chance of being on the ticket. santorum from pennsylvania is reasonable choice for vice president on that ticket. pawlenty could end up on the ticket in the number two or number one spot. how did the pawlenty versus santorum debate go? >> i don't think i was watching that. they both were the most polished people in some respects. rick santorum was the only one on the stage that was a fox news contributor so he was quite good at answering these questions. he's pretty good on the sump. pawlenty, i think at this point, he's kind of where romney was. he benefits inch by inch by showing up for everything. when i talked to republican
legislatures, they appreciated the presence of ron paul and johnson and cain. we can be dismissive about cain and wonder why republicans like him, but before the debate, republicans were saying watch out for him. after the debate, republicans were saying we were right about him. his answers were glib, but pawlenty and santorum don't excite people. i'm not sure if they ever will excite people. >> i think they had a nominee last time around that didn't excite anybody. >> that comes up here. that's a reason, yeah. >> ron paul actually talked about afghanistan and got a big reaction. let's listen to what he had to say. >> now that he's killed, boy it is a wonderful time for this country now to reassess it and get the troops out of afghanistan and end that war
that hasn't helped us or anybody in the middle east. >> he actually got good applause for that kind of stuff. is that indication that ron paul fans are loud or that republicans are shifting into an antiwar mood? >> we have known for a long time how loud ron paul fans are. he had an all day fund-raiser yesterday and raised $1 million. he will be there irritating republicans for the campaign process. on afghanistan, he's kind of leading from the front on this. i don't meet voters that are excited about the war in afghanistan since osama bin laden is dead. they supported it from the get go because they wanted to get him. ideas like this, again, you can look for the guy who is going to get the nomination. we don't know who that is. it's interesting to look at the guys who have an idea that everyone else has to respond to.
like herman cane, answer something that we don't know what it is in the republican mind set as they grasp for a candidate. >> dave weigel, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. coming up, condoleezza rice told me last night that saddam hussein was a threat to the united states. colonel lawrence wilkerson is here next with his analysis of what condoleezza rice had to say. later, a huge week for the history books was also a big week for late night comedy writers. we look back at the week that was. nderneath our feet, and all we need to do is change the way we're thinking about them. a couple decades ago, we didn't even realize just how much natural gas was trapped in rocks thousands of feet below us. technology has made it possible to safely unlock this cleanly burning natural gas. this deposits can provide us with fuel for a hundred years, providing energy security and economic growth
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i think if you do something that has some ambition and some integrity, you are not going to please everybody. if you do try to please everybody, you get junk. >> sound advice for candidate running for office, but it's not from a politician. it's from a play wright. he wrote "west side story." he died thursday in new york. he wrote the first broadway play in 1945 after serving in the u.s. army in 1942 and later created an award for emerging play rights in honor of his late
partner. they were together for 52 years. patty la pone said he created he cared about because he cared about people. he was 93. >> when you have lived as long as i have, one of the things you learn is what opinions change enormously and what is important is what you and the few people you really respect, what they say. not people at large. and i had enormous pleasure from the doing, not from the saying about. >> his death is proof the good die young. coming up, lawrence wilkerson, the former chief of staff to colin powell joins me to analyze last night's interview with condoleezza rice
and how the bush administration gave up chasing bin laden to go after saddam hussein instead. later, rewriting the religious argument against homosexuality. aaah! [ airplane engine whines ] [ grunts ] [ dog barking ] gah! [ children shouting ] [ grunts ] [ whacking piñata ] [ whacking piñata, grunting ]
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40,000 casualties later in iraq. 4,400 american military deaths in iraq later. would you say that is the single biggest miscalculation the bush administration made that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction and must be stopped by the men who went in there and found none? >> saddam hussein wauz threat. >> he wasn't a threat. >> lawrence, are we going do this with my answers or your commentary. we had not focused on the fact, you have not focused on the fact that saddam hussein had been a threat to the united states of america, to the middle east since he invaded iran. >> joining me now is colonel
wilkerson, thank you for joining me tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> it was a frustrating discussion trying to get her to respond to questions knowing what we know now. when ever i would introduce what we know now, that he was not a threat, she would revert to 2001-2002 and never address how to look at what we did in iraq based on what we know now. is that your experience in talking to other people in the administration or are they willing to acknowledge what we know now would have changed completely what we did in iraq. >> it is my impression from most of them. i will say this, my boss, colin powell has some reservations about what we did. you have to remember, too, that condoleezza rice was batting above her weight. she was surrounded by 800 pound
gorillas. she had a choice to make. she could try to discipline the 800 pound gorillas, which is what they are supposed to do, or back off from it, build her intimacy with the president and become secretary of state. i'll leave it to you to tell me which one of those choices she made. >> i kept trying to get at the issue of saddam hussein as a threat. the distinction i tried to draw was, was he a threat to new york on the day we were marking 9/11? we have the death of osama bin laden, the president coming to new york, the attack on new york. let's listen to what she said about that. >> do you think he was a threat -- >> lawrence, you have a very different view than the u.n. security council. you obviously have a different view -- you have a very different view than those people who were flying the no-fly zones
like the soldier in my class at stanford who was shot at by saddam hussein. you may not view him as a threat, but most of the world did. >> colonel, in whatever way one would describe the threat of saddam hussein, did he represent a threat to the lives of anyone living in the united states? >> i don't think so. to kuwait or saudi arabia, perhaps. he was balancing aran, something we have to do now because we took him out. i think the most propostrouse thing i heard in 2003 was that saddam hussein was going to fly little airplanes off the east coast of the united states. those little airplanes were going to aerosol spray chemical and bilogical weapons to the united states. i almost fell off my chair when i was briefed about that.
>> we talked to condoleezza rice about the famous aluminum tubes, which she said the only reason to have them was exclusively for nuclear weapons. she tried to get off that yesterday and said most likely. there's a huge difference between exclusively and most likely. they were not capable of being used for nuclear weapons. saddam was making no attempt to acquire anything else you would need in addition to the tubes. the tubes were used for rockets, for standard weaponry. it's clinging to those kinds of details in the face of what we know now that is just so frustrating in trying to talk to her. >> that's an even more agreenlgous example of intelligence failure and lying than you think. i discovered doing my research post 2005 when we had the
meeting with george tenant in the chair, we added orchestration by the cia to keep the department of energy man who descended majorly against the interpretation of the aluminum tools from coming to that meeting. they succeeded. george tenant was able to get, without opposition a community consensus that excluded them. had i known that at the time, i would have done what i wanted to do, i would have walked out and told the secretary of state to prepare his own presentation. >> i want to go to something david kay said. it's one of the most famous quotes of the book. he was sent into iraq to find this stuff. he said about condoleezza rice, she was probably the worst national security adviser in modern times since the office was created. worst ever, in effect.
>> i have thought about that and thought about the national security advisers we have had. it's not like we have had a tremendous amount of great ones, with great accomplishments to show. it's hard to think of anyone who delivered a worse performance than condoleezza rice. >> i can go back to george bundy in the vietnam conflict and bundy is pushing for johnson to escalate in 1965 and kissinger telling nixon and nixon agreeing that they need to make the chilean. when it comes to doing the job, the national security adviser is told to do, that is coordinate national security policy, discipline the system. i think i would have to agree. >> i think we need a longer discussion on it one night. that is absolutely where the debate would focus, who did the worse version of that job.
thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks for having me. after a week of very serious news, we'll show you what the kings of late night had to say about the death of the world's most wanted man. first, the battle over gay marriage. one elected official in minnesota takes the talk of god and gays and asks the religious to rethink their position. it's in tonight's rewrite. a luminous protein in jellyfish, impact life expectancy in the u.s., real estate in hong kong, and the optics industry in germany? at t. rowe price, we understand the connections of a complex, global economy. it's just one reason 80% of our mutual funds beat their 10-year lipper average. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. request a prospectus or summary prospectus with investment information, risks, fees and expenses to read and consider carefully before investing.
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coming up, gay marriage is already illegal in minnesota. it's not enough for republicans trying to add a gay marriage ban to the state's constitution. one state representative confronts the religious arguments in favor of banning gay marriage. i's tonight's rewrite. later, the late-night comedians take aim at everything surrounding what got osama bin laden.
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[ banker ] but someone else bought it before they could get their offer together. we really missed a great opportunity -- dodged a bullet there. [ banker ] so we talked to them about the wells fargo priority buyer preapproval. it lets people know that you are a serious buyer because you've been credit-approved. we got everything in order so that we can move on the next place we found. which was clear on the other side of town. [ male announcer ] wells fargo. with you when you're ready to move. time for tonight's rewrite. lawmakers in minnesota are considering a bill to put a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on the ballot. if the republican controlled senate and republican controlled house approve identical language, the mesh would by pass the democratic governor and the issue is on the november 2012 presidential ballot. in the next several days, there's been testimony on both
sides of the issue. supporters of the marriage ban have more often than not been religious leaders or used religious arguments to make their points. testifying earlier this week, bishop bob of the, what is that? of the church of god -- church of god of christ in st. paul, minnesota told a state house committee, god gave marriage as a gift to adam and eve. his party outnumbered seven to ten on the house bill. an eloquent rewrite to the theological basis of the debate before the vote. we have to be careful about trying to shine our beliefs, however valid we believe them to
be in the constitution. what i'm hearing today and friday is largely a religious justification for change in the minnesota constitution. i don't think it's right. i don't think it's fair. i think it departs from tradition. the other thing that makes people squirm but we have to discuss it. how much of homosexuality is nature versus nurture? is this something you learn or acquire? are you born with it? is it a lifestyle choice like skateboarding and gardening? i want to take a page from what i heard last friday, a member of the clergy and he said you know what, sexuality and sexual orientation are a gift from god. i think it's true. scientific evidence shows more and more every day that sexuality and sexual orientation is something we are all born with. i ask you not today, not
tomorrow and not next year, when you can be alone with your own thoughts, if it's true, if it's possibly true, what does it mean to the moral argument. ask yourself if it's true that sexual orientation is innate, god given, what does it mean to the moral force of your argument. what i ask is how many more gay people does god have to create before we ask ourselves whether or not god actually wants them around? [ applause ] >> please keep applause to yourselves. >> how many gay people does god have to create before we ask ourselves whether the living of their lives the way they wish, as long as they don't harm others is a godly and holy and happy and glorious thing. i have answered that for myself.
i don't think everyone else answered that for themselves in this room. i'm comfortable with a society and a tradition that bends with justice and fairness and wholeness and openness and compassion and i do think, as others said before me more eloquently, that's where the arc of history is bending as well. i truly believe, in a generation, maybe not generation, but many generations from now, if we pass this, if we put it on the ballot, if it becomes part of the constitution history, will judge us all very, very harshly. i think the people who vote for this today and in the future will, all though their children and grandchildren should be proud of them for their service to the state of minnesota will not be so proud on this issue and may be justifiable shame there as well. i think it's something we all have to think about and justify in our own consciousness.
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z too soon for osama bin laden jokes? the late night comedians don't think so. here is the week in comedy. >> all we knew was the president was going to tell us something about national security. it's like when your mom leaves you the super early voice mail saying it's your mother, call me. that's it. you don't know, is it malignant or did the neighbors kid get into something. >> something important and serious happened last night. that's right. the last 16 minutes of "celebrity apprentice" were interrupted by president obama. >> a, the president is
interrupting "celebrity apprentice" to deliver more jokes, the ones he hadn't finished about donald trump or b, when a black president interrupts your show, a meteor is headed to the earth. >> the fact is, the president clearly coordinated the cia mission, assassination specifically to cut off the end of my show, "celebrity apprentice". so, basically, i killed osama bin laden. congratulations to me, donlds trump. thank you. you're welcome. >> president bush promised we would track him down. president obama -- is he finished?
no. no, he isn't. he was celebrating the release of season 3 of dukes of hazard on blu-ray. >> after a 40-minute fire fight involving hissing and a gourden hose, they killed him and took his body. >> sir, they killed osama bin laden. >> they got bin laden? that's two good things. >> there's a taco bar here. >> that's three good things. >> president obama will not release the photo of osama bin laden's dead body. there goes my christmas card idea. >> they are not releasing the photo. they released his last words. >> on occasion, they mixed up obama and osama.
>> he had a fund raising trip to san francisco? i knew they were liberal up there, but that is ridiculous. >> the white house opened a new round of budget talks with members of congress. i bet the talks are easier now. i want my budget, you want yours. raise your hand if you found and killed osama bin laden. anyone? >> jimmy fallon gets the last word. you can have the last word on our blog. you can follow my tweets. "rachel maddow show" is up next. happy friday. i here by present to you what it looks like to run for president now against barack obama. >> senator, are you suggesting that heroin and prostitution are an exercise of liberty? >> up until