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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  November 23, 2013 11:00am-1:01pm PST

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you can fill that box and pay one flat rate. how naughty was he? oh boy... [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. at this hour, high hopes for a nuclear deal with iran. right now, secretary of state john kerry is meeting with top diplomats. are they any closer to a compromise? we are live in geneva. good afternoon, everybody. i'm betty nguyen in for craig melvin today. you are watching msnbc. just ahead, changing the rules. a drastic shift in how the
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senate works. will it be a game changer in d.c.? and more enrollment tensions. the obama care faulty website is forcing deadlines to be pushed back again. we're live at the white house. also ahead -- >> john fitzgerald kennedy, 35th president of the united states, has been taken from us by an act which outrages decent men everywhere. >> 50 years ago, president lyndon b. johnson spoke publicly for the first time since being thrust into the presidency as the nation grieved the death of jfk. today, we'll talk live with two dallas reporters who witnessed the assassination. this is wrong. it causes division among our ranks and it furthers prejudice. >> plus, defying orders. states are quietly rolling back marriage benefits for all national guard members just to avoid serving same-sex couples. is this happening where you
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live? and chemo on the go. harvard undergrads develop an award-winning chemo patch that's cheaper, more convenient and it is today's big idea. we want to start in geneva where foreign leaders are moving closer to a historic deal to curb iran's nuclear program. secretary of state john kerry arrived in switzerland earlier this morning. he is working with officials from five other world powers to broker a deal to scale back key parts of iran's nuclear program. joining me now is our reporter in geneva. the question is this, does it look like a deal will be reached today? >> reporter: indeed, betty. that is the question. that's what we're all trying to figure out. there's been a flurry of meetings between the p5 plus 1 and catherine ashton. they'll go back and have meetings with the iranians. the british, french and germans have broken off to go for a dinner.
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this could be a very long night. it appears the devil is in the details here. that's what they seem to be ironing out. the iranians say there are some problems with the wording of the draft. so they may not be a world away from an agreement. but they could be a few words away from it. these things have fallen through before in the 11th hour. last time around here in geneva, there was an air of optimism towards the end of it. and there was nothing signed on a piece of paper. so it's still all very, very tentative here. we're hoping they're going to give us some sort of press briefing by the end of the evening here to clarify exactly what is going on here. secretary kerry goes to london tomorrow morning. it seems unlikely there will be more meetings tomorrow. but these things are predictably unpredictable. >> here's something interesting in the midst of all this. israel does not have an emissary in geneva and they've been strongly objecting to any deal so far. how looped in are they on what is happening right now? >> reporter: that's right. they don't have anybody here.
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but the american delegation, last time they had a meeting here, flew straight to tel aviv to debrief prime minister netanyahu. they're in the loop but they're not getting their way either. the israelis don't want any sanctions relief. they say these very, very tough sanctions have brought iran to the negotiating table and the sanctions are like a brick wall. if they take one brick out of it, the whole wall will collapse. they don't want to see any relief of these sanctions. but that's not what we get the feeling from the negotiating powers here. they want to strike some sort of deal and not only are the israelis going to be very unhappy with a deal but so are the saudis who are not particularly fond of the iranians. there are a lot of detractors here. we have detractors in the united states in the senate that don't want this deal to go through and there's a hardline core in iran that are adamant this deal shouldn't go through. this is by no means going to be smooth sailing. >> ali, thanks so much.
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we'll check in with you again as this day develops. the white house today is figuring out how to make the most of the senate's new rule change. majority leader harry reid thursday invoked the so-called nuclear option. now only a simple majority of 51 votes will be needed on presidential nominations instead of the previously required 60-vote majority. let's bring in molly ball, national political reporter for "the atlantic" and reid wilson, writer for "the washington post." thanks for being with us. molly, let me start with you. you wrote about this saying senator reid pointed out that half of the 168 filibusters of executive and judicial nominees in american history have come during the obama administration. so what effect will this have on the nomination process? >> the idea is in the words of senator reid it will allow the president to have his team, to make the appointments he's entitled to, to the court rs and to executive agencies.
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we've seen these blockages coming on everything from appointees to various regulatory boards, cabinet members and the final straw was the blockage of three nominees to the d.c. circuit court of appeals, which is a very important appeals court that hears a lot of federal regulatory matters. and republicans essentially admitted they didn't have any problem with the nominees themselves. there was no question about these people's qualifications or even their judicial philosophy. it was just the fact that there would -- if obama got his appointees, be more democrats than republicans on the court. many republicans think they would lose their advantage in deciding judicial cases on regulatory matters. and they didn't want that to happen. >> is that the right way to use it or is that abusing that power, if you will? >> of course it's in the eye of the beholder. everybody thinks filibusters are okay when they are blocking a policy outcome they don't like. that's why there's so much hypocrisy to go around on this issue. it's so easy for both sides to
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dig up these quotes where, back when he was in the minority, harry reid thought the mi filibuster was an important tool to protect the minority. when he was in the majority, mitch mcconnell, among others, thought that this nuclear option -- what they called at the time the constitutional option, was something they ought to do or at least threatened to do because the majority deserved to get its way. it depends very much on the eye of the beholder. however, it is true, as you can see from the statistics you were reading, that the use of the filibuster to block nominations has skyrocketed in recent years. to the point where it's created this gridlock situation -- >> reid, i want to bring you in. majority leader reid and minority leader mitch mcconnell has differing views on the filibuster move. take a listen to this. >> it's time to change. it's time to change the senate before this institution becomes obsolete. >> later you'll regret this and
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you may regret it a lot sooner than you think. >> you will regret this. what do you think senator mcconnell meant? what can the republicans do at this point? >> pandora's box is open. the precedent has been set and now the senate can change its rules in the middle of a session. there was some question as to whether or not the senate democrats would actually change a rule in the middle of a congress instead of changing the rule for the next congress, which is what has happened in some other cases when filibusters have been reformed. but now mcconnell is saying, look, you guys have changed the rules in the middle of a session. so when we are back in charge -- and republicans will control the senate someday. maybe not today, tomorrow. but soon. at some point in the natural course of political turnover, when they do, you can be pretty sure that mitch mcconnell or whoever happens to be the majority leader when the republicans take control are going to be more open to changing the rules. these rules that harry reid
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changed have to do with executive appointments and judicial appointments but not with supreme court nominees. i'm pretty sure the next time there's a republican president and a republican senate and democrats want to filibuster a supreme court nominee, that rule is going to be changed real quick. and the next time that the legislation comes up that democrats are blocking in the face of republican support that that rule is going to be changed. >> this could get really nasty as that tide changes. molly, where will we first see the effects of the rules change? >> well, in the very immediate term, already immediately after the rule change was made, harry reid advanced the nomination of one of those circuit court judges. she hasn't been finally confirmed. but the nomination was advanced. i think we can expect the other two circuit court judges to come up next. mel watt, the former congressman, to head the federal housing finance agency. his nomination had been blocked.
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jnl jnl janet yellen was not thought to have been any trouble. her nomination is coming up and then jay johnson to head homeland security. you'd heard some senators making noises about potentially making it difficult for him. his nomination now has an easier path. what senator mcconnell was alluding to when he said that democrats may regret this sooner than they think was not to two years from now or even longer when republicans may be in the majority again, but to various procedural ways that the republicans still have at their disposal to block the democrats. the senate is a very complicated institution. there are a lot of things that happen by means of unanimous consent. that is something that republicans can still withhold. and so democrats are very fearful that republicans are going to find new ways to make their lives difficult in the senate in retaliation for this. >> reid, the white house yesterday had to assert the nuclear option does not mean any apopointees would get fired.
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the threshold for new nominees just got lower. what do you predict will happen there? >> this is a short-term, long-term situation. in the short term, president obama's legacy that we're not really going to see, that is his ability to pick nominees for the courts, some of these nominees who are going to stick around for 10, 20, 30 years, gets a lot easier. he's going to be able to make those changes that previous presidents have made and his appointees will be able to stick around for a long time. in the longer term, talking about his own administration, molly brings up a good point. the fact that the republicans can now use all these procedural tactics that they have so far not used to slow everything down effectively means that any legislation that actually makes it to the senate, that president obama needs for his own legacy is going to be bogged down in a lot more hurdles than might otherwise have been the case. >> thank you both, molly ball and reid wilson, we appreciate your insight. >> thank you. up next, hold the phone.
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>> i can't imagine what it would be like on an already crowded airplane, random people having random conversations at all levels and volumes. >> most of my travel is work. so it's very difficult to unplug. >> the feds may allow fliers to take phone calls to new heights. we'll ask the head of the flight attendants association why she calls it a flier's worst nightmare. wild weather on the move today from washouts to wipeouts to whiteouts. we have the latest forecast. and, one louisiana politician visited d.c. for the very first time. wait until you hear what it took to get him there. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great.
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topping the headlines this
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saturday, new documents leaked by edward snowden show the nsa pledge last year to expand its surveillance powers. according to "the new york times," agency officials wanted to aggressively pursue legal authority rs and a framework more suitable for the information age. defense officials confirmed the contractor that employed aaron alexis pulled his security clearance after a psychotic episode last august. but it was reinstated two days later. contractors did not inform the navy or defense department that his security clearance had been temporarily pulled. north korea confirms that it is holding an american citizen. 85-year-old korean war veteran merrill newman was detained last month while he was wrapping up an officially approved tour of the country. the state department is working with swedish counterparts to resolve the issue. will the friendly skies soon turn into the noisy skies?
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the fcc, the federal communications commission, is considering lifting its ban on cell phone phone calls in flight. the proposal would allow passengers to use their phones once reaching 10,000 feet. while the move will allow passengers to stay connected, some fear that it will also spell the end of peace and quiet on flights. in fact, a petition against the move is already up on the white house's website asking the obama administration to stop the effort. and now even the fcc's chairman is saying that he personally is against lifting the ban. vita shook joins me now. thanks for being with us. >> hi, good to be with you. >> let's get down to the nitty-gritty here. your group came out against this proposal calling it unsafe. how can this affect passenger safety in particular? >> there's multiple examples. but primarily on an everyday basis, what if people don't want
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someone around them talking loudly on a plane? that can escalate into a potentially volatile situation. my role as a flight attendant is to ensure that we're keeping calm, cool and collected in the air. this is injecting a potential into the aircraft that is completely unnecessary. that's on an everyday basis. and beyond that, worst case scenarios, on security concerns, that you could give people access to talk realtime on a flight or amongst flights with those that might wish to do harm. >> we're going to break it down a little bit more, too. the fcc chairman tom wheeler said yesterday he is personally against phone use on planes but that there is no technical reason to continue the ban. is it really technically unsafe or is it just unpleasant, veda? >> i'm not a scientist and i don't work for the fcc although we have our staff that's looking closely at this. and we do definitely support science-based approaches to our
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nation's aviation system. and when we just saw the rollout of portable electronic devices with the faa allowing for expansion of that, that we can work with. but the issue of having cell phones is frankly completely disruptive in the environment. and there's a reason the fcc's chairman says he's opposed to it on a personal level. because it's just a bad idea. nobody wants to be subjected to that. i live in washington, d.c. if i can catch a flight to new york and i want to take a train, there's a popular place called the quiet car. there's no such thing as a quiet car on an airplane. >> is that a way of finding a happy medium here? a quiet section. >> no, there's no ability -- >> how do you do that on a plane? >> no way to do it. since 9/11, we have to make sure that flight attendants have -- can see from the nose to the tail in the event of any kind of emergency, medical or otherwise. so now the only differentiations between cabins of service in an aircraft are with screens or curtains.
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>> i want to be honest with you. i was delayed for hours last night. i didn't even get back into new york until 3:00 this morning. had people on their phones all night long during the delays, i think you would have had some unruly and upset passengers. this goes along with what the public is feeling. a survey asked passengers last year about the possibility of making phone calls during flights. take a look at the numbers. 51% had negative reactions. 47% had a positive reaction. seems people are split on the issue. why do you think that is? >> well, the data that we've looked at suggested it's a much higher number of those that are opposed to voice calls. the issue is how people are talking on flights. it seems to be a handful of people who could decide the experience for all. we just do not want to see that happen. you mentioned -- i'm sorry your flight was delayed last night. >> me, too, trust me. >> to me as a flight attendant, if you're on my flight and it's 11:00 at night, you don't want
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me to have the lights up too bright. i'm trying to create an experience for you that is calm and relaxing. similarly if you're going to watch a movie, you're going to put on a headset. i'm not making the assumption that everyone in the cabin wants to share in that entertainment. it's not entertaining if you don't want to be a part of it or if you're not intended for that conversation. >> veda, we appreciate your insight. thank you. >> thank you. just in time for the holidays, the daily beast is out with its list of the worst airports for thanksgiving travel. coming in at number five, bush intercontinental airport in houston. number four goes to chicago o'hare. third place, newark airport in new jersey. chicago's midway comes in at number two. and the worst airport for thanksgiving travel, drum roll, please, according to the daily beast, it is san francisco international airport. i couldn't wait to see her again. but i didn't want her to see my psoriasis. no matter how many ways i try to cover up, my psoriasis keeps showing up.
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many cereals say they're good for your heart, but did you know there's a cereal that's recommended by doctors? it's post shredded wheat. recommended by nine out of ten doctors to help reduce the risk of heart disease. post shredded wheat is made with only one ingredient: one hundred percent whole grain wheat, with no added sugar or salt. try adding fruit for more health benefits and more taste in your bowl. it's the ideal way to start your heart healthy day. try post shredded wheat. this has been medifacts for post shredded wheat. well, i've become a painter.
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i painted a cardinal for a friend of ours. laura liked the bright red on the cardinal and the greens of the foliage. and chose my painting for which i'm grateful to become the christmas card and ornament. i'm flattered. i hope my painting meets expectations. >> check it out. he's a real rembrandt. someone who is not embracing his new title, the new mayor of a tiny town in pennsylvania who didn't exactly want the job. >> you didn't vote for yourself? >> definitely not. my wife didn't vote for me either. >> bill simmons has been elected mayor of newburgh, pennsylvania.
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no one in the town ran for mayor. but five people wrote their name in on their ballots. the race was settled by drawing numbers, of course. and in the end, simmons, it was. get used to it, buddy. lastly, washington just welcomed a new politician who actually does want to be in office. republican congressman vance mcalister was sworn in this week in his first trip to d.c. ever. he won his seat in congress last week in a special election in louisiana and after having never been to the nation's capital before in his entire life. as he gave his thank you remarks on the floor, mcallister seemed to have adopted one trait people wish more politicians had -- that is brevity. >> i know we're ready to get on out of here. they didn't raise no dummy.
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♪ [ male announcer ] laura's heart attack didn't come with a warning. today her doctor has her on a bayer aspirin regimen to help reduce the risk of another one. if you've had a heart attack, be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. i'm, like, totally not down with change. but i had to change to bounce dryer bars. one bar freshens more loads than these two bottles. i am so gonna tell everyone. [ male announcer ] how do you get your bounce? [ woman ] time for change!
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there's a bomb on this plane! i'll blow the [ bleep ] plane up. >> that outburst led the scary moments for spirit airlines passengers in atlanta. police had to forcefully remove the passenger. when the plane landed, the pilot told police the man's behavior started after takeoff and continued throughout the entire flight. the man was taken to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation. i'm betty nguyen in for craig melvin today. here's a look at the other top stories making news. passengers at l.a.x. had a scare last night when a car crash led to false reports of gunfire. some 2,000 passengers were evacuated and several flights were delayed. officials believe people are still on high alert due to the deadly shooting of a tsa officer earlier this month. a major weather system slammed the west and it is headed eastward. three deaths in northern
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california are being blamed on high winds. some 60,000 people have lost power while flash flooding outside of los angeles led to five people being rescued to safety. that same weather system is bringing freezing rain to parts of texas. as much as an inch of ice is expected to fall tonight in north texas. in abilene, sleet caused delays of eight hours alone. the white house has announced that users of the obama care website will get an extra week to sign up for coverage for 2014. americans now have until december 23rd to register for coverage that would start on january 1st. all of this comes on the heels of a new poll from the kaiser family foundation which found that nearly half of its respondents, 49%, have an unfavorable view of the law right now while only one third, 33%, say they have a favorable view. joining me now is nbc's luke russert at the white house.
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luke, there are new reports in "the new york times" and "the washington post" today on the creation of the site. front page story in "the new york times" says the website's prime contractor knew the website would not be ready on time. i'm quoting, knowing how long it would take to complete and test the software, the company's officials and other vendors believe that it was impossible to open a fully functioning exchange on october 1st. government officials on the other hand insisted that october 1st was not negotiable. so, luke, what has the white house been saying about these allegations that they knew the website would not be ready on time? >> reporter: well, this is a very difficult issue for them, betty. it comes on the heels of what's been a terrible last few weeks in regards to now, the government agency that's been in charge of the health care website rollout is the centers for medicaid and medicare services. they released a statement where they said, basically, as we have
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said, this was a complex project with a short time line. they even went on to say even before the launch they expected there to be some issues. they did not think it was going to be as bad as it ended up becoming. it's interesting you have this pushback, yeah, we knew it was going to be bad, well, these new articles released today by "the post" and "the new york times" really show how bad they were, including detailing a meeting in late august of which the contractor said, look, we cannot provide over 30 services that you originally requested of us within this website. so the government agency in control said, fine, scrap them. let's move forward with what you have. so it shows a systemic culture of failure in regards to, one that's really plagued this administration and has given a lot of ammo to republicans on capitol hill trying to take down the law. what's interesting, betty, though, is what they come back to at the white house is, look, we know there's problems, we
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acknowledge that, we're working hard to fix them. sort of upward and onward. that thing you mentioned earlier today, the one-week extension for enrollment, they're saying, look, we're listening to insurers, we're listening to people, we're trying to take the time to get this right. that's going to be their message. it all comes down to the 2014 midterms as to whether or not they can get it fixed by that time. >> we'll see how it plays out. luke russert at the white house, thank you. time now to flash back to this day in 1963. when news of president john f. kennedy's assassination in dallas sent shockwaves throughout the world. president kennedy's trip to texas 50 years ago forever changed our country, culture and collective spirit. those on the ground in dallas that day would have the most unforgettable perspective of all. >> what a crowd -- what a tremendous welcome he's getting now.
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there's jackie. she's getting just as big a welcome. the crowd is absolutely going wild. this is a friendly crowd in downtown dallas as the president and the first lady pass by. >> that was a young police reporter for a dallas station. he joins me live. and pierce almond who was a radio manager time and was one of the first journalists inside the texas schoolbook depository after the shooting. thanks for being with us today. >> our pleasure. >> glad to be with you. >> in the blink of an eye, you went from broadcasting this idyllic scene on the street in dallas to a frantic deadly shooting. how much panic was in the air and how much panic did you feel as everything was unfolding before your eyes? >> i was standing on the corner of an intersection when it happened. first off, no one really reacted. we thought maybe a backfire or
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firecracker. then you realize it is shooting. people began to react immediately after the limousine sped off. some crying, some shouting, what's happening, did they get the president? but by and large, just movement. people felt compelled to move. >> indeed. growing up in texas, especially right there in dallas, we would always take tours of the book depository. pierce, you were covering the motorcade from across the street and immediately ran toward the texas schoolbook depository where i understand you had a chance encounter with lee harvey oswald himself. what happened? >> evidently when you're operating on instinct as you are, that's a violent seven or eight-second sequence. and i thought, i've got to get to a home. there were no smartphones back then. if you didn't have a phone, you were out of touch. i thought, the nearest phone is
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going to be in the depository building, not saying about the assassins that were there shooting. i ran across the street, up the steps and asked a guy standing in the doorway where a phone was. i got on the phone, stayed on the phone 20 or 30 minutes. got on the air about the shell casings. about three weeks later, the secret service called and asked for a visit. we went through the whole sequence again, telling about the guy in the doorway. what did he say, what were his gestures? and finally, they said, are you familiar with the testimony of lee oswald after his arrest? i said, no. they said, he states as he was leaving the depository building, a young man with a crew cut rushed up, identified himself as a newsman and asked where a phone was. they said based on what you said and what he said, that's you. >> you had no clue that was him at the time. >> i did not. >> bob, i want to bring you back
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in. both you and pierce were among the group of reporters who then rushed to the hospital. do you remember your first report after learning that the president had been shot? how did you break that news? >> i think my words were, what was a wonderful welcome in downtown dallas has become a scene of indescribable horror as hundreds of people stand outside of the emergency entrance waiting for news about the condition of the president. >> i can envision that's exactly how it played out on that day. bob, just days later, though, you were in the unique position of reporting live from the jailhouse basement when oswald was shot and killed by dallas businessman jack ruby. what was that scene like? >> well, it was quite chaotic in police headquarters. i was impressed by their security precautions on that sunday. but as it was, jack ruby, not
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even realizing that he might have had to try to sneak in, simply walked in when a last-minute moving of cars was taking place. and he'd only been down there for 50 seconds when he shot oswald. >> a lot of times when we hear about that dreadful day in dallas, a lot of people describe it as america losing its innocence. pierce, how did the jfk assassination change the way news is covered? seems like television was just coming on the line at that time. >> actually, electronic journalism was born the day that kennedy died. it was a genuine paradigm shift. one of the obvious, i think, changes from that weekend was the emergence of television as the prime news medium. i think the survey that we heard was by 7:00 that friday night, 97% of the sets owned in the united states were on and stayed on.
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it was an electronic story. it was a television and radio story, which i suspect is one of the reasons that it's lasted as long as it has, because of the footage and the recordings that still exist. >> bob, in the last issue -- latest issue of "texas monthly" michael ennis writes, the real story is that both jfk and lee harvey oswald awoke on the morning of november 22nd in texas whose cosmopolitanism went unremarked in the days following the assassination. how much did this shooting stunt the city of dallas and the city's perception across america? >> well, dallas was labeled the city of hate by many people across the united states. and i think dallas was unfairly targeted as the city that killed the president. we had our nuts in this town. but our nuts were probably more
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conspicuous, meaner spirited than most. so they had given the city a chancy reputation with right wing demonstrations that preceded the assassination. and i think it was that largely that led people to conclude that dallas was something different from other american cities when it really was not. we had no more nuts per square mile than the average metropolitan city. >> yeah. >> and it was a city that had welcomed the president with open arms. >> bob and pierce, thanks for taking us back to that day and sharing your experience. >> thank you for having us. >> thanks, betty. >> absolutely. one of the things best remembered about president kennedy was his sense of humor. even at his own expense. von meter became an overnight star making fun of the kennedy's
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style and accent. >> doing my gestures. using my lines. do not ask what this country can do for you, that's one of my original lines. >> i listened to mr. meter's record. but i thought it sounded more like teddy than it did me. >> his comedy album "the first family" dominated the top spot on the billboard chart. >> family, family, family, jack, there's just too much family. can't we ever get away alone? >> tomorrow, i promise tomorrow we'll go away together tomorrow. no more family for a while. i promise. now, turn off the light. good night, jackie. >> good night, jack. >> good night, bobby, good night, etht ethel. >> meter's career came to an abrupt stop 50 years ago after kennedy's death. he released comedy albums not related to kennedy but never
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a game changer for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments. it is today's big idea. it's called the chemo patch. a portable and affordable patch that can deliver up to three chemotherapy drugs in the comfort of a patient's own home. the creators of the innovative treatment are four harvard undergrads. two of the inventors, ali and nakil join me now. thanks for being with us. >> thanks for having us. >> happy to be here. >> we're happy you're here. this is an incredible invention. ali, let me talk to you. tell me how you guys came up with the idea for the chemo patch. >> it really started off that nick had done in high school. we took the idea, revamped it, tested it and eventually came up with what we have now.
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>> i'm not a brainiac. break it down for me and our viewers. how is this an improvement of the existing home chemotherapy device? >> what we created is a simple patch. it looks like a nicotine patch you place on your arm. it allows you to get home chemotherapy. you get theme therapy in the home. it makes it more convenient compared to hospital-based treatment. >> ali, why is it so important for patients to be able to receive chemotherapy at home? >> for a lot of early stage patients, it's an increase in the quality of life. this patch enables them to -- they're early stage and may not necessarily be required to be in the hospital for their treatment. they can get better life and still get their care. >> which is a lot more comfortable, obviously, especially when you're having to endure that. current pumps on the market can cost around $25,000. that's a lot of money.
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how does this disposal patch cut that cost down? >> we create the patch at low cost mainly because that was one of our goals from the get-go. we created a patch that is around $200 and it has a disposal part and a nondisposal part. the nondisposal part is something you use over and over again. but you can replace the cartridge so you can continue your therapy without having to incur high costs. >> any chance that insurance companies can cover this cost completely? >> that's possible. we're looking into partnering with some med device or phrma companies. it could be something that insurance companies could reimburse. >> this is a breakthrough. that's amazing. thank you both so much for joining us and explaining that to us. great job, guys. and do you have a big idea that is making a difference? tell us about it.
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welcome back. the supreme court's ruling overturning the defense of marriage act this summer may be the law of the land. but when it comes to providing benefits for same-sex couples in the military, some governors are saying, not so fast. in august, chuck hagel ordered the military to treat all married couples equally. but a handful of states are not complying. just this week, a report shows the texas national guard going a step further by refusing to process military housing allowances for same-sex couples. so why are some states defying doma? a spokesperson for the american military partner association and a retired lieutenant colonel in the air national guard joins us. thanks for being with us, chris. >> thank you for having me, betty.
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>> why aren't these states following secretary hagel's order? >> i think that's a very good question. and one i think eventually legally the governors of those states are going to find out that they can't do exactly what they're doing. i think in their minds, they feel that their state law or their state constitution trumps federal law, which of course we know both historically and legally that it does not. i'm not sure what their rationale could be when they are well aware that 95% to 99% of their national guard budgets come from federal funds. their planes, their tanks, their trucks, most of their resources are all federally funded or owned by the federal government, by the pentagon. their employees, their full-time employees as well as their traditional guardsmen are all federal employees, they're paid for by federal funds and are in federal statuses when they're working. so i think the governors are
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trying to create some sort of a distinction between state resources and federal resources when that distinction really does not exist. >> let's look at that distinction. among the states we just mentioned, oklahoma governor announced that state-owned national guard facilities won't allow any married couples to apply for spousal benefits, regardless of whether they are same-sex couples or opposite sex couples. the national guard is run by the governor in many states. to play devil's advocate here, don't governors have the right to make these decisions for their individual states? >> well, no, they don't, not actually. it's a misnomer that these are run by the governor solely. even though they may not be currently called up under a presidential order, they are still a dual entity governed by both the state and the federal government at the same time. they have an obligation to
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follow the federal guidelines and to comply with federal military law. so the governors really cannot do what it is they're doing. in fact, it's interesting that you bring up the state of texas because the benefit that's being withheld there, the b.a.h., basic allowance for housing, is a federal benefit. it has nothing to do with the state. the employees that process that benefit are federal employees, the system, the computer system software and hardware is a federal system. at most, it may reside on a piece of property that may be owned by the state. but that would be it. the rest of it is all federally connected. >> what they're doing is sending these same-sex couples to federal facilities. is there a problem in doing that? is there a problem just having to go there instead of the state facility? what's the big rub here? >> well, i think the main rub is that they are trying to score political points because there is no real distinction.
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those same employees who would have processed the benefits before are still going to be processing them now. they're all federal employees. but i think the bigger question is, what kind of environment are they creating for those gay and lesbian service members. now what you're doing is you're also punishing, if you will, other straight heterosexual military members by making them go out of their way to process for those same benefits as well. you're going to create a dissension among the ranks. >> chris, thanks for being with us. >> thank you for having me. up next, should we stay or should we go? right now, afghan leaders are debating extending the american troop presence there. but what's the reality on the ground? we'll have the latest from nbc's richard engel who is there. and the smoking gun, up next, we'll talk live with the dallas deputy sheriff who actually discovered lee harvey oswald's murder weapon 15 years ago.
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and with improved tracking up to 11 scans, you can even watch us get it there. ♪ closer to a compromise. right now, secretary of state john kerry is meeting with world leaders over iran's nuclear program. what sticking points remain? we are live in geneva. good afternoon. i'm betty nguyen in for craig melvin. you're watching msnbc. also today, tense talks right now. afghanistan's grand council is debating whether american troops should stay for another decade. nbc's richard engel is on the ground with the latest. it's time to change the senate before this institution becomes obsolete. >> you will regret this. >> ready to retaliate. senate republicans vow a filibuster fight just days after democrats pass a historic rules change. will this widen the divide in d.c.? i told him i would never
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stop fighting and i would be the woman he wanted me to be. >> the san antonio four speak out about crimes they say they did not commit. but their fight for innocence is far from over. we will meet the future with the same vigor, optimism and unfailing sense of duty that our young president embodied. >> and 50 years later, we'll talk live with the sheriff's deputy who found oswald's smoking gun and how much of the american dream died with jfk. we want to begin in vegenev. negotiations with foreign leaders continue in attempt to hammer out a deal to curb iran's nuclear program. secretary of state john kerry is in geneva to broker a deal. joining me is ali arouzi who is in geneva. ali, we know that secretary
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kerry is heading to london tomorrow. does that indicate a deal will be reached before then? >> reporter: that's what we're waiting to see right now. they're in intense negotiations. they keep coming in and out of bilateral meetings and trilateral meetings. the p5 plus 1 have gone back into meeting. and catherine ashton is now in a meeting with the iranian foreign minister. the point that secretary kerry is leaving tomorrow does put pressure on both sides to come up with the goods tonight because he has to be there to sign it. we've also heard from other avenues that there could be some sort of talks here about syria. so he may come back. at this point, there's a real fog over this situation. the indications we're getting, though, is that they are getting close to some sort of a deal. they're talking about being words away from a deal. the iranians are unhappy with some of the wording of the draft
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about whether they can enrich uranium or not. and the other major sticking point is the iraq heavy water reactor which could produce electricity as well as weapons grade plutonium. these are the details they're trying to sort out right now. we've been told this could go on very late into the evening tonight. conference rooms have been booked here in geneva to give a possible press conference. last time we were here, the press conference at given at almost 2:00 in the morning geneva time. everybody's waiting to see if something will be announced. right now, there's a lot of waiting around. >> we'll be waiting with everybody else. ali arouzi, thank you. the future role of u.s. troops in afghanistan is at the forefront of meetings in the country this weekend. how long will american boots be on the ground there? richard engel is in eastern afghanistan with more on that. >> reporter: we are now on one of a handful of remaining american bases here in eastern
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afghanistan which has traditionally been one of the most dangerous parts of this country. but it hardly feels like an american base anymore. there are only a few hundred american soldiers and contractors here. they are outnumbered 3 to 1 by afghan soldiers. from what we've been able to see, it is the afghans who are doing most of the fighting. they are leaving the perimeter, leaving the wire as the troops say and doing the fighting against the taliban and al qaeda and other extremist networks while the americans, both the soldiers and the contractors, primarily stay inside the bases advising, supplying equipment, supplying intelligence, drone imagery, the kind of things that the afghan army simply does not have and which can only be provided by a modern sophisticated arms forces. it is this relationship with americans in relatively small numbers on a relatively small number of bases staying in this country, advising the afghans, still a dangerous role, they do
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occasionally get rocket fire here but not very often. it is this role that is being debated in kabul right now by several thousand afghan tribal elders and politicians and they'll decide if they want this relationship to continue. if they approve it and indications we have been receiving thus far is that they will approve it, potentially in a vote this weekend, it will be then up to washington to decide how long and how expansive the american troop presence in afghanistan will be. >> joining me with now is colonel jack jacobs. thanks for being with us to talk about this. >> sure. >> the white house has been denying that there's been talks to keep combat troops there, u.s. troops there past 2014. what's really going on right now? what are they discussing? what kind of deal are they trying to reach? >> not to do diplomacy in public. that never works. they're trying to cut a deal which will permit the americans to stay in there as long as they want and get out whenever they want.
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we want to be able to perform certain missions there, including arming and training the afghans to control any air-strikes or air assets and also to supervise the distribution of the money that karzai really wants in order to operate and do whatever he wants to do. in exchange -- and this is the biggest point that's probably going to go down to when they finally decide if they do decide -- is that the afghans will not be permitted to prosecute any americans that they have absolutely no effect on anything that the americans do. if anybody does anything, any american gets into trouble, it falls under the uniform code of military justice and the americans are responsible for taking care of that. they do not want to relinquish any control over american staff. >> i want to go back to the money. if a deal is reached, we're talking about billions of dollars, that may not be traced, if you will. we have no idea once it gets there where this money goes, who
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uses it, what is bought with it, correct? >> yeah. for the last decade, we've had very poor control over the money that's gone there. we know that some of the money has been diverted to a wide variety of things, including probably to karzai's pocket. it's going to be impossible to control any of that. the way to control it as best we can is to make sure that there's very little of it going over there. in fact what's going over there is stuff rather than actual cash. >> which troops -- who is going to be the last to leave if this deal is reached? >> logistical people and trainers, people who will train the afghans to do what they need to do. special forces and special operations forces and people who will control american air assets. those will be the last to leave. >> you served in vietnam. you had some dealings as that war ended. so you've seen this play out before. how is this going toend? is there a good way to do this? can the u.s. accomplish its mission? >> no, the short answer is no. we would need a lot more time
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and a lot more people in order to do this properly. you have to control the terrain. if we're going to have fewer americans there for a decade or shorter, we can't do that. my recollection is it was a very unpleasant circumstance when you had a relatively small number of americans in a hostile area trying to defend themselves wile they're trying to train the local people. it just doesn't work. my guess is we'll be out of there sooner rather than later. >> colonel jack jacobs, thanks for your time. >> you're welcome. they spent years in prison for a crime they say they did not commit. now the women known as the san antonio four are home and fighting for exoneration. liz ramirez, christy mahue and cassandra rivera were released on monday. anna vazquez was released last year. on monday, the district attorney said the women are entitled to a new trial on the grounds that recent scientific advances undermine testimony key to their
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convictions. >> we're thankful that we're out and that the d.a. feels the way they do about us. we want to fight for exoneration. >> that's what we stand for. the exoneration is the only thing that's going to say, this crime was never committed. it's because the crime never did happen. >> that's all we've ever wanted, to clear our names. that's it. >> miranda light dlgs sisinger writer and got the first interview with the women. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. >> what is this evidence, the scientific evidence that really helped get them free? >> well, basically when the trial occurred, there was a doctor who received the older alleged victim had signs of sexual abuse, physical signs of sexual abuse. there have been advances in science to show that what she testified as a sign of sexual abuse was not, in fact --
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>> scientific methods and whatnot? >> yes. it was based on -- texas has a new statute, a junk science law. and they challenged the conviction based on the science that said this didn't happen. >> didn't one of the alleged victims recant her story and say that she indeed wasn't molested? is that the case as well? >> yeah, she did. in fact, i met her on monday and she was waiting kind of discreetly outside of the jail in her car with her husband. she started to question about two years ago, did this really happen? she thought about it. all she could remember was this great week at her apartment and with her friends. so that kind of started the ball rolling for her. and she realized -- she told me, it didn't happen. >> help us understand this case and the climate at that time because i want to know if in fact because these women are lesbians, did that play a role? and did it play a role because there are allegations of maybe a
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satanic cult link? did that go into them getting convicted? >> they believe it did. i spoke to an expert about this. it was waning in the mid '90s when this case came up. in the doctor's testimony she said there are indications of this satanic ritual abuse. they believe that played a role in the conviction, as well as their sexuality. as well as at the time. these two factors combined to send them -- convict them pretty easily, just railroaded, they believed. >> these women lost a lot of time with their family. take a listen to this. while they were behind bars, they endured -- one of them endured the loss of her father. take a listen.
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>> when i finally got to talk to him on the phone before he passed away, i told him i would never stop fighting and i would be the woman that he wanted me to be. and my mom told me that a tear came out of his eye. and i said, i love you, daddy. and he took his last breath. >> that is time that you just cannot get back. especially for women who say, we are absolutely innocent in this. how do they cope with being behind bars for so long yet knowing in their hearts that they're innocent? >> well, actually, what they all told me was that they had this inner peace in themselves that -- based on their innocence and their faith. they're very religious and they said that they hung onto their faith but aalso just -- cassandra told me she held her head high because she knew she was ent in.
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innocent. even though they couldn't have any contact with each other, they were able to hold onto that. they said they knew that one day eventually the truth would come out. >> isn't it true they had an opportunity for a plea deal? they didn't have to do prison time but they maintained that innocence, they were so strong about that. i imagine when they finally were able to be released and they reconnected, that had to be quite a moment. >> it was quite a moment. we waited outside the jail all day monday in san antonio for them to be released. there with their supporters, their family, children of both women -- cassandra that she saw grow up from behind the glass. she said, i'm your grandma, i'm your grandma. for her son, michael, he turned 22 the day after she was released. she said, i made it in time for your birthday. we were very emotional. i know that elizabeth ramirez
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who we just saw, she talked about not being able to say good-bye to her dad in person. she got to visit with her son that she didn't get to see in 14 years. she got to have pizza with him monday night and work on rebuilding. >> they have a lot of lost time to make up for indeed. >> they do. >> thanks for sharing that story with us. >> thank you. >> you got really good insight into what they experienced. thank you. >> thank you. ignorance and intolerance. one black student's shocking claims of racism and bullying. the punishments the students are now facing is coming up. and the hunt for an a playin. [ coughs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] you can't let a cold keep you up tonight. vicks nyquil -- powerful nighttime
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when president john f. kennedy was shot 50 years ago in dallas, local authorities jumped into action, isolating the texas schoolbook depository as the source of where the shots came from. in his account of that day, deputy roger craig writes, we immediately found three rifle cartridges laying in such a way that they looked as though they had been carefully and deliberately placed there, in plain sight on the floor to the southeast window, the deputy called out, here it is. eugene boone literally found lee harvey oswald's smoking gun and he joins me now. wow, this is quite a moment in history. what you said was, here it is. such a moment of confusion of upheaval, how shocking was it to be the person to discover the gun on that day? >> it's interesting. as we were looking across the floor for something that didn't
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belong there, the rifle was stuck in a crevice between two rows of books. had i not had a flashlight in my hand, i probably would have missed it. but i was shining it in that crevice and found it. it was next to -- the row of books was next to the stairwell. >> you found the gun before knowing it belonged to oswald. how did the pieces start to come together? >> it appeared that the sniper's nest which was in the opposite corner of the building, was the firing point. and it looked like he had set the stage for the crevice to be set up before the event occurred. so as he could run across the floor and shove the rifle in the crevice before the two rows of books and then hit the stairwell and go downstairs to the lower floors. >> with all that evidence, you could see this playing out in your mind how it exactly happened. last night in dallas, police held a candlelight vigil for
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officer j.d. tippett who was fatally shot by oswald 45 minutes after the president was gunned down. you knew officer tippett. do you think he knew he had encountered the president's killer when he crossed paths with oswald that day? >> i don't really believe he did. i think he saw somebody that answered the general description that was given over the police radio and he was going to investigate. if he had thought that was really the man that had shot the president, i believe he would have at least unstrapped his gun. his gun was strapped in his holster. i believe he would have unstrapped it so he could get to it if he needed it. >> you also knew jack ruby. what kind of person was he? >> jack was -- in the newspaper business when i was handling all the theater and nightclub news in dallas, he was always late
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with his advertisements. many times my wife would be waiting to take me home. and i'd be waiting for jack so he could get his ad in the next day's paper. he was a kennedy fan. i know he liked the kennedys. but at the same time, he felt like a couple of other burlesque owners were trying to run him out of business. he had a persecution complex, i think. he wanted to get the public to come and frequent his club. >> i see. security had been beefed up because there was concern that someone would try to hurt oswald as he was moved to the county jail. how did ruby get access to that basement? >> i think ruby walked in. the officer guarding that entrance stepped away from his post to direct traffic because there was some cars coming out of the driveway underneath city hall. i believe he just came in that
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way. >> just like that, as easy as that, just walked right in? >> i think he did. but in order to understand it, you have to understand that ruby was in and out of the city hall and the courthouse and the sheriff's office at all hours of the day and night. so you really saw him but you didn't see him as a threat. >> i see. what was your reaction when you found out that he was the one who shot oswald? >> when i heard that, my wife called me because the sheriff and myself and two or three other deputies were waiting behind the jail office to receive him. somebody came running out of the sheriff's office saying, there's a fight at city hall. and then somebody right on their heels saying there's been a shooting. as i went in the office around the switchboard, the operator sent out al phone call. it was my wife. she knew what he looked like, what jack ruby looked like also. and she said it looked like jack ruby shot oswald. i've been watching it on tv. i said, no, it couldn't be jack. i turned to the sheriff and told
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him, sharmane just called indicating that jack ruby shot oswald. he said the same thing, no, it couldn't be jack. but it was. >> your memory is so vivid of that day. you're really taking us right back there. a new gallup poll found that today just 30% of americans think that lee harvey oswald acted alone in jfk's murder. 61% believe others were involved. you testified before the warren conclusion who said oswald was the lone shooter. how do you feel about the fact that there's still so much speculation about what happened on that day in dallas? >> it's interesting you ask that because i saw some statistics recently that indicated about 90% of those who feel there was some sort of a conspiracy had never read the warren report. so i find that kind of interesting that they disavow the events at the time but they haven't read the evidence. >> and you haven't strayed. you don't believe there's a
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second shooter? >> i don't believe there was a second shooter. i think lee harvey oswald acted alone in the assassination. i do believe if there was a conspiracy -- and that's a big if -- if there was a conspiracy, the conspiracy was to get him in the right place at the right time to accomplish such a feat. >> eugene boone, thank you for bringing us back to that day in history. we appreciate it. >> you're welcome. thank you, betty. >> absolutely. we have good news to share today as americans gather next week for thanksgiving, a new government survey shows the number of homeless people in the u.s. has dropped for a third straight year. that drop-off was held by a sharp decline among homeless veterans who fell 8% from last year. the government credits the progress to increased participation in a government voucher program that helps pay housing costs for veterans. you're watching msnbc. th... and i'm michelle. and we own the paper cottage. it's a stationery and gifts store. anything we purchase for the paper cottage goes on our ink card.
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passengers were sent scrambling when a car crash led to false reports of gunfire. two terminals were evacuated and dozens of flights delayed for several hours. the incident comes just three weeks after a gunman shot and killed a tsa officer and wounded three others at that same airport. i'm betty nguyen in for craig melvin today. here's a look at some of the top stories making news. the bhowhite house announces another delay for obama care. one extension gives consumers december 23rd to enroll in plans that kick in january 1st. and it gives people until december 31st to start paying those plans. a fourth san jose state university student has been suspended due to his role in an alleged hate crime of an african-american student. the student's living quarters were decorated with nazi and confederate symbols. three other students have been arrested and charged with a misdemeanor hate crime. and prince harry is in ant
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natural colors and flavors and no high fructose corn syrup. thanks, mom. not financially. so we switched to the bargain detergent but i found myself using three times more than they say to and the clothes still weren't as clean as with tide. so we're back to tide. they're cuter in clean clothes. that's my tide. what's yours? 50 years ago today, president lyndon johnson held his first cabinet meeting as the nation and the world mourned president kennedy. in the days that followed, president johnson vowed to continue the politics that jfk began. let's bring in the director of the university of virginia center for politics. he's also the author of the book "the kennedy half century." larry, i want to start with lbj. he appeared before a joint session of congress two days after president kennedy's burial. you write in your book, lbj
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outlined the breathtaking scope he intended for his administration calling for the urgent passage of bills concerning civil rights, education, tax cuts, youth employment and more. he was determined to press hard for everything, labeling it all as a memorial to jfk. did president johnson stick to his promise? >> well, yes, fundamentally he achieved a great deal even in that piece of the term that john kennedy had left him. passing, for example, the civil rights act of 1964 up to that point, the most significant landmark civil rights legislation in the 20th century, and he did it by presenting it as a tribute to a martyred president. it was shrewd, it was clever, it was right. and as a consequence, i think you have to give credit to both president johnson who was superb as a legislative tactician and also president kennedy who in a
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sense gave his life for that legislation and other pieces to come. >> that's a good point there. what significant issues did johnson adopt on his own or as his own as well? >> the more i study it, the more i recognize that johnson used the kennedy image, the kennedy name, the fact that he had succeeded the assassinated president to achieve johnson's own goals. were they to a certain degree kennedy's goals? yes. but they were reshaped and generally expanded -- substantially expanded by lyndon johnson. classic example, the war on poverty. right before dallas, john kennedy, president kennedy had approved the idea of doing a couple of demonstration projects across the country to fight poverty. lyndon johnson was informed of this the day after the assassination, told the economic aide who talked to kennedy, no, no, i want to do this nationally immediately. go full tilt, johnson said.
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this is my kind of program. and that's really how the real war on poverty began. >> the nation continued to mourn for the remainder of 1963. but in 1964, political realities really arose. president johnson would run for election. he had to run on his own agenda at that point. what parts of the kennedy agenda were left behind? >> well, i think absolutely almost all of it was continued by lyndon johnson in one form or another. as i say, he expanded the kennedy legacy. if you're talking about style, clearly lyndon johnson did not have the kennedy style. he didn't have the rhetoricians glamour of kennedy. but if you look at kennedy's agenda, the space program, i
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think he very much continued the kennedy idea. the new frontier became the great society. and the great society was greater than the new frontier would have been even had john f. kennedy been reelected, as i suspect he would have been by a landslide against barry goldwater in 1964. >> very interesting looking back. larry sabato, thank you. >> thanks so much. >> absolutely. let's bring in our brain trust now. dana milbank, columnist for "the washington post," bob franken and mercedes shop, political commentator and former spokesperson for the george w. bush administration. great to have you all here today. bob, i'll start with you. there are so many "what ifs" when it comes to the kennedy legacy. one of the biggest is the vietnam war. i was born in vietnam. i am a product of that war. michael cohen writes in "foreign policy" kennedy was a reluctant hawk who believed that the
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united states should try to prevent south vietnam from falling to the communist but who also avoided deploying american combat troops. lbj had a different take on vietnam and it ultimately became the issue that drove him from the white house. how different was the johnson approach from the kennedy approach on policy, bob? >> well, the kennedy approach was to use special forces to put advisers on the ground. and after president johnson took over, he kept on expanding at the behest of the generals, and then there was the gulf of tonkin resolution which has shown to have been based on some misleading information. and of course as you point out, he was forced out of office because of his role in the vietnam war. >> dana, much of the country has spent the past week really reflecting on the kennedy assassination. but the further removed we are from that actual event, do we run the risk of overromant overromanticizing his
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accomplishments? >> certainly that can be the case. you see it with presidents long after their administration. we see the same thing with the reagan presidency. particularly when a president is assassinated, there are a lot of open questions. we don't know what kennedy would have done in vietnam. we knew how things started out. but we don't ne know if he had full two terms what he would have done. the conservatives can say, he was a tax cutter. strong on national defense. liberals can say that perhaps he wouldn't have gotten as involved in vietnam, that he was very interested in an activist government. he can be really whatever we want him to be. and that's what we've done with -- >> kind of fill in the blank. mercedes, what did the kennedy legacy choose to you as you were choosing politics for your career?
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>> it always goes back to that famous line, ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. i think there's always that sense especially with the next generations that have come to basically say, do you want to be committed to helping keep america great? i think that his legacy of really pushing forward through the peace corps, through the space program, that he really was able to see the potential of america as a great country and really inspire americans -- when you look at the gallup poll numbers, they're saying 74% of americans believe that kennedy was an outstanding president. so he's an inspirational figure and he's one that i think really transcends through generations. >> we're going to switch gears. harry reid triggers the nuclear option. will restructuring the rules on the filibuster backfire for democrats? we're going to take that up with the brain trust next.
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this was nothing more than a power grab in order to try to advance the obama administration's regulatory agenda. and they just broke the senate rules. >> that was senate minority leader mitch mcconnell thursday after senate democrats invoked the so-called nuclear option to rein in filibusters. we're back with our brain trust. dana, let me start with you. you wrote in your column about the consequences of a rules change saying, if congress wasn't broken before, it certainly is now. what reid and his fellow democrats effectively did was take the chamber of congress that still functioned at a modest level and turn it into a clone of the other chamber, which functions not at all. they turned the senate into the house. that said, how much damage can this really do? >> well, we don't know. and that's the problem. i think the democrats are completely justified in doing it. the republicans have been abusing the powers of the minority, not to shape legislation to their liking but to prevent this government from
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doing anything for the last 4 1/2 years. so they were justified in doing it. but i still don't think it was a good idea to do because there are -- first of all, there are a lot of powers left in the minority to the republicans. they can really gum up the works in all kinds of ways if they choose to. and in the long run now that the democrats have set this president -- well, they're not going to be in the majority forever. maybe they'll keep it next year. but at some point, the other party is going to be in the majority again. and they can use this precedent against the democrats to undo the programs that the democrats have been putting in over the last 50 years, the sort of kennedy and johnson legacy can be undone because of the changes the democrats made on thursday. >> we talk about the divisiveness. how can it affect attempts on finding common grounds on issues like immigration reform and the budget? >> the idea was in the senate
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you are forced to reach some sort of compromise because you have to get to that threshold of 60 votes. before that it was two-thirds. before that it was basically 100%, unanimous consent in the senate. you had to work together. in the house, you don't have to work together. in fact, it's seen as -- to the detriment of the leadership if they have to go and get a vote from the minority party. so this forced bipartisanship in the past. now we don't have that. now i think we're going to have out-and-out warfare. >> then senator joe biden made his views clear during the bush presidency when the democrats were in the minorities. take a listen. >> we should make no mistake. this nuclear option is ultimately an example of the arrogance of power. it is a fundamental power grab by the majority party, propelled
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by its extreme right and designed to change the reading of the constitution. >> those could be haunting words. mercedes, you worked in a republican white house when there was a republican majority in the senate. is a rules change like this a gamble that every majority party tries to play? >> yes. the republicans did it back in the early 2000s. quite frankly, they decided not to go forward with it and part of it is because the democrats insisted they should just have the 60 votes to pass these judicial nominations. with that being said, it did bring both parties together. so they came up with some sort of agreement. i remember being at the white house working through with the miguel estrada legislation at the time. and it was frustrating. they got several other judicial nominations through but it was with a bipartisan effort. at the end, i think it's just better for the country. when one party is deciding to
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bypass or change the procedural rules, it's going to come to bite the majority party in the long run. so i think they're going to be -- the democrats especially when we're looking at the 2014 senate elections, they look like they're going to be in trouble. it can come back and be very detrimental for the democrats. >> what if the nuclear card had been played months ago? would larry summers be the head of the federal reverse? how many of the 76 presidential nominees waiting for confirmation would already be at work right now? >> probably most of them. you get the whole concept of advise and consent. the keyword is consent, at least as the founding fathers designed it. what we had in the senate which, we had paralysis instead. that is the justification that people give for employing the nuclear option. by the way, this is a tradition that goes way, way, way back -- back to the old roman senate. cato the younger used to talk
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all day long when he was trying to stop an initiative by julius caesar. he would talk until it was dark. so that's a tradition that has gone back as far as history can go. >> history lesson from bob today. dana, let me bring you in. >> i can bore you to death with this kind of stuff. >> the senate lives by its own rules. how big of a deal is this and what kind of other institutional changes could be pushed through by the majority? >> it's seemingly unlimited. the democrats are saying, look, this only applies to judicial nominees below the supreme court and to other executive nominees. but if they can do this, there's no reason to say that some in the democratic party now want to do it, if not, when the republicans are back in charge, if they're back in charge will say, why not, they applied it to
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nominees, let's apply it to all sorts of legislation. the effect will be to try to get something more polarized legislation through and also more polarizing nominees through because there's no need to appeal to the other party at all. i think you're going to see more extreme nominees from both sides getting through. it certainly is going to help democrats in the short term get more appointments. the question is what have they given up in the long run for this. >> definitely going to be interesting, especially when the tide turns to see what people are saying then, especially those who are speaking out right now in favor of this. up next, the brain trust with their picks for this week's most overlooked and underplayed stories. restarting it? no, not that. i was thinking about getting a tablet as a gift... verizon has tablets. they got a lot of them? accessing brain information... yes, they have a lot to choose from. did you really just... and now you can get $100 off any tablet. thanks, wayne. save like never before on any tablet at verizon now. get $100 off any tablet. plus trade in your old tablet for up to $150 or more.
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♪ ♪ we are back now with our brain trust as you see. and this is where we hear from the brain trust on their overlooked and underplayed stories of the week. but first, folks, i went to begin with something we wanted to start with and that is a
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politician who may have picked a bad week to be on a book tour. governor scott walker trying to position himself nor a 2016 white house run, possibly. the governor wrote in "the wall street journal" this week that republicans should avoid moving more to the middle. those arguing that conservatives have to moderate their views if they want to appeal to the country are so wrong. if our principles were the problem, then why are so many republican governors winning elections campaigning on them? republicans did not win the races by running from principles. they won by applying principles in ways that are relevant to the lives of citizens. mercedes, let me start with you. does what governor scott say make sense? should republicans avoid going mainstream in. >> you know, it works in a particular district or a local race or maybe even a statewide race, you know, of a red state. but when you're looking at a national presidential race, i mean, the biggest challenge republicans have had is building
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that coalition and you have got to draw definitely from the base and the moderate vote, you need to have an independent vote, the woman vote, the hispanic and african-american vote. it is bringing together a collective group of different types of individuals that can really understand your principles and believe in what you're saying. so, i think in that case, he's going to need a lot more than just a conservative base to win in 2016. >> all right. and while you have the soapbox, let's get to your overlooked and underplayed stories. >> you're asking me? >> no. i'm sticking with mercedes! you'll get your chance in a minute. don't worry. >> okay. >> mercedes? >> yes. i apologize. it was the army story this week that was a lieutenant colonel who basically came out and said, betty, you will appreciate this, ugly women are competent and pretty women perceived to get
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ahead because of their looks and looking at the public affairs materials, they should basically go with the more ugly -- you know, the ugly or average-looking woman instead of putting someone with good looks and again -- >> does this floor you? >> i find it to be incredibly insulting and this is what we want to get beyond. i they woman should feel free to carry on the lipstick at the front lines. great. >> be a woman. okay. dana, let's get to you. i'm going to save bob for the last because he's chomping at the bit. >> he really is. i'll make it quick. you know, it's been all about division this week but there's a piece out this weekend in my paper written by tom daschle and trent lott, leaders of the senate who says here's how you can get things back on track, get guys back in town five days a week, meeting together. socially. getting them over at the white house, up to camp david.
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not optimistic anybody takes them up on the idea but a way to start to get the awful situation under control. >> gotcha. without further delay, bob, you have waited so patiently for this. >> actually, i have nothing to say. >> oh no. don't you dare do that. >> the headline would be, so little time, so many priorities to be ignored. but there's immigration reform. there's farm bill. there are all these things that have not been the crisis du jour to slip past this session of congress which would be really tragic for the country. >> all right. well, as always, we appreciate everything that you provide here today. that insight. dana, bob -- >> thank you, betty. >> mercedes, thank you for your time this saturday afternoon. >> thank you so much. >> absolutely. and thank you for watching. i'm betty nguyen in for craig melvin today. he'll be back tomorrow. but first, "disrupt with karen
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including carbsteady ultra to help minimize blood sugar spikes. it's the best from glucerna. [ male announcer ] new glucerna advance. from the brand doctors recommend most. advancing nutrition for diabetes. hello, disrupters. i'm karen finney. and the best thing of the week that was, democrats said enough is enough to the gop cob instruction and it's a fact that despite the hype gop governors might not be the viable candidates in 2016 that people think. >> speaking of game changers, disrupters. >> daring attack, the break-up that could change the course of this political war. >> obstruction. >> obstruction. >> obstruction. >> obstruction. >> deliberate and determined effort. >> no more 60-vote requirements to get the president's appointments confirmed. >> disrupters. >> write the rules of the senate in order to change the rules of the snth. >> enough is enough. >> it was a brazen partisan


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