tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC April 14, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EDT
in the great state of alaska there's a large island off the coast of homer, alaska. it's on kodiak island. yesterday a retired petty officer and a currently serving officer were found dead at a coast guard communication station on kodiak where they both worked monitoring radio traffic. the fbi is responding and they are treating this as a double homicide of these coast guard members. nobody is in custody. both of these men were shot to death. last night brooklyn, ohio, near cleveland, 911 dispatchers took a call from a woman at a cracker barrel restaurant saying she informed her husband saying she was leaving him and he did not respond well. by the time police arrived she was shot dead and her 10-year-old daughter, whose birthday it was that day and a
gift's sister was critically injured and a man with a gun did not leave the restaurant. the man did not surrender his weapon and police killed him. yesterday in modesto, california, deputies tried to serve an eviction notice. they were met with gunfire. one of the deputies was killed as was a civilian on the scene. last night in greenland, new hampshire, five police officers were shot, including the local police chief who was killed just eight days short of his planned retirement. after shooting the five officers, a 29-year-old local man shot and killed his ex-girlfriend and then shot and killed himself. earlier in chicopee, massachusetts, in the western part of the state, a state trooper was shot and wounded and the suspect in the case was killed. according to an account in the springfield republican newspaper, the neighbor says he saw a man flee with car keys in his hand. he saw a gun barrel from a
window and a shot whizzed out above his head. he saw a state trooper approach the house and get shot. quote, i saw him take a bullet. and today in orange county, california, portions of the grand jury were released in the case of a 42-year-old man who strapped on three guns, extra ammunition and a bullet-proof vest and went into a seal beach, california, hair salon where he shot and killed his ex-wife and seven other people. the salon owner was carrying a pair of scissors. as he saw the gunman coming in, he was the first to be shot. then one, two, three, four, five more people all shot dead in the hair salon. then the gunman turned around and left and randomly decided to shoot and kill a man just sitting in his car in the parking lot as well. eight people dead and what law enforcement officials say what was approximately two minutes elapsed. in court today in tulsa, hate crimes and murder charges were filed against these two men who went driving around tulsa, oklahoma, last week alledgedly choosing african-american men at
random to shoot and kill. they shot and killed three men and wounded two others. yesterday in the city of st. louis, prosecutors charged a 21-year-old man for leaving a trail of mayhem across st. louis yesterday afternoon. after some argument the man allegedly shot two men at point-blank range. one man in the arm and the other directly in the chest before pulling a gun on a st. louis police officer. two days before that, also in st. louis, a 24-year-old man was shot to death while sitting in his car. witnesses say they saw an armed gunman just walk up to the car, fire several shots inside, and then take off. police arrived on the scene and found more than 20 bullet casings scattered on the street near the vehicle. st. louis is a city, frankly, that has been racked by gun violence recently, even if we just stay there, there's more. early sunday morning a 49-year-old woman was walking along the street on the north side of st. louis, police say a man approached the woman, fired several shots at her and then fled the scene leaving her in serious condition.
a few days before that three st. louis teenagers were shot as they were walking through the parking lot of a local church's chicken restaurant. 50 st. louis police officers responded to the shootings, but there's still no suspect. a few days before that, st. louis homicide detectives were called to the scene of a shooting in north st. louis. a 25-year-old man named mario moore was shot in the back and later died from his injuries at a local hospital. two days before that in the same neighborhood, local residents called the police when they heard roughly six gunshots ring out at 7:00 that night. neighbors say they saw a man pull into a driveway, get out of his car and he was shot in the chest suffering wounds proven to be fatal. gun violence is so bad in the city of st. louis, missouri, a number of local groups got together last week to call for a gun violence summit to be held in the city between local law enforcement officials and community groups. and it was there in the city of st. louis today where the national rifle association officially kicked off its annual convention. the neighbor's leading gun lobby.
the main featured speaker at today's nra convention was mitt romney. mr. romney has been all over the map on gun issues during his career, but the latest version of mitt romney proclaims himself to be a life-long member of the nra. mr. romney essentially just gave his stump speech at the nra convention today, but he did add in a few lines about guns. and frankly, what he added in about guns, was a really hard to understand few lines. >> we need a president that will enforce current laws, not create new ones that will only burden lawful gun owners. president obama has not. i will. >> okay. in order to understand just what mitt romney was trying to say today about guns, it's a very important issue, right? in order to understand what he's saying here you have to actually diagram his sentences. take that line we just played. >> we need a president who will enforce current laws. >> we need a president who will enforce current laws.
okay, so far, so good, but then the next thing he says? >> not create new ones that only serve to burden lawful gun owners. president obama has not. i will. >> president obama has not, what? president obama has not enforced current laws? or are you talking about the second part of what you said, president obama has not created new laws? technically mr. romney is saying that president to obama has not not created new laws. it's kind of hard to understand the dangling negative. i think what mitt romney is giving the impression of is that president obama has created new restrictive gun laws. he has created new laws, but which ones, exactly? >> we need a president who will stand up for the rights of hunters and sportsman and those who seek to protect their homes and their families. president obama has not. >> how has president obama not done that exactly? what has he done to not stand for the rights of those people?
what are you accusing him of? >> if we're going to safeguard our second amendment, it's time to elect a president who will defend the rights president obama ignores or minimizes. >> what has president obama been ignoring or minimizing and how? really? what is the accusation here? do you want him to be overtly doing something he's not doing? you're damning president obama about doing what with guns, exactly? >> we've all seen enough of president obama over the last three years, we know we don't want another four. >> what is it about him that you're unhappy about him on guns n particular? what's the basis of this? we reached out to the romney campaign to ask which specific new gun laws president obama has passed that governor romney was describing today? they have so far not given us any answer. hope springs eternal. it should be noted, those were his lines on guns in the speech. after that mystifying map of vagueness today about guns, finally mitt romney got to the punch line part of his speech.
listen. >> in a second term, he'd be unrestrained by the demands of re-election. >> ah, i see. that's what this is all about. president obama hasn't necessarily done anything now, but he has a secret plan to take away everybody's guns in the next term. a secret plan he's not pursuing now. he will pursue that plan if he wins a second term. that's what gun politics is like right now. president obama has a secret plan to take away your guns. you can tell he has a plan to take away your guns because he hasn't yet taken away your guns. don't you see? but still you need to stop him from doing this thing that he has not done. that's what our gun politics are all about right now. rather than doing something about what is going on in the country about guns, and there's something going on in the country about guns. we do actually have a real gun violence problem in this country. literal in the streets of st. louis just outside where the nra
was meeting today there's a crisis if you ask st. louis. and it was the same thing last year. last year the nra convention was held where? in the city of pittsburgh. places like homewood that is absolutely torn apart by violence. while the lobby that determines our gun laws in the country place fantasy politics about policies that don't exist and secret plans, the consequences of that being what determines our gun policies plays out right on the streets around them in flesh and blood. joining me now is councilman ricky burgess. he is from the ninth district. we visited with councilman burgess last may. it is really nice to have you back on the show. thanks for being here. >> thank you very much, rachel. it is good to be here. >> while the conversation at the nra convention revolves around president obama having some secret plan to take away people's guns, what conversation would you like to see the country have about gun policy given the concerns of where you live and the folks that you
represent? >> i'd ask the republican governor why are you calling a certain segment of the population to arms. what he is really doing secretly, not even secretly, is he is asking people to buy more guns, to buy more ammunitions, that we know will cause death in the streets, blood in our community. the nra should be called a death convention. it should be attended by morticians and funeral directors. because what they want is the wholesale of guns without any legitimate restrictions knowing full well that the guns will be used in heads, it will be used by gang members, they'll be used in crimes. the nra and its lobby has advocated for these crazy laws like stand your ground that has led to the trayvon martin case. it's absolutely criminal that we have this lobby that absolutely is creating chaos in our streets in the community in which i represent, gun violence is
destroying that community, it's ending lives and it holds economic development in that community. >> even after the trayvon martin shooting that has had such an affect on the country's politics and the way people are talking about gun rights in this country, even after the gabby giffords shooting, one of the things you and i have discussed is that the real world consequences of our gun policies n terms of gun violence, gun massacres that happen, never seem to factor into the discussions we have about gun policy. i don't know if i expect the discussions to happen at the nra since they are advocates on one side of the issue, but do you feel like the debates are happening anywhere? are we having a serious talk about guns that is not just cheerleading anywhere? >> it's difficult to have a conversation when the nra funds the campaign of legislature and politicians. in the state that i represent, the nra literally controls the state legislature and controls the governor.
these kind of conversations cannot be had. they absolutely want no responsible gun ownership or use laws. no loss in stolen handgun reporting. no responsible -- they want assault rifles. there's no reason for someone in an urban community to be walking down the street with an ak-47 or to have an assault rifle in their closet. yet the nra advocates for these sort of crazy uncontrollable access to guns, which causes death and destruction in our neighborhoods. >> briefly, do you think the nra chooses cities with high rates of gun violence for their convention on purpose? that it's meant to be some sort of sign of hubris or something? >> i don't know. i don't think they care. they shouldn't be the nra convention. it should be a death convention and it should be attended by morticians, funeral directors
and people who preside over funerals because their policies, their practices and their conventions in real life celebrates the death of young people on our streets and in our community. >> pittsburgh city councilman ricky burgess. you were kind enough to host me in pittsburgh when we were there last year for the nra convention. nice to see you. >> thank you. still ahead, i could not make a trip to california without seeing bill maher. so i didn't make a trip to california without seeing bill maher. the great bill maher interviews me in front of a live audience just ahead. reduceead and other s with the advanced filtration system of brita. ♪ you make me happy when skies are gray ♪ [ female announcer ] you know exactly what it takes to make them feel better. ♪ you make me happy [ female announcer ] that's why you choose children's tylenol. the same brand your mom trusted for you when you were young. ♪ how much i love you
four years ago, america had two political near misses at the very top. vice president palin was one of them and the other, president john edwards. yeah, that prospect, well, at least the cops consequences of that near misprospect have come roaring back this week. that and me with bill maher coming up. ♪
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[ male announcer ] dawn hand renewal with olay beauty. improves the look and feel of hands in just five uses. [ sponge ] soft, smooth... fabulous! [ male announcer ] dawn does more... [ sponge ] so it's not a chore. an unexpected thing happened today at the nra convention in st. louis. mitt romney started off his speech to the convention by inviting his wife up to the podium. it was a surprise. she was not billed as part of the event, but mr. romney brought her up to the podium and said i happen to believe that all moms are working moms. mr. romney believing he was scoring a great political point in not just introducing his wife unexpectedly, but by saying he respects women who work in the home. on the same day mitt romney was telling the nra that he believes moms are working moms. barack obama, the democratic
president, was telling an interviewer the exactly same thing. mr. obama in an interview to telemundo saying this. >> there's no job that's tougher than being a mom. i saw that with my mom, a single mom trying to put herself through school. i see it with michelle and the incredible energy that she brings to raising her kids. as i said last night, i don't know mrs. romney well, but she seems like a wonderful woman and obviously cares deeply about her family. fight! fight! fight! in the democratic corner there's no job tougher than being a mom. and in the republican corner, all moms are working moms. it's a huge fake political fight in which both sides agree and use almost the exact same language to express their very similar feelings. which means it is not actually a fight at all, which means that if there is a difference between the parties, if there is a difference between the candidates on women's issues, if there is something to explain why women tell pollsters they
like president obama much better than mitt romney, if we're looking for the real difference between the parties to explain this divide, we have not found it in this fake fight. republicans are not being accused of waging a war on women for no reason or for something about which they agree with the democrats entirely. republicans are being accused of waging a war on women for something they're doing that is very different than what the democrats are doing. it's about policy affecting women. there's no distinction between the parties at all on nice feelings about mom and candidate spouses, but there's a great distinction between the parties on, take your pick. in arizona yesterday the republican governor there jan brewer signed the most restrictive ban on abortions in the country. because of the way the arizona law measures pregnancy, it bans abortion even earlier than the other seven state that is have enacted this time of late-term ban. arizona also added a new 24-hour waiting period to their state's forced ultrasound requirement.
and it hits doctors who provide abortions with new specially targeted regulations just for them. a bill also landed on the governor's desk this week that will make it legal for doctors to lie to women about their pregnancies if the doctor thinks it will prevent that woman from seeking an abortion. and still in arizona, remember the tell your boss while you're on the pill bill? a version of that bill passed the arizona senate this week. it is not dead. in mississippi republican governor phil bryant, a guy who said we want mississippi to be abortion-free, he's well on the way to that. he will sign a new trap law, a new targeting the states only abortion clinic with new regulations sometime in the next few days. in iowa this week, wrangling among republicans over abortion restrictions seemed poised to delay the work on the budget and the end of the legislative
session. yesterday the iowa senate was fighting to defund planned parenthood. he was asked about the lilly ledbetter fair pay act. the law that gets women equal pay for equal work. here is what pete hokstra had to say about the fair pay act at a campaign event this week. >> i voted against it. that thing is a nuisance. >> that thing is a nuisance. he called it a nuisance. again, it's a law that says women must be allowed access to the courts to sue if they are being paid less than a man for doing the same work. that's a nuisance. according to pete hoekstra. it is not a secret that pete hoekstra voted along with most of his republican colleagues against the fair pay act in congress. this is a bad time for republicans making headlines for trashing the fair pay for women law.
the republicans likely presidential nominee has been falling all over himself this week on this issue. president obama signed the lilly ledbetter act nine days after he was sworn in. when he wanted to talk about women specifically in the economy, they had trouble answers an easy straightforward question about women and the economy. >> our next question will come from stan stein from "the huffing on the post. go ahead. >> does governor romney support the lilly ledbetter act? >> sam, we'll get back to you on that. >> the point of the call is mitt romney is great for women and the economy. does mitt romney support equal pay for women and legislation to help that along? we'll get back to you on that. did anybody know they were going to ask that? why didn't you brief me? that was a really embarrassing moment for the romney campaign. even their clean up efforts were messy. not specifically addressing whether mr. romney actually supported the law in their initial response after the conference call debacle and finally saying that mr. romney would not change the law.
the campaign never did say whether mr. romney supports the fair pay act, whether he would have voted for it, whether he would have signed it into law when he was president and it came co to his desk. so i want to officially send out a plea to reporters who unlike us can get their answers from the romney campaign. he's an unanswered question on a totally sub tantive political issue in which there's a big difference between republicans and democrats. here's a freebie, here's a question to request ask mitt romney. were most republicans in congress wrong when they voted no on the lilly ledbetter fair act? would mr. romney have voted yes if he were in congress? if he were president would he have signed it into law? is republican scott walker wrong to replace the wisconsin state level version of the fair pay act just last week? when i said replaced, i meant repealed, sorry.
he repealed it. mr. romney thinks scott walker is his great allie, he believes it is right to repeal fair pay legislation at the state level. this is not an impressionistic fake fight thing. there's a real difference between the parties. how about we stay focused on that? [ female announcer ] gross -- i'll tell you what's really gross: used dishcloths. they can have a history that they drag around with them. for a cleaner way to clean try bounty extra soft. in this lab demo, one sheet of bounty extra soft leaves this surface 3 times cleaner than a dishcloth. it's super durable too. it's the cleaner way to clean. bring it with bounty extra soft. in the pink pack. and try bounty napkins. i'm here to unleash my inner cowboy. instead i got heartburn. [ horse neighs ] hold up partner. prilosec isn't for fast relief. try alka-seltzer. it kills heartburn fast. yeehaw!
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it is possible that by this summer there could be two high profile democratic politicians in prison for crimes related to the 2008 presidential election. two democrats that had different but important roles in that election cycle and who has held statewide office. the first is rod blagojevich, the former governor of illinois, who after the '08 election was charged with multiple felonies for corruption, including trying to trade a gubernatorial chance for president obama's senate seat. governor blagojevich was found guilty last year. he was sentenced to 14 years in prison and started serving that sentence at a colorado prison last month. the second major figure from the '08 figure who is facing trial and possible prison time. his role in the 2008 election is he ran for president. having been the democratic
party's vice presidential nominee south carolina member john edwards made a serious run four years later in 2008. we look back on the '08 democratic primary as the obama-clinton slug fast but john edwards was the other main contender in the field. he had a very moving stump speech about the two americas, being brought up as the son of a mill worker in north carolina. for a lot of the campaign, he was in the running, but we know while the campaign was going on under the surface there was a scandal brewing that was so strange, so lurid, it would have been rejected by any self-respecting soap opera as way too farfetched. while running for president, projecting a family man image as a loving husband to the immensely likable elizabeth edwards who was fighting cancer that would eventually claim her life, john edwards had a secret second family in the making. mr. edwards was having an affair
with a woman that was hired as a videographer for his campaign. when word got out in 2007, it was literally in the tabloids. the national inquirer broke the story. at the time, mr. edwards denied ever having had an affair. >> the story is false. it's completely untrue and ridiculous. i've been in love with the same woman for 30-plus years as anybody who has been around us knows. >> that was october 2007. at that time, the woman mr. edwards had been, in fact, being having an affair with was pregnant with his child. this was all while he was campaigning for president. what was the plan had he been elected? public family that you do events with and put on the christmas card, but also a secret second family that you pretend doesn't exist and that you hide somewhere? where? do you hide them for two terms or just the first one?
then a surprise unveil after the re-elect? what exactly were you going to do, big guy? he started denying the affair in october and he dropped out in january 2008. his second secret family baby was born the following month, in february. it was not until six months later in august of that year that he admitted to having the affair, but even then he denied that the baby was his. >> i know it's not possible that the child is not mine because of the timing of events. so i know it is not possible. happy to take a paternity test and would love to see it happen. >> oh, no, you would not love to see that happen. one of mr. edward's political staffers had been saying that he was he and not john edwards who was the baby's father. that was the cover story that was supposed to survive, even after john edwards admitted the affair himself. yes to cheating, yes to the affair but no to father of a
child with his mistress. that lie survived until the staffer fronting the lie wrote a book. he taped an interview with abc news that he was not the baby's father, john edwards was. a week before the interview was scheduled to air john edwards admitted he had the affair but yes the baby was his. he made that public admission in january 2010 when the baby was nearly two years old. frankly, it was one year to the day after he himself would have been inaugurated president at the 2008 campaign turned out a little differently. it is kind of the most salacious political scandal of our time, but because it is in the past and john edwards is never going to run for anything ever again, it would mom make sense to keep covering this now, except as the democratic side of a cautionary tale about how we vet presidential nominees in this country. but the reason i'm making a federal case about this is because a federal case has been made of this. specifically about the money part of it, which we haven't even got to yet. see during the '08 campaign with
the national inyearer reporting john edwards had an affair and he denying it, the reported mistress hanging around giantly pregnant was a politically inqueent thing for this presidential campaign. two of his wealthy supporters sent $900,000 trying to hide the woman with whom john edwards had the affair, flying her around the country on private jets, putting her up in nice hotel rooms and paying for medical care while she was pregnant. here's where the federal case of it comes in. according to the government, that $900,000 spent on john ed wards' mist tress, that was a campaign contribution. it was money spent to protect john edwards' public image so he could keep campaigning for president and keep making the argument he should be elected in part because he was a family man. that money was spent for the benefit of the john edwards for president campaign, not just for john it edwards the man. and $900,000 being spent on that is way over the limit.
for how much you can legally donate to a campaign. remember when we thought there were limits on how much money you could give to a campaign? the john edwards trial is unprecedented, nobody has been indicted on charges like this before, let alone in the wild, wild west world of campaign finance no rules that the supreme court has created with citizens united and all the other campaign finance laws they have killed in the last few years. just for some perspective, sheldon allison, the casino billionaire and his family, they have spent more than 16 times as much money as implicated in the john edwards scandal on newt gingrich in the 2012 republican presidential primary. at least there eticly this case is not about whether or not john edwards is a bad guy. it is not about whether john edwards was a bad candidate. for all the salacious detail here, ultimately this whole sex scandal now boils down to whether he took campaign donations that were too big.
joining me now is hampson dellinger. he's been covering the edwards trial by blog and places like the atlantic online. mr. dellinger, thank you for time, nice to have you here. >> you're welcome. great to be with you. >> i know you have been covering this very, very closely. did i get the basics there about the scandal and the case? i won't be surprised if i messed something up? >> i'm not surprised you didn't. you got it spot on. and this really is a one-of-a-kind case that will likely be the only case of its kind because of the law west world we live in post citizens united, post speech now. we've got corporations and individuals giving tens of millions of dollars as you pointed out in direct aid of candidates and their campaign, so $900,000 in indirect aid doesn't feel right, doesn't smell right. clearly his activity as a husband was heinous, but it has never been considered felonious until now. >> in terms of that aspect of
it, the decision to bring a prosecution here, you clearly think there was no foregone conclusion that the case should have become a criminal matter. and clearly john edwards' defense team has been making an issue of what might have motivated prosecutors in bringing this case. what can you tell us about the prosecutor in this case, about the fore bringing of the charges? >> there's no question it is an inconvenient fact for the government that there's never been a case like this before. this is not blagojevich selling a senate seat, this was not an ambassadorship for sale. this is not tedding fred baron if you take rielle hunter you'll get to be attorney general. so a lot of folks are wondering who old have motivated this type of prosecution. it is a fact that the u.s. attorney, a staunch republican, who was able to stay in office thanks to the republican u.s. attorney scandal, stayed in office during the first two years of the obama
administration, that u.s. attorney, george hull, indicted john edwards and sat down to run for republican congress. he and ed watts edwards had crossed in years past, so there's a discomfort with the novel prosecution and the philadelphia pivotal role played by somebody who all of a sudden decided to play the candidate. he may be the next u.s. senator from north carolina. >> has he made an issue of the fact that he brought this prosecution against john edwards in trying to build his political career? has he been campaigning on it? >> it is exhibit a. >> wow. in terms of the merits of the case, when you look at the defense team that john edwards has put together, that's another fascinating part of this, he's such an accomplished attorney in his own right, a trial lawer in his own right, yet he had to build the legal team around himself. do you think he's done a good job putting together a defense team and honestly do you think
they'll win. >> he's built a team and torn it apart-time and time again going through attorneys like bezzles elizabeth they taylor went through husbands. it has been troubling to see how many fine attorneys have been part of this defense team and then left it. the outcome, we can't know, we do know that this is a jury that's going to be working class. i was in court the other day when the pool came in, you saw more baseball caps than neckties, more t-shirts than oxford button-downs. it's the type of jury that john edwards appealed to as a candidate, that he talked about in his two americas speech. it's that i think he think he has a chance with but boy he's taking a risk. >> hampton dellinger, writer of the john ed wards trial blog, which i'm sure is the only thing of its kind in the country. thank you for following this so closely and helping us watch it. i appreciate it. >> you're welcome. a seriously exclusive night
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this low. considering the costs versus benefits to the united states, do you think the war in afghanistan has been worth fighting or not? the proportion of people who say yes it's www.fighting is 30%. the portion say it's not worth fighting is 66%. and it is not a partisan result. a majority of the country, a majority of republicans and a majority of republican leaning independents all say the war is not worth the costs now. here is something that's really interesting in that same poll as well. the question is do you think the military should limit the amount of time service members can be deployed to combat areas or do you think limits on deployments are not needed? the answer, question, limit the amount of time deployed for members of our military. so says 80% of the american public. 80%. part of the reason they have had so many deployments in the past or so much time on the battlefield is for 8 1/2 years of fighting in afghanistan, we
were also fighting in iraq. now that one of those wars, the iraq war is over, among we the civilians in whose name both wars have been fought, there's been something like a mini movement to figure out a way to say welcome home and thank you to iraq war veterans, to hold parades to mark the end of the iraq war. it began with the grass roots parade in st. louis, missouri, then to tucson, arizona, then to houston, texas. for the first city sponsored welcome home parade to mark the end of the war. local reports say thousands of people turned out in houston to say welcome home, thank you for your service in iraq. the houston parade ended at the city's major league baseball stadium. the crowd there for the astros' season opener cheers as iraq war veterans marched onto the field. the vets on the field included army staff sergeant wesley hall who served two tours of duty in iraq. his wife shot this video from the stands. st. louis did it, tucson did it,
houston did et, melbourne, florida, the about to do it. tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., melbourne, florida, 650 people are expected to be marching in the parade. way more than the town hoped for with veterans from all branches of the military expected with marching bands and a concert by lost lonely boys at the end of the event. the twin cities, minneapolis and st. paul, are planning their parade for the following saturday, not this upcoming saturday but the 21st. after that it will be pennsylvania. they are planning for the saturday after the twin cities on april 28th in pennsylvania. richmond, virginia, is planning a thank you and a welcome home parade for may. they will do theirs on may 19th. the richmond times dispatch newspaper is listed as a co-sponsor of that event, which seems good for outreach, but i should mention richmond is looking for $50,000 in donations to make sure they can pull off their parade in may. des moines, iowa, made plans for a parade in june and there are other plans for other parades in
conjunction with memorial day and with july 4th. this is happening. this is happening all over the country. the pentagon has so far said that they are really happy to see these things happening all over the country everywhere in the country except new york. they don't want it done in new york, but they want it done everywhere else. i think this could probably happen in new york city, too, in a heartbeat if the pentagon would just give them the green light, i'm just saying. are you still sleeping? just wanted to check and make sure that we were on schedule. the first technology of its kind... mom and dad, i have great news. is now providing answers families need.
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handler. we did an event last night at the castro theater in san francisco talking about my book "drift." tonight i'll be in berkeley, california, doing a similar event. the bay area is where i grew up and i have to say i love new york, i love where i live in massachusetts, but it's really, really nice to be back here. i'm going to be heading up to seattle and portland to do events this week as well. but here's the thing. on tuesday night of this week in los angeles, the one and only bill maher agreed to host one of these events, to talk with me about "drift" about the book in front of a huge audience at the theater. it was a huge favor to me from bill maher and as you might expect, he was great. he was really, really funny. i swear i could talk to him all night. anyway, we sort of sneaked some cameras into the event. it was definitely not designed to be tv. the facility was not designed for that. but we thought we would try to capture some of this on tape in case it turned out well, in case you might want to see it. it turned out to be a great
event and we put together some of it to show you here, again, i was i have to say it was a challenge to shoot it. the footage was more raw than what you might be used to seeing on tv. here it is. here's that night with bill maher to give you an idea of what is happening after the show all week long and why i have been so hyper lately. >> the really bad thing you did was the iran-contra because that took it to a whole new level and i still remember that speech he gave where he said -- i can't remember the words, but it basically was, what i was thinking in my heart wasn't what my brain was telling me or do you remember -- you know the line i'm talking about? it was his famous line about, my head told me one thing, my heart told me another, and, look, i'm ronald reagan. that's as good as you're going to get from me. it was really what he was saying. >> i mean, so the reason that we got our own contract is that
everybody knew what reagan wanted to do in central america. he was very overt about it and he had great approval ratings and had gotten people very excited about a lot of things and the aftermath after the assassination attempt had his approval ratings very, very high as people had sympathy for what he had gone through. he felt like he could move people to do anything. he really felt that he was this great communicator in central america. he really wanted us to be militarily involved and could not persuade congress and he could not persuade the american public and he writes in his diaries about how frustrated he is on this, he doesn't understand it. congress, it's no secret, everybody says, we hear your case. no. not doing it. congress passes a law that says, we know what you want to do, you can't do it. you can't do it through the military. you can't do it through the cia, you can't do it through some agency we don't know about, you can't do it, period, that's the law. it's the law. you can't do it. we make the laws. no. and so he went and did it any way. >> through oliver north.
trading arms through hostages. >> yeah. and the way that he financed it was by selling arms to the iranians, which was also illegal and something he said he would never do and never something that he would even try to defend. so that was really bad. >> should have been a bigger scandal. >> yeah. and i think because it had -- >> way worse than watergate really. >> i think it was -- yes. i think it was. and i always wondered if -- >> not worst than monica lewinsky but -- >> i did not sell -- >> monica lewinsky, lewinsky still way up there. >> i always wondered if the reason that iran-contra did not stick as a huge squal dan is because, a, it's high me nighted, but b, the two hyphenated places like the contras over here and iran over
here, they are far away. they don't feel connected. they are both -- >> yes. it was hard to follow. >> it was hard to follow. >> and they liked reagan. when he made that statement they kind of went, oh, yeah, i get it. he's old. he's been shot. he means well. he's a nice guy. you know, all that -- >> i would sell weapons to the iranians, too, i guess. if i was -- yeah. a, it was a really big scandal, and the senior officials are getting indicted, people are going to prison, george h.w. bush had to pardon everybody and then george w. bush hired them all back. but it was a really big scandal. and in trying to tamp down the scandal, the thing that is, i think most important for the overall thing that i'm writing is reagan's administration is trying to save his butt. we're talking about nixon earlier, the way that nixon explained what happened in watergate is well, if the president does it, it's not illegal. >> right. >> the reagan administration
defense for reagan at the end of the iran-contra is, if the president does it and it's vaguely related to national security, then it's not illegal. it's this radical idea that president reagan, yes, defied congress knowingly to go do this thing central america didn't want to do, yes, he defied congress and all sorts of crazy lies and the weapons to the iranians, and yes, it's very clear that he knew it was all happening. but he's the president and it's war-related vaguely. and the president has unlimited power when it comes to things that are vaguely war-related and that's nuts. that's absolutely nuts. it was a crazy idea. [ applause ] >> and it was seen as a crazy idea at the time. congress did their investigation of iran-contra and they are like, yeah, that's crazy. there was a dissent to the investigation of iran-contra. there was one decent to the report that said actually that crazy line from the administration that if the president is doing it, it's by
definition legal, the president can do anything related to national security with no legal constraint without having to consult anybody and you can do it in private, it doesn't matter, it's the president, he can do that. the one person who said actually i believe that is a wyoming congressman named dick cheney. and which didn't mean anything when he was just the wyoming congressman named dick cheney. he went on to be secretary of defense, went on to be vice president, and that became, what should have been an aberration became normal. we should think of that as a thing cooked up to save reagan's butt that should never have survived anything other than that scandal. >> don't you like foreshadowing. that was me with the great bill maher talking about my book. i have to say, it's been turned out to be really fun. weekends with alex witt start now.