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tv   Smerconish  CNN  February 21, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PST

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welcome to the program. i'm michael smerconish. president obama does not love america. the explosive and frankly in my opinion ridiculous claim made by former new york mayor rudy giuliani this week. we've been talking a lot about this on cnn, but now he's doubling down on it with new allegations about the president's background. in a moment my exclusive interview with someone very close to president obama, the perfect guy to talk to about all of this former senior adviser
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david axelrod. but first, the latest comments from giuliani. now america's mayor says the president may be a communist. this is the cover of "the new york daily news" today. the tabloids in this city are having a field day with this stuff. jewel thatny told the other tabloid, "the new york post," details about the president's alleged communist leanings, "from the time he was 9 years old he was influenced by frank marshall davis, who was a communist," and the mayor went on to discuss other communist influences in obama's life. what? here's the major defending himself on fox. >> i'm right about this. i have no doubt about it. i do not withdraw my words. if the president goes and makes a speech and talks act what a great country this is if the president could complete the following sentence -- during the crusades the christians were barbarians and so were the muslims, if the president could
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say islamic fundamentalist terrorism is our enemy, i will applaud the president. but until he does that i will have doubts about his emotions his feelings his attitudes, and the way in which he developed. >> many m have criticized julia giuliani giuliani's remarks as racist and he's defending that too. to "the new york times," he said "some people thought it was racist. i thought it was a joke since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools and most of this he learned from white people. this isn't racism. this is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism." how did politics become this ugly? let's dig deeper with one who knows the president very well. david axelrod is a former senior adviser to president obama, author of a brand-new book called "believer," and he joins me now. we all know the president has, indeed, proclaimed his love for the country. he also has defined what he regards as american
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exceptionalism. so mayor giuliani's statement was not grounded in fact. what drives it? is it race? is it some form of anti-intellectualism? how do you assess what he said? >> i can't climb into rudy giuliani's head and explain why he said what he said. what he said was despicable and completely inconsistent with the man i know and i think the man most americans know. you know barack obama is a guy who's lived the american dream. he understands the greatness of america from his own experience. and i don't know anybody who feels more strongly about it than he and, you know, i don't know what possessed mayor giuliani. my recollection of him as a leader was that he was a pretty divisive leader in new york, so perhaps this isn't entirely a surprise, but really disappointing. this is what we have to get away from in our politics kind of disqualifying people's patriotism simply because we
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disagree. >> it's upsetting to me because i have held him in high regard major giuliani and to see him now repeating the sort of things frankly that have dogged president obama from day one. that's why i asked what do you think drives it because it's not just him. >> i don't want to delve into his motives. i wrote about this in my book "believer," i never talked about race when i was working for the president because i didn't want to appear to be suggesting that all the opposition was rooted in it. but there's no doubt that race enters into some of these criticisms. no other president has had his sit citizenship persistently challenged, no other president has had a member of congress stand up and shout "you lie!" i think that is rooted in people's resistance to the notion that we're a more diverse country and there's an african-american president named barack obama. whether that motivated mayor giuliani or whether he was simply pandering to that point of view, i don't know. >> so put on your political
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consultant cap. you're now advising scott walker. he was in the room when those words were offered. what should have been his response? >> well i think that these are the tests that you get as a presidential candidate, michael, and i would have said -- i would have disassociated myself from those comments. i think the appropriate thing to have said would have been i disagree with the president strongly on many many issues but i don't doubt his love for this country or his patriotism. >> it occurs to me if scott walker stood up and said exactly what david axelrod recommended, maybe he would have lost the room at the 21 club but would have helped himself immensely should he ever run in a general election. this is the primary versus general election issue that the republican party faces. >> this is the syndrome they have and this is why they've had two center-right republicans in the last two elections who had to basically make faustian bargains with the right wing of their party in order to be the
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nominee. i'm interested in what jeb bush is doing because he seems to be saying i'm going to stick to my positions on things like immigration reform and education reform and i'm going to either win the nomination on my own terms or not be the nominee. >> mayor giuliani this week again raised the question of why did now president obama remain seated in the pew at reverend wright's church. what's the answer to that? >> the president's answer is that had he heard the things that were on that tape -- remember they took decades of sermons that were available in the gift shop of this church and found a few minutes of these comments. and the president said if i had heard these comments i would have taken issue with these comments but i didn't hear these comments. and i guarantee you neither did mayor giuliani who was never in attendance either. i think mayor giuliani was involved in a full-out, you know bout of pandering there and was taking liberty with the facts. >> david, this week the president said that we are at
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war with people who have quote, perverted islam. i get that he needs to build a coalition among muslim nations. i also get that he needs to tamp down islamophobia but by omission it seems dishonest not to acknowledge the role that religion is playing in the minds of those jihadists. >> well, when i think he said they perverted religion that's what he's talking about. a quarter of the world's population are muslims, and 99.999% of them aren't involved in extremism. so obviously it's not something that's rooted in islam. it's rooted in the minds of these extremeists who have perverted islam to jive their warped ideology, and then it's really important that we separate them from the rest of the world's muslim community, because we need to attack this together and not divide those who should be fighting this as
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one force. >> i get that his critics like to say, well he won't use the words "radical islam" because they then try and equate that with the president being weak against that threat. that's not where i'm coming from. i think that he has -- she's stootd up to the task at hand. but i do worry that if you don't acknowledge what's driving some of the jihadists, then you can't assess and stop the recruitment plo process. if it is religion for some of them, we need to know that and act accordingly. >> but, michael, i think what he's saying is it is their interpretation of religion that is driving them in this instance. and that's what we have to -- that's what we have to acknowledge, because otherwise we're tarring the other 99.9% in ways that create not just divisions between us and them but really fan what you said before which is this kind of anti-islamic sentiment that makes it harder to solve the problem. >> graham wood wrote a great
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piece in "the atlantic" this week that got tremendous discussion thousands of comments appended to it. and he pretty much said that when we say isis has distorted islamic texts, we're making a preposterous statement, that they are literalists, fundamentalists, those who are interpreting the koran for this evil purpose. >> well you know, religions generally -- if you take ancient texts and interpret them literally, they can lead you to conclusions that aren't rational or consistent with the larger themes. and so, you know i haven't seen the article. i don't want to comment on the article. but all i know is that these extremists isis and the offshoots of them are not reflective of the broad muslim community in the united states and around the world, and we should -- we should resist the notion that it is all of one piece. >> david axelrod, thank you.
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we'll see you later in the program to talk more politics. but first, as mentioned, president obama said this week that we're at war with people who have perverted islam. is that really true? or do we pretend that isis isn't actually a religionous movement to our detriment? yes is that answer according to the author of a fascinating new article on isis who joins me next.
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my chief of staff insists on working on the sabbath. exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. am i morally obligated to kill him himself myself to is it okay to call the police? here's one that's really important, because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town.
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touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. leviticus 11:7. if they promise to wear gloves with can the washington redskins still play football? can notre dame? can west point? does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother john for planting different crops side by side? can i burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? think about those questions would you? >> that scene from "the west wing" tells an important story. taking religious scriptures sometimes isn't rational whether they're from the bible or the koran. it's exactly what isis is doing, claiming violent acts and claiming justification. in a new article for "the atlantic" entitled "what isis really wants," graham wood says isis is no mere collection of psychopaths but rath err religious group with carefully considered beliefs. i'm thrilled that he joins me now.
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so president bartlett makes a good observation. he may as well have been talking act isis right? >> yes, exactly. that's exactly what isis is trying to do. there is some dispute over whether they are the best kind of literalists, certainly some dispute over whether they're the best kind of muslims, but the idea they're not reaching into muslim tradition is factually inaccurate. >> you write that the islamic state is very islamic. you use words that are not typically ascribed to isis. you say their followers derive from a coherent even learned interpretation of islam. >> yes. >> defend that. >> it's a learned interpretation of islam that is rejected by most muslim scholars. but they have their own council of scholars. they have scholars who are looking at these hadith sayings of the prophet, looking at scripture and finding ways to use pem thp they're not people who are illiterate. they're people looking into these books and finding justifications justifications rejected by everyone else but they are scholarly.
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no denying that. >> i've read your piece twice. they're just fid, able to point somewhere in the koran or in the hadith for a justification of that which they are espousing. >> yes, including things like burning the jordanian pilot alive. this is something that mutilation of body burning alive, this is something historically in islam has been rejected. they go point by point and they find the examples find the examples in the texts and in islamic history for why that's permissible. >> okay graham. it begs the question that i want to ask after i show everyone what the president said this week on this subject. >> and we are not at war with islam. we are at war with people who have perverted islam. >> is he right? >> i'm grateful for that statement because it's true. and the idea that there's some narrative that we are crusaders who are against islam is something we should reject as he did. however, he says we are at war
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with people who have perverted islam. this is really a theological judgment and it's interesting when we have a president who's willing to make theological judgments. that's a bit beyond his rift. >> they're purists is what i think i learned from reading your piece in "the atlantic." you can't say that they have perverted the faith when they can point with specific reference to that portion of the faith that they are relying on. >> they could have looked at other parts of the faith. they could have found more tolerant traditions of it. the fact that they are pointing to parts of the faith means they're drawing on this diverse, contradictory tradition of islam. so to say that they are pervert perverting i think is to make a kind of judgment that's far beyond the political judgments that the president can make. >> why does any of this matter? does it matter? to we really need to appreciate and understand the true justification of isis? >> i think it's very important to understand the enemy. going to war with them when thinking that islam and especially this kind of jihadist version of is laum is one monolithic thing is quite
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dangerous. it would be like going to war with nazi germany without understanding what nazism is or going to war with the soviet union without understanding what communism is. clearly these are important background bits of information to understand the motivations that the enemy is providing to its own foot soldiers. >> you rely on an expert at princeton university, and that professor told you the idea that isis has distorted texts of islam is itself preposterous. >> yes. the professor's view is that they are quite good at looking back into the past. they are ahistorical but they've found texts to justify what they say, and they've used the same kind of reasoning that would be acceptable in other contexts. you could find other texts and use other reasoning that's also acceptable but they're looking in this trags tradition, not outside of it. >> my colleague fareed zakaria called your essay intelligent work but also with regard to the professor said there are 1.6 billion muslims in the world, perhaps 30,000 members of the
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islamic state, and yet the professor feels that those.00019% of muslims, they design a religion that sounds ideo ideological. >> i think the professor thinks isis defines islam any more than the branch davidians define christians. >> you say we have responded in a daze. what do you mean by that we, the united states government? >> there is this nary they've isis is a group of thrill kill nihilists or perhaps that they're just part of al qaeda. these are both simply mistaken. and so when we've responded and tried to figure out ways to keep other people from joining this group, with that narrative in mind we simply just don't understand what this group is and what motivations are behind it. >> let me confess to my naivete. what i learned from you is in the end their savior is jesus because in the end of time's
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prophesy that they believe they're fulfilling they will be cornered in jerusalem, their ranks will be reduced to just 5,000, and jesus will come to their rescue. >> yes. they think that will happen fairly soon. so they have this view that in a fairly short calendar we're talking act year, not decades, not millennia, they will expand over the globe and eventually because of the forces of an anti-messiah be cornered in jerusalem, then jesus will come back and lead them to victory. >> it's a great piece of work and has generated a general amount of commentary. thank you. >> thank you. a remarkable trial is coming down to verdict time. closing arguments in the american sniper trial are set for monday. just how hard is it to prove insanity as a defense? attorney mark o'mara says it's harder than you think. the oscars are just a day away. an academy insight, a former actress, and did i mention a nun joins us to talk about who she voted for.
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welcome back to the ram. the dramatic "american sniper" murder trial is about to enter closing arguments. the question remains, did eddie ray routh now what he was doing was wrong when he hilled navy s.e.a.l. chris kyle and another man? key testimony suggests he could have known but there's also
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strong evidence that he was mentally ill. my next guest knows all about making closing arguments in high-profile cases. mark o'mara is a criminal defense attorney who represented george zimmerman in the famed trayvon martin case. mark joins me now. mark we in the media we love the insanity defense. but the reality is to a practitioner such as yourself it doesn't come up all that often. >> not often at all. less than 1% of the cases in america even suggest that the insanity defense is appropriate, and for those cases that get the insanity defense as an attempt, anywhere from 1% to 5% to 10% of those cases are successful so it doesn't work very much at all. >> in lay terms, what's the issue? >> was he crazy is the true issue. did he know right from wrong at the time is what texas, florida, and a lot of other cases suggest. so the defense has to go out there and prove that his bizarre behavior before was bizarre enough that he should be
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forgiven for a very very criminal act. >> what if someone is impaired by drugs or alcohol? does that impact their ability to assert an insanity defense? >> well it absolutely does as was testified to by one of the experts. if you think of the insanity defense on a spectrum it is way at the end of the spectrum. you can be on drugs, you can be drunk, you can be mentally disturbed, you can have paranoid thoughts you can even suffer from schizophrenia. none of that gets you to the insanity defense unless you get to the long end of the spectrum where it says you have no idea that what you were doing was wrong. >> so with regard to this case give me a piece of evidence that suggests the insanity defense has merit and then give me something that mitigates against it. >> here's one reason why the insanity defense may work. while did he do it?
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there was no other reason he would kill two people comrades of him who were helping him out in a situation where nothing suggested to a rational mind that he would have done something other than being insane. the other side of the coin is the prosecution side. he was drinking. that diminishes what he can argue as insanity. but more importantly, he knew what he was doing before and afterwards. when he theft scene, he knew how to drive the car away and drive on the right side of the road. when he bought taco he knew he had to pay for them. even when he talked to the officer at first, when he said i was suffering from paranoia and schizophrenia, insane people don't know they're insane. >> one of the things that occurs to me about the insanity defense is the fundamental belief that i have that if you take a life knowingly take a life you have to be a little off your rocker. >> and that's one of the best arguments. if i had one sentence to say in my closing argument on this, i would say to the ladies and gentlemen of the jury why do you think he did it?
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because in fact taking a life like that with no reason no justification, you might think he has to be insane. it's just that under our law, the insanity defense is way at the end and very very difficult to prove. >> mark i don't know if weather is going to interrupt the monday closing argument schedule but it is conceivable that sunday night america tunes into the oscars and watches "american sniper" regarded as picture of the year and monday morning closing arguments are being given in this case. what's the impact of the film on the trial? >> well it has enormous impact. unfortunately, we can't change the reality of it but everyone in america now likes one of the victims in this case kyle and it has impact on the jurors it will and it has impact on the way we're look tagt case. it's bizarre that it's going to happen. i only hope that he gets fa fair trial even though it's in a very difficult circumstance. >> i take it give what you've already explained, the very
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nature of a case like this that you don't often put a defendant on the witness stand who is asserting an insanity defense. >> well you don't because it really -- he can't help himself at that point, if you think about it. that's dom got to come from the experts and the psychologists and psychiatrists and the lay witnesses who are going to come in and say here's who he was right before and maybe here's who he was afterwards and it's that history on both sides of the event that's really significant to prove up insanity. and he doesn't really offer very much to help himself by testifying. >> great job, mark. thank you as always. >> thanks mike. coming up david axelrod's gripping new memoir offers a candid look at his 20-year friendship with president obama. i'll ask him why it was barak and not barry who ran for the u.s. senate. we'll also get his take on 2016. plus she was once a famous actress who traded her red carpet designer dresses for a habit. the woman who put god before hollywood will join me to talk
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welcome back. inside the mind of barack obama. from one of his closest friends. here's one tidbit from david axelrod's new book on the president. axelrod wrote the unforgettable
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"yes we can," rallying cry. obama believed it was too corny. that's one of many revelations in "believer: my 40 years in politics." in it he gives us a look at an obama we've never seen before along with other political superstars. david, your brand-new book "believer." it's 2004 you have this young upstart, a state senator in illinois wants to run for the u.s. senate but has an odd-sounding name. someone has the idea that maybe he should run as barry, not barak. >> yes. >> what happened? >> he laughed it off. i mean one of our -- someone who was doing polling for us split southampton, asked half the voters how they felt about barack obama and half the voters how they thought about barry obama and barry did marginally better. he laughed that off. that goes to the core of who he is. barack obama knows who he is. he's not going to -- he's not going to pervert that to win an election campaign.
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and so he dismissed that out of hand and said my name -- that's really great but my name's barak. >> which was your bigger blunder at obama's side not making sure that someone was there to videotape the speech when he voiced opposition to the war in iraq or giving the recommendation that he bowl in altoona altoona, pennsylvania, which yielded him a score of 37? >> well i have to say the second one was more of a blunder because i didn't think through that someone would actually -- my notion was there were a lot of people sitting in the bowling alley and a lot of hands to shake, and i didn't realize an advanced person would say, hey, why don't you roll a few? which wasn't a preposterous idea. who knew that he was a 37 bowler at the time. he's much better now, by the way, now that he has his own bowling alley over at camp david. but in terps of the first, i kicked myself years later. he made probably the most prescient speech i've heard anywhere in october of 2002 as a
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young state senator running for the senate about why we shouldn't go into iraq. and everything he forecast then came to pass. when i tried to find some tape of it two years later, all i could find was 14 seconds from one newsreel of him speaking because it wasn't considered a major event and i didn't have a film crew there. i wish i could have looked into the future because i would have turned that into some very good tv add as. >> on first plush the president found "yes we can" to be in his word your word corny. >> it was the first ad i'd written for his senate campaign in 2004 and it ended with him using those words, yes, we can. it was a story about all the improbable things that he had already been able to accomplish in his life and when he got to the end of it he said yes, we can. is that too corny? and i made a strong case for why i thought it was really important because it was inclusive and positive and really played against the
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political environment in the right way. but he turned to michelle obama, who was sitting on the staircase in this home we were sit shoothing and he said misch, what do you think? she slowly shook her head sand said "not corny." all my arguments as a trained professional didn't mean that much but her opinion did, and thank god because that slogan became, you know an icon for our -- that campaign and the campaigns to come. >> david, give me something specific. if you were advising secretary clinton going into 2016, who among the republican field would be most concerning? >> well it depends how the republican race unfolds, michael. if as i said earlier, governor bush succeeds in getting nominated without making the faustian bargains that the previous nominees have made, he could be very formidable because he would have a reach into the hispanic community, a kinship with the hispanic community that the other nominees haven't had
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that could change the demographic makeup of the vote in a way that would put states in play that we had won, including florida. but that's a big "if." and beyond that i don't think we know. scott walker's getting a lot of buzz right now, but as you pointed out earlier, even on this giuliani situation, every day is a test when you're running for president, and no one knows how you're going to handle those tests. he's been a very proficient political player in a small environment, but presidential races are entirely different. and so i can't predict how he or any of them will perform. >> thank you, david axelrod. coming up who will come go home with a golden statue tomorrow night at the academy awards? everyone has their pick but the bigger question is who gets to cast the votes? the nun who co-starred with elvis and is also an academy voter joins me next. and another round of brutal winter weather is marching across the eastern u.s. millions are in the path of a
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welcome back. "i want to thank the academy." no doubt you'll hear those words tomorrow night at the academy award, but who exactly comprises the academy? we found an oscar voter in the last place you'd expect. she's an actress who has walked the red carpet at the academy
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awards. she even gave elvis presley his first screen kiss. >> well i wanted to be with you. and not only here, but i want you with us on the road. where will we go? they don't need me and you don't need me. you're going to the top, deke and you're going alone. >> i need somebody. >> agents in hollywood wanted me for loving you. i had a lot of films after that and it was wonderful. ♪ i was 19 and just on the threshold of the biggest career that you could have. >> after she made that kiss she made a career change and became a nun. that's right. a nun who in between prayers screens movies and votes on the oscars. from the oscar-nominated documentary "god is bigger than
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elvis," academy voter, mother delores hart joins me now. mother delores i have to believe there are many women among us who can claim that they kissed elvis pressly but not too many nuns. how did that all come about? >> well i wasn't a nun when i kissed him. i can grant you that. but i was -- actually, i was 17 just out of school and it was my first film. and, indeed it was mr. pressley's first kiss too. >> at age 24 as one who was leading a career as an aspiring actress, a successful actress, you then became a cloistered nun. and it begs the question of me today, now that you're a voting member of the academy, how do you react to sex in so many films? >> well i think sex is wonderful. i think god created it as the greatest creator of all. and i think it's a certain
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spirit a lack of love that destroys it. >> the nominees for best picture this year "american sniper," "birdman," "boyhood," "grand budapest hotel," "imitation game," "selma," theory of everything," and whiplash. is this a good year for films or a not so good year? >> i think it's been one of the most wonderful years for films because i think the films have tried to show situations as they really are, and not in a brutal -- brutality or mean way. >> for what film did you vote, if i may ask, as best picture? >> the film "the great budapest hotel." >> really. >> i thought that was so beautifully done and very very intricate and delightful.
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i had a hard time with that and "boyhood" because that was extreme ly extremely fine and good taste in the way they took that whole life. and i can't imagine an actor being faithful through that many years. and a whole team of people. >> mother delores, do you get lobbied for your vote as a member of the academy? do people try and curry favor with you? do they try and ply you with favors? how does the process work? >> oh i have never been asked to -- even to tell my vote. you've given me the first courtesy in my life. i felt that maybe it was not supposed to be told or they shouldn't say anything to you. i think the newspapers and the magazines do everything they can to try to get you to vote their way. and you have to see the film and
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judge yourself. >> thank you, mother delores. we appreciate your time. >> thank you very much. god bless you. >> and you. coming up it's the winner that won't quit. get this -- new record lows are coming. temperatures never seen before in some places affecting millions of people. flo: hey, big guy. i heard you lost a close one today. look, jamie, maybe we weren't the lowest rate this time. but when you show people their progressive direct rate and our competitors' rates you can't win them all. the important part is, you helped them save. thanks, flo. okay, let's go get you an ice cream cone, champ. with sprinkles? sprinkles are for winners. i understand.
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we appreciate your t
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welcome back to the program. you've heard a lot about this brutal winter but now we're seeing a record number of never before seen temperatures and expecting more. it truly is deep freeze the likes of which we've seldom seen bearing down on most of the eastern u.s. let's get right to cnn meteorologist ivan cabrera tracking the latest developments. ivan? >> 20 to 30 below zero. even for the hardiest folks in the winter wonderland, that's incredible. dangerous windchills michael. temperatures as we woke um on saturday well below zero as far as the windchill and even down south, down in florida, it was feeling like it was in the 30s. so that's significant for them. as we get you into sunday morning, look what's happening here. some milder air is going to push briefly into the northeast, but look at this on the backside of it already bismarck 13 below, minneapolis, 7 below. that arctic air is coming right back at us here. we are stuck in this pattern and i think we're going to be in it for the next few days. with this storm we do have some
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milder air with quotes pushing in but it will be mild enough or warm enough that i think it will switch over. that is the snow that will begin in new york and boston will eventually switch into rain as we get you to sunday. so that is some good news there. let's talk about the snow potential here anywhere from 4 to 6 inches western virginia getting it on a good 12 inches plus, good for the ski resorts. more rounds of arctic air as he we talk about here. look at the clock, into february and, in fact i don't see this changing until we get into the early and middle part of march. this is a long-range outlook and this is what's coming. another series of arctic blasts coming in. >> not what i wanted to hear. the pipes in my home outside of philly are literally frozen. and you're telling me it's not going to be until march until i've got running water again in some parts of the house. >> put a lot of tape on them. yep. >> thank you, ivan. when we come back there's
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finally, i've always been a fan of mayor giuliani in fact considered him a friend. but i was terribly disappointed to hear him question the president's love for our country, joining a long list of obama critic who is i think have crossed the line. i also objected when george w. bush was the subject of undeserved hyperbolic criticism, but the base and scorn heaped upon president obama makes bush's detractors look diplomat. the president, the office and our nation deserve better. it's been unrelenting. the day after obama took office rush limbaugh told sean hannity he wanted them to fail. later glen beck called the president a racist with a deep-seated hatred of white
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people. donald trump's birthism took hold. just before hurricane sandy hit ann coulter called our sitting president a retard. sarah palin mocked his shuck and jive stick. and john sununu openly questioned colin powell's weighty endorsement as being motivated by race. there's been a prairie fire of falsehoods spread throughout the internet suggesting among other things, that obama is a muslim or that he refused to rekite the pledge of allegiance paving the way for the fictionalized documentary in 2015. among the usual misdemeanoremes used to undermine the president is usually in the form of an assertion of federal power, like the seizing of guns. these predictions demand unthinking acceptance of the notion that the president, like some bizarre manchurian candidate, is executing a
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nefarious agenda. before i made the move the sirius xm radio, i routinely fielded calls from a.m. listeners who, with no hint of embarrassment in their voices said things like i call him comrade or he's not my president. their best evidence obamacare, californiaed by the same people who wrote romney care. critics of course ignore that the affordable care act is premised on personal responsibility and was born in a right-wing think tank. and while some have labeled the president a socialist for the signing of the $831 billion stimulus nobody ever used that language when bush acted similarly with the $700 billion t.a.r.p. and then of course there was benghazi. why all the attention to that tragedy which happened on a september 11th? maybe to deflect attention from obama avenging the first 9/11. the president's critics have sought to diminish that
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achievement by treating his order as a no-brainer and yet when candidate obama told me and others in 2008 that he would not hesitate to strike bin laden if he found him in pakistan he was derided by his adversaries including hillary clinton and joe biden. and while you can be critical as i have been about the president's reluctance to label isis as islamic terrorists you have to admit he hasn't hesitated to kill its members. let me be clear. there are plenty of reasons to criticize the job that he has done but this has become all too personal. there's much to be admired of the president and his rise to power. replace kenya with poland and germany, and you have observers rightfully saying that only in america could such a career path be possible. when i disagree with the president, i do so conceding that he's an intellectual heavyweight whose personal ethic ethics have been above reproach.
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this first family has brought no disrepute to the white house, and real patriots voice opinions based on substance, not smears. thank you so much for joining me. please don't forget you can follow me on twitter if you can spell smerconish. see you next week. you're in the "cnn newsroom." i'm suzanne malveaux in for poppy harlow. details coming in to cnn for from the multinational war against isis. kurdish officials in northern iraq now confirming a battle between isis fighters and peshmerga units just southwest of irbil. now, this battle did not end well for isis. we are told at least 34 militants were killed and kurdish forces now fully control the city and the surrounding area as well. elsewhere in iraq
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