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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  February 19, 2012 9:00am-11:00am PST

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responsibility. what's your policy? ♪ amen, omen the burial of whitney houston. her mother left the funeral home a short time ago. we will bring thank you latest as the singer is finally laid to rest. olympic dreams. mitt romney takes part in a ceremony hailing the sal lake city games. could it be a political nightmare for him? jeremy lin, we talk with someone that knew him at harvard. did he ever anticipate he would become an nba sensation? speaking of sensations, a british invasion ends tonight. it has left hundreds of thousands of americans addicted. examining on why it has such a hold on viewers. hello, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." it is high noon here on the east coast. 8:00 a.m. -- 9:00 a.m. out west. i can do the math. here is what's happening now. there fireworks on the campaign trail. gop contender rick santorum with
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fresh attacks on the president. but is he crossing the line? columbus, ohio, santorum escalated his retd particular stemming from the religious freedom and birth control controversy. >> this is what the president's agenda, it is not about you. it is not about you. it is not about your quality of life. it is not about your jobs. it is about some phony ideal, some phony theology, oh, not a theology based on the bible, different theology. no less than theology. [ applause ] >> meanwhile, mitt romney's arizona campaign co-chair sheriff balbo has resigned. a man with whom he had a previous relationship told the newspaper that the sheriff threatened to deport him if he told anyone with that relationship. he says he's gay but calls the man's allegations completely false. meanwhile, mitt romney visited salt lake city last night to mark ten years since he led the 2002 winter olympics
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there. gold medal figure skater kristi yamaguchi introduced romney at a stars on ice event. >> because of the strong leadership of a ceo, the fire that he lit from within, these games were a tremendous success. >> herman cain back on the support trail in support of newt gingrich. he joined gingrich during a campaign rally in atlanta saturday. >> remember stupid people are running america. we have got to save america. that's what this is all about. >> way back from the third time. when the way back for the third time because even after $20 million in negative ads i came in second in florida. we came in second in nevada. governor romney can't get a majority anywhere. >> and the new des moines register poll shows president obama trailing three of the four republican candidates in that state. the only candidate the president is ahead of in those iowa polls
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is newt gingrich. for more, i'm joined by the national political reporter for politico and patricia murphy, contributor for "newsweek" and the daily beast. thanks for joining me. >> good to be here. >> david, i will begin with you. let's start with the iowa poll i showed. president obama only beating gingrich in that state and ron paul is the one that has the biggest lead there. does this tell us anything, big pictures, ohio snapshot? >> well, i think the ron paul numbers are interesting. that's more of a -- on both houses because ron paul, as we know, draws libertarians, conservative, but also some democrats on the ground there in iowa. the big picture i think to be fair to the president is that -- huge campaign in iowa and he took a lot of hits because of that early caucus, republicans were on the airwaves, speaking directly to voters, negative messaging against president obama and that takes its toll. remember, he hasn't launched
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much advertising in support of his candidacy yet. still the republican primary going on. and this is the result. a tough, tough close race for him in the hawkeye state. >> i want to make a interest on there. i meant to say iowa and not ohio. i will talk about ohio with you, patricia. rick santorum was in that state yesterday and called the president's beliefs, quote, phony theology. is this strictly a play for the evangelical christian vote out there, how damaging could this be for santorum if he makes it to the general election has the nominee? >> well, you know, i don't think it is just a play for the evangelicals. rick santorum really believes what he is saying. that's what we know about him if he is saying it, he believes it is true. it is not just for the evangelicals in ohio and in georgia and tennessee, two big states super tuesday, three-quarters of the voters are evangelicals and you heard the applause line in that room. it damages him a lot with independent voters, democrats don't even talk about democrats crossing over. for independent voters, think of
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very tired, exhausted of these kinds of politics is the president american. is he a christian? he says so. i don't know. that kind of politics does not resonate with independent voters. he will hurt himself very badly with these kinds of remarks for the general later. >> david, to that end here is a bit more of what rick santorum had to say in ohio yesterday. here it is. >> the president reached a new low in this country's history of oppressive religious freedom we have never seen before. and if he does want to call it his imposition of his values of theology, that's fine. >> so right now, at this point in the race, it is clear that rick santorum and other republicans there latching on to the social issues, but do you think that those issues have staying power by november? >> you know, it is interesting rick santorum was on a sunday morning show and wasn't backing away from some of his comments. hay did say that he wasn't questioning the president's faith in those previous comments in ohio. he did back away from some of
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the stories that came out over this weekend. but santorum basically said, his message is i'm going to talk about the tough issues. i'm going to talk about the social issues. had is what's helping propel him with evangelicals and social conservatives. the true believers in the party right now and his nomination fight, the question is if he's able to become the nominee, is this a problem? do all these comments come back to haunt him? and in a general election. that's what some washington republicans fear. >> well, in -- on the question of haunting statements, look, patricia, we all heard what foster freese had to say about contraception and aspirin between knees. he said later it was bad joke. santorum said he should not be responsible for what his supporters say because he did not say it. do you think this will be a problem with female voters? can people separate it was not said by him. >> oh, yeah. it is a huge problem for him. it is not just what foster said. when he said that it did put a spotlight, i think, on what a lot of women voters did not know
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about rick santorum is he personally is against contraception and women's use of con are a exception. as a catholic that's not a surprise. but to hear somebody like rick santorum who we think would govern the way he believes, his supporters love him for that reason. to hear a man say it is dangerous for society, for women to have access to contraception and bad for women, that's scary to a lot of women, independent voters and independent women in particular who make up a huge, huge swing portion of the vote and the majority of women voters in november will be women. and for republicans to hear that, it raises a question is rick santorum electable? if we picked him would he get us clobbered in november? would we have a chance. that's why this is most damaging for him. >> that's definitely a point of discussion on my show yesterday, same thing. david, let's take a look at the new dnc ad knocking romney about his leadership of ten years ago, 2002 salt lake city winter olympics. >> more federal dollars spent on all previous u.s. olympics
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combined. >> found for the upcoming 2002 winter olympics in salt lake city, that bill to american taxpayers is estimated to be $1.3 billion. that's outrageous. >> okay, romney's camp says that money was for security in a post 9/11 war. let's remember that was 2001 and these olympics being hailed in 2002. which message do you think will resonate most? >> i think it is the weakest attack of the dncs against mitt romney. you know, most americans like the olympics. there was government money involved. remember, mitt romney was brought in to save the olympics. most people, most neutral observers, believe that he didn't re -- did a successful job at it. there's plenty of things on the table to go up against mitt romney. i don't think that this is the most salient attack. even john mccain has said that yes, i'm against earmarks but even i support program funding to help the olympics. >> patricia, i want to get quickly what you wrote about in
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the daily beast. you talked about newt gingrich's troubles in his home state of florida. do you think it is over for him? is he going to be -- georgia, is he going to be the first one to bow out? >> i am -- am no longer counting newt gingrich out of this race. it is so much in flux. so many late deciders. he's still polling ahead. his problem is mitt romney is trying to cut him off at every pass and mitt romney just bought a million dollar tv ad by -- in georgia. i heard several on the tv this morning. they want to have a debate, newt gingrich wants to debate romney. mitt romney backed out of the debate schedule. i think he is still trying to make a huge play in georgia, newt gingrich is. but mitt romney is making it very, very tough for him. i'm not going to count him out yet, though. >> let me show you -- i have coffee in mine hand. i mixed up ohio, iowa, florida, georgia. more coffee right now. good to see you. we will see you again. let's go to the death of whitney houston. her familiar sly attending a private funeral service right
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now. here is a look at fair view cemetery, westfield, new jersey. houston will be buried alongside her father, john houston, as we offer this live picture for you. certainly you can see the crowd of onlookers. they have all waited at the entrance to try to get a final glimpse of her casket. out a newark funeral home less than an hour ago, two people had to help houston's mother, cissy, into a limousine. moments later, the hearst left while peck spectators with photographers were running behind that gold hearst. a caravan drove through new jersey's streets and expressways. at the bottom of the hour we are going to hear from houston family friend, our friend, msnbc's joe watkins. he attended the funeral. we will get his thoughts on the tribute at the bottom of the hour. a storm that's caused all types of havoc this weekend is moving across the southeast with rain and snow. that storm delivered severe thunderstorms. 70-mile-an-hour wind gusts and jennings, louisiana. it canceled mardi gras parades in new orleans and mobile.
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today and tonight the big issue will be not the wind so much as the snow. weather channel's mike seidel is tracking the storm from virginia where there is a half a foot of snow that's already on its way there to the ground. good morning. or good day. my coffee. that's crazy. i'm drinking. here we go. >> reporter: that's because you usually work before noon. you are not used to afternoon hours. good afternoon. you get used to it. we are in the southwestern part of virginia in an area that has seen more snow in two hours than they have seen all winter. that's been the case across a lot of the lower 48. compared to the past two winters, every area is down. how about syracuse, down 5060 inches. you can see it is a heavy, wet snow. because yesterday afternoon here, temperatures were as warm as 64 in nearby roanoke. yes. sixth yesterday. snow today. the storm is coming in from the west and southwest. actually the low which created the severe weather is pushing off to the east. we have this mid and upper level
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storm that's actually dumping snow right now in nashville. down to 34. across tennessee, and when that show gets in here later today and tonight, it is going to come down an inch or more an hour. we are likely to see 6 to 10 inches here. roanoke, 5 to 8 inches. as far east as richmond, forecasting 1 to 3 inches of heavy wet snow. also, once the sun goes down, we won't have the added effect of the radiation of the roadways. i-81 behind me, that's southbound heading down towards the tri cities. eventually into knoxville. traffic is moving along okay because the temperature right now is in the mid 30s. it is above freezing. it is not snowing very hard. once it gets dark and temperatures fall into the 20s we will have issues especially on untreated roadways and things that are in the plowed. tomorrow we are back into the low to mid 40s with sunshine. higher sun angle as we approach the spring at about a month, we are going to have a good deal of melting on the roadways tomorrow. alex, finally some snow somewhere in the lower 48. and we had to wait until almost the middle of latter part of
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february to find it at least in this part of the world. >> winter blast for the day. thank you so much. lin snider, wh-- lin-cider. right here on "weekends with alex witt." [ woman ] my boyfriend and i were going on vacation, so i used my citi thank you card to pick up some accessories. a new belt. some nylons. and what girl wouldn't need new shoes? we talked about getting a diamond. but with all the thank you points i've been earning... ♪ ...i flew us to the rock i really had in mind. ♪ [ male announcer ] the citi thank you card. earn points you can use for travel on any airline, with no blackout dates. and then treats day after day...
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♪ he gets up in the morning ♪ he goes to work at night ♪ he comes back home at 5:30 ♪ catches the same train every time ♪ ♪ his world >> more twists today in the growing tension between the u.s. and allies and iran.
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to iranian war ships crossed from the red sea through the e suez canal into the med tear ain'tian. joining me from washington is former assistant secretary of state p.j. crowley. good day to you and nice to see you. thanks for joining us. what can you tell us about iowa ran stopping the oil sales to britain and france? this isn't really much of a pushback is it, since the american boycott of its oil? that's scheduled to start in mid summer and july? >> i don't think this is a big deal. it is more optics than it is actually changing the nature of oil markets. greece is a country in europe that exposed and has relied significantly on iranian oil. not so much the rest of europe. real prize here is what happens in asia with india, japan, korea, countries that have been reliant on iranian and china. if they are willing to look for other suppliers, that can really change the nature of the game.
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>> okay. how devastating for iran's economy would it be if they are cut off from the international banking group that's crucial to the worldwide oil sales? >> that really is a big deal. and this week swift, agency that handles transactions in europe indicated it is willing to take steps that more significantly, you know, cuts the iranian economy off from the rest of the world. that will continue to add cost to iran's nuclear ambition. >> what about these -- iranian ships in the mediterranean? where could they be headed? is this a show of did he faye answer to have them there? >> it is a show of force. they have over the past year or two increased their presence in the mediterranean. i don't see that it has a military significance at this point. >> okay. that's good to hear. iran has offered to conduct talks with the u.s. and europe about the nuclear program. is that, you think, genuine in its intent or stalling for more time? >> you know, obviously, you know, it -- to resolve the
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situation, talks will be necessary so the fact that iran is willing to come back to what we call the p-5 plus 1, europeans call e-p plus 3. they talk to iran. good thing -- but the real question is not whether it will talk. real question is whether they are willing to deal. that's a very good question. >> well, you have to wonder what's going on now because we have president obama's national security adviser in israel for the talks about iran's nuclear program. how close do you think that we are, p.j., to a potential israeli attack on iran's nuclear facilities? >> very interesting. i think this week barack was in japan and indicated publicly sanctions still have a ways to go. i think that's a little bit of a backing off of israel of some of the rhetoric we heard in recent weeks. that -- israel perhaps sees that sanctions are taking their toll. they are -- price is increasing to iran.
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israel may be giving this present course a little more time. >> okay. p.j., how much concern do you have as you look forward to this situation? and, you know, erupting into something that could be devastating? i mean -- do you really think that wiser heads will not prevail? >> everybody, including the united states, says that military action is -- remains on the table. the real question is -- you know, is it sooner? sit later? we are facing the real prospect that presidential election year, israel fires a shot at iran. iran fires back. the united states is required to come to israel's defense. all of a sudden the president of the united states in election year is drawn into a war that he didn't start. so i think that there has been a considerable back and forth between the united states and israel and others and i think that -- that has tempered for the moment this rhetoric about conflicting imminent. >> tell you, it is -- pretty frightening to think about. thank you very much forgiving us
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your sage thoughts as well. p.j. crowley. gas prices today are the heist they have ever been for this time of year. the national average for a gallon of regular is $3.55. here is our question of the day for all of you about these soaring prices. we want to know at what price would you change your driving habits? i put this question on twitter a while back. here's some of your tweets. i have already changed my driving habits already. it is never too soon to start saving whenever you can. bill says car is an essential. i will forego other pleasurable pursuits instead. we need to walk. good advice there. keep talking to me. i will give you more of my tweets later on. rick santorum and attack on president obama's christian values. why is he going there? that's coming up in "strategy talk."
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should we be letting him p-l-a-y with our t-a-b-l-e-t? [ mom ] i think it's fine. it's the new element from at&t so it's w-a-t-e-r proof. cool. what else does it d-o? it's fast. it's 4g lte. 4-g-l-t-e? mhhmm. i think it's time to stop spelling? ok. a-y.
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[ male announcer ] introducing the waterproof pantech element. buy one for $249.99 and get a 4g burst smartphone free. only from at&t. tech watch now here on "weekends with alex witt." apple is at the top smart phone maker in the world. thanks to the record holiday sales from about 37 million iphones. tech research company gartner says they are third in overall sales of cell phones and that's trailing nokia and samsung. linsanity back in action this afternoon. jeremy lin and the new york knicks. lin and his team lost in their last game on friday night. but his fans are still singing his praises for the seven wins in a row before that. i spoke with "sports illustrated's" pablo torre who went to harvard with jeremy lin.
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he says jeremy has always been an overachiever. >> in jeremy's life, being an ivy league star was a surprise. he was one of the best players in the country. he was playing in the ivy league which was this asterisk because there are no real athletes there, was the criticism. you know, what can you do against big-time competition? he was scoring 30 points against u-conn. when he got opportunities he was beating teams. he was really, really good. it is a matter of projecting him to the next level and that's what all of these nba gms, talent evaluation people couldn't see past. >> you as a sportswriter and studying the game, did you see this potential? could you have picked him out and said the guy is a star? >> two years ago i mean, i personally thought he would be an nba player. i thought he could -- i think his ceiling was probably closer to backup point guard and teammates and coaches at harvard told me that, too. no one saw the fact that he would not only be in the nba but on top of the nba.
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what he is doing now, breaking the records of shaquille o'neal, michael jordan, allen iverson, that's stuff jeremy, you know, that's -- so many degrees away from what his hopes and dreams were in college. even in his first year of the nba, too. >> but did he hope and dream for in college? >> i asked him. we sat in his dorm room. >> you are twittering. back and forth. >> we keep in touch. when i was in dorm room in harvard, he was a senior, everything about his life at that point was surprising. he wanted to get a chance and play in the nba. jeremy has always will self-confidence and been the best player on the court. high school, california state championship. college, beating bigger teams. proving himself that way. but this, you know, magnitude of what's happened to him is so mind-blowing. that's the biggest trancenition his life. how does he deal with the fame? how do you go from being a kid who is completely anonymous to now being the world's biggest sports star? >> do you worry about that for
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him? >> i do just because he is so humble. genuine. you see athletes who praise god and give credit to their teammates and no, sir not real. >> last question is his level of intelligence. i mean the guy went to harvard. he was a good student. >> the broken leg test, right? when you break your leg at harvard they ask what are you going to contribute to the campus? jeremy had a perfect score. >> qualified athlete. >> 4.2 gpa. >> how much of his success do you attribute to his level of intelligence? how much is basketball, thinking man's game, you talk about being a baseball pitcher, that's where you use a certain level of intelligence sometimes studying the game. >> right. >> calling history of that game. basketball is much more reactive. >> yeah. jeremy had a feel for the game. that speaks to -- i think a sense of awareness and intelligence that i think ties into his academic ability in terms of being the hard worker and he is studying tape at halftime. no nba player does that. he is looking at this.
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>> still a student. >> still a student. i mean, his intangible qualities, his feel for the game, his iq, those are things that you can't measure until you put him on a into like he has been on and he's been -- you know, obviously a-plus, plus, plus, plus. >> there you go. pablo torre of "sports illustrated" talking about his college friend, jeremy lin. let's get to today's list of number ones for you. first there is a new ranking of the world's most expensive cities. they are all compared to new york city. an zur sick the priceiest place. that study says zurich is 70% more expensive than the big app apple. geneva comes in third. we should note no u.s. city makes the top pen. there is good news for you. for you folks out in los angeles, you probably won't be surprised to hear that the city of angels is the country's most expensive cities. ranks 42nd overall. let's go to another dubious list. website 24/7 wall street ranks the states with the highest foreclosure rate in the leader by far there, unfortunately,
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florida. its foreclosure rate of 12% nearly doubled second place new jersey. illinois, nevada, new york, rounding out the foreclosure top five. or flop five. if you are talking about the most affordable homes, the place to be is in youngstown, ohio. new study by the national association of home builders and wells fargo. most unaffordable? the new york city metro area. no surprise. here's one for the road. nevada's become the first state to adopt regulations on self-driving vehicles. google has been test driving its self-driving cars and worked with nevada to come up with the robo road car rules. do you really want to see a robo car out there? i'm not so sure. ♪ we were skipping stones and letting go ♪ [ female announcer ] nature valley granola bars, rich dark chocolate, toasted oats. perfect combinations of nature's delicious ingredients, from nature valley.
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♪ nature valley granola bars, nature at its most delicious. my dad and grandfather spent their whole careers here. [ charlie ] we're the heartbeat of this place, the people on the line. we take pride in what we do. when that refrigerator ships out the door, it's us that work out here. [ michael ] we're on the forefront of revitalizing manufacturing. we're proving that it can be done here, and it can be done well. [ ilona ] i came to ge after the plant i was working at closed after 33 years. ge's giving me the chance to start back over. [ cindy ] there's construction workers everywhere. so what does that mean? it means work. it means work for more people. [ brian ] there's a bright future here, and there's a chance to get on the ground floor of something big, something that will bring us back. not only this company, but this country. ♪
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the fight over birth roll is fighting up. on "meet the press" leaders of the house budget committee weighed in on that. paul ryan called president obama's recent compromise a violation of religious rights. the democratic congressman chris van hallen says unlike the president, conservatives are completely shutting women out of the conversation. >> look, i can tell you as a catholic the charities and hospitals, they don't enforce doctrine or interpret it. it is the bishops and are very clear in saying that this is a violation of our constitutional rights. so it is an issue of constitutional rights and of the government having the kind of power to trump them. the way i look at this is if the president is willing to trample on our constitutional rights in a difficult election year, imagine what he will do if an implementing the rest of the law after he doesn't have to face the voters again if he gets re-elected. >> i think it strikes the american people as strange to have a panel that's talking about this issue. trying to protect women's health and also protect religious liberty without having a woman
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on the main panel and denying her the right to testify. look, i think that republicans are making a big mistake after the president made the principle compromise he did to make sure we protect women's health and we also protect religious liberty. a lot of states have insurance requirements that also meet that balance and test. that's all the president has done in this case. >> you can all see "meet the press" when it airs against at 2:00 p.m. here on msnbc. more on religion and gop contender rick santorum stepping up the attacks on president obama. >> this is what the president's agenda -- it is not about you. it is not about you. it is not about your quality of life or your jobs. it is about some phony ideal, some phony theology, oh, not a theology based on the bible. different theology. >> joining me now for strategy
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talk, msnbc political analyst and former rnc chairman michael steele. former democratic governor of ohio ted strickland. hello and good to see you. >> how are you? >> good to see you. >> michael, i will begin with you. santorum appeared one on of the sunday morning talk shows and asked about the comments. here is what he said. take a listen. >> okay. >> senator, i have to ask you, what in the world were you talking about, sir? >> well, i was talking about the radical environmentalists, that's why i was talking about energy, this -- this idea that man is not -- is here to serve the earth as opposed to husband that's reis on -- resources and be good stewards of the earth. that is as a phony ideal. >> okay. michael, is that really what he meant by theology comments? can you explain that? >> yeah. i think -- i can't explain exactly because i don't know exactly what was in his head at the time. but i take from his comments that he's putting -- putting the president's policies, any thee -- in a theological
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context. religion-like. a belief system, if you will, that touches on these issues whether it is the environment, social issues, economic issues, that has at its core philosophy that rick is an tore sxum lot of republicans and conservatives around the country feel as -- to the ideals of america. that's what the debate is centered you a round. the problem with when you go down this road of putting things in a religious context as people take it literally and look at it in the context of faith and matters of morals and you have got to be very clear which is why most politicians should steer away from these types of conversations and put it into real context of economically costing us money to do a, b, and c. and go from there. >> ted, is it clear to you which constituency rick is an tore sum going after with these comments? >> well, the fact is that rick santorum needs to understand that jesus said judge not that you be not judged.
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he's talking about the christian faith and the christian theology and, you know, someone who went to a very conservative theological school for three years, i don't subscribe to rick santorum's theology. it is -- it is -- we ought to be talking, alex, about -- jobs and job creation and opportunity in america. rick santorum is talking about theology and he's talking about his theology and it is a theology that apparently he wants to impose on all of the rest of us. and as a christian, i think that of what jesus did. jesus condemns sins of the spirit much more ferociously than sins of the flesh. you know, whether the woman was taking in adultery he said to those that wanted to stone her, who among you is without sin. you can cast the first stone. but though the -- who were
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looking down their nose at poor people, disadvantaged people, he said to them, you are filled with dead men's bones. so i think mr. santorum and all of us should be careful that we don't attempt to take our theology and impose it on all of the other people who may have a different belief system that -- that is -- that your choice. we are a pluralistic society. we are not -- we are not a th thee -- theocracy. i didn't get a chance to go to church this weekend but i feel like i got a lesson. this whole dust-up on the comments of contraception, aspirin between the knees, have the republicans taken as freedom of religion question and turned this now into a contraception and women's rights question and effectively just taken that question handed over to democrats? >> i think it is less what the republicans have done is -- in terms of an actual step into
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that as opposed to giving -- i think a good deal of credit to the obama political team and if you go to the various website and if you get any of their e-mails they have framed this argument and pushed this argument about contraception and making this about contraception and instead of republicans backing off of that and recognizing that that was a trap door through which they would fall, they stepped into it here and now we are having a discussion about something that the vast majority of americans feel is just not relevant to their lives and in terms of trying to get a job and get back economically healthy. so i think that the party needs to be very careful into stepping into these areas. and, you know, in keeping in this theological theme, i can tell you that one of the concerns that rick santorum and others have is christ notes, you know, give unto caesar what is caesar but there is a sense caesar is also asking us to give unto him what belongs to god.
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and part of the theological persia lot of religious conservatives in particular feel when the government intrudes as we feel they have in this area of dictating to institutions not just the catholic church. but broadly speaking, institutions of faith, that the government wants you to behave in a certain way or accept certain things that are -- to your philosophy or theology. >> here is a question for you, ted. do you think in terms of the democratic perspective this could have turned out any better? do you think this issue will have any staying power through november? >> well, i think it has a lot of power. not only with women but all americans. ing the fact is we ought to be talking about jobs. and opportunity. we are talking about birth control. and rick santorum said that he thinks that states should have the right to outlaw birth control. that is outside the mainstream of american thoughts, whether you are a republican and independent or democrat you
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understand that that's a radical position and that's the position rick santorum is take. >> is this something you think is of in the forefront of voters' minds in november or about the and and jobs? either/or? >> well, you think it is going to be there. do we want a president who wants to take away our personal freedom to the point he would say we ought not have access to birth control? i mean, that is ridiculous. and -- he has not backed off that position. and i think that americans will reject him no only because of that but because of that and other extreme views that he has expressed. >> gentlemen, i'm so sought of time. michael, i saw you shaking your head. ten seconds. >> yeah. just real quick. i don't think it is going to be paramount issue this fall. this is going to be one of the spring events that fades to summer as job numbers come in and deal with the economy. >> okay. gentlemen, thank you so much. michael steele, ted strickland. i know i will see you both again.
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thank you. today whitney houston's closest friends and family are attending a private burial service in new jersey. yesterday nearly a thousand people celebrated her life inside the new hope baptist church in newark. fans gathered outside with media. houston family friend joe watkins was invited to the funeral. joe is joining us now. we had are a good conversation yesterday. the big question really, what was the mood inside that church? because a lot of times these things turn into be celebratory out of the sadness. >> well, that's exactly what it was. it was a wonderful celebration of her life. the -- singing was heavenly and comments people had to make was wonderful. comforting to the family. i know cissy houston, a great woman, great woman of faith, is still grieving. but i think it was wonderfully comforting to her and whitney's brothers and to her daughter to hear that music and hear those words from the people yesterday. >> yeah. what was the most moving moment to you? >> there were several moving moments. one was kevin costner's
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wonderful heartfelt tribute. it was wonderful. but then, of course, sermon was wonderful. alicia keys had to say was wonderful. r.k. kelly sang beautifully. i mean, one after the other, they were all beautiful. t the wynans had such heartfelt good words to say to whitney's family. it was a wonderful, remarkable, joyous remembrance of her life. including all the funny stories about the incidents that people had and instances they spent with whitney, drive, of course, spoke beautifully. it was wonderful. i remembered them because i was there with members of her band, we toured together with whitney. it was great to remember all the great things she did. >> it was something watching it here in the studio. we ran the gamut of going from cheers to laughter. it was joyful. how about the one incident, the
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bobby brown dispute. he left about 12:20 and service was just getting under way. do you know what happened? did you see it? >> i saw it. i mean, you saw him come in. he walked right past me. and with several people. and then at some point he got up with the same group of people and went and -- he touched his fingers to his mouth and put it the casket. then he left, i think he left the sanctuary but he certainly walked past me and seemed to me to be walking out the door. i don't know what the dispute was or whether he thought that maybe he had spent enough time there to show his respects. i think that his -- his heart was in the right place. he certainly looked to be respectful. it didn't cause any great disturbance. >> we know that -- we know he did perform last night on stage he did tell the crowd how much he loved his ex-wife, wait any houston, and she was blessed. reverend watkins, good to see you. thanks. the -- why are so many
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cope with everything from romance to class rivalry and in pre and post-war england. >> quite wonderful. room for improvement wherever you look. such reform. >> i take that as a compliment. >> must have said it wrong. >> don't you be messing with her. second season finale of "downtown abbey" is tonight. msnbc contributor and author is here. do you love the show the way i do? >> adore it. absolutely adore it. guilty pleasure television. it is not really guilty. have you maggie smith in it. high brow. you said it in the introduction. it is a soap opera. it is accessible to all. jillian fellows, the creator, won an oscar. he modeled the pace on "nypd
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blue." for all of us, to used to all the high-speed material, as it were on the television screen, we look at and it we love it. we get it. >> it is a beautifully well-done. this is -- you should tell people who aren't familiar with it, it is a pbs series. it is masterpiece classic theater. it came, though, second in the ratings to the super bowl on super bowl sunday granted half the -- television stations, televisions were on the super bowl. how do you explain the appeal of the show? people can't relate necessarily to upper-crust england in pre-war era, servants versus the aristocrats, what sit? >> we need escapism. this series is sold to 120 countries round the world. we all need to be taken out of ourselves at the moment. it is tough times out there. it is also because it is on pbs,
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accessible to all. $1.6 million an episode drama. you normally only get that on expensive cable drama as. everybody is watch it and see it. it is also multi-generational. because, yes, your grandmother can watch it and say i want to be maggie smith. we watch it saying i want to be mary, matthew, i want him to kiss me. >> that would be great. speaking of this, let's take a look at the one-liners from m maggie smith. they are rich. >> given the date when mary is out of mourning, no one wants to kiss a girl in black. >> you do know i need to involve you in the running of the estate. >> don't worry. mr. are plenty of hours in the day. of course i have the weekend. >> what is a weekend? why do you always have to pretend to be nice to the rest of us? no english women dream of die in someone else's house? do you think he threw in the
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towel prematurely? what am sitting on? >> swivel chair. >> modern? >> not modern. they were invented by thomas jefferson. >> why does every day involve a fight with an american? >> she is just rich. you talk about the americans there. we have -- americans getting in on the act. you have shirley maclean coming in next zone very clever producer. maggie smith is the star of the show. by bringing in shirley it has been a big hit in america. won four emmys last year. great sparring matches. the third series is going to be set in the 1920s. more updeet. series two has the backdrop has been world war i. which let's face it, is a little depressing. sometimes in our period so far. >> we will have the roaring '20s for series three. also, i don't want to ruin it for you because i have seen the end of season two in the uk.
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what happens at the end tonight sets up seen three so beautifully. it is delicious. absolutely delicious. >> i will be in front of my television from 9:00 to 11:00. i can't wait. thank you so much. we will talk against next week about it. the right words at the right time. our next hour, search for the perfect catch phrase for the president's re-election campaign. here on "weekends with alex witt." [ male announcer ] juice drink too watery?
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coming up in office politics, msnpolitic politics, al sharpton on president bush. how sharpton became a preach errata very young age.
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a journey of pain, a parting of sorrow. the mother of whitney houston sets out to bury her beloved daughter. rick santorum. fascinating flash back. al sharpton recalls his days as a young preacher in today's office politics. and glory days, ugly moments. new nba star's sudden asent gives way to racially charged remarks. we are going to begin with what's happening now. rick santorum taking his attacks on president obama to a whole new level this weekend during a campaign stop in ohio. here is what he said to a group of evangelical voters in columbus. >> this is what the president's agenda, it is not about you. it is not about you. it is not about your quality of life. it is not about your jobs. it is about some phony ideal. some phony theology. not a theology based on the
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bible, different theology. no less a theology. >> the new response today from white house press secretary robert gibbs to santorum's comments. >> i can't help but think that those remarks are well over the line. it is wrong, it is destructive. it makes it virtually impossible to solve the prob lemlems we fa together as americans. >> herman cain is back on the campaign trail this weekend. sometiming for newt gingrich in georgia. former speaker is banking on the south to proceed tell him back into two front-runner status. mitt romney was in salt lake city last night to celebrate ten years since leading the winter olympics back from 2002. american figure skating gold medalist kristi yamaguchi welcomed romney to a stars on ice event. >> because of the strong leadership of the ceo, the fire that he lit from within, these games were a tremendous success.
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>> a new poll out of iowa shows president obama trailing three of the republican candidates in that state. ron paul has the greatest advantage. leading the president by seven points. also new today, president obama's budget playing heavily into the gop's latest strategy. on "meet the press," republican house budget committee chairman paul ryan said that the new spending blueprint fails to address america's debt crisis. and suggested it was a road map to economic ruin. >> if we keep kicking the can down the road and we don't face up to these great fiscal challenges we have, we have a debt-fueled economic crisis ahead of us. if we don't address them now, then it gets ugly like greece and then you have to impose the kind of austerity that they are imposing in greece. we are saying let's fix this now while we can do it on our own terms. >> nbc news white house correspondent mike viqueira is live at the white house. good sunday to you. how's the administration handling this backlash? how are democrats responding to the rhetoric? >> reporter: two words -- brand
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bargain. you remember last summer the closed-door negotiations between the president and himself and speaker of the house john boehner, republican, was on table $3 in tax cuts for every dollar of revenue raising. according to the white house version of events. they brought it back to john boehner to house republicans and rejected it. they were talking about $4 trillion in deficit reduction but by any measure it -- paul ryan is absolutely right. numbers are staggering and national debt in this country approaching $14 trillion. president's own budget next year, he proposed last week has a defense sift $1.3 billion of projecting and regardless of the fact the economy appears keep your fingers crossed to be turning around and unemployment rate has sunk.8% since last august there are dark clouds on the horizon. chris van hallen and paul ryan's counterpart on the budget committee responded to ryan on the same program. >> paul is talking about tax reform but not the way the
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bipartisan commissions have. we all want tax reform. it is just the republicans don't want one penny of tax reform to go towards deficit reduction. if you don't do that, it means you do have to whack seniors on medicare ask cut deep fly critical investments and in our national infrastructure, education, science and research. that's why every bipartisan group approached this is taking the back answered approach and not the approach that asks middle income americans and seniors to bear the entire burden. >> reporter: and, alex, as you may know, reality can be a bummer. especially here in washington. we are talking about the budget and the president proposed the budget and it is very unlikely that any kind of budget will be passing congress in this election year, talk about deficit reduction, will have to wait until after the election. >> at least you can put a good spin on the bummer news out there. thank you very much, mike viqueira. new report says the obama cam subpoena weighing an attack on rick santorum. "the wall street journal" says the president's aides are
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focusing in on santorum's record to assess his vulnerabilities and consider how their strategy might change if he becomes the gop nominee. joining me now is erin mcpipe. good day. good to see. >> did you good morning. >> perry, how -- we got it. good sunday. perry, how serious do you think the obama folks are on this? >> i think that the they are serious in they have to be. they get paid to like -- you know, watch the republican primary and figure out what's going on and they are considering what or santorum nomination would mean. every democrat i talked to involved in the campaign, their view is mitt romney is by far likely to be the favorite to win the nomination, even though he's struggling the last pew weeks. most of the attention is still on mitt romney and his vulnerabilities and what -- how to exploit them for most democrats involved in the campaign. >> erin, we have this contraception battle that could be hurting the gop with women. then have you romney and santorum going at it over
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romney's leadership of the 2002 olympics. all the money he got for which he allegation for security. how much work does president obama's camp have to do when it seems like the gop candidates are really damaging their own cause? >> well, they have a lot of work to do. here's why. the white house ditherred for a week over the contraception battle and let the republicans define it on their own terms as liberty issue. democrats that had to play catch-up on that. now as far as romney's leadership of the olympics is concerned, the democrats have to get involved with that because right now romney is trying to make the case that santorum is not a fiscal conservative but mitt romney is. but the democrats are using this olympics -- not controversy but he got so much federal money to show that mitt romney is not a fiscal conservative either p.m. it neutralize it is issue and doesn't let mitt romney get a leg up over rick santorum because as perry said, democrats still see that mitt romney is
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the bigger threat and do want to run against rick santorum if they coin stead. >> here is an interesting new poll out there for you to weigh in on. from the state of iowa that those the president trailing ron paul, rick santorum, mitt romney, all three in that state. he leads only against newt gingrich. despite all of the gop troubles, the president is behind in iowa? >> i was surprised by this poll. i mean, i would bet you a lot of money ron paul would not beat barack obama in iowa, general next everybodyjection, just to be clear. that said, obama won iowa by ten points in 2008. it does show some erosion of support. there is erosion among particularly more conservative independent voters. i think that erosion is permanent on some level. it will be a much tighter election in iowa and nationally because of that. >> i'm curious how you read all of this, this poll in iowa. you spent time there in the state. >> you know, i'm also surprised by it. it may be that it is an outlier because it doesn't track with
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the polling we are seeing in other states throughout the country even in the midwest. the campaign on the republican side went on for a long time and more so than it has gone on into the other states. these are republicans spent time there and got to know a lot of the voters and -- it got -- campaign only got nastier after it left iowa and has gone on. so the republicans mate not be in as bad shape in iowa as they are elsewhere and that may be a factor in it, too. >> perry, i want to talk about what rick santorum was saying yesterday when he questioned president obama's values describing them as, quote, phony theology. let's listen to more of what he said here. >> many imposing his values on the church if the president says he's christian, he's christian.
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>> what is santorum a's strateg here? >> the tea party and that's where that remark came from. i don't think it is a smart strategy because i think as he gets closer and does better in the polls, he's now trying to become like a broader, more mainstream republican candidate. i think that things -- comments like that phony theology comment will worry moderate republicans, they will worry about potential campaign donors. i think those comments don't help. >> you think it was just theology, ideology, mix-up? >> it is possible. i do think that he has gotten some traction with social conversation because he's more socially conservative than romney and as he tried to go into some of these next states and peel off more voters, he might be doing a little bit to appeal to them. >> okay. perry and erin, good to see you both. >> thanks. we want to remind all of you to watch the rebroadcast of "meet the press" that airs at the top of the hour on msnbc.
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today's guests include democratic congressman rick van hollen and paul ryan of wisconsin. iran section attempting to fight back against sanctions today. the oil ministry announced it will stop exporting oil to british and french companies and find new customers for their petroleum. it is a mute point. as the sanctions levied against iran banned them from selling new oil contracts to your open starting in july. the eu issued the ban on exports and in response to iran's growing nuclear program. iran says that it is developing nuclear capabilities for energy, critics in the west believe that it is for actually building bombs. let's go now to the death of whitney houston. her family just wrapped up a private burial service in new jersey one day after the emotional funeral. a crowd of onlookers waited at the entrance to get a final glymph her casket. houston will be buried alongside her father. two people had to help whitney's
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mother cissy, into the limousine. photographers running behind trying snap pictures. that caravan led by the gold hearst drove throughjers jess's streets and expressways. ahead, searching for the right words. why obama campaign posters are due for a message makeover. and he's a hit and a hoot. jeremy lin on the hardwood and internet. [ male announcer ] juice drink too watery? ♪
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♪ rick santorum grabs the top spot on a few polls. the check of facebook posts and tweets best 24 hours shows santorum is showing more positive comments the rest of the gop field. romney is coming in second with 44% and 807 koemts comments being favorable. newt gingrich a distant third in
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and a number of comments with ron paul bringing up the rear. two big gop primaries coming up this next week, michigan and arizona. either one could turn the gop race upside down. latest poll in michigan shows rick santorum ahead of romney by four points. michigan republican party chairman joins me now live, robert, hello to you. thanks for joining me. >> good afternoon. >> so both gop front-runners said they would not have agreed to the auto bail. guideline records saying how can you republican expect to win michigan, michigan mind you after that? >> well, i think that you have to examine what was said. federal dollars for a bailout, republicans across the board are opposed to it. as far as a bankruptcy, chapter 11 reorganization, it was necessary and it was effective. it is just a question of where their dollars come from? in this case the government providing the dollars versus government guarantee of the bank loans, two different things, two
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different approaches. at the end of the day -- >> robert, do you think that people are able to distinguish between that rhetoric or those as you are going to say are the facts? don't you think the average citizen, someone in michigan, working at a beleaguered gm plan or chrysler plant or ford plant, they are going to go wait a minute, all they hear is they did not support candidates did not support that bailout? >> the people working on the line understand it best. they are the ones that are putting the quality vehicles out. engineering rooms are designing fantastic vehicles. the styling and the technology. that's what is selling the cars today. not the bailout. people in michigan are beyond the bailout. they are about selling cars and about being successful and they are about getting the units up and a number of cars sold. and the fact that ford, gm and chrysler are as successful as they are is because of what product they are putting out. >> these candidates have said, as you know, that they believe the auto industry would have come back without a bailout. we don't know that. what we do know is gm had record
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profits and you are saying gm would have had the profits without the bailout. >> i think gm would have had those profits with a traditional bankruptcy versus a federally funded breeders cup. traditional bankruptcy would have been funded by the capital markets. one might say that the capital markets were in -- possible at the time to provide those dollars. the answer to that is that at the very worst, it would have been government guarantee of the bank loans and bank groups have been lining up to make those loans. it is -- it is two different philosophies and the point is using taxpayer dollars is not what's turning the car companies around. what turned the car companies around is the fact they are selling great vehicles produced by great engineers and great folks on the line producing them. that's what's making it. >> a lot of people going into purchasing of a car like you want to buy american because we have known about the issues and troubles so publicized. that has to factor in, too. let's talk about the state of michigan. relative to presumed the front run which has been mitt romney.
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if he can't win in his home state, as you see the latest polls showing rick santorum up four points, does he deserve to be the gop candidate? >> first of all, it is early. i -- you know, we are -- this is the beginning of the fourth quarter of this week's rollinging into the primary. virtually santorum came into michigan with momentum. certainly the romney name is strong and has great family ties and relationships here in the state. they are fighting it out to win delegates. remember, michigan, we award delegates proportionately by congressional district. so there is never, i think, ever imaginable situation where one of the candidates come in and win 100% of the delegates of michigan because we are not a winner take all states. we are following the rnc rules. any district that anybody works hard in and any of the four in the race today, let not forget about ron paul, strong following. let's not forget about newt, strong following. they work a strong following. who gets the most have more more
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men tum but all going to come out of michigan with delegates. no question about that. >> can i take a quick look with the last election, last general election, last time that a republican won the state was george bush back in 1988? can you tell me what do republicans need to do to try to get back the state of michigan? >> we have to work hard. we have to have a grassroots engaged which we are doing. there is a great deal of passion for the election. there -- across the state, voters in michigan, independents, republicans and even democrats do not follow or agree with the obama policies. the stimulus plan to nearly $1 trillion didn't produce jobs at michigan. obama spending, the obama debt creation, increases, and it is not attracting folks to the dwem krat side. as a result, michigan folks have great deal of passion. they are energized and our volunteerism is up dramatically around the state. we are having a record turnout at reagan lunches and lincoln day dinners. all the candidates are here in
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michigan playing hard and -- our -- out earning delegates. and that passion, that drive, that desire to win michigan, and to win the country, take the white house back, through michigan, obama must win michigan and just as the republican must win michigan. it is not a given, take it form granted kind of situation. >> important state to be sure. robert, thank you so much. >> yeah. now the that president obama selected his campaign music he needs to settle on a slogan. campaign posters merely say obama 2012. campaign aides say a new catch phrase is coming once the republican field is all sorted out. you will recall the change we can believe in slogan from '08, don't you? well, there are two potential catch phrases already used on the road. winning the future and greater together. the campaign hopes to decide on a slogan by spring or summer at the latest. [ leanne ] appliance park has been here since the early 50s.
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my dad and grandfather spent their whole careers here. [ charlie ] we're the heartbeat of this place, the people on the line. we take pride in what we do. when that refrigerator ships out the door, it's us that work out here. [ michael ] we're on the forefront of revitalizing manufacturing. we're proving that it can be done here, and it can be done well. [ ilona ] i came to ge after the plant i was working at closed after 33 years. ge's giving me the chance to start back over. [ cindy ] there's construction workers everywhere. so what does that mean? it means work. it means work for more people.
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[ brian ] there's a bright future here, and there's a chance to get on the ground floor of something big, something that will bring us back. not only this company, but this country. ♪ not only this company, living with the pain of moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis... could mean living with joint damage. help stop the damage before it stops you with humira. for many adults with moderate to severe ra, humira's proven to help relieve pain and stop joint damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal events can occur, such as infections, lymphoma, or other types of cancer, blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before starting humira, your doctor should test you for tb. ask your doctor if you live or have been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. tell your doctor if you have had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, or sores.
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it is a nice day outside at 30 rock. new report out this past week suggests sales of video games are way down in part because few new games have been released. but a new game, kingdoms reckoning is just out. it is a fantasy role playing action game with some big league talent involved in the creation. from boston, i spoke with former major leaguer and world series champ, curt schilling about his new game and asked how he got into it. >> i have been a gamer my whole life. i have been gaming over 30 years. and when i was looking at the end of my baseball career and realizing i didn't really have the retirement gene in me, i wanted to take a chance on going out and being the best in the world at something else. and trying to change the world again in a way. being a part of something special. >> okay. you are certainly on your way to doing that. let's watch part of the video
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about your game. here it is, everyone. watch together. >> this is the ball game into which all must enter. one birth. one death. a reckoning. >> okay. tell us all about this. kingdoms of amalur reckon. >> think of "lord of the rings." fantasy. that's kind of the back door of the universe. it is a franchise. we created 10,000 years of back story. we have, obviously, reckon sing the first game. you can find out about it at reckoning.com. that's dined of our introduction to the universe. i don't know if you are a "lord of the rings" fan but -- >> huge. >> yeah. reckoning is our version of the hobbit. a way to introduce the story to the world. the lord to the world. we want to build a franchise. we have -- enough material and
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content for moveies and comics and tv shows and video games in different areas and genres and so we thought we would go out in a way that was -- it is fun. i mean, experience is a blast and reviews have been amazing. >> you brought in big names in video games to work on this. how did you get hooked up with them? >> that was me cheating. the best i could. i have known todd macfarlane for ten years. he is an icon in the book industry and art industry for over 20, 30 years. salvatore 26 times on "the new york times" bestselling -- best sell areas list. he's a modern day tolkien for me. he was the icing on the cake. those three guys have been kind of visionaries leading a team -- team of almost 400 people which is the side story to this i'm proud of. in the worst economy of our lifetime we have managed with the state of rhode island to -- backing us to help create a
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company with that's built almost 400 jobs and will be building more. >> good news there. curt schilling. such a winner. it is called kingdoms of amalur reckoning and it is available for all you gamers. let's go to another side of jeremy lin we have never seen and it comes from his own youtube channel. the new nba sensation star is in a day in the life video shot last year. in it he reveals he failed his first driver's test. >> i was driving 15 miles per hour because i thought that was the residential speed limit. i failed the driving test for going too slow. it was embarrass. >> so embarrassing. the harvard grad also made a humorous video on how to get into harvard. for him it included doing flash cards while shooting hoops. ♪ let's go [ male announcer ] truth is, nyquil doesn't un-stuff your nose. really? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus liquid gels
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update this morning in the controversy surrounding an espn headline against jeremy lin that featured an offensive racial slur on a play of words. an anchor that made a similar comment has been suspended for 30 days. espn digital editor and chief ron king earlier issued an apology on twitter for their headline saying, quote, there is no defense for the indefensible. all we can offer are our apologies. sincere, thoualthough inadequat. he says the problem plagued him since his days playing at harvard. why is there a double standard? why are slurs against asian americans being slaun muched with casual frequency? phil taylor, senior writer for "sports illustrated." i think we are having a little bit of issues with phil's camera shot. phil will join us on the phone now. helen and phil, thank you both
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for joining me. helen, with you, please give us perspective on what this slur means. for people of chinese heritage and how offensive this espn headline was overall. >> i don't think this is just a slur that impacts people of chinese heritage. this is racial slur that is -- indistinguishable from history of violence and racism that's been a defining experience for asian americans in this country. is on it is -- clearly inexcusable and it is very closely linked to, you know, deep racial virulence. >> phil, let's talk about the level of pervasiveness with this kind of thing in professional sports. what can you say about that? >> well, i mean, think as soon as jeremy -- linsanity swept 2 world and started talking about him a lot and making jokes and fun about his name, i cringed because i thought it was almost inevitable someone would cross over the line and in the way we
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have seen. i think any time you see in sports someone who runs into an ethnic group not commonly seen in that sport, run the risk of this happening. tiger woods faced it when he first came into golf. prominence and there were comments, joke made by fuzzy zoeller about him eating fried chicken and things like that. i think when when someone comes into the -- world of sports, you run this risk. >> i want to ask you about boxer flied mayweather. tweeting he is only receiving all of this hype because he is asian american, that black players do not receive the same recognition. is there any truth in that? >> well, i mean, i -- i think it is -- it is a matter of how you interpret it. i do think that certainly if jeremy lin had been an african-american player and done this he wouldn't have gotten the same amount of attention. but i think that cuts both ways
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because jeremy lin had been an african-american player it wouldn't have been so hard for him to get to this point. i mean -- the fact that he is asian american worked against him and stereotypes worked against him and the fact he was able to break through those stereotypes is why he is getting this attention. i think mayweather's comment was misguided. it might -- might factually be true but i don't think he considered the entire context. >> didn't look at the big picture here. so to both of you and helen, i will have you address this first, despite this outrage there have been numerous occurrences of offensive remarks of jeremy lin the past few weeks. do you think there is a double standard in sports? is there a double standard for asian americans? >> well, i think that the parents of jeremy lin on the national sports -- in the nba and in particular shows there has been clear level of racial stereotypes around the asian americans. i think the fact people are fascinated with it has something to do with it. but -- you know, in terms of
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whether there is a double standard around language, you know, i think that that's something that as -- phil mentioned is very common. i mean, jeremy lin is breaking barriers as one of the few asian americans who has been propelled on the spotlight of the mainstream america and because of that we are going to be struggling with a lot of questions about how we talk about language. >> to what extent -- may i ask, the asian americans of whom you have spoken about this situation, what's their reaction? are they angry, upset? are they offended? i mean, can you categorize that? >> with -- with all of the racial discussion or dialogue? >> yeah. >> i mean, for us it is not surprising. i think that it is -- it seems natural that -- you know, that racial stereotypes and language were not surprised by anything like that. i guess the question is, that whether we are going to grow from it as a country and whether, you know, we are going to take this moment to defend our right to use stereotypes and absolutely not change on whether
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we will learn from this and try to grow and reflect and change as a country. to be perfectly honest, i have been relatively more encouraged there is a multiracial community of people out there being politicized quickly about where the lines are. i mean, you have spike lee on twitter doing a one-man crash course on racial stereotyping. had you the funny snl skit last night that talked about, you know, probing where exactly those lines are. so i think that -- as much as you have your floyd mayweathers and others out there, asking some of these questions, you know, you actually have a fairly fullty racial group ask very active african-american community really rallying behind this and trying to, you know, push this country forward around racial discourse. >> yes. phil and i asked this question of you as well. do you have anything to add? we had gotten into it here. >> no. i think that's exactly right. i agree with everything that --
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that i think overall, the overall reaction to jeremy lin has been tremendously positive and so many people regardless of their race or ethnicity have latched on to his story. i think that it -- as with all industries, all walks of life in this country that the more asian american players we see in the nba and more sports we will start to figure out realizing some of the stereotypes are silly and that -- to -- to joke about them or to even believe in them is ridiculous. i think we are -- we are figuring things out as we go. i think overall the -- effect of jeremy lin and reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. >> i was going to say on a positive note to you, talk about the pride that the asian american community is taking in this kid. >> unbelievable. it is just -- it is an incredible story. i mean, it is a story being
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embraced by my own children, by my immigrant parents who came here. it is -- it is an incredible experience and it is just an amazing thing to see a young man ofsian descent being embraced and loved by so many people. it is inspiring and it is transformative. you know, we will see where it takes us. >> it is very exciting to watch. it is fun to be in the bandwagon of fans. helen and gym and phil, thank you so much. i appreciate it. in this week's office politics, we are continuing our conversation with the reverend al sharpton. he tells us about his beginnings as a boy preacher. we begin with his thoughts on social issues and the election. >> i think the social issues backfired. let's take the last one this week. the contraception issue. where we find out even the catholic community, those of catholic faith, are divided. i think in the end, what used to
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be the things people could gear up and push buttons are no longer the button pushers that they used to be. >> which means that the communities are not so clearly defined. how does that complicate things? people run on platforms that are very black and white? >> i think that the fact people are more mixed, people have in certain communities, certain areas of aseem bl assemblance h different things and moons the politicians have not caught up with the electorate. they are singing a song that does not appeal to anyone. people are not as rigid as they were. i think that people on the left and right have become so hardened that they are not listening. and i think that when you don't listen you end up losing the support of the public. >> how much do you think the in-fighting from the gop is helping the president right -- right now? >> i think it is helping a lot.
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i couldn't have made this up. no one thought that you would have mitt romney in this kind of prolonged struggle and have five or six different front-runners, you know, being touted all over the place. it is unbelievable. >> from what you know of the president, what in your judgment are the biggest hurdles that this president has to overcome? >> well, he has to continue to see the economy grow. if he doesn't, it means he could have a serious challenge. but he needs to see the trends keep going. second, if he has a really -- worry about the unknown in terms of international fest, iran lurking, the good news is that he's handled so much with the somali pirates and bin laden and gadhafi if we are in crisis it will be hard to make the case he's not the one to handle
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national security. >> is it realistic to expect -- is it -- the nominee known will be romney, no, ma'am leigh knee will be santorum, who do you think it would be? >> any given day you say romney. then you say if santorum pulls out michigan it will be santorum. >> do you see gingrich any more? >> not but in the southern primaries gingrich can get momentum again. >> i'm most interested in this picture you have with president george w. bush. >> president bush, who i marched on and picketed around, had invited me to hear his last policy speech which was going to be on education. >> were you surprised by that? >> i was very surprised. >> i bet. >> he hasn't invited me for black history month. he opened the speech and said i was in the audience and he and i don't agree on anything but we both agree children should be able to read and write. i put it up next to the picture
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of president obama and i. people understand that i'm reasonable to talk to anyone even if i adamantly disagree with them. like you, alex, when people walk in, they are shocked and i said no, all of this about oh, yes, access to president obama, i had access to president bush. i just didn't agree with him on anything. i have it there to also correct people on it, i'm not inflectionible. i'm just one that believes what i believe. and i'm willing to meet anybody halfway. >> can i ask you a b a picture have you here. music legends here. you have michael jackson, janet. >> '79. i would go out on the road sometime and meet jeremy brown. like my father. james brown come off the stage from performing in california. hi surprised him. michael, young michael, and janet who was real young there, awaiting in the dressing room. he's still sweating. >> the outfit.
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classic. >> that's me at 7 years old, boy preacher. that's it there. >> you haven't stopped. >> i'm not a boy anymore. >> thank you very much. >> all right. >> got to love that guy. you can all watch reverend sharpton on weekdays at 6:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. up next, the big three, does rick santorum have to answer for his biggest controversial comments? watching "weekends with alex witt." my name is robin. i'm a wife, i'm a mom...
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on contraception this past week. santorum says i'm not responsible for what my supporters say. in political circles will this stick? >> i don't think it will stick so much as what santorum himself has said when it comes to contraception. i think it is -- main step with most women out there and -- republican and democrats. that's house bigger issue is his positions, not what his supporters are saying. >> okay. erin, what -- or is there -- almost anecdotal evidence that this will be a problem with santorum and women voters? >> you know, i agree with susan. i think it is the larger issue and rin rick santorum's stance on it and, yes, the republicans will have some difficulty get independent women back this cycle because largely of this issue. >> i want to play sound for you to react to on what rick santorum said yesterday about president obama. here's this. >> this is what the president's agenda -- it is not about you.
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it is not about you, your quality of life or about your jobs. it is about some phony ideal, some phony theology, not a theology based on the bible. different theology. no less a theology. >> discussion earlier about the word theology versus ideology. and santorum said this morning that those comments were about radical environmentalists. but is this strictly a primary campaign line of attack and ultimately something that would help the president? >> i think obviously rick santorum is appealing to primary voters to his base in particular. the problem for rick santorum will be while he is energizing his base with politics of division he's also energizing our base because people see through this. this is about defining president obama about something as other, something different. not american. and people know exactly what he means by that and firing up our base as well. so he has to be careful when he
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tries to fire up his base because it has the same effect on ours, too. >> okay. let's move along to the next topics, olympic games. dnc and rick santorum are attacking romney on the leadership of 2002 winter games. saying he oversaw a lobbying campaign oversaw a lobbying cam to snare millions of dollars for the the games. here's the new ad on this. >> more federal dollars than spend on all previous u.s. olympics campaigned. >> gao found for the upcoming winter olympics in salt lake city, that bill to american tackpayers is expected to be $1.3 billion. that's outrageous. >> what is real here, erin, and what is not? let's keep in mind the timing of this. 2000 games immediately in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks. >> it's true more dollars went into these olympics than double any previous olympics. also, some of the reports show
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it's more like $1.5 billion. the romney campaign is saying that by their accounts he asked for $600 million in federal funding. but the issue is that, yes, romney did seek a lot of federal dollars. and it kind of goes against his ability to attack rick santorum on earmarks. >> what do you think, susan? does this weaken mitt romney or is it a weak attack against him? >> i think it's a weak attack against him. you mentioned it was in the wake of the september 11th attacks, security and everyone was rushing to do everything very quickly when it comes to security. there was an astronomical tag on it. plus, i don't know if you attack the olympics now as we have our men and women preparing to go to the olympics in london. >> what do you think, tara, in terms of the timing? it's about five, six months after the 9/11 attacks. >> here's the problem for mitt romney. stand alone, this is a weak argument. but the problem is it's part of
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a pattern of hypocrisy. he criticizes the very things he's guilty of, whether planned parenthood where he criticizes him. we found he sought their endorsement. his wife is a contributor to planned parenthood. this is part of a pattern of behavior. this is exactly why he's having the problem he's having in the primary. people don't trust him. he says one thing and we find out he's guilty of the very things he's attacking. >> a quick break, everyone. we'll be back with the big three. will president obama pay for the frustrations we're all feeling at the pump? here's a look at your sunda the southeast with a lot of heavy rain. we'll get a little bit of snow, especially the mountainous area, including west virginia, north carolina, and a few areas into virginia. we'll track that off the coast later on tonight. presidents' day will look calm
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around the country. enjoy the beautiful unshine around the middle of the nation. have a great take.
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the average price for a gallon of gas is $3.55 a gallon right now, which is 5 cents more than this time a week ago, 17 cents higher than a month ago, and 39 cents more expensive than at this time last year. we're back now with the big 3. erin, tara and susan. do you see this as being a problem for the president? >> yes, it will be a problem for
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the president. no question about it. gas prices are something people feel very directly. so the president will hope that the economy continues to move forward. luckily, he has policies in place that have made a difference. that's going to have to be the way it goes. >> erin, what are you thinking? gas prices transfer to votes? >> i don't think so. they haven't before. gas prices spiked in 2004, as you know, over the summer, and then they come back down after labor day. generally it doesn't really affect the outcome of the election at all. >> but if they were to stay home would you sing a different song, erin? >> perhaps, perhaps. >> what do you think of all the criticism. is there an overreach? >> well, the republicans just let it happen. they overplay a great hand when they have it. they need to let it play out. the fact is high gas prices don't only affect just the president but it also affects the economy and how they feel the direction of the economy is
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going because high gas prices are a big indicator. >> ladies, thank you so much for your time. appreciate it. that is a wrap, everyone, of this sunday edition of "weekends with alex whitt." breaking news as it happens. up next, though, "meet the press". i'm alex whitt. have yourself a great weekend. enjoy the long weekend. ♪ oh, it was the first time i fell in love ♪ ♪ the first time i felt my heart ♪ [ man ] people say i'm forgetful. [ horn honking ] ♪ ...all through the night [ man ] maybe that's why we go to so many memorable places. ♪ [ male announcer ] the subaru outback. love the road you're on.
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