tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC May 3, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PDT
is "now." joining me today new york daily news columnist s.e.cupp, nbc news analyst, former governor rendell, patricia murphy and the contribute tear "the daily beast" and bloomberg business week editor josh tarengel. secretary of state hillary clinton and a highly sensitive deal regarding what some called the biggest human rights issue since tiananmen square is on the verge of collapse. chen guangcheng left the u.s. embassy yesterday after the u.s. brokered an agreement with china for his freedom and safety. but today at a chinese hospital chen told reuters i want to leave china as soon as possible. my rights and safety cannot be assistant secretary of state
p.j. crowley. a lot going on there. we know that we have two cabinet level secretaries there to talk u.s. strategic china dialogue. in the middle of this i think many would call a human rights crisis. how do you think we've played our hand thus far? >> i think we have stood up for human rights and the secretary of state before arriving in beijing put down a very solid marker that this case, the chen case, was important to the united states. understand a couple of things. this is a broad important relationship between the united states and china, it's always going to be difficult and complex on a good day. then you throw something like this into the mix and it can have the potential for tensions although, up until today, it appeared the united states and china had worked constructively, intensely, to try to resolve this. go ahead. >> p.j., it sounds like someone
is doubling back on the original agreement and/or the terms were not fully understood. chen guangcheng saying he felt he wife was going to be beaten to death if he didn't leave the u.s. embassy. it sounds like he at one point said that the u.s. had not -- was not pro active enough. that certainly doesn't look good. >> well, understand that mr. chen was trying to do something that was unique without precedent. normally the united states tries to work to bring activists out of china where they feel they are threatened. mr. chen specifically had the united states negotiate with china. he wanted to be reunited with his family, he wanted to be relocated to a safer place, he wanted to be able to study the law, and he wanted to continue his work to try to expand civil society within china. now i think 24 hours later it appears he has a change of heart. he now believes that china will not live up to the terms of its agreement. the united states officials as i
understand it talking to them this morning are trying to reach mr. chen so they can ascertain if he's had a change of heart and obvious the course will take its own course depending on what he tells them. unfortunately, the chinese officials are preventing that from happening. >> that's the question. how much can we do now that he's no longer in u.s. custody. i thought it was interesting after this new information that chen guangcheng wants to leave the country after that was revealed hillary clinton speaking yesterday said this. >> because we believe that all governments do have to answer to citizens' aspirations for dignity and the rule of law and that no nation can or should deny those rights. as president obama said this week, a china that protects the rights of all its citizens will be a stronger and more prosperous nation. and of course, a stronger
partner on behalf of our common goals. >> sorry, that was of course this morning. but any time anybody from the united states, specifically the secretary of state, mentions human rights and democracy in china it always seems like it's a, if not a need tool the chinese, some kind of provocati provocation. >> there is a fundamental agreement to disagree. the chinese believe this is an internal domestic matter none of the united states' business. the united states always put human rights forward as one of a number of issues important to us, and significant within the nature of our relationship. so there will be intensive discussions with the chinese, already have happened and will happen again. i think the visibility of this case actually works to mr. chen's advantage. at some point in time china, while it's a very sensitive time for them, they are very concerned about the emergence of a beijing awakening or beijing spring if you will.
they are beginning a transition from the presidency of hu jintao and they are embarrassed by revelations regarding their leadership inner circle who may have complicity with the death of a british citizen. so all of this is into the mix. i expect at some point the u.s. will be able to again resolve this case based on mr. chen's wishes but it will take time. >> i want to bring in the panel here. there's obviously you know, a foreign policy aspect here, quite a large one. also this is playing out domestically. john boehner criticizing the president in a way saying the united states has an obligation to stand with the oppressed not with the oppressor. having handed chen guangcheng back over to the chinese government the obama administration is responsible for ensuring his safety. governor rendell, is that a fair implication that it comes back to the obama administration? >> of course not. and this is just a typical
example of how bad our politics has become. the obama administration i think is handling this well. i think what the last speaker said is going to come to pass. i think the chinese are going to want to find a good way to get this guy out of the country. if i had someone like this fast becoming a symbol i wouldn't want him domestically in china. i wouldn't want to lock him up. we can work this out. you know, politicians of both parties got to take a deep breath and let these international things unfold without making them campaign fodder. >> s.e. is giving a worried shake of the head. i wanted to say two things. we have been talking about human rights in the context of the obama administration looking at it through the lens of syria where the president is getting sharp criticism about not doing more. the chinese situation would seem to complicate that. >> absolutely. unfortunately it's not just obama. the u.s. has a very long history
of mealy mouth capitulation on human rights to china. last year in august, biden was there saying i'm not going to second-guess your one-child policy. this administration is not the first to be mealy mouthed on human rights when it comes to china. you would think with the scandal this would be the perfect time to show strength and capitalize on that instability in china. and assert our influence over -- >> let's keep in mind, though, that we are there to ask for things from china. and you know, we want cooperation on iran, on north korea, of course there is chinese currency manipulation so it's hard to come with a begging bowl and also pony whip. >> one must be polite to people you owe $2 trillion. the fact that i understand what the speaker is doing. i think this is an inconvenient blind lawyer for just about everybody. the americans and the chinese would like to come to a mutual agreement, we're going to say what we have to say, you say what you have to say, find him a
safe place. we don't want to take too many shots from our political enemies abroad. the notion there is a single statement of how we react to human rights is wrong. human rights is part after complicated negotiation process. we would love to the be the most pure expression of who we're. the way we treat human rights in the middle east, in individual countries and what china has to differ. the speaker knows that, i know the speaker has his own political priorities he has to be responsible to. in the end this is going to go away. it's not going to derail relations. it's very tense and it's great news because the tension is there and because we have a figure, an individual amidst that we can pin this on. but this is not going to derail a very complicated long term relationship. no way. >> i do think, though, there is a danger for president obama the winner of the nobel peace prize by the way, to say we're standing up for human rights. "the daily beast" has an
interview with chen, in tears in his hospital bed saying he was trying to contact the american embassy. this is a symbol, so ease to understand from an american perspective the way americans digest their news. this is a blind dissident crying, weeping, where are the americans so. what nobody is saying is yes, we do owe them. they are our largest foreign creditor. we can't control iran without china. we can't control syria without china. we are no longer telling china what to do. we're not telling the world what to do. we have to live in the world as we can. >> don't you think we all should let these things play out a little bit? i mean -- >> yes. >> there is going to be a settlement here. i think when it happens human rights are going to be protected. the chinese are going to get what they want and we get what we want. >> what dhauz mean, let things play out? that's vague and sounds diplomatic. what is our moral obligation? >> to stand up and stand up and
fight for this guy, but i don't think we should say if you don't release him tomorrow we're going to send in nuclear war heads. >> it would seem the solution is to let chen guangcheng come to the united states because that neutralizes him as a dissident voice in china. and everyone would quote unquote win. do you foresee some conclusion like that? >> three things. first is the chinese human rights record is abysmal and the united states has never hesitated to say that. but we can beat our breasts all we want but in order to get the result that you want you have to have a respectful dialogue with the chinese and that's what had happened up until yesterday. but as governor rendell said, this is a story that is just unfolding, we're at the beginning, not near the end yet. there are going to be twists and turns like this. 24 hours ago we thought that we
had reached a settlement that actually was going to allow an activist inside of china to try to create change from there. it now appears he changed his mind. to one of your panelists there are u.s. officials as we speak in the hospital there trying to meet with him and chen does know that they have been trying to reach him and the chinese authorities have prevented that from happening. this is something i have confidence that hillary clinton is discussing and i do believe that ultimately china for its own interests as well as ours, will find a way to resolve this. but this is the nature of the relationship that we have with china. >> p.j. crowley, thanks for joining us and giving us the wisdom of the ages, sir. we look forward to seeing you again soon. >> thanks, alex. >> mitt romney bumps up his conservative bona fide with michele bachmann. his campaign faces criticism.
details next on "now." [ male announcer ] with six indulgently layered desserts, all at 150 calories or less, there's definitely a temptations for you. unless you're one of those people who doesn't like delicious stuff. temptations. it's the first jell-o that's just for adults. home protector plus, from liberty mutual insurance, where the costs to both repair your home and replace your possessions are covered. and we don't just cut a check for the depreciated value -- we can actually replace your stuff
with an exact or near match. plus, if your home is unfit to live in after an incident, we pay for you to stay somewhere else while it's being repaired. home protector plus, from liberty mutual insurance. because you never know what lies around the corner. to get a free quote, call... visit a local office, or go to libertymutual.com today. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
within the next hour michele bachmann is expected to endorse mitt romney a move that could help the presumptive republican nominee. it comes as debate erupted over the romney's campaign aide who resigned this week. we're talking about uniting conservatives here. the bachmann endorsement, does that do anything really? >> yeah, i mean i think if you're going to look at the republicans that mitt needs to get she's a good one. better than newt gingrich. she got out of the race, i think at a graceful point in her
campaign before it evolved into a nationwide zoo tour. it can help as much as endorsements actually help. >> the grenell -- richard grenell, interesting back and forth. i wonder, patricia, what you think. it looked like at the beginning here was some sort of vague seeming outreach to perhaps the gay community showing look, we have an openly gay member on our foreign policy team. that sorted looks like he pleased no one. matthew staber in boston globe on grenell's hiring like throwing salt into a wound, the wrong decision if he wants to reach out to the conservative base. supporters of grenell yesterday quoting christopher barren, clearly the romney campaign thought if they could put him 18 box it would go away. it's an unforced error. it doesn't bode well for the romney campaign going forward if they couldn't stand up to the most outrageous attacks.
>> no campaign is going to take more than two days of heat over a staffer. i don't think that the romney campaign wanted this to be a big deal. i don't think they wanted to the absymbol. grenell was pretty well in the conservative fabric. >> working as under john bolton. >> very well known. for conservatives to come out against him they should have been prepared. that was their biggest mistake. but i think how can mitt romney do anything else given where he is with the conservative community and given that he doesn't appear to have a perspective on a lot of things. are you against employment discrimination, are you for it? where do you stand on these things. it comes down to -- >> i think this has much more to do with leadership ability than it does about the issue of gays. i mean, you have this fellow fisher from the american family association saying we taught romney. he will never appoint another
homosexual activist again. he has to show he can stand up to pressure and he should have stood up to the pressure like when the gay soldier was booed by the audience back in the first debate romney should have said folks, you can disagree but he's out there defending us. >> a series. who are you mitt romney. >> this is the moment that we have talked about on this show over and over again. there are these pivot points that are available to mitt romney where he can stand up and say look, this is what i believe in and this is what i'm going to stand behind. this is on his own staff. i will say the issue of gay rights is not something that is going to go away. republicans keep this alive. in north carolina, voters heading to the polls on tuesday scheduled for the gop primary to decide the fate of amendment 1 which would change the state limiting -- the state constitution limiting legal unions to marriage between a man
and woman. >> we spoke a lot about leadership and sincerity. take it back to the other side to be crass about it, the danger if you're a republican is that you're getting behind the culture. there are time when's culture moves faster than legislation. you never want to be too far behind. the country will always move ahead kul turlly. for romney there was an etch-a-sketch moment. he could have wiped the slate clean and said guys, shut up. i'm going to have who i want, i'll be advised by who i wachblt instead they were silent. when you look at the entire sort of state legislative process, the danger for the republicans is falling behind. they don't need to be assertive and out in front, just close enough to where the pulse of america is that it doesn't become an issue. right now that's being fumbled. >> do you think he would have lost conservative support if he said that this guy's sexual orientation shouldn't matter, she accomplished in foreign policy, that's why he's on my staff? >> i think he could have gone a
step further. all evidence points to him being robust behind closed doors in saying we want you to stay, please don't go. but this bullying from the edges is really ugly. it's ugly in the republican party, it's ugly in the democrat party. i imagine governor rendell, you remember when bob casey was removed from the dnc schedule for being pro life, this has got to stop. it's an ugly side of politics and i think what you're witnessing on the right is really some of the worst of it. >> i don't know you can call this bullying from the edges, this is people standing up for someone on what they see as a civil rights issue. and the -- >> from the edges -- >> is what i'm saying. you're allowed to not support gay rights. you are allowed to. that's not the ugly part. the ugly part is using that to attack someone who is a perfectly good foreign policy adviser and has nothing to do with this issue for personal
gain, advance a cause. i think that's bullying from the edges. >> i don't know if this is from the edges. this is a very conservative republican party. you go out to these events dyed in the wool hard core conservatives. i think his decision to stand behind grenell would have hurt him with conservatives and nearly 30 states have -- >> a friend of mine said this is not representative. i think a lot of conservatives are okay with this. >> let me say one thing. >> and do not like this bullying from the right. >> me first, then rendell. we were talking about north carolina, missouri has members come out announcing he's gay urging the legislature to withdraw a bill that would limit the discussion of sexual orientation in public schools, sort of nonl on the street as don't say gay bill. jc penney t one million moms going after the country for fifi
turing a lesbian up thele. the civil rights issue of gay rights and gate marriage is going on and the debate is raging. >> one, the people who are upset at having gays in the government are not voting for barack obama. two, what you said is absolutely correct, is absolutely correct. 52% of americans now believe gay marriage is okay and appropriate. they are behind the times, they are missing this issue. this issue moved on. three, as far as se and her log cabin friend, the log cabin is empty. there is no one in it. >> that's not true. >> the log cabin is empty is going on the twitter feed immediately. after the break we're going to talk more about this issue and how it is affecting wall street and its potential impact on the race.
♪ power surge, let it blow your mind. [ male announcer ] for fruits, veggies and natural green tea energy... new v8 v-fusion plus energy. could've had a v8. new v8 v-fusion plus energy. recently, students from 31 countries took part in a science test. the top academic performers surprised some people. so did the country that came in 17th place. let's raise the bar and elevate our academic standards. let's do what's best for our students-by investing in our teachers. let's solve this. the day starts with arthritis pain... a load of new listings... and two pills. after a morning of walk-ups, it's back to more pain, back to more pills. the evening showings bring more pain and more pills. sealing the deal... when, hang on...
we were having a heated discussion as usual over the issue of gay rights, gay marriage, and whether the country is sort of ready to accept gay rights on a broad level and what our political -- our leaders should do. josh, there is an article on bloomberg.com. which talks about goldman sachs ceo who has come out and said, has been supportive of gay marriage and basically makes the case that if you're at goldman sachs, the only reason you are allowed to vote for president obama in this 2012 race is because of his position on gay rights. >> to be fair he said any one at goldman sachs can vote for whoever they want. but culturally, with the bloomberg story says is that the culture of goldman says my god, on every regulatory issue it's romney. but on this gay thing, we work
with gay people all the time. we cannot believe there is a tinge of doubt. why would i donate to folks that are going to discriminate. that's raging in lots of places that donate lots of money to campaigns. what we were talking about during the break it's not just to the voters but the fund-raisers romney had an opportunity to say have no reservation, i get it. i can be your guy. >> romney is doing okay with the fundraisers. >> pretty well. but there is a conflict there. i think as you see these social issues more often than not people who have lots of money have reservations so what he needs is not just money but real enthusiastic long money. i don't know if that's there yet. >> we were talking earlier really is a generational shift. when you look at older americans they are against gay rights, younger americans their friends are gay. >> or the notion of gay marriage. when you talk about the social issues i don't think it's just gay rights and gay marriage, it's the woman question, too. i know republican women who
said, and this is all anecdotal as every piece of evidence i have usually is, story i'll tell you, about -- women who would otherwise support mitt romney said oh, where he's at on women, on gay issues is too far right. i think i might vote for barack obama even though in terms of his fiscal plan, economic plan, we're eye to eye. i don't know if one trumps the other. >> i'm a conservative for fiscal issues but i would never tell somebody not to vote on your social consciencement it would seem with 8% unemployment, one in seven americans on food stamps. 85% of college students returning to live with mom and dad we need to vote on economic issues right now. and frankly, foreign policy issues, the things driving the day. and frankly, as important as reproductive rights are they do not impact my daily life the way
taxes and big government does. and that's not just me. that's everybody. so i think we need to think really long and hard about what our vote is doing, what it's saying and how it counts. >> i think you'll get a debate over economic issued and social issues in time for the fall going into november. coming up it's characterized as a private empire. how much influence does exxon-mobil have? we'll ask the author of a new book when he joins us next on "now." whoa! nobody insures more bikes than progressive. do you guys ride? well... no. sometimes, yeah. yes. well, if you know anybody else who also rides, send them here -- we got great coverage.
it's not like bikers love their bikes more than life itself. i doubt anyone will even notice. leading the pack in motorcycle insurance. now, that's progressive. call or click today. aarrggh! more than 50 times a day? so brighten your smile a healthy way with listerine® whitening plus restoring rinse. it's the only rinse that makes your teeth two shades whiter and two times stronger. ♪ listerine® whitening... power to your mouth.
[ henry ] well there's nothing like being on the top of the podium i think about it almost just about every day and what it means to me what it means to my country my family my parents came to america over thirty years ago from mexico to live the american dream. i'm proud to represent the usa because it's just to me it's the best country in the world. this is what the red white and blue means to me, what does it mean to you? invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable renewable sources of energy. >> that was a new online video
from the romney campaign criticizing president obama's energy policies. with gas prices on the minds of voters energy particularly oil is again at the center of the presidential race. and it's likely exxon-mobil will be a huge force in shaping the debate. as the nation's largest energy company virtually acts as its own independent state. arguably wielding more power than any corporation in the world. joining us is author of "private empire, exxon-mobil, an american power." it's an honor to have you on set. i read many of your writings. this i have not finished. a great book and important book to read right now. you make the point about exxon-mobil almost being its own nation state. the stat we pulled out from 1999 until the day of the s&p downgrade last year the net cash flow of the united states was negative 5.7 trillion. the net cash flow of exxon-mobil positive $493 billion.
this is a wealthy company. >> a triple a tread rating and the united states no longer does. something of the consequences. this is a company that not only like a lot of multinationals is spread all over the world and influential outside the u.s. but has a business model in which it drills holes in the ground all over and sits on top of them for 40 years at a time which puts them on the ground in so many countries involved in politics and the economy in a way that, say, google or walmart wouldn't be. >> it is an international company. i thought this was telling. we think of companies, we think of the u.s. government, i don't know if we think of it as powerful any more but we like to think of it as powerful. this exchange between lee ramen, the former ceo of exxon, asked -- having an exchange with a executive over building refineries to protect the u.s. against oil shortages. why would i want to do that,
raymond asked. because the united states needs it for security. i'm not a u.s. company and i don't make decisions based on what's good for the u.s. >> that's the reality. we live in a time generally where governments matter less and other institutions like corporations matter more. >> corporations are people too as -- >> but yeah, and this is -- this idea that i'm not a u.s. company even though you are head quartered in the u.s. and pay tax to the u.s. treasury i think gathered force since the cold war ended. used to be our big corporations were part of a national system that was in a fight against soviet communism, the sense that they were embedded on our side of the line was really strong. after the cold war i think these companies have stine themselves as loyal to shareholders, not government and their interests are not the same as the united states. >> we talk about the debate over oil subsidies and the sense that exxon-mobil is part of the republican party effectively because it's about protecting
subsidies for business and it's a business question. and in reality exxon-mobil has no necessary allegiance to the u.s. and the u.s. economy as that illustrates. when we talk about energy and climate change policies we're going to be batting that around a lot though i'm not sure anything will be done about it before, well, at any time in the near future. talk to me about exxon's role in preventing comprehensive energy reform. i know that cheney was at halliburton, you have an anecdote that says cheney arranged for bush to sign a letter repudiating his campaign position about co 2. witman called paul o'neill energy production is all that matters she said. cheney couldn't have been clearer. we just gave away the environment, o'neal replied. >> i think exxon-mobil has a really radical record in opposing climate change legislation in the first years after the kyoto accords between
97 and the end of the first bush term. they went further than a lot of corporations that were unhappy about that deal. a lot of reasons to oppose it on fairness grounds, on economic grounds but exxon-mobil went after the science and tried to create a culture of doubt about what was emerging and has as mainstream science around climate change. now they changed in the last four or five years, but it's a suggestion about when they decide to intervene in the public debate about a big issue in their world, they can do so very aggressively. >> josh, i want to bring you in. you're in the business world. i feel that we talk about the power of oil companies and largely it's sort of in the sort of like star wars dark star sense of things. really, this lays out how incredibly powerful exxon-mobil is. we talk about the debate around oil and alternative sources of fuel and they dominate it. >> one of the ways i think is interesting that i wanted to talk to steve about they do it by depersonalizing.
apple and exxon are the two biggest companies by value in the united states. you rarely find a grown-up who doesn't know that tim cook took over for steve jobs. i bet one in 100 can't name the ceo of exxon s. that intentional to make it a sort of impossible to define entity? >> faceless. >> i think it's a result of the system than an intention in and of itself. they are the most insular corporation, more like the marine corps than another that would recruit from competing companies. might come in with fresh perspective. you grow up from college to the executive suite. it's not possible really to enter at the top from a lateral competitive company or industry, so they have one fixed view and they reinforce their thinking inside this relatively closed system. it's interesting, apple -- the united states could produce apple and exxon is crazy. very different companies.
>> you know, we are a pet tropical-based economy for lack -- we are, this pen is made of plastic. apple products rely on petroleum. >> steve, i know you're aware of the dust up over the epa crucify comments. you talk about access in the book and some of the executives you interviewed say they had as much access to clinton as they did to bush. and less to obama. what did you learn about the tone that the obama administration has set and how oil executives have responded. >> also how did you get them to talk to you? how did you get access? >> it was a four-year project and i would not say that i had unlimited access to exxon-mobil although they are a very closed company and i was able to win some background interviews with their executives. first of all, during the 2008 campaign for exxon-mobil and possibly a lot of corporations the clinton campaign was more
accessible. the administration had raised money across eight years tdnc was out in every fortune 500 corporation's suite raising money. they had networks all over the business map. the obama administration came out of nowhere, they raised a lot of money in hollywood, on wall street and in silicon valley but didn't have the breadth of relationships in industrial america. and ordinary americans, from the bottom up. when the administration came in there wasn't this continuing set of relationships that could be imported into the first round of policy discussions. there was also an awkwardness. obama had run against the oil industry exmiss sidly. he pledged we must end the age of oil f. you are a president who is conscious about what you said and who you are negotiating with your first sets of meetings are probably not with oil executives. >> he has not gotten us any further away from the age of oil during his time in office though there are many reasons probably to explain that. other reasons perhaps not to
pull on those gardening gloves. and let's see how colorful an afternoon can be. with certified advice to help us expand our palette... ...and prices that give us more spring per dollar... ...we can mix the right soil with the right ideas. ...and bring even more color to any garden. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. lay down a new look, with earthgro mulch, now three bags for just $10. police are investigating the apparent suicide of junior seau, a pro bowl linebacker who played for two decades in the nfl. cops say he was found alone with a gunshot wound to the chest. it come as year after former chicago bears pro bowler shot himself in the chest after sending text messages to family saying he wanted his brain donated to the study of concussion-related injuries and two weeks ago former atlanta
falcon safety committed suicide. he was suing the nfl for handling of head njer his death he felt like his brain was falling off. he was losing control. he couldn't remember things from five minutes ago. it was frightening. joining us now from san diego is "sports illustrated" senior writer jim trotter. thanks for joining the program. >> thanks for having me. >> it would seem like you knew junior seau. tell us about him. we don't know of course the autopsy is not complete, we don't know the official cause of death. it would seem this is sort of a line in the sand for the nfl. >> well, it's one of many, and again, we don't want to jump to conclusions here but you know, it's tough to ignore the fact that three former nfl players in the last 15 months shot themselves to death and two of them we know were said to be suffering from brain trauma. or the long term effects of
brain trauma. junior's wife, ex-wife, said yesterday that he did suffer concussions during his playing career. my hope personally is he will donate his brain to research because in talking to near ro surgeons the last couple of weeks leading up to the nfl draft what they were telling me is there simply is not enough research, not enough science to discuss competently the long term effects of brain trauma and multiple concussions so i think the more information we get the better. >> governor, this comes on the heels of the bounty scandal where there have been a number of suspensions, firings. greg, i want to play a piece of sound from january 14th, this is coach greg -- defensive coach greg williams talking about the bounty scandal. >> we've got everything in the world to make sure we kill frank
gore's head. we want him running sideways. we want his head sideways. >> i mean, the language there, kill the head and the body will die. we've got to do everything in the world to make sure we kill frank gore's head. there something to be said for a contact sport and you see what's happening on the field. there seems to be a link between a concussion and suicide-related behavior. not suicides in general. what do you think the nfl needs to do? >> the nfl somewhat speaks out of both sides of its mouth. comes down hard on the hell met-to-helmet hits but it wants to expand to 18 games. that would be disas perrous for the players. have you seen rugby played. the tournament is in philadelphia. it's a contact sport, brutal. but no one's allowed to go at the head. no one is allowed to go at the head and there are zero brain injuries. if the nfl wanted to do it, heads off limits. >> there was an interesting
coincidence yesterday. i'm at my desk reading about the nfl bans on players who participated in the scandal. what you see is the nfl is taking all of the fun out of the sport, i can't believe this, we're not children. literally, as i'm reading that story the headline comes across and there is silence. on the one hand the nfl is trying to act for people who are competitive, violent, want to win now. so it's trying to take care of them in some ways, in another you see the depth of the problem. for me this is roger goodell's number one issue. >> rugby is a contact sport. those guys hit like nothing. they have no padding. >> they don't wear helmets. >> jim, i want to call your attention to a tweet from randy cross, he said where seau's death had anything to do with depression, it's a giant ticking time bomb. the nfl makes billions of dollars in revenue. do you think this is a ticking
time bomb? >> without question. you've got over 1500 retired and current players who are suing the nfl right now claiming negligence saying that they were not adequately informed about the potential long term consequences of head trauma. you also have players saying that they weren't treated correctly. and i'll say this. the league is trying to take steps here because the problem is, in talking to these neurosurgeons they don't have the scientific data to say that multiple concussions in the spaft a precursor to greater or more severe concussions in the future. there are variables at play. one one t severity, two, the time of recovery, three the incidents. they are trying to put together a national data base where they can track concussions from high school through college to the nfl so that they have that information to capably diagnose these player who is suffer
these. >> you would think, though, that with these high profile suicides and deaths, certainly you know, gathering more scientific evidence is absolutely necessary. there has to be something done here. >> go ahead. >> the most concerning thing, i used to write about sports, ten years ago i remember the nfl trying to address this issue. it's been ten years that this has been on the radar, and it's not just suicides which is when we always talk about it. it's alzheimer's, it's dementia. jim, you can speak to this. what kind of progress has been made over the past ten years? >> well, i think there has been progress in terms of now putting in place a system that players have to go through to get back on the field once he suffered a concussion. now we're talking about having independent neurologists on the sideline that basically prevent players from going back on the field after they sustained a concussion. let me say this to you. i talked to junior seau in march
about this issue because players complaining that the game was getting too soft because roger goodell was taking away some of the hits under the umbrella of player safety. and what junior said to me is that roger goodell has to do this, he said the game has to become safer because he said these players don't realize later in life when you have a father who wakes up and can't remember his own name or can't remember the name of his children, and he said players have to be protected against themselves. so he was all in favor of enhanced enforcement of player safety rules because he said if the league doesn't do something we're going to have more players in this situation. >> we know precisely the nhl has instituted a department of player safety and the number of concussions are down. we'll see if the nfl does something similar. thank you for your time and your wisdom. we'll be back with more after the break. coffee doesn't have vitamins... unless you want it to.
hi, i just switched jobs, and i want to roll over my old 401(k) into a fidelity ira. man: okay, no problem. it's easy to get started; i can help you with the paperwork. um...this green line just appeared on my floor. yeah, that's fidelity helping you reach your financial goals. could you hold on a second? it's your money. roll over your old 401(k) into a fidelity ira and take control of your personal economy. this is going to be helpful. call or come in today. fidelity investments. turn here.
thanks again to se, the governor. they wrote ed in the teleprompter. i'm never going to call you anything other than the governor. patricia and josh. catch more of the panel and later on the web. log on to now. that's all for us today. i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific when i'm joined by ben smith, patricia murphy is back for more. find us at facebook.com. hi, andrea. >> hi, alex. we're following the rapidly changing developments for the blind chinese dissident who wants to come to the u.s. and lawmakers are holding an emergency hearing. william cohen joins us. can michele bachmann and newt gingrich deliver conservative holdouts.
we're remembering junior seau and looking at some of the documents found in bin laden's compound. that and more coming up. "andrea mitchell reports." [ kate ] many women may not be properly absorbing the calcium they take because they don't take it with food. switch to citracal maximum plus d. it's the only calcium supplement
that can be taken with or without food. that's why my doctor recommends citracal maximum. it's all about absorption. that's why my doctor recommends citracal maximum. recently, students from 31 countries took part in a science test. the top academic performers surprised some people. so did the country that came in 17th place. let's raise the bar and elevate our academic standards. let's do what's best for our students-by investing in our teachers. let's solve this.
right now on "andrea mitchell reports" china syndrome. the blind dissident changes his mind. u.s. china relations are on the line. >> we believe that all governments do have to answer to citizens' aspirations for dignity and the rule of law. and that no nation can or should -- >> decision 2012, battle ground virginia as mitt romney tries out another possible running mate. virginia governor bob mcdonnell. he picks up endorsement from michele bachmann today. the apparent suicide of former nfl great junior seau raising new questions about football head injuries. >> good day, i'm andre