tv MSNBC Live MSNBC September 19, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT
redistribution. thnchts idea the president has of redistributing, i know there are some people in our country who want to have a government take from some to give to the others. they'd like to be the others on the receiving end of that and feel that a redistribution model makes sense. >> mitt romney's wing man on the ticket paul ryan echoing the line of attack just over an hour ago in virginia. >> president obama said that he believes in redistribution. mitt romney and i are not running to redistribute the wealth. mitt romney and i are running to help americans create wealth. >> so speaking of the president, he spoke out about mitt romney's remarks for the very first time last night in a late night interview with david letterman. >> when i meet republicans as i'm traveling around the country, you know, they are hard working, family people.
they care deeply about this country and my expectation is that if you want to be president you got to work for everybody not just for some. >> with political buzzards circling romney's campaign does he need a game change or does he stay this course? >> conservatives are now circling around mitt romney, speaking truth to power saying this is not working. >> they've been asking why can't you reset this campaign? why can't big changes be made right now to the team? >> romney is behind but this race is not over despite what you might read on twitter. >> so the romney controversy hangs on as the new poll shows the president with his largest lead since march. he is closing the gap on romney, issue number one which is the economy, economy, economy. those polls were taken before the videotaped comments were released and before romney's rough week. we'll dig in now with our wednesday political power panel. we've assembled matt miller msnbc contributor and "the washington post" columnist,
former san francisco mayor willie brown, and mark mckinnon daily beast contributor and cofounder of no labels. he worked on senator john mccain's '08 campaign as well as both of president george w. bush's campaigns. it is great to have you here. mark, i'll start with you. you wrote in the daily beast today there is still time left for romney to turn this one around. nbc's first read points out there are a lot of comparisons to what we're seeing present day to '04. we remind everybody the bush-kerry matchup. you know the race all too well. kerry won october at least after the debate. can romney do the same thing at this point? >> sure he can. i do remember well what we called black september in the 2000 campaign very similar circumstances. we came out of the convention down three points and all the guns were leveled at us and everybody was saying the campaign staff and consultants should be fired. i am familiar with the condition. now it's -- i think romney
really compounded the problem with the tape this week. what we're seeing is an increasing problem of him being able to connect with voters in a sense that he understands and shares their values and concerns and that gap is widening. it's so disconnected from the stories that you read about mitt romney and his personal life and his charitable giving and the things he has done for people. that's completely disconnected from what increasingly seems to be an inability to connect publicly with people. so there's a disconnect there that somehow he's got to figure out how to wire in. but the clock is running out. >> it is a big hurdle with the time running down. we played that sound earlier in the show where mitt romney is trying to push those redistribution comments by the president made over a decade ago. paul ryan jumping in on that, too. now the governor is also promising to deliver recovery, not dependency in a new "usa today" op-ed. as one political article pointed
out this isn't over until karl rove sings. do you think romney because of his money and the debates to come, is it too early for democrats to dance in the end zone on this one? >> i think it's much too early for democrats to dance in the end zone. as a matter of fact, we got about 50 or so days left to go and i can assure you that within that period of time something awful could happen. however, if the election was held at this moment, mr. romney would be defeated. frankly, he has been unable to transition himself into the conservative that he thinks he needs to be to ignite the base among republicans. and if he continues in that vein, then democrats, we will be successful on election day. but we must work just as hard as we've done during the month of september and make life just as miserable for romney with his help. >> all right. with romney's help the obama campaign is out with this new ad. i want to show you the pro obama
super pac priorities usa out using those words of mitt romney in this new ad. take a look. >> victims? behind these doors, middle class families struggle and romney will make things even tougher, raising taxes by up to $2,000 to give multi-million airs a $250,000 tax break. >> in your latest column in "the washington post" you write about romney's remarks saying the interesting question is how this faulty makers versus takers narrative became so pervasive and unquestioned on the right that its casual endorsement by a gop presidential candidate became a campaign crisis waiting to happen. as you know some of the takers like medicare, receiving seniors, they support mitt romney in larger numbers in this country so will that ever change if they don't see themselves as benefiting from the government? >> well, they're not takers. the whole idea of makers versus takers is this kind of false narrative that a lot of wealthier republicans seem to
have bought into where it is clear that 47% of the population that romney insulted, most of those folks are taken off the tax rolls thanks to republican tax policy that was sensible. the earned income tax credit, rewarding the working poor, and the idea that, you know, we're divided in this way is just crazy. i think you have to say that barack obama at this point while it's too soon obviously to say that the race is over, he's got to be one of the luckiest politicians in terms of the kind of opponents he's drawn that ever lived because when you've got romney imploding in ways like this it's really a gift to the white house. >> all right. so i'm going to ask the gentlemen to hang on with the power panel. kristen welker joins me live from the white house. i want to talk more about the numts, the new nbc/"wall street journal" poll the president closing the gap on the question of the eeky and basically tied now with mitt romney when it comes to what americans think both candidates can do to turn
things around. how is the white house reacting? >> reporter: the white house, obama campaign officials aren't making too much of these numbers. they say, look. these numbers are going to go up and down and will probably narrow between now and election day. but undoubtedly there are some positives for president obama when you look at the internals of this poll. take a look at the economy and optimism about the economy. 42% now say the economy will get better within the next 12 months. that's important because it's a six-point jump from august and a 15-point jump from july and of course the economy is the big central issue for voters. however, thomas, there are also some concerning things within this poll. take a look at foreign policy. 49% now approve of the president's handling of foreign policy. 46% disapprove. if you look at the numbers from august, 54% approved and 40% disapproved. so that's a big thing for
president obama and it is clear the unrest in the middle east, the death of ambassador chris stevens and three other americans certainly taking its toll on this administration. one more concern if you look for the number of voters who are up for grabs, 28% right now are favoring mitt romney. 25% barack obama. again, both campaigns expecting these numbers to go up and down between now and election day. >> all right. kristen welker at the white house, thanks so much. mark mckinnon, mayor brown, matt miller, i'll ask you to stay with us. i want to show everybody these shots of the space shuttle "endeavour" making its way to houston after two days of rain delays from leaving florida. it was able to take off successfully this morning. now it's off to houston. this is just a pit stop there. because it is going to be eventually working its way across the country to the california science center. again, this is just all in part of the space shuttle's being placed strategically around the country at different places so that people can visit them. we'll be back with more after this. managing my diabetes is part of my life, between taking insulin and testing my blood sugar... is this part of your life?
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another round of polling today putting the president ahn mitt romney head to head in all important battleground states and they show the race still tight right down to the wire after the conventions. the quinnipiac, "new york times", cbs poll of likely voters showing the president leading by five points in wisconsin. four in virginia. and by one point in the swing state of colorado. i want to bring back our political power panel. we have mark mckinnon, mayor brown, and matt miller. one of the biggest stories we're seeing from this new round of polling is the fact that americans feel more confident in the president when it comes to his handling of the economy basically tied now in a dpaed he dead heat with mitt romney. do we owe that to the convention speech of bill clinton?
was that a moment of change for the president? >> i think it contributed substantially. i think the public had been waiting for somebody to compare the condition of mr. obama with reference to the economy and the condition of his opponent with reference to the economy. mr. clinton did that. but more importantly, the president did it himself. he acknowledged that we have to get away from the dream world of change and hope and we have to get to the real world of how we can do it. and, in fact, the public responded. when he talked about what he did with the auto industry, what he talked about how he handled the whole business of whether or not banks would have resources to do what they needed to do. he walked through that in practical ways as did bill clinton. and the results are that people now believe it and believe me by the way the economy is responding positively to it as well. dow-jones has been consistently up for the last two or three weeks. all of that speaks well and it
keeps mr. obama out of the eye of the storm on the question of the economy. >> meanwhile, paul ryan is trying to help out mitt romney in deflecting some of the criticism about the 47% remark. this was him talking to a tv station in reno, nevada. take a look. >> he was obviously inarticulate in making this point and the point we're trying to make here is under the obama economy governor dependency is up and economic stagnation is up. >> do you think governor romney regrets saying what he did? >> oh, i think he would have said it differently for sure but the point still stands. >> regrets saying it or that there is a tape of it? i want to ask you, president obama is not immune. he has gotten flack this year for a number of gaffes. among them you didn't build that. the private sector is doing fine. when you have numbers this close in the swing states is the problem for romney that this one is less than happening 50 days before november before the election itself that it happened right now at this critical
moment in the campaign? >> yeah. that certainly is part of the problem, thomas. the other is, it's not true what paul ryan said. romney wasn't being inarticulate. he was expressing a point of view in a kind of way the public doesn't see it is very unattractive and also a view that it is wrong and hypocrite call. the idea half of americans don't pay federal income taxes and that makes them entitled victims who feel dependent, it's not true. those people all pay payroll taxes, most of them the social security taxes people pay account for more taxes than income taxes for most americans today and it shows how romney is out of touch with what the real life situation is for average americans and that's what's hurting him as we hit the finish line here. >> mark, peggy noonan wrote this of romney's campaign. it's time to admit the romney campaign is an incompetent one. it is not big, not brave, not
thoughtfully tackling great issues. it's always been too small for the moment. all the activists, party supporters, and big donors should be pushing for change. people want to focus on who at the top is least constructive and most responsible but mitt romney is no puppet. he chooses who to listen to and intervention is in order. mitt, this isn't working. so, mark, as we look at what races are going on elsewhere in the country we have linda mcmann of connecticut, scott brown from massachusetts two from romney's own party who have denounced his remarks about the 47%. i think even chris christie tweeted about the fact that he is governor of all people of new jersey. what can mitt romney say to reaffirm this position with the republican base? and americans in general? >> well, the good news for mitt romney is that after a disastrous week and polling which shows that 3/4 of the country thinks the economy is going to be the same or get better, that's really what it is all about, people's views of not
what the economy is today but where they think it is going to be in the future, given all of that he is still in the game. so that's the one encouraging piece of news. i agree with peggy noonan. people are looking for something big from a president. they want to see, you know, a compassionate side. they want the president no matter who it is to be president of all americans and this notion that you divide up half the country and describe them as victims, is highly problematic particularly when a good portion of those, quote, victims are older voters who are inclined to vote republican and inclined to vote for romney. so you're not only making it problematic with persuadable voters you need to get to a majority you are also creating a problem with your own base. so that's where the problem is. and of course there are 50 days left and that's a lifetime in politics and the debates will be critical. it is clear what the problem is. it is not a problem he fixes by hiring or firing more campaign
staff but a problem with the candidate, the guy on the ballot and running for president. >> our wednesday political power panel, matt miller former mayor of san francisco willie brown and mark mckinnon. thanks for your time. i appreciate your insight. >> thank you. up next the way out of afghanistan. senator john mccain criticizing insider attacks of afghan forces against u.s. troops and blaming the obama administration. does either president obama or mitt romney have an answer for ending the conflict? i'll talk with retired general wesley clark about anti-u.s. sentiment, next. mom: ready to go to work? ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ every mom needs a little helper. that's why i got a subaru.
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that killed u.s. ambassador chris stevens and three other americans. >> the best information we have now, the facts we have now indicate this was an opportunistic attack on our embassy. the attack began and evolved and escalated over several hours. i said our embassy. our diplomatic post in benghazi. it evolved and escalated over several hours. it appears that individuals who were certainly well armed seized on the opportunity presented as the events unfolded that evening into the morning hours. >> well armed, opportunistic attack on the diplomatic post on 9/11. we'll continue to follow that hearing and bring you any important information that comes out of that. new outrage in the muslim world today after a french magazine published cartoons ridiculing the prophet mohammed. security has been stepped up at the magazine's offices located in paris and french embassies
and schools in a in many of countries as well. french leaders condemned the cartoons but the government defended the right of the magazine to publish them. more angry protests are taking place today against the anti-islamic video that was made in the u.s. in pakistan's capital take a look at this. protesters forcing their way into an area that houses the u.s. embassy before security forces were able to turn them back. in jal aalabad protesters block the main road to the capital kabul. joining me is wesley clark, host of the stars earned stripes. as we look at the new video the protests taking place today, still over the anti-islamic film, they've been raging for more than a week now. and this now, the french magazine publishing the disparaging cartoons of the prophet mohammed, it looks like we'll be at the mercy of such
releases for, you know, forever. we can't really avoid that with certain countries having freedom of the press and certainly within america to our first amendment rights of free speech. but don't we need to properly prepare and plan for the angry reaction and retaliation that puts our troops in harm's way? >> well, we do need to prepare and plan for this. but actually, the majority of the burden falls on the government. the government of pakistan in this case or the government of libya or the government of egypt. they have minorities who are potentially violent, enraged by freedom of the press in other countries and it is their responsibility to protect our embassies, our sovereign territory and obviously the lives and safety of american diplomatic personnel and their families. >> in afghanistan right now the bigger concern is the demonstrations, not just the antiislamic film but the waves of insider attacks the most
recent this last sunday when four u.s. soldiers were killed. now most joint u.s. and other nato operations have been suspended. i have a cousin on a nine-month deployment in afghanistan and he told me the soldiers he is working with are not patrolling anymore until further notice. we have senators john mccain, joe lieberman, lindsay graham putting out a statement criticizing the president's strategy. they say in quote, in particular, we're concerned that the rush to build up the afghan national security forces as quickly as possible, so that u.s. forces could begin withdrawing on the administration's timetable has contributed to the problem of the so-called insider attacks. do you agree with that estimation that the timetable and the rush to withdraw is the problem? >> we've been in afghanistan for over ten years and we've had forces out there working with the afghans all this time. we've had for several years, seven or eight years a building
program for the afghan security forces so there is nothing new in this. yes we're bringing people in. but the fact that we're trying to build a large force doesn't mean that if we built a smaller force we'd have any better luck in terms of screening out people who might turn hostile once they were up and confronting u.s. troops and had an opportunity to harm. i think that is not the issue. the issue is really can we find a way to increase security for our forces while we still do the training mission for the afghan? we started by saying security first, stop the joint patrols until we can figure out a better way to do it. i imagine behind the scenes we're redoubling our efforts with the afghanistans to go through their own ranks, screen out those who might be defectors or secretly siding with the taliban. we're looking for procedures to keep our soldiers armed and on the alert when they're in the
presence of so-called green forces and looking at other procedures where we can do this from aerial observation, from training and sending them out on their own. there are a lot of different techniques that have to be worked and it'll take a while for our guys to come up with the right way but we'll come up with a way to finish doing our training job. i don't think this is a reason to criticize the policy. we need a withdrawal date. that withdrawal date is constructive. and this is a problem really for the afghan government more than it is for the united states. >> general wesley clark, sir, thanks for your time. appreciate it. >> thank you. under review the pennsylvania supreme court sends that controversial voter i.d. law back down to a lower court to determine if it could be implemented without disenfranchising voters. with such little time to go until the election how will this issue be decided? plus, arrested again. wait until you hear what lindsay lohan has done this time around.
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there may be a reprieve from the state's new voter i.d. law. the state supreme court says more information is needed about the law which requires residents to show photo i.d. when they vote on november 6. it is telling the lower commonwealth court which upheld the law to find out if it creates an unfair burden on voters. if so the law could be blocked and with 48 days until election day the stakes couldn't be higher. joining me now is the codirector and civil rights attorney judith brown. it is good to have you here. >> hi. >> there was a belief the six court justices three dems and three republicans would deadlock on this according to party lines. instead they voted 4-1. while it seems to suggest it was a nonpolitical ruling what is the legal logic for punting it back to the lower court instead of ruling outright? >> the legal logic is that the
pennsylvania constitution has a strong provision around the right to vote and the court was concerned that in fact hundreds of thousands of people could be dis disenfranchised by this. they want it to go back to the court and now the burden is back on the state and they'll have to show there is going to be no disenfranchisement. >> so what is the next step here? and is there a down side in terms of how it's going to affect the voters? what should residents without photo i.d. be doing while this is being hashed out? >> so this is clearly a move in the right direction by the court to, you know, ensure that the right to vote is protected in the state of pennsylvania. right now the state is going to have to show that they're going to be able to get i.d.s in the hands of voters. we know that there is an estimate that over 1 million registered voters do not have i.d. so we're still telling people go and get your i.d. because we don't know. we go back to court on october 2nd and we have another, you
know, another hearing on this. we don't know what's going to happen. we want people to be prepared. but we're concerned because we know that the state is not ready to get i.d.s in the hands of all of those registered voters. that's why we were in the court in the first place. >> all right. judith, i want to ask you to stand by because i want to shift to another news worthy topic talking about voter purging because there is a legal battle against that under way in iowa where the secretary of state there is faced with rules to purge illegal immigrants. the latino population jumped 92% in the last 11 years. activists filed a lawsuit to stop the purging and last week got temporary relief when a state judge put the rules on hold. our guest is iowa's director of league of latino american citizens. secretary of state schultz has been arguing your group and the aclu had no legal standing to
try to block his efforts to impose these restrictions and purge the voter rolls. what is your reaction to the judge's rule against the imposition? >> well, we're very supportive and appreciative of the judge's decision. this allows us the opportunity to make sure that our community can vote on election day. so we're very glad this happened. >> joseph, a similar thing is happening in the state of texas where thousands of people recently opened their mail boxes and found they had received letters informing them that they were not living. they were dead. are voters in your state as confused by efforts like this or do they realize what is at stake here and some of the gains being played? >> well, people from our community were very concerned about this especially the letter that would have went out to our people, new citizens. if they had received this letter it would have been an extremely chilling effect. the whole discussion about what the secretary of state was attempting to do did get around. it reached every part of the
state. our council leadership especially over on the eastern part of iowa was very concerned about this. lots of discussions were going on with the county auditors in that area with our people there. and fear was growing. >> joseph, thanks. i want to bring judith back into the conversation. listening to this when you take all of these states into consideration in terms of the strict voter i.d. laws, these efforts to purge the voter rolls, are minorities winning or losing this fight with the help of the judicial system? >> well, we know that, you know, voting should be free, fair, and accessible. unfortunately, we have seen politicians trying to manipulate the rules for their own partisan gain. and we have been winning. in fact, in florida, we just settled our case around the purge issue there. we know that these laws are targeting african-americans, latinos, the elderly, and veterans. and young voters. and so we're fighting back. we're winning in the courts
because at the end of the day, our democracy should be equal. everyone should be able to participate. >> judith, i want to ask you to stand by. i know i keep peppering you with questions but this is breaking news just into us concerning florida and the trayvon martin case. nbc news has just confirmed evidence released in the george zimmerman case shows that there was no dna from trayvon martin on the gun grip. so no dna from trayvon martin on the gun grip that zimmerman had that was used to take the life of trayvon martin. i know that you've been very active and out front on this story so while i have you here i want your take on this legal evidence coming forward that there is no evidence from trayvon martin. so the story of zimmerman saying that trayvon martin made attempts toward his gun, they're also saying there is not conclusive dna on the gun's holster from trayvon martin at all either. it's just zimmerman. >> yeah. thomas, this is huge. this is huge evidence that shows
that george zimmerman really was engaged in an effort to track down and kill trayvon martin. and it is unfortunate that this has happened. i feel for the martin family. but i believe that we are on the road to justice in this case as more evidence comes out. we keep seeing that george zimmerman is not telling the truth about what happened on that day. and so i believe that justice is going to be done for trayvon martin and his family. >> again, nbc news just learning and confirming that evidence released in the george zimmerman case showed there was no dna from trayvon martin on the gun grip and it's inconclusive. they were not able to identify any of martin's dna on the gun's holster. judith brown, thanks for joining me for the voter i.d. segment and also through this breaking news on the trayvon martin case. i appreciate it. >> thank you, thomas. take care. >> absolutely. starting with more than 50,000 people in the northeast
they lost power last night as a line of heavy thunderstorms passed through the region. the severe weather stretched from tennessee to maine. now tornado watches were posted for much of the area. utility companies were able to restore power to most customers by late this morning. students in chicago are back in school today. this after seven days of protests and picket lines. delegates for the chicago teachers union voted yesterday to end the contentious strike. the city's 30,000 teachers must still approve the proposed contract which the mayor rahm emanuel says has something for both sides. >> with this agreement our teachers will receive higher pay and our students will have a higher standard of education. for the first time teachers will have a meaningful evaluation system based and designed by their fellow teachers. >> under the new contract teachers will get a 7% raise over the next three years. the proposal also says that 30%
of the teacher's evaluation is to be based on students' standardized test scores. less than the 40% the mayor had been asking for. school principals retained hiring power but half of all new hires must be laid off teachers. thousands of american airlines workers have learned they could lose their jobs as that company is going through bankruptcy restructuring. the airline has sent out layoff warning notices to more than 11,000 employees. a company spokesman says the job losses will be closer to roughly 4400. lindsay lohan was arrested early this morning for a hit-and-run accident in new york city. the suv clipped a pedestrian at a low speed. she was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident and was released without bail. we are getting our first glimpse of a newly born panda at the smithsonian national zoo in d.c. take a close look here. you can check out the mom cradling her cub. this is her second birth since 2005. now zoo keepers didn't think she would ever have another cub.
doesn't have a name for this one just yet. not until it is 100 days old will they go through a name. tackling marriage equality. we have a discussion about his long-term support for the lgbt community and changes coming to pro sports. on the fence. some african-american pastors don't want to vote for either presidential candidate for different reasons. what are they telling their flocks? i'll ask the reverend a.r. bernard about that. what do you think about people being encouraged in churches to potentially stay home this election? tweet me at thomas a. roberts. [ jack ] after lauren broke up with me, i went to the citi private pass page and decided to be...not boring. that's how i met marilyn... giada... really good. yes! [ jack ] ...and alicia. ♪ this girl is on fire [ male announcer ] use any citi card to get the benefits of private pass. more concerts, more events, more experiences. [ jack ] hey, who's boring now?
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played a tone to sleeping participants and then followed that sound with either a pleasant or unpleasant scent. after waking, participants reacted to the tone either inhaling or cutting their breath both learned reactions based on the scent. let's get you up it speed on the shuttle "endeavour" that landed at ellington field in houston after a fly over at johnson space center. we're seeing the shuttle come down for landing there. it took off this morning from florida. its final destination is going to be to the l.a. international airport where it's going to be on display at the california science center. >> i'm sorry for the actions. i'd like to ask apologies from the fans, the blue jays organization, it was not something i intended to be offensive. i'm sorry for what happened and i guarantee it will not happen again in my career. >> toronto blue jays short stop escobar issuing an apology while
suspended for three games for publicly displaying a homophobic slur on his face. this all happened last saturday in a game against boston when he showed up on the field with eye blacks that displayed in spanish a derogatory term and phrase for gays. escobar claims the word has a different meaning in his culture. still, according to league rules, he'll now undergo sensitivity training. on the positive side, there is more support for marriage equality in the nfl. in this case the league's chief joining players now speaking out. lbgt equality in all and roger goodell recently said, quote, i think in this day and age people are going to speak up about what they think is important. they speak as individuals and that is an important part of democracy. i recently had a chance to speak with the baltimore ravens linebacker about the personal and political impact this issue has inside and outside of pro sports. >> certainly this is a hot
button issue in the state of maryland where the governor martin o'malley has pushed for marriage equality. in november people will go to the ballots to see this put forth making maryland the 8th state in the country to legalize same sex unions. how do you think people in maryland and around the country have reacted to hearing the kickback that you got from burns for your support for marriage equality? >> it has been overwhelming, a worldwide effect. i've gotten e-mails from all over the world especially here in maryland and baltimore and raven fans. everybody is for it. and just people, if you go back 24 months ago people were squawking and i'd hear negative comments and now the overwhelming majority are for marriage equality and treating everybody fairly. it is the right thing to do and it is in the name of love. why would you treat people differently just because they love somebody of the same sex? >> one thing i need to ask you about is this story in the news out of north dakota. a student playing there at north dakota college of science was
thrown off the team by the coach after he was spotted kissing his boyfriend in the stands at an away game in colorado. jamie has since withdrawn from the school. homophobia is really an uphill battle in sports. there are no out players in professional football or baseball. do you think the times are right for that to change? is it safe for a pro sports player in football or baseball to come out? >> well, this is why we're here and why we're talking about this issue. i had a great conversation with the ravens' president and he said and i said that it doesn't matter. if you have a player, he is a great person and he is a great football player, and he can get his job done, then he can do whatever he wants to do, believe whatever he wants to believe. you need to be a great football player and a great person and we can get this done. so we'll have to come to this aid to defend this young man from north dakota and help him out in any way we can to make him feel that he can be comfortable in his own nation in his own country with his own team and with his teammates that he can be safe and be able to
live a free life and a happy life and that's why we're here talking about this. i think the time is coming. i don't know when but we're trying to make it safe and expedite that. >> my thanks to brendan for sitting down for that interview. there is more good news on the marriage equality front. a big uptick in national support. a new poll from the "new york times" and cbs news showing more americans support same sex marriage 51-41%. president obama weighs in on the campaign. it's time now for the polyside bar. the president sat down with david letterman for a late night chat about waist lines. >> you look great. >> i feel good. >> how much do you weigh? >> you know, about 180. >> 180 looks good on you. >> thank you. >> 'cuz that's just about where i am and i don't look so good at 180. >> you know, you look sharp. >> you haven't seen me naked. >> we're going to keep it that way.
yes. >> that's fair enough. >> so after that the president went to a fundraiser with power couple beyonce and jay-z and pointed out that he's got a lot in common with jay-z saying, quote, we both have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are. we have a little bond there. newt gingrich was one of the only republicans who defended congressman todd akin when he made the rape comment. now he is going one step further with a fundraiser next week. it was announced this morning by conservative activist phyllis shafly. late night comics are having a field day with the secretly recorded videotape from mitt romney's fundraiser in florida including stephen colbert. take a look. >> we are all gathered here this evening because i have agreed to accept the presidency but, unfortunately, almost half, two score and seven percent will vote for my opponent. that socialist hot and to the. bring me the shrimp and the mindless masses. come on. come in. yes. here we go. thank you, winslow. thank you. now hold still.
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as election day nears the battle for the right to vote is being complicated by matters of faith. in this case, some african-americans say they're being urged by their clergy to stay home on election day rather than vote for either president obama or mitt romney. given the tightness of this race it's an unnerving message for both sides. the reverend a.r. bernard founder of the christian cultural center in brooklyn, new york and joins me to talk about this. good to have you here. you say a recent ap story on this subject misquoted you, implying that you were instructing people from the pulpit not to vote. >> that is correct. the associated press article placed me in the company of a
handful of african-american pastors who are advocating not voting. let me give you three powerful reasons why i would never tell my congregation not to vote. the right to vote is to be cherished and exercised and i would never say don't vote. >> when we look at the context of that article, though, there are certain pastors that are telling the flock that mitt romney really doesn't represent them and certainly you can't vote for him and that president obama's stance on marriage equality could be a red flag to make people stay home. what is your message to people out there who are conflicted by faith, but want to be involved with the electorate? >> again, i don't think there's any one candidate in the history of this country who totally and completely reflect the values of any one religious institution or organization. but, we still have a responsibility to vote. and if you don't like romney's position, don't let same-sex
marriage be the deciding factor with regard to voting for barack obama. >> when it comes to instructive politics in church, a lot of people do learn their politics from the pulpit, true? >> yeah. you know, we need to make it clear distinction. when we talk about separation of church and state, the state, when we talk about civil rights, all right, in relationship to the state, civil rights has to do with insuring one's ability to participate in the social and political life of a society. without discrimination or reprengs. so for the greater society, all right, this community, socio political community, the same-sex marriage issue is a civil rights issue but for the church, it's not a civil rights issue, it's a moral issue. more reality has to do with right and wrong behavior based on a code of conduct. the tenants of our faith clearly
determine life-styles we should live. for the church it's a moral issue, not a civil rights issue. >> so when people were talking about the fact and using in the '60s interracial marriage was against biblical teachings was that a moral failure of the church. >> no, no. absolutely not. >> how are the two comparative today? >> marrying someone who is an opposite sex, who happens to be another race, all right, i wouldn't compare that to the same thing as marrying someone of the same sex. let me say this to you, all right, because i believe people have to choose the right to choose what they want. that's what makes us an american society who we are. i have a responsibility to live up to the tenants of my faith and if my faith says that there are certain boundaries and restrictions and roles we occupy, then i don't claim to have a full understanding of the deep subject of human sexuality but understanding is not prerec quissy to obedience to the
tenants of my faith. i obey them and try to understand and work through the realities of life. >> in '08 you support president obama. >> this time around the only one that's convincing me to vote for obama is mitt romney. >> all right. sir, thanks so much. that's going to wrap things up for me today. thank all of you for joining me. "now" with alex wagner comes your way next from the nation's capit capital. remember when you said men are superior drivers? yeah. yeah. then how'd i get this...
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