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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  April 10, 2013 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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>> that is all in for this evening and the rachel maddow show starts right now on time. good evening. >> in three, two -- >> exactly. boom. >> precision now. >> patting myself on the back. >> thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. and then there were five. first, new york, colorado, maryland and now, today, number five. rhode island, the smallest state in the nation today became the latest state in the nation to move forward on gun reform. the package of bills announced by leaders, lincoln chaffy, was the product of an interagency working group that includes the governor's office, state police. this was a group set up by the state after the newtown, connecticut massacre in december.
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they set this group up to review the state's laws and then today in response to that massacre and their review of the state laws, they put forward nine bills. nine bills that include a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines and improving the reporting of mental health information to the state's background check systems. a fairly comprehensive package. now, in terms of whether or not this will pass, it may help to consider the partisan background. do not adjust your television sets. this is really that lopsided. there are eight republicans for the 29 democrats in the state senate. wow. rhode island will have a debate over these measures and some may be changed by virtue of the debate, but this partisan break
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down in the state means these measures will likely pass. since the sandy hook elementary school massacre on december 14th, there's been bipartisan cooperation in the states that have reformeded their laws thus far. that's particularly true in connecticut, but it's not irrelevant to note that all five of the states that have moves thus far are blue states. with the exception of the new york state senate, more easily broken down into indicted and not yet indicted as opposed to republicans versus democrats, the exception of new york, which is a little weird in terms of the state senate, all of these states where gun reform has passed or is on its way, all of them are heavily dominated by democrats. these are blue state legislatures who have been making the progress on guns so far. well, how does that translate to change at the federal level? united states senate was back in session, too and this is about to become very nonhypothetical.
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this is on the docket, on the schedule. this is happening now. one of the ways you can tell is that the tone of the pressure is changing. i want you to look at this new ad. a new ad that's just started running. about pennsylvania republican senator pat toomey. it's targeting senator toomey, but not an ad against them. it's building him a home state practical narrative for why he ought to be on the side of reform. >> pennsylvania has a strong background check system, now, the u.s. senate can pass comprehensive legislature that can stop criminals. senator toomey understands how important that change is. >> i'm in favor of making changes to a background system. call senator toomey.
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tell him it's time to take pennsylvania solutions to washington. >> haers the interesting thing. first, mostly, i guess it's interesting, but this is herbally a positive ad in favor of a republican senator findinging a way to support reform in a way that will resognate with his home state. can we just put up on the screen the end of it, the last frame, kind of the call to action? so, lots of political issue adds end with kind of a call to action like this. demand action. call this number. you're supposed to call the number and it either connects you to the interest group running the add or donating the money. sometimes, in a negative ad where they're targeting somebody, the call to action phone number at the end will be the office phone number of the person who has targeted in the ad as the bad guy. people moved by the ad will call that person's office and complain.
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but in this case, again, this is kind of a positive ad. at least an encouraging ad for senator toomey in pennsylvania to support nationally a policy that is working and noncontroversial. so for this ad, this is really interesting. look at what happens if you were moved by this ad and you decide to answer the call to action at the end of it. watch. >> thank you for demanding action from congress to end gun violence. in a moment, you'll be connected to your senator. if you have the option to speak to someone directly, please speak to someone directly. stay on the line for talking points. when you are connected to your senator's office, tell them three things. one, your name and where you are from. two, tell them to support senate bill 649, which requires criminal background checks for every fun sale in america. that's senate bill 649.
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lastly, ask them to support legislation that bans assault weapons an limited high capacity magazines. your call is a critical part of the campaign to end gun violence, so please stay on the line until you are connected. thank you. >> we are connecting you to senator frank lautenberg. >> thank you for calling the office of united states senator frank lautenberg. >> we are connected. i love a robot voice. probably just a person who talks like that, which makes you think it's a robot. it's interesting, right? this ad is about senator pat toomey. about how a republican senator from pennsylvania named pat toomey should vote for the same kind of background checks that his home state is already using, but anybody moved by that ad to call that number at the end of it is not necessarily connected to pat toomey's office or some fund raising organization.
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instead, it asks you to enter your zip code, then it connects you to whoever your senator is. oh. so that you can tell your senator. okay, to support background checks. take people who are moved by this issue and connect them to the person they can most move in washington. senator. this ad is also getting a million dollar ad buy in washington and in ten states. this showings neil, whose 6-year-old son jesse was killed in newtown. it is being run in states to target these ten senators. the idea is that the senators themselves will see these ads and be moved to do something, but the idea is to get people who support reform to make themselves known to their senator and tell them to give them a sense there will be
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support for them, too, in addition to criticism from the n ra if they decide to vote for reform. the content of the ad really highlights how much the families of the kids and adults killed at newtown have been the most potent force in all. they have let themselves be interviewed, they have met with lawmakers in connecticut. yesterday, they met with the president in hartford. one of the sandy hook moms who lost her 6-year-old son introduced the president in hartford and then the family members yesterday went on air force one. back to washington to start meeting with u.s. senators and members of congress today. there are two sides, there are two formidable sides in this debate now and that's never been true before. the futility of trying any reform on gun laws has been seen as a pre or daned thing because of the power of the nra on one side and yeah, sure, public
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opinion on the other, but the nra was seen as too organized to ever lose. well, now, joining the side that already has public opinion with them is an effort that is very organized and concerted and relentless. today, mayors against illegal guns announced they're going to start giving letter grade scores to lawmakers based on how they vote on gun issues. just like the nra, but from the opposite perspective. mayors want to rating system to act as a guide for voters, but also crucially for donors. sandy hook promised the bipartisan group formed by the newtown families themselves. they have secured themselves the services of their own lobbying firm to try to maximize their effectiveness on capitol hill. they will meet with senators and members of congress directly, but have hired lobbyists now, too. this is not david versus goliath anymore. this is not the professional gun lobby over a movement.
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this is a serious fight being fought seriously and with what seems like equal weight being brought to both sides now. for once, it seems the outcome is generally unpredictable. >> we have not seen the final draft of the legislature produced last night, but i think it deserves a vote up or down. >> what do plan to say to them? >> first of all, the heart and soul of every american goes out to the families. >> there's a lot of pressure coming from all sides on this. is it having an impact on guns rights legislature?
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>> i know there are other programs going on to drive the phone calls and that's, they're doing their job. >> that's georgia republican senator johnny isaacson on cbs this morning. he said they deserve a right to be able to sit down and talk with me. he's agreeing to meet with the newtown families and he is pointedly not joining the republican filibuster effort they were trying to use to block there from even being a vote. the republicans filibuster plan was defeated today. as soon as their supposed leader mitch mcconnell said he would join that effort, it went down in flames. he's their supposed leader, but when he said i'm all in, they jumped. there should be a vote. in filibuster and the plan is now for a vote on thursday in the senate on harry reid's package of reforms.
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we are in to buckle your seat belt territory as of now. terms of whether or not there is going to be a national response other than just bad feelings to the sandy hook almostry school massacre on december 14th in newtown, connecticut. the effort to make a response to newtown not just sadness, but real change, has at its core, these families who have been willing to take their private grief public. who have at the worst time of their lives, been going out there every day to try to keep the tragedy of newtown at the center of this debate every sipg l day. to do interviews, no matter how public they are. to do public events, no matter public it is. to lobby it. they're doing everything they can to keep newtown and their lost kids in the news. not letting that fade away. they are the key to why this has come so far thus far despite all the odds and despite the beltway saying it could never happen.
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could never even get this far. tonight at the u.s. capitol, i have to tell you this. i can't believe this. one republican senator opposed to gun reform lashed out at the newtown families. essentially calling them dupes, saying they don't know what they're doing. saying this debate and this issue really has nothing to do with newtown. we've got this tape. "huffington post" reporter with oklahoma senator with james inhoff at the capitol talking about the families of the newtown massacre victims. listen. >> i think it's so unfair the administration o hurt these families to make them think this has something to do with them. >> they seem to feel it does. >> that's because they've been told that. >> thank you. >> james inhoff telling the "huffington post" that gun violence and gun reform has nothing to do with newtown families. i think it's so unfair of the administration to make the families think this has
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something to do with them when in fact it doesn't. the families being on capitol hill, that's just a delusion that's been fed to them by the president. they're irrelevant. if that is the way that the opponents of gun reform want to try to make their case in public, i think they are going to lose that argument in this country. senator inhoff's side already lost the fight to filibuster the bill. today, the filibuster side lost. there will be a vote. senator inhoff is refusing to discuss this with me. i'll let you know if he changes his mind. fighting seven signs of aging gets harder. introducing total effects moisturizer plus serum. for the ninety-two practices, two proms, and one driving test yet to come. she'll need our most concentrated total effects ever.
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that faint sound you hear in the distance, i think it's the left. right now, the organized left with allowing themselves to be heard in washington, d.c. in protest of the president's anticipated proposal to reduce social security benefits. that proposal will be released tomorrow as part of the president's budget blueprint, but it was leaked last week and the way it was refed was not well received on either side. on the right, john boehner said i don't care what's in it. no. on the left, liberal groups said how can this be coming from a democratic president. one said this is a shot across
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the bow for neighbors who called, spent weekends knocking toors and donated millions. said today, real democrats don't cut social security. period. that response thus far in print today became a response in person in washington. >> i stand here today with over 2 million petitions. >> one more time. >> 2 million petitions of people in this country who agree that the economic woes of this country are not caused by social security as some are trying to rewrite history, but just the opposite. we have to be here to protect the people who rely on these benefits on a daily basis. >> wisconsin democratic congressman mark poken had a rally outside the white house where liberal groups, they all delivered more than 2 million signatures to the white house
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saying do not cut social security benefits. >> and give anybody in the congress. who believes in cutting these life importing benefits. we're going to give them a political choice they cannot refuse. if they vote to social security, they may not be returning to washington. thank you very much. >> so, the bernie sanders of vermont at today's rally. i think we are a center left country broadly speaking, if you look at the way we vote and what americans like in terms of policy, but we are more accustomed to seeing the right take on republicans on economic issues than we are used to seeing the organized left take on democrats, so what happens next? in order to figure out, it maybe
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makes more sense to talk to a republican than a democrat since republicans have had to right the book and democrats for a long time now have not had to worry about that. steve schmidt joins us now. steve, does it make you happy to see fist yelling at democrats? >> make t me a little bit happy. makes me happy that the president's put a budget forward where we're going to have some reality when we talk about what we're going to do with these entitlement programs so they're around in the next generation and when you see the congressman from wisconsin speaking tr, i think he's engaging in almost sheer demagoguery. let's see what the president's proposal is and hopefully, there's an ability to work across party lines to come up with a solution to strengthen these programs in the face of the democratic challenges and pressures they're under. >> i understand you are sympathetic to cutting entitlements.
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i am not. i am very sympathetic to these guys demands and leaving social security alone ch just as a matter of political tactic, what is the most effective form of pressure that you have seen base activists use against their own side. republicans have been dealing with these kinds of fights on the right for a long time. democrats don't much have to deal with this. >> if you look at the bush administration and president obama from a polling perspective is roughly where president bush was in any one of a number of polls at this point in his second term. president bush took on his base and really two big fights. the first was an immigration fight, the base prevailed and then there was tremendous -- over the race of harriet miers in 2005. the president was not able to amass a coalition, the center of the center left of the center right that was able to overpower his own base.
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so when your own base turns against you, when you're headed into midterm elections, when you have the difficult negotiating partner with the republican congress, the angry base, hearing in them, will make a lot of democratic members of congress very skittish. make democratic senators skittish and they may communicate back to the white house, look, we're not going to walk the plank on this. we have to run an election in november. >> and that's the parallel with the harriet myers in the second term, it's fascinating and i wonder if the republicans now look at that and see president obama as being in the same boat. when they think about republican policy objectives an of course, republicans want to cut entitlements, wouldn't they be better off working with the president in his own base rather than saying no? are they looking at the republicans and sayinging no, we
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like this split? >> i think republicans would like to see agreement that gets the country on to a sound, fiscal footing. which includes many, many problems that we have to deal with. but part of those problems, the package of problems that we have to deal with are the cost of these entitlement programs, medicare, social security. republicans don't want to see these programs go away. we don't want there to be a country without a social safety net. but we have to change these programs that were founded in the middle of the last century and update them so they can be solvent and applicable through the 21st century. >> if republicans want that aim, they rejected the president's budget out of hand without even seeing it, knowing that the left is giving the president grief on this. if the prosecutor is offering that, are republicans shouldn't
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just be saying no to that if they care about that as a policy outcome, right? >> clearly. from a political perspective, what the noise on the left allows the president to do is to claim the center. to claim the high ground of reasonableness. and when the republican response is no, even before the budget comes out, it makes it difficult for them to get on that high ground of reasonableness, so politically, the noise on the left makes president obama seem more moderate, more centrist and that probably puts pressure on his poll numbers. >> steve, thank you very much for being here. nice to see you. thanks. here for the interview tonight is mark from "the new york times." this is going to be really good. that's coming up.
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did you hear the terrorism trial for osama bin laden son-in-law is going to be delayed? the reason is because of the sequester. federal defense lawyers are being furloughed and so the bin laden's son-in-law trial has to be put off for months. in other words, the spelling of the word you're looking for is -- at the same time we learned that news, we also retreated to the latest threatening video from sa wa
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hiry and that's kind of the truth of it. the united states, 12 years after 9/11, still responding to real terrorists and threat, but in a way that gets filtered through bone chillingly stupid every day bureaucracy. we've now got a whole bunch of new reporting as of right now on the bone chillingly stupid side of this process. that's the interview tonight that's coming up next. first kid
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a picture to show you of barry gold water. this is him at a senate hearing in 1975. he is holding up a gun and looking through the site mounted at the top in the hearing room.
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this is not an ordinary gun though. it is a gun rigged to shoot poison darts. it has been rigged up in the 1970s reportedly to be used in assassination attempts. this is part of the church committee investigations of what the cia was doing in the '70s and how much of it was legal. right after watergate. it was to look into whether the cia was acting improperly here in the u.s. we think of the cia as operating elsewhere. they're supposed to be spying on our enemies abroad, but that initial focus on whether the cia was acting improperly at home, that got eclipsed thanks to some comments by gerald ford. president ford has reportedly warned associates that if the current investigations go too far, they could uncover several
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assassinations of fortune officials involving the cia. because of those comments from president ford, the church committee ended up changes its focus. they ended up spending a lot of time looking into whether the cia was assassinating foreign leaders or trying to. they turned up a ton of lurid details to kill foreign leaders including castro in cuba and general schneider in chile. >> we have sufficient corroborating evidence to make it clear, but the cia was involved not only in planning, but in certain cases, also in attempted assassinations. >> before the church committee issued its final report, banning the u.s. government including the cia in engages in assassinations. no employee should engage in
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political assassination. so wean the church committee expose and the president's direct order, the instructions seemed to be kind of clear, right? the cia's an organization for spying in other countries, not killing people in other countries. how is is that working out the national security correspondent for the "new york times" just today published an account of the ways our government has been killing people since 9/11 without always admitting to it. because mark is a real on the ground reporter not just a blow hard like me who pontificates about things like me in print, one of the things we get from his account is a ton of new detail like we've never had before and some has big political implications. some doesn't and it's just amazing stuff to know. for for example, the first early model predator drones. not just to do surveillance, but to shoot missiles.
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they were equipped with a control panel that some -- to a mr. potato head doll. just one design flaw is that the button that killed the engine on if drone was located about an inch from the button that launched the hell fire missile. what could possibly go wrong? also, the first drone strike that was conducted in pakistan to kill somebody was announced as their own military operation. it wasn't. it was the cia who did it with a drone. it was apparent the two governments lied about killing that guy in pakistan in 2004. it was clear pakistan hadn't done it, that we had done it, but what was not known until now is that first ever guy we killed in pakistan with a drone strike was not somebody we were really after. and it wasn't like he was killed by mistake.
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he was not a senior al-qaeda figure. he was not somebody that the united states had grand designs on and wanted to kill. he was somebody who pakistan wanted dead. pakistan was mad at him for their -- we thought pakistan would let us fly our drones over the country. and the drone in pakistan in 2004, mark reports that he was essentially -- so that we could kill more people there. like with a drug dealer, first one's free. the first time the u.s. government used a drone to kill somebody outside of a war zone. we did it in yemen in 2002, a cia predator drone killed this guy, who u.s. officials believeded was the master mind behind the u u.s.s. cole bombing. killed in yemen. the government in yemen didn't
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want to be known they were letting the americans come in to kill people on their soil, so the dpovt came up with this elaborate story about how it was an exploding gas can. a terrible accident that killed this unfortunate soul. that was the yemeni government's cover story, then -- started bragging about this drone strike, how it had been so successful for the united states. quote, yemen's president was furious when he heard about the governments. he demanded american spies and diplomats appear in his office immediately. since washington couldn't keep a secret, america's hidden war in yemen would be scaled back. he ordered the predator flights to stop immediately and they did for nearly eight years. thanks, paul wolfowitz. thanks to mark's new book, we
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now know some astonishing details we never knew before. in addition to the wars being fought by the u.s. military over the last decade, the cia has become a full time killing people operation. a lot of us thought that was something our government stops from happening. one of the unintended consequences of the shift may be they while the cia was becy killing does bs of people an every place we've been using our spy agency, while they were busy doing that, they were also busy missing what was about to happen in tunisia and libya. our spy agencies had a lot to do besides the spying we needed them to do. from the man who broke the story of the man destroying the tapes and the man who won a pulitzer prize, mark has now just
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published "the way of the knife." national security correspondent, thank you so much for being here. >> thank you for having me. i summarized a lot of things in your book that you put with a lot more careful detail. did i get anything wrong you feel like i need to be smacked for? >> the story, the book is about the secret wars of the last 12 years and how they've been carried out and some of the deals that have been brokered with foreign governments in order to allow the u.s. to carry out these operations, the idea of the book was to look away from the big wars in iraq and afghanistan and examine how the sort of shadow wars had been carried out first of all by push president bush, but also escalated by president obama. so the focus is largely in pakistan, yemen, parts of africa and one of the things that i get
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into, which you said very well with the history, the cia has this history where they get pushed and pulled in different directions and it starts out as an espionage service an one president or another wants to push them into covert war and then there's this period of the church committee and retributions and retrenchment and then they're accused of being risk aversed and then 9/11 happens and they go back tht other direction. so we've been this the period for significant 12 years, where the agency has changed into this organization. >> and as an organization, even prior the cia being the cia, have always done some form of covert action. in the cyclical mix, but we did see such a dramatic swinging back in the other direction with the church committee and those other reforms, i can't imagine that happening now. what the cia is doing now isn't
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seen as much of a scandal as anything that led up to the church committee hearings. can you imagine anything pulling us back as far in the other direction as that committee did? >> well, certainly, if you're looking at just drone strikes, they still have widespread support from republicans an democrats in congress. we're only beginning to see members of congress ask for more information b about what's happening. john brennan, the new cia director, has indicated he would like to move the agency back in the other direction. move some of the parra military activities back to the pentagon. we'll see if that really happens. john brennan as you know, has been intimately involved in the drone program for your years. what i write in the book, if there is going to be a shift, it will probably be something that takes several years. it's a generational thing.
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you have a generation of officers who came in who have really been socialized in war and who had been focusing on man hunting and killing. >> because john brennan has been so involved in the killing part of the cia, of counterterrorism operations since 9/11, is it kind of a nixon goes to china moment, but putting him in charge of the cia right now, give up some of those capacities. is it possible he's there because he has the credibility to say i'm not a softy. i'm not afraid of killing people. >> he certainly has the presence and support. he's one of president obama's closest advisers. what he does and advocates would be considered to have a blessing of the white house. there are constituencies in the cia to want to dial back some of the operations and to go back to the espionage intelligence
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analysis that they've been doing traditionally because they realize there's opportunity costs. as you put in the set-up piece, thr real questions about the cia's performance during the arab spring and whether they were really able to provide intelligence to the white house. and the question was was it so focused, did it lift so far in one direction that it had not been, would not been able to do the sort of traditional spying. >> you write in a big picture sense, that the changes have lowered the bar for waging war. his weapons systems are unbound by the views of accountability during wartime. john brennan is successful and the president is successful and some of these ways of waging war move back would that help change
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some of those accountability issues? >> it's possible. i mean, the last few weeks have been stories about the cia giving up drones and it all moving to military and then there's been some cheering for that. they're not exactly transparent. sometimes, we have a harder time finding out about the military drone strikes, so just because they're in the military, doesn't mean there's going to be a government spokesman at the podium every day talking about operations. it's going to be probably country specific. i believe that it will be less likely that cia gives up drone strikes in pakistan for some time because there have been these arrangements since 2004, that the arrangement is that nobody talks about this and nobody acknowledges it. it's under covert action authority for different domestic
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political reasons, so it will i think take some time. >> the granular detail you're able to supply to these debates is just incredibly invaluable. new book is called the way of the knife, the cia, a secret ar mu and the war at the ends of the ooert. thank you sop for wg being here. if you have wondered why anywhere else in the world, a drone strike has to be approved. this tells you. we'll be right back. card hassles?
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if you wanted to come back in your next life as a congressional district, you wouldn't want to come back as illinois 2. the recent seat holder jesse jackson junior is awaiting sentencing after he and his wife pled guilty to misusing campaign funds for their own lavish personal expenses, things like a $43,000 rolex, pair of stuffed elk heads, and a hat that once belonged to michael jackson. congressman jackson resigned, faces more than 4.5 years in federal prison when sentenced this summer. before him, the previous representative of that district also resigned, went to prison. congressman mel reynolds served in mid '90s until convicted of several charges, including
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having sex with an underage girl that volunteered on his campaign. before congressman reynolds, illinois was represented by congressman gus savage, who was investigated by ethics committee for accusations he forced himself on a female peace corps volunteer. he denied the allegations, later wrote the woman a letter of apology. the last three tries at representing illinois 2 in congress were kind of a nightmare, which brings us to tonight. the associated press tonight has called the race to fill the empty seat in illinois 2 for the democrat in the race, 76% of precincts reporting. this candidate got a little more than 74% of the vote. behold, the newest member of congress, latest to represent the people of the second district, robin kelly. the people of the second district frankly deserve a break and some decent representation. tonight represents a fresh start for illinois. congratulations to the district.
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good luck. hope it works out better this time. we will be right back. [ female announcer ] when a woman wears a pad she can't always move the way she wants. now you can. with stayfree ultra thins. flexible layers move with your body while thermocontrol wicks moisture away. keep moving. stayfree. while thermocontrol wicks moisture away. i'll just press this, and you'll save on both. [bell dings] ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, llllet's get ready to bundlllllle... [ holding final syllable ] oh, yeah, sorry! let's get ready to bundle and save. now, that's progressive. oh, i think i broke my spleen!
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people like to watch others set up dominos and then knock them over. it is a thing people like to watch on the internet. a long, tedious time to set them up, then they're down in a flash. as of three weeks ago, there were 15 democrats in the senate on record who opposed equal writes for marriage. then hillary clinton came out for marriage equality, supports it personally and as a matter of policy and law. within less than a week, missouri senator claire mccaskill came out in support of same-sex marriage. the next day, so did jay rockefeller, mark warner, mark begich.
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the next day was the prop 8 before the supreme court. then senator hester came out in favor of same-sex marriage. then they heard doma case, and kay hagan's turn. the next one, bob casey from pennsylvania, then senator tom carper, bill nelson from florida. two more, one from north dakota, joe donnelly of indiana. then tim johnson of south dakota toppled. that's 12 u.s. senators in three weeks evolving in rapid succession. that doesn't mean it is all of them. there are a few holdouts among senate democrats, by a few, i mean three. mary landrieu, mark pryor, and joe manchin. and being among those three is an awkward place to be. >> i have very personal views about same-sex marriage.
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i believe people should love who they love and marry who they want to marry. i am a lot like other people said my views evolved. my state has a strong constitutional amendment against gay marriage and i think i have to honor that. >> personally, i am totally for people having rights but you know, i am just a senator, personally love and marry who you want to love and marry but i will actively work to deny you your rights i believe you should have. leadership. arkansas senator mark pryor tried to justify being one of the last three. he said i would put me down in the undecided category. i did talk with some friends of mine in the gay and lesbian community in the last week or so. we talked about this issue and talked about a question i received in the office not too long ago where they asked whether it was a choice or you were born that way. i said i haven't thought about that. i haven't spent a lot of time thinking about that. one of the things i hear is that they feel very strongly it is
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not a choice for them and i respect that, i am not going to dispute that. excellent! mr. pryor does not dispute gay friends' claims being gay wasn't a choice for them, but he is not thinking about it other than that. when there was some confusion about whether he meant he was undecided on same-sex marriage, he came out promptly to clarify. he said he is opposed to gay marriage. his office called to clarify that point. what he meant about being undecided, he is undecided if gay people should have benefits if they work for the federal government. that's what he is undecided on. not undecided about rights generally, he is just really opposed to that, to be clear. joe manchin of west virginia declined to elaborate on his stance, why he is still one of the three democrats in the senate opposed to marriage equality, given how awkward and convoluted for the ones still trying to justify that position. i might advise him to not try to go there.

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