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national convention. sarah palin, ted cruz and rick perry are among the high profile speakers. this year's meeting is taking on a much bigger significance, of course, considering the tragedy in newtown and the fight over new gun laws. it's no secret the nra's goal is to stop any new gun laws. it called the defeat of background checks a victory. >> we don't mistake battles for wars. it was a victory in a battle, but the war continues. >> and there is more evidence this morning that the politics of this are changing. a poll shows that voters are more likely to support democrats kay hagan and mary landrieu, both in conservative states, because of their vote for background checks. and then there was this moment in tucson. >> i would like to thank you so much for your vote.
>> after that town hall meeting, that woman, pat simon, and other survivors of the shooting in tucson, presented senator john mccain with roses, 19 of them. 13 for the people who were injured, including gabby giffords, six for the people who died. i want to bring in nbc's casey hunt at the nra convention in houston. she's been covering the gun debate extensively. good morning. >> reporter: good morning, chris. >> "usa today" poll showed how attendance at these meetings is going back up. if they get to 80,000, which they expect, it would be a new record. is that kind of a microcosm of the passion of the opposition that president obama, vice president biden, joe manchin, pat toomey, are facing? >> reporter: this is a phenomenon you've been seeing across many examples, this convention being one of them. you also saw gun sales spike at many local stores. i was at a gun shop in new hampshire just a few days ago as the senator up there was holding a town hall. they said their sales spiked
immensely. the nra says they have also been adding membership, up past four million now, and the attendees here could set a record. >> tell me what you've been hearing from nra officials since you've arrived and what their expectation is for this weekend. is basically the purpose sort of a rallying cry? >> reporter: absolutely. as you saw, the former president said they view this as a war and while they may have won the lobbying battle in congress with this background check vote going down, they see this as a way to get their membership very engaged, fired up. the political speakers that are going to be here later in the day are people that will have some fiery rhetoric. sarah palin is speaking. senator ted cruz, who has really come out as a voice on the right, sort of willing to challenge conventional wisdom in the washington establishment, those are the kind of figures that the membership here is going to be hearing from. glenn beck is also headlining a rally that features the slogan here this time which is stand and fight. >> president obama was in mexico
city, but he talked about this gun battle. in fact, he kind of interrupted a question that was aimed at his counterpart in mexico. here's what president obama had to say. >> the last time we had major gun legislation, it took six, seven, eight tries. things happen somewhat slowly in washington. but this is just the first round. >> i want to bring in msnbc contributor dave weigel who was at that mccain town hall in tucson. dave, he was asked about the future of background checks, but i wonder, was john mccain a little less clear about where this goes next than the president was? >> he meandered a little bit. he was asked once if he would sit down with jeff blake and convince him, the arizona senator, he said he would take the advice. he didn't say he would convince him. he just said he'd think about
it. he said there's a 50/50 chance of a version of the gun bill coming up. you find a lot of gun activists, a lot of them recent gun activists. i talked to people at the town hall who were shot up to three times by jared loughner in tucson. you talk to them, they realize there's not a bill that would have prevented exactly what happened to them. they just want to pass the bill and are nervous about what seems to be the unstoppable power of the nra. here in arizona, just this week, the state passed a bill backed by republicans, backed by the nra that made it illegal for cities to buy back guns and destroy them. they have to sell them to somebody else. one of the only legal -- sorry, legislative impacts of the jared loughner shooting was that the state debated letting more guns on to college campuses. it's very defensive, but they were excited that any republican
whatsoever would break with the consensus and break with the nra on this. >> we also saw in another town hall on the other side of the country kelly ayotte got questioned for a second day about her no vote. this was at a town hall in her district. let me play that. >> what is wrong with universal background checks? >> i will tell you in terms of a universal background check as it's been framed. i have a lot of concerns about that leading to a registry that will create a privacy situation for lawful firearms owners. >> i think we should first say that there's no indication that that's true at all, because in fact, this proposed law actually makes it a felony to start a registry. so we should say that. on the other hand, dave, that was just one guy and i don't know, i mean, what you felt sort of at the mccain town hall. i guess the question becomes are these just, you know, a few people here and there as opposed
to what we're seeing where casey is with the nra, who are so well organized and who are so passionate. >> it definitely is a less organized movement. by design, there are a few people who have gotten involved and look, they all admit for 20 years, they and democrats kind of sat on the sidelines and there was an uneasy kind of truce where the nra didn't really push for new gun legislation, they didn't really push for new restriction. but in this town hall, the atmosphere was kind of surprising because some of the questions -- most of the questions were about illegal immigration. most of them were harsh on mccain, when mccain talked about his belief that -- not even defensively, just sort of aggressively that marriage is between a man and a woman, the entire room applauded. when these people got up and thanked him on the background check vote, the entire room applauded. it didn't seem in line with the polling that republicans didn't quite believe saying that all the members who voted against
background checks saw their popularity decrease. something more important than what i saw is mary landrieu in louisiana and kay hagan in north carolina voted for the bill and were immediately attacked by republicans, just kind of knee-jerk assuming this would be bad for them. both of them have inched up in the polls. so democrats lost this vote because of -- for procedural reasons. they got 55 or 56 ayes for it but the way they framed it was popular. they just have not convinced enough republicans and enough red state democrats that it's in their interest to support it politically. they might have inched a little closer to that this week. >> dave weigel, slate political reporter at the mccain town hall. thanks for being with us. i want to bring in senator richard blumenthal from connecticut. always good to see you. good morning. >> thank you, chris. >> let me talk about what you're up against. we're looking at that nra meeting. they think they will get a
record number of people there. politico has a big piece about how organizing for action, this grassroots group that the president created, didn't swing a single vote. there is a bloomberg ad, however, going up in the houston market but beyond a small group of the kinds of people that we're seeing at some of these town hall meetings, do you think that there is a change that would move things in the other direction, given what happened to the background checks bill? >> a very profound and historic change, chris. there's no question that the nra will have record numbers at its convention and they'll be passionate but what has changed very, very significantly is the passion on the other side, the people who favor responsible, sensible gun measures to prevent violence are now mounting in passion. they will be approaching this battle as a real long-term fight
and they're going to be better organized and feeling stronger than ever. the convention has always been that the nra side is a single issue side, that they will vote that issue alone, and now what we have is among that 90%, it's 90% of the american people who favor responsible measures, they will care enough to vote on this issue as well. >> are you facing a more formidable opponent than you expected? there is a fascinating article in the "washington post" today about gun shows and first of all, we know what the numbers are. they are 5,000 a year. a lot of people have been motivated to go to gun shows because they're afraid that they're not going to be able to get guns. 25 million to 30 million people attending, not just hunters. families are going. this article talks about how they're selling not just guns but aromatherapy and blouses, everything -- jewelry, watches, to kind of get more people into these gun shows. they're kind of almost pitched
as social scenes. does that make it harder for you? >> nobody ever underestimated the stranglehold that the nra and the other special interests have in this process, because they have spread myths and misconceptions so artfully and aggressively, and assiduously over the years. but those people going to gun shows, many of them would not oppose background checks. i encounter people all the time who assume there are already national criminal background checks, and the point here is that we're not taking away guns. there is no national registry, as you pointed out very correctly. that moment with senator mccain was a hugely powerful one. those roses and the support that he's receiving along with mary landrieu of louisiana and kay hagan of north carolina reflect something profound happening to the american public which is they are not letting this issue
go away. the connecticut effect, the newtown effect, are not going away. >> let me ask about background checks specifically. you know what the arguments against them have been. the first one that kelly ayotte talked about was it's going to lead to a registry, which we know the law actually prevents that from happening. the second one was voiced by senator john barrasso this morning on "morning joe." let me play that for you. >> the one that we have now, they're not implementing, they're not enforcing. what makes us think they're going to enforce one that does even more checks on more people? >> the second argument, senator, has consistently been we don't need new laws, we need to enforce the ones that are already on the books. what would you say to that? >> i'd say to senator barrasso exactly what i said to wayne lapierre when he testified before the judiciary committee and confronted us with that same argument, i said to him i'm in favor of more prosecutions and better enforcement of existing laws, but we can have better laws to enforce at the same time as we enforce laws more
aggressively and effectively. i'm a prosecutor for 20 years, i was a state attorney general and i was the federal prosecutor here in connecticut for four and a half years. i'm all in on better prosecutions and more resources, which is what we really need, for better prosecutions by the atf, by the department of justice, and better factual data that support those prosecutions which the nra has opposed over the years. but we can improve these laws at the same time and what we're talking about here, chris, is really enforcement tools. you can't enforce laws that prevent criminals from buying weapons unless you check the purchasers to determine whether they're criminals or drug addicts or domestic abusers or dangerously mentally ill, and that's why these enforcement tools against illegal trafficking in guns, straw purchases, are so vitally important to effective law enforcement. >> senator richard blumenthal, always good to see you.
thanks for coming on. >> thank you. let me bring casey hunt back in. casey, as we were saying, standing outside where the nra is going to be meeting, the outgoing president said this to the "washington times." as we are likely to win most of the legislative battles in congress, we will have to move to courts to undo the restrictions placed on gun owners' rights in new york, connecticut, maryland and colorado. what is the strategy there? they're willing to fight this on multiple fronts? >> reporter: that's one of the differences we were talking earlier about boots on the ground for the opposition and for the nra. the nra has really focused on the state level quite a bit, even as the gun control issue hasn't been visible on the national stage. so before newtown. they've seen a shift in that pretty dramatically in the wake of newtown. it's one that's still going on. you see there's a fight in new jersey already with newtown families going down there to urge the trenton folks there, the state legislature, to pass stricter gun laws.
so for the nra, from their perspective, what newtown has done is sort of reversed the trend where they had previously had a big advantage. >> casey hunt, who is in texas for us at that meeting, thank you so much. good to see you, casey. >> reporter: thank you, chris. meantime, investigators are digging deeper into what role tamerlan's american-born wife might have played, including whether she helped the tsarnaev brothers after the bombing. late yesterday, we learned dzhokhar tsarnaev told the fbi the original plan was to attack on july 4th. where, we don't know. but the bombs were ready earlier than expected. so they moved their attack up to patriots day and chose the finish line of the marathon after driving around boston. officials also say dzhokhar told them they made the bombs at the cambridge apartment where his brother tamerlan lived with his wife and young daughter. tamerlan's body has been handed over to his family. dumb luck? or good decisions?
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unemployment in the u.s. is now at its lowest level since 2008. a better than expected jobs report shows 165,000 jobs were added last month, pushing the jobless rate a notch lower to 7.5%. the report also revised numbers for february and march, showing the economy added 114,000 more jobs than previously reported. now, take a look at wall street celebrating these new numbers. stocks sharply higher. the dow's closing in on the 15,000 mark. uncharted territory. i want to bring in jared bernstein, msnbc contributor and former chief economist to vice president biden. good morning. >> good morning, chris. >> there was a lot of gloom and doom after last month's reports. but would it be premature to be optimistic after this one? >> i'd say premature to be too
optimistic. these monthly numbers tend to be volatile as we've just learned. you talked about the revisions to february and march. they were revised up over 100,000 jobs. so when you and i were talking a month ago, we were a bit gloomy because of the 88,000 job -- initial job estimate for march and of course, that was marked up. i think the underlying points are twofold. one, the economy is doing -- i should say the job market, better than we thought and that's good. but two, we're still kind of slogging along steady as she goes, and she goes a bit too slowly. so if you kind of average things out, we're adding about 160,000, 170,000 jobs per month as we did in april, and that's enough to very slowly take the unemployment rate down. but there are still people out there feeling some economic stress for sure. >> let's look at sort of the numbers behind the numbers. strong gains in professional and business services, restaurants, retail did very well.
but 11,000 government jobs were slashed, so what do these numbers mean going forward? >> well, the government has given up about half a million jobs over the past four or five years. now, most recently, that's where you really see the sequester connection. construction was also down 6,000 jobs last month. manufacturing was flat. manufacturing is where a lot of independent government contractors work. so you do see some hints of sequestration, some hints of government pulling out of the economy in a way that's untimely, given the fact that we really need to see those sectors doing better. >> as response, there's always a lot of talk among republicans in particular that the health care law has had a negative impact on jobs. we were talking earlier about senator john barrasso of wyoming, he was on "morning joe" this morning. here's what he had to say about how obama care is affecting job growth from his perspective.
>> what the law mandates is expensive health insurance much more than many people want, need or can afford. so what we're seeing all across the country is full-time workers cut back to part-time workers, part-time cut to less than 30 hours. >> what do we know about how health care is affecting hiring decisions? >> well, i would have to say that what he was saying really is not showing up in terms of evidence in the data. now, it is true that down the road, there will be incentives in the health care law where some firms may decide they would rather create part-time jobs than full-time jobs. we'll have to see. but by the way, just in terms of raw job counts, that could actually boost the number of jobs higher because you have more part-time jobs. none of those factors are playing out in these data yet and in fact, the health care sector continues to be and will continue to be a strong area of
growth. >> we're almost out of time. i want to ask you about one final number. for awhile, it has not been good in these jobs numbers for young people, 11% of 18 to 29 year olds are out of work. what really can be done for them? we are really talking about the difference between having the american dream and not. >> right. it's very important, especially for folks getting out of school, some of the early jobs make a huge difference on their career trajectory. look, i think the best thing we can do is essentially from the perspective of congress, do no harm. we really need faster growth, more labor demand to get those folks in the job market, so that means if you're not going to do anything helpful in terms of say stimulus measures, get out of the way and try to reduce the fiscal head winds that are slowing growth. >> yeah. i should also say that that number is not just the unemployment rate, but those who have stopped looking for jobs. it's lower for the actual unemployment rate for youth.
in neither case is it great. final question. we're at 14,996. will we hit 15,000? >> i think we might. the stock market's on a bit of a tear. it's interesting because they really are responding to an upside surprise in this report and that's quite characteristic. in fact, when you get an upside surprise in the jobs report, that's the thing that moves markets the most. >> all right. jared bernstein, always good to have you on the program. thanks. president obama is defending his administration's decision on the plan b morning after pill. they are appealing a judge's ruling to allow stores to sell the pill to women and girls of all ages. he did walk a fine line, trying not to upset women's groups, and put the responsibility on the fda and his health secretary. >> my suspicion is that the fda may now be called upon to make further decisions about whether there's sufficient scientific evidence for girls younger than 15. that's the fda's decision to make. that's secretary sebelius'
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and together, we made a difference. anncr: and tornado relief has been pouring in from... across the country. girl: we might be hundreds of miles apart... but because we're connected, it's like we're all neighbors. after a better than expected jobs report, the dow while we were in break went above 15,000, record territory. it's kind of been going in and out over the last several minutes. we're keeping our eye. but again, the unemployment rate gone downward to 7.5%. we are watching what's happening on wall street. to politics now, where the first same sex weddings could take place in august. august 1st, in rhode island. governor linkon chaffee signed the bill into law allowing same sex couples to get married. senator daniel inouye's
dying wish was to have someone else named as his replacement. texas congressman pete sessions saying quote, mitt romney appeared like a kid who showed up for his science project and the teacher said explain it and mitt couldn't do it. his dad, paul ryan, explained it to him but mitt didn't get it. that's why we lost the last election. rapper snoop lion, aka snoop dogg, taking a stand on gun laws he says came after newtown. the video for "no guns allowed" features news clips from the shootings and president obama's speech. if you read only one thing this morning, my must-read i actually thought was from the onion, the satire, but it's in "vanity fair." here's the headline. if it were up to jane fonda,
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what makes stouffer's meatloaf best of all? that moment you enjoy it at home. stouffer's. made with care, for you or your family. vice president joe biden will add to the 2016 speculation in the early primary state of south carolina tonight. he will be the star attraction at the annual state democratic party dinner, then attend congressman jim clyburn's annual fish fry. right now, the vice president is joining secretary of state john kerry to honor foreign service workers. while biden is generally beloved in the democratic party, so far, there hasn't exactly been a groundswell of support for a run for president. but what are the chances he will? let's bring in nbc news political analyst and former pennsylvania governor, ed rendell and sarah fagan, former white house political director for president george w. bush. good morning to both of you. >> good morning. >> so governor, i know you know joe biden well and one, does he
want it badly enough and what would be in his calculus to determine whether or not to run? >> well, i think it boils down to whether hillary clinton runs. if hillary clinton runs, the polls show and the buzz from the giveres that she would be the overwhelming favorite, probably too difficult for the vice president to take on. it's a matter of sort of taking on history. i think there's a quinnipiac poll out today that shows democrats prefer hillary 65% and the next highest is the vice president at 13%. but interestingly, in that poll, if you take hillary out and if she decides not to run which i still believe is a possibility, joe biden's numbers go up to 45% and he leads the field easily. >> so it really is just for him, will she or won't she. >> absolutely. but joe is doing the things he must do to be ready in case she doesn't. if she does, it's just the thunders will all be for her, the heart of the democratic party will all be for her.
it's not in any way an insult to joe biden, who we all love and i think has been the best vice president in my lifetime. >> sarah, there are obviously a lot of people on the democratic side hoping it will be hillary and nancy pelosi in fact said she is praying that hillary clinton runs. is it a safe bet that republicans would prefer to see joe biden? >> i think it's a safe bet but at the same time, i do think for as much of a caricature as joe biden is in the press and in both parties to some degree, people forget what a tremendous retail politician he is. he is one of the very best and as you said in your opening statement, he's loved in the democratic party so while i do think that hillary clinton is the most formidable candidate and would be the toughest to beat, i think people underestimate joe biden. >> do you think they do, governor? he did run twice before and i think it's fair to say he lost badly. he's also someone who has taken some heat for some verbal
missteps that he has made and he is going to be 73 years old, although i don't think anybody would argue that he's full of energy. what are the down sides of a candidacy for joe biden? >> well, the things you said. he does speak the truth and sometimes that gets him in trouble. he does make an occasional verbal gaffe but boy, look at his record as vice president. almost everything important that we've achieved in the last four and a half years, joe biden's been a part of. we wouldn't have had a fiscal cliff deal without joe biden. joe biden steered a lot of the important legislation through. so he's very, very impressive and i think -- >> he could still have a hand in a win on guns depending on how things go. there is conflicting opinions about how that might go. >> i think the bigger question, though, in this debate is what does the economy look like in a couple years. certainly we've had a good jobs report today, but at the end of the day, it's fairly unpreced t
unprecedented for a party to have three presidential wins in a row. it's happened a few times in history, but really, the bigger question for joe biden isn't hillary clinton, it's what does the economy look like. can -- could he actually be president if he was the nominee. >> is she right about that? is that the bigger question? >> the bigger question is -- >> people could say to quote for the 700 millionth time, it's the economy. >> if it's hillary clinton versus joe biden in a primary, and i don't think it will be, that's not going to be an issue. look, i think hillary clinton preempts the field. but if she's out and joe's the candidate, he'll be the standard bearer of the obama administration. but we've got short memories. ronald reagan had two terms as president and his vice president got elected because -- and things were good but not great at that time. so i think joe can win but he can't win the primary if hillary's in. but i don't think he'll run if hillary's in. >> thank you very much, ed rendell, sarah fagan. good to see both of you.
checking the news feeds this morning. some astonishing video out of southern california, where 2,000 homes are in the path of this fast-moving wildfire. residents are being evacuated. fire officials say it's just 10% contained. 30 mile per hour wind gusts are making this fire fight even more difficult. meantime, the midwest, look at this, getting hammered by a spring snowstorm. minnesota could see a record 18 inches by the time it's all over. and there's snow as well in iowa, wisconsin, missouri and as far south as arkansas. the woman who killed a new jersey state trooper has become the first female on the fbi's most wanted terrorist list. joanne chesimard fled to cuba after escaping from prison in 1979, where she's been granted asylum. the reward for her capture is now $2 million. chesimard happens to be the godmother of rapper tupac shakur.
major milestone for new york city. the new one world trade center building now has its spire. crews raised the 408 foot spire along with an american flag to the top of the skyscraper on thursday. when fully installed, one world trade center will stand a symbolic, 1,776 feet, making it the tallest building in the western hemisphere. reese witherspoon's arrest caught on dashcam video. it was obtained after her husband's dui stop. >> i'm an american citizen. i'm allowed to ask any question i want to ask. you better not arrest me. are you kidding me? >> after reese's tirade, shall we call it, you hear her husband saying i'm sorry and i had nothing to do with that. yesterday, he pleaded guilty to dui. witherspoon pleaded no contest to physical obstruction. she has apologized for the incident, saying she had no idea what she was talking about.
well, the excitement is mounting for tomorrow's kentucky derby. what's billed as the greatest two minutes in sports. we're live at churchill downs in louisville with a special edition of what's moving your money. the derby by the numbers. a lot of cash going to be spent in the next couple days. >> chris, a lot of cash and a lot of people, expecting more than 100,000 people today. tomorrow, weather depending, more than $160,000. churchill downs surprisingly is a publicly traded company, expecting revenue more than $300 million for the entire week. so the money is absolutely huge and part of that revenue will be from 120,000 mint julips they will sell. also, if you do want to bet on this, you can actually get in for just a minimum of $2. so getting in here is a different story. the lowest priced ticket is $50 and it goes all the way up to
$ $12,50 $12,500. the favorite in the race was bought for less than $100,000, has already won about $900,000. if they split the prize money of winning it, it would already have made back plenty of its original investment. pretty impressive. >> i'm not there but i would have to go for the first female jockey. nevertheless, i'm not there and certainly not in the new vip section at churchill downs known as the mansion? >> neither am i. i'm looking up at it. they won't let me up there. it's called the mansion. they spent about $9 million. tickets to get in there are from $7,000 to $12,500. it was invitation only. about 300 people, it's completely sold out. they would not tell us specifically who will be there but we're told ceos and some iconic sports legends will be on hand as well. we'll see them tomorrow hanging over the balcony. >> brian, with the best gig in
town, thank you so much. coverage begins saturday 11:00 a.m. eastern on nbc sports and continues on nbc at 4:00 p.m. we'll be right back. [ female announcer ] what makes you walk a little taller? it begins with your skin. venus & olay -- gently exfoliates with 5 blades. plus olay moisture bars help renew goddess skin. only from venus & olay. energy efficient appliances. you can get a tax write off for those. a programmable thermostat, very smart, saves money. ♪ cash money sorry. i see you have allstate claim free rewards,
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companies and pioneering new industries. that's one of the reasons i acted to lift the shadow of deportation from what we call the dreamers, young people brought to the united states as children, and that's why i'm working with our congress to pass common sense immigration reform this year. i'm convinced we can get it done. reform that continues to strengthen border security and strengthen legal immigration so citizens don't have to wait years to bring their families to the united states. reform that holds everyone accountable so immigrants get on the right side of the law, so immigrants are not exploited and abused, and most of all, reform that gives millions of undocumented individuals a pathway to earn their citizenship. i am optimistic that after years of trying, we are going to get it done this year. i'm absolutely convinced of it. >> the president talking
immigration. meantime, the horror in bangladesh just keeps growing. at the factory where so many american clothes were made, the death toll has now passed 500. authorities say the building's engineer helped the owner illegally add three more floors to the five-story structure. both men are now facing charges. meantime, pope francis condemned the work conditions as slave labor this week. a majority of those who died were poor line workers earning as little as $37 a month. and follows a november fire that killed 112 garment workers. joining me now, columnist for the national catholic reporter and board member of call to action, kate childs graham and staff attorney for the national employment law product. sideh, let me start with you. deadliest fire in bangladesh's garment industry, sparking a discussion of working conditions in the growing gap between the
rich and the poor. for anyone who follows this stuff closely, should we be surprised by what we're seeing? >> no, we shouldn't. i think the pope two days ago, when he condemned what had happened in the bangladeshi factory as slave labor was really speaking to this issue of no matter where workers work, all workers are entitled to decent living conditions and globalization can't just be something that is solely to pad corporate profits and executive pay. it also has to raise living standards in these countries. that's what activists have been fighting for. this factory collapse, the fire last november, fires before in pakistan and bangladesh and other countries that are producing these goods, you know, they are preventible and that is the tragedy of what's happening. the workers rights consortium estimates that it would cost less than a dime per garment to actually upgrade these factories to western standards and prevent these deaths. >> they really think that americans won't pay a dime more?
>> and americans don't even have to pay a dime more. these corporate retailers and brands are experiencing record profits. walmart posted $16 billion in revenue last year. they can certainly afford to pay pennies, literally pennies per garment, to make sure the workers that are making their clothes, that are being sold in their stores, that are padding their profits, that they're not being killed. >> we know, we talked about the pope, kate, he has a long history of supporting workers rights in his homeland of argentina. he called the unjust distribution of goods a situation of social sin. we know popes have had an influence on history outside the church. john paul with the fall of the iron curtain. but are we seeing anything, do you think, that indicates this pope can help lead in a global way on this issue? the way he led in his home country? >> i think that he is continuing a long tradition of our church hierarchy speaking out on behalf of workers starting in the
1890s, john paul ii called unions indispensable. what's different about pope francis and what's exciting for progressive catholics like me is that he's standing on the side of the poor and he's wearing sensible shoes to stand in. he's walking the walk. and you know, he said he wants a poor church for the poor and i think that progressive catholics like myself would add we want a just church for justice seekers. we're excited that he's looking at justice in the world and speaking out so passionately and fervently about it. we're hoping that he looks at justice within our church, too. >> there are 136 house members who are catholic, 27 senators who are catholic. that's a pretty good percentage, kate. i've had members of congress and others say to me we need to get priests, we need to get ministers speaking from the pulpit about this as a moral imperative. could that make a difference? >> absolutely.
don't forget about nuns on the bus. they were all all last fall talking about moral budget priorities, when we can use more bishops, more priests speaking out on these issues as well. just a year ago last june, the u.s. bishops failed to approve a document, speaking about economic justice. they haven't published one since the 1980s. i hope this june the bishops will hear what pope francis is saying and hopefully come out with some strong language of their own. >> what do you see as the first step? there's a front page of the "new york times" magazine with an article. is it crazy to think we can eradicate poverty. maybe even more global issue in some ways than workers' rights, although they are certainly tied. what's the first step that can reasonably be expected to happen? >> i think the first step both in this country and around the world is raising the wage floor and making sure that workers have a voice in their workplace that they can bargain with their employers to make sure that
safety conditions are addressed, to make sure that poor wages or unlawfully withheld wages are addressed. in this country, that means raising the minimum wage so that somebody working full-time isn't making just $14,000 a year and trying to support a family on that, and in this country and around the world, it means giving workers the power to organize and giving them the power to go to their employer and say you know what, i'm being exploited, you know, i am going to bargain with you and make sure that i have decent wages at work. >> we won't drop this issue. i hope you'll both come back. thanks to both of you. we'll be right back. oh, boy. [ groans ] ♪ ♪
as the story was unfolding, i traveled to iceland to see it all firsthand. here's today's flashback friday. from 5,000 feet above southern iceland, the volcano today showed its explosive and growing power. glacial ice from atop the mountain continued to mix with 2500 degree magma, a potent and potentially catastrophic combination. you can imagine what it takes to turn a batch of rock into something the size of grains of sugar or smaller. it tells you just how immense amount of energy it takes. >> university of cambridge scientist has studied volcanos around the world. these spectacular fireworks are unlike any she has ever seen. shifting winds have now carried the massive cloud south, an increasing threat not only in the air but on the ground. >> this is incredible.
we're actually standing on the glacier. look at what's going on with this volcano. these bursts of energy they call pulses. the consensus, the power will continue to decline. >> sometimes they pick up again with new activity so it's difficult to predict exactly how it will behave. >> there's more about this up on our website. that wraps up this hour. i'm chris jansing. thomas roberts is up next. have a great weekend. [ male announcer ] from our nation's networks... ♪ ...to our city streets... ♪ ...to skies around the world... ♪ ...northrop grumman's security solutions are invisibly at work, protecting people's lives... [ soldier ] move out! [ male announcer ] ...without their even knowing it. that's the value of performance. northrop grumman.
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that will be all over the weair waves as the nra comes to town. it features an nra member whose sister was murdered, shot by her husband. good morning. i'm thomas roberts. topping the agenda, advocates of gun control take their campaign to the nra's doorstep two hours from now. the gun lobby will open its annual convention in houston, an event that will draw up to 70,000 of the nra's self-reported four million members, including families members of gun violence victims who plan to hold vigil outside and read out loud the names of loved ones who have died at the hand of gun violence. now, inside, it's expected to be a celebratory, the nra fresh off the defeat of the gun control bill in congress. >> one of the things we don't do is we don't mistake battles for wars. it was a victory in a battle, but the war continues. this is in essence a family gathering for believers in the second amendment. >> causes colliding in houston as republicans in congress contino