tv The Last Word MSNBC June 27, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
right now, the information is jaw-dropping, governor ultrasound, good luck to you, you will need it. now it is time for "the last word," with lawrence o'donnell. texas senator wendy davis stood her ground at the filibuster, and now governor rick perry is trying to take her down. >> i'm not yielding for any questions at this time. >> something incredible happening in the texas state senate. >> a one-woman filibuster that lasted for 11 hours. >> it is sweeping the abortion bill, a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks, wendy successfully filibustered and the bill died. >> as governor perry vows to bring lawmakers back for another special session. >> incredible to see the legislative process be made a mockery. >> i am all about honest, open debate. >> texas two-step. >> does the republican party, in your view, understand the core value?
>> she took a shot. >> unfortunate that she has not learned from her own example. >> they would do anything to pass this measure. >> they will resort to mob tactics to force their minority agenda on the people of texas. >> still the capitol. >> bravo, bravo. >> what we witnessed tuesday was nothing more than the hijacking of the democratic process. >> it became the people's filibuster, and they were loud, and they were heard. and that is what democracy is about. >> senator wendy davis's epic filibuster, where she stood for over 11 hours in texas and somehow did not win a brand-new pickup truck. >> good evening, from colorado, where i'm participating in the aspen institute's annual ideas festival.
texas state senator wendy davis rocketed to political stardom on tuesday when she led a successful 11-hour filibuster of a texas bill that could ban abortions 20 weeks after conception and add a regulation that would shut down nearly after abortion clinics in the state, which got governor rick perry's attention. >> even the woman in the filibuster in the senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. she is the daughter of a single woman. she was a teenage mother herself. she managed to eventually graduate from harvard law school and serve in the texas senate. it is just unfortunate that she has not learned from her own example. that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential. every life matters. >> senator davis released this statement today.
rick perry's statement is without dignity and tarnishes the office he holds. they are small words that reflect a dark and negative point of view. our governor should reflect our texas values, sadly, governor perry fails that test. and tonight in ohio, the state general assembly passed a budget bill that includes a provision requiring doctors who perform an abortion absent a medical emergency to first determine whether there is detectable fetal heartbeat, and then inform the woman of the statistical probability of detecting the fetal heartbeat to term. planned parenthood was put on line and thus effectively cut off from federal dollars. republican has time to look at the provisions.
>> i have a few days to look at the provision. and everybody should understand that i am pro life, but we'll look at all the language, and we'll make a decision on all of this when we get closer for me to sign. >> joining me now from texas, democratic state representative mary gonzales from ohio. democratic state nina turner. representative gonzales, can you explain to us what your governor was trying to say about senator wendy davis? >> i think it is a continued message that women don't know better than he does with our own bodies. and it is unfortunate that he would talk about one of our state leaders like he did today. >> and the wendy davis filibuster as it played in texas, what is your sense of how texas voters received it?
>> i think texas voters are inspired and empowered and motivated to now finally get involved in politics. for a long time, texas leaders have told voters that their vote doesn't matter. and what happens in the past week as far as the filibuster, is it reengaged people in texas to see that what they do actually does make a difference in texas. i think that will continue to go past the 2014 election. >> let's listen to what senator davis had to say about this, this morning. >> i do think that something tremendous was accomplished. and that was there was an incredible focus put on what is happening here in texas, women and men across texas are in an uproar about it. and i don't expect that their concerns on this issue are going to go away with the passage on the law. and i think there will be political consequences in the
future as people exercise their opinion about this issue at the ballot box. >> senator turner, the ohio legislature just couldn't let texas have this week alone in this spotlight. they had to jump in with their legislation, too, i see. >> yeah, lawrence, it is terrible, you know, we had hundreds of folks at the state house today protesting this. and particularly we had doctors that talked about how wrong-spirited the provisions are. you know, they tucked them into the budget bill like thieves in the night, because they're cowards, to have women stand alone so we can debate the issues. it makes absolutely no sense, but to hear the doctors talk about the fact that the legislature is standing in the way for them to be able to provide quality health care options for women, their patients and family. there is something wrong with that. and i will tell you, senator davis's name was invoked several
times in ohio, she was an absolute hero throughout the country, standing up for the rights of women to choose. >> now, what are we to make of governor john kasich saying he has to think about this one? >> i am hoping the governor will. we offered him a red pen and we would like for him to line item the defunding of planned parenthood and to line item all the craziness that is in that budget. you know, lawrence, this is about options and elections have consequences. and i agree with the representative. i think folks across this country are going to wake up in the country and see that we have extremists in the legislature, and we can't stand there. and if we keep the types of people elected right now from texas to ohio, we are going back to a time where women are treated like second class citizens. so my idea is to line item the veto, the anti-women provisions that are in the budget and have
nothing to do with lifting the people of ohio but have to do with putting their feet on the necks of women and the progress we've made in this country. >> anna marie cox, it seems in the way of today's media, all politics is national. the republicans do these things in texas and ohio and all 50 states hear about it. and the impression of the republican party continues to be a party that is much more concerned with what women are doing in terms of reproductive choice than anything else. >> yeah, way to go with that re-branding, right, lawrence? over 100,000 people wound up tuning into wendy davis's filibuster. and all 100,000 people saw a legislature dominated by white men, trying to put down the women among them, literally not calling on the female senator
that tried to get attention when wendy davis was being shut down. it was really an amazing display of what the conservative republicans in texas, and i think we can say a lot of the rest of the country, the way that they behave, and how terrible that behavior can be, when we see it, when it is not done in the dark of night as the female politician from ohio put it. i think this is a really amazing moment in american politics. i think rick perry exposed himself yet again as being rather ignorant. i think the legislation in ohio, again with the attention we're putting on it. one thing it shows is that people seem to think that women don't understand what is going on with their bodies when they get abortions. i think it should be important to point out here most women who get abortions have had a child. 60% of women that get abortions have already had a child. they know what is going on inside their bodies when they make this terrible, terrible decision, the difficult decision to go ahead and do it.
i think americans recognize that that relationship between a woman and her doctor is the one that needs to be protected. not the relationship between republicans and each other, i guess, which seem to be the only people benefitting in this legislation. >> cecile richards, the president of planned parenthood action fund was in texas for that filibuster the other night, cheering on senator davis. she is from texas, as i think most of you know. her mother was ann richards, the governor of texas. she issued this statement about the current governor of texas. rick perry's remarks are incredibly condescending to women and women are able to decide whether to choose adoption. and they don't need rick perry's help making that decision. representative gonzales that is the huge disconnect, it seems to me, between you and rick perry on this. he does seem to believe that the state has a role here.
and he, in particular, is a better judge of what to do in any given pregnancy than the woman who is carrying that pregnancy. >> i think what ann marie said is completely correct. the republicans believe that women are not smart enough to understand what is happening, over and over again whether on the senate floor or the house floor, the republican colleagues will say this will help women, we're doing this to benefit women. but closing down all the abortion clinics in the state, as big as texas, is not healthy to women, it is hurting women. it is limiting their access to legal and safe abortions. so the fact that republicans can continue to use talking points thinking that women are not smart enough to realize the truth of the situation is insulting. and so i think women and men and allies are seeing really what is happening. and that is why they're so frustrated. because they don't want to be patronized, treated as if they don't understand the
consequences of this piece of legislation. >> texas state representative mary gonzales, ohio state senator nina turner, and anna marie cox, thank you for joining us tonight. >> thank you. coming up, another day, another hearing on the irs so-called scandal. this time republicans are very, very angry that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by any irs employee. ezra klein will join me with that. and in the rewrite tonight, when is a football injury a combat injury? you will watch congresswoman tammy duckworth, who is disabled face a man in a congressional hearing who claims to be a disabled veteran because of a football injury he suffered in high school. i am going to hand over the rewrite tonight to tammy duckworth to let her give that guy exactly what he deserves.
and we'll have today's testimony in the second degree murder trial of george zimmerman, all that coming up. hey kevin...still eating chalk for heartburn? yeah... try new alka seltzer fruit chews. they work fast on heartburn and taste awesome. these are good. told ya! i'm feeling better already. [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer fruits chews. enjoy the relief! summer event is here. now get the unmistakable thrill and the incredible rush of the mercedes-benz you've always wanted. ♪ [ tires screech ] but you better get here fast. [ girl ] hey, daddy's here. here you go, honey. thank you. [ male announcer ] because a good thing like this won't last forever. mmm. [ male announcer ] see your authorized dealer for an incredible offer on the exhilarating c250 sport sedan. but hurry. offers end soon.
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[ laughter ] [ male announcer ] connect all your wi-fi-enabled devices with u-verse high speed internet. rethink possible. . after three weeks of debate, the immigration reform bill passed in the senate today with a bipartisan vote of 68 to 32. 14 republicans joined all 52 democrats and two independents to support the bill. the senate bill provides a 13-year path to citizenship for the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country as well as tough border security provisions that must be in place before the immigrants can gain legal status. the bill now heads to the house where it faces extreme republican opposition. speaker john boehner promises even before today's vote, quote, we're going to do our own bill. up next, why republicans just cannot take no for an answer when it comes to scandal at the irs.
vo: i've always thought the best part about this country is that we get to create our future. you get to take ownership of the choices you make. the person you become. i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved and staying engaged. they're not sitting by as their life unfolds.
and they're not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is "how did i end up here?" i started schwab for those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. the house, ways and means committee called the acting irs commissioner today to testify at yet another hearing on the nonscandal. today, republicans were angry about a new report that the commissioner ordered the irs to do showing all the evidence of intentional wrongdoing on the part of irs employees targeting conservative groups for extra
scrutiny. the trouble for republicans is the report did not find any evidence of intentional wrongdoing. >> the public report, whether it is intended to be or not is a political report. people are going to seize upon what is in that report, and they're going to -- statements like the one that you made, we have not found evidence of intentional wrongdoing on behalf of irs personnel, they're going to seize on statements like that. and they're going to hold that up and say ah ha, see there? no evidence. >> commissioner weurfel had to explain to the ways and means committee exactly what intentional wrongdoing means. >> at this point we don't have any evidence of intentional wrong doing, and what we mean by that. if in a different situation a manager or employee thinks this is the right thing to do, this
is how i'm supposed to conduct my business, and it could be mistaken, how they may think they're appropriately carrying out their duties, which is different than them saying i know this is wrong. but i'm going to do it anyway because i have a particular agenda in mind. what we don't have is evidence that something did something knowingly wrong, that evidence has just not materialized yet. >> ezra klein, i'm in colorado tonight because i need to talk to you about the irs -- >> i appreciate it. >> he told me he is in colorado, i said all right, we'll go there. so yet another hearing this time after the new acting irs commissioner does a study finding no intentional wrongdoing, meaning what i've been saying from the start. it seems to me, and there could be more investigation, we could find out more information down the road. but it seems to me these people were supposed to find out
exactly what kind of politicking these organizations were doing. so they had no guidelines to figure that out, they were trying to figure out what it was. the commissioner said yeah, that is what they were doing. and it was not because they had any negative intent. >> right, and i think there are two interesting tells in today's hearing. one is you heard it in the congressman's comments to acting commissioner werfel, he wanted a scandal, i think it is worth pausing on that. the kind of scandal we're talking about, if you actually do have a significant portion of the irs doing the maligned screening, it is something people who care about the country really don't want to happen. but there was an evident sense of disappointment that the report showed this was not happening. which is what you think they would cheer over it.
>> you want the republicans to go oh, okay, it is a relief. we were worried our people were treated badly for a reason. >> right, we took this situation seriously, and worried about it. and the other thing is there is a clear and evident and serious problem uncovered across the investigation. there is real confusion over what to do with the 501(c)(4) designation. and to my knowledge, there has not been one serious attempt, and certainly not among the republicans in the house to begin moving forward on a legislative fix that would define how do you determine who is and not a viable 501(c)(4) in the future. >> well, there will never be a legislative fix for it. because as you know the law says they have to be exclusively engaged in social welfare, and the legislation change in 1959 saying primarily if you ever tried to write a piece of legislation that would define primarily is, it could never get rid of it.
>> they could back it up. it would completely be a viable solution to say we are just going to take this political part out of it entirely. you can just be a political 501(c)(4). that would be consistent, i think, with what is implicit that nobody was targeted. if that is what republicans believe they should put that in legislation. but there has been no effort to solve the problem in either direction. >> yeah, their attitude was what do you care how much politicking they were doing? well, the regulation says that is precisely what we're supposed to do. >> and not paying for it. i the taxpayer, should care. >> where does this -- this particular scandal go from here? you already -- darrell issa has started to make benghazi noises lately.
others say that is an indication he doesn't have anywhere to go with the irs. >> unless he finds something new, there is nowhere to go. and issa has to be careful, because it looks like he has done things totally not above board. he was trying to suppress evidence, and one thing we recently found out, there was screening for words like progressive. is that the nature of the investigation was pointed, are you screening against any tea party groups? not just are you screening political groups, in general, it was a very narrowly targeted investigation seemingly to get a result. so issa, if he is going to have credibility for an investigation he is going to pursue, he needs to have a little bit more credibility here. >> ezra klein, thank you for receiving me here in colorado. >> i appreciate you guys coming out just for me. up next, today's developments. the case of florida versus zimmerman. and later, barack obama and
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george zimmerman has pled not guilty in the murder of trayvon martin, claiming self defense. like yesterday, defense attorney don west dug into the discrepancies between what jeantel testified to in court, and what she said in prior statements, particularly whether or not she heard trayvon martin say get off, get off. because in her first discussion of the case with trayvon martin's family lawyer, benjamin crump, she did not quote trayvon martin saying get off, get off. >> but nowhere in that interview did you say in response to any question, specific origin -- or, in general, that you had heard trayvon martin say get off, get off. >> he asked me, did you hear any fighting going on?
did you hear something that was going on between the fight. no, he did not ask me that, the state asked me that, sir. >> so you made the decision, then, not to tell mr. crump that you actually heard trayvon martin say get off, get off, because you were in a hurry? >> objection, asked and answered. >> so the word hurry is an additional part of that question so i will allow it, you may answer. >> yes, sir, that was one of the voices. >> so you were not worried about telling him, first of all, the truth, the whole story. >> first of all, he is not an officer. i knew that he was not an officer, so like i told the mother from the beginning, if the officer wants to talk to me and know the exact story,
everything about what happened that night they would reach me at my number. you got it? >> joining me now, faith jenkins, a former criminal prosecutor, and yamiche alcinder, faith, i would like you to summarize what you think the effect of the testimony was. i think one of the things in the media, people got carried away with what her testimony was supposed to do. calling her a star witness, she was never an eye witness, she was an ear witness, and what we knew she could establish from the start, this is what trayvon martin was doing up to a certain point. meaning he was talking on his cell phone right up to this second, as the records will show. and then you can measure from that point how much time went by before the gunshot was fired. that was very, very helpful.
what else should people -- or should either the prosecution or the defense expected to have established with her testimony. >> well, the prosecutor is going to do one key thing in their summation, they're going to take her almost five hours on the witness stand and they're going to focus the jury on the key elements, the points that really matter. and that is the time she was on the phone with trayvon martin. they're going to argue, yes, maybe she has been a little inconsistent in the past. but is she being truthful? do you believe her? does she have a certain credibility when she talks about what happened. and that is what i really got from her examination in this case. don west, no matter how he tried to ask her different ways to come in with different testimony, different ways, she stuck to her testimony about what she heard that night when she was on the phone with trayvon. another thing i noticed, she didn't try to censor their conversation, there is certain
words that trayvon used, she didn't try to censor it. and if she wanted to paint him in a better light she could have used different words. but she didn't, she used the word "cracker," and the "n" word, and she just told it like she heard. this is my testimony. >> well, let's listen to don west discussing actual, that word description that she says trayvon martin used for zimmerman in her first description -- in his first description of him to jeantel. let's listen to that now. >> describing the person is what made you think it was racial? >> yes. >> and that is because you described him as a creepy ass cracker? >> yes. >> so it was racial, but it was because trayvon martin put race
in this? >> no. >> you don't think that is a racial comment? >> no. >> you don't think that creepy ass cracker is a racial comment? >> no. >> the jury is going to have to decide what to make of the discussion that jeantel has said she had with trayvon, and what that has to do with the final outcome that night. what is your sense of -- if there is any way of telling in the courtroom there what the jury was kind of leaning in toward -- in her testimony the most? >> i know that they were definitely paying attention. i think has soon as it got contentious with don west, they paid a little more attention, they would lean in, and i saw a lot of heads turning left and right. left and right.
so i knew they were definitely paying attention. one juror was almost leaning out of the jury box because she was so enthralled, so i can't tell you if they believed her but i can tell you they were paying close attention to her and taking a lot of notes. >> the jury heard another 911 tape today. placed in evidence by another witness. let's listen to that. >> 911, do you need police or medical? >> maybe both, i'm not sure. there is just someone screaming outside. >> and what is the address -- is this -- >> yes. >> okay, and is it a male or female? >> it sounds like a male. >> and you don't know why? >> i don't know why, i think they're yelling help, but i don't know. >> does he look hurt --
>> i can't see him. i don't want to go out there. i don't know what is going on. >> do you think he is yelling help? >> yes. >> all right, what is your phone number. >> gunshots -- >> you just heard gunshots? >> yes. >> how many? >> just one. >> and faith, was she asked her opinion of what the voice crying for help sounded like to her? >> yes, she was not able to tell who was crying out for help, but the reason why her testimony is so crucial is because the state wanted to move that 911 call into evidence. now the jurors are going to be able to take that call with them into the deliberation room when they're deliberating. and you remember john guy, the prosecutor in this case opened and talked about this call in his opening statement. he said listen to this call carefully. listen to the screams for help in this call.
when do they end? and he is going to argue -- they're going to argue in their closing statements that the gunshot silenced the screamer, whoever was screaming, the gunshot silenced them. >> let's listen to selma mora, she speaks spanish, it will be through a translator, telling us what she saw. >> did you ask again what is going on? >> yes. >> and did anybody respond to you that time? >> yes. >> and who responded to you? >> the person who was on top. >> what did the person on top say? >> just to call the police. >> did you ever hear the person on the bottom say anything? >> no. >> at any point, did you see
either the person on top or the person on the bottom get up? >> yes. >> who did you see get up? >> the one who was on top. >> when the man on top got up and started walking around, could you see the man on the bottom or the person on the bottom better? >> yes. >> could you tell at that point whether or not the person on the bottom was on their stomach or their back? >> he was face down. >> yamiche, here is the prosecution with another witness, very clearly insisting that trayvon martin was face down, right after this incident which contradicts the zimmerman version of this.
this is something that is essential to the prosecution's -- outline of the case, isn't it? >> i think it is essential, because the lawyers, they're saying there are no eye witnesses. so each one of these witnesses they're presenting gives one small piece of the puzzle. and this woman is saying clearly i saw george zimmerman on top of trayvon martin, and when the gun went off the person who got up, the person who was walking around was the same person on top of the second person, which would be george zimmerman. so i think that she really offered key testimony for the state. because he really tried to paint a picture of this young boy basically on the ground while george zimmerman was on top of him. >> faith jenkins and yamiche alcindor, thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. coming up, congresswoman tammy duckworth who lost both of her legs fighting in iraq explains to a federal contractor
why his football injury should not allow him to claim he has been disabled in the military. it is a capitol hill moment like nothing i have ever seen. and it is in tonight's rewrite. it starts with little things. tiny changes in the brain. little things anyone can do. it steals your memories. your independence. ensures support, a breakthrough. and sooner than you'd like. sooner than you'd think. you die from alzheimer's disease. we cure alzheimer's disease. every little click, call or donation adds up to something big.
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going on now at your authorized mercedes-benz dealer. hurry, before this opportunity cools off. . president obama would like to see marriage equality spread to all 50 states, and chris christie absolutely would not. that is coming up. and you have got to see this in the rewrite. congresswoman tammy duckworth confronting a guy who is claiming that veteran's disability benefits for a football injury he got in high school. that is in the rewrite. [ female announcer ] love. it's the most powerful thing on the planet. love holds us in the beginning. comforts us as we grow old. love is the reason you care. for all the things in your life... that make life worth living. ♪
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talk to your doctor about toviaz. thei tthan probablycarefects are dmoreanyone else.andpation. we've had this farm for 30 years. we raise black and red angus cattle. we also produce natural gas. that's how we make our living and that's how we can pass the land and water back to future generations. people should make up their own mind what's best for them. all i can say is it has worked well for us. in tonight's rewrite, rewriting the definition of combat injury to include a football injury. which is exactly what one man has done in order to get preferential treatment as a government contractor. he managed to do this without ever actually serving in the military.
now what do you suppose a wounded combat veteran hates more than a liar who poses as a wounded combat veteran? not much. what you are about to see is what happens when a guy exploiting a phoney injury to get veteran's benefits faces congresswoman tammy duckworth in a congressional hearing. tammy duckworth was one of the first women to fly combat missions in 2004 in the iraq war. when her helicopter was shot down she lost both legs and part of her right arm. appearing before her yesterday was braulio castillo, the ceo of an i.t. company that gets preferential treatment because he does business with the government. a house committee investigation claims his story is based on attending a prep school before college.
mr. castillo was the quarterback of the prep school's football team and he injured his foot playing football at west point military academy prep school. he recovered from the injured foot and then went on to play quarterback for the university of san diego and then never served in the military. so how is he a veteran? the house oversight committees report explains it this way. normally a cadet is not considered a veteran until he or she graduates from west point, enters active duty and subsequently leaves the duty. time spent at prep school is considered training, not active duty. however, if a person is injured at either school he or she becomes a veteran due to the service connected disability. well, that is just not tammy
duckworth's idea of a disabled veteran. >> mr. castillo, how are you? thank you for being here today. >> i am not well. but -- you're welcome. >> all right. so your foot hurt? your left foot? >> yes, ma'am. >> my feet hurt, too, in fact, the balls of my feet burn continuously, and i feel like there is a nail being hammered into my right foot right now. so i can understand how pain and suffering can cause unstoppable pain. i also understand why you know, something can take years to manifest itself when you hurt them. in fact, i have a dear, dear friend who was sprayed in vietnam, and it took 40 years for the leukemia to actually manifest itself and he died six is months later. so i can see at the time while in military service you seem
very healthy, could 40 years later result in devastating injury. in your letter to a government official, i think it is the sva, attention, you said my family and i have made considerable sacrifices for our country. my service as a disabled status, should serve as a testimony to that end. i can't play with my kids because i can't walk without pain. i take daily medication so i can work a day's work. these are crosses that i bear due to my service to our great country and i would do it again to protect this great country. i am so glad that you would be willing to play football in prep school again to protect this great country. shame on you, mr. castillo. shame on you, you may not have is broken any law. we're not sure yet. you did misrepresent to the sba, but you certainly broke the trust of this great nation. i hope you think twice about the
example you set for your children, the veterans that are willing to die for this nation. twisting your ankle in prep school is not defending this nation. mr. chairman, you have been very indulgent, i yield my time back. >> i thank the gentle lady, the time was well spent. hey linda! what are you guys doing? having some fiber! with new phillips' fiber good gummies. they're fruity delicious! just two gummies have 4 grams of fiber! to help support regularity! i want some... [ woman ] hop on over! [ marge ] fiber the fun way, from phillips'. ever...
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they're not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is "how did i end up here?" i started schwab for those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. if you have high cholesterol, here's some information that may be worth looking into. in a clinical trial versus lipitor, crestor got more high-risk patients' bad cholesterol to a goal of under 100. getting to goal is important, especially if you have high cholesterol plus any of these risk factors because you could be at increased risk for plaque buildup in your arteries over time. and that's why when diet and exercise alone aren't enough to lower cholesterol i prescribe crestor. [ female announcer ] crestor is not right for everyone. like people with liver disease or women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant. tell your doctor about other medicines you're taking.
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and that under federal law, you should be able to obtain the benefits of any lawfully married couple. but again, i'm speaking as a president, not a lawyer. >> president obama has asked the white house counsel to work with lawyers across the federal government to figure out which laws now need to be applied to all married couples and how to handle cases where married couples move to a state where their marriage may not be recognized. the supreme court ruling on prop 8 and the defense of marriage act did not change chris christie's view of marriage equality. though. he vetoed a bill legalizing marriage equality, but says he still supports putting marriage on the ballot prop 8 style. >> the democrats are putting an increase in the minimum wage on the ballot. that is important enough to put on the ballot, but gay marriage is not.
that is something the people should decide, but not whether same-sex marriage should happen -- >> but their argument is you should not have to vote on somebody's rights. what is minimum wage? >> i am not evaluating the depth of the right. >> joining me now is ari melber, co-host of msnbc's "the cycle." ari, chris christie didn't do so good with the depth of the right voting. >> i don't know what he means by the depth of the right -- yeah, the right to marry, the right to vote, the right to speak. we think of these as absolute rights because they have a floor. in this case and what the president said i thought eloquently, the right to vote, the matter of the law and the sense of dignity with how we treat each other. >> i want to play something he said about the supreme court
decision and -- particular note to how he wove bill clinton into his side of this argument. let's listen to this. >> i don't think the ruling was appropriate. i think it was wrong. i thought that justice kennedy's opinion in many respects was incredibly insulting to those people. 340-something members of congress who voted for the defense of marriage act. and bill clinton, he said the only reason to pass that bill was to demean people. that is a heck of a thing to say about bill clinton and the republican congress back in the '90s, and it is just another example of judicial supremacy, so i thought it was a bad decision. >> ari, why is he working so hard to remind people that clinton signed the defense of marriage act, even though clinton turned against it publicly and strongly.
>> i think chris christie is worried about being lumped in with this, with people who oppose it for bigoted reasons. the problem is, i am glad you played it, a real miscarriage of justice, kennedy's opinion. he was referring to in the legal guideline something in colorado, where the supreme court had previously knocked down rules in part because they said they were motivated by anti-gay subjects. it is a problem, because if they get in there and are just doing it to hurt or single out a certain group that often doesn't meet the test that the supreme court has said. that is true in a lot of areas. so that is what justice kennedy was referring to, saying in part, doma, at the time it was passed was working to single out gays, instead of doing something normal.
and in that broad set of definitions that we use under the law, not a more specific area, misreading. probably, we don't know, probably a deliberate political misreading, again goes to the fact he doesn't get how important this is in realm of equality. >> ari, chris christie is not saying this to pander in new jersey. but it certainly is exactly what as we now know it, republican presidential primary voters want to hear in a lot of states. >> absolutely, and that is the connective tissue from gay rights or marriage equality issues over to voting rights where we have the supreme court dipping in, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively, in my view, but making a lot of long-term trouble for the republican party. this is not a party that can afford to go against equality in so many different areas.
and so he is trying to hide behind the voters in his state to impress future republican voters, i think we deserve better than that. >> ari melber gets the last word. thank you. >> thank you. witness for the prosecution. let's play "hardball." good evening. leading off tonight, back on the stand. for a second day, rachel jeantel described as the prosecution's key witness underwent a long and grueling cross-examination. zimmerman is accused of murdering the unarmed trayvon martin last year. trying to discredit the young woman who was the last person to speak to martin moments before he was kil