tv Meet the Press MSNBC June 30, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
this sunday an historic week as the supreme court rules on on some of the country's most highly charged political issues. and yet the fight is far from over. a week that highlighted the rapid pace of social change in america does little to quiet the debates ahead. gay marriage, voting rights, abortion and immigration. issues that still divide americans and will fuel next year's midterm congressional raess and this year's battles in statehouses and in congress. this morning my exclusive conversation with house democratic leader nancy pelosi. and a conservative leading the push to ban gay marriage. congressman from kansas.
and a rising star on on the abortion rights takes on text governor rick perry and new attempts to restrict abortion rights in texas. and our political round table on the future of gay marriage, whether immigration reform can pass in the house, and the debate over edward snowden, is the fugitive a high priority for the obama administration and will he be produce tbrought to . good sunday morning. nelson mandela remains in critical but stable condition, another emotional day ahead for problem. he arrive this had cape town a short time ago and is spekd the morning at robben island, the jail will mandel was held for 18 of the 27 years of his confinement. saturday the president met privately and spoke about the former leader's legacy.
>> as you you go forward, i want you to position of the map who is in our prayers today. think about 27 years of prison respect think about the hardships and struggles, being away from family and friends. reflecting on his years in prison, nelson mandela wrote that there were dark moments that tested his faith in humanity, but he refused to give up. >> all of this amid significant political challenges and debates back home in washington. we'll get right into. joining me now, rachel maddow, founder and chairman of the safe and freedom coalition ralph oig reed, profession or at georgetown university, former republican senator jim demint, and our own justice correspondent pete williams. pete, are you such a significant news man that even when you get news of something significant like the ruling and the gay marriage debate, it is becoming
viral sensation. the loop seen round the world of the intern hustling the decision to pete williams so he can inform the world. good to have all of you here. >> i was sweating, too. >> exactly. so much to get into. let's begin with where this did debate over gay marriage goes now. rachel, because the reaction has been so big, so fast, and yet what now becomes a really big question. >> the supreme court has the choice not only which way to rule, but also how they were going to rule. they could have ruled just federal. this isn't a federal issue at all, state shoes decide it, or they could decide it on equal production grounds. those are the grounds on which they decided it. so i tend to side with justice scalia on this who ten years ago in the lawrence case said if the court finds that there is not a state interest in discriminating and showing moral disapproval of homosexuality, then we can't
does that equal marriage rights. >> and if you look at a part of the majority opinion by justi kennedy, he writes the following. doma yauundermines both the pub and private significance of state sanctioned same-sex marriages for it tells those couples and all the world that their otherwise valid marriages are unwore thif federal recognition. this places same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second tier marriage. it tod it demeans the couple. >> that's the part of the opinion that will be used by supporters as they come up with a legal strategy to go state by state. but there is something in this opinion by everybody. and justice kennedy uses the word dignity ten times, but he says this is so important because it demeans the choice
the states have made. so the other choice can say this is all about leaving it up to the states. not that there is a fundamental right, but that you have to defer to what the states want. >> and here is how it looks in the states, ralph reed, as we put up the map of where gay marriage is now legal. 13 states and the difficult of columbia where it is legal or will be soon. wide swathes of this country 37 states in fact where it is not legal. what happens now? >> well, i hate to throw cold water on the celebration on on the other side, but this court specifically and explicitly rejected what the plaintiffs argued in this case, can was there is a 14th amendment equal protection right to be married as gays and lesbians. the court reject that had argument. and even in the doma -- >> did they reject it or side step it? >> clearly the votes were not there. kennedy has wanted to go there ever since the lawrence decision
last decade, but the votes are not there and i don't expect the votes to be there anytime soon. and i also don't buy into this notion of history that this is an inevitable train and this is where we're going to go. even after this decision, david, 70% of the american people live in states that define marriage as between a man and a woman. 32 of those states passed referendums with an average margin of 57% and in a cbs "new york times" poll on june 9th, 60% of the american people and a majority of democrats said they want this resolved at the state level not the federal level. >> how does that dynamic change? because there is a huge part of the country and in many states where they're simply in the on board with the notion that gays and lesbians have the right to marry. but we've also looked at the social and political change that's occurred so rapidly. >> let me represent the that
it's not necessarily inevitable progress, but it highlights the necessity for sustained political intervention on behalf of those people that have been underrepresented. i come from a people where it was illegal to be married for a long period of our history in this country. so that now that that right has been extended to us, that becomes a metaphor for others who are struggling 14r5rly against states rights and against of the use of a constitution to prevent them from participating in a right that others share freely. if we bring in our own religious reliefs to say we're dignified because we're hauman beings and because we have the right that everyone has should have expectations that they will enjoy. so my point is that if you had polled people in 1963, '64, '65, there was huge resistance to a notion of civil rights bill and civil rights act and voting rights act, but president johnson used his bully bull pit
to encourage congress to get on board so that those three have to be brought in. >> let me bring jim demint into this. i want to come back to pete's point. justice kennedy is using the word dignity over and over again. and he is saying you can't de demean gay and less bee an couple. in both your backgrounds, you will be you viewed as intolerant of gay right as, intolerant of gays going back to the christian coalition. how do you answer justice kennedy saying to -- possess gay marriage is to deny dignity to people? >> what i'd say is he is denying dignity to the millions of americans who for moral and religious reasons believe gay marriage is wrong as you've just said, you have 37 states where the people have decided that they want to protect the marriage between a man and a woman because they know that
that's the environment where children can thrive and succeed. that's been proven. so it's not about the desires of adults, it's really about the best environment for children. we're talking all about politics, but the reason governments at the state level and the federal level have recognized marriage between a man and a woman is because it's better for our country and it's better for children. >> justice kennedy addressed that issue specifically. >> he talked about children, as well. >> he said by denying marriage rights to same-sex couples who have kids, you're humiliating a and demeaning the kids. so we can put it in the interests of children, but i think that cuts both ways and i think the recalling cuts against that argument. gay people, there's nothing that we can do that make more or less of us exist. and you've been arguing for a generation that public policy ought to essentially demean gay people as a expressing
disava any less of us exist. >> david, i really can't let that go. this suggestion that because somebody wants to affirm the institution of marriage that they're inso in-fact toe intolerant, by that argument, barack obama was intolerant 14 months ago. by that argument, 342 members of the senate, 85 members of tcome voted for this ball and bill clinton who signed it into law were intolerant and mote straighted by an animus and hate dress for gays. were they bigots? >> nobody is calling them bigots.
>> you're motivated by hatred for something else because you believe the foundation and socializing nue ining instituti something to be protected. >> the same argument was made against african africans. the reality is the same arguments were made in behalf of those. >> you're quoting goornlg wallace? >> no gormg washington. my point is, yes, in the american culture, people can change their mind, they can grow, they can think. >> most americans believed one thing about race 50 years ago, now they believe something different. as we made move toward enlightened viewpoints your affirmation for those of marriage for hex i don't sexuals goes against same sex people.
>>s supreme court did not reject the argument of equality here. it just sidestepped it with great relief. it was only too happy to find an off ramp and say the parties that came here, the prop 8 proponents, don't have the proper legal standing. it was obviously clear from the oral arguments that the court is nowhere near wanting to take on this question. they would not like to see this come back. there were two cases pending in the supreme court after it decided these cases from two other states that raised the court question. the court said we're just not going to hear those now. so having done all this, it does not want to see these cases back on its doorstep for quite a while. it wants the states to have very argument you're having. >> joining me now is republican congressman from kansas tim huelskamp. welcome. i asked you to come on because you are on the leading edge of those conservative opponents of gay marriage within congress who don't want to just have the
fights in the states, but in congress. you have proposed a constitutional ban for gay marriage. you have some co-sponsors but you'd have to admit that it seems that the flow of history now, the supreme court and others are sort of working against you, working against the politics of what you're trying to advocate. do you not think that's true? >> well, our founders made it extraordinarily difficult to amend the constitution, and that's what we're going to try to do. yes, you look at this decision. it's outrageous what the court did. they've taken it upon themselves to rewrite the constitution, and this would make it very clear to them, but to suggest it can't be done, if you look at the issue of life and abortion, we're moving in that direction where most americans oppose most abortions. by that same argument, we should be looking closely at any abortion in this country or something close to that. >> what is it you have against gays and lesbians marrying? >> this issue here is the definition of marriage. for centuries in this country and elsewhere around the world in every major rural religion has identified marriage as
between a man and a woman. and that's the simple issue here. senator demint did note the research is very clear that the ideal for raising our children should be the issue here, and that's what we need to focus on in this debate. >> right, but justice kennedy speaks to this. there's also research that indicates -- everybody talks about the interests of children. children tend to prosper in loving -- in homes where there is a loving marriage. right? i mean, there is really not evidence to suggest that if you are a same-sex couple or a heterosexual couple that it makes one difference one way or the other. >> well, actually, the research does not show that. actually, the research is very clear, as we have indicated here. but -- >> no, but everybody throws that out. no, no, the research actually shows that in broken homes it hurts the children, which i think most people would say that would be true with same-sex couples or heterosexual couples. we don't really know, do we. but we do have a sense that loving marriages provide a good
family life for children. right? >> well, we have an epidemic of fatherlessness here, and that's what i agree with the president on. we should be doing more to promote and protect marriage between a man and a woman after the needs of our children. the desires of adults, the court decided the desires of adults should trump the needs of children, and that's what's gotten lost in all the politics, all the debate, all the hand wringing in washington, d.c. >> but justice kennedy has weighed in heavily on that point. i do want to ask you a political question and give you kind of the two ends within the republican debate about how to treat this issue. mike huckabee, former governor of arkansas, tweeted this out on wednesday. "my thoughts on the scotus ruling that determines that same-sex marriage is okay, jesus wept." reflecting that part of the conservative party, the faith-based party. david kochel, a republican operative, worked for mitt romney's campaign, wrote the
following. "however intensely conservatives may oppose marriage, kochel said the country is witnessing an inexorable march of progress on the freedom to marry. there will be people who want to roll back the clock, continue this fight over and over again. there will be a lot of sound and fury, but i don't think it's going to amount to a whole lot over time." why don't you think this debate is over that the republicans are having? >> well, because for the american people it's not over. this court attempted to short circuit the democratic process. what you're hearing from these professional consultants who have lost election after election, by the way, these folks have always wanted us to go light and to abandon our positions on social issues. as i mentioned earlier, there are more folks today that are opposed to abortion than support homosexual marriage. but the real issue here is who gets to decide. do five justices get to decide, or do the american people get to decide?
do some consultants in washington, d.c., get to decide? at the end of the day, i'm going to go with the 7 million californians who had their votes discarded by this court. >> tim huelskamp from kansas, thank you very much for your time this morning. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> ralph reed, quick reaction on the political point. you have said this week, this is going to energize republicans not only to fight gay marriage at the state level, but this has implications for the midterm race as well. >> no question about it. i mean, i think that, first of all, it's far better for this to be resolved at the state level than by a federal decision. second of all, it's better resolved in the political and legislative process at the ballot box than it is by an active judicial fiat. i think if we find the silver lining at all, and it's hard to do in these decisions, that's it. so what you're going to see in states like iowa where the supreme court imposed same-sex marriage on the state, we're going to be -- >> the state supreme court. >> the state supreme court. we're going to be attempting to elect legislators who will pass
a constitutional amendment to ratify that marriage should be between a man and a woman. >> three main election efforts, electing mitt romney, getting that iowa state supreme court justice thrown out and the minnesota anti-gay constitutional amendment. you lost all three of those fights in november 2012. between oral arguments -- >> turn out the evangelical vote. >> and it was great and they lost, but between -- when oral arguments were made in this case, there were nine states that recognized marriage equality. by the time of the ruling there were 12 states and five minutes later there were 13 states. >> let me get in here. we'll continue this. but i want to get to another voice on this debate. on friday, i sat down with the democratic leader in the house, nancy pelosi, to talk about this issue, some of the other big issues, as well, that congress is dealing with. my conversation with her. leader, welcome back to "meet the press." >> welcome to the capitol. >> thank you. always good to be here. let me start on this historic week on gay marriage and where the fight goes from here. some supporters of same-sex marriage have said they'd like to see it be the law of the land
within five years. but you've got 37 states in america where it remains illegal. do you think that's an achievable goal? >> well, first of all, let's savor the victory. none of us was surprised that the supreme court ruled the way they did. nonetheless, it was a relief to have it over both in terms of the sections of doma as well as the sending proposition 8 back to where it belonged. and, you know, we still have work to do. the president, as you know, has directed his administration to go through the federal laws that affect marriage equality, couples in their country. and yes, we would like to see it be the law of the land upheld as a constitutional right and no discrimination, no discrimination. that's what we're about as a country. >> arkansas, only 18% approval. how do you change that tide? >> well, you know what, look how
fast things have changed, even when we went over to listen to the oral arguments at the time of doma in march, the chief justice said people seem to be falling, tripping all over themselves to come out in support of gay marriage. generationally, another generation of people think in a different way about this kind of discrimination. i'm optimistic that the momentum is with ending discrimination. >> five years is achievable, you think? >> i would certainly hope so. of course i've been in this, shall we say, crusade for a long time. to see the pace at which it has accelerated in the past few years is very encouraging. let's hope it's even sooner than that. >> what would you say to conservatives who are energized by this to say, no, this is still a faith-based issue, we're going to lobby the federal government to be very narrow in its implementation and we're going to make this a big fight in the states based on a faith-based view that marriage should only be between a man and
a woman? >> well, for their faith, they can apply that to their religion, and we're not talking about things that religions have to perform wedding ceremonies. we're talking about the state, what the state does and what the state recognizes. people have a right to believe what they believe, but we are a country that professors not to discriminate, and this is a discrimination. and, again, i think the more people see in their own families, people coming out, saying people they love or profess to whom they love, they're much more receptive. i think that culturally it's still a challenge. but it's changing in favor of not being a nonissue before too long. >> i want to ask you about the voting rights. the president this week said that you wouldn't have to target particular states the way they
were, quote/unquote, precleared in the past. but basically, that every state should be subject to rules with regard to voting so that everybody can vote and that there's no suppression. is that how you view it? is that the way to get started, do you think, to get legislation? >> well, what we want to do is to correct what the supreme court did. and to do so, we must do it in a bipartisan way, which it always has been, and to do so in a way that addresses the challenge. it may be that we add parts of some other states. but whatever it is, you're not adding states. you're adding criteria. >> so many hot-button issues to get to. immigration. >> yeah. >> you've apparently spoke on the president about the game plan, the way forward. look how daunting this is. 70% of districts held by republicans in the house have a population of hispanic voters of 10% or less. you're an advocate, but you're also a realist. how tough will this be to get meaningful legislation in the house? >> i'm hopeful. i'm very optimistic before too long and certainly before this
year will have comprehensive immigration reform. congratulations to the senate in a bipartisan way and to the courage of those on the republican side especially who made the tough vote. on the house side, the speaker will have his way to bring a legislation to the floor, and hopefully it will be in a form that takes -- >> what's going to happen? those are the outlines of it, but you've opinion very tough on the speaker saying he's weak. and how optimistic can you be given the fact that i just, you know, cited for you and the views you're going to get? >> we wouldn't even be where we are right now had it not been 70% of hispanics voted for president obama, voted democratic in the last election. that caused an epiphany in the senate, that's for sure. so all of a sudden now we have already passed comprehensive immigration reform in the senate. that's a big victory. i believe that the members of congress, many more than are directly affected themselves by
number of hispanics in their district, will do what is right for our country. and it's certainly right for the republicans to say they want to win a presidential race. the senators know it's important to win statewide, to have hispanics and other immigrant populations supporting them. hopefully, they can persuade their colleagues in the house. but i think they're enough, they're enough. the question is do we have to have these pi-r-squared mathematical formulas about what it takes to bring something to the floor? 218, that's a majority in the house. >> that would include democrats not adhering only to the majority of republicans. >> right. >> on abortion rights, look what's happened, this back and forth in texas this week in an attempt to narrow abortion rights there. as you look at -- here's the supreme court giving back to the states power over big issues like gay marriage, do you see what's happening in the states
as the potential, laying the groundwork for potential to undermine abortion rights and why the supreme court would take that up again? do you feel that pressure? >> yes, i do. but i think it's really important to enlarge the issue beyond abortion because i have been serving here for over two decades, and i have seen year in and year out largely the republicans voting against women -- contraception, family planning. so they want to argue the sensational, which is about abortion, certain cases of abortion. but the fact is it's a fundamental disrespect for women, women's judgment about the sizing and time of their families. this is a women's health issue. and, again, if you want to win the day, take the issue to the extreme. but the fact is every single day in the ordinary, the american people, america's families have to make decisions about their families that should be made by them, not by texas or the united states or congress.
>> do you fear we're at a new age of the erosion of abortion rights? if you look at what's happening in the states, the number of states that have banned abortions, for instance, after 20 weeks. >> i think we're in a place where a woman's health is in danger because of whether it is family planning or contraception or any issues that relate to women's health. there is an assault on that in the congress, on the ongoing, and in other parts of the country. so we have to be ever vigilant and fight for this. this is -- again, this is about respect for women, the judgments that women make and their doctors about their reproductive health. it's an important part of who women are, their reproductive health. >> let me ask you about the controversy surrounding these nsa surveillance programs and the issue of spying. you were booed by some progressives at a recent conference because you talked about edward snowden who leaked all this classified material and having broken the law. >> boo!
>> i understand. i understand. >> as there is widening concern about a quote, unquote, surveillance state, do you think we need more edward snowdens in this country who leak this material and force this kind of debate or less? >> no. no. i think what we have to do is obey the constitution of the united states. and by the way, it was a smattering when i objected to him being called a hero, and yes, he did break the law. >> he's not a hero in your mind. >> no. here's the thing. i've been involved in the intelligence side of federal government for a long time. we all know that we have to have a balance between security, protecting the american people, and liberty. we take an oath to protect and defend the constitution and the american people. and so i have -- all of the legislation that i've been involved in puts serious obstacles to having surveillance that comes anywhere near to violating the rights of the american people, including the
privacy and civil liberties board, which i think will now be further strengthened. it was a recommendation of the 9/11 commission of when we won the house hr-1, the first bill we passed was to enact the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, one of which was to protect their civil liberties, our privacy and civil liberties board. when the left or the right wants to say that president bush -- excuse me -- president obama's a fourth term of president bush, it couldn't be farther from the truth. president bush exercised unfettered, unlimited presidential discretion for surveillance. under president obama in '08, before he even became president, we passed the fisa amendments, which put up obstacles to the federal government doing surveillance, which put oversight, whether it's inspectors general, whether it's
the congress of the united states, whether it's privacy or civil liberties board. so i would love to show you the chart to show you what was happening under president bush and what is the law now. whether it's a democrat or republican president, we do not want any president to have what president bush had, unlimited presidential discretion. >> there's obviously a debate about whether this president has expanded some of those programs. beyond that, you heard the president this week say, look, i'm not going to scramble jets to get a 29-year-old hacker. how important do you think it is that america track edward snowden down and make him face justice? >> i think it's pretty good he's stuck in the moscow airport. that's okay with me. >> but he's still in a position to leak more documents. >> i think the bigger question here is who are these consultants who now -- we've gotten into a -- this president has reduced the number of consultants as i understand --
>> who get into the nsa, the contractors. >> and this revolving door between the nsa and hamilton, taking that to admiral mcconnell as well. >> how aggressive should we be in tracking him down? >> the fact is we have to really know evidence, we have to know what is it that he has. and i don't know that he has that much stuff. since i don't know, he may know something about the machinery. i don't know that he knows that much about the content. but i think that anybody thought he was a hero to begin with now that he's threatening in any event to share information with russia and china, if, in fact, he has any information, i think that should disabuse anybody of the notion that he is a hero. >> let me end on a political note. you talked about hillary clinton this week. >> yes. >> you talked about how credentialed she'd be, how prepared she would be to be president and if she ran she would be in 2016. is that an endorsement?
and do you see any challenges to her getting the nomination or winning the white house? >> i think it's a little early. we have the election in 2014 which we intend to win. >> right. >> so urgent so that we can really have a jobs agenda, that we can have a budget that grows the economy. >> a lot of focus and a lot of planning goes into this among these potential campaigns. you speaking out was significant. are you endorsing her? >> i'm excited about the prospect of a woman president of the united states. especially a woman as well qualified as hillary clinton. i make a habit of not endorsing people until they make a decision to run, but i think there are many people who are waiting to see if secretary clinton runs. but first, we have to win in 2014. we need a budget, a jobs agenda, and all we have here is obstructionism. i wish in 2014 one word could be on the ballot voted up or down -- bipartisanship, cooperation, working together. get the job done for the
american people instead of the obstruction that the republicans have put up against any initiative that president obama puts forth to create jobs, to reduce the deficit, to grow the economy, to strengthen the middle class. we've got to get through 2014 first. >> leader pelosi, thank you very much as always. >> my pleasure. coming up, more with the roundtable, reaction to the pelosi interview, and more on the road ahead for immigration reform and voting rights. later, the abortion rights debate. my live interview with the woman who took a stand in texas, wendy davis, joins us live coming up here. [ thunder crashes ] [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods.
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killing most of it. we are back with our roundtable. michael eric dyson, "time" magazine wrote this. we have liberals rejoicing about the gay marriage ruling, a lot of conservatives rejoicing about the voting rights ruling. here's what was written. "the thread running through all these cases is the possibility of change in american society. justice anthony kennedy was only stating the obvious when he wrote the changes in thinking about same-sex marriage have come clowe sloely at first and then in rapid course. if such change is possible in this area, is it also possible in the realm of race relations? the court thinks so, writing that the ghost of the 1960s can no longer be held against those states, particularly in the south." wi where does this go now? >> it's not the ghosts. it's the real living problems that are prenltsed. think about attorney general holder's response to this, talking about the corrosion of the foundations of american democracy. he pointed out that texas' redistricting plan and south carolina's i.d. plan were both rejected by lower courts,
federal courts in texas and south carolina today, not 50 years ago, not 40 years ago. you know, what's interesting here is that in 2006 congress and george bush signing the legislation reviewed this and in a bipartisan way found that it was compelling evidence to suggest that we need to be -- >> right. senator demint, you voted to reauthorize the voting rights act. is there not a bipartisan basis, then, to find some remedy along the lines of what the president wa wants, which was striking? he said there ought on rules and everybody ought to be subject to them. >> the courts didn't throw out the voting rights act. there's just one section that used 50-year-old voting participation records. and the fact is today in those nine states the participation of african-americans voting is as high or higher than whites. all the court said, if there's a compelling case based on data today, they need to look at it. but i think it was a good judgment and it's not going to hinder voting rights. >> but in 2006, that formula wasn't on 50-year-old data.
what you voted for in 2006 included the formula. if you thought it was 50-year-old data and a bad formula, why vote for it? >> i didn't want to throw out the whole bill. at the time we decided to continue it because a lot of it is good. >> but the point is -- to get back to the point, it's not 50-year-old data. we're talking about what goes on now. the voting i.d. laws, manifestly unjust, and the way racial je y gerrymandering as occurred in texas and florida and south carolina. we're not talking about having the ghost of mississippi or alabama or georgia assert themselves. we're talking about practices that are being used now deployed against vulnerable populations, latinos, african-americans in particular. i can't even get a credit card without three credit bureaus saying i'm good enough. now you're saying the supreme court says let's give you the card now and if you mess up, let's take your credit back, where we have the executive, judicial, and legislative weighing in and the judicial have now said that it's all good. i'm telling you a bipartisan congress and president said in 2006 that it wasn't.
>> i live in georgia, which is a section 5 state, okay? every single redistricting plan drawn by my state from the time the voting rights act was passed in 1965 until 2011 was overturned by either doj or a federal court for being discriminatory against minorities. so i take this very seriously. my view is that discrimination against anyone at the ballot box is wrong and should have the full enforcement of the federal government. but the issue here was not, as jim said, they didn't throw out the law, they just simply said you're using an old formula that doesn't apply. if the department of justice today believes that any state has passed a redistricting plan that violates the minority voting rights of anybody in that state, they can go into federal court today and -- >> let me just -- quickly here, before i run out of time before we go to a break, is there a bipartisan basis to do something
that ensures that voters are enfranchised around the country? >> yes, but it may be such a small number of bipartisan people. the question is -- here's the problem. every time congress has in modern times reauthorized the voting rights act, it's log rolling. i'll keep your state and your county out if you'll keep my county out. and that's the problem they're going to face the next time. that's why they're trying to come up with something they don't fully have their arms around yet, which is is there some way of say, okay, we're not going to cover entire states, we're just going to say there's this nationwide rule. >> let me get to a break. we'll auk act abortion rights. my live interview with one of the most talked-about women of the week, texas state senator wendy davis taking on texas governor rick perry. she joins me live. plus, the president in south africa yet meeting with the children and grandchildren of the ailing nelson mandela. he and the first lady swoek with [ larry ] you know throughout history,
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abortion rights a big issue around the country as states debate this, debate gay marriage. state senator wendy davis joins me from texas. she made a big splash this week taking on a bill that would restrict abortion rights in the texas legislature, taking on governor perry as well. senator davis, welcome to "meet the press." >> thank you. good morning, david. >> for all that you have achieved in terms of your profile and your views, are you not just delaying the inevitable? governor perry has another special session that is
scheduled this bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks likely to become law. >> well, i don't think it's ever acceptable to concede the argument on incredibly important issues like this. and what we saw in the capitol last week, really, was people who have grown weary of our politicians trying to boost their own political careers on the backs of women by bull bying them and others, honestly, in order to promote agendas that help them personally. these are matters of personal liberty. in texas, we hold very dear to intrusions against our personal liberty. we fight very hard against that. and we will fight as we begin the session again on monday. i don't -- >> go ahead. finish your thought. i'm sorry. >> i was just going to say, i don't think that we'll concede that the battle is over. and even if the this bill passes, obviously there will be challenges to it going forward. >> the issue at hand, banning
abortions after 20 weeks, is actually not as divisive, frankly, as other parts of the abortion debate. you look at some recent polling which i can put up on the screen, indicating even among women there's 50% support far 20-week abortion ban. does that concern you that you're fighting on a particular battleground that, you know, is pretty evenly viewed? >> this is an omnibus bill, david, that includes four different provisions, one of which would leave texas with only five clinics in a state as large as we are, one of which would dramatically decrease the number of doctors who are able to function in this arena. and with that, the turning back of the clock and putting texas in a place where women's health care, their ability to seek good health care for their reproductive decisionmaking would be seriously foreclosed. and the experts in this arena, the american college of on stet
tri obstetrics and gynecology is warning us, if you do this in texas, you are putting women's health care in a dangerous place. >> do you think a 20-week ban on abortion is acceptable, reasonable? >> right now that ban of course is being talked about because of the idea of fetal pain and that the constitutional level, what we of course have assured is that women have the ability to make these reproductive decisions up to the point of viability. that has to remain the key question here. and of course when we're talking about that particular issue, there are very, very few. it's used more as an emotional trigger point as part of the argument. but remember, it's a huge omnibus bill that involves many, many other aspects to it that are setting texas back. >> let me get reaction to you from governor perry's comments about you personally, which a lot of people reacted to. we'll put it on the screen.
>> she's 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's just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters. >> you don't accept the notion that while he was certainly dils agreeing with you he was holding up your life story in a way to co compliment you. >> david, my life story is something that obviously belongs to me very personally. and the fact of the matter is that i had choices and chances and opportunities that were provided to me based on the way i was able to direct my own decisionmaking. and what i'm working to fight for is to make sure that all women have are the ability to do that. i think some of the comments that he made really demeaned the high office that he holds, and i think that's why we saw such a
strong reaction to it. >> senator davis, thank you very much for your time this morning. i appreciate it. back to our roundtable. just a couple minutes left. pete williams, one of the things we talked about this week is whether this momentum to ban abortion after 20 weeks, narrow abortion rights, is ultimately going to become a federal issue. >> i think there's a strong chance the court will hear an abortion case next term. there's one from oklahoma pending. they've shown interest in it. i would not be surprised if it comes back. >> jim demint, you your reaction to what's played out in texas and state senator davis' comments. >> cases like the philadelphia abortionist that shows the horrendous conditions in these clinics that have actually killed women -- i mean, if we're talking about women's health, we need to consider that. but now two-thirds of americans believe that after a baby's heart is beating and they can feel pain that they need some protection. so i'm glad to see a lot of
states like texas and arkansas begin to consider this. and the more the ultrasounds have become part of the law where a woman gets the opportunity to see that there's a real child, it's beginning to change minds. and i think that's a good thing. it's time that the 3,000 babies we lose every day have some people speaking um for them. >> women don't get the opportunity with ultrasound bills. they're mandated by the state. if a woman does not want an ultrasound or her doctor doesn't want her to have one, if it's not medically indicated, the state government is stepping in and saying you must have this ultrasound by order of the state government. because of the timing on a lot of these, and what is being mandated is a vaginal ultrasound, so it's an invasive vaginal forced procedure that a woman cannot say no to by order of the state government. and that is all right with you. i understand that. you feel that you've got interest strong enough to override a woman's desire to not have that happen to you that you can insist that it does as a legislator.
but most american women i think are going to balk at that. if you want to make it a federal issue, i'd say the democrats will be delighted to have that fight. but as republicans push this further and further and further, it's the wendy davis of the world that are going to make you make the argument. >> she's forgetting about the thousands of women who want an nched choice, who want the opportunity to get a free ultrasound, which they can get not from planned parenthood but from a lot of these pregnancy centers. >> it's not free. >> it is in many cases. >> it would not be -- >> just a second. >> women's right to know laws are supported by the overwhelm mag joe torre not just of men but of women and 70% of the american people favor bans on abortion after the 20th week, late-term abortion. >> do you think they should have an ultrasound if they don't want one? >> it should be litigated. i think it's a matter of provincial judgment by the state. provi[ male announcer ]the to help save wildlife affected by oil spills, rescue workers have opened up a lot of dawn. ♪
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before we go, the second volume of our "meet the press" 65th anniversary ebook is now available for a free download at the itunes bookstore. ralph is already thinking about christmas. exclusive behind-the-scenes content. we put a link on our website. also, while you're there, you can watch this week's press pass conversation with our own pete williams and supreme court expert tom goldstein. they go deep into the supreme court decision and the court. that is all for today. we'll be
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