tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC August 9, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT
promising to withdraw troops from iraq and afghanistan. in response to the latest terror threat, the president launched three drone strikes in yemen just yesterday killing 12. the strikes were part of a highly aggressive and mostly understressed strategy that eliminated 30 militants in eight separate strikes since friday. several months ago, president obama asserted al qaeda was on the run but this week the message is the terror group is weakened and but still dangerous. >> we decimated the al qaeda leadership that attacked us on 9/11, al qaeda affiliates and like minded extremists still threaten our homeland. still threaten our diplomatic facilities. still threaten our businesses abroad. we've got to take these threats seriously. >> the president's counterterrorism legacy will likely be defined by the twin
pillars of an expanded surveillance state. as to the latter, a report in "the new york times" yesterday detailed the degree to which the nsa is monitoring the content of american communications. it is a development that the paper's editorial board asserted shs a common sense understanding of the fourth amendment. we have chuck todd host of "the daily rundown" i go to you first as our man at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. the fact the white house is having a press conference on an august friday at 3:00 p.m., are we to believe they are excited
to get the message out to the media? >> no. i think this is more of a traditional before he's gone on vacation. he's done this before. end of the summer deal. it's one of those things they know they are long overdo on a press conference in that respect. there is a lot of unanswered questions. you brought up that "new york times" sotory yesterday on nsa. this has done more damage to the president and his brand with supporters of his, it's the issue of surveillance and surveillance state, the struggles that he's had to deal with looking at an impact with china and all that. more than any of the other stories, this has been the one that is the most politically damaging. it's one the white house folks will tell you off the record they believe this has been the stuff that is hit them hardest
that hurt them more than some of the other things that have popped up there over the last couple of months let alone discussed with washington and things like that. but that because it hit its core and hit the core particularly with younger demographic which has been be a important part of this base. so that's going to be something to hear the president address and deal with issues of the surveillance state. where it is. where are we in transparency. putin will be there. obviously that's going to be big. hearing him on egypt. a lot of national security stuff let alone what we've got coming up in the fall with budget de k debackd debacles. >> the guardian has a scathing assessment of president obama's legacy on counterterrorism. i would like excerpt from it.
in doing so he wound up foregoing -- as chuck points out this is not electorally among younger voters but what we'll think of when we think of the obama presidency and the white house has goals as progressives have ideas about the affordable care act but certainly the debate over the nsa and surveillance state is going to be a huge part of this i think. >> right. you're going to hear the president having to defend a lot of things today. he's going to have to be defending the programs that edward snowden leaked, the broad expansion of surveillance. he's going to have to explain the reaction to the terror warning that shut down dozens of embassies and consulates and
this aggressive campaign of drone strikes in yemen to deal with this very sort of unspecific threat. so there's all of these aspects of the counterterrorism strategy that have been on display this week and my guess is that this is going to dominate the press conference and the president is going to have to describe and defend the administration's strategy on this. >> we have a perfect storm in terms of counterterrorism and national security. you have embassy closures and drone strikes and edward snowden and putin cancellation and you have these newest pieces of information about the nsa and just how broadly it's monitoring american correspondents. >> this is your chance and opportunity to explain this stuff and how it fits together. i expect the president to say as you said before on the surveillance stuff, we really have to balance security and privacy and have a debate about that. and i think the follow-up question would be when were you
going to tell us? when were you going to let us know the basic information so we could have that debate and what else is there out there that we ought to be debating that we don't yet know about. those are inconvenient questions for the president but they have to be asked. >> on some level it is really hard to articulate a counterterrorism policy at a time of great change across the region, right? there is fact and history and where president obama stood as a senator and candidate on issues of surveillance and counterterrorism and stop gap measures to put in place and curbs on unlimited executive power. i guess the question is, josh, to what degree can he institute some of those checks in the remaining three years. is there any political power to do so? is it the third rail of american politics? >> i think what he'll have to deal with in the press conference today is what he said on the record is we do not spy on americans has turned out to be untrue.
you see the ripple effects from the snowden leaks. you see it's much broader than people originally expected. snowden's e-mail service that he used shut down yesterday rather than comply with demands from nsa. other e-mail services have to. i think first and foremost he needs to come out and square what he's done with what he claimed to stand for earlier and then maybe move on to speaking to congress about putting checks and balances in place. i don't know if there's a lot of appetite for that. >> chuck, i wonder, can the president even square any of it at this point? i am not inclined to see a lot of reason with charles, i don't think of him as a reasonable arguer but he has a point that he makes today and he says that confusion -- he focuses on how the administration has changed language around certain things. embassy evacuations have been a reduction in staff.
terror attacks janet napolitano call man caused disasters. global war on terror is now an overseas contingency operation. he basically says that confusion of language is a confusion of policy and that this administration is in many ways sort of at sea over how to negotiate this. >> this goes to there have been supporters outside of the white house who have been quietly critical of how they've handled this entire snowden and nsa situation. the president needs to get out there and explain and defend the policy. if this is a policy he believes in, he talked on "leno" that he was a skeptical guy. senator obama would have been very skeptical of this program. he's president obama. it's a lot different. he gets all of this information. he gets it differently. any of us understand that it's a different -- there's no doubt you get a different set of facts and data when you are sitting in that seat. what he's got to do is get out there and explain it.
this has been among the biggest critiques i heard frankly from both left and right on this issue. it's not that they don't sympathize with the fact that the president is sort of -- that he is sort of a mixed mind of this. he knows the privacy part of this is sort of ugly and uncomfortable at the same time he's convinced it's a good tool. then explain it. tell the public and then sell it. he's got to try and sell it. when you don't sell it, you let other voices dominate the discussion and then you create this muddled mess that you have. >> the question also of al qaeda is one where the president is in a very tough spot. in so far as we got bin laden. something the white house has been very, very clear about. there's this contention that al qaeda has been decimated. that is something the president continues to sort of say except that this week we are most of america is waking up to reality
that parts of al qaeda are alive and well and functioning enough to warrant the closure of embassies 19 or 20 across the arab world. so how do you even -- what does he present to the american people in terms of our victory or ongoing war against al qaeda? >> right. i don't think most people are really making fine distinctions between core al qaeda and al qaeda affiliates and whether the al qaeda in pakistan is different than al qaeda in yemen. people hear al qaeda and they get worried and so any time you say there is an al qaeda threat that leads to the mass shutdown of embassies and consulates, it leads people to think the threat is still out there and clearly they haven't been decimated. this is going to continue through the president's vacation. there will be questions of what kind of images you have of the president on vacation while there's this ongoing threat. it sort of will hang over
everything because even though they will open up embassies and consula consulates, there will not be a declaration the threat is over. it will hang over things. certainly probably all of the way through the next anniversary of september 11th attacks in a month. so we've got several more weeks of this. >> one thing that the president could try to address when questioned to what extent has u.s. policy for the last ten years beginning with the invasion of iraq on up through the current drone strikes, to what extent have some of those policies and in fact recruited new members for al qaeda? you know, i mean, that's a legitimate question to ask. and a different one to answer. >> eugene, that's a big question. has the drone war worked? i had a democratic congressman on my show earlier this week who argues for every drone strike in yemen they get an operative. they get 30 operatives.
alex did a great job of showing this. how many more or created? >> you know about this based on reporting. the uptick in radical jihadist going from western europe to afghanistan to other failed states in the region, we talked about this new coalition coming into syria. i mean, the implications here are drastic. we're looking at states in transition, failed states, really insecure political situations that are ripe for islamic fundamentalism, radicalism, jihadism and what is america's role to play in there. drone strikes are one piece of it. you have to ask what the long-term benefits there are and short-term sacrifices. >> right at the end of may president obama gave a speech indicating this war with a not last forever and you are not going to launch drone wars all over the world. at the same time you've seen the response that we know how to do here in yemen and response of
the threat is drone strikes and we're still going to try to figure out exactly who the strikes have hit, how high of a level inside of al qaeda and arabian peninsula they may have been targeting. there's a lot to figure out here. in addition, you have the syria problem that you talked about where there clearly is no appetite in the white house to have a war with syria but they will be criticized they don't deal with the terror threat there. not that he's questions are easy but certainly there's going to be a lot of scrutiny for the response the u.s. takes particularly things like drone strikes. >> thank you, mark, and of course to our very own chuck todd. chuck, i'm expecting to see you at that briefing with the most awesome hard hitting questions of them all as usual. >> thank you for raising the bar there. >> be sure to catch chuck weekdays at 9:00 a.m. eastern on a show called "the daily
rundown." we'll cover the president's press conference today at 3:00 p.m. after the break, rand paul versus chris christie. rand paul versus ted cruz and rand paul versus mitch mcconn l mcconnell. we'll look at what stands between the paul dynasty and 2016 next on "now." . this is the one i was telling you about. the new samsung galaxy s 4. it's got a front and back camera so you can take pictures at the same time. seriously! yeah - and it's on verizon's network. sweet! we can stay in touch when we go to school next year. that's so great! get the samsung galaxy s 4 for only $148 on verizon - america's largest 4g lte network. walmart. i don't do any cleaning. i make dirt. ♪ i'm not big enough or strong enough for this. there should be some way to make it easier. [ doorbell rings ] [ morty ] here's a box, babe. open it up. oh my goodness! what is a wetjet? some kind of a mopping device.
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earlier this year. >> how many of you if i said who do you think founders of naacp were, would you know if they were democrats or republicans? okay. you know more than i know. i don't mean that to be insulting. i don't know what you know. i'm trying to find out what the connection is. >> we'll see if rand paul found out what the connection is and discuss his presidential ambitions next on "now." >> time for "your business" entrepreneur of the week. m melanie seemed to have it all. customer, press, international relationships, but somehow revenues weren't increasing. learn how sitting down and simply creating a plan for growth changed everything. that's on "your business" sunday morning at 7:30 on msnbc. ♪ i'm a hard, hard worker every day. ♪
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2012 presidential bid had this to say about his current gig. >> between you and me, i'm sort of holding my nose for two years because what we're doing here is going to be a big benefit to rand in '16 so that's my long vision. >> paul's pac raised nearly $1 million in the first half of this year and paul has been privately courting gop megadonors like the coke brothers who donated to his campaign committee. paul is as radical as a.mbitioa. his budget to the right of paul ryan's budget would privatize both social security and medicare, raise tax es on middl
income earners and paul is either unaware or unapologetic about his budget's impact on the middle class telling josh green i'm serious about making the party more inclusive and a party where every ethic group is welcome including trying to grow our party within the working class. josh green, i ask you first as the man who interviewed rand paul. how out of touch must the gop be if they think -- there's talk that this man not only may run as a presidential candidate but may succeed in winning the nomination. this is someone who wants to get rid of the enumerated powers act which would abolish the regulation of workplace conditions, the minimum wage. he wants to abolish the americans with disabilities act and he's previously opposed the civil rights act. >> he's a libertarian. what gives him shine within the
republican party is he does have a certain kind of charisma. that's not always evident. i don't think it was evident in the clip we showed where he went to visit howard university. but the republican base he offers an alternative to the kind of stayed establishment mitt romney leading figures they've had and therefore is attractive as a potential nominee especially the kind of tea party component of the republican base. >> i will say we have with us economic policy reporter for "the new york times" annie lowery. part of the rand paul mystique is the idea that he has broad coalition of old people and young people and when you get in deeper into sort of rand paul economics, it's a fairly disastrous picture he's painted. and josh sort of takes up some of that in his interview with rand paul and he asks, he says,
in a recent article in the new republic your budget would eviscerate departments of energy, state, commerce, fda, education and many others. would you say that americans support that? paul's answer was people want to say it's extreme. extreme is a trillion dollar deficit every year. that's an extremely bad situation. you know this better than me. we don't have a trillion dollar deficit this year. in fact cbo estimated that we have a $640 billion deficit, which is considerably less. >> the deficit is somewhat taking care of itself because the economy is getting stronger. tax receipts are going back up. government has gotten a lot of money back from fannie and freddie. the trends are pretty good there. the long-term budget problem is not going to be solved by getting rid of things like the department of commerce and the department of education. in the long-term if you're not talking about health care costs, you're not really tackling the
problem. and he does have proposals to hold down health care costs but they would do so in unpopular ways. privatizing medicare is not something the american public is terribly interested in and is really, really unpopular. the broader issue for him is pockets of popularity. he may be popular among some young republicans or some very libertarian republicans but i think when you think about a general election, it's really hard to imagine those ideas swaying enough voters to be a more moderate candidate. >> ideologiceven rand paul is sy his purism on defense concerns. he talked about vilified drone strikes and weeks later said i wouldn't oppose a drone strike to get a guy that just robbed a liquor store. that throws out civil libertarian argument completely.
>> you shouldn't have elaborated in that way. let's be realistic. rand paul before we go too far down this presidential campaign route, he is going to have to decide whether to temper some of those views about medicare for example. now, you can see how he would appeal to republican primary voters in iowa who are very, very conservative and who think they like him. now when he goes out and talks about privatizing medicare, that's not going to go over well even with those voters. he's going to have to either -- he's going to temper his views or he'll go down in flames. >> josh, you met with the man in person. did you get a sense that he is open -- as eugene says, mitt romney always seemed incredibly knowledgeable and too much so in many respects. did you get a sense in terms of character rand paul could somehow embrace a collaborative policy posture? >> what paul is trying to do is
say the right things and appeal to groups that republicans have had a lot of trouble appealing to. young people, gay people, minorities but he wants to do it without fundamentally changing any of his republican libertarian positions. the problem he'll run into is ultimately these people don't want nice things said to them. they want a candidate who represents policies that they support. i don't really see that paul has delivered a lot of that yet. i think the big decision he's going to have to make is whether he wants to kind of tread down that path and moderate some of his policies or whether he wants to remain kind of fixated in the rand paul libertarian isolatist camp made him popular so far. >> and stay true. independent of the presidential race, just the existence of the ted cruz's and rand pauls has been successful for libertarian ideas in so far has it swung the economic conversation especially
on the right very, very far right, which is to say now paul ryan's budget did certain things and rand paul's budget did even more. it balances the budget in five years. and that then sort of almost becomes a test. >> reducing the amount of tax revenue as some folks on the right would like to as in mitt romney's proposal or in rand paul's proposal requires really cutting deeply into the budget. that is unpopular. understanding this dynamic on the right is important to understanding the stagnation we've seen in congress. it's hard to bridge where democrats are where they would like to see increasing tax revenues and protect the budget from deep cuts when on the right folks would like to cut the budget a lot and cut tax revenue
in turn. i think that he's just the paramount example of this ideology on the right that is not putting deficit first but is thinking about making a smaller government. that's the goal here is to make government smaller. that's pretty unpopular actually. >> that's the end game. eugene, the great chris matthews h has said that rand paul will be the nominee in 2016. he locates the knowledge in the thesis that base sits quiet for every couple election cycles until they can stand it no longer and, you know, turn to goldwater in 1974 as they did after nixon and ike. they turned to mcgovern in '72 after kennedy, johnson and humphrey and after mccain and romney the inevitable steam vent is rand paul. >> my question is i just think rand paul fundamentally is to the right of the base. i think that his views are too extreme for the base.
the base of the republican party is older people who are worried about their health care and worried about their social security and aren't really going to like some of the stuff he talks about. >> assuming that stuff actually makes its way into the actual debate, mitt romney had positions, paul ryan had positions that never got aired on the national stage. >> that's true. paul ryan changed his position. >> as mitt romney did as well. josh, one last bit. rand paul versus ron paul. relationship between father and son. do you have insight? >> rand paul doesn't like to talk about it. one of the questions i had in the interview was for people who only know of you as ron paul's son, how would you describe the differences? he bristled a bit. i have my own record in judgment. that's how we got into the government he would like to dice and slice. there is political danger in being aligned too closely with his father who is too far
outside of the republican establishment that he couldn't compete for the nomination which is what rand paul wanted to do. >> okay. all right. thank you, josh. "the new york times" annie lowery, thank you for joining us. coming up, anthony weiner may only have support among 10% of new york democrats. he may have doors being slammed in his face. he may even have lost the endorsement of his former sexting partner. but america, anthony weiner is running for mayor. we'll talk about how anthony weiner's race to nowhere is still there. ♪ there's a new way to fight litter box odor. introducing tidy cats with glade tough odor solutions. two trusted names, one amazing product.
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he did not stop there. after giving a speech on crime in queens, weiner headed to harlem where he played a game of knock-knock with the locals but most didn't know who he was or didn't care. >> anthony weiner. let me leave you something to read under the door, ma'am. >> you would think with the doors closing in his face, polls dropping before his eyes and cookies dropping from his mouth that anthony weiner would drop out of the race or at least try his hardest to get new yorkers to like him just a little bit more. you would think. yesterday on the trail weiner spent the day insulting his own staff and mocking reporters. >> is it a big jolt to power? >> hard to take you seriously. it has to do with wanting to be
mayor of the city of new york and helping the middle class or the hunger for the big job. >> would anything stop you? >> i just have a feeling i stepped into a -- >> would anything stop me? is he rock going to fall on my head? >> anthony weiner is going to win the election with 10% of the democratic vote. joining us now, edward isaac dovar. thank you for joining us. >> good to be here. >> as someone who covered new york politics and knows the dynamics of this city, are you surprised that anthony weiner is still in the race and should he drop out at this point? >> i'm not surprised. he has a couple of weeks left in this race, about five weeks. he has $4 million in the bank. he'll get more when he gets matching funds from the city. he has -- if he doesn't spend
that money in this race, he lose it is. if he drops out, he'll never run in one again. maybe he never runs in one again any way. it's the case if he drops out now. there's really just no reason for him to go. it will not end well it seems pretty clear at this point. it was never going to be a race that he was really going to win. it was all about trying to rehabilitate his image. >> if that is the end game, josh, trying to rehabilitate one's image, cut your losses and get out. it is getting worse, right? money in the bank is one thing but if your goal is to have some kind of professional life, i would think it would make sense to stop at this point. >> i spent time thinking if i could come up with a campaign that had done more damage to the candidate than anthony weiner has done to his campaign, i think it's worse than rick perry and worse than donald trump. you wonder what keeps him going. is it possible to die of acute
narcissism poisoning. >> there you go. it can't happen. >> now, the problem here for those of us who live in new york city and are concerned about the future and direction of the city, this distraction has really caused important issues we have a report yesterday that 26% of new york city students in the eighth great passed english test and 30% passed math. down from 47 the year before. 60% the year before. don't pay attention to this year and this year in the full screen because it's incorrect. the point is we're not talking about education. we're not talking about new york city is like post-bloomberg and that's largely due to anthony weiner although you could say he's provided a convenient foil
for maybe candidates who don't want to actually have to answer the tough questions. >> that's right. there are a lot of issues to talk about. the ones you mentioned and there's also many labor contracts that are going to come due in the next year or two in new york that have been sort of forward by the bloomberg administration and will be there for the next mayor. weiner said this isn't about him. he's not running about him. the race isn't about him. it's hard to argue that the race is about little else really. >> narcissist on the campaign trail. thank you for your time. >> ben & jerry is no stranger to politics. two ingredients co-founder ben cohen cannot stomach are money and politics. we talk about the ice cream maker's independent quest to freeze influence on washington. there will be so many puns just wait for it next on "now." [ male announcer ] running out of steam?
get the money out of politics has been a familiar refrain since the supreme court's 2010 citizens united decision that opened up the floodgates resulting in $1.3 billion being spent by outside groups on the 2012 race. the obama/romney clash saw a staggering rise in wealthy individuals propping up their favorite candidates. one alone spent $150 million trying to elect newt gingrich and mitt romney. if you thought big dollar bias couldn buys couldn't get worse, think again. one of the first issues is the challenge to individual contribution limits. the suit is brought by an alabama republican businessman who believes current rules limiting individual donations are an assault on free speech.
the rnc now joined in the lawsuit. in mccutchen versus the fcc, they'll look at scrapping current lose limiting individuals from giving more than $123,000 to candidates, parties or pacs during a single election cycle. not everyone is resigned to a democracy drowning in money. ben cohen is promoting the stamp stampede. a grassroots campaign to get money out of politics. >> it really is possible for the grassroots to rise up and demand something when all you have to do is stamp a dollar. it's really easy to do. anybody can do it. every bill that you stamp gets seen by 900 people so people can do something that they care about. >> joining us from burlington, vermont, is co-founder of ben & jerry's and head stamper of the stamp stampede ben cohen. thank you so much for joining us.
>> hi, how are you doing? good to be here. >> ben, tell us. i don't know if cameras can pick this up. i have been stamping my dollar bills. tell us a little bit about this effort and sort of what the goal is. >> well, the goal is to pass an ame amendment to the constitution that says money is not free speech and corporations are not people. it's absurd that that is what's currently going on that the supreme court has ruled that that's true. definitely the founders of our democracy never had in mind that money was free speech or that corporations are people otherwise they would have said so. the bill of rights -- >> sorry. i think we have a delay here. the goal is to sort of stamp dollar bills or bills with the message not to be used for bribing politicians.
that's one of them. or stamp money out of politics. i think what a lot of folks don't realize is the life of a dollar bill is 4.8 years or 1,750 days. which is a really interesting kind of analog movement and analog campaign in the digital era in which we live. >> that's exactly right. this is true viral marketing. it's a combination of online viral marketing and in the present viral marketing on your dollar bills. you know, when you find out that corporations are spending millions of dollars or people like sheldon, you get mad and now there's something you can do about it. the wonderful thing about the stampede is anybody, anywhere, any time can make their voice heard and make their money talk and as you say, it lasts for
three to five years depending on at what point in the life cycle of the bill you end up stamping the money. >> certainly the question of how long it will take to get any sort of campaign finance reform completed is probably an answer that ends in the phrase years if not decades. i want to bring in our panel in new york here. and, josh, when we look at what has happened to money and politics, the numbers just are staggering for the last election cycle. superpac spent 604 million. we have a supreme court case which could open the floodgates as if individuals peopfeel they can't get their dollars in politicians pockets. >> this battle was fought in washington in the '90s and 2000s
between john mccain and mitch mcconnell who was adamant as the guy bringing the latest court suit is that money is speech and we need to open it up. that was legislated and won. what's interesting is that rather than really push a new effort to get money out of politics, what you see some reformers do -- this is true in the '08 obama campaign is to open up the process to bring in individual small dollar donors and balance out influence of these big dollar donors. >> i guess i wonder -- the president has his own ofa organization lives on. there are fundraisers for that. the question is have we passed a bridge too far. how do you begin? in terms of building awareness and bringing the issue back to the fore movements like ben's are important but the national dialogue is silent. >> the supreme court is talking. what the supreme court is saying is forget about it. forget about these kinds of
limits. i also expect they'll probably strike down the limits on individual contributions. i kind of am a cynic about money in politics. every previous attempt to limit money in politics legislatively has been a charade. at this point i think that ben is right. it does have to be a constitutional amendment because this is what the constitution tells us. go for it. >> you might not be hearing about this in the major media but in the grassroots, they're roaring. 16 states have already passed resolutions in favor of a constitutional amendment. those are grassroots actions. those are people rise ing up saying we've had enough. 20 senators and about 100 members of congress have signed
onto an amendment. what's amazing to me is that this huge grassroots movement is not being covered by the major media. >> so we are happy to have you on the show to talk about it, ben. i guess i wonder a couple things. we talk about corporations and whether or not they are people or not people. one thing you guys -- ben & jerry has been involved in the political debate and social responsibility. you pay a livable wage to your workers at $15.70 a year last year. how did you get interested in money in politics? >> i think money in politics is literally the root of all evil in politics. you know, no matter what issue it is that you care most about, whether it's the environment, education, the financial
disaster, student debt, foreclosures, energy policy, military absurd expenditures, it's all based on rich people and corporations bribing politicians with huge so-called campaign contributions. >> it is all of the money. >> in other countries it's illegal. >> follow the money as they say. thank you, ben cohen, co-founder of ben & jerry's and head stamper of the stamp stampede. thanks for your time. thanks to our friends in new york, josh and eugene. i'll see you back here on monday. until then, you can find us at facebook.c facebook.com/nowwithal
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports," a meeting with russian counterparts after president obama canceled his face to face meeting with vladimir putin next month. is the end of the big chill? >> we are old hockey players and we both know that diplomacy like hockey can sometimes result in the occasional collision. >> there will be a press conference tomorrow. ask that question tomorrow. >> the president is expected to make some news today. congressional sources say at his news conference reforming and limiting those controversial surveillance programs. and weiner roast. weiner gets burned door knocking in harlem last night.