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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  November 20, 2013 10:00am-11:01am PST

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deal obtained by richard engel would commit u.s. troops until the end of 2024 and beyond. we'll have a live report from kabul on what this would mean for those serving in america's longest war. >> we came here for a mission, and we take care of the mission and we go home. battle lines. the fight to have outside prosecutors take over military assault cases. but on this, the senate sister hood is divided. >> we should not do what the generals are telling us to do. this is our job. >> we will be creating more problems than we will be solving if we make the change as advocated by senator jill brand. >> and the legacy lives on. 50 years after president kennedy first established the medal of freedom, president obama presented the awards to legends today from ernie banks to oprah winfrey and bill clinton. and moments from now we'll be
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going live to arlington national cemetery. president obama and former president clinton will lay a wreath at kennedy's grave, the eternal flame. and as we mark this anniversary of his death this week, robert mcneil and jim lair will be joining me, two legendary journalists who were there the moment the world stopped. >> president john f. kennedy died at approximately 1:00 central standard time today here in dallas. he died from a gunshot wound in the brain. good day. i'm andrea mitchell on a very special day here in washington. at this hour, president obama is
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about to lay a wreath in honor of john f. kennedy at the eternal flame in arlington national cemetery. he'll be joined by first lady michelle obama, former president bill clinton, former secretary of state hillary clinton. 50 years ago this friday, a young vibrant president kennedy was gunned down in dallas, texas. journalist robert mcneil was on the scene reporting for nbc that day. he filed a report later that day recounting the day's tragic events. and also covering every moment of that day and the investigations that followed, jim lair, then a reporter for "the dallas times herald." he would later speak to lee harvey oswald at the police station, questioning him about the shooting. jim's new book, his 21st novel "top down" is a fictional account of the fateful decision to leave the bubble top down on the presidential vehicle. they're joining me now. welcome to both of you. my friends, of course later
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partnered ma'am partnered. jim, you were the dallas reporter assigned to cover the day, which was to be an exciting day. the president's arrival in dallas. >> huge day in dallas. people say presidential visits are routine. they're not routine in the city where the president goes. certainly wasn't routine in dallas that day. my assignment that day was to cover the arrival of the kennedys at love field and stay there and cover the departure. the kennedys were only going to be in dallas for two or three hours. >> and what happened as things evolved and you were reassigned and got to the police station and you talked to lee harvey oswald. >> i talked to lee harvey oswald after word had come there had been shots at the motorcade. i was sent -- i got through to
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the city desk. they told me to go to parkland. i went by there. we already had a reporter there. they said go on to the police station. i had been there just a very short time when they brought in this man, lee harvey oswald. they had arrested him. they were moving him from office to office there on the detectives' floor. the place was chaos. part of the chaos were people like me, reporters hanging out. and here comes two cops with oswald taking him from one office to the other. i said, did you kill the president? he said, i didn't kill anybody. they took him on, you know. i had sense enough to write that down, but i didn't have sense enough to keep the notebook. anyhow, it happened. >> robert mcneil, you were there for nbc news. take me through the day and how you first knew the horror of what had happened and your reactions. >> well, the day began gloriously in ft. worth and then
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when they arrived at lovefield, as jim said. glorious summer day. they looked radiant. mrs. kennedy in that strawberry ice cream colored suit, a big bunch of blood red roses held next to her. crowd rapturous to see them. then into the motorcade through the outskirts of dallas, into downtown dallas where the crowds were so thick that looking from the first press bus where i was over the heads of the cars in betwe between, they were seven cars away, you wondered how the motorcade could get through the crowd when it surged out into the street. then we turned on to the plaza. i was just thinking, i've got nbc radio news on the hour piece to do soon. then there was a bang. we all said, what was that? was that a shot? then there were two bangs closer to together. i said, those are shots, stop the bus. i saw people running up the grassy knoll, as it became known, including policemen. so i run up there too, thinking
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they're chasing some guy. anyway, they went over the fence. i went over the fence at the top. there was nothing there but railroad tracks. i looked for a phone. the first place that looked like it might have one was the texas book depository. a young guy in shirt sleeves came down. i said, where's the phone? he said, you better ask inside. when i left the depository, a policeman told me that the president had been hit bad and had gone to parkland hospital. i was able to stop a car a few streets away and get to the hospital, got a phone there, and was on to nbc for the rest of the afternoon. >> according to william manchester's book, and i know that you can't swear this actually happened, but according to his book, who was writing "the death of a president," oswald leaves depository by front entrance, pausing to tell nbc's robert mcneil there'ses a
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phone inside, thinking he was a secret serviceman. so you don't know if that was the man? >> manchester told me he was convinced. i told him i couldn't -- because i couldn't recognize the face when i also saw him in the police station that evening. but you know, it's titillating to think it might have been oswald. but people at the museum in dallas think that it was somebody else who stopped oswald. anyway, much more interesting to me, more important, is why did i run up the grassy knoll because policemen did. why did the policemen run up the grassy knoll? presumably they heard something and that plays into some of the conspiracy theories. >> and i wanted to play a little bit of your report. i think frank mcgee was anchoring on nbc news when you dialed in, when you did get to the phone. let's hear that. >> we do not know exactly where he was struck nor how many times. >> but he was carried into the hospital. >> but he was carried into the hospital. >> unconscious and bleeding. >> unconscious and bleeding. and last rights of the church
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have just been administered. >> that's all for the moment, frank. >> and bob tells me that's all for the moment. >> frank mcgee sitting there with the great, late chent huntley, clearly not knowing everything was being repeated. >> at one point, huntley was shown holding a microphone to the telephone receiver. that didn't work. mcgee said, why don't you say a sentence and i'll repeat it. >> jim lair, you sat next to jack ruby at the press conference. tell me about that moment in history. >> this was around midnight that night. the idea was that when oswald was arrested after he had shot officer tippitt, a dallas police officer, and they finally found him in the theater, there had been a scuffle. there were scars on oswald's face. the dallas police, or dallas officials were very sensitive, particularly with the
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international press core descending on dallas, about whether or not they were giving him -- they were mistreating him, trying to get him to confess or something like that. so they decided to show him off, show that he was okay. so they put him in this kind of -- what was called -- they called it a press conference, but it wasn't a press conference. it was down in a basement room, the assembly room. i stood next to this guy who turned out to be jack ruby. this was many hours later, after i had talked to oswald. oswald again, in front of everybody, denied that he had anything at all toord with the assassination. and of course, which makes it all so interesting in the long haul because usually when somebody does something that huge, and if it was an act of politics, then he would be saying, yes, i killed the president, here's why i did it, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. because he was killed the next day or a couple days later by jack ruby, he never was able -- >> we're showing that footage
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now when he came out and jack ruby shot him. the police officers were around him. i believe that when oswald was taken into custody that among his effects was the newspaper from that day with the motorcade route with your byline. >> yeah. at first, the secret service -- of course, you've got to remember this is 1963. it's not like it is now. i had asked the advance man for the secret service from washington, could i see -- could i have the motorcade route. they said, no, no, i have to get back to you. he got back to me on it and gave it to me. the political decision was made. hey, look -- >> we want people. >> yes, how are you going to have a crowd if you don't tell people where the motorcade is? they had a map. it was in oswald's effects. >> in "top down," you talk about the fateful decision and you talk about the effect on these fictional secret service agents, but we know clint hill and
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others, as he has himself attested in interviews and writing, lifelong depression and mental problems as a result of the failure to protect the president. the president himself telling them to stay off the running boards and hang back because it was a campaign event and a big one and he wanted to show that even texas loved jack kennedy. but in "top down," you talk also about the fateful decision to leave the bubble top down. it wasn't bullet proof, but tell me. >> it was strictly a weather situation. kennedy was adamant about this. he did not want that bubble top up unless there was a weather situation because he didn't want to be seen as something special under glass. he wanted to be accessible to the public. but they had the bubble top up at the car. they had it up because it had been raining that morning in dallas. then the decision had to be made to take it down when the weather cleared. and i just happened to ask the secret service agent, are you going to take the bubble --
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because my rewrite man, who was on the telephone, wanted to know whether the bubble top was going to be up or down. this was as the plane was coming from ft. worth. so he said, you know, it's clear and he asked what the weather was like downtown. he said, okay, it's clear, so let's take the bubble top down. i stood there for a few seconds while they started to take the bubble top down. now, the bubble top, a lot of people thought it was bullet proof. it wasn't. it was quarter-inch plex si glass. it was in six pieces. it was put together with snaps. i watch as they start taking it down. the reason in my story, fictional story, is the agent felt that if he had left that bubble top up, that kennedy would have survived. even though it wasn't bullet proof, the bullets would have ricochetted off or oswald may not have taken the shot if he saw the bubble top up because he would have thought it was bullet proof, right or wrong. in other words, kennedy would not have died. that was what that agent believed. all these agents, there were 50 agents involved in that visit in
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some way, and every one of them felt some kind of guilt because to lose -- there's nothing worse for a secret service agent than to lose a president. >> and right now we're seeing also, gentlemen, live pictures. the president, president clinton, ethel kennedy and other members. of the kennedy family, kathleen kennedy townsend, the former lieutenant governor of maryland, hillary clinton, michelle obama all arriving at arlington at the eternal flame, which has been recently removed and refurbished by the military. there is a military unit that is specifically in charge of that. we've been talking a lot about where we all were that day. bill clinton was a senior in high school in calculus class. hillary clinton was a junior in high school in geometry class in illinois. barack was 2 years old in hawaii. michelle obama was not born. she was born two months later. we can see now they're about to
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lay a wreath. we will, of course, join those proceedings live. i also wanted to talk to you as they line up about recent interviews -- well, let's go to the ceremony and then we'll pick it up on the other end as the wreath is now being presented. [ trumpet playing ]
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>> and as the president and mrs. obama are greeting of course ethel kennedy and we saw caroline kennedy's son and now
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bobby kennedy's children and grandchildren. this moment -- because, of course, bobby kennedy is also buried there alongside his brother at that grave site. and jacqueline kennedy onassas. >> extraordinary set of circumstances, and it's what they call the ultimate domino effect. the first assassination was that of john f. kennedy 50 years ago, and it was kind of the beginning of tragedy in america, the innocent america after world war ii. >> exactly. >> then became the assassination, of course, of bobby kennedy, assassination of martin luther king, then vietnam and watergate and 9/11 and all kinds of things since then. >> and, you know, robin mcneil in new york, as we watch this ceremony, as jim was just saying, all of us of a certain
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generation felt john f. kennedy's assassination so profoundly, and then as a young journalist, i was covering and experiencing dr. martin luther king jr.'s slaying and bobby kennedy, but it was the loss of innocence, wasn't it, of this first horrific day in dallas reck electing -- it was an ordinary day for you. you, in fact, have acknowledged on that press bus in from lovefield you had dozed off. this was another campaign trip. >> well, for me, actually, it was the first big presidential campaign trip. i was the number two guy at the white house. because so many top officials all went off to hawaii for a conference on vietnam, which also has portentous echoes now when some of the speculation about what the kennedy legacy might have been had he not been
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killed, would he have pursued the same course in vietnam that lyndon johnson did. i did have a little daydream on that bus. what if somebody took a shot at kennedy -- and i don't know where that came from, out of my unconscious, but i sort of snapped out of it. what did i tell myself i'd do? i'd get out of the bus and chase, which sounds crazy. my wife doesn't like me to tell that story. she says it make me sound weird. but anyway, that's what happened. >> it doesn't make you sound weird. it makes you sound human. >> nothing so extreme had been suggested to my hearing that might have happened to kennedy. might have been a demonstration of some kind, but nothing like that. >> absolutely. as a reporter for "the times herald," one of my assignments previsit was to do the, quote, security story. and there was no security story to do. there was some excitement and some anticipation based on some right-wing activity, anti-kennedy activity and the
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dallas morning news and on the streets and some demonstrations earlier. but nobody, nobody thought this would lead to somebody taking a shot at john f. kennedy or into that motorcade. the secret service people i dealt with and i dealt with consistently during the build up, there was not -- it was routine. nobody -- oh, sure, they were prepared, but they didn't do all the things they do now. they didn't look at the win dose of the buildings or anything like that. >> it was so inconceivable, excuse me, jim, that even after the shots were fired and i was chasing up the grassy knoll, i still -- in fact, in my first bullet bulletin, i said, it is not know if the shots were directed at the president. so did upi in the first bulletin, even though he was closer to the presidential car. there was such an aura by that
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time radiated by the whole kennedy phenomenon that it seemed even less conceivable than it might have been for anybody else. >> and that's why a lot of the conspiracy theories caught on. because it seemed inconceivable that one man could fire three rounds in 15 seconds and change the course of history and kill the president of the united states. it was beyond belief. and a lot of things -- that's when they talk about losing our innocence and all of that, after the kennedy assassination. for people in the news business in particular, i can speak for myself at least, is that i now knew that anything was possible. and the next phone call could be it. >> this would have been robert f. kennedy's birthday. this is his birthday today, born in 1925. and there you see the presidents, two presidents, and mrs. obama with kathleen kennedy townsend, who was the oldest of the kennedy children.
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she was 12 on this day in 1963. as the oldest child, she received a letter from her father, she has acknowledged, the day of the burial. in all of his grief, he wrote a letter to his daughter kathleen saying you are the oldest of your generation, and now you have the responsibilities for caroline and john and to be the leader for the younger kennedy children. so he was thinking about the role that all kennedy men played. we saw caroline, of course, yesterday presenting her credentials to the emperor. robin, you recall your senior correspondent from nbc was in hawaii, leaving hawaii and already halfway across the pacific on the 22nd on that
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fateful day. five other cabinet members on their way to tokyo to plan the first state visit of an american president post-war in japan and a president who had served in the pacific. this was an imminent visit. in fact, caroline testified at her confirmation hearing that she was so honored to be able to in some small way complete the legacy of her father, who had planned, in fact, to reunite the pt-109 crew members with the surviving crew members with their japanese counterparts who had sank their boat on his visit to tokyo. so dean rusk had to receive that call untin the plane on the way tokyo and be called back. the secretary of state then turning around over the pacific. all of these memories today. i can't thank robin, you, enough for coming in and talking about this and jim and your wonderful book "top down," which is doing
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so well and brings all of these memories back. i know how much reporting you have done on the fbi and the secret service and you know it all so well. it's fictionalized but barely, if i may say so. you don't have to. to reunited team here in the studio is extraordinary on this day. thank you, both, so much. >> thank you, andrea. >> thanks, andrea. >> and 50 years ago, president john f. kennedy created the medal of freedom as this nation's highest civilian honor. he never lived to present the award. in 1963 on december 6th after kennedy's assassination, it was president lyndon b. johnson who presented the award to the very first recipients, including marion anderson. today, president obama bestowed the medal of honor on 16 honorees, bill clinton among them. >> i am most grateful for his patience during the endless travels of my secretary of state. i'm grateful, bill, as well, for
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the advice and counsel you've offered me on and off the golf course. >> another honoree, mr. cub, ernie banks, the first black player to suit up for the cubs. >> ernie became known as much for his 512 home runs as for his cheer and his optimism and his eternal faith that some day the cubs would go all the way. >> president obama also honored oprah winfrey, saying that oprah's greatest strength has always been her ability to discover the best in ourselves. >> her bosses told her she should change her name to suzie. i have to pause here to say, i got the same advice. although, they didn't say i should be named suzie. >> so many heroes. my personal hero, "washington post" editor ben bradley receiving the award today.
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>> when ben retired, senator daniel patrick moynahan put the admiration of many into a poem. oh, rare, ben bradlee has rain has ceased, his nation stands, its strength increased. i also indicated to ben he can pull off those shirts and i can't. he always looks so cool in them. over the next 40 years the united states population is going to grow by over 90 million people, and almost all that growth is going to be in cities. what's the healthiest and best way for them to grow so that they really become cauldrons of prosperity and cities of opportunity? what we have found is that if that family is moved into safe, clean affordable housing, places that have access to great school systems, access to jobs and multiple transportation modes then the neighborhood begins to thrive and then really really take off.
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the oxygen of community redevelopment is financing. and all this rebuilding that happened could not have happened without organizations like citi. citi has formed a partnership with our company so that we can take all the lessons from the revitalization of urban america to other cities. so we are now working in chicago and in washington, dc and newark. it's amazing how important safe, affordable housing is to the future of our society.
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you can fill that box and pay one flat rate. i didn't know the coal thing was real. it's very real... david rivera. rivera, david. [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex. the american combat mission in afghanistan is supposed to end in 2014, and it's on schedule, but richard engel has obtained a draft of a security agreement between the u.s. and afghanistan which calls for obligations that could keep american troops in that country until 2024, potentially beyond that, if it is agreed to by both sides. joining me now from kabul is nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel.
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richard, great reporting. let's talk about this agreement because there's a lot of pushback. we don't know what karzai is going to eventually do, what his -- the summit of tribal leaders tomorrow is going to approve, and we don't know whether president obama is going to sign on to all the terms. >> just a breaking development. just a short while ago, the afghan government has published a version of this draft agreement. i've just been looking through it right now. it looks very similar to the draft that we received. i haven't been able to look through the entire document. it's about 25 pages long. but it still has the same basic clause, which is a long-term joint security agreement between the government of afghanistan and the united states, a security agreement that would take effect at the end of 2014 and be valid until 2024, a security agreement that would see the united states continuing to conduct counterterrorism
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operations with afghan consent. so the basic principles are still there, and with the united states maintaining the responsibility to equip and sustain the afghan army and police. so in effect, what would happen if this agreement is passed by both the jurga and ultimately the entire afghan government and then washington, the united states would take on the obligation for being the backbone or being the protector or the guarantor of the afghan security forces, which would require an american presence, which is why all these clauses are in this document describing how american forces would be able to operate in this country. >> and richard, in fact, u.s. officials here are poring over that preamble as soon as it was posted because -- and that's why the state department briefing was postponed today. now they're taking questions on it because they are now going through it, you know, parsing the language to see whether
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there are anymore demands buried in it. it's obviously a lawyer's document as well. also, we know that karzai wants a letter of apology, if you will, from president obama. that's unlikely to happen. would that be a deal breaker? is this all part of domestic afghan politics? because karzai has to prove he stood up to the americans. >> well, it's something to do with karzai politics. if you note the document that the afghans have just put out, and i'll get to karzai in a second. we could speak for hours about karzai. but just about the document, which is quite significant because it has to do with potentially billions of dollars and tens of thousands of american troops and the lives of many people and their families from the united states going forward for many years. the document that we received was a working draft. we posted it online. it showed the basic framework of the agreement and the additions
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that the american negotiators want and the additions that the afghan negotiators wanted. there was even some lines that were struck out because one of the sides refused to accept them. this document was presented by the afghans, so presumably this is their latest version. no doubt u.s. officials will want to go through this to see if any words or any phrases have been slipped back in. while we were talking -- while we were doing that very moving memorial, i was going through the document. it basically seems roughly the same, but it's not -- i'm not sure if it is exactly a match. going back to the politics in this country, karzai is asking for a letter. it's unclear. it seems unlikely that president obama's going to give him some apology letter. >> thank you, richard. i know you'll be going through it, and we'll look forward to all of your reports today and tonight. and we'll be right back. for all those who sleep too hot or too cool,
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oh. >> lovely to see you, of course. but why are we preaching across the aisle in public? >> robert, brush by her and sit down. >> sorry. >> this is so sad. you two are pathetic. >> okay, we're blowing you off now. we're not even going to say good-b good-bye. >> on the count of our clashing philosophical views. >> it was a rare moment of conversation across party lines through the alpha house lens. this is the new hit show brought to you by amazon.com, taking a comedic look at four senators showing personal and political problems. jonathan alter, our friend, is an msnbc political analyst, author, and the executive producer of "alpha house." congratulations, first of all. i saw the first three episodes at the nuesum last night.
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first of all, why did you decide since there is a house on capitol hill currently inhabited by durbin and schumer and, you know, four democrats living together -- >> george miller. >> george miller from california. why make it republican? you've got democrats in considerable political trouble these years. they don't offer enough comedy? >> so gary has done democrats before. but this time he felt like it was the republicans who had the interesting predicament. so three of our four senators are facing tea party primary challenges in 2014. the fourth is kind of a marco rubio/john edwards, who is running for president in 2016. but they're in a more interesting place. our senators, when they got to
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washington, there wasn't a tea party. then suddenly to stay in washington, they need to confront this new element in american politics. democrats are a little more boring these days. >> well, the john goodman character, let's talk about him for a moment. he's really the -- john goodman, first of all, such a large figure, literally and figuratively. he plays this former successful basketball coach who's elected based on his athletic ability. he's a hero in north carolina. now he's facing a challenger who's the current north carolina basketball coach. >> current duke coach. >> the current duke coach. >> unc versus duke. as another senator from nevada, played by matt malloy, senator laugher, says to him, his challenger in the republican primary is a living god in north carolina and john goodman says, well, you're a god too, but you're retired. he's current. >> he's a current god.
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>> so suddenly goodman has this, you know, big challenge, as do two of the other senators. they all have their ups and downs in the polls. part of the fun as the season wears on is showing how they both get into and get out of political trouble. >> the ethics committee meaning what cynthia nixon's character was talking about as a democrat, is an ethics committee investigation into one of the senators. what really struck me in watching this and listening to it, it's so beautifully scripted, is that gary trudo takes a novelistic approach in the cartoon. you hear his voice so clearly. obviously, he's the author, the creator. but his writing is brilliant. and there's a humanity in this. we've seen other series recently, award winning and otherwise, that i've enjoyed, political satires, where it's very sharp, mean-spirited and funny. this is funny, but it's human.
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you get to like these guys. >> you do. it demonizes them. gary is so talented at working on several different levels at once. you don't have to love politics to enjoy "alpha house." but if you do, it's working at a character level, a political level, and it's simultaneously warm and piercing. you know, human and satirical. so you get kind of it all. what it doesn't do is it's not jokey. it's not set up joke, set up joke like so much of what you see out there. it requires a little more appreciation of some of the subtleties. but it was just so great getting to watch him work and help him out a little bit. we had a tremendous amount of fun. the first three episodes are free on amazon. >> they're up already. >> they're up already. episode four, which will be released this friday, you have
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to subscribe to amazon prime, which is a great deal. free shipping. then you can watch all 11 episodes for free. >> well, i was laughing out loud all night. i really loved it. congratulations. congratulations to gary. it's really phenomenal. >> thanks, andrea. thank you for having me. >> and speaking of the real senate, senator kirsten gillebrand now has more than half of the senate backing her proposal to give sexual assault victims in the military a route outside of the military. she's debating the issue on the floor earlier today. a vote could come as early as this afternoon. >> this is a common sense proposal. it's not a democratic idea. it's not a republican idea. it's just doing the right thing. and if you listen to these survivors, veterans, retired generals and commanders, they believe this change is needed.
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>> a 2012 documentary "the invisible war" helped push the issue to the forefront on capitol hill. joining me now is the producer of "the invisible war." thank you, amy, for being with us. this is a key moment. we don't know if they'll actually have the vote. she needs 60 votes, obviously, to beat the filibuster rules to get cloture and actually get a vote on this. she has harry reid's support. how important is it that the majority leader is now with her? >> that's huge. we're so grateful for that support. he's just been fantastic on this issue. and also, i heard you say 51. we're now at 52. we gained senators murphy and brown today. >> so that's one more inching your way. claire mccaskill has opposed this. she's got the military. she's got jack reid and others on the armed services committee strongly against the joint chiefs obviously. they believe that breaking the chain of command creates problems and you have to keep this inside the military. tell me all of your reasons why you think they're wrong. >> well, i think they're wrong because that's exactly how the
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system has operated for the last 40 years, and it hasn't been working. i would be the first one to want to keep it in the chain of command. i have no dog in this race. i'm just a citizen who's done investigations and studied this issue carefully. unfortunately, the solution, the way that the system is working right now is not prosecuting these serial predators. so we have to affect a change. and there's no threat to taking it outside the chain of command. in fact, 37 crimes will still be within the chain of command. anything having to do with mission readiness and mission control will all still be within the commander's purview. we're just asking for crimes of sexual assault, which commanders do not have any training or education or understanding of are no longer falling within theired ed adjudication. the reason that's important is people don't feel safe reporting up to their chain of command. if people don't report, we don't have any possibility of prosecuting these perpetrators. the system is broken. it just needs to be changed. >> kristen gillibrand picked up
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the support of that standing commission that investigating the condition for women in the military. >> yes, we picked up that support, and we picked up the support of numerous generals, survivors. there's huge grassroots support for this. the american people understand our service members deserve access to the same impartial justice system they fight daily to defend for us citizens. it's just common sense, as senator gillibrand said. i can't tell you -- i mean, i really don't understand the opposition. i know the military is very reticent to change. i respect our joint chiefs, but i must say you were resistant and reluctant to bring women into the military, you were resistant to desegregate the military, you were resistant to bring gays into our military. yet, once the change was made, you were grateful and recognized this enhanced and strengthened our military. i'm imploring them all to really
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vote for the rights of our defenders, protect our defenders. it's time. we can't wait any longer. we have 49 rapes a day and close to zero prosecutions. is that working? >> amy, thank you very much. clearly the answer is it's not. amy, thank you very much. and coming up next, we'll look at john f. kennedy's foreign policy with historian robert dallack. [ female announcer ] stop using filters to make your skin look flawless. start using olay fresh effects. a fresh collection of skin care. cleanse with s'wipe out wetcloths... and perfect with bb cream. with skin this fresh, you'll need no filter. get fresh effects by olay. to share with family. [ woman 2 ] to carry on traditions. [ woman 3 ] to come together even when we're apart. [ male announcer ] in stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and more, swanson makes holiday dishes delicious.
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as president john f. kennedy is being remembered all this week, we want to look into his foreign policy and new book, cam lot's court, exploring his key decision in cabinet leaders. congratulations on camelot's court. looking back now, so much has been debated about the vietnam
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war. looking at his final speeches, i've read a lot of people doubting that there would have been a rethinking of the commitment to vietnam. >> he was very torn about what to do about vietnam. on the one hand, there was a tremendous pressure on him to put troops in and even talking as early as 1961. >> national security adviser. >> for lyndon johnson, he wanted to bomb hanoi and put in troops and kennedy was very resistant to this. he certainly didn't want to lose vietnam. he remembered who lost china. he was greatly concerned that it would have a terrible political impact on his administration if he could be attacked for having lost vietnam. but on the other hand, he was very reluctant to make a commitment that would turn into america's war. to me, the most revealing evidence of this is bob
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mcnamara, they were uncertain if he would get the missiles out. bobby said, we have to remember what happened to the russians in the 1940 war with finland, what about to the british and what happened to us in korea. if he's worried about getting bogged down in cuba, you can imagine how he felt about vietnam. the undersecretary of state, mr. president, you put 2,000, 3,000 troops from the jungles of vietnam, you'll never hear from them again. he said, george, you're crazy as hell. i don't know if he knew exactly what he would have done. it was a dilemma. >> and jackie kennedy was so strong and in her grief still
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thinking about the legacy. her role in preserving the legacy. >> without question, she instantly, almost instantly after the assassination spoke to teddy white and promoted in camelot myth. it sustained itself. recent polls, kennedy had an 85% approval rating. i saw one this week that showed kennedy was 74%. the only one within distance of him is reagan. a lot of what this has to do with is the fact that people had been so disappointed in the subsequent presidents, johnson with vietnam, nixon with watergate, ford, carter, seen as failed presidents. the two bushes don't cut the mustard very much. so john kennedy is the inspirational voice. he still gives people a kind of hope for a better future. i had a wonderful graduate
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teacher, a great historian. he said to me once, bobby said, the united states is the only country in history that believes it was born perfect and strives for improvement. >> you talk of jackie kennedy. tom brokaw had an extraordinary interview with the widow of the police officer slain that day, never before seen letter. let me play a bit of this where tom brokaw is reading that letter from jackie kennedy to mrs. tip pet. >> what can i say to you, my husband's death is responsible for you losing your husband. wasn't one life enough to take on that day? i lit a flame for jack at arlington that will burn forever. i consider that it burns for your husband too and so will everyone who ever sees it. with my unexpressible sympathy, jacqueline kennedy. >> this is the thing you always want is somebody just to
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understand how you feel. and she did. she recognized that i was suffering too. and isn't that wonderful? that we had a first lady that was so caring for everyone. >> the ark of life and death and history and caroline kennedy in tokyo now,.pointedly outside the country. the book is camelot's court, inside the kennedy white house. that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." tamron hall has a look at what's next on "news nation." >> thank you very much. we're following developing news this hour. a bipartisan group of senators now calling on the president to get the okay from congress to continue any military presence in afghanistan past 2013. all of this comes after nbc news reported that u.s. and afghan
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officials are negotiating to commit thousands of american troops for years to come in that country. plus, a florida congressman set to speak out for first time after pleading guilty this morning to cocaine possession. the first sitting congress person to do so. what republican is saying about his future. jazz legend sandoval joins us after being awarded the medal of freedom. all coming up next on "news nation." ♪ through 12 blizzards blowing ♪ 8 front yards blinding ♪ 6 snowballs flying ♪ 5 packages addressed by toddlers ♪ ♪ that's a q ♪ 4 lightning bolts ♪ 3 creepy gnomes ♪ 2 angry geese ♪ and a giant blow-up snowman ♪ that kind of freaks me out [ beep ] [ female announcer ] no one delivers the holidays like the u.s. postal service. priority mail flat rate is more reliable than ever. and with improved tracking up to 11 scans, you can even watch us get it there. ♪ a man who doesn't stand still.
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>> hi, everyone, i'm tamron hall. a bipartisan group of senators want president obama toe get congressional permission to keep u.s. troops in afghanistan past the 2014 deadline. that is just some of the reaction after nbc news obtained a draft security agreement between the u.s. and afghanistan that could potentially maintain an indefinite u.s. military
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presence in the country, including thousands of troops, military bases and combat operations. it's our first read team notes, any deal is not going to be politically popular given all of the war fatigue in this country. as mentioned now, senators ron light and joe manchin and rand paul are seeking a bill that would force the president to seek a vote in congress to continue troop presence. brandon webb, a former navy s.e.a.l. told nbc news, i think afghanistan has turned into the vietnam of my generation, only with a better homecoming. brian fleming said this, you stay as long as it takes to complete the mission, but i'd rather not see afghanistan turn into a korea. >> richard engel spoke with troops currently deployed in

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