tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC November 27, 2013 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
comedian, lizz winstead. thank you all for coming. happy thanksgiving to all of you. happy hanukkah, happy thanksgivukkah. good evening. thanks to you at home for joining us. i'm steve krenaki. rachel has the night off. it is the day before thanksgiving in america, because of this. the office of the presidency, the most powerful position in the world, brings with it many awesome and solemn responsibilities. this is not one of them. >> that is the president today pardoning a turkey with first daughter, sasha and malia. the turkey's name, in case you are wondering, is popcorn. he is from the state of minnesota. the president was obviously back at the white house today along with popcorn. he spent the better part of this
week not in you go wa. he spent the better part of this week in california where he attended fund-raisers. he visited dreamworks animation where he joked that his ears were the inspiration for shrek. in california, the president gave a big immigration address where he was heckled by a dreamer who pleaded for an end of deportation. the president said there was only so much he could do himself. he is going to need congress to act to do more. one thing he did not devote a lot of time of talking about is the role of his health care. california is crucial to the success of obama care. president obama doesn't have to sell california on the affordable care act. california is already pretty much sold on the health care law. the state-run exchange, calling it covered california, is up and running and running well. paul krugman wrote about the implementation and said that enrollment is surging. at this point, more than 10,000 applications are being completed
per day putting the state well on track to meet its overall targets for 2014 coverage. he pointed out it matters who is signing up. young, healthy people are needed to keep costs down. one quarter of all enrollies are the healthy young people between 18-34. you can track this if you want. health care law is a success. maybe there has been better advertising there. maybe californians are more into health care. maybe the home to silicon valley couldn't stand the national embarrassment of creating a website that doesn't work. one definite reason why the health care law is working in california right now is because of that state's governor. it is a democratic jerry brown. i want to take a minute and talk about him and about what he is
doing. i don't think there is a single politician in america that fascinates me more than jerry brown. he is the oldest governor in the country and the oldest governor in california's history. if you go back four decades ago, he was the youngest, elected in 1974 at the age of 36. it took him just over a year to decide, it was time to run for president. he entered the 1976 democratic race and he entered it very late, in may of that year, months after the new hampshire primary. something like that would be unthinkable today. nominations back then at least theoretically could be decided at dead-locked conventions. brown was the young governor, jumps into the race in may of '76. guess what? he starts winning. he wins in maryland. he wins in nevada. he wins big in california. it is too late for him to make the battle in rhode island, in new jersey. he tells voters to check off uncomplimented on their ballots. uncomplimented wins those states. jerry brown was pretty much a national political sensation in
1976. they use all that late momentum from all of those late victories to steal the democratic nomination from jimmy carter at the convention. it was a long shot. he actually came close to pulling it off. with carter facing a challenge with ted kennedy, there wasn't room for anybody else. his political career kind of crumbled. he lost popularity in california. he worked with mother teresa. he studied zen buddism. he came back years later a changed man, a man forgotten by the political world, an outsider, something of a radical. he ran for president this time in 1982. this jerry brown had no patience at all for the political system, no patience for politicians like bill clinton. the whole system was corrupt, jerry brown. that was his message. he had no problem saying it to
people like bill clinton to their face. >> you ought to be a shamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. you are not worth being on the same platform as my wife. >> i tell you go is, mr. clinton, ralph nader called me and made me the article i was shocked by it. i was shocked by it because i don't think someone in government should be -- >> it is just a small taste of what that campaign was like. when that '92 campaign was over, jerry brown really was a political pariah. the media thought he was an unhinged madman. president bill clinton was not about to throw him any life lines. he was done, finish td. all of the potential from the spring of 1976, this is where he was going to end up. floo flash forward to 2010. he found a way to come back to a little bit of relevance. he turned 60 and became the mayor of oakland, california. he did that job for eight years and then got himself elected
attorney general in 2006. then, the governor's office opened up in 2010 and he ran for that and won the democratic nomination. he found himself in a dogfight in the general election. he needed some help, a late boost. with his comeback on the line, he seemed turned to that same guy he had relength leslie savaged. he didn't retire to palm springs to play golf. he is out there doing stuff and helping people in haiti, fighting aides and dealing with the victims of tsunamis. he is a guy that is mobilizing the highest spirit, the angels of our better spirits. he is doing it. that's the spirit i would like to bring to california. >> that is what i love about politics. seems like that, with all that risch, complicated history, just beneath the surface. brown won that governor's race. he was back at the age of 72.
he was back in the governor's office of the country's biggest state all over again. since that time, it has gone pretty well for jerry brown. his popularity is high. his re-election prospects are bright. for the first time in california history, democrats have a super majority in the state legislature. jerry brown has a mandate in california and he is using it. one of the things he is using it to do is to make sure the health care law works in his state to show the most populous state, a state of 38 million people, can make the affordable act work. it is one of the reasons that jerry brown is seen as a successful governor, why he is suddenly attracting national attention just like he did all those decades ago. i can't believe i get to say this. it is true. there are actually some people in politics that are doubting him as a perspective presidential candidate for 2016. that is what being a successful governor, what making obama care
work has done for a man who had fallen to the bottom of american politics. in the washington that president obama returned to yesterday, the news for democrats seems grim. look at these headlines, democrats lose 2014 edge following obama care uproar. is a republican way of building, quote, the national political climate is starting to resemble 2010 when republicans won control of the house of representatives by riding a wave of voter anger. if it were today, democrats could get trounced. the election is not today. the election is a year from now. what happens if the health care law ends up working nationwide just way it is working in california, what happens if three or four or five months from now, health care coverage in the nation looks like health care coverage in the most populous state in the nation. the health care law has been a success and helped create
another in the career of a unique politician. joining us now is norm orrenstein. he is the author of "it's even worse than it looks." norm, i really appreciate you taking the time tonight. i thank you also in advance for endulging me in my jerry brown foundation. the idea somebody who could run for president in 1976 could be theoretically touted 40 years later i thought would be amusing. is this sort of a refreshing message in this season of bad news all around in politics. sometimes good policy does make for good politics. that he can implement a law like this and get a real political reward for it. >> steve, first, let me say. i am not indulging you. every time i am on with you, you provide history and context, which is so rare in modern television. that's why we all love you. >> now, you are flattering me.
i'll take that too. >> if you look at what's happening in california. jerry brown is a significant part of that. his wife, too, by the way, who is a former business executive with the gap and they really govern together. they, along with the state legislature that wants to see this work in an extremely complicated state, shows what the prospects are. we see the same thing with steve bashir in kentucky in a state that is hostile to the law but it is working extraordinarily well. then, we look on thanksgiving eve at the states where governors just because they don't want obama to have a victory are denying their citizens the ability to get health care in georgia, where we've got five navigators, they have tried to block people from being able to get the information, all the states where they are denying medicaid. i think what we can see is we are going to have models out there by 2014 hitting a lot of states that show the great potential for expanding insurance and lowering the cost
for large numbers of people and opening things up but let's face it, we are also going to have states including those where they are actively undermining it where it isn't going to be working so well. >> on that point, then, because today was sort of a day where you have this confluence in washington about the political damage for democrats from the rollout problems they have had so far. in the headline from this cnn poll that came out, in the generic ballot, republicans have recovered. if you dig a little bit deeper and you ask the question, do you think that the problems right now with obama care will be fixed or is it just -- will it not be fixed? is it a failure. people are saying 54-45. they think it will be south. if you look among republicans, it is overwhelming. three-quarters say it won't be south. the entire republican calculation for the election year in 2014 depends on nothing changing from this moment today. this being the reality of obama care for the next 365 days. >> absolutely. greg sergeant of the post has
been particularly good at pointing out the closed information loop for republicans. they are all convinced that the law is already in at that titat can't possibly work. deep within that poll is another reality. the younger voters, the yunlger people in the electorate are very much convinced that the law will end up working and what we see in california, which is particularly important, is that these younger people, the so-called invincibles are signing up in reasonable numbers. what matters is not so much the number of people in the end that sign up for the affordable care act, it is the proportions. if we do get in the end a lot of younger voters and insurance companies are going to make a strong effort to get them, because it is in their interest. they will focus on convincing their parents as much as these younger people, then we will be in a different place a year from now. all of these news stories that look at where the electorate is
today. i idea that extrapolating that next year means anything, it just fills up some news space. >> this is a piece of the dead sea scrolls and a letter on presidential stationary that was so hard to read but it came with its own translation. the story of my surprising presidential pen pal. i will tell it to you coming up. ...are the hands that do good things for the whole community: the environment, seniors, kids, and animals. that's why we created the share the love event. by the end of this year, the total donated by subaru
could reach 35 million dollars. you get a great deal on a new subaru. we'll donate 250 dollars to a choice of charities that benefit your community. it feels good to be a helping hand. i have a big meeting when we land, but i am so stuffed up, i can't rest. [ male announcer ] nyquil cold and flu liquid gels don't unstuff your nose. they don't? alka seltzer plus night fights your worst cold symptoms, plus has a decongestant. [ inhales deeply ] oh. what a relief it is. wears off. [ female announcer ] stop searching and start repairing. eucerin professional repair moisturizes while actually repairing very dry skin. the end of trial and error has arrived. try a free sample at eucerinus.com.
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nice! [ female announcer ] switch today and get two safe driving bonus checks a year for driving safely. only from allstate. call an allstate agent and get a quote now. just another way allstate is changing car insurance for good. i want to tell you about the time that me and bill clinton became pen pals. you have to understand where i am from. the lowell sun. you remember the movie "the fighter" with mark wahlberg playing the boxer. that movie was set in lowell and they pretty much got it right. i didn't grow up in lowell myself. i am not actually that tough. i am from one of the towns
outside of it, one of the less tough towns. when i was growing up, lowell was the closest city to us. we were connected to it in a lot of ways. it was a city that had seen better days. when it got attention from anybody outside our area, it was usually for the wrong reasons. mostly, the part of massachusetts where i'm fro didn't get any attention. when i was 12 years old, it got a lot, a lot of very positive reasons. it is because of this guy, paul tsongas. he had gone into local politics and in 1992, he was running for president. this is just when i was starting to get interested in politics. i didn't know much about the difference between the two parties. i knew it was really cool that someone that lived a few miles from our house was running for the white housing, the most important job in the world. every afternoon, the lowell sun would land on our doorstep.
i would devour the information on the trail. i really wanted him to win. he won new hampshire and maryland and bill clinton overwhelmed him. there were a lot of reasons that he beat tsongas that year. one thing i knew, clinton had gotten rough and pushed the line. i was mad at bill clinton. i'll admit, i held a bit of a grudge. fast forward to 2007. i am writing a column i am not doing tv. i am a nobody. i am in thousands of dollars for debt. with hillary clinton setting out to run for president, i find myself thinking about to the 1992 campaign, how the clintons had beetden beaten tsongas. like all of my columns, it ran and nothing happened. one woman from the upper west
side wrote to me. she always wrote to me usually to tell me how much she didn't like me. besides that, i didn't hear from anybody. then, a month or so later, this comes in the mail. it is from harlem, bill clinton's office. look at the upper right. when you are an ex-president, your signature counts as a stamp. maybe it is an offer to meet him for a round of golf, which i don't play. it turns out, it was a personal letter, hand written, almost four pages long and almost completely indecipherable. his penman shship was a little sloppy. it came with a typed translation. dear mr. kornacki. it was so selective, pointing out a few things you overlooked. i read the whole thing feeling a
weird mix of emotions. i was flattered. some of what he was saying made sense. some of it kind of irritated me. mostly, i was confused. did the former president of the united states really take time to write to me, a complete nobody, to write a four-page hand written lit gator litigating details of the 1992 presidential campaign. i had really gotten under his skin, i realized. as i started to think about it, i kind of got it. the clinton/tsongas race had become really personal. tsongas died in 1997. when he did, he had really never forgiven clinton for how that '92 campaign went down. i was saying to clinton things he probably never stopped hearing from tsongas friend. i couldn't deny a lot of the media in 1992 had painted tsongas as the good guy and clinton as the villain. i had no problem with it at the time because i believed it. i wish the conflict hadn't
become so personal. as your article demonstrate, the premise of your campaign was, in part, its purity and that anyone that disagreed with you was a panderbear. bill clinton thought i was around 40 years old and had worked for the tsongas campaign. i decided to write him back and tell him the story i told you. i had no money, no printer, no fancy stationary or anything like that. my letter to clinton had to look professionalle. i went to kinkos and paid to put it on fancy paper. i ended up botching it and the paper was all uneven and slanted and diagonal and everything but i didn't have money to buy new fancy paper. i sent the letter anyway. a few weeks later, i got a note back. it said, dear staeve, thanks fo your letter. i was moved by how deeply paul tsongas touched your life. i hope we get to meet someday.
sincerely, bill clinton. i'm not sure how much he meant the last part. i have requested a few interviews with him in the years since then. the answer keeps coming back no. i am trying not to take that personally. the reason i am sharing this with you, because of this. the latest outrage prop for the right. suppose i hadly a hand written note from barack obama to a texas man who wrote to him to argue against the health care law and to say that any citizen that disagrees with your administration is target and ridiculed. obama's response is respectful. he tells ritter he welcomes dissent and understands the health care law isn't that popular but believes it is the right thing to do. he is all upset about this because obama uses the word teabagger. he is using it to address ritter's claim in his own letter that, quote, you make fun of teabagers. we don't have official word this is an authentic word from the president but ritter is now trying to sell it for $24,000 online. the letter is just words on a
paper. it doesn't mean anything to me because obama doesn't mean any of it. to me, it is a very healthy sign when a former president like bill clinton or a sitting president like barack obama sends a note like this, it is prove they aren't quite as insulated as we all fear they are. criticism does get through to them. they hear it, feel it and carry it around with them. sometimes, they just can't help letting someone know. ] ...as though he had never left. the end. lovely read susan. but isn't it time to turn the page on your cup of joe? gevalia, or a cup of johan, is like losing yourself in a great book. may i read something? yes, please. of course. a rich, never bitter taste cup after cup. net weight 340 grams. [ sighs ] [ chuckles ] [ announcer ] always rich, never bitter. gevalia. [ announcer ] always rich, never bitter. [ male announcer ] has some very special power. ♪
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if president obama forces a partial government shutdown and if republicans stand together and say, we will not fund government that funds obama care, you will have an impasse. if you have an impasse, one side or the other has to blink. how do we win this fight? don't blink. well, we all know that republicans did finally give up and blink on that idea back in
october. the shutdown was probably their lowest moment to date in the obama presidency. that don't blink strategy didn't just come from ted cruz. it came from the folks that made that huge defund obama care sign behind him. a group that was not that long ago widely respected even by democrats. a serious ideas factory. they are now deeply divided and at war with itself. that war is getting a very public airing. we will tell you all about it right after this. ing to the guy who hasn't approved a new stapler purchase in three years. but then i saw the new windows tablet, with a real keyboard, usb port, and full office. it's a tablet that works for work. plus, it's got apps and games, for after hours, of course. compared to an ipad -- way more value. these tablets are such a steal; i couldn't find a reason not to buy them. ♪ honestly, i wanna see you be brave ♪ i couldn't find a reason maestro of project management.
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it is a politicians dream, you've got to admit, standing at the top of this pedestal here and i have got a little step underneath to get even higher. obviously, i want to express appreciation for sesle b.demille. >> that's how you want to kick off the thanksgiving holiday, vintage romney. it was the signing of his landmark health care reform bill. 2006 was romney's last year as governor of massachusetts. he wasn't running for re-election. pretty much everything he was doing was positioning himself for a presidential run in 2008. that was going to be that signing that captured his presidential side. they had ted kennedy, the big champion of health care reform up on the stage, representatives of the massachusetts legislature
health care people and some d.c. think folks. you see the guy on the left, robert moffett, ph.d. director of the center for health care policies at the top think tank in the country, the heritage foundation. governor romney's people insisted that it be reserved for that guy from the heritage foundation. he made a point to give heritage a shoutout in their speech thanking them for being the arcty conne architect of center piece of reform. it was their idea he was signing into law. in 1989, the heritage foundation had put out this policy paper. it was called assuring affordable health care for all americans. that paperback showed a new mandate, that all should
purchase private insurance. in 2006, the basic heritage health care framework was established as law by a republican governor that was going to go out and run for president. romney didn't win in 2008. barack obama did. one of his first orders of business was health reform. his model was, i think you know this right now, the plan that was working in massachusetts, the romney plan, the heritage foundation plan. those subtleties may have been lost on the right. >> they were launched. the very conservative movement that had helped lay the foundation for the affordable care act has been nearly four years of all-out war on obama care. when congress was debating health care in 2009, republican senator, jim demint, predicted it would be obama's waterloo. we are going to break him on this. he hasn't stopped doing that
ever since. it is a request that he has finished at the heritage foundation. the heritage foundation that demint took over was and is very different than the one that produced that health care policy paper all those years ago. it is one where the think tank wing has taken a back seat to the political action wing, something called heritage action. it's heritage action with its legislative score cards serving as measurements of conservative purity that set a radical goal this year. the end of obama care through the shutting down of the federal government in the threat of a debt-ceiling default. it was the threat of landing on the wrong side of heritage and getting a bad number on the scorecard that kept all those republicans in line for so long as the government closed down, as their poll numbers dropped, as they asked themselves, why are we doing this all again, 24 years before the shutdown. it was the heritage foundation that conceived of a conservative, market friendly alternative to the canadian style health care, a concept now
edged into law under the name obama care. the revolt the heritage foundation led was a revolt against its sechlt a generation after that 1989 health care paper, a group that had been the preimminent force of conservative policies has been less of a shot in the arm for the right than a shot in the foot. they give insight into the organizations decline quoting one republican staffer, bitterly noting that if nancy pelosi could wreet an anonymous check to heritage action, she would. joining us now, julia yafi. the story of heritage is interesting because in my mind they went from coming up with the idea for the affordable care act to shutting down the government over its enactment and implementation. when a lot of people think about that story, they think about jim demint but your story says it is this duo, two guys that are
younger than jim demint that have taken it and turned it away from being a think tank into a pure partisan war machine. tell us who they are and how they've done this. >> my piece focuses on michael ne. dham, 31, the ceo of heritage action. that i title is significant. he has a lieutenant, tim chapman, who is the coo. they were helped to be put in place by the chairman of the heritage foundation. a guy named saunders, a wall street banker in the '80s. when he was elected to the board in 2009, he pushed for a more aggressive approach, for heritage to take a more aggressive approach on the hill and to create a lobbying arm. by this point, michael needham had served as chief of staff to heritage foundation's creator and president, edwin full ner.
he had gone off to work with the julie ann any campaign. he went to stanford business school. he has a very sterling pedigree. he went to collegiate and williams. he was also a proponent of this. he was brought back to run this lobbying arm in 2010 whether it was created. because a lot of the org organizational details were left vague, how the money was spent, who would call the shots, tim kaufman was calling the shots. they had alienated a lot of people on the hill with their aggressive, sharp elbow tactics. the elders at heritage foundation kind of woke up one day and realized that the organization has radically changed. >> that's what your piece brings out, the tension between the elders and this sort of new guard. what's interesting to me is, i
think this sort of illustrates a challenge that more broadly faces the right. when you look at heritage, you can say politically, obviously, the shutdown was a disaster for the conservative movement and the republican party. traditionally, the role of heritage is this sort of role of policy ideas for the conservative movement. that might be changing. at the same time, leading this charge to defund obama care has meant a windfall in terms of grass root donations for heritage and other groups like it. how do people reconcile those two things. with the grassroots, they can turn and make an appeal and bring in big money even if they are not doing what they used to do. >> i this i the jury is still out on that. if you talk to people at heritage or people who were pretty senior there who have recently left, they would tell you the same thing. heritage action -- heritage foundation is a very old, we well-respected brand on the right, an $82 million annual budget. they burn through $82 million every year and have plenty left
for the next year and the year after that. heritage action raised $5 million last year. their biggest donation was from the koch brothers for $500. everything else comes from smaller grassroots donations. we have yet to see what they did with the shutdown and bringing the u.s. to the brink of default with nothing to show for it, how that will affect the bigger donors. a lot of people on the right and business groups are angry at them. as the heritage elders are happy to point out, you can't run an $82 million organization on $25 donations. >> i think that is one of the interesting things to watch on the right now, that tension between the big money, more sort of corporate donor class and the grassroots side. julie ioffe, senior editor at the new republic. thank you for joining us tonight. what happens when political partisans try to hop on the
swing side and ride it to their side of the aisle? sometimes they fall off. hold on for a bumpy ride up next. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great. the money you spend here, stays here. in this place you call your neighborhood. this saturday is small business saturday. get out and shop small.
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51% to mitt romney with 47% plus a little. no other state came this close to the exact national margin. we can safely say that virginia is a bell weather state, which is why democrats were so excited earlier this month in 2009, virginia had elected a trio of republicans to the three state-wide offices. this year there was a backlash. the governor had been caught up in a scandal. state attorney general, ken cuccinelli scared off the swing voters republicans have to win in virginia. so virginia instead elected a democratic governor, terry mcauliffe. elected democrats to the other two statewide posts as well. at least it looks that way. today, the race to attorney general went to a recount. if the results from election do hold, democrats will have a hold on the offices for the first time since 1969. you might hear national
republicans swearing off the events in virginia as not that big of a deal. virginia is a classic bell weather state. it gave the gop a warning of what happens when you field far right candidates in a truly competitive state. here is another bell weather state. colorado, after virginia, it was colorado voters who most closely reflected 2012 voters overall nationwide. you have bell weather virginia and bell weather colorado. in virginia, the state-wide offices have been held by republicans. the voters seem to have rejected their way of governing. in bell weather colorado, it is the democrats that have been in control. the governor has had the benefit of a legislature controlled by his own party to sign major gun roll and civil unions and new laws about renewable energy. in september, they called two democrat senators. it left them clinging to a
one-vote majority in the state senate. then they went after a third colorado senator. they were about to submit the signatures to put her up for a recall whether she resigned. by leaving now rather than risking the loss of her seat, she gives democrats the chance to appoint a replacement and run for next year. colorado democrats have kept their hold on power in the bell weather state. it took getting one of their own to fall on her sword hoping it doesn't lead to a bigger backlash. democrat, mark udall, won by ten points last time. now, he is up over his closest challenge by just three. governor hickenlooper won in 2010. now, he is up by just five points. virginia is very promising for
democrats. how do they make sense of what is happening in colorado. joining us is cary bacon, the national political contributor for the grio. the events in colorado were extraordinary to watch, a state senator resigning and giving up just so her party can control the chamber for another year. i wonder what lesson you think democrats should be drawing nationally from what's happening in colorado right now. you looked at virginia last month. when republicans put the far right up, we are fine. you have democrats in control and they are pursuing a democratic agenda. they are facing an awful lot of backlash for it. how do you make sense of that nationally if you are a democrat? >> what you've seen in virginia and colorado is then dates that do best are the ones that play down the cultural issues. guns in colorado. talk about abortion and contraception, which cucccinelli talked about a lot in virginia.
john higgenlooper, the governor now of colorado, ran a very n a nonagile campaign. what you saw in higgenlooper's numbers, democrats still like him. independents still like him. republicans, went from 26 to 46 in the last few months. you are seeing a backlash among republicans that didn't care about him before and now are pretty opposed to him. the same thing you saw in virginia where cucccinelli was a much more controversial candidate than mcauliffe who pretty much ran in the center and won in virginia. we are coming up on the one-year anniversary of newtown and the shooting in aurora, the events that got him on board with gun control in colorado. it becomes sort of a depressing message for democrats when you look at what's happened in the last year for gun control
supporters. it could not happen at the national level. it could not happen in the u.s. senate and the democrats in colorado are paying such a price for this. i understand that the point you are making is certainly politically. is there a way, a lesson we can draw anywhere in the last year for how democrats and gun supporters in a state like colorado can pursue that and not pay this kind of a price? >> it looks like from looking at the polls that background collection are still supported by a majority of people in colorado versus the limits on magazine clips or for whatever reason have been more unpopular. that may be a sign where background checks is a more palatable issue. i will say there are two different lessons on issues. i think democrats will be more wary of gun control because colorado is such a centrist state. medicaid expansion, terry mcauliffe ran on very hard in
virginia and won on that issue in part. you are going to see more democrats being bolden on the medicaid issue in particular next year versus gun control. i gun control in colorado. and you saw most states passed it that were effective, maryland, new york for instance. states where liberals don't have to worry about backlash. i think there will be some chilling in colorado, states like colorado. >> when you get out of the safely blue states. the story of our politics. any way, political editor, and msnbc contributor. thank you for your time tonight. we will be right back after this. my mother and my grandmother are very old fashioned.
i think we both are clean freaks. i used to scrub the floor on my knees. [ daughter ] i've mastered the art of foot cleaning. oh, boy. oh, boy. oh, boy. [ carmel ] that drives me nuts. it gives me anxiety just thinking about how crazy they get. [ doorbell rings ] [ daughter ] oh, wow. [ carmel ] swiffer wetjet. you guys should try this. it's so easy. oh, my. [ gasps ] i just washed this floor. if i didn't see it i wouldn't believe it. [ carmel ] it did my heart good to see you cleaning. [ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff. [ daughter ] oh, yeah. we know we're not the center of your life,
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time, nearly every american household that had a tv was gathered around to watch this. >> live from the capitol in washington, d.c., nbc news brings you coverage of president lyndon b. johnson's first message to the congress of the united states. >> it was november 27th, 1963, 50 years ago tonight that lyndon johnson address aid joint session of congress for his first time as president. the nation was still in a state of trauma after the asa assassination of john f. kennedy. while transition of power had been smooth, millions of americans watching at home that night were wondering the same thing that nbc's chet huntley wondered allowed. >> now the question in the national mind of course who is lyndon johnson? >> well the answer to the question, changed dramatically in the five days between the death of j.f.k. and johnson's
speech to congress that night. the lbj who awoke in 1963 was vastly different than the one frantically sworn in as president less than 12 hours later. eight weeks before the assassination, this was the defeated, slow moving, lyndon johnson, dressed informally in cakies, me khakis. the interviewer was ray miller. johnson replied to his question with the body language of a man just going through the motions. >> a lot of people thought when you -- when you gave up the majority leadership in the senate to become vice president that you would find it a comedown. how do you find it? >> well, i can't imagine why anyone would think that. i don't think that, vice presidents ha ccan come down fr anything. >> no one thought he was the second man in washington. when they quoted number two man in washington they were talking about robert kennedy, l.b.j.'s
most bitter rival in the administration, in all of washington and politics. but to call them rivals at the moment that would have been a gr gross distortion. he told sam rayburn, being vice president is look being a cut dog. that's who lbj was in the months, weeks, minutes, seconds before the shots rang out. lyndon johnson in predallas was in serious political trouble. a scandal, secretary of the senate's office was unfolding, one that involved, lbj's protege, bobby baker, graft, sex, influence peddling. and sparked new interest that johnson amassed a fortune of millions after 30 years of government salary. in november 1963, the powder keg was about to blow. november 22nd, the presidential motorcade rolling through dallas, editors of "life"
magazine were meeting to delegate assignments and their investigation into a project, lyndon johnson's money. the senate began sniffing around the baek erbaker controversy. shelf life was expiring. talk was beginning johnson would be bounced from the 1964 ticket by kennedy. that life story ran once all that dirty laundry was aired in the senate hearing. a no brainer then. during that senate hearing into the baker affair, with the documen documents, invoices and checks linking the vice president to illicit behavior. during the hearing, some one burst in to say the president had been shot. the shot changed lyndon johnson's life and so many others and triggered an instant trans transformation. he wanted to be president and knew what he was supposed to do. he was calm. decisive, took action. he told every kennedy aide needed them more. he brought in congressional leaders, governors. addressed the join session of
congress, 50 years ago tonight. >> no memorial, oration, eulogy could more eloquently honor president kennedy's memory than the armiest py e earliest possif the civil rights bill for which he fought so long. in the last week and a half, we remembered the anniversary of jfk's death for all that was lost and so much was. it ushered in the most momentous consequences in history. to etch a civil rights act into law. to see through the tax cut bill installed under kennedy. to push for his own wildly ambitious war on poverty and to get his way. jfks death gave way off to the landslide of 1964, one of the most thorough presidential victories ever amassed.
it gave us the 89th congress, most productive, influential in history. a congress that set a standard for sweeping change that no future congress lived up to. john f. kennedy's tragic death gave rise to what we might today remember as one of the greatest presidencies in history. were it not for a military entanglementen southeast asia. an entanglement that would come to eclipse and erase so much of what lbj achieved. all that was still to come. in 1964, at the national christmas tree lighting, johnson said these are the most hopef f times in all the years. the events that would lead a president say a thing like that. make a country believe him. would make a congress act as if it were the case. those events began 50 years ago tonight. that speech to congress marked the start of what was one of the most consequential presidencies in modern american history from a man whose rise to power as of literally five days earlier was
essentially unfathomable. that does it for us tonight. be sure to catch my show this weekend. saturday, sunday. 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. eastern time. now time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. >> you know what is going to happen tomorrow. to some of you anyway. you are going to be at the table, one of your crazy relatives is going to go off on obama care, or benghazi, iran deal, our socialist president. and the smart thing to do of course is to just ask for more dessert. but. you feel look ruining everyone's meal, you can actually start arguing. tonight, we will give you've the facts that you need to win. >> it has been a rough couple weeks in washington. >> grab your pitchfork. >> once again here we have. >> republican colleagues trying to scare everybody. >> again. again. again. >> when it comes to obama care. >> obama care scandal. >> there is no way to fix this. >> how