tv Jansing and Co. MSNBC December 9, 2013 7:00am-8:01am PST
nothing says, "you're my #1 copilot," like a milk-bone biscuit. ♪ say it with milk-bone. slick, slippery streets from the midwest to the northeast. a major winter wallop just keeps coming, bringing car crashes, cancelled flights and chaos, and it's not over yet. president obama is in the air right now headed to south africa to honor nelson mandela. security is tight as the soccer stadium there hosts dozens of the most important world leaders. mary landrieu cast the deciding vote for obama care. >> southern democrats under attack. could republicans turn the state red by picking off a few vulnerable dems? good morning, i'm chris jansing.
washington lawmakers getting close to something that almost never happens these days, a deal. they're headed back to d.c. right now to hammer out the details, but this budget agreement may not be much to write home about. the "washington post" basically called the agreement a cease-fire. we don't know many of the details but it's no grand bargain. it doesn't deal with entitlements, the debt or tax reform and probably won't completely fix the sequester, but aides for senator patty murray and congressman paul ryan, the budget chairs working on the deal are at least determined to keep the government open and they think they can get the plan together for a vote later this week. one of the final sticking points in the deal could be unemployment. friday the unemployment rate dropped to 7%. that's the lowest since november of 2008. federal benefits expire at the end of the year and it's not clear if an extension would be included in any budget deal. >> i don't think we've reached that point where we've said this is it, take it or leave it. what i hear from patty murray, i
spoke to her the other night, negotiations are making progress, moving in the right direction. >> i want to bring in our company, carrie budoff brown, ron fornier. good morning. >> good morning. >> carrie, is getting a deal done, if it does happen this week, a major milestone or is this the smallest possible thing they could do just to keep the government up and running? >> well, it's more significant than the deal that they got two months ago to keep the government running. that was a two-month deal and so it didn't really get them much. the way -- the reason this would be more significant is because they would be trying to roll back some of the sequester cuts, change the composition of that, deal with that in a more significant way than they have. but like the "washington post" reported this morning, it doesn't deal with any of the real long-term issues that are facing the government, the budget, debt entitlements, this is just sort of a swimming in place kind of deal, intended on
preventing a shutdown and not really dealing with a lot of the long-term structural problems. it's been reported by many outlets in many ways that long-term structural deals is extraordinarily difficult to get and paul ryan at the outset of this said we're not even going to go there because that gets us basically nowhere, both sides are so dug in. so it's sort of hard to see through a lot of this where they go because a big long-term deal is difficult, a sport-term deal is going to get some pushback that they're not doing something bigger. >> let me play what rob portman's take on this was. >> the key is that we not have another government shutdown, that we do keep the spending caps in place, that we don't raise taxes at a time when the economy is still weak and i think we can accomplish that over the next couple of days. >> let's go over what's on the table. cuts to federal pensions, military pensions, airline security fee hikes, unemployment and selling more of the broadcast spectrum. even those things aren't flying
with some democrats, particularly the cuts to pensions already. what are the chances, ron, that any one of those things could derail a deal? >> well, i think there's a chance that just about anything in this town could derail any deal. i think the fact that we're -- you know, you're even asking if this can be considered a deal or success just shows you how pitiful this city has gotten right now. this is outrageous that the best they're going to be able to do is a stopgap measure that punts the problems down the road. i know one thing for sure, they're all going on vacation on friday. meanwhile the debt won't be taken care of. meanwhile they probably have raised taxes on us through our airline fees, that's a tax increase. they probably will cut pensions to middle class people and veterans. it's just asinine that they're all going to pat themselves on the back thursday and friday and say what a great job they have done. this is just absurd. >> let's talk about one of the big sticking points here, something that's been a huge topic of conversation and that is unemployment benefits. democrats have gone back and
forth over whether this would be a deal-breaker. first nancy pelosi said it would be and then she back tracked a little bit. dick durbin said it's not. but the president did use his weekly radio address to push republicans on the extension. >> for many families it can be the difference between hardship and catastrophe. last year alone it lifted 2.5 million people out of poverty and cushioned the blow for many more. but here's the thing. if members of congress don't act before they leave on their vacations, 1.3 million americans will lose this lifeline. >> and if it's not part of the budget deal, carrie, what happens? >> well, i think what you're going to see now that some of these details are coming out about the budget, potential budget deal, this has been a very close hold on these negotiations and a lot of rank and file don't know exactly what's going on. i think on the democratic side, it's going to be really hard for them to vote for something that cuts government pensions for government workers without getting something more significant -- something significant in return.
something like an unemployment benefit extension. i think we'll see this discussion sort of go beyond the main players and have folks like jerry conley in virginia who represents government workers who's saying he's not going to support it. but people like him will have to see something in return if they're starting to get down to it and there's a vote here, a vote there. you know, a lot of these trade-offs will become part of this. >> well, there's a very specific argument we've been hearing from democrats to convince republicans about extending unemployment benefits because there's an immediate economic impact. when people get the money, they spend the money. and the white house says without the extension we could lose 240,000 jobs. but ron, at what point, and this is the republicans' question, do you start to pull back because the extension of unemployment benefits was never supposed to go on forever, it was supposed to be short-term. >> yeah, and so was the recession. and so was durable unemployment. that was all supposed to be taken care of in the past but it's not. there's people out there hurting. so if congress goes on vacation
after reducing food stamps and after pull unemployment away from people, you know, their poll ratings are going to be 4% or 5%, their approval ratings? it's just -- there's just a gap between what's happening out in the real world and what's happening in this town and this so-called success, the so-called deal is another example of it. >> ron fornier, carrie budoff brown, thanks so much. meanwhile the president and first lady are on their way to south africa joined by former president george w. bush, laura bush and former secretary of state hillary clinton. presidents bill clin taund jton jimmy carter are making their way separately. they're planning to attend a massive memorial service for nelson mandela tomorrow. ron allen is outside mandela's former home. ron, good day to you. what kind of preparations are being made to accommodate everything that's going to be going on over the next 24 to 48 hours or so? >> reporter: well, the south
african government is under a lot of pressure because this may be one of the biggest gatherings of world leaders ever. it's hard to estimate the crowd size, the stadium where the memorial service will be held. seats some 80,000 people. but i've got to believe there's going to be tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people trying to get near this event. this entire country, if not the world, is consumed by the death of nelson mandela. we're here across the street from the home that's been the family's home for several decades. behind me perhaps you can see there's a little crowd gathering now. there have been surges of people coming here throughout the past few days since mr. mandela's death was announced. they have been singing in the streets, they have been chanting. it's been more street party than anything else celebrating the life of mr. mandela. obviously there's also some grief and mourning but most people are trying to focus on the positive, the legacy and the tremendous achievement of mr. mandela and this country during his life. also you have to remember that all these events are taking
place over a week. there's the memorial service tomorrow and then for the next three days after that, mandela's body will lie in state at the union builds, the seat of government in pretoria and the body will make a procession from the military hospital to that place each day so there will be people trying to line that route and see what's happening as well to visit the body and pay their respects. and finally the funeral in a distant part of the country where mr. mandela is from, so many events over many days and a lot of emotion overall that. >> ron, thank you. checking the news feed this morning, that massive winter storm that stretched from texas to the northeast is making for a messy and dangerous monday commute. a winter storm warning is still in effect for the lower mid-atlantic states. up to a quarter inch of ice to accumulate. massive traffic pileups in pennsylvania and new york have killed more than one person. more than 1100 flights have been cancelled as well. and it's not over yet.
another blast of snow is heading to the east for tomorrow. we'll get more from the weather channel in our next half hour. dozens of riot police in full gear have moved into central kiev in the ukraine this morning. this is a government-imposed deadline for opposition activists to leave a city building in the central square. on sunday protesters toppled the statue of vladimir lenin, dragging it down. they're angry after the president shelved a treaty with the european union to focus instead on ties with russia. there's a key meeting between chuck hagel and the prime minister of pakistan. that relationship has been strained a bit by the issue of u.s. drone strikes in pakistan. the issue is likely to come up in talks today. last week the u.s. suspended shipments of nato cargo leaving afghanistan via pakistan because of protests from anti-drone activists. so typical airline complaints, delayed flights, lost luggage, but locking a sleeping passenger inside an empty plane? that's what tom wagner says
happened to him on a united express flight to houston on friday. he woke up and the plane was empty. so he calls his girlfriend and then she had to call the airline to rescue him. >> they said, well, where's your badge? i said, dude, i don't work here, i'm a passenger on this airplane. and he says hold on, hold on. and he didn't believe it. i just don't know how it happened, i really don't. i mean passengers got off. you'd think somebody would have rubbed me or pushed me and said hey, we're here. >> wagner says united offered him a $250 voucher and a hotel room in houston for the night and they say they're trying to figure out how it happened. should federal workers expect a cut to their pensions? will the long-term unemployed lose benefits? we'll ask congressman chris van hollen about the upcoming budget deal after a break. so try new glow unstopables. they fill your closet with scents so fresh they last for 12 weeks! downy unstopables. try with downy infusions.
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senator patty murray and congressman paul ryan may be close to a budget deal but minorities on both sides, house democrats and senate republicans, have some concerns. democrats are especially worried about what this deal might mean to the middle class. maryland democratic congressman chris van hollen is the top democrat on the house budget committee. always good to see you, congressman. good morning. >> good to see you, chris. good morning to you. >> i think you know the reports are the deal could include cuts to federal worker pensions. is that a line in the sand for you? >> well, first of all, there's no agreement. secondly, i would put the chances of an agreement right now at maybe 50-50. and there are lots of issues, and you've just been reporting on some of them. part of it is the simple matter of equitiy. there's no reason that federal employees should take it on the chin as part of this agreement when federal employees have disproportionately contributed to the deficit reduction efforts to date. over $140 billion of the deficit
reduction efforts over the last couple of years have come from federal employees. >> and you represent a lot thoefz federal employees, so is that a deal breaker for you? >> absolutely. you cannot be asking federal employees to bear the share of the burden that they're asking for here as part of an agreement when you're not asking, for example, agri businesses that get huge taxpayer subsidies to have a contribution toward the deal. so we should be replacing the sequester. i've had a piece of legislation in to do that for three years. we've tried to get a vote on it and have been denied. but as we do that, you can't take this out on just one segment of individuals. you've got to have equitiy in this. so there are lots of things that are still up in the air as part of this negotiation. >> including unemployment benefits. and i want to play the republican argument from senator rand paul against an extension. here it is. >> a do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for.
if you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. when you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for opini99 weeks you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group of our economy. while it seems good, it does a disservice to the people you're trying to help. >> two words we've heard from republicans, perpetual unemployment and we can't afford it. what do you say? >> with all due respect to senator rand paul, this is a ridiculous argument. here he is blaming people who are out of work through no fault of their own, who are still looking for work and that's a condition of continuing to receive unemployment compensation. and we still have very high unemployment rates in the country, historically speaking. >> but the 7%, which was good news, i mean and being celebrated, does that make it tougher for your side of the argument? >> well, not if you look at the facts. and the facts, chris, are that the number of long-term unemployed has not changed and we just had very powerful
testimony last week and some of them had lost their jobs because of the very deep across the board sequester cuts. they had a stack two feet high of applications they had submitted for jobs and hadn't gotten a job yet and so for rand paul to say, you know, we're going to really do you a favor. we're going to cut off the little compensation that you've got for your family and that's going to do you good is absurd and demeaning. in addition, in addition to helping these families cope, you're also helping neighborhood economies and the economy in general. the congressional budget office which is a nonpartisan group has said if we don't extend unemployment compensation, we will have 200,000 fewer jobs by the end of the year, by this time next year. and that's not the folks who are unemployed, that's because those families will not have the money to go out and buy goods and services at their local stores.
so it helps -- it helps everybody to help provide some support to these struggling families who are looking for work every day and absolutely congress should not leave town. it would be outrageous for congress to leave town without addressing this important issue. >> as you know, there are only four more days on the calendar, at least right now. if you're putting the odds and if you're right that they're only 50-50 that there is some kind of deal, how do you get from point a to point b, which is a deal in these next few days, because obviously there's a lot at stake. what's going to have to happen here? >> well, these are all the pieces that are on the table in negotiation. you've got the budget negotiations, but related to that you have the unemployment compensation discussion. and i mentioned agriculture subsidies. you also have a farm bill. i mean if a farm bill does not pass soon, it reverts to 9035 law, which increases milk prices. so you've got all these different things in play right now and congress should stay in
town. they should absolutely not leave until we work this out. but there is a way to do it. >> so expand the discussion significantly beyond paul ryan and patty murray? >> well, for example, the savings in the agriculture bill by eliminating some of these excessive subsidies which have no good purpose could be used to help offset some of the things in the budget negotiation instead of trying to stick it to federal employees or stick it to other groups. you could use some of those savings. that's just one example of how these things are interrelated and how you can move forward. >> maryland congressman chris van hallen, thanks so much. it's good to see you. >> thank you, you too. coming up, the life of a lawmaker. >> it is really an ordeal to be in public life sometimes. >> is winning elections worth the ordeal? and how do you fend off the attacks? we'll ask our strategists coming up. and we've made a big commitment to america. bp supports nearly 250,000 jobs here.
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care offer better news. according to the kaiser family foundation, more than 243,000 people have signed up for private coverage. 567,000 more found out they're eligible for medicare. now, the white house emphasized that's in addition to the aca's provisions already at work, including one that keeps young people insured. >> at the young age of 23, justine was ballottling cancer the second time. the other day her mom, joanne, e-mailed me from cleveland university hospital where justine is undergoing treatment. she stopped by the pharmacy to pick up justine's medicine. if justine were uninsured, it would have cost her $4500. but he is insured because the affordable care act has let her and three million other young people, like monica, gain coverage boy staying on their parents' coverage until they're 26.
that means justine's mom had -- all she had to cover was the $25 co-pay. >> justine and her mom, joanne, join me now from the cancer center where justine receives her treatments. good morning to both of you. justine, how are you doing? >> i'm doing good. >> you look great, may i say. >> thank you. >> what was it like for you to hear the president talking about you on national television? >> once we found out and then the next day when i got to watch the speech live, i think i kind of toned everything out after he said my name and then i had to go back and kind of listen to the speech because, you know, it was just one of those things that's just crazy to see that the president was talking about you. >> what was it, joanne, that made you write this letter to the white house? >> well, we spent a lot of time in her room just watching tv and there was a commercial that kept coming on and it was very negative against obama care. and i looked over at justine and
i said, you know, it's really helped our family. so we looked at each other and we said, oh, we should write the president, not thinking it was going to be so easy. and so we did. she pulled up the website and we e-mailed him. it was at the time of the shutdown so i told her, you know, it's probably just going to get lost in the shuffle. you know, we'll just forget about it, but at least we sent our thank you and what we thought about it. and we just kind of forgot about it. >> this is as the president said your daughter's second bout with bone cancer. she was first diagnosed when she was 16 years old. i'm sure you've had your hands full but have you ever stopped to think in your mind or calculate what the treatments have cost and what it could have meant if your daughter was not insured? >> i really have no idea what the total amount is. i'm sure i would just be in shock. but i do understand how important it is having this care
and her able to stay on my husband's insurance. it's enabled us to make choices of where she gets her care and who gives her her care. it also eases our minds when we're worried and nervous about just her health. we don't have to worry about, oh, my gosh, are we going to lose our house. >> justine, obviously you have enough going on in your life without becoming a spokesman for obama care. but what made you feel like this is something that you wanted to do, once the president obviously talked about you on tv? >> i mean i just hope that my story will help someone kind of look into the obama care and the affordable care act a little bit more, just to maybe benefit them or somebody that they know or somebody, you know, in their family that's struggling and needs this help, because i know if i was, you know, a 23-year-old on my own health insurance and i got this huge bill in the mail, i wouldn't be
paying it because there's no way that i could. so i wouldn't be getting the care that i needed. so i just hope that it will help someone like somewhere out there that can get the care that they need. >> and, joann, as someone who saw all these negative ads, and you live in ohio, a place where political ads are part and parcel. i grew up in ohio so i know, it's one of those states where you're constant low bombarded with ads. what would you say to those people who are running those ads and spending a lot of money running the ads? >> not to just look at the negative side. anything new isn't going to be perfect in the beginning, and maybe we could just work together to make it a little bit better instead of fighting each oth other. who is coming up with the ideas. instead of fighting back and forth, can we all join together an just see what's best for the
people. >> well, justine, it's been inspirational to see you and i think everybody watching, i feel confident speaking to them, that we wish you and your family all the best and, joann, to you as well. it's kind of you to take your time to talk to us today. thanks so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> and if you read only one thing this morning, well, when you leave 30 rock where i work, this time of year there are constant crowds waiting to get into radio city music hall. they have this christmas spectacular, the fabled rockettes are there. my must read is another heart warming story about a wounded warrior who was hosted backstage along with his wife and their 7 and 10-year-old sons. it's up on our facebook page. let us know what you think. head to facebook/jansingco. thrusters at 30%! i can't get her to warp.
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>> louisianans told mary landrieu to vote no on obama care. >> people think it's big government at its worst. >> instead she sided with barack obama. >> now we are paying the price. >> landrieu is one of three democrats fighting for their political lives in the southern state. senators pryor and hague annnha of a shrinking group of democrats who have an uphill battle in 2014. let me bring in jason stanford, danny vargas, republican strategist and nbc latino contributor. good morning. >> good morning, chris. >> good morning, chris. >> jason, all three of these democrats that i pointed out voted for obama care but criticized the administration's handling of the rollout. one attack called the landrieu barack obama's rubber stamp. how big a problem is the affordable care act going to be for these democrats. >> well, if the election were this year it would be a big problem but luckily it's next year. this year it's a political problem.
next year it's a consume issue. it's like the medicaid part d rollout. when it rolled out, it was a huge problem and then a year later people were using the benefits, using the products and they liked it. this time next year this isn't going to be perhaps a winning issue for democrats but it's not going to be the silver bullet that republicans think it is. >> danny, let's not pretend that attack ads are anything new, but it does seem that the quantity of them, how early they start before an election has changed dramatically. part of it is super pacs, part of it is just the general mood that's out there in washington. so is this a problem not just obviously for the people who are trying to run for office to win re-election, but for getting people to actually run? >> well, it's that and the fact that there are two things going on. one is that the republicans will be running against the democrats, but there's also a big effort under way to make sure that we can elect or nominate republicans that can win in statewide elections. the problem that we've had in 2010 and 2012 were we nominated
candidates like christine o'donnell and todd aiken that couldn't win in a statewide election is something we also have to contend w so negative ads will be helpful in making sure whoever the republican nominee is can run and win against the democrat but also have a republican candidate that can win statewide. >> part of it is these ads and part of it is the scrutiny that a lot of these candidates undergo. if you talk to people whose job it is to recruit candidates, they will tell you how difficult it is, and i'm sure that you heard rand paul yesterday talking on the sunday shows, because a lot of people took notice of one particular thing he said. let me play it for you. >> sometimes you have a good week and the next week they pound you to death and, you know, the haters and the hacks go after you and it's like it is really an ordeal to be in public life sometimes. >> jason, is it more of an ordeal than it used to be? and is the net result of this that we're getting lower quality candidates to run for congress? >> well, i think rand paul is a
good example of lower quality candidates, but i really have a hard time feeling sorry for him. the man is making a six-figure salary, he's going to get a great pension. the fact is politicians get attacked but also have power to rule over us. if they think they're somehow immune or should be protected from public criticism then they don't understand what a democracy is. he needs to develop a thick skin if he's going to make it in big-time politics. >> danny, is he just whining? >> well -- >> yes. >> i'll be honest with you. as someone who's been encouraged to run myself many times, the personal, the family issues really are something you have to take into consideration. it is a shame that running for public office and holding elective office is such an ordeal to the point where you don't have citizen legislators anymore, you have career politicians that are already used to this kind of fervor that takes place in the media. it's a shame we don't have folks that can come from their private lives, step in, serve the public for some period of time and step back into their private lives.
it's become a media circus, an attack machine for anybody who's thinking of running for anything action even at the local level. so that's a shame. >> danny vargas, jason stanford, good to see you guys. thank you. >> thanks. helet's talk about this bla of winter weather. the storm has already caused more than 1100 flights to be cancelled just today. yesterday's lions/eagles game, did you see, this turned into a complete whiteout. nearly 8 inches of snow blanketed the field in the second half. the weather channel's mike seidel has been following this storm and is now in leesburg, virginia. what's the forecast here? looks like fun where you are. >> reporter: oh, it's a lot of fun. ice and snow. yesterday we had 4 inches of snow, then we had the ice overnight so you wake up this morning to this. this is always fun to do, scrape the ice and have it pelt you. but good news. by the way, the roads are in great shape. we've got asphalt here, black asphalt. what they did is they treated them and now temperatures,
chris, have gone up to 33 out here at dulles airport. reagan went above freezing last night before midnight so within the capital beltway it was a better situation. but overnight we picked up a lot of ice on top of the snow and it comes right off like this like a pancake. you can see almost an inch of ice. it's collected on the trees. now it's beginning to melt but the trees have been stressed out. that has knocked out a lot of power, even since we came on at 5:00 this morning. old dominion in northern virginia and shen andoah. we're now up around 75,000 customers without power. over at the airports, reagan, dulles in better shape today. yesterday 240 outbound flights cancelled because we got dumped on with snow late morning, early afternoon. 240 yesterday. today only 70 flights have been cancelled. but even though we're going to head close to 40 today, look at the forecast. another quick-moving system will roll on through and that is going to bring a burst of snow just in time for the tuesday morning rush hour here in the
mid-atlantic. we're looking for 2 to 4 inches, maybe an inch or two up around where you are, chris, in new york city. then we go into the deep freeze for the rest of the week. back to you, chris. >> oh, that sounds great. thank you very much. mike seidel from the weather channel. >> reporter: you're welcome. >> don't you hate the sound of that scraping? checking the news feed, the world's leading tech giants joining forces to push back on government surveillance and protect the privacy of internet users. today they place national newspaper ads publishing a letter calling on the president and congress to be more transparent about nsa internet spying laws. no remorse from bernie madoff who tells the "wall street journal" that his decades-long ponzi scheme wasn't really his fault. he calls his investors sophisticated people who should have known better. madoff is serving 150 years at a federal prison in north carolina, a place he calls very laid back, sort of like a camp. it's no longer a race to the
south pole for prince harry because he was part of a 200-mile race to raise money for wounded vets, but brutal weather, harsh winds and bone-chilling temperatures forced organizers to suspend the competition aspect of it, but they're still on their way working together to reach the south pole by december 16th. i know i can win again. that's lindsey vonn after finishing fifth in the world cup super g yesterday. vonn is fast tracking her training for sochi after reinjuring her knee about three weeks ago. vonn says she'll compete in one or two more world cups before the winter games. just moments ago, american airlines and u.s. airways formally merged, becoming the world's largest airline. cnbc's mandy drury with what's moving your money and of course what we all want to know is what does it mean for ticket prices. >> well, you know, chris, it's actually quite early in the game here and it might be too early to tell. but usually when you have fewer players in the industry, it means less competition, which normally is not great news for
us, the consumer. but just let's wait and see. immediately, though, you've got the airlines' separate websites, aa.com and usairways.com as well as their reservation systems. they're all going to continue to operate separately until further along in the integration process so we're not going to see a difference immediately. this newly merged airline will be part of american's one world alliance, meaning u.s. airways is going to exit its current membership on march the 30th. so for us, chris, the first evidence that we'll see of this come wined airline and maybe what that means for ticket prices will be in early january. the airlines are then going to be offering some reciprocal frequent flier benefits. as i say, the jury is still out on the tickets. let's talk holiday shopping now. they had great success with harry potter and the hunger games. these are middle level school books essentially. these are for tweens. but they have turned into big business for grownups.
>> yeah, and a good book is a good book, right? whether it's meant for teens, whether it's meant for adults, whether it's meant for kids. so these middle grade books have become a booming pushing category. it was fueled in part by adult fans, myself included, who read the harry potter series. and so i believe all of those sold about 450 million copies worldwide. and have really paved the way for this new genre of blockbuster children's books that appeal to readers of all ages. and then you've got a lot of other recent hits like the myth logical fantasy books that sold 35 million books. diary of a wimpy kid. hard luck, that came out last month and sold more than a million copies in its first week and i believe currently is number one on amazon. so as you can see, appealing to readers of all ages, us, my kids, it's all interchangeable these days. >> cnbc's mandy drury. always good to see you, mandy, thank you. >> you too, chris.
president obama took some time off from politics to attend the kennedy center honors gala celebrating the best in the arts. the honorees, actress shirley mcclain, martina arroyo was honored by sonia sotomayor, latin rocker carlos santana and two pianomen, billy joel and herbie hancock. more from the ceremony coming up in "politics now." [ woman 3 ] to come together even when we're apart. [ male announcer ] in stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and more, swanson makes holiday dishes delicious. became big business overnight? ♪ like, really big... then expanded? ♪ or their new product tanked? ♪ or not? what if they embrace new technology instead? ♪ imagine a company's future with the future of trading.
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the clock is ticking for a dozen activists holding fasts on the national mall to push for immigration reform. those fasters are trying to press the house to take up immigration legislation this year but the house is only in for four more days and prospects are dim with speaker boehner not backing off from his statement that he won't take up the bill passed by the senate before the end of the year. let me bring in congressman mark takano, democrat from california, who held a 24-hour fast last friday in saurolid ar
with the activists and eliseo medina. eliso, you were one of four activists who went 22 days without eating. why? and are you seeing any indication that it's having an impact? >> well, chris, the reason we went on this fast is because we wanted to call attention of the american people and of the congress to the moral crisis facing our nation. you know, every year 460 something odd people die in the desert trying to come to the united states. this month it will have been two million people have been deported from our country. now, behind these numbers there's real human beings, people who have dreams and hopes and want to build a better future for themselves and their families. and so the reason we went on this fast is we wanted to dramatize the moral crisis that our country is facing.
and i think that we have touched the heart of america. they have responded. they have come to our tent. they have brought us flowers. they have brought us their best wishes because they know that we need to fix this broken immigration system and we hope that eventually we will also touch the heart of speaker boehner so that he does call a vote in order to end this human suffering. >> congressman, do you see any chance of that happening, however? as i said, you were one of the lawmakers who held a 24-hour fast as a continuation of the fast for families. and clearly all that drew attention, but is it drawing change? >> well, i'm heartened by some, i think, cracks in the door or the door is cracked open slightly when speaker boehner hired a staffer with background in immigration and he hasn't closed down completely the possibility of passing some forms of immigration on a piecemeal basis, immigration
reform. it's obviously not enough. we need comprehensive immigration reform. i can tell you that my own 24-hour fast reminded me of the struggles of my grandfather, who came to this country as an 18-year-old in 1916. there were laws against his naturalization. there were laws against him buying land. but because of his hard work, i am a united states congressman. but, you know, eliseo pointed to the moral and spiritual dimensions of this crisis with comprehensive immigration reform not being passed, but we need to pass it because not only will it make us feel better as americans, but we'll be better off as a country economically. you know, we'll add -- we'll add a growth rate from 4.5% to 6.1%, a huge jump. 6.1% in our growth -- our gross domestic product if we pass comprehensive immigration reform. that's a huge jump in growth and it's also huge gain for
america's workers. >> eliseo, what else do you think can be done? i'm wondering what you think about how the president has responded to all of this. he did come and visited you, along with the first lady, during the fast. on the other hand, he has been criticized for his deportation record for 11.5 million undocumented immigrants. there's been some talk about trying to push him to use his executive powers. what would you like to see the president do? >> well, first of all, let me just say how grateful we are for the president's support. he's been steadfast in his commitment to immigration reform. but i do think that all of us have to think what is our role in fixing this broken immigration system. i think the president has previously said that he wants the department of homeland security to focus on criminals, not everyday workers who just want to go to work and take care of their families. and i think if they do that, if
they exercise their discretion, it will take care of about 70%, 80% of the problem of people being deported, leaving their families behind. but at the end of the day, you know, in order to end this deportation policies, we need immigration reform, and i think the speaker, sooner or later, will have to understand that the american people demand an answer, they deserve an answer, and we deserve to have an immigration policy that would be worthy of our nation of immigrants. >> eliseo medina, mark takano, thank you for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> today's tweet of the day, time messes with us by putting miley cyrus on the short list for person of the year. among the other finalists, pope francis, edward snowden, ted cruz, president obama and kathleen sebelius. which rewards her for responsibly managing
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to "politics now" where last night president obama jokingly gave some credence to conspiracy theorists at the kennedy center honors. >> when you first become president, one of the questions that people ask you is what's really going on at area 51? when i wanted to know, i called shirley maclaine. >> shirley one of five honorees last night. ed gillespie is considering a run for senate against mark warner. he floated the idea over the weekend at an annual gop meeting known as the advance. if he run, this has been his first campaign for public office. and that's going to wrap up this hour of "jansing & co." i'm chris jansing. brian shactman is in for thomas roberts. >> thank you very much. the agenda next hour, the wicked winter weather. first snow and ice and right behind it the bitter cold.
we'll have the latest on the powerful storm that's hitting more than half of the country right now. plus, deal or no deal? we're moving closer to the deadline for a budget deal but will it include extending long-term unemployment benefits? we'll talk to dnc chair debbie wasserman schultz. and a new ballot initiative in california could change the way that state votes in presidential elections. some say it would rig the election for republicans. we'll see you in a few minutes. and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner and reliable, with fewer emissions-- it matters. ♪ 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.
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not financially. so we switched to the bargain detergent but i found myself using three times more than they say to and the clothes still weren't as clean as with tide. so we're back to tide. they're cuter in clean clothes. that's my tide. what's yours? well, if you needed a wake-up call that winter is on deck, here you go. a powerful storm system impacts more than half the country, snarling the roadways and the airways. good morning, everybody. brian shactman in for thomas roberts and we kick off the hour with this developing story. snow, check. ice, check. problems, check. and now get ready for this. we're in for a deep freeze that's sticking around for quite a while. here's the wall of weather that caused all the trouble. it brought misery in its wake from the south to the
mid-atlantic, all the way through new england where this storm really did some damage. it was out on the highways, take a look. it's being blamed for a 50-car pileup in pennsylvania that left cars dinged and dented and people stranded for hours. >> it is crazy. this whole corner is full of piled-up cars. holy smokes. >> sundays in december, they mean me on my couch watching football. mother nature brought her a-game this weekend. die hard fans proved their loyalty with a mixture of frostbite and frozen paces. >> i'd rather me home with a glass of wine in my hand. go eagles! >> crazy. joining me from out in the elements, the weather channel's mike seidel. dylan dreyer and of course warm and dry is of course bill karins in studio. i want to start first with weather channel meteorologist mike seidel live in leesburg, virginia, about 40 miles outside of washington, d.c.