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tv   The Cycle  MSNBC  March 6, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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pressure rises. republicans try to send the right message at their biggest gathering of the year. who are they talking to and who is listening? plus, dems revolt. how did they block one of the president's most important nominees, and how did harry reid not know this was coming? but we begin with breaking news in ukraine. the future of crimea may come to one vote. the local parliament is calling a referendum in ten days for residents to decide if they want to remain part of ukraine or secede and join russia, something moscow backs but the west is against. >> the proposed referendum on the future of crimea would violate the ukrainian constitution and violate international law. any discussion about the future of ukraine must include the legitimate government of ukraine. in 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic
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leaders. >> there should be no attempt to draw new lines on the map of europe in the 21st century. >> it's clear that the top two russian government to make the step -- >> each use -- ukraine as a result exclusively by an old ukrainian referendum.ç so it's quite clear that referendum can only come out of ukraine. it's not a way to decide. >> even russia's big eu ally, germany's angela merkel, says there's no legal grounds for the referendum. crimea used to be under moscow control. it's been an autonomous region with its own parliament ever since, with other nations including russia pledging to uphold its territorial integrity. today, nearly 60% of the peninsula considers themselves
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russian, adding the presence of 16,000 russian troops, and the odds are this vote will go in favor of moscow. in the meantime, in washington, the u.s. is restricting visas for russians who they say are jeopardizing the sovereignty of ukraine. and president obama says international unity will remain on display. >> if the resolves continues, we will remain firm. meanwhile, we've taken steps to reaffirm our commitment to the security and democracy of our allies in eastern europe, and to support the people of ukraine. >> nbc's ian williams is in kiev. ian, what's the reaction there of the pending vote in crimea?ç >> reporter: hi, abe. the government has reacted with anger. they describe this proposed referendum as illegal and unconstitutional. earlier this evening, i spoke to the u.s. ambassador here who described it as one more step in what he called the creeping
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annexation of crimea by russia. seen from here, russia does seem to be in a real hurry to grab crimea, perhaps wanting to create facts on the ground, a situation which becomes very difficult then for the international community to roll back. now, the crimean parliament, which is very pro-russian, had originally scheduled a referendum for the end of march, which had a broader question about autonomy. instead, parliament voted today for re -- for joining russia and also for this referendum, which will effectively rubber stamp it in 10 days' time, on the 16th of march. now, other menacing developments today, armed militia stormed the local television station, which was still broadcasting ukrainian programs, and instead put russian programs on the air. and, also, the deputy head of the administration down there, another pro-russian, said that once this independence vote is
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passed, and he doesn't seelç to be in doubt it will, then ukrainian troops who remain down there and don't surrender are, in his words, illegal occupiers. not surprisingly, this has dominated diplomacy day today, both at the e.u., and also, of course, with mr. kerry meeting the russian foreign minister, lavrov. both the europeans and americans now looking at ways to sanction russia, but the europeans appearing to be much more reluctant to do so, although kerry said this evening that it wasn't that they didn't want sanctions, it was more a question of timing. also today, in donestk, in the eastern part of ukraine, an area where many fear will be the next target of russian troublemaking, there were more clashes between pro-russian protesters and supporters of the government here in kiev. it's been a bit of a bizarre back and forth down there with one side taking over the government office, only to be pushed out by the other. one flag going up, then the
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other flag following. today, though, the ukrainians did push back there, and they took back control of the government building, hoisted their own flag again, and the leader of one pro-russian group was arrested. so it's not all going against ukraine today. but huge, huge concern here oveç this latest massive escalation in crimea. back to you guys. >> ian williams, thanks again. i want to bring in former u.s. ambassador to ukraine, steven piper. he's now a senior fellow at the center on the u.s. and europe at the brookings institute. ambassador, it's always great to have you. you spent years living in the ukraine. help us understand the mind set of the people living in crimea, and how much of that mind set will be impacted with russian troops on the street basically having a gun to their head as they vote? >> well, this is, i think, one of the puzzling things, for all of the talk of threats to ethnic russians in crimea, there simply
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was no evidence of this. when i served in ukraine in the end of 1990s, you found ethnic russians, ethnic ukrainians and ethnic tartars got along fairly well. again, ten days ago, there was no indication they planned attacks against russian military and no reports of anything about ethnic russians. this is something that's been stoked up. this is the kind of thing that if the russians did not want it to happen, it would not happen. >> so they want it to happen, and the ethnic breakdown of the region suggests you could have 60%, ç65% of the folks going f joining with russia, and maybe 30%, 35% saying they do not want to become part of russia. that's about 700,000 people. what do you imagine would happen to them, do you think they would be attacked or marginalized? do they have the opportunity legally to migrate to ukraine or
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some other place with the international community go in and help them out? >> well, it's a very complex situation. i guess i would start with the fact that although 60% of the population in crimea is ethnic russian, in 1991, 54% of the population of crimea voted for independence. so i don't think you should make an automatic assumption that if someone's ethnic russian, they're automatically going to vote to reunite with russia. a second issue is among the non-russian ethnic populations, you have 12%, 15% of the population is crimean tartars. they feel strongly about staying in ukraine, because for them, it's the same as the soviet union. in 1994, after crimea was liberated by the red army, stalin had the entire tartar population deported to central asia. they only came back in the late 1980s, and that group will want to be in ukraine. there are a lot of tensions unleashed. >> ambassador,ç let's say the
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referendum does forward, and as you said, if russia didn't want it to move forward, it wouldn't, so they obviously feel confident crimea would vote to join russia, and as ian williams was saying, it appears that the parliament in crimea and russia are trying to create facts on the ground of crimea's splitting from the rest of ukraine. in that scenario, where there is a referendum, they vote to join russia, does that complicate the picture for the u.s. and make it harder from a strategic standpoint to maintain this sort of international clear high ground that we have right now if you've got a region that is voting democratically in a way to join russia? >> well, in some ways it may make it more difficult, but in some ways it actually may make maintaining international solidarity easier, because if you have this referendum, and i'm sure there will be doubts about the legitimacy, and the russian moves to take in crimea, this will be seen as a blatant
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russian land grab, and that is completely tearing up the rules that have managed post-cold war europe over the last 20-plus years, it's always been you respect the countries and the territorial integrity.7(p&h(lc% when i served with the u.s. government, there during two russian wars againstç chechnya we disagreed very much with how the russians pursued those wars, but when asked about chechnya, the first thing we said we respect russian territorial integrity. we do not believe the chechens have the right to separate. and the russians may open a can of worms here. >> now, crimea does vote to rejoin, then what do you think happens with putin's designs there? you mentioned a land grab. does he try to go further? and what do you say to the criticism here that however right the obama administration may be in its desire to have an international humanitarian, international law response here,
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that they're basically being worked over as a matter of geopolitics, that putin keeps acting and the u.s. is just reacting? >> i think two questions, the first question, if the referendum goes forward, what does the government do? do they move immediately to annex crimea, or leave it hanging and leave it in a bit in limbo, and in the latter case, it may have maneuver to try to negotiate a settlement. part of the problem in terms of the geopolitical contest here, it's clear the united states and nato are not prepared to go o r over -- go to war over crimea, and that's understandable. so the question is, how can you manage toç mobilize the political, the diplomatic, and the economic tools that will begin to put pressure on russia. and i think at the same time that we're talking about sanctions and penalties to russia, we also ought to keep main focus on what we can do to support ukraine. you haven't seen yet in eastern ukraine the separatist tendencies you've seen in crimea. so what can the west do to
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bolster ukraine politically? can it work with the imf to come up with a package that helps ukraine get through a tough 18 months in terms of its financial condition, and in some ways the best revenge against moscow would be putting ukraine on a course where it's a stable democratic country drawing closer to europe. >> very well said. steve, thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. and up next, the gop's biggest names appeal to the most vocal group. cruz, christie and christie. when i say christie, we say -- >> kornacki! [ bubbles ]
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cycling now, the annual gathering of republican presidential hopefuls and wanna-bes known as cpac started this morning. today's lineup features gop heavyweights such as ted cruz, paul ryan, and marco rubio, and they had plenty to say today. >> more than any other administration in modern american history, they go to americans struggling and they tell them the reason why you're worse off is because someone is doing too well. it is someone else's fault that you're going through these difficult times, and the only solution is to give government more power to go after those people. >> the way the left tells it, the republican party is in this big massive civil war. it's tea party versus establishment, libertarians, versus social conservatives, infighting, conflict, backbiting, discord. look, i'm irish. that's my idea of a family reunion.ç >> he announces just about every day one change after another
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after another and obamacare, it is utterly lawless. it is inconsistent with our constitution and it ought to trouble everyone -- republicans, democrats, independents, libertarians. let me tell you something, if you have a president who is picking and choosing which laws to follow and which laws to ignore, you no longer have a president. >> wow. but can any of these guys actually emerge as a front-runner for 2016, and speaking of winners, nbc luke russert is in washington. how is it going there, luke? >> it's the place to be. this is the place to be. >> this is the place to be. >> tourre, you're too much of a man for me. the cpac, the ultimate revival, the super bowl and a trip to disney world rolled into one for the republicans. ordinarily, at the end of this conference, they have a vote on a straw poll, which some folks think is a good indicator for the 2016 nomination, and any of
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the folks you showed earlier will want to win that. >> who will win that? >> one guy you didn't show, chris christie, he got a standing ovation. what did he do? he came out and blamed the ç media, saying it was up to republicans to decide to grab the narrative to define themselves moving forward. as far as who will win that type of thing, who sells the red meat really well? people like ted cruz. people like rand paul. >> the reigning champion of the straw poll, rand paul. >> indeed. indeed. i think rubio damaged himself a little bit from his bipartisan immigration bill, so he was going there today to solidify the right flank. same with paul ryan, and cruz didn't need any help doing that. and you're getting a picture of what 2016 could look like, and iowa. and it's pretty darn fascinating. we're starting to see the fault lines of the battle for the soul of the gop. is it going to be a pragmatic governor in chris christie form? maybe jeb bush gets involved or maybe the paul ryan idea, rubio. or are we going ted cruz?
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are we going rand paul and the gop will have their 2016 barry goldwater moment? so we shall see. one thing i want to throw in, guys, if you haven't been to cpac, i highly recommend going. because it's an unbelievable just array of different conservative causes. you have folks -- >> i'm sure i would be welcomed with open arms. >> abbey would be. >> i don't know why i'm sitting here. >> if you have a book to hawk, go to cpac.ç [ overlapping speakers ] >> they would not want your book, and toure, they're not interested -- >> all right. luke, thank you so much. >> take care. >> for that important report. we'll see you tomorrow. as luke mentioned, one of the biggest headliners today was not invited last year, new jersey governor chris christie still deep in the bridgegate scandal, made his much anticipated cpac
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debut just a few hours ago. >> -- got nothing done, what did the white house say? the white house said the president never met with the supercommittee or got involved with them, because he knew they were doomed to failure. man, that's leadership, isn't it? you're the leader of the government, you see something getting ready to go off the rails and what you decide to do is stay as far away from it as possible. my question then -- my question is the same as i had then. if that's your attitude, mr. president, what the hell are we paying you for? >> there is no doubt that this is a very important weekend for the governor, if he has any hopes left for 2016, and someone who is always full of hope is msnbc's steve kornacki. what do you -- what -- >> i'm always the optimist. >> whatç do you think of our n home? you like the new set? >> i remember when i got old enough to sit at the adults' table, got guilty enough not to force me at the kids' table, there wasn't enough room, and
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had this thing jutting out at christmas, and it reminds me of the sharp corners that would kill you. >> don't hurt yourself on the sharp corners. it can draw blood on somebody with soft skin like you. >> better than sitting off the set. >> this is called head of the table. this is the exact opposite -- >> not when steve's here. >> let me run this conversation. >> all right. steve, back to chris christie. >> yeah. >> i know you talked about occasionally before, from time to time. he wasn't even invited last year. what's he hoping to accomplish? >> yeah, well, always been a mystery about -- he wasn't invited last year versus how much did he want to get invited, because last year the context for chris christie was he wanted to rack up the biggest possible margin he could in a very blue state, so this year he could go to cpac and other conservative audiences across the country and say, hey, look, i won by 20 plus points in a state that obama carried by 17. i have this formula. i have the ingredient you have
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been looking for. it's interesting to hear him talk today. one of the things he stressed in his speech actually is something you never hear him stress in new jersey, abortion.ç he talked at length about how he's pro-life, anti-abortion. and it's true. there is no central versus wade. there's no republican that's won statewide in new jersey, a governor's race or senate just love it. >> you know, as the scandal stands now, perception and reality are two very different things, right in the reality is
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nothing still could come of this. he may never be linked to the scandal. but the reception is different than that. polls show that the reality really doesn't matter. that people now view him in a very different light. they don't necessarily see him as a potential candidate in 2016, and we saw today, you know, i think he's doing the right thing, trying to change people's perception and using the media to get people on his side, saying the media should not define us. if there's anything to get them on their feet, it's blaming the left -- >> well, sure. there's one thing to get a positive and respectful response from a conservative audience that views you as a victim of the liberal media, and hey, we won't affirm anything the liberal media has done to you. it's another thing for the audience that says we want to make you our standard bearer. and there's a whole host of polling evidence, in the past 24 hours, nationally, among republicans, the significant hit christie has taken since the reporting began a few months ago. when the message is, look, i'm
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the conservative, i'm the republican who won in blue state america, and who can take this message, you know, time for us to start winning again, we have polling out there right now within the republican universe that directly undercuts that. so again, you know, look, i don't know where the whole bridgegate thing is going to go. one thing i'm pretty sure that won't happen is we won't have that sort of like perry mason moment where he's completely, totally, thoroughly exonerated. at best, for chris christie, he gets out of this saying i didn't have any direct knowledge of it. i didn't help plan it. but i was the head of an administration where this was going on. >> you mention the national poll, steve. and yet over at cpac where they do the straw polls, last year, he got 7% there. this might be the only polling universe in the country where his numbers are going up right now. >> right. you could always -- the cpac straw poll is always -- you can clearly say it's not a great barometer of who will be the next republican nominee.
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ron paul ron a couple of them. >> romney won five times in a row before he became the nominee. >> well, george allen won it once, too. my favorite cpac straw poll was when ron paul got declared the winner in 2010 and half the room at cpac started cheering and half the room started booing, and then hear paul ryan, a divided party. nobody divides that gathering like ron paul. >> it's very interesting. last year, there was a panel on the failure of multiculturalism and the pursuit of diversity, fear mongering around the browning of america, this year health care after obamacare, practical guide for living when no one has insurance, runs out of doctors, fear mongering around obamacare, they seem to keep moving forward so gracefully. let's take a look, though, at what crystal has been doing in the last few minutes. wait. she's getting ready for the up against the clock tournament of champions? oh, my goodness.
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this thing starts on saturday, steve kornacki, crystal is ready. i didn't win like you did. but one small piece of advice, if you push the buzzer a lot, you can score points if you don't push the buzzer, you can't score any points. >> steve, you have any advice for me over here? >> no, also, if you don't push the buzzer, if you push the buzzer, you'll lose points if you're wrong. >> now you're deciding the rules. >> doesn't she look like martina n navratilova with the headband? >> get ready. we've been doing flashcard work. >> it will be a real cinderella story. i will finish my practice now. we will all return to the cycle after this. hey kevin...still eating chalk for heartburn?
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the american conservative union, which is the group backing cpac, says it welcomes the game republican advocacy group, go proud, to its annual gathering. for its part, go proud and the acu described the recent meetings constructive, despite controversy last year about cpac shutting these groups out of main events. that's apparently not sufficient enough for one of the group's founders. in the past 24 hours, chris barron resigned calling this compromise totally disingenuous and an unconditional surrender. jimmy helped found go proud, and also left because of the republican party's position on marriage equality. how are you? >> hey, everybody. thanks for having me. >> absolutely. so this is an interesting one. we definitely want to be fair here. in kt fa, we reached out to the acu. they gave us this statement, that says, we'll welcome go proud's attendance at this year's cpac.
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that sounds good, but they didn't respond to the direct question of why they're not having any programming or panels on these issues or marriage equality, and it's especially striking, i think this year, when you have the first cpac since the supreme court had two huge rulings on gay rights and marriage equality, and it seems to me wherever cpac comes down on this, people with goodwill on all sides of the issues, they might want gay rights advocates on the panel to talk about the issues. >> well, you're right. the acu -- goproud had been a sponsor of cpac for a couple of years, and the whole time the force of intolerance in the conservative union fought to get goproud kicked out of cpac. and two years ago, they were successful. and at that time, the acu said members of goproud are welcomed to attend as guests, but goproud couldn't have an official presence. and so, that palsy hasn't changed.
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what they've done, though, is put out some news releases and tried to mount a pr campaign to divert attention from the ongoing fight about who can be a conservative and who can't. you know, even earlier this year, they had a big fight over whether atheists could be in cpac. and so, i guess the real question about the state of the conservative movement will be answered from the stage. what will people talk about? are they going to be presenting an optimistic vision for the future about how free market policies benefit everyone, or are they going to fan the flames of the culture war? and that's yet to be determined. >> jimmy, i think -- i think you'd agree that atheism and being gay are totally different, because you choose to be an atheist, and being gay is who you are and how you were born. and you can't change that, and you shouldn't be asked to change that to remain part of conservativism or liberalism.
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and what i think that has happened with goproud, whose co-director said he's satisfied because they didn't ask to be a sponsor or have a birth. i think goproud has accepted second-class citizenship so they can be involved, and i find that disgusting. >> i can tell you that if i were still running goproud, i would not allow it to be treated as three-fifths of an organization. >> well, jimmy, one of the interesting stats that's come out here is despite the fact that public opinion has shifted so that now a majority of americans support same-sex marriage, two out of ten -- only two out of ten -- folks who oppose gay marriage realize that that is the reality. the overwhelming majority of people who oppose gay marriage think that they are in the majority. so this to me helps explain some of the treatment of goproud, some of the bills that we're seeing across the country in places like arizona that are essentially jim crow for gay
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people, because they're living in this bubble where they're part of this silent majority. >> right. it's one of the things i talked about the last time i was on your show, about a cultural disconnect that is a real problem among the republican party and in the conservative movement. just a certain segment of conservatives who just aren't in touch with real life in america in 2014, and that's going to hold them back. >> well, jimmy, i remember talking to you a year ago about this. you were very emotional about the lack of inclusiveness. i want to point out log cabin, another gay republican group, boycotted cpac, and i see this as a problem for the party. they're not looking in the mirror, maybe it's us, we're having good folks leave the party, saying they don't feel included. so what is your advice to republicans? if you were to sit down with reince priebus, what would you tell him to do to improve the
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image for gay rights? >> stop fighting about who's good enough to wear the lapel pin, and let's get out there and talk about how free market policies are good for everybody, no matter who you are, and le s let's -- let's let the establishment folks in washington fight about who's in and who's out, and let's really reach the american people and talk about how there are policies and principles that can help to improve their everyday lives, no matter who they are. >> yeah, i hear you. you'd think they wouldn't want to put the out in outreach, and you think a discussion of ideas, they wouldn't be afraid of some of the dies coming from their own side in conservatives. jimmy, thank you very much. up next, the story that hasn't gotten a lot of play but has big implications both legally and politically, what led dems to break ranks? [ male announcer ] it's simple physics...
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hill focused on darrell issa shutting off elijah cummings' microphone, but a development that could have a much longer lasting impact came out of the senate. the president's choice to head the justice department's civil rights division was debo adegbile, a long time viewer on the show when he was at the naacp legal defense fund. in a decision the president called a travesty, adegbile was not confirmed by the senate in a 52-47 vote, which includes seven dems voting against him. harry reid also voted against him, as a way of maintaining his right to bring the nomination back up on another day. why was adegbile not confirmed? in large part, because years ago, adegbile represented this man, mum mia abu-jamal. he represented him on appeal. it was upheld and the death sentence was commuted to life in prison. now, adegbile has paid a price for representing abu-jamal. if you thought the nomination process would be streamlined
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after harry reid invoked the nuclear option, think again, to make sense of all of this from a legal and political perspective, let's bring in friend of the show patrick murphy, both an attorney in pennsylvania and a congressman. no one could be better suited to discuss all aspects of the situation than you, patrick. i look at this and i find it somewhat chilling and every american should be unnerved by what's happened. it's a bedrock principle of america jurisprudence that everyone is entitled to a vigorous defense, no matter how noxious they are. >> that's right. and you should not be expected to be confirmed by the majority in the u.s. senate if you represent the country's most notorious cop killer, and that's what happened in this case. denny faulkner in december 9, 1981, an army veteran, was killed in the line of duty by wesley cook, who then became mumia abu-jamal. he was sentenced to death --
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>> a very controversial case. >> controversial in the sense jury instructions, and that's why they won on technicality on appeal, and that's why he didn't get the death sentence, and why he'll spend the rest of his life in prison. you should not expect if you take on this case, i understand everyone is entitled -- >> an attorney takes on a case like that, they should expect their career hen-pecked forever? >> you are defined by the cases you take. i'm a former congressman. i'm not a lobbyist. if i became a lobbyist, i would be tainted for the rest of my life. i would say this is a political mistake bhi the white house. >> congressman, the standard you're identifying may be one people feel strong about. i know there were police officers and other prosecutors who feel strongly about this case. but it is not the standard we've consistently applied. chief justice john roberts did many hours of appeals at his law firm for a convicted mass murderer, and i would defend him and his ability to do that work
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and still on on the supreme court, way more important position than this one. as well as folks who represented guantanamo detainees when this came up, a lot of conservative lawyers last time, a few years ago, said, no, we don't do it like this, because if we have a system where people have the right to counsel, and we want good people to be their counsel, regardless, because that's how the system works best. i know you know it from being in court yourself. >> right. >> then we can't turn around and say anyone who represents anyone who did something bad can't serve in government. the reason why -- i want to hear your thoughts, the reason why i think that's wrong, what do we do? we deny ourselves good people who want to serve in government. >> i hear you. but you're not -- this person wasn't going in front of the supreme court. this person, who represented the most notorious cop killer, is going to one of the top positions in the department of justice, the country's law enforcement arm. what kind of message do you think that sends to the cops and fbi agents on the street? now, let's not be naive here. this was a political mistake by the white house.
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i love president obama. i voted -- i worked my tail off for the guy. this was a mistake. and the politics of this, because it was politically, put these senators that are up for not just re-election now but in the future in red states, because that is a 30-second ad. this isn't a shot, though, because last cycle, in 2012, we had a candidate in bucks county, pennsylvania, who was attacked over this case, because her husband represented someone -- i mean, this isn't a shock to folks who were involved in the trenches out in red states and red districts in the country. >> patrick, regardless of what you think about the merits, i don't think there's any doubt here it was a political mistake in that they didn't realize that they didn't have the votes to get this guy through, so people went on the record, took a tough vote in favor of his confirm arks and have been hung out to dry. what do you think went wrong in that calculus? how did they not realize the votes weren't there?
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>> well, someone didn't do their homework, and that's in the senate, not the white house. it was some type -- >> harry reid? >> well, he's obviously the leader. so he's ultimately responsible. he didn't have the votes. and there were folks that even voted in committee and even voted no on the floor. >> he knew it would hurt other democrats in the senate that are up for election. >> right. and there was senators that aren't even up for re-election that voted against this. i will tell you the fraternal order of police, label union for cops, law enforcement on the front lines, were fired up about this case. listen, it happened in my hometown. denny faulkner was murdered that day. he served with my father, you know, but every cop and every fop felt very strongly about this. so the folks that were paying attention on the ground were not shocked at yesterday's -- they were working hard to stop -- and i hear you. >> and i respect that. but this man, adegbile has an extraordinary resume and to toss that aside because he stood up for one person on a pro bono
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basis -- >> it was not for profit. >> but it wasn't pro bono. he was getting paid to represent him by the -- >> toure, it's a chilling effect, but at the end of the day, we're not talking about cases where everyone -- and everyone has a right to defense. but you have a choice, and you are defined by the choices of some of the cases you take. >> that is not the standard we've been using, patrick. i love you. we can argue it on amtrak. thank you very much. up next, the group looking to give you free health care for a whole year, and some of you may already be eligible. captain obvious: i'm in a hotel.
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and a hotel is the perfect place to talk to you about hotels. all-you-can-eat is a hotel policy that allows you to eat all that you can. the hotel gym is short for gymnasium. the hotel pool is usually filled with water. and the best dot com for booking hotels, is hotels.com. it's on the internet, but you probably knew that. or maybe not, i don't really know you. bellman: welcome back, captain obvious. captain obvious: yes i am. all those words are spelled correctly.
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a bit more cat nip for conservatives this week. wednesday, the obama administration announced yet another delay in implementing the affordable care act. people who want to keep plans that don't meet minimum obamacare standards will now be allowed to do so for an additional two years. the extension avoids a flurry of cancellation notices that otherwise would have arrived this fall. just before november's midterms. it's widely seen as a nod to dems in hotly contested races. now, one of the least controversial parts of the law is allowing young people to stay on their parents' insurance until the age of 26. even some republicans who want to repeal and replace would keep this provision, and according to the next guest, that's not the only reason young people should be on board with obamacare. of course, the success of the law largely relies on this young demographic. and joining us now is aaron smith, executive director of the young invincibles.
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aaron, great to have you. you guys also have a new mobile app contest giving away free health care coverage for a year. really interesting stuff. you know, everybody likes a freeby. but what is the bigger picture here? what are you trying to accomplish? >> sure. so first off, thanks for having me on. there are 19 million uninsured young adults in this country, where we're more uninsured than any age group, and huge numbers of us would qualify for financial assistance, either through medicaid or reduced cost coverage. and so, we're trying to get the word out through every means that we know to young people to let them know that these benefits are now available. that's the whole idea behind this healthy young america, mobile app sweepstakes. we actually have a mobile app that lets young people know how much insurance is going to cost, answer basic questions about the law, find doctors in the area. it does all kinds of great things. and now we're adding the sweepstakes just to get the awareness out there about this financial assistance. because we found that is really the critical thing for young
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people to know. >> aaron, your group, young invincibles, is also out with a new initiative today focused on the student loan debt crisis at your launch event, you had senatorwarren, who people know i'm a fan of. let's listen to her. >> just the undergrad portion of federal student loans that were made between 2007 and 2012, just this limited time period, are now on target according to the congressional budget office to produce $66 billion in profit for the federal government. that is $66 billion in profits, and who does it come from? it comes from young people who are trying to get an education. >> this initiative is called higher ed, not higher debt. what are you all trying to accomplish here? >> so higher ed, not debt, is about creating a movement. student family, anyone who has a
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stake in the future of this country is going to care about the cost of higher education. at young invincibles we're focused on one of the underlying drivers of debt, which is the cost of college going up 7%, 8%, every year. we have something called student impact project, which is really about looking at states cutting back on their investment in higher education and working with students, training students to be better advocates and fighting some of these battles at the state level on the budget, on higher education reform, because we know so much of this comes down to the state level. so that student impact project dot-org, we're in north carolina tonight actually doing events all around the country, trying to create this movement, really to change our fundamental system of higher education because it's not working for students, not working for families. >> yeah. just briefly, you mentioned that cost of college, it becoming a luxury good. what else do you think the government can do to affect that? >> well, there are a lot of options out there. first off, i think this is a
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crisis. we're beyond the stage where band-aids are going to fix things. we have a program, for example, called income-based retainment that reduces your payments based op your income. only about 11% of borrowers are in that program. where so many more could qualify. we could make that the automatic payment option and help so many more avoid default. the department of ed, for example, estimated that this 2014 class of borrowers, that 23% were likely to default on their loans. that's just crazy. >> that's not good. >> you think about the generational change where for our parents generation you could work through college and pay for school. now, think about what our kids are going to have to pay, how much are we saving to put our kids into college. it's going to be $100,000 a year. >> it is getting out of control. >> this is a crisis. again, the time is -- band-aids are no longer going to work. we need real solutions for these problems. >> so great having you.
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thanks for keeping us in the loop. up next, he kicked off cpac this morning and mark my words, this is just the opening act. ny voic, "feed us -- we've awakened from our long winter's nap and we're peckish to the point of starvin'"!! i don't understand... your grass, man! it's a living, breathing thing. it's hungry, and you've got to feed it with scotts turf builder. that a boy, mikey! two feedings now...in the springtime strengthens and helps protect your lawn from future problems. [ scott ] get scotts turf builder lawn food. it's guaranteed. feed your lawn. feed it!
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look for the experience and commitment to go the distance with you. call now to request your free decision guide. one devoted crusader or should i say one ted troouz-ader talked about the need to defund obamacare. >> in the land of d.c. in the senate of snooze lived the showboat-ious blab whose name was ted cruz. ted talked about health care, compared it to nazis, as
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comparisons go, he was off by a lots-ie. >> ted cruz has become a running joke in the media including around here. often called the whack-o bird from texas. as he brought the crowd to their feet at cpac today saying he wants to bring back morning in america, i'm thinking the joke could be on us. and he is loving every minute of it. >> when i want to talk to y'all about this morning is how we win. when you don't stand and draw a clear distinction, when you don't stand for principle, democrats celebrate. >> see, the problem with mitt romney and john mccain was they started from the middle. right of center, yes, but still pretty moderate by comparison. the base knew that. they both tried to win over the far right during the primaries but there was never a real trust there. how often do we hear that the right was never embrace romney or mccain? >> i'll be going for the more conservative democrat if i vote for hillary over john mccain.
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>> the conservative movement is saying no. stop. gipg rich is not going to be our final choice, but we are not handing this off to mitt romney right now. >> why do you think mccain was forced to take palin on as his vp? he wanted joe lieberman but knew that would never sell. ted troouz has won over the most dominant faction of the party before anything else. republican candidates are lining up to his get endorsement because they know it carries weight. the conservative base trusts him and knows he will fight for them no matter the cost. it's the exact opposite of what romney and mccain tried to do. cruz knows it's much harder to move from the midol the far right and back again than it is to start from the far right and then move to the middle. don't forget support for the tea party among loyal republicans is still high, sitting around 75%. and that's important because it's these same people who are attending cpac today that get out to vote in primaries. i know what you're thinking. it doesn't matter because it doesn't have establishment appeal.
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but this is where we are all getting played. on paper cruz has everything the establishment would want in a candidate. he's incredibly smart, a graduate from harvard and princeton, was one of the top trade lawyers of the federal trade commission and his wife currently work at goldman sachs. he's got wall street appeal and his message ard spending is is something everybody business-minded republican can rally behind. i'm here to tell you that ted cruz is not a joke. he is far from crazy. in fact, hi think his strategy is brilliant. call it the ted cruz effect, there's an energy, an excitement surrounding him unlike anyone nels the party right now. we keep asking who will the next moderate voice be for the gop? let me give you the latest. a new poll today, 3 in 10 republicans say they will not vote for christie if he ran in '16. for jeb bush, 50% of registered voters would not vote for him for president. this is why cruz is the one we should be watching. jon stewart, it could be ted cruz who has the last laugh come 2016. that does it for us. now alex wagner.
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shut your windows, lock your doors. cpac has come to town. it's thursday, march 6th, and this is "now." the largest and most important gathering of conservatives of the year. the first cattle call of the 2016 presidential cycle. >> the 2012 election didn't go exactly as we thought. >> the most conservative of conservatives. >> this president is a smart man. it may be time to revisit that assumption. >> includes senator ted cruz. >> all of us remember president mccain, president romney. >> people didn't like mitt romney that much. they loved ted cruz. >> let's come out of this conference ree sovlted to win elections. >> every poll you end

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