tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC September 7, 2014 9:00am-11:01am PDT
i couldn't lift my arms to drum or to dance. when i was drumming and moving my rib cage and my arms like this it hurt across here. when i went to the doctor and said what's happening to me his first question was "did you have chickenpox?" i didn't even really know what shingles was. i thought it was something that, you know, old people got. i didn't want to have clothes on. i didn't want to have clothes off. if someone asked me "let's go dancing" that would have been impossible. i will reserve the right to always protect the american people and go after folks trying
to hurt us, wherever they are. >> the president in a wide-ranging interview. he talks immigration, the fight against isis, midterm elections and reaction and analysis to all, up next. overseas, new air strikes in iraq. the u.s. is trying to stop militants from overtaking a site in that country. new polls for the u.s. senate with a key number coming out of the bluegrass state. is the challenger ready to knock off the incumbent? >> why are scientists saying it's going to pass awfully close to earth? hey there, everybody. hi noon out east. 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." president obama held nothing back in an interview with chuck
todd of "meet the press". >> the strategy for iraq and syria is we will hunt down isil members and assets wherever they are. i will reserve the right to protect the american people and go after folks that are trying to hurt us wherever they are. if democrats hold the senate, i think that should get republicans to, once again -- >> keep that -- >> i think what it does is send a message to republicans that people want to get stuff done. that their strategy of just obstructing and saying no to every piece of legislation that might help middle class families, that might create ladders of opportunity for people, that that is an agenda that the american people reject. in terms of these unaccompanied children, we've worked through the problem so the surge in june
dropped in july and then in august. i want to make sure that it's sustainable. >> nbc's kelly o'donnell is at the white house for us. great to see you. let's talk about the reaction of the immigration reform executive action until after the november elections. >> reporter: we're about eight weeks away from the midterm elections where democrats in some key states are at risk of losing races that might turn control of the u.s. senate over to republicans. that's the backdrop. and so we've heard from many democrats who did not want the president to take this action and risk some of those races. at the same time, many of the allies of the president want the president to take this action because he's promised it a number of times, using his executive authority to reshape the state of the immigration law and with respect to deportations. so it's a really critical issue
and the president has, on one hand, told chuck todd that this is not a political decision to delay it beyond the midterm elections and on the other hand acknowledging that politics has changed when the hear the president talking about many unamericans unclear about what it meant with so many children arriving at the border. here's the interview with chuck todd. >> i'm going to act because it's the right thing for the country but it's going to be more sustainable and effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration, what we've done on unaccompanied children and why it's necessary. and the truth of the matter is, the politics did shift mid-summer because of that problem. i want to spend some time, even as we're getting all of our ducks in a row for the executive action, i want to make sure that the public understands why we are doing this, why it's the right thing for the american people and the economy. >> reporter: it will still be a
very volatile issue because the president still intends to do this and kind of a couple of different positions depending on where they are in terms of their own elections but it is a hot topic that will remain in the background and one of the foundational issues of this midterm race. alex? >> kelly, i want to ask you about something else. the president, as you know, set to deliver a speech on wednesday on the isis threats. what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: well, he is really going to ramp up his communication with the public about the isis threat. first we know that congressional leaders will be here at the white house tuesday afternoon for a private meeting with the president to talk about these issues. and then in an address to the nation on wednesday to lay out what his plans are in terms of trying to build a coalition, what the u.s. action will and will not be. he explained to chuck todd, this will not be a case of announcing the sort of big footprint that the u.s. had in its original intervention in iraq when that
war began. nothing like that. the boots on the ground phrase that we hear so much. but trying to outline more about how the u.s. can build air power and build a coalition. the president saying sunni states need to do more to tamp down this isis threat. he describes how it can be degraded, managed, and hopefully decimated at some point. it's a change because only days ago the president said he did not have a strategy yet. we're now beginning to see a more aggressive step to put forth, at least a public strategy, on what to do about this problem. >> kelly, thank you. >> other new reaction to president obama's delay of immigration reform, the national council of raza said "president obama gave in to the fears of democratic political operate iv crushing the hopes of the immigrants." let me go to attorney raul reyes
and viviana. the president said it's going to be more effective if the public understands the issues. is this a short delay for a long-term gain? >> there's a lot of mistrust in the latino community. president obama made the promise that he was going to deliver immigration reform, one of his first priority items back in 2008 when he was a candidate and then, of course, there has been the deportations that have led to the highest deportation levels. and so all of a sudden this is the latest in a string of distrust and undelivered promises. the problem, of course, now is that it's the political operatives as janet said who really pressed the president on this issue because of the midterm elections that are coming up and then, of course, the obstruction in the republican-led congress.
>> okay. raul, how do you see this? is it a legitimate argument from the president or a cover for a political move? >> it's sure hard not to see it as a political move. one of the things that's so distressing to the latino communities is we heard kelly o'donnell mention the backdrop of the senate races and there's elections that are in play here. for so many latino communities is this relentless immigration activities, meaning deportation. we saw something like 97,000 deportations and right now we're looking at 70,000. people are going home and they don't know if their parents are going to be there. we have siblings that are citizens and some are undocumented and there's real anguish in the community over this. one thing we have seen, also as we read this statement from the nclr, i've been reading the
statements from the different latino advocacy organizations and there's often disunity and questions about which path to go on. pretty uniformly, they have come out talking about now disillusioned and how unhappy they are with this delay. >> viviana, i wathe reality is the republicans have done little for immigration rights. where do you turn? >> that's actually the big question for a lot of the latino community and i would like to say that the latino community has the numbers because, as raul mentioned, a lot of the families, not just latino but asian-american which makes up a big part of the community is big status. when you're looking at the key vulnerable races, you have seen an incredible amount of just latino growth.
this is not even taking into account asian-american growth. people who are qualified and eligible because they are u.s. citizens to register and vote and they didn't. we saw in 2012 that the latino vote was 11.2 million nationwide but 12.1 million didn't vote. so it's absolutely incredible -- it's absolutely i guess urgent that the latino community look at registering latinos to vote and making sure that they show up for the midterm elections and, again, think about north carolina, think about arkansas, colorado. those are states that did see latino population growth. but they also have to expand the population to make sure that older white voters realize that immigration is an issue that is important for them and for their communities. that hasn't happened. >> recall, factoring in a big picture here, if the president's decision to delay executive action on immigration, couldn't
it help push immigration reform forward on a more permanent basis? >> i'm not sure on a permanent basis, given this congress, but it could certainly help with the executive action. executive action by the president would absolutely be harder if both chambers of congress were republican. but remember, it's only temporary. what he can do is going to be constrained by the remainder of time he has in office. the real challenge for many of these advocacy groups now is to put aside the frustration, anger, and to really mobilize, register to vote, and turn out. one thing that we're seeing again and again, latinos do not turn out in the appropriate numbers. we're doing better in the presidential elections but not in these off years. that's the way for people really to vent their frustration. >> how quickly do you expect the president to -- >> i wish i could tell you. i know personally i'm going to have a date and i think all of
the latino community, the asian american community, anybody, white older voters, suburban moms, anybody who cares are immigration and realizes that immigration touches absolutely every part of american society, whether it's a local economy, our global econocompetitiveness national security, anybody who believes in immigration and in pushing this forward they need to have a date with the president, the day after the midterm elections and not just with him, with senate democrats and also with house republicans. hold them accountable to do something that's going to be good for america. >> okay. i appreciate the conversation, viviana, raul, thank you. >> thanks, alex. the cease-fire in ukraine is under threat. strong explosions were heard in the city of donetsk and one civilian was killed in the port city. the cease-fire was reached all in an effort to end five months
of bloodshed in the region. some hopeful news for richard sacra who contracted the ebola virus. he's very weak and sick but is slightly improved since arriving in the united states on friday. check out this time lapse video. the winds reaching up to 40 miles an hour. thunderstorms followed and they are expected to soak that area into monday as hurricane norbert pushes moisture through to arizona. and the weather channel's alex wallace has more along with the nation's forecast. hi, alex? >> good sunday morning to you. moistu moisture streams its way on in.
tropical storm norbert is stuck in place and it's going to enhance our chances for the moisture into sunday, monday, and tuesday. some of the moisture will sneak on in and increase heavy rain threat and lead to potential for some flooding. we'll watch out here in the southwest that could lead to flash flooding. the peak of heaviest rain is going to be on monday. through tuesday, good 1 to 2 or 2 to 3 inches. wet in the southwest. the southeast for us, we've got a frontal boundary trying to move on through but it doesn't move quite through all the way. there is more storms and moisture in place. more active weather in the southeast. back to you, alex. >> alex, thanks very much. ahead, more from chuck's interview and what the president had to say about the decision to go golfing after the
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we've got to have a more sustainable strategy which means boots on the ground have got to be iraqi and boots on the ground in syria have to be syrian. >> who? >> well, we have a free syrian army and a moderate operation that we have been steadily been working with, that we have vetted. >> that was president obama on this morning's "meet the press." joining me now is robert mcfadden. he's now a senior vice president at the supan group. a good morning to you, robert. you heard president obama's response to boots on the
grounds. people's reaction are, who? does this opposition really exist in any capacity? >> well, according to the president and the administration in the pentagon, there is a viable so-called moderate opposition led by the free syrian army. the president in the interview referred to the free syrian army. >> i'm looking at something written by patrick in the london review of books and basically, among the things that he says, the allies have been responding by into fantasy with syrian rebels to fight both assad and isis though in private western diplomats admit this group doesn't really exist outside of a few beleaguered pockets. is that enough to take on syria? >> when referring to syria, it's referring to a complicated situation when you're talking about the different opposition groups and its allies, such as
hezbollah and other shia fighters. there is a lot of skepticism about the longer term viability of the so-called moderate opposition. part of the issue of the complicated nature going back to 2011 when the war kicked off are the fleeting alliances. some of the most extreme, of course, this thing called islamic state, the more secular fsa. so i think what that referred to is it might be more aspirational than anything else at this point to put up a fight to the islamic state. >> i want to pick up on that. the president's strategy assumes that this moderate opposition still wants to work with the u.s. after three months of being disappointed. if you know anything about american history, it's a problem. lots of promises get made to a rebel group and then nothing really happens. will it be different this time? >> the united states government, the strongest ally such as the
uk, are the only game in town when it comes to this type of support that will be so critical at the end. the second thing to consider is that after -- after these terrible videos of the killings of the u.s. journalists, that would lead to a much more bold action by those opposed to it. so that's the thing right now that is the missing ingredient of u.s. resolve for an fsa. >> the president went on to say saudi ar saudi arabia, jordan and to work with the uae. >> he said the united states with foremost go after the islamic state. next in the hierarchy of priorities, he talked about the
ste stakeholders saying, you need to set aside the sectarian did i individual, the sunni divide because you have a much more present threat. >> robert, what is the likelihood of that happening? >> having spent a good part of my working life in the middle east, it's going to be exceptionally challenging. politically it's hard for us sometimes in the west to understand how deep and long those sectarian divides are and what's going on in not so much the background but the forefront between saudi arabia and iran vying for that area. again, this is different. this is nothing like the countries like jordan have faced as a viable threat. >> many of the experts with whom i've spoke recently have said that air strikes will not be effective until there are people on the ground, americans essentially providing specific targets. what's your take? >> well, the president, the white house, the pentagon have been consistent in that regard.
air strikes are not designed to kill a threat like the islamic state. it's got to be going back to what was said earlier, a coalition of those who have most at stake at the end of the day, whether it's the syrian viable opposition and the iraqi troops support from jordanians and saudi arabia. in isis most recent map of where it lists all of the states that it claims, there are big dark arrows going into jordan and saudi arabia. those are the things that should work to galvanize those that have most at stake. >> we will see what happens. thank you. >> my pleasure. a breaking story in atlanta. the owner of a basketball team there says he's selling his share of the team and he said it has to do with an offensive e-mail he sent two years ago. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain, so your body can stay in motion.
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controlling interest in the team. he said an offensive e-mail he sent two years ago. he sent it due to his concerns about low attendance and a need to attract suburban whites. he later made it seem like white fans were more important. well, joining me on the phone is chris from the atlanta journal constitution. okay, chris, what is it that bruce levinson has said? what's the problem here? >> basically, the e-mail is quite -- it's very offensive in regards to black people, even going so far as saying that the black crowd scares away white people from the arena and that the bars in and around the arena are surrounded by mostly blacks and that's affecting the attendance. there's a number of other items in the e-mail that i obtained and posted on ajc.com. those are the most offensive
remarks. >> i was about to ask why, after sending this e-mail two years ago, this is coming out now. but is it because of your posting there and publicizing this e-mail that you got a hold of? >> oh, no. it was -- you know, a statement that the team released obviously quite abruptly this morning. i believe there's probably more to this story that needs to be investigated and reported out. but -- >> do you think it has anything to do with the finances? because what i'm just now being handed and reading, it talks about the grappling with low attendance at the games, the need for the hawks to attract more season ticket holders. are there financial problems here? is that the incentive to get this out now? >> i don't think so. attendance has always been an issue with the hawks. this is a team that has made the playoffs for seven straight years but oftentimes the arena is empty and often more filled
with fans from the opposing team. it's an issue that they have been grappling with. this e-mail was written two years ago. >> i'm trying to figure out why he puts that out there now, chris. do you think this has anything to do with the donald sterling/l.a. clippers' controversy? >> there's certainly an element there. i've got to do more reporting and investigating but certainly donald sterling made it no secret that he was going to go at each other team owner and see if there was anything in their past and there was a league investigation into this with the hawks. so whether it was about to come to light and they are trying to get ahead of it, whether it goes deeper than that, i think we'll find out in the coming weeks. >> as i'm getting through this, it appears that he went to the nba and self-reported, which doesn't usually happen. >> right. unless they know the nba is investigating them and at some
point this is going to come out from the nba standpoint. >> does that mean that the nba would actually be forcing him out? do you think that's part of this? >> it could be. certainly they did with donald sterling. they had no tolerance for what he said and you might say, you know, what was i this e-mail is on much of the same lines and maybe he's trying to get out in front of it now. but, you know, the e-mail is out there. they've provided it. people can read it for themselves. >> what kind of an owner is bruce levinson. how do you think the community in atlanta views him? >> he's a very interesting situation here because this ownership group came in a number ofrs ago, about sten years ago and they own the hawks and atlanta flashers. they were not very popular with the community soon after that. they sold the thrashers and made a lot of money selling them and that impacted their image in the
community pretty negatively, too. also, bruce levenson is out of washington. some of the partners are. there are seven or eight. they are kind of scattered. there are two here that take the brunt of the criticism from the fans. that's also an issue, that they are not locally based. >> okay. chris with this breaking news, thank you for joining us. >> no problem, alex. well, they came to pay their last respects and hundreds have lined the roads. the joan rivers' funeral, next.
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what do we know at this point? >> alex, islamic state fighters were getting ready to attack haditha dam and the u.s. sent fighter bombs and took out five humvees and also a bunker used by the militants was damaged. a paramilitary fighting said that they completely wiped out that isis patrol. haditha dam provides water to millions and losing would have put baghdad at risk. this is the closest yet to syria. >> i think the strikes that the united states took are in line
with the guiding principles. first, the iraqi government asked us for their support in the strike and the iraqi forces on the ground who conceived of the operation. >> defense secretary chuck hagel there. government forces and local sunni militias in anbar have been fighting since january and isis took over a dam in falluja and flooded baghdad and pushed thousands from their homes that time around. isis is still threatening mosul dam, alex, the country largest. the defense department carried out another air strike there overnight in addition to the strikes in western iraq. alex? >> exactly. because if mosul dam were to go, it could be potentially way more catastrophic.
republicans are in a strong position to take over the midterm elections in november according to the marist poll. republicans are in the lead in kentucky and arkansas. just how close is it? joining me now is john harwood, chief correspondent for cnbc and a political writer for "the new york times." have where you been? >> i've been around. glad to be with you. >> let's talk about the close numbers of this poll, john. the main event in november is going to be kentucky. you have mitch mcconnell squaring off with alison grimes. >> alison grimes has been in a competitive position but mitch mcconnell is very deeply rooted in republican politics. he's put together a very ambitious and aggressive campaign. i think that he's in a strong
position. if alison grimes can come back and make that race even, that will be a tribute to her campaign and how she does in debates. but i don't think democrats are betting too much money on that. they are really hoping on other races like arkansas, mark pryor who is down in this race. that mary landrieu will hold on and mark begich. but they all have trouble. >> can i ask you quickly, with alison grimes, she was only about four points behind mitch mcconnell as of a poll last weekend. is there anything that you can attribute the change to from week to week? >> no. polls bounce around a little bit. they have different methodologies and you don't know what you are comparing in terms of the size of the sample and how the poll was conducted but, look, we know it's a close race. we know that mcconnell has an advantage. that has been consistent throughout and i think that if
alison lundegran grimes can reverse that, that will be a change but it hasn't happened yet. >> what is driving the race from pryor and cotton? >> well, in mark pryor, you have a very familiar brand in the state. his father was senator and governor. he's been a moderate to conservative democrat. but this is a very conservative state. you've got a credible looking candidate in tom cotton who is mounting an aggressive campaign. again, he's got -- tom cotton may have an advantage now. this race isn't over. mark pryor and the pryor name has been very resilient in the arkansas politics. that one is going to go down to the end. the advantage that he has, this senate race is being conducted in red states at a time that president obama is unpopular. the democrats are back on their heels and they've got to figure
out ways to localize these races and help the local incumbents hang on. >> let's listen to "meet the press." he's talking about the importance of the midterms. >> us having a democratic senate that can present those issues and put them forward like they did on immigration, even if the house republicans fail to act, means that we're debating the right stuff for the country. >> i'm not sure how i interpret the way he's looking at his last two years there in office, that nothing is going to get done in congress but at least we'll have a debate. >> yes. i mean, look, legislatively it's not likely that he's going to get some of the major accomplishments that he had sought earlier in his presidency and that's why he's trying to use his executive authority on climate change and immigration. but there are some differences that the president actually didn't talk about there. you know, the party that controls the senate determines
which legislation goes to the floor, when it gets brought to the floor. that has political consequences. it also has supreme court nominees. after ronald reagan lost the senate in 1986 and the last two years of his not just the concrete legacy of the president is affected by this but also his ability to seat the federal benches that will outlast his presidency. all of that comes into doubt. >> john harwood, come see me again soon. joan rivers always said she wanted a flashy farewell and that's exactly what she's getting. there's a reason no one says "easy like monday morning."
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southeast michigan causing massive power outages. dte energy says at one point 175,000 people were impacted by the storms. one of the residents describes the moment when the power went out. >> it got darker and then i looked across the street and saw the tree waving like crazy and then my tree was waving and then, leike i said, the lights flashed out. >> joining us is vice president of distribution for dte energy. trevor, a welcome. can you give us your latest numbers? how many people are without power right now? >> at this point, there are approximately 200,000 customers without power but of that we have about 130,000 of those customers that are on crews in the restoration process today. >> that's good. how soon do you think you'll have them all back up with their power running? >> we hope to have the vast majority up by monday. that's the goal. >> that's good. some of the hardest hit areas were where?
>> the western part of wayne county was the hardest hit area that we had. they took the brunt of the outages that we had. we have broadly across our service territory we had outages but west of detroit took the brunt of it. >> what can do you to prevent such a power outage in the future? is there anything to be done in this case? >> well, an organization like dte, we always want to get better. so i think the things we look at is our preparedness. we knew a storm was coming and we were prepared. we had worked locally with a lot of the other utilities. one of the great things about our industry is the way we support each other. and then the last thing is trees. you have to be very diligent about trimming trees. they end up turning into kites when the wind blows very hard. >> it sounds like a communal effort. trevor, thank you. >> thank you, alex.
>> sure. let's go back to president obama's wide-ranging interview with nbc's chuck todd. at one point he asked him about the decision to go golfing after the announcement of the killing of james foley. >> the possibility of a jarring contrast given the world's news is always -- there's always going to be some tough news somewhere, it's going to be there. but there's no doubt that after having talked to the families where it was hard for me to hold back tears listening to the pain that they were going through after the statement that i made, that, you know, i should have anticipated the optics. you know, that's part of the job. >> joining me now, karen finney, msnbc political analyst and former dnc communications director. you're exactly the person i want to talk to about this. >> okay. >> optics.
you've worked with this. what's your reaction after hearing that from the president? >> unwione, when it happened, t hair on the back of my neck stood up. oh, i just wouldn't have done that. i was glad he was sort of aware of it and at the same time, though, i do think that sometimes we forget that a president has to kind of switch gears all day long. i mean, we've seen him in these situations when we've had tragedy and crisis and he has to, you know, be very present and it is emotional and then he may have to go into another meeting that's about something totally different and kind of put that aside and move on to something else. so i take his point. i still sort of wish that someone would have said, hey, how about instead of golfing today, go hang out with your kids or something else. because the optics do matter in something like that. >> and i'm trying to figure out how that would go down. would that be the chief of staff? someone who had your position? is it the president himself? is do you have to put that on
himself and say, let's feel this out? >> you know, it's interesting, for the president and the first lady that i worked for, the clintons, there was always a little bit of a lag. so you're going to tell them? no, you're going to tell them. usually it's the chief of staff or the communications director or someone like that who will say, you broach it in the context of, what if we don't do it this way today? and honestly, the other piece of it is, alex, part of the responsibility of the staff person is to say, i'm just going to tell you what i think. obviously you're the president. you can do what you want. but in case after the fact we see there were some consequences, we've at least had the conversation on the front end. >> i was kind of thinking it might be c.j. craig if it was "the west wing." here's something else the president said. >> it is always a challenge when you're supposed to be on
vacation because what you're followed everywhere, and part of what i love is a vacation from the press and because -- >> i promise you, in 2 1/2 years i think that happens. >> do you interpret that perhaps the president conveying that it's fatigue with the job? it's not been easy. >> no, not ever. this is something i've heard from many presidents of both parties. think about what it is like -- it's almost like reality television, to live every aspect of your life under such an intense media spotlight. obviously when you campaign for president you know that's part of the deal but presidents don't really have many places that they can go where they can get away from secret service and reporters for a whole host of reasons, actually golfing. one of the reasons that a lot of presidents take up golf is one of the few opportunities that they have to be free generally to walk around the greens and not have a secret service agent
too close by and reporters too close by and actually just gets a feel like, okay, i'm alone with my thoughts and with my friends and we're enjoying our time. >> all right. doesn't happen often. karen finney, come see me again soon. ahead, a close encounter of an astronomical kind. an asteroid hurling past earth this weekend. i'm randy and i quit smoking with chantix. for 33 years i chose to keep smoking... ...because it was easier to smoke than it was to quit. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking.
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it's a bird, it's a plane, it's an asteroid the size of a house expected to whip past earth this afternoon at 40 miles an hour. while it won't be viewable with the naked eye, folks with an amateur telescope should be able to see it. and while nasa assures us it will not make impact, it's a reminder of how vulnerable we are to space junk. a huge showbiz affair,
that's what legendary comedian joan rivers said she wanted for her funeral. a private stud-studded service wrapped up moments ago and it appears to have been just that. nbc's ron mott is there and he has billy bush with him. hi to both of you. >> reporter: it has a feeling of a hollywood premier. the red carpets, which we've been talking about for the last two days, was not outside but inside. what was it like? >> the first word that comes to mind is irreverent. i didn't see it at the beginning. it was somber. it was a heartfelt beautiful song and then they kind of kicked it up a little bit. they went into hey big spender and i made so many notes. it got funnier and funnier.
the rabbi did a beautiful job. he talked about her generosity and great sense of humor and practical jokes. and then, unannounced, in the program came howard stern. he i don't think i can repeat his opening line. it was such a gamble, it was so big, so wrong, so wrong it was right. it killed the room and from that point on it was all bets off, man. cindy adams got up there and joan rivers and they were saying stuff, the poor rabbi -- the theme was, everybody would turn around and look at the rabbi and he'd be like, i give up. what can i do? the ship sailed. it was unbelievable. but al roker, cindy adams had a line about al roker.
you've already heard about it. it's hysterical. >> any tears at all? she entertained us for years and years. she would want us laughing today. >> there's of course tears in the front row. her daughter spoke beautifully, wrote a letter that she wrote to her mom for an upcoming publication and her mom said it was the nicest thing she ever got it from melissa and she read it to the audience and she kept it tight. but in the end, the closing prayers, the rabbi got back up and he brought the necessary tone back to finish it about this wonderful life and i started thinking about the roker line again. we're in the middle of this beautiful moment, it's quiet, your head is down and i just started laughing and i couldn't stop. i had to excuse myself into the hallway and i think joan would have liked it that way. joan went for bust.
so people in there went for bust. lights, cameras, action, that's what she wanted. >> billy, thank you so much. i felt like we were just there with that description. really good job, both of you. thank you so much. >> i am not afraid to talk. >> we know that. all right, guys, appreciate it. they say every cloud has a silver lining and that's the case with the 6.0 quake. you're not going to believe the incredible pictures we're about to show. it's coming up. don't just dream of being the hero. make it happen. i can't believe we're missing the game for this. we're not-- i've got xlte. it doubles our 4g lte bandwidth in cities nationwide, so be that guy with verizon xlte.
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rivers. the celebrities and fans who turned out for her funeral today. after the earthquake in california, how the tremor may have helped the drought conditions ease in some areas. hey there, everyone. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." here's what is happening right now. a big announcement from president obama on "meet the press." he will combat the threat from isis militants during a speech to the american people on wednesday. and republicans are already reacting. >> this speech will allow congress, i think, to understand very clearly and specifically what it is that we are doing but also what we are not doing. we are not looking at sending in 100,000 american troops. we are going to be as part of an
international coalition carrying out air strikes in support of work on the ground by iraqi troops, kurdish troops. >> i want to hear what he should have said months ago, weeks ago. that is first, clearly explain to the american people what our national security regions are in syria and iraq. accurately describe to the risk that isil poses for us short term and long term and why they matter. >> kelly o'donnell is joining us from the white house with another welcome to you. kelly, what have you learned about the president's speech and what is the reaction to what you are hearing? >> reporter: first, the president will meet with congressional leaders on tuesday and he'll explain some of what is to be expected in the plan to lay the groundwork politically. and what we learned through chuck todd's reporting on "meet the press" today, this isn't a return to an iraq-style war and talked about an international coalition.
coming right off the nato summit, he's describing some partnerships for that area and also saying that the sunni nations around iraq and around syria, we're talking about jordan and saudi arabia, need to do more. the arab league is saying that it will do more in support of this. it's an important thing for the president to lay this out to the court in part because, as you remember, just before the labor day holiday, he said the u.s. did not have a strategy yet on how to deal with isis. the reaction is coming fiercely from republicans, including ted cruz of texas, who appeared on abc's "this week" and his interpretation of what the president needs to do. >> what we ought to have is a direct air campaign to take them out. >> in iraq and syria? >> the real focus should be on isis.
it should not be our objective to resolve the civil war in syria. >> he a one of the questions for congress will be, is the president going to ask for additional resources to fund any kind of air campaign or military action to take out these isis strongholds. we did see that there was additional air strikes today in an area known as haditha dam which provides electric power to iraq. taking out some of the concerns around that because iraqi forces still hold that. it's one of the essential sort of landmarks in fighting against isis and protecting iraq. that was one of the latest developments. alex? >> kelly o'donnell at the white house, thank you for that. on the heels of that report, joining me from capitol hill is senator bob casey, member of joint economic committee. i'd like to hear your thoughts on what you want to hear from the president, what you think you need to hear from the president. i'm going to assume, based on a
letter you wrote to the president, that you want the president to go after the finances that isis has. >> alex, i think that's a big part of the effort here and that has to be one of the component parts of the strategy. if we cut off their finances, which by some estimates, just the oil revenue they are getting per year could be north of $700 million. if we're able to cut that off in concert with coalition partners here, you can dampen the recruiting efforts and undermine the operational effectiveness. what i want to hear from the president, i think what we'll hear, is that the overall strategy. i think you've seen in the last couple of weeks a very capable and determined commander in chief. he's made the objectives known about why we are doing certain things in iraq, all of the air
strikes were under guarded by intelligence. he didn't start going in and shooting like some have proposed that he do. i think what you'll see is an outline of the iraq part of the strategy or the continuing of that strategy and then maybe more detail about what can be done when you get to the syria part, which is much more complicated because there we don't have a willing partner, a government that is allowing us in. there you have a dictator who has slaughtered 200,000 of his own people. >> so you believe the president in the last ten days has shored up that strategy and made a firm decision on what he's doing and that's what he'll announce on wednesday? >> i think he will. there will probably be more detail and especially about the effort by the -- i should say his efforts with other nations in the region and the european nations as well. now you're talking about nine countries that will be helpful. what i hope we hear is that some of the other countries in the
region, as kelly o'donnell outlined, the jordanians, qataris and uae as well, nations that have a large sunni population which is what the main component force in isis, or i should say the main group within isis, we need to have nations that have some commonality with the region and sunnis to speak up, as many have already done, but we need to have their full participation. >> senator, the pentagon announced that they had expanded their campaign to haditha in the anbar province. let's listen to this morning's "meet the press". >> the strategy both for iraq and syria is that we will hunt down isil members and assets wherever they are. i will reserve the right to protect the american people and
go after folks who are trying to hurt us wherever they are. >> should he have already consulted if not held a vote already on the intervention? >> i don't think so at this point, alex. i think at some point, in the not so distant future, it will be beneficial to have a debate on further military action but i think at this stage the president has made the right steps and has made prudent steps and very effective. we don't talk about the results. the results when it comes to preventing a disaster at the dam at mosul and the horrific tragedy to the yazidis at mt. sinjar. still a long way to go. to defeat isis or isil as they are sometimes referred to, in my judgment it's not going to take months but years. just like it took years to degrade and defeat al qaeda, or
at least the main authority there and just like it took you'res to find osama bin laden. but some in washington want screaming and threatening and that's not what you do as commander in kmeef. >> some said that the plan of the president puts the onus on the free syrian army which are not respective militaries right now. so is he being realistic? >> well, i had hoped, going back a couple of years ago, that we would have given more support to the syrian opposition, direct support if not with just military support but the kind of intel that we would have given earlier. i think we have an opportunity now to strengthen the syrian opposition. not just as it relates to assad
being one way to put pressure on isis going forward. i think that's going to be the strategy and i hope that is the case going forward. >> the president got a lot of push back from republicans regarding the immigration decision. was this the right political move? >> i think it was the right decision for the issue because what we saw throughout the summer, to say it was politicized and to say that children at the border were demonized by some politicians in washington is an understatement. we need to have a discussion about whatever the president will make a determination about, whatever executive action he can take. we need to have that debate free of the politics of the election. the next couple of weeks are going to be very difficult for the country because of the election. i think it's better and more
prudent to announce what he plans to do free of the ranker and the atmosphere that you have right before an election. it would be better for the country as well as those who are impacted by immigration policies. by the way, the house should pass right now the senate bipartisan bill. republicans left, right, middle, democrats, independents and the house has been sitting on that since the spring of 2013. >> i can let the political scientists do the analysis but right now they could act this week and pass the senate bipartisan bill which is a comprehensive approach to immigration. it would deal with the issues that we're concerned about when it comes to immigration and when
the tea party controls the republican party, you have a breakdown in the ability of the republican party to come to the commonsense center on immigration policy and finally, finally begin to wrestle this very difficult problem to the ground. >> let's see if what you're calling them to do happens. we'll see. thank you so much. democratic senator bob casey, always a pleasure. hurricane norbert is pounding mexico's coast and then to the north, searchers off redondo beach recovered the body of a missing swimmer who drowned in the waters. a high surf warning has been in effect since friday. will tropical storm put a small dent in the worst drought on record? the latest numbers from the u.s. drought number are staggering. check this map out. more than 80% of california is
grappling with extreme or exceptional drought conditions the melody is joining us. do you think this storm might have a silver lining to it, bringing rain to the west? >> certainly any and all rain will be welcomed in california but it won't have any significant impacts in terms of this drought. >> okay. how about, we have sf gate reporting what it call as surprise bonanza since the napa quake. creeks that were once dry are now flowing. what is behind that? >> right. soon after the earthquake -- the 6.0 earthquake in the napa area, residents started noticing creeks that were dry or almost dry started filling up with water and obviously the initial concern was that there were cracks in dams. so those were checked out. but what they noticed was that it was actually fractures in rock pushing groundwater up and that water is now flowing into some creeks, about five of them.
>> so melody, i was told by my executive producer, the creek that we're looking at now, it used to be dry and just in the last couple of weeks has looked plentiful at this point. is this common after earthquakes? >> it is. and there were some creeks -- one creek particularly that saw a 20-fold increase in the amount of water. it was -- it is significant. and it has been studied and it has been shown that after some earthquakes, particularly in this area, that this does happen, that the water is pushed up from shallow water tables and it goes into the different watersheds. >> so in a practical sense, how does that help? >> in a practical sense it does help. particularly for places like vallejo. they have been having water issues, one of their water supplies was cut off. they had to put in an emergency
pipeline from lake bariesa. when they noticed that the water was going into 1500 acres of their watershed, that they had exclusive water rights to, that's a welcome surprise certainly. >> okay. thank you so much, melody gutierrez. appreciate your time. former president clinton rallies a political comeback. but how much does the visit help charlie crist. ? i'm the proud dad of three beautiful, awesome, messy kids. they get stains like you wouldn't believe.
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now a democratic nominee for the very same office which might seem extreme and confused on the political spectrum. the big question, whether that sort of contortionism finds enough of a voting audience. perhaps not. in a new poll from florida, rick scott still with a 2-point lead over christ right now. joining me now is perry bacon. can i correct myself, i call california the sunshine state just a moment ago. it's a golden state. i should know. it is what it is. let's talk about the numbers and your tame on them. i thought governor scott was in real trouble but the numbers don't reflect that. >> this is a really close race. chris, the former governor who is a republican and now a democrat, was ahead by five to seven points in march or so. since then, rick scott has flooded the airways about $20 million in campaign ads. he has much more money than k
crist does and so far they have worked very well and they have closed the margin. the big question now, in the next two months, spending will be more equalized so will that help crist? >> how much did florida voters help that given the trip from one political party to the neutral and another one in pretty short order? >> you know, what i found was that a lot of democrats have liked him for a while. he was a pretty moderate republican and the shift from moderate republican to democrat is not that shocking. people thought he was not a very strong conservative. that said, rick scott, the opponent calls charlie crist the slick politician and that's to suggest that crist is not
someone that you can trust. even though he's running a campaign right now so democrats like him, he's for minimum wage and for obama. he would like to have president obama campaign for him in florida. not a lot saying that. >> he certainly had president clinton with him. talk about the mood at that rally. what was it like? >> people have liked bill clinton a lot more than when he was president. crist is famous for, he hugged president obama in 2009 during the stimulus and that made a lot of republicans really angry at him. but a lot of african-american voters like crist because he was pro-obama. that's a big factor here, can he get the black turnout he needs to win and i thought from being down there, he may be able to do that. >> sounds like he might have the reaction that chris christie had during the wake of hurricane
sandy. let's talk about mitch mcconnell's leading alison grimes, 47 to 39%. what do you think is driving that mcconnell lead? it was closer a few days ago? >> alison lundergan is a democrat, probably going to support president obama more often than night. the other thing that could be that mcconnell has run a very aggressive campaign. he says that alison grimes is going to vote with harry reid and obama all the time.
>> perry, what is your gut telling you? does lundergan have a chance? >> it's a chance but very small. i think mcconnell has to make some kind of a mistake or there's a debate and there's a moment. kentucky has had, for the last two decades, republicans. i think it's going to be really challenging for grimes to win this race and that's going to make it difficult but democrats to control congress, because if mcconnell wins this race and we saw the poll mark pryor in trouble. >> perry bacon, appreciate it. >> thank you, elecalex, appreci it.
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the owner of the atlanta hawks is selling his controlling interest in the team. bruce levenson cited an inappropriate and offensive team he sent two years ago. they talked about the contents of this e-mail. let's take a listen. >> basically, the e-mail is very offensive in regards to black people, even going so far as saying that the black crowd scares away white people from the arena and at the bars populated by mostly blacks and that's affecting attendance. >> levenson said he sent that e-mail due to concerns about low attendance and the need to attract suburban whites. he said he realized it made it seem that white fans are more
important. >> the must anticipated i-watch. i'm excited about this. this watch. >> you are? >> i am. it may be a new piece of jewelry, too, if it works. the hackers broke into the healthcare.gov website. what did they do? >> the government found that it was called malware, a virus placed into the computer servers housing the testing site for healthcare.gov. it wasn't the actual site but the teit was where they test co. what they found with this breach it was set up to be a denial of service attacks. what that means is essentially other websites that that particular computer was housing would eventually have been
attacked and a lot of traffic would have hit that site so much so it would have overwhelmed. >> it's really tough. look at home depot, morgan chase, companies and banks and financial places go through this consistently. so this is a very, very hard job to do. look, this database or website costs a gazillion dollars, which i think is way over spending on what we need to have. this is also adding into the debate from the republican side saying, hey, look, this might actually be more fuel for their fire as elections coming up, especially when we're looking at the second round of enrollment that is going to start happening on november 15th. >> okay. tuesday's big apple new gadget event. can you separate fact from fiction? >> i can do the best i can by being looking into my crystal ball. the iphone 6 should be
announced. there's a 4.7 inch and 5.5 inch. finally getting the much larger screen that many people have been asking for. they are talking about class-resistant glass, a faster processor. i'm still waiting for my r2d2. i don't think the i-watch will be available for a while. we'll find out what apple is talking about with the first wearable device, which is a big deal, since they have the health app and health kit. >> can i ask you before we let you go, after the michael brown shooting in ferguson, we're hearing about these police uniforms that have body cameras on them the size of a card. what is the sophistication with this technology? >> they are not sophisticated at all but you can wear them on a hat or as a little llapell pin
and then there's a dvr type of unit grabbing those footage and then the piece reports back to the database itself where they send that video footage. >> so is that live? >> no, it's not live. >> okay. >> what they are finding, d.c. is about to launch it october 1st. it's being used in maryland. they have seen the chief of police has said they have seen a significant reduction in both lawsuits from civilians wanting to sue police officers as well as police officers not having as much behavioral problems or abuse in situations. so people are saying, hey, is this a way that we can resolve some conflict and bring more civility to police encounters? >> i think it's the way of the future. mario armstrong, thank you so much. >> cram session, congress returns with a lot to do with little time. what needs to get done with capitol hill. and remembering joan rivers.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt". hollywood all the way. that's how joan rivers described her ideal funeral. it wrapped up a short time ago and the star-studded event seemed to be exactly that. nbc's ron mott is there. talk about the services today and all of the celebrities that were there. >> reporter: hi, alex. a lot of a-list celebrities. this was the type of farewell that joan rivers wrote about and joked about. she didn't want a somber-type ceremony. she wanted something very brash and hollywood and she got it. we saw howard stern go in. it was a mix of the lighthearted and mostly a formal gathering. he let loose with a raunchy joke
and apparently the house lit up. just the type of thing that joan rivers would like, throwing caution to the wind. there were tears, of course, but a lot of laughter and folks had tears coming down their cheeks. it was a great sendoff. it was a great service here at emanu-el. >> very quickly, ron, anything new from her daughter melissa? >> reporter: no, we saw her come out. she didn't speak to anybody, that we can tell, officially from a media standpoint. we have not seen any more comments for her since she sent the announce notice about her mother's passing. once we get into the start of the week, the investigation into what actually caused her mom's death is going to continue.
don't know how long it's going to take before officials are able to come up with the cause and manner of death but that's pending and the family would absolutely love to get some answers there. >> absolutely. thank you so much. the third american aide worker who is fighting for his life and dr. rick sacra interacted with his wife and son for 25 minutes. is he showing signs of improvement? >> reporter: he is, alex, slowly but surely. however, he is not out of the woods yet. his wife and oldest son spoke with him. he was weak and asked for something to eat. he doesn't remember most of the flight from africa here to omaha or his arrival and transfer here to the bio containment movement. the focus is on getting him
better and more than 2,000 people in africa have died and thousands more sickened by the ebola crisis. the world health organization is recommending that patients in africa be given blood transfusions from survival ebola victims. it's actually one of the treatments that doctors here have considered for dr. sacra. there's no timeline on his recovery. it could be up to three weeks. >> we thank you for the update from omaha. new today, president obama is defending his decision of delaying immigration in a "meet the press" exclusive. >> i want to make sure that it's sustainable. >> if the public is not behind you, you're not taking it? >> no. >> you were concerned that the public wouldn't support what you did. >> no. what i'm saying is i'm going to act because it's the right thing for the country. >> let me bring in dana milbank. the president says his decision
is not a political tactic. what do you think? is this politics? is it policy? is it both? >> well, alex, it will shock you to know that there is politics going on here in washington a couple of months before the election. well, of course it is. the president put himself in a bad spot by promising to take action so he had to say, sorry, i'm just going to punt this until november. so he's managed to infuriate his own liberal base, at least those pushing for some sort of an immigration action. at the expense of the vulnerable democratic candidate. it now appears that he's trying to help some of these senate incumbent democrats who are vulnerable but he's taking a lot of enthusiasm and wind out of the sail out of the democratic base. >> how much pressure is on him to act? are you confident he's going to
do it? >> yes, i would say wednesday morning after the tuesday election. he really has to get moving on that because it's very clear that this congress, the new congress isn't going to become any more friendly towards a comprehensive immigration overhaul. he's antagonized his base quite a bit here. >> is the criticism of the president on the immigration advocates and is it premature because he says i'm going to act from a political standpoint to make sure we have the best possible outcome to put together something more permanent in the long run? >> it's not necessarily fair but the very reason he's taking these executive actions, which are, by definition, temporary, is because he couldn't get the kind of legislative action he wanted. so it is a bit unfair but from the point of view of the immigration activists, they've been waiting years and years for this and each year it becomes, well, we'll wait until next year and it's reached a point where
they want something to happen. and if it's not going to be legislation, they want to put their signature on something. >> the schedule for lawmakers who return for summer recesses -- >> busy fall for them. >> they are going to have as few as seven legislative days before they head home for the november midterm elections. i mean, seven. and then you have "the new york times" who want to keep the door of the federal import bank open and a moratorium on internet taxes. so seven legislative days? what are your expectations for that? >> good luck to them on that. >> yeah. >> the thing congress does best now is nothing and the second thing they do next to that is next to nothing. they have to keep the government open for a while so it doesn't shut down this fall before the election. it's not at all clear that they can get the export/import deal
together before it closes by the end of the month. these are things that they have to deal with one way or the other to avoid a calamity and anything else is a luxury that is probably not going to happen in those seven days. >> deep sigh. thank you very much, dana milbank. >> thank you, alex. a fascinating survey on eating in the u.s. the five foods that americans eat more of and eat less of. elt. they work just as fast and taste better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm. amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief. at a moment like this, i'm glad i use new tampax pearl active! [ female announcer ] new tampax pearl active is 20% slimmer, totally comfortable and 100% as absorbent as regular pearl! [ cheering ] new tampax pearl active. [ cheering ] carmax is the best place to start your car search.e, great for frank, who's quite particular... russian jazz funk? next to swedish hip hop. when he knows what he wants... - thank you.
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fill their bowl with the meaty tastes they're looking for, with friskies grillers. tender meaty pieces and crunchy bites. in delicious chicken, beef, turkey, and garden veggie flavors. friskies grillers. isis is a major threat and to the entirety of syria and iraq and the expanding caliphate. i think where they are going is so baghdad. it is my belief they will try to attack our embassy. >> it's not just iraq and syria, it's both of those. but they want lebanon. they want israel. they want jordan. >> well, that was senate intelligence chair dianne feinstein and mike rodgers
talking about the threat of isis. joining me, peter, a welcome to you, as well as the u.s. embassy in baghdad mentioned by the senator, is this a situation of imminent danger or is isis bogged down now? >> they would like to take all of these countries. they would like to create a local caliphate. the question is, are they capable of doing it? and what has happened is their advance has been stopped. so what's happened in terms of america's air strikes, its intelligence, its support in terms of military advisers, to some extent on the iraqi side is working. isis is no longer making advances. the kurds are winning battles where a month ago they were losing them. so in that sense, yes, they would like to take all of these territories. right now, they can not. >> how about israel? what role, if any, do you
suspect they will have in fighting isis? >> a lot of people have become involved in fighting isis, especially the foreign fighters. the ultimate battle is for jerusalem. that's what they are dreaming of. that is sort of their vision, that they are taking jordan, they are taking lebanon, they are taking iraq and ultimately they are closing in on israel. israel is watching very, very closely because they are bordering with syria and they know that will step in as soon as there is the slightest danger to them and their territory. >> there was a very interesting question that was put to the president in that interview. the u.s. gives a lot of military aid to saudi arabia. is it time they used it? are they ever going to have boots on the ground operation or do they operate best behind the scenes delivering weapons, providing intelligence, stuff like that? >> i think they should step up. a lot of people, a lot of km
commentators have said, why do you buy billions and billions of equipment from the u.s. when you are never using it and that's really a tough question for all of these monarchies to confront. i think right now the most likely candidates who have become involved is turkey. they have been watching this situation very closely. they are not at all happy that the kurds are getting so much attention that they are being empowered and that at the end of this they could emerge as the only reliable partner of the united states and probably want to pay back. so i think it's time for turkey to step up but also for the other arab countries. >> can i ask you about the security concerns every year with 9/11 and how high is the threat? >> the threat is always high. it's not like terrorists want to attack specifically on 9/11, perhaps that would make sense. but they have been trying for years and years and years. if they managed to do it on 9/11, that would be good for
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a fascinating study about what the typical american eats. surprising results what we're eating more of to whom we would rather eat with. "parade" magazine compiled findings in the article, "what america eats:or exclusive survey on changing taste." joining me maggie murphy. >> good to see you. >> i'm not the only person who loves hummus. hummus consumption since 2000 is up 200%. >> people are loving, hot for hummus. it goes with our savory taste buds.
we're also very into yogurt, frozen sandwiches, paninis, mexican food and snack bars. >> okay. let's show more specific on things we're eating more of, also things we're eating less of. let's move to that graphic and talk about that. >> what's interesting, you're seeing turkey and steak falling out of favor, corn, toast, cake. not sweets but cake in particular. soft drinks, losing their fizz as it were. >> cupcakes are up? >> cup indication have been such a fad, on the go. we certainly this. if you look at crumbs, which basically went from being the hottest thing and now is sort of in bankruptcy and emerging. i think the next great food trend might be pies. those what people are saying.
>> what about people are more likely to say grace in the east than west. famous five second rule for food that falls on the floor. >> regionally southerners are more likely to say grace than the middle of the country than on the borders either way. what's interesting is the five second rule, most of us are like pick it up. 21% did respond, what am i, a dog? i think there's a lot of play there. i don't know. five second rule i think mostly people are like, let's go. >> nobody wants to waste food. >> which famous person americans would like to have dinner with is interesting. you had ellen degeneres beating the pope by 3%, then stephen king, bill clinton, dallas mavs owner mark cuban, beyonce the top six. what do you think it says about all of us? >> i think it says we really
know what people have a certain intimacy, fun. it would be fascinating to have dinner with bill clinton of the pope led with people over 45, so maybe hedging my bets here. >> deserts overall, despite our talk about cakes and cupcakes, not as popular as once was. only 12 mers have a sweet tooth after dinner compared to 24% in 1986. here is the disconnect. obesity is still on the rise. >> yes. i think the interesting thing is we've seen taste bud change, leaving sweet, the after dinner idea. if you would eat right after dinner. unfortunately americans snacking more throughout the day, maybe having ice cream earlier in the day versus 7:00. >> favorite answer from the survey. what did you find you liked? >> my favorite answer was in general i think we're trying to give our kids lunch boxes more variety, more vegetables, more
fruit. >> that's great. >> less sandwiches. we're trying to give our kids different tastes. i love mexican food is on the rise. >> me, too, from this l.a. girl. thanks a lot. that's a wrap on weekends with alex witt. up next, "meet the press." what's snapshot, you ask? only a revolutionary tool that can save you big-time. just plug it in, and the better you drive, the more cash you'll stash. switching to progressive can already save ye $500. snapshot could save ye even more. meat maiden! bringeth to me thine spiciest wings of buffalo. (vo) ours is a world of the red-eyes. (daughter) i'm really tired. (vo) the transfers. well, that's kid number three. (vo) the co-pilots. all sitting... ...trusting... ...waiting... ...for a safe arrival.
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yoplait. smooth, creamy, and craved by the whole family. this sunday on "meet the press," an exclusive interview with president obama on the isis threat. >> the next phase. >> why he's delaying action on immigration. >> when i take executive action, i want to make sure it's sustainable. >> on the political fight. >> give me a loyal opposition that has some common sense. >> and struggling with the theatrics of the presidency. >> if it's not something that always comes naturally to me. >> plus, who needs washington. cities around the country are making significant change. i'll ask three mayors what they are doing right and what washington needs to learn. and the battle for the senate. new exclusive poll numbers that remind us just when we think we