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tv   MSNBC Live With Thomas Roberts  MSNBC  December 24, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm PST

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just about anywhere you can use splenda®... ...no calorie sweetener. splenda® lets you experience... ...the joy of sugar... ...without all the calories. think sugar, say splenda® welcome back. i'm erica hill. we are following a developing story out of the southeast today, where severe weather has left at least ten people dead. the storm system spun off more than a dozen tornadoes and claimed the lives of people in mississippi, tennessee and arkansas, including an 18-year-old, who was lying dead with her 18 month old sister when the storm caused a tree to fall into her bedroom in arkansas. the baby is expected to recover much. meantime, we have new aerial
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video from the town of holly springs, mississippi, from the area there where at least one person we know of was also killed. mississippi governor phil bryant has declared a state of emergency and is expected to hold a news conference later this hour. i want to bring in the weather channel's mike seidel at one of the homes devastated by the storms in holly springs, mississippi. what more can you tell us about the situation on the ground? >> reporter: good afternoon. it was much like a march day yesterday on the weather map than christmas week. tornadoes, record high temperatures and look at the destruction here. this is holly springs, we are about 45 minutes south-southeast of memphis. all you see is blue skies, a roof, everything is gone. i was blown into the woods. it looks like a were zoar zone this. this is brick construction. imagine the force of the wind that blew out the back wall. a brother and sister were home at the house at the time. they didn't know there was a warning but heard the storm, saw the storm coming from across the
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street. they came rushing down the hallway into the bathroom and the bathtub and that likely saved their lives. the brother said he wasn't really that scared until he looked at the devastation. this is the living room. nothing really left, just a chair and shattered mirror on the wall. across the street, you can get a sense of the power of the wind. look at the trees either sheared off near the bottom or lopped off at the top. power crews on highway 7 already at work this morning getting the power back on to these folks on highway 7. we are just outside the town of holly springs. at least seven deaths attributed to the storms yesterday, six of those tornado related. and there's more severe weather in the forecast as we go into christmas day and the weekend across the midsouth and gulf coast. erica? >> we will be keeping an eye on that. as we take a look at the storms we are also talking a lot about how it's been a much warmer holiday winter to this point across much of the eastern u.s. the weather channel's nick walker has more for us now on the upside down weather pattern we are seeing including some of
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the record-breaking warm temperatures. nick? >> it really is upside down. look at this. already 72 degrees in new york city. that just shatters the record high previously set on christmas eve of 63 degrees. boston's at 67. philadelphia, 71. washington, d.c., all these areas, record-setting temperatures today in the 70s. maybe not quite as warm tomorrow but christmas day is going to be, again, above average and above the old records in new york, bridgeport, philadelphia and in providence. in the south, the record-shattering temperatures across the south from texas all the way no the carolinas, into the 70s. 80s, we are talking about 20, 25 degrees above average all the way through your saturday. that plus the possibility of more severe weather. we saw it yesterday there in mississippi. we have seen already a few warnings here in the south today. now we have a threat of isolated tornadoes, hail and damaging winds through the afternoon hours and into the evening from
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louisiana all the way into georgia, including the atlanta area that has seen some heavy rainfall and abundant lightning in this area. you are under a flash flood warning here. the atlanta fire and rescue teams are out, deployed, waiting and standing by in case there are needed water rescues today. we have already seen roads washed away and rivers on the rise in north georgia. two to three inches of rain could fall in this area. tennessee through saturday could see portions of that, three to five inches of rain but look at the area back into texas, oklahoma, arkansas and mississippi through monday, we could see eight inches and more of rainfall that could cause for flash flooding. we will continue to keep our eye out for more severe weather here tomorrow all the way from east texas into portions of mississippi, alabama and southern tennessee. and at least someone is experiencing wintry like conditions. that's in the west. abundant snow from the cascades to the sierra nevada. we will see abundant snowfall
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all the way into new mexico and even the texas pan handle as we head through the weekend. erica? >> all that keeping you very busy. thanks so much. turning to politics, ted cruz is slamming a retracted "the washington post" editorial cartoon depicting his two children as monkeys. cruz addressed the issue on the trail yesterday. >>u i have to admit yesterday when i saw that cartoon, not much ticks me off but making fun of my girls, that will do it. it should be true for both democrats and republicans, we ought to agree leave our kids alone, let's argue about marginal tax rates, let's argue about policy, but don't be attacking 5 year olds. that has no place in politics. and i appreciate that the "post" pulled it down. it was the right thing to do and i appreciate they did it. >> the post has said it is generally the policy of the editorial section not to mention children. the editor said he would not see the cartoon before it was published. the artist who drew the cartoon said it was fair game, that she felt the children were fair game
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because cruz put his daughters in a campaign ad. you are seeing that right there. ben carson, meantime, is walking back a pair of interviews he gave suggesting he's considering making major personnel changes to his campaign staff. here's what he told the associated press. >> about everything, i mean, everything's on the table. we are constantly looking at everything, looking to see if there are ways to improve things, you know, if there are personnel changes that need to be made. i recognize that nothing is perfect. everything is on the table. every single thing. >> everything is on the table, he said he went on to tell the "washington post" the same thing, saying every job is on the table. but then walked it back, saying he has 100% confidence in his words, in his current team, and that they are streamlining staff assignments. i want to turn to nbc's hallie jackson. give us a sense, is this really
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a walking back, is it that there's a little bit of disconnect here within the campaign because we have been hearing about that as well. >> reporter: right. it feels like there is a disconnect, especially when you look at the back and forth that's been going on amongst some of his top advisors in the last 24 hours, campaign manager barry bennett, another long-time advisor, armstrong williams, looks like there may be a power struggle there but as we heard from dr. carson, he says he has 100% confidence in his senior staff. his senior staff isn't going anywhere. so that is what we have to see what happens after the holidays. maybe we come out as we get into january heading into iowa, you might see that shakeup as carson as he says streamlines that staff operation and tries to reallocate assets in order to try to make this final push for iowa, a place where he was up big a couple months ago and now he's down in maybe third or fourth place position. >> that is obviously, could make things tough within the campaign. how is the money issue for the carson campaign? is it an issue? >> they raise a lot. they were the big fund-raisers, big winners in the third quarter. they also spend a lot. they spend it fast.
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so that is a question a lot of folks have had as they are looking at the carson campaign, what's called the burn rate, how quickly they are going through their money. the campaign would say obviously in order to make money you got to spend money, in order to get dr. carson's message out there, you have to spend money. we will see how that shakes out especially as we get into the end of the fourth quarter in a couple of days. >> i also want to touch on this cartoon which we have been talking a lot about of ted cruz's children. it was pulled but ted cruz turned it around and is using this as a fund-raising tool, using the word emergency in that push for funding. >> yeah. calling it basically sending out an e-mail saying make an emergency donation, click these buttons we pulled up after this cartoon in order to try to help us out because as ted cruz writes, the liberal media, the biased media, is attacking him yet again. his campaign spokesperson has said and will say publicly that no amount of money can match the damage done by this "washington post" editorial cartoon so many people see. i got to say, a cartoon from the
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"washington post" attacking ted cruz might actually galvanize his supporters and is in fact likely to galvanize his supporters because look at who ted cruz is aiming his message at, conservatives who already have a distrust of the media. so they will see this as yet another attack against their preferred candidate. >> if you are going after those people, it would make sense to use it as a fund-raising tool. hallie, appreciate it. iraqi government forces are slowly advancing on the city of ramadi in the battle to oust isis. ramadi fell to the militant group back in may. now iraqi troops who are backed by u.s. and coalition air strikes are trying to retake that city. efforts have been slowed by isis snipers, roadside bombs and boobytraps. nbc's jim miklaszewski is at the pentagon with more. what have we learned at this point about the advance into ramadi? >> you know, in the first couple of days of this offensive, the iraqi forces made some pretty good progress. now they have been pretty much
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stymied by very stiff resistance and fierce fighting on the part of those remaining isis fighters, estimated to be about 350. but the entire city is pretty much boobytrapped with bombs and there are isis mortars, rpgs, they have launched a very stiff attack against the invading or advancing iraqi forces, to the point that they are pretty much at a standstill now. u.s. military officials are confident that even though it will take more time, they are confident that eventually the iraqi forces will force all those isis fighters out of this city. but what's particularly encouraging to the u.s. military is that for the first time, there's a large contingent of sunni tribal fighters that are participating. they are on the outskirts for now. they are not inside the city fighting alongside the iraqi forces, but to have the iraqis
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recognize the sunnis as a viable force is very critical here in the future of iraq. there can be no settlement, there can be no victory over isis unless sunnis are involved. and in this case, there are some 4,000 of those sunnis poised to move into ramadi once it's cleared. it is their provincial capital. the sunni provincial capital. and the 4,000 will then provide security for the city once isis is driven out. that is not an insignificant development. >> no, not at all. separately, yesterday the bodies of the six americans who were killed by a suicide bomber in afghanistan earlier this week will return home in a dignified transfer. are we learning anything more about that incident in afghanistan? >> not really. it's all gone over to an investigation. we do know that a suicide bomber on a motorcycle drove into the group and detonated his bomb, killing those six u.s. airmen.
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we are told, anyway, for now, that those airmen were involved in some kind of meeting with afghan leadership and it's most likely because they were from the office of special investigators for the u.s. air force that they could have been providing security for those that were either there at the meeting or you know, we don't know whether this was pre or post meeting but clearly, the taliban somehow got word of that meeting, because it appears that this suicide attack was pretty well pre-planned. >> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, thanks. there is a new report today suggesting the u.s. might begin an operation that could send hundreds of people back to central america. who are these people and why would they be sent back? that's coming up next. ya know, viagra helps guys with erectile dysfunction get and keep an erection.
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we're learning the u.s. may soon be moving to deport hundreds of families who fled to the united states over the past year to escape violence in central america. the "washington post" reporting dhs will carry out a nationwide series of raids targeting those who have been ordered to be removed by an immigration judge. i want to bring in former u.s. ambassador to the u.n., former new mexico governor bill richardson. nice to see you, sir. so we heard from -- >> thank you, erica. >> these raids could be carried out as soon as january by i.c.e. and customs enforcement agents. do you have a sense of why now and why this large scale measure? >> well, my hope is it's just a trial balloon. i have been in government and you float these to gauge
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reaction. i hope the reaction is swift, it's negative. i don't know why they want to do this. it's inconsistent with president obama's policy. a year ago he tried to halt five million deportations. the courts have blocked it. but this is christmas. this is mainly minors that are going to be targeted. this is not america. look at other countries accepting refugees, germany, france, the syrian refugees. they are escaping, these are political asylees escaping political persecution in el salvador, honduras, guatemala. there's a spike in murders in that region, there's a drought. this makes no sense. hopefully it's a trial balloon and the white house will halt with the bureaucracy i suspect wants to do. they are reliable reporters, no question about it, so somebody is floating this but i hope the reaction is swift and negative and it doesn't happen. >> when you say trial balloon,
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are you referring to the idea and these reports that are out here and perhaps even these raids could be stopped in time, or are the raids more the trial balloon and once they go through with them, then that's when you expect there to be more reaction? >> well, i think they are testing whether they should go ahead with these raids which would possibly happen early in the year and if they get a negative reaction from the hispanic community, from the immigrant groups, from the congress, then it won't happen. but this is christmas. i just heard that report about the weather in texas, where some of these detention centers are. the problem we have is a broken immigration system. these detention centers, all of these immigrants, they are crowded, the legal processing doesn't work, it's slow and cumbersome and it's mainly children. you know, this is america.
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for god's sakes, at this time, let us find a solution to this broken immigration problem instead of like having these raids, deporting kids, deporting defenseless people. >> youing bring up the point that many are seeking asylum. also that many of them are minors. but there is no ignoring that a lot of people look at this and are very concerned about the security in this country. as a former governor of a border state, how does the security figure into a situation like this? >> well, look, that's a very legitimate concern. i have felt for instance that the visa process, allowing people into this country needs to be tightened up. the best example is that woman in san bernardino who was in social media attacking the united states before she was given that fiancee visa. so tighten the due diligence, the visa procedures. i'm totally for that. find ways to ensure that we
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don't get undesirable elements coming in. but these are central american refugees, mainly kids, mothers coming into the united states fleeing persecution, dictatorships in central america and honduras and el salvador, in a region that is fraught with violence, with murders, with all kinds of droughts. they need humanitarian protection, not detention facilities. leave it alone. let's resolve the immigration process. let's deal with the visa backlog issue. but let's not take this action right before christmas. i hope this is just a trial balloon but you know, it sounds like it probably is going to happen. my hope is the president rejects this recommendation. >> the report did sound fairly serious. i want to shift gears before we let you go. the u.s. embassy in beijing is warning americans in china to remain vigilant after receiving some information of possible threats against westerners in the chinese capital.
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give us a sense, how serious does a threat need to be for this warning to actually come out? >> well, i think, you know, when the state department issues a travel alert, they usually have very strong information. it seems that this information came from the british and it targets foreigners, it's not just americans, possibly in a shopping mall, chinese gangs. there's this increased violence in china. i don't think it's political. i don't think it's terrorist related. so americans should be very conscious whenever a consulate in another country, an american consulate says travel alert, be careful. if they are going to travel, be extra sensitive, go to the consulate, register that you're there, but you know, watch yourself and report anything suspicious. >> bill richardson, always good to see you. thanks for spending some time with us. christmas came early for drivers this year with those
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record low gas prices we have been talking so much about. there could, though, be a downside for some people. we'll explain. ♪ ♪ [ girl ] my mom, she makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon. ♪ [ birds squawking ] my mom makes airplane engines that can talk. [ birds squawking ] ♪ my mom makes hospitals you can hold in your hand. ♪ my mom can print amazing things right from her computer. [ whirring ] [ train whistle blows ] my mom makes trains that are friends with trees. [ train whistle blows ] ♪
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and for shower softness, add the body wash, too! aveeno® naturally beautiful results® 20 minutes after the market closed, stocks struggled to hold gains on this christmas eve. the dow down 52 points. dominic chu has more for us on that. >> it was an early close, again, half day of trading. not a lot of fireworks here. the dow down about 50 points. the s&p 500 closing down about 3 points. the nasdaq composite gaining just about two to three points. relatively flat difficult overall. that's perhaps just what the market wanted to see. it was a small day of losses and there weren't a whole lot of people at work trading today so the amount of stock changing hands was lower than usual. now, all told, we are entering the long holiday weekend with the bulls and bears still trying to battle it out who gets the upper hand in 2015. this is also the time of year when some traders point to what
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could be seasonable strength in the stock market, something referred to as the santa claus rally with stocks going higher towards the end of the year. markets will only have four full trading days left in the year ahead of the new year's holiday next week. one stock that's been on a tear so far this year is online movie streaming company netflix. it's the best performing stock in the large cap s&p 500 index, more than doubled this year and the ceo is getting a pay cut. i will clarify here. his base salary next year is going down to $900,000 a year. it was $1 million this year. but he's going to get a lot more in options, $19 million worth of stock options. he got about $13.7 million worth of stock options this year. maybe a small pay cut on the salary front. anyway, interesting to see here and of course, what else is happening in the markets, it will all be about how we end up the year next week with the short week of trading. back to you. >> we will be watching for that. dominic chu, thanks so much. an early christmas gift for
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drivers across the u.s. we talked a lot about the low gas prices. the national average hovering right around $2 a gallon. those are numbers we haven't seen since 2009. it translates into $550 in savings a year for the average driver. it also helps explain why for the first time ever, aaa says the number of americans traveling more than 50 miles from home for the holidays will top 100 million for this holiday season. msnbc business and tech correspondent olivia sterns is here with more on that. that is enormous number. >> an enormous number. get used to $2 gas. a lot of economists say it is here to stay. that's an incredible drop in the price of gas. the reason prices are so low is because quite simply we have a supply glut globally. globally we are producing at near record levels so if we start abroad, opec and russia, the big producers are not stopping pumping oil even though prices have fallen because they don't want to cede market share. they know in the u.s. we are
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producing at the highest level since the 1970s. our domestic oil production has basically doubled in the past five years. a lot of that is shale but it's incredible. all this oil is flooding the market plus we are waiting for iran to come onstream. on the demand side of things, demand also looks a little wobbly. globally, china is slowing, they are fwthe biggest consumer of r commodities, then there is the financial mechanics of it. oil is a commodity denominated in dollars and the fed finally raised rates for the first time in a decade. that means the dollar is stronger so all these things are coming together to put downward pressure on the price of crude which is putting downward pressure on the price of gas. >> so you see this could last for awhile. this is not -- this can't be positive for everybody. i imagine there must be a down side even in terms of jobs. >> right. conventional wisdom is cheap gas is a boon to the economy because it's a tail wind for the consumer. we always expect to see consumers running out to spend all the money they are saving on gas but actually, with oil at these prices it means a lot of the big energy companies are going to have to cut back. that is tricky news for the economy, because the energy
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industry are a big portion of our total economic output, our total gdp, and the amount of money the energy companies spend on what we call cap ex, investment in the real economy, is significant. with the fall in the price of oil, a lot of economists are estimating it will wipe away half of 1% of total gdp, which is about 2.5% growth right now. add to that the layoffs. there have been more than 100,000 layoffs in the energy industry over the past year. the past few years, the story had very much been the sector has been the driver of job growth and that has turned around completely. it's taken a big toll on industry. >> good to have you put it in perspective. thanks. right now, we are going to show you a live look i believe at chicago. no, we are not. police dispatch tapes, we are learning, were released in connection with the shooting of laquan mcdonald, the shooting death of laquan mcdonald.
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we talked so much about this. just ahead, what police were asking for in the moments just before that incident. ♪ everything kids touch during cold and flu season sticks with them. make sure the germs they bring home don't stick around. use clorox disinfecting products. because no one kills germs better than clorox. but i think women would agree... watching football together is great... huddling with their man after the game is nice too. the thing is, about half of men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction. well, viagra helps guys with ed get and keep an erection. ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take viagra if you take nitrates for chest pain or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension. your blood pressure could drop to an unsafe level. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing.
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developing at this hour, this is a live look for you coming to us from chicago, where a short time ago, a black lives matter protest began. protesters are calling for the resignation of mayor rahm emmanu emmanuel, saying he oversaw the police department while several fatal shootings of black men at the hands of police have occurred. this appears very peaceful. folks expected to be there we are told for at least another hour. at this point, at points throughout the protesters have staged a die-in, just laying on the ground in the roadway. we will continue to monitor the march and bring you any developments as warranted. meantime, a new development also out of chicago. police dispatch tapes have been released in the shooting death of 17-year-old laquan mcdonald. the audiotapes reveal officers attempted to get a taser gun to
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the scene. dash cam video of the shooting was released last month showing mcdonald being shot 16 times by officer jason van dyke. we get more from investigative reporter tammy light nner from wmaq in chicago. >> reporter: these radio transmissions are the first audio accounts from the night of october 20th, 2014 when 17-year-old laquan mcdonald was shot to death. >> we're coming from archer. >> anyone else closer? with a taser? >> reporter: the first officers on scene were not armed with tasers but it's obvious from these radio calls the officers were looking for a less lethal way to subdue mcdonald, who was caught breaking into vehicles at a trucking yard.
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>> reporter: the dispatcher repeatedly requests that someone respond to the scene with a taser. >> anybody close yet? need help with [ inaudible ]. >> reporter: dash cam video shows mcdonald walking with a knife in hand away from the officers. >> reporter: what we don't know is whether the officers that arrived at the burger king nearby were the ones with the taser. but one minute later -- >> that was tammy lightner from wmaq with that report. there are new developments to tell you about today in last month's deadly paris attacks.
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authorities say they have arrested a ninth person. that man who has been identified only as abdullah c is described as a belgian national who is believed to have been in contact with the terror suspects after the attacks that left 130 people dead. it is of course christmas eve today and for many people, that means it's their shopping day. plenty of people wait until the last minute and if you fall into that category, well, you have got some company. a reuters poll conducted last week found 17% of americans had yet to make a single purchase. in fact, less than a third of americans had finished picking up everything on their shopping list. msnbc's scott cohn joins me from san jose, california. how does it look out there? >> reporter: people are definitely taking advantage of the last minute shopping here and presumably those survey results are borne out by the fact we are seeing the people. this is one of the days when old
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fashioned brick and mortar stores have a bit of an edge over online shopping so many of us do nowadays. there is some same day delivery available but for the most part you have to go to the store. people are doing that and when they get here are finding both savings and convenience. >> the reason we are here so early in the morning is because all the wrapping we're doing, all the hectic shopping we have been doing, last minute shopping, we figure we might as well get something at the last second, like just for -- >> reporter: spontaneous gift? did you get the deal on that frame? >> yes. it was on sale. >> 50% off. that's the reason why we came. great deals on frames right now. just a nice gift for grandparents. >> reporter: those people were here about 3:30 this morning. kohl's is among a number of big box stores that have been staying open 24 hours and offering some big deals in the process. the flipside of this is that
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they wouldn't be doing that if they didn't need to. it's been a challenging holiday season with the unseasonably warm weather in the east and the erratic weather here out west. that means retailers are struggling to make some profits here. but that's good for the consumer. >> scott cohn, thank you. if you still don't know exactly what you're getting for the little ones on your list, you are in luck. we have the very last bit of great advice for you in the form of toys. chief toy officer for the toy insider, you have some fun things with familiar faces that kids will know quite well. >> i do. santa is on his sleigh already. where would he be without his reindeer? kids can bring the reindeer right home. these are the merry mission reindeer. we have glisten, the newest and fastest reindeer. we have an app where kids can learning about the personalities. >> can you go in -- >> they are open today. >> there's a fun activity while
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waiting for the reindeer to get to your house. we have this adorable pig who likes to jump in muddy puddles. this comes with 15 pieces, folds up, is portable to take on the road and of course, she loves hugs if you want to give her a hug. if you hug her tight enough, you will hear her. >> i love you! >> i'm going to hold on to her. ayman will give me the reindeer back. >> we want toys kids will have fun with but we want to sneak in stealth learning, too. this is our number loving oven l by leapfrog. we turn this on -- ♪ >> we have a little role play. >> we can hear it sizzle and everything. >> we are introducing kids to numbers, fractions, so it's really great, really fun. >> shapes and colors, too. i love it. >> really keeps them engaged. >> the good dinosaur.
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>> it's so sweet. we have the collection. kids love to bring home the movie magic. if you push that button, he will take a little walk for us. this is his pet spot. when we squeeze his legs, it's chomp and spot. the best part, this is my favorite. if you just squeeze that, hold his tail, push it down. he's not a really scary t-rex as much as a fun one. >> very cute. lot of kids will get a kick out of those. skylanders is a big hit as well. >> five years ago they introduced kids to a new way to play video games. take a character, put it on a portal of power, it jumps into the game. this year they introduced vehicles. the vehicles have movement. basically you put a vehicle on the portal and now kids are going through the mountainous terrain, flying in the sky, checking out the deep sea. what i especially love about all this, these toys are fun even when you are offscreen. they are great toys to take with the kids when you go out. >> we are tight on time.
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you do have bb-8. is that still available? >> bb-8 is still available. we will put it on the floor and show you how he goes. so we know that everything "star wars" is very exciting. bb-8 will go whichever way his head is facing. sometimes he loses his head but he is a lot of fun. let me show you since we are over here, this is our rock crawler 3xl. when you are looking for gifts for the tough to find kids, let's see, this is a great option. so we love radio control. this is a lightweight car with a hobby grade controller. we can steer but it's got great spring suspension. i will go over any kind of terrain. >> look out, about, bb-8. have to leave it there. great options that are still available today. bb-8 is pulling it together for us. still to come on "msnbc live," we speak with an army vet who is using social media to help
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combat anti-muslim rhetoric. today people are coming out to the nation's capital to support an important cause that can change the way you live for years to come. how can you help? by giving a little more, to yourself. i am running for my future. people sometimes forget to help themselves. the cause is retirement, and today thousands of people came to race for retirement and pledge to save an additional one percent of their income. if we all do that we can all win.
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members of the u.s. military have been using social media to rally around a little girl who was frightened by anti-muslim rhetoric. the girl's mother from plano, texas posted on facebook that her daughter feared she would be kicked out of the country after seeing news reports about donald trump's plan to pbar muslims frm entering the u.s. one former soldier who saw that post connected with the family on facebook and launched the hash tag i will protect you. since then, members of the military have used the hash tag to reassure sofia of their pledge to protect her and all americans. joining me from dallas, sofia's mom melissa and from denver, colorado, the army vet who started the i will protect you hash tag. great to have both of you with us. melissa, how is sofia doing now, especially with all of this
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wonderful attention that she is receiving from -- that carrie helped to start? >> sofia is doing so much better now. this really meant a lot to her personally. >> when you first got the idea or when you first realized, i should say, that she had this idea in her head that something was going to happen to her, as a mother, i can only imagine how that must have really just broken your heart. what did you say to her in that moment? >> i just sat with sofia and tried to reassure her that donald trump hasn't been elected president and that even if he were elected president, we as americans have rights in this country and we don't have to worry about being kicked out of the country at any point. >> carrie, you saw this post. what made you reach out to melissa? >> just being a mother. when i saw that her child, sofia, felt terrorized, i thought of being a mother and how i would do anything to
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protect my children and it tugged at my heartstrings and i needed to do something. it couldn't be still. i could not not do something. >> it's really taken on a life of its own. when you see what it has become and so many of your fellow veterans and service members who are reaching out to sofia and others, how does it make you feel? >> oh, it's incredible. actually, it's gone well past service members and veterans. it's gone well past americans. it's gone around the world several times. in fact, i can't even begin to describe, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. i'm really happy about it. it's kind of an understatement. i'm overwhelmingly happy about it. it's really incredible. i had some radio broadcaster in berlin say that it turned on a lighthouse and i said let's not ever turn that off, let's keep it on. so yeah, it's gone well past
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veterans and service members in the united states. i have heard from all over the world. that's really incredible the outpouring of love and support and light. >> we are seeing some of the wonderful posts here we are showing on the screen. melissa, is sofia aware of what has happened that this hash tag i will protect you has really taken on a life of its own, so much of it inspired by her? >> absolutely. sofia and i sit together every evening and look over some of the posts we receive and messages we receive. we have just been inundated with an outreach of love and support from our military and even just from citizens of the united states and all over the world. i do make a point to sit down with her every evening and read these posts with her. we look at the men and women in uniform and she asks questions about it. it's been a really good experience for her. >> how is she feeling today? there is so much attention on her and it's wonderful you sit
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down and talk with her every night. has this translated to something she has been talking about at school, too? >> i don't think she's gone to school and talked about it much because it's something we just discuss at home. but she does talk to my family about it and i think now she's just, it's been he going on for a couple of weeks. now she's ready to get back to being a normal american kid. >> she is probably one of the most wonderful normal american kids out there. we are so happy swe could share the story with our viewers. thank you both. thank you for your service, kerri. thanks for taking time for us today. iraqi troops are trying to retake control of a major city from isis. just ahead, we take a look at what that mission could mean in the war against the terrorist group.
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their offensive against isis in the city of ramadi. that city fell to the terror organization back in may. but now iraqi forces backed by u.s. air strikes are advancing toward a government compound under isis control. according to the associated press, the progress has been slowed by snipers and roadside bombs. meantime, in syria, "the wall street journal" reporting today the u.s. tried to pursue secret contacts with the assad regime for years. according to the paper, it was all part of an attempt to use back channels to limit violence and to eventually force president bashar al assad from power. joining me now barry mccaffrey. sir, good to have you with us. when you see this report about the attempts made perhaps back channel negotiations, does anything about that surprise you? >> no. i think it's good news. diplomacy is, at the end of the day, going to be the only resolution that actually works, certainly in syria, trying to get assad out of there, trying
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to moderate the opposition, sunni opposition to what essentially is a shiite alouite government. not withstanding the good news that the iraqi army retook tikrit and is now poiseded to retake ramadi, this is still a very difficult situation. not just in the middle east but also from this isis threat that's morphed throughout a good bit of the globe. self-radicalized elements. that's the big threat to the american people. >> the self-radicalized element, and we're also learning today, there are some new reports that, isis is looking to build its presence in somalia, which is obviously an incredible place for the u.s. to have much influence on the ground, correct? >> oh, yeah. you know, and they're also, to be blunt, peripheral interests. at the end of the day some of these numbers are all over the map. but there are allegedly 30,000 plus isis fighters and possibly
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as many as 15 to 20,000 foreigners of whom several thousand came out of europe and maybe a hundred or so out of the united states. so again, erica, thank god for u.s. air power and for the special operations forces, but the fbi and customs and border protection are the first line of defense to the american people dealing with isis. >> we heard the fbi has launched more than 900 investigations across 50 states, many of them tied to terror. when we look at this situation on the ground, specifically in iraq and in sear yeah mentioned tikrit. we've been talking a lot today about ramadi and iraqi troops moving in there and new information we got yesterday that the territory that isis has under its control in syria and iraq has actually shrunk some 14%. there's that territory shrinking, but then as we hear xw the spreading does it cancel each other out or can we point to that 14% as a little bit of a
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win here? >> well, you know, i spent a lot of time in iraq, and mosul, iraq, there's nothing living there. so you know, terrain under control of isis is difficult metric to gauge. the big deal in iraq is that 60 miles from baghdad a couple of hundred isis fighters are still holding at bay 10,000 or month iraqi military police and shiite militias and mosul, second biggest city in the country is still under their control. so again this is problematic. the iraqi government's unlikely to ever again control mosul, iraq. the kurdish north or the sunni populations out toward the west. this is a broken country. >> boy, that's iraqi government unlikely to ever again control mosul, that's a lot to think
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about. >> good to be with you. >> we are tracking the severe weather heading east after wreaking havoc in the midwest and the south. coming up, a report from the ground. we know at least ten people have died as a result of a series of tornadoes. watching football together is great... but i think women would agree... huddling with their man after the game is nice too. the thing is, about half of men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction. well, viagra helps guys with ed get and keep an erection.
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happen? we'll get there later? and we've sort of prepared for that. so if we don't make christmas eve services, it's not the end of the world. >> a positive outlook there. according to flight aware, atlanta had the most delays. the weather channel's nick walker is following all of these weather-related travel delays fors us. >> it's still kind of rough here around portions of the northeast. we still have a lot of clouds. some rain coming through. 44-minute delays on average at philadelphia, though, at newark, laguardia, jfk and boston, those delays have abated. numerous thunderstorms one after another rumbling through the region and heavy rainfall in the region, too. heavy rain has prompted mud slides up here on some of the interstates. in north carolina, the western portion of the state. and we've had over three inches, as a matter of fact, over 3 1/2 inches of rain in atlanta just today. and flooding problems still could abound.
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we're under flash flood warnings around the atlanta area. here in northern georgia, we've had roads washed away. a lot of folks having trouble getting home for the holidays here today. toward the south of atlanta, between atlanta and macon, we've got a tornado warning now, a thunderstorm getting ready to cross interstate 75. crossing right now. this is an area to avoid before this thunderstorm passes through. this tornado warning out for the next several minutes to the north of the macon area. so we've got problems still lingering here around atlanta. averaging almost 2 1/2-hour delays at the atlanta airport. a lot of patience needed today because more rounds of thunderstorms could further delay your travels not only there but southward to macon over toward birmingham and pensacola, back toward jackson and new orleans. still the threat of tornadoes, hail and damaging wind, an isolated threat of tornadoes. it's another problem here around washington state, particularly along i-90 trying to get from west of the cascade mountains to
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the eastern-most portion of the state is trouble through snoqualmie pass. snow, heavy snow, has prompted them to close the pass here from snoqualmie pass all the way to ellensburg. the danger remains high and that pass remained closed all day long. you may have to take an alternate route here, the coastal range around california. plentiful snowfall there, but good skiing come after christmas. >> a positive to focus on. nick, thanks. the severe weather out of the southeast turned deadly overnight killing at least ten people. the storm system spun off more than a dozen tornadoes and claimed lives in mississippi, tennessee and arkansas including 18-year-old mikaela remus who was lying in bed about her 18-year-old sister when a storm caused a tree to fall into their bedroom. the baby was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover. mississippi governor has declared a state of emergency in areas hardest hit by the
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tornadoes. we want to turn to clarksdale, where mark potter has the latest. >> reporter: hit hard by tornadoes here in clarksdale, mississippi. already seeing repair work being done, assessments being made and there's a lot of work to do. if you look over here, this is where the tornado came through. and you can see all this debris in this creek area, then if we go slightly to the right, you can see this house over here, there was a little store here, then the house below, the roof was ripped off. that part of the house, the house itself knocked off the foundation. they got a lot of problems, but already an assessment team has been here from the county looking at this and 20 to 25 other houses in this area. another area where they're also looking at trying to get a handle on just what a big repair job they have to do. behind me also, if you're able to see or maybe it's on this side, there's some workers out here. the power guys. they've been out here since this morning, since first light trying to get power back up again for some 1600 mississippi
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residents, 300 or so homes in this area without power. they're working as hard as they can to get them back up to speed. down the road behind the camera, there's a house. we've seen a faith-based community there trying to put tarps up, trying to get those houses protected from the weather. we just talked to the mayor from darksclail who said the city will do all they can. they sheltered a number of them last night. red cross and another local organization has stepped up trying to help everyone here. nobody is resting here and just watching what's happened. they're moving pretty quickly already in this area. and people from this area need a lot of help. there are folks here at the holidays who are now homeless and the city is rallying around them to try to help them out. >> mark potter for us, thank you. want to turn to politics where hillary clinton is responding to donald trump's use of a vulgar term to describe
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clinton's loss to barack obama in 2008. this as trump takes a commanding lead in a new cnn poll. when it comes to a general election matchup, trump is losing by two points. that same poll shows senators marco rubio and ted cruz both beating hillary clinton in a general election matchup. i want to turn to nbc's hallie jackson who is following all of this for us today. good afternoon. lots to keep you busy. >> lots to talk about. you would think a slow news day before christmas, but the fun never stops. donald trump and hillary clinton the two going at each other. donald trump is now issuing his own kind of warning to hillary clinton telling her to be careful. listen. with a warning shot, donald trump's now making clear this week's attacks on hillary clinton are just the beginning. >> i really haven't gone after hillary yet, and there's a lot to go after. she's very susceptible, i think
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to -- i mean, the job she's done is horrible. >> clinton unfazed and unafraid to take on trump. >> his bigotry, his bluster, his bullying have become his campaign. >> the front-runners still feuding. >> the last person that she wants to be running against is me. >> as trump dominates a new national poll with double digit leads on key shissues like the economy, isis and illegal immigration. and more than twice as much support as the next closest candidate ted cruz who is seizing on a controversy of his own. he's fund-raising off an editorial cartoon now retracted by "the washington post" showing his young daughters as dancing monkeys. fair game argues the cartoonist after cruz put his kids in a campaign ad. >> i'll use my own server and no one will be the wiser. >> if the media wants to attack and ridicule every republican, that's what they're going to do, but leave our kids alone. >> ben carson's support is slipping. and now new reports of a campaign shake-up.
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carson telling nbc news he's streamlining some staff assignments but insist his senior aides will stick around. >> i'm not a quitter. >> the next few days all quiet on the campaign trail as candidates take their own christmas breaks. jeb bush doing last-minute shopping and considering what holiday cards he might still send. >> what if you sent donald trump a christmas card, what would it say? >> this time of year? i hope he has a wonderful time off. >> candidates mostly off the campaign trail, erica, for the holidays. they're sending out holiday messages. you've seen that from folks like ted cruz, hillary clinton, a lot of folks are back on the trail next week dojd trump among them. iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, in a three-day swing before the new year. >> in terms of those messages, too, you touch on this, but the ted cruz message that went out in response to that cartoon as a fund-raising e-mail. this could really galvanize a lot of his supporters, couldn't
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it? >> look at what ted cruz is doing here -- first of all, it's his two little girls which people who support ted cruz know his daughters. they come out on the campaign trail with him. so you imagine they might feel sympathetic there. ted cruz going after what he calls the liberal media in "the washington post." and ted cruz tweeted out a cartoon of his own. a picture of hillary clinton walking what he called her lapdogs, "the new york times" and "the washington post." he's hitting hillary clinton, too. really a two for one here that could certainly mobilize supporters around him. we are going to delve a little bit deeper into today's political headlines a little later this hour. i'll speak with former vermont governor howard dean and robert traynham. that's coming up at 2:30 on msnbc. if santa claus is coming to town, then norad will be the first to know. for the last 60 years norad has been keeping the tradition of
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tracking santa's christmas travels around the world. right now according to norad, santa and his reindeer are headed to tanzania. they've already delivered more than 2 billion gifts. joining me from colorado springs is captain scott miller. take us back. how did this tradition get started? >> well, merry christmas to you and thank you for having me. it's an amazing story on this tradition and how it started. all with a misprint in a local ad that was going to be in the gazette here in colorado springs. an advertisement for sears offered the opportunity for kiddies to talk to santa. and the misprint and the phone number instead directed those phone calls to the continental air defense command which is the name prior to norad. and therein began the tradition of norad tracking santa and we've been doing it for 60 years. >> you've been keeping a lot of kids and parents happy doing it.
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technology has changed the way not only we can look at your tracking of san tarks but i imagine it allows you to help the big man, too, with his trip. >> absolutely. you know, we have the same mission that we have performed now for 60 years, but the technology has truly changed. as you might imagine, today's launch just more than eight hours ago was picked up by radar and we have a series of radar sites throughout canada that allow us to pick up santa's launch and then satellites that help us pinpoint his travels throughout the globe in addition to high-tech cameras located strategically throughout the world in specific cities so we can note his arrival and departure. our own fighter airport that help to ensure the safety of santa, his sleigh and his reindeer. >> which is great. there are plenty of kids in the u.s. who log on to track santa. is there a response from around the world, too?
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>> oh, absolutely. we've been taking calls from around the world all day. we have about 1500 volunteers here at the norad track center. and we have a number of different ways that we're communicating with those people. for the boys and girls out there that are interested in logging on and tracking santa, our website is wwwnoradsanta.org. and our phone number right here you can probably see the volunteers behind me answering calls at this very moment. our phone number is 877-hi-norad. >> oh, i love it. i spoke to one of your colleagues who said santa was on track to arrive between 9:00 and midnight eastern time. are we still looking at that window? >> that is an accurate forecast. you know, we're certainly tracking the weather. there's a lot of weather problems out there right now on the east coast. but we're clear for santa's arrival during that timeframe. it's important that all the boys and girls remember that that's
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the time when they need to be asleep. because santa visits homes where the children are asleep. >> an excellent point which parents across this country are thanking you for right at this moment. captain scott miller, merry christmas, and a big thank you to you and all the folks at norad for helping keep santa safe and on track this christmas. still to come, how people on the east coast are dealing with the record heat on this christmas eve. and it is the top concern among americans this holiday season. but are fears of terrorism valid? and just what could make americans feel safer? we'll tackle that next. the future belongs to the fast. and to help you accelerate, we've created a new company... one totally focused on what's next for your business. the true partnership where people,technology and ideas push everyone forward. accelerating innovation. accelerating transformation. accelerating next. hewlett packard enterprise.
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there has been a new arrest related to the november terror attacks in paris. a belgian prosecutor says a ninth person, a belgian national has been arrested in connection with the attacks. the man is believed to have been
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in contact with some people connected to the attacks and a source tells nbc news investigators have learned the organizer behind the attacks, abdel hamid abboud hid in the bushes for days after the strike. one of the suspects issalah abdelsalam was stopped by let go. it has moved security concerns to the top of the national agenda. a poll this month found that 40% of americans now believe that national security and terrorism should be the priority for the federal government. that's up from 21% in just april. we want to bring in counterterrorism expert, we look at those numbers, up 20% in a very short period of time. there has been a lot of news and that's understandable. is it just the attacks in paris
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and what happened in san bernardino that's causing that spike or is there something else? >> it's paris and san bernardino. and if you look back, if they wanted to be scared, you could go back three weeks before the paris attacks. you had 100 people killed in istanbul. you had almost 80 people killed in beirut. but this is the drum, drum, drum that isis beats. what they want is they want the american public scared and they want to give them these mass casualty attacks or even the one we saw in san bernardino which was inspired. but right now isis is being defeated in great part on the battlefield. there are two major battles which occurred this week where hundreds of them were killed in combat. but on the other hand, that's what makes them lean more towards terrorism towards the west. you may see another attack. >> we could see another attack. put it in perspective for us. the chances of a terrorist attack, specifically an isis attack happening here within u.s. borders, how likely is that? >> i don't think that an organized attack like you saw in
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paris, which is called a special mission attack, they organize a cell, train these people, infiltrate them and then go get their weapons and carry out an attack. very unlikely. a self-inspired attack is what we see in israel, people get a knife and stab someone or drive a car into a crowd. that can occur anywhere. >> this has called in focus security measures across the country including theme parks that now metal detectors are going to go in at theme parks. what does that do to the psyche? >> to tell you the truth, i think the american public wants that. they want to see that proactive measure is being taken in order to allay their fears that these major theme parks are soft targets. they may be, but law enforcement is out now. they're out at the soft targets. and for the most part i think that that higher profile alone stops terrorist attacks whether they're domestic or international. >> an interesting point. for so long we were focused on air travel in the wake of 9/11. then hearing that even in a
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passenger chooses -- there was a lot of hoopla over the full body scanners and for a long time passengers could say, i want to opt out, i'll take the body pat-down. that's not going to be an option anymore. >> right. >> is that a smart move moving forward? >> i think it's a very smart move. the objection people had to the machines was not that it had the capacity to detect guns. their objective was that it would show some form of their body. but right now people are starting to understand that these machines are benign. you go in, raise your arms, nothing happens as far as you're concerned and you step out. for the most part, the government is making the right decision. >> there are other concerns that have been raised, we're hearing about this threat in china potentially. the embassy there saying that americans need to be vigilant. talks of attacks against westerners. how legitimate are these threats that you see? >> when we put out notices like that, the intelligence community, because they have some indication, whether it comes from chinese intelligence or they've analyzed things which
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are occurring around the world which may come to a focus in china. so they're generally well founded, but that doesn't mean that a terrorist cell leader will make the go/no go decision and say let's go, lets a attack. that plot could fall apart and dissipate and move somewhere else. >> when those alerts are put out, does that dissuade someone from an attack? >> yeah, that's exactly right. when we raise that profile in these countries, the same way here in the united states. you know, when somebody they think has been radicalized, the first thing that happens is the fbi visits them in order to break the cycle of radicalization and make them understand that law enforcement is on to them. the same thing with embassy alerts, civilian alerts that they put out to the business community and things like that. that is something that a terrorist will have to take into part of the planning cycle now because maybe they're being lured into a trap. >> is there also better intelligence sharing now?
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we heard a little bit in the wake of the paris attacks about cues that were missing. you'll unfortunately hear about those things. but even in this short period of time, has there been better intelligence sharing? >> fantastic amounts of intelligence sharing, just in the last month alone i've been to three conferences on counterterrorism intelligence. just in this state. they are taking this very, very seriously. and they understand now information is what breaks these plots. people coming forward, people who may notice something about their neighbor that, you know, 5,000 tips are going to get you nothing, but it's the one tip that may lead you to a plot that may have been significant. >> real quickly before we let you go, is there anything you see that will change this feeling and this fear that americans have in the coming month? >> i think it's sort of self-sustained. this is something that you just can't watch an incident in paris and say now that's going to happen in biloxi, mississippi. this is a very, very large
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nation. and an incident like san bernardino, you may have seen the fbi said they had thwarted a plot in 2012 by the same individual because he saw the fbi carrying out counterterrorism activities against someone in another city. so this is the sort of thing that we have to do. we have to live our lives. you have to understand and place trust into the intelligence community, law enforcement. they're here to protect you. enjoy the holiday season. and if something happens, it's not necessarily a failure of intelligence, it may be just a lack of intelligence. >> malcolm nance, always nice to have you here to put it into perspective. merry christmas to you. it may not feel like christmas even outside the walls of this own building. unseasonably warm temperatures. how people are enjoying them. surprise!!!!! we heard you got a job as a developer! its official, i work for ge!! what? wow... yeah!
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finish out its run as the hottest year on record. temperatures hitting 30 to 40 degrees above temperatures in some areas. sarah, it looks like a lot of people are enjoying the warm weather today. >> they're getting out and making the most of it. i mean, when else are you able to come out in a sleeveless shirt and go for a run? people really out here today enjoying the beginning of the holiday. now, keep in mind the average annual temperature for december is 37 1/2 degrees. last year it was just a little bit above that at about 40 degrees. this year we are already in the low 70s. we're expecting to hit about 74 today. we've already broken clearly the record for warmest christmas eve. the previous record was 63. that was set in 1996. so we talked about the people out here enjoying it. but do they really feel like it's the holiday? a lot of people say without the cold temperatures, without the
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snow, it doesn't really feel like christmas. we were out talking to them today. here's what they had to say about this mild weather. >> it's little worrisome. it's very beautiful. >> a little worrisome, though? how so? >> i wonder what it means for the long haul. >> it's fantastic. i don't like the cold weather anyway. to be able to run in this weather is like a dream come true for me. >> it's christmas and i want to see snow and snowflakes, but i can't see this. >> no. >> so no snow and snowflakes for her. we are seeing some rain showers on and off, some misting, also a little bit of fog. airlines are hoping that this all stays very mild. there's still a backlog from yesterday when they have heavy rains, we have a lot of fog and low visibility. right now there is good news, laguardia and newark, they're both running on time. laguardia was a bad spot yesterday. jfk running behind but the
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delays only about 30 minutes. it could be a lot worse. last night it was a lot worse. back to you. >> definitely a big improvement over yesterday. donald trump is now lapping the field in the fight for the gop nomination. how will his new verbal sparring with hillary clinton play out in the polls? that's ahead. just about anywhere you use sugar, you can use splenda®... ...no calorie sweetener. splenda® lets you experience... ...the joy of sugar... ...without all the calories. think sugar, say splenda®
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your blood pressure could drop to an unsafe level. to avoid long-term injury, seek immediate medical help for an erection lasting more than four hours. stop taking viagra and call your doctor right away if you experience a sudden decrease or loss in vision or hearing. ask your doctor about viagra. president obama struck a different tone in his message this year. some some areas of the middle east where church bells have rung for centuries on christmas day, this year they will be silent. the silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by isil. we join people around the world in praying for god's protection for persecuted christians. we're joined by kelly o'donnell who is in honolulu traveling. that's where the first family is spending the holidays.
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taking a little bit of a shift. where do you think that shift is coming from this year? >> it really reflects a lot of the concern in the country about the impact of isis, what its reach may be and the president using the holiday to point out one aspect of the isis atrocities that may not be as well known to americans, and that is the persecution of christians in the middle east. that has been part of the power they have exerted in trying to create what they consider a caliphate, to have territorial and ideological control. the president who often will put out a holiday message and usually those, of course, might be considered something a bit lighter in tone and filled with good wishes and that sort of thing. but in this proclamation, he is really calling on americans to be grateful for the ability to celebrate christmas or any other faith holiday freely in our country and to remind people of how that is not necessarily the case for people living around the world and specifically in the middle east with the reach
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and the power and the really harsh enforcement of isis trying to not only annihilate christians but also wipe out all of their traditions. that's something the president wanted to shine a light on in this christmas season. certainly many americans who are concerned about the potential threats of isis inside the u.s. or what we saw in paris earlier this year, this is also another aspect as people are going to church and praying and being thouflt with their own families to remind them there are christians in parts of the world who will not celebrate christmas. that's sort of the tone. an interesting mix of a holiday message and a foreign policy note in the same breath. that's something we don't often see from the president on a holiday time like this. a bit different from what we saw last year, for example, and reflects how isis has become so as much a part of our consciousness during this holiday season. >> we know the president and the first family are there for their christmas vacation but work never really stops when you're the president. is there much else on his
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agenda? >> well, he has key staffers with him as well from his national security council team who can brief him on all the latest intelligence. so he's up to date almost as if he were in the white house. all of those duties follow him and the resources come here as well. then we expect that the tradition will hold on christmas day, that he and mrs. obama will visit some of the troops serving here in hawaii that are based here and have a chance to spend some time with them to celebrate the holiday with them, take photos with them, and we expect the president will talk to them. and that we'd see on camera. that's the expectation for tomorrow in addition to more private family time and time with friends here in hawaii, the president has had a chance to play some golf and go work out and have some of the things you'd expect with vacation. but on christmas he'd have that in the demander in chief role. >> kelly o'donnell traveling with the president, thanks. some parts of the world are
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already celebrating christmas at this hour while others are still making the most of that time that's left on christmas eve. chapman bell is following some of the global christmas preparations and joins us from london with more. nice to see you. >> nice to see you, too, erica. while today is that day, the last-minute shopping for just one more thing or maybe even everything, but it's not always about a quick trip to the mall. christmas eve celebrations and christmas preparations have been happening around the world. let's take a quick trip across the globe to see how some are getting ready and celebrating. in australia, surfing santas riding the wave to christmas day. and a scuba santa and rudolph the red-nosed reindeer bringing treats to an aquarium in japan. dancing stflt nicks in south korea giving to children in need after u.s. marines had already started celebrating the holidays in the snow with their korean colleagues.
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there's even festive elephants in thailand. and moving on to the middle east where christians from across israel, gaza and the west bank and others from around the world are gathering, all coming together in manger square in the town of bethlehem to celebrate the day. we've seen christmas concerts in uganda and markets in nigeria. in europe, while security remains high, so do the spirits of the people of paris. and tonight for the people in st. peters square, the pope will deliver his midnight mass, an annual vatican tradition. well, it would seem people around the world are ready for this holiday season. some amid tension and high security like in the middle east and paris. and there has been violence between the israelis and palestinians today and four people have been killed, but in areas away from the bethlehem festivities. but across the world, we've seen some celebrating and in their
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own very unique ways, back to you in new york and your unseasonably warm weather making for your own unique holiday time. >> it will make it rather uni e unique. we joked that we should have decorated a palm tree. turning to politics, donald trump isn't holding back when it comes to attacking hillary clinton. in an interview last night with fox news, trump said there's much more to come. >> and i really haven't gone after hillary yet and there's a lot to go after. she's very susceptible, i think, to -- i mean, look, the job she's done is horrible. you don't get worse. so i think that's going to be, frankly, easier in some cases than some of the people i'm currently running against. so i'm fine with hillary. i think that the laster. -- and i know this for a fact -- the last person that she wants to be running against is me. >> a new cnn poll shows trump dominating the republican field at 39%. that's more than twice the support for ted cruz who is in second place.
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meantime, hillary clinton is responding to trump's use of a vulgar term earlier this week to describe her loss to barack obama in 2008. >> you know, i don't respond to him personally because he -- oh, he thrives on that kind of exchange. i think he has to answer for what he says, and i assume that, you know, others will, you know, make the larger point about his language. it's not the first time he's demonstrated a penchant for sexism. >> i want to bring in senior adviser to george w. bush and former vermont governor howard dean who is also an msnbc contributor. nice to have you both with us today. as we're looking at these comments, governor dean, is hillary handling her response
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correctly? >> i do. there's no point in rising to the bait. it strengthens his base. his base that's so devoted to him, they don't care what he says and whether it's true or not. smart politics on the part of donald trump's part and smart on hillary clinton's part. >> the attacks do seem to work for him no matter who the target is, robert. this also is starting to, in some ways, be the message of the republican party. would you advise him to continue along this road or would you like to see him change tactic a little bit? >> clearly he needs to change his tactics if you want to be the general nominee. you can't go on like this. i keep saying you can't go on like this, and donald trump continues to push the envelope and his numbers continue to go up. let's talk about the trump supporter out there. i was thinking about this as i was getting ready for this interview. this reminds me a little bit of the angry white male that a lot of people felt a connection to in the 1990s and also back in the 1980s about that reagan
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democrat and even back in 1972 with that silent majority. it's a person out there that's so frustrated because they get up every single day, they play by the rules and they feel like the ground is constantly shifting underneath them. they feel like no one is fighting for them. look, i'm playing by the rules. the harder that i work, the less i see of my paycheck. and for the first time i feel like the american dream is no longer applicable to me and no longer applicable to my family, my kids and my grandkids. that's the supporter out there that supports trump because they see -- i'm not saying this is a about thing, but they see someone out there speaking so declaratively and so strong that ironically the billionaire that flies around in his private jet and has umpteen number of skyscrapers is fighting for me. there's a connection there. >> do you think that connection is one thing to get people to a rally, is that going to bring people out, say, in iowa to caucus in 39 days or in new
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hampshire or south carolina? >> that's the million dollar question. it depends on the state. in iowa, 99 counties and on the republican side those are evangelicals. i don't see them voting for donald trump. i do see them voting for ted cruz or rick santorum. then i think there is an opportunity there for jeb bush to pick up some of those individuals. then you move on to florida which is a very, very different primary. mathematically, i don't see how donald trump is able to cobble together a coalition to hold on to supertuesday, but if he's able to do so, supertuesday looks very different for donald trump. and that's in his favor. >> the entire race has looked very different from the beginning. this polling out this week and donald trump has said, as we just heard, hillary doesn't want to run against him. but put them head-to-head, and she's doing better than him.
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we look at how she matches it with ted cruz and marco rubio. what do you make of that? >> actually, nothing. those kinds of polls don't mean anything at this stage of the game. but the polls in the republican primary are starting to mean something. and if i had to make a prediction right now, i think robert's absolutely right. ted cruz wins iowa. because i just don't -- i never heard that trump had a great organization. the one group of poem that don't need a great organization in iowa are conservatives and evangelicals because they've got an organization already built in and ted cruz appears to have cornered that. where i differ from robert is i cannot believe in new hampshire somebody can go from 3%, which is where jeb bush is or 5% and win the new hampshire primary in 50 days. trump has a great shot in new hampshire and a great shot at the nomination. right now i would have to say it's between ted cruz and donald trump and it's who is better organized. >> an incredible moment when we think about where we started and
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where we are today on christmas eve. >> talking about ted cruz, a lot being made of "the washington post" cartoon that was pulled by the paper, the editorial board essentially apologizing saying they don't normally allow children to be used. the cartoonist, she said she stands by it. most people agree. kids should not be a part of politics and of campaigning, but does it change things at all when children have already been put out there as part of a campaign ad as the cartoonist said, it was part of her rationale? >> look, let's not split hairs here. this is a very, very clear line. it's okay for a candidate -- and governor dean can speak to this more than i can because i never ran for office. it's okay to have a family christmas card or promotional material that introduces you to the american people, i think that's okay and i think politicians it's littered with a lot of people that do do that. it's another thing to use a cartoon or a platform of a cartoon to either make fun of or
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light of a family in that context. those are two very different things. >> i totally agree. robert is exactly right about this. i feel strongly about it and have had fights with journalists. i do not believe that kids belong in the line of fire. if they appear in an ad, that is not a deserving thing to put them in the line of fire. politics is hard enough without having your family dragged through the mud, especially these small children. and i think it's outrageous and it shouldn't happen. >> governor howard dean and robert traynham, thank you for joining. >> merry christmas. >> why did u.s. customs prevent them from coming into this country? we've got the latest on that investigation. that's coming up.
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kelly cobiella has that story. ♪ sleighbells ring >> reporter: the happiest place on earth at christmastime. a child's dream that ended in tears for the mahmoud family. mohammed tariq mahmoud his brother and nine children were ready to fly from london to los angeles and disneyland last week. their bags checked, boarding passes in hand when they were told their visas approved six weeks ago were suddenly revoked. >> they are really heartbroken. they had tears in their eyes. they were planning this for months. they had a countdown on their phone for the last month. >> reporter: it comes in the wake of the san bernardino shootings and this from donald trump. >> donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states. >> reporter: customs and border protection wouldn't comment on the family's case saying only the religion, faith or spiritual beliefs of an international traveler are not determining
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factors about his or her admissibility into the u.s. and, under u.s. immigration law there are multiple reasons for denying entry. >> why? >> reporter: mahmoud, a personal trainer and gym owner says his family spent $16,000 saving for months to pay for the flights. >> i'm devastated. because i'm a law-abiding citizen. i treat everybody equal. why does it happen to me and my family? >> reporter: he says the children are still dreaming of a disney christmas. >> and again that was kelly cobiella. the mahmoud family is still trying to get an explanation as to why they were turned away in hopes of fixing the problem so they can reschedule the trip. sony pictures wants nfl players to see its new movie "concussion," so much so it's now offering something unusual to them. proud of you, son. ge! a manufacturer. well that's why i dug this out for you. it's your grandpappy's hammer and he would have wanted you to have it.
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way. i will finish what you started. >> oh, kylo ren. nostalgia for parents, yu for yar for kids. the new "star wars" movie burst on to the scene. this weekend the throwback film looks to hold on to that number one spot in the box office. but there is tough competition. a host of movies just being released with big name celebrities. senior editor from "in touch weekly." this is the time of year, the last push for the awards season. but with "star wars" and these crazy numbers that it has done, is anybody dethroning "star wars" this weekend? >> no. it will set another record. it set the thursday night record, the first day opening record, the weekend record, the monday record, the tuesday record, now it will set another record reaching a billion
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dollars in 12 days which would be the record over the christmas holiday weekend. it should be right now about 765 million. so easily it should get to a billion over the christmas holiday. >> and it's a fantastic movie, too. it's nice when there's a great movie that people love that parents love and that kids love. it's a nice feel-good story also that this movie people have been waiting for is going to be number one again. >> and lived up to the hype. there's been buzz about "the danish girl" and about "concussion." the nfl is offering ticks to players and their families. >> a lot of controversy leading up to this movie. "concussi "concussion" starring will smith that will likely get an oscar nomination. sony is offering nfl players and their families free admission. they did screenings prior to the release of it because they were trying to get the message out. this is about the pathologist, the doctor who discovered cte in the brains of nfl players and
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took on the nfl which is not an easy thing to do. >> not an easy thing to do at all. >> and there's been buzz and support for the movie. >> there's been great reviews for the movie. >> and for will smith. two r-rated movies that are opening, "the revenant" and then "the hateful 8" the new quentin tarantino movie. >> he got a lot of publicity over the supposed boycott of tarantino. it's bloody and violent. and stars kurt russell and samuel l. jackson. it is shot in film. so if you see the theaters that are putting it out now, it's this beautiful looking film, antique looking. it's violent. so if you're looking for a happy, you know, family movie, this is not the movie to see. but if you like tarantino, this is his vintage kind of look to this film. >> all good things to look out for.
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movie theaters are open tomorrow. so there you go. happy holidays. that will wrap up this hour of msnbc live. i'm erica hill. stay with us. we're back with our coverage in just a moment. he'll have the latest on the deadly weather in the south we've been following for you throughout the day. also the threat of more severe weather today as we continue our coverage here on christmas eve. have a great holiday. ♪ ♪ (cell phone rings) where are you? well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? he says it's personal this time... if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. where are you? it's very loud there. are you taking a zumba class?
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