tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC January 5, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PST
because he didn't have access to a powerful weapon. we maybe can't save everybody, but we can save some. just as we don't prevent all traffic accidents but we take steps to try to reduce traffic accidents. as ronald reagan once said, if mandatory background checks could save more lives, it would be well worth making it the law of the land. the bill before congress three years ago met that test. unfortunately, too many senators failed theirs. [ applause ] in fact, we know that background checks make a difference. after connecticut passed a law requiring background checks and
gun safety courses, gun deaths decreased by 40%. 40%. meanwhile, since missouri repealed a law requiring comprehensive background checks and purchase permits, gun deaths have increased to an almost 50% higher than the national average. one study found unsurprisingly that criminals in missouri now have easier access to guns. and the evidence tells us that in states that require background checks, law-abiding americans don't find it any harder to purchase guns whatsoever. their guns have not been confiscated, their rights have not been infringed. and that's just the information we have access to. with more research, we could further improve gun safety, just as with more research, we have reduced traffic fatalities enormously over the last 30
years. we do research when cars, food, medicine, even toys harm people, so that we make them safer. and you know what, research, science, those are good things. they work. they do. but think about this. when it comes to an inherently deadly weapon, nobody argues that guns are potentially deadly, weapons that kill tens of thousands of americans every year, congress actually voted to make it harder for public health experts to conduct research into gun violence. made it harder to collect data and facts and develop strategies to reduce gun violence.
even after san bernardino, they have refused to make it harder for terror suspects who can't get on a plane to buy semi-automatic weapons. that's not right. that can't be right. so the gun lobby may be holding congress hostage right now but they cannot hold america hostage. we do not have to accept this carnage as the price of freedom. [ applause ]
now, i want to be clear, congress still needs to act. the folks in this room will not rest until congress does. because once congress gets on board, with common sense gun safety measures, we can reduce gun violence a whole lot more. but we also can't wait. until we have a congress that's in line with the majority of americans, there are actions within my legal authority that we can take to help reduce gun violence and save more lives, actions that protect our rights and our kids.
after sandy hook, joe and i worked together with our teams and we put forward a whole series of executive actions to try to tighten up the existing rules and systems that we had in place. but today, we want to take it a step further. so let me outline what we're going to be doing. number one, anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and conduct background checks or be subject to criminal prosecutions. it doesn't matter whether you're doing it over the internet or at a gun show. it's not where you do it but what you do. we're also expanding background
checks to cover violent criminals who try to buy some of the most dangerous firearms by hiding behind trusts and corporations and various cut-outs. we're also taking steps to make the background checks system more efficient. under the guidance of jim comey and the fbi, deputy director tom brandon at atf, we are going to hire more folks to process applications faster and we're going to bring an outdated background check system into the 21st century. and these steps will actually lead to a smoother process for law-abiding gun owners, a smoother process for responsible gun dealers, a stronger process for protecting the people, the public from dangerous people.
so that's number one. number two, we are going to do everything we can to ensure the smart and effective enforcement of gun safety laws that are already on the books, which means we are going to add 200 more atf agents and investigators, we are going to require firearms dealers to report more lost or stolen guns on a timely basis, we are working with advocates to protect victims of domestic abuse from gun violence, where too often -- [ applause ] where too often, people are not getting the protection that they need. number three, we are going to do more to help those suffering from mental illness get the help that they need. high profile mass shootings tend to shine a light on those few mentally unstable people who inflict harm on others, but the truth is that nearly two in
three gun deaths are from suicides. so a lot of our work is to prevent people from hurting themselves. that's why we made sure that the affordable care act, also known as obamacare, under that law, made sure that treatment for mental health was covered the same as treatment for any other illness. that's why we're going to invest $500 million to expand access to treatment across the country. it's also why we're going to ensure that federal mental health records are submitted to the background check system and remove barriers that prevent states from reporting relevant information. if we can continue to destigmatize mental health issues, get folks proper care and fill gaps in the background
check system, then we can spare more families the pain of losing a loved one to suicide. and for those in congress who so often rush to blame mental illness for mass shootings, as a way of avoiding action on guns, here's your chance to support these efforts. put your money where your mouth is. number four, we are going to boost gun safety technology. today, many gun injuries and deaths are the result of legal guns that were stolen or misused or discharged accidentally. in 2013 alone, more than 500 people lost their lives to gun accidents and that includes 30 children younger than 5 years old. the greatest most technologically advanced nation on earth, there's no reason for this. we need to develop new technologies that make guns
safer. if we can set it up so you can't unlock your phone unless you got the right fingerprint, why can't we do the same thing for our guns? if there's an app that can help us find a missing tablet which happens to me often, the older i g get, if we can do it for your ipad, there's no reason we can't do it with a stolen gun. if a child can't open a bottle of aspirin, we should make sure that they can't pull a trigger on a gun. right? so we're going to advance
research, we're going to work with the private sector to update firearms technology. when some gun retailers are already stepping up by refusing to finalize the purchase without a complete background check or by refraining from selling semi-automatic weapons or high capacity magazines, and i hope that more retailers and more manufacturers join them. because they should care as much as anybody about a product that now kills almost as many americans as car accidents. i make this point because none of us can do this alone. i think mark made that point earlier. all of us should be able to work together to find a balance that declares the rest of our rights are also important. second amendment rights are important, but there are other
rights we care about as well. and we have to be able to balance them. because our right to worship freely and safely, that right was denied to christians in charleston, south carolina and that was denied jews in kansas city and that was denied muslims in chapel hill and seikhs in oak creek. they have rights, too. [ applause ] our right to peaceful assembly, that right was robbed from movie goers in aurora and lafayette. our unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids in blacksburg and santa barbara and from high schoolers at columbine.
so all of us need to demand a congress brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby's lies. all of us need to stand up and protect its citizens. all of us need to demand governors and legislators and businesses do their part to make our communities safer. we need the wide majority of responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time this happens and feel like your views are not being properly represented to join with us to demand something better. and we need voters who want safer gun laws and who are disappointed in leaders who stand in their way to remember come election time.
i mean, some of this is just simple math. yes, the gun lobby is loud and it is organized in defense of making it effortless for guns to be available for anybody, any time. well, you know what? the rest of us, we all have to be just as passionate. we have to be just as organized in defense of our kids. this is not that complicated. the reason congress blocks laws is because they want to win elections. and if you make it hard for them to win an election, if they block those laws, they'll change course. i promise you.
and yes, it will be hard. and it won't happen overnight. it won't happen during this congress. it won't happen during my presidency. but a lot of things don't happen overnight. a woman's right to vote didn't happen overnight. the liberation of african-americans didn't happen overnight. lgbt rights, that was decades worth of work. so just because it's hard, that's no excuse not to try.
and if you have any doubt as to why you should feel that fierce urgency of now, think about what happened three weeks ago. xaveon dobson was a sophomore at fulton high school in knoxville, tennessee. he played football. beloved by his classmates and his teachers. his own mayor called him one of their city's success stories. the week before christmas, he headed to a friend's house to play video games. he wasn't in the wrong place at the wrong time. he hadn't made a bad decision. he was exactly where any other kid would be. your kid, my kids. and then gunmen started firing. and xaveon, who was in high
school, hadn't even gotten started in life, dove on top of three girls to shield them from the bullets. and he was shot in the head and the girls were spared. he gave his life to save theirs. an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old. greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. we are not asked to do what xaveon dobson did. we're not asked to have shoulders that big, a heart that strong, reactions that quick. i'm not asking people to have that same level of courage or sacrifice or love.
but if we love our kids and care about their prospects and if we love this country and care about its future, then we can find the courage to vote, we can find the courage to get mobilized and organized, we can find the courage to cut through all the noise and do what a sensible country would do. that's what we're doing today and tomorrow, we should do more and we should do more the day after that, and if we do, we'll leave behind a nation that's stronger than the one we inherited and worthy of the sacrifice of a young man like xaveon. thank you very much, everybody. god bless you. thank you. god bless america. >> the president just threw down over gun control and gun rights
in this country before an audience in the east room of advocates on the subject. he talked about dr. king, he talked about the fierce urgency of now. he talked about the ritual that has become mass shootings and then the presidential reaction to it, how he has talked about it 13 times in office. he said quote, i believe in the second amendment but then he followed up with the gun lobby is holding congress hostage and the president became very emotional on the subject once again of sandy hook elementary. eugene robinson is among those with us watching with us, reacting with us. associate editor of "the washington post" and long-time contributor here. eugene, will it make any difference? >> well, you know, that's a big question. it was extraordinary, brian. none of us has ever seen president obama become that emotional, wiping away tears
toward the end of the speech when he once again brought up the newtown massacre. he spoke several times during that brief speech about how deeply that incident affected him, and you sensed, you felt the cumulative effect of massacre after massacre after massacre, the long list he read at the beginning. so you know, it's not that the measures that he is taking on his own and able to take on his own will make all the difference in his view on gun violence. i think some could be quite effective. and it's not that his call for congress to act is going to make any immediate difference because indeed, he says this won't happen during his presidency. but i think in a sense, he was -- this was more -- not just
to announce some measures and not just to pressure congress, but to help build a movement and to start some momentum toward eventually enacting gun laws which will require congress that might make a difference from the president's point of view. so i think he would see this as a beginning rather than a culmination. >> eugene, watching him, this is against the context of a president entering his last year in office, because of what has happened on his watch and because of his evident emotion today, if you were looking for something, a clue as to the issues he may try to tackle in his post-presidency, it certainly was evident today. >> exactly. one certainly got the impression that this is something president obama intends to stay on and
stick with long after he becomes former president obama, and you can certainly see, for example, his not yet built but soon to be built presidential library and also whatever sort of foundation he ends up starting. one presumes he probably will do something like that. you could see those institutions playing a role in his post-presidential push on gun laws. this is something he clearly believes needs to happen. it will take a long time to happen, and from every indication, it's something that he intends to be at the center of. >> eugene robinson, thank you. we are watching on the other side of the screen there congresswoman, former congresswoman gabrielle giffords receiving a warm reception there. she sat in the front row for the president's remarks. before we go to andrea mitchell
and the rest of our friends, experts and guests waiting to talk to us, for those who perhaps just joined us, we want to play for you an show to you now clearly the most emotional moment in the president's remarks from the east room minutes ago. >> and from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from their lives from a bullet from a g gun -- every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. and by the way, it happens on the streets of chicago every day.
so all of us need to demand a congress brave enough to stand up to the gun lobby's lies, all of us need to stand up and protect its citizens, all of us need to demand governors and legislators and businesses do their part to make our communities safer. we need the wide majority of responsible gun owners who grieve with us every time this happens and feel like your views are not being properly represented to join with us to demand something better. >> the president just a few minutes ago in the east room. let's bring in andrea mitchell. andrea, i keep thinking of the parallel construction of his speech, the parallel universe that we live in. there's an equal and opposite reaction to everything he says.
the nra was reacting on twitter in realtime to every point he raised. there will be a spike in gun purchases as a result of these remarks. there always is. what do you make of it all? >> well, i think that this was not the president obama who has been criticized for not showing leadership, for not being emotional. this was a president openly crying when he talked about the children at newtown, as he had not quite this much but right after that incident, he was very emotional, not tearful, on october 1st in the briefing room when he said how has this become routine. but this is the most emotional. he clearly feels the clock ticking. he said this is not going to happen under his presidency. he acknowledged that. he knows he faces lawsuits, the kind of lawsuits congress threw up against his executive actions on immigration but he's taking a stand now and there are political ramifications. we are now engaged in a battle. he pointed out that pat toomey,
a republican and joe manchin, a democrat, joined together and even that legislation could not pass after newtown on background checks. and george w. bush endorsed background checks. so he's got republican support and he's got political polling, bipartisan polling in poesupporf this but you will see a fierce lobbying effort by the nra. you will see action, we already heard from paul ryan, the speaker, and you will see some concern not by hillary clinton, who has already come out in favor of what the president just said, was e-mailing and putting out statements, but there is going to be some concern in swing states that despite what the polling is, the nra is just very effective and it does affect congressional races. that's where they have their power. so the battle is on. barack obama knows he will not win the legislative battle but he's hoping that he can arouse this concern and make it a general election debate. >> andrea mitchell will obviously be coming right back to you at the conclusion of this
round. tremaine lee from msnbc here with us in the studio, watching with us, and i should add, a gentleman who has immersed himself in this topic. we heard the president talk about the second amendment. he said i used to be a constitutional law professor, i know a little something about it. he said i believe in the second amendment but he also rhetorically asked what about our rights to peaceful assembly? what about our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? >> during the eulogy for reverend pinkney in south carolina, president obama talked about the unique mayhem of gun violence. there are over 300 million americans, almost as many guns in this country as americans. when you see him talk with wet eyes about those first graders killed in that classroom, about the young man in tennessee who dove in front of a group of young women to save their lives, you soo ee the spectrum of peop behind him, the mother of jordan davis, killed at a gas station over loud music, the mother of a boy shot in a park in chicago
weeks after marching in a parade. gabby giffords, shot in a grocery store. the list goes on and on. the idea the wide spectrum of people touched by gun violence touches us all. of course, there is that legislative fight. the political fight. but there are also for the president it seems the emotional and moral fights to do something. the idea of courage in the face of a lobby that is not only rich financially but rich in those they touch in the middle of the country who may not see that everyday bloodshed. as you mention, it's not just the 11,000 or so killed in homicides each year. the 20,000 who kill themselves with guns. the 80,000 people who are injured every year. he talked again about the fierce urgency of now, the kind of if not now, then when. and i think we rarely see this kind of emotion but when he's in that rhythm, that emotional rhythm where he has his hand on the pulse of the emotions of so many americans, it's resounding in a special kind of way. legislatively and legally, we'll see because these measures, i
think the nra kind of poked at him in a statement saying this is what they have been talking about for seven years, but it is a step that no one else has taken so far. >> all right, tremaine lee, who has covered and written about this subject with that very same passion and we are also joined by jim cavanaugh, former special agent with the atf and a long-time contributor with us. jim, i wanted to talk to you today as a gun owner, as a gun expert, as a long-time veteran of law enforcement, and because the atf came up in the president's remarks, his proposal to add 200 agents. a couple of questions here. what is the state currently of your old organization, the atf, and what did you make of the president's remarks given the fact that we live in this parallel society? >> well, brian, the president's heart's in the right place and everybody in that room's heart's
in the right place. we need new gun laws. we need comprehensive background checks. we need a lot of changes to the gun laws. we need to take the chokehold the gun lobby has on the congress and we need political courage. all that being said, this really doesn't change anything. this being sold as a change in background checks is just not there. there's nothing there. this is just a restatement of existing law. we enforce this law. i was in atf for 33 years, commander, agent in charge. i know the law intrinsically and made many, many cases over those years and directed many cases on unlicensed gun dealers, illegal traffickers, criminal gangs trafficking guns. this does not increase background checks. it's sort of oversold. i mean, it's good people. the president's passionate, i think maybe the best thing that's come out of this is his remarks right there that are passionate that might move some voters, you know, in congressional elections to pull
the lever a different way, but if people are expecting that background checks are going to change because of this, it's just not there. there really is nothing there. he's hampered by the law. you have to change the law. it's not that he's hampered by his desire. i'm sort of disappointed he hasn't nominated an atf director. they have been without a director for another six or eight months. the agency also is, you know, not been plussed up with agents. there are 2600 agents, they had that level in 1972. you can't even find an agency that's been not plussed up many times since the population's increased. always held down by the congress. >> why do you think that is, especially in the post-9/11 era where to be frank about it, there has been so much money flying around in the homeland security business, some branches of the service, the u.s. coast guard has seen their budget just
explode. they are happy to have it. why do you think that is the situation with atf? >> well, it's the gun lobby. it's clearly the gun lobby. they don't want to see more atf agents. they don't want to see it strong. they will fight with that, they will get their minions to fight that. look, if you believe the argument that we don't want new laws, we want to enforce existing laws, then give atf 1,000 people, appoint a director, give them some of the surveillance tools we used to have. we used to have a fleet of eight or ten cessna airplanes with special agent pilots so we can follow the loads of guns from miami to new york and alabama to boston. that's all gone. so these are small things in a federal budget but they don't want to give them the tools. 200 agents or 200 employees for the 2017 budget, barely just matches attrition and the congress has to do it. so you're not going to get a
plus-up for it. atf will go out, the men and women there will go out and do the right thing. they will make cases on these criminal traffickers. they do it all the time. and they will bring them to court, they will prosecute them but that all takes time. it takes multiple undercover buys, it takes surveillance, it takes video, it takes evidence, it takes proof beyond a reasonable doubt. it's our daily business. they will do a good job and they will do that kind of job within the law. but it would be nice if the president would appoint a director. i mean, that would give a message to atf that we're behind you. >> atf veteran jim cavanaugh, thank you as always. since so much of this conversation begins and ends at capitol hill and the members there, let's go to luke russert. luke, how do you think this will be received up there? >> well, not surprisingly, a lot of republicans in congress are quite upset by this. speaker of the house paul ryan just released a statement with some very strongly worded
language. i'm going to read it. he says that president obama's words and actions amount to a form of intimidation that undermines liberty. ryan then goes on to say he expects this to be challenged in courts around the country and also said that a republican president could overturn it if he were to become president and that's one of the reasons why republicans have to win in november. that's a very overtly political thing for the speaker of the house to say from his office here on capitol hill. it shows you the disdain that ryan has, in fact, for this announcement. also, some interesting feedback that i have gotten from republican members of the house appropriations committee. they control the purse. well, in order for those 200 agents to be hired and to have that money for mental health the president wants, he conceivably would have to find that money from the house of representatives approving it. you are hearing from house republicans on the appropriations committee that they would not allow this funding of new agents to go forward as it stands right now and they want to look at the
proposal more closely, exactly how it pertains to mental health. i wouldn't be surprised if you saw the house even move legally to challenge this as they have done in the past against other president obama's executive actions. so what the president said will certainly resonate with a lot of americans but remember, for any of it to actually move forward and become law in regards to atf agents and mental health, that has to come with the power of the purse and right now the republicans don't like the way the president has operated on this issue and they are very well funded and backed by groups that oppose this type of legislation. >> there you have a state of our politics at least on capitol hill, at least with members of congress. luke russert, thanks. to steve kornacki we go for the reaction among those running for president. >> yeah, so following up on what luke said there, the power certainly exists, any of these republicans get elected president to undo everything that the president outlined today and that's exactly what the republican candidates are saying, even before the president spoke today, ted cruz called his actions illegal and
unconstitutional. while the president was speaking, cruz said these executive actions are not worth the paper they're printed on. marco rubio said the president is waging a war on the constitution. donald trump said an assault on the second amendment. chris christie, likened the president to a petulant child. the republicans making it clear they have no interest in going down this road if they are elected. on the democratic side, obviously a different reaction, not surprisingly. hillary clinton tweeted during the speech thank you, potus, for taking a crucial step forward on gun violence. our next president has to build on that progress, not rip it away. just a minute ago we got a statement from bernie sanders, the other major democratic candidate, saying he supports the president's actions because quote, no mass shooting, he has decided that no mass shooting no matter how big or bloody will inspire republicans to put children and innocent americans over the interests of the nra. the interesting thing there with bernie sanders, is that in his
congressional career coming from the state of vermont, there had been plenty of big votes where he has voted with the nra, with the republicans and against most democrats. most notably in 1993, when the brady bill, the original background check bill that was passed in 1993, when that was passed by the house, bernie sanders voted against it, against the clinton administration, and with the nra on that vote. but now he says he's for this. >> that has come up in democratic debates in the past. steve kornacki, thank you as always. back to the white house we go to our chief white house correspondent chris jansing. as we said at the outset, the president today threw down on this issue in a way that he hasn't in the past, though 13 presidential addresses following mass shootings, you could argue this has been building just as it's been building as an issue. as he enters the last year of his presidency, people start tossing around the "l" word for legacy, this has to be right up there. >> reporter: it's a choice he made for his legacy that he's
going to focus on this as a primary decision in his final year. look, he's got all these events this week. we saw him yesterday in the oval office, today he's going to do the town hall. you are going to hear him talk about it at the state of the union. this is something that he feels very deeply and i agree with you that this was building. this was frustration that he has felt since newtown of his inability of the administration's inability to get congress to take action coming to the surface. emotion in a way we haven't seen it before. to him this is very personal. he has said that newtown was the worst day of his life. you heard him talking about all the different places that he has been and given those addresses over the years from fort hood to oak creek to newtown to navy yard to charleston to san bernardino. some of the most eloquent, moving, deeply felt speeches we have ever heard from a president who has incredible skills,
communication skills, particularly in these situations. i think that he also, you see the anger. he said i get mad when i think about those kids. he is angry that what he sees as common sense and what many americans see as common sense has not gotten out there, has not changed minds in congress. i don't know that the white house has any expectation it will now, but they do hope in the future if there's another democratic president and if people vote as you heard him say and there's a new congress, that things will change. it's not something that's going to go away as an issue for him when he leaves office a year from now. >> chris jansing on the north lawn of the white house after an emotional event inside the east room at the white house. we will take a break here and when we return, andrea mitchell of "andrea mitchell reports" will take over. shoots and burns its way into your day, i hear you. to everyone with this pain that makes ordinary tasks
extraordinarily painful, i hear you. make sure your doctor hears you too! i hear you because i was there when my dad suffered with diabetic nerve pain. if you have diabetes and burning, shooting pain in your feet or hands, don't suffer in silence! step on up and ask your doctor about diabetic nerve pain. tell 'em cedric sent you. (politely) wait, wait, wait! yyou have to rinse it first.t, what's that, alfredo? no, that can go in. no it can't! what are you, nuts? that's baked-on alfredo. baked-on? it's never gonna work. dish issues? trust your dishwasher with cascade platinum. it powers... through... your toughest stuck-on food. better than finish.
(to the hostess) see, told you it would work... (turns to girl 2) you guys heard me say that, right? cascade. the tougher tough-food cleaner. ugh! heartburn! no one burns on my watch! try alka-seltzer heartburn reliefchews. they work fast and don't taste chalky. mmm...amazing. i have heartburn. alka-seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief.
our thanks to brian williams and the team. i'm andrea mitchell. joining me for our daily fix, chris cillizza, msnbc contributor and founder of the "washington post" fix blog. "usa today" washington bureau chief susan page. nbc's hallie jackson live in iowa. nbc's kristen welker also in iowa. covering the clinton campaign, msnbc's kasie hunt live in new hampshire. first to you, kristen. hillary clinton tweeted out personally her approval of what the president had done. this has been a big position for the democrats. there is also bipartisan support, we should point out, but it's not in congress and there's a lot of nra opposition. do you expect that she will mention this on the campaign today in iowa? >> reporter: oh, i absolutely think she's going to mention this. she's been talking about the president's new executive actions on guns in recent days. so i anticipate she will echo what we heard in that tweet that you just read, that she supports what the president did and if
she is in fact elected, she will take it one step further. she has of course called for expanded background checks, going even further than what the president has proposed. this is as you point out, something that the clinton campaign believes is a political win not only within this democratic primary, but in a general election as well. she also thinks that it's a distinction that she can draw with vermont senator bernie sanders who of course has a very checkered past when it comes to gun and gun law enforcement. i think you are going to hear secretary clinton talk about it not only today, but in the coming days. she believes this is a political win for her. >> hallie jackson, in des moines, also in iowa, but very different campaign on that tour with ted cruz. ted cruz just announcing through his new hampshire office that he's not going to attend the state of the union, he is clearly taking a very different tack on guns and just about everything else. >> reporter: absolutely.
interesting that he will be campaigning in new hampshire on guns. this is something that senator cruz and i talked about on his campaign bus when we were out in iowa driving around des moines and six different counties yesterday. he said he would absolutely repeal president obama's executive actions on guns. i asked him specifically, hillary clinton has said that republicans would in fact delight in that and he said to me this is one of the few times that hillary clinton and i actually agree or that i agree with something she said. i would roll back those executive orders and i would take delight in doing so. somebody else we are out with today, franklin graham, evangelical leader, son of billy graham. we talked a little about this issue of gun control and franklin graham said he does understand president obama's frustration because he feels frustrated, too, at gun violence but he feels president obama is going about it the wrong way. >> and franklin graham, we should point out, has been a very sharp critic of president obama's on a lot of things, including a lot of birther mentions over the years, starting in 2010, saying he was
born a muslim and all the rest. he has been in a very different place indeed than barack obama. kasie hunt up in new hampshire, new hampshire has gun laws in new hampshire, the hunting state as of course is vermont, that's one of bernie sanders' explanations for his gun support in the past. that's still a campaign issue up there, though, especially with independents who can vote in these primaries. >> reporter: it is, andrea. you have seen a little bit of traction around this issue with chris christie, of course, in this republican primary, cutting the other way. his past support very early in his political career for an assault weapons ban is something that we have seen sort of flare up behind the scenes, if you will, for chris christie here. governor jeb bush has been touting his record with the nra although he got into a little bit of trouble over the past couple of days by saying that he received the statesman of the year award from the nra which is not an award that actually exists. his campaign had to come out and say no, he just gave a keynote
speech at the nra convention and was given a rifle by an nra official who wasn't charlton heston who was part of the original story. bush had been saying he received this rifle from charlton heston who of course was for a period of time the president of the nra, but second amendment rights supporters are very much still an active part of the electorate up here, and it plays out in interesting ways, because as you know, this is often viewed as the place where a moderate candidate can get some traction. that is not the case on the gun rights issue. it's something that while the state may be more secular than some of the other voting states, that is not an issue in which they deviate very much from the republican orthodoxy. >> susan page, you were in new hampshire yesterday and interviewed chris christie. at this stage in his campaign, he's beginning to get some traction but new hampshire really is do or die for chris christie. >> all his chips are on new hampshire. where could he win after new hampshire, even if he did really well in new hampshire, is there
another state because the next states tend to be in the south. that's not great territory for chris christie. what he said was new hampshire could change everything. and it is true that new hampshire and iowa results have sometimes shifted the game in a big way. he in fact predicted that if he came out of new hampshire with a head of steam, he could win in south carolina, a state where he's now sixth down in single digits. that would be a real turn-around for chris christie. >> i want to also ask you about president obama because we have rarely seen him this emotional. this is the no drama obama, often criticized for his lack of emotion in fighting for some of these things, but he was openly crying when he talked about the newtown children and as the cumulation of incident after incident, tragedy after tragedy, victims young and old, he became more passionate. >> i have never seen tears come down his cheeks the way they did. he had to stop and try to compose himself before moving on. you know, you can make the argument that nothing's going to pass in this congress and i think that's true when it comes
to gun issues. on the other hand, nothing will ever pass if the advocates for gun laws don't speak up, start to build a coalition, if the president doesn't talk about it, if the democratic nominee this year doesn't talk about it in a serious way, in a way that the democratic candidates have not done for about two decades now on the national stage, talking about the need for new gun laws. it will never happen. this is a process that if it's going to happen, it's going to take some time, some period of years, and building a coalition that at the moment doesn't really exist. >> chris cillizza, the president acknowledged that emancipation for african-americans took time, lgbt rights took time, although less time in the long decades of political history than you might have expected, and that this will not happen under his presidency. it's been considered a failure by many critics in both parties of his leadership and joe biden's leadership after newtown but still, he's trying to put it front and center and you are going to hear it in the state of
the union which is earlier than usual. i will be next week. a week from today. >> you know, we heard i think in the last few times, he talked about it being routine but we heard the last few times the president has appeared in front of the nation or appeared at one of these events in the wake of a gun tragedy, we have heard that emotion. i'm with susan that we have not seen and heard it to the extent we have seen and heard it today but you saw sort of where he is headed on this. i think it's a remarkable thing for a guy who is as clinical, professorial, does not show his emotions on his sleeve the way other politicians do. this issue has quite clearly gotten to him and he quite clearly feels passionate about it not just from a policy perspective but from a personal perspective. you hear him talk about how it could have been my kids when he was relaying the kid who jumped in front of the shooter. this is something that i think the last year of his presidency will be spent talking about and trying to do more on.
>> if she is the nominee, hillary clinton is certainly going to make it a front and center issue. thank you very much to the whole political team. make sure to tune in to "hardball" on msnbc for chris matthews' interview with hillary clinton, her first national television interview of 2016. breaking news from afghanistan. a senior u.s. defense official telling nbc news that at least one service member was killed, two other u.s. forces were wounded after a counterterrorism combat operation and recovery attempt in southern afghanistan in helmand province. the taliban has claimed responsibility for shooting down a transport helicopter. joining me, nbc chief pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. nbc chief foreign correspondent richard engel as well. mick, first to you. what do we know happened here? we have all seen these transport helicopters. was it weather? was it a shoot-down? >> senior defense officials and military officials here at the pentagon confirm that all three
casualties occurred during that special operations counterterrorism operation against targets there near marjah in the helmand province in southern afghanistan. now, it was because of those casualties that a medevac helicopter was flying into the area when it got some kind of mechanical difficulty that forced it down to the ground. now, about the same time, there was a mortar blast somewhere near the helicopter but it had no effect on the helicopter itself. they are strongly denying any claims by the taliban that the helicopter was shot down. and we are told that whatever that counterterrorism operation was, nobody is providing the precise details of that operation quite yet because they say it's still ongoing. >> thanks to mick. richard engel, also of course, this happening, the taliban's rising strength in afghanistan just as huge setbacks for u.s. foreign policy regarding isis and the syrian peace talks
because of this conflict, rhetorical and also at the embassy in tehran between saudi arabia and iran. >> reporter: those images coming from the saudi embassy in tehran being ransacked and destroyed are incredibly powerful, and they show just how much anger there is between these two nations and how much anger there is right now between the two ethnic groups, between arabs and persians, between sunnis and shias, the basic issues that are tearing the middle east apart these days are being exposed by this current crisis, this war of words, this diplomatic rift between iran and saudi arabia that was brought about or sparked this weekend when saudi arabia executed, among other people, a prominent shiite cleric who had been a fierce
critic of the saudi royal family, the saudi government says that he is a terrorist, even likened him to osama bin laden. but by putting to death that shiite cleric in saudi arabia, it has exposed the profound differences between saudi arabia and iran and how unstable the middle east is right now, and to get to your point, this is exactly what washington does not need at the moment. washington needs consensus. the president has been talking about the importance of consensus, how all the nations of the world, sunni, shia, arab, persian, need to get together to fight isis. instead they are squabbling with each other. >> within the last hour the saudi embassy here put out a statement of support for saudi arabia against iran by john mccain, acknowledging that their human rights abuses in saudi arabia but that nothing justifies the ransacking. when you talk about the powerful
imagery of course it reminds all americans of our embassy in '79 and what that meant to america, the beginning of fractured relationship. thanks, richard engel and jim miklaszewski for all that reporting. and to the political team as well for this special edition of "andrea mitchell reports." that does it for us today. remember, follow the show online on facebook and twitter. "msnbc live" with thomas roberts is up next. ♪ ♪ (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? rheumatoid arthritis like me...
and you're talking to a rheumatologist about a biologic, this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira helping me reach for more. doctors have been prescribing humira for more than 10 years. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contrubutes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened, as have blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have flu-like symptoms or sores. don't start humira if you have an infection. talk to your doctor and visit humira.com this is humira at work.
hi, everybody. i'm thomas roberts. we begin with breaking news from the white house today. president obama just moments ago in one of the most emotional addresses we have ever seen him give in office outlining those executive actions designed to reduce gun violence in america. the president flanked there on stage by family members of victims, loved ones he's had to personally console again and again in the wake of each mass shooting, including parents of first graders, massacred at sandy hook elementary school.
>> from first graders in newt n newtown. first graders. and from every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our lives by a bullet from a gun. every time i think about those kids, it gets me mad. >> obviously the president quite emotional as he was speaking about that and hillary clinton tweeted her support of the president's remarks, thanking him for taking what she calls a crucial step forward on gun violence. meanwhile, as you can