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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  January 12, 2016 2:00pm-3:01pm PST

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calm. >> well, it did here. i think if we were in the same situation, we'd probably do what the iranians are doing, tow them to a port and wouldn't release anyone until we get orders from headquarters, and take lots of pictures of the vessels that we captured. >> jack jacobs among our other guests, thanks. the 5:00 hour has arrived here in the east. a night unlike any other in the political calendar here on capitol hill, where the president tonight will deliver the big speech. chuck todd is there to anchor tonight's "meet the press daily." chuck? well, if it's tuesday, it's the last state of the union for president obama. we know he'll say it's strong. but just how much of tonight's address will actually be a campaign speech. this is "mtp daily," live from
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capitol hill, and it starts right now. and good evening, and welcome to a special edition of "mtp daily." we will get to the president's final state of the union in just a moment, but first let's stay with the breaking news that you've been watching for the past 30 minutes from the pentagon. two u.s. navy boats and ten american sailors are being held by iran. so let's get right to our chief pentagon correspondent, jim miklaszewski. so, mick, walk us through what happened here. i heard your reporting earlier to indicate that we're in the middle of resolving this, but it's not yet resolved. >> we haven't gotten the official word yet that those ten sailors and those two riverine boats have been released, but officials here at the pentagon say that they have assurances from iran that they will be released sometime in the near future. now, these two boats, riverine
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boats, which usually ply coastal waters were transiting from kuwait to bahrain in the persian gulf when reportedly, according to military officials, one of those boats suffered a mechanical problem, and while they were apparently trying to repair the boat, the two boats drifted accidentally into the territorial waters off the coast of the farsi island, claimed by iran. now, they were quickly taken into custody, the boats and the ten sailors by the iranian coast guard, but we're told that john kerry got on the phone to tehran and within short order, the iranians said they would release the sailors, but we haven't gotten word that that's happened yet, chuck. >> what were these sailors patrolling? what are they normally doing in these waters? >> they usually patrol coastal waters and they can be looking for anything from a threat to
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mines. mines were used by iran back in the persian gulf years ago, not lately. but they have a variety of tasks they perform usually along the coastal waters or hence the word riverine, in rivers. but in this case, it's not clear exactly what they were doing. we were told they were simply transiting when this occurred. and it's not clear whether it was a mechanical problem or they just lost their bearings. that happens at times. but it immediately raised red flags here, because the iranian navy was very provocative only two weeks ago when the harry t. truman aircraft carrier entered the gulf, and almost within arm's length, the iranian navy launched live fire exercises in the persian gulf that were considered quite provocative, but in the end, uneventful. >> jim miklaszewski, i know you have work to do for "nightly news." thank you. and we're going to hear from the white house on this in just
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a minute when i speak to white house press secretary josh earnest. but first, it's tonight's take on the big speech, president obama's final state of the union here in 2016. the white house worked in overdrive to promote this as a non-traditional address, unlike anything we've seen before. okay. it's the president's last state of the union, but given the full throttle campaign that is under way and the race to replace him, another way to look at it is, this is his first campaign speech of 2016 and probably one we're going to hear said over and over. dennis mcdonough told me on sunday, the president will leave aside the legacy language that you typically hear in a president's final state of the union. instead, he will focus on, quote, a vision of the future. so look no futurther into the future than the race to become his predecessor. according to our most recent poll, president obama heads into the house chamber tonight with a
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45% approval rating. that's right at sort of the razor's edge politically, as far as a national election is concerned. any number lower than that would serve as a head wind for a democrat fighting to take his place. anything higher and it could turn into a tailwind. right now the front-runner for the party is largely ready to embrace his legislative agenda. part of that is out of necessity for hillary clinton. but to get a feel for the fine line that the president is walking tonight, we only need to look back at his immediate predecessors. eight years ago when george w. bush reached his last state of the union, he was the agreed upon pariah in politics at that moment. president bush used that speech to make a full-throated issue for the argument that dominated his presidency, which of course is the iraq wa recall that then senator obama had just won in iowa a few weeks prior. president bush said iraq or iraqi 40 times in that state of
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the union speech. >> the mission iraq has been difficult and trying for our nation, but it is in the vital interest of the united states that we succeed. a free iraq will be a friend of america, a partner in fighting terror, and a source of stability in a dangerous part of the world. by contrast, a failed iraq would embolden the extremists, strengthen iran, and give terrorists a base from which to launch new attacks on our friends, our allies, and our homeland. >> so that was an example of a president using his final state of the union to rebut arguments to the trail. bush's approval rating by the way was scraping the bottom at 34%, significantly lower than the other two-term presidents of the recent era as they entered their final state of the union. and those numbers in the climate weren't lost on him.
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he made a point of noting the divisiveness due largely to the iraq war. >> we face hard decisions about peace and war, rising competition in the world economy and the health and welfare of our citizens. in this election year, let us show our fellow americans that we recognize our responsibilities and are determined to meet them. let us show them that republicans and democrats can compete for votes and cooperate for results at the same time. >> going back further, president bill clinton entered his final state of the union in 2000. he was enjoying a professional popularity rating of 64%. that's how much approved of the job he was doing as president. so clinton's message was simple. let the good times roll. >> never before has our nation enjoyed at once so much prosperity and social progress with so little internal crisis and so few external threats.
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we began the new century with over 20 million new jobs, the fastest economic growth in more than 30 years. the lowest unemployment rates in 30 years, the lowest poverty rates in 20 years, the lowest african american and hispanic unemployment rates on record, the first back-to-back surpluses in 42 years, and next month, america will achieve the longest period of economic growth in our entire history. in 1992, we just had a road map. today we have results. >> i know some of you are wondering, how did democrats lose a third term there? the economic outlook dominated that speech. it did not erase any impeachment drama. personally, bill clinton's favorabililility rating was 20 points lower than his job rating, which created a conundrum.
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meanwhile, clinton did dedicate major applause lines to both gores. >> tonight i propose that we follow vice president gore's suggestion to make low income parents eligible for the insurance that covers their children. i want to take a moment to thank the person who led ourirst white house conference on mental health last year and who for seven years has led all our efforts to break down the barriers to decent treatment of people with mental illness, thank you tipper gore. >> so that's how both of those former presidents in their last state of the union dealt with their politics. tonight, president obama will try to rebut the rhetoric on the campaign trail with tone more than anything. another thing that dennis mcdonough told me on sunday, that there was frustration that the president was hearing from the candidates running to replace him. and in his words, seeming to run down america. well, here's what the president told matt lauer earlier today.
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>> politics is in washington are so much more divided than the american people are. and part of what i want to do in this last address is to remind people, you know what, we got a lot of good things going for us. and if we can get our politics right, it turns out that we're not as divided on the ideological spectrum as people make us out to be. >> well, we'll get to see the results tonight. for more on a preview of what we might hear from the president, let's go to his primary spokesman, he's getting a break tonight, but he joins me now from the white house, press secretary josh earnest. welcome to "meet the press daily." >> glad to be here, it's my first time. >> it is. let me start with the breaking news we got at the top. tell us what you know, is this issue with the iranians and our sailors that are in custody, is it being resolved, or is it resolved? >> well, chuck, at this point, we're still monitoring the situation and it's still not
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entirely clear, exactly what happened. we're still learning, getting some details locked down in terms of what transpired. what i can tell you right now is that u.s. authorities have been in touch with iranian officials who have confirmed for us a couple of things. first of all, our sailors are safe. and they've assured us that our sailors will be allowed to resume their journey promptly. that's what we've heard there them thus far and we'll continue to monitor the situation closely. >> obviously it's pretty late at night over there, is this something that you expect to have resolved before the president speaks tonight? >> chuck, the assurances we've received is that they'll be allowed to continue their journey promptly. i don't have a more specific time frame -- >> what does promptly mean to you? >> promptly means that this is something they're working on and that there shouldn't be a long delay before they're allowed to continue their journey. but in terms of precisely, you
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know, how long that means, it's unclear at this point. >> let's talk about the speech tonight. you guys have been talking about it's going to be a different kind of speech, we're not going to hear a laundry list of issues. does the president have an agenda that he wants this congress to tackle, a realistic one, that he wants this republican congress to tackle for him, specific areas that he will bring up tonight? perhaps on trade, a new war authorization, are there specific things he is going to talk about tonight that he wants this congress to actual do? >> chuck, you're right, the president does have a long to-do list. we could spend an hour talking about all we want congress to do just this year. that's not going to be the focus of the president's address. the president has some ideas for some longer term priorities that congress and the country need to be focused on, but there are a lot of things that we hope the congress can do. you mentioned an aumf, we'd like to see a vote to give our troops the authority they need to carry out actions against isil. we would like to see congress
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ratify the transpacific partnership agreement that we completed at the end of last year. we would like to see congress move forward on bipartisan criminal just reform. there appears to be bipartisan agreement on capitol hill that we could pass legislation that would make our system more fair and our communities safer. we hear a lot of talk on the campaign trail from republican presidential candidates vowing to get serious about the heroin problem in this country. the president and his director of the office of drug policy have been focused on this. we certainly would welcome bipartisan cooperation on that. the president also has been a leading advocate of increasing our investment in research when it comes to medical breakthroughs. and obviously vice president biden has talked quite a bit about the need for a moon shot to cure cancer. the president believes this is a terrific idea. and we obviously would welcome some cooperation with republicans to try to adequately fund that effort and we have seen some encouraging efforts from republicans who indicate
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these investments are good for the country and good for the economy. we actually agree with them. >> that strikes me as a realistic to-do list. let me ask you about the characterization of this speech. since he's laying out a vision for going forward, i take it that he would hope both bernie sanders and hillary clinton embrace this vision and run on it. is that his hope here? >> well, the truth is, chuck, we'd like toies that the presid will lay out tonight, are the kinds of things that don't easily break down along party lines. an example, the president will talk about the economy, and how important it is for us to have policies in place that reflect the way the economy has changed. no longer do people work in the same place for 35 years and graduate and retire with a generous pension and a gold watch. that era is gone. we need policies in place that will allow workers to change jobs, to break away from their job and actually start their own
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business or even go back to school and get some job retraining so they can get an even better job. having this kind of mobile economy that is obviously clearly affected by technology, that's going to have -- that surely is something that democrats and republicans should acknowledge is a priority that would benefit americans across the country. >> all right, josh earnest, i will alive it therleave it ther. thanks for coming on. >> no problem. >> and sitting here is the house majority leader, kevin mccarthy. >> thanks for having me. >> thanks for hosting us here in washington. >> on the citizens side. it's quieter. >> it is. it was very interesting to hear, you're not going to hear the laundry list agenda. i did ask josh earnest and he laid out an agenda that sounded relatively realistic. criminal justice reform, bipartisan. they would like to see the tpp trade deal. he was talking about more funding for nih in some form or
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another, the moon shot for cancer. do you sense the white house is pulling back on what they think they can actual work with you guys on? >> well, what's interesting, when you say about the moon shot, 21st century cures. we already passed that last year. >> in the house side? >> in the house side. so it's gotta be more than just words. there's got to be action. when you think about tpp, think about tpa, the president's own party abandoned him on that. it was the republicans that pushed it over the line. >> your party is splitting on trade? >> if the president wants that, why doesn't he make the case for why it would help the economy. median incomes are lower today than they were in 2000. >> speaker ryan did something they don't normally do, he put it on the record. he said tpp was going to be really hard politically, because his side of the aisle is going to be harder even with tpa. >> tpa wasn't easy either.
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democrats abandoned it on the floor. the president came to congress into their conference that day and they walked out and their own leader voted against them. that's unheard of. so, yes, it even makes it more difficult. but, yes, it's hard on our side as well. >> i think of bakersfield, a place that's benefitted from a lot of trade. >> it has. >> and watching some of this anti-trade talk, what do you make of it as a californian? does it have you nervous about the direction of your party that you see this insular populism readsi rising up? >> you have to make the argument for why it's popular. i'm a firm believer that when you have a level playing field, america can win. so many times we don't feel we have a level playing field. you have to make the argument for it, and there's times it's not and you have to make a better deal. >> another issue, national security and this idea of a war authorization. is this something that's going to happen? >> not only do i believe the
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president has the authority, he says he believes he has the authority. >> he has the authority now. but do you think we need a new one? >> this is my fear, because i met with the administration. the president had drafted one. remember, he sent it to the house. i put a meeting in my office with the administration with a number of members, and we asked this specific question. would this tie the president's hands further and our men and women in the line to carry out the duties that they need and the answer was yes. so why in the world when it's more dangerous today, from paris to san bernardino, to philadelphia, to istanbul this morning and now we're hearing that maybe some american navy officers have been taken from iran. this is a more dangerous -- so why would you want to have less ability to combat this and if the president already has it, why doesn't he lead with it? >> let me ask you on the presidential race, do you feel like you're in a situation where if you endorse somebody you hurt them? because you had a title here in washington, you're part of the
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washington establishment by definition. >> i think i probably would hurt somebody from that perspective. but you know what, i usually don't endorse in the presidential races. i deal with things that i can make a difference in. i don't think these endorsements matter that great. i focus on the house, because i think the house can make a major difference and we have. so that's really where my focus plays. >> do you feel as if you're stuck trying to put out your own agenda? i notice that speaker ryan wants to put out an agenda for house republicans to run on, it may differ from your republican nominee. >> they're out running, we're here in congress -- >> so you think this will help the nominee even if it's one you might not agree with? >> if we get elected to congress, we have a responsibility to govern. we've shown thwhat we've been ae to do in the last year. there's this positive disruption that's happening in the economy and happening in politics. and we want to be a part of that. part of that positive disruption, i know the president
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talks about a 21st century. well, the first place i would start is changing the v.a. that's a big bureaucratic -- it's looking like the old taxi system when today we need an uber system going forward. because it empowers the individual and puts more accountability. >> modernizing government. it is a huge issue that i wish both parties would just say, fine. >> we should do it. >> thanks for coming. coming up, we'll hear from the other side on capitol hill, congressman steve israel on his party's chances in 2016 and why he's bailing. plus, senator john mccain on his relationship with fellow senator and republican presidential hopeful ted cruz. and we'll take a look back at some of the state of the union firsts. take a look. i've been called a control freak... i like to think of myself as more of a control...
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folks, it's starting to look like we could have a trend out there in iowa. another new poll showing hillary clinton and bernie sanders in a very tight race there. but these new numbers have sanders on top. it's a quinnipiac university poll just released today, showing sanders at 49% versus clinton's 44%. it's a 16-point swing from the same poll in mid december when clinton was up 51-40. we had our own poll, nbc news/maris, "wall street journal," we were the first showing bernie gaining, but we had clinton still ahead. one possible reason forhifts in sanders' direction. turn-out. there could be a much higher turn-out in the caucuses. and quinnipiac assumes an even higher turn-out, and that obviously benefits sanders. one other important part, new be numbers on ad spending.
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out of $150 million spend so far, nearly 70% of it has come from outside groups. 83% of republican ad dollars are coming from outside groups versus 2% for the democrats. coming up, much more on our special edition of "mtp daily" live from capitol hill, more elected officials. we'll be right back. this is my body of proof that i can fight psoriatic arthritis with humira. humira works by targeting and helping to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to both joint and skin symptoms. it's proven to help relieve pain, stop further joint damage and clear skin in many adults. doctors have been prescribing humira for 10 years. 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,
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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. want more proof? ask your rheumatologist about humira. humira. this is my body of proof! >> so tonight's state of the union could mark president obama's first 2016 campaign speech. and one key democrat will not be on hand to help his colleague this election cycle after years spent recruiting politicians, he announces his retirement. comes after some difficult elections. israel's retirement may signal what is nearly inevitable for democrats this year, they aren't going to win back the house in 2016. tonight steve israel like obama will be at the state of the union for the last time as a member of the house. he joins me now. congressman, welcome, sir. >> great to be with you.
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>> let me start with the uncomfortable question. you come from, not tsafest of districts. if you ignored your district, you could lose. you just put a seat in play. you were trying to give democrats control of the house in 2016. what do you say to fellow democrats? >> this seat will not be in play in 2016. i know my district better than anybody else. if you're from new york, you better work -- no matter where you're from, people expect you to work hard. but this district performs well for democrats in a presidential. a little tougher in a midterm. one of the reasons i decided to announce that i was leaving now, if i had waited for the midterm, then the seat could have swung to republicans. for me, for my party, sooner is better than later. >> so you were thinking, i'm committed for four? >> i could stay for an extra two years out of a sense of
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selfishness, but that would have made it more difficult for democrats. >> you were the big cheerleader for democrats in the house. >> still am. >> and you thought of 2014 as a set-up to 2016 before the bottom fell out. any sort of, do you sit there and say, i'm out now? some democrats might be upset at you. >> well, first of all, if ted cruz or donald trump become the republican nominees, i believe that the democrats actual have a reasonable prospect of winning the majority in 2016. >>. [ all speak at once ] you believe those two in particular put the house in play. >> yes. >> not jeb bush or rubio? >> less so. there's no question in my mind, either one of those do put the house in play. and i will tell you in the sanctity of members only elevators and other places where my republican friends feel they can be honest, they are petrified with that prospect. >> let me ask you on the money, one of the things that you talked about was the exhaustion
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from raising money. i've heard it, you've told stories, other members tell stories, how much of your off time when you're not on the floor, not at a committee hearing, how much time you have to devote to making calls. you talk about how messed up it is. anything you guys could have done about it as members? forget, i know there's bipartisan disagreement on this, but is there any more you could have done to make this a little bit less of an influential aspect to being in office? >> we did. when the democrats were in the majority. we passed an act that would have required immediate transparency and disclosure of all campaign contributions. the republicans defeated it. we passed it in the house under nancy pelosi. every democrat in the senate voted for it. every republican voted against it. so they thwarted tracampaign finance reform. >> as long as it's all out
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there, instant disclosure, would you be for a version of reform that said, let's get rid of super pacs but anybody can write as big as check as they want for you? >> no. because if you're a middle class person in my district or any district in america and you're trying to figure out how to strengthen your paycheck and send our kids to college, allowing people who have the means to contribute more to congress, that's not good for democracy. if you're the koch brothers and you have a super pac, congress is working out just fine for you. >> my question is this. when all you guys announce your retirements, you always say one of the main reasons, you're tired of all the fund-raising. when does that become a unifying force to do something about this? because individually, every member complains to me about this, left and right. >> when the american people come to the recognition that every major problem and challenge and crisis that we have in washington is rooted in a
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campaign finance system that protects the influential and not them. when this becomes more of a campaign issue, then i believe we can reach a tipping point. >> steve israel, no truthd to the rumor you're going to the mets? we'll have much more on this edition "mtp daily" right after this. working 24/7 on mobile trader, rated #1 trading app on the app store. it lets you trade stocks, options, futures... even advanced orders. and it offers more charts than a lot of other competitors do on desktop. you work so late. i guess you don't see your family very much? i see them all the time. did you finish your derivatives pricing model, honey? td ameritrade. with toothpaste or plain their dentures and even though their dentures look clean, in reality they're not. if a denture were to be put under a microscope, we can see all the bacteria that still exists on the denture, and that bacteria multiplies very rapidly.
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ending an eight-session losing streak. crude prices sank again today, trading below the $30 a barrel mark afor the first time since 2003. prices bounced back slightly, but ended down about 4%. starbucks rose nearly 3%, the company says it's on track to open 500 stores in china this year and says china could overtake the u.s. as its largest market over time. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. and surprise! those seats sometimes cost a ridiculous number of miles, making it really hard to book the flight you want. luckily, there's a better way... with the capital one venture card. with venture, you'll earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, every day. and when you're ready to travel, just book the flight you want, on any airline, then use your miles to cover the cost. now you're getting somewhere. what's in your wallet?
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we are still following the breaking news out of the persian gulf. we are waiting on iran to release ten u.s. sailors who have been detained after accidentally drifting into territorial waters.
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now, we heard from the white house earlier this hour, josh earnest who said they expect this to be resolved promptly. he wouldn't define what that was, whether it would be before the president started speaking, after, before tonight. john kerry has been on the horn with iran and all of this is getting worked out and iran has promised to let these sailors go back onto where they were headed, but we're still waiting for some resolution on this at some point. because it hasn't happened yet. and obviously we're in a precarious situation here with iran. we're in the midst of starting the beginnings of the implementation of the iran politically. it couldn't be coming at a more complicated time for the president. the deal is already unpopular in this chamber. frankly not just with republicans, but with many democrats. so adding a diplomatic crisis with iran on top of the beginnings of when the implementation of this iran deal happens, is gonna make things
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rather complicated. again, ten u.s. sailors detained, apparently a mechanical problem where they drifted into iranian -- on an island that iran claims, farsi island. they were detained by the equivalent of the iranian coast guard. but again, diplomatic conversations have taken place, secretary kerry has been on the horn with his counterparts in iran and everybody is supposed to be -- supposed to be -- essentially let go and allowed to go on their way in the words of josh earnest, promptly. we'll continue to have more as we get it in. now i want to move to an interview i conducted just a few minutes before we learned of this news with the head of the armed services committee, john mccain. here it is. >> joining me now in the state of the union evening is senator john mccain, chairman of the
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senate armed services committee. welcome. >> thank you. good to have you here. >> i love being here. >> this is the real building that makes you think of the senate, not the other two. they look like -- >> they're too new. >> -- howard johnsons or something. but this is really -- coming to work here, i promise you, is still kind of a thrill when i walk through here. >> if you ever lost that thrill, is that when you would say i'm done? >> i think anybody should. you should. if you lose that thrill. >> let me ask you about the presidential race. because everybody is interpreting your hits on ted cruz as you just needling him. that you don't really believe this. why don't you sponsor a senate resolution that claire mccaskill sponsored for you in 2008? >> i think it's not a bad idea. >> would you do it? >> oh, sure. i assume that he is qualified. but we do have to look at it.
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it's somewhat different than my case, which was, i was born in a territory, obviously the canal zone. he's born in another country. so there's some question and all i said was, i think we should look at it. all of a sudden kaboom. >> the assumption is john mccain doesn't like ted cruz, it's another way of saying it. >> ted cruz and i have a cordial relationship person to person. do i disagree with him strongly on some things? absolutely i do. >> what he has done in the u.s. senate that you think does qualify him to be president? >> i don't think there's anything that doesn't qualify him. but i do think it's very wrong to go to the floor of the senate and call the majority leader of your party a liar. it's just not -- i mean, we don't -- this isn't that formal a place and a lot of things said about it are not true, but you just don't go calling your leader a liar -- the majority leader a liar.
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and then said he was the best leader of the democratic national committee or something like that, that's just not appropriate. i just don't like it. >> how is he in committee? you're on armed services together. >> yeah. >> and this guy talks a lot about national security. how is he on the committee? >> well, he voted against the defense authorization bill on several occasions because he said that he did not believe in indefinite detention and my answer to that was, well, what about people who are judged as if they are released will pose a direct threat to our nation's security? and i didn't quite understand his answer. so -- and frankly, he doesn't spend a lot of time on the armed services committee. and that's just the reality. >> how about the fact that the more washington attacks ted cruz, like he thinks it's a good thing to be in a fight with you. >> i can see why. i can see why he -- you know,
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it's funny. the guy that used to be the maverick is now -- >> the establishment. i remember when you were the maverick. i'm old enough to remember. >> there you go. but i have a cordial relationship with him. he does come to a number of hearings. there's no reason for me to have any personal disagreement with him. >> do you have a better relationship with president obama than you do ted cruz? >> oh, no. no, no. i have a good relationship with ted cruz. it's just that we have stron disagreements. that's all. there's a lot of people i disagree with. over the many years, chuck, i've grown to be able to have disagreements with people without having personal enmity. >> there does seem as if there's a larger debate happening in your party. >> yes. >> there's a group of you who i would call internationalists, overall your pro trade, you believe america's a superpower and they need to provide
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stability and answers. then you have another wing of the party that trump and cruz are representing, tougher on borde borders, a little more nationalist, skeptical of free trade, skeptical of intervention. this is actual when you first got into republican politics, that was the old split. but conservativism was more of that split, is that what's going on in the party? >> well, in the way you describe it, you can go all the way back to post world war i. >> right. >> the league of nations. >> sure. >> and then the post world war ii, where you had the vandenberg wing of the party and -- >> the taft. >> taft/eisenhower. excuse me. but this has now got new wrinkles to it, i think. because i think now it has to do with an anger at washington that wasn't an element in those other historic conflicts that we talked about. there's a dislike for washington. there's the slowest recovery in
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history, middle income people have shrunk. millions not working for -- not looking for work. and there's a real frustration out there, and that has given some impetus to the populist trend that we see in trump and cruz and carson to a degree. >> to a lesser extent. >> sure. >> if you had to pick between trump and cruz, do you have a preference? >> no, i don't. i really don't have a preference. my -- i believe still that lindsey graham would have particularly, in these times, been an excellent nominee. >> do you plan on endorsing either of them before the new hampshire primary? >> no. >> you want to try to stay out? >> yes. >> for how long? >> i think until it's decided. >> you think as a former nominee -- >> yeah, i think it's better -- as you know, i have a unique relationship with lindsey graham. i used to call him and me and joe lieberman, the three ameigo. >> tonight the president is
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supposedly going to talk more about -- who knows how you want to interpret it, but if he could run for a third term what his agenda would be. but there are a few things you want to get done now, the trade agreement with tpp and the other, perhaps a new war authorization. what do you need him to say to make a new war authorization palatable on both sides of the aisle? >> i think we have to have an authorization -- and remember he's only there for one more year -- without the restraints that my friend on the other side of the aisle want. i do not believe it's constitutional to say, you are authorized but no ground troops. >> the restriction should be out of the resolution? >> yeah. if you want to give the president authorization, give the commander in chief authorization. if you don't, then, look, after 9/11, that authorization was very clear. go after them and get them. but there are now people, senators who want to have an authorization that says, except for certain aspects. that's, in my view, the
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constitution gives the president of the united states the authority as commander in chief. if congress starts describing what that role is, you're on a slippery slope. >> they be overstepping their bounds? >> absolutely. >> so you probably don't think you need a new authorization? >> no, i would be glad to have an authorization, but i need an authorization that gives the president free hand. if we don't like what the president does, we can do what they did after vietnam. you can cut off the funding. you can stop the president from doing anything. >> that's the role -- >> by cutting off the funding. that's the role of congress. not to describe to the president the parameters under which we can go out and defeat the enemies of the country. >> senator mccain, i'll leave it there. >> thanks, chuck. >> we brought you an extra chair. you don't have to stand up here. >> it's wonderful. i hope i get on the show more often, because with a chair, i'm so much better. [ laughter ] >> thanks. again, that interview was conducted before we learned of these -- of the detainment of
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ten american sailors of an accidental, what secretary kerry is calling an accidental drifting into iranian territorial waters, which is why iran's coast guard took them into custody. the iran government is simply saying they're being treated well. you heard josh earnest, the white house press secretary say they expect them to be released promptly and allowed to go on way. all we can tell you right now, nothing has happened. and this couldn't be happening at a worse time for the administration as we're in the midst of implementing this iran nuclear deal. we'll have a lot more on this and a lot more of "mtp daily" after this commercial break.
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if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or any symptoms of an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis and a $200 savings card we continue, of course, to follow the breaking news. as we know more information, we will share it with you. the pentagon is working to get ten american sailors released from custody after two navy ships accidentally, according to the u.s., drifted into iranian territory. secretary of state john kerry has emphasized that this was an accident, but, of course, this comes can at a tenuous time with the iran nuclear deal in play. tehran is ensuring the crew and the vessels they will be allowed to continue on their way soon. but it is still unclear exactly what "soon" means. this would during a training exercise near farsi island in the middle of the persian gulf. one of the boats had a mechanical problem and ran aground.
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now i am giving back. ask their doctor about once-daily namenda xr and learn about a free trial offer at what i can tell you right now is that u.s. authorities have been in touch with iranian officials, who have confirmed for us a couple of things. first, they have confirmed that our sailors are safe and they have assured us that our sailors will be allowed to resume their journey promptly. that certainly -- that's what we've heard from them thus far and we'll continue to monitor the situation closely. >> while we continue to follow the breaking news from iran, you were just hearing from white
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house press secretary josh earnest at the top of the hour, giving us the update that he could give us then. we are learning that the ten sailors detail include nine men and one woman. secretary of state john kerry says two navy ships accidentally drifted into territorial waters. so joining me now on the phone is tehran's bureau chief, ali aruezi. what are government officials telling the american public about this incident right now? >> reporter: a official government agency is putting a report out saying that two american vessels have been taken. it says that they strayed into iranian waters. the reporters say that they had three 50-caliber guns on the ship. they had gps on the ship and they knew exactly what they were doing. other than that, they're not reporting a lot more, other than what we're getting from you guys in the states. they're saying that the iranians are in contact with the pentagon.
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they're saying that the sailors may be released soon. but those are only reports coming from the states that for a fares is reporting here. the only thing they are indicating here is that ten sailors is have been arrested. they say that they strayed into iranian waters intentionally and they said the ships had three .50-caliber guns on the ship. other than that, not a lot here. it's the middle of the night, it's 2:00 in the morning. as day breaks, we may get more reports on what's going on here. back to you. >> ali aruezi in tehran for us, thanks very much. let's bring in my smaller panel here. i wasn't going to ask you guys here to talk about iran, but the timing of this, could it be worse for the president right now? let's be realistic. >> you know, i don't think it's optimal timing, but i actually think it's -- if he's going to address it, if they think they need to address it, it is an opportunity to do so. i mean, he will be talking to the whole country.
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it's not that hard to -- depending on the situation, but it's not that hard to kind of explain it to the american people and give his view on it. >> a jimmy carter like helicopter crashing in the event is not what he wants -- >> you took it ten yards ahead. >> this president has been accused of kind of being vacant in office. tonight, he's going to bring an empty chair to the state of the union. a lot of republicans think he could have used the one from his oval office, because they see the country as leaderless and this does not help. >> i think usually the president is going to talk about just about this. talking down the, talking down the country, using every opportunity to talk about the country is not doing well. so i think, actually, we'll see on display his ability to talk, to create an optimistic vision of the country. >> it's interesting on tone, alex. because i -- it is a dark tone on the republican campaign trail. >> yes, it is. >> we're always told, conventional wisdom was, the
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most optimistic candidate always ends up winning. >> well, there's one candidate that wants to make america great again. which he borrowed from ronald reagan. and that's one of the unique things about trump -- >> do you think he's the more optimistic of all of them? >> i think probably rubio is, really. his speech, his announcement speech, hillary clinton's yesterday's candidate, there's a better america ahead. we've got to open up our economy. >> his announcement speech was very much more of a forward-looking -- >> that rubio has been, i think, somewhat consumed by the campaign, but it's still in there. that would make him a great general election candidate. >> how much is, do you see the president's state of the union as, here you go secretary clinton or senator sander, this is what i want to see as the democratic agenda going forward? >> i think there's a fair amount of -- i actually think the president is really talking more to the republican primary voters. i think he's -- there's really two visions -- you're not listening. >> they're not going to vote. >> that's one of the weird things we've seen, by the way, is, these things now,
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republicans watch republican presidents give states of the union, democrats watch democrats -- i don't see the other side. >> absolutely. but i think he's actually trying to talk to the broader public. there's a lot of heat and noise on the republican side, that is very negative about the country's direction. i think this is an opportunity for him to explain to the country where we're going, in a more optimistic way. i think he has to still feel people's pain, you know. people still are -- still feeling it out there. but he can't just allow the republicans to sort of drag this down. >> it's been a long time since hope and change, though. >> alex, i was looking at the approval rating numbers. reagan was sitting at about 46 at this moment in time, obama at 45. bill clinton at 64. george w. bush at 34 in these final states of the union. so what is -- do these -- are these gone, the minute he delivers it, as far as the american public, or can it have some impact on the campaign? >> i think barack obama has become disconnected from his
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rhetoric, from his words. there is so little connection between what he says and the way the world we live in has developed. you know, soaring rhetoric and beautiful language that inspires, that's a great gift that he has. but it's, you know, climate change causes terrorism. we can spend our way out of overspending. the answer to more spending is even more spending. a lot of voters think he has just -- living in a distant political universe. i don't expect the words anymore really to have any capacity to help him. >> respond to the -- that's basically the bubble argument. that he's been in a bubble. >> i have to say, if you look at the numbers of all the candidates out there today, if you look at trump's numbers and the broader public, the president's numbers are still a lot stronger than any of the republicans running. so i don't think the american people look at the republican party and say, that's super in
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touch on every single issue i'm focused on. >> we're working on that. we're working on it. >> it seems to be going the other way, though. >> trying to lower expectations. >> you're doing that really well. >> neera and alex, i'll let you go, thank you both. chris matthews and rachel maddow will lead tonight's coverage of president obama's final state of the union address. that begins at 8:00 p.m. tonight. we'll be back tomorrow, coverage of the fallout and back on the campaign trail with more "mtp daily." "with all due respect" starts right now. >> i'm mark halperin. >> and i'm john heilemann, and with all due respect to the rest of joe biden, it's nice to have your mouth back, sir. happy national curried chicken day, sports fans, and greetings from pasadena, california. on the show tonight, the president's last hurrah, joe biden's return engagement, and the gop's escalation. but first,


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