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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  January 27, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PST

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they toy with everybody else, so let them have their debate. when they sent out the wise guy press releases, i said, bye-bye. >> mano a mano, trump's key rival says he doesn't need a debate to take on the republican front-runner. >> we'll do 90 minutes lincoln douglas, mano a mano, donald and me. he can lay out his vision for this country and i can lay out mine in front of the men and women of iowa. and measuring the grapes? bernie sanders in the oval office this hour with president obama. what are the chances he can use iowa to sling shot himself to the white house for real, obama style? >> but i will tell you that in the last couple of months we have gained a whole lot of ground. and again, i think we stand a real chance to create a large voter turnout. i doubt that it will be as high as 2008. wish it was, but i don't think it will be, but i think it will be high enough for us to win here in iowa.
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thank you all very much. good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington, a happening place today, because here in washington as well, bernie sanders. he's taking a break from campaigning in iowa just five days before the caucus for a private meeting with president obama. only the second that he has had since obama took office. this comes after the president lavishly praised hillary clinton in an interview with politico. meanwhile, donald trump is spending yet another day grabbing headlines for announcing his plans to skip tomorrow night's fox debate. let's join our team on the trail in des moines, iowa, nbc's hallie jackson following ted cruz, msnbc's kasie hunt sticking with the sanders campaign, msnbc's kristen welker outside of des moines, iowa,
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with hillary clinton, hosting a get out the caucus event at this moment. first, donald trump, is this the right play, wrong play, too early to say? >> reporter: too early to say, andrea. at this point, it could go one of two ways for donald trump, right? he could either be seen as the strong man here, the guy who can make his own play, call his own rules and do his own thing, or the attacks from his rivals could potentially stick. you're seeing the rest of the republican field trying to portray donald trump as simply too weak and too scared to go up against not just the fox news moderating team, but the rest of the field as well and defend his own record. you had even, for example, ted cruz today come out and tweet a scene from "monty python" about brave sir robin running away, cruz having some fun with this and trying to push his argument that he's the one who's able to stand up and defend his own record. at the same time, there's a question of how effective it will be, especially if donald trump is able to pull those headlines with whatever alternative event he's planning. >> and you know, we have to sort of drill back into what really
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happened with fox news, because they did issue a statement, very provocative, attacking and saying, "we learned from a secret back channel that the ayatollah and putin both intend to treat donald trump unfairly when they meet with him if he becomes president. trump has his own secret plan to replace the cabinet with his twitter followers to see if he should even go to those meetings." so, hallhallie, it begs the question, would any candidate ignore that kind of taunt from a debate? megyn kelly aside, trump doesn't have a right to choose the moderator. she's got quite a track record. but putting out a statement like that, didn't they sort of ask to be dissed? >> reporter: but that's the argument trump's campaign is making, andrea. that's exactly the point they're putting out there, that why would they participate in a debate when they feel the deck is going to be stacked against them, anyway? and that's why you're seeing trump take the steps they're taking. the rnc, the republican national committee, really staying out of this one with a spokesperson saying, hey, obviously, we want all the candidates to
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participate, but we leave it up to each campaign to decide what is in their best interests. and clearly, donald trump has made the assessment that not appearing tomorrow night would be in his best interests. you talk about, though, who will be the target on stage? most likely ted cruz, andrea. he will face incoming fire from the rest of the field. you're seeing more candidates weigh in. chris christie talked about donald trump's potential no-show. and just a couple minutes ago, marco rubio did, too, and he said "these kinds of theatrics by ted cruz and donald trump are an entertaining side show, but they have nothing to do with defeating hillary clinton." rubio continuing, "i'm going to stay focused on uniting the republican party so we can defeat hillary clinton and turn the page on eight years of liberal failure. we don't have time for" what he called "these kinds of distractions." so, what you're seeing the candidates do, like in this statement from rubio, is pivot to whatever message, whatever closing argument they're trying to sell to voters in iowa. so, marco rubio is trying to sell that he's the uniter, he can bring the party together to defeat the democratic nominee. ted cruz is arguing that he's
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the one strong enough to sort of stand up to donald trump and put his record out there. so, everyone's using this in whatever way will be advantageous to them, which is, of course, unsurprising 100 hours out to caucuses. >> and kasie hunt at the white house, which is, of course, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for all these candidates, there is bernie sanders walking down the drive today, walking up the drive into the white house. and you know, i'm told that this invitation was -- he mentioned it at the christmas ball, sanders did, to the president. the president made the invitation informally that it was awkward last week that, according to aides, it was not as a result of any second-guessing, whether he had been too favorable towards hillary clinton in that "politico" interview. that said, he's walking into the white house where, you know, he mini filibustered the president's tax cut bill back in 2010, to the point where, you know, the president brought out bill clinton into the briefing room to try to rescue his own
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package. there's no love lost, at least on programs between bernie sanders and barack obama. and we know the president wants a democrat to win. >> reporter: and that's what you're hearing from bernie sanders out here on the trail, too. and hillary clinton is using exactly that to push back, right? bernie sanders saying, you know, i want universal health care for everyone. hillary clinton taking and saying that that means he would rip up the president's health care law, which she, of course, is arguing is something that should be built on. but you're right, i mean, in many ways, it's not quite the way ted cruz is to the republican party. it's not that far along in animosity, but bernie sanders has certainly been an agitator from the left, and i think that you're seeing that play out here on the ground in iowa as well. and of course, there's so much tugging over who exactly is the heir to the obama legacy, either lilly ttle
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politically or policywise. on the political front, bernie sanders trying to recapture that magic that obama found here on the ground in iowa in 2008. that new quinnipiac poll showing that he's leading, narrowly, hillary clinton. but if you dig into it a little bit, you'll see that he's way up with first-time caucusgoers, 72% to 26%, while those people who have caucused before are favoring hillary 54% to 38%. and that lines up with a lot of what i've been hearing from the people i talked to on the ground here, a lot of them who say, you know, i caucused in 2008, i was excited about the president, but you know, i really got to know hillary clinton during that time, and at this point, i feel like it's time for her. i think you hear that a lot from people who have been to caucuses before. but on the flip side, there's a lot of excitement among the people that are attending these bernie sanders rallies who haven't been in the political process before. they're younger. i will say, though, andrea, one
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difference that stuck out to me as we've covered the democratic side. unlike the republicans, where there's all this animosity -- if you support ted cruz, you really aren't interested in caucusing for donald trump at all -- people here who are supportive of bernie sanders say, you know what, at the end of the day, hillary clinton would still do a good job for them and i could see myself getting on board in the general election. >> and of course, with the complicated caucus buses, we don't know what the o'malley people will do. let's say they don't leak that threshold, which is pretty much assumed, which way would they go? this is a closely fought race. kristen welker with the clinton campaign today. she has one event today an then goes east to raise money. a clear indication that they are now seeing a much longer primary and caucus contest than they had anticipated, and he showing some confidence going to minnesota last night and sort of putting down the foundation in the next -- in the other caucus states, not the next one up, but in caucus states, the way barack obama did in '08.
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collect the candidates in the caucus states. it's a lot easy for an insurging candidacy than in the primaries. >> reporter: absolutely. and andrea, the crowds that senator sanders got last night were just stunning, 14,000 at one event in minnesota, 6,000 at a second event in duluth, minnesota. so, real optics there. you've got to imagine that that makes the clinton campaign nervous, in addition to the fact that the polls are so close here in iowa. as you point out, they are preparing for what could likely be a long, drawn-out fight. at the same time, they're still trying to win iowa aggressively. if you talk to the clinton campaign, they say they have built a ground game that is second to none, that is based off of president obama's ground game in 2008. they even have some of the same players here. they are reaching out to young voters on college campuses and also through social media. the question, of course, andrea -- we always say this every election -- will be about turnout. if you see a big turnout, particularly among young voters,
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that is going to favor bernie sanders. as kasie was talking about, those younger voters, those first-time caucus voters right now say they favor bernie sanders. so, secretary clinton making a last-minute push for those as well. by the way, she's going to be back here right after that stop in philadelphia at the end of the week, over the weekend, campaigning with former president bill clinton and her daughter, chelsea clinton, who also appeals to those younger voters. andrea? >> and what we're now hearing also, you guys, is hearing that the clinton campaign is buying more ad time in new hampshire, where they are behind bernie sanders. and the sanders campaign is evaluating today what kind of closing ads to put up. they've got a 30-second version of the "america" ad that was so inspirational and highly praised. they also have one which does show the contrast, and i wouldn't call it a negative ad in comparison to the republican campaigns' negative ads, but it does repeat the "which vision do you want?" do you want someone who's taken
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money from wall street? so, that's clearly a shot, a contrast ad. and they're deciding today as they travel back from washington which way to go against hillary clinton. all in the balance in these closing days. kristen welker and hallie jackson and kasie hunt, thanks all so much. and coming up, mr. sanders goes to washington. he's here while hillary clinton campaigns in iowa today. her opponent will meet with president obama at the white house, where he is at this hou., to be a fly on the wall. that is next. what is happening at that meeting on "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. is is ho. in my 20s, i was super irresponsible with credit cards. shopping, going out all the time... i knew it was time for experian. they gave me tools to see what helps and hurts my fico score. so i could finally get serious about managing my credit. now lenders see me for who i really am. someone who would never rack up a lot of debt. and... someone who would never follow a band on tour. get serious about your credit. get experian. go to and start your credit tracker trial membership today.
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and we have breaking news. the new hampshire "union leader" under pressure from voters invited all three candidates to a vote that would air on msnbc and be hosted by chuck todd and
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rachel maddow. hillary clinton and martin o'malley have agreed to attend. bernie sanders has not spoken on the record about it. my colleague, chris matthews, though, just spoke to hillary clinton about that debate. >> well, chris, what i've said through my campaign is that i would look forward to another debate. i am, you know, anxious if we can get something set up to be able to be there. and so, let's try to make it happen! >> would you like the chair of the democratic national committee, debbie wasserman xhult shults, to approve the debate next week? >> i would like the chairman of the party and the campaigns to agree that we can debate in new hampshire next week. that is what i'm hoping will happen. >> okay. >> i'm joined now by msnbc's chris matthews, host of "hardball." hillary clinton moments ago. well, you know, your takeaway from all of this.
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obviously, she's now willing, even though from all reports, it was the clinton campaign, when she was such a big front-runner, who didn't want another debate. >> isn't that human nature? >> of course it is. it's politics. >> you know, all of those saturday night, middle of the night debates. and now i think she'd like a weekday night debate in prime time on our network, and right here. and i think she was -- all she wouldn't do is go so far as the old, dramatic scene of i'll sit and do an empty chair debate. she wasn't willing to say i'll show up if bernie doesn't, but she did everything short of that. when i asked her if the chair of the democratic national committee should approve these, i think she still wants to do that one thing, the correct thing, make sure this is conforming with the dnc. she's not quite willing to say we'll do it recklessly. that's one thing she won't do. >> because there are implications of that, i mean, you know -- >> well, later on, they're supposed to be punished from it, and she believes in regular order, but she clearly wants it to happen. and you're right, you mentioned it a moment ago, if you're
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behind, you want to do it. that's what the bernie people would say. >> and in fact, that is what they say. having spoken to people close to the candidate, and he's in with the president as we speak, their attitude is, we're way out in front in new hampshire. why give her free air time so she doesn't have to spend it on television commercials to try to catch up? >> and remember eight years ago, she was behind and largely won because of that exchange, she was likable enough. >> it was sunday night, an abc debate. and barack obama said, well, you're likable enough, and that started the sort of ball rolling where women started to feel she was a victim, and the next day she was at the diner and started -- >> she played it brilliantly, because she said, you hurt my feelings, one of those things, one of those lines. it wasn't bragging, just a statement of humanity. >> just that soft voice that. >> it's a killer, and it works with women and men both, and i think humanity always works. we're going to see a lot of that as this gets tougher, when the nashing of teeth really get rough in the next couple weeks. if she loses in iowa and badly
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in new hampshire, then you go into south carolina with the large african-american vote, this is going to get very heated, very heated. >> and getting back to the president and bernie sanders, because that's the dynamic going on right now -- we know that sanders is campaigning against obamacare, replace it, echoing a lot of the -- >> he's making the president a middle of the roader. >> right. and that this interview -- this meeting, rather, comes after the "politico" interview, where the president was clearly talking about his fondness for hillary clinton. now, i'm told that this interview was -- this meeting was suggested before the "politico" interview, so it's not a reaction -- >> it's kind of like the beer summit, though, because that was kind of strange, professor gates. it's like we're meeting without an agenda. well, then why are you meeting? for a photo op. >> it's a photo op, but there's no photo op, but -- >> there will be a spread -- >> no, no, it's a private meeting in the oval office. now, maybe -- >> when i say a spray, that's when the cameras come in when they leave. >> but the other piece of this
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is, remember when barack obama escorted bill clinton into the briefing room in 2010? the president's tax cut extenders were in balance and there was a mini filibuster from one senator, bernie sanders, blocking the president's agenda. and so, the president brought in his predecessor -- >> the big dog. >> the big dog came in and he -- >> he put his big, floppy hands over the lectern and was home. it was like the dog back on his favorite mattress. it was bill's back, and he took over, remember? finally, the president said, well, i have to leave now, and bill said, that's all right, i'll be here. and it was a coup. it was a great moment. you and i enjoy these moments because the theater aspect of this, having him come to the white house so he formally is indifferent, he's not taking sides, the formality of this, yet asking for a print interview. how many print interviews does he do with daily reporters? he does them with "atlantic" magazines, things like that. the daily reporter, glen from "politico," he wanted the
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message out there. >> the reason he wanted the message out is look at the dynamic here. if bernie sanders -- and it's neck and neck -- if those two turn out and he's going to win iowa and most likely new hampshire -- unpredictable, but he's way ahead -- then does her firewall hold in the south? but also, he's got some play in the nevada caucus before they even get to south carolina. and after two primary victories, you're going to see chaos on the democratic side, you're going to see uncle joe biden say, well, maybe i could get back in -- you're going to see a -- >> there's a lot we haven't talked about, and i'm not sure how you erect that firewall. it's women. i asked secretary clinton -- and you know her very well -- i said does it surprise you or disturb you that a lot of young women don't realize what you've been through? we've got the 15th amendment, technically, our constitution allowing blacks to vote after the civil war. it took until after the first world war for women to get the constitutional right to vote. there was a long lag time there. and now we go to the question of do people know how long it was for women to get the rights to be real citizens? do the young people know that?
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and she knows they don't. >> that's why that ad. their most recent ad that went up is the so-called documentary ad, which shows hillary clinton as a young woman, you know, all the different hairstyles. she just put it out there. >> back at wellesley. >> but basically, arguing for equal rights and human rights her entire adult life, and that's the point they're trying to show to the young women who don't know who she really is. >> i actually don't know if a woman who's in college now can fully imagine pre roe v. wade, just on that point. it's not everything, but it's a point, to be in college and not having that option, if you will, and to know that you have to go raise money and go to some doctor in new york somewhere, and that whole thing they used to do. and i'm learning a lot more about how it used to be for people. and do they know what that was like? it's a different world, a bigger world in many ways, they're in. >> chris matthews -- >> i'm your feminist today. >> i love it. so, chris matthews tonight -- >> we've got the whole hillary interview tonight. and she's from iowa, and we talk
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all about bernie. she's trying to raise the flag about bernie's going negative. she said he's getting very personal now and he's going right up to the line when he says, well, you draw your own conclusions about her taking money from goldman. and it's like, you know, he hints, like, she's really not a trustworthy person, but he won't say that, and she says the press is really getting on how he's playing this, going up to the edge and almost implies she's got a corruption problem, but he won't say that because she says he's too good to do that politically. >> chris matthews, thank you, as always. >> thanks, andrei gentleman. >> can't wait to see you in iowa. and tonight, more of chris's exclusive interview with hillary clinton on "hardball" at 7:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. we'll be right back with more from the clinton campaign. when my doctor told me i have age-related macular degeneration, amd we came up with a plan to help reduce my risk of progression. and everywhere i look... i'm reminded to stick to my plan. including preservision areds 2.
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these final days before the iowa caucuses? senator bernie sanders' campaign is weighing whether to sharpen their attacks or what they call contrast ads against hillary clinton, as a new poll shows sanders' strength with young and first-time caucusgoers is growing. how can clinton ward off the surging senator? clinton campaign press secretary brian fallon joins me now. brian, great to see you. thanks very much. i wanted to ask you about the quinnipiac poll, which, i mean, its margin of, you know -- it's within the margin there, but it is a quinnipiac lead now, 49-45, similar to the previous lead. it showed his strength among first-time caucusgoers, never before caucusgoers, young people. what is your assessment now going into these final five days? >> well, there's no question about it, andrea, the race is very tight. but what you've seen over the last couple weeks is as senator sanders has risen in the polls, he's starting to attract the scrutiny that comes with doing well in the polling.
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and i don't think he's fared very well in the spotlight. and if you look at the tone that his campaign is striking in recent days, it's quite disturbing, actually. we have seen a pattern now of senator sanders saying one thing and doing another. for instance, he said that he would shun the support of any super pacs. now we've seen that he's had a super pac supporting his candidacy to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent expenditures. he said he wouldn't personally attack hillary clinton, and in the last week, we've seen him liken her to dick cheney. i don't know if he realizes this, but there is probably no worse insult in the democratic party than to liken a democrat to dick cheney. he's personally questioned her integrity when it comes to her commitment to financial reform. that's the second thing. the third thing is this debate that your network is trying to put on the schedule for next week. hillary clinton has reserved the time for next week. she wants to be there. she's committed to it. senator sanders said as recently as a few days ago, if the other candidates were in, he'd be in.
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he's now reneging on that promise. and then today, fourthly, we wake up to a "new york times" report suggesting that after committing early in this campaign that he would never run a negative advertisement and bragging that he had never run a negative ad in his entire career as a politician, that senator sanders is now weighing whether to personally attack hillary clinton on television by running the same type of ad that karl rove ran against her two weeks ago. i would love to be a fly on the wall for that meeting, because what they are going to be deliberating upon is nothing less than taking what remains of the core persona that senator sanders has cultivated over the first few months of this campaign and crumpling it up in a ball and throwing it in the trash. i hope he rejects the advice of his political consultants, andrea, because i think they are trying to turn bernie sanders into someone who's less simon and garfunkel and more karl rove, and it's unfortunate. >> that's quite a broad range, simon and garfunkel to karl
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rove. but bottom line is that i am told that that is not exactly what's happening, that's what's happening is that they are weighing in some of their final 30-second ads and there is a 30-second america version, uplifting and all the rest, which hillary clinton said monday night when it was played for her is fabulous. >> it's a great ad. i've had the song in my head all week. he should stick with that. >> well, they are going to run that, but they are also considering a version of something they did run previously, which is "which vision do you want?" it won't mention or show hillary clinton, but it will say the person who takes money from wall street without getting specific about goldman sachs speeches. that's not really a negative ad. it's a contrast ad, is it not? >> well, let's see the ad. >> okay. >> i hope he rejects his consultant's advice. the description in "the new york times" this morning was disturbing and it was an on-the-record interview with his political consultant. i hope he doesn't take that vicious but we'll have to wait and see. if it's as described in "the new
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york times," it's the same ad that karl rove ran last week and it's no coincidence that that's when bernie sanders started going for that line of attack. >> why is she scrambling for money, five days out. i know she's going back to iowa, she's there now, but she's going to philadelphia. she's got two fund-raisers, one in philly and one in new york, unless something's being canceled. so, she's coming back for thursday night in iowa. isn't that cutting it a little close? she's behind in the quinnipiac. >> there is no one that has more stamina on the campaign trail than hillary clinton. she can fit a lot into a day, and she's going to be in iowa every day this week doing public events in iowa every day -- >> but does she need the money because it's now going to be a longer race than anticipated? >> oh, we've always planned for a long race, andrea, and i don't think we'll have any problem raising the resources we need to contest this nomination as far as it goes, but there's also going to be other meetings that will probably be read out later in the day that she's doing today. but, so, it's not all
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fund-raising, andrea. but yeah, the realities of fund-raising are what they are, but we're ready for a long nomination fight, if necessary, but she's still in iowa every day this week. so, i don't think -- >> what other meetings -- >> i don't think we're surrendering anything in terms of her outreach to iowa voters. >> other meetings in iowa? >> other meetings with important voters and leaders that will be important parts of our support base in the coming months. >> any new endorsements? >> we'll see. >> well, she's clearly, right now she's at a bowling alley -- >> i know bernie sanders is in washington today meeting with president obama, but for me, the most important meeting for his campaign is the one where they're apparently making a final decision on whether to cut this negative ad. i hope he rejects his consultant's advice. >> brian fallon, i'm sure they're going to take advice from you, or me or anybody else. >> well, stick with simon and garfunkel. it's catchy, it's uplifting. that's the bernie sanders a lot of democrats have rallied around, and if i were him, that's the image i'd want to be projecting in these final days.
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i'm not sure why they're deviating from that. >> well, they haven't yet. we shall see, and we'll be all over it. thank you, brian. >> thanks, andreandrea. coming up, tanging with trump. ask peter alexander. that's next on "andrea mitchell reports." tomorrow starts today. all across the state the economy is growing, with creative new business incentives, the lowest taxes in decades, and university partnerships, attracting the talent and companies of tomorrow. like in utica, where a new kind of workforce is being trained. and in albany, the nanotechnology capital of the world. let us help grow your company's tomorrow, today at
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that's when the militants were headed to a 6:00 p.m. meeting at a neighboring county. senior law enforcement officials familiar with the incident tell nbc news that they planned this traffic stop on this particular route because they knew that the militants would be traveling to this other city. now, that's when they say there were two cars filled with nine people and that first car sped off, hitting a snow bank. and that's when police say robert finnegam got out of that car and was brandished a firearm and police shot and killed him. his children says that's not the case, that in fact, he came out of the car with his hands up. regardless, andrea, that's not stopping the protests from continuing at the wildlife refuge center where this protest began. there are more people there and they have elected a new leader, jason patrick, and we're waiting to see what happens next. >> thank you very much. donald trump's press conference announcing he's boycotting the republican debate. he got into a fiery debate with peter alexander when challenged about his past stance on
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abortion. >> in 1999, you said you were pro-choice in all respects. >> and i said -- what did i say? you didn't read it. read the full statement of what i said. >> are you a trustworthy -- >> excuse me, very trustworthy, more so than you, because you know what? you didn't read the question. >> i'll trade now "i'm very pro-choice, i hate the concept of abortion" -- >> okay, why didn't you say that before, i hate the concept of abortion. do you apologize? >> do i apologize for reading your words? >> for not reading my words. >> i'm very pro-choice -- >> do you apologize for not reading my words? >> joining me now for our "daily fix," peter alexander, still standing, chris cillizza, with the "washington post" blog, and jeanne cummings with the "wall street journal." peter that was remarkable. props to you. you just stood your ground. we know that that is what he had said during an interview on "meet the press" with tim russert back a number of -- was it 2008? >> reporter: yeah, no, that was
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in 1999, that conversation that he had with tim russert. and the reason we were asking him this question, andrea, is because in this state, the evangelical vote is so important. this came on a day when he was announcing the support of jerry falwell jr. he was being hit by some antiabortion groups nationally and locally for being untrustworthy on the topic of abortion. they said he couldn't be trusted on it. they were urging iowans to support anyone but trump. so, i posed the question how iowans could feel comfortable and be convinced that his past position, saying he was pro-choice then, he could reconcile with the idea that he is now antiabortion. you saw the exchange there. but i think what it is reflective of, frankly, is the donald trump that we have witnessed, this sort of dominating force that likes to be so blunt and brash and to push the reporters, and in this case, tough questions away when he doesn't want to answer your question. i frankly think the answer could have been simple. he could have said i've got sarah palin and jerry falwell on my side. iowans can look at those
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evangelicals, they believe me, you should as well. that's obviously not what he chose to do with that moment, so, we did go back and forth on that topic. but it's a point that many individuals in this community, including a man that we spoke to outside his rally last night said to us. they said, you know, this is a topic that matters to us, and we want to believe that donald trump stands by his word. so, we'll wait and see what happens on caucus day. >> and what is your bet -- what is your gut telling you on whether he is going to back down and take part in the debate, or is it really all over as far as trump participating in this fox debate? >> reporter: it's hard to see, given what he said, how he does participate thursday night. what's interesting to me -- and i just confirmed with the campaign about five minutes ago -- is donald trump is going to be on fox news tonight to discuss his fight with fox news. so, that may be one more opportunity for us to see this conversation, but it doesn't get any more wild than this right now. but andrea, as i witnessed firsthand yesterday, donald trump has rewritten all the
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rules in this race. he's rewritten a lot of the rules that exist in politics altogether. and in many ways, if he continues with this gamble, basically, he thinks that he has the potential to freeze the race where it is and feels like he's drawn up his own rules, why should he play by anybody else's? >> certainly the ringleader in this circus. jeanne cummings, what we are seeing on both sides is a very close race and larger than life personalities. >> absolutely. i mean, it is a two-man race in both places, cruz versus trump, sanders versus clinton, and the rest of them. >> two-person races. >> definitely. so, if this cruz/trump fight, though, is really interesting, because iowa traditionally is a state where people go to try to launch a career. both of their campaigns. both of them know they're coming out of iowa with something probably pretty good, so they are their objective on either side is to kill the other one.
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it's very intense. you hear cruz saying we've got to beat trump here, and then you have branstad saying anybody but cruz. i mean, it's really an odd race in that the idea is to try to kill a candidate in the crib that is the iowa caucus. >> and chris cillizza, then we've got the debate flop on the democratic side, where you have hillary clinton now telling chris matthews she will participate in this nbc/msnbc/"union leader" event thursday night before new hampshire. there's always been a debate before new hampshire, there isn't this year, and the democratic party insisting they would only have a handful of debates scheduled at odd hours on weekends. and what has bernie sanders got to lose by taking part in this debate? >> i think he will get in to it. >> not so far. >> i think it makes sense to.
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i think he will. we shall see. i don't think he has much to lose, frankly. look, the way the debate schedule gets attention is donald trump is out, he's in. he gets a lot of attention. maybe he's out this time. but the democratic debate schedule needs to get called out. the last scheduled, sanctioned debate between iowa and new hampshire was on a sunday night at 9:00 p.m. on a long three-day weekend. and then there wasn't supposed to be a debate -- >> yeah, i remember, i was there. >> you were there. all the way until after iowa and new hampshire. in terms of giving people a chance to see the candidates, see them interact with one another, really focus on the choice between the candidates, you know, it's not the best. i would be surprised if bernie sanders doesn't get into it. if he wins iowa, which he certainly has a chance of doing now -- if he wins iowa, i think it gives him a chance to build momentum going into new hampshire. if he loses iowa, it gives him a chance i think to reverse that story line a little bit going
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into new hampshire, where he has been ahead of her consistently for months. so, i sdon't see a huge down sie for him doing it. >> well, they see the down side as giving her extra exposure in a state where he's already ahead. >> hillary clinton getting free exposure, i don't know that that's possible, you know. she's pretty well exposed currently, so i'm not sure, but you're right, that is their log logic. >> we'll be right back. thanks to peter alexander, iron man out there, chris cillizza and jeanne cummings. and so, you say you want to caucus? we'll show you how. it's time for the "your business entrepreneur of the week." rob burchy created the swurfer, a swing you can sit or stand on with a surfing-like effect. he thought skating and surf shops would be along for the ride but found the people who really wanted it were at
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turnout in iowa for the new voters never before caucused and for candidates like donald trump and bernie sanders is key, but getting them there half the battle. msnbc's jacob soboroff takes a closer look.
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>> reporter: a caucus is, let's just say it, kind of a strange way to pick a president. in 13 states and 2 u.s. territories use some form of the caucus system. what is a caucus, exactly? >> what is a caucus? >> well, it's when they try to get out there and get all of the, you know, to figure out who's going to be the best candidate. >> it helps decide -- i don't really know, to be honest. >> reporter: on iowa's caucus day, election day is more like election hour. at 7:00 p.m., whether it's at a school, legion hall, church, government building or another location, you have to show up in person at 1 of 1,681 precincts to participate. explain to me, how do you caucus? >> you go to the area in your precinct, and then from there, you decide which candidate you're going to caucus for. >> you kind of go and stand by who you want to support. >> reporter: you kind of go and stand by who you want to support. >> the group. >> reporter: because political primaries control the process, what you do inside the caucus depends on whether you're a republican or a democrat. the republican caucus process is
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pretty straightforward -- you walk in, you write the name of your candidate on a piece of paper, you hand it in, ballots are counted, the winner's announced and delegates are awa awared. if you're a democrat, caucusing is sort of a game of musical chairs. there's a public pitch to everyone who shows up by a campaign representative for each candidate. then caucusgoers literally break into groups for their candidate or to an area for undecided voters. the percentage each candidate gets is calculated and a candidate's support is deemed viable if in the vast majority of caucus locations they get 15% support or more. caucusgoers whose candidate doesn't make the cut can realign to another campaign, try to reach viability by recruiting additional supporters or go to the undecided category and be recruited from there. the process repeats until all remaining candidates are viable. then delegates are awarded. confused? you're not alone and why turnout has historically been so low. are you going to caucus, pat? >> no. >> are you going to caucus? >> it's probably going to depend on the weather. >> are you going to caucus?
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>> absolutely not. >> and the question is, as jacob soboroff learned, who is going to show up, and will all those young people for sanders actually show up on monday night? coming up, crisis in flint. a big announcement ahead of tonight's msnbc town hall. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports." before earning enough cash back from bank of america to help pay for her kids' ice time. before earning 1% cash back everywhere, every time. and 2% back at the grocery store. even before she got 3% back on gas, all with no hoops to jump through. katie used her bankamericard cash rewards credit card to stay warm and toasty during the heat of competition. that's the comfort of rewarding connections. apply online or at a bank of america near you. fettucini with chicken mariand broccoli withs her tender white meat chicken and freshly-made pasta mixed in an alfredo sauce made-from-scratch. because she knows that the most comforting thing about comfort food, is who you're sharing it with.
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bernie sanders has just walked out of the white house. let's listen in. >> let me just remind the american people of something that, unfortunately, republican presidential candidates forget, is that seven years ago when president bush left office, this country was hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs a month, we were running a $1.4 trillion deficit, largest in our country's history, and by the way, sometimes we forget the world's financial system was on the verge of collapse. so, it is absolutely fantasy, and i say it every day, that we have got to do a lot better to protect the middle class and
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working families. but it's also important to remember how far we have come in the last seven years under the leadership of president obama and vice president biden. the president and i discussed this morning a number of issues, foreign policy issues, domestic issues, occasionally little bit of politics, but i enjoyed the meeting and i thought it was a very positive and constructive meeting. we are right now, as everybody knows, in a very tough campaign in iowa, then we're going to new hampshire. i think what the iowa campaign ends up being about is one word, and that is turnout. we're feeling really good about where we are, and if there is a large voter turnout -- now, i'm not saying we could do what barack obama did in 2008.
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i wish we could, but i don't think we can. but if there is a large turnout, i think we win. if not, i think we're going to be struggling. then we go to new hampshire, and we're going to fight as hard as we can for a week in new hampshire, and i'm thinking we have a pretty good chance there. then we're going to nevada and south carolina. and by the way, i think we're going to do a lot, lot better in those states than people think we are. and then we head off to super tuesday. we were just in minnesota yesterday, had a phenomenal turnout in st. paul. we had 15,000 people out in st. paul. we had 6,000 people out in duluth. we're feeling pretty good. so, i think the american people a our working people, young people, want to see real movement in this country, and i think we are tapping into that energy, and i think we stand a very good chance to do well in iowa and forward. >> did you ask the president for his endorsement?
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>> no, of course not. you know, what the president has tried to do, what vice president biden has tried to do, is to be as even-handed as they could be. and i know there was some discussion the other day about a political interview where he was tipping the scale towards secretary clinton. i don't believe that at all. i think he and the vice president have tried to be fair and even-handed in the process, and i suspect they will continue to be that way. [ inaudible ] [ laughter ] >> no. no. >> were there any points of disagreement about the president's -- >> look, you know, i think everybody knows that for the last seven years, well, before that, you know, barack obama when he was a united states senator was kind enough to come to vermont and campaign for me, and i have never forgotten that. in 2008, i did my best to see that he would be elected president, campaigned hard for him, as i did in 2012.
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but it is also no secret that we have, as is the case in a democratic society, we have differences of opinion. i was on the floor of the senate for 8 1/2 hours in disagreement with him over taxes. we disagree over the tpp. but by and large, over the last seven years on major issue after major issue, i have stood by his side where he has taken on unprecedented republican obstructionism, has tried to do the right thing for the american people. >> is your campaign going to go negative against hillary clinton? >> what did you ask the president? did you make any requests, or -- >> no, no. it was just -- it was just a discussion to just get myself updated on some of the current issues facing this country, how we most effectively deal with isis, his assessment about iran and how we work with iran and
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our relationship with iran. that's what it was about. >> do you think hillary clinton -- >> i'm sorry. >> do you think hillary clinton has overplayed her closeness with the white house and with president obama? >> i think the people of iowa will make that decision in a few days. i don't -- [ inaudible ] >> flint, michigan, sir. >> how would you tackle the threat of isis differently than how this president -- >> look, frankly -- and we did talk about this. as you all know, i voted against the war in iraq, and that's a major point of difference between secretary clinton and myself. we both received the same information and we came to a different conclusion. and as i mentioned to the president, i in my small state of vermont went to too, too many funerals of wonderful, young people, and i am very happy to tell you that in the last few years, i have not gone to funerals of young men or women in our military.
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i think what the president is trying to do is the right thing. what he is trying to do is keep our young men and women in the military out of a perpetual war in the quagmire of the middle east. and what he's trying to do and what i will try to do is put together a coalition of the major powers with the muslim people on the ground, muslim nations, muslim troops, because at the end of the day, as king abdullah recently reminded us, this is a war for the soul of islam against people like isis and their barbarity that has hijacked that religion. and what abdullah reminds us is that at the end of day, it must be the muslim people and their military to destroy isis with the support of the major powers in the country, and i think that's what the president is trying to do. okay, we've got to get going. thank you very much. >> bernie sanders saying that he
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had a constructive meeting in the white house, and he's now going off. he'll be interviewed by lester holt on "nbc nightly news," and we'll have full coverage, of course, and full coverage of flint, michigan, with rachel maddow's town hall at 9:00 eastern. frances rivera picks it up now on "msnbc live." >> thank you very much. much more on bernie sanders and had i meeting with the president. but first, a big newsmaker today, donald trump. will he or won't he debate tomorrow night? the republican front-runner saying he won't after a long-running feud with fox news and megyn kelly. the network says "capitulating to politicians' ultimatums violates old journalistic standards and we can't give in to terrorizations toward any of our employees." trump's statement came tuesday night. and in a matter of minutes, he went from probably to most likely not attending the debate to finally saying this. >> pretty close to irrevocable,
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yes. >> are you worried that's going to affect your chances in iowa by not appearing -- >> no, i think i'll do great in iowa. i love iowa. i don't think iowa's going to care. when they sent out the wise guy press releases done by some pr person along with roger ailes, i said bye-bye. >> trump was there referring to a jab from fox news, which said in an earlier statement that russia's vladimir putin and iran's ayatollah would treat him unfairly if elected president. so, how much of this to believe? here's what trump campaign manager cory lewandowski hold the crowd on "morning joe" today. >> any chance that he will do this debate in any way, shape or form, any way to turn this around? >> i just don't think so. i mean, what you have with mr. trump is you have a clear leader, a person who he said best, is not going to be toyed with. >> for reports on the sudden upheaval in the republican race for president, we begin with nbc's peter alexander in des moines, iowa. our "first read" team putting it out there, calling this a big gamble on the part of


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