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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  March 24, 2016 3:00am-6:01am PDT

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good morning, it's thursday, march 24. joe is off this morning, but with us here on "morning joe" we have former communications director for president george w. bush, nicolle wallace. former treasury official and "morning joe" economic analyst steve rattner. president of the council on foreign relations, richard haass. managing editor of bloomberg politics, mark halperin. and in washington, msnbc political analyst and former chairman of the republican national committee, michael steele, along with willie and me. good to have you on board. we have a lot to get to today.
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another busy news morning. we'll go live to brussels in just a moment where there is new information about the suspects, their connection to the attacks in paris, and how one of them was caught and then let go. president obama and hillary clinton take the opportunity to blast candidate ted cruz for his comments about patrolling muslim neighborhoods as ted cruz relishes being attacked by obama and clinton. and joe has a strong new column in the "washington post" about that. we'll read part of that for you. speaker of the house paul ryan laments the ugly state of politics in a passionate speech yesterd yesterday, then as if he was handing exhibit a, donald trump and ted cruz engage in a twitter battle over their wives. and a new poll this morning shows a majority of republican primary voters are not into the idea of a contested convention. that's really interesting. the polling on this presidential election in terms of where
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people are at signal that we are headed toward a really ugly battle between trump and clinton. we shall see. we start with the latest on the terror attacks in brussels where a massive manhunt is still under way for one of the suspects. much of what we thought we knew about the member in this picture has changed since yesterday. belgian prosecutors have now identified the man in the center as rain him el bakraoui. he was the suicide bomber who died at the airport. yesterday belgian police found a will of sorts left behind by el bakraoui on a computer in a brussels trash can. the belgian prosecutor said el bakraoui had written he needed to rush and no longer felt safe. meanwhile, officials say the man standing next to him in the picture is that jim laachraoui, believed to be a bomb maker. belgian and u.s. officials say they are certain he died at the airport based on dna found
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there. el bakraoui's brother khalid was not at the airport as we first thought. h testifies suicide bomber who attacked the brussels subway. that information comes as a senior u.s. counterterrorism official tells nbc news the brothers also helped facilitate the attacks in paris last november and as we mentioned, a massive manhunt is still under way for the third man in the airport surveillance video. he has yet to be identified by police. willie? >> let's go right to brussels. nbc news senior white house correspondent chris jansing is there. chris, what's the latest? bring us up to speed on the investigation. >> so many pieces of the puzzle from paris, willie, are now falling into place because of what happened here in belgium and none of the connections are good. let's start with those brothers. we talked about the fact that clearly now officials know they were involved. not only in securing safe houses for paris but also weaponry and now became operational here in belgium. bun of them died at the airport.
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the other one at the metro stop but it's ibrahim el bakraoui that police have looked at particularly because yesterday president erdogan offer theky said he was stopped at the border between turkey and syria and detained but he was able to slip through and here's why. they sent him back to the netherlands. they also notified belgian officials here because he is a belgian national according to turkish officials but belgian officials have been denying all along that they knew that he was anything but an everyday criminal. here's another thing we are seeing a lot of. many people involved in these attacks now, it's not a religious calling for them, they are essentially gang members. el bakraoui, for example, ibrahim, who was the older brother, he once took a kalashnikov rifle and shot at police during the course of a robbery and was sentenced six years ago to nine years in prison. it's not clear how he got out. all of this tied together by
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salah abdeslam. he, of course, was the guy who was on the run for four months after what happened in paris, was arrested on friday. police now believe it's possible all of this moved up. that they planned these attacks but moved them up because they started to get nervous after salah abdeslam was taken into custody and officials believe he would have taken part in these attacks had he not been arrested. so that's what you saw on the computer. you saw what they're calling this kind of last will and testament by ibrahim bakraoui saying they had to move along, that they were worried about going to prison and there was an allusion to the fact that he didn't want to be in a prison cell next to salah abdeslam. all of this raising questions here. i'm not far from the european parliament. a lot of the members are decrying the fact that they say they still have terrible intelligence sharing. in france alone there are 33 different intelligence agencies. here just in brussels there are six different police agencies, a
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bigger presence today as you see behind me what has become a memorial to the victims here, people coming and leaving flowers, notes and saying prayers. willie? >> a lot of these pieces coming together in the last 12, 24 hours. chris jansing in brussels, we'll check back in with you, chris, thanks so much. richard haass, let's speak about these three guys who were known to law enforcement, now we're learning were involved in paris as well according to security services. how did they slip through the cracks after all these months? it was november when paris took place. why weren't they arrested earlier? >> there's lots of ways to answer that question. but if you remember what happened with 9/11, afterwards when the commission did the study, we knew the information that various law enforcement and intelligence agencies didn't quote/unquote connect the dots. this is that problem on a much larger scale. you have dozens of domestic
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agencies. we think of europe as this great bureaucratic morass but we're seeing will there's less to europe than meets the eye. they're not coordinating, plus you have tremendous privacy concerns which gets in the way of law enforcement and intel coordinating so all of these things are coming together so it turns out europe isn't poised to deal with the kind of problem they have. another level about the answer is r these communities, isolated and not integrated into societies. you have an intelligence problem, a law enforcement problem and a social problem and that's the answer to your question. >> but it's kind of incredible that after 9/11 yes we were not perhaps ready for 9/11 but then 9/11 happened and then you had madrid man other terrorist attacks and the europeans didn't take that as any kind of wakeup call to get their security operation into order. >> that's the state of modern
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europe. you've got again all these national barriers. you've got the cultural barriers of these various agencies. look at the disputes we've had with data. the privacy balance between individual privacy, collective security, much tougher, much harder to hand across information. even in the aftermath of this i wouldn't assume that europe institutes major reforms either in the legal machinery or what they actually did. i wouldn't assume this. >> the president spoke about that in buenos aires, argentina, where he was attending a state dinner. at one point he was guided from his table to the dance floor to try the tango. he struggled a bit with the steps. the first lady joined in as well and if the song they danced to sounds familiar, there's a good reason. it's the same one from the icon nick tango scene from "scent of a woman" where al pacino whisks a stranger to the dance floor. the president was asked if he's taking the scourge of isis seriously enough, especially since watching a baseball game in cuba and remaining overseas.
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>> groups like isil can't destroy us, they can't defeat us, they don't produce anything, they're not an existential threat to us their primary power in addition to killing innocent lives is to strike fear in our societies and that is how we are going to defeat these terrorist groups. in part because we're going after them and taking strikes against them and arresting them and getting intelligence on them and cooperating with other countries but a lot of it is also going to be to say "you do not have power over us." >> i want to go around the table with this but mark halperin, we'll start with you. there are political reactions to the president's reaction. how much of that should he have taken into consideration, could
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he even control given the reaction to the attacks, the baseball game and now the trip to argentina which he's getting a lot of criticism for. >> there's no great way to handle these situations. i think the consensus for most people who watch this stuff is that the baseball game, the way he handled it was a mistake. i think into there's intellectual sympathy for the notion that life has to go on, you can't let the terrorist control american actions but there's no doubt particularly at a time when hillary clinton and barack obama are arguing that america is the indispensable nation in leading a coalition against isis, i think there's no doubt people would like to see more stage craft and a balance towards decisive action rather than business as usual from the president. >> richard then nicolle. how much of this is fair? he cancels everything? i was critical yesterday. i think of the optics of the baseball game. i'm not saying he shouldn't have gone. i feel like it should have been handled differently. everything about it.
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but who am i to say? you have a little more experience in this. we've had presidents in this situation before, it's not the first time. what are we not getting here? >> it was right to go ahead with the trip, shouldn't cancel the trip. this president has canceled too many trips, it's created problems in asia when he hasn't gone places. argentina is one of the very rare good news stories in the world. this is a country that's come out of the worst authoritarian corrupt heavy handed years under mrs. kirchner. you have a new democratic government, they're doing the right things economically and politically. it's a good story. however, the advance person who let him do the tango, that person ought to be looking for work on somebody's -- in somebody's campaign very, very far away. that was a tremendous mistake. it's fine to go to argentina, you want to do the work but you have to be careful of these it will fophoto-ops. >> so the baseball game had symbolism, willie, did it not?
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it was all -- it wasn't he was going to catch a game. there was a plan there, international symbolism. by i think -- his sleeves are rolled up, he had shades on, doing espn interviews, it felt strange to me. >> i think michael hayden offered the best explanation for it. these were not advance staff gaffes. it's so easy to blame the staff. it's not what this was. this was obama's policy choice. his policy choice was to proceed with everything on his schedule and not to react to the threat of terrorism, that is his prerogative but it puts him vastly out of step with the entire american public, not just republicans. you heard democrats yesterday increasingly uncomfortable with the choices he makes at a moment of crisis. there were mothers laying dead while their family members were at the crime scene yesterday and to look like the priority is to go on a foreign trip instead of pausing for a minute and
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explaining that to america is a communications crime. >> well, look, first of all, he was already on a foreign trip. it's not like he was in washington and said "okay." >> i said pause. that's all i said. the presidency follows you wherever you go. you can do anything you need to do from that airplane and you can change anything. you can say "i can't stay at a baseball game, i no ed a backdrop with american flags behind it." you are the leader of the free world. you can import whatever you need wherever you are. >> i get that. i agree with richard on this. first, i think you have to maintain some idea of business as usual. that you continue to -- >> couldn't disagree more. >> i let you finish. let me finish. continue to conduct the business you want to conduct. i think there is -- i think he's had a little bit of bad luck in the sense that he's been overseas both when paris happened and now when brussels happened and he was on martha's vineyard when james foley was killed. i think it could have been handled differently. i think he was kind of -- i think he should have gone to the baseball game but i don't know about the espn interview. i think he could have handled
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that differently. certainly about the tango. but the idea that some people are throwing out that he should have turned the plane around and rushed back to washington. to do what? >> didn't say that. >> i didn't say you, i said some people are saying he should have done that. to do what? i don't get that. >> all right, president obama also joined the growing chorus condemning senator ted cruz's call to patrol muslims in the wake of the belgian terror attacks. >> as far as the notion of having surveillance of neighborhoods where muslims are present, i just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance. which, by the way, the father of senator cruz escaped for america. the land of the free. >> when republican candidates like ted cruz call for treating american muslims like criminals and for racially profiling
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predominantly muslim neighborhoods, it's wrong, it's counterproductive, it's dangerous. as a spokesman for the new york police department pointed out last night, that kind of blanket bigotry would treat the city's nearly 1,000 muslim police officers as threats. it's hard to imagine a more end seine ar -- incendiary foolish statement, he said. commissioner bill bratton of the nypd was even more blunt this morning. he said senator cruz doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. >> i have to say i'm so sorry to be dismaying barack obama. [ laughter ] and yesterday and today i was attacked by barack obama and hillary clinton and new york's mayor bill de blasio which suggests maybe i'm doing something right. >> let's read from joe's column
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on the "washington post." he talks about ted's hair brained harmful policy toward american muslims. joe writes: you saw, michael steele, ted cruz the chance to go through this again. doubled and tripled down on it yesterday when he was asked. >> that was playing to the political base. and so let me get this straight. if we don't ban the muslims
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we're just going to surveil and drill down on those who are left behind. this is the narrative that the party's putting out across the country at this time and i think it's an unfortunate one. i think the sense that we are targeting a group of people indi indiscriminately. but where do you start? if there's all that nefarious activity taking place, i think our law enforcement and intelligence communities here in the u.s. would already be engaged in this process. so this is a lot of noise that distracts with the important issues that deal with islamist terrorism as well as recognizing the republican party three years ago put together an autopsy that talked about expansion and inclusion and reaching out to americans and yet we're now in a process where our political leadership, our campaign leaders are telling us that we want to build walls and we want to
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surveillance american citizens and that i think is going to be a real problem going into a general election where everyone gets to say whether or not you should be president of the united states, not just your base. >> richard? >> let me add, this is not where the terrorist attacks are taking place. to say you're going to surveillance various neighborhoods is like looking for your's under the light. it's not where the problems are. and secondly, the best way to prevent individual muslims who happen also to be terrorists from doing what they do is to have really close ties with these communities. to get the leadership of these communities, to get the parents to say we've got a problem here, we have to deal with this individual or this group of individuals. this is exactly the way to destroy the ability to communicate with those people. this is truly counterproductive. >> beyond destructive. mark halperin, this is the one thing that makes us different is that we have assimilated different populations into this beautiful melting pot. >> we're talking about brussels and america is very different.
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one of the reasons we haven't had -- you never know what will happen tomorrow but one of the reasons we haven't had these problems is we've done a much better job at integrating and assimilating and not dealing with people as group members but as individuals. this is not the way we want to go. >> mark halperin, what does this say about the republican party if this is the base you have to play to? i'm assuming that, as joe pointed out in his piece, this is a race to the bottom. >> well, look, right now, there's two parallel contests going on between the republican presidential candidates. one is to win the nomination and this for ted cruz is clearly at least in part a play to do that. but there's also increasing discussion about who can win a general election and our new bloomberg politics poll about the general election suggests both ted cruz and donald trump would have a hard time beating either hillary clinton or bernie sanders and john kasich, people say why is he still in the race? well, you take positions like this, it may help you win the nomination but it will make it harder to coalesce support to win a general election and,
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again, that's an increasing focus of a lot of the discussion within the republican party, who can win the white house and positions like this are not going to help. >> we'll get to those polls next. still ahead on "morning joe," keith ellison with reaction to ted cruz's proposal to monitor muslims in the united states. and former presidential candidate republican senator lindsey graham joins the conversation. first, we'll go to bill karins with a check on the forecast. bill? >> yesterday a foot of snow fell in the denver area, blizzard conditions shut down the highways from denver to cheyenne. we had incredible wind gusts across the middle of the country, too, and an airport that made a dicey landing. we'll bring you that as soon as we get it. as far as the storm in the middle of the country, it's bringing snow through wisconsin, bringing a wintery mess around roe chester to buffalo, northern new england, icy weather goes your way tonight. as far as additional snow. three inches on the ground in green bay, two to four today, northern michigan will get the
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most snow, even milwaukee could see dusting as the storm exists. severe weather. thankfully yesterday we didn't have tornados, no deaths reported. we had severe weather with large hail and now we're watching these storms. the worst is approaching houston. probably for the next half hour it will be torrential downpours with lightning over the top of the city. give it a half hour then we'll watch it clearing out. 10 million people are at risk of severe weather today, including isolated chance of tornados along the mississippi/alabama border, maybe even southern tennessee, too. so from nashville, tube low, jackson, mississippi, birmingham, montgomery, want to keep an eye to the sky later today. as far as the east coast goes, be prepared. much chiller in new york city yesterday. your rain comes tomorrow. i mention that plane and that hairy landing in oklahoma. take a look at this. this plane is coming in for the landing and everyone is gripping their seats and maybe they've got their head between their knees. he straightens it out at the
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last second. that's what it's like in oklahoma city landing in about 60 mile per hour winds. not for me. more on the storm as we go throughout the day. more "morning joe" when we come back. sales event is on. with extraordinary offers on the exhilarating is... the thrilling gs... and the powerful rc coupe. ♪ this is the pursuit of perfection.
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>> looking around at what's taking place in politics today, it's so easy to get disheartened. our political discourse, both the kind that we see on tv and the kind that we experience among each other, it did not used to be this bad. and it does not have to be this way. politics can be a battle of ideas, not a battle of insults. it can be about solutions. it can about making a difference. and so sometimes today we see a politics that is degrading, a politics that's going to the base, the bases of our emotions of what disunifies us, not what unifies us. this isn't just the right or just the left, this is happening all across our country. we are slipping into being a
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divisive country. we are speaking to each other in echo chambers where we only talk to those who agree with us and we think there's something wrong with the people who don't agree with us. >> yeah. but this is has been a growing problem for about ten years and now it's come to a head. that was paul ryan taking aim at the heated rhetoric that we've been seeing for years that has come to define the presidential primaries so far, including members of his party and the democrats. and i'm going to do this story, but i actually think the bigger story about divisiveness and destructive politics is the story about muslims and ted cruz and donald trumps and their opinions on this. >> there's one point to make about paul ryan. look, i think paul ryan is a serious, good guy who's trying to do the right thing. >> i love what he's saying. it's just not new. >> that's also true. but the point is that even paul ryan in his job -- and admittedly it's an election year -- he hasn't been able to move his caucus forward. the house has done basically
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nothing. >> nothing. >> nothing. >> which is why one of the many reasons people are looking at donald trump and bernie sanders and showing up at rallies. but this is the story i'm -- >> but he has spoken out. i want to say he was speaking to interns who are 18 to 24 who may not be aware of how old this story is. they were seven when it started? >> i think it's fine he said what he said. and he's right. >> and he's spoken out against trump. he can only do what he can do. he may not move this caucus but he has been one of the republicans who spoke out against the muslim ban. >> and i give him full credit for that. when i watched that speech, it just made me think to myself, that's great, but what about the house legislating something? >> i can't even -- i feel like in the first month of "morning joe" nine years ago joe said that about the people talking to the different corners and getting in their own echo chambers and it getting worse and worse and worse. and here we are. i'm going to do this story. i don't think this is the issue. i think this is stupid.
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meanwhile, ted cruz and donald trump are butting heads over each other's wives. trump has been incensed since anti-trump super pac called make america awesome blasted out a facebook ad in utah featuring a photo of his wife, a former model, from 16 years ago. that picture is everywhere. it's a caption that says "meet melania trump, your next first lady. or you can support ted cruz on tuesday." we blurred the photo. cruz denied involvement but you know super pacs work with candidates, you just know it. you know there's some sort of, like, either a background connection or a direct one. trump -- this whole problem with this, which is why people like trump and bernie sanders at this point because they're sick of this. trump has insisted the senator was behind it tweeting on tuesday "be careful, like ted, or i will spill the beans on your wife." on the trail yesterday, heidi cruz reacted. >> you probably know by now that most of the things donald trump says has no basis in reality so we are not worried in the least,
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we're focusing on our campaign. >> are you going to assert a standard because of the -- bringing in wives of candidates? it's so unseembly. >> i agree with you. oh, i agree with you. i wrote, i said be careful because otherwise i'll have to start talking about your situation. now, do i like doing that? no. should have been done by him? no. and he knew absolutely about it. >> late last night, trump retweeted a photo of heidi cruz and melania trump side by side with a caption "no need to spill the beans, the majors are worth a thousand words." i'm sorry, i'm trying to keep a straight face here. this is stupid. cruz quickly responded "donald, real men don't attack women. your wife is lovely and heidi is the love of my life." we have just wasted two minutes. going to move on. >> but wait, wait: isn't cruz trying to have it both ways? >> who cares? >> well, i think that this is
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part of -- this is the undercurrent. and you can gloss -- this is the undercurrent of the republican primary and the republican voters are -- their emotions are being exploited and this is another example of that and this is too usually to talk about here. >> their emotions are being exploited by the politics of fear and muslim bans and patrolling muslim neighborhoods. >> and personal insults about their wives. >> the gaffe between this inbound between what this new president is going to inherit and this. the gap between where the conversation is and what this job is going to be, if it got bigger it would be called the grand canyon. >> hey, guys, it's twitter. it's a tweet. scroll past it. if we talk about it and lou dobbs does interviews about it and everybody talks about it more it becomes bigger. who cares? >> we've made the point. let's move on. >> thank you. just scroll past it. it's twitter. it's 130 characters or whatever it is. >> 140. >> stupid -- >> oh, okay. >> twitter is going to go down,
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stock prices are going down today now. it appears the republican establishment is making preparations for a trump nomination with the "washington post" reporting big donors will abandon the presidential race and focus on stemming losses in congress if trump is the nominee. three new polls show trump leading among national republican primary voters. ahead 12 points in the new monmouth university poll, nine points in the bloomberg politics national poll and just three points in the fox news poll. trump has consistently thread gop field nationally since shortly after entering the race, but he continues to pose a general election crisis for republicans, losing to hillary clinton by double digits in two national polls released yesterday. down 18 points in the bloomberg politics poll and 11 points in the fox news poll. still, the monmouth university poll finds a majority of republican primary voters want the party to back trump if he goes to the convention with the
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most delegates but short of the number needed to nominate. 54% say to get behind trump, 34% say nominate a different person. mark halperin, what does s this telling us? >> that donald trump is very strong with republicans and less strong with the general election electorate and it's going to be incumbent upon ted cruz and john kasich to make an argument besides that. they can't just say trump's weak in the general election. that won't stop him. they need to make broader arguments. but this argue. when we vote in wisconsin in less than two weeks and then in new york and other states next month, that will be part of the discussion. does the party want to nominate someone who today looks like a weaker general election candidate? trump argues as soon as he turns his attention to hillary clinton he'll narrow the gap. but republicans are nominating -- are on the path now to nominate someone who is their weakest general election candidate today. >> michael steele, it doesn't seem like they have any alternatives. >> no, they don't. i mean, i don't know -- no.
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who else? [ laughter ] if that person existed, they either would have run for the job or would be leading at this moment and this is the harsh, cruel reality that the folks in this town where i am in washington just can't seem to get their head around. the base of the party has indicated for the last nine months where they want to go. they're saying loudly and clearly "we got this." not just in the polls but at the ballot box. so all of these meetings, all of this conundrum that's being stirred up around stopping trump and donors doing this and the political class doing that, all it's doing is agitating and alienating a base the party will need behind whoever the nominee is come november. coming up, how ted cruz's latest policy proposal ignores 240 years of american history. and, really, what we're all about. "time" contributor elise jordan joins us for the must-read opinion pages and steve rattner
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shoshow me more like this.e. show me "previously watched." what's recommended for me. x1 makes it easy to find what you love. call or go online and switch to x1. only with xfinity. i have to say a couple days ago, my colleague lindsey graham hosted an event for me at aipac. and that was a first for me. i'd never before had an event hosted by someone who three weeks earlier publicly called for my murder. [ laughter and applause ] but what we're seeing is that old reagan coalition coming
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together. >> wow. [ laughter ] >> he's great. i'm sorry. the reagan coalition isn't coming together for him! >> they're coming together for trump. >> they're coming together for trump. i'm so glad you wrote this, elise. [ laughter ] sorry. this campaign is making me crazy. >> you're losing it. >> this race is really -- people are wigging out. i was at an event yesterday with the -- >> that's a '50s word. >> oh, my gosh, they're just losing -- okay. coming up, speaking of, senator lindsey graham is our guest. we'll talk to him about his change of heart on ted cruz and much more when "morning joe" comes right back.
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when they freed keiko, the killer whale of movie fame, the effort was a failure and he perished. but we also understand that times have changed. today, people are concerned about the world's largest animals like never before. so we too must change. that's why the orcas in our care will be the last generation at seaworld. there will be no more breeding. we're also phasing out orca theatrical shows. they'll continue to receive the highest standard of care available anywhere. and guests can come to see them simply being their majestic selves. inspiring the next generation of people to love them as you do. joining us now, former advisor to senator rand paul, now a contributor to "time" magazine, nbc political analyst
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elise jordan. elise, you write about ted cruz's counterterrorism strategy in your latest piece for "time" and in part you say this: and don't you think at this point people are seeing this? i mean, this is why we're here today, elise. this is why we're looking at candidates getting audiences of 10,000 people at a rally on both sides, because people are really sick of the bs out of washington. >> exactly.
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and that's why this push to anoint cruz as the establishment standard bearer i think ultimately is going to fail just because he is washington and this is what people are sick of. ted cruz clearly knows better. he is smarter than that. i think he's probably better than that. but right now, the right has succumbed to this primary madness of saying anything and doing anything and it really is unfortunate because it's to the detriment of actual counterterrorism policies that could work. >> can i ask you about that? you worked for someone, he tried to at one point outpaul paul. we talked about cruz's record on defense. it seems like if he could have predicted the landscape of this race, his report might be different. but you know his record better than anyone. >> he really talked the talk well for a while. he was opposed to the reauthorization of the patriot act and then he flip-flopped and voted for it. and he's been back and forth on these issues that libertarian voters care about. and for a while it seemed like
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oh, he was going to try to capture that ron paul vote and then with this yesterday, that is just really an insult to any kind of libertarian philosophy and did not go over well in the liberty community. >> and i think the endorsements ted cruz has received recently just look so empty and false and pathetic at this point. i mean, jeb bush really doesn't support ted cruz, does he, nicolle? yes or no. >> well -- >> yes or no. >> balanced against the alternative. >> that's just -- that is sad. so what did the endorsement say? "i don't like the alternative" or "i support ted cruz, he's good for america." come on. come on. >> voters -- >> endorsements have been a huge problem this entire cycle. >> they hurt people. >> no one would commit because there were 16 candidates and it really hurt winnowing down the field. >> so anyone endorsing ted cruz, nicolle, like a jeb bush, a man --
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>> why is this nicolle? [ laughter ] >> i'm just going to say because you are very principled in your words when you come on this show. you cannot say that that endorsement was real. and people know it. people know it. you know it, right? >> i think it was real in what it actually was, which was what you just said. it's a protest against donald trump. >> so maybe he should have come out and said that. maybe he should have done a speech that said "i am protesting trump. i don't like trump so badly, he is so bad for this country that i'm going to endorse the second-worse candidate." >> well, romney did that and it didn't work out that well for romney. >> ted cruz had some trouble yesterday. it's all just not working anymore. when asked in an interview if he knew how many muslims there are in america. steve rattner is here with some charts to help fill in the blanks on that. steve, take it away. >> we'll tell ted cruz how many muslims are in america. but i think we're also going to go back and fill in blanks on some of the points richard was making at the beginning of the
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show and also i think elise maybe connect dots on why ted cruz is saying some of the stuff he's saying. but one of the things that i think we mentioned earlier that's worth noting is that the u.s. has quite a small muslim population, only about 1% of our country. and you compare that to what's going on in europe where you have belgium at 6% of the country, france at 7.5% and so on. so we have a relatively small muslim population and the other point that should be made is that our muslim population came from something like 77 different countries. n a very disparate way unlike in europe where algerians tended to go to france, moroccans to the netherlands and so on so you maintain these communities as they are. >> it also tended to happen gradually rather than in these short bursts like from algeria in france or syria in europe. over much more time so it was less difficult to assimilate. >> thank you, richard. would you like to do the next part? [ laughter ] >> i apologize. >> no, i always welcome -- [ laughter ] what a day. >> i a them the presence of a
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master here. >> i'm above my skis. >> so we also made some reference to some of the ways that muslims have assimilated in america so here are a few facts to throw out there. there are about 6,000 muslims in the u.s. military. we've heard that. we've heard bill bratton, police commissioner new york, talk about the 900 muslims in the new york city police department. we haven't heard as much act the fact that 10% of american doctors are muslims. we haven't heard that much tact fact that they're the second-most educated group after the jews. and they actually tend to have high household incomes. about the national average for people with $100,000 or more. then you translate that into politics and look at how republicans feel and, for that matter democrats and independents, and there's an enormous disconnect between a population that seems to be so well assimilated. i have at least two that i know of, muslims working for me, that are great and completely assimilated. but 76% of -- republicans say
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that islam is incompatible with american life. 57% of independents say the same thing. and almost 40% of democrats say it. which is really quite extraordinary and so that when you then go and look at the exit polls from the last round of republican primaries on march 15, you see that about two-thirds of all the voters basically say that islam is incompatible with american life. so when ted cruz says when what he says, it may be completely irresponsible and complete pandering but there is a feeling in america not withstanding the fact that our muslim community is so well assimilated, so much a part of america. and if you look at other polls, you'll see muslims in america identify more as americans thattthat -- than muslims in europe do. they tend to identify as m muslims, not european. >> these candidates are pushing us back in time that a way that is so destructive. it's unspeakable. we'll be right back. this is the first time i've worked on a surface book.
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a senior pentagon official said the release of detainees from the detention facility in guantanamo bay has led to american deaths. department of defense special envoy paul lewis testified before a house foreign affairs committee hearing yesterday but he declined to provide details and didn't say whether the incidents occurred before or after president obama took office in 2009. >> how many lives have been lost by those terrorists who went
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back to their terrorist activity? >> i can talk about that in a classified setting. >> oh, classified? >> yes. >> oh, it's going to -- so is it over 10? >> sir, what i can tell you is unfortunately there have been americans that have died because of gitmo detainees. >> richard haass, according to the office of the director of national intelligence, of the 532 detainees released while president george w. bush was president, 111 returned to terrorist activities. of the 144 president obama has transferred out, seven have returned to militant activities. 91 detainees remain at the facility. >> well, what happens is we don't just release these people. they go back to their host governments, their countries of origination and the fact that there's probably more than have gone back into terrorism is simply a question of the passage
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of time. but it shows the lack of choices, keep them in guantanamo, put them in prisons in the united states but congress doesn't want you do that so we send them back home where we have assurance they won't get tortured, that i'll be incarcerated. what usually happens is they escape or in some cases the host governments let them go because they're playing footsy with terrorists. >> we also send them to third party countries. do they live up to their obligations? >> i can't tell you on a case by case basis but in some cases there's escapes and in some cases they're held for a shortened amount of time, they go to programs where they're supposedly quote/unquote rehabilitated. that happened in saudi arabia and then people go back to the street and applying their terrorist trade. >> it took officials months to track down the ringleader behind the paris attacks and that's raising big concerns in the manhunt for the brussels bomber still on the run. we'll have a live report on the search. and hillary clinton and ted cruz actually find common ground
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i can choose any car in the aisle i want- without having to ask anyone. who better to be the boss of you... (patrick 1)than me. i mean, you...us. (vo) go national. go like a pro. welcome back to "morning joe." did you hear that "downward spiral." >> i was talking about myself. i was reading my twitter feed. [ laughter ] >> yeah. i'm telling you, this election -- i've never seen people more freaked out. not just talking about you, nicolle. >> you can talk about me, i can
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take it. >> you're the example of the day. but i was talking to a bunch of people yesterday and they just can't stand it. they don't know what to say? >> you're talking to the wrong people. >> oh, no, they're freaking out. it's thursday, march, 24 we have former communications director for president george w. bush, nicolle wallace. former treasury official steve rattner. president of the council on foreign relations, richard haass. veteran columnist in and msnbc contributor mike barnicle. in washington, former chairman of the republican national committee, michael steel. president and ceo of the aspen institute, walter isaacson and political reporter for the "washington post" robert costa. i think everyone -- okay. we'll just stewart the latest first of all on the terror attacks in brussels where a massive manhunt is still under way. joining us live breaking news to report, nbc news senior white house correspondent chris jansing. chris, the latest. >> we've confirmed there were five attackers, at least five involved in this, three at the airport, mika, two at the metro. we knew about those three and
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one of them is the target of the manhunt still this morning as we checked with officials here they have no idea who that person is. they have that picture that we've seen many times, they continue to do these raids and will continue to do throughout the day. they don't know who that is. now they're saying two attacksers at the metro, one of them, one of the bakraoui brothers. the other one has been seen on video which we have not yet seen but we are told there was a second attacker who was at the metro. the picture you're looking at now is the man who is on the run from the airport. the one at the metro, they don't know whether he's dead or alive. it's possible there are two people on the run. they don't know that. they have simply identified a second attacker at the metro. in addition, at the airport, police tell us they found a kalashnikov rifle. the reason that's significant, it's something that's been known to be used by this terror cell, in fact, rain him bakraoui, the older of the two brothers, it
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was a kalashnikov rifle he aimed at police in the middle of a robbery. he was sentenced to nine years in prison but this -- that was six years ago. we're not sure right now how he got out. all of this bringing together ties between paris and what happened here a few days ago. we now know, for example, that salah abdeslam, who was arrested on friday, planned to be part of these attacks, police believe, but he was arrested. and that these attacks may have been moved up because of concerns by the remaining members of the cell that police were on to them, that they were very close and they needed to do this quickly or they might be stopped. so breaking news this morning, again, five attackers involved in this at least. one of them for sure on the run. the second one they're still trying to determine whether or not he died in that blast at the metro. >> nbc's chris jansing, thank you very much for those new developments. it's kind of sobering to hear that, richard haass. because i think freaking out and
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wigging out are the wrong words about how people feel about this election. i think people are getting really scared, especially in light of the latest news in terms of what some of these candidates have said and what they're debating and tweets about wives actually happening. so first bring us up to speed on the latest that we found out in terms of these attackers in brussels, what we've learned about them and the fact that they've crossed borders, there were warnings, there was crisscrossing information, this was an intelligence failure but it doesn't even seem like there was an intelligence system set up to fail. does that make sense? >> unfortunately you're -- both within and between countries. you had a lot of the information but the information wasn't passed, it wasn't shared. the reasons are bureaucratic organizational infighting, we've seen some of that in our country if you recall at 9/11. you have tension between national and supernational organizations in europe. tensions between security
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concerns and privacy protections. so all these things added up and you have the kind of gaps. and what's sad is here we are more than a decade since 9/11, we're however many months since paris. i don't see any necessary progress. and, mika, i can't sit here and tell you a year from now this is going to be fixed. i don't see the impetus to fix it. >> do you think there will be a policy debate in europe? i know in france after their horrific tragedies they enacted something -- i don't want to put a bad word on it but similar to the patriot act. will there be a debate in europe? >> i don't think so. i think there will be inward looking about why these communities are as alienated as they are, breeding the sorts of terrorists they do. the big debate in europe now is going to be in britain about it. that vote is three months away. you have people focused on the refugee problem, focused on low economic growth what have you. it's increasingly hard to speak about europe. it's one of these weird times
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where i almost feel we're living in a bit of history and the last two years we have seen europe going very much in a backwards direction. you add it all up, it was the most successful part of the world, it is no longer. >> when was that? >> on the security side and lots of things and then also this entire european project. this has been one of the great accomplishments of the post-world war ii era, the whole idea is that europe, the cockpit of two world wars, would never move in that direction again and we're seeing a bit of unraveling in europe and this is a frightening set of developments. >> it's under enormous stress and strain. >> absolutely. >> you have the immigrant situation, the fact that they never created the right economic structure to function so as an economy it's weak but it's surprising that belgium is a country 10of 11 million people d they just lost 31. it's a disaster of like a thousand people being killed. so the idea that they won't respond to this and get their act together is amazing.
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>> with all of this as a backdrop, let's turn to politics with senator ted cruz and hillary clinton actually finding themselves on the same side of an issue yesterday, taking aim at donald trump's recent comments about possibly pulling back america's support of nato. >> there are people who say that america needs to be the leader of nato. that that's an important role, do you agree? >> we're paying a very disproportionate share. we're paying for a lot of nato. it's helping them more than us. so we're the ones always fighting, we're the ones putting up money for nato disproportionately. >> should america be the leader of nato? >> nato was set up a long time ago, many, many years ago when things were different. thing are different now. we were a rich nation then, we had nothing but money, we had nothing but power and far more than we have today in a true sense. and i think nato you have to really examine nato and it doesn't really help us, it's helping other countries and i don't think those other countries appreciate what we're
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doing. >> donald trump's foreign policy is bizarre and it is -- he's gotten very little understanding of foreign policy and what he does know is wrong. what he has been advocating as weakness, his withdrawal from the world is isolationism. if donald trump had his way, if america did withdraw from nato it would hand a massive victory to putin, a massive victory to isis, and the idea that donald trump would want the presidency to begin with a preemptive surrender, turning tail and running, that is a sign of weakness and it's striking that donald's foreign policy is to the left of barack obama and hillary clinton. >> turning our back on our alliances or turning our alliance into a protection racket would reverse decades of bipartisan american leadership and send a dangerous signal to friend and foe alike.
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putin already hopes to divide europe. if mr. trump gets his way, it will be like christmas in the kremlin. it will make america less safe and the world more dangerous. >> i'm feeling like, mike barnicle, we're going to need to have a crisis candidate at this point: >> what do you mean? >> i don't even know. somebody who steps if -- >> kasich thinks that's what he is. >> no. mike, take it away. >> well, put it this way, at least the first two people we saw in those clips weren't talking about their wives, so that's a benefit. >> there's that. >> not at this point. >> but walter isaacson, you're a historian, a fellow who's been around for more than a few weeks watching campaigns. the first clip that we played of donald trump, he is the leading contender of one political party's nomination for president of the united states and speaking about nato. what goes through your mind when
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you listen to that? >> i was throng richard haass say that it's been this great experiment, which it has been for almost 70 years now where you have nato, the united states and north atlantic alliance and that really has been a cornerstone of keeping safety in this world. the one thing i would say though is that nato was designed to really stop the spread of soviet or russian spread of communism through europe. it's got to be reconfigured now to do intelligence sharing and be an anti-terrorist organization of north america and europe. and if you're going to have, as david ignatius said in his column recently, this bad problem with intelligence sharing after that -- that leads to things like the brussels attack, maybe that's what nato should take the lead in doing is backing an anti-terrorist organization much more than it is now. >> so richard haass, we're
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talking sovereign nations, different sovereign nations within europe. france is different from belgium, belgium is different from germany, germany is different from england. how do you pull together and coordinate a single intelligence unit? it's easier to do in the the united states, 48 con stig white house -- contiguous states, 50 sedates in all. how do you pull together such a coordinated intelligence in europe? >> we've had a coordinated system of military cooperation for 50 years, it's called nato. that's the mechanism. you have countries essentially pooling capabilities, whether they're intelligence capabilities, military capabilities. >> intelligence -- i mean, you can -- >> sure. we coordinated against the soviet union for four decades, it was called a successful pursuit of the cold war. one threat we obviously now have terrorism, we have this threat out of area, how to try to add stability to the middle east. look, nato has to change. the whole idea of nato was to keep the americans in europe, the germans down, the russians
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out. we still don't have a challenge with the russians. nato, if anything, has gone down too far, we've gone from 300,000 to 30,000 troops. we have to build up against a renewed russian challenge. we have to get the europeans not just to do more but coordinate more. the problem is, the europeans spend all this on defense but no one specializes so the hole is less than the sum of its parts. the europeans are not coordinating enough. >> but to trump's point -- and i can't believe i'm saying those words -- the europeans do spend less than we do as a percent of their budget. except the brits. >> but what's more important is how they spend it. the fact that you have these countries replicating one another and don't have countries doing a division of labor so the whole makes more sense, that's the problem. but one other thing about nato very quickly. the united states has been a member of nato not as a favor to the europeans, we do it as a favor to ourselves. the whole lesson of the 20th
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century was the united states had a vital national interest in the stability and balance of power in europe. we are there in nato not as a favor but something out of american vital national interest. >> it's incredible. >> it's currently constitutes, is nato obsolete? >> no, we still have a challenge from russia, we have terrorism issues and nato is an out-of-area organization doing things in afghanistan, doing things in the middle east. nato has adapted. it still has a real purpose. >> i guess to michael steele and then you mika because you interviewed people specifically, but michael do you feel that this is in some ways the maddening trump cycle where he gets like a kernel of an ingrained truth about how there's all these smart people talking about how nato needs to reform and improve, that's the kernel of truth but then says something over the top. can trump fix this before election day?
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>> i think he can. i think we saw a glimmer of the effort to frame a presidential general election campaign when he appeared at aipac. he had the discipline to use teleprompters, he criticized the president for it and then there he was. he had a beginning a middle and end of a thought or idea as vague as it may have been at times on israel to begin to frame an argument and i think on the nato piece i think that there is a kernel of truth behind what he's saying. take the money out of it and think about the organization and structure. what is its role in the 21st century, in an asymmetrical war against isis and can nato -- i think dr. isaacson's point is the critical one, can it be reshaped to do the things it did in a cold war era? yeah to the extend we have to deal with russia but make it
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more flexible and i think that's where donald trump wants to get to. how does he get there without creating other noise about what he's saying. >> you keep asking about his foreign policy team. his answers haven't changed to your specific questions about his team. >> and i believe there's some members of his team, bob costa, you've been covering him more closely. there's members of this team that haven't even spoken to him? >> most of his newly announced advisors are coordinating with sam clovis, trump's policy chairman. they're trying to mount a new argument in republican foreign policy but it's not new. we've seen not only with rand paul and ron paul but going back to pat buchanan and blocks of republicans in the 1950s and 1960s, there's been a non-interventionist isolationist strain that's been overshadowed in the bush era. and trump is taking a hammer and trying to track that consensus.
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>> walter isaacson, how is hillary clinton countering -- i can call these extreme statements by republicans. is that fair? these are extreme statements. you have ted cruz who consider himself to be a constitutional expert saying things that are inane. completely inane. and baseless. and not true to his believes if he is who he says he is to be. and hillary clinton, i know her tone was very mueasured. >> i think her speech in palo alto was particularly good and rewritten in light of the brussels attacks. you need to fight this with the tools we have. part of the strength of this
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country is as steve rattner's chart showed that we're able to assimilate and bring people into the country. and her speech about the need to do more intelligence, to have a working relationship from the community to washington, d.c. to figure out how we are going do the intelligence gathering we need. those type of measured steady tones i think will resonate now when we're more worried than we were a few weeks ago. >> donald trump's speech to aipac, it was on that same day he went to the "washington post" and gave this incredible interview to the editorial board, some of us have read it several times. and then you saw the interview with halperin. i have some doubts about his ability to pivot and i think
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he's trying to define hillary as weak and not up to the job. he's basically saying i'm steady, i'm reliable. >> people are hearing it. >> i think they'll hear it that way. they'll hear it as somebody who is a steady hand at the tiller. still ahead on "morning joe" -- >> at least 3,500 american muslims serving in the armed forces. thank you for your service. [ applause ] religion is not the enemy. >> and we're sorry for what these candidates are saying. it is awful. senator lindsey graham did not mince words during a debate in december, what does he make of ted cruz's plan to monitor muslim neighborhoods in america? senator graham, who's now raising money for senator cruz,
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joins us in just a minute. i can't wait to ask him about that. i -- i get -- i feel he'll be honest. i do. but first, steve kornacki is standing by for some interesting new polling out of the presidential race. you're watching "morning joe." we'll be right back. and i are now participating in your mutual fund. we invested in your fund to help us pay for a college education for our son. we've enclosed a picture of our son so that you can get a sense there are real people out here trusting you with their hard-earned money. ♪ at fidelity, we don't just manage money, we manage people's money. ♪
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>> if you look at a number of the candidates that took on donald trump early on, they ended up as road kill. [ laughter ] our objective was simple from the beginning, it is to win this race, to win the nomination and then beat hillary clinton and turn this country around. >> and not be road kill. >> and not be road kill. i am very strongly committed on the anti-road kill approach. [ laughter ] >> what was that? >> a conversation. >> right. >> about road kill. >> presidential candidates just talking about issues that affect everybody in america. >> do you know what i think of when i think about road kill? there texas there's all these dead armadillos. road kill. i'm sorry. road kill. you know, squirrels.
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>> that was ted cruz in wisconsin talking about how he's made it this for. joining us now steve kornacki, elise jordan is with us now. it appears the republican establishment is making preparations. big donors will abandon the presidential race and focus on stemming losses in congress. three new polls show trump leading among national republican primary voters, ahead 12 points in the new monmouth university poll. nine points in the bloomberg politics national poll and just three points in the fox news poll. trump has led the gop field nationally but he continues to pose a general election crisis for republicans, losing to hillary clinton by double digits in two national polls released yesterday. down 18 points in the bloomberg politics poll and 11 points in the fox news poll. still, the monmouth university poll finds a majority of
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republican primary voters want the party to back donald trump if he goes to the convention with the most delegates but short of the number needed to nominate. 54% say to get behind trump, 34% say nominate a different person. steve kornacki, we'll go through that. it seems trump has a lot of support. i'm kind of confused as to why -- i will turn my back to nicolle so she doesn't think i'm focused on her. [ laughter ] but why people like jeb bush and others -- lindsey graham will be on the show -- why they would opt for ted cruz if trump scares them so much. what's the difference? >> they have no other choice. >> but what's the difference between the two? what's the difference? >> that's a good question. ted cruz shut down the government, called mitch mcconnell a liar and now wants to patrol muslim neighborhoods. that's very trumpian. >> what is the difference. >> he's a conservative. >> no, he's not! >> they think he's a conservative.
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>> the yes think is that he will protect rule of law. >> no, no, he's breaking the rule of law with his words. >> exactly. >> the difference is he didn't spend six months calling jeb bush low energy. >> they're not mad about that. >> that's what jeb bush is mad about. >> do we hear ourselves? >> is robert costa still with us? >> please go to him. i need a moment. >> there's a policy reason many in the republican establishment are gravitating toward cruz. many of them don't like him personally. he doesn't have much political capital with them but when it comes to domestic policy, they see him as someone who generally pursues the same things they want, which is entitlement reform and tax cuts and they see in trump someone who doesn't want to go after social security and medicare. he's against republican orthodoxy on domestic policy and as we've been discussing on foreign policy trump is outside of the republican mainstream and
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people in washington think what romney ran on in 2012 and mccain ran on in 2008, that should continue to be the republican platform. >> robert, let me ask you. yesterday i spoke to three different members of the republican senate staffs and it seems listening to them yesterday increasing concern about the down-ticket rprospect of republicans on the ballot for people running for reelection to the united states senate. what are you hearing? >> there's concern not only about the united states senate but about the house majority itself. that's why speaker ryan according to some of his associates came out yesterday to give a major speech not to rail against trump specifically but to provide political insulation to give republicans someone else to point to in a general election as their standard beare bearer. >> so the race moves to wisconsin on april 5 where a new emerson college poll shows cruz and trump in a dead heat for the states 42 delegates.
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cruz at 36%, trump at 35% and john kasich at 19%. but the establishment could be coming to cruz's rescue. why? >> he's conservative. >> no, he's not! republican governor and former candidate scott walker could make an endorsement next week and it won't be trump. >> if you're someone who is uneasy with the front-runner, right now there's really only one candidate. if you look at the numbers objectively, ted cruz, senator cruz, is the only one who has a chance other than donald trump to win the nomination statistically. my friend governor kasich cannot. >> michael steele? [ laughter ] >> oh, my god. >> michael, you just heard that. what is the objective of a political party in its
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nomination for candidates? is it not to win? >> it's to win. >> so what's going on here? what's going on. >> i was just sitting here pulling what little hair i have left out of my head listening to robert costa report what the folks in washington are thinking. they want to replay that winning message from 2012 and 2008 that america stood behind and went to the ballot box and that's not where america is and that's the problem with this party. they're not where america is. donald trump, whether you like him or not, hate him or love him, is. and until you come to grips with that -- >> exactly. >> -- you're going to continue down this crazy road of oh, let's have another meeting to create the cabal that's going to undo the very thing that's going to happen right in front of your eyes. that's the reality. >> i can think of, like, four people that -- no, no, i swear -- that the republican party could get behind that
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would be -- >> it's not going to happen. it's not. >> they picked already, they picked trump. i think the question is what michael steele said earlier. i don't know why people have abandoned hope that he can learn new things. reading from a teleprompter is a big thing. some people do it too much but donald trump evolved at aipac and we didn't get to talk about it because of the tragedy in brussels. steve, you and i talk every tuesday night about how strong trump performs every time people vote but then the intervening six days we look for weakness. but i think every time people vote they see one thing and every time we sort of look at the things he says in long form interviews with mark halperin or others we find the reasons to disqualify him. >> and i think the other thing is, the other reason pragmatically that maybe the establishment types are looking to cruz, it's simply -- he's the only one they could get away with lining up behind and taking the nomination from. the reason that ted cruz is in
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this position, that he's the last viable alternative to donald trump -- >> no, no, he's not. see, that's the problem. i'm not having a fit over donald trump. i think he does evolve. i think he's shown what -- that voters are looking for something and they're seeing in the him. i have nothing to say about that. i ohm c'm confused about the te angle and the establishment getting behind him and people, really credible individuals, endorsing him. >> here's where i think the logic would be. donald trump's success, there's a lot of facets to it. be he has defined himself as the biggest enemy of the political establishment of the republican party. the grass-root cans not stand the establishment and the establishment is scared of donald trump. that's trump's pew we are the base. ted cruz has also defined himself before donald trump came along the same way. remember? he called the establishment squishes. he dared them to shut down the government. he was -- his political positioning was always "i am the voice of the base fighting the
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establishment." so if you're the establishment and that scared of nominating donald trump and you need some kind of buy-in from the base, you're looking at cruz saying he's the only one we can get away with lining up behind. >> i'm going to get walter isaacson in here with another big battle looming in the empire state. 95 delegates in new york. ted cruz has been camping out in donald trump's hometown courting the republican establishment. but after knocking trump for new york values in january's south carolina debate, cruz declared "god bless the state of new york" and said new york republicans understood what he meant when he denigrate it had state's values. >> the people of new york understand firsthand the liberal lift wing values of new york politicians. the people of new york have suffered under the liberal left wing values of new york politicians. one of the reasons why i think we are poised to do very, very well here is the people of new
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york know donald trump they know that for 40 years donald trump has bankroll it had same liberal democratic politicians that have inflicted so much damage. >> so walter isaacson, do you think the people in upstate new yo york, the people in the parts of new york state which there are large swathes of who are suffering economically think what ted cruz is thinking? >> well, i've shown that i'm not very good at predicting the trump phenomenon over the past, i'm not going to go there. but i will say there's a fundamental difference between cruz and trump which is why i think the republican establishment is going to cruz is that trump is not exactly a conservativ conservative. he's for eminent domain, bigger government spending. he's been a sort of typical new york builder billionaire type who likes the notion of a strong centralized government. so you have a libertarian streak
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in the republican party, people want to cut spending. i think there's a rebellion also against trump's character. the way he sort of conducts himself. so i can understand the fundamental difference between a cruz and a trump. >> yeah, but that's you and me. what about the person in upstate new york working the overnight shift at a holiday in who can't afford even after working a 10-hour shift on overnights to pay the rent? >> they go with trump. >> they're going with trump. >> walter, let me ask you this -- >> really quickly. >> in a foreign environment which is politics, national politics, if you ever in the course of what you've covered for 30, 35 years, 40 years, whatever, have you ever seen a candidate so easily adapt and grow within a system more so than donald trump. >> no. he's very changeable, very
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malleable. he could have run at "new york times" the democratic primary as a populist democrat and probably done well so this is not somebody who's following the traditional path. i mean, i started, mike, as you know, you were with my mentor -- so you don't make me feel too old -- back in new hampshire in 1980 when i first started covering politics, you were there, we'd never seen a phenomenon like this, this outsider who comes in. this is the first time this has happened and he is very changeable which i think what makes a republican establishment particularly nervous because he's not wedded to their orthodoxy. >> we want to thank robert costa for being with us, steve kornacki, stay with us if you can. coming up, sources tell nbc news that had he not been caught, salah abdeslam would have joined in on the brussels attacks. up next, nbc news chief global correspondent bill neely joins us after another day of raids. and we'll try to answer the question how many more suspects
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groups of people who are willing to die themselves and can walk into a crowd and detonate a bomb. >> that was president obama talking about the fight against isis while in argentina yesterday. iraq has reportedly launched the long-awaited offensive to recapture the city of mosul from isis. according to the a.p., an iraqi military spokesperson says forces have retaken several villages on the outskirts of a town just east of mosul. the u.s.-led international coalition is reportedly providing air support. mosul is iraq's second-largest city. it fell into isis control in june of 2014. to the attacks in brussels now. the head count is shifting this morning in terms of how many suspects participated in the bombings in belgium and how many remain at large still. joining us from brussels, nbc news chief global correspondent bill neely. bill, you have an update on accused paris attacker salah abdeslam, whose lawyer just
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appeared in court. tell us about it. >> so salah abdeslam, let's remind everyone, was arrested here in brussels last friday. there is no question that he was a participant in the paris attacks and also no question that he knew at least two of the attackers here in brussels, two of the brussels bombers. now he was due to have a court hearing this morning. we don't think he appeared in person but his lawyer was certainly there. his lawyer said some -- actually quite astonishing things. number one his lawyer implied that salah abdeslam had no prior knowledge of these bombings. in other words, that he had nothing to do with any kind of plot to bomb the airport or bomb the metro station. he also said salah abdeslam, who had resisted being extradited to france now wanted to get to france as quickly as possible
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and appear in court and tell his side of the story. salah abdeslam, remember, is a french national. obviously the police have a different view of this. they believe that salah abdeslam, had he not been captured last friday, would have taken part in the bombings here. we do know from the computer that was found from one of the brothers that they feared, the team feared, that after abdeslam's arrest that the whole cell would be rounded up and everything that they had planned would be destroyed so they brought forwarm those attacks. but, you know, there is real confusion here, not just in the minds of the public, but the police about how many suspects there are, how many people there are in these --in this cell, where the suspects are, who's helping them. the police are struggling and the people here, the population behind me lying flowers at this memorial, the public, is really
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worried. mika? >> nbc's bill neely, thank you very much. up next on "morning joe" -- >> you don't like ted cruz? >> i don't dislike ted. ted and i have a lot of differences. i'm getting better at this. [ laughter ] >> i feel like you guys are a like a buddy cop movie. >> he's not completely crazy. good. >> so partially crazy. >> well, that works in washington. >> all right, let's see the if he still feels that way. senator lindsey graham joins the table next on "morning joe." know your financial plan
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do you want to still do that? >> i'm $250,000. i'm on the ted train, you should be on. what the hell are you waiting for? >> he's raising money for senator ted cruz who he calls the best alternative for donald trump. >> would you like to give? $2700. >> lindsey, i'd like to show you something. this is a little something we put together. it's your process. take a look. >> would ted cruz be a more acceptable nominee to you than donald trump? >> no. >> no? >> you're in trouble, my man. >> he's going to get killed. when i think of problem solver, the first thing in my mind is not ted cruz. if you kill ted cruz on the floor of the senate and the trial was in the senate nobody could convict you. [ laughter ] i'm not really happy about where the country is right now. our party and our country is going to have to up its game. if you nominate trump and cruz,
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i think you get the same outcome. whether it's death by being shot or poisoning, does it really matter? we may be in a position where we have to rally around ted cruz as the only way to stop donald trump. i'm not? sure that would work. >> you'd recommend that in order to stop donald trump? rally behind ted cruz. >> i can't believe i would say yes, but yes. so i think the best alternative to donald trump to stop him from getting to 1237 is ted cruz. and i'm going to help ted in every way i can and if i were in one of the states coming up in terms of voting and i didn't like trump, i'd vote for cruz. that was pretty painful. >> yeah. >> are you in pain? >> well, i'm full of hope now that we've got a chance to -- well i think ted would make a competitive race. when david duke said he was for trump -- >> would he make a good president? >> i think he'd make a better president than trump for damn
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sure and he'd take the country in a direction other than clinton. would he make the best president? no. john kasich wins by 11 points against hillary so he's absolutely out. nobody want a loser like that. [ laughter ] >> would john kasich make a better president than ted cruz? >> i think so. >> so what -- >> so what's your point? >> so what of these comments about patrolling muslim communities? >> i think if he means it, we need to have better intelligence gathering -- >> no, just what of his comments, come on, lindsey. >> i don't know what he means by that. if he means we're going to put surveillance on every muslim in the country, that's a bad idea. if we're going to have a better relationship with the muslim community, that's different. >> let me make it easier for you. should he have said it? why did he say it? >> i think he's trying to chase trump a little bit. his response to brussels is let's waterboard people. no many people in the military believes that works. his response is to kick every muslim out of the country. so at the end of the day what
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mr. trump is saying makes it harder to win the war not easier and ted cruz has got to speak for himself. but we need a better relationship with the muslim community in america. but that's not nothing to do with destroying isil. if you close the country down. if you build a wall -- which we need to protect the country -- you don't destroy isil until you go to syria and destroy them. nobody talks about that. >> so i feel bad. because you -- just a little bad. because you have been the most honest of the candidates about where we stand in the state of this conversation and how stupid it has become during these debates. having said that, how can you raise money for ted cruz when you don't believe he would be that good a president? >> i think he's a republican. i think he's conservative. i think donald trump is a con man. i think he would destroy the republican party. i have differences with ted cruz that with well known but we share the same political dna and
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he's a reliable republican conservative and mr. trump is not, i think john kasich would be the best nominee but he doesn't have a chance. >> lindsey, do you think there is a voter out there, maybe like a suburban republican voter, a who woman who maybe swung to republicans in '04 because george push bush made the better case who maybe swung in '08. are you worried she will look at the choice between trump and clinton and decide that just on competence that clinton makes the better commander-in-chief? >> i'm worried that they'll look at mr. trump as somebody who will deport their entire family. that the grandchildren of an illegal immigrant, their grandmother, you won't get their vote. i'm worried the young woman of the republican party believe that megyn kelly is a bimbo.
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i'm worried that people believe that it's the policy of the united states that islam is a religion that hates america. one tern, the image he would create for our country and party is my biggest zblrn who would you vote for trump and clinton? >> i'm not voting for clinton. ask me after the convention. >> so speaking of the convention in terms of how we get from here and there, the delegate math is simple, cruz has to get something over 80% of the remaining delegates. close to a majority of republicans say they should pick the person with the most delegates so how does the movie -- it's not the end but how does the movie progress from heech to the convention. >> about 60% of republicans are voting for somebody other than trump. we'll have a contested convention. if he falls short of 1237 we'll have multiple ballots and i will do everything i can to get
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behind ted cruz to make sure he's nominated. being close counts, i guess, in horse shoes but not in politics. if i'm one vote short of the votes i need to avoid a runoff in south carolina, i have a runoff so i don't want to lecture about what happens if you're close to run off. if you don't get a majority there is a process called balloting and we will vote until we get somebody who gets a majority. >> what did you think of what paul ryan had to say yesterday and what's your level of concern that the republican party splits in two wings? >> we're already split. here is my concern, we can lose in 2016 and we probably will. trump gets wiped out, ted makes it competitive, i don't know if he can beat her or not, but at least we have a fighting chance. if trump is the standard bearer it's not about 2016, it's about losing the heart and soul of the conservative movement. i'm not going to stand behind a guy that gets david duke's support. what is it about trump's campaign that david duke likes? i don't think he is a reliable conservative republican. so it's no longer about winning
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the election for me it's trying to salvage a party that i love and conservatism as i know it. >> michael steele, jump in. >> senator, i want to pick up on that point because i think it's an important one and i don't think people really paid attention to what you said a moment ago about john kasich -- >> that's pretty much the whole campaign. >> well, but this is the point, you've -- >> fair enough. >> it's fair. it's a fair point. >> take this for what it's worth from a guy with no delegates. >> but, i mean, but that's really an interesting observation, the fact that you have someone that everyone acknowledges and the polls are showing can beat hillary clinton in november and yet no one wants to get behind him, no one wants to give him the opportunity to really put the full-court press and challenge to donald trump, a, why is that? and so -- or does it really matter if we win this november? is it just what you've said that we will just get past this and we will focus on rebuilding and rebranding the party?
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>> it matters a lot if we win. we are going to have two or three supreme court picks, if it's hillary clinton she's going to pick somebody different than ted cruz, obamacare will be fixed into being, ted would repeat t she wouldn't. it matters a lot. i guess here is what i'm saying, john kasich i think is the most qualified person standing to be president of the united states, it's an outsider year. what have i learned in the last six months? if you got any experience people say, no thank you. the bottom line is that people believe washington is so broken they want somebody like trump who appears to be unable to be bought, who is strong because obama is weak, who is going to save us from illegal immigrants and is going to bomb the crap out of isil and he's going to bring to washington a new way of doing business to make you wealthy because he's successful. hats off to donald for selling that. john kasich's problem is he is an insider in an outsider year and nobody seems to want to buy that. i wish i had more good news for
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you. >> we need good news. >> here is the good news there's no other place i'd rather live than this country and we're building a wall to keep people out not in. >> they're leaving which makes the wall thing even more silly, but okay. senator lindsey graham, thank you very much. thank you for being on. still ahead, congressman keith ellison joins us to talk about what not to do if you're trying to win the hearts and minds of muslims in the western world. >> we can argue about taxes and spending all you want, but can we say that we're not going to scapegoat and demonize americans based on religion? a lot of republicans are sick of it, too, but it's time for good people to stand up and be counted. on your airline credit . now you just book a seat, right? not quite. sometimes those seats are out of reach, costing an outrageous number of miles. it's time to switch... to the capital one venture card. with venture, you'll earn unlimited double miles
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i want to thank walter isaacson for being on this morning. final thoughts from you this morning. >> i think that brussels makes us pause for a second and realize that this is a serious race and we've got to get serious and it really is important to figure out how to do the intelligence gathering, deal with the muslim community, deal with our allies and not be tweeting about each other's wives and the things we've seen in this presidential election. >> walt, thank you. up next we will go live to brussels with breaking news on tuesday's attack. new information on the number of suspects involved, plus word that belgium had a chance to detain one of the attackers last year. also, president obama got pulled into a tango when he was in argentina but should he have
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abandoned his trip and head home in light of the isis attacks? that's the question, i guess. "morning joe" is back in a moment. some say "free the whales." for them, nothing else is acceptable. but nothing could be worse for the whales. most of the orcas at seaworld were born here. sending them into the wild wouldn't be noble. it could be fatal. when they freed keiko, the killer whale of movie fame, the effort was a failure and he perished. but we also understand that times have changed. today, people are concerned about the world's largest animals like never before. so we too must change. that's why the orcas in our care will be the last generation at seaworld. there will be no more breeding. we're also phasing out orca theatrical shows. they'll continue to receive the highest standard of care available anywhere. and guests can come to see them simply being their majestic selves.
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good morning. it is thursday, march 24th. joe is off this morning, but with us here on "morning joe" we have former communications director for president george w. bush, nicolle wallace, former treasury official and "morning joe" economic analyst steve rattner, president of the council on foreign relations richard haass, managing editor of bloomberg politics mark halperin and in washington msnbc political analyst and former chairman of the republican
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national committee michael steele along with willie and me. good to have you all on board. we have a lot to get to today. another busy news morning. we will go live to brussels in just a moment where there is new information about the suspects, their connection to the attacks in paris and how one of them was caught and then let go. president obama and hillary clinton take the opportunity to blast candidate ted cruz for his comments about patrolling muslim neighborhoods as ted cruz rel she is being attacked by president obama and clinton and joe has a strong new column in the "washington post" about that. we'll read part of that for. >> you let's go right to brussels. chris jansing is there. what's the latest? bring us up to speed on the investigation. >> reporter: we have confirmed that there were at least five attackers involved in this, three at the airport, two at the metro. we knew about those three and one of them is the target of the manhunt still this morning as we checked with officials here they have no idea who that person is. they have that picture that we've seen many times, they
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continue to do these raids and will continue to do throughout the day, they don't know who that is. now they're saying two attackers at the metro, one of them, one of the bakraoui brothers, the other one has been seen on video which we have not yet seen but we are told there was a second attacker who was at the metro. the picture you're looking at now is the man who is on the run from the airport. the one at the metro they don't know whether he is dead or alive. it's possible there are two people on the run they don't know that. they have simply identified a second attacker at the metro. at the airport police tell us they found a kalashnikov rifle. it is something known to be used by this terror sell. ibrahim bakraoui the older of the two brothers when he was arrested six years ago it was a kalashnikov rifle he aimed at police in the middle of a robbery. he was sentenced to nine years in prison but that was six years ago. we are not quite sure how he got
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out. all of this bringing together the ties between paris and what happened here just a few days ago. we now know, for example, that salah abdeslam who was arrested on friday planned to be part of these attacks police believe but he was arrested and that these attacks may have been moved up because of concern by the remaining members of the cell that police were on to them, that they were very close and they needed to do this quickly or they might be stopped. so breaking news this morning, again, five attackers involved in this at least, one of them for sure on the run, the second one they are still trying to determine whether or not he died in that blast at the metro. >> nbc's chris jansing, thank you very much. richard haass, let's speak about these three guys who were known to law enforcement, now we're learning were involved in paris as well according to security services. how did they slip through the cracks after all these months? it was november paris took place, months later you had them living within brussels, again,
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known to authorities. why weren't they arrested earlier? >> there's lots of ways to answer that question. if you remember what happened with 9/11, afterwards when the commission did the study we actually knew a lot of the information, various law enforcement and intelligence agencies didn't, quote/unquote, connect the dots. this is that problem actually on a much larger scale. you have dozens of domestic agencies and we always think of europe as this great bureaucratic morass, what we're actually seeing is there's less to europe than meets the eye, they are not coordinating plus you have tremendous privacy concerns which gets in the way of law enforcement and intelligence coordinating. all these things are coming together. it turns out that europe really isn't -- it isn't poised to deal with the kind of problem they have there. they're playing serious catch up. then another level of the answer is about these communities that are isolated or not integrated in societies. so you have an intelligence problem, a law enforcement problem and a social problem and that's the answer to your question. >> but to your point it's
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incredible that after 9/11 -- yes, we were not perhaps ready for 9/11 but then 9/11 happened and then you had madrid and many other terrorist attacks and yet the europeans didn't take that as any kind of a wake-up call to get their security operation into order. >> but that's the nature of modern europe. you work a lot on the economic side and you've spent -- >> i know it's a mess, but -- >> well, this is the same thing where you've got, again, all these national barriers, you've also got the cultural barriers of these various agencies, europe also -- look at the disputes we've recently had with data, the privacy balance between individual privacy and collective privacy much tougher, much harder to hand across information. even in the aftermath of this i wouldn't assume that europe constitutes major reforms either in the legal machinery on what they actually do, i just wouldn't assume that. >> let's turn to the president, he spoke about this last night in argentina where he was attending a state dinner. at one point he was guided from his table to the dance floor to try to tango. he struggled a bit with the
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steps, the first lady eventually joined in as well and if the song they danced to sounds familiar there is a good reason, the same one from the iconic tango scene from scent of a woman. but earlier in the day the president spoke alongside president mack ri and once again was asked if he's taking the scourge of isis seriously enough especially after watching a baseball game in cuba and remaining overseas. >> groups like isil can't destroy us or defeat us, they can't produce anything, they are not an existential threat to us. their primary power in addition to killing innocent lives is to strike fear in our societies and that is how -- that is how we are going to defeat these terrorist groups. in part because we're going after them and taking strikes
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against them and arresting them and getting intelligence on them and cooperating with other countries, but a lot of it is also going to be to say you do not have power over us. >> mark halperin, we'll start with you, there are political reactions to the president's reaction. how much of that should he have taken into consideration? could he even control given the reaction to the attacks, the baseball game and now the trip to argentina which he's getting a lot of criticism for? >> well, there's no great way to handle these situations, i think the consensus for most people who watch this stuff is that the baseball game the way he handled it was a mistake. there's intellectual sympathy for the notion that life has to go on, you can't let the terrorist control american actions but there is no doubt particularly at a time when hillary clinton and barack obama are arguing that america is the indispensable nation in leading a coalition against isis, i think there is no doubt that people would like to see a little bit more stage craft and
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a balance towards decisive action rather than business as usual from the president. >> we will go to richard then nicolle. how much of this is fair? he canceled everything? i was critical yesterday, i think of the optics of the baseball game i'm not saying he shouldn't have gone, i feel like it should have been handled differently, everything about it, but who am i to say? you have a little more experience in this. we have had presidents in this situation before, it's not the first time. what are we not getting here? >> it was right to go ahead with the trip, shouldn't cancel the trip. this president has canceled too many trips it's created problems in asia when he hasn't gone places. argentina is one of the rare good news stories in the world, this is a country that has come out of a corrupt heavy handed years under mrs. kirshner you now have a new democratic government, they're doing the right things economically and politically. it's a good story. however, the advanced person who
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let him do the tango, that person ought to be looking for work on somebody's -- in somebody's campaign very, very far away, that was a tremendous mistake. it's fine to go to argentina, you want to do the work but you have to be careful of these photo ops for optics, baseball games and training goes, that's inconsistent -- >> the bible game had symbolism, willie, did it not? it wasn't he was going to catch a game, there was a plan there, international symbolism, but i still think his sleeves are rolled up, he had shades on, he was doing espn interviews, it felt really strange to me. >> i think michael haden offered the best explanation for it. these were not advanced staff gaffs, it's so easy to blame the staff. that's not what this was. this was president obama's policy choice, his policy choice was to proceed with everything on his schedule and not to react to the threat of terrorism and that is his prerogative but it
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points his vastly out of step with the entire american public not just republicans. you heard democrats yesterday increasingly uncomfortable with the choices he makes at a moment of crisis. there were mothers laying dead while their family members were at the crime scene yesterday and to look like the priority is to go on a foreign trip instead of pausing for a minute and explaining that to america is a communications crime. >> well, look, first of all, he was already on a foreign trip it's not like he was in washington said -- >> i just said pause, that's all i said. you can pause. the presidency follows you wherever you can go, you can do anything you need to do from that airplane and you can change anything. you can say i can't stay at a baseball game i need a backdrop with american flags behind it. you are the leader of the free world you can import whatever you need wherever you are. >> i agree with richard on this. first i think that you have to retain some idea of business as usual, that you're continuing -- >> i couldn't disagree more.
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>> let me finish. continue to conduct the business that you want to conduct. i think there is -- i think he has had a little bit of bad luck in the sense that he has been overseas both ben paris happened and now when brussels happened and he was on martha's vineyard when james foley was killed. i think it could have been handled differently. i think he was -- i think he should have gone to the baseball game but i don't know about the espn interview, i think he could have handled some of that differently, certainly about the tango, but the idea that some people are throwing out that he should have turned the plane around, rushed back to washington to do what. >> i didn't say that. the presidency goes with you. >> not you, i said some people are saying he should have done that. to do what? i don't really get that. >> president obama also joined the growing chorus condemning senator ted cruz's proposal to patrol muslim neighborhoods in the wake of the belgian terror attacks. >> as far as the notion of having surveillance of neighborhoods where muslims are present, i just left a country
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that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance, which by the way, the father of senator cruz escaped for america, the land of the free. >> when republican candidates like ted cruz call for treating american muslims like criminals and more ably profiling predominantly muslim neighborhoods, it's wrong, it's counter productive, it's dangerous. as a spokesman for the new york police department pointed out last night, that kind of blanket big big tree would treatment the muslim police officers as threats. it's hard to imagine a more incendiary foolish statement he said. commissioner bill bratton of the nypd was even more blunt this morning. he said senator cruz doesn't
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know what the hell he's talking about. >> i have to say i'm so sorry to be dismaying barack obama and, you know, yesterday and today i was attacked by barack obama and hillary clinton and new york's mayor bill de blasio which suggests maybe i'm doing something right. >> michael steele, i want to get you in on this. let's read from joe's column this morning, he talks about ted as you hair brain policy. winston churchill once famously said americans could be counted upon to do the right thing after exhausting all other pockets, in the aftermath of the brussels attacks mr. churchill appears to have been an optimist, republican presidential candidate ted cruz responded to tuesday's terrorist strikes by offering the campaign's most des it truck testify policy proposal since donald trump pledged to ban all muslims from entering the united states, the texas senator hatched a plot to lay siege to american neighborhoods.
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populated by worshippers of islam, american muslims deserve better than what ted cruz is offering and come to think of it so do we all. you saw ted cruz given the chance to go through this again doubled and tripled down on it yesterday when he was asked. >> yeah, i mean, that was playing to the political base and so let me get this straight. if we don't ban all the muslims we're just going to surveil and, you know, sort of drill down on those that are left behind. this is the narrative that the party is putting out across the country at this time and i think it's an unfortunate one. i think that this sense that we are sort of targeting a group of people indiscriminately because which muslim community do you start it with? and if there's all of this nefarious jihadist activity taking place i think our law enforcement and intelligence communities here in the u.s. would already be engaged in that process. so this is just a lot of noise right now that i think distracts from the important work of dealing with the issues of
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islamist terrorism as well as recognizing that the republican party two years ago, three years ago put together an autopsy that talked about expansion and inclusion and reaching out to americans. we are now at a process where our political leadership, our campaign leaders are telling us that we want to build walls and we want to surveil american citizens, that i think is going to be a real problem going into a general election where everyone gets to say whether or not you should be president of the united states, not just your base. >> still ahead on "morning joe," paul ryan tries to elevate the rhetoric in the republican primary. plus congressman keith ellison one of just two muslim members of congress joins us as ted cruz calls for increasing policing of muslim communities in america. can't even say it with a straight face. "morning joe" continues after a quick break. the pursuit of healthier.
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looking around at what's taking place in politics today, it is so easy to get disheartened. our political discourse, both the kind that we see on tv and the kind that we experience among each other, it did not used to be this bad. and it does not have to be this way. politics can be a battle of ideas not a battle of insults, it can be about solutions. it can be about making a difference and so sometimes today we see a politics that is degrading, a politics that's going to the base, the bases of our emotion of what disuninice. this is happening all across our country. we are slipping into being a divisive country, we are speak to go each other in he can echo
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chambers where we only talk to people who agree with us and think there is something wrong with people who don't agree with us. >> this has been a growing problem for ten years. that was paul ryan taking aim at the heated rhetoric we have been seeing for years that has come to define the presidential primaries so far including members of his party and the democrats. i'm going to do this story but i actually think the bigger story about divisiveness and destructive politics is the story about muslims and ted cruz and donald trump and their opinions on this. >> there's one point to make about paul ryan, i think. i think paul ryan is a serious good guy. >> i love what he's saying. >> exactly. >> it's just not new. >> that's also true, but the point is that even paul ryan in his job and admittedly it's an election year, he hasn't been able to move his caucus forward. the house has bun basically nothing. >> nothing. >> nothing. >> which is why, i mean, one of the many reasons why people are
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looking at donald trump and bernie sanders and showing up at rallies, but this is the story i'm -- >> but he has spoken out. i want to say he was speaking to interns who are 18 to 24 who may not be aware of how old this story s they were 7 when it started. >> i think it's fine that he said what he said and he's right. >> and he has spoken out against trump. he may not have moved his caucus but he has been one of the republicans who spoke out against the muslim ban. >> and i give him full credit for that. when i watched that speech it made me think to myself that's great but what about the house actually legislating something. >> i feel like in the first month of "morning joe" nine years ago joe said that, about the people talking to the different corners and getting in their own echo chambers and it getting worse and worse and worse and here we are. coming up on "morning joe" the fight for oshkosh bigosh. hallie jackson joins us live from wisconsin as republicans pick another state to try to stop donald trump.
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investigators have found that the attacks in both paris and brussels have ties to the same neighborhood. joining us from brussels belgium nbc news foreign correspondent keir simmons. explain how law enforcement is trying to get intel from possible terrorist hot beds in europe. >> reporter: you know, mika, it really isn't easy because
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they're asking questions of those communities and people here with these flowers and candles are asking how can this happen again? here is what i have been able to understand. these terrorists are hot beds that operate like the mafia, isis recruits with strong ties to their neighborhood to their families. we have been to a local area where many grew up. days after the brussels attacks officials this morning say islamic state has trained at least 400 fighters to target europe, according to the "associated press." last week salah abdeslam suspected of involvement in the paris attacks was arrested in the brussels neighborhood where he grew up. maalbeek. we now know a network of isis recruits were living in the suburbs around here. abdeslam's childhood friend lived a few blocks away. pairs mastermind abaaoud lived just around the corner.
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this mother says her son was recruited here. six months before kissing you and brussels and raqqah. >> she told olive i can't stearns that the recruiter lives nearby. >> do you think the police have done nothing about it. >> they say that they have not enough proof. >> reporter: the brussels suicide bombers brothers had criminal records according to officials. many isis recruits have criminal backgrounds. ibrahim abdeslam ran this café. he died in paris, a suicide bomber. salah abdeslam is ibrahim's brother, this is a place where family comes first, bound tut by poverty. saalim grew up here. they say once someone is recruited by isis it is too late. >> maybe his neighbor next door if he gets to this point i think it's very difficult to say to
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him, okay, come and sit and we'll grab a coffee. >> reporter: you see that? >> yeah. >> people don't like us here, do they? i mean, there is a lot of animosity. >> you have to understand that six months from now all day media comes here. >> reporter: it's the next generation that need help they say. >> we have a lot of young people who are afraid not of terror but they are afraid of their future. >> reporter: they're opening a theater for young people, recruiting them for a better future. >> a place of hope. >> yes, a place of hope here in maalbeek. >> reporter: we have seen this again and again, isis recruiting people with a criminal background into a kind of gangster jihad and just like criminals they have a code of loyalty. it is important to remember that there are people in these communities who have phoned the police, many people there who want to see an end to this kind of extremism.
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>> nbc's keir simmons. thank you very much for that report. with us now from washington director and senior fellow of the transnational threats project at the center for strategic and international studies thomas sanderson and here on set correspondent for time article vic, he briefly served as the magazine's jerusalem bureau chief. in the new issue carl has a sobering new piece about the growing evidence that isis is actually seeking weapons of massive destruction actively. carl, let's start with that and i will have thomas respond. what exactly have you been able to uncover about that angle? >> well, i had been research this even before the brussels attacks because there had been this strange incident in brussels where investigators found footage, surveillance footage, that some isis supporter had made of a home of a senior researcher at a nuclear facility in belgium, which was a strange thing to find and
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disquieting. there are other indications they are interested in weapons of mass destruction, american command owes had taken or captured an iraqi scientist who had told them that they had -- they had mastered a way to make mustard gas in dry form and used it in artillery shells. the nuclear piece is a much tougher one because it's nuclear. >> right. >> while al qaeda had been very, very -- >> how close are they? what did you find? what's the most immediate danger? >> the most immediate danger is that somebody -- there's two dangers. one, there seems to be there's a lock down in belgium after the attacks, a lock down in belgium's atomic plants, nuclear generating plants. it's very strange. it's far from brussels, far from the scene of the attacks. they sent home everybody except a skeleton crew except for weekend crew, they said they're double-checking backgrounds. that speaks -- that's a very
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strange and specific threat. >> the staff -- >> that's the danger. if you look at -- there's two ways to go with a nuclear threat for a terrorist group, one is a loose nuke, a suitcase bomb is a war head basically and that's what osama bin laden was obsessed with and al qaeda was always trying to get. then there's the -- do you remember the dirty bomb idea? the whole idea is that you get something that radiates and there's a lot of things radiological sources they are in thousands of buildings around the world, they are usually not very secure, some of them can be quite powerful. it's not like you are going to kill a lot of people with a bomb but the whole idea is that you attach it to dynamite and blow it up and you can render a center in midtown manhattan or some large area a square mile just uninhabitable. >> unbelievable terrifying, the panic. >> the panic, you wouldn't get people but you think people are scared now, that kind of idea. >> thomas sanderson, this is what you do and how real is this
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threat and what do you know that relates to carl's story? because we hear the president sort of defining isis in one way, this is a very different way. >> it is. and if you're talking about the wmd threat it's very low probability of course but the consequences could not be any higher. this is something i looked at actually before 9/11 for several in my work and of course getting ahold of such a powerful weapon would give them tremendous leverage against local targets, israel, jordan, saudi arabia, but also longer distance targets if they were seeking those, france, the united states and others. so we certainly have to look at the possibility here, but as your other guests mentioned getting ahold of a finished nuclear weapon, an artillery shell from the russian arsenal or from another nation's arsenal would be very difficult to do and very difficult to set off, but the notion that they could get it would be very important, but the radioactive dirty bomb
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could be very powerful in the hands of an individual or group as we've seen in brussels like that or certainly any other wmd source, sarin gas as we saw in the tokyo subway with cause tremendous pain and suffering. >> mike barnicle. >> carl, given the president's demeanor and the language that he uses when he speaks about effort and our effort to defeat isis worldwide it would seem to a lot of people that he low keys it because of the possibility of people panicking if he really spoke to the larger issue. i mean, you could go into a hospital in any city in this country and if you knew what you were doing in terms of getting some element of nuclear material you could emerge from the hospital with an element of nuclear material to build a dirty bomb and -- >> and the threat with isis is that -- i mean, if you look at the sort of -- think of a scattered graph of the map of
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everywhere in the world where these sites are, where these radiological sources are and then take another one of everyone that supports isis maybe next time it won't be a health worker in the san bernardino county health department, an inspector, belgium has had somebody who worked in a nuclear plant who joined isis, went to syria at a time when isis had come to syria this is where we're doing our work, now they're doing other things. >> steve. >> and moving away slightly from the nuclear thing, but to the more conventional threat, thomas sanderson, you've talked a bit about how difficult it is to ferreted out these terrorists in europe, the neighborhoods are more sequestered, the law enforcement doesn't seem as robust. do you expect that we're -- do you either expect that europe is going to pull itself together and become better protected the way we are or do you think we are just going to see more and more of these isis attacks in europe? >> i think we will continue to see them even with an uptick in
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effort by law enforcement and police the trouble is you have multiple jurisdictions, you have organizations that don't like to share among themselves within their own city let alone across borders. there's much greater sharing between european agencies law enforcement and police intelligence with their american counterparts and north african counterparts than with one another. you will see a surge now but i think we will go back to the same troubles that bureaucracies always have and you will see follow-up attacks. you have over 4,000 europeans who have gone to fight for isis or the nusra front and they will return, hundreds have returned and they will return with the confidence that comes from being on the battlefield, the ability to make bombs, to miniaturize bombs, to surveil, counter surveil, snipe, and they will have the credibility to inspire others on the ground inside of europe that can attack in place without ever having been to the battlefield. >> beyond sobering, chilling really. thomas sanderson thank you so
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much, carl vic thank you as well for the piece in thyme. you should pick it up. still ahead, he represents one of the muslim communities that ted cruz may want to monitor if elected president. we'll get congressman keith ellison's takes on the senator's controversial proposal next on "morning joe." it took joel silverman years to become a master dog trainer. but only a few commands to master depositing checks at chase atms. technology designed for you. so you can easily master the way you bank.
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we have a new poll out this morning of the april 26th primary, one of the last big republican delegate contests left, and it is a dead heat, that's pennsylvania. the franklin and marshall college poll shows donald trump up 11 points since february to 33% while ohio governor john kasich is at 30% surging 15 points and inside the margin of error with trump. senator ted cruz is at 20%, this as a new emerson college poll shows cruz and trump effectively tied in wisconsin, cruz at 36%, trump at 35% and kasich at 19%.
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wisconsin is the next state to vote on april 5th and that is where we find hallie jackson, she is live just outside madison. hallie, set up how wisconsin is looking. >> reporter: i can tell you right now, mika, it's looking pretty rainy and snowy, that's because there is a spring blizzard heading through of all times and all places. when you talk about the state of play here in wisconsin it is shaping up to be really the next big battle ground and a key one, too. why? it's going to be the first real test of how the stop trump movement will work now that this is a three-man race and now that there appears to be signs that the establishment is coalescing or at least starting to behind ted cruz with that jeb bush endorsement that has come out, with linda graham talking ted cruz up and holding those fundraisers for him or that fundraising earlier in the week. scott walker give some indications yesterday while he hasn't endorsed ted cruz yet, he said an endorsement decision
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will be coming within the week, he wants to do it in the next few days or after easter. while he's friends with cruz and john kasich he believes that cruz has the more conservative pribls and that conservative fit. so wisconsin is going to be interesting from a delegate strategy perspective, too, and as you look at the possibility of momentum if somebody can beat trump here, ted cruz, for example, they can carry some momentum in cruz's case into new york which is a place where the campaign believes they can do well, guys. you talk about wisconsin, i can tell you that a campaign aid tells me that this to them is the first real test of how they will do in a true three-man race with rubio out and no early voting factor like you saw in arizona. at this point it is the one to watch here in this race. >> nbc's hallie jackson, thank you very much. before we get to our next guest, nicolle, i guess it's not our job to discount candidates, we have to keep remembering that. kasich staying in -- >> well, it's so funny. the kasich campaign is reacting -- this is the spin that the cruz camp has been putting out since tuesday night,
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exactly what hallie articulated is how they see the coming contest. the kasich campaign has been unphased, they're running their own race, this he don't hyperventilate about media coverage. this is the one case where they push back so strongly, they say that they've got former wisconsin governor tommy thompson fighting for them, they've got the kasich super pac matching the club for growth ads that are on the air in the state for cruz. they think they are very competitive in wisconsin and all the states that come next they think cruz could fall off a cliff and they could start coming in second and that's where we are. we're talking about who comes in second to trump. >> also the kasich campaign is also the answer to the eternal political trivia question what's the objective of a political party to win. >> right. and we have had some incredible comments on the part of ted cruz. joining us now to talk about that congressman keith ellison of minnesota. he is co-chair of the congressional progressive caucus and supports bernie sanders for president. he is also the first muslim
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member of congress. so, keith, great to have you on the show. >> thank you, mika. >> i've been at a loss this morning really. >> you have. >> at a loss. and embarrassed really for how we must seem, we meaning everyone else and then muslim americans who should be one of us in light of what ted cruz had to say. so i will just give you the floor here and ask you to respond. >> well, you know, it's recently been ted cruz who has sort of engaged in scapegoating and hate mon gering for political gain. tragic situation in europe and brussels. we should be talking about how we help our european allies, instead it gets turned into a political football which is really sad. i tell you we have a large so mali community here, a large
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number of people who are muslim and we have neighborhoods and i am proud of them. not too long ago the chief of police of oslo, norway, came to the twin cities and he wanted to know something, how well -- how is it that you're integrating people to well. here in minneapolis we have a city council member who is muslim who comes from a somali background, we have a school board member, two people who are somali contending for state legislature and folks are opening up businesses and doing great things every single day. well, you know, what ted cruz and donald trump and marco rubio and all of them have done at one point or another is do the -- do the opposite thing that europeans are trying to figure out how they can do which is to make sure that everybody can be part of this american fabric. so it's really -- you know, bill bratton is a law enforcement guy, he knows policing and he's saying that cruz is out to lunch and doesn't know what he's talking about. >> completely. >> i guess that's sort of what's
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on my mind today. >> can i ask you, then, just -- i mean, i think the facts, everyone is in agreement about the facts and this is a model for integration, but can you speak, then, to the perception that we have? is there more -- i mean, the figure that steve rattner had this morning is that 10% of all physicians in america are muslims. is there more work to be done in changing the perceptions about the muslim community? >> i think so, but i can tell you this, you know, you talk to muslims and i do as much as anyone all over the country, and they tell you two things simultaneously, one is that they're fearful, anxious and worried about this political climate that cruz, trump and all the rest of them have helped drive, but they also tell you their daughter just got into stanford, they're opening up a new business and really stories of success. these two things are happening at the very same time. i think what we really need to do is just -- just really understand that we're very fortunate here in the united states to have a first amendment
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which says that there is no government, religion and everybody is free to practice as they wish. this is the opposite of what isis says. isis is percent could you get christians and yazidis and people like that. we cannot be like isis and then be better than isis. we have got to make a very clear distinction as to who they are. we are the land of the free, the home of the brave, where people practice as they see fit. all of us are part of this i think this and we've got to repeat that message even when people get fearful and scared. and this is the time when people need to be counted. stand up and do the right thing. >> mike. >> congressman, what if anything do you think donald trump or ted cruz could learn if they walked around the mall of america on a friday night or a saturday afternoon? >> well, they'd see a whole lot of women wearing a hijab, they would see white people, black, the whole tapestry of america.
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i'd like to walk them around cedar riverside which is that so called muslim neighborhood that he is so scared of and wants to certificate veil. what he would see is tremendous hospitality, people would offer him chi tea and engage him as an elected public official, ask him great questions. it would have nothing to do with islam. they would be asking him about early childhood education and how they're going to get their kids through college. that's really the experiences that they need, but this is not about ignorance. ted cruz and donald trump are very smart people. this is about election earring, exploiting the ignorance of other people. that's the sad cynical side of this. they know better but they don't want to do better because they think it's going to help them in an election. >> congressman, do you see a difference in the tenor about american muslim relations from 2005/2006 toward the end of the bush administration? >> yes, it's getting worse.
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remember, george bush days after 9/11 stood in a mosque and stood with americans and said, look, you know, islam is not the problem. this is homicidal maniacs that are using the veneer of religion to justify horrible x. he was clear on it. he was right there. he's right now. what's strange is how you've seen this anti-muslim thing sort of insinuate itself into so much of american conservative politics. ted cruz, for example, has a guy named frank gaffney as a stop staffer. this guy is the moral equivalent of david duke according to the southern poverty law center he is a hate monger. the people who study this and catalog this will tell you about the staffers that cruz has integrated at the very top echelons of his campaign. these things kind of run with the political cycle. two years ago herman cain was doing it, newt gingrich was doing it, alan west in congress
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was doing it and it kind of just dovetails with the political cycle. >> congressman ellison thank you for being on the show this morning. check out joe's column in the washington post on this topic. it's really good. you can read an excerpt, we read an excerpt at the top of the show. it kind of says it all really. up next the battle over religious liberty versus gay rights takes center stage in georgia. now movie studios are looking at pulling up stakes, one of those state's fastest growing industries. business before the bell is next. the future belongs to the fast. and to help you accelerate, we've created a new company. one totally focused on what's next for your business. accelerating innovation. accelerating next. hewlett packard enterprise.
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time now for a business before the bell with cnbc's sara eisen. what are you looking at? >> good morning. i have to tell you that stocks are pulling back this morning and for this week, it's the first down week in about six weeks. it does come after a dramatic come back for u.s. stocks, rebounding more than 12% over the last month or so, but we are headed lower and being dragged down by the price of oil which is a familiar feeling. going forward some of the risks include the economic data which we got some weaker data this morning so we will be watching the jobs report next friday. a heads up that the market is closed tomorrow for good friday so this is a holiday short end low volume and low trading week.
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more and more corporations coming out against the state of georgia and this religious liberty bell, the latest walt disney and it's marvel studios who have actually threatened to pull out of the state of georgia if this bill goes through. a disney spokesman says disney and marvel are inclusive companies, we plan to take our business elsewhere should any legislation allow discriminatory practices to be signed into state law. of course, at issue is this free enterprise protection act which opponents say is anti-gay, it protects religious leaders from being forced to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies and individuals from being forced to attend them. a number of companies have spoken out, but hollywood is a potentially big economic threat here. i did not realize this, but outside of new york and california, georgia is the number three state in terms of hollywood filming. took in more than $2 billion last year for production happening there. back to you. >> sara eisen, thank you very much. up next, what, if anything, did we learn today?
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i think this plane trying to land in oklahoma city is symbolic of the republican party right now, just only thing is they don't have a pilot as good as that one. look at that landing, steve. have you ever done that? >> i've done that. >> really? no. i would not have liked to have been in that, but landed safely. what have we learned today? >> i learned that establishment
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politicians like lindsey graham are going to have a tough time as they make the surrogate rounds for ted cruz. >> steve rattner. >> europe has real problems getting itself together to fight the terrorism. >> mike. >> generational war we're going to be at this for decades. >> and nicolle. >> and we will be at this for another long nine months. >> erika hill picks up our coverage live from brussels right now. mika, thank you. good afternoon. live from brussels i'm erika hill as we continue our coverage of the terror attacks here. just a half hour from now there will be a nationwide minute of silence to remember the 31 people who died in the bombings earlier this week. we will bring that to you when it happens. it's now been more than 48 hours since those attacks and there are more questions today than there are answers. chief among them, how many people took part in the attacks, you how many are at large and just how deep is the connection between what happed

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