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tv   The Place for Politics 2016  MSNBC  April 22, 2016 8:00am-9:01am PDT

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ose. real is an animal rescue. amazing is over twenty-seven thousand of them. there is only one place where real and amazing live. seaworld. real. amazing this is the new at news nation theme song composed for my team by none other than music icon prince. ♪ >> you heard tamron there. that was the theme song written by prince about two years ago for news nation with tamron hall on this news network in this
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time slot. they had become very close friends. good morning to you, everyone. i'm craig melvin in for tamron, who will be joining us a little later this hour. we're live outside prince's home in the minneapolis suburb of chanhassen, minnesota. of course this is paisley park where he was found unresponsive just over 24 hours ago. since then hundreds, if not thousands of his heartbroken fans have been coming here to pay tribute. many leaving flowers, memorabilia, artwork, cards, teddy bears, other tributes to the icon have been pouring in, from everyone from president obama to prince's fellow artists. following his death, tamron hall tweeted this. like a bird without a song. i've lost one of my best friends today. i know he would have advice right now. prince, i'm listening as always. a late development today. the autopsy on prince has started to try and figure out the cause of his sudden death
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that stunned everyone. the sheriff we learned a short time ago has scheduled a news conference for 4:00 p.m. eastern. nbc's blake mccoy is outside the legendary first avenue nightclub in downtown minneapolis. it is where last night thousands of folks gathered both inside and outside for a dance party that did not stop until the wee hours of the morning. the club was of course featured in much of the film "purple rain" as well. blake, what are you learning today? >> well, craig, that dance party went until 7:00 a.m. if you can believe that on a thursday night. people really wanted to come out and celebrate prince. let's get you caught up on the latest of the investigation. we have a photo of the chief medical examiner who is conducting the autopsy on prince right now. that started at 9:00 a.m. local time here. her name is dr. a. quinn
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strobel. she said as part of the autopsy she'll be questioning family and friends for a medical history and social history. they want to know what was going on in prince's life leading up to this. she also says there will be no information released until a full autopsy is complete and the toxicology results come back, which means it could take several weeks. sometimes we get a preliminary autopsy the next day. she seems to indicate here that's not going to be happening in this case. also, what we're learning, we're looking at the emergency landing of prince's jet that occurred last friday as he was on his way home back here to minneapolis. that landing took place in moline, illinois. nbc news has confirmed with a source close to the investigation that the reason for that emergency landing was an unresponsive male onboard that plane. so at the time prince's people said they landed because he had complications from the flu. clearly it was a very serious complication, whatever was going on that caused that plane to land. let's walk up here to first avenue right now. this is of course the club where some of "purple rain" was
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filmed. people have been coming by dropping off flowers, purple balloons. one person even dropping off a guitar you can see in the back there and many of them leaving personal notes to the music legend, the music icon, whose star is the first one by the door on the building. that shows the importance of all the legendary performers that have performed here. so a somber day here and we see a lot of people still coming by and dropping things off of all ages. craig, we'll send things back to you. >> all right, blake mccoy for us in minneapolis. blake, thank you. again, at the top of the broadcast we played for you the song that prince actually composed for tamron's show, "news nation." they were very, very dear friends. tamron joins me now on the phone. tamron, you know, let's just start with how you guys became such good friends. how did that happen? >> oh, hi, craig and hi to our team there.
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prince reached out to me years ago and we just bonded over his interest in news, his interest in family and it just turned into what was one of the most incredible friendships and relationships of my life. when i tweeted out that i have lost one of my best friends, that was not something that i ever imagined i would say. >> i know this is -- i know this is hard. and i know that you talked to him a few days ago as well. did you get the sense during that conversation, tamron, that there was anything wrong, that he was not okay in any way? >> well, like everyone else, i started to see the social media information about an emergency landing. i e-mailed him on saturday and i said, prince, are you okay? he immediately wrote back are
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you okay? and that was kind of a joke thing that we would do sometimes. he said call me. i called him and we talked for nearly three hours, which was not uncommon for us to do. i did not hear anything that sounded like the flu or the cold but all of our bodies are different. and we didn't really talk a lot about it. i didn't press him on what happened. it was clear that he did not want to elaborate on it. and our conversation went the way that it always goes, just talking about life. he wanted me to come to paisley that night for his fan appreciation concert. he hosts different events, including for the national association of black journalists recently and different fan groups come out to paisley, because he has always wanted that place to be open to his fans. and i took the fact that he was hosting something and wanted me to be there as a sign that he was okay, so i never felt the need to ask again what was
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wrong. monday i was in a restaurant. i videotaped the restaurant ambience music, which was one of his songs. i e-mailed him and said you're everywhere. and then he wrote back, but nowhere at the same time. which is again how prince communicates. and then he eventually wrote back you're thinking of me because i'm thinking of you too. and i never imagined again that that would be my last correspondence with him. you understand, in my life. the only other person i spoke with or speak with more than prince is my mother. this is the person that i communicate with more than anyone. but i think it's important for people to understand that prince was such a compassionate person. we recently went with another great friend to visit harry belafon belafonte. it was the first time harry belafonte ever met prince. yesterday he told me how he was
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just taken in by prince. he, of course, knew of his legacy and music but he did not know how much he was for the truth and for people. we sat there forever at harry belafonte's house. and when you think about how excited people would be to meet prince, imagine how excited prince was to meet harry belafonte because of his history with civil rights, because of his ability to transform his career from an actor to an activist. that's what prince always wanted for his life. that's why he always challenged the music industry. it wasn't just about his money and his royalties, he wanted to challenge what he saw was an unfair system for artists. so for me, that's -- i'm a lucky person that i have had a friend like this. but it is not lost on me that he was much more than music. and i think people know that. and i love the fact that saturday he wanted to even in his illness be around people who loved music and who appreciated
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him, so, you know, it is -- he didn't talk a lot about life and all of these things of death. he didn't look at time. he wasn't conscious of how long he would live and what he had to do next. for him this was always an ongoing journey, and he was always creating new music and always open to new young people. his new band, third eye girl, those are young -- three young women that he took in and hannah, donna, ita, joshua, all young talent that he never wanted to feel that they didn't have a place at the table. he was a great and he is a great, great person. >> you were recently featured on the cover of his single. i think we have, for our viewers at home, i think we have this cover, the single was "if i could get your attention." and there's tamron hall in a purple dress. how did that come about?
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>> you know, i have set this before. i sent pictures of whatever outfit or even for special occasions, golden globe, prince would love to give his thoughts, both good and bad, on some of the choices. i had taken a selfie and i had given him that selfie, i don't know, years ago. and he sent me a note. we typically would communicate really late at night. even though i get up early for the "today" show, we would talk at 3:00 in the morning, go to sleep and resume the conversation in the afternoon. and it was just a picture. and he said i'm going to put this on the single. and of course, you know, i'm thinking how did i go from being a fan of prince on my school bus in middle school singing the tracks from "purple rain" to my friend, you know, saying i'm going to put this picture of you on my single.
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so, you know, those are the things that of course are big headlines, but the things that i have in my intimate mind and my heart because he was so private about his life. you know, those are the things that will warm my heart. he protected his privacy, he protected the privacy of his friends. even though i'm talking about him today and with you and on our show, there are just great things about him i wish i could tell people, but he wanted them to stay private. he didn't want people to know all of the ways he helped other people. he did it as this silent angel, including how he helped me in my life on many occasions. so, you know, he loves his fans and that's what's important and they love him. and i had a chance on saturday to tell my friend how much i loved him. and that's what matters.
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>> as you indicated, famously private, his circle very small, very tight. what can you tell us about how folks inside that circle, how they are -- how they're all doing today? >> they're devastated. they're devastated. they're devastated. that is what i can tell you. overwhelming. >> tamron. >> pain. >> i know this has been very hard for you. i know it's been a very difficult 24 hours, my friend. thank you so much. >> thank you, craig. >> for your time. i'm sorry for your loss, we're all sorry, very sorry for your loss. >> i'm sorry for the world losing this gift, but he's not gone. he is not gone. thank you. bye, craig. >> when we come back here from paisley park, we will continue to remember, continue to
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celebrate prince's life. as we head to the break, we'll listen to that song that prince wrote for tamron's show, "news nation." ♪ ♪ if you're going to make a statement... make sure it's an intelligent one. ♪ the all-new audi a4, with available virtual cockpit. ♪ jofor their wedding one searching place oh! yurt. yes! earthy... just rustic. [laughing] oh my gosh. wow. [owl howling] [gulp] uh, how about an island? island, yeah. yeah. yeah. [laughing]
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♪ so tonight i'm going to party like it's 1999 ♪ ♪ i was dreaming when i wrote this so sue me if i go too fast ♪ ♪ life is just a party
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>> we are back here outside paisley park. paisley park, the famed estate here in the suburbs of minnesota, continuing our coverage of the music icon's sudden death. in our last hour, prince's protege, sheila e., talked to me about her mentor, former fiancee as well. she shared what it was like working with prince. >> well, he gave his all in everything that he did. and the way that he gave his all in writing songs and performing, the fans meant everything to him. we learned a lot about each other in collaborating, and i think it was just as much fun collaborating with him as it was playing and performing with him. he would just come up with crazy ideas and you kind of go, you know, i'm not sure that that's going to work but let's try it. and that's what was great about him. it was great about him because, you know, by the time he was
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done with what he was creating, you're like this started here and now it became this. and he was a visionary. you know, he was a genius at writing songs. and the way that he wrote songs and the way that he told stories. and the way that his music will live on forever. >> i'm joined now by my friend and colleague, joy reid, also pop culture journalist alicia quarles is back with me as well. joy, legendary music producer, executive l.a. reid, worked with prince on a number of occasions and was on the "today" show this morning. i want to play part of what he said. >> i've always said it, i believe it. the greatest at everything, playing, writing, composing, fashion, everything. the masculinity of teddy pendergrast but he could take your girl wearing high heels. how do you make music for young
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musicians like us. the idea that somebody could play rock, somebody could play funk, jazz, folk, all at the same time, blues, and yet make commercial hit records. when you're playing every instrument, that means you're playing them one at a time. so that means you're performing -- like he'll put his drum track down first and he's playing the entire song while he's hearing it in his head. then come back and play the base, then the be ana and the guitars and lead vocals and strings. it's impossible, no one can do this. >> l.a. didn't even talk about the fashion, joy reid. >> yeah. >> there are so many owe conk prince moments, but this is the one that i think was probably perhaps the most iconic. this, of course, being that super bowl performance, i believe it was 2007. take a look. ♪ purple rain, purple rain
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♪ don't it feel good ♪ only when i see you, see you can i play this guitar ♪ >> and of course only prince could manage to summon rain for the actual end of that performance, joy. what was the most iconic for you? >> well, you know, you just played, of course, probably the greatest super bowl performance of all time with all respect to beyonce because i love her as well, but i think that was an incredible moment, to include the rain. but i would have to say having seen prince in concert a couple of times, once in florida and then once in 2014 at the essence festival, which was amazing, of course, i think the fact that he then took what everyone who ever saw him perform knows performances that were epic and legendary and he would make you
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wait two encores for "purple rain." people were not going to leave until he played it. but the fact that he did that exact same thing for baltimore and did a free concert for the residents of baltimore after the freddie gray uprising and after all of the pain that that community went through, i'm going to say that was the most iconic moment because it combined his musicianship, his incredible performances and also his activism. i think that gave you the total person that prince was. >> alicia, i only had the opportunity to see him once in 2004, and i remember vividly, i was second row. i remember vividly seeing the sweat pouring off this man who had given three solid hours. there was no opening act, costume changes, he played literally every instrument on the stage. this was a guy, a showman who from the start of the concert to the end of a concert he was at 110%. >> every single time.
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you heard tamron talk earlier about demarius muse, who's also his dancer. 120% they were up there dancing, singing, giving us their all. put down your phones, be in the moment, join this party with us. that's what prince did. i remember seeing him at madison square garden, i've seen him many times, but one of those days i was tired, shame on me. i went and he was pulling people onstage. i'm talking three hours. this man did not stop. age was nothing but a number to him. >> joy, i want to come back to something that you said, and tamron alluded to it a few minutes ago as well and i think over the next few days and weeks we'll probably start to hear a few more of these antic doe eec about his generosity. not just of money and spirit but generosity of time as well, sharing his gifts with young people, sharing his gifts with the underprivileged. that was something that was
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very, very important to this man. >> yeah, indeed. if you think about yes, we code, which we on msnbc we did big events with them and focused on this idea of getting young black kids into coding and giving them hope and opportunity, that was prince. it was prince and van jones and a group of other african-american men who came together. it was prince who reached out to that group of entrepreneurs and said, look, the trayvon martin case shows that we still have a long way to go in terms of respecting black boyhood and black manhood. i want to see young black men in hoodies being the next mark zuckerberg and so he funded that and he made that happen. >> joy reid, alicia quarles, good to see you both. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> thank you, craig. >> on the other side of this break, we will switch gears and go back to politics, as trump continues to take swings at the republican party. calling the delegate system once again rigged. so how well is the stop trump
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movement working? what's their next move? my colleague, thomas roberts, picks up coverage on the other side of this break. ♪ take on the unexpected. the new 2016 nissan altima. built to stand out.
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being a non-smoker feels great. ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. hi, everybody, good morning. i'm thomas roberts. we turn our attention to politics and picking up our coverage now live here in philadelphia, pennsylvania. this is the biggest prize when five eastern states hold primaries on tuesday. for the democrats, 189 pledged delegates will be up for grabs. for the republicans, 71 delegates. the latest polling shows that hillary clinton and donald trump both have double-digit leads in pennsylvania. and right now we are awaiting for secretary clinton to appear at an event in jenkintown, p.a., about ten miles north of here. we'll monitor that for you and bring you coverage. but clinton, bernie sanders and ted cruz will be crisscrossing pennsylvania today. donald trump is going to be holding a rally this afternoon in delaware. john kasich is going to be campaigning in connecticut. those are two other states
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holding primaries on tuesday. meanwhile the high drama in the presidential race also extends this morning to florida, where the republican national committee is wrapping up its three-day spring meeting today. it's the last meeting before the convention in july. ted cruz and john kasich have both made personal appeals to the 100 or so rnc members gathered, as has donald trump's convention manager and senior advisor, paul manafort. msnbc's kasie hunt joins me now on the phone from the gathering in hollywood, florida. kasie, what can you tell us the big takeaways from this meeting and the detail from manafort about the new improved donald trump campaign. >> reporter: hi, thomas. well, it's been a full-court press from those trump operatives who were working the hallways late yesterday and of course manafort giving that closed-door briefing to rnc members here essentially saying that what you see from trump in public isn't what you get in private and he's going to be able to shift gears, change on a dime, and ultimately win over voters in the general election.
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manafort's argument is that because trump's flaws or negatives in polling are related to his personality and not to his character, that it will be easier for trump to change those negative numbers than it would be, say, for hillary clinton to do so. manafort making the argument that trustworthiness is something that speaks to character. now, the question, of course, whether or not these party leaders are going to warm up to the idea that trump should become the presumptive nominee before the cleveland convention, and i have to say it was starting to feel like an open convention was not necessarily what these members were interested in. the stop trump movement coming down today kind of at the last minute to try to make a pitch that it should stay open. the problems are of course, they can't unify behind a candidate, cruz or kasich, so it's left them a little bit out in the cold, thomas. >> and when we talk about the other work of this meeting, it was also to discuss convention rules. is there any shakeup when it comes to what's determined with the rules? >> no, the opposite in fact.
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the rnc was very concerned about a potential perception that they were trying to change the rules of the game at the last minute. this committee would have only been able to make recommendations anyway, but some proposed changes to how the convention floor would be run were shut down pretty quickly. it might have been -- i've spent enough time doing this, it was the shortest rnc rules committee meeting i've ever been to. >> our kasie hunt reporting live in hollywood, florida. thanks so much. with the likelihood of a contested gop convention in cleveland looming, the battle for delegates willing to switch their votes on a second ballot is centering right here in pennsylvania. the state's primary gop rules allows for three delegates from each district, a total of 54, to be unbound, meaning they can vote to nominate whoever they want, regardless of the april 26th primary outcome. joining me now is former co-chairman for the carly fiorina campaign and now running to be an unpledged delegate from pennsylvania, charlie garo. >> good to be with you, thomas.
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>> so the explanation, out of the 71 delegates for pennsylvania, 17 are winner-take-all for whoever wins the so-called beauty contest on tuesday. >> that's correct. >> 54 are running to be unbound delegates. you're one of them. there are 15 people running in your district. what makes you confident that you can be sent to the convention as a delegate? >> there's a tremendous amount of interest in the delegate contest this year, thomas, more than i've ever seen. i was at a public meeting the other night for delegate candidates. 125 people showed up. normally you'd get a dozen and they'd all be candidates. so all the candidates, myself included, are out there hustling for votes. >> so you're hustling for votes, but how are you reassuring the voters in pennsylvania within your district that you're going to stay an honest broker for who is elected from the district, because you don't have to do that when you get to cleveland. >> i think that's the challenge for the delegate candidates. i've told the people of my district that i'll vote their wishes on the first ballot and after that, they have to rely on my judgment, my integrity and my
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experience and i think those things work well. >> okay. so as the former person aligned with carly fiorina, we know carly fiorina has endorsed ted cruz. does that hold sway over you when it comes to a potential second ballot? this is what ted cruz is hoping for. that's his only way in to get the nomination. >> carly is very persuasive, thomas. >> okay. so that means are you being actively courted by all three of the campaigns, and especially the cruz campaign, for the potential of your pledge on a second ballot? >> all three campaigns have been in touch with i guess all of the delegates but certainly with me. they have made their cases. they haven't given you the hard sell yet. i suspect that will come after tuesday when we see who's elected. >> doesn't this play into the narrative of a rigged system, that things are happening behind closed doors. that deals are going to be made and handshakes or some type of wooing happens that would shake up what the popular vote for demand in a donald trump nomination? >> well, donald trump, as you know, has disproportionately more delegate votes right now
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than he's gotten popular vote. we don't hear too much discussion about that. but the time to chat about the rules is before the game begins. i suspect there's going to be a very healthy debate about the rules, but that has to come after the convention. >> what do you think of the stop trump movement and the conservatives that are establishment saying that he is a charlatan and that's the type of message they're trying to send not only to the meeting that's taking place with the rnc in florida but the stop trump campaigning in other states? >> that message is certainly out there, thomas. ultimately the only thing that stops donald trump is if he's unable to come up with 1237 delegates before we get to cleveland. that's his obligation, his responsibility, and his campaign's job. we'll see how he does it. >> when do you think you're going to make up your mind about a second ballot, if it gets to that? >> well, let's see if it gets to that. i love the hypotheticals and they go on forever, but i will wait and see what actually happens in cleveland. >> so this would be your third time, fourth time running and
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winning, you were appointed in 1988. so hopefully we'll see you in cleveland. >> i look forward to it. president obama is set to speak with reporters coming up along with british prime minister david cameron in the next hour. we'll have that for you when it starts later on. again, that's taking place in england. we're back in a moment. we stop arthritis pain, so you don't have to stop. tylenol® 8hr arthritis pain has two layers of pain relief. the first is fast. the second lasts all day.
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you live life your way. we can help you retire your way, too. financial guidance while you're mastering life. from chase. so you can. welcome back to our coverage live here in philadelphia. we want to get you to williamsport, p.a., where ted cruz is speaking to reporters. let's listen in. >> it's really quite ridiculous. if donald is the nominee, we lose. let me point something else out, donald trump is telling the american people that he's lying to us. yesterday donald trump agreed with hillary clinton and barack obama and donald trump argued that grown men should be allowed to go into girls rest rooms. listen, this isn't even a question of left or right or
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conservative, it's common sense that grown adult men should not be in the bathroom with little girls. as the father of two daughters, that's a terrible idea. donald trump told us a few months ago he could be the most politically correct person in the world. his campaign is now run by washington lobbyists and he is embracing the politically correct nonsense. i disagree with donald trump. i do not think we should have adult men in bathrooms with little girls and we're tired of new york liberals, whether hillary clinton or donald trump, imposing crazy politically correct policies on the working men and women of this country. >> in pennsylvania, the way they elect delegates, how many people running for delegate have you contacted? because that's going to be important. the popular vote means nothing. >> well, listen, this election will be decided by the people. we're campaigning across the
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state. we're barnstorming the state. we're on a bus tour right now traveling the state, working to earn the support of the men and women of pennsylvania. you know, a lot of folks in the media want to paint pennsylvania as a suburb of manhattan. i think the people of pennsylvania have a lot more common sense than the liberal elite democrats in new york. it was striking, on tuesday, two rich new york liberals won the primary, hillary clinton and donald trump. and they share the same views. hillary clinton and donald trump are both campaigning on raising taxes. hillary clinton and donald trump both think grown men should be in little girls restrooms. hillary clinton and donald trump both think federal taxpayer dollars should go to fund planned parenthood. and hillary clinton and donald trump both say they would be neutral between israel and the palestinians. both hillary clinton and donald trump would maintain this catastrophic iranian nuclear
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deal. i would rip it to shreds. if you want a candidate that has a positive optimistic forward-looking conservative campaign built with real ideas and solutions to bring back jobs here in pennsylvania, the energy sector, i'm the only candidate with a real detailed energy plan to stop the war on coal. coal is being hammered by the obama administration. hillary clinton would kill the coal industry. she's promised to do that. and hillary clinton would end fracking, doing enormous damage to jobs in the state of pennsylvania. donald trump, on the other hand, has no idea how to bring jobs back to america. it's why it's been 44 days since there's been a debate. hillary has debated, bernie sanders has debated, but donald trump refuses to debate because he doesn't have any answer when he's asked how do you bring jobs back to america. he has no economic plan. he has no real solutions. and, you know, if your car isn't
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runni running, if it's broken down, do you want your neighbor to come down and stand in the driveway and yell and scream and curse at the car? but do you actually want someone to lift the hood and fix the engine? the reason republicans are uniting behind this campaign is because this is based on real solutions to bring back jobs, to bring back manufacturing jobs, to raise wages across this country. >> obviously it isn't hurting him, it's resonating with voters. why don't republican voters care about trump's ideology. >> part of it is they have got to hear what he's saying. it's only been recent that trump has been as explicit as he has been. in the last 48 hours donald trump has come out for grown men going into the bathrooms with little girls. that is politically correctness on steroids. that's just silliness. in the past 48 hours, donald trump has come out and advocated for raising taxes. in the past 48 hours, donald trump's lobbyists have taken
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over his campaign and they have gone down and told republican party bosses that everything donald has said on the campaign is just a show, he doesn't believe any of it. he's not going to build a wall, he's not going to deport anyone, this is just a lie. and i will say to the millions of americans who are frustrated with politicians who are lying to them, donald is telling us he's lying to us. nobody will celebrate more if donald trump wins the nomination that the hillary clinton campaign because donald trump may be the only human being on earth who hillary can beat. if you look at swing state after swing state, the critical state of ohio, i'm beating hillary clinton. donald trump loses to hillary clinton. the swing state of iowa, i'm beating hillary clinton, donald trump loses to hillary clinton. the swing state of wisconsin, typically a blue state actually, donald is losing to hillary clinton by ten points. hillary and i are tied in the
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state of wisconsin. right here, the great commonwealth of pennsylvania, donald is losing to hillary clinton. hillary clinton and i are tied here in pennsylvania and with independents and critically with young people, we are beating hillary clinton. and so i understand a great many folks in the media want to have a coronation for donald trump because that elects hillary clinton. but i don't think republican primary voters want that. nobody is getting to 1237. donald trump can't get to 1237 and he's not going to. it means we're going to go to a contested convention in cleveland. and the reason donald is panicking is because he knows he can't get a majority of the delegates elected by the people because he doesn't have a positive, consistent, conservative message. instead donald trump's message is yelling and screaming and cursing. and i think people want real solutions, not simply another new york liberal. >> thanks, guys.
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>> were you a prince fan? >> so we were listening to ted cruz as he talks to reporters in williamsport, pennsylvania. he's one of three candidates crisscrossing the state today. hillary clinton and bernie sanders also in pennsylvania today. but you hear the senator there defending the north carolina law, called the bathroom bill or it's been referred to as the bathroom bill because it is considered to be anti-transgender because it says that you must use a public restroom that coordinates with the sex given to you on your birth certificate. we know that donald trump on the "today" show in a town hall forum yesterday said that he was not a fan of that. he didn't think it was necessary to have a law in place for that. last night, though, donald trump turned around his comments to say that it should be left up to the states to determine what they do. so giving the power back to the people of north carolina and saying basically that it was
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okay. but we heard there also with senator cruz hitting on donald trump about the fact that he is willing to raise taxes. also in that "today" show town hall donald trump said that he was willing to raise taxes on the rich, which would include someone like himself. so right now we are awaiting remarks from president obama, the president has traveled over to england and that will be taking place in london in just a few moments. he's going to be holding this joint press conference with the british prime minister, david cameron. my colleague, andrea mitchell, will pick up our coverage right after this break. and good day, everyone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we have breaking news. we'll be hearing from president obama in london momentarily. the president will be appearing with british prime minister david cameron. after their meetings at number 10 downing street. it has been a rocky overseas trip for the president. he just left saudi arabia yesterday where he had received a chilly reception from the saudi king. and in iraq, meanwhile, the
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government is teetering on the brink of collapse as the u.s.-backed prime minister is being challenged by political opponents there. and now the president has stepped into the middle of a heated domestic controversy in the u.k. over whether britain should leave the european union. they are voting in a referendum on that scheduled for june 23rd. joining us to talk about all of this, nbc news correspondent ron allen, who's been traveling with the president. nbc news foreign correspondent keir simmons in our london bureau, president of the council on foreign relations, richard haas and "washington post" columnist, eugene washington, as well as jillian tett will be joining us as well. first to you, ron allen. you've been traveling with the president. a lot of people in britain asking no less than boris johnson, the mayor of london, who is in favor of britain exiting from the european union, why did he write in a major newspaper a column, the president did, saying that britain should stay in the european union?
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he's being criticized for dipping into their domestic controversy. >> exactly, andrea, especially by the side represented by boris johnson and others who want to leave europe. the language here has been really very emotional, very inflammatory in cases, but the president feels very strongly about this. he has said that basically the united states sees britain as a bridge to europe and that britain is a stronger partner if it is part of this 28-member e.u. coalition as well as other coalition. it's a pretty cut and dried issue for the administration. that's what they have been saying leading up to this. the only question was how would they say it here. in the president's op-ed it was interesting that he invoked the memory of tens of thousands of american soldiers who died and were buried in the cemeteries of europe as justification for why america has a voice in this issue. yes, you're right there are a lot of others who feel like this is meddling by the american
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president. there have been caricatures of him in tabloids as king obama. he's often criticized here for being aloof, for being -- for talking down to the british people, and there's a lot of that in the language here. the comment by the london mayor essentially saying that president obama's comments were perverse. he said that essentially he was quite kenyan and that he had this dislike of the british empire. very, very strong language that's not being well received here by some essentially. but it speaks to what's at stake in this big debate between staying in europe or leaving europe. there's been a very strong euro skeptic streak here in britain for a long time. remember, britain didn't join the single currency. britain does not have open borders like the rest of europe does for the most part. a big concern here about migration, immigrants, referees and terrorism coming here, during times of austerity.
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so a lot of pushback from the side that wants to leave the e.u. andrea. >> in fact, keir, you've been covering it from the british side and also covering the royal welcome for the president and mrs. obama. here we want to just play a little bit of boris johnson, who is quite a political rising star on the scene there and this is what he had to say about president obama's column. >> what perhaps our friends in america don't appreciate is that the e.u. has really changed. and it's something to which the americans would never submit their own democracy. america is a proud democracy built on principles of liberty, the idea of the sanctity of representation and no taxation without representation. it is very odd, it is perverse, it is hypocritical for us to be told by america to embroil ourselves ever more deeply in a
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structure which would be absolutely alien to american tradition. >> keir simmons, do you want to give us a little more of the context as this vote appears to be, the approaching vote appears to be very, very close. the contact there as the vote appears to be very close. >> it is close, that's why it is controversial. you have this contrast between the pomp and ceremony and the first lady and the president meeting and driving up to meet them from marine one. taking them to the windsor castle. this, diplomatic scene that the british are so good at and this incredible brewing of this article by the president describing the british as friends and therefore he should have a say of what is, really, the most controversial political debate in britain, certainly this year, possibly for a generation and in the article, boris, this is the man who would
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like to be the prime minister of britain. he accuses him of removing a bus of churchill over office and a claim discredited in other places. that comment he makes about the president's potential opinion about the british and the british empire because he says, boris johnson, says he's half ken ke kenyan. >> it is a kind of comment as a british guy is difficult to hear without feeling pretty embarrassed. it gives you a sense of how intense the argument is, waby t way, the polls are saying 60% of the british people are saying the president should not appe .
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intervene. some of them are changing their minds as a result of the preventions. the president is doing just that. >> and it may have indeed backfired. richard, you have a big picture view of this as well as the middle east, the persian gulf part of the trip did not go very well. this is a different barack obama who arrived in '09 and had a big perception in the u.s. and the uk. >> his star has falling considerably and not quite as much in europe but on this specific debate. i think the president was dammed if he did and writing the article. he's not telling the britts how to vote, he's saying the united states' interest is at steake. it gives a bigger voice in
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europe and influences the tra j trajectory. if european union is already facing the crisis of refugees and the threat of terrorism and the idea that one of its members would depart threatens much of the post world. many of us takes for granted of european stability. again, most of the accomplishments of the last generation or two could be put in some jeopardy. the president took the risk and it is a right risk to take. if he does not do it, the united states would be aloof. we have every right to weigh in. >> very interesting. joining us now is chuck todd, of course, host of daily msnbc and
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"meet the press." the balancing act that the president is performing here in a number of ways is pretty procarious. >> there is a little bit of a quote here politically. david cameron here pointed out knows he needs all the help he could get. this is a fight inside his own party, boris johnson, and david cameron. the second point i want to emphasize something that richard said which is one of the potential negative legacies of obama's eight years that whether it is on him or not, is if we lose europe. if we lose the ability of having europe, it is the amplifier of american's super power.
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if we lose europe, there is a lot of ways we are losing europe now. when i say "we" i mean european continents and between the migration crisis, lost confidence by the britts. this person has to fight for it. he has to. this is a huge foreign policy. >> the fact that merkel is under fire and closest al lied is in trouble. >> i want to mention that back in the '90s, when i was in the post, the yoeuro skeptic swing, this is not new. also, what is not new is boris johnson being a euro skeptic. when i was in london, he was the
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correspondence for the daily telegram. he was writing story after story in what you can see as only a euro stekeptic man. >> he's a reporter. it does not surprise me that he writes these articles. he's got a real history of that. >> we are watching live pictures of david cameron and the president leaving, susan rice is entering the news conference room. jillian from the financial times, you have seen all the rises and falls. what would be the economic consequences would you think from the eu? >> it would be fairly severe. i want to go back to boris johnson, i worked with him alongside him as a reporter in brussels many years ago. he's somebody that loves to stir
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up the crowd. he's very much like a donald trump figure in terms of his geni genius' comments. >> i was going to make that comment but i was afraid to. >> tapping into the popular political move. this is the key point, the same sense of anger and frustration that's driving trump and sanders and driving so much of the votes of the day is absolutely what is playing out at the heart of the breaks of the debate in the uk. the idea of an elite and leader coming over to london and telling voters what they should be doing have not played well. that's explains why boris j johnson made the comments he had. under this debate, there is a serious argument, we think that the consequences will be damaging. you are seeing a hard attack
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taking place inside the city of london in terms of deals not getting done and prices are falling and so we are seeing some of the fall outs. the consequences will be significant. >> we are seeing remarks being placed from the podium. jon kerry having entered the room and hitrichard hawes, if y can bare the interruption as they walk in the room. we hear trump talking about getting out of nato and a lot of sort of isolationism which counter to your whole background as a foreign policy expert. >> if the british decides to break it and leaves europe. it reenforces what you are talking about this trend in the world. we had recent problems in europe and crimea and now this. on our side, the opposition
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suddenly to free trade and questioning commitment to japan and south korea and questioning commitment to nato. all the givens that all of us grew up for years is no longer given. people like me are worried of all these departures and bwhat they could add up to and what it could mean. >> donald trump is going to give a foreign policy speech at noon next wednesday at the national press club. you don't get more inside sort of the washington bubble than that. this is clearly part of the effort to show that he can do a scripted speech. >> there is a reason he's doing it in washington. the audience is not the foreign policy committee nor the american voters. >> he's taken controversial position in his interviews such as not only getting out of nato
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but letting the japanese and south koreans getting nuclear weapons. >> going back to this, this is all intertwine. the decision by the president to not go to syria and to not do what he did and frankly the allies in general, how involved do you get in syria. everybody is going to backseat drive that decision. the problem is if nothing is done about syria, we still have the european migration crisis. it reenforces the idea of it. all of this is connected. you hate to sit here and say, we have to go to court. we have not figured out our relationship with putin and russian's relationship and the middle east. what happens in the middle east has immediate fall out for europe in the terms of actual human tragedy. >>


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