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tv   The 11th Hour With Brian Williams  MSNBC  September 26, 2017 1:00am-2:00am PDT

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island of puerto rico, it would be catastrophic and it hasn't failed in that direction. >> governor, i want to talk to you throughout the week. thank you for making time tonight. appreciate it. >> i'll be here for you. >> that is "all in" for this evening. "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. tonight, despite looming and genuine crises, president trump digs in further against the nfl and the players who take a knee during the anthem. so it was quite a sight tonight when the dallas cowboycowboys' o and all his players took a knee before the anthem. plus protesters in wheelchairs dragged out by capitol hill police after disrupting a hearing on health care, but the entire effort may have just been killed by a no vote from senator collins of maine. north korea says trump's comments are a declaration of war. the white house says that's absurd. this is "the 11th hour" on a monday night. as we start off a new week, good evening to you once again from
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our nbc news headquarters here in new york. day 249 of the trump administration. eight months into this administration, and we have several looming crises we are covering tonight. all going on at the same time. there is high anxiety over what will become of health care as the latest effort to repeal and replace obamacare appears to be dead in the water. there is high anxiety over north korea and their read of our president's words as a declaration of war. and anxiety over 3.5 million americans in peril and in the dark tonight as a real humanitarian crisis is growing now in puerto rico. but through most of this weekend into today, the president's priority has been the national football league. his comments about owners and players who have taken to taking a knee during the anthem as a civil rights protest, so it was an interesting visual tonight
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from arizona prior to cardinals/cowboys when the cowboys' owner jerry jones, whose company, by the way, donated $1 million to the trump inauguration, led his players and coaching staff in taking a knee before a chorus of boos and before the anthem which they then stood for. the president returned to the subject on twitter 15 times from friday night through today. seven of those were just today. here now, his original comments from that rally in alabama friday night. >> wouldn't you love to see one of these nfl owners when somebody disrespects our flag to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now? out, he's fired. he's fired. that's a total disrespect of our heritage, that's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for. okay? >> the president had more for reporters at the white house.
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>> this is a great, great country, and we have a great flag, and they should respect our flag. they're making a lot of money. i'm not begrudging anything. i'm just saying they have to respect our flag. and they have to respect our country. >> then just today, the white house defended those same comments saying trump is not against anyone, and for the flag and the anthem. >> look, this isn't about the president being against anyone, but this is about the president and millions of americans being for something, being for honoring our flag, honoring our national anthem and honoring the men and women who fought to defend it. >> did the president go too far in referring to these players as s.o.b.s who should be fired? >> i think that it's always appropriate for the president of the united states to defend our flag, to defend the national anthem, and to defend the men and women who fought and died to defend it. >> is he trying to wage something of a culture war? >> not at all. the president is not talking about race. the president's talking about pride in our country.
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>> colin kaepernick became the first player in the nfl to take a knee during the national anthem, he said in protest of police brutality against black americans. others joined in. after the president's comments on friday, many more players from several teams decided to kneel during the anthem. today, the white house press secretary said their protests may be misdirected. >> i think if this is -- the debate is really for them about police brutality, they should probably protest the officers on the field that are protecting them instead of the american flag. >> sarah, can you just clarify that were you saying -- were you encouraging nfl players to protest police? >> no. no. that's not what i'm saying. i was kind of pointing out the hypocrisy of the fact that if the goal is, and the message is that of police brutality which they stated, then that doesn't seem very appropriate to protest the american flag. i'm not sure how those two things would be combined. >> there were complaints
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throughout the weekend and, and this is the important part, that the president had made this his priority. it's been his obsession on social media for days, after all, and many viewed the president as ignoring the 3.5 million american citizens in genuine peril on the island of puerto rico. tonight he finally took on the subject of puerto rico on twitter. but in a manner bracingly free of empathy, sympathy, or compassion. he said this, "texas and florida are doing great, but puerto rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure and massive debt, is in deep trouble. its old electrical grid which was in terrible shape was devastated. much of the island was destroyed with billions of dollars owed to wall street and the banks which sadly must be dealt with. food, water and medical are top priorities and doing well. #fema." that's what we got on puerto rico tonight. the president said more about football during the day. tonight, politico has some
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reporting on why the president has decided to go deep on this issue of the nfl. they report that, "those around the president say he sees the issue as a way to reconnect with his base. he knows it will get people stirred up and talking about it" a senior administration official said. republican political strategist steve schmidt, a veteran of the bush white house and the mccain campaign, was having none of it today. "a man who attacks the freedoms of speech, assembly and the press, is now the defender of the flag? don't let trump hijack our sacred symbol." well, let's bridge in our start ing panel for tonight, beginning with a man we new york giant fans know as the great number 58, carl banks, 12-year veteran linebacker in the league. a member of two of the giants' victorious super bowl teams. he's now the team's radio analyst, a challenging job, they are 0-3. william rhoden, longtime "new york times" sports columnist, a writer at large for espn's site, the undefeated.
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from washington, national public radio white house correspondent, tamra keith. welcome to you all. carl, you get to go first. sports are usually a unifying force in our society. just as separately the military has been. its big mixing bowl. what just happened this weekend? what happened to your sport? >> well, the sport unified against someone who is trying to mock it and make these athletes un-american, when he, himself, criticized john mccain and said he's not a hero, he criticized the gold star family and said but we're, the athletes, are the bad guys now because we're standing for social justice and racial equality. >> where did this subplot come in, how did it mix up if you take a knee, you're somehow anti-military? >> well, that's just the narrative. see? and bill and i were talking in the back, it's a little bit of misdirection, it's the triple
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option. you know, he's faking handoffs everywhere getting us to focus all on the wrong things. >> maybe he can teach that to eli. bill -- >> come on, brian, you got -- >> i know. i'm sorry. >> you really got to let it go. >> bad weekend. >> it is what it is. >> third straight bad weekend. >> yes. >> bill, let's talk about that misdirection because by tonight, this has gotten mixed up with some vague sense of being anti-military on the part of the -- >> like carl said, the narrative is crazy. we were talking in the greenroom. i was trying to peg this. a lot of misdirection. a lot of smoke and mirrors and this and that. you know, we got sort of north korea over here, hydrogen bomb, then we got this then he's -- so what you said, you really have to focus on what this is. let me just say this, one thing -- let's start with this concrete thing. the hypocrisy. so now -- now we've got -- this whole thing has become so commercialized. now you got the owners, right, standing by the players locking arms.
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if you guys feel like that, let's call -- don't blackball me. if you feel so hunky dory about standing with your players, the whole thing started because you were blackballing it. where you started with kaepernick. if you feel so strongly, don't blackball the guy, let him in the league. >> i get asked all the time, why isn't he playing during the 2017 season? is it politics or is it physical? >> it's not physical. i can fell you 100% it's not physical. look around the league at all the bad quarterback play. everyone has their -- quote, their reasons for not putting him on their roster but i think the underlying issue is the position that he took and the attention that it brought to the league. now, i will say this, the league's media partners didn't have to focus on it because if a streaker ran across the field every day, i mean, every national anthem, they'd find a way not to show that. so there's some complicity in it, but, look, it is a stance that -- it's a statement that
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needs to be made and issues that need to be addressed. so if you want to paint any of these young men who come from communities of color unpatriotic because they want to bring attention to the issues that are plaguing their communities, then so be it. they are no more un-american than a person sitting there in the highest office of the world that talks about doing bad things to women, to criticize john mccain as not being a hero. he's no more american -- no more un-american than that guy is. i can tell you that right now. >> tamra, rescue this, just by taking us into the political angle. i don't mean to call for a judgment on your part. i know it's not your reporting. do you believe the thrust of what politico is saying? as if there's a rainy day list. when health care's going down, when puerto rico's a mess, and you're locked in a verbal war of words with the north korean leader. was this a misdirection for a friday night rally in alabama? >> i will just say that this is
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not the first time that president trump or candidate trump has picked a feud. has found a feud that feeds his base, gets a ton of attention. like, look at kizer khan, the gold star family, that fight broke out immediately as the democratic convention was ending and president trump was able to ride that and get all of the coverage for about a week. a lot of people said, he's making a terrible mistake, you don't take on a gold star family. what we learned, what president trump learned from his campaign experience is he can take on all these sacred people. he took on john mccain, takes on a gold star family, goes after megyn kelly and fox news. it's a pattern. he picks feuds. he thrives on feuds. >> carl, there was something more -- a little bit more worrisome, if that's possible, and more insidious later in the president's comments from alabama. and this, to me, speaks to what
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could be a real existential moment for the nfl in the next couple of years. as the kids in pop warner grow older and come to the big leagues. we'll run what the president said about the lessening, bemoaning the lessening of violence in the nfl. we'll talk about it on the other side. >> today if you hit too hard, right, they hit too hard, 15 yards, throw him out of the game. they had that last week. i watched for a couple of minutes. two guys just really beautiful tackle, boom, 15 yards. the referee gets on television, his wife is sitting at home, she's so proud of him. they're ruining the game. right? >> cte is the name of the brain disorder that has led a couple veteran players, one very recently, not only to take their own lives, but to do so by shooting themselves in the chest knowing they want to preserve their brain for study.
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it is a huge crisis in the nfl. what did you make of that? >> it's tone deaf. it's one of the dumbest things you can say right now with everything -- player safety is the most important aspect of football right now. it's a contact sport. they want kids to enjoy it, they want them to enjoy it for a long time until adults and some will be pro or college players. they don't want to see -- the league doesn't want to see players suffering from cte. that's why they're putting these rules in place. i'm not sure what era he's watching in football these days. it's not enjoyable unless guys are knocking themselves out like two rams? that's the football of the '60s. >> bill, when you make this gesture, that means head-to-head collision usually. >> yeah. i mean, listen, getting back to the misdirection thing, a certain point you can't take this guy seriously. he's all over the place. by the way, he's in huntsville, alabama, and half the audience are probably alabama fans.
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the other half are auburn fans. both of which team are overwhelmingly black, black kids, right? and so they're all saying, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, but if they ever take away football, if they take away alabama football and auburn football, they're going to declare a national day of mourning. >> yeah. >> in alabama. so that's why i'm saying this whole argument is drenched in hypocrisy from sort of the top to the bottom. >> but it's the fight that he wants us to focus on. and -- >> look what we're doing. >> we took the bait. we took the bait. let's not forget that there are americans, puerto rico, that needs help. >> and that's -- >> and they need attention. >> yep. >> right? let's -- let's worry about that. let's worry about health care for everybody. getting something that works for everybody and not -- this was the easy one for him. >> right. >> you know, he got everybody to focus on it because he knew we would unite against it, but let's not take our eye off the ball.
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when they run the option, you catch the quarterback, you kill the play. >> again, give all this advice to eli. tamara, help us out, again. this -- this has worked. as a planned distraction. luckily, we have an hour of airtime tonight. we've divided it among this, north korea, health care, and american citizens in puerto rico. but this is going to stick. there was a lot of journalism over the weekend about the presidents that used to lift us up as part of the job description. >> yes, and this president has chosen a different tack. president trump has certainly chosen a course where he at times seeks out division and that is certainly part of what's going on here. now, you know, the interesting thing is coming out of charlottesville, he took a huge amount of heat about his remarks after charlottesville and racially charged violence that happened there.
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he said sort of his make good after that was to say that he hoped that patriotism would sort of mend the racial divisions in america and he really talked up patriotism. now patriotism is the way the white house has turned this argument, to say that what's happening on the field and what the president is talking about is only about patriotism. it's a very absolutist view solve what patriotism might mean. >> last word from bill rhode. >> here's what i think, though, what the president's done has got everybody defensive. on the defensive. this is a time when the pro leagues, nfl, major league baseball, nba, what do we do now? the whole world is looking at us. what do you do now? if you're major league baseball, 33% of your players are from the caribbean, from central america, whatever, and you got the caribbean and puerto rico, let's now do something.
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because there's a vacancy in leadership and in this vacancy of leadership, now i think is the nfl's -- let's do something. so the nfl p.a. leader has got to say, okay, we've done the dealing, we've done the name calling, now let's be proactive and let's do something. nba, same thing. we got this tremendous platform, forget the name calling, forget the, you know, the gestures. we're in a position of doing something. so now i think the thing is to be proactive, and now let's do something. let's fill this leadership void. >> our tremendous thanks to our leadoff panel tonight. two terrific journalists, and a guy i wish would just put the uniform back on and go back to work. >> that's not going to happen. >> for our lowly 0-3 new york giants. bill rhoden, carl banks, tamara keith, our thanks. we'll take our first break tonight. and still ahead, the incredible pictures from capitol hill today. don't know whether you've seen this yet. where the demonstrators in wheelchairs disrupted a hearing on this latest health care bill attempt. the bill's effectively dead as
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of tonight thanks to a handful of senate republicans. and up next, bob costas is here with us in new york. all that and more. we have an hour to do it. we're just getting started. live-stream your favorite sport
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at the airport. binge dvr'd shows while painting your toes. on demand laughs during long bubble baths. tv on every screen is awesome. the xfinity stream app.
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all your tv at home. the most on demand your entire dvr. top networks. and live sports on the go. included with xfinity tv. xfinity, the future of awesome. welcome back to "the 11th hour." we're back with more of our conversation on trump and the nfl. our friend, bob costas, hosted nbc's "football night in america" for 11 seasons, he'll host nbc's pregame coverage of
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super bowl lii in february, happens to be the seventh time he'll be doing that job. welcome. >> i wasn't aware of all those stat. thanks for bringing me up to date. >> we have a staff statistician. >> i'm only doing the super bowl because tirico has to get to pyeongchang, south korea, for his first primetime gig as the host. that starts four days after the super bowl. >> what just happened this weekend in your view? >> well, i think trump took the conversation beyond colin kaepernick and the relative handful of others who were protesting social injustice, specifically in most cases police mistreatment of african-americans, disproportionate injustice. took it beyond that because everyone in the league feels an affront when he refers to these now, was thought to be the president, the chief executive, of all the citizens, not just those who voted for him, not just those who share his every
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opinion and applaud his every utterance. not just the most rabid portion of his own base. you can disagree with him politically but he has to respect the citizenry, respect the basic rights of citizens or at least make an attempt to understand where they're coming from. i understand a lot of people, we're not talking about those who are happy if criminals and miscreants are on their team and will cheer if they get to the end zone but somehow want colin kaepernick drawn and quartered. a lot of reasonable people who understand what these protests were about, understand there are legitimate issues involved, nonetheless had misgiings about them being directly attached to the national anthem because they see the anthem representing a variety of things, not just the nation's flaws and shortcomings but its ideal and aspirations. it isn't just about the military or just about the police, it's also about the people who marched across the edmund pettus bridge. it's about frederick douglass who was a patriot, until recently, donald trump was under
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it's about frederick douglass who was a patriot, until recently, donald trump was under the impression was still with us. not the case. there's a legitimate argument to be made that you could appeal to more people who are persuadable if you separated the protests from the anthem, itself. if -- or if you did like bruce maxwell, an unknown player until yesterday -- >> yeah. >> -- baseball player with the oakland a's, rookie, born on a military base in germany, grew up in alabama, he took a knee and placed his hand over his heart during the playing of the national anthem. to he's simultaneously making a statement, making it very, very clear he sees the bigger picture and respects the varying perspectives. when you start calling people s.o.b.s, you start dehumanizing them and start making it appear
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as if the definition of patriotism belongs only to those who agree with you, somehow, somehow people who think of themselves as conservatives view themselves as automatically more patriotic than those who are moderate or left of center. that isn't necessarily true. >> i saw networks all weekend bleeping the "b" in s.o.b. and i figured the president of the united states, "a," we're in a fine time when we have to bleep something by the president, "b," we should show the folks what he said and how he said it. a germane question, i don't mean to put you in bad spot. >> i've been in bad spots before. >> your connection with football, our parent network has a big deal connection with football. how real is the crisis that football faces because of cte? >> i think the crisis is very, very real. each bit of new information turns out to put the nfl in a more difficult position. they keep saying we don't know
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everything about it yet. there's more to learn. yes, there is, but where this is going is apparent. the more we learn, the worse it looks. and even those who enjoy the game, i know you're a longtime fan. i'm certainly not going to sell short the drama, the excitement, the strategy, the generational connections. all that stuff is very, very appealing. but evidence is evidence. common sense is common sense. those who say, hey, they're ruining the game by try lg to make it somewhat safer, those who are paranoid and thinks there's a liberal conspiracy to sissify our game, you wonder if those people have been hit upside the head too often. >> yeah, or if they would allow their sons to play in the same game. >> people will continue to watch football, continue to play their fantasy football but won't want their sons to play. >> last word, tell us what next sunday looks like, in your view.
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of course, nothing having to do with the games. >> yeah. >> but all the apparatus of this. >> we started to say before, trump has taken this beyond the handful, now it's a reaction to his comments and a show of solidarity among -- >> so maybe more of the jerry jones type -- >> i think you're going to find more nuanced expressions and you are going to find more people speaking out. lebron james is asserting himself more and more and seems to have a grasp with the issues as he matures. i think people need to not just make gestures, they need to make clear the distinctions. we are not disrespecting the military. we understand that most cops are good cops but there can still be a problem having said that. we understand this is a great country that offers opportunity and liberty and we made great strides from where we once were but there's still a distance to go. i think you have to make those things clear so you disarm those. who say, hey, love it or leave it, or you're disrespecting the flag, or you're not patriotic. the protests and patriotism are reconcilable. they live side by side.
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they can, they have in the fast. they should. >> thank you, my friend. >> great to see you. thank you. >> thanks very much. our friend bob costas stopping by tonight. up next, a change in topic. north korea argues trump has declared war on them. we'll speak here with a former cia north korea analyst. and a former four-star general about the very real implications of words in that part of the world.
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welcome back to "the 11th hour." north korean's foreign minister told reporters that president trump's threating over the weekend aimed at the north korean regime amounted to a declaration of war. he went on to say the north has every right to take countermeasures including the right to shoot down u.s. bombers even when they are outside north korean airspace. those comments were quickly rejected from the white house podium today by sarah huckabee sanders. >> we've not declared war on north korea, frankly, the suggestion of that is absurd. >> let's talk about this and to do so, joining us tonight, retired four-star u.s. army general barry mccaffrey, decorated combat veteran of vietnam, now an msnbc military analyst. su mi terry back with us as well, former north korean analyst at the cia, former national security council director for korea, japan and oceanic affairs. general mccaffrey, the north korean counterthreat today got my attention because a guest on
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a panel last week said it's always a mistake, it's always a fishing boat, it's always a vessel that's in the wrong place. our bombers, while stealth technology fly on that air route over international waters that the north koreans are talking about, do you fear something bad happening because of a mistake? a bad moment? >> well, sure. i think, you know, the president's rhetoric has put kim jong-un a very difficult position with his own people. i think he's concerned his generals will kill him if he looks weak. they have shot down u.s. air force aircraft before. they've captured u.s. naval ship at sea. they've crossed the dmz and tried to assassinate the south korean president. they have learned over the third generation now that they can provoke the united states and south korea and get away with it. i fear a miscalculation could result in war. >> sumi terry, talk about how
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donald trump's language is heard and received and translated in the north. >> well, first of all, i agree with everything that general just said. of course, north koreans took everything president trump said extremely personally. it was obvious when kim jong-un, himself, came out with an unprecedented statement, personal, first person, wrote that whole statement, calling trump dotard and so on. now that kim jong-un has taken this very personally, he has to react so i'm afraid that he has to continue with the provocations and probably maybe an intercontinental ballistic missile test. oost one that's forthcoming because as the general said, kim jong-un cannot ain order to look weak. he cannot afford to look like he's caving under trump's pressure. so i'm afraid that trump's rhetoric, increased rhetoric, has been i think counterproductive in trying to decrease tension. >> general mccaffrey, with your
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answer to this question, i am actually hoping to scare people out of the normalization of this as a topic because this has come down to a game. i fear people are losing sight of the armaments and the outcome here. let's say the north, god forbid, launched a conventional weapon attack on seseoul, south korea. what would the death toll be, god forbid, between that moment and the first u.s. ordnance arriving on target or south korean ordnance arriving on target to attack where they launched the attack? >> you know, in the short run, brian, there's no question, 25 million people in this giant megalopolis of seoul would be under conventional artillery fire from the north within a matter of hours. the longer run, i tell people this, six months to a year, south korean, u.s. armed forces would easily destroy the north
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korean military and take down their government, but it would be a gigantic humanitarian disaster not just in the korean peninsula, but probably involving japanese also. so the conventional war makes no sense. i fear that if kim jong-un miscalculates, reacting to president's rhetoric, where we're end up, to be honest, if we think we're about to be hit by a nuclear device from north korea, we're going to preempt and hit them with a package of 30 weapons. a disaster. so the question is what do we do now diplomatically, economically, covert action? what do we get the chinese to do to make sure that isn't the outcome? that's where we're headed. 1%, 2% chance. we're not likely, but, you know, nuclear war is unthinkable. so it's on the table right now. >> and to sue mi terry, do you agree with that answer from the general?
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and a subset would be how do you walk it back from where we are now? >> well, this is the problem when you really increase rhetoric to this degree and make it very personal. i think mr. trump is limiting our own options by talking this way because right now, woo we're trying to get international coalition together to press the kim regime through sanctions and other pressure measures but we're now looking foolish ourselves. i think this really counterproductive, this rhetoric boxes us in. because north koreans are going to continue with their nuclear program. they're going to continue to perfect their nuclear arsenal. what are we going to do? if we don't react, we look like paper tiger. but if we take military option as the general said, it's catastrophic consequences. even if we win the war. >> again, it was partially our attempt to talk about scary things here tonight because it is a scary part of the world. as is the rhetoric right now. our great thanks, as always, to barry mccaffrey, and sue mi terry. thank you, both. up next, after our next break, what's next for health
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care? as the republicans have apparently failed, again, on the latest plan to repeal and replace. "the 11th hour" continues right after this.
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obviously, this was an issue to which i've give an great deal of thought because there are many problems in the affordable care act that do need to be fixed. however, it was clear to me that the graham/cassidy bill was not the answer. >> with senator susan collins' announcement there tonight, republicans' hopes of repealing and replacing obamacare, this round, are all but dead. republicans could only afford to lose three votes, as you may know, collins now joins fellow republicans rand paul and john mccain. though it sounds like there were problems with cruz and lee as well.
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collins' announcement came on the heel of a dramatic day on capitol hill where lawmakers held their first and only hearing on graham/cassidy. the start was delayed by protesters in the back of the committee room. there were more in the hallway. those. no were able to get inside chanted no cuts to medicaid, save our liberty. in all, 181 arrests there today. let's talk about it here tonight. with us, carolyn ryan, assistant editor of "the new york times" and matthew, white house reporter for politico. we welcome both back to the broadcast. carolyn, i'll start you. someone wrote on social media last night that susan collins confounds the party because she doesn't have a price, she's actually looking at this and thinking on it and deciding what would be best for the state of maine and her constituents. where do you think repeal and replace stands right now
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tonight? >> it's hit the skids again. one thing i'm really struck by, if you read her statement very carefully, she talks about her objections, talks about the process which the process was bad. you can make that argument. but what she really talks about is medicaid and pre-existing conditions. and what i really think is happening here, we keep seeing these bills come forward then unravel. there's a lot of drama attached to it. the truth is, there just isn't a public constituency for these changes. the republican bills are going after provisions that are broadly popular among the american people. medicaid is popular. protecting people with pre-existing conditions is very popular. so people know that there are problems with obamacare, but these bills don't please anyone except the donor class and the republicans and i think that's where the conflict is. >> matthew, as we talk, i just want to roll in something donald trump sent out tonight. i guess it was a retweet on his account. it's about six minutes of videotape.
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it's a greatest hits compilation of john mccain over the years. oh, this came from donald trump's account, though it's got the fox news bug in the lower left. john mccain talking about repeal and replace. and you see the message there from the president. john mccain made it clear to "60 minutes" this weekend, he's in a window looking at a 3% to 14% chance of survival from the brain cancer he is now fighting. is this because the white house needs to blame failure on someone? they need an enemy? >> i don't think it's because the white house needs an enemy, because if they did, they certainly wouldn't pick john mccain. he's an american hero. he's widely respected. and he's made clear that he's going to stand firm here. lindsey graham is one of his best friends, not just in the senate, but on this planet. and he's still standing against this bill because he thinks that's the right stance to take. i think this is donald trump feels personal animosity toward him.
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we saw that on the campaign trail when he said he wasn't a war hero, we've seen that as recently tonight, apparently at this dinner at the white house, he said that, you know, it's disgraceful what john mccain's doing. he has personal animosity toward john mccain. we know with this president, more political calculation, more than what poll numbers say, it's his personal relationships, it's his gut instincts that drives what we does and he wants a fight with john mccain. >> carolyn, i don't know your familiarity with the senate and house calendar, but if not now, when? >> it just gets more difficult. as you know, there are about five days left through which they could do it and get -- and pass this with a simple majority. so it does not look good. and i think that was part of the reason it felt so rushed. to your point about them needing somebody to blame, i do think that the white house is getting ready to blame mitch mcconnell for this, for potentially the alabama senate race. and sort of say that they just
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can't get it done. i do think that they're shifting in some ways. they're looking for a scapegoat. i think that will be the next chapter. >> there was a lot of talk of what you just mentioned on mr. hannity's show on fox news tonight. a break in this conversation. our guests are staying with us. up next, we will talk about this alabama race tonight because tonight in alabama, it was bannon versus trump. we'll explain.
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now when you look at what president trump has accomplished, you'll see that senator luther strange has been there every step of the way. with senator strange's support, president trump signed more laws to cut through federal red tape than any president in american history. >> every person in this country should get down every night and thank god donald trump is president of the united states. when you walk in that voting booth tomorrow, a vote for judge roy moore is a vote for donald
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j. trump. >> plenty of praise for president donald j. trump in alabama tonight. hearing that, you wouldn't guess that vice president mike pence and steve bannon are actually endorsing different candidates in the senate race there. trump administration is backing luther strange. he is trailing right now. it was luther strange that trump was campaigning for on friday. mike pence, as you saw there, for strange tonight. strange is the incumbent senator for now. remember, he was appointed to fill jeff sessions' seat when sessions went to washington as attorney general prior to his public humiliation at the hands of donald trump. strange is running against roy moore. he has earned the support of steve bannon and others. bannon maintains he still supports his former boss's agenda but not his candidate. back with us, caroline ryan, matthew nussbaum, and just in the last couple of minutes,
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gang, i have to share this with you. so judge roy moore is on stage in cowboy regalia tonight in alabama talking about second amendment rights. you'll see what he does. you'll see what happens. >> been very hard for my wife and myself to weather two, nearly three months of negative ads that we couldn't answer with money because we didn't have any. ads that were completely false. that i don't believe in the second amendment. i believe in the second amendment. [ applause ] >> caroline? look at your face. >> it's astonishing. i guess to mingle t.s. elliot, this race is ending not with a whimper but with a bang. that is -- >> that's why you work for the "new york times" right there. >> that is an incredible moment. and if you think about roy
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moore, he is this kind of conservative folk hero and he is provocative but that is astonishing. that is unexpected. >> matthew, your turn. >> it's an alabama senate race. so i'd say just about anything is expected. this is a guy who's -- he's an extremist by i think any measure. you have mitch mcconnell, vice president mike pence, president donald trump all traveling down there in a primary to try to stop this guy from winning. he thinks homosexual conduct should be illegal. that's not gay marriage. that's just homosexuality in general. republicans up here are trembling about the prospect of this man being a u.s. senator. i think he sort of showed why right there. >> well, caroline, the question becomes can you make a case why this is any more of a national laboratory than just a test of the alabama red republican base? will this have any legs? >> it's got huge reverberations potentially. >> why?
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>> look at how the senate leadership is spending. what they don't want -- they want to shut down roy moore. they want to keep him out of washington. they want to protect luther strange. but what they really want to do is send a message to bannon and the rebellious kind of base of the party that they can't go after their sitting incumbents. remember, there is a conflict. it's cultural. it's ideological. within the republican party. mitch mcconnell cannot afford to be putting out these kind of fires all over the country in 2018. so they see this as a much bigger referendum on their candidate, on the party as it stands, and on their ability to kind of fight off these conservative rebels. >> matthew, bannon went on fox news tonight and said that really moore is kind of a tribute to donald trump. and what kiernl just said, he was warning that mcconnell spending $30 million in the state of alabama to avoid senator roy moore. >> yes. mr. bannon's argument's a little strange. he's basically saying roy moore
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is the real trump candidate, trump has somehow been duped by mitch mcconnell into supporting luther strange but don't be fooled by that. i don't really follow the argument. but the point that this matters for 2018 is exactly correct. because if roy moore wins the primary tomorrow, he's probably going to win the race. it's in alabama. but in states like arizona and nevada and indiana and north dakota where republicans have a real chance of picking up senate seats, if they run candidates who are far right, who are the kind of extremist mold as roy moore, they're not going to win those seats. and that's what scares republican leaders so much. >> well, that will be -- that video we've been watching over and over will be a meme if it isn't already, certainly by the top of the hour. our great thanks to our panel tonight. terrific conversation. glad we could witness a moment of alabama political history with oath of you. caroline ryan, matt nussbaum, thank you. coming up, the dire and desperate situation unfolding in puerto rico. which again tonight remains dark
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and waiting for relief. that when "the 11th hour" continues.
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last thing before we go here tonight, an update on what is an emerging humanitarian crisis in puerto rico. home to 3.5 million american citizens. and please remember it was puerto rico that offered safe haven to regional victims of hurricane irma. right before they were hit. there's still no power other than generators. no water other than what's arriving on palettes every day. ditto food. medical care is scarce. it's in short supply. there's not enough there to support human life times 3.5 million for any amount of time. there's a satellite photo that helps tell this story. in the top frame the lights of puerto rico at night before the storm. on the bottom puerto rico
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tonight. the only visible lights are thanks to generators. there's a so-called air bridge opening up. the u.s. national guard and the other uniformed services have started a relief supply chain. it means the military installing temporary r5idar at the san juan airport. as all aircraft approach technology was destroyed by the storm. the airport itself is home to well over 1,000 hungry, thirst yis, tired and homeless american citizens. there are worries about insulin that can't be kept cold, babies that can't be nourished, surgeries that can't be performed. babies born into unsanitary conditions. and worries about crime and unrest. yes, the kind born of absolute desperation. and things are getting desperate in puerto rico. they will remain in our thoughts and prayers and in our continuous coverage. that is for us our broadcast tonight as we start off a new week. thank you for being with us. good night from nbc news headquarters in new york.
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an escalating war of words. north korea is calling president trump's latest threat a war of words. the white house says it's abs d absurd. could the last-ditch effort to replace and repeal obamacare be dead. susan collins. been nearly a week since hurricane maria made landfall in puerto rico. some say the u.s. territory is being forgotten. good morning, everyone. it's tuesday september


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