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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 10, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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hillary clinton was a candidate for the can democratic presidential nomination in 2008 as well as being a senator from the great state of new york. hillary clinton was a very popular senator from the state of new york as he sleft office she had an approval rating of 70%. hillary clinton's success as a senator in new york was atributed not just to her name recognition, not just to her overall skills as a politician, but also to the fairly atypical for a democrat focus that she had on the more conservative areas of her state. the politically much less influential conservative parts of new york state. as many fundraisers and events as she held in new york city, hillary clinton as a candidate for the senate and later as a senator could just as often be found in the rural, more conservative counties that are collectively known as upstate new york even if they aren't all up.
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while all of that helped hillary clinton on election day, in a district like new york's 26th district, for example, even a run away new york politics hit like hillary clinton could not overcome that district's demographics. and hillary clinton's senate run in new york she lost every single county in new york 26 to her republican opponent. every single one except for just one county. new york 26 was essentially designed to be an unquestionably republican district. it was redistricted by the state legislature in albany about a decade ago specifically to make it safe for republicans. it has 30,000 more registered republicans than registered democrats. new york is a blue state, but new york 26, this one district is decidely not a blue district. when john kerry beat george w. bush in new york state by 19 points in 2004, kerry still lost new york 26 by double digits. when barack obama beat john mccain in new york state by 25 points in 2008, barack obama still lost new york 26. when that district's long time powerful congressman tom
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reynoldss retired in 2008 he handed the seat off to a republican businessman who was thought to be able to hold on to that as long as he wanted it. new york 26 is just that kind of district. in 2010, that republican congressman won that district by a 48-point margin. not that he got 48% of the vote. there were 48 points between him and the democrat. but then this happened, oh, yeah. a 48-point margin is nothing compared to an embarrassing shirtless photo on christopher lee of the legendary new york's 26th district three months ago today resigned in the quickest political scandal of the year so far. two weeks from tomorrow there
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will be a special election in new york 26 to replace the shirtless christopher lee. and in this reddest of red districts with a built-in cushion of 30,000 republican votes, the republican nominee universally described as a well liked state legislature with no scandals to her name, shirtless or otherwise, she really ought to be a shoe-in here. the race is a statistical tie. what? yes. a seat that has been raep for nearly two decades. a district that is not only red, but deep red and designed to be that way. a district designed to be inpenetrably red is now producing polling results like this. it shows the democrat in this race catty hochul leading by four points. the margin of error in this poll is three points. the poll shows her up by four. previously the biggest poll in this race was two weeks ago that
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showed the republican up by five points but with a 4.5 point margin of error. that miniature lead it appears from the data out today, it appears that lead has been erased. how did this happen? how on earth the democrats even have a shot of contesting this house seat? how is this possible? because of the two fire breathing problems that the republican problem has this year, other than having no conceivable presidential candidate. they will get one of these eventually. they've got these two other problems regardless of their candidate. number one is there is a schism in their party. every time the republican establishment picks a kapd date some local guy starts getting funded by some -- a that seat went democratic because there was a tea party challenger who
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split the right wing vote. that was new york 23. there was some of that going on in this race, too. a lavishly self-proclaimed tea party candidate is draining some support from the republican dadsy that is undoubtedly helping the democrat's chances here. that is one of the republican party's challenges. i think that's the story of 2010 more than the story of 2011. honestly, that problem does persist for republicans and it is playing a factor in this race. but the other factor, it seems to be the main thing that is driving this race. the main thing that is driving this most unexpectedly prodemocratic outcome in upstate new york. the thing that is starting to get this race national coverage. the thing that since speaker of the house john boehner the highest ranking republican in the land to this tiny rural district in new york to try to save this super safe republican seat, the other giant problem republicans have in politics this is year is republican policy.
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part of designing a seat to be a safe republican seat is drawing your district lines in such a way that you make sure you include a lot of older voters in the district. there are 30,000 more registered republicans in new york 26, yes. but a naked majority of all the voters in that district are over the age of 45. and this year that's not a good thing for republicans. the republican candidate in this race, no matter who likes her or how much they like her, no matter how much support she's getting from john boehner or anybody else, she like all other republicans right now was backed into saying that she supports the paul ryan thing. she supports the plan to kill medicare. and so, john korwin the republican said she would vote for the paul ryan budget to kill medicare. the democrat in this case will not shut up about. i should say, will not stop talking about it. will not let the republican get
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away frit. that's what i meant. >> jane corwin said she would vote for the 2012 republican budget that would essentially end medicare. seniors would have to pay $6400 more for the same coverage. the plan jane corwin sports would cut taxes for the wealthiest americans. the budget would overwhelming benefit the rich. catty hocuh says cut the deficit, but do it the right way. protect medicare and no more tax breaks for multimillionaires. >> even though this is supposedly one of the safest of the safe republican districts, voters in this district like voters across the country really do not like the house republican idea of killing medicare. >> we've got two weeks to go. two weeks where we've got to win this race. forget all about the polls, polls have never elected anyone. >> you're going to hear a lot about that forget about all the polls this year.
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a vote to kill medicare is not the kind to have thing that anybody is ever going to let republicans forget in politics. the republicans are starting to figure that out, but they're figuring it out belatedly. they're figuring it out after they took that vote on it. one of the things that went largely unnoticed last week as the nation was riveted to the story of osama bin laden's demise, was that john baner and the house republicans dropped their plan to kill medicare. that means they are apparently going to stop defending it. they're going to stop pushing for it. they're going to stop trying to fix the very desperately broken messaging on it. but again here's the problem mr. boehner, this is after they had almost every single house republican vote to kill medicare. and they had hapless republican candidates endorse the plan to kill medicare. new york 26 is one of those places where even the most skilled democratic politicians
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working as hard as they possibly can essentially have no chance of winning. new york 26 is the kind of place where becoming the republican party's nominee became becomes is same thing as winning the election. now the ongoing tea party schism does pose a challenge for republicans that will continue to be a challenge for them throughout this year and next. but the threat of somewhere like new york 26 going blue that takes something bigger. that takes republican political malpractice of stupendous magnitude. democrats could never pull off something like this on their own. only republicans could put themselves in this position. remember hillary clinton had that book "it takes a village." in this case it does not take a village. it takes a boehner. joins us now the chris haze washington editor of "the
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nation" magazine. chris, good to see you. thanks for being with us. >> good to see you, too. >> is hochul writing the democratic party their new play book? >> i think she is. it was such a miscalculation. such an overreach. so massively fool heart hardy for them to do what they did. particularly as you and i spoke about on this program, it was never going to get passed by the senate. b it was a symbolic vote. and now the vote is there rotting on their lawn. they can't run away from the stench of it. what's interesting to me about this race. part of it has to do with the fact that people are disgruntled with incumbents across the board. approval rating for the president is bad. they're not happy with anyone.
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part of it is how the election is interpreted in washington. we saw this with scott brown where the election was understood in the beltway as a referendum on health care and almost killed off the chances for health care. this could be viewed as a kind of referendum or the ryan budget. if it does that, it has a profound effect on the psychology of both parties going forward. >> what do you think about -- i mean, substantiatively what do you think about that political observation? what i was so struck by was the high number of older voters in this district. raw majority of voters over the age of 45. we've got anecdotal evidence -- anecdotal voters saying maybe i'll go democratic on this one. do you feel that that political observation about the importance of the medicare vote is true? >> i do. i basically think it's two things. i think you're exactly right.
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i think the republicans thought that a they had seniors in their camp to pull this off. b, they overestimated just how much 2010 was a referendum. and c they tried to be too clever by half in this disengeneralous way in which they carved out people over 55 in the ryan budget. their thought was don't worry, we're just screwing everyone younger than you. you can't do that. that's part of it. part of it is i think we can lose sight of this we're focused on these principal aspects of an election. the economy is still terrible. and people are still really unhappy with their representation generally. they're just really restless and disproving of everyone they put in office. you have independents in this district saying they want to see a democrat by 49 to 43. they want to see this representative be a democrat.
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that's a massive swing from just a few months earlier. part of that, yes, i think is a ryan budget. part of it is the fact what the economy continues to bthis just open wounds in the body politics that for some reason no one seems to be bringing themselves to address. >> briefly, chris, i am stuck on my hypothesis of john boehner being bad at his job. i mean he's bad at being speaker. is there any way in which it makes political sense to have forced republicans to vote to kill medicare before abandoning the idea. >> complete and total political malpractice. you look back at health care, health care, the affordable care act was not that popular. it was not popular when it passed. one of the things that people
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were saying after scott brown was you already voted for it. if this is an unpopular bill, it's going to be hung around your neck either way. you might as well get universal health care out of it and ultimately thank god that argument won the day. in this case it never had a chance of passing. i honestly don't understand what they could have been thinking to make everybody in the caucus take that vote. it's really, really everybody day that passes it looks like a more and more foolish idea. >> i will continue to ask speaker boehner if he would like to come on this program and discuss it with me and maybe we'll get an explanation in. the meantime, we'll keep making stuff up. chris haze, thank you. >> thanks. so last week under the cover of the osama bin laden news cloud, not only did house republicans quietly drop their kill medicare thing after making all the house republicans vote on it, conservatives else wre in the country passed some of the biggest big government legislation and weirdest big government legislation that i have heard about in years. details next.
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in south dakota there's only one abortion provider. operating in one corner of the state. and there's not a doctor working there every day. typically it's just once a week. so once a week a woman can go to this one place to this one planned parenthood clinic in this one part of the state to get their women off and drive seven or eight hours to get there. when a woman arrives if she wants access to this constitutionally right, first she has to sit by an anti-abortion lecture.
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she's required by south dakota law to g given a lecture designed to talk her out of her decision. the lecture will include her being shown a booklet on fetal development and information on a state website that directs her to crisis pregnancy centers that try to talk her out of getting an abortion. after the state-mandated lecture, she has to wait 24 hours before the procedure can actually be provided. so if she's one of those patients who has driven seven or eight hours to this one clinic, she'd better get a hotel room or sleep in the car. once the 24-hour waiting period is up, the doctor is required to offer the woman a medically unnecessary sonogram and to record her response to that offer in her medical records. then it's time for another state-mandated lecture written by politicians. the doctor is required by south dakota law to read her an anti-abortion script that includes a laundry list of
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disputed claims about the health risks of abortion. at least one of which has been suspended pending the outcome of a lawsuit. then, after that she is required to sit and wait after that lecture for two more hours only after that can a woman in south dakota have access to abortion services. that's the law in south dakota right now. that's what you have to do right now if you are an american woman who wants to access your supposedly constitutionally protected right to abortion in the great state of south dakota. remember, that doctor's only there once a week. so time it out wisely. on march 22nd, south dakota's republican governor signed into law cha is probably the most creatively draconian anti-abortion law in the country. under this law there is a new three-day waiting period between when the woman first meets with the doctor and when she can get an abortion. what does that mean for the women who drive seven or eight hours to the one anl only state's doctor.
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what does it mean for the doctor to provide that service, it means what they're calling a three-day waiting period is more like a week long waiting period as best as we can tell. we've been asking around in the state. no one is exactly sure how this is expected to work. the new law doesn't just extend the waiting period to three days, it tells women what they have to do with that time. get this, under the new law, during the time in between the first state-mandated scripted lecture and the second state-mandated scripted lecture and putting her decision whether or not to have a medically unnecessary ult tra sound in her permanent medical records, during the new 72-hour waiting period between all of those obstacles, a woman seeking an abortion will be forced by the state to visit a so-called crisis pregnancy center. where she will be lectured at by
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anti-abortion activists about why she should not be having an abortion. crisis pregnant centers are not health centers. they're not medical in any way. they're generally speaking anti-abortion organizations run by anti-abortion activists whose mission is to stop people from having abortions. in 2006 congressional investigation targeting centers that received federal funding found 87% of the centers that were contacted by investigators provided false or misleading information to those supposed pregnant teenagers about abortion. the law in south dakota that forces women to go to a crisis pregnancy center to discuss their decision to have an abortion with anti-abortion activists before they're allowed access to the limited abortion services, this new law takes effect july 1st. here's the awkward part beyond all that, so far none of these crisis pregnancy centers have registered with the state to become part of the new law.
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to be the place where women are forced to go to when they want an abortion. what does that mean for the law? again, nobody's quite sure. south dakota's attorney general refusing to say whether abortions would be prohibited. saying, we plan on addressing only the issues that arise and become an actually controversy. i would like to see what counts as a controversy in south dakota these days. joining me now is ceo of plan parenthood in minnesota, south dakota and north dakota. thanks for joining us. i appreciate your time. >> thanks for your interest in this subject. >> it's very awkward to come up with all of the logistics to explaining how you could get an abortion in south dakota. i can't imagine doing it while under the pressure of trying to decide whether or not to get one. did i explain that accurately? >> yeah, you pretty much did explain it accurately except for the fact that many women who are seeking abortion also have to
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arrange for child care, they have to arrange to get off of work. they have to arrange their financial circumstances. the mere logistics that the state puts in front of them are one set of problems that they have to overcome. they also have their own personal challenges that they have to overcome. so it's a very, very complicated situation for women who found themselves unintentionally pregnant in the state of south dakota. >> with the state legislature mandating that women go to pregnancy crisis centers before they're allowed to get this procedure, do you think if none of those pregnancy centers, crisis pregnancy centers register there's a possibility that they could in effect make abortion services unavailable in south dakota? >> well, there be certainly is that possibility. although, remember, they have until tend of june to register. we don't actually know yet what they're going to do.
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in point of fact what the legislature and the politicians in south dakota generally are attempting to do with this law is to functionally overturn roe so abortion access becomes very difficult even if crisis pregnancy centers agree to participate in this charade, it will be quite difficult for women to obtain abortion. particularly the 72-hour waiting period. >> are you going to sue about this new law? are you working on a lawsuit? >> we absolutely are going to sue. as you said in your introduction, only provider of abortion care in the state of south dakota. we have to fly doctors to the clinic, which is located in sioux falls. it's very, very challenging for us to be there for the women of south dakota. we are quite determined that we will not abandon the women and we will do what it takes to provide services to them. we will file a lawsuit, yes.
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>> there has been sort of a landslide this year of really draconian anti-abortion bills coming out of republican health state legislatures. the provision that requires women to visit crisis pregnancy centers stands out. it's one of the reasons we're highlighting this one. there are so many of these. i imagine -- i do not imagine a crisis pregnancy center being the sort of place an abortion provider would feel comfortable referring his or her patients. what's been your relationships with these groups? >> we believe that these centers function in a way that is just frankly quite unethical. they are not licensed. they are not regulated. the people that work there are not trained. the centers are not covered by hiipa privacy laws. the patients are not protected. no one is watching the quality of what goes on in those centers. from our point of view, referring a woman who is already
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struggling with the circumstances of her life, looking at terminating an unintended pregnancy, and then forcing her to go to a center in behavior that is unethical, unlicensed, unregulated and doesn't guard her pregnancy is just not something that we're prepared to do. we just won't do it. we find the whole notion that a woman would be subjected to something like that to be shocking and brutalizing and coercive. we just won't participate in that kind of thing. that's why we're filing the lawsuit. >> ceo of planned parent for minnesota, south dakota and north dakota. thank you very much for joining us. >> you are welcome. >> you're going uphill here. good luck to you. >> thanks a lot. >> i should also mention in case you're keeping track at home, south dakota voters have rejected abortion bans twice when they've been put to a vote
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as ballot initiatives recently. but that's not stopping the legislature. the most aggressive roll back of women's rights are happening in republican controlled state governments like south dakota. don't worry fans of really big government, republicans in washington, d.c. are doing their best to keep up at the federal level. that story and one powerful response to it next.
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ask me.
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before states like south dakota began passing extreme laws to make it harder and maybe even impossible to get an
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abortion there, we had this guy. congressman henry hyde of illinois an anti-abortion republican for whom we for some reason have on file this rather awesome college photo in. 1976 not long after roe v. wade there there was a constitutional right to have an abortion that states could not infringe, congressman hyde had the effect of putting abortion out of reach for most women who can't gather the money to pay for it themselves. if you are poor or disabled you can get government help for medical treatment in this country. except for extreme circumstances like rape or insist you cannot get help from the federal government to end a pregnancy. it is a one size fits all moral decision made for you by the government. this is congressman henry hyde whose name has become a shorthand for limiting women's constitutional rights in america.
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this is congresswoman denise slaughter from new york state coming at the debate quite ferociously. on wednesday republicans in congress considered a bill to make the hyde amendment more severe. among other provisions hr-3 that's three in which this is the third item on the republicans to-do-list for the whole list year, it would raise taxes on any company whose health care plan covers abortion. it would take away the credit that companies get for insuring their employees. before the vote congress wam denise slaughter said she has never had to debate someone's have saktmy. >> i served in three legislatures and every one of them was always men in blue suits who knew very little about the life altering experience of
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pregnancy and birth who demanded this kind of action. i've often spoken in support of a woman's right to access abortion and had many people including some of my own constituents who disagree with me and that's fine. they have never, however, tried by law to enforce upon me what they themselves believe. once i was at a meeting in my district and i was asked by a man who was strongly opposed to a woman's right to chose. my response to him was simple and personal and still applies today. i asked him that if god forbid he ever finds himself in a difficult position of having to decide whether or not his wife needsed to have an abortion either because the health of the fetus or the mother was in danger or because of another private matter is he willing to say to people gathered in the hospital and doing a discussion, no decision can be made until
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louise gets here because congress will make that decision? >> the congress did go on to pass hr-3, the bill she argued against them. republicans voted for it unanimously. now it will go on to the senate. but it does say something intense about this relentless campaign against abortion rights that republicans are waging this year. that senator wicker and his 20 male co-sponsors and one woman that they're willing to try. they are willing to raise taxes in order to further attack abortion rights this year. in case you're keeping track, the unemployment rate stands at 9%. did you know prilosec otc
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after u.s. navy s.e.a.l.s killed osama bin laden last weekend at a compound in pakistan, three of his widows were left at the compound after the raid and taken into pakistani custody. nbc news reports that u.s. intelligence officials will be given access to those women or
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at the very least to the information that pakistan has already gathered from them. the pentagon on saturday released some of what they took from the compound, videotape some showing osama bin laden gray-bearded and weirdly hunched over under a blanket watching himself on television while clutching a remote control. other video showing him with a freshly dyed black beard rehearsing messages. all of the tapes had the audio removed. last week leon panetta suggested that pakistan's military services were complicit in sheltering bin laden or incompetent. this weekend pakistani media named the man that pakistani officials claimed was the cia chief in islamabad. they said quote, they suspected that the name may have been deliberately leaked by pakistan's intelligence service in retaliation for u.s. criticism following the bin laden raid. president obama carefully downplayed his own criticism of pakistan in his interview that aired on "60 minutes" last night.
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he did leave open the possibility of pakistani government complicity. >> we think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin laden inside of pakistan. we don't know who or what they support network was. we don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government. and that's something that we have to investigate and more importantly the pakistani government has to investigate. >> pakistan's prime minister said this morning in a speech to parol jchlt that he had ordered an investigation into how bin laden had managed to hide out for years in a million dollar compound surrounded by members of the pakistani mill tar and the equiver lent of west point. he called the complicity of sheltering bin laden as quote, absurd. joining me now is terrorism specialist evan coleman. >> thank you very much. >> why release the tapes? >> i think the purpose of
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releasing this is to knock bin laden down a notch. to show him as a bumbling idiot as opposed to a sophisticated terrorist leader with his loyal followers. the idea is this a a human being. the problem is to really get that point across you need the audio. if you want to show him bumbling through a speech and messing it up, you have to hear that. right now all we have have a few images of bin laden staring to the left to the side. it doesn't have the full impact. it may have a more impact in the mind of u.s. officials than in the target audience. >> terms of the pakistani response for the second time since december, now pack stop signee officials now have leaked the identity or a partially correct identity of the islamabad station chief. how does that sort of thing
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materially affect our work in some cases with pakistan? >> it's not going to help things. that's for sure. that's the question here. is that the pack stop signees are accusing the united states of waging a war without their consent. the real question are why are the pack stop signees so hesitant, fighting so hard against trying to crack down on the pack stop signee taliban. we have mainstream pakistani politicians talking about trying to make a peace treaty with the pack stop signee taliban at the same time when they're murdering hundreds of innocent muslims in pakistan. the math is not there in terms -- there are far more pakistanis killed by the taliban in al qaeda than in u.s. missile strikes. i think the pakistani government needs to think about the future. some people are saying they're saying crazy things to flatter a certain section of the pakistani population who are upset about the invasion of sovereignty and perhaps naturally so.
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you have to wonder if the pakistani government's message to its people is the united states is our enemy. we're hostile. we're more angry at the united states than we are at al qaeda, what is the message to the pakistani people? don't trust the united states. >> in terms of what happens in al qaeda next, what is your understanding about what's likely to happen with the leadership vacuum there? do you believe that others are likely to step up or will there be competition for the spot? >> this is not a democracy. if it was, i don't think it would be him. the way that leaders are chosen in al qaeda is simple. there's a council. thr the type leaders of al qaeda who get together and say you're the next one. so far for the last five, six, seven years there's been no doubt about the next one. does that mean he'll be an effective leader? i don't know.
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probably as effective as bin laden? probably not. he's a pech lent guy. he's not charismatic. he doesn't have the unifying characteristic that bin laden did. most of us would be shocked to see anyone else take that position. >> i couldn't be more delighted to hear it. it sounds like he'll have a lot of challenges. the more he has the better. >> god willing. >> thanks for your help, evan. >> thanks very much. >> we will be right back. but if you've been diagnosed with p.a.d., or have pain or heaviness in your legs, i want to talk to you. you may have heard of poor leg circulation, which could be peripheral artery disease, or p.a.d. with p.a.d., if you have poor circulation in your legs, you may also have poor circulation in your heart or in your brain, your risk for heart attack or stroke is more than doubled with p.a.d.
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[ horn honks ] yo, my friend, come on down here! what do you think about that proglide? yeah, this is great. this thing is fantastic. it feels good on my sensitive skin. i don't feel like i'm shaving. [ male announcer ] fusion proglide is engineered with gillette's thinnest blades ever... it feels like it's doing the work for me. [ male announcer ] it glides for less tug and pull. it was smooth! this was fantastic. i'm having way too much fun with this razor. [ male announcer ] turn shaving into gliding with fusion proglide. i'm a believer. he is a believer! yeah! [ male announcer ] gillette fusion proglide. clay jones is an editorial cartoonist for "the free lans star" newspaper in virginia. this is his latest cartoon posted at in the class foreign policy school kid george w. bush with giant ears gets a d minus. school kid barack obama with different giant ears gets an a. this is post death of bin laden. the teacher look at at the papers and says to school kid obama, a plus, plus, plus, you
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must have cheated off george. whether or not you feel like george w. bush deserved a d minus in foreign policy, i think mr. clay jones in this political cartoon nailed the beltway media reaction to the killing of osama bin laden. this is exactly how the beltway media is approaching the politics of bin laden's death. and i can prove it. that's next. itchy, irritated skin... not only does cortaid 12-hour advanced cream relieve itch fast, but a clinical study shows its unique itch shield technology lasts longer than the leading cream. for 12 hour protection. for long lasting protection try cortaid.
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i will admit right off the bat this is petty. i'll admit it. but it is also true. it has got to drive democrats in the white house nuts. here it is. republican senator dick luger. republican candidate rudy juliany. the bush administration secretary of state condoleezza rice, michael chertoff, the bush administration's defense secretary, donald rumsfeld, dick day chee, the vice president's daughter liz cheney. the weekly obama administration announces it has killed osama bin laden that's the guest list on the sunday morning political talk shows to talk about it. the sunday shows are the apex of political debate. the pulsing, throbbing heart of what's going on in american politics. is the biggest story retiree from the bush administration and how they feel about stuff? plus dick luger. this is the roster. this is sunday morning in the seriousness. among those nine officials,
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there were three outliers, senator john kerry and a former white house communications director named anita dunn. and tom donlin, the national security advisor. the pulsing, throbbing heart of what is going on in american politics. is the biggest story in american politics right now retirees from the bush administration annal how they feel about stuff? honestly this is the roster, sunday morning in all a its thundering seriousness? among those nine bush administration officials and other republican politicians there were three outliers, senator john kerry, also anita dunn and one current white house official tom donilon the national security adviser but the week the obama administration announces bin laden is dead the measure of serious and importance in washington is 3-1, bush administration and republican officials. why is that?
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proportion of those locked up in the u.s. are locked up by the federal government. in federal prison most americans in prison are in prisons that are run by the states. so in the most incarcerated country on earth what is the most incarcerated place in the country? it is not that easy to find out. it isn't the kind of thing states like to brag about. even if you love the idea of locking a a lot of people up you probably still don't like the idea of paying to lock a a lot of people up so it is not a readily available figure. but at the website of the sentencing project, they've got this cool, nifty rollover map where you can get the incarceration rate for every state in the country just by moving your mouse around the country and you can see when you do it that way that the use of prison in this country essentially just drips down to the southeast and pools in louisiana. all the highest rates of incarceration are in the southeast but the closer to louisiana the higher your rate of locking up your citizens more or less. the national average, per
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100,000 population is about 500 people in prison. 500 nationally. louisiana is at 881. the only states that come anywhere near louisiana in terms of how much of their population they lock up are the states that touch louisiana or try to. mississippi, alabama, texas, and oklahoma. they are vaguely in competition with louisiana but are left way behind. in the country that locks up more people than anywhere in the world, by a mile, louisiana locks up more people than anywhere else by a mile. during the confederacy, during the course of the civil war, louisiana as a confederate state had three different state capitals. they had to keep giving up their state capitals and founing new ones as union troops kept invading them and taking them over. the only confederate louisiana state capital union troops did not take over was the city of shreveport, tucked up into the far northwest corner of the state. shreveport held on even after robert e. lee surrendered in
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april, 1865. they held on as long as they could. in the reconstruction era just after the civil war caddo parish earned the nickname the bloody caddo for its high proportion of black citizens who were murdered. congressional inquiries and historians documented the white posses and paramilitary organizations that maintained caddo parish as the last stand of the confederacy in more ways than one. in 1902, caddo parish gifted a parcel of land to the daughters of the confederacy to put up this monument. it is a monument to caddo parish being supposedly the last place on land where the confederate flag was lowered after the south lost the war. the monument has busts of four confederate generals, its top has an anonymous confederate soldier holding a rifle. cleo the muse of history is depicted below the words "lest we forget" that monument went up in front of the courthouse in 1902. in 1951 in case the meaning
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wasn't clear enough with those four confederate generals and all the rest they added to it a flag pole and the confederate flag. there it stands, still, outside the caddo parish courthouse today in 2011. two years ago this week a 30-year resident of shreveport named carl staples was summoned to jury duty at that courthouse, the one with the confederate monument and flag out front. mr. staples called the parish clerk's office to say he did not want to attend jury duty because of that confederate flag out front. the clerk told him a warrant for his arrest would be issued if he did not show up to serve. so carl staples went to the courthouse to fulfill his civic responsibility. he ended up in the case of an african-american man accused of killing a white man. during the jury selection process mr. staples restated his objection to the confederate flag flying yards away. he told the courtroom it was a symbol of one of the most heinous crimes ever committed to another member of the human race and i just don't see how you could say that.
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i mean you're here for justice and then again you overlook this great injustice by continuing to fly this flag. the prosecutor in the case moved to strike carl staples from the jury saying that based on those comments he could not be fair in the case. the judge granted the motion. there were seven remaining qualified black prospective jurors. the prosecution successfully moved to strike five of them. carl staples was taken off that jury specifically because of his stated objections to the confederate flag flying outside the courthouse. the jury in the end consisted of 11 white people and one african-american. one african-american woman. the man on trial in the case is named felton dorsey. he was eventually convicted. he was sentenced to death. mr. dorsey maintains that he is innocent of the crime for which he has been sentenced to die. he is challenging his conviction and sentence. today felton dorsey's attorney from the aclu capital punishment project, incidentally, a white woman attorney from caddo
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parish, she argued at the louisiana state supreme court in new orleans today that mr. dorsey's conviction should be overturned. carl staples was struck off that jury explicitly because he objected to the confederate flag flying outside that courtroom. and so in the most highly incarcerated state of the most highly incarcerated country on earth where 32% of louisiana's population is black but 70% of its prison population is black, do we accept that it is a prerequisite for serving on a jury that you do not object to doing so under the confederate flag? louisiana supreme court started mulling that over today. i thought we stopped mulling over stuff like this 146 years ago this spring at appamotox but we will keep you posted on what they figure out in new orleans. thanks for being with us tonight. "first look" is up next.


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