tv News Nation MSNBC August 21, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm EDT
hi, everyone, i'm tamron hall. "news nation" following g, breaking news. embattled congressman todd akin is not leaving his race for the u.s. senate in missouri despite heated calls from so many within his own party for him to bow out. akin announcing his decision hours before the 5:00 p.m. central deadline which he could have exited the race without penalty. akin's gone on to the mike huckabee radio show. huckabee endorses him early on. this going down in last half hour to make it clear to everyone listening, he's staying put. >> i want to make things absolutely clear and that is, we're going to continue with this race for the u.s. senate. we've given it a lot of thought and the first thing we felt we had to do was we had offended some people and we tried to respond to that and let people know that we didn't mean anybody or to take it anyway, rape, anything less than very, very seriously. >> also this morning, his
campaign released an ad called "forgiveness." >> rape is an evil act. i used the wrong words in the wrong way and for that i apologize. >> and despite a debate that pits the republican candidate for president against a senate hopeful and is causing strain within the party, akin supporters in missouri, some of them, standing by their man right now. >> what he said was misguided, he admitted it was misguided, i'm all right with it. i think he's a good man. and i don't necessarily think he should drop out of the race, though it may hurt republicans' chances to win because of this comment. >> and throw this in a pot, another development today with the gop national convention in tampa, less than a week away, a committee will vote tonight on whether to include a ban on abortions connected to acts of rape or incest and the official republican platform. that same language used in the
last two election cycles, but the stakes are different for the party this time this year. nbc's kelly o'donnell joins me from capitol hill. we heard from some constituents there saying that akin should not drop out, we also note at least one congressman, steve king, today coming out in support of him. >> reporter: well, tamron, i have exclusive reporting to tell you. i have learned from associates with congressman akin that he's not in the state of missouri. he's actually in ohio, where he has been working on his campaign, meetings that were planned before these events over the last few days. and he's been sticking to that schedule. instead of public events in the state of missouri that he wants to represent in the u.s. senate he's been making a series of phone calls that he started, and will continue today to conservative radio hosts to try to explain his position. now, you've heard that he wants to stay in the race. by talking to those closest to him they give more of an idea behind the strategy. they say now that he has shown he is sorry for his comments
they believe he can effectively turn this into a cause. because of all of the pressure that's been put on him, all of the criticism from an extreme number of elected officials and conservative voices that he can now become a figure for grassroots activism, that he can be an inspiring figure, they say, and they believe he can even win this race and he would look back on this experience as a blessing to help him fight for the causes he believes in. that gives you a sense of some of the conversations that are happening around congressman akin, as he tries to plan a way forward. they say he's not stressed by all of the criticism, because he had not been given the support of the party anyway. he does acknowledge he needs money, hopes donors who might support his views, grassroots donors would help him, saying publicly they're ignoring all headwinds against him. they say the only deadline that counts is november. >> kelly, thank you. joining me now, nationally ci y
syndicated radio host michael smerconish, shawna thomas, co-founder of the women's right group, ultraviolet. chip, i'll start off with you here. in addition to being on mike huckabee's show, we have congressman akin on dana lesh's show, referring to false rapes as in the case of roe v. wade what he was trying to refer to the infamous interview he conducted on sunday. the bottom line here, is it the establishment now versus the guy and perhaps some tea party members who say they never backed him in the first place. what do you think here? >> first of all, look, what he said was like everybody else, was i'm not sure what he was saying, i'm not sure what he was saying earlier on the radio show. the first rule in a crisis like this is stop digging and he's apologizing and trying to get the campaign back on track, which sounds like he's going stay in and try to do that. first, stop digging the hole and
start trying to do what he's doing, apologize, move on from there. not sure going on talk radio and talking about what is false rape, not sure what that is, but just stop digging. he's not taking that advice. he's digging deeper and deeper and bringing a lot of people if he's the captain of the "titanic" owe wants to bring the whole ship down. establishment leaders say you could hurt the party. he's thumbing his nose, thinking he could perhaps become a member of the u.s. senate. >> well, he's done. is he done voluntarily because he gets out or is he going to done at hand of the electorate in missouri on november 6th? the stakes for the gop, though, as you made reference to a moment ago, the platform. that platform has been a pro-life platform with no exceptions for rape or incest for the last several conventions but it hasn't percolated to the surface. this could be different because everybody's about to descend on
tampa, media will be there looking for a story, and it puts mitt romney and paul ryan in a very awkward position, if the party adopts a platform that is at odds with what they're saying on that issue and it becomes an embarrassment. last thought is this, every day we're talking about social issues, is a bad day for the romney/ryan ticket a good day for the president, i say. >> maybe this is a good day for women, maybe it's not the economy, but certainly something important to women and honestly, should be to menace well. shawna, as michael noted, the language that the gop platform could perhaps include, is the same language from 2004, 2008, which would oppose abortions in all circumstances, rape and incest. mitt romney would be the latest candidate following john mccain and george w. bush who stand against this language or at least who don't agree with it. let me play what wrnc chairman
said, the nominee with the platform language from the gop. >> i think, as far as like these, you know, the details of some of these things, like an exception for rape or life of the mother, these are not uncommon differences that candidates have and don't share some of the detail on those exceptions. but as far as our platform is concerned, think is the platform of the republican party. it's not the platform of mitt romney. >> let me get your thoughts on that, it's not the platform for mitt romney, it wasn't for john mccain, it's not for george w. bush but it is for people in the republican party. >> yeah, it's right. he's coming right out and saying it. he's saying it is the platform of the republican party to blame rape victims for their own rape and own pregnancy and force women to take the rainist's children to term. that's a long standing tenet of the republican party. it's something that paul ryan
believes in strongly. who is obviously on the presidential ticket as well. and romney's on record saying they're on the same page on almost every issue that would come up through the course of the campaign. i don't think it's a stretch to say that even though what paul akin said was beyond the pale as far as what romney or other, you know, establishment republicans think that a national political figure should be saying out loud, but it reflects what the political party does believe from a policy perspective. >> chip, let me bring you back in, so many have tied congressman ryan into this. joe scarborough took great issue, pointing out that ryan's never used the language that akin used in the interview on sunday with the notion of rape, but he did use this forcible rape language in legislation that they co-sponsored. john heilemann, i think, had interestingen sight. >> they co-sponsored legislation
that tried to redefine rape and something called forcible rape. that was the wildest controversial it wasn't because it tried to outlaw abortions in all cases of rape and incest, they tried to carve out and make a distinction between some other form of rape and something that they called forcible rape. you know, for most women, rape is rape. >> so, chip, does that stick on congressman ryan? no, he never said legitimate rape but the notion of forceable rape versus some other category, heilemann said it, you feel this kay w way the president said it rape is rape. >> rape is rape. nothing more horrible for a woman to go through than rape. they trial to lump congressman ryan in. >> is it wrong? if he co-sponsored legislation -- >> i think it is wrong. >> why is it wrong that he co-sponsored the legislation. >> i'm sure congressman akin and paul ryan had 20, 30 bills this cycled they've co-sponsored.
>> how many dealt with rape? what we're talking about is the issue of rape that has come out because of the careless and awful words from congressman akin, nonetheless -- >> exactly. talking about congressman akin and you're trying to attach it to congressman wrien. define for me forcible rape. >> ask congressman ryan what he thinks about that, he'll say rape is a horrible thing. you know that's not tying him to congressman akin. i know what the democrats are trying to do. that dog's not going to hunt the language said forcible rape. chip says that dog doesn't hunt but the dog was held on the leash with akin and ryan. it attempted to categorize or define a type of rape as opposed to just saying rape. does this at all stick on congressman ryan or as chip asserts, some kind of tactic by democrats and and it's unfair? >> well, it's probably a tactic by democrats, but a fair tactic if there's guilt by association
in this regard. he hasn't mirrored the words of the outrageous statement by congressman akin, but on the issue that you've identified, there are similarities and they have to live with that. one observation when mike huckabee's on the radioing talking about extraordinary people who have been born by virtue of a rape, that also tells you that the far right of the republican party is not going to wave the white flag on this exception being carved out for rape or incest. that's an issue that's going to live for the next couple of days going into tampa. that's not a good thing for the gop. >> your point, michael you have pat robertson, tony perkens, conservative leaders sticking with akin and now, in fact, tony perkins, we'll talk about late, has set his sights on senator scott brown, one of the first big name republicans to come out against akin. shaunna, i want to play governor romney's late est assertion.
>> the xlern comments with regae are offensive, inappropriate and wrong. and i think almost all americans concur that this man has said something that's totally inappropriate and offensive. and i'm hoping that he will give great attention to this issue today and will make a decision, which is in the best interest of the values he has for the future of the country and the country itself. >> the clock is ticking but again, already, congressman akin, says he's not dropping out of the senate race. no the less, we know this is about the female voters out there, women voters. you had so many people on saying today, perhaps rightfully, women like men are not one-issue voters here. but at least from those you've spoken to, maybe even those who are independent and were on the fence, quite honestly what have you heard? >> yeah, absolutely. just inside of 12 hours, we had close to 200,000 people, women and men, across the country sign a petition demanding that congressman akin resign.
and it wasn't just people signing a petition. they were writing in. we got one note from a self-described conservative man who was incredibly embarrassed for his party, wanted us to know that conservative men don't agree or at least not all conservative men agree with akin and agree with the policy positions that put romney and ryan, frankly, on the same page as akin. i think that the fact that they -- this light is being shown brightly on what the actual republican party platform is with respect to women's ability to make private decisions for themselves especially in instances of rape and incest is going to be a problem for them, as they go into the convention. >> chip last word. what are odds that he continues to hang on and believe that his strength comes from something else and not the establishment in the party? >> i think he is trudging on. he's going to continue running this race. i will say this, the comments were incredibly stupid. he's apologized for that. if entry into the united states
senate was not saying anything stupid, i'm not sure the united states senate would ever have a quorum. a lot of politicians have said stupid things that win elections. todd's going to push on and see what he can do. >> go ahead, shaunna. >> it wasn't a stupid remark. it may be the case that he does understand how women's biology works. but if that's true, if he understands how women get pregnant, he was mr. fully negating facts in order to justify blaming women for getting pregnant. >> he's made new comments regarding, quote, false rape. you can step out on a limb if you want, chip, but i have here in front of me, we're waiting to get more, he seems to be delving into language again regarding false rape and roe v. wade. i don't have it in its entire context, but if you want to step out on a line, feel free to do that. >> we've seen politicians -- look, joe biden last week said something incredibly insensitive and never apologized for it.
he goes on like it's no big deal. what congressman kaik dakin did incredibly stupid. >> thank you, great pleasure having you with us. the president of the family resent council who defended congressman akin, he's taking aim as i mentioned at massachusetts senator scott brown for condemning controversial remarks. telling him to, quote, be careful. we'll tell you what else he said. president obama answers critics who claim his campaign is too negative. >> point out sharp differences between the candidates, but we don't go out of bounds. >> up next, we'll talk with obama campaign national press secretary. and join the conversation on my twitter page. you see it there.
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welcome back. president obama in a campaign rally in the past hour in columbus, ohio, by the way, the president's eighth visit this year to the key battleground state. president spoke at a college, highlighting sharp differences between his education policies and he says those of mitt romney and his running mate, paul ryan. is it the president's first stop on a two-day campaign swing that will take him to nevada and new york city. this follows the president's appearance at the white house press briefing. the president started by strongly criticizing congressman todd akin's remarks about quote legitimate rape and on the "today" show, former rnc chair michael steele said the president seized an opportunity and called it political theater. >> the president's been seen in
quite some time in front of the white house press poll, all of a sudden pops in to talk about this subject among other things obviously, but, yeah, this was taking advantage of the political opportunity that's being handed to the campaign. >> joining me now, obama campaign national press secretary, ben la boat. thank you for your time. >> thanks for having me. >> your response to michael steele saying this was political theat, the president talked about syria, of course, this issue on congressman akin. >> well, this isn't theater. it's reaelt. take a look at the republican party platform of mitt romney's republican party. passed today, included a human life amendment that would ban abortion under all circumstances including in the form -- in the cases of rape. and incest. and could impact some forms of birth control. these were legislative initiatives that congressman ryan worked with congressman akin on while he was in congress. governor romney previously endorsed the personhood amendment. but this is in the platform of
mitt romney's republican party. >> but it's been the platform since 2004, 2008, george w. bush, mccain, mitt romney, the latest to disagree with the party platform. he's not different from the two that preceded him. >> he'd endorsed the platforms in the past. he endorsed on governor huckabee's show the personhood amendment earlier this year. congressman ryan worked with congre congressman akin to advance this legislation. you know, i think the broader discussion that the republican party's had about women's issues in the past year is something that we heard 50 years ago. you don't expect to hear it in 2012. you've got republican governors across the country advancing legislation that requires mandatory ultrasounds. i think these policies are out of the past and i think that women across the country are certainly going to take notice of the republican parties' platform. >> a quit sound bite from governor romney, talking about
the tone of the campaign in response to the ads, particularly that have been out. let me play what he had to say. >> i think it's unfortunate that the president not having a great record to run on has decided to try to attack his opponents on a personal basis and mischaracterize, of course the reason we're in the race and things we're trying to do. >> ben, yesterday the president stated clearly and why he believes tax returns are relevant. he took issue, though, with the ad with the gentleman whose wife passed away. what do you think of the tone question? you're not just hearing it from republicans. you're hearing it from pundits who feel this is extraordinary tone from the president, extraordinary negative tone from the president, they say. >> i don't think that reporters who have spent a day on the trail with the president would say that. take a look at his events in columbus and reno today, he's talking about the choice that students face in education. he passed $10,000 tax credit to help students attend college,
double funded for college scholarships. governor romney has a different vision, they'd cut back funding for scholarships and shop around and get money from their parents. some call it negative but it's important that we outline the choice for american students. i certainly done think that's negative. i think it would have a concrete impact on their lives. governor romney's advises are told politico last week it would be political suicide to run a campaign of specifics. he hasn't outlined many policy specifics, he hasn't told us how he'd pay for $5 trillion tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, specifically what he would do to aen tend the war afghanistan and he's run a campaign primarily focused on tearing the president down. >> we reached out to the romney campaign to see if someone was available. they did not have anybody available. the okay to move forward
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certain he's sincerely sorry but sorry is not sufficient. to continue serving his country in an honorable way he's served throughout his career it's time for congressman akin to step aside. as you well know, we reported at top of the hour, 30 minutes ago, congressman akin did a couple of interviews, one of which on mike huckabee, said he's not going anywhere. but today, right now, senator mitch mick connell saying sorry's not enough. congressional approval goes from bad to worse. the question of whether paul ryan's link to the most unpopular congress ever could perhaps affect the gop ticket. we'll take a look at that. plus a four-letter word stands between this high school valedictorian and her diploma. it not one of the four-letter woshds th woshds th words that would get your mouth washed out with soap. the family of the presearch council sents a message to
splenda makes the moment yours. but they haven't experienced extra strength bayer advanced aspirin. in fact, in a recent survey, 95% of people who tried it agreed that it relieved their headache fast. visit fastreliefchallenge.com today for a special trial offer. welcome back. more breaking news. 2 1/2 hours before the deadline that congressman todd akin has, he's refusing to drop out of the race for the senate in missouri. he's more of what akin had to say a short time ago to mike huckabee on his radio show. >> just right off the bat, to start things out, mike, i want to make things absolutely clear, that is we're going to continue with this race for the u.s. senate. we have given it a lot of thought and the first thing we felt we had to do was, we had offended some people and we tried to respond to that and let
people know that we didn't mean anybody or to take in any way rape, anything less than very, very seriously. but following that, i've had a chance now to have run through a primary and the party people said when you win the primary, we'll be with you. they were with us, but then i said one word and one sentence, one day, and everything changed. so, now we're kind of back to where we were in the primary. i've been so encouraged by good friends who are closer than brothers and realized there's a lot of other bravehearts, don't fit into the political parties exactly, and i believe the defense of the unborn and a deep respect for life which underlie all of america, those are important parts of who we are and they're not things to run away from. >> let me bring in our political panel, democratic strategist and republican strategist. chip, since we spoke 30 minutes
ago, senator mcconnell says he's sure the apology is sincere but not sufficient. he wants to akin to step aside. >> they're going to put pressure on him until the 5:00 deadline central time comes along to get him to change his mind. my sense is he's not going to do this. congressman akin has to make the decision if he's going, he's going alone. it doesn't look like the national senate committee will fund money. it's a tough, tough campaign. krits, on the other other side is smiling and giggling -- >> no, he's not, actually. this is an awful discussion to have regarding this issue of rape. but let me bring this in, this point. i don't throw chris the softball. i'll ask you, chip -- >> i get a softball. i'm excited about that. >> here's the deal, will this hurt the overall party, could this hurt governor romney and the party itself? because obviously these words
from mitch mcconnell are of concern for a reason. will this hurt your party in november? >> i think what we're doing is talking about it today and not talking about unemployment number or jobs, we're talking about rape. though it's a terrible thing to talk about it it's like one of the most -- i can't imagine anything worse for a woman than rape, that's what we're talking about and we're 80-something days away from the campaign. this doesn't help us as we go into our conventions next week. >> chris, i was going to ask you, does it help the democrats. obviously it does. senator boxer was on made the point of the legislation co-sponsored by the potential vp here, paul ryan, and his close association at least on that legislation with congressman akin. >> i mean, listen, it hurts the republicans because you have akin becoming a story, if he doesn't drop out, it's something that's going to literally hang around and haunt the republican party to the election, no question about that. especially when you're already having problems reaching female
voters this doesn't help. it shows you completely out of touch with certain elements are. they've been smart, if you will, in terms of coming out and being aggressive about trying to push him out. but this is bigger than congressman akin. this is about the positions and policies that certain republicans have and in particular, certain members of the republican party express. i don't think he misspoke. i think this is what he believes -- >> is the position and the policy the issue here? you have people who are conservatives, you have christian conservatives, maybe even people who are not religious, who do not want to see abortion legal in this country. that's not perhaps where he made his mistake. he's had this position as rnc points out, party platform has been the same 2004, 2008. when you start to get into language as he put it, legitimate rape, false rape, or even in the language that he -- with the co-sponsored legislation, forcible rape,
that's why we're talking about this today, not that there are some people opposed to abortion. >> that's the distinction. this is not about abortion. but when you start making distinctions about right rape and wrong rape, this is not a -- this is not a discussion that i think any sensible or sane person can be having and want to represent a state. he would become -- >> not just as a senator, some say remind you he's a member of congress currently. >> correct. >> these not a guy off the street. >> went you're a united states senate you're one of 100 but you have enormous power and influence. it's a terrible statement about where certain individuals are, certain individuals are politically. >> chip, to that point, you love your party, there are people who don't see this as an issue of -- he has certainly this right to believe his beliefs based on religion or whatever else if he's opposed to abortion. the issue is the language he used regarding rape. when you look at laundry list of
people and our first read team pointed out sharon engel, christine o'donnell, for example, candidates who were perhaps at least two of them certainly in races that they -- if there were a different candidate, quite honestly, they may have been more competitive, they cost perhaps your party. was this an inevitable battle? as long as you have primaries people deemed as extreme or even within the party ruled extreme when these primaries, when it's time to go to the big game, the big show, this has potential of happening. >> every primary, not just republican but democrat, too, when they nominate somebody to left for a state and that happens in our primary, too. we don't win every race. this is a challenge for both parties. how do you nominate the right person at right time for t right state? congressman akin ran a very tough, competitive three-way primary that not a lot of people gave him a chance to win he did it by hard work and working, you know, every day against the
establishment and he won. then he said something incredibly stupid and it's redefined. take the policy out of it, politically speaking, this is a very tough sledder to him because the national republican party moves away from him and there's more grassroots activists moving towards him he's still involved in the race but we'll see in the next week or two what the political fallout is. >> the political fallout for the party to your point. tony perkins, pat robertson, i don't know -- you've worked with mike huckabee's campaign, do you know if mike huckabee is standing with him. >> if congressman akin stays in the race, governor huckabee will support that. >> this is the problem, right? you're going to create not only a wedge in country which is tragic and wrong, but you're going to create a wedge within the republican party and going to the fall election, you have romney and ryan not own defending their records but defending the statements and actions of akin all the way through. listen, politically, people can say this is good for the
democrats. this is bad for the country. this is not the debate and discourse you want. big issues in the country, once we've kind of fallen to this level how a member of congress running for office doesn't understand they'd be completely disqualified running for higher office, i do not know. >> thank you. among the first republicans who called for todd akin to step down from the u.s. senate race in missouri was current massachusetts senator scott brown. one person who turned the criticism back on senator brown was tony perkins of the family research council who said brown should be careful and, quote, has been off the reservation on a number of republican issues, conservative issues i should say. his support among conservatives shallow. those are perkins' words. joining me from boston, noah berman, state house reporter for the boston globe. thank you for your time. >> thanks for having me. >> tony perkins turning ice ire
on senator brown. this is not the first time. early on you had tea party members sending warning shots to scott brown and they would turn on him at any moment. >> scott brown's campaign might be sending a box of chocolates to tony perkins. he's not a guy that will win a lot of votes in massachusetts, tony perkins and scott brown's been trying hard to prove meese independent national part of the national republican party but scott brown republican. so when somebody who is on the conservative wing of the republican party is criticizing him for not being conservative enough that plays into scott brown's message here in massachusetts. >> scott brown's statement at beginning of all of this, said there is no place in our public discourse for this type of offensive thinking. not only should he apologize but i believe akin's statement so far out of bounds he should resign from the nomination. to your point, someone like tony perkins coming out against scott brown on paper and any other way
you think about it should help. what is tony perkins talking about the vail warning to scott brown. >> it was a warning to send out to the national party, you know, no those who might follow scott brown. a number have ignored it. the establishment basically followed suit with what brown said. but for brown's perspective, those has been another example of a case where something could have really hurt him and he's gotten out ahead of it. and managed to prevent the kind of attacks the democrats have been lodging against him that he's in lock step with the national republican party. he was actually out calling for akin to resign from the race before warren got a statement out criticizing brown. she was left to say, well, brown is supporting the national party which supports people like akin which supports policies that hurt women. but that's not quite the same argument as being able to say,
scott brown supports akin. in fact, scott brown is, you know, in favor of abortion rights. he insulated himself before anybody could really lodge a clear attack on him. >> thank you so much. we turn now to the potential risk of having paul ryan on the ticket if he's tied to an unpopular congress. will it drag down the romney/ryan ticket? that risk highlighted as part of nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. it's brand new, just released it shows congress with its highest disapproval rating ever. 82% of those surveyed disapprove of the job of congress, just 12% approve. joining me now, nbc news senior political editor mark murray. mark, even before this issue with congressman akin, we had this concern that congress is so unpopular, we know the president's squaring off against house republicans, and that essentially means paul ryan.
>> that's right, tamron. we've known for the past year that congress has been pretty unpopular. what is striking in our poll is, though, that it actually has reached a bottom in the approval rating. just 12% of registered voters approve of congress' job. we haven't seen 12% since october of 2008. that was, of course, during the spiral, the economy, after the t.a.r.p. vote. you look in the context and all of a sudden mitt romney's added someone from the house of representatives, paul ryan, to his ticket. so that's what's new. now of course paul ryan is a respected member of the house. he's the chairman of the house budget committee. he has a lot of big fans. but there is this sense of the house brand, of congress' brand, rubbing off on the romney ticket. >> okay. i'm told that vice president joe biden was speaking and tied in congressman wry tonight this unpopular congress. we're seeing that there. but i want to transition you to
the money game, the ad, a lot of money, again, romney's team and romney's campaign inching ahead. >> that's right. although in the apples to apples comparison the obama campaign raised more money in the month of july. they have more cash on hand. but when you add up all of the outside groups, also the national parties, the republican heart in gnat committee versus the democratic national committee you see how the gop team romney has a big financial advantage, but one thing worth noting, tamron that we have three months to go now, in this race and you end up looking at obama, he has nearly $90 million cash on hand. one of the ways to break it down he can spend $30 million more per month over the next three months and still break even. >> wow. thank you very much, mark. we'll have more of the poll later tonight on nbc "nightly news." can't wait to see what folks are saying. next, afghan militants set off an explosion so close to
u.s. military base that it damages the plane of the nation's top general. more on what u.s. officials call a, quote, lucky shot. but first, a lot going on today. here's some things we thought you should know. texas congressman michael mccall the richest lawmaker on capitol hill. that according to the political website "the hill" which released its list of the 50 wealthiest lawmakers. mccall reported an estimate worth of $290 million for 2011. that's almost $100 million richer than number two on the list, massachusetts senator john kerry. republicans dominate the list coming from the gop. president obama's love of basketball we know about it, but appears nba executives prefer mitt romney. while obama's collected $60,000 in campaign donations from coaches and players like grant hill and vince carter, romney, he's raked in $70,000 from
owners and executives, including miami heat president pat riley. national weather service tracking a tropical storm that could become a hurricane early next week and could hit florida when the republican national convention kicks off in tampa. climate scientists note forecasts for systems this far out are unpredictable. those are things we thought you should know. [ male announcer ] when a major hospital wanted to provide better employee benefits while balancing the company's bottom line, their very first word was... [ to the tune of "lullaby and good night" ] ♪ af-lac ♪ aflac [ male announcer ] find out more at... [ duck ] aflac! [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. [ yawning sound ] [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. you do a lot of kayakingno. whoooa i'm in a river. what are some good kayaking words? like...rapids? look, i'm going through the rapids.
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and self-contained recycling systems... ... and protect land - by reducing our footprint and respecting wildlife. america's natural gas... domestic, abundant, clean energy to power our lives... that's smarter power today. welcome back. taliban claiming responsibility for a rocket attack that damaged a plane used by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. u.s. officials say general martin dempsey was nowhere near the plane when it was hit outside kabul. atia abowy has the latest. >> it was around 1:00 a.m. when the insurgency started lobbing
rockets into bagram air feel. two hit the base, one causing damage to a helicopter and the plane of the charm of the joint chiefs of staff, martin dempsey, who was on a two-day visit in afghanistan. the taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack that injured two people with minor injuries, we should say. dempsey himself was nowhere near the plane during the time of the incident. he was in his room resting. officials are trying to downplay the attack. they're saying the taliban often fire rocket intoes bagram. the fact that it hit the general's plane was, quote, a lucky shot. but it did sustain enough damage that a new plane was brought in for the general and his crew to leave afghanistan as planned and head to iraq. but officials are not denying that the taliban knew general dempsey was in country and knew that he was staying at bagram. >> thank you very much. up next, far from politics, but a buzz story. oklahoma principal refuses to give a high school valedictorian
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welcome back. time for the "news nation" gut check. a high school valedictorian in oklahoma is not allowed to get her diploma because she said the word hell during her graduation speech. according to the girl's parents, the school is refusing to release the straight a student's official record until she apologizes. in her speech caitlin talked about people asking her what she wants to be to which she replied, quote, how the hell do i know? i've changed my mind so many times. i know that feeling. her dad says she's used the word heck when writing the speech but
hell slipped out because it sounds more natural. the school had so far not issued a comment saying only that this is a confidential matter. caitlin recently started her freshman year in college and insists she's not apologizing. >> i don't want to because i'm not sorry, so writing an apology letter's just going to be a lie if they're saying that my cursing was sinning, that would be another sin. don't want to have two sins on my hands. >> you don't want two sins. what is your gut telling you? what the heck is your gut telling you? should the valedictorian apologize to get her diploma? i think you technically graduate you don't need the piece of paper, especially since you're the valedictorian. go to facebook.com/newsnation. i'm tamron hall. i'll see you tomorrow. "the cycle" is up next. ♪
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