tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC February 7, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm EST
[ female announcer ] ask your doctor about lyrica today. it's specific treatment for diabetic nerve pain. to hear more of phyllis's story, visit lyrica.com. defining imminent and feasible might not be so feasible in the imminent future. it is thursday, february 7th, and this is "now." >> joining us huffington post political editor and msnbc contributor sam stein, executive editor of "time magazine" radika jones, director of the aclu national security project kenya, and michael haney, deputy editor of "qg" is here. two debuts on now. >> wow. >> wow. the drone age began in 2001 with
a targeted strike on the first night of the u.s. ground war in afghanistan. since then the u.s. has conducted over 400 drone strikes in pakistan, yemen, and monthlia, while the pentagon drone fleet has expanded from 50 to 7,500. for the past decade american drone policy has existed largely in the shadows. its legal just ficks and moral underpinnings largely relegated to debate among progress severe media outlets and concerned libertarians. now as john brennan, the architect of the u.s. drone policy and president obama's mick to head the cia readies to testify this afternoon on capitol hill, calls for greater transparency and legal justification for the killings have increased. the outcry reached a crescendo on monday when nbc's michael isikoff obtained a leaked white pair from the government suggesting that the u.s. government can kill american set zenz overseas without any specific intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the u.s. the expansive legal framework set off alarm bells.
>> every american has the right to know when their government believes it's allowed to kill them. i don't think that as one person said, that is too much to ask. >> the "new york times" wrote "it was disturbing to see the twisted logic of the administration's lawyers laid out in black and white. it brought back unwelcome memories of memos written for president george w. bush to justify illegal wiretapping, indefinite detention, kidnapping, abuse, and torture. "time's" writer david carr put it more success iktly. drones, very effective at targeting and wiping out rule of law. the ensuing uproar over the white paper has increased pressure on president obama to release the classified version. a 2010 memo used by the justice department to support the 2011 drone killing of american born cleric anwar al alaki. last night the white house announced it would release the classified document to members of the congressional intelligence committee.
the administration asserted the move would fulfill a promise made by the president during an appearance on the daily show last year. >> one of the things that we've got to do is put a legal architecture in place, and we need congressional help to do to make sure that not only am i reigned in, but any president is reigned in in terms of some of the decisions we're making. >> well, scrutiny of the drone program seems to be revving up missed the beltway. americans in general seem content with an out of sight out of mind policy that alleviated the immediate for boots on the ground. a washington post abc news poll this month found 83% of americans approved of the obama administration's drone policy. the 11% opposed perhaps ad hereins of the old ben franklin adage that those who give up their liberty for more security metro deserve liberty nor security. hannah, i want to go to you first on this given all the work that you've done in and around the issue of drones. the administration laid out three criteria for the killing of u.s. sit sfwlenz. one, that the target be a
ranking al qaeda figure. who, the target pose an imminent threat of violent attack against the u.s., and, three, that the targets capture is not feasible. all of those seem like terms that are open to pretty broad interpretation. >> that's exactly right, alex. i think one of the things that is most troubling and remarkable about this memo are that what appear to be restrictions on the first page of the memo become permissions by the end of it when you start reading how they're defined. take imindependence, for example. the administration says that it can only target people who are an imminent threat, but you read on, and it turns out that the high-ranking official who can make that determination does not need clear evidence of an actual plot that's about to happen in the near future. immention is robbed of its plain meaning. sam, i think for a lot of people -- we have been just sort of tap dancing around the issue of drones for a long time. this leaked memo that michael isikoff got from the doj would blow the discussion wide open and then, of course, the fact that the white house is
releasing the classified documents to congress the day that john brennan is going to begin his hearings, i guess i wonder, you know, what is the -- what is the political decision here in terms of the white house? were they forced into this making these documents known, and how sort of harmful or complicated does this make the brennan confirmation? >> i mean, great questions. i have no answer. no real answer to them. that's the problem. i can leave now. the teaming is remarkable, obviously, right? we haven't been talking xrensively about drones for a while, though it has been m discussion, but to come on the eve of the brennan confirmation hearings is remarkable. what this means going forward i think is that the white house will have to figure out different ways to comply with cost for transparency, and i think releasing the memos is a good first step, although i know you would like to see the main public, and so would i as a journalist. the question is do we take the drone program and put it under the defense department, which would give a little bit more accountability and transparency to this, or keep it as part of
the cia and the defense department, and i think that's a big policy question that's going forward. i in addition i think the president does have to be more forthcoming about how he conducts his program going forward because he understands, i believe, that he can't set a precedent for future presidents, that there has to be some legal bondries for the stuff that he is doing. if not, there's going to be a lot of outcry and call for disclosure. >> radiki, it's funny we have to keep playing this "daily show" clip. first and foremost, the decision to talk about drones and actually your accountability on "the daily show" relating to national security is one thing, but if you actually think about who the president is and who we presume him to be, i mean, he has come a long way from where he was even as a senator in the u.s. congress, his position on civil liberties issues and national security issues there. buzz feed points out on civil liberties, a tale of two obamas. as a liberal estate senator, obama was a civil liberties crusader. now is he defending drone attacks on american set zenz. "there has als always been a distinction between citizens and noncitizens.
it means something to be a sit sfwlen, and that's important he said in 2002. >> i think you're seeing the beginning of long unending conversation about drone technology, which is actually much bigger than this extremely serious issue. you know, it's only going to get birg and more complex from here. i think it's fwood that the president is taking these steps to make it a little more transparent now, but i think there will be increasing pressure because we're going to see more use of drones in our own airspace. i mean, not necessarily for targeted killings, you know, but surveillance certainly. we're seeing this start to happen already, and i think when the drones come home, there will be a little bit more public awareness of what this technology means for us and the way that we live. >> in terms of the changing -- i mean, given where the aclu has been on this, which is to say i think skeptical at best, are you -- is it your position that you are disappointed in the tack that the president has taken, visa have i national security, you about also transparency. when he came into office, it was amid promises to close
guantanamo. there have been many people that have made that very difficult, congress among them. you know, how much of this is a reputiation of what he stood for. >> we have been saying for a while now, and it's brn out today that the high water mark of the obama presidency on national security and civil liberties was in the first few days in office. since then we've seen targeted killing expand, warrantless wiretapping defended, and the fbi carrying out racial profiling in ways that are secret. that's one of the things we're challenging. taking it back to targeted killing, you know, a couple of things are really important here in our constitutional system of checks and balances. in this memo there is a scant paragraph -- i take it back. the white paper which summarizes the memo, there is a scant paragraph saying that the courts have no role to play whatsoever in deciding whether the vast and expansive authority that the
executive branch is claiming to kill its own citizens is lawful. that essentially is ens caps las vegas of attorney general holder's point that due process does not mean judicial process. >> effectively they're saying trust us, it's legal because we're saying it's legal. >> that's exactly right. that's deeply problematic. we filed a brief on tuesday night right after this came out in our lawsuit challenging the killings of three u.s. set zenz. now, one of them is a 16-year-old boy named abdul rahmam. he was killed while he was eating dinner at an outdoor open air restaurant in yemen. his killing has never been acknowledged by the government, let alone any accountability provided for it. >> michael, we read some numbers about the american public. when you see something like 11% of the country doesn't really know how it feels or perhaps feels megtively about the use of drones, that then undercuts the argument this is a dialogue we need to have. do you think it's because the
public sort of understands that sometimes we have to do dirty things to take down bad people? or is it a lack of understanding about what it is that we're doing over there? >> i think it's a mix. i they in some ways, you know, americans have gotten what they voted for, which is we want to end the war, and we want to bring the troops home, but we want to stay safe. you know, it's sort of many some ways they've endorsed the drone policy, and also i think it's a great point, you know, it's over there. it's things that, you know, they're keeping us safe and the soldiers are home. i do think the next great question is when it becomes a civil liberties thing of surveillance. it's all just targeted killings. they have camera that is have fantastic ability to survey cities. when all that starts coming home and you start getting into this tom cruise "minority report" sort of micro-drones outside your house sur veiling you, that's the next question. i think most americans they just don't understand what it is.
they support it because it keeps them sane. they don't know the technicalities. >> it's two conversations we're really having. one is the operational features of drones. the other is the legal features of the drone program. i think let's put aside the legal features question right now. operationally drones do serve a purpose. we could theoretically be putting boots on the ground in yellen and pakistan and are all complication with that, and never in the history of warfare have there ever been things without collateral damage. what this does essentially is it tries as best it can to limit the boots on the ground, and there is still classral damage, and that's awful, obviously, but in terms of warfare, operationally, drones do have a defensible purpose. the question is what is the side effects of it, and what are the legal arguments? >> almost a third piece, which is when is it okay to kill an american citizen abroad without a trial or a hearing? the extra judicial assassination of an american citizen. >> also, i should add, what is the definition of the war we're in and how longstanding will it be? we are in az phase of war that could theoretically be nennedending. >> go forever, and we are
perhaps ready to open a drone base in north africa, which is yet a continuing expansion of the drone program. we have to take a break, but when we come back, we will talk about crossing the red line. pakistan warns the u.s. that drone operations are counter productive to an already tenuous relationship. we will talk to pulitzer prize winning journalist dave wood about this abroad and here at home. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego. prego?! but i've been buying ragu for years. [ thinking ] i wonder what other questionable choices i've made? [ club scene music ] [ sigh of relief ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego. in that time there've been some good days.
legal at of the targeted killings of american citizens overseas. the larger question facing the u.s. revolves around its use of drones as the primary weapon in the war on terror. according to the u.k.-based bureau of investigative jurmism, which attempts to monitor the covert program, u.s. drone strikes have killed anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 people in pakistan as many as 1,000 in yemen and approximately 50 people in smol wra. among those targets are an estimated 1,600 civilians, though the real number aring as with many things drone-related is very difficult to discern. with us senior military correspondent with the huffington post, dave wood. dave, how are you, my friend? >> good. >> i'll send this first question over to you as we talk about the importance of drones and u.s. military strikes. the numbers are nearly impossible to discern in terms of casualties in and around
this. why -- i mean, there is skresy in the program, but how the u.s. military classifies a sdmrool we are talking about drones but we should be talking about killing. once the president determines that we're at war, it sort of hands over to the military the whole question of who do you kill and how? the fact is the drones are a useful technology if your job is to kill people. they're precise. they can establish a lot of good intels, but it's a tool. the real question is who are we killing and why? are we at war and are we not? it just lays out the legal steps to determine how to go forward, and who are we trying to kill and why? that's the important question
here. >> it's amazing that we don't actually -- there is no definitive answer to that. >> i have always believed that we should not be at war. this authorization to use military force, which was passed in 2001 after 9/11 should be repealed because to fight terrorism effectively it should be intelligence, law enforcement, political resolutions, but, you know, the costs we can talk about the moral, the political costs of the drone program, but just think of two costs. human, a very human one. these drones are fewing anti-american hated around the world, and the first targeted use of drones in yemen led to the killing of 14 women and 21 children. in pakistan it has been reported that there is just a fury toward america, particularly because there is no apology for the killing of civilians. secondly, we are at risk and sam spoke about precedence, but we're at risk of fueling a new kind of arms race because there are 50 countries which have drones around the cusp of having drones. do we want to see that become a new proliferation fight? >> what are the ram fiction
there's? i mean, it's one thing for the u.s. to go into pakistan. what about when they want to come and commandeer their own drone strikes? to katrina's point, stanley mcchrystal in aan interview with reuters said what scares me about drone strikes is how they are perceived around the world. the resentment created by american use of unmanned strikes is more than the average american can appreciate. >> we're not there and feeling it in a visceral way. the other strange thing, we did a discover story on drones last week, and one sdeelt that sticks in my head is even though the drones are so remote, there is still burn-out suffered by people who operate them even on safe u.s. terrain. it is not without its sort of moral residue even at home by the people who are participating in this program, and i think that's worth thinking about. >> just to go back to both david's points and katrina's, we were talking earlier about the legal at. when the legal standards for targeting american citizens are so loose, what are the standards
that are being applied to nonstandards, non-citizens. that has to be a real concern. so far we know of four u.s. citizens who have been killed as a result of targeted killing strikes. robert, who is a former bush administration head m counterterrorism center is saying that we have been seduced by drones. we are creating more enemies than we are killing. there are human consequences, legal consequences, policy consequences, and what may look seductive in the short-term is creating long-term harm for our national security. >> i think it's so true. part of it is also our jeremy skahill, national security correspondent, has been reporting on drones and special ops for a few years now. it is important that the brennan mom nation has brought, it seems to me, more attention. time magazine has covered these discussions on msnbc about not only drones, but the whole architecture as the president said on john stewart of this
global war on terrorism. we are at risk again in the president -- on the precedent front of passing on an imperial presidents with sadly a congress and a public, though i think leadership, the elite, are more to blame than the people. a congress and a leadership unwilling to really push for accountability and transparency, and that is a very dangerous precedent for this country, but the media has played a role. i'm sure some of your viewers have followed today the reports that the "new york times" and some other major news organizations at the white house's request chose not to report that there was a drone base in saudi arabia. >> there's been a huge -- >> that is a major problem. i mean, i come from a magazine which reported on preparations for the bay of pigs. the "new york times" did not at the kennedy administration's request report on it. later the kennedy administration said we wish you had. the trope of national security is too often used as a corps for what people need to know. >> i think, sam, just
politically this is an -- it's a really interesting issue because there's almost bipart sfwlan agreement about the secrecy. you had lindsey graham yesterday saying i think the president is on solid legal ground. i think he is doing the right thing. i applaud this administration. that is not something lindsey graham usually says about anything relating to the obama white house. >> true. you know, in addition to the media needing to play the role of accountability, we can extend that through congress. congress has a role in oversight there, and far too often -- they are advocating that responsibility of the president, and i think that's a real problem. i'm heartened that the ooc memo laying out the legal just fekz for the drone program is going to be reviewed by the intelligence committees, but i think more probably needs to be done. i have a question for david wood. first of all, david, huge fan of your writing. >> have you guys met? >> never met him. don't know him. just a huge fan. let me ask you, again, back to the operational aspects of the drone program, what do we know about how -- who has to check off the boxes to say this person is, indeed, a member of al qaeda
or related to al qaeda, is indeed an imminent threat? who is the person that has to make those determinations? is it clear he is not the president. that goes to the final tally, but who down the chain has to make those determinations. >> it's a great question. once you decide that you're going to fight the war on terror then everything else sort of falls in place, and all these other questions about whether it's legal to kill american citizens, which is important for the -- to sort out, gets subsumed and the whole business of war fighting, which we're good at and experienced at, and the business of okaying a drone strike, what's outlined in the white paper that was released last week is nested missed the consideration that comes under the geneva conventions and the laws of warfare. you know, there's all these things that have to be checked off. the most important and difficult one is this proposed strike
proportional to the threat. is there a moral justification here? this is done all the time on the battlefield. usually by privates and sergeants who are, you know, in direct firefights, but it's also done very senior levels in this government. you know, i have talked to lawyers at the joint staff, for example, who are involved with lawyers at the national security staff and the cia and the joint special operations command, and they all vet this kind of thing. we don't know very much about that process. i hope that there's a red team, which is a military term used for when you have a discussion like that. they're the guys that go in and try to find holes, pick apart the argument, try to find the problem with it, and i hope that they have that vigorous kind of discussion. again, we don't know. again, the point here is that once you authorize, once we decide as a country to go to war, you know, all this is what
happens. there are civilian casualties. there are difficult legal questions. there are -- there is a whole issue of blow-back which happens in afghanistan every time there's a raid on a village. it creates resentment. all those kinds of things happen many war. the basic question, again, hate to keep coming back to this, but are we at war, and if so, who are we killing, and why? that's really the basic question here. >> and that is why much of what you said is sound. the memo is about the authority to kill people who are far from any battlefield, any recognized battlefield. >> what's a battlefield? >> well, that's defined under international law. that's the law that people are referring to. it is true that if you are in the context of an armed conflict, you can kill people who are directly participating in hostilities. we're now talking about a claimed authority to take that far beyond any recognized
battlefield. this is an authority that virtually no other country in the world agrees with. no one else agrees with our premise that we are in a potentially global armed conflict with undefined associated forces of al qaeda and we are setting a precedent that we wouldn't want russia, china, or iran to follow. yet, they may because we are claiming that authority. >> these are all great questions, and we really need to talk all these out, but i think the fact is that warfare has outrun the existing law, and we need to decide these questions. the questions you raise are really good and important ones. >> the huffington post david wood and the aclu, thank you both. >> thank you. >> coming up, president obama is set to address house democrats, and we will bring you his remarks live. first, party messenger, party savior, and party linguist. is marco rubio, the new bilingual voice of the gop. we will discuss ahead on "now." [ elevator bell dings ]
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fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more. senator marco rubio is caught between a rock and haired place. rubio fooiz finds himself torn between the tea party and his mother. well, the right ward flank remains at odds with reformists over electrified fences and self-deportation, rubio tells "time magazine" that his mother left hem a voice mail this past december saying some loving advice from the person who cares for you most in the world. don't mess with the immigrants, my son. they're human beings just like us, and they came for the same reasons we came. to work, to improve their lives, so please, don't mess with them." last week rubio and the bipartisan gang of eight proposed an immigration bill that included a path to citizenship. he then spent the following day outlining just how long and difficult and exhausting that
path would be. this provision, one that many republicans criticize as amnesty, could be the defining issue for rubio, who is on a meet orric track to possibly be the gop's presidential candidate in 2016. in the meantime, rubio has been tapped to give the republican response to the president's state of the union address next tuesday. he will be the first to give the response in english and in spanish disregarding the voices in his party, including majority leader eric cantor, who co-sponsored a bill in 2007 mandating that all citizens understand english. former rnc chair ed gillespie said of rubio, "he is the most natural communicator in our party since reagan, and i've not said that of anyone before." rubio may, indeed, become the next reagan, but the more important question is whether ryingan would be accepted in the modern republican party. >> i believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and who have lived here even though some time back they may have entered illegally.
marco rubio is on the cover of your magazine. do you think he can be the man to lead the republican horse to water on immigration even if it doesn't really want to drink? >> yeah, that's our premise. we call him the republican savior on the cover. he tweeted this morning to say in his view there's just one savior, and that's jesus christ, but we're -- >> he tweeted that, actually. >> a partisan angle on the word. >> there goes the jewish vote. >> shelly adelson, did you see this? >> he is a great face for it, and the republican party needs that more than anything else. i mean, that's been the talk of the party since the election. >> but is it just a -- i mean, michael, you had an interview, a famous interview in "gq" where you asked him about the age of the earth, and he said famously, i'm not a scientist man. personally what i believe is a slogan that should have launched 1,000 to t-shirts, but what do you make of him in terms of a
man, a leader, someone that can rally -- put the frogs in the wheel barrel to paraphrase john boehner. >> no, i think the interesting thing with senator rubio is he can clearly talk the talk, which they want him to speak in spanish, but they go down to miami, and you talk to people there, but does he really walk the walk? that's the big challenge ahead of him. he is sort of caught in this line of taking the republican party forward. we're going to be the new faes. we got our butts kicked in november. it's a very complex, you know -- there's the national ambitions of what the party wants to accomplish. let's get the white house back. then there's a lot of local things. you know, and he was brought in by the tea party. he is beholden to a lot of things. he is going to be boxed in. i think that's -- can he walk that tight rope that they're going to put him on? it's not just enough to be giving a response in spanish. >> can he listen to his mother is the key thing i want to ask. >> that's a question for everybody. >> bobby jindahl, the governor of louisiana, the republican party, is a stupid party.
you remember the fate of his state of the union reply. that didn't go too well. i think it's a more fund mental question about the state of the republican party. rubio may be a great communicator. though i do believe he embellished the history of his parents coming to this country, but what does he have to communicate? the party is in disarray about a message, and even if he moves in a very cautious republican way on immigration, all the polls show that the median latino voter is more liberal, and believes in government in the way that this party certainly -- >> i feel like one thing that's been overlooked in this thing about him is the face -- you go down to miami, and the latino community is not monolithic. it used to be little cuba down there, and there's guatemalans and hondurans. >> if you are talking about border crossings. >> there's another way to think about this. the lessons being drawn from the
2012 election are raw. the conventional wisdom is that republicans had just been better on immigration, they would have flipped the hispanic vote and would have won the election. that's not really accurate. there's all host of problems that the republicans face. elsewhere and their platform. people just didn't like what they were selling by and large, and had only partly to do with immigration platform. yes, marco rubio can bring them to water on immigration, but that doesn't necessarily solve all the gop's problems. >> i'm saying bring them to water and make them drink. i think actually -- >> i thought you were talking about frogs. >> i'm mixing a lot of barnyard metaphors here. what -- you know, at the end of the day if approximate he is going to go out there and say there must be a path to citizenship, which seems to be a huge question mark in terms of republican support for immigration reform, he -- that is going to require a strength of character and a sense of confidence about who he is and where he is going. >> that's the walk the walk. remember, when he came out a week ago, i guess, his second pilgrimage visit was to rush limbaugh to bow down and kind of
backtrack and walk back a lot. you know, on some level if the republicans hinge the path to citizenship on security, when you have had an obama administration which has done more than any previous administration on border security, law enforcement deportations, you can see how they play the game, walk the walk -- sorry, talk the talk. >> talk the talk. >> but that they don't -- talk the talk. they don't want him to walk the walk because they also understand in the short-term you're going to bring down all these democratic-leaning voters. i don't believe democracy is full destiny. i do think the republicans have -- >> you're being unfair. respect to the let me bah appearance, he actually got limbaugh to change. it wasn't limbaugh -- >> except he didn't. except the second half of the interview is we can't have amnesty for illegals. >> the day before limbaugh had hadn't e presented himself as the guy that was going to have to defeat the marco rubio plan. when he came out on limbaugh, let me bah was saying you make it sound senseible and the problem is not going to be limbaugh. it's going to be in the house
gop where this morning raul labrador who yesterday was presented as the sensible face in the house gop on immigration and basically came out and said a pathway to citizenship and will not pass this chamber. that's the problem marco rubio faces. just like any senate republican is that you have a house republican caucus that is still very much beholden to the far right wing of that party. >> if he comes out looking reasonable, that's a win for him. >> how do you define reasonable. do they even want a reasonable -- >> lo look at last year's crop. is giving the espn to the state of the union a good thing or in the words of one of my producers -- is it like ok the cover of "sports illustrated?" it's both an honor -- a gift and a curse. >> i still remember senator jim webb's 2006 during the bush period. he came out with a populous message that today really, you know, is one that is mainstreamed in the democratic
party. it still needs -- >> that's one end of the spectrum. bobby jindahl is the second. >> he is doing it in english and spanish. >> he is talking the talk. >> he is at least talking the talk. >> with frogs. >> we need that t-shirt. >> and a wheel barrow behind him. >> just wondering. >> it's like those reverse cookies where -- anyway. okay. coming up, while republicans try to explain how some in the party find the violence against women act unconstitutional, majority leader eric cantor took to the house floor yesterday to show his compassion for victims of domestic abugs. we will discuss how the jamt from virginia handled the situation. after the break. ♪ [ male announcer ] when we built the cadillac ats from the ground up to be the world's best sport sedan... ♪ ...people noticed. ♪ the all-new cadillac ats --
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eric cantor yesterday shefl russly declaring compassion for women "in the abuse situation." a word to the wise, awkward proclamations of empathy don't always ring true. >> i love you women. >> in fact, while the senate voted to take out the violence against women act this week with just eight republicans against it, it remains unclear what gentleman cantor and the house republicans will do with the bill when it arrives in the lower chamber. in had 2012 the senate passed the bill, but was left to die a slow death at the hands of speaker john boehner and eric cantor who never brought the senate version to the floor. perhaps there is ru knee hope for those in the abuse situation. this year even republicans are begging the house gop to make it right. >> this is not and never should be a partisan issue. this is an equal opportunity
crime. it is an issue that deserves bipart sfwlan support. >> we have talked about the great emelioration of 2012, and we talk about immigration, we talk about gun laws, and we talk bay kinder, gentler fiscal message. the woman piece seems to be the no-brainer in all of this, and it remains shocking to me that they would still hold this legislation up months after it first came to the senate. >> the name of the bill ichts is such a question of optics for the party. i mean, i think, you know, they have to pass this bill. >> yet, will they? >> i mean, eric can't or is defining compassion down. then you listen to ann rom my, and it's kind of what we've been talking about. they are talking the talk, but they are not walking the walk. you watch susan collins, and you do think that the republican party should split because you have two very republican parties on display. this bill, i believe it was in
1994, was joe biden agency bill. >> the republican house has passed a bill, but what they have not pass suicide a senate version that extends those protections to immigrants, native americans, and lgbt couples. >> they've taken out the provision about emgrants for the house bill, and they've taken -- we don't know what's going to happen for the provision for accepting same-sex. >> the problem with them saying we have our bill and you have your bill, let's meet in the middle, is that the senate bell has massive bipartisan support. so what you essentially have is people waiting on leadership in the house, republican leadership just make a move. bring up the bill. there's not real explanation as to why they're not doing that. >> eric cantor on the house floor said -- actually, let's play the sound. do we have that? >> we want to protect the women
who are subject to abuse on triable lands, and, unfortunately, there are issues that don't directly bare on that that have come up that have complicated it. >> michael, i just think you shouldn't have eric cantor and his sort of dripping virginia drawal. it's so unconvincing that they are really making violence against women abuse directed at women a priority with that kind of rhetoric and these kind of optics. >> i think the optics is the word, and it's really sort of -- you know, it's just to me one more issue of disconnect from washington and the discussions there, and you go out to the rest of america and what people would say and what they want to happen in washington and what they want, how they want their lives affected by washington. >> you know, there have been a lot of debates relating to
women's bodies historically and in the last 50 years, but the debate has shifted from let's say roe v. wade to the question of contraception, access to contraception, and violence perpetrated against women. things that were not controversial 15 years ago. >> it's how the party has drifted into an extreme heist. when you had rick santorum in the presidential primaries raising questions about women's rights to have access to contraception, you could see a regression. we talked earlier about marco rubio and his anti-science stance. i mean, there is something in the republican party about trying to roll back the civilizing reforms of the 20th century. it sounds beg, but one of those was giving women the right to control their own lives, economic futures, bodies. there's also the craziness of the republican party where you have four members in the house, i believe, one in the senate. it's ran paul. they think this is unconstitutional. that's where you get into the states rights issues which have dominated this new republican party. where you get into the
sovereignty, the tribal issues that sam raised. >> if you look at the list of senators who blocked it on monday, at the time cruz, rising star in the republican party, ran paul, "rising star," marco rubio. we know what people think about marco rubio and his chances. tim cot even. these are people who talk about new republican standard bearers, and if that vote -- if that sort of those legislative mechanics are any indication about how they are going to be leaders in the next six years, i mean, it's not particularly optimistic if you are looking for the republican party to reform i was in a meaningful policy way. >> doesn't it come down to you don't stand out by just being one of the majority. you stand out and get attention by being an obstruction us. that's so long as the ran pauls and ted kruss of the world think it's in their best interest of doing that. >> it also speaks to -- there's
a lot of talk about how does the republican party rebrand, reposition, renew on some level and the republican strategist kelly ann conway, her advice to the republicans in their strategy retreat was don't talk about rape. you know you have a problem. it's like putting lipstick on a pig or an elephant what we're witnessing. where are the new people in this republican party? >> i wish -- >> don't talk about rape. that's the advice to the republican party? >> just even to rubio, he is on the leading stid of immigration, and then he is going to be dragging his feet on another gigantic base of voters that the republicans lost many november, which is women. you know, by the way, like where is his mother? women latino voters. she's the perfect diagram of these two issues. did she leave the phone call on that saying don't mess with -- >> maybe she will now. >> maybe she will now. >> the state of the union is going to be about the middle class, and i would argue there is a strong link between women's right to control their own
bodies and be protected from violence, and entering the middle class. having some economic security. what is secure? we were talking about redefining national security. what is reasonable. let us redefine national human security to have women -- >> let's redefine what is sort of economic security means, and among things that can contribute to economic security are women being able to decide when they want to have children and when they don't. women getting equal protection under the law. >> that's right. >> this is sort of a sounder american economy to have everybody treated in the same fashion to be able to have the same access to choice. radika, i guess i wonder if we talk about who is going to be -- now, so many metaphors. the drivers of the wheel -- here's the driver of our wheelbarely. president obama is about to speak to house democrats at their retreat in virginia. he is expected to rally them around their second term agenda around the economy and guns. let's listen in. >> thank you. thank you, everybody. please have a seat. have a seat.
have a seat. javier, thank you for that very gracious introduction and your outstanding leadership. let me begin by saying that i could not be happier that one of my most important friends and partners is still leading our democrats and the house of representatives. i love nancy pelosi. a very big round of applause. love nancy pelosi. also, she just generates good-looking grandbabies. they're all so handsome and sharp and beautiful.
to steny hoyer and jim cli burn and javier, and thank you so much for the great work that you guys are doing each and every day. and to steve israel who worked tirelessly to bring on 49 new outstanding members of this caucus, i am -- i am looking forward to spending time with all 49 of you, and hopefully we'll be seeing you over at the white house at various events, but obviously i know that you came here to get something done. i am looking forward to working with you every single day to make sure we're doing right by the people who sent us here. now, i actually just changed the format here. i called an audible. originally the way this was scheduled is i was just going to talk, and then i was going to shake some hands, and i thought
since this is not a shy bunch, it might make sense for me to take some questions and some add vishgs i'm sure, you guys have for me. so what i'm going to do is make some points at the top, and then what i would like is maybe javier or steve or somebody can come up here and you can call on folks and we'll spend a little time with q and a before i get a chance to say hello to everybody. and part of the reason i want to keep my remarks short is because i just made a pretty long speech a couple of weeks arks and i'm about to make another one next week, and i don't want you guys tired of me. but obviously i'm deeply grateful to have been re-elected, and i'm humbled by the support that i received from
all across the country. i said at the national prayer breakfast this morning, and the fascinating thing about this job is the longer you're in it, the more humble you fwet. the more you recognize your own imperfections, and you try to make up with effort and hard work and those gaps if your personality or your intelligence that become so apparent to everybody on the daily news every day. but even as i think it's important to be humble by the privilege of this office and the privilege of serving in the united states congress, even as it's important not to read too
much into my prick political victory because this country is big, it is diverse, it is contentious, and we don't have a monopoly on wisdom. we need to remember that. despite all those things, i think it's also important for us to feel confident and bold about the values we care about and what we stand for. i try to do that in my maug rags speech and i'm hoping that we all do that over the next for her every four years. when i think about what it means to be a democrat in this day and age, i start with the basic prop sfwligs that we are all created equal, that we're all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, and my governing philosophy and my interests in public service
grows out of how we make that union more perfect for more people day in, day out. that starts with an economy that works for everybody. throughout my campaign and throughout many of your campaigns we talked about this bedrock notion that our economy succeeds and our economy grows when everybody is getting a fair shot and everybody is getting a fair shake, and everybody is playing by the same rules. we have an economy in which we're growing a vibrant middle class, that it grows from the middle out and the bottom up, not from the top down. over the next four years as i work with the caucus and every caucus, the question i will ask myself on every item, every issue is this helping to make sure that everybody has a fair
shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the same rules. i believe that as a growth agenda. not just equity agenda. not just a fairness agenda. that is a growth agenda. that is when we have grown fastest. that means that what you'll hear from me next week, i'm going to be talking about making sure that we're focused on job creation here in the united states of america. it means that we're focused on education and that every young person is equipped with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century. it means that we got an energy agenda that can make us less dependent on foreign oil, but also that we're cultivating the kind of clean energy strategy that will maintain our leadership well into the future. it means that we're going to talk about, yes, deficits and
taxes and sequesters and potential government shutdowns and debt ceilings. we'll talk about that stuff. all from the perspective of how are we making sure that somebody who works hard in this country, a cop or a teacher, or a construction worker or a receptionist, that they can make it if they work hard. and that their kids can make it. and dream even bigger dreams than they have achieved. and obviously, a lot of what we'll be working on michellely over the next few weeks is going to be on how do we deal with the sequester issue, and i just want to make this quick point. i had a press conference this week in which i reiterated i am prepared, eager, and anxious to do a big deal, a big package that ends this governance by
crisis for every two weeks or every two months or every six months. we are threatening this hard won recovery where finally housing is starting to pick up and commercial real estate is starting to do better and the unemployment numbers are still too high, but we're seeing some job growth and businesses are investing and manufacturing is doing well and we continue to have these self-inflicted crisises here in washington that suddenly leads everybody to tap the brakes. so what i said this week was i want to do something big to provide certainty and steadiness for the economy and for american families. and that means a balanced package that will reduce our long-term deficit and debt, but that still allows us to invest in those things that we need to grow right now because that's
also a deficit reduction agenda that's growing faster. and in order to have a balanced package that means that we've already done a lot of cuts. we've done some revenue now, and so the rest of the way moving forward we can do some additional reforms and make our health care programs work better and make them more efficient, and we can cut out programs that we don't need, but it also means that we've got to be able to close some tax loopholes and deductions that the average american cannot take advantage of, to raise the revenue, to actually do the job in a way that allows us to continue to grow. now, the reason this is relevant is because i gather and i haven't gotten this from first-hand sources, but from second hand sources in the press that our friends on the other side of the aisle,