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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  February 10, 2013 10:00am-12:00pm EST

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wow! you know, if i had a team, you'd be on it. [ gasps ] our mascot could be a cleanosarus rex. you're off the team. [ male announcer ] dirt and grime have nowhere to hide with the mr. clean clean team on your side. this morning my questions, republicans don't know who they are, how can we? plus the family medical leave act turns 20. and rihanna and chris brown are together again in time for the grammy's. why from time-to-time the president has to give a speech. good morning, i'm melissa harris-perry. tuesday, america will tune in to their televisions in breathless anticipation of the sweeping address delivered in the u.s.
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capital in this must have pomp and circumstance. president obama's first state of the union since his re-election will be ambitious in his vision and no doubt punctuated. maybe some of us watching at home will be applauding. if you are near a television, the state of the union will be unavoidable. the networks and cable news will, as always, broadcast wall-to-wall coverage of the speech. the attention given to the president's speech is indicative of everything that falls under the category, very important things required by the constitution. have you ever noticed how the constitution described the state of the union? you might be surprised to find the founders are vague and sound bored with the whole idea of it. article two, section three reads he shall from time-to-time give to the congress information of the state of the union.
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recommend to their consideration such measures as he may judge necessary and expedient. he may. on extraordinary occasions, convene both houses or either of them. in disagreement with them, he may adjourn them to such times he thinks proper. give congress information from time-to-time? in other words, just tell them stuff about the country, when ever you feel like it. me may convene both houses or one of them. whatever. if they disagree, send them home. whatever you think is best. yes, when it came to the state of the union, the founders were light on specifics. you notice, they don't require the president to update congress in a speech. after thomas jefferson, he skipped it, wrote the update on a sheet of paper and had a clerk read to congress what it said in his place.
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jefferson's preference for a paper report continued for 112 years until 1913 when woodrow wilson decided to deliver his address in person. it wasn't until 1965 that the state of the union became a cant miss television event. that was the first year the state of the union moved from a daytime to an evening broadcast. lbj, one of all eyes on him as he made his case to america for civil rights reform. his plans for the great society. lbj used his speech to great effect instead of precedence that remains with us. as we look forward to the president's big speech with the greatest of expectations. our anticipation goes beyond the tradition of excitement around the president's address to congress. it has everything to do with what we have come to exprotect from this particular president. when it comes to a public speech, holding forth on the big
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issues of the day, few have delivered like president barack obama. starting with a speech we heard from an illinois state senator that few of us knew speaking truth of power about the iraq war. in 2002, state senator barack obama said that's what i'm opposed to, a dumb war, a rash war, a war based not on reason or principle but on passion, not on politics. two years later, we still don't know him, but we would not soon forget him. after this keynote address at the 2004 democratic national convention. >> there is not a liberal america and a conservative america. there is the united states of america. there is not a black america and a white america and latino a america and asian america, there's the united states of america. by 2008, when we were still
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deciding whether then candidate obama would be a great president, he convinced us he was a great oriter. after losing the primary, he made a concession speech that sounded like a concession speech. >> yes we can to opportunity and prosperity. yes we can heal this nation. yes we can repair this world. yes, we can. >> he saved his campaign and made us believe he was a fearless speaker when he spoke on a topic that an american politics is usually unspeakable. >> i can no more disown him than i can disown my white grandmoth grandmother, a woman who louisvilles me as much as she loves anything this n this world but one confessed her fear of black men who passed her by on the street. these people are part of me. they are part of america. this country that i love.
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>> we all remember when president obama gave us this moment in 2011. when he delivered news of triumph in the midst of a national tragedy. >> right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues from congress were in the room, gabby opened her eyes for the first time. gabby opened her eyes for the first time. >> of all the memorable moments from president obama over the years, among the most forgettable are the instances when he delivers the speech he's going to give tuesday night. name one big applause line from the state of the union last year. wait. yeah, the fact is the president tends to give the extraordinary speech when called for by an
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extraordinary moment. when charged with addressing us as a state of the union, not so much. take a look at this info graphic from "the washington post" comparing the president's last four addresses. you can set your watch by the regularity of president obama's state of the union speeches. he spends roughly the same amount of time on the same topics in the same order. the one exception was 2011 when he deviated a bit from the script in the aftermath of an event. the shooting in tucson, arizona. the president finds himself in the same environment on 2013, updating congress on how the country is doing following another horrific mass shooting. that leaves us with two possibilities from the president on tuesday night. either a moment history will remember because it's impossible to forget or simply another regularly scheduled update that comes from time-to-time as the
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founders intended. when we come back, the panel weighs in on how the president can make tuesday night historic. financial obstacles military families face, we understand. our financial advice is geared specifically to current and former military members and their families. [ laughs ] dad! dad! [ applause ] [ male announcer ] life brings obstacles. usaa brings retirement advice. call or visit us online. we're ready to help. learn more with our free usaa retirement guide. call 877-242-usaa. every signature is unique, and every fingerprint unrepeatable. at sleep number, we recognize the incredible diversity of human beings, and know that up there with your social security number and your phone number is another important number. your sleep number. so we created the extraordinarily comfortable sleep number experience.
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we are previewing president obama's tuesday night state of the union address. i want to turn to my guests to find out what they think the president will say and what they think he should say. author of "blue grit," suzanne, a republican strategist and msnbc contributor. richard kim, editor of the and fellow at the lbj school at the university of texas. she's director of communications for latino decisions. laura, how can the president
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make tuesday night count? >> what is he going to say -- the state of the union is strong. listening to his speech from the dnc all those years ago, red not blue, we have a very divided nation. one thing is to point out that our congress in predominantly working and middle class country is a congress of billionaires and multimillionaires. i think at the last count, most of them had not more than 1.5% of their work lives ever involved in any kind of manual labor or service industry job. you have a huge division when talking about union. if you want to talk about the political division, the country is red/blue divided like when on the verge of the civil war. i think there's something he could do. last year the state of the union declared the $25 billion housing settlement. a lot of people want to know where has that money gone?
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it goes to the question of wealth in this country and specifically you talked about it, race. african-americans lost 75% of their wealth. black wealth is at the lowest in 26 years. color of change and a lot of others are saying this is the kind of action to monitor where the money is going. stop the banks as they try and fine every trick they can to distribute the money where it's not needed and raise the issue of wealth and equality. it would be interesting and memorable if they say the state of our economy is improving. the state of our union -- not so good. that would be like if he said we are not unionized because of the inequality. >> the speeches you showed earlier, they were all on the campaign trail or states of emergency. i think obama's state of the union is overwhelming because it's a cramped environment.
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that's what he's trying to project. do you remember the 2011 siege? i think this is going to be back to the state of the union speech. it's going to focus on education, energy and infrastructure. it's the same things he laid out for four years in a row. he did it in 2011. there's nothing wrong with that bipartisan all hands in, call for america to create jobs. he's avoiding conflict in that. he's not willing to push the political leverage to get this done. it failed as an insightment to action. i wonder what he can do new in this setting to move that agenda forward. susan, people watch. this was one of my questions. is it just us? i watched the state of the union. i won't this year because of mardi gras.
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>> priorities. >> priorities. what watches. is it the political class? no. people tune in. with the president, it goes up and down. we are talking tens of millions of people who watched the state of the union over the years for the president. one of the things people watch for is that applause line, right? and particularly the partisan nature of it. what are they going to see from republicans? what are they going to applaud and not applaud? >> it's interesting. the response from marco rubio will provide a greater insight to go back to what he needs to do. he needs to pull the political lever. he took a lot of mixed criticism for his inaugural speech. he's not going to have more than a year to move forward. this is going to determine his legacy. she should be political. as much as he's been trying to
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unite the country or say he believes this that message, we see the fights. no one believes it. why not draw the line in the sand? he's been successful. i agree with the policies. >> i agree with susan. i'm looking for the moment to jump on the republican strategist. okay. >> as a strategist, that's what you should do. get into what the republicans do to respond to it. also he's in a difficult situation. how much does he go to the economy? everyone is concerned. an issue like gun control which is starting to lose steam in the american public's eye. this is something he should be on. i hope he's successful at it. he could be losing it and have to balance that. >> who is his audience? i sit down and think when you are talking here, you are preaching to the choir.
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what i'm interested in and what i think is going to be fascinating is how republicans respond. republicans right now are at a cross roads. they are trying to shake out how they are going to respond the next two years going into the 2014 midterm and into the presidential. marco rubio is giving the official response. rand paul is giving the tea party response. we are going to see how these two republican factions fight it out amongst themselves in response to the president's speech. >> very specifically on the applause line, what about immigration? rubio is going to give the response. this is one of the places where there isn't that much daylight between the president and the senator on issues of what the immigration plan looks like. it ice brand-new, right? let's be clear. what he makes is the common sense immigration lines. are we going to see the whole chamber stand for those? >> 70%.
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>> okay. let's remember, there is that faction of extreme conservative that is only want ward of security. they don't want to see anything but immigration. speaking of rubio's response, it's interesting it's the first time we will see a response in spanish, it's a step in the right direction. you have to have substance behind the style. don't just speak to me in spanish. >> we are going to stay on tuesday's speech. there's going to be unusual guests in the room. who they are and why they are there, next. at a dry cleaner, we replaced people with a machine. what? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it? hello? hello?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7,
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chicago. her mother, will be one of 23 people directly affected by gun violence who will be attending the state of the union as invited guests of house democrats. the representatives are using the bright spotlight to bring attention to gun control measures being considered by congress. as a reminder and for the president these speeches, his most visible platform to influence the debate he hope toss accomplish in the second term. it feels to me like the one thing beyond the ordinary mundane, continuing to get out of the recession, is this gun violence question and this idea of using this as a moment to put pressure on it. whether or not they stand for immigration with 23 gun victim, you know, survivor family members in the room, it's going to be hard not to stand on some sort of gun control. >> it goes to what victoria
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said, who is the audience? who is the president trying to make the statement to? if he's trying to get public support on his side, he has it. now, the funny thing is they actually don't prevent much. >> right. they present newtown, but not pendleton, right? >> to some extent they don't. connecticut has these laws. at least on the pr war, he could come down the road and get republicans, moderate republicans in this country who say this is crazy that we have these -- we don't have these kind of laws. >> is this a time then when part of the audience is undoubtedly republicans but the other part are ordinary americans, many of whom are gun owners. i'm not here to take your guns.
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lbj said we are here to end segregation. >> you could have a buyback program. it's what they did in australia to make handguns. it's by far the largest cause of gun violence in america. you know, i think obama learned from the mistake of the assault weapon ban. it went through a five-year sausage making effort in stockton, california. what came out of it was a watered down bill. everyone detached from the crisis moment. it's clear what he's trying to do is have a flash moment on this and use this to heal the wounds it country feels to get an up and down vote on it. i don't think he's going get the assault weapons ban but at least have a vote on it and have on record, if you are in the nra and voted against that and there's another shooting, you have something to call them on. >> he's cheap. i'm going to be the downer about
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the state of the union address. he can go there and talk all he wants, but actions speak louder than words. what is the president going to do with the establishment he has? that's what's going to matter. it's not talking to the tv viewers. what is he going to do? traditionally, the democratic party has been weak in institution. republicans have been good at institution building. democrats haven't. 2009 through 2012 was a lost opportunity with the democratic party. what is he going to do going forward? is he going to take it to the shooting? that's my question. >> here is one thing he could do. that is he could tie the death of pent lton and the handgun death to the questions you were bringing up earlier laura about inequality and poverty. so, she's standing there in her neighborhood park. she was most likely shot by someone engaged in gang warfare
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over the drug war. he could make this not just about weaponry, but about the context in which american violence occurs. he's a chicagoan. he has the position to stand there and do that. >> i have to say, listening to this conversation and thinking of who is going to be there and thinking of the consequences of gun violence. who is not going to be there is anybody who is a representative of victims of gun violence around the world. a drone victim, for example. they are not there. i think this is also the state of the union is a time where the president has to address our global union. our union with the world. at the moment, it's horrible by the proliferation of our policies. it's a huge leap and not going to happen. to avoid the hypocrisy, we are
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one of the biggest gun manufacturers in the world. we are creating weapons around the world and at home. we have to address the violence on these levels. start it home and start it local. let's not ignore the fact that, you know, we need gun control. >> the problem is, it goes to this being his legacy speech. this is it. this is all he thooz determine his agenda for the next six months to a year. so, it's also facing a sluggish economy. he's not going to be able to fight through all of these other issues. >> it's not just unemployment rates. it's the contraction. >> i see $100 less on my paycheck every month. i think it's the tangibility of it. >> the only place money is going to come from for the infrastructure is -- >> revenue. >> revenue.
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>> he's called for high speed rail before. he's called for clean energy. the revenue is not there to make it happen. what is he going to put on the table in the state of the union that is going to generate the revenue or push political buttons? >> in the state of the union, he's adding spending in a very specific way. >> he makes the claim for revenue. there's been global peace, inequality. the other piece could be here is why government matters and why we need more revenue, i dare you not to raise taxes. that's what we need to do. >> he needs to go through loopholes. what he's tried is incentives to spend money and raise jobs. corporations are hoarding cash. banks are hoarding cash. using a policy as a leverage hasn't happened. what is going to happen? >> i love the state of the union
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we have written where the president says state of the union is week, we need more taxes. i'm done with drones. by the way, i'm coming for your handguns. >> why not? why not lay that out? >> this is fun. we are going to stay on the state of the union question. we are going to do it nerdland style. pop quiz is next. ♪ [ male announcer ] why do more emergency workers everywhere trust duracell...?? duralock power preserve. locks in power for up to 10 years in storage. now...guaranteed. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere. get ready for a lot more of that new-plane smell.
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using robotics and mobile technology, verizon innovators have made it possible for teachers to teach, and for a kid... nathan. tadpole. ... to feel like a kid again. because the world's biggest challenges deserve even bigger solutions. powerful answers. verizon. >> fun facts. in 1790, it was formally called the annual message. no one knows what that is. since 1942, it's referred to as the state of the union. a moniker that the state of the union gives the president a chance to lay out his plans for
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the next year, giving congress and citizens an update on the country's general well being. that's not the only fun fact about the state of the union. the nerdland crew has dug up some more. it is time -- for pop quiz. state of the union edition. go ahead and play at home. you can tweet your answers using #nerdland. ring your bells if you know the answer. calm it down there richard. >> sorry. sorry. >> here is the first question, which president delivered the shortest state of the union? >> carter? >> nope. earlier. here is the hint. the president has no pred assessor to learn from. >> george washington. >> there you go. a nerdland sticker. george washington. his state of the union was 1,089 words long. it's basically the length of the columns i have to give richard.
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>> 89 words longer than i give richard. on the other hand, who gave the longest state of the union? [ inaudible ] >> you got it. who else but our friend bill clinton. in 2000, his state of the union was 1:28:49. he loves to talk. it's true. >> he is slower, too. a southern drawl. >> yeah, but i think he likes hearing himself. >> the applause. >> he likes the applause lines. question three. it's about to get harder. sorry. name either of the two president who is never gave a state of the union. and they never gave it because
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of circumstance that is could not be helped. >> was it jefferson? >> no, he wrote it. >> fdr? >> no, he gave a bunch. it was -- it's all right if you didn't know this one nerdland. william henry harrison and james garfield. i have a sticker if you know why. >> they died. >> he died before -- it's very sad. >> wear your overcoat at the inauguration is the story here. all right. which president gave the first televised state of the union address? >> laura? >> didn't you tell us at the beginning of the program? wasn't it lbj or fdr? >> no. lbj gave the first prime time one. that was the classic plant false information that's kind of clues. >> we weren't listening to
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context clues. >> it was truman in 1947. it just happened to be during the day. >> jfk looked best doing it. >> true. i think president obama has a stately way of giving states of the union. who was the first lady to invite guests to the state of the union? she was, herself, formerly an actress. >> no. >> go, go, go. >> nancy reagan. >> you got it! nancy reagan is correct. the answer was nancy reagan. in 1982, she invited lenny scutnick considered a hero for saving somebody's life. now, they are called scutnicks for that reason. >> which television show did rob gibbs, then president obama's press secretary promise that president obama would not interrupt with his state of the
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union? which tv show was it? >> "lost?" >> you got it. abc thriller. gibbs say i don't foresee a scenario where millions of people who hope to get conclusion with "lost" are preempted by the president. >> whew! >> thank goodness for that one. you guys are fantastic. everybody ends up with a sticker. i love it. up next, the gop. i'll give you one for hanging out with us. up next the gops identity crisis. are they at war with each other? mom always got good nutrition to taste great.
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vision of creating the conditions of health, happiness and prosperity for more americans and their families. our goal to ensure every american has a fair shot to earn success and achieve their dreams. >> that was the second ranking republican congressman, eric cantor speaking on tuesday to the american prize institute about the new, kinder, gentler gop who cares about the poor and the struggling. this week showed us this rebrand may not have reached many gop bosses. pennsylvania's governor tom corbett opted out of the funds the government is offering to expand medicaid to american families earning less than $32,000. that means 4.7 million low income americans who would be eligible for medicare in 2014 are rejecting the funding.
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kinder, gentler? who is the new gop ability? >> they don't want to be the ones to administer. they still get it, it's not one or the other. in the end, it's going to cost the states more. >> i will say, let me say this, i live in one of these states where it's happening. i think an odd kind of ideological position where we don't want to set up state based exchanges were going to allow the federal government to do it and actually not take increase on funding in medicaid that would expand it for the poorest folks living in those states. >> it's a rejection. it's administered by the federal government. and the money is 100% funded for the first two years. it goes to 90% over time. >> that's the president obama. you see the decrease in funding as it goes on.
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it's a bigger problem for the states. the state costs are only going up. >> each of those states closing tiny, tiny tax loopholes. >> you try to close them in a state like new york. again, they are taking the exchange. it is very, very difficult to make that work. >> tax cut, tax cut policy. >> the united states have a different purpose and they administer this. a state like new york is different than a state like north dakota, for example. >> sure. in many of the southern states with republican governor that is are doing this, they are in fact states where they are getting 100%, increasing this sort of floor or ceiling for where people have an opportunity to be part of it. we have every reason to think with a healthier -- these are states with unhealthy populations, high levels of poverty and keeping the states budgets -- economies from expanding which keeps the budgets down. with a healthier citizenry, with
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people not losing time for work, having the opportunity to go into work and having coverage at higher levels. they expand your overall economy and expand the capacity to pay into the taxes. >> the obvious, this is a matter of money so much ideology. >> this is really what's going on here. >> beyond talking medicaid/medicare, what is the division in the republican party? what i see is a public face, marco rubio, chris christie and the private face. the private face is the local level. people getting together at coffee shops in decatur and in texas. the problem is, these are the people who are going to be driving the politics. >> the problem with them, this is my biggest concern with the party, they tend to have a litmus test for who counts as a republican. that is one of the biggest dangers the republican party has. >> they have to deal with it. >> it is important for it to be dealt with.
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i think it is going to be on the local level. take marco rubio. he's in a difficult position. he's called a leader of a party, but he should be doing his job and governing if he wants to run. this is not what he needs if he wants to run for president. >> he's going to have to take on the baggage of the entire party. >> focus on the tea party. >> he shouldn't have to make that fight. >> it's where the republicans get in trouble. >> the conversation about rubio and the pick to have him do this, the strategy, i have to say, who else are they going have do this speech? you have chris christie that rails against them. sarah palin they don't even want on fox news. i think there's an aspect of who else do we have here. >> what's interesting is we have rubio on one hand and rand paul doing the tea party response. there's a tea party response and
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gop response. >> that happened before. >> fischer in the republican party. i think it's interesting to see how karl rove is trying to battle it out with the conservative element. he can carpet back the air waves all he wants with the messaging. what's going to move people is going to the grass roots level. he has an obama strategy with the folks at the lower level. >> lower levels where they are sick of losing. the republicans are saying we are losing. >> the rove going to get -- >> they have won the state legislatures and won governor houses. >> run on the senate level. >> the senate is where the problem is, i think, for republicans. the public face and republican party is mitch mcconnell, john mccain who is becoming an embarrassment for the party. they are voting against vowa filing briefs. it's important. they are looking like the white
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old man party. >> what you were saying before quickly, at the local level, it's not a tea party versus the new party, this is the party. >> i always hear susan you are the reasonable republican. i'm not that unique as a republican. there are more reasonable republicans, if you will, i hate the term, but people out there who think there is room for more than one idea. there are people out there like myself who think a woman's body should not be a campaign issue. it's what the republicans have to start not putting that litmus strategy in. >> it's a hallmark george w. bush. the george w. bush who was elected. >> they have a new republic cover. when we look at the republican party now, it is the party of white people. think about the george w. bush moment, at least initially, we are not the party of white people. we are bringing latinos and a
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small portion of african-americans who are morality -- they were doing all kind of things to make it happen. they were imagining a more integrated party. >> it's the strategy for years. that's how we got clarence thomas. this hannan effort for years. i don't think it's going to work. it hasn't worked for the party for the last ten years. people see through the pictures. >> we'll stay on the issue of the gop because you are on fire about it. we want to talk about karl rove and what he thinks is going on as soon as we get back. [ 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 ]
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with white board in hand, karl rove has been shaking the
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money tree for quote, true republican candidates. even rove is having trouble figuring out who the winners are these days. here he is with fox's bill o'reilly on thursday. >> look, we gave more money, spent more money on behalf of the tea party candidates than any other group in america, any group. i love the groups criticizing us saying they are fake conservatives. we spent $30 million for tea party candidates. there's no group that comes close to what cross roads has done in terms of financial support for tea party candidates. >> we believe you. >> it's not the question of tea party or not, it's a question of whether or not they are bad candidates. >> whatever is going on with the gop, they are down with white boards these days. if you are talking to a republican, they whip out a white board. you didn't bring one? >> no, sorry. >> on one hand, i think we have overestimated the demise of the
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republican party. i think republicans have a deeper bench than democrats going into 2016. obviously the control of the governor's mansions and the redistricting that happened in 2010 that allows them to stay in for a very long time. on the other hand, there's something going on that seems to be identity crisis particularly with the question of what's going to happen with the tea party and social issue that is are problematic. >> it's important for currently elected republicans in the senate and the congress to feel like someone has their back. i would like to see karl rove, instead of his group going out and doing their current messages, protect someone in office for saying the right thing and venturing to govern. that's what people want to do. they want to see their elected officials getting something done. when you say i support this idea whether immigration or fiscal policy, we can compromise on reducing the debt or however you want to look at it or i agree to
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raise taxes over $450,000. maybe it's not something i want to do, but we need to govern. we need to have people backing those elected. >> that's an interesting point. >> i think you are right that they are adept to holding on to the mechanisms. whether it's the jergerrymander or what, you are going to see on a state level a lot of success. they have not been able to put together a national package. that's where you have the suicide wing of the republican party to talk to a majority of americans and whether they are going to snap out of it and do that is a big question. >> susan suggests what causes you to snap out of it isn't an e pifmy, you decide. you put financial support between those. you make compromise not a dirty word, but support those doing governoring. it's rejiggering of the idea.
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>> so many have been able to get reelected. that's what i'm saying. perfecting the mechanisms. >> it's a difference in the republicans that deal with the congressional races. they are worried about being primaried from the right. no one is worried about from the left. >> no. >> so if you want to see republicans, i think, being able to do better governance, support them when they are trying to do it instead of attacking them and going to the extreme. >> talk about the chris christie moment. you have chris christie whose policies of labor, union, destruction, all those things are clearly very in the right, on the right hand. then he did this political theater with hugging the president and with critiquing the republican party for its failure to pass the sandy legislation, right? >> i'll give you one more to go on that. he also did something else significant in that time period. he came up with a teachers deal,
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a teacher contract for newark, new jersey. he had to negotiate with randy. it's not an easy thing to do. neither one of us had to give up on principals, but we had to compromise. that's the type of leadership. >> the embeddedness and the reality is what made that chris christie moment important. he was dealing as governor with the reality of sandy. it will be interesting to see what happens to his policies. as long as he embeds his decision making in reality of the requirements of governing, you are right. >> he's in a democratic state. >> they wouldn't be -- >> he managed to keep himself in new jersey from having a viable democrat run against him. the number one job of an incumbent is to keep yourself from having a real challenger. whatever else happened, he did that. right? >> let's not forget regional
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differences. a two-party system. i want to get to your point about compromise. the pugh institute did a study. >> oh, i know. i want to hear it. we have to go to commercial. unfortunately, we have to have commercials to pay for this. thank you to richard and susan. coming up, a new chance for republicans to get on board. this time with the violence against women act. 20 minutes after the family american leave act. why too many parents still struggle. more at the top of the hour. which would be fine if bob were a vampire. but he's not. ♪ he's an architect with two kids and a mortgage. luckily, he found someone who gave him a fresh perspective on his portfolio. and with some planning and effort, hopefully bob can retire at a more appropriate age. it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade.
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call or go online now. [♪...] [ male announcer ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day men's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+. welcome back. i'm melissa harris-perry. the violence against women act or vawa sounds like the easiest thing to support. a no brainer. it shouldn't require much thought to support legislation that aims to stop violence against women. before the senate passes it and
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sends it to the house, it's worth taking a look at why it's taken this long to get to this point. it's been enacted since 1994. among other things vawa strengthened federal penalties for repeat sex offenders used federal funds to better handle crimes, provide grants to domestic violence survivors to get protection orders and leave a situation where they felt trapped by financial depend dance. the grand programs could no longer discriminate against lbgq citizens. they would receive enhanced protections. it's obvious that some republicans still have a problem with the bill. still. these eight republican senators,
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all men, last week voted against the violence against women act, even coming up for a vote. i guess we can count on what they are going to do tomorrow. what about house majority leader eric cantor who in the last congress led the objections for the most inclusive senate objectio objections. he tried to reassure us that he loves women. >> you know, i, as a gentleman care deeply about women and the abuse situation that we need to get them the relief that this bill offers. that's what we want to do. it's our priority, we must move and act on this bill. >> leader cantor and his fellow house republicans will move an act on the vawa. whether they now intend for it to protect all women remains a giant question mark. let me welcome my guests,
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author, laura sanders, co-founder of the non-profit, a long walk home. co-founder of mentors and prevention and founder of saving promise. let's start with the gentleman at the table who cares a lot about women in this abuse situation. when you hear this kind of discourse, do you get the sense that these congressmen get it? they know what this act can in fact do? >> well, what i hear are men who are not empathizing and showing compassion for the women in their own lives who may have been affected by sexual violence or physical violence or may have experienced some sort of rape or any sexual violence in their lives for which this measure, this actual act would help, provide services and protection they need in order to, you know,
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survive these situations. >> laura, it feels like certainly an act does not keep women from being victimized, right? we reck nice that. there are laws. what it does do is create pathways for survival out of that initial experience of victimization. how is this a political football? >> it's been a political football since it passed in 1994. it's one of the historical aspects of this. the republicans didn't want it back then. you know how they are about history. i want it there. redo it. one of the things i want to mention is what you said, that there has been a movement to support this violence against women act that has had a huge impact this time around and up to this time around. it's not just oh, we got seven republicans in the senate to come around. it's been a fight to get the senators there. the fight has been hugely
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helped, i think, by grass roots initiatives and activism on the women's fronts all in the native american reservations like the women's movement. they have been working on this. it's interesting. even as they push the legislation, which makes a place for domestic violence, shelters, hot lines, they say the goal is ending violence against women. >> yes. >> one in three women on the planet will be abused in their lifetime. it's got to stop. >> not just -- >> i think that, for me, is part of like my different positions on vawa. we have to get it passed. it's ridiculous we don't. we cant see the passage for this fundamental issue and a particular women, women undocumented of men and woman who are gaye, who may not be under protections.
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what is the part that helps to build that bridge between the policy and the actual making of this -- making of a new world where you see less violence against women? >> i think laura spoke to the activism going on in this country and around. i want to speak quickly, personally as a rate survivor who didn't have it. vawa is a personal and political issue and very intimate. vawa saved or helped millions of women and men in this country already. families in this country are ready. to think of it as something that ends up being a partisan issue that doesn't affect the lives of every day people is really, really disturbing and a different kind of violence. you are right. the sticking point is native american women. 70% of native american women victims of violence are attacked by people who aren't from their
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communities, who aren't from their reservations. it's what kind of women and men do we consider american? what kind of women should have protection under the law and who, you know, the congress is saying that republicans are saying that this is unconstitution unconstitutional. the treaties have been established fortunately or unfortunately -- >> this is a personal story, a personal issue. women are being used, once again as a pawn in a political fight. tribal courts versus federal courts. the family research institute and all those people. they literally believe that women are lying about domestic violence to get immigration status. it's a pawn in a much bigger fight. what is bigger than stopping our women from having the support. >> exactly on this issue of the deep personal nature of it.
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i just looked at the work that you have been doing. i am -- it feels to me -- let me ask about broadening this situation for us. >> this is personal for me because i come from a family of four generations of mothers and daughters that suffered and survived over 60 years of domestic violence and abuse. it would be the story of my daughter's little girl, fifth generation laid on a bed next to my daughter that was strangled that helped me form saving promise. an organization to put fort prevention, education and aware tonsz launch a call to action, to change the face of this issue. when i hear the political mockery that has been going on around vawa, i am not only sickened by it, but i personally stand to attest for my
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grandmother, my mother, myself and my daughter. the other thing i want to get to is as you mentioned, vawa is a historic legislation. it was a landmark legislation in 1994 when we had nothing. it was important legislation and still is important legislation. i think because it comes up every five years for reauthorization. this was an opportunity for our country to take a look at this, particularly after the cdc came out with a report that said domestic violence turned into a national health crisis for our country. >> yep. >> how is it that we have had this vawa in order for over 18 plus years and the problem continues to get worse? >> yep. >> instead of turning this into a political mockery, it's an opportunity to stand-up and say what is not working? why are we spending 690 plus
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million dollars and we still have not gotten it right? what i would say to those turning it into a political mockery, i challenge you to learn about the story of my grandmother, myself, my daughter, my mother. find out what it did to my family for over 60 years. learn about the promise story. i challenge you to reach out to me and find out what saving promise is doing like putting forth and challenging them to think about an action plan. >> i want to pause you right there. as we go out to break, we are going to stay on this topic. i want to see, again, the image of those eight gop senators who voted against moving vawa to the floor. what you said to me, that call, i challenge you. there's a lot of people who need a challenge. let's start with these eight. maybe they need to get your book and have a read and have a little moment where they think about what is possible.
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up next, we are going to talk about rihanna and chris brown and why the young women involved in domestic violence are invisible to so many of us. c-max has a nice little trait, you see, c-max helps you load your freight, with its foot-activated lift gate. but that's not all you'll see, cause c-max also beats prius v, with better mpg. say hi to the all-new 47 combined mpg c-max hybrid.
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the gram my awards will be handed out tonight. among the performers is pop superstar rihanna. a far cry when she didn't show up and her performance was canceled. reports surged of an attack on her by chris brown, a pop superstar in his own right. he pled guilty. he was sentenced to five years probation and six months community service. this week, brown appeared in court to face allegation that is he didn't complete the community service. that wasn't the news. the headline was the fact
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rihanna tagged along and blew him a kiss as he entered the courtroom. they are back together, have been recording together and may attend the grammy's together tonight. rihanna said even if it's a mistake, it's my mistake. being tormented, angry and dark, rather live my truth and take the backlash. i can handle it. here is the thing. it is her mistake but it speaks to a broader conversation we are in. >> absolutely. >> i want to start with you because you were with us in that moment of trying to think about your family story and how vawa impacts it and then we also lay on top of it the cultural reality of the chris brown and reya that situation. >> what i was saying before i talk about the chris brown and rihanna situation, going back to vawa, i want to put a final challenge out there to those eight or how many number of folk that made it into a political
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mockery. google saving promise and learn about the work we are doing. sit-down with me and have a conversation. hear about my family story and the four generations and what we need to be doing going forward. yes the reauthorization bill might be passed tomorrow, but it's not the end. it's the start of it. we have to think about what is not working and what we need to be doing better going forward. greater prevention. greater education. greater awareness. one in three women are a victim and three women are murdered. something isn't working. >> one of the places it's happening is one of the women. someone tweeted me saying we are going to talk about rihanna and chris brown. they said leave her alone, they were teenagers. no, this is where it starts. adults ignore it saying it was a childhood relationship, so it wasn't matter. >> i think it's important for guys and men to have
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conversations about physical and sexual violence and our role in it and how we can prevent these things from happening. also, what i think is important to understand is why vawa is important for us as men, right? why the violence against women act should be important to us. it should be because we have women in our lives who are affected daily by physical and sexual violence. i'll never forget a training on a marine corps base in hawaii. a room full of men, marines, hard charging marines. two men, one african-american male, one white. they both broke down and cried their hearts out. they talked about how they experienced their mothers being physically assaulted as young boys and they could not do anything about it. they were too small, too young. in that moment, it dawned on me how violence against women affects boys and men.
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we witness this abuse and some of us identify with the oppress sor and continue the abuse and some of us identify and empathize with the victim and we try to prevent it. we need more men to speak out, to be stronger leaders. we need congressmen to support the measure. the very women in their lives could be affected by this. >> there are powerful videos of men speaking up about why theorizing february 14th this week with 1 billion rising. nfl player, two-time super bowl winner. why he cares. i'll take you one further. this has to be unsiloed. it's not a woman's issue or men's issue. the girls you are talking about that get beaten up or in tense relationships, what do they do? they drop out of school. it is the number one reason women do not finish college. it affects our economy.
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the early pregnancies, unwanted pregnancies. this is an issue of our future, our recovery is resting on the recovery of women. we have violence against women statistics. this is not a matter of one piece of funding for shelters. it is a matter of a major national investment in collaboration. we can say with people and governments across the country, across the world, there are governments of other countries taking a position on this, for example while rising. the mayors. >> as we wait for our government, we can barely get reauthorization act that is inadequate. there is organizing happening. you have saving promise. your organization trains teen girls themselves to become the peer interveners. >> an organization that uses art therapy. we focus on communities of color and underresourced communities.
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teen girls, primarily african-american and latino girls to become the vanguards or the faces of the new women's movement around these issues. the chris brown and rihanna situation is personal to us as an organization because our girls in training were split. they are not split if we change it to sexual violence. when it came to issues of teen dating violence in this february teen dating violence month. it's good to recognize that. they were split. with the photo of reya that, they felt maybe it was more complicated, maybe we don't know all the information. it changed our organization to think about violence against women as this intersexting thing that we need to think about. they don't need to be as segregated as they are. to organize girls not only to have resources and also role
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models but for them to be the voices of change, agents of change. oftentimes the girls are seen as silent victims or invisible victims. >> this feels like why i get the leave rihanna alone. i don't want to be a piler onner. an additional thing to turn her into a girl who doesn't know better. we can see how she manages this. the mom in me wants to intervene. for mer and my 11-year-old daughter watching her. >> rihanna's story is my daughter's story. rihanna said i need to live my truth. that's her choice to do that. it's her choice to be with chris brown but he serves as a role model for young women and young girls. they are watching her and she has to look at the message she's sending to young women and young girls. she can say this is my choice.
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she can also take responsibility and say my truth is also to say to young women and young girls what chris did to me was wrong. it was absolutely wrong. this is my choice. you don't have to make that choice. if this happens to you, you should stand-up and make sure that people treat you with love and respect and honor you. she has to live her truth, but she has to live her truth in terms of the message. >> that's the tough part. what we see is the choice, not necessarily the words. this is complicated and will stay complicated. i appreciate all of you for your work. thank you for being here and thank you for the work you are doing. please let us know if any of those eight take you up on it. because i would like to know if any of them have the courage to sit down with you. >> if they don't, i'm coming back saying you have not had the courage. >> absolutely. >> thank you. up next, everybody else is
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20 years ago this past week, president bill clinton signed the family and medical leave act that expanded protections to include 12 weeks of unpaid leave in the event of pregnancy of family medical leave. we have a look back at the moment that impacted so many. >> i have spent an enormous amount of time in 12 years in factories and businesses of this country talking to employers and employees, watching the way people work, often working with them. i know that men and women are more productive when they are sure they won't lose their jobs because they are trying to be good parents and good children. our businesses should not lose the services of these dedicated americans. over the long run, the lessons of the most productive companies in the world here at home and around the world are those that
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put their people first will triumph. family and medical leave is a matter of pure, common sense and a matter of common decency. it will provide americans what they need most, peace of mind. never again will parents have to fear losing their jobs because of their families. >> so, the family and medical leave act helped millions of women and men keep their jobs while caring for their newborn children and seriously ill relatives. 40% of american workers are not afforded this protection. why that is and what can be done about it, next. citrucel is different- it's the only fiber for regularity that won't cause excess gas. it's gentle and clinically proven to help restore and maintain regularity. look for citrucel today.
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protections. they work fewer than 25 hours a week and 50% of workers report not being able to take the leave time. can't afford to go 12 weeks unpaid. these protections are not extended for caring for a loved one in a same-sex partnership. one of the people who helped make the family and medical leave act a reality is with us now. ellen working from 9:00 to 5:00. the national association of working women in 1982 when she helped organize the push for the leave act. she is now the director of the family values work and joining us from madison, wisconsin. so nice to have you, ellen. >> pleasure to be here. thanks a lot. this is the month we celebrate fmla but remind us what it doesn't do. >> we put family values on
11:32 am and lots of people were celebrating because they were able to be with a newborn or a child that fell into a syndrome that made her deaf or hold the hand of a spouse or a parent to let them recover at home or to ease their passing. there were literally tens of millions of workers who benefited. 2/5 of the work force are left out. for every five people who needed leave took it. >> this feels like a consensus legislative position. i want to listen to president clinton saying about how important this particular piece of legislation is when he meets folks. let's listen to him here. >> people desperately want to have successful families to be good parents and have a job and
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succeed at it. if you take one away to get the other, the country pays a price and every life is diminished. it's really what this is all about. i've had more people mention the family leave law to me both while i was in the white house and in the 12 years since i have been gone than any other single piece of legislation i have signed. >> here is this point where you can make the family values argument and make the kind of social safety net argument at the same time. shouldn't this be where we can make serious progress in extending fmla? >> you would think. as president clinton said it was a common sense measure then and now. to do what he said, expand it. laws aren't monuments, they are meant to change is what he said the other day when we celebrated. the problem, partisanship and
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corporate lobbyists. this was a bipartisan jobs bill. we have a lot of republican support. today it's difficult to do that. we theneed to tell republicans have a movement that is powerful enough that you have to listen to us. that's what our coalitions are doing across the country. >> it's important that we point out when fmla passed, 163 congressmen in the house that voted against it. 20 years later, 19 of those guys are still in the house and every last one of them is a white man. it does feel to me like in this country right now, with an increasing number of women working with more people of color who may not have as many resources. we know the white americans had in the question of wealth. this is a place where you could really start talking about coalition building. how does that happen on the ground to pressure these 19 and other folks? >> the great thing about our coalition is it affects women
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and people of color. you can see that in our coalitions. they include restaurant workers and restaurant owners. they include people fighting domestic violence. one of the bills we are fighting for in addition to affordable family leave and expanding access to family leave is paid sick days. that includes safe days so people can seek shelter and press charges and take care of themselves and their families while experiencing and recovering from violence. we see people who want to fight poverty and asthma. they understand they have a stake in people being healthy, people having strong families who they love and being able to take care of those families by supporting them and paying the bills. >> i love the point. one last point, i am part of the sandwich generation, not just about caring for young children,
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but caring for our elderly. how do we start moving toward legislation that recognizes the needs of children to take care of their parents, not only their own children? >> family leave includes care for parents. it doesn't include care for grandparents, siblings and same-sex partners. we need to make it real making it affordable. it's one of the things when people say i needed leave but didn't take it, it's one of the things they give up as well as giving up their own surgery or going back four days after giving birth. i urge your viewers to go to our website to see how they can get involved winning in cities and states, we are going lay the basis for winning new national legislation that will make it affordable and real for all families in the united states. >> thank you to ellen. i appreciate you there in madison, wisconsin. you didn't just get this
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legislation passed and say look, i did it. you stayed. i appreciate that. >> thank you, too. just ahead, valentine's day, we are going to talk about the first marriage and the lessons from the obama love story. [ dylan ] this is one way to keep your underwear clean. this is another! ta-daa! try charmin ultra strong. it cleans so well and you can use up to four times less than the leading value brand. and it's four times stronger. charmin ultra strong.
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i took something for my sinuses, but i still have this cough. [ male announcer ] a lot of sinus products don't treat cough. they don't? [ male announcer ] nope, but alka seltzer plus severe sinus does it treats your worst sinus symptoms, plus that annoying cough. [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is! [ angry gibberish ] as we brace for valentine's day and its overt commercialization of romantic love. the mos romantic couple is not in hollywood, but the white house. they have a palpable attraction to each other. admiration and magnatism. their affection, i believe, carries a cultural weight. they have an african-american family. in a cultural context that
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azests black women are unlovable, unattractive, the obamas are surprisingly aspirational. president obama as a highly accomplished interracial man shows us his wife, a woman as tall as him, as smart as him and as blare kelly would say, black from a distance. it makes the first marriage one that carries particular cultural weight. back with me at the table, laura, byron and victoria. i gotta tell you, i forget president obama likes michelle. >> i think it's powerful. it sends a powerful message to a lot of people, especially black people, black women who love the iconography of the first family.
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i know so many people who post pictures and tweet and have physical pictures in their home of the first family because they resinate for people. it is aspirational. people long to have that kind of, sort of happy household that the obama's seem to have. >> it's part of what becomes problematic. our saying is we are not the obama's, right? it took us two marriages to get together. we have a step kid and it's just messier. we want to embrace that. there's something about the realities of same-sex love and making a family in ways that are non-traditional and i wonder if it's used as a weapon against the non-traditional family. >> i think there's a particular strategy the obama family themselves are deploying. they are staving off an old school narrative of black pathology. the kind of deadbeat dad, obama
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articulated a position against. also embodies -- i feel like they are the living version of the cosby fiction or the kind of bad, black mother that michelle is staving off the stereo types. in terms of other issues gender and sexuality intersection, we could open the conversation beyond the obama family structure. it is the father and the mother. i think there's equality in the private sphere. he's president of the united states and she's first lady. they are not equal jobs. >> i have heard her say -- >> it's partly the picture does not reflect their family. >> yeah. the iconography of it. >> what it takes to keep a
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family together and in work when crisis hits. what it takes to keep that family together is -- for some reason, never in the pictures. michelle's brother, craig. the family is not the foursome. >> i wish we would see change. >> it's removed from reality. divorce rates are at 50%. it's about the mom and the family now. looking at our past presidents, how many of our past presidents, with the exception of ronald reagan had been divorced? it's a very aspirational model that we have in looking at the first families. do we really look up to the first families or like to believe we look up to first families? >> i feel like for the obama's there's an actual looking up to. part of it is, you know, because of social media and the iconography. we see people deploying images. at one point, the first family
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was standing there, greeting guests at the white house and bo the dog was there. the president managed to make the dog sit. oh, man, everyone the dog is trained. it does feel like there is something powerful in a country that is said this is an impossibility for these families. i agree, i want to see momma robinson in the pictures. she's part of what makes this foursome possible. it's a fifth person. >> i hate to be a downer here. they have a campaign raising huge alarms about the nras ad involving the first family. there's a picture, an ad to say it's wrong for president obama to have secret service for the girls and there's not a shooter in every classroom. they are reminding us while we say a lot of people look up to us, this is a family receiving 400% more death threats than the bush family ever did. 30 a day according to a book
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that was written. just for a moment, remember, they are both looked up to and there's something else going on. >> can i jump in, too? this is why it's important for barack obama to come out in favor of marriage equality. in 2008, he was conservative on it. the famous father's day speech he gave in the black church. he spoke to a single parent household where african-american fathers were absent. this notion or flexible families in a way fmla supports that stuff. >> it's interesting. i had an opportunity to interview the president for "ebony" magazine. i thought he was distancing himself from black fathers. there were a couple of moments of president obama dropping the president and just being barack obama and one of them was when
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he talked about fathers. i have to say, good, bad, otherwise, there's an actual thing in him that says -- on that, there's little flexibility. a long supporter of marriage equality. on this question of fathers, he deeply feels this sense of the need for the black father in the household. >> i mean he does. he models that. it's one thing i have to say i appreciate about him because of the way he talks about his daughters. he shows care for his daughters. you can tell he is as president as he can be with his children considering he's president of the united states. i know for me, as an african-american man, he represents a healthy masculinity on many levels. for me, it makes me step up my game in terms of my fatherhood and my desire to be president, to be loving and caring and
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nurturing to my daughter and wife as well. i think he makes some men step up their game. a lot of men feel like they can't live up to him or measure up to being a barack obama. >> i will just say, on the single momma front, the president himself is a great president and father, the man who became president became president with a single momma and grandparents. there's clearly, if we read the obama story more fully, it's him as the great father but also he is a product of a single momma who remarries, going around getting her own education, wondering around the globe and relying on her parents. there's many models. >> i think why these images resinate with so many people, especially black people is because we don't see this much. we don't see it often. because we don't see it often, we get drunk on the images. >> love. >> it may not represent reality
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for the most of us, you know, we still, i think we said aspire to it. the reality is that, you know, we have so many blended families. we have gaye families, we have mommas and daddies and papas. the culture is changing. >> i'll take it. it's valentine's day, i'll take an ahh moment. first, it's time for a preview of weekends with alex witt. >> the state of the union address on tuesday, i'm going to ask two insiders which president obama will show up. plus the manhunt for a rogue ex-cop is intensifying. the tsa is involved. the snowstorm may be over, now word of another round headed in the same path. how will it affect travel around the country? i'm talking to the producers of redemption. finding treasures in new york city trash. then in office politics, jack
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jacobs with his take on ptsd, women in contact an why he has a running gag on bat, and who he williams think is the better public speaker. all i can say about the weather is as long as it holds off in time for me to get home this afternoon. mardi gras is this week. >> it will. >> thank you. >> and thanks to alex. up next, saying good-bye. my mother made the best toffee in the world.
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it's delicious. so now we've turned her toffee into a business. my goal was to take an idea and make it happen. i'm janet long and i formed my toffee company through legalzoom. i never really thought i would make money doing what i love. [ robert ] we created legalzoom to help people start their business and launch their dreams. go to today and make your business dream a reality. at we put the law on your side.
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who are you when your child is murdered? when your parents die, you're an orphan. when your spouse dies, you're a widow. who are you when your child dies? what name can you call yourself that tells the world what you have lost, that indicated to everyone how deep your pain is. what should we call cleopatra pendleton, who buried her
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15-year-old daughter hidea pendleton yesterday. hidea was beautiful, ambitious, focused, talented, and bursting with life. she had just performed at president barack obama's second inauguration, and she was with her friends in the park taking shelter from the rain. she was senselessly shot to death by a gunman who wasn't even aiming for her. on january 29th, she became the 42nd person to be murdered in chicago this year. her death changed her forever. but what is it to a mother? yesterday first lady michelle obama attended her funeral. this has become routine for the evening news but never mundane for those who lose their beloved.
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this is preventible. american children do not have to die when standing in parks near their homes. parents do not have to wonder when you send them to school in the morning, whether they'll return at night. the president wrote to her fami family. michelle and i want you to know how sad we are about hidea's passing. rest assured that we are praying for you and that we will continue to work hard to end this violence. god bless, barack obama." maybe this is where we will find the answer to the question of a parent who lost her shoeld. the woman whose son emmitt till was lynched in mississippi in 1995. the name we have for cindy sheehan, whose son u.s. army specialist casey sheehan has killed by enemy action during
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the iraq war. the name we have for sabrina fulton, whose son trayvon martin was shot by george zimmerman in sanford, florida. the name we will now have for cleopatra pendleton, whose daughter hialea was shot in chicago. the name is world changer. the name we will call them is survivor. that's our show for today. thank you inform laura and byron and vicky for sticking around. thanks to you at home for watching. i'll see you again next saturday at 10:00 a.m. coming up, weekends with alex witt. but don't worry, he'll find someone else. ♪ who's that lady? ♪ who's that lady? ♪ sexy lady ♪ who's that lady? [ female announcer ] used mops can grow bacteria. swiffer wetjet starts with a clean pad every time,
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