tv Martin Bashir MSNBC February 14, 2013 4:00pm-5:00pm EST
our food, take care of our children, and serve us countless ways will continue to be undervalued and forced in government dependence by the gop and the businesses these republicans are beholden to. now to a man who is beholden to nobody, martin bashir starts now. >> thank you so much. good afternoon. it's thursday, february the 14th. and wayne lapierre has a valentine's card for the american people. grab a gun because the end is near. isn't that romantic? >> wayne lapierre is expanding his argument now. >> background checks will never be universal because criminals will never submit to them. >> after hurricane sandy, we saw the hellish world. >> come out to play. >> looters ran wild in south brooklyn. really?
>> and if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark or you might not get home at all. >> this is so laced with racial overtones. the republican party, if they were smart, their leaders today with condemn it, but they're not smart. >> the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. ♪ a busy valentine's day, indeed, with the president traveling to georgia just as senate republicans back in washington threatened to derail and deny his nomination of chuck hagel. we're looking live at the senate
where moments from now they're going to take a vote that's likely to delay the confirmation of a much-needed secretary of defense for this country, a country, by the way, that's still at war, and we'll bring you that live. but first, we take you on an exclusive tour of wayne lapierre's new york. that's right. this is how the nra's chief executive describes the city of new york today in an opinion piece published on the daily caller beb site. after hurricane sandy, he writes, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. looters ran wild in south brooklyn, and if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark or you might not get home at all. yes. while nobody in this city recognizes that bogus, racist,
and entirely mythical description of new york during the hurricane, mr. lapierre says ordinary americans are now at the mercy of everything from marauding latino gangs to urban thugs and drug dealers and woe to him who cannot defend himself and his property. >> upstairs. >> get the women upstairs! >> yes, mr. lapierre tells us that it is apocalypse now in america, a country in a spiral of descent now cratering close to the congo when it comes to law and orders. responsible americans, writes mr. lapierre, realize that the world as we know it has changed. terrorists, crime, drug bangs, the possibility of euro-style debt riots, civil unrest, or natural disaster. as one who actually lives in this city, i can only express my
gratitude to mr. lapierre for issuing this quawarning and opeg my eyes so i, too, can be prepared for when the bad old days return. ♪ >> of course, mr. la e pair's writings are designed to whet our appetite because in less than an hour he'll deliver his hotly anticipated response to the president's state of the union dress to the national wild turkey federation. why anyone would wish to listen to this lying lunatic is anyone's guess, but he's got us all wondering what exactly he may say. >> we don't surrender. do you hear that, new york! we don't quit. how do you like that? >> how do you like that, indeed. let's get to our panel. we're joined by representative joe crawly, dpt of new york, and
msnbc contributor joy reid who is also the managing editor of thegrio.com. congressman, as a lawmaker from the city of new york, you're in position to offer expert testimony regard building lapierre's most recent writings, especially the bit where he said looters ran wild in south brooklyn. does that sound like the new york you saw after hurricane sandy? >> well, martin, great to be back on your show and happy valentine's day to you. i would suggest that if mr. lapierre was so concerned about new york post-sandy, maybe he could have used his influence to get more republicans to vote for the sandy aid package. he wasn't there for -- >> but mr. crawly, he describes a city not dissimilar to the central republic of africa where thugs, drug dealers, and child soldiers threaten us on subway trains, where people loot in the
midst of a disaster, is that what you saw? you represent a constituency here. >> whey saw was new york at its best. new yorkers who were victims of the storm helping other new yorkers who were victims of that storm get their lives back together, put their lives -- clean their houses, clean their streets, rebuild their homes, help their neighbor who may have needed some milk or some comfort after that storm. that's the new york i saw. >> who is mr. lapierre talking about? what is mr. lapierre describing? >> he's describing a post, you know, i really can't describe it. >> perhaps he's been watching too many violent videos? >> it's a mad max world, apocalyptic world that just simply doesn't exist. one where the people of new york were out of control. that wasn't the case at all. people were trying desperately to get their lives back together and to be ridiculed like this,
this is really ridicule i think from mr. lapierre and a degrading of the average new yorker and it's not the american way. new yorkers are americans and respond to these storms like anyone else does. i think all of america should be outraged by mr. lapierre's comments. >> joy reid, you live in the city of new york. can i read you some facts about new york. murders fell by 86%. robberies down by 30%. grand larcenies fell by 48%. car thefts are down 24%. felony assaults are down 31%. what is mr. lapierre describing? >> well, you know what? as somebody who was born in the dystopian hell scape called brooklyn, even when i was a kid new york wane the mad max world he's describing. but i think what wayne lapierre is doing, he's playing to the worst stereotypes of new york and he specifically said brooklyn. and what that's meant to call to
mind is a city full of black and brown people, a city full of violent, crazy thugs running around jacking you on the street. >> civil unrest. >> meanwhile, new york is the safest big city in the country. gun violence is among the lowest of any city of its size. places more dystopian than new york which be places like new orleans with no gun laws. the city here is safe in part because of the strict gun laws. >> we mentioned wayne lapierre is about to respond to what the president said. but on the very same day he publishes this ridiculous copy, it's announced that mr. lapierre is to speak next month at the annual cpac conference. he will appear on the stage with paul ryan, eric cantor, mitch mcconnell, and the great marco rubio. what do you say to them, congressman, that they're prepared to share a stage with a man who issues absolutely
fabricated and fictitious analysis of a city that clearly he knows nothing about? >> i would be embarrassed to be on the same stage. >> shouldn't they withdraw? what are they doing sharing a stage with a lunatic? >> i actually think they should withdraw if he's going to share the same stage as they are. the reality is, martin, that it's crazy talk coming out of the nra today and lapierre. when they were looking for someone to offer some sane suggestions as to how you get control of gun violence in this country they came out with a manifesto that is in essence a membership drive for the nra. this is about trying to get more people in the nra. i think it's disgusting. >> joy, i don't know if you know much about south carolina republican lindsey graham but he'll also be making an appearance and he definitely shares some of mr. lapierre's
inclinations. take a listen to this. >> in 1992 you had the riots in los angeles. i think it was the king event, but you could find yourself in this country in a lawless environment through a natural disaster or a riot, and the story was about a place called korea town. there are marauding gangs going throughout the area looting and robbing and raping. >> i'm sorry to be corrective, but korea town, we have checked with scholars of the 1992 riots in lasmth and the evidence for marauding gangs of rapists is pretty thin. who is lindsey graham describing here? >> exactly. there's an old and ugly tradition in this country of vilifying and creating these nightmare scenarios of roving basically black young men and brown young men as this violent, crazy criminal element and you have to arm yourself because gangs of them --
>> people like your husband, like your children. >> exactly. >> people like my children. >> exactly. meanwhile, brooklyn is one of the most gentrified communities in this country. places like redhook and places that used to be really impoverished and difficult areas are becoming quite gentrified and the people who live there are more yuppies, but even if they still were communities of color that were largely poor, demonizing those communities as necessarily inherently violent does have an ugly component to it with a long history. lindsey graham knows about it given the region he's from and wayne lapierre is trying to top into it. this crazy -- these are the rafings of a truly addled mind and it ran in the daily caller where the audience for it wasn't you and me. the audience for it wasn't new york. it was people out there in the hinterlands who don't know new york but could be made to fear it and then do what he wants, which is buy more guns. buy more products. >> congressman, final question to you. isn't the reason that mr. lapierre attacked new york
simply this, that we have very strict gun laws and they work? isn't that the fundamental problem for mr. lapierre. >> i do believe he was taking aim at mayor bloomberg who has been very outspoken on this issue. that will we are the safest big city in america. that things are not, as he described them, and they're certainly not the way which he described them post-sandy either. he's living in a different world. he's not on the same planet as we are. and he's just -- he's flailing out against anyone he thinks is an enemy and i think he certainly believes mayor bloomberg is an enemy. >> thank you for your service to the constituents of this great city. next, north korea's testing nukes. we're still at war in afghanistan. sequestration threatens or military. okay. let's delay a vote for defense secretary. stay with us. >> i'm going to take every
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-- the world is too dangerous to have this period of uncertainty. we have you're watching the senate floor live where members of the armed services committee are about to decide whether to allow a full vote on the confirmation of chuck hagel as defense secretary. republicans are threatening to filibuster the nomination. mind you, they're not using that word filibuster, but that's what it is. a requirement of 60 votes to end debate and proceed to a full vote of the senate. it is an unprecedented action. one america cannot afford at this juncture in history as we made clear just moments ago.
>> we've got north korea attacking -- not attacking but north korea exploding a nuclear device. we've got a war going on in afghanistan. we need to have a secretary of defense in place. >> joining us now is jonathan alter, a columnist with the bloomberg view and dana milbank, a political columnist with "the washington post." welcome to both of you. john, there is a crucial meeting next week of nato military personnel in brussels and the united states -- in relation to afghanistan, and the united states is now more likely to be sending a man who actually has said farewell to the defense department and wants to go to his farm and retire. it will have to do that rather than send the man the president has nominated. what does this say about this country in relation to what is an ongoing war in afghanistan. >> well, there are an awful lot of important issue that is relate to the pentagon and to the u.s. military that will just be held in abians -- >> what do you think the british military and the french think
when leon panetta turns up? >> well, they like leon panetta but what they will think is what they have been thinking for the last 2 1/2 years, is that the republican party in the united states has gone off the rails and is obstructing the normal order of business of the world's only super power, and this is the first time, martin, in the history of the defense department going back to the 1940s that there's been a filibuster of a nominee to head that department and i would wager that if it went to its predecessor that the department of war going all the way back in american history, this has never been done. these people are out of control in their obstructionism and the only thing to do is fight them all the way, and there are new tools that the president unveiled in his state of the union to do that with. the president should go to enlisted personnel, retired enlisted personnel all over the
united states and say, chuck hagel is the first of yours to be nominated for secretary of defense. they want to prevent a vote? you deserve a vote as an enlisted person. you deserve a vote. you deserve representation. politicize it to the hilt and take them on. >> dana, on the question of benghazi, the white house has sent a letter answering republican questions, but let me play for you something that lindsey graham said on wednesday. take a listen. >> no. the debate on chuck hagel is not over. it has not been serious. we don't have the information we need, and i am going to fight the idea of jamming somebody through. i'm going to hit you and keep hitting you. you're not going to get away with not answering basic questions. >> dana, isn't the problem here not just the fact that benghazi has nothing to do with chuck hagel but the people like senator graham have now put themselves in a position where
they cannot stand down because of the rhetoric and the grandstanding that we've seen over the last month? >> martin, i was in the first row of that press son frens when lindsey graham was talking and i thought he was going to leap out and start hitting us in the press corps. absolutely he can't back down. he said i guaran-damn-tee you, was how he put it. it sounds like john mccain and some others given to next week will do it. in a larger picture we're talking about perhaps a week and then hagel will continue on as before. that doesn't mean it's a good thing that there's been a filibuster of a national security cabinet appointee for the first time in the nation's history and i think this is the only third filibuster of any cabinet appointee in history. so it's an extraordinary thing, completely unnecessary, and we can continue on with our regularly scheduled governmental programming next week. >> yes. congratulations to the
republicans. john, senator ted cruz's assertions have been the most spurious and destructive. this suggestion that chuck hagel may have taken money from terrorist organizations, from the iranians, from somebody that is an opponent of this nation. your reaction to that because senator ben nelson called it rightly when he said it was unpatriotic. they're dressing this guy up in smears and slurs. >> it's interesting to contrast somebody like senator ted cruz from texas with another freshman elizabeth warren from massachusetts who she's listening. she's not grandstanding. she's not making reckless accusations. she's trying to become a responsible member of the united states senate. but that's not the way the tea party rolls, martin. you know, and ted cruz is a tea party guy. so this is -- he is the fruit of a movement that in some ways has
burned itself out but we still have a few of them around -- >> but it's also burning out this country, isn't it? >> that's what -- just to get back to my earlier point, the president has to engage in full political combat on this and not -- yes, if he can get it through and cobble together five votes to break the filibuster and not break too much china, that's fine, but if he can't, if we get to a situation where this nomination is truly in limbo and it is hurting the united states, then he he has to go to the public and go after the obstructionists and he's already in the last few weeks of his second term, he has begun to be more confrontational. he needs to continue on that path. >> dana, does it seem remarkable to you that he's only just given his state of the union address at the beginning of his second term and yet the obstructionism that we observed in the first term only seems to have been
amplified? >> well, certainly. it didn't even take until now for that to happen. >> quite. >> the fighting began immediately after the election and that is republicans have managed to convince themselves that they, too, have a mandate because they remain in the majority in the house even though as we have discussed before they didn't actually receive a majority of the vote in the house either. the problem is the way things are done, to take ted cruz as an example, there is no benefit to him cooperating with the president on anything. he even voted against john kerry to be secretary of state, one of only three in the entire senate to do that. there's no incentive for a lot of these guys to cooperate. there are incentives for a few people like susan collins and others to cooperate. that's how this ultimately gets done. there's still enough reasonable heads in the senate. it just takes a long time to get even the most basic and simple thing done. you actually have to have ted cruz, who is a chicken hawk, impugning the patriotism of chuck hagel, who volunteered to go to vietnam and has two purple hearts to show for it. >> we should ignore him.
he's only a freshman. why give him any attention? >> because he's getting in the way of the process. that's why. jonathan alter and dana milbank. thank you both. stay with us, the vote result when we return. [ coughs ] [ angry gibberish ] [ justin ] mulligan sir. mulligan. take a mulligan. i took something for my sinuses, but i still have this cough. [ male announcer ] truth is, 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. [ angry gibberish ] [ fake coughs ] sorry that was my fault sir. [ male announcer ] alka seltzer plus severe sinus. [ breathes deeply ] ♪ oh, what a relief it is! [ male announcer ] try alka seltzer plus severe sinus day and night for complete relief from your worst sinus symptoms. investors could lose tens of thousands of dollars on their 401(k) to hidden fees. is that what you're looking for, like a hidden fee in your giant mom bag? maybe i have them... oh that's right i don't because i rolled my account over to e-trade where... woah. okay... they don't have hidden fees... hey fern. the junk drawer? why would they... is that my gerbil? you said he moved to a tiny farm.
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[ male announcer ] could've had a v8. 100% vegetable juice, with three of your daily vegetable servings in every little bottle. from a very boehner valentine to marco rubio under water. here are today's "top lines" h2, oh, no he he didn't. >> happy valentine's day. >> i canted mantle a more romantic way to spend valentine's day. >> what did you get mrs. boehner for valentine's day? >> i find it offensive that the head of our government would give a speech to anyone else in the government that was so pro government. >> hitler, stalin, mao, castro,
none of them were blamed. >> did you catch marco rubio's response to the state of the union. >> this is their chance to reimpress the american people. >> the self-deportation of marco rube yos's saliva to the outside of his mouth to the outside of his face. this can't end well. >> the top ten things going through his mind. >> i needed water. what am i going to do? >> that looked presidential, right? >> it would have been less awkward if he reached down the front of his pants to do it. >> always maintaining eye contact with the home viewer. >> could this be the new watergate. >> he had dry mouth. >> there's barack obama. there's hillary clinton, and they're all taking drinks of water during speeches. gee took it right to obama. >> this was the best post-state of the union address. >> that we only care about rich people. >> republicans are stuck responding to have the fictional image of obama that they've
created. >> mr. president, i still live in the same working class neighborhood i grew up in. my neighbors aren't millionaires. why would you brag about that love for your neighbors when you were on record trying to move away from those neighbors. >> as you're feeling away for a new party strategy doesn't work, paul ryan doesn't work? that's not going to happen. >> don't worry, senator rubio, nobody noticed that you gave a speech. >> let's get right to our panel now. professor james peterson is director of african studies at lehigh university and jared bernstein is an msnbc contributor and former adviser to vice president joe biden. and we are watching live pictures of a cloture vote in the senate that will determine the path forward for secretary of defense nominee chuck hagel. as soon as we get the results, we will provide them. but, jared, if i can start with you, republicans are rushing to rescue mr. rubio after his disastrous rebuttal to the president, but i think much
worse than his uncontrolled perspiring was his call for a balanced budget amendment, something that would require brutal cuts and austerity. now, just today the european union statistical office has confirmed that the entire region of europe, the eurozone, is experiencing a recession, and while economic growth here in the u.s. jumped by 2.2% in 2012, it shrank by half a% in the eurozone, precisely because of the same policies that rubio espouses. so, jared, shouldn't we be focused on mr. rubio's ludicrous economic policies rather than his inability to cope with prime time television? >> i mean, if you wanted a set of natural experiments, which by the way we don't get enough of in economics, as to why austerity doesn't work in macroeconomies across the globe, you just gave it to us. it's right there in front of us. about a year ago macroeconomic advisers and nonpartisan
analysis group looked at the impact of a balanced budget amendment, the potential impact on the great recession, and they concluded that had such a measure been in place, thus precluding any of the kind of counter cyclical policies, the automatic stabilize thaers krs in and offset the contraction of demand, we would have seen another $15 million in job losses and the unemployment rate would have peaked out at around 20%. there are many reasons why a balanced budget amendment is a terrible idea, but right now i think you're correct, martin, the first blush reason to completely reject that is because it completely disables any kind of counter cyclical response to an economic downturn. >> and the evidence is clear. mr. rubio slammed the president's proposal to raise the minimum wage to $9 an hour claiming minute wam laws don't work. aside from the fact that full-time workers on the minimum wage are still in poverty, is
there not plenty of evidence with companies like costco and whole foods that actually higher wages improve productivity? >> yeah, let's also keep in mind that $9 an hour is about half of what the living wage is and that's really what we should be aspiring to from an economic standpoint. we need to be thinking what this actually means. if you talk to someone who is working at minimum wage right now, ask them if something at $9 would help them to put a little more food on the table for their families. mind you, minimum wage earners usually spend a little more of their disposable income, so they actually help the economy as well. it's not just a sort of absolute way of thinking about raising the minimum wage is just contributing to the overhead of employers. remember, those employees are also consumers, so you raise their minimum wage rates. we also increase their capacity to contribute to the economy. like jared said, we can't afford any additional con stractions in t the economy.
>> and, jared, to that point, when the president spoke of repairing this nation's decaying infrastructure or investing in education and training institutes, it immediately provoked accusations of stimulus, that foul word. but aren't republicans arguing for a case that is now, frankly been lost because government investment at times of recession lifts nations. it doesn't sink them. look at europe. there's is the evidence. >> janet yellin, who is the vice chair of the federal reserve, gave a remarkable speech the other day. i have highlighted it on my blog in numerous places. one of the things she pointed is out is how much this fiscal contraction has been so unusual in this recession weak recovery. historically in our country and in europe as well, even in -- when republicans were in office, we did a lot more to stimulate the economy coming out of recession and the outcomes were exactly the opposite ofhat we're seeing today.
now, listen, on the infrastructure point, one other thing, in fafrastructure is not keynesian. in fact means keeping your roads, bridges, your productive public goods in better shape. and you've got to do that whether you like it or not. whether you're democrat or republican, whether you're in a recession or a recovery. that has to happen. >> but that's not what republicans are saying. professor peterson, mr. rubio has now had not one, but two rollouts that have been less than auspicious. the first time was back in august at the rnc when after being entirely upstaged by clint eastwo eastwood's argument with an empty chair, rubio once again went for the water bottle. >> i think i just drank clint eastwood's water. thank you. >> now, flash forward to tuesday night when his own nerves were his undoing as he awkwardly
reached for that water bottle, is it possible do you think that mr. rubio has been the victim of premature elevation by the republicans? >> well, it's interesting. i don't know if it's premature elevation because i think senator rubio is probably their best bet going forward but you have to wonder about the people around him, who is advising him, helping him to prepare. if you're not ready for prime time yet, you know, you're going figure out very, very quickly the spotlight is on and it's very, very constant. again, let's pay attention to mr. rubio's policies and what he wants to do as a senator and for this country instead of paying attention to some of the distractions about how he behaves and presents in the public sphere. >> gentlemen, thank you so much. stay with us. white house reaction to the events in the senate and potentially the vote when we come back. stay with us. >> things going through marco rubio's mind at this moment. laugh all you want, poland
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the nomination of former republican senator chuck hagel for secretary of defense hangs in the balance at this hour. we're joined by nbc news white house correspondent kristin welker who has been traveling with the president. we're still awaiting results on the cloture vote but a few moments ago senator graham said barring a bombshell in the next week, he thinks hagel will be confirmed. so what is the white house reaction to all of this maneuvering in the senate? >> reporter: well, obviously some tense moments for the white house. one person calling this unconscionable, that the republicans would take what the white house believes is a delay tactic. however, if you talk to white house officials, they continue to insist that ultimately once this comes to a full vote before the full senate, they believe that chuck hagel will be
confirmed, but they admit that right now this closure vote, this vote to end debate over a vote on chuck hagel is really going to be touch and go. they are watching this right along with everyone else. but administration officials really pressing the narrative that this comes as an incredibye difficult time. if he isn't confirmed this week and if it does not come to a full vote for another 12 days, that means hagel will not be able to travel to brussels for that nato summit. this is a critical time for the united states as it prepares to draw down troops from afghanistan. the president announcing during his state of the union address he will draw down 30,000 troops in the next year. they believe it's critical for chuck hagel to be there is he can help to talk to the allies about that transition process. some tense moments for the white house. again, they are calling this unconscionable, pointing to the fact this is first time this has really happened in u.s. history. earlier today the white house
released that letter that came from kathy rumler, the legal counsel, giving some answers about what happened during the night of benghazi and the night afterwards. that's what has really held up the vote in these latest hours. a number of senators saying that they are to some extent satisfied with the letter but still want more time to consider some of the questions that they have about the nomination for chuck hagel. so that is where the white house stands right now. again, martin, they continue to believe that ultimately when this comes before the senate that chuck hagel will be confirmed. >> kristin, you have said the white house described this as unconscionable. it is unprecedented. presumably also it casts the president in a somewhat embarrassing light given the fact that he won't have a future defense secretary sitting in brussels next week when military commanders across the whole region will be discussing the future of afghanistan. >> exactly. and one white house official said, look, it's not a disaster
if panetta goes. certainly escapable of going and representing the united states, but he is not the person who the president would like to see serving in the capacity of defense secretary, and, of course, he is leaving that post as we speak. so from that perspective the white house sees this as a real problem. the president would like to have his nominee for secretary of defense in place in brussels next week for these very high-level and important talks as the united states prepares to draw down troops from afghanistan. martin? >> kristin welker. kristin, thank you so much. coming up, wayne lapierre's valentine's day vision, an american of fear and loathing. good afternoon, martin. here is a look at how stocks are going to stand as we go into tomorrow morning's session. it was a mixed day. the jou pared its losses carablely but finished down 9.5
points. the s&p 500 finished up 1 point and the nasdaq gained almost 2. and that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. martin is back in just a moment after a quick break. [ male announcer] surprise -- you're having triplets. [ babies crying ] surprise -- your house was built on an ancient burial ground. [ ghosts moaning ] surprise -- your car needs a new transmission. [ coyote howls ] how about no more surprises? now you can get all the online trading tools you need without any surprise fees. ♪ it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade. i'm up next, but now i'm singing the heartburn blues. hold on, prilosec isn't for fast relief. cue up alka-seltzer. it stops heartburn fast.
you're watching live pictures of the senate where the vote tally continues on whether to end debate and thus proceed to a final vote on the nomination of chuck hagel as defense secretary. for more on these developments we bring in democratic congressman peter welsh of vermont. good afternoon, sir. >> good afternoon. >> how difficult is it, congressman, to do the business of congress when it has to go through the kind of maneuvers that we've been seeing in relation to a defense secretary? >> well, this is pretty bizarre. you know, republicans were always proud they were strong on defense, and now -- >> that is what i thought.
that's what we'd been led to believe. >> now they favor two things, a meet cleaver cut to defense, and number two, they won't even vote to confirm the secretary of defense who happens to be a republican war hero. so now they're eating their own here. it's just a very bizarre development. the president obviously deserves a vote. chuck hagel is a very respected political leader and a war hero and a republican, and i think a lot of the irritation here is partly frustration that obama won, and i think it's partly frustration that senator hagel had the willingness and the courage to raise questions about iraq even after he voted for it. >> but do these republicans realize how ludicrous it looks like to the rest of the world when a summit of allied forces is due to take place next week in brussels and where we will have a man who in effect has already bid farewell to the job,
wants to go to his walnut farm, but has to attend because the senate cannot confirm the individual who the president wishes to be his defense secretary? i mean, we're talking about the future of afghanistan. we haven't even got the man we'd like in place at the table next week. >> well, it's upside down around here. the fact is we have met the enemy, and it is us. congress is dysfunctional. and what we have, especially in the senate with the filibuster, is the ability of a willful minority, the rest of the country be damned. a willful minuority can do thin to weaken tdefense and cause ham in the name of so-called national security. >> but even if he is nominated and even if he becomes defense secretary, they've already smeared his character. they've already suggested that he took money from organizations which this country has been in some kind of conflict. it's hardly the way to treat the individual that is supposed to
represent the nation. we keep hear being patriotism. who are these republicans? >> well, dignity has become an elusive quality in the united states senate for some. that's the problem. the fact is the american people will wave this off and so will senator hagel. i think the rest of the world will just kind of chalk this up to there they go again kind of politics in this country. but it is a spectacle. we have very serious issues. we have the question of how should we address drones? what's the proper checks and balances? we have the returning of our troops from afghanistan, and we should all be focused on helping our m military manage that very difficult challenge. we have this circus atmosphere that has no purpose other than to assuage senators who don't want to help the president.
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we've been watching a cloture vote in the senate of that will determine the path forward for chuck hagel's path forward. let's bring in kelly o'donnell and nbc news white house correspondent kristin welker. kelly, what can you tell us about how voting has been proceeding? >> well, martin, this has been a process where -- we're just hearing from -- he's going to vote yes. we're waiting for the count. what's important here is they need 60 votes and republicans have largely stayed together on the issue of saying we want more time. there are a handful of republicans who have sided with democrats, and they are thad cochran of mississippi, susan collins -- we're going to get the final vote in one second. i will pause. >> that's okay because we know -- >> the yeas are 59, the nays are
39. one senator announced present. >> one senator voted present. that's orrin hatch. what this means, martin, is that democrats can say that they have put this to a vote. they have sort of smoked out republicans to get them on the record for blocking this nominee short term. republicans can say they have strong oversight questions that they believe are legitimate and that more time is necessary because hagel just completed his work at the committee, and so the broader senate needs some time to review some of their questions to work through that. at the same time this can be viewed through a political lens that this is meant to weaken chuck hagel as a candidate and in the intervening time his detractors can try to unearth something that might ultimately really torpedo his nomination. all the expectations now are that he does have the votes to be confirmed, but this is a part
of the using the rules of the senate to get something from the administration. democrats do it when they are not in power. republicans are doing it now, and it is a function of oversight which in many cases is critical to finding information out. >> but, kelly, isn't this also an example of the fractures in the republican party because at the beginning of the day we didn't think that harry reid would get any republican votes, and he's actually secured quite a few. >> actually not a surprise. not a surprise because most republicans will say a president has the right to choose his own nominees. they believe that so that when the president is from their party, that holds true. what happened here is that hagel's performance at his hearing and some of the questions that have come up, some of the unanswered questions, have dragged that out. there are two factions of republicans who have slowed this down. a group focused solely on hagel wanting more information and that includes the new texas senator ted cruz who has been
particularly critical of hagel in raising questions about his ties to foreign groups that might have provided him some salary during the years sips he left the senate. that's been very harsh questioning. on the other hand, there was a small faction of mccain, graham, and ayotte, who wanted more information about benghazi. i just spoke to them, and they said they believe that taking the stand was very effective. they got a letter from the white house that provided them more information. they got testimony from secretary panetta and the joint chiefs chair dempsey, and they believe that added to what the public knows about benghazi and was the right way to go about this. when brennan comes up to be cia director expect another one of these circumstances but for tonight this is a setback for hagel. it's part of the process. it doesn't derail it but it's a difficult day for chuck hagel. >> kristin welker, are you hearing any reaction from the white house? >> reporter: i can tell you they're working on a statement, martin, right now. they do still continue to stand