tv MSNBC Live MSNBC February 26, 2013 11:00am-12:00pm EST
fixing ships. >> even as he engages with the gop, later today at the white house president obama is expected to sit down with two of his troughest critics on the right, john mccain and lindsey graham. they are part of the immigration group and two nominations for the president's second-term cabinet. 19-5, jack lew's bid for treasury to the full senate for a vote and debate is under way on chuck hagel's nod for defense with the full vote expected today. wait, there's more. also happening today, 75 prominent republicans sign a legal brief coming out in support of marriage equality. this is landmark development and a sign of continuing conflict in the gop. we have a lot of ground to cover. we begin with the showdown over the sequester. across the board automatic cuts will kick in. joining me now is ray mavis,
secretary of the navy in new york news. mr. secretary, it's great to have you with me. let's start off, first off, by explaining there's been criticism by the right about the president's pr campaign to go around and talk about what these cuts really mean, the demonstration of it all. and listen to how john boehner has listened to the president on the road. >> the president has been traveling all over the country and today, going down to newport news in order to use our military men and women as a problem in yet another campaign rally to support his tax hikes. >> mr. secretary, how do you respond to that? do you think the president is using our nation's military as a prop? >> well, the military leadership of this nation, both in uniform and civilian, is going to capitol hill for the last year and explaining how bad sequestration would be, what a
bad idea this would be, how it would impact military readiness and how it would impact the ability of the navy, marine corps, and the other parts of the military to defend this country. and i think it's important for the president and for everybody to talk about what this means to talk about how damaging this will be to the men and women of our military, to the people who support them, to the people who work at places like newport news ship building and all around the norfolk area of virginia and in this country. this is a bad idea. this was a bad idea at the beginning. it was never supposed to happen. and now that we're at the 11th hour, it hasn't gotten any better and i think it's incredibly important that we explain exactly what will happen. we didn't deploy the truman and
our strike group to the middle east because of this sequestration. we have two aircraft carriers, one being built now and one about to be built that could be stopped or certainly delayed in sequestration hits and sticks. those are real impacts to america's military readiness. >> sir, i want to point out what will happen. as we point out the area around hampton road. the army base operation funding could be cut by $146 million. the air force funding for air force operations cut by $8 million. the navy canceling the maintenance of 11 ships in norfolk and 90,000 civilian employees furloughed and you point out that the truman not deploying for the middle east. where do you think the right and left can meet in the middle? do you agree that there are areas in the defense budget that
need to be re-examined and better allocated? >> absolutely. we need to make smart cuts in defense. we need to make cuts that won't affect our national security. the president has presented a balanced plan that matches up with strategy and a very comprehensive plan to avoid sequestration, to make the adjustment and cuts to the defense that are needed for the future but make them in a smart way, not in this meat-ax approach and mindless way that both sequestration and the continuing resolution which we will lurch to another artificial budget crisis until something is done. we just cannot run a military lurching from one budget crisis to another. we've got to have some certainty and i think the president has submitted a very comprehensive plan that will require compromise but that's what the
job of this government ought to be about. that's what congress needs to take up and make sure that this does not have the impact that it is going to have, both on the workers, the federal workers at our federal shipyard here that will lose up to 20% of their salary and not on the workers at private shipyards like newport news and other shipyards in this area. those are huge numbers in terms of workers that will be affected, in terms of the ripple effect that goes out from that. and in terms of what it does to the navy and to the marine corps. the job of the navy, the job of the marine corps, the job of the rest of our military is to protect this country. and sequestration and the continuing resolution and the uncertainty and threats that those pose make those jobs much harder to do. >> secretary ray mabus of the
u.s. navy. thanks for your time. the president's live remarks coming up at 1:05. keep it locked in. another big story unfolding in washington, 75 prominent republicans signing a bref in support of marriage equality. this major development happening with the supreme court about to take up both the defense of marriage act and california's proposition 8. i want to bring in nia-malika henderson, a reporter for "the washington post," ron geg nan reagan and michelle bernard. it's a big morning as we talk about this huge development from the right from marriage equality. let's talk about who is on this. we have jon huntsman, meg whitman, representative richard hanna, steven hadley, carlos
gutierrez. nia-malika, what is your opinion about how this is moving? >> if you look at those polls, particularly among younger people, there is a sense that government should be kept out of people's personal lives. that in fact is the primary argument that the tea party makes about the role of government. here you have 70 prominent republicans, most of whom are moderate, making very conservative arguments for gay marriage saying that to protect really the institution of marriage, that gays should be allowed to get married in the way that men and women are allowed to get married to each other. this is a real shift and also we've seen a huge cultural shift as well. let's face it, we saw mitt romney, a candidate courting the religious right but also saying that his favorite show was "modern family "." so i think that republicans have to figure out which way they are going to go with this issue.
>> two very powerful names that have been spearheading this opposition, i got an e-mail from ken. he said the men and women who sign this brief are a microcausm as people come to realize that marriage is consistent with freedom and fairness and protects religious liberties. ken mehlman is the former rnc chair. what's your reaction to these big names on the right, some that have never, ever voiced support before? >> if you look at the names on this list, what you see are sensible, centrist republicans. they realize that their party is in big trouble. it was mentioned a moment ago that generationally -- and when you're talking about young
people now, young people don't even understand why this conversation is taking place. some of them are surprised that gay people can't get married already across the country. they are astonished when they sort of realize that. they get to college age or whatever. so these are people trying to reposition the republican party in a more sensible, centrist way that tracks with the way the rest of the country is feeling. we've come a long way in the last ten years. marriage equality is accepted as an idea by the vast majority of americans and the republicans who won't go along with that are dooming themselves and by connection, their party. >> we talk about sensible republicans and one thing that has been discussed is the sensibilities of chris christie and the fact that he has not been invited to cpac coming up. there's a headline by politico, chris christie not invited to cpac. the group on the right that supports marriage equality also
not invited to cpac. here are the speakers. mitt romney, sarah palin, fred cruz, michelle santorum. what is your reaction, a guy that comes from a blue state that has numbers through the roof would not be invited to cpac which is considered the beauty pageant of republicans. >> they did chris christie a huge favor by not inviting him and having him decline the invitation. if you look at the people speaking, you have to wonder to yourself, does the republican party or the quote/unquote sort of establishment conservatives within the republican party really want to win elections in the future? chris christie, and people like chris christie, are the future of the republican party and i think it speaks volumes that they were not invited to speak at cpac.
we've got commonsense, sensible moderate republicans on the roof and then people who want to take us back to the dark ages and they are going to be the reason why the republican party continues to lose elections at the national level. >> insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. joe scarborough broke that down this morning. take a listen. >> this underlies the big problem about the conservative movement over the past few years. it's not about winning. it's just not about winning. it is not about winning. it is about sitting inside of an echo chamber of resentment. >> ron, let me ask you. is the right going to start winning when they actually put out a candidate who understands that to be able to win they also have to afford to be able to lose? it seems that most of these people that have been invited to cpac are trying to hock a book.
they understand that if there is somebody on the left, they could lose but they have to be willing to stand out front and lead. >> well, that's right. i mean, the republican party has to ask itself, do they want to tie itself to this sort of tea party far right religious right ideology and you will end up with two republican parties. it will split in two. you'll have the extremists on one side and the other. the deep weeds forever at that point, the democrats will always win elections. so what do the republicans want to do now about this? do they want to hang on to this outdated medieval ideology or do
they want to join the 21st century like the rest of most americans want to do? it's up to them. >> thank you to my power panel. really appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up, congressional republicans appear willing to let the budget cuts take effect even if the military takes a huge hit. and our question of the day, can moderate republicans change their party's view on marriage equality? tweet me or find us on facebook. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news starts with arthritis pain and a choice.
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getting the fiscal house in order is much more important than the defense. $43 billion would be gutted from the pentagon this year. this morning on "jansing & co.," decorated msnbc military analyst jack jacobs said that the cuts will hurt military readyingness. >> in addition to fact -- and there's plenty of fact -- you're also going to cut ammunition, fuel, repair parts for aircraft, flying hours, training time. >> and just moments ago, i had the opportunity to speak with navy secretary ray mabus who said this way of cutting is hurting our military. >> we just cannot run a military lurching from one crisis to another. we've got to have some certainty and i think the president has presented a very balanced plan that will require some compromise. >> joining me is lynn jenkins of kansas. congresswoman, it's great to
have you with me. i understand you took part in the conference that was held at the top of the hour and at the same time democrats held their own briefing. congressman chris van hollen made quite an anolg about the cuts. take a listen. >> rearranging the cuts is like rearranging the jobs either way. >> what is the illustration and what that means? >> well, i don't think we are quarrelling with the amount -- dollar amount of the cuts. what we're quarrelling about is where they hit. we are concerned about their military readiness and national security and that is why house republicans twice last year
passed a legislation so we couldn't come to this day. >> when we look at what your colleagues are saying, such as republican congressman ready to stand your ground regardless of the defense cuts, they misunderstood what happened on the fiscal cliff. they thought they had republicans on the run when all they did was push us to the high ground. you want to charge the hill. come on. that was congressman cole. he's sticking by the fact that he thinks that the sequester is inevitable. do you believe that this is inevitable? >> this is not our first choice. i want to make that clear. the sequester was the president's idea. the house passed legislation to replace it twice last year. this is a senate-manufactured crisis, if you will, because they chose twice to ignore the
issue last year and here we are just days away from the sequester hitting. the president himself even threatened to veto any legislation that would replace the sequester. so at this point it is truly up to the senate and the president to pass something if they want to change it at this point. there is nothing more republicans can do. we can't act unilaterally. so the ball is in their court. >> you announced that the department of homeland security awarded a $40 million contract to build a biodefense facility and you said in that, it's an important step when our nation is looking for significant budget savings. this contract is further evidence we can still find funds for miion critical projects. as we look at where we are as the country, to be war ready and to have military preparedness in
check, how do we factor that in with the fact that we are still a nation at war? aren't there places where we need to evaluate where there is an area to cut back that's just not over entitlement, that the left would rather see left in tact? >> well, again, i believe the first function of the federal government should be to protect us and that's why we are concerned about the funding. i represent ft. leavenworth. training there is part of our military readiness. i believe those should be protected. we are going to take in more money than the federal government has ever taken in in the history of our nation. we are going to take that out of the american people's pockets and our spending this year, even if the sequester kicks in, is going to exceed what it was last year. chairman -- vice chairman van hollen's comment about rearranging the debt share, i think people need to keep this
in perspective. all we need is flexibility to prioritize the spending so that we don't risk military readiness but we have plenty of ways, ridiculous washington spending that can be cut. we just have to root it out. >> congressman lynn jenkins, thank you for joining me. >> sure. could a vote finally happen for chuck hagel today? senator barrasso says he's not the right man for this job. plus, look at this. getting slammed by a blizzard in the midwest. we'll explain it all. first, today's producer pic selected by our executive producer, gay rights, a lesbian mom but not biological mom is presented the same rights as a
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what's in your wallet? i usually say that. so much of the southern plains covered in a blanket of snow after getting hit by a monster blizzard. look at this. causing massive power problems and travel problems. there's at least 21 inches of snow on the ground in wichita. a record for the month of february. the storm is being blamed for at least three deaths. and here's a look at some of the other stories. in egypt, this is all that is left after a hot air balloon exploded. 19 of those on board. most of them tourists, are confirmed dead. there are three survivors, however. john kerry is in germany where he wrapped up the second leg of his nine country world tour. saying that rebels should be given aid if their president
does not attend in rome. oscar pistorius will hold a private memorial for his girlfriend, reeva steenkamp. he's accused of murdering that girl. it's going to be at his uncle's home. he's been staying there since granted bail on friday. word from the vatican that upon retirement, the pope will be called emeritus. former surgeon general c. everett koop has passed away at the age of 96. he became a household name mostly for warning americans against the hazards of smoking and the rising aids epidemic. to live a more natural life. in a convenient two bar pack. this is nature valley. nature at its most delicious.
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noon with a vote on hagel's nomination shortly thereafter. here is harry reid. >> there's a fair and constructive nomination process politically mow vated sent a terrible signal to our allies around the world. >> joining me right now is john bar ross sew. i want to remind everybody that you sent a letter to the president last week asking him to drop hagel's name from consideration and on that same day we had richard shelby saying that he will support hagel and he's probably as good as we are going to get. why are you still against chuck hagel moving forward and being confirmed? >> well, thank you, thomas, for having me. i think he's the wrong person to lead the department of defense. it's the largest employer in our country, a significant management skills are needed. i also believe that he has been
wrong. he has a long history that is to me unsettling in terms of positions on iran, iraq, israel, and nuclear weapons. and i think thomas, anybody that watched the confirmation hearings know that he appeared very wobbly. i don't think we have that with chuck hagel. >> is this more about getting a former republican in charge of defense means this is all about sequestration and the fact that major budgetary cuts are coming to our defense and would provide a great way to get those cuts done because a republican will be overseeing them? >> there are some that have suggested that. if you have somebody, a secretary of defense whose roll it is to advise the president in term of national security. i think he's the wrong person to be there. now, leon panetta who is going out and i did support his
nomination, chuck hagel has said that the defense department is bloated and there's plenty of area to cut. >> sir, "the new york times" editorial piece has an article out today drawing up contradictions to what your concerns are. it's one thing to raise serious questions about a candidate's character or political views. it's quite another to with mr. hagel and our first team, they write today, quote, the extra weak after filibustering senator hagel only a bogus group of friends of hamas never existed. do you feel that there are now serious exposures of why the right was wary of chuck hagel? he's making his way through but he's going to be a bloodied defense secretary. when the administration folks had to send him notes as he was testifying to tell him what the
position is, i think it's very damning and i talked to democrats very concerned about his nomination as well but is going to vote for him because he's the president's nominee. he's been wrong on iran, i believe, when he imposed sanctions. he was only one of two senators to do that. we now have korea, north korea in developing a missile. their goal is top send nuclear weapons into the united states to hit us on our own homeland and yet he talks about unilaterally disarming ourself as a nation in term of our nuclear arms. i believe he is the wrong choice and those are just some of the reasons but i think he is not qualified to be secretary of defense. >> again, presuming that he passes the c cloak at noon. thank you. i appreciate your time. >> thank you, thomas. more on the major news that
we're following with marriage equality. aiming to shoot down california's proposition 8, heavy hitters, really heavy hitters lead the way here. top advisers, including national security adviser, steven hadley and carlos gutierrez. these names could sway the high court as it takes up two cases on marriage equality in march. joining me now is a representative from political action group and msnbc political analyst steve schmidt, former senior strategist for arizona senator john mccain. good to have you here. steve, i want to start with you. because your john hancock is on this brief. you're quotes as saying that the dye is cast. >> i support marriage equality for gay americans because of my
conservatism, not in spite of it. when i look at my own marriage, the profound joy that it has brought me, republicans to try to disinfrance chis people from that, which has been affirmed by marriage that is just a fundamental right, that you see a group of republicans, i think, embracing historic foundations in our party of freedom, of equality and i think you will see more and more people coming out and being in support of equality. and when you look at the younger generation, that marriage believes in marriage equality. the dye is cast and gay americans will receive full and equal treatment under the law and hopefully the supreme court will assure that that happens.
>> bloomberg is reports that president obama may be getting ready to show nationwide support for marriage equality as the high court gets ready to meet. however, on the flip side, we've got the national report saying that's there's discomfort for the party on that issue. what's your response to that? not just someone who represents members of the gop but is also trying to challenge the party's leadership to move in a more tolerant direction? >> he will with, i think that many in the establishment in washington are out of touch. they are out of touch on this issue and a lot of issues, frankly. but they don't even know what their own base thinks. and this brief today is another example of how conservatives are thinking about the issue of same-sex marriage differently. you know, all politics is personal and everybody thinks about how issues affect their friends and family and everybody has a gay person in their family now and they want the best for their friends and family and they want them to settle down and get marriage.
i think more and more conservatives are thinking about this and it's up to the leaders in washington, the establishment, to really get in touch with what's happening among young conservatives and grassroots conservative. >> you talk about the establishment in washington. we have these top moderate republicans supporting this, steve schmidt being one of them. and on the other side we look at the gop base and cpac announcing the lineup. as we look at them, none of the speakers have signed off on that brief. go proud is not invited, right now that i understand it, to cpac. this is the second year in a row the national journal says that this is a mistake. do you think that you're being shut out on purpose and in light of, as steve points out, in spite of the fact that there are conservative republicans that recognize this as a conservative
value. but for some reason there's such deep homophobia that cyexists within the gop. >> i certainly disagree with that with cpac. we're focused on working to build a conservative coalition for 2013. that's a winning coalition. and that coalition has to recognize that people are thinking about this differently. i'm a hardcore right winger. people that think like me are in favor of same sex marriage and the establishment is out of touch. they are out of touch with the american people and they are out of touch, frankly, with their own base. the base is moving on this. and they need to recognize that. >> steve, while i have you here, want to get your take on the gop big one chris christy who is not
invited to cpac. the governor of new jersey who is a blue state with approval ratings through the roof, he's not going to be one of the speakers. as you point out, too, younger voters, they want to get to know who the future leaders of the right are, what they stand for, what they support. so why does the cpac organization want to risk alienating burgeoning stars like a chris christie, not invite him? >> look, this cpac convention is increasingly the star wars bar scene. all that is missing is a couple of rookies. chris christie is the most effective conservative governor in the country. he's done a fantastic job. he's somebody that could potentially change the electoral map. when you look at the dysfunction going on in government with the sequester, it makes a very compelling case for a chris christie candidacy because he's an adult. he's getting the job done. he understands what his role is.
but i want to just set the record straight on something. cpac is not the republican party. there are egxecutionary policie that gays cannot come and participate. these are people that are -- people that don't attract a wider audience that we need to attract to win elections. they are talking to a small-closed group that will get a lot of attention but that group has also no bearing on who our next nominee is. >> doesn't that hold weight? >> well, there is certainly that candidates go there and feel that they have a cash cow for some reason and what i'm telling you is that in the real world, where people are voting in primary elections, that group doesn't hold sway.
what goes on there and the cowing that goes on is absolutely debilitating. so mitt romney's going there and doing that, i think it was a big mistake in his campaign. but the point is, the republican party -- and if you look at the pew survey out, 30% of republicans are dissatisfied with the direction of the party. a good number of those are people that want the republicans out of the party window. they want the party to stand for the timeless principles of freedom and equality. >> i want to thank both gentlemen for joining me. big groundbreaking movement on marriage equality from the right. thank you for your time. trayvon martin was shot and killed on his way back from a local star one year ago today. trayvon's parents are going to join me next.
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honor trayvon martin who was killed one year ago today. an unarmed black teen was encountered by george zimmerman, an hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer in florida. what happened next is a matter of contention ever since. did zimmerman do it in self-defense or act as the result of racial prejudice? george zimmerman, whose defense fund is still raising cash, awaits for his trial that beginses on june 10th. trayvon's parents will begin for a vigil. joining me now are sabryna fulton and i know this is a tough day for tracy and sabryna. the attention in the case has
certainly died down, since the height of it, as we witnessed that we all went through last year. you recently had had an opportunity to reflect on your son's death with jonathan capehart. you said that people in general trying to justify why this adult male went after this teenage, young man. you can't justify it. as you look back, what is justice to you at this point? >> initially our focus was to get an arrest and that's why they had so many rallies. i think if they initially arrested him for the murder of trayvon martin, we would not have had so many rallies and so much support from people because they were upset because he was not arrested. >> i think the language of murder is what's being debated and will be debated through the trial and whether or not this was something with the stand your ground law certainly going to be discussed. tracy, you have witnessed how
people in many pockets of the country galvanized over this issue about your son's death. i want to play what president obama had to say after the passing of trayvon. take a listen. >> my main message is to the parents of trayvon martin. you know, if i had a son, he would look like trayvon and i think they are right to expect that all of us as americans are going to take this with the seriousness that it deserves and we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happen gld. >> tracy, are you concerned that the attention has died down and moved on to other situations, like the newtown massacre? >> well, as parents of a slain child, we never move on and we'll do our best to keep it in the media and to keep people's attention on it because
certainly, even though trayvon is gone, he would definitely not be forgotten. and just to -- every day news breaks and we don't expect trayvon to be the top story every day in the media. but he's definitely the top story in our life. and we took a vow to make sure that his honor and his legacy won't be painted tainted by thi situation. >> the trial begins on june 10th. mr. crump, when we look at how it's played out in the media so far, i want to get your take on the stand your grand law. sybrina is pushing for limits for the pursuit or followed. a florida task force has reaffirmed the stand your ground law last week. does that signal to you where the zimmerman defense will go, how it will hold up in court?
>> well, you know, the stand your ground law, nobody talked about it until trayvon was killed and we have to think about how trayvon has changed the situation. everybody in america knows about this controversial law and an act that stand your ground law, we look at that as a plus. if this case does not go to a d jury where tracy and sabrina can have their right to trial by jury, their day in court, people will be terribly disappointed all across the country because that's all they want is their day in court, and we believe the evidence, once it's presented to the jury, their killer of their son will be convicted. >> as sabrina mentioned, the original motive for a lot of this attention and seeking justice was just to gain an arrest so that more information could be discovered and the case properly vetted. as we go through this, i just want to point out that we should mention george zimmerman has sued nbc universal for
defamiliaration, and the company strongly denies those allegations. allegations, some would argue, that the publicity around this case has hurt both sides. there were negative stories that came out about trayvon, damaging revelations about george zimmerman. mr. parks, i want to get your take on the pictures that show george zimmerman. we showed them earlier in the segment. the bloody head on the night of the shooting and how they're going to be used in the trial itself. is this indicative evidence of the fact that mr. sfwlimerman is telling the truth? >> well, i think have you to remember on this night trayvon was unarmed, and that's the part i think that all americans must always remember. trayvon was an unarmed teenager. george zimmerman was a man with a gun. in no situation does trayvon have any obligation. it's very clear here he had the right to fight for his life, and that's important. >> when we talk about the prosecution of florida within your hometown county it's going to be exercising the case
itself. they're going to be going up against george zimmerman's defense attorney, and i mentioned since the death of trayvon, we've had the newtown massacre, and a lot of other gun violence in the country, but mainly we've been talking a lot about urban violence and we've had two young girls with bright futures that were recently gunned down in chicago. we had an article just this week in the washington post that talked about how a community in maryland has been rocked by the deaths of six young teens that were killed in separate incidents. sabrina and tracy, i want to ask you, do you think that urban gun violence is getting the attention that it needs? >> i think it's not just urban gun violence. i think it's violence in general. senseless gun violence in general. the newtown massacre all the violence that's going on in chicago the people that they are
giving gun licenses to and gun permits and letting them go by weapons. newtown massacre, case in point, why would you need a semiautomatic weapon to be hunting? that's -- you know, that's senseless. >> sabrina, i want to ask you lastly how your family is holding up, and are you ready for the emotional task of what going to trial june 10th means? >> my family is holding up fairly well. we're leaning on each other. we're leaning on the rest of the family and also friends. i don't know if we are ready emotionally. i think we just are going to take one day at a time and just, you know, thank god for each day. >> i want to thank all of you for being here. sabrina fulton, tracy martin. we've got benjamin crump and darrell parks. my thanks to all four of you. back with much more after this.
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>> that's going wrap things up for me. i'll see you back here tomorrow. don't go away. now with alex wagner up next. do we have a mower? no. a trimmer? no. we got nothing. we just bought our first house, we're on a budget. we're not ready for spring. well let's get you ready. very nice. you see these various colors. we got workshops every saturday. yes, maybe a little bit over here.
all the things we love about sunday meals into each of her pot pies. like tender white meat chicken and vegetables in a golden flaky crust that's made from scratch. marie callender's pot pies. it's time to savor. the campaign of 2012 led to the election of 2012 which led to the campaign of 2013. it's tuesday, february 26th, and this is "now."