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tv   The Situation Room  CNN  December 27, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PST

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moment he and john kerry met at the white house. they were at a party for the kennedy center honors winners. they talked about herbie hancock. kerry moves in for the fist bump and tells snoop he gave good pound like the elvis meets nixon moment. you don't see stuff like this every day. that's it for "the lead." i'm joe johns. jake is back on monday. i turn you over to brianna keilar, who is filling in for wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now, a federal judge rules it's legal for the nsa to collect data on almost every phone call made in the u.s. will this now head to the supreme court? and the economy may be bouncing back but our poll shows most americans don't feel it. why some will soon feel even more pain. and a story of a canine combat vet who used to sniff out roadside bombs in afghanistan and now patrols the pentagon. wolf blitzer is off today. i'm brianna keilar. you're in "the situation room."
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a federal judge today ruled the massive collection of data on virtually every phone call in the united states is legal. that comes just a week after another federal judge said it's probably unconstitutional. let's go straight now to cnn justice correspondent evan perez. so we're hearing two very different things here. >> right. you have two district judges, one in new york, one in d.c., they look at the same set of facts, the same program run by the nsa, and they've decided two separate and different, opposite conclusions essentially. what this judge in new york said today you go back to 9/11 and you see what the government might have missed before 9/11 and ways they could have stopped the attacks from happening. this is what the nsa is doing now to try to prevent the next attack. i think that is the biggest point that he was trying to make today, as opposed to the judge
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last week who was focusing more on the privacy angle. >> what does this do to the nsa's data base? they have been collecting all of this information on phone calls and internet usage. >> hundreds of millions of pieces of data that they are collecting. the program is continuing, even the judge last week, he basically kept the program running while the government has time to appeal. the judge in this ruling today is going to allow obviously the aclu which brought the lawsuit to appeal and that will, you know, will have two separate appeals courts will have to decide whether this continues or not. that's going to wind its way through for the next couple of years, probably. >> you are thinking a couple of years. what is the next step here? >> well, the next step is that the president appointed a panel, as you know, to take a look at this and they came back and said they didn't think that the program, this program in particular, worked very well, it didn't really do anything to stop an imminent attack.
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that's the same point the judge made last week in washington. the president says next month, he's going to take a look at this, he's going to make some decisions on how to go forward. one of the recommendations from that panel that he appointed was to take this program out of the hands of the nsa, put it back in the hands of the phone companies that collect this data anyway, then make the nsa have to go to court to be able to access the information. >> so you've got two judges, they've got the same set of facts, but they arrive at polar opposite conclusions. how? >> well, the judge today in his ruling begins at 9/11. he's in new york. the judge appointed ironically, the judge today was appointed by president clinton. the ruling last week came from a bush judge. >> it is ironic. >> go figure, right? the judge today begins at 9/11 and he looks at it from a standpoint of how crucial this is to prevent the next 9/11, the next attack.
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i think the other -- the other side of this issue looks at the issue of privacy and says the government is collecting way too much information, knows way too much and it can't prove that this does anything to keep us safer. you know, that's the dichotomy here, that's the difference of opinion you hear every day on this issue all across the country. >> playing out in courts as well. >> exactly. >> evan perez, thank you so much. that's a big legal win for the nsa but is that phone surveillance really effective and should the government continue the program? joining me now to talk about this, republican congressman peter king of new york. he serves on the homeland security and intelligence committees. congressman, what do you think the ultimate result is here? do you think this will be settled by the supreme court? >> first of all, i would like to say that i fully agree with the decision that the nsa's actions are entirely constitutional. having said that, i think this case is going to go to the second circuit court of appeals. judge leon's decision or ruling is going to go to the district
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of columbia court of appeals. i think again, i have no way of predicting how that's going to go but this certainly seems like the type of case that is going to end up in the u.s. supreme court, because it does -- it is of paramount national interest and it is obviously conflict and that conflict may show itself again at the u.s. court of appeals level. >> congressman, this all started back with edward snowden. we've heard from him recently in an interview with the "washington post." he said mission accomplished. partially because he says that what he revealed stirred a great international debate on mass surveillance. then this week in a message broadcast in british television, he said this. >> the conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place both in the technology that surrounds us and the government that regulates it. >> now, so let me ask you, do you agree with edward snowden that this debate about
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surveillance has been an important one? >> no. first of all, i think edward snowden is a disgrace. he's a traitor. he's a defector. and what he spread is mass hysteria and mass misinformation. for instance, the nsa is not collecting information on phone calls other than one phone number to another. there is no names involved. there is no content involved. they're not surveilling e-mails either. so there are all these false stories out there. snowden says the nsa knows where he is or follows people or they can listen in on the president's phone calls. no. it's under strict court supervision. last year after billions and billions of phone numbers were assembled, there were less than 300 even looked at and right now, 60 american citizens throughout the world are on any type of surveillance because of the nsa's efforts. it's done by the justice department, not the nsa. this is the most carefully monitored constitutional program we have. edward snowden has spread fear and hysteria and to me is an absolute disgrace. >> congressman, last week,
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president obama was asked directly for evidence that nsa programs had stopped another 9/11. he didn't name a specific one. has there been a single terrorist threat that you say has been stopped by this program? >> well, in his opinion today, judge pauley refers to three of them. i am virtually with one of them, that's the attempted attack by zazi in 2009 on the new york city subway system. i was actually there with commissioner kelly when this was unraveling, when the plot was unraveling and the nypd and fbi were on to it. this came in large part because of the efforts of the nsa. they were absolutely instrumental in that. there is any number of others. the nsa has given examples of over 50. the judge today cites three of them in his opinion. judge leon last week, you have the president of the united states, director of national intelligence and head of the nsa and cia all saying that the surveillance is important. judge leon is not an intelligence expert. he went outside his lane.
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as a federal judge, he has no say at all on whether or not something is helpful or good or bad. he has to decide strictly the constitutionality and for him to say he wasn't impressed or wasn't convinced that it served an intelligence purpose, that's none of his business. the constitution has judges interpreting laws and applying it to the constitution. it's up to the president and the congress to define and decide whether or not something is of importance as far as intelligence is concerned. >> so the white house, the president appointed this independent panel to give him suggestions on recommendations on what to do with some of these nsa programs. we're expecting for him to detail his response to them next month. what do you think that president obama needs to tell the american people about the nsa programs and also about the concerns that so many americans have about their privacy when it relates to these programs? >> well, first of all, no one's privacy is being violated. it's up to the president to show leadership. on the one hand he's saying the
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nsa is not violating anyone's rights, that it provides useful intelligence, and that the snowden leaks have been damaging. on the other hand, he says he's going to look to reform. what's he going to reform? if the system is working, if it's being done honestly, intelligently and constitutionally, what does he want to reform? i think the president is trying to have it both ways. i wish he would show leadership. if he thinks this program is working, he should say that and stand by it. he shouldn't be trying to have it both ways. on the one hand this, on the other hand, that. the fact is he's commander in chief. it's time to show leadership and stand by the program which he himself says is working and is constitutional. i have no idea what this president's going to do. >> let me play devil's advocate to that. there have been tremendous concerns voiced by many americans. are their concerns warranted? shouldn't they be part of the debate here, whether or not you think edward snowden is a disgrace, isn't this a debate that the american people should have some say in? >> if the debate is done honestly. the average american i think
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believes that their phone calls are being listened to. they think e-mails are being looked at. that is totally untrue. no one's phone calls are being listened to by the nsa. the fact is it's under total court supervision. now, there are thousands of phone calls being listened to every day by local prosecutors, by local police, by federal law enforcement, by federal prosecutors. that's done in narcotics and pornography and organized crime. that's totally separate from the nsa. the nsa, i believe there's a total of 60 americans, 6-0 americans, having their phone calls listened to and that's because they're in contact with terrorists. that's 60 all over the world and it's only done under strict court supervision and the granting of an order by the court. >> but some of them know that their calls aren't necessarily being listened to, but just the fact that the government has this blanket access to, should it be needed, to this phone data, to this internet usage data. we have heard many people put concerns out there because they
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feel like they have been misled. for instance, let's talk a little bit about dni james clapper, director of national intelligence. he testified before congress that i think a lot of people took that to mean that there wasn't even this sort of blanket grabbing of phone and internet usage. his critics actually include republican senator rand paul. do you think there should be any consequences for clapper and we certainly noticed that president obama didn't really defend him in his testimony before congress last week. >> let me say several things. first of all, e-mails are not being surveilled. the nsa on its own stopped doing that more than two years ago because they felt they cannot ensure privacy because there was so much extraneous information in an e-mail. they stopped that. there is no e-mail surveillance. it stopped more than two years ago. as far as general clapper, he was in a position, he was asked a question by a senator that the senator knew the answer to. it had already been discussed in
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a private confidential top secret session because we did not want the enemy to know what we were doing and what we were capable of. what general clapper was trying to do, first, he didn't expect a question like that would be asked in public, because of its top secret nature, and he tried to give an answer which he thought was the least offensive, where he would be protecting the men and women of the nsa and those -- and protect the programs we are using to stop al qaeda. there's nothing in this for the nsa. they have not abused this, are not using it for political purposes, they're not going after anyone. they are doing it to save american lives and it has worked. that's what general clapper was trying to protect. as far as rand paul, i think he's also absolutely terrible, when he was comparing general clapper to edward snowden, a four star general who is dedicating his life to his country to a guy who is a traitor and deserter? rand paul again does not know what he's talking about. he also on another show once was saying the nsa follows him and knows everything he's doing. the guy's having delusions of grandeur. no one really cares what he's doing. >> strong opinions, congressman
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peter king. we appreciate you coming on to share them with us. >> thank you. happy new year. >> you, too. next, stocks have soared and the economy may be on its way back but most americans say they don't feel it. some are about to feel a lot more pain. coming up, a python on the loose after strangling a security guard outside a luxury hotel.
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wall street is in record territory, unemployment is at a five-year low, and housing has bounced back, but our latest poll shows americans remain pessimistic about the economy. most think it's still in poor shape. that mindset poses yet another tough challenge for the obama
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administration. cnn's athena jones is in hawaii, where the president is vacationing. >> reporter: good afternoon. you're right, americans are still feeling glum about the economy, according to our new cnn/orc poll. 68% say economic conditions are poor and more than half, 56%, say conditions will still be poor a year from now. this pessimism is affecting consumer spending, which is of course a big part, a big driver, i should say, of the economy. more than a third, 36%, say they have cut back on food or medicine because of the economy. 58% say they have cut back on clothes and 56% say they have postponed major purchases like furniture or appliances. a lot of the president's focus has been on how wage and income inequality is keeping the american dream out of reach for millions of americans who are struggling, and you will remember this. at the beginning of december in a speech, the president said that battling inequality and the lack of upward mobility is the
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defining challenge of our time. in his press conference on that friday right before heading out here for christmas vacation, he talked about how more needs to be done to create jobs that help the middle class and the people trying to get into the middle class. let's listen to what he had to say then. >> i think 2014 needs to be a year of action. we've got work to do to create more good jobs, to help more americans earn the skills and education they need to do those jobs, and to make sure that those jobs offer the wages and benefits that let families build a little bit of financial security. we've got to build on the progress we've painstakingly made over these last five years with respect to our economy and offer the middle class and all those who are looking to join the middle class a better opportunity. >> reporter: so the question that remains is how well the president can work with congress to get the policies passed that he believes will help. brianna? >> they may determine whether it really is a year of action. athena jones in honolulu, thank you.
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while most americans don't feel the economy is improving, many are about to feel some more pain. federal long term unemployment benefits will end tomorrow for more than a million people, and cnn's tom foreman is breaking this down for us. tom? >> this is going to be quite a blow to some people out there. now, what's going to be different, if this -- if you're long term unemployed this affects you. if you simply become unemployed in the coming year, you will still get regular unemployment benefits for 26 weeks. for several years now, we have had these additional benefits that go on beyond that for people who are long term unemployed. that's what's going away. they get about $300 a week. that means a lot, if you have been out of work that long or longer, and there are about 1.3 million people who will be immediately affected. it's not the same all over the country. those places that have more people out of work longer in the dark areas here like new york, new jersey, pennsylvania, florida, illinois, texas, california over here, they will
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really feel this much more than others. >> tom foreman, thank you so much. let's bring in our economist peter maurici, a professor at the university of maryland. you heard tom describing these benefits that are about to evaporate for some people. let me tell you how the white house is responding to this. the president's economic advisor gene spurling saying this afternoon it defies economic sense, precedent and our values to allow 1.3 million americans fighting to find jobs to see their unemployment insurance abruptly cut off, especially in the middle of the holiday season. does it really defy economic sense? >> no, it really doesn't. the president is using the unemployment benefits as a wedge issue. the reality is that we're five years into the recovery, this is an extraordinary program, 26 weeks is what we have historically had for unemployment benefits and there is a question as to whether people delay job searches if they get very long benefits. will it be a drag on the
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economy, will there be disruptions? the president, the administration, the congress has led people to believe these would always be extended and they haven't been. >> but at this point, when you are dealing with someone who has been long term unemployed, they are struggling to find work as opposed to someone who has been unemployed for a short period of time. isn't this a necessary lifeline, especially for someone who is expecting to have this benefit? >> it certainly is a necessary lifeline if people have developed the expectation that it would always be there. however, there is information that would indicate that people delay looking for a job depending on the length of benefits they receive. so it's a matter of when do you adjust the policy. you can have long term unemployment benefits down to 5% unemployment. when do you draw the line. this is where people differ. >> this is one of the arguments that we hear republicans make as they argue with the white house over whether this should be extended or not. certainly one of the big issues they have is if this is going to be extended, they want to make sure that it's paid for. they don't want to be adding to the deficit.
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but i guess if you are going to say okay, these people who are long term unemployed, we a're n giving you this benefit anymore, there has to be another answer, assuming some people aren't just sitting around not trying to get a job. in some ways, you know that their jobs have perhaps gone away, the skills that they have don't really match maybe the jobs that are out there. what is the answer then really to getting some of these long term unemployed people back to work? >> we have to develop new industries. some of the old jobs aren't going to come back. we need to create ways that americans can be more competitive in asia, where there's a lot of growth. suggestions have been made to the president on that score. with regard to say china and its economic policies that keep our products out. we have an energy boom in america but it could be much larger. we prohibit drilling off both the atlantic and pacific coasts and we significantly curtail it in the eastern gulf of mexico. if we did that, we could increase oil production by four million barrels a day but more
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importantly, we could create three million new jobs and lower the unemployment rate by two percentage points. >> let's take it to the personal level. who are in short the long term unemployed? >> there is no single person. i can't give you a prototype. they are scattered throughout the country. they have lost their jobs in industries like various kinds of low wage manufacturing, they have lost the jobs in agriculture, where there has been consolidation. they have lost jobs because of competition from abroad. they have lost jobs simply because the focus of economic activity has shifted to the two coasts, north dakota and texas. >> so what do they need to do? what needs to be done for them in order to move them into a job where they can be part of the economy? >> in addition to creating industries and creating jobs, we need to increase mobility. mobility is at an all time low in the united states. we take it for granted. the reality is even if you've got the skills and you are living in kansas, where there used to be a factory and there is now a job available for you in nevada, you don't have the means to move. too little attention has been
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given to increasing the mobility of people. part of this is the housing crisis. people under water in communities where there is high unemployment. you're stuck. also, just the wherewithal, the money to pick up, a mother with two kids who is 38 years old, has two years of college, three kids, no husband, how does she move to a big city? we haven't addressed that. in other countries, they do. >> thank you so much. looking at this a different way, we appreciate it. coming up, breaking news from a & e. the network is taking new action on "duck dynasty." details next. [ male announcer ] this is george.
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the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪
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breaking news now.
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the a & e network is lifting its suspension of "duck dynasty" star phil robertson. the patriarch of the reality show family was sidelined for remarks about homosexuality and race that many found offensive. a & e says it will resume production in the spring and will also produce public service announcements about tolerance. let's bring in our cnn senior media correspondent and also the host of cnn's reliable sources, brian stelter. what do you make of this decision? >> i suppose this is the kind of thing that was expected to happen at some point but i'm surprised it happened so fast. nobody really thought "duck dynasty" was going away. the show is too valuable to a & e and the robertson family. it's interesting it only took a week between the time the suspension was announced and the time it's lifted. >> we saw cracker barrel pull the merchandise and very quickly after getting so much reaction from people, put it back in. we also were seeing that a & e,
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while they had suspended phil robertson, were running marathons of episodes -- >> high rated episodes. >> for hours and hours over this holiday week with phil robertson in it. >> there probably is room for cynicism about this. at the end of the day, the bottom line is what's most important. this is a very lucrative show. a & e in this statement took the chance to say they reiterate that these are not views we hold, but then they continue on by saying "duck dynasty" is not a show about one man's views. they go on and on, basically predefending their decision to bring him back. >> you heard a lot of gay rights groups who were very upset over his comments. is this a defeat for them? >> i think we will hear from them later today and i have a feeling they would be very disappointed by this, because they interpreted this as a big victory last week when they were able to have him suspended. the same is true for civil rights groups that spoke out about his comments about african americans. i find one of those group leaders, though, i probably have
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a feeling this show wasn't going to disappear. it was simply too valuable. >> do you think that part of the reason this is happening is because this sort of happens, he was talking about the bible, his interpretation, he was talking about this in the context of his religion and how he understood homosexuality, and it was -- he made comments about race, but these comments about homosexuality i think really did grab a lot of the attention as well. do you think that if this didn't have anything to do with religion, these were just blanket statements that he made, that this would have been different? that in a way, that added some -- a different element to this of religious freedom? >> it did. it made a lot more people upset with a & e's decision. i have said before, they were in an impossible position. there was no good choice they were able to make here, because they were going to upset some group of people either way. but especially around the christmas holiday, with people getting together for dinner,
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talking about this, i think a lot of religious people from all different points of view were bothered by this, for various reasons. because it involves religion, it made it harder for a & e. >> you are a social media guru and social media played a big part in this. >> it did. >> how important was that, do you think, in i guess the initial reaction and then now, this development? >> the show was trending for days. it was the best publicity that a & e could buy for this show even though it may make them look bad in the short term. it was great press for the show. now we will see tons of reaction to this as well now that they have reversed. here's my favorite tweet from a tv critic who wrote quote, conservative groups will pretend a & e caved to their pressure. a & e just caved to the pressure of the almighty dollar. that's what feels most true to me right now although we'll see what we hear in days to come. >> it's not necessarily -- even though the debate -- actually, i thought it was a fascinating debate. >> i'm kind of glad it happened. even though it did upset people. >> of course.
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and i can totally understand how what he said offended many people. but i thought it was an interesting debate to have. i thought it reminded people that there are people who have different points of view and it created a discussion. >> his views are shared by millions of people. on the other hand, so are glaad's. it's going to be interesting what the psas will look like. they say they will film a public service campaign around unity, tolerance and acceptance of all people. that's not what comes to mind when people think of phil robertson. we'll see how they straddle that line. >> this was an interesting debate and one that a lot of people found to be pretty fascinating. but it really does sort of down to the buck, doesn't it? >> also, to the fact that this is a television show that's not about religion. yes, every episode ends with a prayer but it's really a family comedy. the show is not about the more serious parts of life. it's about the more fun parts of life. it's about family togetherness and they're going to go to reflect that now because as a &
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e says, they will be back taping this spring. >> i want to bring in a couple of our political guests. mark lamont hill and will payne, to get their reaction to this. will, what do you think? are you surprised? brian is surprised this happened so quickly, even though perhaps it was heading in this direction. >> no, i'm not surprised. i heard brian a moment ago say there was no correct choice for a & e. they were put in a little bit of a no-win situation. you could be, i have heard you guys invoke a little cynicism here, you could be very cynical and say they made exactly the right choice. they made a meaningless suspension that didn't interrupt filming whatsoever for a & e, got "duck dynasty" and a & e splattered across every headline in the nation and thus create a marketing boon. i say that only as a cynic on the marketing side. i think a & e was wrong from the start to silence people, that they had some kind of group think disagreement with, when in truth, what phil robertson had to say was a religious point of view and personal preference and one that many americans, not including me, many americans agreed with.
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it was the wrong thing morally, perhaps the right thing marketing wise. >> it was -- but to be clear, "duck dynasty" wasn't some little tiny show at the beginning. it was a big hit from the get-go. >> no, that just means now instead of 13 million people watching, perhaps it will be 20 million with this kind of headline splashing thing over the last several weeks. >> i don't know. i think you sound a little more cynical than us. what do you think -- >> will is always that cynical. >> mark, you chime in, please. >> i mean, here's the thing. i am not surprised they did this. they had to make some sort of gesture to make people happy, and they did that with the suspension which essentially meant nothing. companies have a right to make decisions about who they want to stand next to. that's where i disagree with will. if for example he had stood out and said he was a card carrying atheist working for the bible network, it would be reasonable for them to say we don't want that person representing our network. as a carried carrying home ohphobe, they have a right to
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say we don't want him standing next to us. it's not about silencing speech or behavior. it's about deciding who you want your brand to represent, to be represented by. in this case they decided the 14 million viewers and millions and hundreds of millions of dollars that come with that is worth more than the lgbt community. that was the choice that they made. i don't like their choice. but they let the market decide. they were swayed by the market and unfortunately, justice lost out this time. >> let me ask you this. dollars aside, what did you think about this debate? i'm not saying that it was pretty. i'm not saying that people aren't offended. but did you think in a way that it revealed where different opinions are and that it sparked, you know, a debate that you could at least say sort of intellectually in revealing where different parts of our country are, that it was worthwhile? >> i think it's always good to have a spotlight on the american public and the american citizenry to find out where we
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are. surely anti-gay sentiments are still prevalent in this country. it's the last form of sort of -- it's the last thing you can say in public space and it be acceptable. you can run for president not liking gay people. you can have a tv show not liking gay people. if you were to say that about women, blacks or disabled people, he wouldn't have a job but the lgbt community is the last form of discrimination that's publicly acceptable. that's what we learned from this. it's still okay to not like gay people. you can get rich off of it. >> obviously this is something, the discussion continues. brian, mark, will, thanks so much. we'll be right back.
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fresh off a re-election victory that seemed to validate his agenda, 2013 looked like it was president obama's year, but fast forward 12 months, and the president has slumped to his lowest approval rating yet, leaving a big hole to dig himself out of in 2014. his year started like this. >> so help me god. >> but it's ending like this. >> has this been the worst year of your presidency? >> president obama is closing out 2013 on a sour note. his approval rating, above 50% this time last year, now at an all time low. the drop began in the spring when the irs admitted to targeting conservative groups, and stories of extensive spying by the nsa began to emerge. at issue, whether americans trusted him. it didn't get any better in the fall, when he pushed for a response to syria's use of
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chemical weapons. >> i have decided that the united states should take military action. >> but then abruptly changed course when a war-weary congress rebuffed him. and the syrian civil war rages on. in october, a two-week government shutdown cemented many americans' views that washington can't get anything done. all that would be bad enough, but the year's biggest pitfall was still to come. >> we fumbled the rollout on this health care law. >> the botched rollout of healthcare.gov led to a candid admission of failure and a new dip in the polls but it wasn't just the website. it was this vow, now debunked. >> if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. >> obama was forced to apologize. >> i am sorry. >> and fact-checking website politifact crowned it the biggest lie of the year. >> i am not a perfect man and i will not be a perfect president.
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>> you would think this is as bad as it gets but if he doesn't turn things around ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, he could slide further. >> the only question now is whether it gets worse for him, because then he loses control of congress. >> president obama, though, is looking at the bright side. >> i have also got to wake up in the morning and make sure that i do better the next day. and that we keep moving forward. and when i look at the landscape for next year, what i say to myself is we're poised to do really good things. >> let's get more now with cnn political commentators mark lamont hill and will kaine as well as candy crowley. actually, will, i'm going to put the first question to you because you saw that piece on the president's horrible, terrible, no good, very bad year, but when we talk about the economy and we see indicators coming back up, let me ask you
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this. does he get some credit for that? >> the economy, yes, i will give him a little bit of credit on that, but here's the deal. if i were president obama, i wouldn't hang my hat on short term economic gains. this is a long, slow recovery out of a credit bubble recession. ones that historically last longer than seven years. in that seven year period of recovery, they look like this. they are up, they're down, they're back and forth. just because you might see a couple months of growth, and i'm not rooting, by the way, for the recession to continue. i'm telling you how it has gone historically. when it turns back to sour, as these recessions tend to do, again, bounce up and down, he won't have that there. all he will have is his policies, the lies they were sold on and their own failures for the public to stare at again for another year. >> candy, let me ask you this. we heard about the horrible 2013. president obama said hey, i want to do these things, was unable to do it. he's talked about what he wants to do in 2014. immigration, climate change, continue with the economy, obviously wants to get obamacare
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back on track. what can he accomplish? >> i think -- well, first of all he said i'm focusing on jobs, i'm focusing on the economy and the middle class. i'm assuming that will be what the talk is. he has promised immigration reform since his first four years, so i think there's a possibility they will get immigration reform, but i think it has to be after the primary season, because what's freaking out republicans is if they go for piecemeal, even piecemeal immigration reform, a lot of the members will get hit from the far right. i think they probably have a better chance of doing it but not much time after the primaries. >> you can imagine republicans in a primary where they're worried about someone on the right, they don't want to get embroiled in that debate. mark, what do you think? do you think there's really a shot for immigration reform? >> no. i think immigration reform is going to be dead in the water. as candy said, the best shot at immigration reform won't be wholesale, but piecemeal. but there are just too many
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people whose political futures hang in the balance and simply, you won't see keystone pipeline or immigration, or any really substantive type of reform other than perhaps those fueled by economic populism. you may see federal minimum wage, an extension of unemployment benefits. democrats are already saying they want to come back in january and hit that hard. there's a possibility there because even in the reddest of red states, there are everyday americans who want these things. even the tea party members overwhelmingly want to see financial relief. so that's the best shot obama has. obama, contrary to what will said, i think needs to ring the bell that this isn't just short term growth, this is really a turning of the corner in the american economy from the gdp to auto sales to gas prices to nasdaq since january, all across the board, with the exception of this pesky unemployment thing, we see some growth. >> the problem is that that doesn't turn out to be true. that's the simple problem. you go out and say we turned a corner, and we haven't, then we
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put this in a package that leads into segments of you and me talking that shows all the lost credibility over the past year. the next year for president obama and the reason candy is right and you're right, there will be no comprehensive immigration reform, is because of obamacare. in 2014, it will again be about obamacare. the only critique i have about the conversation we have about it is right now, we talk about it in terms of politics, failed rollouts and websites. in 2014, we will be talking about the policy itself. more about things like if you like your plan, you can keep it because when that hits the employer market, and we talk about insurance company bailouts, that will dominate the news cycle. there will be no room for immigration, climate change or anything else. >> last word to candy. >> just on the economy, these numbers are basically meaningless to those who are not feeling the recovery. they don't care what the growth is. they are clearly not feeling it. why? because the fact of the matter is when this recovery began, 2009 to 2012, 95% of the household gains went to the top 1%. people are not feeling it.
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so i don't care if it's 2.5% growth or 3% growth, what really is going to be hard on democrats this fall, if people don't start feeling it, is the fact that they are going to go into an election year or election time in november when people feel like things are on the wrong track. that's the number to watch, not 2.5% growth. >> sure. when the electorate will be stacked against them already in november. candy, will, marc, thanks to all of you. >> thank you. just ahead, new information just coming in on the conflict in south sudan as the warring factions get an ultimatum. [ male announcer ] legalzoom has helped start over 1 million businesses. if you have a business idea, we have a personalized legal solution that's right for you. with easy step-by-step guidance, we're here to help you turn your dream into a reality. start your business today with legalzoom.
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this just into cnn. 72 united nations peacekeepers have arrived in south sudan's capital, the first of 5500 additional peace keepers authorized this week. the warring factions got an ultimatum. east after kaj leaders are warning them to lay down arms. more now fro cnn's frederick pleitgen. >> reporter: the few videos coming out of south sudan show definite stations after battles and looting in many towns. and the desperation on the faces of those forced to flee. the u.n. says more than 1,000 people have been killed and more than 120,000 are on the run in south sudan, causing the international community to
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drastically increase the peacekeeping force there. >> all peacekeepers are under the instruction to use force when civilians are under imminent threat, within their capables. >> reporter: the conflict is both political and ethnic, pitting the president, head of the largest tribe, again the rebel forces of his former vice president, who's from the second largest transcribed, the nuwer. there are reports of summary executions, and reports of mass graves. the u.s. is urging both sides to come to the table or risk the young nation falling apart 678. >> if there is not a political dialogue, the consequences could be devastating. >> reporter: many displaced have pled to u.n. bases. international aid groups say they're having trouble supplying food, water and medicines.
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the united states helped them separate from sudan after a bloody civil war, and has given the country about $500 million in aid. before the referendum for independence just over two years ago, president obama said it could help end conflict in this volatile african region. >> this moment the fate of millions of people hangs in the balance. what happens in sudan in the days ahead may decide whether a people who have endured too much war moved toward peace or slip backwards into bloodshed. >> reporter: these are some of the youngest south sudanese, born into conflict on christmas day. the actions of the leaders of the warring factions will probably determine what sort of country they will grow up in and whether there will be a nation called south sudan to grow up in at all. joining mess to talk about
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this, human rights activist john prendergast, he worked for peace in african. he is the cofounder of the enough project. john, thanks for being with us. you heard that, the south sudanese government is now saying that they agree in principle to a cease-fire. is this something we can hang our hat on? >> well, i think it's a small nail to hang your hat on, because the other party, which is the rebels, and their leaders, wasn't invited to the meeting. so what you've got is a government that's willing to play ball and participate in a cease-fire, but a rebel group that has not yet agreed to that cease-fire. so the government is restraining the counter-offensive right now, which is a very positive thing, but how long will they wait before they counterattack in some of these locations in the oil fields. >> so they're not having a true conversation at this point. how do you assess the situation there? we've heard about mass graves. we've heard about ethnically
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motivated killings, what is your assessment of what's going on? >> well, it's an old-fashioned power struggle, the newest country in the world, the institutions are very weak, they're both battling for power. they both feel it's a zero-sum game, winner take all, and they use ethnicity to mobilize people on their behalf. it's the oldest trick in the books. you use identity, race, religion in some other places. in this place they use ethnicity. if they don't get the genie back in the bottle of ethnic conflict, then south sudan could be in for a very rough period. >> this is a region, john, that's captured the attention of so many americans in recent years. the crisis in darfur that ultimately led to the founding of south sudan, the fact that the u.s. backed the foundation of the south sudan. what has struck me, as we've
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talked about this crisis recently -- pardon me -- there doesn't seem to be an answer of what can be done. what are the options here? >> well, i'm glad you asked. you know, i think when states are born and they have a history of conflict, they often -- those cycles continue to repeat themselves until institutions are built that can withstand these disputes and turn military disputes into political ones. so that's what south sudan has embarked on right now. this is the first big test in the first 2 1/2 years of its life. so an election is coming up in 2015, part of the solution will be negotiating an agreement between the parties that will allow for a transparent free and fair political process that gets us to those elections. so south sudanese people get to choose their own leaders instead of the big guys with the big guns deciding it for them. >> it is a big test and we will be watching.
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john, thanks for being with us. >> thanks, brianna. next, an update from antarctica from a ship with dozens on board is trapped in ice and a rescue attempt has been stalled. the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ you know, ronny... folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy.
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only at one of our 425 stores nationwide, where queen mattresses start at just $699.99. sleep number. comfort individualized. happening now, stolen pins, targets now says the numbers were swiped by hackers, along with data. with will they give the thieves access to your bank account? mideast rage, clashes, riots and car bomb rocked the region. casualties including a former ambassador and washington ally. what's fuelling the turmoil? stalled rescue efforts to reach a ship trapped by ice.
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how will it end? wolf blitzer is off today, i'm brianna keilar, you are in "the situation room." a massive breach of credit and debit card data, now targets is confirming that p.i.n. numbers were also stolen from the customer accounts, but the company says those numbers were strongly encrypted and it believes they're safe and secure. joe johns follows these new developments for us, but i have to tell you, we heard yesterday they didn't believe any of the information had gotten out. now we're learning they have it and it's encrypted. i'm still worried if i'm a target customer. >> it's alarming that p.i.n. code information was accessed, but here's the important thing, the p.i.n. code information was strongly encrypted the key to the encryption was not accessed as part of the breach.
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in fact targets says the keep to the encryption never even existed within the company's systems. the way this works is, when you swipe your card at targets and punch in your p.i.n., there's a process that translates it into a nearly indecipherable, target says it uses something walled the triple dds to encrypt the p.i.n. codes. experts say it would be difficult to impossible to break the process if the key was robust enough. targets has decline to comment on that further. what a lot of people, though, are wondering is how close the authorities are to identifying the thief who may have accessed up to 40 million customers, the secret service, the u.s. justice department aren't commenting on that. however, brian cribs, a cybersecurity expert who broke the story says he's identified someone in eastern europe who is behind the website that's been selling the target data.
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that doesn't mean he knows who the hacker is, but it's a possible lead, a number of cybersecurity experts said early on the initial attack probably came from russia where several groups are pretty good at this thing. >> bottom line, if you have one of these debit cards, get a new one. >> yeah, or change your p.i.n. code. that's another precaution you could take. >> joe johns, thanks so much. the nsa's bulk collection made on nearly every phone calls is legal, that's the ruling of a federal judge. just last week another judge called the surveillance program almost or wellian, and said it's likely unconstitutional. let's sort this out with cnn's senior legal analyst jeffrey toobin. these two decisions are like night and day. so make sense of this for us. >> impossible, can't be done. no, this is a very unusual situation. two very respected federal judges addressing exactly the same issue within a week of each
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other, and coming to completely opposite conclusions. the judge said, look, there's a supreme court decision that says when you dial the phone, you are telling the phone company what number you are dialing, so you don't have an expectation of privacy in that number. this bulk collection of data is simply just collecting the numbers that you dial. it's not collecting the contents of the call, so this is not a violation of the constitution. the judge last week, judge leon from washington said yes, you do have an expectation of privacy, that decision is now from 1979, the supreme court decision is obsolete. they're just obviously in flect and we're going to to wait for the appellate courts and perhaps the supreme court to sort it out. >> now, the aclu is the plaintiff in this decision in today's ruling. they have already announced they're going to appeal the judge's ruling. how likely is it that their appeal could be successful?
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>> it's really hard to say. i think the fact that two judges have come out so differently suggest this is a really different legal issue. it doesn't break down along the traditional/liberal conservative times those of us who follow the supreme court are so familiar with. there are a lot of people on the left and right who are upset about this large data collection program, but it is also true that it is hard to get a government program aimed at protecting national security overturned. national security is a powerful interest in the courts. so this decision will be appealed to the second circuit court of appeals, statistic decision in want will be appealed to the d.c. circuit court of appeals, we'll see what they do. if they come out differently, the supreme court will almost certainly have to take the case. >> what do you think the likelihood is that this goes to the supreme court? >> i would say it's likely, but
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we really don't know yet. the supreme court always waits until the circuit courts of appeal address the issue. it may be that both courts find the same way, in which case it's unlikely the supreme court will step in. if they both uphold the program, i think it's less likely that the supreme court gets involved. if they disagree or both find that it's unconstitutional, i think the supreme court will almost certainly take the case. but we're talking about a year before it's before the supreme court. these appeals take a while. >> you said courts aren't normally in the habit of overturning something like this. you would expect that the deck might be, say, stacked against the aclu or someone arguing on behalf of privacy? is that correct? >> i think that's right. when you executive branch, here the nsa, invoked national security, that's something most courts of very reluctant to disturb. it's true the judge in
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washington did say this is orwellian, this is too much, but most courts defer to the executive branch. i would say the odds favor both appellate courts upholding the program, but, you know, we've seen two judges, i expect there will be more district court judges addressing the issue, this is obviously a big major controversy. it's not an obvious result how it should come out, so we'll see. >> we will see the it may be sometime, and we'll be talking about this for a while. >> i expect so. >> there's more to come. jeffrey toobin, thanks so much. >> okay, brianna. we're following an unfolding drama. we're following this with a lot of interest. an expedition ship trapped by ice near the bottom of the world. help is within sight, an icebreaker is only six miles away, but even it cannot break through the ice. cnn's sunland zarfani is here
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with more. >> they can see each other. they so close to rescue. this is going to be an agonizing mission, the heavy ice is now hurting the rescue ship. >> there the icebreaker. >> reporter: that tiny dot, that's the "snowdragon" the chinese icebreaker seen aboard the stranded ship, an icebreaker that uses the ship's weight, as much as 10,000 tons to break through heavy ice, but it's still six nautical miles away, itself blocked by ice up to ten feet thing, the captain telling cnn earlier today the current condition is exceeding our ability toss break through further. it's been nearly 100 thundershowers since the russian vessel first ran into trouble
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between antarctica and new zealand. temperatures dropped quickly. >> we moved as quickly as we could, but the ship just couldn't get through it. >> reporter: 74 researchers are on board on a mission to study climate change. if the crew are on good shape, collecting data while waiting to be rescued. but they endured a blizzard. >> we're surrounded by sea ice. we just can't get through. >> reporter: now the ice is building, closing in. >> we have about two to three meters, maybe four in places surrounding us. at one point yet, the ship was tilting a bit behalf pressure on one side because of the strong easterly winds. >> reporter: it's hard to predict exactly when the chinese ship may reach them. the captain says likely sunday at the earliest unless the weather improves dramatically. the chinese ship does have a
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helicopter on board. if they're not able to reach them, they can fly in supplies. >> they've been red reeven acting a -- adventure. >> and this is an even greater story. >> sunlen, thank you so much. a major new development in the controversy other "duck dynasty" start phil robertson. we just learned of a new move by a & e. bus first christina aguilera is on a mission to fight hunger in this "impact your world." ♪ twinkle twinkle little star >> reporter: christina aguilera is lending a hand and her voice in the fight against world hunger. ♪ how i wonder what you are ♪
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>> she says becoming a mother played a key role. >> when i look at my son, i realize all the opportunities he has around him. every child deserves the chance to dream and to hope. >> reporter: aguilera recently traveled to rwanda as an ambassador against hunger. >> it's so lovely to see them smile and their eyes light up for them eager to get an education, and in the long term, try and provide for their family and break the cycle of going hungry. this is aguilera's third trip with the world food program. she previously visited guatemala and haiti. >> why not do all i can to give these children a voice of their own to be heard and to have the same opportunities that everyone else should have? ♪ like a diamond in the sky
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news. the a & e network has just announced its lifting the suspension of "duck dynasty" star phil robertson who was sidelined for controversial remarks. joining me on the phone to talk about it the fred zeines. thanks for chats with us so soon after the news broke. your organization as well as other groups applauded the
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original suspension. >> we think it's a positive outcome. >> okay. >> we want to thank a & e for their attentiveness and collaboration over the course of the last few weeks. you know, from the moment that mr. robertson's remarks appeared, we felt that we had an obligation to speak out say that it's not accurate or a person with his platform to use the kind of racist and homophobic language that he did, and as we know, he was put on hiatus. as a result of our conversations with a & e over the course of the past few weeks, they have reiterated that commitment to thoughtful band inclusive programming. we're heartened that they will be runned -- and statement, but as a product of our discussions. we've received insurances also that the robertson family is now open to working with
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african-american and lbgt people to address the real harm that such anti-gale and racist comments can cause. and while it's a positive step it shouldn't certain be the last one. >> that's a measured response, i will say. many of the defenders of phil robertson said, hey, he was paraphrasing what's in the bible. what do you say to them? >> well, that would not be an accurate interpretation of what's in the bible. certainly if one looks for other verses, the golden rule perhaps stands out as the more important one. we really believe that this would be a lost opportunity if there was not a path forward. we clearly understand that americans may also have these beliefs, and the secret to the success of gale rights movement
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over the last four decades has always been that we will meet people where they are at, and we will show them that, you know, there is another point of view that lbgt people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity and equally in american society. so we wanted to meet mr. robertson and his family where they were at, but also continue their evolution in terms of their thoughts and their feelings toward lbgt americans, and luckily a & e has been a wonderful collaborator and incredibly attentive towards what we've been trying to achieve. i should also mention that mr. robertson's comments were not limited to gay people. they also included inaccurate statements about the journey that african-americans have had in this country's well. a & e has equally attentive to that, and has been working with our partner at the naacp in order to make sure that those
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comments are addressed as well. >> fred sainz with the human rights campaign reacting to this news that phil robertson reinstated on the program "duck dynasty." thank you, fred. i want to turn to the host of "reliable sources" brian stiller, you just spoke with a spokesperson. what did you learn? >> one of the interesting choices, is they'll let their statements speak for themselves. we request share what they were saying, which is the one person's comments do not reflect the entire show, and do not reflect the entire family. i think they're going to leave those words there publicly as the comment. behind the scenes, this is the product of a week of conversations between the family and a & e. they took a one-day break for christmas, they came back yesterday, and now today they have reached this point where they can say we're going to come back, film in the spring and the whole family will be there there
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itches and versus they psa, public service announcements talking about tolerance. so then you wonder, is phil robertson going to be part of that? do you know? >> i wonder that as well. i didn't get a firm answer on that. i think a & e expects some of the family in those psas. i don't think they'll say if phil robertson will be in them. the network says it will be all across their other channels, involving talent from all those networks in the public service announcements about unity and tolerance. we'll see in a few months if the robert sons are a part of those or not. it was interesting to hear the spokesman say there will be 134 sort of dialogue. >> and also he said he didn't see this as a reversal at all. >> yes. >> i know in a way you talk to groups that have worked on something, and if something appears to maybe not go their way, or what will -- maybe they
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realize that's not realistic, but they certainly want to -- i would say they've had an impact on the dialogue. is that accurate, this is not a reversal? >> you know, it's the kind of thing, when a & e came out nine days ago, they said it was an indefinite hiatus. clearly that's not the case. they have given up quite a bit of ground. they're going to be back filming in the spring. you know, i think that kind of says it all, but at least these groups can say the psas will be airing and there's this possible dialog dialogue. he said when do the network swallow their pride and aspirin tells and give in? friday at 5:00,r p.m. on a holiday weekend. the timing also says it all. >> we call it a friday news dump, right? >> that's right. >> how did social media play into this? we saw at one point cracker barrel pulled "duck dinety"
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items they were selling. they put them back in, responding to the reaction. was that a big thing? >> i think it definitely was. a & e is now trending, but the headlines on the report is a & e caves. that can't possibly be a good thing from them. what we saw i think is that it organized groups on both sides. first it organized people who were outraged. then once he was suspended it gal van nuysed groups disturbed by this. we saw petitions online that had over a quarter of a million suggests, a lot of conservative politicians, and the enter net allowed a lot of that to happen a lot quicker than it would have happened otherwise. >> and a fascinating conversation to witness sort of what a reality show and, you know -- >> that's what culture does for us sometimes. it gets these conversations going, even from the unlikeliest
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of places. >> all right. brian, thank you so much. ahead, a car bomb kills a former ambassador to the u.s., who is behind in beirut attack? and rage spoils over into riots in the streets of istanbul. we'll be taking you there live. [ male announcer ] they are a glowing example of what it means to be the best. and at this special time of year, they shine even brighter. come to the winter event and get the mercedes-benz you've always wished for, now for an exceptional price. [ santa ] ho, ho, ho, ho! [ male announcer ] lease the 2014 e350 for $579 a month at your local mercedes-benz dealer.
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deadly violence across the middle east. clashes in cairo, we have correspondents and middle east experts standing by with details and analysis. let's begin with mahmud jamjoom.
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first start by telling us who was the targets? >> reporter: well, the targets was a former lebanese ambassador to the u.s. he was kill earlier today there were at least six people killed, over 70 people injured, and many of the officials i'm speaking with are speculating he was killed because he as a staunch opponent, and that this is another example of the spillover of violence. we must remember the sectarian membe members. this is not the only official opposed to bashar al
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assad who's been killed -- just a year ago, rafik hariri was killed in a targeted assassination. many people are worried these types of killings will only continue. the residents i'm talking to very concerned this will continue, and many of the residents i spoke with earlier today in beirut said they could feel that blast from miles away in different parts of the city. >> catch up us on what's going on in turkey right now. >> brianna, this was another day the fierce clashes and lots of protexts in several cities. that was the epicenter of the huge antigovernment demonstrations that happened this pass summer, but today ed more protesters appears in and
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around this area protesting the government, calling on the prime minister to resign because of the this corruption scandal, and the prime ministerered owand here in turkey now. we were out in the crowd. in fact me and our cameraman, we got hit by rubber pellets containing this powder that made us cough. a lot of tear gas was deployed. water cannon trucks were all over the place, but as a backdrop, you had the prime minister speaking earlier in is tan abu, unapologetic. he wasn't going anywhere, and sazed ceiling wailing crisis was because of outside forces. i can tell you there's a lot of anger, especially in the city. many people we are speaking with say they will continue to come
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out and demonstrate until the prime minister resigns. >> you will be following that, mohammed, and mohammed jamjoom stay safe. the violence follows the government's decision to declare the muslim brotherhood a terrorist group. elise labot is following the story for us. what does this mean for egypt as political future? >> it doesn't look good. as el note, it's the biggest political party in egypt. it's a huge movement, so you're not just talking about a wide swath of supporters you're alienating, but a lot of social services, charities, nongovernment organizations in the country will be shut down it

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