tv Martin Bashir MSNBC January 16, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PST
this martin luther king day as events across the nation commemorate his gacy. the president said everyone can be a drum major for justice. we'll have much more about dr. king coming up. we begin with democracy in ak today in south carolina. republican candidates on the hunt for vote. just one week before this cake could be baked for mitt romney. suring up support, jon huntsman. he bailed out of race this morning endorsing the former massachusetts governor as well. >> i believe it's now time for our party to unite around the candidate best equipped to defeat barack obama. despite our differences and the space between us on some of the issues. i believe that candidate is
governor mitt romney. >> huntsman said he will now work on the trust deficit in our current politics. his website purged of many negative attacks on romney. he single this morning that huntsman support is irrelevant to his cause. >> moderates are backing moderates. that's the bottom line. it's no surprise there. >> he's hardly got the base locked up with newt gingrich making the case that he's the better conservative alternative to mitt romney. >> no, i think the fact is if you look at the actual vote yesterday that we were close in the vote. the polls have shown that i'm the strongest rival to romney in south carolina. >> tonight the newly narrowed field will meet for debate in south carolina.
the last chance for the vote tot reunite or allow the front-runner to ride on to the nomination. let's go to our political panel right now. it's great to see both you. karen, i want to start with you. some have described jon huntsman has a media mirage all along. what does it mean to romney? >> not much. sorry to say that to mr. huntsman and his hard work. it's not necessarily news that he would likely endorse mitt romney. it's a nice little thing for mitt romney toe have going into tonight's debate. probably not going to make much difference when it comes to the south carolina primary. others have said add to this err
of inefivatable. >> today, during the 11:00 hour during my other hour on this network, we watched huntsman go all nicey nice taking back the toxic rorks that he's given in the past saying they need to cease the attacks. listen to what he had to say once upon a time. >> mitt romney in your view cannot beat president obama? >> i think when you're on too many sides of the issues of the day, when you don't have that core, when there's that element of trust out there, i think that becomes a problem and i think it makes you unelectable against barack obama. >> it was just in november. he was unelectable and now he can beat obama. can jon huntsman be the
surrogate to make that case? >> sure he can. this happens all the time in every presidential race. in 2008, barack obama and hilla hillary clinton went at each other. they made up and made nice at the end of it. it was a nice, easy convention in denver later that year. it's true that it seems funny to us today that you'll have somebody bashing somebody and then supporting them. all is forgotten and this happens every time. >> nothing like frenemies in politics. he said it's ir relevant to his own cause. is that still romney's
challenge? >> i don't think he needs to because the expectations for his performance among evangelicals is so low. whether rick santorum likes it or not, romney has the momentum. i had a conversation with reverend justice and he admitted if it came down to a mitt romney versus barack obama, he could get behind mitt romney. i think going into south carolina, this is a last ditch effort, but i don't think it will make a big deal. >> david, when we take into account the tea party in south carolina because we know that faction exists within the state itself. nay have been pretty sour on mitt. if he wins in south carolina, does it signal the co-oping by the establishment?
>> not at all. tea party conservatives have not found a candidate they can rally around. these are 1990s republicans that believe in a much heavier hand of government and a different brand of conservatism. that's why they haven't been able to rally around these other candidates. i think even tea party republicans will focus on barack obama and beating him. there's an element of mitt romn romney's business record that will appeal to tea party conservatives that would have preperred the candidate. >> it was a small portion that they were talking about whether house races or the senate primary races. when you're talking about a national election and a larger,
even slice of the republican electorate don't have as much power as they thought. >> karen, i want to talk about rick perry, some controversial remarks over the weekend about the picture of u.s. marines urinated. this could be something that comes up this weekend about what this means to international diplomacy. take a listen. >> obviously, 18, 19-year-old kids make stupid mistakes. what's disturbing is the over the top rhetoric from this administration and their disdain for the military. these kids made a mistake. shouldn't have done it.
it's bad, but to call it a criminal act, i think is over the top. >> we have this perry saying the administration is disrespecting the military to condemn the act. military leaders have condemned it. karen, what's your reaction to this? obviously, it's a big mistake, but we can't down play it. >> absolutely. hearing perry's reaction just shows how ir relevant he is to the conversation and how little he understands about foreign policy. remember what we went through about the possibly of koran building. you had very top people in the military talking about the damage that it would do. when you see an image like that giving our foreign policy objective, that does damage. it does damage to our soldiers who are still there will on the ground who would never engage in that behavior. it shows that perry clearly he's
trying to cater to that sector of the vote in south carolina but has no understanding about how the world really works. >> david, i want to talk about ron paul. he's back in south carolina after a three-daybreak. is he the guy that nobody is talking about, sort of the rival to mitt romney. there's a lot of people that may want to throw their support behind him. >> huntsman didn't have enough support at the end of the day. it's an interesting story to watch as far as ron paul. clearly, he has a lot more support and his ideas have a lot more support than they did four years ago. you cannot discount him. it's making a statement. i think the reason we tend to
forget about him when we look at this big picture is because i think it's very hard to picture him winning the republican nomination giving his views on foreign policy and national defense. that's why republicans keep looking for an alternative or have kept looking for an alternative to mitt romney and never jumped over to ron paul as the alternative. >> great to see you both. >> thank you. coming up, the president of the naacp joins me to talk about how far our democracy has come and how far we still have to go. ♪ free your mind giant can befriend a forest may seem like the stuff of fairy tales. but if you take away the faces on the trees... take away the pixie dust. take away the singing animals, and the storybook narrator... [ man ] you're left with more electric trucks.
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it's phenomenal. america would not be america but for him. he forced america to live up to what it claims to be. >> south carolina seems to be the cross roads of politics. now it's the state's strict vote causing a backlash. the law has been blocked by the justice didn't would require a photo identification to vote. joining us naacp president tell us about the south carolina rally this you told at. explain what it was about. >> sure.
we had,00 thousands of folks th that live up to what dr. king fought for. he fought for our founding fathers documents promised all of us. the focus today was on this crazy voter id bill that would make it so much harder for so many people here in this state to vote. we are very pleased that doj has stepped in. we are concerned that the state is filing a lawsuit seeking to gut section five of vra and we're pleased that holder was here with us to speak to the crowd and make clear that he intended to do across the country what he has done in this state and that's to enforce the
voting rights act and ensure that all people can vote. >> talking about attorney general eric holder. i want to talk more about the justice didn't. they blocked the south carolina law. do you think the voter id law will be on the books officially by the november election? >> i don't. unless they are willing to make some real series changes, i really don't see how this bill could go forward. it's a blatant violation of the voting rights act. it stands for all the things that our country stands against. this is a country that believes in one person, one vote. that believes in free and fair voting and the reality is this law puts in place the first financial barriers to voting since we got rid of the poll tax. what's worst is the justification, which is the so called voter fraud problem in
this country is really doesn't exist in any significant numbers. the republican lawyers association came out with this big release. they found 352 cases in 15 years. that's less than two dozen cases per year across 15 years. we have prosecutors to handle problems that are that small. you're much more likely too find somebody who thinks they saw a ufo last year than think they saw somebody pretend to be somebody else to vote. >> let's talk about eric holder. he was there to speak at the rally. i want to show everybody a sample. >> art of american history has bent toward the inclusion, not
the exclusion of citizens in the process. we must ensure this continues and this is my pledge to you today. >> as we talk about this, south carolina is not alone. inspect the despite the attorney general's passion, isn't the court where this battle is fought, won or lost? >> i don't see them getting the votes. the reality is the voting rights act was just reaffirmed by congress. it passed unanimously.
there's a long history that's been read into the house and the senate that made it clear we still needed this vra and george w. bush signed it. i think it will stand. i think this state will not be able to block voters in this way. what you couldn't see is the confederate battle flag was waving. this is a flag that was hoisted up about 58 years ago in protests by this state to the brown decision that's flown ever since in defiance of federal control. in defiance of the feds saying you have to respect the constitution and the civil rights. the reality is this is one more
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major, what he really said is all of us can be a drum major for service, for justice. there's nobody who can't serve. nobody who can't help somebody else. >> joining us now is kristen welker. the president showing up today and putting presidential duties aside for a little while to be handyman and artist. >> reporter: that's right. the president helped to paint in some of martin luther king's most memorable quotes. the first lady helped to paint in that famous quote, i have a dream. both quotes surround that reading nook where they helped to build a bookshelf. president obama, the comedian, was in attendance today. he joked that he usually gets
shushed when in libraries. a little bit of presidential humor on this day which is quite serious. they will be tapping off it have dale by attending an m.l.k. event this evening. >> when we talked about last week being campaign mode for the president, unofficially, it was what we expect for this coming week. >> reporter: the white house said the president will not officially start campaigning until there's a republican nominee. he attended five campaign events last week. he had several venevents in new york. he will be campaigning this week. right now he's walking a fine line. he can't look like he's abandoned legislating during an election year. he can really getting attacked by the republican candidates right now.
he's not leaving the attacks unanswered. we've seen the re-election team go after mitt romney trying to paint him as a corporate raider. romney has attacked the president for being at the root of our economic woes. the president not sitting on the sidelines but hasn't engaged either. >> has the white house shown any reaction to knowing how president obama appears to be in a dead heat with mitt romney. >> reporter: it's not welcome news. they have said all along that they feel as though this will be an uphill battle. the president says he see himself as an underdog. they have tried to not take any state for granted. we have seen that play out during iowa and new hampshire when you saw the obama re-election team using those two
nights as a chance top get organized. you saw the president antd vice president holding live web chats. i expect to see that moving forward. >> great to see you. thank you. coming up, a return of the 2012 campaign trail and more infighting between the candidates who would love to call the white house home. >> president obama is releasing his records this thursday. i will release my income tax this thursday. he'll never get through the fall without releasing his records. ♪
your weekend recap. >> here in south carolina, i'm probably going to win next saturday. >> we need to get this venal down to a conservative alternative to mitt romney. >> the vote for anybody but gingrich is to help romney win the nomination. >> i think it helps to have been a hard working american. >> p governor romney has offered his business experience as his sole credential. >> bain capital came in and basically shut down that steel mill and left with a substantial amount of money. >> the question is what is his character? what is his judgment? >> he's mitt the ripper. >> mitt romney a serial killer. >> doesn't that cross the line? >> i have nothing to do with
that ad. i can't tell americans what to do. it's the super pac of john stew air. >> saying i want felons to vote. that's a lie. sfw president obama is releasing his records this thursday. i will release my records. i think if governor romney plans to stay in the race ought to plan to release his records. >> we'll see what the future holds. i don't have any plans right now to release tax returns. >> you're caught up. let's go to our panel now. it's great to see you both. goldie, i want to start with you. we saw newt saying he will release his tax returns this week. another opportunity for mitt romney to release his yet no returns forthcoming. how long can he get by, get by being coy about doing that? >> frankly, releasing your tax
returns has been a time honored ploy in politics for a very, very long time. newt challenging mitt romney to release his tax records says he's suspects there's something in there that he doesn't want a lot of people to know. those tax returns will come out by this fall, if probably not in this primary or by the time he meets obama in november. the american public will have dhoons loa chance to look them over and see if there's anything juicy in them. i understand there might be. >> we've seen this pac ads. flu ads show him as the french speaking moderate and the guy who ties his dog to the roof of his van. now gingrich has urged the pac to correct any inbasic raaccura. >> there are some.
newt gingrich seems to like attack politics as much as mitt romney likes firing people. the fact of the matter is, these have been somewhat hurtful for romney but i don't think devastating. in some ways these are helpful to him, the fact these attacks are being made in this campaign. jerry seinfeld told us everyone needs to know when to get off the stage, but for the special interest money, newt gingrich could get done. he's offended the conserve tifftiv tives. he did not get the major endorsement over the weekend and he's offended moderates by referring to president obama as we approach martin luther king day as the food stamp president. he's a guy that shows he can
offend almost anybody. >> goldie is this nothing worse or nothing defines a wannabe politician scorned like what we're seeing out of newt gingrich? >> i think this is revenge politics at its worst. he has become the tonya harding of the gop primary. it will get bloodier tonight. there's another one this week. he feels like he has won job and that's to stop mitt romney. i don't think he's going to be able to do it. mitt romney's job is to close the deal and close it right now and not let this process drag on any longer. the question is will santorum after evangelicals decide to colease around him, will he last beyond south carolina. this is the water loo for newt gingrich and rick santorum. can they get the job done
january 31st. >> i think goldie is exactly right. it can continue to make these republican primaries like groundhog day. when the candidates should have dropped out by now likely neither of them will win south carolina, it's the citizens united case that allows the special interest money top keep pouring in and for them to keep dragging this campaign out. you showed stephen colbert and as i said the other day, you think of the difference between stephen colbert p and the other candidates is they are all funny and it's only that stephen colbert is trying to be funny. >> he is being funny. i don't think he's trying. >> it's hurtful to the republican brand. most understand this at this point. that's why democrats, we look back and we want nothing more than for newt gingrich to stay in this race. he's our greatest ally for
obama's re-election. >> they will be counting kneecaps coming out of south carolina. i want to show everybody what he hadded to go through. take a listen. we'll talk about it on the other side. >> you were at harvard and made a statement when running for president that the only the ghetto children are lazy and chronic thieves and should be dumped into minimal jobs. >> i didn't say that. >> early and break on. >> i never said what you just quoted. >> some of his comments on child labor and obama the food stamp president, going to be coming back to bite him in south carolina? >> i don't know if they will bite him in south carolina. the demographic has some a finty
for some of these statements but he's been saying these things for 30 years. it's like he keeps nicking himself with scissors over and over again and more assurance he'll never see the inside of white house. >> do you think he will survive south carolina? >> do i don't. listening to him is like taking lessons of tolerance from the taliban. he's the opposite of personal responsibility. they don't just hurt the republicans of newt gingrich, they hurt the republican party. begin top see how continue to lose very important demographics and if they continue to lose the reasons at this point, it's not helping them. it's doing really considerable
damage. >> newt likes to marry thoughts together and people. thanks. great to see you both today. >> thank you. coming up, so is it mitt's race to lose? we're joined by his south carolina state chairman. that and much more straight ahead here on the "martin bashi bashir". [ female announcer ] investing for yourself is a necessity. i find investments with e-trade's top 5 lists and use pre-defined screeners to work smarter. not harder. i depend on myself to take charge of my financial future. [ bell dinging ] try bayer advanced aspirin. it's not the bayer aspirin you know. it's different. first, it's been re-engineered with micro-particles. second, it enters the bloodstream fast, and rushes relief to the site of your tough pain. the best part? it's proven to relieve pain
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the best approach to food is to keep it whole for better nutrition. that's what they do with great grains cereal. they steam and bake the actual whole grain while the other guy's flake is more processed. mmm. great grains. the whole whole grain cereal. welcome back. we have a live picture of mitt romney at the kick off event. tonight's debate is hours away. it could be make or break from mitt romney. one more opponent is out. that is jon huntsman who washed his website of any negative material and endorsed be front-runner in the same
sentence as saying pe ining he dropping out. romney could be three for three in nominating contest after this week's primary. g join pg us is t-- do you think candidate has this race looked up in south carolina and beyond? >> that's language i don't like to use. i'm confident but i'm also afraid. you have to be careful. people in south carolina are looking at their options. there's a lot of people undecided. the governor has to do what he's doing, traveling the state and shaking hands. he's talking about issues all around the state.
the ambassador huntsman is a great guy. a lot of people liked him. it just wasn't his time. >> was he a great guy before this morning's announcement? was he a great guy before 11:00 a.m. >> i always thought he was. i met him several times. i think all these republicans are. we've got a good group of people. negative campaigning doesn't work like it used to. in south carolina we found that out. last cycle there was a lot of negative campaigning and none of it worked. mr. huntsman is a good man. he's going to have a long public future and america will see a lot of him. >> evangelical vote is important in south carolina. mitt romney often doesn't speak about his mormon faith. take a listen.
we'll talk on the other side. >> it's an election about the soul of america. the designers of the declaration said our creator has inalenable rights. we're a nation that believes in a provident hand. >> do you think his faith is hurting? >> i come from the tea party wing. i spent 10 years of my life doing mission work overseas. when i'm out in the field i don't hear about it. we know at the romney camp we're not going to win every vote. we hope to get most of them. i don't think the religion problem is any problem. people have met mitt and ann.
he's a faithful man. that comes across. >> when we watch the debate what does mitt romney need to do? >> he needs another performance like he has. every day we go closer to the election day. he's done really well on all these debates. i don't think tonight we have anything to worry about. i came on as his campaign chairman in late july, early august and people is a what are you doing? it was clear to me every day we get closer to the election is a good day for mitt romney. conservatives see he's the man that will send barack obama back to chicago. i'm confident. i'm not over confident. i think tonight he'll have a good debate and tomorrow we'll say that's what he had. >> thank you. disturbing details about the fatal cruise ship grounding in italy as the search for the missing resumes and the moments
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we take you overseas to that horrific more than a dozen people missing. the death toll from the grounding currently stands at six. we're now starting to get some insight as to what it was like on board that doomed vessel as disaster struck and chaos followed. >> there was absolutely no leadership provided. there was no direction. there were no officers available. everybody was one man for themselves in this. the only way people got off that ship was not with the help of the personnel. you did not see one officer there. people did not know how to do anything. it was very disorganized and there was no help. you were on your own. >> that was an american family
who say it was everybody for themselves. costa cruises put the blame on the captain, but for now is defending the crew. let's go to michelle california zin ski who has the latest for us. >> reporter: it was a tough day for search and rescue. weather conditions were making the ship shift. it's in danger of sliding farther down a slope. they were able to resume. they will have to stop for the night. they will not stop until they can check every single cabin on board and make sure there are not people still trapped. yesterday they found the ship's per sor and res couped him. they found the body of the sixth victim. there's some hope among the families of the 15 people still unaccounted for including two americans, jerry and barbara hile from minnesota.
it's difficult for families to hear now. the company says this was not the result of an engine explosion. but they say the consequence of human error on the part of the captain. he made an unauthorized decision to take the ship off course and bring it closer to the island, where it hit a rock. they said he didn't follow procedures and further more that investigators saw him on show while passengers were still scrambling to get off. they don't know why he made that decision, but the initial explanation was that this was all for show. he wanted to give people on the island a better look at this big, beautiful ship. we all know how it turned out. but he for himself is defending his actions. he's in jail accused of manslaughter and under suspicion of abandoning ship causing a ship wreck. he says that his navigational
systems show his route was all clear, although prosecutors are casting doubt on that story. he denies he abandoned ship. thomas? >> all right. thank you, michelle. coming up, the do-nothing congress finally about to do something? we'll see. [ fe a this is mary... who has million things to pick up each nth on top of her prescriptions. so she was thrilled that her walgreens pharmacist recommended a 3-month supply and would always be there to answer questions about her health. now mary gets 3 refills in one and for 3 months, she's done. more or less. ask your pharmacist about a 90 day supply today. walgreens. there's a way to stay well. you can make a difference.
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after the least-productive congressional year in modern history, lawmakers are making their way back to washington following their lengthy holiday vacations. in 2011 only 80 bills passed and many were housekeeping items. this weekend harry reid joined david gregory on meet the press talking about his hope for an improved attitude this year. >> we have spent months on things that used to happen just
matter of factually. i would hope that they understand that everything doesn't have to be a fight. legislation is the art of working together and compromise. >> for more, let's turn to luke russert. last time we saw congress, they were fighting it out over extending the payroll tax. it was passed with little time to spare. they are back after vacation. the subject extending again could lead to a fresh fight. is that the expectation? or is the new year supposed to bring some changes? >> the expectation is that this congress will start up right where they left off and that is being partisan. a lot of people think that will be exemplified because 2012 is a crucial election year for both parties. as far as the issues we're going to see that need to be figured out in the next few weeks, the payroll tax cut extension
expires on february 29th. the medicare dock fix. we'll see a few things pertaining to internet and piracy laws. as well as a vote against raising the federal debt limit. as you see on that graphic there, the debt ceiling disapproval vote has a lot of members in the house saying they don't want to see the debt limit being raised again. of that list, the most important is the payroll tax cut extension. if nothing is figured out before february 29th, those taxes could go up. it's been an issue that so far has been good for president obama. he hammered republicans on it saying they were against taxes for the middle class towards the end of 2011. expect a lot of that rhetoric to be back in the debate. gop aids say because this issue is now going to conference where folks from the senate and house are trying to work out a way forward, it has a higher
probability of being figured out without the stalemate. however, there's one thing we learned from 2011. it's that never put your faith in this congress getting anything done quickly or without some partisan rattling because that seems to be the way in which washington works these days. >> for all of us here, he said -- >> you have to do the workout during commercial breaks. >> you have to keep the heart rate up. he said its instructionism on steroids or this is at its worst right now. why should we expect, especially with the election year, anything different from anybody that's coming back? >> most likely it will not be different. the reason being is both sides want to maximize their political potential. the one difference you will see is the fights won't be as prolonged.