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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  January 24, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PST

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right here on msnbc. great to have you with me today. i'm thomas roberts, and we have a busy hour planned for you. let's show you, first, exactly what we are anticipating. mitt romney giving a prebutal speech in tampa, florida, coming . he's about 30 minutes late but we'll have that for you coming out of the sunshine state when he arrives. it's a prebuttal to what the president is expected to say this evening at the state of the union. now, this morning this speech -- or excuse me, it will be the reference to president obama's third speech. right now all eyes are on the release of his much-anticipated taxes. first, here is what the tax returns are revealing. mitt romney made $43 million over a combined time period of 2010 and 2011. and last night romney took off the gloves, basically going straight after newt gingrich in the political back and forth. the daggers squarely at the former speaker.
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take a listen. >> i think it's about leadership and the speaker was given an opportunity to be the leader of our party in 1994, and at the end of four years he had to resign in disgrace. >> i'm not going to spend the evening tries to chase governor romney's misinformation. he just went on and on making a whole series of allegations. he may have been a good financier, he's a terrible historian. >> a lot to talk about with jackie ckucinich and jean collins. let's start with what we expect to hear from governor romney this morning. he's trying to draw this clear distinction between himself and the president but with his campaign in some serious trouble, is this the move that he should be doing right now? >> you know, i think he had to get aggressive with gingrich after the last debate. i mean, he lost by more than 12 points in south carolina. he had to release these tax returns. no one really knows why they didn't release them sooner. this became a big problem.
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that probably could have been avoided. as for what he says about the president, this is going to be mostly an check message rather than dealing with some of the stuff going on in the campaign. there's no need to bring it up at this point. >> jean, let's talk about the tax returns. obviously mitt romney is not trying to hide the fact he's a wealthy guy. he just hasn't been putting the full story out there, but the tax returns expose the wealth, including his rate, including the rate of what he's paying in taxes, the pamentsz he's givyme to the mormon church in charitable contributions. it's not so much about the money itself, it's more about the fact how he made it and what he's trying to save by not talking about it more openly. >> well, that's exactly right. thomas, the key here is what his tax reports show is there is this incredibly elite set of americans. he's not in the 1%. he's in the 0.006% of income earners in this country, and
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they have an enormous amount of wealth all by themselves, and this is the kind of gap that the white house is going to try to exploit in a general election if romney becomes their opponent, that he just lives and operates in a different world, and they play by a different set of rules that are bent to their advantage. if you look at the tax rate he's paying, it's actually -- he's in a bracket where he's going underneath of the bus driver who is paid 50$50,000 a year. that's paying less. based on pressure from gingrich, it's an argument that can be made in the primary. >> but he's following the letter of the law, something else aptly point out to all of us. he's saying he's paying his fair share according to the law, doing nothing illegal, and he has no apologies about making success, as we're seeing mitt romney taking to the podium.
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the prebuttal to the president's state of the union. let's go ahead and listen in. >> thank you, thank you. thank you so much. thank you. very kind. thank you. [ cheers and applause ] thank you. thank you so very much for that warm welcome. it's good to be in the sunshine state. but it does break my heart to see plants like this one. in 2008 this plant closed because of an economic downturn. in a normal recovery under strong leadership, it could be full of workers by now. here in florida, people used to wake up and look forward to a hard day's work and a good honest wage. the money they earned helped support families and build
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communities. today toot many factory floors are silent. warehouses are deserted, corporate offices are empty, and real estate endeavors are abandoned. floridians are struggling to find a job, keep a home, and raise a family, and as i have traveled across the country i have heard similar stories in virtually every corner of america. high unemployment, record home foreclosures, debt that's too high, opportunities too few. this is the real state of our union, but you won't hear stories like those at president obama's address tonight. the unemployed don't get tickets to sit next to the first lady. instead tonight, the president will do what he does best, he'll give a nice speech, a lot of memorable phrases in it, but he won't give you the hard numbers like 9.9% unemployment here in florida, or 25%. that's a percentage of foreclosed homes in america that
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are here in florida. or $15 trillion. that's the size of america's national debt under this president. instead, tonight president obama will make the opening argument in his campaign against a do-nothing congress, but we cannot forget that for two years this president had a congress that could do anything he wanted it to do. it was a democrat-controlled congress. with huge democrat majorities in the house and senate, president obama was free to pursue any policy he pleased. did he fix the economy? no. did he tackle the housing crisis? no. did he get americans back to work? no. he spent $787 billion on a stimulus bill that didn't work and put us on track to borrow and spend $5 trillion in just his first term. he forced through obama care, a trillion-dollar entitlement we
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didn't want and we certainly can't afford. he took over auto companies and student loans. he stacked the national labor relations board with union yes-men who in turn did favors for his campaign contributors. and hits fs favorite friends. when we needed solvency, he gave us solyndra, and when we needed climate change, he gave us cash for clunkers. when we needed more domestic energy, he imposed bans on drilling and turned his epa regulators loose to slow our development of natural gas. and he spearheaded one of the largest expansions of government in american history, and he's paying for all that with money he's borrowed from china. three years ago we measured candidate obama by his hopeful promises and his slogans. today president obama has amassed an actual record of
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debt, decline, and disappointment. this president's agenda made these troubled times last longer. he and his allies made it harder for the economy to recover. instead of solving the housing crisis and getting americans back to work, president obama has been building a european-style welfare state. he's pushed for a second stimulus, deep cuts to our national defense. he's asking the american people for another trillion dollars and for another term in office, and with this in mind he tells people, we can't wait, to which i say, oh, yes, we can. [ applause ] tonight the president will make what is referred to as the state of the union address, but make
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no mistake, what he's really offering here are partisan planks for his re-election campaign. the president's been telling people that his agenda will create economic opportunity that's built to last. that's the phrase he'll use, built to last. well, let's talk about what's lasted. what's lasted is unemployment above 8% for 35 straight months. what's going to last is almost as much debt in four years as all the prior presidents combined. what's going to last are home values that are too low and foreclosure rates that are too high. and a legacy of debt that will imperil future generations is what will last from this administration. and what's critical is that we make today barack obama's last state of the union address. no more from barack obama. [ cheers and applause ]
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the president's agenda sounds less like built to last and more like doomed to fail. what he's proposing is more of the same, more taxes, more spending, more regulation, and all of his proposals involve big government and big price tags. tonight we're also going to get treated to more divisive rhetoric from a desperate campaigner in chief. it's shameful for a president to use the state of the union to divide our nation, and someone ought to tell him, in order to put the economy back to work, everyone needs to be working, but more than anything, i expect the president will take this opportunity to take another victory lap. you know, in his big speeches he tends to tell tall tales about an america that's thriving on his watch. in 2010 he announced the worst
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of the economic storm has passed. i know the people of tampa don't believe that. today there are 24 million americans out of work. 2.8 million americans have lost their homes, but president obama believes he ranks among the four best presidents in history. here in florida you know better. you know that this president has run out of time. this president has run out of ideas. this president has reason out of excuses. in 2012 we get to make sure he's run out of the office of the white house. [ cheers and applause ] >> listening to mitt romney give a speech at a manufacturing plant in tampa. a closed plant there in tampa. talking about the speech that we are expecting to hear from the president tonight, the state of the union address. mitt romney talking about what he thinks the president is going to be talking about and the fact that the president will be talking about a secure and safe, strong america. but he would beg to differ by
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that speech right there. i want to bring back my guest, jackie kucinich and jean cummings who is bloomberg's deputy government editor. it's great to have you stick around with me. you heard part of that speech there. jean, let me start with you. do you feel that was very presidential of mitt romney? is that what he is trying to define himself as, as someone who can stand up and come out with the prebuttal to the state of the union by the president tonight? >> definitely romney's campaign from the beginning has been running essentially a general election campaign. they have aimed almost all of their criticism until recently at president obama and not at his rivals in the primary. and that speech there is a pretty good republican indictment of the obama administration. romney's definitely getting better at delivering those kinds of speeches. the one concern i think i'd have in his campaign is that it's almost like they're looking ahead to the next game, and the
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truth is romney has got a really tough primary fight on his hands right now, and if he's not careful when he's looking ahead to the general and trying to sort of gloss over the primary, he may wind up getting tripped up and beat because momentum now is still with gingrich coming out of south carolina, and so romney needs to watch his back as much as he needs to look forward. >> i was going to say, so, jackie, when jean talks about this tough primary fight, it's going to be an even tougher general election when he goes up against the president to talk about jobs, to talk about the economy, and to talk about the president's foreign policy while his foreign policy is a good one having dealt with turning around the olympics. you can't really contend with the president's foreign policy of taking out osama bin laden, anwar awlaki. >> when you go against an
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incumbent -- sorry having a little trouble with my audio. it's one of the challenges when you go up against an incumbent. you won't have the foreign policy experience most of the time. you won't have those issues. one of the things romney has talked about a lot is iran and how the president has been wrong on iran. so i think that's what he's going to focus on, but i think jean is absolutely right in the way that they've been focusing on the general this whole time, which is how -- i don't know that they even saw gingrich or any of these other guys coming, and they also focused on perry who never even made it to florida. so i think they're grappling a little bit or having trouble turning the ship in this primary election. >> political instincts really count here. ladies, thanks so much. i appreciate your time. and as romney tries to rebut president obama, the state of the union will make an argument as government as the great equalizer. in kansas last month he called
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this a make or break moment for middle class america. >> i believe this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules. >> joining us now is nbc news white house correspondent kristin welker. with a viewing audience of millions expected for this evening, this is the president's chance to make an argument for re-election, so is the main task to reassure americans that the state of the union is strong in light of a slowly sluggishly rebounding economy? >> reporter: i think so, thomas. and it's also going to be to basically create a stark contrast between the president and the entire republican field. by the way, it doesn't hurt that mitt romney released his tax returns today. the white house certainly happy about that. it allows them to stort of make a starker contrast. as you pointed out during that speech in kansas, the president first started to paint himself as a warrior for the middle
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class, making the argument his policies favor the middle class whereas republican policies favor the wealthy. republicans would dispute that claim but that will be the undercurrent to tonight's state of the union address. the overarching theme will be presenting a economy that's built to last and restoring american values. valerie jarrett talked about that earlier today on "morning joe." >> a country where everybody plays by the rules, everyone has a fair opportunity to work hard, put their children through college, save a little bit so they can retire with dignity. >> reporter: now, we also expect president obama tonight to map out his plan to help homeowners who are struggling, college students, and also give some more specific details about the buffett rule. that's that rule that says that millionaires and billionaires shouldn't be paying a lower tax rate than the average american. it was named after billionaire warren buffett after he famously
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said his secretary shouldn't be paying a higher tax rate than he is. tonight warren buffett's secretary will be one of the guests in the first lady's box this evening. that should be interesting. tomorrow president obama hits the road. he's going to travel to five key battleground states to highlight the themes that he lays out in his state of the union address. this is a president who has a 57% -- 57% of americans disapprove of his handling of the economy. so, thomas, the economy will be central tonight in the state of the union address. it will be a central theme when he hits the road this week and in the coming weeks and months. >> nbc's kristin welker at the white house for us this morning. >> just a programming note, you can get full coverage of tonight's state of the union right here on msnbc. special prime time coverage starts at 8:00 eastern with the president speaking to the nation at 9:00. it appear that is mama grizzly is out protecting one of her cubs. take a listen to what sarah palin said about new jersey
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governor chris christie after he called gingrich an embarrassment to the republican party. >> sometimes if your candidate losings in just one step along this path, as was the case when romney lost to newt the other night and, of course, romney is chris christie's guy, you kind of get your panties in a wad and you may say things that you regret later and i think that's what chris christie did. >> palin's husband todd endorsed newt gingrich last month and sarah palin may have helped newt in south carolina when she said if she were voting in the palmetto state, she would vote for gingrich. iprise financial has been working hard for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams. buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one.
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three years ago we measured candidate obama by his hopeful promises and his slogans. today president obama has amassed an actual record of debt, decline, and disappointment. >> that was moments ago, mitt romney framing the argument that he hopes to make against
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president obama in a general election. but right now republicans are split about who should carry the torch against a president who is seeing the unemployment rate and job growth move in a positive direction. rnc chairman joins me to talk more about this. let's get straight to it and talk about the jobs. we know and we have discussed what the president inherited, but we also see job growth which is going in the right direction, the unemployment rate is slowly but surely dropping. 22 consecutive months of private sector job growth. shouldn't republicans be working with the president to help move the economy forward? why can't they? >> boy, that's a pretty front loaded question with a lot of dnc talking points in it, thomas. first of all, there are fewer americans employed today than there were three or four years ago. you can't just add up the jobs added without talking about the jobs that have been subtracted, the people who aren't part of the department of labor statistics, the people who are employed but not making enough
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or not working enough. and so i think the reality is that the president, if he could be judged on giving speeches and what's in the speeches, why, he'd be pretty competitive, but if we judge the president by what and how americans feel and what the reality is out there across america, he's been an abysmal failure, and so -- >> -- on the standards and statistics of every president we've judged presidents on how do you refute the facts of 22 straight months of consecutive improvement in job growth? >> i just did. there are fewer people employed today then there were three our four years ago when he took office. he said unemployment would be below 8%. on top of that his transition team said, and there's charts that show this from his transition team, if we pass the stimulus, in fact, forget the 8%, his transition team said that unemployment would be at 6% in the first quarter of 2012, and we're not even anywhere
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close. so this is not the standard that reince priebus has set or the rnc has set. if we hold barack obama to the standards barack obama has set for himself, he's failed america. >> so the unemployment rate fashionly is at 8.5%. so it's closer to that number than we've been in a long time, but i do want to talk to you though about the republican race. and what we're seeing about the candidates that are criss-crossing the country right now and trying to get the unification that they need of the party itself. it's really taken a toll on mitt romney over the past week buckling under some pressure to release his tax returns. we have those now. at least the past two years. the collapse of what we saw happening in south carolina. do you feel, reince, that governor romney's weakness with the conservative voters is a bad sign of things to come if he is the general election nominee? >> well, first of all, back to your point, and you made the comment and moved on,
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unemployment rate isn't better off today than it was and it's not closer. there's a whole lot of factors that go into those numbers that we don't have time for, but to your question now -- >> but let's just factually state it is at 8.5%, correct? >> it's at 8.5%. >> correct. >> however, you can't -- but wait a second, thomas. are you trying to tell me that the people who are under employment, are you trying to tell me there are more people employed today than there were three or four years ago? are we at the 8% obama promised? are we at the 6% his transition -- >> you're like lucy with the football talking about charlie brown. you continually move the football around. what are you holding the president -- the accord and the standards that you're holding him against? >> the beauty of this election, thomas, is that we get to hold the president accountable to the promises and the standards that he set. i mean, he's the one that said adding $4 trillion to the debt was unpatriotic. did he say that? >> yes. a president though -- >> how much was added in in his
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four years. jin >> i understand this is what you're paid to do, to come on and talk about what you'd like to see the republican party do within his nominee. let's get back on track with the republican party and governor romney -- >> i'll get on your track. go ahead. >> governor romney and how you think nationally he's going to do in a general election if he's having a hard time getting a unification and the effort needed, this swell of support, in primaries. >> barack obama had a hard time getting unification, and he cleaned our clock pretty good between him and hillary clinton fighting it out for six years. i think that primaries like this are good for our party. they were certainly good for the democratic party four years ago. and i think having a little bit of drama and a little bit of a back and forth is a good thing for parties that are challenging incumbent presidents. so i think it's par for the course in american history and i think at the end of the day it's going to be good for the republican party. >> and do you think newt gingrich is demonstrating the fire testedness that mitt romney
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needs to get through to then take on president obama? >> well, i think any of our candidates, including rick santorum and congressman paul, i think all four of them i think will be better presidents than what we have in the white house. and i think, yes, the battle testing is good and i think, yes, a tough primary is good, and, yes, they can ultimately beat a president that is residing right now over an america that doesn't have the jobs and isn't in the economic condition that he promised we'd be in. >> rience pry bus. thank you. >> thank you, thomas. from presidential policy to hollywood's golden night. the oscars nominations came out this morning. it's brewing to be a battle between two leading men who happen to be good friends. george clooney and brad pitt earned nominations as best actor. clooney starred in "the descendants" and brad pith was lead actor in "moneyball." pitt spoke about his nomination. >> it's more fun to have a friend there, and no one does it better than george.
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i say give him all the trophies and when you run out of trophies, make some new ones and give him those, 2002. >> best ak dress including glenn close and va e la davis. "hugo" earned the most nominations. "the artist" ran second with ten nominations. the awards will be handed out at the end of february. [ coughs ]
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well, almost everybody... ♪ would you like 50% more cash? no! but it's more money. [ male announcer ] the new capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. what's in your wallet? woah! [ giggles ] newt gingrich backed down last night in his attacks on mitt romney and the media, but this morning the newt-ron bomb was back in effect. >> let's say president obama gets that phone call and it is to say that fidel castro has died. upwards of half a million cubans may take that as a cue to come to the united states. what do you do? >> well, first of all, you thank heavens that fidel castro has returned to his maker and will
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be sent to another land. >> i guess the only thing i would suggest is i don't think that fidel is going to meet his maker. i think he's going to go to another place. >> joanne reid is managing editor for the she joins me to talk about this. it's nice to have you with me. >> good to be here. >> when we talk about florida politics, let's talk about that in the aspect of where we think governor romney and newt gingrich are falling. do you think they play to the florida electorate last night, the people that are watching who want to know who to vote for? how do you think they did? >> mitt romney flip-flopped completely on his once opposition to the dream act. we saw a flip-flop in real time. we softened his opinion to try to appeal to cuban americans who favor some sort of legalization process for young people who came here not of their own accord. i think that was one aspect. the other aspect is they each tried to be more anti-castro than the other which always plays well with cuban americans. they are 1 in 10 republican
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supporters in miami, so it's important. >> let's talk about something you point out on the gri 11% of florida hispanics are republicans. let's listen to governor romney. >> if you don't deport them, how do you send them home? >> the answer is self-deportation. if people don't get work here they're going to self-deport to a place where they can get work. >> i think i heard laughing in the audience. >> i think it might have been me. >> explain romney's self-deportation explanation there and how is that going to wash with people? >> yeah, i wish i could. i think this was romney realizing that his immigration stance is not going to be helpful in the only state where there's a significant hispanic component to the republican base. so he's trying to find a way around it. but you never give your opponents a sound bite that's funny unintentionally and
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self-deportation doesn't make any sense. people can always leave. i guess you could self-deport, but it makes no sense. i think it was an unforced error. >> great to see you this morning. thanks. newt gingrich backed down last night in his attacks on mitt romney and also attacking the media. this morning though the newt-ron bomb -- is this right, guys? this is right. back in effect. take a listen. he's blasting mitt romney. >> we discovered last night that mitt romney has picked up charlie crist's campaign team. i thought that sort of told you everything you needed to know about this primary. romney has a new debate coach whose specialty is to say as many untrue things as fast as you can. >> i don't just read anything in the prompter without questioning it. i did want to question it. i have allen grayson and bob mckeown, former republican congressman from ohio who also is a newt gingrich supporter. again, gentlemen, thanks for being here. congressman mccune, i'll start
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with you. we saw less newt the attack dog last night, a more toned down candidate, but this morning back to the nasty newt ways. what is the strategy here and do you think because you're backing him, is it going to work in florida? >> well, i think that newt is known for his ideas, balancing the budget, welfare reform, et cetera, that's his basic thrust. on occasion he picks up the support of fred temperature thompson and others. he's basically focused on making chain knowing he can do it because he's proven to be an effective leader. >> newt is getting another big infusion of cash. we're talking about millions more from sheldoned aels ed as d ad --elson. >> it's going to get very ugly but it's not going to make any difference. newt gingrich is the most
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hateful person in american politics today and he's well on his way to becoming the most hated. his disproval ratings are close to 60%. the more people know him the more they're going to hate him. he's the new nixon. none of this money is going to make any difference in this regard, particularly with the cuban community but only four years ago newt gingrich said spanish is the language of the ghetto. >> congressman, i want to talk to you though about the establishment and -- >> you notice there was no issue involved there. >> whether it's a fair establishment worry on the right about newt gingrich imploding. do you think that's fair, that people worry about that? he kept it together through south carolina, strongly pulling out of south carolina and going on to florida, but is that a fair worry? >> well, as you know, the things that people care about are jobs. we now have twice as many people unemployed as we had five years ago. we've shut down the opportunity for new energy by shutting down
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a pipeline. the effort that people are losing their jobs, losing their homes. 40% of all the homes that are underwater in florida. what are the answers to those things? newt has solutions and ideas, not just the slams and asides and the sneers. but if you go to, you can see point after point after point, not only that he has them but he is implement them. we've only had four balanced budgets in any of our lifetimes. it was under his leadership. the only welfare reform, the only entitlement reform we've ever had since roosevelt was during his time when he and bill clinton took two out of three people on welfare and put them back into jobs and in schools. that's what america is looking for. i understand the capacity to throw mud is what consultants love to do in politics. what the american people care about is do i have to go through another four years of watching my wealth deteriorate under my home, watch my jobs disappear, and watch america slide into second and third rate. that's the direction we're on unless we change course with new
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leadership. we're going to be far worse off four years from now. >> congressman, your thoughts on that? >> it's fantasy. newt gingrich, like all the republicans, have no answer for anything. i think that his jobs program is prayer. his health care program is prayer. his education program is prayer. it doesn't matter what he says at his website. the fact is they think that problems solve themselves and they just don't. the way we're going to get to a better america is to fight for it, and often to fight against the republicans in the house to accomplish it. >> newt has found religion in catholicism. so we'll leave it there. >> a partisanship response versus issues. gabby giffords is going to have a seat at the state of the union tonight. this following her farewell announcement that she is stepping down to deal with her recovery. her husband mark will also attend tonight's address. it was her tragic shooting that led to lawmakers sitting together at the state of the union last year to show unity and tonight some of them are doing it once again. i'm joined now by democratic
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senator from colorado mark udall and republican senator from alaska lisa murkowski. this is nice to see the two of you totgether. senator murkowski, you have been the chief proponent of this arrangement -- >> it's mutual. we've been working this together. >> the same goes for him, for you on the democrat side. but senator murkowski, why did you two feel this arrangement was necessary? >> any small step that we can take to show a little togetherness, the fact that this is an opportunity for us as lawmakers to demonstrate that we can be civil with one another, we can show respect for the institution, show respect for other lawmakers. it's a small, small, small gesture, but i think that every step that we can take to help improve relationships is a good thing. >> i think for the american people, they like seeing this. senator udall, bipartisan fighting really tough, particularly severe in 2011.
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how do you remedy that problem to a dissatisfied american base of people that are watching what you guys are doing there on the hill and trying to come up with a better 2012? >> 2011 was a tough year. we all agree. i'm glad it's in the rear-view mirror. as lisa said, this is symbolism tonight, but it's important symboli symbolism. this is an important speech, it ought to be treated that way. we build in small steps. we look at areas where we might perhaps agree. i think overall we all think the economy ought to be our number one focus. we ought to look i think at extending the payroll tax cut, we ought to pay for it. i think fast tracking the president's request on streamlining government agencies, i think we all agree we have to cut some spending here. in particular i think the senate's history had been one where you work across the aisle. lisa has great role models in ted steventis, her father. again, final comment, i think we
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have to remember we're on the red, white, and blue team. in the end we have to look after our country. >> thank you so much for joining me mark udall and lisa murkowski. thank you and we'll see you guys tonight in the audience. >> let's do it again. thank you. the jfk library has 45 hours of the president's secret recordings. these audio tapes give a window in the final months of the life of the president and he can be heard discussing vietnam, the soviet union, the space race, and his re-election strategy. curators have released more than 260 hours of declassified tapes since 2001. so uh this is my friend frank and his, uh, retirement plan. one golden crown. come on frank how long have we known each other? go to e-trade. they got killer tools man. they'll help you nail a retirement plan that's fierce. two golden crowns. you realize the odds of winning are the same as being mauled by a polar bear and a regular bear in the same day? frank! oh wow, you didn't win? i wanna show you something... it's my shocked face.
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extreme stress may cause your brain to shrink. the shrinkage occurred in part of the prefrontal cortex which regulates emotion and self-control, but if you feel stressed during your normal day, don't worry. only extreme stress, such as being held at gunpoint, was shown to shrink the brain. we pause together to mourn and honor the valor of our seven "challenger" heroes and i hope we're ready to do what they would want us to do, go forward, america, and reach for the stars. [ applause ] >> the gipper himself using his sixth state of the union address to pay tribute to the astronauts who died in the shuttle "challenger" disaster back in 1986. remember that? that's just one of the many historic moments from a time-honored tradition in our american leadership. nbc's deputy political director mark murray has more for us. >> mr. speaker, the president of
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the united states. >> reporter: with its pageantry, grand entrance, and rhetoric has been delivered in person or writing 220 times in our nation's history but it's more than another speech. it's also a constitutional requirement. article 2, section 3 of the constitution states the president shall, from time to time, give to the congress information on the state of the union and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. the first one, by george washington in 1790, contained just 1,000 words, about the size of an average newspaper article. thomas jefferson abandoned the speech, instead submitting his in writing, a practice that was followed for more than 100 years until 1913 when woodrow wilson spoke before a joint session of congress. other state of the union eye lights, in 1923 calvin coolidge was the first to have his broadcast over radio. in 1947 harry truman became the
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first to deliver his on television. and in 1982 ronald reagan started the tradition of inviting special guests to join the first lady in the gallery. in recent times the state of the union has been the setting of memorable lines, calls to action, and controversy. in 1996 before his contest for re-election, bill clinton made this famous proclamation. >> the era of big government is over. >> reporter: in 2002 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and before the iraq war, george w. bush said this about iraq and iran. >> states like these and their terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil. >> reporter: and in 2010 after democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority in the senate, barack obama vowed to press on to pass health care reform. >> don't walk away from reform. not now, not when we are so close. let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the american people. >> reporter: all statements
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woven into the fabric of this nation's history. >> that was nbc's mark murray reporting for us. the economy will be the principal theme in tonight's state of the union address with his re-election chances hinging on the state of the american worker, president obama will emphasize an economy that, quote, works for everyone, not just a waelty few. i'm joined by an economics professor, robert reich, also the former secretary of labor under president bill clinton. it's nice to have you on with me especially when we're rachingmpp to an important evening tonight. in tonight's state of the union should we expect president obama to do the same, play to the center? you know, although the left is going to say he panders to the right, the right says he panders to the left. >> yes, he's going to play to the center to the extent he will appeal to the broad center of america. that notion that we want an economy that's going to be
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working for everyone is going to be very central to the address tonight and also to his campaign. also, basically he wants to remind america that he is president. all the action, all the excitement has been on the republican side with regard to the primaries. the president has been attacked again and again. he wants to remind people he's president and also the economy, although in recovering very slowly, is still on a recovery pass. >> we have warren buffett talking about the fact he's paying a lower tax rate as a billionaire than he was making $15,000 a year 60 years ago. how does that not just boggle the minds of americans across this country in modern-day politics and how we're trying to survive as a country? >> most americans according to the polls don't mind the fact that certain people are rich. what they mind is that the game seems stacked against them. the game seems rigged, and that notion that we can't get ahead, most of us no matter how hard we
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work and our children may be living worse than we do as infected the broad cross section of the american middle class. the president is going to speak to that, i'm sure. he's going to make sure he's going to say, i don't know the words, i haven't seen, it but the import is going to be i, your president, is going to make sure the game is no longer rigged. i'm going to make sure that opportunity is there for you and your children. >> robert reich, you and your children. >> it's always great to see you, sir, thank you. >> thank you, thomas. mitt romney is among the 1%, making $42 million in the past few years, his campaign trying to paint him as a great american success story, but could this hurt him. so i was the guy who was never going to have the heart attack.
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politics of envy, the politics of dividing our country is not what america is all about and so let get back to the
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economy the american people want jobs and they want them now. >> speaker boehner trying to refocus the discussion. mitt romney talking about whether his money puts him as a political disadvantage. >> i pay my taxes and not a more. will from be a discussion, yeah? is it entirely legal and fair? yes, i pay a lot of taxes. >> joining me live, new show host, melissa harris-perry. when we look at the break down of what romney earned versus what he a paid in taxes. he is in the 1%, no doubt. but what kind of disconnect does that put between the leadership and the real country when it comes to economics? >> it's in the sentence that you just said, the apt he earned
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versuses what he paid in taxes. what we learned is that he did not earn that money, he earned it at a previous time, at a smaller amount, but what he is paying taxes on is called unearned income. his income and wealth is from not making something or laboring or showing up on a day-to-day basis but in front simply from the interest that is earning from profits that he made previously. and i think the disconnect for americans there is that the republican party is telling us that work is valuable. that going out in the morning. there's a ethics and morality to doing work, and this is someone whose income comes from not actually working. >> warren buffett calls it shoving big money around and making money off shoving money around. how does he make the connection to the american out there that is undecided?
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>> he will have to talk about this buffett rule, this mitt romney rule. the fact is, that what we have to do is talk fairness in the country, it's not a politics of envy but there's a politics of fairness, those that are working and laboring deserve fair wages in the nation. >> thank you so much, a programming note, melissa's new show launches february fourth and you can read her work on "the" we will have the state of the union coverage here on msnbc, thanks for your time, i'll see you here tomorrow at 11:00 eastern. don't go anywhere because "now" with alex is coming up. alex what do you have? >> thanks, thomas. w my day bega. a little bird told me about a band... ♪ an old man shared some fish stories... ♪
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