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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  March 21, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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night and day in improvement over how these people were suffering under saddam. >> that argument, that the war was worth it, because the iraqi people are now free. that argument, which was not at all the argument for invading in the first place, that was also advanced this week by paul wolfowits' old boss, donald rumsfeld. he tweeted on the morning of the anniversary, quote, ten years ago began the long, difficult work of liberating iraqis, all who played a role in history, deserve our respect and appreciation. yes, remember that war of iraqi liberation that we were asked to sign up for as a country? you don't remember that? it's because that's not what they sold us. that's not what they told us that war was for. they're retroactively defining it that way. this is richard pearl, one of the neo cons pushing the discredited evidence of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear and biological weapons plans. he reemerged to share this bit of self-reflection. >> ten years later, nearly 5,000 american troops dead, thousands
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more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of iraqis dead or wounded.
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even though it has been ten years since the war was sold to the american public, the folks who did the selling, you know what, they did it all on tape, and the tape still exists. and now the people involved in those decisions are coming forward to talk about it, to say it didn't happen at all the way it really did. hubris airs 9:00 p.m. eastern tomorrow night, followed directly after by talking hubris, hosted by chris hayes. if you saw it the first time, check it out again. certainly check out the chris hayes' special after. now it's time for the last word with lawrence o'donnell. have a great night. history was made in israel today, by the president of the united states. >> so long as there is a united states of america -- >> president obama is set to give a major speech. >> a high-profile address. [ speaking in foreign language ] you are not alone.
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>> this is the visit the israeli people wanted to see. >> it is an important speech. >> the centerpiece -- >> america will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed iran. >> president obama spoke directly. >> the speech that extended close to 50 minutes, president obama tackled the two-state solution. >> the united states is deeply committed. the time is now. >> no wall is high enough, no iron dome is strong enough. >> there is so much symbolism here. >> israel is not going anywhere. >> no doubt, this visit has been a success. >> get ready, america, for a brand new republican party. >> i know what our principles are. >> marriage is between one man and one woman. >> i know our party believes that marriage is between one man and one woman. >> the future of their party is at risk here. >> we have a party that's going to be inconclusive. >> this is something we should allow people to do. >> people are changing. >> 81% of young people support same-sex marriage. >> a marriage is between one man and one woman.
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>> speaker boehner says house republicans are in a good spot. >> the government is likely to stay open. >> the revenue discussion is over. >> at least for now. >> how could you describe the current state of the gop? >> you're asking me a question i can't answer. >> this is a party in turmoil. >> it's not about the messaging. it's the message. >> get ready, america, for a brand new republican party. >> we have a party that's goodbye to be inclusive. >> sign up today and get a free bag of weed. the most memorable and most important day in the history of american presidential trips to israel was today. president richard nixon was the first president to go to israel. he may have done to simply to distract public attention from the investigation that was corroding his presidency and eventually led to his resignation, because we have had precious few presidents more cynical than richard nixon. the next president, gerald ford, did not go to israel. president jimmy carter visited
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israel, but ronald reagan never thought israel was worth the trip. nor did his successor, president george h.w. bush. then president bill clinton made up for that 12 years of neglect by visiting israel three times. and president george w. bush visited israel once in the last year of his presidency. so not every president visits israel, especially republican presidents, but modern presidential candidates do visit israel. barack obama actually first went to israel in 2006 when he was still an illinois senator. he went again in 2008 when he was running for president. you'll know chris christie is serious about running for president when he schedules a trip to israel. mitt romney went to israel last year in a desperate attempt to exploit a republican lie, that there was some kind of difference between president obama and it's really prime minister benjamin netanyahu about what the borders of israel should be.
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romney was aided and abetted in that lie by netanyahu, who is an old friend of romney's. they worked together 30 years ago at a boston consulting firm. as we reviewed last night, netanyahu left no room for doubt, he wanted mitt romney to be the next president of the united states. and romney delivered a speech in israel that echoed netanyahu's talking points at that time on iran. >> we should employ any and all measures to dissuade the iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is our fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so. in the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. we recognize israel's right to defend itself, and that it is right for america to stand with you. >> benjamin netanyahu did everything he could to pretend that the romney position on iran was somehow tougher than the obama position on iran. the romney speech was pure pandering from start to finish,
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which means that it, of course, did not include the words "palestine" or "palestinian." so what happened today? when the man who benjamin netanyahu did not want to be president spoke to an audience of 2,000 carefully screened by netanyahu's government, composed largely of students? well, of course, first he was heckled. in hebrew. which makes him the first president in history to have to handle a hebrew heckler. then came the first standing ovation. >> i believe that you will shape our future, and given the ties between our countries -- i believe your future is bound to ours. [ heckling ] >> no, no.
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this is part of the lively debate that we talked about. this is good. i have to say, we actually arranged for that, because it made me feel at home. you know, i -- i wouldn't feel comfortable if i didn't have at least one heckler. >> the president then proceeded to deliver a speech that surely would have gotten him booed and heckled by many self-proclaimed
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friends of israel in the united states, if he had given that speech in the united states, where pretending to speak for the people of israel, and pretending to defend their interests is a common pastime of republican politicians who attacked this president's choice for secretary of defense as somehow being an enemy of israel. it is a common past time for fox news commentators and other right wing pundits. they would have shouted down this president for saying what he was about to say, and they would have claimed that their shouting was all in defense and support of the people of israel. the president chose today to speak directly to the people of israel, including that heckler, about the hopes and dreams and, yes, the rights and fair expectations of the palestinian people. and not only did he not get
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booed for that, he was cheered for speaking to the israeli people about the palestinian people. the strongest cheers he got in his speech today surely much to the discomfort of benjamin netanyahu, were all for his vision of the future for israelis and for the palestinian people. >> given the demographics west of the jordan river, the only way for israel to endure and thrive as a jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable palestine. that is true. >> the president wasn't saying things that other wise and thoughtful observers of the situation haven't said. but he was saying things that no american president had said in this way, in this place, directly to israelis, who were
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able to immediately show the president and the world that they share the president's dream for an independent and viable palestine, and for basic human rights for palestinians, and for a future of peace and justice for israelis and palestinians. here is what made this the most important presidential speech ever delivered in israel. >> the palestinian people's right to self-determination, their right to justice, must also be recognized. and put yourself in their shoes. look at the world through their eyes. it is not fair that a palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own.
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living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements, not just of those young people, but their parents, grandparents, every single day. it's not just when violence against palestinians goes unpunished. it's not right to prevent palestinians from farming their lands or restricting a student's ability to move around the west bank, or displace palestinian families from their homes. neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer.
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just as israelis built a state in their homeland, palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land. and i am going off script here for a second. but before i came here, i met with a group of young palestinians from the age of 15 to 22. and talking to them, they weren't that different from my daughters. they weren't that different from your daughters. or sons. i honestly believe that if any israeli parent sat down with those kids, they would say, i
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want these kids to succeed. i want them to prosper. i want them to have opportunities just like my kids do. i believe that's what israeli parents would want for these kids if they had a chance to listen to them and talk to them. i believe that. >> when is the last time you heard one of these self-proclaimed friends of israeli like mitt romney or sean hannity suggest that israelis should put themselves in their shoes, the shoes of palestinians, and look at the world through their eyes? you've never heard them say that. that kind of humanity and common sense is never a part of what passes for pro israel speech in the united states. in the united states, saying it's not right to prevent palestinians from farming their lands would not get you applause
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from a so-called pro israel audience. saying it's not right to restrict a student's ability to move around the west bank or to displace palestinian families from their home would not get you applause from those audiences in the united states. but president obama got rousing applause in israel, from the actual israeli people from pointing out those injustices that are visited upon palestinians every day. what kind of politician gives a speech like that? having no guarantee ahead of time what the audience's reaction would be? a politician who is willing to take risks, big risks. president obama was willing to take the risk of being booed for saying those things today, and instead, he was cheered and those cheers showed the world a face of israel that the american news media virtually never presents, and that the netanyahu government does not want you to see.
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president obama knows, he cannot be the only politician willing to take a risk for peace. he knows he needs an israeli partner for peace, and so he asked for one this way. without actually mentioning benjamin netanyahu's name. >> and let me say this as a politician. i can promise you this. political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. you must create the change that you want to see. ordinary people can accomplish extraordinary things. >> joining me now, alex wagner, host of msnbc's "now" and a senior fellow at the brookings institution. alex, i thought the extraordinary thing about this speech, it's a combination of things. the president's words and then
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the audience's reaction which was the most important thing. the audience's reaction, i thought, was a unique opportunity for the israeli people to send their message to the world about what they believe and hope their future can be. >> and sort of life-affirming, wasn't it? at just seeing the way they reacted to the notion that palestinians should have the same chance at success that they have. you know, lawrence, you said that this is a really risky move for -- not a risky move, but a president that's willing to take risks. i think the other side of that, this is the rhetoric and this is the speech of a man who is incredibly optimistic about the future and about the possibilities of change and about the openness of people's hearts and minds. i think it's really notable that this speech was given at a university. he clearly believes, and he said this numerous times during his speech, the youth are really the future. they're the ones that will push the ball forward. i think he fundamentally believes that forgiveness is
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genetically in their hearts. which is a really powerful -- look, this is a president facing an incredibly dysfunctional city in which he governs. and for him to go overseas carrying this message of hope and change that we really haven't heard since 2008 is a testament to his own optimism, and a real vision that i think we all would be -- well reminded. >> let's listen to something he said about the palestinian leaders. >> while i know you have had differences with the palestinian authority, i genuinely believe you do have a true partner in president abbas and prime minister fayyad. i believe that. peace is possible. it is possible. i'm not saying it's guaranteed. i can't even say that it is more likely than not. but it is possible. >> ej deion, he could not have
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gotten applause in the united states by mentioning abbas and fayyad. >> i think there are actually a lot of friends of israel in the united states who agree with what obama said in that speech. because they were -- there was a key passage in that speech. he talked about a jewish democratic israel. and in israel itself and among a lot of israel's friends in the united states, there is a realization that if the occupation continues, if this is one state, that one state is eventually going to have a palestinian majority. and so israelis would have to choose whether they would have a jewish state that wouldn't be democratic or a democratic state that would no longer be a jewish state. and that's what ariel sharon, a famous left-winger came to do. i think president obama did something really important today, i really agree with you on that. and it's to say that the two-state solution, which many people have been saying is dying, time is running out on
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it. he's saying, look, this is the only alternative we have for justice, for israelis and justice for the palestinians. and only to viable, thriving states can be at peace. so it was an important day. and i'm glad he finally put his marker down. >> ej, quickly before we go, president obama does very well with the jewish vote in america. i think if he was able to speak out directly to those people, he would get a lot of applause on exactly the same lines. what i'm talking about is that self-proclaimed group in washington, in republican world. the world that tries to say chuck hagel is somehow anti israel, this kind of organized approach to the notion that there's some separation between the obama administration and israel. that was never true, and it was proven completely untrue today with this speech. >> you know, i heard an argument once between two folks who were pro israel. and one said, you know, a true
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friend stands with you in a fight, and the other one said, yes, that can be true. but it's also true that if you're having the same fight over and over and if you lose the fight, you might not -- you might go away. a true friend tries to stop the fight. and i think obama today was part of the -- he was that kind of true friend. and i think a lot of friends of israel want to end this conflict. >> ej, dionne, thank you very much for joining us tonight. alex wagner, i need you to hang around for one more segment. can you do that? >> you got it, lawrence. coming up, why senator dianne feinstein's opposed assault weapons ban is not dead. i know everyone is telling you to forget about it, it's over, that is not true. i'll tell you why. also the best television interviewer in history is here to tell us how he got tina fey to do it one more time. have tod bucks for your deductible. the truth? at allstate, you could pay zero.
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up next, republican senator saxby chambliss insists he's not gay.
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even though no one asked. we're in san francisco. google's backyard for the bing it on challenge. [fight bell: ding, ding] what's your preferred search engine? search engine, uhh, probably google. if we do a side by side blind test comparison, and you end up choosing google, you get an xbox. i'll bet you the xbox, you bet me your son. well let's look up what you need. okay, i would do the left. yeah? what?! i am a daddy! bing wins it! bing won. bing did win. people prefer bing over google for the web's top searches. don't believe it? go to and see what you're missing. that's 3 moves, 5 jobs, 2 newborns. it's no wonder i'm getting gray.
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but kate -- still looks like...kate. with nice'n easy, all they see is you -- in one simple step, nice'n easy with colorblend technology, gives expert highlights and lowlights. for color that's perfectly true to you. i don't know all her secrets, but i do know kate's more beautiful now, than the day i married her. with the expert highlights and lowlights of nice 'n easy, all they see is you. my opinions, borne out of my childhood, my faith, my beliefs, that marriage is between one man and one woman. i respect other people's views. >> hmmm, okay. one man and one woman. so i guess john boehner is now opposed to divorce. according to the "washington post" polling and historic high of 58% of americans believe same-sex marriage should be legal, but only 34% of republicans believe same-sex marriage should be legal. today politico published an
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informal survey of republicans when asked if his views had changed on same-sex marriage, retiring republican senator saxby chambliss said, "i'm not gay." which many of us had actually suspected already. senator lindsey graham resisted the saxby chambliss urge to reveal his sexual preference and instead said "i'm with south carolina. i believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman." the divorce rate, of course, in south carolina is zero. senator rand paul violated his libertarian principles in saying, "i believe in traditional, historic and the religious nature of marriage. marriage should remain a state issue." chris christie said something incomprehensible to the "new jersey star ledger."
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asked about ohio senator rod portman's decision this week to support same-sex marriage after his son revealed to him he's gay, christie didn't budge on his stance, which, of course, is opposition to marriage equality. but as far as how it affects my view, no, christie said, because that question implies that somehow this is a political judgment, and for me, it's not. joining me now, msnbc's alex wagner, and ari melber. saxby chambliss said, "i'm not gay, so i'm not going to marry one." i guess that clears that up. >> there are two things -- i'm not going to marry one is already sort of one of -- like the otherness implicit in that is sort of offensive. but actually, it's even more offensive than that if you substitute the question about gay marriage for interracial marriage. well, i'm not black, so i'm not going to marry one. i mean, these are fundamental questions about equality. and the marriage question, marriage equality, is a civil rights issue.
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and i think it has dawned on certain corners of the republican party they can no longer hold on to antiquated and perhaps bigoted views. but it is going to be tough, lawrence, as much as there is progress, there is a base that is very, very violently resisting entering into the modern era as far as this is concerned. >> and ari melber, of course what john boehner and lindsay graham and these guys who say i believe in marriage of one man and one woman, what they, of course, mean is they believe in a marriage of one man and as many women as he wants in sequence and one woman and as many men as she wants in sequence throughout her life, since, of course, they have absolutely no problem with divorce, which really upsets the old one man, one woman model. >> yeah. if you look at the demography of it, it has always been very weird that a country like the united states, which has high church attendance, but very low, you know, sustenance rates for marriage, has this sort of
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obsession. but i think what saxby may be trying to get at, but this may be charitable. but the old saying used to be if you don't like gay marriage, don't get gay married, which is the liberal libertarian way to look at it. and i agree with alex, he ended up sounding weird and bad, but maybe with a couple more years he can get there. i think what we're seeing, lawrence, in the end, this is all good -- growing pains but good this, this is not about ideology anymore, i don't think it's about religion. when you look at the data, it's fundamentally about age. and not unlike a lot of the other shifts we've seen, it's a question of time for the conservatives and others who are locked in a different era because as we have seen so dramatically with senator portman, their own children raised in a conservative affirment are pushing back on them and their friends are pushing back on them and this is a matter of time. >> can i say one thing, lawrence?
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josh expressed this. the best thing for the republican party at this point would be for the supreme court to strike down prop 8 and doma so this becomes settled law of the land and they do not have to deal with the schism inside their party and all the old guys who are culturally or religiously or for whatever reason resistant to marriage equality will no longer be holding office and will die off, i think is what josh says, and the republican party can move past this. >> well, it would take a brave republican in the meantime to move against the party on this with only 34% support in the republican party. and rand paul is not that brave republican. it's always fun to watch him torn between libertarianism and republicanism as he is on this thing, the libertarian view, of course, is that government should have nothing to do with religion in any way. they don't understand why the state would -- be issuing marriage licenses. but, you know, there he is. stuck defending the republican position. and -- but ari, going forward,
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if the supreme court doesn't help out the republican party this way, how long would it take for there to be some beginning of peeling off of republicans from the party doctrine on this? >> i think it would take several more election cycles to have any kind of shift at the federal level or the rnc platform if we're measuring that way. i think alex is hitting on an important point -- >> sam -- >> did i do that twice? there is a predicate here, which is the court is often used as something that both parties will organize against when they're outraged about positions unchangeable. but at other times we have seen this throughout history, the court becomes a permission structure to make change. the republicans and the democrats both had very poor records on civil rights and over time, particularly with decisions like brown that were, of course, unanimous for many
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republicans eventually it became a permission structure. that's why the entire caucus starts voting for the voting rights act and other things. it's a checkered history so i don't mean to simplify it. but if the court goes federal here, i do think it would actually take some of this out of the political space, which could be good if you care about human rights. >> the a-team. alex wagner and ari melber, thank you both for joining me. >> thanks, lawrence. coming up, tina fey's return to her alaskan roots and the man, the only man who could get her to go back. conservative. very logical thinker. (laughs) i'm telling you right now, the girl back at home would absolutely not have taken a zip line in the jungle. (screams) i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours.
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so guess what's not dead? the assault weapons ban. that's coming up in the rewrite. and james lipton got tina fey to do sarah palin one more time in an amazing improv on his show. we will show the whole thing and ask jimmy lipton how he did it. that's next. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. omnipotent of opportunity. you know how to mix business... with business. and from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go.
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plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+. you know, hillary and i don't agree on everything -- >> anything. i believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy. >> and i can see russia from my house! >> seems like yesterday when you watch that, but it's been four and a half years since tina fey introduced her stunning impression of sarah palin on "saturday night live." and just when tina fey fans thought they had seen the last of that palin impression, one
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man, the only man who could do this, was able to get her to do it once again tuesday night. >> would you allow me to introduce sarah palin, please? >> we could try. >> i'm the one taking the chance, not you, pal. you asked joe biden if you could call him "joe." >> uh-huh. >> shall i address you as governor? you served only half a term, so what's the right term of address? >> well, i'll tell ya, i don't know. and i'm a half governor or you could call me a maverick at large. >> perhaps gov. >> gov would be fine by me too. >> i know that you're very fond of shooting wolves from a helicopter. which is understandable enough. have your views on gun laws or wolves changed at all? >> you know, jimmy, i believe that if everybody had guns, then
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there would be fewer guns in the stores. >> i believe if everybody had guns there would be fewer people left on the streets. >> also good. >> right? what about -- i know it's a touchy subject. same-sex marriage. what is your view on that, please? >> well, the bible says it's gross. and i don't judge it. a lot of the amazing, wonderful people i met in the audience at "dancing with the stars" seem to go that way. >> right. >> but no. >> no? no same-sex marriage. >> uh-uh. marriage is meant for people who wear different kinds of swim suits.
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>> there's a logic to that that is absolutely indisputable. now, gov, or whoever you are, countless women took up to you. do you have any fashion and hairstyling advice for them? >> well, i'm a fan of the bump-it. also to a tan, a tan you couldn't possibly have in alaska. and that's really all you need. >> greater importance. how does a woman like you make her way through a man's world? >> i don't think of it as a man's world or a woman's world unless, again, we're talking about marriage. but i think of it as people
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being mavericks or not being mavericks. >> may i be permitted just one more. >> okay then. but you know sometimes people ask me stuff and i don't answer it anyway, so go ahead. slippery one. >> what do you think of tina fey's portrayal of you? >> it's the best one i never watched. >> thank you very much. thank you. >> joining me now, my friend james lipton, creator, executive producer, writer and host of bravo's inside the actor's studio which has received a record 15 emmy nominations in 18 years and you just saw why. jimmy, i feel like i can call you jimmy, because tina does or sarah palin does. that is absolutely stunning for me, because i know actors generally are very, very uncomfortable doing any kind of character out of the structure that makes the character work. set, makeup, all that stuff.
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was that -- was that -- did you warn her at all you were going to pull that on her? >> remember that my show is the only one, i think, of its kind that has no preinterview ever. that's why i do all those blue cards. so the guest never knows what's coming next. and neither do i. that's the secret, if there is a secret of "inside the actor's studio" but if i'm going to ask them which might be embarrassing, i do ask them in the green room. by the way, i said, would you let me interview sarah palin and she said okay. and let me tell you something. you were talking about reality television, that was reality television. that was real. there wasn't one moment of that was scripted. that was an improvisation, and i was improvising with one of the two or three best improvisers in the world. that takes guts. >> it was fantastic, like sneaking into an acting class. and you could tell how real it was. and also, i mean -- she knew she could bail at any point.
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at any point she knew if she bailed out of it as tina fey, she would be able to do that. but i was marveling at how long the both of you were able to keep that ball in the air. >> she doesn't bail. we talked about improvisation. she was teaching other students, the actor studio drama school at pace university, that's where we were. and she was teaching them about improv, and the principal must agree, and yes, and, whatever you're given, you have to say yes, and, and add something to it. that's exactly what we were doing. it was a long improvisation and it worked. not because of me, but because of her. she is amazing. >> no, but your side of it is easy to underestimate. i mean, you were serving her perfectly -- you were in the jimmy character. playing it perfectly. what did it feel like -- you were working a scene with her. >> absolutely. we were improvising. well, i'm from the acting studio, vice president of the actor's studio, trained by stella adler, robert lewis. so i've had a little bit of practice in that area.
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but when you're doing it with a master, like her, you are really -- you are being lifted off the ground. and that was what the experience was like. >> well, you've set a new bar, even for your show. jimmy lipton, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you, lawrence. great to see you, although you're far away, i think, aren't you? i don't know where you are. >> well, we'll be together again in new york soon. thanks very much, james. coming up, going to have to rewrite those headlines about the assault weapons ban being dead. [ male announcer ] how do you measure happiness? by the armful? by the barrelful? the carful? how the bowlful? campbell's soups give you nutrition, energy, and can help you keep a healthy weight. campbell's. it's amazing what soup can do. [ male announcer ] we all have something neatly tucked away in the back of our mind. a secret hope.
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glass on floors. daily chores. for the little mishaps you feel use neosporin to help you heal. it kills germs so you heal four days faster. neosporin. use with band-aid brand bandages. we've all seen the headlines. assault weapons ban dead. you've seen those, right? well, it's time to rewrite those headlines to assault weapons ban not dead. that's right. not dead. judging by my twitter feed, many of you are very angry at harry reid tonight for killing the assault weapons ban in the package of legislation that was voted out of the judiciary committee. the judiciary committee's legislation on gun safety includes universal background checks, among other things. an assault weapons ban was also in there.
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the vote in the committee on the assault weapons ban was straight party line, ten democrats in favor, eight republicans opposed. but unfortunately, the judiciary committee does not reflect the politics of the senate as a whole. the judiciary committee, like some other committees, is a bit more liberal than the full senate. those committees can sometimes pass bills that cannot pass the senate. it is not unusual for the majority leader of the senate, whether he's a republican or a democrat, to slightly rewrite committee past bills before introducing them to the full senate. the majority leaders' rewrites and edits have one guiding principle in mind, attracting the votes needed for passage. committee chairmen have to do exactly the same thing to get bills through their committees. the question is always the same. what happens to a bill if a certain controversial provision is in it from the start and what happens if it's left out? and leaving it out does not mean the controversial provision won't end up in the bill through the amendment process, which is exactly how dianne feinstein's
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original assault weapons ban ended up in the crime bill in 1993. it wasn't in the judiciary committee's crime bill that was called up on the senate floor by the majority leader, and it wasn't in the house version of the bill at all. and so senator dianne feinstein offered it as an amendment on the senate floor and argued her case and on november 17th, 1993, there was a roll call vote on the senate floor, and dianne feinstein's amendment number 1152 to the crime bill and the feinstein assault weapons ban passed with 56 votes. including ten republicans. some of the democrats who voted yes were from states where voting for gun control took political courage. max baucus of montana, david born of oklahoma. dale bumpers and dale prior of arkansas. tom daschle from south dakota. jim exxon and bob carey from nebraska. wendell ford from kentucky. sam nun from george. and harris wofford from
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pennsylvania. they deserve to be mentioned and remembered by name here and now, because theirs was the kind of political courage that has largely evaporated in the senate. most of the names i just mentioned are no longer senators. and democrats don't have senators from places like oklahoma, georgia and kentucky anymore. and the senate seat of former arkansas democrat david prior who i had the pleasure of working with in the senate is now occupied by his son, mark prior, who is far to the right of his father. harry reid is the leader of that senate, the mark prior senate, not the david prior senate. harry reid is the leader of the senate where nine of the ten republicans who voted for the 1993 assault weapons ban are no longer senators. harry reid's job is to figure out the right strategy for bringing gun legislation to the senate floor. it is the hardest job in the senate, and it is misnamed.
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his title should not be majority leader. it should be majority strategist or majority scheduler. because no senator ever has to follow the majority leader. and in today's senate, no senator ever will follow the majority leader. democrat or republican. if there is a re-election risk involved. and so the majority strategist, harry reid, had a choice. put the assault weapons ban in the bill, going to the floor, and watch as the first amendment offered on the floor would be an amendment to strip out the assault weapons ban, or bring the bill to the floor without the assault weapons ban and watch dianne feinstein offer it as an amendment just like she did last time and harry reid is making the second choice. he announced tonight, once debate begins, i will ensure that a ban on assault weapons limits to high capacity magazines and mental health provisions receive votes along with other amendments. in his state of the union
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address, president obama called for all of these provisions to receive votes, and i will ensure that they do. there was going to be a vote on the assault weapons ban on the senate floor whether harry reid included it in the original version in the bill on the senate floor or not. what we know now, the vote will be up to dianne feinstein. if she offers it on the senate floor as we know she will, and fights for it as we know she will, there is a chance -- there's always a chance it could pass. there is time to make that happen. but she cannot do it alone, and it won't happen on the senate floor. it has to happen before we get to the senate floor. if max baucus is going to vote for the assault weapons ban again, montana voters have to
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tell him to do that. if republican dan coats is going to vote for the assault weapons ban again, indiana has to tell him to do that. you have to tell them to do it. harry reid is doing his job. dianne feinstein is doing her job. but the 57% of americans who support the assault weapons ban have to do their jobs. you have a few weeks, at least, to get this job done before that bill comes up on the senate floor. and in the meantime, you can attack harry reid all you want for not miraculously doing this on his own. but it's kind of uncool for you to be attacking harry reid too loudly if you haven't done your job to make sure that your senator stands with diane. [ phoebe ] stress sweat. it can happen any time, to anyone! [ female announcer ] stress sweat is different than ordinary sweat. it smells worse.
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