tv MSNBC Live MSNBC March 30, 2013 11:00am-2:00pm PDT
we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we've shared what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. bp's also committed to america. we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. good saturday afternoon to you. i'm craig melvin. state of war on the korean peninsula. that's what we're hearing from pyongyang. where the white house hears about tensions in the mid-east. and despite the post election autopsy, some republicans take steps back into the 20th century. can they recover and how? then a little later, we'll meet the man behind the phrase
nothing stop as bullet like a job. and we'll see where that philosophy is making a positive impact right now. we'll get to all of those stories. first, a nelson mandela is stil in the hospital right now. mandela spent 27 years in prison under south africa apartheid president. he was the first person to win the presidency in a national multiracial election. he's 94 years old. he's been in and out of the hospital a few times over the past few months. first of all, what's the government saying about the former president's condition? >> reporter: well, craig, they've released a statement today saying that he is making steady progress because this country is watching, young and old. we haven't seen very much movement at his house here today. what we've seen is his family bringing their children here to
sign stones to him and leave them outside, get well messages. what the government has said is that he is comfortable, he is now breathing without difficulty, and that is important because they revealed that he had to have liquid drain from around his lungs as he was rushed from here late wednesday to the hospital. so it was clearly a serious emergency at the same time he's doing well. >> all right. keir simmons for us in johannesburg. we'll come back to you later. thank you. we turn to our political headlines, national security council is taking north korea's threat seriously. north korea has announced that it is in a state of war with south korea. however, the nfc warns that north korea has a history of rhetoric so it's hard to declare how serious this threat is.
jack lew is going to europe in early april to talk about the deterioration of the eurozone. europe's economy was especially unstable, even before the recent high-profile bank deposit fors in cyprus. the u.s. chamber of commerce and the afl-cio has worked out a compromise. senators are reviewing the bill and will have something to present after the recess in april. the guest worker program is a significant step. negotiations revolve around visas being distributed evenly across wage levels and some 200,000 low-skilled workers annually and whether construction industry workers
will be exempt from the program. we turn to andy sullivan. good to have both of you with me on this saturday afternoon. let's start with you. democratic new york senator chuck schumer who sits on the gang of eight committed to immigration reform told reporters that a deal is, quote, closer than we have ever been before and it's 90% done. is this issue over guest workers -- how much an immigrant worker might get paid relative to an american citizen, is that the only issue left to be resolved? >> that seems to be the stumbling block right now. but the problem is that, you know, there have been a number of -- it's always the last 10% where these deals fall apart. it's always the last 10%. a week ago it looked like the talks were on the verge of being completely blown up because of the afl-cio making demands about
the construction industry to be exempt from these visas. it looks like they've ironed that out but we don't know the details of that compromise firm enough to make public. so that looks like the main stumbling block. you never know in these last days of negotiations, one side could get scared. one side could hear from their caucus, hear from their constituents and decide, never mind, i want to blow this up. it's still certainly very fragile going forward. >> and this issue, the last hold-up, it sounds like it's similar to what held up confirmation immigration reform back in 2007. >> that's exactly right, craig. the afl-cio and the chamber couldn't agree on these things but the fact that they've gotten that much closer this time and seem to be sort of haggling over the final details, the size of the cap, which workers would be exempt and how much to pay them,
that's a very positive seen. it shows you how enormously complex this issue is. even when you have them saying we want to get something done, not only is there this cap but border security and exact details of the path to citizenship. i think things are being looking pretty positive at this point. >> with all of the gridlock in washington and history of this issue in particular, it's risky business to start setting a timeline for anything to get done but the president did just that this week. he told telemundo when he wants to get immigration reform through. take a listen. >> i'm telling you that if we have a bill introduced at the beginning of next month, as these senators indicate it will be, then i'm confident that we can get it done, certainly before the end of the summer. >> before the end of the summer, how realistic of a timeline is that? >> i think what we're seeing is the president is trying to put pressure on democrats and republicans to reach that goal. i think we've seen this in the
past where these immigration talks, talks and other issues don't blow up. they end up fizzling and the president by setting a timeline is trying to present it by fading away into the background. they say if we don't meet this goal, we have failed. that's putting pressure on this caucus and marco rubio and other republicans involved to get a deal done by then. it's realistic, sure. i mean, i think that they have the basic framework now. it's just a question of whether they want to take that last step. >> i want to bring in political editor pbs news, it's good to have you. let's talk about the time line. how realistic of a time line do you think that is? >> i think both you guys are all right up there, that's exactly what they are looking at. it's going to be a spring p event and you're going to see a lot of public pressure start to mount there. you have evangelical leaders. you've got all kinds of pro immigration reform groups that
will have action geared towards mayday. that's a national event where rallies will happen. you're definitely seeing a lot of action. >> andy, the gang of eight, they traveled to the arizona border, senator john mccain tweeted this photo with chuck schumer. there it is right there. he also wrote, just witnessed a woman successfully climb a fence from a few yards from us. how effective was this trip to the border for the gang of 8 and how much of this was about creating a photo op? >> photo ops are important. i don't think we should downplay that when you're talking about trying to reach consensus on something complicated like this. on the notion of border security, i was speaking with an aviation industry person a few months ago and they said, you want more drones? that's great. we're going to have to totally revamp our air traffic control system because the only way you can get more drones into the sky without pumping into airplanes is to move forward with the big, complicated investment.
that indicates that there could be another stumbling block. >> that's the first i've heard of that. >> right. >> mckay, tieing border security, continuing to tie border security to comprehensive immigration reform, is that something that could scuttle the issue as well? >> marco rubio at the very outset of this whole event said, i think it was a month or two ago that if there is not a border security trigger, and then he will walk away and if marco rubio walks away, the rest of the republicans walk away. he said that on rush limbaugh, i'm sure that the talk radio crowd is going to keep him loyal and make sure that he does that. it's very crucial part of this whole situation. >> that's certainly what that talk radio show crowd does. >> that's what they do, right. the. >> president brought up immigration.
his focal point was actually infrastructure repair. take a listen. >> when you ask companies who brought jobs back to america in the last two years, they say if we upgrade our infrastructure, we'll bring even more. so what are we waiting for? there's work to be done. the workers who are ready to do it, let's prove to the world that there's no better place to do business than right here in the united states of america and let's get started rebuilding america. >> so christina, the president went on to propose sa series of tax breaks alonnd loans. that was a major agenda item during his first term as well. there's been bipartisan support for it in the past. why did it work the first time and what are the chances that it happens this time? >> well, politics is always the reason that something doesn't work. with elections around every
single corner, you have to think that a lot of members of the house are not going to want to hand the president some sort of win particularly when it looks like they will come together on immigration reform. that's going to be the one main thing that they achieve this year. however, the infrastructure push is very similar to what he talked about in his state of the union, continuation of themes of investing in america and my progressive ideal for how we do this and it's all a preview of his budget which is going to come out in mid-april and obviously both the house and senate have passed their budgets, two very different visions for funding the government and how you should spend to help your citizens and now the president is going to come in and make this infrastructure push and exactly that, they are talking about tax increases in some ways. >> andy, help me out here. infrastructure, generally you talk about infrastructure, roads, bridges, tunnels, you're talking about a lot of pork and politicians love standing in
front of projects with construction work going on behind them. what's the problem with and it's interesting to hear the word "pork" because the ways to distribute that have been out of favor for the past few years and the proposal that obama is putting forth is infrafra structure bank. that would cut them out of it. i would -- on christina's point earlier about whether it's going to fly, obama is saying it will cost $21 billion and we'll find offsets in the budget so it's not going to increase our debt, i don't think you're going to see it happen. i think the republicans have basically dei h basically decided we're coming up to a debt finding. they are going to push for further spending cuts. they are not going to consider
an additional $21 billion. when you have a divided congress, i don't see that happening. >> thank you so much. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> thank you. an overhaul on the way we tax big business is under way and companies are scrambling to get a piece of that pie. what you need to know about that, up next. it! those hands. oooh la la! what's your secret? dawn? [ female announcer ] dawn hand renewal with olay beauty improves the look and feel of hands in 5 uses. love it, or get double your money back. because all these whole grains aren't healthy unless you actually eat them ♪ multigrain cheerios. also available in delicious peanut butter. healthy never tasted so sweet.
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time to take a reality check. an msnbc contributor, let's talk about this thing. corporate tax rates at 35%, one of the highest in the world, a recent study by "the washington post" found companies paying rates half of what they paid in the 60s and 70s. procter & gamble, for instance, 1969, 49% of its profits were paid in taxes. 2011, it was down to 14%. in 2012, it paid 21%. 40% in 1969, 21% in 2011. if the top rate is 35%, how are these companies able to pay markedly lower rates? >> that's where i was going to jump in. i'm sure a lot of our viewers have that same question. the answer is all of the special
treatment, you can call them loopholes or tax expenditures that these companies benefit from. if you finance with debt as opposed to equity, you get special treatment. if you buy a lot of capital equipment, there's accelerated depreciation for you. there's just a whole slew of loopholes within the tax code that make up the difference between that 35% statutory rape that you mentioned, that's the one on the books, and the average across industries of what they actually pay and as you showed, lots of folks are paying less than that. >> so it would seem like small businesses are typically paying a larger business tax rate than these major corporations? >> well, it's really probably more of an issue of domestic
versus multinational. you're typically facing less tax advantage than someone doing business abroad and there is a real head scratcher because why would we want a tax code that incentivizes firms to go abroad? >> you mentioned some of the loopholes. i want to show folks some of the other ones. lobbyists are hard at work on this thing. nascar, for instance, has received tax breaks and starbucks gives this manufacturing tax credit for roasting coffee beans. lobbyists generally say that the tax breaks ultimately lead to job creation. what do we know about that argument? >> it's largely a bogus argument. anything you like in washington that you want to defend, you say that four letter word jobs and everyone is supposed to bow down in front of you. everyone says their tax break is
it a sacred jobs creator and it's their main defense at someone pointing it to them and saying loophole. the problem with tax reform, you mention tax reform coming and maybe there is. but the arithmetic is kind of prohibited -- the arithmetic is falling in the following sense. if the average is 26%, that's the average effective rate that corporations are paying, that means some folks are paying higher than that and some are paying lower than that. >> every year there's talk of closing loopholes. what, if anything, is different this time around? >> he will with, well, the interesting thing that i've seen is there are some people on both sides of the fence, republicans as well, saying you know what, enough of this capitalism and enough propping up industry. if you're truly an entrepreneur, why do you need all of these breaks to get ahead and we're
actually -- some folks are serious about trying to raise more revenue to put less pressure on budget deficits and can't get there without closing some of the loopholes. >> jared bernstein, we always appreciate your insight, sir. >> thank you, craig. ben carson's foot in mouth. could have large repercussions for the gop. first, jennifer san aniston shows some love to a lawmaker. msnbc, the place for entertainment and politics. [ jackie ] it's just so frustrating... ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder symptoms. [ female announcer ] know that gotta go feeling? ask your doctor about prescription toviaz.
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they are playing basketball the right way. >> that is president obama in miami yesterday playing with the crowd after the heat's big loss at the hands of his chicago bulls wednesday night. the heat has been on a near record breaking winning streak. until now, of course. into the political playground we go. senator mccain's daughter is getting a new show, a reality show, in fact, meghan mccain says the new program is described as a cross between mtvs "jackass" and "meet the press." >> senator kirk had a stroke last year and returned to capitol hill in january. some good news for home brewiers in alabama.
alabama may catch up with the rest of the court. home brewing could be legalized. you see, alabama is the last state in the union where it's still illegal to brew your own beer. bet you didn't know that. once a tea party darling, now back in the incumbent. what rand paul says about the movement at large. first, we'll take a walk along the holiest paths in the holiest city in the world. you're watching msnbc. [ male an] if your kid can recognize your sneeze from a crowd... [ sneezes ] you're probably muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® for powerful allergy relief. and zyrtec® is different than claritin® because it starts working faster on the first day you take it. zyrtec® love the air. the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪
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>> humanity has developed amongst all of the inhumanity. this is good friday. it's god's salvation at work and it's so difficult and so hard and brutal. >> for many of these christian pilgrims, it's a dream come true to walk down the same path of the via ddolorosa. >> being in holy land, it's a wonderful experience because you get to paint a picture in your mind of all of the things that we know is true. >> the catholic church has more than a billion followers and they are represented here in the crowds to date. pope francis started the weekend off by washing the feet of prisoners in an act of humility just as jesus washed the feet of the disciples during the last supper. craig? >> tia, thank you. to politics now, dr. ben
carson, a rising star in the republican party ruffled some feathers on same-sex marriage. watch. >> my thoughts are that it marriage is between a man and a woman. it's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be it gays, nemla, be people in believe in bestiality, they don't get to change the definition. >> he apologized for his classifications of sexual orientation. >> marriage is a sacred thing and we need to maintain it as a sacred thing. when i say we don't want to qualify everything marriage, that's not aimed at any
particular group. the fact of the matter is the bible and god have set very specific standards. >> so do his words help or hurt the conservative call? let's take it to martin frost. a former democratic texas congressman, good to see both of you. ken, let me start with you. many republicans have been trying to make an effort to be more inclusive of the gay community and many leaders have been inching towards same-sex marriage. how much of a setback are carson's comments to those who are trying to build the gop tent? >> i don't think it's a setback at all. i think it reaffirms the gop's platform. one, that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and one that reaffirms the
sanctity of issues and i think his words are welcome. >> loren, what are your thoughts on that? >> the republican party has a problem with hispanics. they have a problem with young people, they have a problem with suburban people. times are changing and the supreme court is changing. at the end of the day i think they will leave it up to the states to decide whether gay marriage is permissible. that may be the direct result. the republican party has to decide if they are going to take a stand in certain states this is a real problem for them. young people are pro gay marriage. it's an issue of tolerance, particularly suburban women. it's a problem that could cause them to be a minority party for
a very long time. >> go ahead. >> that's fascinating. last time i checked, we had 30 of the 50 governors, we have over a majority -- we have about 26 states where we control both chambers of the state legislature. the reality is that we are a viable, strong party. the question is -- >> you would have to acknowledge that right now public opinion is not on your side and poll after poll the majority of folks who are asked, especially young people in this country, say they don't have a problem with same-sex marriage. >> let me give you an example. back in 1973 when the supreme court decided it would create the right to abortion, everybody said it was complete. what we have witnessed is over the decade since is that science
and popular opinion has taken a turn back towards the sanctity of life. so those that want to ring the death nell for the republican party, because we support a traditional and natural marriage, we take a position that is right now not winning an issue in the cultural context with young people really don't understand political history in this country. we have to win today and just as we have on the issue of life, we will in fact win the day for traditional and natural marriage. >> martin, go ahead. i was just going to say, republicans grappling with this issue of same-sex marriage right now, proposition 8 and doma, defense of marriage act, some democrats who previously supported traditional marriage, like claire mccaskill, john tester, they quietly came out of the woodwork and said that they had evolved.
what kind of pressure are democrats under who have not come out for same-sex marriage why yet? >> democrats have to make their own decision. a few united states senators are against gay marriage but let's see what the supreme court does. the supreme court set the pattern. as ken mentioned 40 years ago on a, abortion, despite what they are trying to do, they chip away at it. the republicans are not going to inwith t win the presidential election. that is what this is all about. maybe the evangelicals will win their own party. that would be okay with me. let them break away from the republican party. there are people in the republican party who understand they are not going to win election for president any time soon unless they broaden their base. >> is there room inside the modern gop for people who embrace same-sex marriage
wholeheartedly? >> well, i think there's room for them under the tent as long as they recognize that our party is a party that has embraced traditional marriage. >> how can those two people co-exist under that? >> i think you would actually have to ask those who have a position contrary to that particular plank in the republican party. this is a party that deals with a whole host of issues, craig. it deals with getting the country back on the path of economic growth and individual responsibility. so at the end of the day, this is not a discussion going on within the republican party at every level of the republican party and so i think if you take
all of the policy making. >> sure is nice to have a democratic president and a democratic senate and the only time the republicans have a majority in the house is because of gerrymandering and they got more votes than the republicans did for the house of representatives. they are not the majority party and they are not going to be the majority party any time soon as long as they stand for intolerance. >> martin, how -- >> you can say all that you want that we're not the majority party but we are. >> ken, you would have to concede that in the last presidential election when you look at the votes cast, democrats did get more votes than republican candidates. that's a fact, right? >> look, here's the fact. it's just what i just said. we control those state legislatures. we control those governorships and we control the house of representatives. >> all right. we're going --
>> it's 2014. it will be a very interesting -- >> it will. >> -- election because i think we're going to win the senate back. >> we're out of time. >> once they continue to be the party of intolerance. >> we're going to leave it there. former mayor, ken blackwell. thank you so much to both of you. coming up, democrats have the senate minority lead are in their sights but is mitch mcconnell really that vulnerable. first, though, it's today's big idea. this is msnbc. we all have one. that perfect spot. a special place we go to smooth out the ripples of the day. it might be off a dock or on a boat.
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members redirect their lives nobody st nothing stops a bullet like a job. tattoos on the heart, the power of boundless compassion. father boyle, thank you for being with me. this has become a model for gang intervention. what inspired you to create it? >> well, i think the diagnostic moment was to see that gang violence is really about a lethal absence of hope so how do you infuse a sense of hope to kids for whom hope is foreign. so all of them want a reason to get in the morning and a reason not to gang bang the night before. so to give them gainful employment and engage them in something more positive than the destruction that we're all too familiar with. >> california department of
corrections and rehabilitation found that in 2012, former enplates released a younger return to prison within three years. that's a recidivism of 70.3%. how does homeboy avoid becoming a part of that stat? >> part of what we offer in homeboy is a community that is accepting and doesn't judge them and wants to help them in a therapeutic environment where they come to terms with the damage that's been done to them and the damage that they've caused and then they can reidentify who they are in the world and they can move beyond our training program to be productive members of the community. this upcoming wednesday i'm going to bury my 186th young person killed in our streets for no reason at all and the first anecdote to this is to offer ann dote off this crazy, sad, senseless gang-violent freeway
so you can offer an alternative and second chance and ability to rebuild their lives. >> and how does it work? how do you get these guys into the program? what does the program consist of? is. >> well, we've been around for 25 years now so gang members come to us in large numbers. it's not for people who need help but for those who want it. it's a recovery center as much the way a rehab center is. we help them in a variety of ways from mental health therapy to case management and free tattoo removal, all of the things like parenting and substance abuse. all those things helped them. >> i want to -- you mentioned tattoo removal. i want to ask you about that. your team performs about 745 tattoo removals every month. why is tattoo removal considered a gateway service into homeboy industries? >> well, we're always trying to
address the obstacles that would keep them from full employment out in the world. they are alarming on the face or on the arms but we have three laser treatments and 10,000 a year to try to get them to erase mistakes that they've made but also to send a signal to friend and foe alike that they are not interested in playing this gang-banging game anymore. >> before you get out of here, i know that you've been suffering from lymphoma. how are you doing right now? >> i'm feeling good. as the homeys still tell me, i hear your cancer's in intermission. so may it continue. >> well, father boyle, thank you so much, sir. keep fighting the good fight. >> thank you, craig. >> that's today's big idea. ashley judd may be out of
the race but shifting loyalties are making kentucky a very interesting place this week. up next, we'll go live to the bluegrass state to find out who is watching states now. the place for politics. more than two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. and every day since, we've worked hard to keep it. today, the beaches and gulf are open for everyone to enjoy. we've shared what we've learned, so we can all produce energy more safely. bp's also committed to america. we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger.
ashley judd may not be running for senator in kentucky but mitch mcconnell may face tough competition. david adams is a tea party activist who has been cited as a possible contender mcconnell's seat. he joins me live from louisville. the question that begs to be asked here is, are you planning to run for senate in kentucky? >> no, sir. not myself, not a chance in the world. that's not what i'm doing.
we're trying to come up with a candidate who can be an alternative to senator mcconnell in the republican primary and having some good success with that and actually looking at multiple candidates right now. >> so you're definitely going to run someone against mcconnell? >> well, that's the plan. i mean, it is a very narrow eye of the needle to thread and it's a small -- very, very small universe of people that could make a go of that and, yeah, i would say things look pretty good right now. >> you work very closely on kentucky senator rand paul's election back in 2010. you were just with him at an event on wednesday, i understand. this week, "the daily caller" reported that senator rand paul will back mcconnell in 2014. how do you feel about that endorsement? >> i give rand a pass. i think a lot of people give rand a pass on a lot of things he does right now tangental to
his work as a u.s. senator. so it's really even farther removed from that. it's unrelated to his work as a u.s. senator where he is doing a fabulous job. put yourself in rand's spot. he has to work with the leadership in the senate. you're given a hypothetical, do you support the guy that you have to work with or candidate x who hasn't been revealed yet, you are going to pick the guy that you work with. not an issue. >> but it sounds like you are conceding, perhaps, that senator paul's -- that his candidacy has been -- that it was different from his work as a senator, that he was a different tea partyier, perhaps? >> oh, no. not at all. it's just -- >> okay. >> yeah. totally different situation. >> and how so again? how do you separate the two? >> the difference between what rand was as a candidate and as a u.s. senator? is that what you're asking me?
>> yeah. >> well, he's now a u.s. senator. that's just -- it's a whole lot different. >> so the expectations have changed a bit inside the tea party movement for him? >> no, i think that his profile has expanded rather dramatically so that puts some twists and turns in how he should deal with the office and i think he's doing a fabulous job. no complaints whatsoever. >> let's talk about this idea of running against mitch mcconnell. he's got roughly $7 million in the bank. he's got name i.d. in kentucky. he's popular enough to be re-elected a number of times. what makes you think that you can defeat him this time? >> recent polling data. >> and what has he showed you? >> that there's significant discontent and the identification with that
establishment is pretty solid. >> ashley judd, of course, released that statement this week saying that she was flattered by those encouraging her to run but that ultimately she decided against it because of concerns of family and things like that. what kind of challenge would she have posed? is. >> i think a significant one. at least in terms certainly easy with the low information voter. you know, when you start talking issues with someone who has come out with some pretty far out there positions that wouldn't jive well at all with the republican or with the electorate in kentucky. >> you mentioned low information voters. aren't the voters that you know about the elections. >> sure. i thought that she would have been the formidable candidate. >> david, thank you. appreciate your time on this saturday.
>> thanks. >> as new details emerge about the man who massacred 20 school children and six teachers in newtown, connecticut, we're going to talk to the town's pastor about how residents are doing these days. and how we determine the latest call for the state of war from the government. that's next. el like? find out with venus embrace. every five-bladed stroke gives you 360 degrees of smooth for goddess skin you can feel and feel. ♪ i'm your venus only from venus embrace. [ male announcer ] were you more interesting in your twenties, or now? when you were starting out? or after a few decades working in some well-worn character? experience makes you wiser for the wear. and now come the richer possibilities. [ children laughing ] aarp. an ally for real possibilities. find tools and resources at aarp.org/possibilities.
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♪ ♪ geico motorcycle. see how much you could save. . food saturday afternoon. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc. tense times on the korean peninsula. is this time different than any other. and praying for newtown. the president says he cannot forget these faces. will congress? and what the case before the supreme court means for same-sex couples today. and in south africa, former president nelson mandela remains
hospitalized. the 94-year-old mandela is responding to treatment for pneumonia. he was admitted to the hospital on wednesday. it's the second time he's been hospitalized this month. nelson mandela spent 27 years in prison during south africa's apartheid era. also, developing news we're following back here. this just in from washington. sources are telling nbc news that an immigration deal has been struck between labor and big business group between afl-cio. the u.s. chamber of commerce, democratic chuck smum mchumer o york, they have been debating that and what it means for america coming up in just a few moments here. though the united states has expressed concern about north korea declaring a state of war
with south korea, they are cautious about what kim jong-un means about that exactly. here is nbc's ian williams from south korea. >> reporter: craig, not only did north korea declare a state of war, it says it will now deal with south korea according to war-time regulations. it's not clear what that means since this peninsula has been in a technical state of war for 60 years. officials here in seoul dismiss the claims and a rally where tens and thousands turned out shouting death to the u.s. imperialists.
he's already scrapped the korean war and cut lines. kim has ordered his missiles on stand by to strike the u.s., guam, even hawaii. experts doubt he has the ability to hit u.s. targets and thinks it would be pretty suicidal to try. they believe a full-scale conflict is extremely unlikely but they do worry about a more localized provocation, perhaps around yellow waters where the north has been holding exercises. there have been several clashes there in recent years and when i visited, i found the most vulnerable island ten miles of the north on a high state of alert. they fear he may be more reckless than his father, the late he kim jong-il. the worry is that a squirmish
could quickly escalate. >> ian williams there for us in south korea. how real is the threat of kim jong-un? lynn sweet is an author and james holman is a political reporter for politico. gordon, i'm going to start with you in the studio. we heard north korea say that it's entering, quote, a state of war with south korea. what does that mean precisely? >> it means that the war did not end with a peace treaty. it's interesting how this is playing out. we, of course, say that the armistice exists. the north says they will not abide by it. >> you contend that the bluster
this time is different. how so? >> the duration. every year the north koreans issue bombastic threats and then they go quiet. this year they continue the threats and i think that's because kim jong-un has not been able to consolidate power and the one way is to issue these threats because over the course of 60 years, this regime has baseless legitimacy on killing foreigners. >> what do we know about the manchild ruler of north korea? >> not very much. he's 29 or 30, educated in switzerland. remember, he's in the middle of this regime and he doesn't have many friends. as a matter of fact, since 1949, there has been no period where a north korean leader had a smaller base of support. he's on his own with a few
relatives. >> he's scared? >> he's very scared. >> lynn, the president is trying to move forward on a domestic agenda. obviously infrastructure yesterday, immigration is ongoing. he will be in colorado talking about guns. how much of a destruction is the north korean situation right now for the white house? >> well, it is on the front burner. it was you can ta talked about yesterday where the u.s. is working with the alleys and hopes that the u.s. and china will ratchet down the situation. because north korea has nuclear arms, there's concern that they are working hand in hand with iran. that is another aspect of the discussion that we can have and whether or not what happens in north korea also has an impact on what happens in iran while
we're trying hard to make sure they don't get nuclear capability. >> russia and china in the past historically have been allies or sue allies of north korea. how has that dynamic changed? >> china is going through a troubled leadership transition and because of that the people's liberation army has become a lot more powerful. they have been long-term friends which means that china is not going to probably help us in this case. >> what do we know about the relationship between north korea and iran? >> they sell everything they make to the iranians. nuclear technology, you name it. so this is a partnership that has gone on for more than ten years. >> the stealth bombers that flew from missouri on thursday, a very public display, what kind of message are they sending to north korea and how confident are they that this is a crisis
that can be warded off? >> craig, they are torn between wanting to roll their eyes and shrug their shoulders and think this this man is just trying to get some attention and bring us to the table they are pretty hopeful that it won't cause problems but it could distract from a real desire by the president who doesn't want to be a foreign policy in his second term, to wind things down in afghanistan and focus on the home front. north korea threatens to derail that. >> gordon, what are our options with regards to north korea beyond what we have already seen and done in terms of sanctions? >> we need to tell the chinese that they've come to the party. the chinese rely on our market. we have leverage over them and
the one thing we have to do is prevent the north koreans from selling their missiles and nukes to the iranians. >> we heard from chuck hagel yesterday. based on what you've heard from the new secretary of defense, what do you make of how this might he look going forward versus how it's being looked in the past? >> well, let me talk about going forward. i don't know if there's quite anything like this to compare it to because north korea has never had a 29-year-old leader before, someone who, as we've been talking about, is so inexperienced on the international scene, much less his own -- much less with his own politics. so i think the main concern here is to just avoid an escalation of the situation. when a country like that says we're going to start aiming our armaments against the u.s., you have to take it seriously even though we don't think they have a device to reach the u.s.
that's not the point. there are interests that you would have to defend, particularly in south korea. >> gordon, what do we know about their military capabilities? >> he will with, they don't have a missile that can land a nuclear warhead in the u.s. right now but they will probably have that in three to five years. the things that the u.s. is not concerned about are the missiles because we would retaliate. they are worried about the north koreans smuggling into an american city and setting it off. we may not retaliate because if we're not sure we're not going to fight back on that. it's a big concern because we don't have a credible defense against a bomb like that. >> here's the thing. president obama has prided himself on not being an isolationist but he does not like to engage in international conflicts like this. i.e., syria, iran to a certain extent. how limited are the
administration's options? >> they are very limited and to speak to your point, craig, it's leading from the behind idea. the united states -- the obama administration is just not entirely comfortable being at the lead of containing something like north korea. even in the statements that you've seen from the national security council, they are talking about working closely with south korea. a lot of that is to show our support but it's also a desire to not get completely entangled in kind of a head to head battle with north koreans. >> gordon, thank you. lynn sweet, james hohman from politico, we'll check back with you guys later in the hour. >> thanks, craig. as the nra protests gun reform, i'm going to talk with the grieving town of newtown's religious leader. one couple from activists to brides.
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shame on us if we've forgotten. i haven't forgotten those kids. shame on us if we've forgotten. >> that was president obama there on thursday passing gun reform. also on thursday, the group, mayors against illegal guns featured a new ad featuring members of the newtown victim. >> we need to remember the 26 victims that lost their live. >> she just wanted to teach little kids and that was her goal and she died doing it.
wonderful. >> that was the last i saw jesse alive. >> i want to prevent any other family having to go through what we've gone through. >> the senior past store of the church, reverend, first of all, how is newtown? i know it sounds like an odd question but how is newtown? >> sure. first, thank you for having me, craig. newtown is moving along. we're doing the best we can. in some ways, three months plus out from the events of december 14th, the reality of having to put our lives back together has set in and that creates a whole other set of challenges for us
and i think it's raw and people realizing and for many in newtown, that's not going to be the case. at time there is healing going on but this is not takes time and the many of us in our retail to be together and there certainly are moments of grace and care and love and healing but we are certainly not reached the destination yet. >> earlier this month, you and other members wrote a letter to the judiciary committee and and
and it will help stop with clergy members who signed that letter, a ban on assault weapons is not going to happen. at this point it looks like universal background checks appear to be the most significant part that will happen. would something like that be the comprehensive gun control legislation that you were talking about? >> it certainly would not be comprehensive. i think it would be an important step. we're part of the journey that's going to continue not just in this session but i know from my colleagues across the country and many folks, including many mothers that have concerns here
and women in our nation that this issue is not going to go away. and that we're going to continue to encourage our ledge legislators to be more comprehensive. certainly in this moment if we can get universal background steps, that would be an important step. >> is this where you thought we would be? by that i mean, i was there in newtown for several days after the shooting and i recall numerous conversations with people in that town. everyone seemed to be talking about doing something. with he have to do something. and for a while it looked like there was momentum to do something. >> uh-huh. >> has that momentum been lost? >> i don't think that momentum has been lost. you know, i happen to think when we have polls that show that 90% of the people across this country believe in universal background checks, what that tells me is that we have a congress that is our late
adopters that don't realize that this has shifted and i don't think that that energy and commitment by many folks is going to be going away. so if people think maybe if we can get through this legislative cycle, that will be it, from what i can determine from many people, not just in newtown but across the country, that's not going to be the case. folks have woken up to this issue and are not going to go back to sleep and think that if we passed one piece that it's going to be enough. >> reverend a matthew crebbin, thank you for your time, sir. >> thank you for having me. it's a day that rocked the country and set another gun control movement into motion. our flashback is coming up. first, this holiday weekend and my lesson on the power of prayer. you're watching msnbc. like other precious things that start off white, it yellows over time. fact is, when it comes to your smile,
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amidst our busy lives, this affords us the precious time to slow down and have reflection. >> that was president obama during his weekly address. i grew up in south carolina and was introduced to the power of prayer at a very young marriage. but like me, as i got older, i became one of those folks who prayed for thanks and i prayed to ask for something. over the past few months, we have had our faith tested and prayer has been a great comfort. my niece was diagnosed with sar coma. she would spend months at washington, d.c. we found out she had a tumor the size of a softball in her belly and as you might imagine we were shocked and some days confused
and angry, every day unspeakably sad. the chemo started quickly and so did the prayers, even those amazing doctors and nurses in person and online. the prayers for us brought solace, comfort, understanding and strength as well. and this is a big weekend for young jasmine. she celebrated her third birthday yesterday at home. she was painting. and being a princess as well. thanks to and happy birthday to jasmine who is watching right now and happy easter to all of you. still to come, from the front lines of the fight for marriage equality to walking down the
aisle, i'll talk to a leader of the movement to block same-sex marriage. next. ] it's just so frustrating... ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder symptoms. [ female announcer ] know that gotta go feeling? ask your doctor about prescription toviaz. one toviaz pill a day significantly reduces sudden urges and accidents, for 24 hours. if you have certain stomach problems or glaucoma, or can not empty your bladder, you should not take toviaz. get emergency medical help right away if your face, lips, throat or tongue swells. toviaz can cause blurred vision, dizziness, drowsiness and decreased sweating. do not drive, operate machinery or do unsafe tasks until you know how toviaz affects you. the most common side effects are dry mouth and constipation.
behold...the islands of the bahamas. five months after hurricane sandy ripped into the northeast coast, hundreds of families in and around new york are still homeless. today, "the wall street journal" reports that fema will start representing apartments for those still living in hotels. fema has been paying 250 bucks a night per room. here's a look at the top stories making news right now. deaths linked to prescription painkillers, like oxycontin and vicodin are on the rise. based on initial numbers, it looks like the trend is going to continue. the man suspected of killing the prison's chief may have been placed on parole as many as four years too early. that's ard could according to
documents obtained. ebel was killed in a shootout with police last week. construction debris from the world trade center site will be sifted for human remains. about 60 truckloads will be examined. city officials say dna testing will continue until every possible identification can be made. this was an historic week for proponents and opponents of same-sex marriage. emotions ran high as the constitutionality of the defense of marriage act is being looked at. and now we wait. it will be months before a decision is reached but there's plenty of time for both sides to argue their case in a is ka of
public opinion. joining me is a couple that is married and thomas peters with the national organization for marriage which opposes same-sex marriage and steve, constitutional law professor at american university. good to see all of you. steve, let me start with you. >> great to be with you. >> steve, i know you've studied the supreme court and you know the ins and outs of these cases. if you were a gambling plan, what would you bet the court will decide? >> well, thanks for having me, craig. it's always a danger to gamble on the supreme court as we saw last june when they up held the health care law even though everybody was betting that it would be struck down. so betting is a cautious thing here. >> but -- >> the justices seem really not anxious to get to the heart of whether there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in
the california case. but there seems like a fair amount of concern about the discrimination brought about by the federal law, the defense of marriage act. so i would say the court will strike down the defense of marriage act. there are really too many options for how they might resolve the california case, i think, to really bet. >> and you have been very local gay rights activists. you've launched an lgbt policy initiative at the center for american progress and you've been married since 2010. how significant has it been for you to have same-sex marriage go before the supreme court? >> it's been completely significant. it's been an extraordinary week for equality. but in terms of whether or not we should be gambling on what the supreme court is going to decide, it's really about right or wrong. should all americans be covered uner did the law or should we not and that's pretty much where
we are right now. >> isha? >> i completely agree. we're optimistic about where the courts are going to come down. our entire argument has been that we should be treated the same as everybody else with regard to our laws. it's not about whether you think i should be married or to whom i'm married to. it's really whether the law should be the same. >> thomas, a steady stream of politicians have been coming out in favor of same-sex marriage. most recently, clair e mccaskil. >> you don't doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same-sex marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you? >> thomas, what do you make of that? why have we seen a flurry of
high-profile politicians coming out in favor of it? >> well, i think what john roberts was asking was a really fascinating question because currently gay marriage activists are claiming that they are politically powerless and that's when we have to strike down the defense of marriage act and proposition 8 whereas what the chief justice is saying that actually gays and lesbians are politically powerful. the president supports them, the democratic party platform supports them. the idea that we need to strike down laws is absurd. what we need to uphold is that people have the ultimate right to decide marriage laws. the states, the democratic process is, working. we hope that the supreme court will acknowledge the rights of 45 million americans who support marriage between one man and one woman. >> can i jump in here? i want to clarify, we're not talking about political power with. we're not having a conversation here that says because there's one group of citizens who may or may not have political power, their rights don't apply to them. what we're saying without regard
to this mythical political power which we could have a conversation about another conversation, every citizen of this country should be treated the same under the law. it's very simple. it has nothing to do with who has more money or perceived power. it doesn't matter who you are, you should be treated the same and that is the simple question. discrimination cannot stand in america. >> hang on one second. steve, i want to bring you back in here. let's talk about equal protection clause for just a second here. and can you give us some sense for what the high court has said about that particular cause, that particular cause in the past? >> the political powerlessness issue is one that the court has used for deciding the degree to which different groups need the protection clause. even at a time, for example, when women made up more than half of the population, the
supreme court said that they were lacking inadequate power and found that the equal protection clause should deal with gender discrimination. so that's an important factor. the court hasn't really elevated discrimination based on sexual orientation to some higher level that gets extra protection under the equal protection clause and that's one of the critical questions here, is will the court do that. >> tomorrow mahomas, what were to say? >> i was going to ask steve to make that exact point, what i was talking about was a very precise legal argument that both sides are debating right now. back to the core issue, gay and lesbian people are free to live and love as they choose. what they don't have to right to do is redefine marriage for everyone else. the democratic process is working here. americans barraged with tv ads, heart-filled conversations, they chose to protect marriage.
when they did, our opponents went to the courts to try to get that overturned. namely, that government has an interest in incentivizing that most children in most cases to be raised by a mother and father is where they do best. >> tell me about that last point that you just made because one of the justices addressed that during the hearings and i found it tykely interesting what she said. she said basically using that argument, then why would we allow folks 50 years old or older, they may procreate. >> they don't undermine the purpose of marriage. most men are fertile through most of their life cycle. he's not creating fatherless children outside of that marriage. marriage takes the union of one man and one woman which creates a child and guarantees whenever possible that that man and woman who made that child are also there to raise it. instead of redefining marriage to make it more difficult than it already is, we should be
supporting and building up marriage, not redefining it. >> go ahead, aisha the. >> i can think of no better way to build up marriage than to make sure that everyone who wants to get married and that when you find that other person to love and be loved by, that you can build a family together. there is no better way to uphold and build marriage up than to allow everyone the same rights and responsibilities as their neighbors and friends. >> right. >> steve, what were the main distinctions that you saw in how the justices discussed prop 8 versus how they talked about doma, the defense of marriage act? >> i think the defense of marriage act is more of a manageable issue for them. the discrimination there is clearer to the justices. states have recognized same-sex marriages in nine states and the federal government is not willing to acknowledge the validity of those marriages.
i think that's more tangible to them than the question of whether the constitution absolutely protects same-sex marriage in all circumstances. so the questions really went to that distinction, i think. >> aisha and danielle, race came into play between justice scalia and proposition 8 challenger ted olson on tuesday. take a listen to that exchange. >> i'm curious, when -- when did -- when did it become unconstitutional to exclude homosexual couples from marriage? 1791? 1868 when the 14th amendment was adopted? >> may i answer this in the form of a rhetorical question? when did it become unconstitutional to prohibit interracial marriages? >> how closely connected are the issues of same-sex marriage and interracial marriage? >> well, i would say from a case
law standpoint, they are connected because we are seeing a very similar pattern here where people are being told that they are not able to get married based on nothing -- pretty much based on nothing other than discrimination. and so it was why people don't like black people. they said, okay, we don't want you to get married just because we don't like you. the same thing is happening right now. there is no logical or rational reason why same-sex marriage is problematic for any of the people who are opposing it. it's simply this case of, well, we don't like you so we don't think you should have rights. it's fine if you don't like us, you don't care for us. we don't have to worship with you. we won't ask your clergy to be with us. just because you don't like it is simply not what we do here in america and it's not going to last much longer. >> i just have to disagree with
that. laws against interracial marriage was so that they wouldn't have children together. marriage is meant together so they have children and that is right. i think it's really important what she brought up. the 45 million american who is voted to protect marriage are not motivated by the for gay people. >> let's talk about marriage. >> if the supreme court were to rule that laws defining marriage are akin to bigotry, then every person in this country who believes that children have a right to a mother and father will be treated as bigots under the law. that's exactly why steve and others might agree with me that the supreme court is not going to go there. we can work this out through the political process. the debate can continue. marriage should not be decided by the supreme court. it should be decided by the children. >> let's talk about the children. i want to talk about children.
>> we can talk about children. >> there are over two million children being raised by gay and lesbian couples and those children are being discriminated against and being done harm because our government refuses to acknowledge that. >> no, that's not true at all. >> i want to bring you back in here to wrap this thing up. that was the point that justice kennedy made during the hearings this week. he mentioned the 20,000 children in california who could potentially be affected, i suppose, or children in the future who may be affected. how much do we think that will factor into a decision by the high court? >> i think that's an important issue. it suggests that this issue was much more complicated to the justices than just traditional notions of marriage or marriage serving the purpose of pro creation. there's a lot going on in these relationships and those kind of limited visions of what marriage means may not really work for the justices. can i make one other quick
point? >> really quickly. >> about justice scalia, he acts as if the 14th amendment is self-explanatory but it took us 100 years to discover that it prohibited int terracial marria. >> loving is the case you're referring to. >> thomas peters, i do want you to know that i caught your comment about cable news but like to point out that we just had a 13-minute conversation that was pretty balanced. so take that. the demise of the cigarette indust industry, it happened 14 years ago today. that's next. if rz ♪ ten hut! you up for the challenge suds-maker? i'm gonna need more than that to get through the rest of these dishes!
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. the tobacco giant, philip morris, took a big hit. an oregon jury awarded $81 million to the family of a three-pack-a-day smoker of lung cancer. the company says it will appeal all similar verdicts have been ov ov overturned. >> philip morris appealed this and the ruling was up held on this day in 1999. now let's flashback to this day in 1981 when president ronald reagan was shot at close range while leaving the d.c. hilton hotel. >> this afternoon in washington, d.c., president reagan and staff members ex escorted was hit in
the head and gunman captured. good evening. here's the latest. the president is still in surgery. his condition is described as good and the doctors are optimistic. he was able to walk into the hospital under his own power even though a single assassin's bullet had entered his left side and penetrated his left lung. the presidential press secretary james brady was shot in the head and is in extremely critical condition. the outlook is not good. >> president reagan would of course go on to make a full recovery. he returned to the white house on april 11th of that year. the other victims eventually recovered as well with the exception of james brady who was left paralyzed. brady became known as a he had looking gun control advocate in 1993 president bill clinton signed the brady bill into law. that bill required background checks for people buying a gun from a federally licensed dealer. but there are several
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the next election is 20 months away. the last thing we need is washington, d.c., vetting our candidates. >> i would not be in the u.s. senate today if it were not for governor sarah palin. >> that's a great bear. she's back. there's no question that sarah palin is revving up for something in 2014. her political action committee put out a video titled "loaded for bear." it ticks through all the candidates who won after she endorsed them.
lynn sweet of "the chicago sun-times," james homan, national political reporter for "politico." james, if you had to speculate, what would you guess sarah palin's long-term goal is here? >> to have us talking about her in a few years. sarah palin wants to be in the conversation. she lost a huge platform when her cable contract ended. she picked a lot of losing candidates. she's widely seen among d.c. republicans as not as relevant as she used to be. and she's trying to stay in the mix. she wants her pac to be able to raise money. she wants republicans to seek out her endorsement. and so by highlighting her successes from recent years and highlighting the real appeal she still has to the grass roots, she's hoping to keep some of that power. but unquestionably, she does not have the influence she once did, and she's really moved from being a politician to kind of a red meat-throwing partisan figure on the right. >> perhaps a punch line, even, to some extent. >> absolutely.
>> besides talking about her successful endorsements, lynn, in that video, she also criticized washington consultants. take a look. take a listen. >> they talk about rebranding the gop. instead of restoring the trust of the american people. how about rebuilding the middle class? now is the time to furlough the consultants and tune out the pollsters and the focus groups and toss the political scripts. >> so is that an availed attack there at folks who have criticized her in the past, guys like karl rove, for instance, lynn sweet? >> well, yes and yes because there have been stories out just this week about how her own sarah pick has spent millions of dollars on consultants. i mean, the point isn't whether or not you pay a consultant and if that consultant is based in washington or someplace else. i guess the point is what is it she really wants? as we're talking about, as john
had mentioned, she really just wants to be a top recruiter -- not troublemaker, provocateur in the republican party. while she wants to do that, she need twoz thins two things. she needs to have a platform and also raise money and continue to do be able to do that order to help the candidate she supports. that's the question mark. can she still get that money going? some recent reports the spigot is going very slowly now. >> apparently she spent about 5 million bucks in 2012. >> on consultants. >> less than $300,000 went to actual candidates, which is even stranger. james, this is the thing that got me about this video. a lot of the clips in that video are from the, quote, big, bad media. that's a term that she likes to use frequently. and the clips, obviously, are of us praising her, you know, in our coverage. according to the atlantic wire, nearly one-third of the sarah pac video featured news images.
>> i'm very glad you note that. i think it goes back to that initial point. sarah palin wants us -- she craves to be talked about. she yearns to be in the conversation. i think that she is frustrated that she's not taken as seriously as she used to be. and she loves to kind of, you know, i think she has the perspective that even if they're saying bad things, it's better to be talked about than not talked about at all. she's writing a book that's going to come out later this year. she wants to sell a lot of copies of that book. and so it's in her interests to pick fights with the media. and it always is an applause line with the base to kind of -- to attack the mainstream press. but it is very ironic. and if you watch the video, it's almost comically funny how she goes after the media and then highlights the media talking about her in a positive light. >> we're used to being punching bags, james. >> yes, we are. >> james, lynn, have a fantastic easter. >> thanks, craig. >> thank you so much. coming up, he lost his 6-year-old son in the newtown
massacre. now he's trying to push gun-control legislation through washington. he'll join me live in our next hour. also congressman ron barber on what border security really looks like in his district in arizona. that's next. [ male announcer ] from the way the bristles move to the way they clean, once you try an oral-b deep sweep power brush, you'll never want to go back. its dynamic power bristles reach between teeth to remove up to 76% more plaque than sonic in hard to reach areas. oral-b deep sweep 5000 power brush. in hard to reach areas. with an intuitive motion activated lid and seat,ad bold makes sure you'll never have to ask him again. a regular guy with an irregular heartbeat. the usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke. [ gps ] turn left.
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we support nearly two-hundred-fifty thousand jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. good saturday afternoon. i'm craig melvin. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. immigration reform is very close. so says a top senator and so said the white house just a few hours ago. but how will it play along the border? we'll talk about that. plus, a newtown father who lost everything. reacts as the gun-control measures on capitol hill get watered down by the gun debate. plus, we'll go to africa where the competition for critical resources is getting fierce. what it means for the continent, its people and what it means for america. first, though, a developing story that we continue to watch this afternoon. former south african president melson mandela is still in the
hospital right now. mandel that, of course, spent 27 years in prison under south africa's apartheid government. he would go on to become the country's first person to win the presidency in a national multiracial election. he is 94 years old now, and he has been in and out of the hospital quite a bit over the past few months, it seems inspect our reporter is in johannesburg. first of all, what's the government saying about the former president's condition right now? >> reporter: well, craig, they've issued a fairly upbeat assessment of his condition. they say he's continuing to respond to the treatment he's receiving and that he's comfortable, but today we got our very first detailed medical bulletin. for the first time officials admitting that he's being suffering from pneumonia, the same condition that put him into the hospital just before christmas, a stay in the hospital that lasted for almost three weeks. they also admit this has been widely speculated here, that when he was taken from his home
here in johannesburg to the undisclosed location where he's being treated, he was having breathing difficulties on wednesday. and they also say that he underwent a fairly common procedure to have excess fluid drained from his lung. this is an extraordinary amount of information that we've been getting today by comparison to what we've been hearing from south african officials before hand. it just suggests that they're feeling fairly confident about his progress. previously they've been scared of scaring people off, about frightening people about his condition. and so the positive tone of their message matches. they say that he's been enjoying his breakfast, that he's been sitting up in bed, and so they are fairly upbeat publicly, but, however, pneumonia is a serious condition, potentially very serious, particularly for a man of 94 years old, craig. >> all right, rohin, thank you so much from johannesburg. and we are going to come back to you in a few minutes for a
conversation about that continent in macro terms. now to our political headlines. a deal on a key element of immigration reform has been reached, resolving a major sticking point between the afl-cio and the u.s. chamber of commerce. how much to pay temporary workers. this is a major development. and says senator chuck schumer, talked to the white house chief of staff this afternoon to tell him about that agreement. more on that a little later. "the washington post" reported today that the national republican senatorial committee is compiling a report aimed at helping republicans take back the senate in 2014. the nrsc surveyed candidates, staff and consultants involved in 20 senate races over the past 3 elections. the biggest problem they found, poor campaign communications. again, all of this according to "the washington post." one republican who remains in trouble with this party, alaska
congressman don young. young used a derogatory term for latino workers thursday night. yesterday gop leaders from john mccain to john cornyn to reince priebus all derided the remarks, they shouted them down. young has since apologized. we just heard in the last hour that the nation's top business leaders and labor groups once again, they've reached an agreement on a guest worker program for low-skilled immigrants. this agreement clears the path for an overall deal on immigration legislation in the senate, and it is the most positive sign yet on the issue. all of this as four of the gang of eight, that bipartisan group of senators working on immigration reform, traveled to the u.s.-mexican border this week. arizona congressman ron barber knows the issue up close, very personal. his district is near the border. congressman barber, good to see you. >> good to be with you. thanks for having me on. >> the details are still coming
out about this, but as we understand it, the deal resolves disagreements over wages for the new workers and which industries would be included for the guest worker program. what's just your initial reaction to this piece of positive news? >> well, i think the key is bipartisan agreement. the only way we're going to fix our broken immigration system is if both sides of the aisle in both chambers come together and find whatever that middle ground is. it sounds to me like we're moving in that direction. you're probably aware that there's also eight members of the house of representatives also bipartisan group working on a similar plan. i think the principles are essentially the same. the details may be different. and that's where i think we really have to take a hard look. what are the details? and once i see the details, i'll know better whether or not this really makes good sense to go forward. i would say, however, this. that where i come from, in southern arizona, we still have a huge problem with securing the border and keeping people safe. and i want to be sure that we do
everything we can to continue our efforts to keep people safe along the border. >> i want to bring up a point that was made earlier on this broadcast. one of our journalists pointed out that i guess right now with regards to drones conducting more missions over the border, that there's been some pushback because of how that might interfere with regular air travel. can you speak to that at all? is that new information to you? >> not really, no. i've been aware of that problem or that concern for some time. you know, i meet with the border patrol a lot. and i certainly met with the people who have run the drone program, but let me say this. he can have drones. we can have technology, but nothing beats boots on the ground. the agents that we need to patrol the border as close to the border as possible. and i'm really concerned as we go through the sequestration, the budget cuts, that agents are going to be cut back in hours, furloughs and cutbacks in overtime. overtime, unfortunately, has become routine because when you're in hot pursuit of
smugglers, you just don't clock out. you continue the pursuit until it's done. and the people that are in the border patrol that i represent and that are all across the border, they're going to receive a 40% -- up to a 40% decrease in their salary at the very time we're trying to move to fix the broken immigration system. that cutback, not only the harm it does to families is important, but also the harm it might do to our efforts to secure the border. >> i want to switch gears really quickly here to gun reform. next month senate majority leader harry reid, he plans to bring a gun reform bill to the floor which would expand background checks on gun purchases. it would curb illegal trafficking of firearms. but now five senators including florida senator marco rubio, texas senator ted cruz among them. they're threatening to filibuster this bill on the floor. given your unique perspective, as a victim of gun violence and a lawmaker, what's your take on the length of time that it's taken so far to see any sort of real gun reform even come out of
capitol hill and now the threat of the fill buster? >> i didn't know about the filibuster threat until you just mentioned it. that is a disappointment for sure. i'm focused on four things. improving mental health services, getting universal background check with exceptions for family transactions, thirdly, to make sure that we increase the penalties for gun trafficking, which is a huge problem in our state with our proximities to mexico, and the last one which is very personal with me which is try to reduce the size of the magazines. the guy that shot us discharged 33 bullets in 19.6 seconds. and 19 people were shot. 6 dies. in the first 4.5 seconds, he shot myself, congresswoman giffords, judge roll and my colleague, gabe zimmerman. that kind of firepower really does not belong in civilian hands. i think we can defend ourselves in our homes with much smaller magazines. but a killing weapon with 33 bullets in the magazine is really something that can only
result in mass tragedies like we've seen all across the country. >> but here's the thing, congressman barber. and you're echoing a lot of sentiment a lot of folks have, that there should be reasonable restrictions on the size of magazine clips, if nothing else. but i think you're politically astute enough to know that doesn't look like there's the political will to make that happen. what happened -- what happened to the momentum after newtown for gun-control advocates like yourself? >> well, i'm not so much gun-control advocate. i'm a strong supporter of the second amendment. i believe everyone should have the right to bear arms. i just really believe we can make some sensible, common-sense changes in our law that make our schools and our communities safer, and that's what i'm focused on. and certainly you're right to say that, you know, the gun magazine issue is probably the biggest lift for us. the gun assault ban is not likely to happen politically. but i still think there's hope for the reduction of the magazine size. but i'm focused on, as i say,
four things. and i bloef those are essential steps in the right direction. hopefully we can accomplish all or most of them. >> congressman ron barber, congressman, always good to see you. >> thank you very much. it's the world's fastest growing continent, and it is changing dramatically. our focus on africa next. then a little bit later, reading the tea leaves, what do we make of the political predictions of chief justice john roberts on the floor of the supreme court this week. stay with us. keep my eye on her... but, i didn't always watch out for myself. with so much noise about health care... i tuned it all out. with unitedhealthcare, i get information that matters... my individual health profile. not random statistics. they even reward me for addressing my health risks.
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it is changing dramatically. a recent special report in "the economist" notes never in the half century since it won independence from the colonial powers has africa been in such good shape. its economy is flourishing. most countries are at peace. ever fewer children bear arms. and record numbers go to school. mobile phones are as ubiquitous as they are in india. and in the worst-affected countries, hiv infections have fallen by up to three-quarters. president obama thursday met with leaders of four small african nations. they talked about their emerging democracies and america's interests on the continent as well. a nonresident fellow at the africa growth initiative at the brookings institution. our friend rohit has been in johannesburg, south africa, for us for some time now. it's good to see both of you. whitney, let me start with you. the country is visiting with president obama. they are solid democracies.
what's the american interest in africa right now, and how has it changed? >> well, the american interest in africa right now is in democracy. it's in economic development. and it's in commercial opportunity. what we're seeing on the continent is the emergence of a middle class across the continent. some 350 million people who are buying televisions, buying cell phones, buying cars. and this is the new africa. and this increasingly is going to be the story coming out of the continent for the next ten years. so the visit to the white house on thursday by the four leaders is recognition not only of the new democracy but of the new opportunity that's emerging on the continent. >> rohit, let's talk about the democracy there. democratic governments are on the rise throughout africa, according to "the economist." now there are at least 25, that's up from just 3 at the end of the cold war.
and many more african nations are holding elections as well. what does democracy look like on the continent in broad terms? >> it's a very important question. first of all, it's important to realize that the vast majority of africans live under democratically elected governments. now, these aren't usually jeffersonian dmoks as most americans recognize them, but these are governments that by and large reflect the will of the people. and as we saw in kenya over the last several days and today, sometimes it gets very complicated. where kenyatta, his election was just confirmed. he's been indicted by the icc. but his election reflects the will of the kenyan people. so i think that presents a challenge to the united states to deal with these emerging democracies that aren't perfect democracies, but they are on the way to being represented of government that includes more
transparency, more accountability and creates more opportunity for the people that are being governed. >> rohit, you are on the ground there in south africa. talk to me just in terms of just empirically in terms of this evolution on the continent. two or three years ago versus when you were there until now. >> reporter: a rapid evolution here in south africa and in countries right across this continent. i was in the appecapital of et a ethiopia, and you see a huge skyline springing up right in front of you. this was the heart of the famine of a few decades ago. and yet we were looking at this incredible skyline that really was a symbol of economic progress, much of that fueled by the rapid growth of the cell phone, particularly more than anything else. for every four people in africa, there are three cell phones, and people are using them to swap
money. it's now become their bank as well as their way of getting information from outside of their own countries. but, you know, there is a challenge for the united states. and that comes from china which is behind a great deal of investment in this continent. road development, stadia all over this place. and the question really for many african leaders is do we want to accept investment from the united states or from china? china have, over the last few years, seen so much more keen than the united states, european countries and others. and the perception here, right or wrong, is that that can be done as a no-strings-attached investment. we can take chinese money, billions of dollars of it in every single country across this continent, and we won't be lectured about our human rights records, about the quality of our democracy.
that is certainly the perception across this continent. and the question for the united states is do they challenge that somehow, or do they stick to their own course as it is now? >> witney, i want you to pick up that question that rohit just asked there because as he noted, china's become the continent's largest trading partner. $11 billion a year at one point. now it's, i believe, 166, close to $170 billion. is the chinese -- is the chinese interest in africa, is it purely an economic one? >> well, first of all, i guess i would challenge one aspect of rohit's theory, insightful comments and say it's not either/or. it's not either china or the u.s. china does have a capability to make loans available, make investment decisions much more quickly. look, china's not a democracy. so many of these firms are not accountable to shareholders. so they can make decisions a lot more quickly.
but many african leaders are very keen to see u.s. companies out there because american companies have a tradition not only of being good partners, but they train workers. they transfer skills. they create supply chains that are connected to the global economy. and many africans are in love with american brands. the challenge for the united states is why aren't more companies investing? and i think this is an interesting dynamic. here the president of china, president xi, on his first trip is visiting tanzania, south africa and the democratic republic of the congo. and president obama, in four years-plus now has spent less than 24 hours on the continent. so how do we -- i think the question for us is how do we energize our commercial engagement on the continent? >> we are going to have to leave it there this time around. witney from the brookings
institution, rohit, our man on the ground in south africa. rohit, especially good to see you, sir. thank you for all your hard work. witney, good to see you as well. have a great easter. the generational divide had it comes to the historic cases heard before the supreme court this week, especially when it comes to young conservatives. we're going to talk about that. first, though, some interesting same-sex sentiments from celebrities. we're going to bring you that as well. you are watching msnbc, the plate for politics even on a saturday afternoon. a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say? ♪
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up next, more on the debate around same-sex marriage in the high court. we'll tackle that with a braintrust after a quick break. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. okay, focus. think courage. think shaun white. think how perfect they'll be for outdoor crafts. mr. white. [ male announcer ] they're good for circulation. plus, they're totally practical. yeah, freedom. scan me. stride on, pale-legged, short-shorts guy. ♪ stride on, pale-legged, short-shorts guy. every room deserves to look us what our great.te color is? and every footstep should tell us we made the right decision. so when we can feel our way through the newest, softest, and most colorful options... ...across every possible price range... ...our budgets won't be picking the style. we will. more saving. more doing.
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cfp -- let's make a plan. kids are like sponges. they soak up everything. especially when it comes to what you say and do. so lead by example and respect others. you won't let prejudice into your home. the more you know. but all i do to be broadcast ready damages my hair and scalp. then i uncovered head & shoulders damage rescue.
it relieved my scalp and rescued my damaged hair. the proof? see it tonight, at eleven. head & shoulders damage rescue. a guilty plea in the case of the zumba instructor. alexis wright pled guilty to 20 counts of prostitution friday. she had been facing more than 100 in the case that rocked kennebunkport, maine. prosecutors are expected to ask for a ten-month sentence. here's a quick look at some of the other top stories making news right now. the body of a student pilot in tennessee has been recovered. he was thrown from a small plane thousands of feet in the air. he was ejected when that plane took a nosedive and a canopy opened. the instructor was able to land safely. neither were wearing a seat belt. dozens of atlanta area teachers now face criminal charges. prosecutors say they were part of a massive cheating scandal.
those indicted friday include former superintendent beverly hall. she faces racketeering charges. according to court documents, test answers were altered, fabricated and falsely certified. an attorney for the former superintendent, beverly hall, has just responded to the charges saying, in part, ms. hall denies the charges and hopes to be fully vnd dated. the nation is still reeling from the december shootings in newtown, connecticut. 20 elementary schoolchildren and six adults were all killed inside their school. neil hesland's 6-year-old, jesse, was among those killed. he joins me via telephone right now. neil, i know you went to washington thursday to meet with the president to call on gun reform. let's take a listen. >> hello? >> shame on us if we've forgotten. i haven't forgotten those kids.
shame on us if we've forgotten. if there's one thing i've said consistently since i first ran for this office, nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. >> neil heslin is in d.c. you ran into one of the worst parts of traffic there, so we've got you on the phone. thanks for being with me, neil. >> thank you. >> have we forgotten? >> no. no, we haven't forgotten. >> as a country, have you been at all disappointed with our sponsor lack thereof in terms of legislative accomplishments? >> yeah, i have been. i think it at least should go to a vote. and congress needs to stand up and vote for what needs to be done and what's right on gun control and a ban on the magazines and better background
checks in health care. it all has to go hand in hand to make a change. i'm not real happy about it now at this point. >> neil, i know that you've met with a number of congressmen, congre congresswomen. what do they tell you? what do they say about their legislative efforts? >> well, everybody, i feel, wants to see a change. they definitely don't want it to ever happen again. it just seems it goes on and on. nothing gets accomplished. it doesn't go to the floor. it doesn't get a vote. it's kind of discouraging, along with disgusting. you know, i can't see why something like that happened in newtown.
these babies, these little children, need a vote and make changes that will help prevent this from happening again. in other schools, theaters, malls. >> neil heslin from newtown, connecticut, lost his son, jesse, that day at sandy hook elementary school, in washington, d.c., lobbying for gun reform. neil, thank you for joining me on the telephone, sir. i appreciate you. >> thank you very much. to the brain trust we go. we're going to switch gears here. we're talking about the issue of same-sex marriage today. i am going to be keeping score of who makes the best points at the table today. this is new to you. i hope you're excited. i'm going to crown someone the biggest brain. at that point we're going to let them share what's on their mind. it is totally unscientific, but
it is, in fact, a lot of fun. so let's get started. justices heard arguments on prop 8, california's ban on same-sex marriage, and the defense of marriage act this week. let's listen to one of the most significant exchanges in that courtroom from wednesday's doma hearing. this is when chief justice john roberts implied that same-sex marriage advocates might have it easy. >> you don't doubt that the lobby supporting the enactment of same-sex marriage laws in different states is politically powerful, do you? as far as i can tell, political figures are falling over themselves to endorse your side of the case. >> chief justice may not be exaggerating entirely on that last part. just this month alone, seven senators including republican senator rob portman of ohio announced their support for same-sex marriage. here's the brain trust. political analyst and contributor, bob franken, columnist, francesca chambers, an editor at red alert politics.
good to see all of you. thanks for being request me on a saturday afternoon. >> hello, craig. >> bob's the only one that said hi. he starts with a point. francesca, let's start there. what do you make of that comment from chief justice roberts? has it been relatively easy to far for supporters of same-sex marriage? >> not historically, but recently this week, i would agree with that. outside of the supreme court on tuesday, there were opponents of same-sex marriage and proponents of same-sex marriage protesting. but by the time you got to wednesday, you only saw proponents of same-sex marriage protesting. the other conservatives had given up and gone home. so i do think there's a little bit to what he's saying. but i think the point he was specifically trying to make is there's no need for the supreme court to engage in an act of judicial activism in order to push this issue along because it will likely happen naturally in public. >> zerlena, i saw you nodding your head disapprovingly. do you disagree with something
you said? >> i disagree. you can't bash supporters because they've been successful and say that their political power is something negative. i mean, they just are now at a point where the arguments opposing same-sex marriage are weak. and that took evolution over time, but they shouldn't be discredited because of that. >> bob, you know, some democrats who previously supported traditional marriage like missouri senator claire mccaskill, montana senator john tester, they came out in support for same-sex marriage in just the last month along with hillary clinton as well. according to "politico," just nine democratic senators out of 55, 9 have not yet come out in support of same-sex marriage. what kind of pressure do you think that those democrats are under right now? >> well, they're under pressure on the one hand in those states which are red states for the most part. to maintain the superstition, to maintain this contact with the dark ages. they may be democrats, but they come from what they used to call
yellow dog democrat states. that kind of thing. so they're under that pressure. at the same time, they're under pressure from the party to try and present a new face to represent progress. and if the supreme court doesn't rule that political pressure is going to continue. >> francesca, i understand you were at cpac earlier this month. what's been the buzz around this issue among young conservatives especially attending the conference? i've heard and read that this might be the issue that really creates perhaps insurmountable wedge between the establishment gop and social conservatives. >> well, i don't exactly think that there was a buzz, so to speak. i would call it more of a sideshow around homosexuality. unfortunately i got dragged into that a little bit because on the youth panel, you know, the moderator had a gay right as general da, and that's all he wanted to talk about. and as a result -- >> what exactly is a gay rights agenda, by the way? just to clarify. >> well, no, on this specific panel, every time one of the panelists would try to talk about jobs or the economy or the other issues that young people
care about and have said that they care about the most, he would bring the subject back to gay rights. and that was a huge issue during the panel. so as a result, there were a lot of stories about the gay rights activism and the divide between traditional conservatives and younger conservatives at cpac. and i don't think if that had not happened, that that would have been an issue. most young people wouldn't naturally talk about this. it's not something that young conservatives really care about that much. >> zerlina -- go ahead, bob. >> well, i think that's an important point. i think there's a recent poll, cbs news poll, which shows that among republicans, there is 56% overall that opposes gay marriage. but among republicans who are age 50 and younger, there is a plurality in favor of allowing gay marriage. and i think francesca makes the point that that's really a vote for, yeah, live and let live. >> zerlina, what were you about to say, francesca? >> i was about to say that's
exactly it. they are not, you know, for it necessarily. but they're not against it either. they just really have more pressing issues like trying to get a job and paying off their student debt they're concerned about. >> zerlina, you're so polite. >> i think this is a question of not if but when marriage equality is part of american life. we shouldn't be creating second-class families in this country. i'm the daughter and granddaughter of ministers, come from an evangelical family. my parents have evolved on the issue of marriage equality. the rest of america and including evangelicals are going to have to do it. otherwise they're going to be left behind. i don't think this is a debate anymore. i think we're at the point where marriage equality is going to happen, and we all need to accept it. you don't want to be strom thurmond on the floor of the senate for 2424 hours filibustering equal rights. you don't want to be the last guy standing. >> i think that's a great stop to take a quick break. stay right there. when we come back, is the same-sex marriage conversation, again, is it going to lead some folks to bolt the party. we're going to talk about that and a lot of other things as
he wrote last week, quote, if the rnc abandons marriage, evangelicals will either sit the elections out completely or move to create a third party. what's the likelihood of that happening? >> you know, i don't think that that's true. i think that's blowing a lot of smoke. i mean, really, are they going to sit back and let a progressive democrat get elected to president again? we still don't know where this president stands on partial-birth abortion and some of the other issues that conservatives are really concerned about. so if you're an evangelical conservative and that's one of the issues you would vote on beside gay marriage, i don't see how you let a progressive democrat win. >> do we not know where this president stands on partial-birth abortion? >> i know he is pro-choice and
partial-birth abortion is illegal. we were just saying in the last segment, francesca, that jobs and the economy are number one on all voters' minds. i don't think that partial-birth abortion is an issue when you walk into the voting booth to pull that lever. for some conservatives, but that doesn't mean that people are going and voting on partial-birth abortion. that's just not the case right now. >> it's not an issue driving people to the polls? bob, if social conservatives, if they were hype hypothetically to bolt? >> i think that's exactly what tony perkins was doing there. he needed to be heard. he had been ignored for a little while. that's why he said what he said. in fairness i should point out that mike huckabee made a similar suggestion. as we know, he does a lot of tv on another network.
>> very good point. let's talk about ben carson here, rising star in the republican party, johns hopkins neurosurgeon. he apologized on "andrea mitchell reports" yesterday after he mentioned same-sex marriage, pedophilia, bestiality, all in the same sentence. he pretty much said they were all kind of the same thing. he said that he's ready to withdraw as commencement speaker at the university. who would comments like this one -- how do they hurt the gop's idea of inclusiveness? >> well, it illustrates that the arguments opposing gay marriage are ridiculous. and now when you hear him talk about bestiality and pedophilia in the same sentence with two consenting adults who love each other and want a long-term committed relationship that is recognized by the federal government, i mean, there could be not two things that are more different. i mean, he's the best living, breathing example of what's wrong with the anti-marriage equality argument. >> francesca, even beyond that,
it seems it was another week for, you know, republicans saying silly things. we had the alaska congressman to apologize for his comment that i won't use on the air once again. and then you have ben carson having to walk back some comments as well. at what point do republicans figure out that, you know, maybe you should think before you speak? >> i don't think it's fair to limit it just to republicans. >> well, this week it's fair. this week i think it's fair. >> this week there was a democratic congressman as well who made an offensive tweet about the trail of tears in reference to a basketball game. i think you have to look at that, too. that it's not just republicans who have issues with messaging sometimes. >> i wasn't talking about twitter. i was actually talking about the spoken word. >> certainly that's offensive, but it's not tied to policies that democrats are putting forward. i think that's a distinction we can make. >> go ahead, bob. >> in response, craig, i would offer two words to answer the point that you're making, and
those two words are "joe biden." and we have covered him every single gaffe that he's made that we know of, at least, that we've covered him. so i don't think this is where we just focus on one party or the other. but i think in the case of ben carson, we also have a situation where he went from being a doctor to suddenly he was talking about running for president and was being embraced, and the inevitable happened. quite frankly, i think he was a little over his head. you have this whole cadre of people who basically say it used to be i couldn't spell politician, now i are one. >> good point. he writes them before and then he works them in. he's done this before. let's switch gears. let's talk about the new york mayoral race as well. "new york times" reporting this week -- somewhat of an unflattering article on new york council speaker christine quinn who is, of course, running for mayor. here's a direct quote from that article. "controlling, tempt permental and surprisingly volatile, with a habit of hair-trigger
eruptions of unchecked, face-to-face wrath." would the description of her temper, would that disruption, would it be different if she were a man, you think? >> they wouldn't describe her that way. if she was a man, they would not use words like "sensitive" and "temperamental." that's media speak for she's emotional, and she can't handle pressure. and i think, you know, we're talking -- she's running for new york city mayor, not for miss congeniality. i think we should be talking about how she does her job, not the manner in which she interacts with people. >> go ahead, bob. >> well, you know, you talk about controlling, temperamental and volatile. isn't that how everybody is in new york? >> that's a good point. >> that's certainly my experience. >> francesca, go ahead. >> i was going to say, you know, one of the things she said this week, too, was that new yorkers are tough. and it goes back to exactly what he was saying, they're kind of used to this tough talk. and if she was trying to get elected, where i'm from in kansas, it wouldn't work, but in
new york, i think she's okay. >> a point you heard earlier this week as well, "the new york times" typically it's not known for, you know, generally speaking, things like this. you've got to wonder how something like that doesn't catch the eye of an editor. >> well, "the new york times" makes mistakes sometimes, and i think this is one of them. sheryl sandberg's book keeps coming up. talking about how women have to lean in to become successful and move up the corporate ladder, that applies to politics as well. i think we have to be focusing on not being liked but being likeable. so maybe christine quinn has to work on that a little bit. but i think if she does a good job, i don't really care if she's mean or people think she's mean. >> there's also the serious issue about are women judged when it comes to let me just put it this way, the "b" word. >> they absolutely are, yes. >> you know, i think we also saw that when we were talking about susan rice. there was all kinds of coverage about the fact that she was, to put it mildly, assertive. and that seems to be a characteristic that is not something a woman is supposed to be and, of course, she can't
really compete if she's not. >> there is a double standard. >> yes. >> yes, i absolutely agree. >> francesca, you can see that point as well. >> yes, i think that there is absolutely a double standard with women. i think that's something we can actually all agree on today. but to be fair, she is the one who has self-described herself as the "b" word. you know, it would probably help if she didn't call herself that. >> you're really pushy, francesca. >> well, i'm not -- you know, i'm not going to attack someone who i don't know for being pushy. i don't know how much of that is true. but i will say a lot of people have said i'm pushy and aggressive. >> we're not -- >> it's a compliment. >> we're not going to touch that with a ten-foot pole. stay right there. when we come back, one of these brainiacs will be crowned the biggest brain. stay with us. [ lisa ] my name's lisa, and chantix helped me quit. i honestly loved smoking, and i honestly didn't think i would ever quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. it put me at ease that you could smoke on the first week.
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biggest brain today. here's the thing. and i want to thank -- well, it's not really fair because we've got two first-timers. you were rookies. you did well. but zerlina and francesca, perhaps next time. bob franken is our biggest brain today because -- >> i am not worthy. >> no, bob, you are. you've got a huge head. he said hello first. that got him a point. >> no, he took off in the lead early. >> and he resisted the urge to use profanity. he could have easily used the "b" word and he did not and he had some clever one-liners he obviously wrote them beforehand and was determined to work them in. so bob franken, you have the biggest brain. take it away. >> well, i want to talk about -- get ready for this because it's a shry subject, and it's same-sex marriage. the supremes can take seriously that equal under law that's
chiselled into that magnificent building. they can clear any impediment to same-sex marriage unconstitutional or wimp out and hide behind a procedural finding. there is another approach not being considered. what about achieving equality by doing away with government-sanctioned marriage for everyone? that way there is no discrimination. people can have weddings if they want, but all of the benefits and legal advantages for spouses would be eliminated which is fair to single people anyway. the arguments strictly for heterosexual marriage are weak. procreation. we certainly don't need it for that. stability for the children. we have a divorce rate over 40% which doesn't even account for the abusive families that stay together. maybe doma, the defense of marriage act, should be replaced by groma, the get rid of marriage act. yes, i'm being facetious, but no more ridiculous than those who
oppose equal rights under the law for all sexual orientations. >> bob franken, thank you so much for that. i am going to assume that you, sir, are single. >> i probably will be now. >> but here's the thing, zerlina. he raises a few interesting points there, that the states should not be in the business of sanctions marriage. what say you to that? >> it's part of our tradition and you still need it and just include everyone in it. i think that there is strength to that argument, that it's part of the american tradition. >> now, bob, i would say i've got friends. i'm certainly not one of these people, but there are people that i know who have gotten married for the financial benefit. you say do away with that. >> yes. i mean, first of all, anybody who gets married for the financial benefit is sentencing themselves to a life of unhappiness. to say nothing of disappointment. >> francesca, i assume you watched and listened closely to the arguments made before the high court this week. >> yes.
>> what struck you most about them? >> i think on the first day that the justices thought that they might just throw the case out essentially and decide that it has no standing. so after all of this fuss to get to the supreme court and have this issue in front of the justices, everything might go back to the way that it was before in california with prop 8. so that was something i found really interesting. that now they might essentially throw the case out. >> bob, a couple of justices did seem to question standing as well, which is something that i found especially interesting. but a lot of folks don't perhaps know that it takes four justices to hear a case, five justices to decide a case. so from time to time you get situations where you've got folks in that room who really don't want to hear the case being presented. zerlina, bob franken, our biggest brain, and francesca chambers. >> scary, isn't it? >> we hope you'll come back at some other juncture. that does it for this saturday. join me tomorrow at 3:00 eastern. i'll be joined by former boston mayor and vatican ambassador,
ray flynn. also with me, former members of congress connie mack and mary bono mack. they are, of course, married, bob, and they're happy. keep it here for all the latest news updates throughout the evening, and have yourselves a fantastic saturday night. [ jackie ] it's just so frustrating... ♪ the middle of this special moment and i need to run off to the bathroom. ♪ i'm fed up with always having to put my bladder's needs ahead of my daughter. ♪ so today, i'm finally talking to my doctor about overactive bladder symptoms. [ female announcer ] know that gotta go feeling? ask your doctor about prescription toviaz. one toviaz pill a day significantly reduces sudden urges and accidents, for 24 hours. if you have certain stomach problems or glaucoma, or can not empty your bladder, you should not take toviaz. get emergency medical help right away if your face, lips, throat or tongue swells. toviaz can cause blurred vision,