tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC May 7, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT
standoff in the u.s., over whether to send body of boston marathon bomb suspect, tamerlan tsarnaev back to russia, secretary of state john kerry arrived in moscow. secretary kerry will have a full plate during his two-day trip. global terrorism, iran, afghanistan, trade concerns and north korea. but his larger goal is to convince russia to change its position on the escalating conflict in syria and to increase counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries in the wake of the tragedy at the boston marathon. negotiation with russia has proved difficult in the past. but this morning, kerry indicated that the path ahead may be more cooperative than combative. telling putin that president obama believes the u.s. and russia are capable of cooperating on syria, iran, north korea and economic issues. to describe recent relations between the u.s. and russia as frosty. would be something of an understatement. just last month, the two countries were engaged in a tit for tat over human rights
sanctions, but the tragedy in boston has presented a new test for old foes. in a press conference last week, president obama seemed optimistic. >> the russians have been very cooperative with us since the, since the boston bombing. obviously old habits die hard. there are still suspicions, sometimes between our intelligence and law enforcement agencies. that date back 10, 20, 30 years. back to the cold war. but they're continually improving. >> russian president, vladimir putin, also seemed eager. telling a russia call-in show, i'm simply appealing for this tragedy to bring us together in fighting common threats. and if we really unite, we won't allow these strikes to happen and suffer such losses. while diplomatic ties may be on the upswing as far as intelligence-gathering. when it comes to russian policy on human rights, some cold war habits die hard. as the international community condemns the syrian government
for killing its own people, russia is standing by bashar al assad. supplying his government with weapons, fuel, supplies and financial services, and refusing to consider sanctions. alongside china, russia has vetoed three u.n. security council resolutions, condemning assad's brutal crackdown and it opposes any military intervention, including arming the rebels. secretary kerry aims to change that calculation. according to the "washington post," kerry will attempt to persuade russian president vladimir putin to support or at least not veto a fresh effort to impose u.n. penalties on syria if assad doesn't begin political transition talks with the opposition. officials say the u.s. is prepared to act with or without kremlin support. needless to say, it would be much easier if russia was cooperative. in any ordinary year, russia and america have trained relations, decades after the cold war, debates over human rights, sovereignty and democracy stim persist. this year presents a whole new
set of challenges for an already-rocky relationship. joining me today, former dnc communications director and msnbc host, karen phinney. deputy mayor of new york city, howard wolfson and "washington post" columnist and msnbc contributor, jonathan capehart. and joining us from washington, is the white house correspondent for "the new york times," peter baker. peter, thanks for joining us. i would like to start with you on this. in terms of the optimism that secretary kerry was putting forth in terms of being able to get something tangible out of these meetings. how much of that was just the beginning over tur to what we call a pas de deux between the two countries and how much of it is perhaps real talks? >> there is some optimism that this might provide a moment where the two can put aside some of the old enemies of the past. but the truth is, the secretary of state is making his first visit to moscow. we've heard them go before with the same sense of optimism and walk away with the sense sense
of frustration. i would be careful about pinning too much hopes on the u.s./russian relations, they're frayed by a long history and very hard to settle in any single meeting or set of meetings. >> how much does the boston marathon bombing change the traditional diplomatic calculation? because both putin and the president, president obama, have said that this is a moment for u.s., the u.s. and russia to work together. but how much is that actually factually changed the dynamic? given the russian relations to the chechens, they sort of have an iron in the fire as far as getting the rest of the world with seeing chechens as dangerous separatist terrorists. >> do you think the marathon meaningfully changes relations? >> it's, for president putin, it's kind of an i told you so moment. he has for 15 years, told the world the chechens are a dangerous people. never mind the russian conduct two wars that they've had in chechnya over the years. until now, we haven't really
seen the sort of thing we saw in boston where the chechen separatist movement has metastasized into a jihadist threat outside of the traditional russian sphere. but you know, this is a moment where obviously americans are going to be taking what the russians are telling them more seriously, obviously. the 2011 tip the russians passed along to the fbi that didn't lead anywhere. looks different in today's light. having said that, you know, as you point out, the intelligence agency of the two countries have a long history of distrust. the americans asked the russians in 2011, give us some more about this. the russians didn't want to. neither side likes to share sources and methods. >> i want to open this up to our panel in new york. karen, there's a lot of talk, there's so many op-eds about what the president needs to do in syria. that you got to think the man is probably not even opening a newspaper any more. >> probably not. >> but getting the russians to move on or at least not obstruct something like a u.n. security council resolution condemning
assad. is that going to be enough of an action post the crossing of the red line? would that placate american audiences, if kerry could get that from the russians on this visit? >> it would likely be a good sign. the calculation that most of us are not thinking about, it's not just russia, right? it's the russia, iran, hezbollah, syria conundrum, right? and sort of a proxy war that started at this point. it's not just about what's happening on the ground. but we also you know, russia as part of nato, we need them in afghanistan. we've got other, russia doesn't want to see assad go down. they have a lot of very serious interests in terms of what happens the day after whatever we do with assad. so i think it's more than just having them say, we're not going to block the next you know, action at the u.n. it's what actions are they going to be willing to take, the day after, basically. >> and here's the other thing. the united states simply cannot go it alone.
in yet another middle eastern country. so sending secretary kerry to moscow, having the united states try to put, push or pull every lever possible in the u.n. and elsewhere to avoid you know, u.s. troops or fighter planes or anything else going over there -- i mean this is exactly what the administration should be doing. the only problem is, what happens if or when putin says -- no? >> howard, lisa massimo writes in "bloomberg" yesterday -- a publication i'm sure you're familiar with. >> an outstanding publication. >> she writes on our relations with the russians and the chinese, we have these sort of strategic ties to them. we need a lot from them. should we put all of our cards on the table as far as human rights? she writes conventional wisdom holds that russian cooperation on a range of issues is so valuable and u.s. leverage over putin so minimal, that antagonizing officials in moscow
isn't worthwhile. into the merely because putin's approach to democracy and human rights is worse than expected, but because he's failed to deliver on critical security issues. such as north korea, syria and iran. >> the united states was very closely allied with mubarak in egypt. he lost popular spoor in that country, he with a going to crack down. we washed our hands of him and he fell because human rights and democracy are things we care about in this country. russia very similarly, long allied with assad. they have propped him up for generations going back to the '70s, he, too, now is cracking down internally. but the russians are standing by him. there's a very big difference in how much human rights and democracy, the promotion of democracy will guide the united states versus russia. and i don't see, it is not in russia's interest to wash their hands of assad. if it's not in their interests, they're not going to do it regardless of what we want them
to do they're not driven by the same set of concerns. >> especially when we don't know exactly what our game plan is. >> or what would follow afterwards. >> it's complicated again by what assad has done in terms of creating his own insurgent army, relying heavily on hezbollah. that creates a very different dynamic than just, it's us and assad trying to figure this out. >> peter, i want to go back to the russians and what is happening in russia on a human rights level. we talk about our value of human rights as if it is a shared and universal value. but of course, it's not and if you look at what's going on on monday, there were 30,000 people protesting in moscow to demand the release of political prisoners. alexi navalni a sort of reformist is on trial. human rights watch said in january, the kremlin unleashed the worst political crackdown in 2012 in putin russian history. putin is under fire for not being a friend to reform democracy. >> that's the context of the background of this whole
complicated relationship, you know, my wife and i were reporters in moscow for four years. we never saw 30,000 people in the streets for the kind of protests that you're now seeing and have seen in the recent months in moscow. my wife just got back from a reporting trip there. says she's never seen the mood quite like it is there now. so there's no question that it's a very tense moment in moscow. and that flavors both our reaction to them and their reaction to us. moscow looks at american discussion of, of howard talking about freedom, democracy, as a very cynical employ to extend our influence into their neighborhood and into areas where they have traditionally been dominant. and they don't see it as an altruistic humanitarian or principled motivation on our part. they see it as a zero-sum gain. if we're on this side of syria, they ought to be on the other side. >> so perhaps post-cold war friends is premature and we should still be using their term, frenemies.
"the new york times" peter baker, thanks as always. >> thanks. coming up, he has an oscar, a nobel peace prize and now an estimated $200 million. but former vice president al gourmet be best remembered for the one thing he never got. we'll talk with "new york magazine's" steve fishman, about the man who used to be almost the next president of the united states. alec, for this mission i upgraded your smart phone. ♪ right. but the most important feature of all is... the capital one purchase eraser.
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and despite what you might have heard from former governor mark sanford. he is not actually running against nancy pelosi. >> nancy pelosi is running hundreds of thousands of dollars in ads. this is an important point. with all due respect to nancy pelosi, nancy pelosi's pac, nancy pelosi, nancy pelosi's voice. >> will sanford's tireless, tireless efforts to link pelosi to his real opponent, elizabeth colbert bush, pay offer in the palmetto state? that's just ahead. hey! did you know that honey nut cheerios has oats that can help lower cholesterol? and it tastes good? sure does! wow. it's the honey, it makes it taste so... well, would you look at the time... what's the rush? be happy. be healthy. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him,
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partly because i need that. put yourselves in my position. that was former vice president al gore, circa 2006. chuckles aside, life isn't all that bad for the man who used to be the next president of the united states. bloomberg news reported this week that al gore is now romney-rich. while gore was worth less than $2 million when he ran for president in january, he sold current tv, the cable network he helped create, to al jazeera, making a personal profit between $70 million and $7100 million. he cashed in on nearly $30 million worth of apple stock where he serves on the board and holds another $45 million in options. steve fishman's article calls the last decade, al gore's golden years. his current tv cash flow add
that to his books, and other ventures, you have a flawless american success story. except for one detail. the detail happens to be the first thing that comes to mind whenever somebody says al gore. >> good evening, just moments ago i spoke with george w. bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the united states. and i promised him that i wouldn't call him back this time. >> the what if's will always follow gore. but his historic moment of electoral crisis was thrust back into the news last month when former justice, sandra day o'connor questioned whether the high court should have intervened and prevented a florida recount. justice o'connor was the deciding fifth vote in that case and if she had voted differently, we might now be discussing a former president. gore says he was surprised at o'connor's admission and by surprised we're not sure if that's code for quietly
devastating. but he stands by the decision he made in 2000. the could have, would have, should have been vice president was truthful about how tough it truly was. i don't want to pretend that it wasn't a devastating experience, it was. it was really, really hard. sometimes people say oh, you've been able to do more since you left politics, gore tells me. i know better than that, i'm under no illusion that there is any position with anywhere near as much potential for shaping the future in a positive way than as president of the united states. joining us now is contributing editor at new yo"new york maga, steve fishman. i read this with a little bit of happy, a lot of happiness for al gore having moved on, his success. but money can't buy you happiness and there does seem to be a tinge of melancholy that surrounds the narrative. >> there's a certain sense of consolation prize to the golden years, the golden decade. he's happy, he's dug in, he's
made peace with it to the extent that you can. but visually you walk into the house and it's a 10,000 square-foot house, not that i saw all of it. but he's alone there. there's a sense of this man rattling around in this big house. with purpose, but having kind of streamlined his life. there aren't kids, he's separated from tipper. so there isn't that famous drum kit in the living room. you have a sense of this other life having been wiped away. streamlined for his new purpose. but still, there's a sense of what the past was. that is always with him. >> karen and howard, we were talking about where you guys were on election night, 2000, which was a different place, not doing recounts and hanging chads. the tragedy of al gore, the saga still remains, knife shards still touching us in the soft spots, the sandra day o'connor comments, you must think it's,
if the scar tissue is in fact scarred over and it's not still an open wound, it must slightly open it just that much. when you hear something like that. >> if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. there was no point in her saying that. howard and i worked together, howard was i boss on hillary's 2000 senate campaign. we knew hillary had won. it was so exciting, but tempered by we didn't know what was happening in the presidential, so we were sort of hedging our bets for several hours trying to figure out what to do. when howard found out, we thought we just got to go. i think for a lot of democrats it was a very sort of tortured evening. because there were some great victories, but then there was this sort of cloud hanging over you know, even the next day, and then we saw the drama that unfolded. >> howard, we're so focused on syria and the talk about iraq, the ten-year anniversary of us going into iraq. the opening of the george w. bush presidential library, the anniversary of "mission
accomplished" and we're so focused on those years. when you think about al gore, you can't help but ask, what if it had been the other. >> the entire history of the world would have been radically different. i can't imagine a greater divergence about what happened and what could have happened, had al gore been elected. >> i had a conversation with mike bloomberg when he was running for re-election in '09. we had a bad moment at one point and he looked at me and said, if i lose, my plan b is better than most people's plan a. >> and it turns out that al gore's plan b worked out pretty well for him. he may have wallowed a little bit. he had a depression, he gained some weight. he grew a beard, which i think is totally fine. >> al, keep the beard. but he's done extraordinarily well and he's made a lot of money and a tremendous difference in the world. he's helped change the world. he's right, he would have changed the world more had he been president, but he still applied himself in the way that
he always had throughout his life to public service in a different venue. >> steve, you talk about the contradictions of his life post election. he has this mansion, well 10,000 square feet, if we're talking romney rich, what is the square footage of a true mansion. uses 20 times the electricity of the average u.s. household. he wants to talk about environmentalism in an "an inconvenient truth" and he sold current tv to al jazeera funded by qatari oil money. a series of seeming contradictions and the ultimate one, do his actions befit a nobel prize win centre someone who used to be vice president, someone who would have been president? he constantly has to sort of grapple with all of that. >> there's a couple standards against which we judge al. the interesting thing here, too, is he's become and still is a political kind of lightning rod. obviously the right wing hates him and uses every chance it can get to pounce on him. it's kind of interesting how
they've converted the environmental movement into a right/left issue. if they didn't have al gore, they would have had to invent him is the issue. to get back to the house, it's, it's 20 times larger than the average u.s. i mean what's the average u.s.? i think you should compare it to other 10,000 square-foot houses, he's extremely environmentally conscience. as he hastens to point out, he's the 33 solar panels, geothermal heating. >> so does jonathan capehart. i'm kidding. >> you let me secret out. >> he comes with a burden. of -- he is somebody who speaks his conscience. he has, he wants to be, he has a kind of stature, as ex-vice president, as perhaps the person who should have been president. so i think we kind of rightly scrutinize his actions. in the al jazeera deal, think it
was a business decision. you know, al jazeera came in and bid a couple hundred million more than the next. my figure is 784 million on the record. rather than the 500 million. but in any case, he probably cleared about $100 million. and you know, he was in business with people who are business people. as well. >> well, right. and jonathan capehart, you give him, you're like, go get it. >> i'll take the rounding error, it's fine by me. the thing about former vice president gore. there's the cliched saying, living well is the best revenge and he's been having a wonderful revenge moment. >> revenge life. >> yes. >> the last thing, steve, was surprising to me, is that he's hoping to enlighten rupert murdoch and took him on in a public forum. and no spoilers here, but you talk about the fact that he hasn't given up on trying to
convert murdoch to the path of lightness, if you will. >> kind of in general i think history has proven to be on al gore's side. global warming is real. he was saying that 30 years ago, he really is a prophet with a p-h in that regard and this kind of fascinating thing is that he's devoted to business and to making money and to being involved in interesting projects. but he's got this kind of weird missionary side. not weird in any kind of profound sense, but in contrast to the rest of his life. so that he does seem to be willing to go into the wilderness, fly to istanbul. talk to a couple hundred people and he seems willing to convert the world one by one, if necessary. >> al gore. >> delivering the sermon. "new york magazine's" steve fishman. catch the article on stands now. as f. scott fitzgerald once wrote there are no second acts
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little while ago frommout side gina dejesus' home, balloons, the family getting ready to welcome her home. we also spoke to somebody in amanda berry's family. they talked about just what a joyous occasion this is for that family. they talked about amanda berry's daughter who was found with her in the home. a young girl believed to be about five or six. how they would welcome her into their family now, no matter what circumstances she came into the world under. and then there is another family in this neighborhood. that of aerial castro, a 54-year-old, along with his brothers, pedro castro and o'neal castro, age 50, those men are being held in connection with this crime. i spoke to their uncle and he said he just couldn't believe it. he was so surprised. he had no idea at all what might have been going on in this house. and that's what we're hearing from neighbors as well. really just a lot of shock. this is a small community.
some tight, close homes here. and neighbors say they really had no idea that anything was going on in this home here, alex. >> nbc's kristen dahlgren in cleveland, thanks for the update. after the break, will former governor mark sanford complete the cycle of redemption in south carolina tonight? or will elizabeth colbert bush turn a red seat blue. we'll discuss next on now. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food.
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could the political comeback end in an actual comeback? four years after taking his political career on a seemingly endless hike up the appalachian trail, mark sanford will try and retrieve it tonight, when he faces elizabeth colbert bush in south carolina's first district special election. despite his victory in the republican primary last month, sanford was largely written off by the national party following
trespassing charges filed by his wife, jenny. even today, gop elders were not exactly falling all over themselves to endorse sanford. >> the voters of first district of south carolina will make their decision. and just like any one of us or any of the 435 members of congress, we don't get to choose who they are their eye electorate gets to decide who they are. we'll see what the outcome is tonight. >> with friends like those, and yet the disgraced former governor has nevertheless managed to stay in the race. a new poll finds sanford leading colbert bush by one point leading into today's contest. erasing bush's nine-point lead last month. the race has centered on values. today's charleston "post and courier" notes that sanford has painted colbert bush as a liberal who is values are aligned with nancy pelosi and unions. while colbert bush has criticized sanford's crust
worthiness. sanford confirmed he was a human being and restated his conservative bona fides, namely his opposition to obama care, background checks and the senate immigration bill. >> well chronicled deficiencies as a candidate and human being, we've walked through those at length in the first congressional district. but i have a well chronicled record of watching out for the taxpayer. >> experts predict higher turn-out than the 16 during the primaries. the more important question is who will turn out. colbert bush will be relying on the district's 20% african-american vote and disaffected republican women and a thid of the district's 60% of the self-identified republicans. gop officials acknowledge that's a real possibility. stu rothenberg writes one republican observed i have to believe the anti-sanford voters are more motivated than the pro
sanford voters. still, buzzfeed reports that many voters still seem inclined to give sanford a pass. i wouldn't necessarily want him marrying my daughter or my sister. okay, but his constitutional voting record is more than enough to carry the day versus the absolutely unconstitutional voting positions of his opponent, said john hall. it's no contest. it's good versus evil. joining us now, is julia reed, author of the new book "but momma always put vodka in her sangria." julia, it is great to have you on the program. >> maybe that's what happened to sanford. >> maybe it would explain a lot. >> i wouldn't want him marrying my sister or my daughter, but it's, but this is a fundamental question of good versus evil. and evil is elizabeth colbert bush. >> he's got the redemption card going for him, like everybody
else. and he's certainly not the first guy to point out that he's a human being. clinton famously said that many times. george stephanopoulos must have told me that 30,000 times a day during the first contain in '92. i think that people, the bar is much lower and with sanford, it's not as though -- i mean you got to be as bad as john edwards, who is like siring a child out of wedlock while your wife is dying of cancer and using money illegally in some insane scheme to pay for this. that you know, comeback from the pretty much everything else, you've got a shot. >> well what's amazing is you can exactly, you can -- you can still go and have grits. the other thing is how powerful, karen, nancy pelosi is as a straw woman. as an effigy to be you know, beaten about in these races. the fact that sanford debated a
card board image of her, i thought that doesn't seem like a very good idea. but given what he's done in the polls, maybe it actually was. >> if he wins, how many of those will we see heading into the mid-term elections, the republican candidates debating. >> and entrepreneurs take note. a new business. >> nancy pelosi cut-outs. >> that being said, we should remember, this is a very republican district. so nancy pelosi is going to be a perfect foil in a very republican district. the way he talked about obama care and background checks, all of those sort of buzz words and buzz phrases, that works this that district. a lot of it is just going to come down to the turn-out who can get people out. are there enough people who are inspired enough to vote against him. and for her, that they'll go out today, mid-term elections and special elections, turn-outs are always very low. that's part of the challenge. >> jonathan, there is some thinking that sanford because of his checkered past wouldn't be
good because of the gop and his legislative record. you saw john boehner with not the most enthusiast ic reply. in the end is it a problem for the house caucus to have someone like mark sanford in their wings? >> no if you're concerned only about the numbers if you're only concerned about having a majority that remains the same as opposed to minus one. but you look at the positions that he says he's, well, for, but really against immigration and background checks. >> obama care. obama care. >> well leave aside obama care. immigration and background checks. let's say mark sanford does eke is out today, there's no guarantee that the country is so mad that maybe even he could hang on to that district. i don't know. >> howard, in the current house
republican caucus, which we've described lovingly it might be noted, as a wheelbarrow full of frogs, that's quoting john boehner himself. tea party intransigence, is the order of the day. so in that way, i just don't, i mean -- this is part and parcel of sort of where they are at in the lower chamber. >> the republicans will welcome him with open arms, they don't want to lose the seat, they need the numbers. they don't want to spend money in this district in a subsequent election. nd fact is that karen is right, this is how the republicans won so many seats? 2010. they nationalized the elections. it was obviously always going to be in the interest of the democrats in this district to run as local a race as possible to make this about mark sanford. he decided quite rightly he was going to make this about the national democrats, about barack obama and about nancy pelosi. republicans did that successfully in 2010. you will see if it is successful here. they'll begin as you said, you're going to have a lot of these nancy pelosi cut-outs all over the country.
>> and people are going to be like, i cheated on my wife, but nancy pelosi, nancy pelosi. >> the sexual misadventures of american congressmen. julia i will quote the inimitable frank bruni writing about sexism and the single murderess. would she today be her party's nominee for an open congressional seat. we know the answer -- and we know that clinton and newtona gingrich wouldn't have rebounded from their infidelities as robustly as bill and newt did. >> and also could be that women behave bet anywhere general. we'll never know. but i mean, of course there's a double standard. but there's also then with among these guys' behavior, there's another double standard. you know, when anthony weiner freaks people out a little bit.
there's something pathological about tweeting images of your crotch to people you've never met. at least sanford had this passionate thing. i mean he started crying, love, said come down on him. and it was like a lifetime tv movie. and so it's a little different. even, for the president of the united states, bill clinton survived hand ily. it was not exactly a love affair between him and monica lewinsky and the pizza box or whatever. you can sort of make the case that at least this guy fell in love. he's obviously -- keep in mind, let me preface everything i'm saying with the fact that i can't look at him without cracking up. >> but at the end of the day -- >> at the end of the day people can rationalize that better. there's a double standard among the kind of bad behavior you get up to. there are levels. >> it's less worse, it's less worse because it was actually love. we're so -- >> and who hadn't gotten, you
know, sort of i did not have sex with that woman. i was hiking the appalachian trail, whatever, nobody comes out of the box saying oh yes. i was in south america. >> what i have learned from mark sanford, regardless of whether he wins is don't be indignant. own up to your own human deficiencies and buy a cardboard cutout of nancy pelosi. >> let me just say what i think weirdly helped him. when the news that his wife, his trespassing -- more than half the country is divorced. and they all know what that kind of petty stuff is about. like oh, the guy is watching the super bowl with his son and she's going to have him arrested fortress passing. i think that sort secretly helped him. >> don't we all know what trespassing is about? >> i think you're right. >> who hasn't trespassed. >> instead of hurting him. i think it looked petty after a while. >> taking a break and coming up,
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no stranger to the art of entertaining, witness the last half hour of this television program, julia reed offers a book of recipes, dock dales and anecdotes about the culinary delights of her native mississippi delta in her new book "but momma always put vodka in the sangria." all great southern food is cheap. all tomatoes are improved by peeling them. the chiccest, thinnest people
always seem to serve the best, most luxurious food. reed gifts her readers with everything from fashion designer bill blass's famous meatloaf to history lessons about ancient romans liking for broccoli and the origins of the myth that enough gin and topics can stave off the effects of malaria. in kabul, the british manager's perfect gin and tonics made it easier to ignore the scorpions scuttling in our room. julia, i have to say i was reading this book last night and got a distinct yearning for gin and tonics, but everything from butterflied shrimp wrapped in bacon and pim ento cheese sandwiches, it is true that food brings us together more than anything else in the world. this is sort of a global pan-global examination of food and culture. what made you write it? >> well i mean i actually became
an accidental food writer years ago when i gave a party, when i was still living in new york. for a friend of mine. i was working at vogue and a friend of mine was leaving the magazine. i threw a party in his honor. i didn't realize how exotic the stuff i served at parties was. like ham biscuits and pim ento cheese sandwiches and devilled eggs which apparently nobody in the room had ever seen, chasing the trays around. new york cocktail parties usually feature dried-up sticks of satay. a snow pea piped with some intelligible fish paste. so the people were anticipate to see all that stuff. there was some bacon there i think. the next day i got a call from "the new york times" i ended up based on that menu, writing the food essays for the magazine for a few years. now since then i went on to, when "newsweek" still had a magazine and stuff, i wrote the
food essay for them and now i've been writing a regular column in "the wall street journal." i do a lot of eating and drinking anyway, i might as well capitalize on it. >> at least have it paid for. >> someone's got to pay for their ham biscuits. one of the things you talk about in the book is southern food is the great leveler. you write if southern cuisine acts as a leveler by reducing the differences between race and class, the culture reduces the differences between or the distinctness of other cuisines introduced into our midst, you talk about tamallies, the prefls of tamales in the south and how the tamalings in the south -- >> bear no resemblance to the tamales in texas. the mississippi delta is a huge melting pot. we have an enormous syrian and lebanese population. it was a place where all of these cultures came together. apparently there was a lone mexican walking through here.
because the majority of african-american population are like the early 20th century got ahold of that tamale recipe and made it sort of soulful. it's impossible to describe i mean seriously, i should have brought a big pan of tamales in here and some sangria with vodka. but so i love that, it tells you everything. i mean food is always i mean you can look at a particular thing that's popular in one area and it tells you in a snapshot, faster than you know, a lot of historians or socialologists can about where are you. we're getting ready to i've put myself in charge of the hot tamale festival in greenville, mississippi, i urge everyone to come in october. i think it really does say everything you can about the culture in like i said in a tasty snapshot. >> i'm curious before we go. if there's one thing from your child hood that stands out as the thing that you go by, you're like proustian madeline, the
thing that can always return you home again, howard? >> my grandmother's kugel. >> karen? >> my dad's collard greens with the ham hock. >> that sounds amazinamazing. >> i'm with you on that. >> jonathan? >> my grandma's fried chicken. >> there's so many things like kugel, like fried chicken, like a biscuit that are totally dependant on the hand of the cook, no matter how good your recipe is or how identical it is, you can't do it. that's the other thing that's so important to us like a culture that makes us have these proustian memories of things, because it's so personal. >> what's you'res? >> mine would probably be my grandmother's burmese mohanga. first you should put up a copy of "but momma always put vodka
in the sangria." >> thank you so much for having me. >> and to the rest of your panel, thank you, to karen, howard, jonathan, that's all for now. until then, log on to facebook.com/now to see all of our favorite recipes from julia's book. "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next. okay. this, won't take long will it? no, not at all. how many of these can we do on our budget? more than you think. didn't take very long, did it? this spring, dig in and save. that's nice. post it. already did. more saving. more doing. that's the power of the home depot. show mom why you're her favorite, with a 12" infinity color bowl, a special buy at just $14.98.
help me, i'm amanda berry. >> you need police, fire and ambulance. >> i need police. >> and what's going on there? >> i've been kidnapped. and i've been missing for ten years and i'm here, i'm free now. >> right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- found alive -- breaking developments out of cleveland on the daring escape and rescue of three young women who vanished a decade ago when two were only teenagers. >> the families of these three young ladies never gave up hope. and neither did law enforcement. as you can imagine, words can't describe eat