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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  May 19, 2013 9:00am-11:01am PDT

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morehouse brass ensemble. mr. brent gaines is the director. let's take a listen to some beautiful music on this sunday. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ yes, we can, yes, we can
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♪ yes, we can ♪ praise the lord, praise the lord, praise the lord ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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[ applause ] a beautiful rendition of the 150th psalm, and now the president. >> please join me in expressing our appreciation to the morehouse college glee club for such a marvelous performance. today we hold our commencement exercises on the grounds of a place deeply rooted, deeply enriched by events and symbols of enduring legacies. during this calendar year we also celebrate a number of events that resonate significantly with our commencement exercises this morning. the 150th anniversary of the
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emancipation proclamation, the 150th anniversary of lincoln's gettysburg address, the 100th anniversary of the death of the founder of morehouse college, william jefferson white, the 100th anniversary of the design of the seal and the renaming of the college from atlanta baptist college to morehouse college and the name of henry, lime and morehouse, original of the theater of the talented tenth, the 50th anniversary of dr. king's letter from a birmingham jail, the 50th anniversary of the renowned march on washington and dr. king's "i have a dream" speech and the founding of the martin luther king, jr. international chapel at morehouse college. today on this proud occasion, we add another significant event to this list of noble anniversaries to be celebrated in the years to
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come, the presence of our honorable speaker for the morning. ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states! [ cheers and applause ] >> hello morehouse! thank you, everybody. please be seated. i love you back. that is why i am here. i have to say that it is one of the great honors of my life to be able to address this gathering here today. . i want to thank dr. wilson for
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his outstanding leadership at the board of trustees. we have congressman cedric richmond and sanford bishop, both proud alumni of this school, as well as congressman hank johnson and one of my dear friends and a great inspiration to us all, the great john lewis is here. we have your outstanding mayor, mr. cassim reid in the house. to all the members of the morehouse family and most of all congratulations to this distinguished group of morehouse men, the class of 2013. i have to say that it's a little hard to follow not dr. wilson
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but a skinny guy with a funny name, besega tadilla. he's going to be doing something. i also have to say that you all are going to get wet. and i'd be out there with you if i could. but secret service gets nervous, so i'm going to have to stay here dry. but know that i'm there with you in spirit. some of you are graduating sum cum laude, some of you are
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graduating magnum cum laude, some of you are graduating thank you cum laude. i see moms and some grand moms here in their sunday best. although they are upset about their hair getting messed up. michelle would not be sitting in the rain. she she has taught me about hair. i want to congratulate all of you, the parents you, the grandparents, the brothers and sisters, the families and friends who supported these young men in so many ways. this is your day as well. just think about it, your sons, your brothers, your nephews, they've spent the last four years far from home and close to spellman and yet they are still here today.
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so you've done something right. graduates, give a big round of applause to your family for everything that they've done for you. i know that some of you had to wait in long lines to get in today's ceremony. and i would apologize but it did not have anything to do with security. those graduates just wanted you to know what it's like to register for classes here. this time of year bring as different kind of stress. every senior stopping by gloucester hall making sure your name was actually on the list of students who met all the graduation requirements.
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if it wasn't on the list, you had to figure out why. was it that library book you lent to that trifling roommate who didn't return it? was it dr. johnson's policy class? did you get enough crown forum credits? on that last point i'm going to exercise my power as president to declare this speech sufficient crown forum credit for any otherwise eligible student to graduate, that is my graduation gift to you. you have a special dispensation. graduates, i am humbled to stand here with you as an honorary
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morehouse man. i finally made it. and as i do, i am mindful of an old saying. you can always tell a morehouse man but you can't tell him much. and that makes my task a little bit more difficult, i suppose. but i think it also reflects the sense of pride that's always been part of this school's tradition. benjamin mays, who served as the president of morehouse for almost 30 years understood that tradition better than anybody. he said, and i quote, "it will not be sufficient for morehouse college, for any college for that matter, to produce clever graduates but rather honest men, men who can be trusted in public and private life, men who are
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sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings and the injustices of society and who are willing to accept responsibility for correcting those ills." it was that mission, not just to educate men but to cultivate good men, strong men, upright men that brought community leaders together just two years after the end of the civil war. they assembled a list of 37 men, freed blacks and freed slaves who would make up the first prospective class of what later became morehouse college. most of those first students had a desire to become teachers and preachers. to better themselves so they could help others do the same. a century and a half later, times have changed, but the morehouse mystique still
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endures. some of you probably came here from communities where everybody looked like you. others may have come here in search of a community. and i suspect that some of you probably felt a little bit of culture shock the first time you came together as a class in king's chapel. all of a sudden you weren't the only high school sports captain, you weren't the only student council president. you were suddenly in a group of high achievers, and that meant you were expected to do something more. and that's the unique sense of purpose that this place has always infused, the conviction that this is a training ground not only for individual success but for leadership that can change the world. dr. king was just 15 years old when he enrolled here at morehouse. he was an unknown, undersized, unassuming young freshman who lived at home with his parents. and i think it's fair to say he
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wasn't the coolest kid on campus. for the suits he wore his classmates called him tweed. but his education at morehouse helped to forge the intellect, the discipline, the compassion, the sole force that would transform america. it was here that he was introduced to the writings of gandhi and thoreau and the theory of civil disobedience. it was here that professors encouraged him to look past the world that it was and fight for the world as it should be. and it was here at morehouse that dr. king later wrote where i realized that nobody was afraid, not even of some bad weather. i added on that part. i know it's wet out there.
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but dr. wilson told me you all had a choice and decided to do it out here anyway. that's a morehouse man talking. now think about it, for a black man in the 40s and the 50s, the threat of violence, the constant humiliations large and small, the uncertainty that you could support a family, the gnawing doubts born of a jim crow culture that told you every day that somehow you were inferior, the temptation to shrink from the world, to accept your place, to avoid risks, to be afraid, that temptation was necessarily strong. and yet here under the tutelage of men like dr. mays, young martin learned to be unafraid and he in turn taught others to be unafraid, and over time he
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taught a nation to be unafraid. and over the last 50 years, thanks to the moral force of dr. king and a moses generation that overcame their fear and their cynicism and their despair, barriers have come tumbling down. new doors of opportunity have swung open, and laws and hearts and minds have been changed to the point where someone who looks just like you can somehow come to serve as president of these united states of america. so the history we share should give you hope. the future we share should give you hope. you're graduating into an improving job market. you're living in a time when advances in technology and communication put the world at
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your fingertips. your generation is uniquely poised for success unlike any generation of african-americans that came before. but that doesn't mean we don't have work. because if we're honest with ourselves, we know that too few of our brothers have the opportunities that you've had here at morehouse. in troubled neighborhoods all across this country many of them heavily african-american, too few of our citizens have role models to guide them, communities just a couple of miles from my house in chicago, communities just a couple miles from here, they're places where jobs are too scarce and employment too low, where violence is pervasive, where too many young men spend their lives not behind a desk in a classroom
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but hanging around on the streets or brooding in a jail cell. my job as president is to advocate policies that generate more opportunities for everybody, policies that strengthen the middle class and give more people the chance to climb their way into the middle class. policies that create more good jobs and reduce poverty and education more children and give more families the security of health care and protect more of our children from the horrors of gun violence. that's my job. those are matters of public policy and it is important for all of us, black, white and brown to advocate for an america where everybody's got a fair shot in life, not just some, not just a few. but along with collective responsibilities, we have individual responsibilities. there are some things as black men we can only do for ourselves. there are some things as morehouse men that you are obliged to do for those still
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left behind. as morehouse men, you now wield something even more powerful than the diploma you're about to collect and that's the power of your example. so what i ask of you today is the same thing i ask of every graduating class i address. use that power for something larger than yourself. live up to president mays' challenge. be sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings and the injustices of society and be willing to accept responsibility for correcting those ills. i know that some of you came to morehouse from communities where life was about keeping your head down and looking out for yourself. maybe you feel like you escaped and you can have the fancy job with the nice car and the nice house and never look back. don't get me wrong, with all those student loans you've had
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to take out, i know you have to earn some money. with doors open to you that your parent and grandparents could not have even expected, no one expects you to take a vow of poverty, but i will say it betrays a poverty of ambition if all you think about is what goods you can buy instead of what good you can do. yes, go get that law degree but if you do, ask yourself if the only option is to defend the rich and the powerful, or if you can also find some time it defend the powerless. sure, go get your mba and start your business, we need black businesses out there. but ask yourself what broader purpose your business might serve in putting people back to work or transforming a neighborhood. the most successful ceos i know didn't start out intent just on making money. rather they had a vision of how their product or service would change things and the money followed.
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some of you may be headed to medical school to become doctors, but make sure you heal folks in underserved communities to really need it to. for generations certain groups in this country, especially african-americans have been desperately in need of quality, affording health care. as a society we're finally beginning to change that. those of you under 26 have the option to stay on your parents avenue health care plan. but all of you are heading to an economy where you expect to have not on multiple jobs but multiple careers. so starting is the 1st, you'll be able to shop for a quality plan that's yours, that will travel with you and ensure your health and your dreams if you a
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we're going to need some doctors to make sure it works, too. you're going to have to spread the word to your fellow young people. which brings me to a second point. just as morehouse has taught you to expect more of youof yoursel inspire those around you to expect more of themselves. growing up we have to make choices. sometimesism wrote off my own failings as just another example of the world trying to keep a black man down. i had a tendency sometimes to make excuses for me not doing the right thing. but one of the things that all of you have learned over the last four years is there's no longer any room for excuses.
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i understand there's a common fraternity creed here at more house, excuses are tools for the incompetent used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness. we have no time for executions. not because racism and discrimination no longer exists. we know those are still out there. it's just that in today's hyper connected, hyper competitive world will millions of young people from china and india and brazil, many of whom started with a whole lot less than all of you did, all of them entering the global workforce alongside you, nobody is going to give you anything that you have not earned. nobody cares how tough your upbringing was. nobody cares if you suffered
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some discrimination. and moreover, you have to remember that whatever you've gone through, it pales in comparison to the hardships prepare generations endured and they overcame them and if they overcame them, you can overcome them, too. you now hail from a lineage and legacy of immeasurably strong men, men who bore tremendous burdens and still laid the stones for the path on which we now walk. you were the frederick douglas, booker t. washington, langston huge, ralph abernathy, thurgood marshall and, yes, martin luther king, jr. these men were many things to many people and they knew full well the role racism played in their lives but when it came to their own accomplishments and sense of purpose, they had no time for excuses. every one of you have a grandma,
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an uncle or a parent who has told you at some point in life as an african-american you have to work twice as hard as anyone else if you want to get by. i think president mays put it even better. he said whatever you do strive to do it so well that no man living and no man dead and no man yet to be born can do it any better. and i promise you what was needed in dr. mays time, that spirit of excellence, hard work, dedication and no excuses is needed more than ever. if you think you can get over in this economy just because you have a morehouse degree, you have a rude awakening. if you keep hungry, keep hustling, keep on your grind and get other folks to do the same,
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nobody can stop you. and when i talk about pursuing excellence and setting an example, i'm not just talking about in your professional life. one of today's graduates, frederick anderson -- where's frederick? frederick, right here. i know it's raining but i'm going to tell about frederick. frederick started his college career in ohio only to find out that his high school sweetheart back in georgia was pregnant. so he came back, enrolled in morehouse to be closer to her. pretty soon helping raise a newborn and working night shifts became too much so he started taking business classes at a technical college instead, doing everything from delivering newspapers to buffing hospital floors to support his family. and then he enrolled at morehouse a second time. but even with a job he couldn't keep up with the cost of
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tuition. so after getting his degree from that technical school, this father of three decided to come back to morehouse for a third time. as frederick says, god has a plan for my life and he's not done with me yet. and today frederick is a family man and a working man and a morehouse man and that's what i'm asking all of you to do, keep setting an example for what it means to be a man. be the best husband to your wife. or your boyfriend or your partn partner. be the best father you can be to your children. because nothing's more
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important. i was raised by a heroic single mom, wonderful grandparents, made incredible sacrifices for me and i know there are moms and grandparents here today who did the same thing for all of you, but i sure wish i had had a father who was not only present but involved. didn't know my dad. and so my whole life i've tried to be for michelle and my girls what my father was not for my mother and me. i want to break that cycle. where a father is not at home, where a father is not helping to raise that son or daughter. i want to be a better father, a better husband, a better man. it's hard work. it demands your constant attention and frequent sacrifice. and i promise you michelle will tell you i'm not perfect. she's got a long list of my imperfections. even now i'm still practicing, i'm still learning, still
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getting corrected in terms of how to be a fine husband and a good father. but i will tell you this, everything else is unfulfilled if we fail at family. if we fail at that responsibility. i know that when i am on my death bed someday, i will not be thinking about any tparticular legislation i passed, any particular policy i promoted, i will not be thinking about the speech i gave, the nobel prize i received, i will be thinking about the walk i took with my daughter, i'll be thinking about a lazy afternoon with my life, i'll be thinking about sitting around the dinner table and seeing them happy and healthy and knowing they'll be loved and i'll be thinking about whether i did right by all of them. so be a good role model. set a good example for that young brother coming up. if you know somebody who is not
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on point, go back and bring that brother along. those who have been left behind, who haven't had the same opportunities as we have, they need to hear from you. you've got to be engaged, on the barber shop, on the basketball court, at church. spend time and energy and presence to give people opportunities and a chance. pull them up. expose them. support their dreams. don't put them down. we've got to teach them just like what we have to learn, what it means to be a man, to serve your city like maynard jackson, to shape the culture like spike lee, to be like chester d eer davenport, one of the first people who integrate georgia law school. when he got there, nobody would sit next to him in class. but he didn't mind. he said someone needed to be the
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first. today chester is here celebrating his 50th reunion. where is chester davenport? he's here. so if you've had role models, fathers, brothers like that, thank them today. if you haven't, commit to being that man for somebody else. and finally, as you do these things, do them not just for yourself but don't do them just for the african-american community. i want you to set your sights higher. the turn of the last century, w.e. dubois spoke about the talented ten, a class of highly educated, socially conscious leaders in the black community. but it's not just the african-american community that needs you. the country needs you. the world needs you. as morehouse men, many of you know what it's like to be an outsider, know what it's like to
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be marginalized, know what it's like to feel the sting of discrimination. and that's an experience that a lot of americans share. hispanic americans know that feeling when somebody ask them where they've come from or tell them to go back. gay and lesbian americans feel it when somebody passes judgment on them, any woman who knows the injustice of earning less pay for the same work, she knows what it's like to be on the outside looking in. so your experiences give you special insight that today's leaders need. if you tap into that experience, it should endow you with empathy, the standing of what it's like to walk in somebody else's shoes, to see through their eyes, to know what it's
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like when you're not born on third base thinking you hit a triple. it should give you the ability to connect. it should give you a sense of compassion and what it means to overcome barriers, and i will tell you, class of 2013, whatever success i have achieved, whatever positions of leadership have i held have depended less on ivy league degrees or s.a.t. scores or g.p.a.s and have been due to that sense of connection and empathy, the special obligation i felt as a black man, like you, to help those who need it most, the people who didn't have the opportunities that i had because there but for the grace of god go i. i might have been in their shoes. i might have been in prison. i might have been unemployed. i might not have been able to support a family. and that motivates me. so it's up to you to widen your circle of concern, to care about justice for everybody.
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white, black and brown. everybody, not just in your own community but all across this country and around the world, to make sure everyone has a voice and everybody gets a seat at the table, that everybody, no matter what you look like or where you come from, what your last name is, it doesn't matter. everybody gets a chance to walk through those doors of opportunity if they are willing to work hard enough. when leland shelton was 4 years old -- where's leland? stand up. when leland shelton was 4 years old, social services took him away from his mama, put him in the care of his grandparents. by age 14, he was in the foster care system. three years after that leland enrolled in morehouse, and today he is graduating phi beta kappa
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on his way to harvard law school! but he's not stopping there. as a member of the national foster care youth and alumni policy council, he plans to use his law degree to make sure kids like him don't fall through the cracks. and it won't matter whether they're black kids or white kids or brown kids or native american kids because he'll understand what they're going through and he'll be fighting for them. he'll be in their corner. that's leadership. that's a morehouse man right there. that's what we've come to expect from you, morehouse, a legacy of leaders not just in our black community but for the entire american community. to recognize the burdens you carry with you but to resist the temptation to use them as excuses, to transform the way we
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think about manhood and set higher standards for ourselves and for others, to be successful but also to stand that each of us has responsibilities not just to ourselves but to one another and to future generations. money who refu men who refuse to be afraid. men who refuse to be afraid. members of the class of 2013, you are heirs to a great legacy. you have within you that same courage and that same strength, the same resolve as the men who came before you. that's what being a morehouse man is all about. that's what being an american is all about. success may not come quickly or easily, but if you strive to do what's right, if you work harder and dream bigger, if you set an example in your own lives and do your part to help meet the challenges of our times, i am
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confident together we will continue the never ending task of perfecting our union. congratulations class of 2013. god bless you! god bless morehouse and god bless the united states of america. >> you have just been listening to president obama deliver quite a powerful message to the graduates of morehouse college there in atlanta. it is his second commencement address in as many sundays. this one, though, must have hit every single young man graduating, approximately 500 or so graduates on this sunday. the president talked about setting a good example. he singled out a couple of exceptional students there in the students in the crowd who have overcome difficulties, but he also got personal, and he talked about how these young men must graduate and set examples as good fathers, good husbands and people who will give more to their community and him and he said he wished he had his own father around more when he was
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growing up, a father who had been more involved so that every day he tries to overcome that by setting a good example within his own family and being an exemplary father to his two daughters and to his wife michelle. a very, very powerful and practical message for these young money to take away with them for the rest of their lives. with a welcome to the both of you, jimmy, first off your thoughts to the president's speech. and this historic setting, people should be reminded martin luther king, jr. graduated from here. there was such history outlined at the top of the commencement speech when the president was introduced, all these important dates as well. >> the president went there. he did go personal and talked about his father and said to a group of 500 young, african-american men, here's the deal, you have to pony up and you have to go out there and kick it out of the park, unlike
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my father, unlike his father. that was pretty father. i got goose bumps a couple of times. listen, it was better than the commencement speech i had, i can tell you that for sure. >> this one is going to be ranking up there i think always. but something that struck me, jimmy, as well, the president's message overall on the middle class, providing a fair chance for everyone in this country, that is the message he ran on as president. it's something that's obviously very close to his heart. how much of that can he accomplish now with these ongoing controversies? >> it's going to be hard for him. this last week, these last two weeks have not been good weeks for the president. and they brought some of that upon themselves, at least the administration has and some of them they haven't. the benghazi thing, for example, i think is somewhat of a farce. it going to be very hard for them to get an agenda done at this point. let me be clear, i support congress's ability to investigate the executive
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branch. i worked in the senate for almost seven years. i think you should investigate the executive branch when there is wrongdoing or suspension of wrong doing. when you finish that investigation, you show that something has been done badly or not. but you can chew gum and walk at the same time, as speaker boehner has said, and that's why i think it's important for them to continue to legislate. whether it gets passed or signed into law is irrelevant. that's not the point the the point is congress can investigate, congress can pass laws. the question is do they want to do just one or the other? i think they should do both. >> dan pfeiffer was making the rounds of the talk shows this morning, as the administration is trying to take control of the number of mounting controversy. >> we've seen this play book from the republicans before. what they want to do when they're lacking a positive agenda is drag washington into a swamp of partisan allegations. we're not going to let that
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happen. >> these sentiments were echoed across the airwaves. but dan pfeiffer, was he effective? >> you give him a gold star for pulling the full ginsburg by doing five of the sunday talk shows. he was spinning hard. he talked about the play book. i think the white house pulled a page out of the play book when the administration is getting attacked, the best thing to do is muddy the waters and go on the offensive. that's what he tried to do. i think it may have been a week or two early because we still don't know all the scope of what's going on, especially with the irs. and there's still lots more there. we talked about the a.p. scandal with the department of justice kind of subpoenaing records for reporters. so there's still a lot to be out there. i think he put down a marker, he kind of drew a line in the sand and said this is where we are and started to wail on congress. >> the white house has been slow to get out in front of these issues. what if anything can they do to take charge of the stories? >> start firing a lot of people that work in the government. that would be a great start. they did that with the acting
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commissioner of the irs. i think more heads should roll. i'm not going to defend the administration on the irs thing or on the a.p. subpoenas from holder. i think attorney general holder should resign. i don't know of any other democrat that's said that but i think he should. the benghazi thing, though, i think is a farce. people, it's not watergate. this is very much an attempt to do anything they can to throw tar and feathers on to hillary clinton as she has receded back into sort of quietness for the next three or four years and this is how they're going to try to defeat her for the presidency of the united states if she runs in 2016. it's very hard to do anything unless you start firing people. they should fire anybody that had anything to do with the irs or a.p. stuff. seriously. i don't think the white house knew about it. if they did, they should fire people there as well. the only way to get in front of this and take it is to cut people and get them out.
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>> i have yet to hear people say fire eric holder. do you agree with that? >> i think firing the attorney general with certainly kind of put a marker down and say we know there's problems, we're taking care of it, we went straight to the top, we fired the attorney general and let's move on but i don't think that's what's going to happen. >> unfortunately, gentlemen, i'm going to have to move on, the president took up a lot of our time. but i loved that speech. it was a good one. i'm glad you're listening with us. >> thank you. >> this thursday, darrell issa subpoenaed thomas pickering to testify before the committee to respond to republicans' criticisms of his report. joining me now, congressman adam
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schiff. thanks for joining me. let's talk about the subpoena and private interview. is this necessary? >> it is necessary. i hate to go from the sublime quality to the president's speech at morehouse to the ridiculous quality of the benghazi investigation. this is a real fiasco in terms of oversight and now i think they're taking a senior diplomat, master pickering, whose only sin was to show up for duty when we asked him and admiral mullen to chair this commission looking into what the state department actions were and the benghazi affair. they did a thorough review and came up with recommendations and a scathing critique of the state department. his reward is now being called before a committee he's already come before. it's a continuation of the farce and distraction from what we ought to be looking at.
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where are we in the hunt for looki looking for those who killed americans? and where are we in improving security at our embassies and consulates. i think it's unnecessary to issue this subpoena, it's a petty gesture but it's a continuation of the practice of that committee. >> let's listen to former secretary of defense donald rumsfeld. he was on "meet the press" this morning. he was discussing the president's handling of benghazi. >> you think of a manager, a leader. when something like that happens, you call people in, you sit them down and you let them know that you intend to find ground truth fast. and he seems not to have done that. >> so your thoughts on that. and also what jimmy williams, our democratic strategist mentioned at the end of the interview, saying he believes one way for the president to get out of front of these and get control of the situation is to fire the attorney general.
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>> honestly i think that's an absurd suggestion. the attorney general has done a superb job. in terms of the a.p. investigation, the attorney general had nothing to do with that, in fact had recused himself from the investigation because he commented on the leaks. to suggest someone who wasn't involved in issuing the subpoena or reviewing the issuing of the subpoena should resign i think is absurd. it's sort of the hyperbolic environment we're in. the real scandal is the irs scandal, which is a bona fide inappropriate and illegal practice. we've seen heads roll and the irs commissioner resigning and there should be other heads roll as we find out who is responsible down the chain of command. but to suggest that the attorney general -- >> you've also called for there to be extensive investigations dating back to the bush administration, correct? >> absolutely. because i think during the bush administration there may have been a similarly political and
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politicized priority ongoing after progressive organizations, going after the black churches, going after progressive churches like the all saints church in pasadena, and in a very biased way. so i think this may be a problem that has transcended administrations. it really does deserve our oversight and attention, but when you have these other politicized efforts like benghazi, it really obscures the important oversight function of the congress and it makes it hard to tell when there's a real controversy from when there isn't. and vis-a-vis the irs there is a reaccountability that is needed. >> speaker boehner has said that someone should go to jail for this with regard to the irs. with what we know so far, do you agree? >> well,i think it's quite likely that there were criminal laws violated so i think the answer is yes. i think the attorney general quite appropriately began a criminal investigation. the justice department will investigate. part of it is going to be what were the motivations of those
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who were involved? did they know they were violating the law? we'll have to wait to see whether those facts can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. i think it's likely you had a violation of criminal laws and people could end up going to jail because of this. >> thank you and thanks for waiting it through with us. i know you were scheduled earlier but we had the president's commencement speech. by clinging to the past. and with that: you're history. instead of looking behind... delta is looking beyond. 80 thousand of us investing billions... in everything from the best experiences below... to the finest comforts above. we're not simply saluting history... we're making it.
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this could be the week that jody arias learns her fate. joining me now, criminal defense
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attorney ann bremner. when she takes the stand, does it make any difference? does she have any creds left with this jury? >> no, no, no, no. there is virtually nothing she can say that will save her life because she has so offended the jury during her trial. because she took the stand, manipulated them, lied to them about what she did during the crime and then lied to them when she falsely accused travis alexander of being a pedophile, among other things, i don't think there's anything she can say to save her life. it's like throwing a grasshopper at an elephant. even if she comes across sincere, she's not going to make a didn't in their desire to give her the death penalty. >> although it has to be unanimous. is it the defense tactic to
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target one, two, three sympathetic looking jurors? >> she can say she's a good artist, she might be a good person in the future, she's a sister, she's young. all of these factors are mitigation and they only have to show those as a preponderance. and do they outweight the cruelty part? every murder is cruel when you think about it. when you put everything together, can we get one juror? i wish we could see the jurors and see their eyes. but the key is there might be one. that's what the defense wants, just one that says no way. >> it's coming on the heels of what his sibling said in court. let listen to what he said in
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court. >> how much did he suffer? how much did he scream? what was he saying? what was the last thing he saw before his eyes closed? what was his final thought in his head? >> we lost our father on travis' 20th birthday and our mother shortly after, and through this trying time in our lives, travis was the one that got us through the pain and the hardship because he was our strength. >> wendy, the jurors have had all weekend to percolate on all of that and play it over and over in their minds. how damning is that for any chance that she'll get just a life sentence? >> you know, the interesting thing about this case is this isn't just a run of the mill murder. and it's wrong that all murders
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are cruel and worthy of the death penalty. we're talking about nearly 30 stab wounds, slicing his head off nearly ear to ear and after he was dead, a gratuitous bullet to the face for no reason. if ever there was a kill that makes someone look like a psycho path, this is the case. the thing she has going for her through the trial is she doesn't look like charles manson, she looks sweet, she's very well spoken. and there was all that different sex talk, which is a slightly different vibe in a case than most mrd triaurder trials. but i think the jury felt manipulated by that. what they're thinking is she doesn't deserve to live because she's a psychotic psychopath that doesn't deserve to live, why spare her life? for what? she has no value. >> but, anne, i think it's difficult for any jury to render the death penalty. it gives everybody pause thinking about what you have
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been charged with doing. how much might that ultimately overcome all of this? >> i think that, you know, when you actually look at the person and they spent a lot of time with her and they may not like her, i don't know. obviously they convicted her of murder one. when you spend that much time together, you don't convict your family and you don't kill your family. all murder are cruel. look at cases of ted bundy and all the other murder cases. the jurors have to look at her and say we're killing her. how hard was that when you just convicted her of a homicide and you're going to turn around and do a state-sanctioned killing as a juror. each person has to search their own heart and soul and say can i do this. maybe one of them, maybe two of them can't. >> there are those that think that spending the rest of her life given how young she is in prison, potentially without the possibility of parole, there are those who will weigh that.
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but thank you so much. we'll see you again. >> millions of americans are bracing for violent weather today. a live report after the break. woman: everyone in the nicu -- all the nurses wanted to watch him when he was there 118 days. everything that you thought was important to you changes in light of having a child that needs you every moment. i wouldn't trade him for the world. who matters most to you says the most about you. at massmutual we're owned by our policyowners, and they matter most to us. if you're caring for a child with special needs,
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is connecting today's leading companies to places beyond it. siemens. answers. the threat of the twister, america's mid section facing another day of watching and worrying. the firestorm over the irs targeting. a senior presidential adviser hits the sunday talk show circuit. plus hitting powerball pay dirt. the magic digits for mega dollars and memorable dreams. good afternoon. i'm alex witt. we have some big developing news out on the weather front. a series of violent storms are raking the country's mid section. they are slowly moving east. forecasters have been telling people from iowa to oklahoma, you better hunker down and brace yourself for what seems like the worse of everything, baseball sized hail, tornadoes aplenty. the storms are also causing
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flash washouts in the south. at least 20 people had to be rescued from rising floodwaters in alabama. we have team coverage with meteorologist kelly cass who is tracking the weather in atlanta. but first let's go to oklahoma city where storms have left quite the ugly mark. janet, good day to you. >> hi, alex. for now this has become a wind event, as is obvious. but it's the proverbial calm before the next storm. last night we had something like 22 tornadoes, 19 in kansas, 3 in nebraska. a slight lull here. but what we're hearing is this a warmup for the next round of storms that's going to threaten some 30,000 people across a wide swath in texas, into kansas, missouri into nebraska. i'm in oklahoma city where we have a lot of power lines down,
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not because of tornadoes. what we saw here was mostly wind damage. but this large power line goes on for a period of ten blocks. again, this is just from wind, not from a tornado. mike bettis from the weather channel was right in the middle of it. >> it's right over us. we can still see in the contact with the ground part off to the east. >> it's absolutely amazing. we're probably, i'd say, about a half a mile or less from it. very close to you. the top of the storm -- >> wow, look at the rotation. oh, yeah, we're at the -- the top of the tornado is less than a half mile from us. it's almost right overhead. >> this had been what some say is the quietest tornado season in something like 60 years, but that could change over the next period of hours. again, just very windy right now. we are hearing there is an en
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greater threat tonight into tomorrow. alex? >> oh, my gosh. janet, can you ask your camera person to pan off a little bit. is that a power pole behind you or -- >> go ahead and pan over there. it is. we're in a suburban kind of mall area. can you see it's just splintered. but this is straight line wind damage. this is not tornado damage. and the winds here cancelled flights into the airport last night and, as i was saying, what you're seeing here goes on -- this whole street is shut down. it goes on for a period of blocks. and these are big power poles, not small ones. >> no, yeah, absolutely. they're built to withstand. thanks for that report. let's go to the weather channel's kelly cass who joints us from atlanta. let's talk about what's to come, kelly. the size, the speed of the storm, how is that going to
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affect us the next few days? >> the weather channel studios are right here in atlanta, georgia. this is what i got to drive through on my way here. look at all this tremendous lightning. unfortunately house fires, including in my own neighborhood. power outages as well. even a severe warning in atlanta where president obama is visiting morehouse college. we're also seeing showers and storms throughout the carolina now. nothing severe at this time. showers and thunderstorms beginning to break out across the western portions of illinois. not so much yet across the western areas of missouri. this is where we expect things to really light up later on this evening. the tornado threat is going to increase as we go through tonight, talking about places like joplin, tulsa, oklahoma city as well, all the way through the twin cities and tomorrow this whole area shifts a little more to the east to include chicago and st. louis and it will still be a tornado threat. a lot of these areas in the red zone back into much of oklahoma
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as well. large hail, straight line wind as possibility but tornadoes. you really need to have a plan to be safe. back to you, alex. >> thank you very much for the heads up. we need to pay attention now. appreciate it. to stay up on the weather at all times, go to weather.com. >> back to politics, top senate republican mitch mcconnell accusing the president on "meet the press" of fostering a culture of intimidation. >> do you have any evidence that the president of the united states directed what you call a culture of intimidation at the irs to target political opponents? >> i don't think we know what the facts are. >> well, that hasn't stopped you from accusing. >> what we're talking about here is an attitude that the government knows best, the nanny state is here to tell us all what to do and if we start criticizing, you get targeted.
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>> but let me stop you for a second, when you talk about the nanny state -- >> david, let me finish. david, let me finish. the investigation has just begun so i'm not going to reach a conclusion about what we may find. but what we do know happened is they were targeting tea party groups. we know that. >> nbc's peter alexander is live for us at the white house with a decidedly less testy tone. thank you for joining us on this sunday. let's talk about the administration. how are they respond together accusations and how is the president trying to change the conversation? >> the white house, as you noted, the president is at the morehouse college, giving a commencement address there at the historically black college. as for these simultaneous scandals or convergence of controversies you've been talking about, the white house insists its primary goal now has been to try to take these things out of the political realm, out of the realm of partisan ship.
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when it comes to the issue of benghazi,they focused on the president saying he calling on congress to bolster security overseas. the irs, that's the one that's the most potentially damaging, which is why the white house is trying to express the same outrage you're hearing from republicans. we heard from dan pfeiffer, who was on all five sunday morning talk shows defending against critics on this topic of the irs issue. >> the first time the white house was aware of this investigation was a few weeks ago when our council's office was notified it was happening. at that point we had no idea what the facts were. let's be very clear. it wasn't just the white house and treasury department aware of this. congressman issa has been aware of this before the election. he didn't say anything for good reason. as he said, you want to make
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sure you have facts before you raise -- when you talk about a nonpartisan entity like the irs. >> the point really, alex, is they say the republicans are trying to overreach here, trying to make political hay out of this issue and they believe strongly in the days ahead this will only help them better focus on the issues that really matter. >> okay. peter alexander from the white house. thank you, peter. joining me, jackie kucinich and political writer for the "new york times," john harwood. i'll begin with you, john, as you contributed to this article in the "new york times" which says "the president's aides have been ordered the white house staff not to be distracted by approaching hearings on the capitol hill. today white house adviser dan pfeiffer making the sunday talk show rounds and trying to get the message back on track. is this all going to work?
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can the white house successfully divert attention from the irs and the other controversies? >> people can do more than one thing at the same time. and even as democrats and republicans fight and fend off and attack and all that on the controversies we're talking about, you still do have an immigration bill that's been moving or being marked up in the senate. that is likely to go forward. republicans have an incentive to cooperate with the administration with democrats on that. you still have the potential for a budget deal later in the year. and i interviewed dave camp and max baucus, the chairman. house and senate tax writing committees. they said this irs scandal may actually help their effort because people could unite around their need to restore trust in the tax code. people often take a moment of controversy and make a straight line prediction that everything is going to go to a dead stop. doesn't always work out that way. >> and then there's a silver lining potentially. jackie, what's the mood of the
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white house right now? do you get a sense it's one of frustration or resignation or something more positive, that they're going to make something out of this? >> i think you saw a little bit of the frustration with some of dan pfeiffer's interviews today. they're still on defense. they haven't moved to the offensive on this issue yet and they're still trying to move past it. we'll see if they can do it next week. but the thing about this irs scandal is that, you know, last week it was just a small branch in cincinnati that was doing this, and now it in washington, we've got more testimonies coming on the hill tuesday and wednesday next week. there's so much we don't know about this. so because of the drip, drip, drip of this irs scandal, we'll see when they can move past it. we don't have all the facts yet. >> do you have a sense of the mood, john, at the white house now? >> i think they're feeling better this weekend than they did last week. they did decide to go on offense and do some things. once the i.g. report came out,
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they realized they took some grief for not acting more decisively earlier, even from people like robert gibbs, the former white house press secretary. they fired steve miller. the president rejected the call for a special counsel. that was a significant step. sometimes administrations find themselves agreeing to those under pressure and getting bogged down later. they embraced the shield law and now they're back on that. and on benghazi they released all of those e-mails, which ended up making them look a little bit better than some of the selective releases earlier on had made them look. i think they're at least beginning to have the capacity to get back on top of this and they got poll numbers out today from "usa today" that showed that the president's approval rating was 53%, which was up a couple of ticks from the last one. not bad. >> okay. jackie, looking at this letter of thursday from the heritage
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action for america, the heritage foundation, sending that letter to speaker boehner and house majority leader kantor, urging them to focus on the current controversies. how far do republicans plan to take this and what is the ultimate results that they want? >> in terms of what? there a lot of controversies there. >> i'm talking about the heritage action, the letter where basically they're saying you republicans don't put new legislation out there, let's just focus on all these problems and keep banging the drum on these problems. >> it's interesting because heritage action has been one of these groups that's made it very difficult for gop leadership to put things on the floor. they've had to pull things because they've rallied conservatives against certain pieces of legislation that leadership has tried to put forward. i don't know how much leadership's ear is turned to them at this point. but when you turned to people last week, they said the focus is on jobs. so we'll see. they're not going to bring a farm bill up just because of a
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letter from a group. >> alex, i just want to say i can't think of anything more stupefyingly dumb in terms of a stance for republicans than to say we're not going to do any business of government while these scandals go on. republicans need to broaden their base and show people they're in touch with their concerns, that's not the way to do it. >> john is right. in terms of immigration, they can't afford to block something like this. >> and then there's that old moniker "do nothing congress" so we don't want to go there. >> office politics. richard engel explains what he calls the four stages of war that reporters go through while covering them and which is the worst. all business purchases. so you can capture your receipts, and manage them online with jot, the latest app from ink. so you can spend less time doing paperwork. and more time doing paperwork.
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in a new interview this morning, white house senior adviser dan pfeiffer responded
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to senator kirsten gillibrand. >> we're going to look at every solution and find one that works better. >> joining me, democratic congresswoman gwen moore, herself a survivor of sexual assault. on thursday when you heard the president, he was speaking powerfully about military rape. but from what you just heard from dan pfeiffer, does it give you confidence in big changes? >> i can tell you when you look at the mission of the military and military culture, which is about aggression and about war, it shouldn't surprise us at all that sexual assault would surface as a huge issue they need to look at. do i think that they would revisit earlier statements to not take this out of the chain
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of command. we need to look at whether the chain of command can deal with the multitude issues that arise out of sexual assault. we have training issues given women's prize in the military, the repeal of don't ask/don't tell. as the executive director of the women's network said, we're not going to train our way out of this issue. we do have to look at taking it out of the military chain of command, not allowing the military to reverse decisions about sexual assault. about giving victims some recourse so that they don't think -- so that the stigma of reporting and the fear of reporting won't prevent them from reporting the 70 plus numbers of sexual assault that occur on a daily basis. i think that this has to be taken very, very seriously and
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250-year history of military rule over this issue has got to be revisited. >> and it is shocking. you give that number, 70 unreported assaults a day. three an hour it breaks down to. it is just shocking. i think it's fair to say you were even outraged with your republican colleagues over the debates over the violence against women act. your floor speech was very emotional. is there that same party divide on the military issue? >> you know what, when you hear statements like it's just sort of a high school thing, i think a huge part of sexual assault is this notion that somehow it's just a part of a rite of passage for men to be aggressive and to be able to express themselves in sexual ways. the defense that, hey, they wanted it or we were -- it was just horseplay, if you listen to a jerry sandusky, i think this is a very, very serious cultural
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issue. and, again, if you're looking at military culture of aggression and violence, i think it's very, very easy for it to seep over into sexual assault. there's also been a lot of discussion about some of the resentment that might come from women being able to rise in the ranks of the military, which puts them at particular risk in the chain of command. about the repeal of don't ask/don't tell, where men who may appear to be afem nit can be disciplined. and the mental health issues, we've got sexual predators in the military. there's -- a lot of these assaults are serial rapists. >> but given what you've just talked about, it seems that it's almost an uphill battile for a
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woman to come forward or a man to come forward. what do you say to that person who is hesitant to do so? >> again, that's why we ought to look for a separate legal path for victims making their complaints, other than up the military chain of command. we certainly have very qualified legal departments and representations, we have legislation that's being proposed separately about victims' advocacy panels so there are opportunities for victims to come forward without fear of retaliation. >> all right, democratic congresswoman gwen moore, i look forward to welcoming you back to the show. >> thank you, alex. >> and a victim of benghazi. we'll talk about what he saw and
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new video today showing the wreckage of the trains that collided on friday. getting towed now off the tracks. more than 60 people were injured, at least three in critical conditions. investigators are on the ground, searching for answers for what caused that crash. officials are warning commuters in the boston to connecticut rail corridor to get prepared for extensive delays. no word on how long before service is completely restored. >> lady luck shines in the sunshine state big time! we're going to go there next. [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me. it appears it's an agent of good. ♪ [ agent smith ] ge software connects patients to nurses to the right machines while dramatically reducing waiting time.
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there was this and this. she got a parking ticket... ♪ and she forgot to pay her credit card bill on time. good thing she's got the citi simplicity card. it doesn't charge late fees or a penalty rate. ever. as in never ever. now about that parking ticket. [ grunting ] [ male announcer ] the citi simplicity card is the only card that never has late fees, a penalty rate, or an annual fee, ever. go to citi.com/simplicity to apply. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." let's go to florida where one is definitely not the loneliest number today. we're talking about the sole winning ticket of the biggest powerball jackpot in history. it was sold at a supermarket in
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zephyr hills, florida. carey sa. >> whoever has this ticket has so many new friends, they don't know what to do with them. we're here? zephyr hills, if you drink that water, that's the town that it comes from. over my shoulder you can see the publics grocery store. somebody bought the winning ticket here, the one sold ticket. $590.5 million. a stunning amount of month for one person to win. i'll give you the winning numbers here in the off chance that, well, you are sitting there and you haven't looked at your ticket and you're not exactly sure whether you are the winner or not. so here are the winning numbers. and the question sort of is is with this kind of money, is it a blessing or is it a curse? the winning number are 10, 13, 14, 22, 52 and a powerball of 11.
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so let me show you in florida what a powerball ticket looks like, okay? this is what the winning ticket might look like, except when i flip it around there and you can see that it says "not a winner," which is a very nice way of saying loser, because that's what this is, a losing ticket. we've had some people coming in and out of here all wondering, since it wasn't me, do i know who it is? without that person revealing themselves yet, we wait and wonder. >> not a big town. not too many people to choose if the person was a resident. hmm. >> right. >> thank you so much. >> in an interview on "meet the press," donald rumsfeld weighed in on the handling of the benghazi bombing attack. >> you think of a manager, a leader, when something like that happens, you call people in, you sit them down and you let them know that you intend to find
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ground truth fast. and he seemed not to have done that. i think people looking at this changed stories on benghazi and the way the talking points are altered are of a view that they were trying to support a narrative that in fact did not exist. >> joining me now is a man who was in benghazi the night of the attack and formerly served in libya. joining me is ethan chorin. what are y describe the mood in the city at that time. was there a sense that an attack could happen? >> the mood essentially was fairly calm, but that doesn't mean a whole lot, as has been
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discussed endlessly. there were a large number of serious incidents leading up to that horrible night. so it should not have been a surprise to anyone, and we were certainly not unaware of the risks we were taking. >> ethan, in your recent "new york times" op-ed, "the deeper blame for benghazi," you write the spectacle over benghazi is focusing on the wrong thing. what should they be focused on? >> we should be focused on the context. the fact that essentially by leaving ourselves exposed in benz, we contributed to the destabilization in parts of a nascent government on one hand and despite all of our experience with conflict, we're quite bad at managing postconflict environments. those are the things i think wooe we
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should be focusing on right now, how to do it better. >> how about the american people and their appetite for doing that. how does that play into what becomes u.s. policy this way? >> i think there are a lot of things that can be done which don't involve a tremendous amount of expenditure, for one. just making sure our installations abroad are adequately protected is step number one. and one point i make is that benghazi, though we were very high profile given what had just taken place, our intervention, which i argue was actually quite successful, this could have happened any time at almost any other place in the region, whether yemen or libya five, six years before that. >> ethan, this is interesting. when the benghazi attack first happened, certainly a lot of us were completely perplexed. we were thinking why would an ambassador be in such an unstable place right now with relatively little protection on the anniversary of 9/11? then this, which is somewhat
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shocking, the report last week that ambassador stevens twice turned down the military's offers for more security? as a former diplomat yourself, can you give me any insight into what you may have been thinking and do you believe that this report is true? >> there's a tremendous amount of information. there's information on the side of ambassador stevens having requested significantly more security and repeatedly. >> when i was part of the testimony on capitol hill, we should say as well. >> yes. on the other side, there are unanswered questions. i have to say that the information that came out regarding our presence there, one of the lines in the president obama's u.n. general assembly speech had one of the reasons that chris stevens was in benghazi to meet with us. well, that came out of the media, which was repeated over and over again. >> so is it true? >> no, it's not true. it's not true.
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i understood that he was there on the day that i arrived. i is certainly been in contact with him before so he was not there to meet with us. that's a basic fact that can be relatively easily resolved and i think there are a number of other facts that can be better resolved. i think this is an opportunity for the obama administration to -- actually, a great opportunity to essentially address a whole range of systemic problems that have been plaguing the government for decades. >> it's going to be interesting to see what comes of all of this, these investigations and these discussions. ethan chorin, thank you so much. >> today i talk with richard engel where he discusses the stages of war. plus, does he ever get time to himself, globetrotting like that? first i asked richard now some two years in, his assessment of the arab spring. >> the middle east is broken and
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it is trying to find a new -- find a new stability and find a new place. there's still an opportunity to have a major peace initiative, a major peace of international diplomacy. it would be very hard and it would be perhaps the most challenging and least rewarding thing, at least in the short term, that anyone could possibly imagine doing. but right now there is the opportunity. when things are set and fixed, there's nothing to talk about and the people on the other side don't want to talk to you because they don't think they need to. so if there were to be a huge, very determined u.s. diplomatic effort right now, i think there would be a lot of people who would be willing to listen. but it would be a multi-year process. >> you said there were four stages reporters go through when covering a war. stage one, i'm invincible, stage two, this is dangerous, i might get hurt, stage three, i'm
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probably going to get hurt and stage four, i've been here too long, i'm going to die over here. >> that's a bad stage. >> what stage are you at now? >> oh, it changes. right now right now as i'm sit hearing i feel very quite comfortably in stage two. you don't really go back to stage one by the way. the stage one, i'm invincible, i'm superman, when something happens and you hear the crack of a bullet nearby, stage two is a happy, comfortable place for me. what i'm doing is dangerous and i might get hurt. that's reasonable. stage three i'm probably going to get hurt is a darker place. because then you think every day your hour glass is draining. and stage four is there's just a few grounds less in the hour glass and you're just a dead man walking. >> so do you have a personal life? and i'm not asking if you date. i'm asking do you have a personal life that you can say
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this is my time? >> well, it's all my time. it's all my time. you know, i'm living -- this is an experience of exploration. and it's not that i go home and take off my shoes and do the old fashioned mr. rogers, hang up my sweater and say, oh, okay here i am and then i go back out to work, my life is the work. do i have a personal life? yeah, of course, always. but it is not like you would -- most people expect. it's not -- think of it as always in motion. >> okay, now, i got to ask you about your hair. because here's the deal. you have great hair and you could be in the middle of -- >> i didn't even shower this morning. i just got back from a run so i hope it doesn't -- >> how is it that you -- i'll see youin t in the middle of
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something with bombs going off around you and the sky lighting and i say his hair's perfect. >> i don't know what to say to that. i do nothing. i get hair cuts on the street from whatever barber is around. >> do you run around with a back pack? >> that i've got down to a science. >> so share. >> i'm a very good packer. i'm the best packer you know. but i pack very, very light. and i have a secret as well, that i squirrel things away in places. so can i pack very light but since i travel around a lot, i leave things places. so there's a closet in cairo and i'll have a shirt and pair of shoes and pair of socks and underwear stuffed in there, i've had clothes in a bag in kabul. i leave things like hide and seek around the world. >> he leads quite the life, doesn't he?
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>> it's a big deal in washington but what does the average american think about the irs controversy? we've got a new poll with the big three next. everything. everything. everything. everything? [ all ] everything? everything. [ male announcer ] get free shipping and 5% back on everything your business needs. that was easy. you will lose 3 sets of keys 4 cell phones 7 socks and 6 weeks of sleep but one thing you don't want to lose is any more teeth.
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all aboard. ♪ it's time for the big three and today's top picks. irs backlash, what's next? it's getting personal. and this week's must read. let's bring in our panel, christina bellantonni and emily tisch-sussman. dan pfeiffer appeared on "meet the press today." here's what he said about the irs controversy. >> there is no question that republicans are trying to make political hay here. we have to know what the facts are. the independent inspector general's report said two things that are very important. one, that there's no one outside -- there's no evidence that anyone outside of the irs influenced this conduct here and, two, he did not believe
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there was political motivation. >> so, your reaction, robert, are republicans just trying to make political hay here? >> no. you have elijah cummings, a democrat from maryland and charlie rangel saying this is a big deal. when you look at the house hearings, you had republicans and democratic members basically chastising the administration and chastising the irs because of this issue. this is a really interesting issue. speaking of politics here, it's ironic that only quote, unquote, conservative and right leaning organizations were targeted, not left-leaning organization. if anyone is making it political, it's the irs. >> emily, a new poll shows 55% of americans show this irs controversy is a very important issue. what impact do you think this is having on the president's second-term agenda? do you think he's going to be able to get through his big
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ticket items like immigration reform and gun control part two? >> you think it's a big issue when the white house adviser goes on all sunday morning shows but you know it's a big deal with it's parodied on "saturday night live." no question, there are serious agenda items being worked through even as we speak. in as the attention was being pulled away to talk about the irs, so much white house attention was going to it, we missed the fact that the senate is is in the third week of marking up the immigration bill, one of the highest priorities. the senators are still dealing with backlash from the background check bill. things are still moving. >> my job as president is to advocate for policies that generate more opportunities for everybody, policies that strengthen the middle class and give more people their chance to
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climb their way into the middle class, policies that create more good jobs and give more families the security of health care and protect more of our children from the horrors of gun violence. that's my job. those are matters of public policy and it is important for all of us, black, white and brown to advocate for an america where everybody's got a fair shot in life, not just some. not just a few. >> you know, christina, this is the second time in a week the president has really been impounding the drum with trying to strengthen the middle class. we know he's going to have a speaking tour and take that message throughout the country. practically speaking in this current environment, how much can the president do to achieve those goals? >> he can do what he's doing, going to different cities and highlight items on his agenda he wants to see congress pass. people can understand the irs
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scandal in a way that perhaps benghazi talking points or e-mails back and forth between the state department or cia are not as compelling or understandable for most americans. but in this case it's difficult for the white house, particularly when they're having to comply with all kinds of investigations and everything else that's going to happen with congress, we're just seeing the beginning of these hearings and it's a big deal. i will point out the "new york times" has a great piece today looking at there were actually some liberal groups lumped in among these 400 groups, the vast majority of them were conservative. but there are about two dozen liberal organizations that got extra scrutiny. >> i wanted to ask you with our next topic, as a journalist your perspective on the controversy around the associated press, here's what came out on politico: "conflicting information is emerging over the process the justice department used to approve the subpoenas for associated press telephone
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record." >> it's difficult for me to take a view here. i'm a journalist, i've had many sources i protect and i wouldn't want my record subpoenaed. but you have to go back. take the a.p. issue aside and look at what congress did to approved certain -- whether it wire tapping or looking at other record of americans in the fight against the war on terror. this is something that a lot of civil liberties groups have said are unfair for many years. so it's a bigger picture issue beyond just the world of journalism. but it also one the american people don't necessarily connect with as much as, say, the irs. >> the balance between national security concerns versus freedom of the press. quickly, emily, where do you think the line is there? >> there is always going to be a tension between those two. it a very serious tension. i think that that's good point.
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>> is it justified for the government to snoop on the press? >> absolutely. when lives are at stake tug-of-d forth of civil liberties thersz national security. >> thank you. have you sit tight. next up, head hunting in the next up, the big threes. that thick creamy texture, i was in trouble. look i'm in a committed relationship with activia and i've been happy and so has my digestive system. now i'm even happier since activia greek showed up because now i get to have my first love and my greek passion together, what i call a healthy marriage. activia greek. the feel good greek. ♪ dannon
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just want to give you a peek at some of what's happening down in atlanta at moorehouse college where the president was speaking earlier. 500 newly minted morehouse men graduates, he told them about setting good examples. an arousing speech. congratulations to all the new moorehouse men there. back with the big three for this week's must-read. emily? >> mine is an article about unfortunately a gay man was shot and killed in village.
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even as we have our 12th state recognizing marriage quality, making progress but a lot of work to be done. >> absolutely an incredible crime. i do believe they caught the perpetrato perpetrator, right? just a couple blocks away. >> they did catch him. this story is a good reminder to us, a horrible tragedy, but a good reminder to us that lgbt americans face every day. kicked out of homes, fired from jobs. in the worst case, violence against them. we still need to work on all these fronts. ant important piece of it pull-of-. it's not just all marriage. >> and robert? must-read? >> i glee whip the previous comments. delaware county, pennsylvania, a great story today about walking for the wounded where members of a community walked a couple of miles for wounded veterans that are coming home, making that transition from the battlefield to the homefield, raised nearly $1 million and a must-read and
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uplifting story for the men and women in uniform and keep it safe. >> a good one. christina, yours is just darn creepy. i got a peek at has. i can't stand bugs. go ahead and share. >> okay. on the each seaboard, every certain number of years, new breeds of bugs called cicadas come out. i first moved to washington, first summer, this happened. historic brood. they make crazy, creepy noises. "the washington post" has a great story looking at people's phobias of not just bugs but cicadas and the noise. some became recluses next years ago and they're just coming out again now. we like to obsess in our region about things like this or the weather. an interesting story, interesting looking bugs. big, red eyes. and doing a lot of science coverage on this. economic it out. >> no. i'm not looking at it.
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isn't there something like 1 billion of them hatching and coming our way? seriously. my daughter and i were talking about this. oh, my god. did you hear about the secadas? they're coming our way. >> they're completely writing about me. >> are you in this article? >> i should have been. right? what were you saying, robert? >> can you have a chocolate covered cicada. >> no, thanks. you guys are all dismissed on the heels of that. thank you all very much. that fortunately is a wrap of this sunday edition of ""weekends with alex witweeken." up next, "meet the press" with david gregory. see you next sunday. is a complete multivitamin designed for men's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day men's 50+. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health.
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this sunday, damage control by the white house on several fronts. how much harm will it do to the presidential's second-term agenda? president obama under a cloud of scandal, as congress bears down on irs officials who targeted conservative groups. >> this week confirms everything that the american public believes. this is a huge blow to the faith and trust the american people have in their government. >> the key questions now -- who initiated the targeting and why? who else in the administration knew? and why was congress misinformed for so long? with us this morning, the president's senior adviser, dan pfeiffer, the republican leader in the senate,

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