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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  December 9, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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the pride of the university of michigan, who is last cut, i believe, ari melber. how are you, my friend? >> doing well, thank you so much, luke. and good afternoon, i'm ari melber. it is monday, december 9th. and you know what that means. five days to make a deal on the budget. holiday season is a time for remembering the bonds we share. >> democrats and republicans on the verge of coming up with a budget deal. >> our obligations to one another as human beings. >> does not involve ted cruz and a cliff. >> negotiations moving in the right direction. >> experts predicting that a steadily improving economy is actually on the horizon. >> the unemployment news this week positive. >> unemployment fell to its lowest level in five years. >> i do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks. >> extending unemployment insurance isn't just the right thing to do for our families. >> if you extend beyond that, you do a disservice to workers.
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you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group. >> republicans so far refuse to extend it. >> i get the distinct impression you would like to run for president. >> i am seriously thinking about it. >> it is a big week in washington and the world and, we are tackling several developing stories this afternoon. president obama and the first lady are headed to south africa, joining dozens of world leaders who will honor the late nelson mandela. the president is joined on air force one by former president george w. bush, his wife laura, and former secretary of state, hillary clinton. meanwhile, for families in newtown, some powerful public statements ahead of a painful anniversary. we will listen to their message in a few minutes. also, signs of real steps towards recovery on friday. unemployment fell to its lowest rate since november 2008. white house officials say congress can build on these gains. and that brings us to our top story. president pushing congress to finish the deal on the budget.
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yes, the season for wheeling and dealing, and not just bargain hunting at the mal. washington lawmakers face their first test since house republicans backed off the government shutdown. that deal, of course, created a new economic deadline, a congressional budget by this friday. so both houses of congress looking to strike their first agreement since 2011. the last two years haven't seen much consensus. the "washington post" is reporting the new deal may provide a cease fire. under one approach, the white house would push off demands for deficit cutting. the president has said the deficit should take a back seat to jobs right now. there are also tense negotiations over cutting hiking security fees. and lawmakers also talking about partially repealing the sequester spending cuts. proposals to extend jobless benefits for the long term unemployed have also hit a snag. the president says those benefits are critical for many
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families, and he pushed the gop on that issue this weekend. >> for many families, it can be the difference between hardship and catastrophe. last year alone, it lifted 2.5 million people out of poverty. and cushioned the blow for many more. but here's the thing. if members of congress don't act before they leave on their vacations, 1.3 million americans will lose this lifeline. >> did you hear that? there might have been a little shade there for republicans on the hill. they are giving themselves another long vacation starting friday. on the other hand, some conservatives now say opposing unemployment benefits is their way of helping the unemployed. >> i do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks they're paid for. if you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. when you allow people to be on unemployment insurance for 99 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy. and it really -- while it seems
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good, it actually does a disservice to the people you're trying to help. >> now, the people who rely on those benefits might disagree. we are going to have much more with our panelists today. dana milbank, and perry bacon in a few moments. first we start with senator bill nelson live from capitol hill. hello, senator. >> good afternoon. >> good afternoon to you. let's start with the basics. what are the democrats' priorities here if you get to a budget deal this week? >> well, i can tell you what my priorities are. and that is, to avoid the sequester, to get a deal, change the entire atmosphere in washington, where it's been just totally at logger heads. no negotiation. we're seeing the changes to that. this is very encouraging. and i think we will have a deal in the next couple of days. >> yeah. and it is encouraging compared to where we have seen the budget process break down, for sure, senator. >> amen. but let's turn, of course, also to something a lot of people
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care about, those jobless benefits, the president says they're crucial for many families. republican senator rob portman, however, outlined a different approach yesterday. take a listen. >> it's about $25 billion that no one was talking, george, until the last week. so it's an additional cost within this budget agreement. i think the thought always was that would be handled separately. >> so we have heard that before, just keep this out separate. what do you think of that? doesn't that fall short of where the president wants to be? >> rob portman is a first-class gentleman. but he's wrong on this issue. if you are someone who the fortunes have turned against, and you do not have a job, you are absolutely needing that economic cushion as the economy is now stoking up, and you just referenced the numbers that were just put out on friday. the economy is getting a lot better. all the forecasts are, it's going to be a lot better. you just need that cushion to
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get you over to where you can get a job. >> now -- that makes sense to me. give us a view of the politics here. a lot of people were skeptical when this deal, of course, came out of the shutdown that we were setting up more deadlines that wouldn't work. as you know, as you just mentioned, the senate and the house don't have a great record here in the immediate past. what do you think accounts for the desire to get this done now, and have republicans backed off the idea of having a shutdown every couple months? >> well, i think it's exactly that. the gop got so burned in the last shutdown, and all of the economists and the ceos of corporations have been begging. a lot of their natural constituents, begging, don't do this again. don't do this again. and then, of course, defense, nasa, nih, transportation,
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whoever, is also begging, please don't put that sequester in. you are going to eviscerate our ability to provide for whatever our particular department provides. including the department of defense. >> exactly. well, and especially when you look at how arbitrary many of the cuts have been. senator bill nelson, i know it's a busy time on the hill. thanks for joining us. >> thanks, ari. >> i want to go to our panel. we have from washington dana milbank, political columnist for the "washington post" and peri bacon, dana, talk to us about the politics in the optics here. you just heard the senator standing basically arm in arm with the president on this issue of unemployment insurance. and him making the economic argument, as well, that, look, things are getting better. but people need time. they need a bridge to get out there and find some of the new jobs that may be appearing. what do you make of the politics of republicans actually standing firm against unemployment insurance?
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>> well, first of all, i think the senator is being a bit premature in celebrating this achievement, basically. the budget deal is outlined is in agreement, essentially, to do nothing. they have done nothing about the longterm entitlements. nothing about restructuring the tax code. nothing. so basically, both sides have agreed to just move along, essentially not replacing the sequester entirely. so i wouldn't call that a victory, unless you're subject to the -- the soft bigotry of low expectations. >> dana, i knew you were going to quote george w. bush on affirmative action. >> and, of course, they have -- they have punted on the issue that is of very immediate concern, and that is the need to help these people, as they always have been helped in a difficult job market as this is now. so it would be, i think -- it would be startling if they did nothing and had all these people losing their unemployment benefits right in time for the christmas season.
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>> and perry? >> key distinction, the republicans for a long time have favored reducing unemployment benefits. right now, under federal law, you have up to 73 weeks of unemployment benefits. that's why -- there's a number that's been high, because the recession has been so difficult and people have a hard time finding jobs. but the traditional number is something like 26 weeks. and the republicans want to move that number down a lot. their argument is basically the economy is getting better. and they don't want the federal government to spend that much money. so you have a big ideological debate here about the role of unemployment benefits, rand paul, this kind of keeps people from getting jobs. the economic data suggests that's not true. that said, it's hard to get house republicans to agree to basically, you know -- withdraw sequester and also increase unemployment benefits in the same two weeks. so i think it's going to be the challenge as we go forward here. >> the washington speak on this is you might get more results if you don't have to have them swallow too many bitter pills at once. the skeptical view that many
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people have, they're not going to do it. the budget here, as i mentioned to the senator, seems to be a place where republicans don't want to double down. dana, let's listen for a second to something senator rand paul just said. >> what detroit needs to thrive is not washington's domineering hand, but freedom from big government's mastery. to thrive, detroit needs less government and more freedom. >> that is, senator paul in detroit. he gets some points for going there. a lot of congress members would rather ignore detroit, entirely. even though it's the largest municipal bankruptcy. what do you make of this for ray into the midwest? >> it sounds like senator paul was using his own words. so that is some progress there today. but the formula is essentially what he's proposed for everything, and that is tax cuts for everybody, all of the time, for whatever reason. so rand paul has been a bit of an outlier among republicans.
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he'll go and speak to an african-american group at howard university, oil go and express some concern for detroit. but ultimately, it's very much the same libertarian philosophy that he's voiced all along. and that is we're not doing anything for you but cutting taxes. >> right. and perry, that is -- i think that's a fair assessment. and when you look at this budget that apparently will not cut more taxes. if you believe the "washington post" reporting of the cease fire, a lot can change. what do you make of a republican house that won't get anymore cuts? >> i'm surprised by this. i mean, i think this is where we're headed. this is the result of the shutdown, and other republicans sort of -- losing that shutdown. what you have basically is a real compromise here. the senate democrats proposed $1.1 trillion in spending for 2014. the republicans in the house proposed 9.7 -- $970 billion, i should say. so meeting in the middle, about $1 trillion.
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and that's a real compromise. the republicans were not compromising, really, until this shutdown, which taught them that the white house was serious about not cutting spending too much. >> yeah. i think that's apt. and i think that's what the senator was saying, as well. perry with the numbers, dana mill bank with the attitude. thank you both. >> thanks, ari, good to see you. >> absolutely. coming up, we turn to another important story, the one-year anniversary of the newtown shootings is this week. and if congress is unable to accomplish anything on gun safety, at the very least, they can heed these words today from parents of the victims. >> we ask that you consider performing an act of kindness or volunteering with a charitable organization in your own local community. we hope that some small measure of good may be returned to the world. my customers can shop around--
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there's been a rallying cry, after every mass tragedy, to learn everything we can so we're better prepared in the future to prevent them. and we have not ever been able to prevent them. so that there's a sadness to that. so we don't want to stand alone, carrying the weight of that responsibility. i think that's a societal responsibility. >> that was newtown first electman pat lojis speaking in newtown, connecticut. while their main message was the community of newtown would like the media to respect their privacy on saturday's one-year anniversary, the first select woman couldn't help but get into the lack of action as a society in halting some of these mass shootings. and yet what can society do without the help of congress? s with' know, 90% of americans, including a majority of gun
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owners support laws including background checks on gun purchases, but that still couldn't make it through the u.s. congress. any sort of gun reform can often seem hopeless at the federal level, but perhaps there are other ways to change the epidemic of gun violence. and like many things, it could come down to money. in the days after the shooting at sandy hook, public pressure was put on the private equity firm, owner of freedom group which manufacturers one of the bushmaster rifles used by adam lanza to murder those 20 children and 6 educators last december. cerberus announced they would sell freedom group and stop profiting off the sale of this kind of weapon. and yet, as of today, nearly one year since that tragedy, cerberus has not divested from the company and that's what a group of interfaith leaders were protesting earlier today. >> we must try to make people understand that investing in gun manufacturers is not the way to go. and it's only fueling our
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epidemic and gun violence in this country. >> for more on this, i'm joined by jonathan capehart, and john rosen that will, founder of stop handgun violence. i'll start with you, jonathan capehart. before we discuss the situation, i want the to ask about a joint statement today made by the family of newtown's victims. after thanking people for their kindness and thoughts at this time, they suggested the best way to help on saturday would be to perform an act of charity. i think that's something many people can relate to. and yet there are so many who think this is a time to also think about other collective action, including policy change. >> yes. well, you can understand, if you've met any of the families, the newtown families, you can understand, you know that the pain from a year ago is still very much -- very much present, very much on the surface. and so their desire, one for privacy, and two, for acts of kindness or charity, are understandable. but we also have to understand that there are people out there who have been fighting for gun
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violence reduction, changes in gun policies that would make it possible for there to be, you know, more safety on the streets. so that there would be less lives -- fewer lives lost to gun violence. and so people are going to -- sort of honor the memory of the 26 people killed, 20 children and 6 adults who were killed on december 14th last year in different ways. families want to do it one way, and folks who are also pushing for change but want to do so more proactively, more publicly on the 14th, have their -- have their own efforts in mind. >> certainly. and as you were speaking, jonathan, we were looking at some of those images of the family members coming out, talking about this issue, lighting the candles, and also as they have said in unison, asking for privacy later this week. john rosenthal, when jonathan capehart talks about the different ways people can engage, the issue around the financial pressure was seen as an important place to go where the money is. and to say people shouldn't be
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profitab profitab profitable off some of these weapons. what do you make of the fact cerberus hasn't gone all the way, although some say it's a sign of some progress, that they are allowing some of their investors to stay out of the guns issue if they want and not have their money used that way? >> well, immediately following the use of the bushmaster ar-15 owned by cerberus at sandy hook, cerberus announced they were going to sell, because they couldn't chenomprehend the pain these families must be feeling, losing their 6 and 7-year-olds. and as we all hopefully will never know, but often find out long before we ever want to, we don't have the gene to bury our children and ever be the same. and eight children are buried every day from largely preventible gun violence. so cerberus made this announcement. 12 months later, they have increased their sales about 50%, their profits by 20%. steven feinberg, the managing director of cerberus, has no
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interest in selling. in fact, what he is saying is, he'll let some of the investors, like california teachers pension fund, the new york state pension fund, to get out. and he may even buy them, and buy -- i'm sorry, buy their interests, and double down. because he loves the gun industry, because wall street hates regulation. and guns are the only product in america not regulated. unlike toy guns and teddy bears. so if you want to get to cerberus, don't shop at star market. don't shop at shaw's, albertsons. or osco drug. because cerberus owns them, as well as ammunition, bushmaster, and even body armor companies. this is a despicable firm. and they are also owner of stuart health care, a hospital company. so they're making money selling food, selling drugs, selling guns and then selling repairing people when they get shot. >> john, you mentioned the state funds, like california or
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calipers. is that a key place people can be politically active, because there is an actual political pressure there? >> oh, i think this is a -- this issue is prime for divestiture. we have been mourning the loss of, you know, amazing leader in south africa. it was die test at your that helped change politics in south africa. it will be divestiture that helps force, you know, really horrible business community businesses like wall street, cerberus, to change their ways. but until we vote with our wallets, i fear that steven feinberg, frankly, likes more massachusetts kerrs, because mass shootings, because gun sales go up. and we need to hold him accountable. >> yeah, i think in all fairness, that's not an accurate statement. you can be profiting off the industry without wanting the% use of the weapons. many of the people in that line of business have said that repeatedly on record.
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although i take your point that there's a financial place to have pressure on the kind of commerce we want. we see that in a lot of different areas. jonathan capehart, turning to you, part of the architect here is that this isn't just political. but we have kfgss in this country about buying green products, about labor standards, and for many people, the types of weaponry that are seen as unnecessary for hunting or self defense fall into a category that people don't think should be legitimate commerce. do you think, though, that all of this gets people sort of tuned out in an unfortunate way, because they hear the family say, understandably, many of them this week, we don't want to be necessarily a part of a campaign of any kind? >>el well, i mean, you can understand -- yes, you can understand the newtown families' desire to not be a part of that campaign. but look what we're talking about here, is trying to hold the gun manufacturers and the companies that own gun companies accountable, simply because of,
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i think, frustration that there's no accountability coming from the folks here in washington. as you said at the outset of this segment, 90% of the american people favor some sort of check on people who are buying guns. background checks. and yet it couldn't get through -- it couldn't get through congress. couldn't get through the house, couldn't get through the senate. and so people who are frustrated with the political process start looking for other ways to hold people accountable. >> exactly. >> and if that means, you know, striking up a boycott, calling for one, or going right at investors, then folks will do that. >> i think it's an interesting piece, part of why we wanted to spotlight it. while also respecting and nbc is respecting the privacy of the families later this week. jonathan capehart and john rosenth rosenthal, thank you for this discussion. coming up, we go live to south africa where president obama arrived.
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and he was one of the first to meet. the reverend jesse jackson will join us. that's next. [ ship horn blows ] no, no, no! stop! humans. one day we're coming up with the theory of relativity, the next... not so much. but that's okay. you're covered with great ideas like optional better car replacement from liberty mutual insurance. total your car, and we give you the money to buy one a model year newer. learn about it at liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy?
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ask your doctor about xarelto®. once a day xarelto® means no regular blood monitoring -- no known dietary restrictions. for more information and savings options, call 1-888-xarelto or visit it is now after 11:00 p.m. in south africa, the end of a busy day as dignitaries from all over the world continue to descend upon that country and mourn the loss and celebrate the legacy of nelson mandela. air force one with former president w. bush and wife laura joining president obama and first lady. the group is part of a long list of american and international dignitaries, one that includes former presidents clinton and carter on hand for a massive public memorial tomorrow with a crowd of nearly 100,000 expected to attend. nbc's ron aless than is live in soweto, south africa with more. ron, we learned today president obama will be speaking tomorrow.
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what can we expect to hear at that address? >> well, i would imagine his remarks will be very personal. as you know, he has a very close relationship with nelson mand a mandela. their lives are intertwined. mr. obama has said that his first political act as an individual was in support oh of the anti apartheid movement, which mr. mandela, of course, was leading. so there's that. we expect that this could be one of the largest gatherings of heads of states ever together assembled in one place. it's an event that will perhaps rival the funeral of pope john paul ii back in 2005. some 3 million converged upon the vatican. the numbers here at the football stadium where the main event will be held could be as many as 100,000 or so. there are several other venues in the johannesburg area where people will watch on giant televisions. and countless others will cram the streets to get near this area where there will be this huge event going on.
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and don't forget, after tomorrow, there are still three days of official mourning, where mandela's body will lie in state at the union buildings at the capital. and a final state funeral in qunu where mr. mandela was born and grew up. a week-long series of events, full of a lot of emotion. mostly celebrating happening, honoring the legacy and life of this great man. >> and as we have been reporting, there will be world leaders from every corner of the globe. briefly, if you can give us a sense of the security for that undertaking. >> reporter: well, security is massive. they have already tonight started closing down some areas around the stadium. it's about 12 hours before the event is to begin here at 11:00 in the morning local time, 4:00 a.m. eastern time. and supposed to run four hours. as you said, in addition to president obama, there will be speakers from cuba, brazil, india, nations that have been
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friendly to south africa over the years, if not the united states entirely. we'll also hear from several of nelson mandela's grandchildren and one of the other prisoners with him. and we'll see quite a spectacle that will be watched by millions around the world. >> absolutely. that sounds remarkable. ron allen, thank you very much for your reporting. stay safe. ahead, the impact of mandela's legacy on our own politics and policy in top lines. first, before departing for south africa, the president honored some of the most respected names in performing arts. it's an evening they surely will not forget. >> when a 22-year-old carlos santana took the stage at wood stock, few people outside his hometown of san francisco into who he was. and the feeling was mutual. carlos was in such a, shall we say, altered state of mind, that he remembers almost nothing about the performance. a can of del monte green beans?
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from dancing in the streets to ganging up on gingrich, here are today's top lines. let us now praise famous men. >> right now, david, it is pouring down rain. and in south africa, rain is a sign of good fortune. ♪ up you until this moment, people have been dancing in the streets. they have been singing songs. >> let us pause and give thanks to the fact that nelson mandela lived. a man who took history in his hands. >> had a vision about what he wanted for his entire country. >> and bent the arc of moral universe towards justice. >> you now know who i am! >> and then had that wonderful user-friendly personality. >> i am a yankee! >> i spent some time in south
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africa. >> he no longer belongs to us. >> he was a communist, this man. >> have you ever seen a communist in a glass of water? he was a communist. >> he belongs to the ages. >> you're right. what he was advocating for was not necessarily the right answer. >> if you're black, means that you are going to be in effect in a police state. >> but fighting against some great injustice. >> mandela had much more in common than clarence thomas. >> that would bhaek the argument, we have a great injustice going on right now in this country. >> more in common with clarence thomas than barack obama. of. >> the size of government taking over and controlling people's lives. and obama care is front and center. >> you wrote a facebook page praising nelson mandela, wrote that on your facebook and then were surprised by some of the reaction you got. this clench-fist murdering g guerilla warrior does not deserve respect. >> president reagan argued for the release of mandela. >> let's not act like reagan was a major supporter of mandela and
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the anti apartheid movement the. it's just not true. >> let's bring in our panel. henrik hertzburg from the "new yorker" magazine and jesse jackson, and long-time advocate for mandela. reverend, let me start with you. the world does now recognize nelson mandela's face. when he was released from prison, you were there to be one of the first people to see how that time had had changed him. his image had banned at times in south africa. what comes to mind now when you think back on that historic day? >> well, freedom from apartheid in this country, freedom from apartheid in that country. dr. king removed the badge from skin color. it happened in south africa in '92 and '94. we got the right to vote here in '65. they got the right to vote in '94. and we changed the rule of opinion in southern america. they changed in southern africa in 1994. in many ways, the freedom of
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blacks from apartheid in our own country empowered us to fight for that freedom. so people who really made it happen, people like randall robertson from transafrica when the view of a new africa -- dr. mary bear or roger wilkins. a role harry bellefonte played and maya angelou. this is a freedom movement. some people focus on the guy. they miss his victory was skin over apartheid. and he was a winner. >> yeah, he was a winner, and he was a winner in multiple spheres. that is something that jalani cob was writing about in "the new yorker." that the 20th century produced a tiny number of figures, king, gandy, who changed world history through the weight of their moral example. and an equally small number of heads of state, like wilessa, whose emergence was tied to a
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collective realization of freedom. but only nelson mandela's name would appear on both lists. and to the reverend's point, he was a cultural, civic and political icon. and yet as we were showing in some of the clips today, the question is whether in his embrace now, do we forget some of how controversial he was, even here in the united states. >> we do, certainly. we have seen that in the reaction to his death. but, you know, mandela was a figure unlike whom we see more than once or twice a century. extraordinary character. i wrote that he was the george washington of his country. but he was also the james madison of his country. he didn't just -- he was a combination of so many of these great leaders of gandhi, king, washington, madison. it's absolutely astounding. and what he did in those years after he was released from prison, those four years in
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negotiating and writing a constitution for the new south africa, was in many ways as much as anything he ever did, showed his greatness. >> well, and rick, you know -- go ahead, reverend. >> dr. king was killed at 39. his ofment movement lasted for 18 years. mr. mandela was an icon, a living -- in jail for 27 years. and 24 more years beyond, a living martyr for 51 years. longer than dr. king lived. the doctor king movement against apartheid here laid the predicate for apartheid. we raised money for that movement in south africa. we got the black caucus led by maxine waters. the u.s. and britain were partners in the south african regime. as a nation, we chose apartheid in the name of being anti communist over the freedom of the people.
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and somehow the movement here, the civil rights movement in our country deserves much credit for the change we now see in america, and in south africa. >> well, and reverend, to that point, that's why it is so interesting -- i think, and potentially enlightening, to see some of the political debate playing out more among republicans. but take a listen to more from former speaker newt gingrich, in doing what rick hertzburg was doing, embracing as a founding father in politics, one of the best things you could say about someone. take a listen. >> posted my statement on her facebook page and was amazed at some of the intensity, some of whom came back three and four and five times, repeating how angry they were. so i wrote my newsletter on friday, basically entitled it, "what would you have done." >> and he goes on to talk about what the legacy of mandela is being a revolutionary and freedom fighter and also a patriot. how do you looking at this now,
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national/international conversation, how do you think we're doing in remembering our history accurately with apartheid as a foreign policy issue for the united states? >> it seems to me that we seem to forget apartheid in our own country. i was jailed for using the public library. i was jailed for trying to use -- my father -- lots of p.o.w.s didn't have the right to use toilets, hotels, motels. we couldn't use a toilet from texas to florida to maryland. we didn't have the right to vote. and so dr. king's victory was over skin color apartheid and political apartheid and changing world opinion. now, that same movement spilled over in a major way to be the impactful force for freedom in south africa against our own national policy at that time. we changed america's policy towards south africa by our own risk and sacrifice, because anti apartheid victory in america led
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to apartheid victory in south africa. >> rick, what do you think of that and the reverend's point about that interplay, relatively rare to have this kind of success and an international civil rights movement. >> well, we often forget that during the whole period of the cold war, there was actually a big division in this country. are we against communism, because it's communism? because it's state ownership of industry, or are we against it because it's against freedom. and so there was a big fight between people who thought that we should support awful regimes, like the franko regime in spain or apartheid regime in south africa, just because they said oh, we're anti communist. and that was wrong. that was wrong. and that ultimately actually was pro communist to do that. it actually helped the other side. and the fight for freedom in this country, led by reverend jackson and many others, was identical with the fight for freedom in the soviet union,
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check low slovak i can't, one fight. >> most were christians. the big regime -- the fact the communists were not locked out of the organization didn't mean they were communist. that was a smear campaign. if you are in a building that's on fire, you don't worry about the ideology of who puts up the ladder. or who the ladder holder is. they were always a freedom trying to fight a nonracist free south africa and that has been achieved. >> absolutely. and reverend, as we know from the civil rights experience in the united states, the misuse of allegations of communism and other innuendo is a history we have and a shameful one in this country, as well. i know it's a busy week for you, reverend, i appreciate you spending time with us. and thank you to rick hertzburg, as well. >> we are going tomorrow to south africa and we need your blessings. we're free but not equal. now the next phase of the struggle begins. >> our blessings and good luck to you. >> thank you. coming up, we have a story creating tensions within the democratic party.
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we're going to talk to the leader of a democratic think tank, third way, pushing back against senator elizabeth warren. stay with us for that interview. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ i wanna spread a little love this year ♪ [ male announcer ] this december, remember: provocative design and exacting precision come together in one powerful package at the lexus december to remember sales event, with some of the best offers of the year on our most thrilling models. see your lexus dealer for exclusive lease offers on the 2013 ct 200h and, as a gift from lexus, we'll make your first month's payment.
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there is one democratic star whose name comes up whenever politicos talk about the budget, or for that matter, about hillary in 2016. it's his beth warren, the one time-time obama nominee set off a huge policy debate among democrats when she went to the senate floor last month and said it's time to stop playing defense on social security. >> if we do nothing, social security will be safe for the next 20 years, and even after that, we'll continue to pay most benefits. with some modest adjustments, we can keep the system solvent for many more years, and we could
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even increase benefits. >> a little bit after speech, a washington group of self-described centrists attacked warren. warning democrats not to, quote, follow senator warren over a, quote, populist inclusive. that set off a policy firestorm. thirdway struggled to hold on to its allies and honorary co chair in the democratic caucus took warren's side. new york's joe crowley said he strongly disagrees. allison schwartz called it outrageous. in an interview released today with mother jones, senator warren says that thirdway actually is framing the debate over social security in the wrong way. we should stop having a conversation about cutting social security a little bit, or a lot, she said. well, joining us now to discuss the battle and the budget is one of third way's leaders and co founders, senior vp, matt bennett. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me, ari. >> your organization has clearly touched a nerve here among members of the democratic party. including, as we mentioned, some
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that have traditionally afellated with you. why shouldn't democrats, as we go into this budget stand by social security and adding to benefits for seniors? >> well, first of all, of course, we should stand by social security. it's one of the signature achievements of progressives in the 20th century. and social security and medicare, these two huge entitlement programs, are invite tale important to the people they serve. our point, though, is that they are in danger of collapsing. if we don't -- if we don't face that fact, we don't face the fact that the budgets for medicare and social security are rising, in a way that's totally unsustainable, they're going to collapse and -- >> so let's -- >> make it impossible. >> let's look at that, because senator warren responded and said, leaving things the way they are, you have more than 20 years. and that many economists have argued that gdp growth is actually the most important factor going forward in keeping social security solvent. >> well, it is. gdp growth is vitally important
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and we agree with senator warren. we've got to do something to increase gdp. but the fact is that in 20 years, everyone on social security is going to take a 23% cut if we do nothing. and social security is actually the easier problem. the bigger problem is medicare, which is going -- >> i do want to focus on social security, because that's what you guys have been with senator warren. another point that many people have raised is if we are concerned about the representative knew issue long term for social security, what about raising the current caps so that people who make well over $100,000 pay more into it? >> yeah, we absolutely have to do that kind of thing. and there is all kinds of stuff we have to do to make sure that social security stays solvent. what we were objecting to, though, is a proposal that senator warren has backed that would massively increase social security benefits, and would require about a $1.5 trillion in new taxes and provide social security to people who don't need it. people like warren buffett, but also people like me who are doing pretty well and don't need an increase in social security. >> let me pick up on another
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point that was raised, because senator warren not only in response to this, but generally wrote to several large financial institutions and banks saying they should disclose all their donations to groups across the spectrum, which would include third way. and i want to put up on the screen your response this past week was that your major donors are listed on your website. none of them are from those banks and senator warren's letter. we disclose our board of trustees and people can go there and have a look for themselves, end quote. but that wasn't accurate. there are several banks that she mentioned where you have trustees that are affiliated with them or have worked for them. >> it absolutely was accurate. what i said was, we get a very small amount of money from those banks. and what she was saying is disclose the money the banks from their general funds are giving to groups like ours. and we agree with her. that all public companies should disclose their donations. and we said that. >> right. and the majority of your trustees, actually, have worked for financial institutions. >> yes. that's correct. and we don't dispute that. our trustees are on our website.
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it would be silly for us to do that. what she was saying was specific. companies that use company money should disclose that. the people on our board give us personal checks, because they're philanthropists and we're proud them as our donors and donate to lots of causes and politics and elsewhere. >> it's an important conversation. social security to a lot of people. elizabeth warren a big figure you're debating with. i hope we can continue the discussion and appreciate you spending some time with us, matt. . thanks for having me, ari. >> appreciate. >> absolutely. and we will be right back. 24/7. i'm sorry, i'm just really reluctant to try new things. really? what's wrong with trying new things? look! mommy's new vacuum! (cat screech) you feel that in your muscles? i do... drink water. it's a long story. well, not having branches let's us give you great rates and service. i'd like that. a new way to bank. a better way to save. ally bank. your money needs an ally.
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. we want to give you a quick and important reminder msnbc will have live could have rang of nelson mandela's memorial bright and early tomorrow morning at 4:00 a.m. eastern time. and that will continue throughout the day. of course, president obama is among those expected to give an address tomorrow. and stay with us. we will be back in a moment.
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thank you for watching. i will see you again tomorrow. coming up right now, "the ed show," with ed schultz. good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show," live from new york. let's get to work. >> i refuse to give up on my mission to help the 99ers. >> you're going to vote to let the unemployment benefits lapse. >> before you do something stupid, you may want to think about this [ bleep ]. >> you're causing them to become part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy. >> maybe you should lend a hand, hmmm? >> with the american worker or against them. >> now we have class envy being stoked by the democratic party. >> oh, my gosh. does that suck. >>


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