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tv   Weekends With Alex Witt  MSNBC  December 14, 2013 9:00am-11:01am PST

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jam in one jersey city affect the 2016 freshl election? what he may or may not have been doing in iran. and this mystery deepens. an ex-fbi agent who vanished in iran more than 2400 days ago. what was he really doing there and where is he now? nbc news has new information. hello, everyone. it's high noon in the east 9:00 a.m. out west. we start with this developing news. right now the northeast is it getting slammed by a powerful winter-like storm bringing heavy snow, freezing rain and slick icy driving conditions with it. this was the scene in upstate new york as many there are still trying to dig out from friday's thick blanket of snow. >> buying shovels, salt, oil for our snow blower. >> you can complain all you want but it's not going to do any good.
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>> this is the fifth big storm of the season. winter is still technically a week away. here to tell us what to expect, dylan dreyer. take it away. >> we're going to see the storm hit the northeast, especially interior new england. we're looking at totals up around a foot or so. here is the storm still moving out of parts of the ohio river valley where we do have heavy snow still falling in and around indianapolis into southern ohio, too. you can see we do have heavier rain well to the south of the colder air. so that's where we are looking at some heavier downpours. it's all about the snow because that makes for the travel troubles. columbus, ohio, will start to see heavier snow. we have pockets of heavy snow filling in across pennsylvania but across northern new jersey into new york city, the snow is flying. but it's not accumulating that quickly. we do have a couple of inches in parts of northern new jersey, but it will only get worse as we go throughout the day, especially between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. in the northeast itself when the height of the storm moves through. naturally, we have winter storm
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warnings and advisories in effect. we will see it change to rain. this is not going to be a big event for washington, d.c., for philadelphia because you will change to rain pretty quickly. even southern new jersey will turn over to rain. before that the happens, we will see several inches of snow especially through northern new jersey, interior parts of the northeast, and into new england, as well. even boston though is going to see a changeover to more wentry mix after getting 4 to inches or so. in pink, that's where we're looking at not much of a change over. we could end up with 6 to 12 readings. most of the one foot readings away from any sort of the wintry mix. boston itself, about 4 to 8 before the changeover. hartford a little more protected from that changeover. you could end up closer to 8 inches or so before we start to see freezing rain and then eventually rain. portland, maine at around 12 to 16 because it's much colder up there and we don't have to deal with the change of rain. by tomorrow morning this storm
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starting to clear out. by tomorrow afternoon, most areas will be dry. even though today is it not looking good, it is a fairly quick-moving storm. >> some jackpot for the folks in portland. thanks, dylan. live pictures from times square. let's go the to nbc's kristin dahlgren with more on the storm. what's the look like there? >> hey there, alex. in the past two minutes, it started come down a little bit heavier here. the flakes are small and so they don't really appear to be sticking yet, but it is making visibility tough. take a look at the camera from the top of the rock. you can see there, not a whole lot of visibility around new york city right now. but that isn't stopping the holiday shoppers. remember, this is the second to last shopping weekend before christmas. and so a lot of people out here in times square. so far, things not toot slick but it's expected to continue throughout the day. as dylan said change to rain.
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that could cause icing problems as we go into tomorrow. north of the city, they are expecting a lot more snow. so that could make things tough as you go north and west of the city, but for now, kind of making it pretty out here, giving it a little bit of that holiday vibe. >> okay. and no slipping and sliding on the roads? you haven't seen any, you know, kind of fish tailing or anything from the taxis or cars? >> well, times square you're not moving too quickly through here, alex. >> that's true. >> we haven't seen anyone get up up enough speed to slip around. i'm sure on outer lying roads things are slick. be careful if you head out today. >> thank you so much. one day after another school shooting. we're learning more about the lone gunman who police say was responsible tore opening fire in colorado. the shooter who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound has been identified as karl pierson and is believed to have been targeting a teacher. one student is in the hospital in critical condition.
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on the today show this morning, a tuned described what she saw as she tried to flee the school. >> i made my way out through a side classroom. i was connected to the library, and it was an empty classroom. so i just hopped over as many desks as i could and went out into the hallway where the victim was shot. i walked out and i saw her falling to the ground, and there was blood on the floor and i just immediately turn the to the first exit i saw and sprinted out into the parking lot. >> no student should have to see that. that school is about 20 miles south of an errurora where a ma shooting took place only last year and eight miles from columbine high school, the scene of a mass shooting in 1999. leanne gregg is in colorado for us. what's the latest on this investigation? >> good morning, alex. investigators are still trying to figure out why an 1-year-old student described by neighbors as a nice young man could have committed such an act.
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carl hag vor son was active in school, on the cross-country team. he routinely won speech and debate contests. we talked with a student in his debate class who is among those shocked by his actions. as far as i was concerned, he was a completely normal student. he was intelligent. participated in class, participated in clubs. overall, you would never guess that he would doll something so horrible. >> reporter: halvorson was also known for his strong opinions. there are reports he may have been bullied for his beliefs. here's what another student had to say about him. >> he was friendly enough. very reproud of being a socialist. he was very outspoken on his political views. to him, it just meant economic -- more economic equality. >> the school will remain closed over the weekend at least, and
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there are no classes on monday. the students were allowed to return to the school parking lot to pick up their vehicles this morning. counselors are available at various locations to talk with the students. alex? >> you know, leanne, we mentioned aurora, colorado, the movie theater shooting, also columbine being in such close proximity there to centennial. do people talk about all these shootings and wondering how in the world this col happen again? >> you know, that is true. people are really are in the coffee shops, in the restaurants, on the streets, people say why again? why colorado? what is it about this location? and you consider that i an terrible shooting last year at the theater and the columbine shooting, so much has changed i want to mention since the columbine shooting. the protocol which was put into place at the school yesterday, officials say, probably saved lives. they had recently done some drills, some active shooter drills which made a big
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difference. >> yeah. but i'm looking at this video. it's joust wong kids have to have armored vehicles and s.w.a.t. trucks trying to deal with these kinds of situations. i don't know what it's going to take for us all to wake. and get something done. thank you so much. today marks one year since the mass shooting at sandy hook elementary. president obama and the first lady observed a moment of silence this morning to honor the victims and also lit 26 candles which represent the 20 children and six adults killed in that tragedy. kristen welker is at the white house for us. with another good day to you. given the president's aggressive push for gun control in the aftermath of newtown a year ago, what is the tone coming out of the white house on this one-year mark? >> look, i think in part, alex, it is focused on remembering all of those who lost their lives one year ago today, as you point out, president obama, first lady michelle obama marked this grim anniversary with a moment of silence and by lighting those 26
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votive candles, at the same time this administration continues to believe that there should be stronger gun control laws, but clearly that legislation didn't go anywhere. here's a little bit of what president obama had to say in his weekly address. take a listen. >> newtown is a town like so many of our hometowns. the victims were educators and kids that could have been any of our own. and our hearts were broken for the families that lost a piece of their heart. for the communities, changed forever. for the survivors so young whose innocence was torn away far too soon. >> alex, in the immediate aftermath of the newtown tragedy, this white house newtown families pressed for stiffer gun control loss. you will recall that a bipartisan deal came together between pat toomey and joe man mansi ion that would have expanded
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background checks. the legislation didn't have the enough support to make its way through congress. it had stiff opposition from the nra and other groups is. much. here's what senator joe manchin is saying on this somber anniversary "my heart will the always weigh heavier on this day as we remember the precious lives lost. as a father and grandfather, i couldn't wrap my head around how this country could begin to offer these families comfort. today one year later, i am still in au of their courage and kindness." if it you look at polling out today, alex, a majority of americans still support stiffer gun control laws although the numbers have come down since the immediate aftermath. not quite as high as 90%. there has been a bipartisan deal on the budget which made its way through the house. some people saying that could signal and i emphasize could, a new spirit of getting things actually accomplished by partisanship here in washington.
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that remains to be seen. clearly big question marks surrounding whether there can be an effort to revive gun control laws. newtown families were here in washington earlier this week getting their message out to lawmakers and say they're going to continue the fight. >> i got to tell you, i spoke with senators manchin and toomey at the white house correspondents dinner in the wake of the failure of the passage of their bill. they vowed to continue the fight. and i sure as heck hope they do. whatever we can do to help them, we're going to do it. thank you so much. as kristin just said, the new budget deal on capitol hill, can it bring new hope back to the white house on other big issues? and the growing controversy surrounding a governor, a grudge and an ugly traffic jam on the george washington bridge. so could it all lead to the 2016 run for the white house? cer ] the new new york is open. open to innovation. open to ambition. open to bold ideas. that's why new york has a new plan -- dozens of tax free zones all across the state. move here, expand here, or start a new business here
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house this week now heads to the senate for a test vote tuesday. the house vote was a victory for speaker john boehner who lashed out at conservative interest groups that target republican who's support measures that the groups don't think are conservative enough. >> you know they pushed us into this fight to defund obama care and to shut down the government. most of you know, my members know that wasn't exactly the strategy that i had in mind, but if you'll recall, the day before the government reopened, one of the people, one of these groups stood up and said, well, we never really thought it would work. are you kidding me! joining me now reporter for politico rachel baid and white house reporter for the "washington post" david nakamura. not kidding you. good to have you both. so funny that reaction then. david, you know, we're seeing a lot of republican infighting on this budget deal about the house voted 322-94 to pass it.
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169 republicans voting yes. what was it that made speaker boehner finally lash out at the right wing of his own party? because some are going to argue he certainly has appeased them before. >> i know. it's been a three-year process in which congress and the white house have been engaged in this budgeting by bringsmanship. speaker boehner has taken a lot of heat within his own party in negotiating with the white house, that he hasn't done enough, he's not holding a line, he's narrowly will managed this divide between his party. i think he finally felt like this was a successful process led by paul ryan in the house to garner the votes. i think he felt em boltdened by that and said look, this will be in place for two years. we're going to get over the paralysis that's engaged washington for a few years now. he felt em bowlened. he lashed out. we don't know how long this will last, there's going to be pushback from within his own caucus not only on this issue but others. we'll see heading into a midterm election year how it plays out. for now, the speaker felt good
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to get this off his chest. >> the in terms of push back, rachel, ted krus released this statement "the new budget deal spends more taxes and allows continued funding for obama care." sarah palin has written a new column called read my lipstick. no new taxes. do you think this is an irreparable schism between the republicans and the far right? >> i can tell you this is not going to be fixed anytime soon. a lot of people have sort of said this deal is the beginning of a newbie partisan era. i think this whole kumbiya thing is happening now, but it's not going to be something that's going to continue. this was sort of like a fluke. if you look at what's been going on with the government shutdown in october, november and december where is basically ripe for an agreement like this. so basically you have republicans who don't want to do another government shutdown. this was in their self-interests
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to find a deal and to not have the government shut down again in january. government funding was going to expire again in january. they wanted to get over that hump. on the other side, you have democrats that don't like the sequester and basically getting pummeled on the affordable care act and all the botched rollout. they want a small victory. they needed anything, and this is in their self-interests, as well because it ithacaers to that in the case of that small victory. so will it will in newbie partisanshiple? sim skeptical it will. >> what about the budget deal vote on deuce? what do you think is going to happen there? >> it looks like it will make it through. there's some in the senate who believe this doesn't do enough to deal with deficits and the long-term deficit problem the country is facing. it looks like it will squeak through the senate and pass through there and be in place. then you're going to turn to next year. it may be true this is not going to be a new era of
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bipartisanship in which a lot of big pieces get done. looking ahead, the white house has a little bit of hope they're going to be able to engage at least with the financial question solved on some other hot topics including immigration and other things that the president has been pushing. there is going to be time to at least enin these things. the calendar has been so tight with mostly the focus on health care and the budget process. they haven't had time to deal with other big issues. now at least they can talk about them. >> do you have any idea who might put it overle? 53 dems, two independents, mccain, colins, flake and burr saying they're going to vote for it. we're looking for one more. do you have an idea, david? >> i don't have a count right now on that. it looks likely -- harry reid signaled they're fairly confident they're going to get these votes. >> go ahead, rachel. >> bob corker, potentially. he said he is probably going to vote against him.
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he might vote for cloture. i think crates need to get 60 votes for cloture. they need five republicans to do that first procedural url hurdle to get to the bill. but once they get to the bill, they'll only need 51. >> rachel, we have republican lawmakers with all their criticism saying this is sort of digging a whole, because they say there's too much spending, not enough cutting. where is the truth? >> that depends on exactly where you are. when it comes to bipartisanship and if we're going to see immigration come up after this deal or you know entitlement reform, tax reform, i think that a big question you have to look at the divide in the republicans right now. so can bipartisanship and more deals be struck when republicans are at war within their own party right now? i think that's a question we're going to really be struggling with from now on. if you look at senate minority leader mitch mcconnell where he's coming down on the budget deal, rumor has it he's going to vote against it. this is a guy who struck deals
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with joe biden and the white house basically has been a good negotiator before. and now he has a tea party challenger on the right. so the schism is going on in his own state. he's tacking further to the right and said he's going to probably vote against this deal. normally he is a negotiator. so you know, when you have republicans who are being pushed further to the right, the question about whether or not we're going to see a lot of bipartisanship from here is definitely leading toward the negative. >> to that end, david, your latest article is called budget deal in congress raises white house hopes on other priorities. here's part of what congressman ryan said. >> i know that in this divided government, i can't get that budget. she can't get her budget that she passed, to her credit she passed a budget. she can't get that the that into law. we know that. we can keep doing this and have shutdowns or look for common ground and get something done and keep things moving
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>> is this a sign more common ground can be found? >> i think rachel's right. they want to do something good for each party. the dynamics are within their own parties themselves, especially republicans. i think on immigration, there's a sense that a lot of republican leaders say we need to do something on this because it's a growing part of the electorate. there's 11 million, to 12 million undocumented immigrants in limbo status. we need to do something about this. we can seize a moment that will help not only our party but the government. and that is also something that then could help the white house because immigration is one of president obama's top priorities. i think that's the calculus the white house sees. it's going to be a long process. they're not going to accept the senate bill. it's going to be something out of the house probably less acceptable to the white house, but they're going to have to find common ground to reach a deal. >> i'm going to wrap it there. rachel bade, david, thank you so
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much. veteran nbc reporter martin fletcher was on the scene of one of the most historic moments of the 20th century and does a fascinating story about a couple and their baby-sitting troubles. it will all make sense. y in motn tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief for many with arthritis pain and inflammation. plus, in clinical studies, celebrex is proven to improve daily physical function so moving is easier. celebrex can be taken with or without food. and it's not a narcotic. you and your doctor should balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease
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we like interacting with people. so you have time to focus on the things you love. ink from chase. so you can. google has introduced a new version of instagram phone app called instagram direct. previously anything you sent would go to all of your followers. some headlines now making news on the west coast. the other gonian's front page, on a diet not on their chose. it's about how the elderly and disabled are trying to cope with recent cutbacks in food stamps. the los angeles time with a headline, this clause has an effect. about one of the few malls in the country that has hired a black santa claus. a huge hit for children and parents for almost a decade. now to today's number ones.
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the focus on employment. the cities biggest increase and decrease in number of jobs. october 2012 to this past october, during that time, naples, florida, had the biggest increase of jobs with a 7.6% growth spurt. decatur illinois had a drop of 4.38%. kipinger's new list of best values in public colleges is out. the top school is the university of north carolina at chapel hill. it's given high marks for stellar academics, low cost and financial aid. university of virginia is second. university of florida third having the cheapest in-state tuition among the top ten. hawaii may be america's paradise but also the nation's healthiest. the surf's on and 80 degree weather helps you feel better. vermont and minnesota rounding out the top three and for the second straight year, south korean pop star cy has the most viewed video on youtube.
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innovations that work for you. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." time for headlines at the half. a worker at the wichita mid continent airport is accused of planning a bombing. authorities have been tracking terry lee looun for months. the feds say no one was ever in any danger. tens of thousands have gathered in kiev today in a show of support for ukraine's ruling party to counter three weeks of street demonstrations by the opposition. the protests began after the president refused to sign a deal to boost company coo ration with the european union. in paris, the sky is lit up with colors of the south african's nelson mandela. a few hours going mandela's
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body will be buried in the village of qunu. desmond tutu may not have been invited to the funeral tomorrow. chief foreign correspondent richard engel is there in cqunu. what are you hearing about this, archbishop tutu not attending? >> there has been controversy about this. although archbishop tutu is still very much loved in this country he has become a critic of the ruling party, the anc and he didn't get a formal invitation according to his office. tutu has spoken awhile ago and he said "had i been informed that i would be welcome, there is no way on earth that i would have missed it as much as i would have loved to attend the service to say a final farewell to someone i loved and treasured, it would have been disrespectful to gate crash what was billed as a private family
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funeral." he's saying he didn't want to gate crash this event. the anc, the ruling party which is now running this part of the funeral along with the family said no, it was an oversight. no formal invitation was september because he didn't need one. it is seen by many in this country as a slub -- a snub, a sleight and a way of punishing someone who clearly had an important role in this country but then became a critic of the ruling party after mandela stepped away from politics. >> yeah. does seem a little bit petty in its tone there. but may i ask about this long good-bye, richard? do you think south africans are satisfied? are they ready to get go of their greatest leader? >> this has been a long time coming. a lot of south africans were prepared for this moment emotionally and if you notice, there hasn't been a great deal of sadness. people have been dancing and celebrating and remembering his legacy. and hoping that his legacy
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continues. this has been a drawnout process. that's not that unusual for heads of state or former heads of state in africa. it's often a long process. but this has been over a week now, well over a week. and the public events which were on television went say relatively smoothly. of course, there was the famous. >> few with the translator, but in general, south africans were pleased with the public stadium event. then there was the viewing of the body when his body was lying in state. this last part is the most intimate part of the affair. just about 4,500 invited guests. these are members of the ruling party, elites in this country or close members of the family are attending the final stages of the funeral, and then just about 500 people very small group indeed, will be at the gravesite tomorrow when he is actually buried. in general, i think south africans will remember this as
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successful, but there have been several embarrassments along the way. security just wasn't there. there wasn't a great -- there hasn't been a tremendous security threat, but the security procedures for world leaders were not perceived to have been put in place. then there was the whole debacle of the translator and why he mistranslated the sign language and then the sleight of archbishop desmond to yutu. >> thank you very much. at the white house this morning, president obama and the first lady hit 26 candles, one for each of the children and educators killed at sandy hook elementary school a year ago today. joining me now, democratic congressman from connecticut jim himes whose district borders newtown. thanks for joining me on this somber day. i'm curious about the community. how is it doing a year later? >> a somber day for the corrupt,
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of course, but for those of us particularly close to newtown as we dli about the families reliving what happened a year ago, and of course, the town of newtown this year making a plea to be left alone, to grieve privately and all of us to reflect on the progress that has or hasn't been made against reducing the amount of gun cry lens in this country and while connecticut and new york and a number of other states have put forward packages of gun safety measures where i work at the federal level, the united states congress failure to do anything at all. you combine all that, it's a pretty somber day up here. >> what kind of options do you have left for any kind of federal gun reform? >> i remind people and, of course, people close to newtown that this is not a problem that changes quickly, that there's a national conversation to be had so that people come to understand that most americans respect second amendment rights but there are common sensical things we want to do, like make sure everybody who exercises those rights guess a background check to make sure they're not a violent criminal or a terrorist.
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we have a very overheated dialogue right now fomented frankly by groups like the nra that make this a more polarized debate than it needs to be. in the end, we prevail. it took years for the brady bill to pass which protected a lot of americans. the newtown families themselves, they understand, those poor people who should be most angered at our society's collective failure to act here actually understand they need to sort of participate in the an effort of steady application. >> yeah. but you and i both remember what it was like in the immediate wake of the shooting. if newtown and the sense of grief and urgency that followed did not force gun control reforms, will anything? >> well, it will eventually. remember, it's not today, of course, is a particularly somber anniversary here in connecticut. but it's every week or every two weeks there's a tucson. >> it was yids, right? in colorado just yesterday in centennial. >> just yesterday. it's just this -- it's a steady
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drip drip of violence thatover time as people like the families of the newtown victims get out there and continue to tell their stories, my good friend and colleague senator murphy who every monday on the floor of the senate reads the names of victims of gun violence that week, great change and positive change in our society, very rarely happens overnight. unfortunately, the time that passes now means more innocent people dying. but it will prevail. we will eventually in this country get a much nor sensible regime of gun safety measures and frankly better ways of identifying. those who say mental health are part of the issue are exactly right. you read about adam lanza and say this was a kid who desperately needed help and didn't get it. >> what about reforms for mental health services? where does that stand? because these two issues are inextricably intertwined. >> they are. the affordable care act which is so much in the news the last three months, one of the important things it does, of course, is promote and require
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what they call mental health parity. meaning if you have an insurance plan, the mental health services that are available to you for mental illnesses have to be of a quality of the available services that are there for you for physical illnesses. i think that's an important step forward. there's something here that we i think that doesn't have anything to do with legislation or with hospitals or with insurance which is how we behave as parents and community leaders. you know, each and every one of us knows a kid who is alienated, who maybe doesn't have friends. some tiny minority of those kids will do what lanza did, but it's probably incumbent on us to reach out, to do a better job as communities as a whole to reach out to those people who are alienated and trog trouble and try to welcome them into our communities. >> representative heims, i want to ask about the budget you voted in favor of this week. critics say this doesn't address the real causes of the deficit. it the real virtue that it will avoids a government shutdown and
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more squegstration and gives us two years? >> the good news is that you had a strong bipartisan vote in excess of 330 republicans and democrats who came together to vote. things don't get more controversial than budgets. you had strong bipartisan support. it's going to get done. without a deadline, without a shutdown, without threat to the debt ceiling we got a two-year budget done. that's a good thing. the budget itself, nothing to celebrate. it does not deal with the fundamental long-term issues that we face particularly in our programs like medicare and social security which you know, ultimately do need to be in a fair and equitable way put on a more sustainable path than they are. and problems in the tax code, there were all kinds of issues we did not address in this budget but you know as the saying goes, you got to crawl before you can walk. s in a much better place than we were three months ago. >> at least january 15th will come and go with government
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employees still on the payroll. thanks so much. . >> thank you. as the snow falls here in new york and across the northeast, a live report of what it has left behind in the midwest. (announcer) at scottrade, our clients trade and invest exactly how they want. with scottrade's online banking, i get one view of my bank and brokerage accounts with one login... to easily move my money when i need to. plus, when i call my local scottrade office, i can talk to someone who knows how i trade. because i don't trade like everybody. i trade like me.
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back to our developing story now. take a look the an a monster snowstorm which has prompted winter weather warnings from mississippi all the way to maine. right now, brutal cold and heavy snows covering a large part of the midwest. ohio is expected to get some of the worst of it. scott newells in cleveland with more on all the conditions there. hi, scott. how is it looking? >> well, it's looking a little bit worse than it was earlier. out here, this is i-271, they're used to lake effect snow. this is not a lake effect event but the snow has been coming down steadily. i'd say we have about 4 inches here. it's been snowing steadily through the early morning hours and through today. so this is what the snow looks like. it's not that the heavy stuff. it's pretty light and fluffy. the good news is that they've
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been out working on these roads all day salting, plowing, keeping them pretty clear and one of the good things is that there has not been a lot of wind blowing it back over the road surface. we had a few winds, but it's not toot bad at all. some of the private plowers have been working hard today too, clearing driveways and things like that. i talked to one of them. here's what he had to say about all this. >> it's been a long morning. been out doing work-related stuff and snow plowing and plowing all day. >> absolutely plowing all day like many others have. they're glad to see the snow because they've had a couple times where it hasn't been heavy snow. they haven't made a whole lot of money during the winter. there are some people happy about the snow, alex. >>en at kids too i'm guessing. scott newell, thank you so much. overseas now and secretary of state john kerry says it's still possible for israel and the palestinians to finalize a peace agreement this spring. he maded that comment friday.
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he met with benjamin netanyahu. on thursday he met with palestinian president mahmoud abbas. >> our goal remains as it always has been for the israelis and palestinians to reach a final status agreement, not an interim agreement, a final status agreement. and both parties remain committed to fulfilling their obligations to stay at the table and negotiate hard during the nine-month period that we set for that. >> kerry says the framework for a peace agreement will include israeli security, the status of jerusalem and the fate of palestinian refugees. and in today's office politics, a man who covered the middle east for 35 years weighs in on the prospects of an israeli-palestinian deal. martin fletcher talks about the one story he's covered that stands out most in all those years. but first he talks whether israel would ever really consider military strikes against iran. >> israel is doing everything to
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try to make that scenario believable. and the latest stretch is that hey, they could do this together in some way with saudi arabia which has a very strong air force and israel could use their landing fields. so they're trying to make it realistic. is it actually credible? a lone israeli attack against iran while iran is negotiating with america, russia, china, the great powers? it's unconceivable. >> how much do you think this whole thing is affecting the u.s./israeli relationship? >> well, i guess it's a bit like the chicken and the egg. you know, what came first? it's not really an iranian issue that's affecting the -- that relationship i think. it seems to be the behavior of the israeli prime minister who's misjudging everything, it seems. you know, on the one hand he's crying hey, the em emperor has no clothes. the iranians are only going to
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get closer to building a bomb. in that sense, he probably is saying the truth, but the bigger quell is israel's relationship with the united states. >> but do you think that will benjamin netanyahu, he's appealing to his home country politics. >> he swears that he's not, and it's clear that he is. but at the same time, he's also telling the truth about the agreement. all he's saying is this is a rotten agreement as it stands. he's also saying we have to give it time, we have no choice. >> a nuclear bomb armed iran. what kind of terror does that strike in your heart? >> not a lot. >> really? >> no, i mean, north korea's got it. again, from the iranian perspective, look around the close neighbors, israel has got it. intia and pakistan have got it. iran is about the only major power in that area in terms of its traditional enemies who doesn't have it. they feel very exposed. i'm not arguing for an iranian bomb. are they going to drop the bomb
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just because they've got it? having a nuclear weapon historically has made those who is have it more careful and more open to negotiation. than before they had it. >> the two-state solution, israeli and palestine, is that ever going to happen. >> i always thought peace is around the corner and i wanted to be there for that. 35 years later, i'm still waiting. i think the only real solution is a two-state solution. it has to happen. israel has got its state, the palestinians have to have their own state and they have to live in peace together. >> what hurdles have to be crossed to get there, and why has it taken this long? >> because neither side yet really wants it. that's the bottom line. each side needs to be convinced that it's reached the limits of its own strength. >> you've covered so many historic conflicts. what stands out the most in are mind? >> well, the best moment in my career was the fall of the berlin wall. in 1989.
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to be there on that day when those first east berliners came across the wall after they'd heard that hey, there's freedom of transport, freedom of movement, which was announced by the minister of transport in a press conference at 4:00 in the afternoon, and they didn't know what it meant. the first ones approached the wall and walked up to the east german security guards who normally would have shot them dead on spot if they walked past and they didn't. it was an amazing moment for me because when i was going live for nbc at 4:30 from the brandenburg gate and all the lights were on me. we saw this one young couple coming from east berlin and didn't know where to go. they saw lights and came to me and aid who are you? i said who are you? and interviewed them. and it was a fantastic young couple who had heard on the radio about this freedom of movement and tried to test the waters. when i finished the interview, i said this has been great. i'll show you around west berlin. and it will be a great story for "nbc nightly news." they said no, we've got to go
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home. i said what do you mean? history is here. you've come here for the first time in your life. they said yeah. we couldn't find a baby-sitter. that's a great moment that sums up the big moment. >> i could listen to stories like that all day. tomorrow at this time, martin will consider the answer to a question he's never been asked in all his years of reporting. the story of a possible political scandal and a new jersey traffic jam. was it a case of revenge? looking at my bill, and my fico® credit score's on here. yeah, you've got our discover it card, so you get your fico® score on your monthly statements now, for free! that's nice of you! it's a great way to stay on top of your credit, and make sure things look the way they should. awesomesauce! huh! my twin sister always says that. wait...lisa? julie?! you sound really different on the phone. do i sound pleasant? for once in your life you sound very pleasant. at discover, we treat you like you'd treat you. free fico® credit score. get the it card at
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it has a story that has all the parts of a great new jersey political scandal. this fall for yet unexplained reasons a director of the port authority of new york and new jersey ordered the closing of all but one of the access lanes from fort let to the george washington bridge. the ensuing epic traffic jams were only the beginning of the fallout. some are saying the closures were ordered because the fort lee mayor did not endorse governor chris christie in his re-election. joining me is steve skruns ski covering the story for the star
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ladies and gentlemener. this is a great story. we now eventual two people who have resigned, david wildstein initially ordered the closures, also bill baroni. run us through the timeline when the investigations began ear. >> by investigation, that is sort of hazy. people were looking into this demanding answers from the port authority as to why the closures occurred without notice. hearings began last month by the new jersey assembly transportation public works and independent authority's committee. and it's been testimony at those hearings that have attracted now nationwide attention to this issue. >> yeah. so baroni and wildstein, how close are these guys to governor christie? >> they're fairly close. governor christie appointed bill baroni to the top ranking job
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from new jersey at the agency shortly after he was sworn in as governor in 2010. baroni then almost immediately named wildstein as the director of interstate capital projects serving directly under him in his office. >> okay. governor christie said on friday that this story, as you're suggesting, has been sensationlized and there was no sort of retribution against the fort lee mayor. how has he been approaching it. >> how has christie been approaching it? >> uh-huh. >> a little flippantly actually until his news conference yesterday when he was first asked about the issue, he sort of brushed off with a joke saying oh, sure, i was down there working the cones myself. unbeknownst to anyone, he meant the cones used to sort of separate the local access lanes at the toll booths from the main access to the bridge.
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he got a little more serious about it yesterday, spending an hour of his morning talking to reporters about it, and wasn't exactly his jovial self. >> but steve, is there any evidence to support the claims that this was politically motivated? >> well, i guess it depends what you mean by evidence. there is some circumstantial material that points in that direction. there's a letter that the mayor of fort let wrote to bill baroni pleading that the closures be lifted, telling him hey, nobody's told me anything about this and i'm beginning to suspect that there are punitive overtones as he put it. and further said, let's do this without any political fanfare. there was also an e-mail by the executive director of the port authority, patrick foy appointed by governor goal mole who angrily blasted the closures when he learned about them.
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and said that they not only endangered public safety, they might have the violated state or federal laws, and they may even have hurt the credibility of the port authority. >> all right. steve strun ski with the star ledger. this is an interesting story. we'll have you back to talk about it. thank you. art imitates life. this time hollywood takes on washington, d.c. in a huge 1970s scandal. why is this film getting rave reviews and does it accurately reflect what happened? and a so alled affluenza defense. a legal look next. , which is gr. he's using you. he probably has a citi thankyou card and gets 2x the points at restaurants huh the citi thankyou preferred card. now earn 2x the points on entertainment, with no annual fee. go to ♪ ♪
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could he have been sent to prison for 20 years for a deadly drunken car accident but he's now free because of the so-called after flu enzap defense. . >> good day to all of you welcome to "weekends with alex witt." 10:00 a.m. out west. here's what's happening. developing news. it's a winter whiteout. right now a storm is slapping the northeast bringing freezing rain and trouble on the highways and runways. take a look at the radar. storm warnings and advisories in effect from the mississippi valley all the way to maine and residents in upstate new york are bracing for another rough weekend of snow and ice and barely fished out from digging out from the storms earlier this week. >> buying shovels, salt, oil for our snow blower. >> you can plain all you want but it's not going to do any good. that's for sure. >> winter hasn't even officially started yet. here in new york city, the snow is already falling. take a look at live pictures of
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a very chilly times square. new york predicted to get up to 4 inches by tonight. let's go down to the ground. kristin dahlgren is joining me from times times square with more on that. you can see the flakes falling, it's there. >> we just saw a truck going by with some crews dumping salt and sand onto the roads to keep those from getting too long slick. things expected to get a little bit heavier as we go through the day here in new york. col see up to 4 inches or so. but so far, not a whole lot has been sticking. and retailers probably loving this and putting everybody in the holiday shopping spirit. this is the second to last shopping weekend before christmas, and so a lot of people out here in times square and nobody seemed to mind the snow. take a listen. >> we're from connecticut. we're used to the snow and we love it. >> i grew up in central pennsylvania so always snow boared and everything. it's always been fun, kids sliding and everything so --
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>> so not really causing too many problems yet to the north and west of the city. there could be much more significant snow totals. even going up into maine, some 14 inches or so, some parts of new york and vermont and new hampshire may see upwards of a foot of snow. that could cause travel nightmares there. but in new york today, everybody was kind of enjoying this, alex. >> we're enjoying the live shot. thank you so much. how much snow can we expect this weekend? who is going to get the worst of it? dylan dreyer answered this question for us about a zillion times today. what is answer to that. >> it's the question everybody wants to know, who gets hit the hardest. up into maine and parts of interior new england where you don't have that changeover and it stays at snow throughout the whole event. right now the strongest part of the storm is still back across parts of southern indiana into kentucky. you can almost see the rotation in the radar there. that's what's going to move into the northeast by the time we get to around 5:00 to 7:00 this evening. that's when the heaviest snow,
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the accumulating snow is really going to come down. for right now, you can see it is still pretty light in new york city. it's not accumulating all that quickly but the storm is now just getting started. we do have this winter weather advisory and watches and warnings all up across the northeast that remain in effect till tomorrow morning. it's a fast-moving storm. so while it will snow all day today with the heavier burst of snow later onnent too, it's really going to start moving away quickly by tomorrow. but there is a rain ran/snow line. that's what we're watching for these storms and it's going to really limit snowfall accumulations down near washington, d.c. into philadelphia even in southernen an central new jersey. it is going to eventually start moving to the north. we are looking at most of our snow, about 6 to 128 inches interior new england where we don't have that much of a changeover. by 8:00 tomorrow morning in new york city, it's gone. we'll go back to christmas shopping. >> dylan dreyer, thank you. in colorado, police are
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trying to determine what led an 18-year-old stupid to open fire at his school. the shooter to died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound has been identified as 1-year-old cakarl halverson pierson. he is believed to have been targeting a teacher. on the "today" show this morning, a student zrubed what she saw as she tried to three the school. >> i made the way out through a side door. i hopped over as many desks as i could and went out into the hallway where the victim was shot and i walked out and i saw her falling to the ground, and there was blood on the floor and i just immediately turned to the first exit i saw and sprinted out into the parking lot. >> that school is about 20 miles south of an or ror ra where a mass shooting took place in a theater last july and only eight miles from clux bine high school. leanne gregg is in centennial, colorado for us. anything new in the
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investigation or are police still on the scene? >> yes, they are, alex. investigators think halvorson went to the school for revenge after a confrontation with a teacher and still trying to figure out why he took a shotgun presumably to the shoot the teacher and in the process he shot a 15-year-old girl who remains in critical condition this morning after surgery yesterday. hag vor son was described as a nice young man by neighbors active in the school. he was on the cross-country team, routinely winning debates and speech contests. many students said they're shocked by his actions. >> as far as i was concerned, he was a completely normal student. he was intelligent. participated in class, participated in clubs. overall, you would never guess that he would do something so horrible. >> halvorson was known for his strong opinions. there are reports he may have
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been bullied for his beliefs. here's what another student had to say about him. >>. >> he was friendly enough. very proud of being a socialist. he was very outspoken on his political views. to him, it just mint economic -- more economic equality. >> the school is still a crime scene and will remain closed at least through the weekend. classes canceled on monday. earlier today, students were allowed to return to the school parking lot to pick up their cars. counselors are available at various locations. alex. >> lee and, i bet a lot of residents are scratching their heads thinking are you kidding, we had aurora, we had columbine. what is going here? >> yeah, there are people who are grief stricken over this event happening once again here in colorado. a lot has changed since the columbine shooting in 1999 establishing a protocol which may have saved lives yesterday.
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they do active shooting drills now. in fact, a parent i talked with a few minutes ago said her daughter has become deseptembertized to the fact that she knows exactly what to do, where to go in the room, how to avoid being seen by an active shooter. this is now just unfortunately a part of life. >> tragic part of life. leanne gregg, thank you very much. to politics now. it's looking more likely the senate will pass the budget agreement despite a growing number of senate republicans opposing that deal. the house passed the bill by an overwhelming margin. this faces the real test vote in the senate on tuesday. democrats into ted at live five republican votes to overcome a filibuster threat. it the agreement would leave in place most of the automatic cuts set to hit the pentagon, domestic agencies and medicare providers but it would eliminate an especially harsh set of cuts over the next two years. for more on this budget deal, let's go tocrit tin welker at the white house for us. kristin, from your vantage point and that of the white house, how
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is tuesday's vote shaping up? will the president have something to sign perhaps next week? >> that is the expectation, but as you point out, there's still about five republican votes short. you have a number of republican senators coming out, voicing their opposition to this legislation. they will say it doesn't do enough to cut spending, and it's sort of a bizarre turn of events because you have the legislation passing with broad bipartisan support in the house, but stumbling in the senate. usually it's the reverse. usually it's much harder to get legislation through the house. so certainly an interesting turn of events. we saw this past week sort of the war within the gop airing itself out on the public stage, are you had house speaker john boehner pushing back against those conservative groups who criticized this legislation. but again, you have senators, some senators saying that they're not going to back it. we have a graphic of some of those senators expected to vote against this bill. they include senator bob corker, jeff sessions, ted cruz, mike
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lee, of course, of the tea party. potentially looking at a presidential run in the case of ted cruz, marco rubio, kelly ayotte, rand paul, senator roger wicker, senator dean heller, pat toomey. i can tell you that senator minority leader mish mcconnell is also expected to vote against this piece of legislation. he is facing a tough re-election battle from the right from a tea party republican. so that is how it is shaping up. having said that, alex, there's going to be a fair amount of pressure for the republican party to get the votes, to pass this procedural hurdle because of the government shutdown. the republicans still deeply wounded after the government shutdown and they, of course, bore a lot of blame for that. so it's expected this will pass, but there's certainly going to be back room discussions going on throughout the weekend leading up to the vote on tuesday. >> you are right about that, kristen welker at the white house, thank you. if you're hoping to give your budget a real boost by winning that huge megawilmillions jackpot, you better try again.
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the news this week that robert eleven is, the american who disappeared seven years ago in iran was on an unauthorized cia mission shocked many people. not surprised were the investigative reporters who have known for years but held back by the u.s. government and the fear it would threaten his life. with little hope for a safe return, my next guests broke the news on thursday. and joining me now is adam goldman of the "washington post." adam, welcome. thank you for joining me. >> thanks for having me. >> let's talk about first when you started hearing rumors of
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levinson's tie to the cia. >> i first heard about it in the summer of 2010. i had been working in new york but moved down to d.c. to cover national security, and i got a tip, and i started to with my colleague matt okay pugh sa. >> so you got that confirmed but yet held off publishing those details because of government saying we're working to try to free him, right? so why now though? >> well, let me back up a minute. just because somebody told me robert levinson worked for the cia, didn't mean it was true. there was great detail about what happened. it took a long time to flush out the details and to write a convincing and persuasive story. that didn't happen automatically. you know. >> did the government say to you, ploo eshold off because we are working to try to freel this guy? >> yeah, eventually they did. and there were certain moments we got a videotape of him. there were pictures it of him,
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we're doing this, we're doing that, give us time. we respected that because we certainly didn't want to do anything ra, or reckless. but then it came to a point where there wasn't any movement and nothing was happening. and matt and i felt very strongly that this was a story about accountability and the public should know about it. >> okay. but why now? is it because of the silence that you've had for a few years now? why put it out there? >> well, why put it out right now? because matt and had i been pushing hard to run this, and eventually it eventually popped. when we went to the government for the last time to ask, look, is there any reason why we shouldn't run this, for them to say, well it col put him in harm's way, first of all, the government can't demonstrate he's alive or that he's dead. he's already in harm's way. and people in the intelligence community conceded to us that the iranians most likely knew and the family's lawyer is also
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saying this. the iranians most likely knew that he worked for the cia. so it's counterintuitive to think the iranians were simply going to execute him because he worked for the cia. it would give them more leverage. bob levinson becomes more important. >> i want to get to the family in just a minute. given your experience and the experts you've spoken with, would it be the case there would be silence like this for three years if he was still alive? >> it's very unusual. people in the intelligence community felt that there was a moment for a deal to be done, it's when wht family received the video in november of 2002. they're not even sure when that video was made, by the way. it could have been made earlier. there has been silence, there has been no communication with whomever was holding bob after that the video came. it doesn't make any sense. >> hmm. also, i should note that abc news reported yesterday the levinson family was angered by your decision to publish the
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story. have you heard from them? >> i've talked to people in the family. matt and i have always been -- always been open with them that we wanted to run this story. we're not reporters who hold secrets. i'm not going to sit here and brag to you that i knew about this for seven years. we wanted to run this story and we gave the government every chance to find levinson and bring him home. we're closing in on seven years. and matt and i simply weren't going to sit on a secret. >> uh-huh. what's interesting, adam, you know the that the analysts running levinson broke the most basic of cia rules. so what was it that they were doing, and was it illegal? >> that's a good question. i mean, there are two -- there's an intelligence division at the cia and then there's the clandestine arm. it's the clandestine arm that runs the covert operations. levinson had a very unusual relationship with a group of analysts, in particular one woman and he was seemingly running around the world
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collecting information and providing it to the cia, just like a, quote unquote, collector would do. >> but let's look at who he is. he's a 59-year-old man when he disappears. he's got a wife, he's got seven kids. he had already had an career in the fbi. do you get any sense why he would go on such a dangerous mission with what appears to be no backup plan. >> >> i think he thought he was going to get real sexy information from this accused killer dawud he was going to meet in kish. he can see in his e-mails that were release, he himself feared for his life doing this. i'm not going to sit here and call levinson a cowboy or describe his behavior as reckless but people can decide for themselves was this smart. >> can i ask, given let's call it the new dialogue with have with president ru han nil there in iran, do you think we're going to get more information?
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>> look, there have been -- we reported in this. there were back channel talks with the iranians. there's always been back channel talks with the iranians. and shaun joyce, the deputy director of the fbi who retired had met with them i believe in vienna well before there was a thaw in the relationship. the problem is the iranians if they have him and the u.s. government suspects that they do are or they did, their line has always been we don't know what you're talking about and we don't have him. so how are the iranians going to get themselves out of that corner? the other point is and people in the intel community concede this to us, if bob is dead and he died while being questioned or interrogated by the iranians or if he died of natural causes, there's lull upside for the iranians to ever admit they held him. >> adam goldman of the "washington post." great conversation. thank you. drinking trouble for 007. that's next.
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♪ say it with milk-bone. carmine, smell her nails. >> sweet and sour. >> delicious. >> it smells like flowers. >> flowers but with garbage. and like. >> flowers. >> yeah. >> you know what that is for me? it's coriander for me. >> can't get enough. that's what the hooks you. he always comes back for it. >> hollywood is it taking on washington, d.c. in a new film that combines '70s glamour with an all-star cast. it's called "american hustle" and it's drawing rave reviews and earning is a golden globe nod for best picture. some of this actually happened. here to tell us if it's worth your 15 bucks is joe knew myer. >> hi, alex. >> i'm glad you're here.
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i want to know why you think the is getting rave reviews. >> it's one of the movies i love. it combines can pop culture pizazz with a historical footnote and combines you think you may have knew about like the abscam scandal with a lot of fiction. there's a little line that says some of this actually happened. key is some of of it. >> i love alliteration. i have to quote what you wrote. "it turns out that combovers, cleavage, comb overs are an unbeatable combo." >> christian bale has this is massive comb over. he plays a long island shis ter have got all these schemes going on. they're nabbed actually by a go getter fbi agent played by bradley cooper. >> with the curls. >> and he coerces them into helping them capture white collar criminals. they ensnare politicians looking for money under the table.
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they will have to set up a phony sheik and the mob gets involved. everyone's in over their head. >> could you say this movie made the perfect fact/fiction match-up. why is that. >> because people don't note about abscam. late '70s, early '80s known for those grainy hidden camera shots. that's what we remember it for. with a movie like this, you can take the fact that people know a little bit and meld on fiction. you don't necessarily have to be beholden to all the facts. david o. russell, the director and screen writer, he does a great job of saying you know what? i'll take the bones of this and add things on to garnish it with some fiction. you can do what you want when you're fictionizing the characters. >> talk about the ladies in the film. amy adams who got a nod for a golden globe, conversely jennifer lawrence for the s.a.g. awards the subsequent weekend. >> that's right. >> lawrence won her he academy award for silv"silver linings playboo playbook". is this one heck of a
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combination? >> absolutely. almost all of these people worked with him before. christian bale won. people are talking about lawrence as a best supporting acsflees at 23, twos oscars by the time of 23. not bad. russell really works well with actors. amy adams was in "the fighter" also. all four will probably be nominated for oscars, as well. >> that's extraordinary. i guess it's a big old yes to it's worth your 15 bucks. >> you walk out of there knowing you've had a good time and knowing there's little things you might learn. it's a terrific go innings. >> is there '70s music? >> yeah, like in good fellows and boogie nights, it's set to a great sound track. >> joe, thank you. he's a teenager from a wealthy family who took the lives of four people in a drunk driving accident but people are saying because of the so-called opportunity za defens-- your fie
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welcome back to "weekends
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with alex witt." at 31 past the hour. china is celebrating going where only two other nations in the world have gone before. they wrapped the soft landing of a space probe on the moon. only the u.s. and russia have been able to pull that off. ian williams is in beijing with all the details. what's been the reaction in china to this news of a successful moon landing? >> well low, alex. this is a source of enormous national pride here. the landing was carried live on television, pictures taken from the probe as it approached the moon together with animations and then celebrations at chinese mission control. and yes, china now becomes one of just three countries which has landed on the moon. the others, of course, being the u.s. and the former soviet union. and that, of course, happened four decades ago, the last moon landing. now, the probe that landed on the moon is carrying a rover called u 2 which translates
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roughly as jade rabbit. that rover will wander around over the course of the next three months examining the soil, examining the ground, looking for natural minerals they tell us. it has a radar able to penetrate 300 feet into the ground. now, that's the science, but many people think this is more about national prestige than science. it's a very important thing for china. just 50 years ago, chairman mao complained china even accepted a potato into space. well, they've come a long way since then and there's talk now of possibly a manned mission to the moon and perhaps further down the line, a space station on the moon. of course, the u.s. and russia do remain some distance ahead of china technically as well as in terms of experience, but china is catching up. of course, this is very much a statement in their view about their standing and their status
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in the world, alex. >> they've accomplished something that only two other countries have done. we will see if they put a man or woman on the moon. here's hoping. ian williams, thank you so much from beijing. well, today marks one year since the mass shooting at sandy hook elementary. >> we were hoping to hear bells there, but that happened at 9:30 this morning. the bells in hartford, connecticut rang 26 times in honor of the victims. many of the 26 families held their private ceremonies while others have chosen to remember loved ones in other ways. meanwhile in washington, president obama and the first lady observed a moment of silence at the white house this morning to honor imhaves and also lit 26 candles to represent the 209 children and six adults who were killed in that tragedy. in the years since the new 2001 shooting, nearing little 200 children have died from gun rye violence. has profiled more than 3508 children as part of its too
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young to die series. has profiled each of the victims for the series. michelle joins me now. i thank you for doing so. walk us through the process of selecting these children you've profiled and the manner in which you chose to highlight them. >> so in the wake of the newtown tragedy, we decided to focus on other children who have been killed by guns, similar to the individuals at sandy hook elementary school. so what i started doing is reading children's obituaries in the country. starting to reach out to families and friends, some people declined requests from us and didn't want to speak about their child. so we honored those requests. in that sense, it's not an all-encompassing series of every child killed since newtown but so far we have profiled children from 32 states all across the
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country. i tried to look at different places around the country, different children from various backgrounds and ethnicities to really get a sense of you know, what's happening here in the country. >> yeah. you know, michelle, i have to say it's with a sense of agony that i ask you this next question, but can you talk about some of the children whose stories who have especially compelled you and your staff? >> sure. so i'll start with the first one was freddy gibson from memphis, tennessee. and he will really stuck out to me. he was a child who loved eating blueberry pancakes with blueberry syrup on top of it. and he will loved reading scripture from the bible. his family actually called him a little preacher. then there was devin ariel. he was from minnesota. and every night before bed he told his mother i love you to infinity. and you know, his mom really wanted to express that her child, her fourth grade child never forgot to say i love you before bed and he always
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wondered about certain things, you know, what do sirens on ambulances mean and what's up there in space. and then we have taylor core net from kentucky. she was a basketball star at her school and in her free time, she loved to go visit cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and she brought them meals during the daytime. then there's people like kenneth green junior whose mother woke up one morning to have maple syrup poured over her head. he was a prankster. as you can see, we had very different children profiled in the series from all different backgrounds. and who each had something to contribute to their own community. >> you know, michelle, we continue to hear the pros and cons from both sides of the gun debate. are you hoping to accomplish something relative to that with this series? >> you know, it's interesting because a lot of the commenters on these stories often say that the five ws of journalism are missing in them in that sense that if you see on some of the
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profiles, they're all focused on the child's life and then at the end, there's a brief description of how the child died. we really didn't want these stories to be just about the crime because you can find those stories in any other mediaout let. we really wanted to focus on one or two things that the child really contributed to society. and in that sense, we want everyone to know that you know, on a national level maybe we don't know who these children were, but in their own communities, they really did have something to contribute. >> well, i thank you so much, michelle richinik for coming on and sharing that with us. it's profound. for all of you interested, it's up on our website we urge you to go there and check that out. two legal cases gaining national attention this weekend. the latest development in the murder trial of jordan graham. she's the newly wed accused of pushing her husband off a montana cliff just eight days after their ed with vows. graham surprisingly accepted a
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plea deal thursday and now behind bars telling the judge i had no regards to location or what would happen. i just pushed. we're going to have more on that in a minute. first the so-called affluenza defense. a 16-year-old from a wealthy family is sentenced to rehab and probation after killing four people driving while drunk. did the punishment fit the crime? lisa green, legal analyst. let's talk about this defense. apparently described some of the psychological problems here that can affect children of privilege. so tell me how this was used. >> well, it was used by one expert witness that the parents underwrote which is one of the many ironies and upsetting factors about this particular case. here have you parents who hire someone to tell a judge we did such an apaulingly bad job with our son's upbringing, taking blame fully and saying we're throwing him at the mercy of the court and the reason he did this heinous crime murdering four people is because he was poorly
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parented and now has the sense lack of responsibility. it was one word in a multiday hearing, but of course, it caught everyone's attention particularly given the sentencing outcome in the case. >> i've never heard affluenza. a lot of us in my news team, what? >> it's not a recognized criminal defense, are nor is it a recognized psychiatric disorder. but it was a term of art in a way that captures our imagination because we can all see what it really means, which is a spoiled child. incapable of determining right from wrong, incapable of almost taking responsibility for this horrible crime. >> if he's incapable, then is that punishment fitting the crime? you have people that plead insanity defenses because they're incapable of understanding right from wrong? >> the judge didn't give a lot of explanation about her sentence. i don't know that she will. what we're left with is to try to piece together the reasoning behind a sentence has outraged so many people.
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it seems to have something to do at least with the idea it's a juvenile justice system. he was underainge and there for, rehabilitation is meant to be central for young defendants. >> we're all for that for sure. >> in this particular case where you is the possibility of an outcome, this child going to a rehab center that his parents will foot the bill for, you almost sense that the parents are custom tailoring the punishment. that doesn't sit well with anyone. >> what about a civil suit on behalf of the victim? >> i think that's the flipside of the parents basically saying you know, it's our fault is that it's ripe for civil suits. and i had i for sure we'll see those. one of the ways you can bring a civil suit in this case is to charge that the parents shouldn't have allowed this teen to drive. certainly, you can imagine the victims' families feeling that way, all of us feeling that way. this is not a kid who should have been behind the wheel. that would be the basis potentially for a lucrative
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civil suit to the extent that helps the families. >> jordan graham saying i pushed my husband. eight days into our marriage and it was a tough time and i wasn't thinking. she pleads. >> she gets a lesser sentence. first degree murder was man doer to life. now there's discretion on the part of the judge. they'll be sentenced in march. will the judge be sympathetic to someone who lied for so long? >> not so sure. lisa green, thank you so much. well, his teacher said he couldn't be san tab clausz clause because of the color of his skin. it's donut friday at the office. and i'm low man on the totem pole. so every friday morning they send me out to get the goods. but what they don't know is that i'm using my citi thankyou card at the coffee shop, so i get 2 times the points. and those points add up fast. so, sure, make me the grunt. 'cause i'll be using those points to help me get to a beach in miami. and allllllll the big shots will be stuck here at the cube farm.
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democratic strategist morris reid. we all meet again. morris, i'll begin with you. i want to go to santa insanity. there's a high school in new mexico that allowed students to dress up as holiday characters. one student who was black dressed up as santa. here's what the boy's father the teacher told his son. >> christopher, don't you know santa claus is white? why are you wearing that. >> when michael learned that is how a teacher reacted to his child when he showed up to school wearing this santa hat and beard, he was livid. there's no room for that in the classroom. >> come on. the school says the teacher's been disciplined for his comments but they're not specifying how. so morris, you know, how does this happen in this day? >> well, next thing you know we'll have a black president. what do you expect? i think it's silly. i mean, people just need to get over their own insecurities and their own prejudice.
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but it's a shame, but this is not the only time that prejudice has happened and won't be the end. i think i applaud the kid's father for stepping up. i'd like to get the kid's information so i can send him a few more santa gifts. >> the teacher says i made a dumb mistake, i know it. do you think this is is a dumb mistake or do you think there's something more, goldie. >> i think it is a dumb mistake. each of us celebrates our holiday seasons through our own on specific cultural lens whether we're la ten know or black or white or asian. we bring our full selves to our holidays. everyone ought to be celebrated for their rich traditions and not excluded based on some kind of sense of privilege that say, one white teacher happens to have. >> susan, your reaction to this? >> what's really disturbing is when they said the teach was disciplined and also said the teacher is still teaching, whereas the child christopher was moved to another classroom.
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so i find the way they handled the whole situation really just completely inappropriate. i mean, i don't know why they would move the child and embarrass the child that way. >> that just seems wrong. >> the whole thing is wrong. >> do you think? move the student? come on. >> like the parents said, there's no room for this. there is no room for this type of behavior and you question what other val systems this teacher is bringing to the classroom and how perhaps their children are getting graded or other things. >> you're right. let's go now the to right is wrong. here's speaker boehner lashing out at conservative interest groups this week. take a listen. >> you know, they pushed us into this fight to defund obama care and to shut down the government. most of you know, my members know it wasn't exactly the strategy that i had in mind. but if you'll recall the day before the government reopened, one of the people, at one of these groups and said well never thought it would work. are you kidding me?
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>> hey, how do you explain this, susan? all of a sudden, is it like john boehner's back? is he no longer being led around by the nose by the tea party types? i think it's more than just that. what they're an also tired of is seeing these groups backing challengers to the right that have no chance of winning. you now see the business community really staying away from those far right challengers and giving money to those groups so finally the speaker rightfully so said hey, we have a job to do. we have to be responsible legislators and i think he did it quite well this week. >> some will argue he certainly appeased the right before. what do you think it was that made him crack this time? >> i said it before the shutdown that speaker boehner and his entire speakership is really in trouble because of this gop schism. you've got tea party grassroot
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conservative tins and the big leaguers out there funding them both. so we're going to see how this play out in 2014 and again in the presidential election. but something about elections tends to bring these to brings factions together for one cause. it remains to be seen how this plays out but this rift is very real. >> morris, what does this say about the mainstream republicans and the far right? are we witnessing the beginning of an irreversible fracture here? >> the tea party guys have become bullies. they started off perhaps doing good things and a good cause. but they've really crossed the line. i think the republicans have to stand up -- it's like standing up to a bully on the schoolyard. you have to push back. if these guys don't push back now, it could be the end of them for the midterm and certainly in the presidential election. boehner and these guys are starting to push back because they have to or they're going down with the ship. >> i usually misjudge my time
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because we're always screaming up to the end but i think i have a couple of minutes. i want to ask you, goldie, about the unemployment insurance or the lack thereof. these are people who are going to run out of unemployment benefits on the 28th of december. how do you see this playing out? >> i think that is one of the most unfortunate things we'll have to say about this year as it comes to a close. people who are hard working out there looking for work aren't going to get these much-needed extensions. congress ought to be focused on going to work. this congress went to work less than any other congress in modern history. they ought to get to work, get these problems solved, be about creating meaningful jobs for people and about extending these unemployment benefits until they're able to do their jobs. >> susan, what do you think is going to happen? >> i think they're going to take their break. nothing's going to happen by the end of the year. but there will probably be a smaller deal worked out and be applied retroactively.
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i think there's going to be a few other small bits that they're going to do in january. >> so don't despair if they go on break without resolving this. morris, weigh in. >> there's a lot of veterans that are in this boat. and it's sad we're doing this to people who fight for this country and these guys are walking away for them. >> let's go with this, a loose cannon making the big 3's best and worst of the week. if we could see energy... what would we see? ♪ the billions of gallons of fuel that get us to work. ♪ we'd see all the electricity flowing through the devices that connect us and teach us. ♪ we'd see that almost 100% of medical plastics are made from oil and natural gas. ♪ and an industry that supports almost 10 million american jobs.
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we're back with the big 3. it's time for the best and worst of the week. goldie, we begin with you. the best and the worst? >> my winner this week is nelson mandela for 95 years of life. >> amen. >> years of devoting himself to destroying the racist apartheid system in south africa. as we lay him to rest this week, he is my winner. my loser of the week is texas judge jane boyd who found it in her infinite wisdom to allow an affluenza defense, to allow a child who killed four people in
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a drunk driving accident to go free with simple rehab. >> yeah, something we were discussing with lisa green prior to this segment. susan, best and worst? >> the best i gave to the house of representatives. granted, it's a low bar. but they actually did get something done with overwhelming bipartisanship. >> and in advance, by the way. i was going, what? they haven't pushed it all the way to the end? >> and we're going to actually not have the chance for a shutdown for two years. again, the bar is low but they did something. the worst week goes to congressman steve stockham. he's a congressman who at the last minute got zero support from the right. the second he announced, everyone was running away from him. >> morris, yours? >> mandela wins again for me. talked about it last week but he was such a hero and a great guy. god bless him and his family. the loser to me is gun violence. we have a gun problem in this country and we must address it.
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>> i wish we would. guys, good to see you all, thank you so much. that's a wrap of "weekends with alex witt." see you right back here tomorrow at noon eastern time. up next, craig melvin. have a good one. avo: the volkswagen "sign then drive" sales event is back. which means it's never been easier to get a new 2014 jetta. it gets an impressive 34 highway mpg and comes with no charge scheduled maintenance. and right now you can drive one home for practically just your signature. sign. then drive. get zero due at signing, zero down,
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