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tv   The Cycle  MSNBC  December 19, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm PST

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if it's 3:00, america is talking and so are we. hold the phone, the group tapped to review nsa spying has a message for president obama. time to hit redial. i'm abby huntsman. we have the inside line on possible changes in store for 2014. fed fakeout. the crisis that wasn't. i'm krystal ball. remember all the warnings about dire consequences if fed free money ended? fires, floods, locusts, pajama boys. okay, maybe not that one. but the market went up. we'll explain what gives. mountain man. a candid conversation with the senator at the center of it all. i'm jonathan capehart in for ari, and abby's road will take us down the country roads of west virginia with a look at joe manchin like you've never seen him before. and pajama boy beats "duck dynasty." i'm toure. the silly hipster and the creepy comments from the "duck dynasty"
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grand dad. is there a connection? grab your pink bunny suit and curl. for some "cycle." ♪ it's throwback thursday. hey, remember this? >> a lot of americans will be getting up early tomorrow, including u.s. senators. they've been told to report to work, believe it or not, at 7:00 a.m. because it apparently is really happening now. a final vote on the health care bill. >> "the cycle" wasn't around back then, so we deferred to brian williams. but yes, four years ago the senate was planning a night before christmas vote on obama care. and now as the calendar winds down, the administration is going to extremes to get young, healthy americans to sign up and offset premiums by monday, the deadline.
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we'll show you what we mean by extreme coming up. first, another throwback. >> doomsday and a key fiscal cliff vote, on course to collide. that can't be a good thing. just as house speaker john boehner is now dominating fiscal talks by throwing his plan b on the court, or as we here like to call it, the morning after bill, but even if his hail mary works in the house, the dem-controlled senate says they won't even call a vote on it. so as we tick down to the final buzzer, will boehner or obama be on the winning team? >> that's right. this time last year congress was anticipating a christmas eve vote to raise the debt limit. this year the senate is still in session. members are once again close to smacking their heads on the debt ceiling. so much for the feelings of that filled capitol hill last night. but today involves nsa spying. there's a new set of proposed guidelines for the nsa surveillance program. word is the president will make
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a final address before heading off to hawaii for the holidays. some of his panel's recommendations may be put in place by executive order before week's end. we start with nbc's pete williams, who's following this story from washington. pete, what recommendations are in the report, and how likely do you think the president is to follow them? >> well, the report says the government has a legitimate reason for wanting access to all the phone calls made in the u.s. it recommends ending the way they're gathered now by the national security agency in a massive collection. the group says the phone companies themselves should store this data or some private entity that they set up to hold it all. it calls for tighter legal controls on how individual phone numbers are checked to see if there's a connection to terrorism. among other recommendations, the nsa should get a court order each time it wants to check a phone number in the data bank, and phone and internet companies should be able to reveal what kind of information the government is requiring them turn over. it also says the director of the nsa, who's always been a senior
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military official, should be a civilian confirmed by the senate. it recommends cutting back on surveillance of foreign leaders and exploring agreements with more countries to stop spying on each other's officials. now, these recommendations aren't binding, but they do provide new ammunition to those in congress who want to make the kind of changes that the report calls for. it seems unlikely the president will adopt them all. remember, whether he calls for them or not, some of these changes can be made by congress and then it would be up to the president to decide whether to sign or veto those changes. >> all right, pete. thanks so much. we turn now to cnbc political analyst robert costa. the big debate we've been having for years now, especially since snowden opened up a whole new can of worms, is, is it worth giving up some of our freedoms if it means keeping the country safe? one of the key findings in this report is the bulk collection of american's phone records was not essential to thwarting terror attacks. it's hard to look at the results
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and say, you know, maybe it's all worth it. how do you expect the president will respond to this? >> i think the president's going to go to hawaii for vacation and review this report. big picture, i think this report gives the public some reassurance. the government is taking a look at how it collects data and what it does with that data. when you look at republicans on capitol hill -- >> well, robert, i have to say, i find it pretty remarkable. of course, the president was pressured into having this report written and potentially making some of the changes that are embraced in the report, but i think it's pretty remarkable that he is essentially limiting his own executive power. i mean, when's the last time we saw a president willing to do that? >> it is quite a turn of events. so see the president really adapting to this post-snowden era, he's looking at this report and not immediately dismissing it. he's looking at it, somewhat embracing some of the
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recommendations. this is a major report. i think the president knows that the country is very uneasy about some of these surveillance programs. he's going to try to in his second term reassert himself on the national security front, reassure the public. >> well, robert, you brought up his name. so let's talk about him. edward snowden. he's the reason why the president called for this report to be brin and the reason why the president will be reading this report during his hawaii vacation. so what does this report do -- >> some good beach reading right there. i'm taking that on vacation with me too. that's a page turner. >> what does this do in terms of the view of edward snowden? you have people on capitol hill and around the country who call him a traitor. does this report move him in one direction or the other? >> i think in terms of the administration's position and lawmakers' position, snowden remains the status quo. but you have seen snowden change the debate. we're having more of a major
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debate right now on the nsa than the u.s. has that in decades. that's a development. you have to link it back to snowden. >> robert, the nsa is obviously going to have a huge impact on all sorts of political issues in 2014, but there will be other issues. i'm trying to figure out where this country is going to go. we can look to a recent nbc/wsj poll, which points out there are significant gender gaps on all sorts of major policy issues. when you look at should congress be republican controlled, presidential approval, presidential trustworthiness, was the shutdown harmful, as well as obamacare, guns and minimum wage, there's all kinds of gaps. consistently, women are on the side of what democrats are about and men are on the side of what republicans are about. so what should the republicans do going into the midterms? should they try to pull more women to their side, or should they just double down on the men? >> what l we've seen in the
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republican party, a real shift. party used to have in the bush era security moms. now there's such a libertarian strain in the party. i think that's really influencing the party ahead of 2014. i think the rand paul wing is going to assert itself, have more of a role to play. it's not just going to be a hawk party, a party for men and their views on national security. >> you know, i want to get your thoughts on something. politicians often blame the media for fractious, divisive fighting, but the media is also just reporting on what people say, and people can say very crazy things. like the incoming counselor to president obama, john podesta, he compared house republicans to followers of jim jones. jim jones murdered then-representative leo ryan before committing mass suicide in 1978. he since apologized, but we don't make this stuff up on purpose. >> right. i think john podesta, he does a lot of things for the president, but he also has some critical elements in the sense that podesta helps the left think
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that the president in his second term is going to try to be progressive. you couldn't pick a more progressive counselor. in terms of building relationships with republicans, even though he had strong relationships in the '90s with clinton when he was on that staff, he's not known now as someone who builds bipartisan compromise. thoo he's a bomb thrower. that comment shows it. republicans and the president need to get along in the second term if they want to have any kind of major legislation. >> robert costa, always great to have you. thanks so much. >> thank you. up next, what to expect from the economy in 2014. and stock market shocker. the fed pumps the brakes on stimulus and the world does not end. we've just gotten rolling here on "the cycle" for thursday, december 19th. my customers can shop around--
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more now on a story we reported here yesterday as it broke. the federal reserve has decided to begin tapering off stimulus. chairman ben bernanke announcing the central bank will reduce its bond-buying program by $10 billion a month. upon hearing about the changes to the stimulus spending, the market rallied to a record high. wait, wait, i'm sorry. back that up. a record high? is that a typo? weird. all right. i just seem to remember a lot of panicked fretting over just what would happen when stimulus spending slowed. >> it's a market that's sort of set up, i think, for a major crash, a major selloff. >> are we going to see another, we hope not, crash.
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>> so with the sky decidedly unfallen, let's bring in susan ox, senior fellow, to talk about the fed's decision and the economic outlook for the year. thanks for being with us. >> great to be here. >> so they announced the taper, backing off that stimulus spending. and the market sort of shrugged. >> they actually rallied. it was a positive response. there are really two reasons more that. the first one is this was mostly just a signaling measure by the fed that they think the economy is improving. so they look at a large variety of economic factors, not just the unemployment numbers and the things we traditionally look at. the marks took that as a good sign to say, oh, the fed thinks things are getting better next year. the second thing, the fed also said we are going to continue to have a very low interest rate environment. they're going to keep interest rates low well past, that's actually a quote that bernanke said, well past the unemployment rate of 6.5%, which is before the trigger they might use.
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so we're looking at low interest rates for another probably two years, which the market is very happy about. >> the sky has not fallen. the markets have not gone crazy. so much of this is about messages, susan. what did ben bernanke say differently this time around compared to before that has kept things somewhat stable. >> so there are a couple things. they increased their gdp prediction for next year. gdp growth they're expecting to be 2.8% to 3.8%. versus coming in around 2% this year. that's a big increase. the markets are happy about that. and the second thing, as i said, was the low interest rate environment and knowing that's going to continue well into the future. again, the markets like certainty and knowing that's going to be the case, they're very happy about. >> susan, i want you to listen to this sound bite from blackstone ceo. take a listen. >> when you actually have an economy that grows at 2.5, 2.25 and a stock market that goes up
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27%, seems somewhat disconnected. >> looking at 2014, this disconnect is what i'm focused on. is it possible then a 7% unemployment rate is something that will become the new baseline? you mentioned in your earlier answer about ben bernanke and a trigger of 5.6% unemployment, but will we ever get to that point? >> i think we will. the fed actually for next year predicted unemployment somewhere between 6.3 to 6.6. they're out years. again, who knows. economic predictions are remarkably inkibt when you get in the out years. they're looking at an average of 5, 5.5%. what we really need to see is the growth and the productivity growth. we're not seeing that as much. interestingly, bernanke actually said in a kind of very human moment that he's been a bit perplexed why growth habit besnn stronger. >> susan, i'm interested in what's going to happen to the weakest among us. what would happen if we were to raise the minimum wage to $12,
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which is more than the president is proposing, but what some of the fast food workers are fighting for. if we were at $12, what would be the economic impact? >> well, so the detractors would say it's going to squash job growth because it'll be too expensive to hire. in fact, there is research going back 20 years that shows that's really not the case. whether it's $12 or $11 or $10 or exactly where you put that right number is a term of art. but we can definitely move higher. i think it would not have the detractive effect. in fact, one of the biggest detractive effects on the labor market so far has been government. in the last recovery at this point in the recovery, we had a million more government jobs created than now. that's one of the big drags on the labor market. >> that's right. also if you had low-wage workers earning a bit more, they'd have a bit more cash to spend in this economy to get things going. but susan, we also are about to get a new fed chair, janet yellen, the first woman ever. do we expect her to basically continue the policies of ben
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bernanke or expect her to be much different? >> everyone is expecting her to continue these policies. bernanke made a point to say she was very actively involved in this decision and wholeheartedly agreed with it. she's vice chair right now, so she's been working closely with bernanke on these matters for the past several years. they've already signaled they would expect, assuming the economy works in the way they expect next year, that they will continue to ramp down the stimulus spending over the course of next year. i think she will be at the helm of that. >> excellent. susan ochs, thank you so much. up next, the latest on the hack that has millions of target consumers concerned. and that's not all. voicemails between will and kate were intercepted. a spin on pajama boy. and "duck dynasty's" head commander. that's coming up. [ male announcer ] 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 --
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the news cycle begins with target, which means it will likely end with having your bank
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account hacked. the retail giant has confirmed that a security breach left 40 million customers exposed to potential credit and debit card fraud. the secret service is all up in the investigation. for more on this story, we bring in cnbc's mary thompson. >> good morning. or good afternoon, i should say. a busy day for target. customers have flooded the company's credit card website. the website has crashed. the phone line usually used to answer questions about its credit card, that isn't picking up, in large part because there are so many people calling in. this is what happened. target said over a 19-day period, hackers gained access to track data. that's the data stored on the back of magnetic strips on debit and credit cards. it contains things like a customer's name, the card number, the security code, and the expiration date. what thieves do is sell this data on the black market and then it's used to make fake credit card that can be used either online or in stores. that makes it a little bit more valuable, or i should say three to five times more valuable than
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data that's gleaned from just a regular online purchase. so again, 40 million customers impacted. this is one of the largest data breaches certainly at a u.s. retailer. the last one this large was back in 2007, 90 million customers at the tjx companies. >> wow. thanks a lot, mary. >> sure. from losses to gains. one of the georgia lottery winners has come forward to claim her prize. her name is ira curry from stone mountain, just east of atlanta. she's opted to accept the lump some of about $120 million. she'll split the $648 million jackpot with another as yet unnamed winner in california. that person has a whole year to come forward. a stunning development today in news of the world hacking scandal where for the first time a london court heard proof that the royal family was a target of rupert murdoch's tabloid. in the trial this morning, the court heard transcripts of intimate voicemail messages left
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by prince william to his then-girlfriend kate in which he calls her baby. until now, hacking allegations had only included the phones of royal aides. it's the latests in a long line of ugly revelations about the now defunct murdoch rag. yeah, well, on that note, that's your news cycle. now to the spin. there is a new face of obamacare, people. no, the healthcare.gov lady is not back. it's this guy, pajama boy. he's the face of -- >> that's not pajama boy. >> who is that? >> you got hacked, jonathan. >> as i was saying, pajama boy, who you should have seen, is the face of the healthcare.gov website, trying to get younger americans to sign up for obamacare before monday's deadline. the tweet sent out by organizing for action reads, wear pajamas,
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drink hot chocolate, talk about getting health insurance. as you can see, he's rocking a killer flannel onesie. if that doesn't make you want to sign up, i don't know what will. politico calls him the insufferable man child. ouch. i kind of like him, i'm sorry. and new jersey governor chris christie flipped it into this. get out of your pajamas, put on an apron and get volunteers #seasonofservice. pajama boy has also inspired fairly entertaining memes and photo bombs. and our spin. >> he's? a selfie with the president. >> the right is using jammy guy as a symbol of the nanny state, big government trying to tell people what to buy. then you've got other folks who see it as a condescending view of young people that they have to be coddled and told, here, get health insurance so that you can be well. when really, i see it -- there he is again.
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i see it as a clever way, a fuzzy way to get the attention of the very people the affordable care act needs in order to be successful. young people. without them, the whole thing crumbles. >> that's not entirely true. >> i can see how it's condescending. you have a young adult, this is not a child, in a onesie pajama. which i still love, by the way. drinking hot chocolate. >> i find hot cocoa deeply offensive. i don't know about anybody else. >> i would be very hypocritical if i hit back on this. this is exactly what i did when my dad was running for president. my sisters and i, desperate times call for desperate measures. we were like, what can we do? >> look at abby. oh, you're the mustache? i love that. why isn't the sound full? i love that. >> it's very silly, very similar to this ad. the message behind it is very serious. a very serious one. we wanted people to really get
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to know what our dad was about. i actually think it's a smart strategy. it's a way that's obviously getting people talking. you're seeing selfies of it all the over the place. we'll have to see how effective it actually is. >> i mean, this was genius. it's gold. like, we are all talking about it. it's gone crazy. that's what they're hoping for. that's what they're hoping it will do. i just find it so funny. i got wrapped up this morning. i kept reading all of the conservative backlash. they are deeply, deeply offended by this young man drinking hot cocoa in his jammies. it's hard to understand, particularly when you contrast to the other big story of the day, which is the incredibly offensive comments made by this gentleman at "duck dynasty" -- >> gentleman, you're very kind. >> phil robertson, we'll call him that. here's what he said. everything is blurred on what's right and what's wrong. sin becomes fine.
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start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men, and this comment is just scratching the surface of what he said in this interview with "gq." there were mentions of terrorism and gay people. there was saying basically if you don't follow jesus, you might be a murderer. >> but he doesn't judge. >> there were comments about the fact that, oh, black people were happy in the civil rights era in louisiana. >> everybody is harping on the homophobe ya he's talking about. but the ignorant -- they're not hateful, but completely ignorant, dinosaur-age comments about black people don't get as much attention. this whole thing is not surprising, but it's like, god, people really think like this. i wasn't aware that the black people were suffering, so it didn't happen. they didn't tell me when we were out in the fields working together. so ergo, it didn't happen.
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it's just so disgusting, this whole thing. >> this is the problem that conservatives have today. when a horrific statement is made, whether it be about women's rights or homosexuality, for example, one of two things happen. you either have folks that silently disagree with it and feel like it's very disrespectful. they don't do anything about it. they stand idly by and let this play out. or -- that was actually played out in the 2012 campaign with romney. he said, not language i would have used. or the other is you have an outpouring of support, which we've already seen from folks like sarah palin and eric ericson, who said, i fully support phil robertson. >> what are you supporting? >> i would hit back and say a&e has every right to fire him. this is not taking away your first amendment right. this is about disrespecting the network and disrespecting your fellow americans.
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>> was it josh barro who had that great tweet you talked about today? i'm sorry, bobby jindal, but phil robertson doesn't have a first-amendment right to have a reality show. >> right, right. >> gee, you want to be on television and get all the things that come with it. well, when you say stupid stuff, whether it's on television or not, and you get criticized, you have to -- and when it's really bad, you have to suffer the consequences. i have to say, you know -- and i'm glad you brought up the racial stuff here. but there's a piece in that story that i don't think a lot of people caught. phil robertson's grandson willie is adopted and he's biracial. that comes towards the end of the piece after you've read everything that he has said about gay people, about women, about african-americans, you know, blacks are happy in the pre-civil rights era. then you read he has a biracial grandchild. what environment is that child living in? what will that child have to
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unlearn when he gets older? >> but you know how this goes. the people who are close to you who you know you don't mistreat, but the people you don't know who are abstractions, those people you think negatively about. i can't with this story. i can't. >> you're speechless. this is a "cycle" first. >> and that was an adventure. speak of adventures, up next, abby travels to west virginia to understand one of washington's most unpredictable politicians, democrat joe manchin on the budget, guns, and his personal relationship with the president as we "cycle" on.
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you'll probably see even more of him in 2014. his name, joe manchin. he's a democrat from increasingly red west virginia. to know joe, the former governor of west virginia, i went there just days before the ryan/murray budget deal was announced. he told me what a deal of that type would and would not accomplish. >> is it something that i think is going to fix everything? know, it -- no, it's going to b temporary. >> manchin voted with 54 other democrats and independents and 9 republicans for the deal, calling it an example of what both parties can accomplish when they work together. something rare for the 113th congress, on pace to be the least productive ever. >> you have guilt by association. in washington, it's guilt by conversation. if they see you conversing with somebody who might have a difference of opinion or thought to be too conservative or too liberal and not knowing, may
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goodness, you've gone over to the dark side. i don't believe we can fix anything if we can't at least talk about it and work together. so i'm always reaching across the aisle. >> more often than some in his party would like. manchin was one of only three democrats to vote with every republican senator against changing filibuster rules. he voted against president obama's pick for fed chair and continues to call for a one-year delay for the individual mandate. >> every time you pick up the paper or listen to the news, this has been delayed a little longer, this has been delayed. they're not going to -- if that's the case, say this is a transitional year. >> but manchin's relationship with president obama habit always been so complicated. in 2008, then-governor manchin a affectionately referred to president obama as barack. four years later, he didn't endorse president obama for re-election. you are front and center at so many important issues today. you're really pushing to get
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things passed, whether it's the budget, health care, gun control. i would imagine that you would have a good relationship with the president. are you guys close? >> no. he's been always courteous when i've been there. dennis mcdonough, his chief of staff, has been overly kind in reaching out and talking. so we have that relationship in talking. a personal relationship with the president, i do not have. >> to understand the senator, you have to understand his state, which is why we traveled to the capital city of charleston. since the 1930s, west virginia has been reliably blue. it was one of six states jimmy carter took in 1980 and one of just ten won by dew caucus. >> i think they're just fed up with what's going on. >> republican presidential candidates have won west virginia by increasing margins since 2000. even in 2004 and 2008 when
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voters in the rest of the country were trending blue. in 2012, mitt romney's margin of victory was larger in west virginia than in most southern states. what do you think about president obama? >> what do i think about him? well, i'm not too happy with him. >> what are the most important issues to you? >> how people in washington vote on the issues, the job situation. >> these are hard-working people. they don't ask for a lot. they do like to have -- they would like to have a fair shake an an opportunity to make a living. >> the coal industry that once dominated the state's economy and its politics now only employs about 32,000 in the state. fewer than half the number of jobs it provided in 1946. while there are many reasons for the industry's decline, the government and president obama's energy policy received much of the blame. manchin has also felt pushback for his stance on guns. >> manchin is working with president obama and new york mayor michael bloomberg. concerned? you should be. >> after the newtown shooting,
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manchin and republican senator pat toomey introduced background check legislation that ultimately failed by just five votes. but cost manchin double digits in his approval rating back home. his frustration we saw first hand. >> 90% of the bill is -- but 10% of it is unacceptable. it's taking more from us. >> no, you got 90% back. >> no, we have lost enough. >> are there any regrets? >> if i regret it, something that made that much sense, then i would be thinking about myself and my political self, my political posturing and my political position more than i would the job i was elected to do. >> it protects the safety of the public and our constitutional right to bear arms. >> so you're not done fighting the battle? >> it should be passed. it makes all the sense in the world. >> while every voter i talked to voiced frustration with the government, west virginiaens also rely on it. nearly 27% of west virginia's personal income comes from transfer payments like
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disability, unemployment, and welfare benefits. almost one in five receives food stamps. still, both sides of the aisle are predicting historic gains for republicans in 2014. you think here in west virginia the lelgislature and the congres will both go republican? >> i'm afraid. i'm afraid it will. >> senator manchin doesn't face re-election until 2016. but you wouldn't know it from his schedule, which looks a lot like campaigning. >> you all study west virginia history? i would probably involve the energy business in one way or another. >> these are your future constituents here. how often do you do this? >> every time i come back. if you're ever going to want to continue democracy as we know t you have to basically start very young and let people understand government with them and government should be about them. they can't think i'm untouchable or they don't know -- like they can't approach me. >> what is the difference between senator and governor, and which position did you like
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the most? >> someone put you up to this, i think. i got to sit down and talk to you about this one. as governor, you're an executive. when they say the buck stops here, that means you have the make the final decision. the senate has given me so many opportunities to grow and learn and to try to help west virginia. they're both great jobs. but governor would hold a little bit of an edge. >> you still very much act as if you're governor, which i think is such a pleasant surprise to see from a senator. >> i don't know. i act the same no matter what. i think i just am who i am. >> he is who he is. and i have to say, spending the day with him, you really get the sense that he enjoys interacting with the people of west virginia. even if they don't agree with him. and he's going to vote for what he thinks is the right thing to do. i've been around a lot of politicians in my day, and i can tell you that is pretty rare. so it a presidential run in manchin's future? i asked the senator about his plans for 2016, and you might be surprised with what he had to say. we've posted the video only at
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thecycle.msnbc.com. how's that for a tease? up next, a look at the life of one of the greatest and most influential comedians of all time. the man who broke down almost every barrier there was. richard pryor, life and times, next. [ male announcer ] this is jim,
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jim changed his routine. 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 goxarelto.com. see who does good work and compare costs. it doesn't usually work that way with health care. but with unitedhealthcare, i get information on quality rated doctors, treatment options and estimates for how much i'll pay. that helps me, and my guys, make better decisions. i don't like guesses with my business, and definitely not with our health. innovations that work for you. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. mr. president, since you've become president, you've been seen and photographed on the
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arms of white women. quite frankly, sir, you've been courting an awful lot of white women. will this continue? >> as long as i can keep it up. i mean, why you think they call it the white house? >> now, that would be a real presidential scandal. i can see the impeachment hearings now. but that sort of taboo attacking is some of the genius of richard pryor, who was playing with taboos long before bryant gumbel and jane pauley did the "today" show. few books about pryor as interesting as this one by brothers david and joe henry. they write, the early '70s epiphany that made pryor who he was, was inspired by the black
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panthers. but he said he knew he couldn't be rev nuolutionary because he looked white women too much. joining us now, david and joe henry. david, pryor was flouting some serious taboos, announcing to the world, constantly announcing his love for white women in the '70s. >> that's correct. eugene robinson writing in "ebony" magazine was talking about the richard pryor show. he said no black person could sit back and just relax and watch that show because at any moment richard pryor may say something that would make them all have to run like hell. and it's still one of the most revolutionary things i've ever seen on tv. only ran four episodes, plus one special. it's not been equaled since, i don't think. >> joe, let me ask you, you and your brother got to know richard
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pryor. you knew richard pryor. who was he personally, and what misconceptions or misperceptions of the median are out there that you could dispel? >> well, i should say first that we spent time with richard, but i wouldn't want you to think we got to know him. by the time we were ever in his presence, he was pretty much beyond being able to speak, you know. it was heartbreaking to be sitting with him finally and being the ones doing all the talking. but, you know, i still would return home after spending a couple hours sitting with him and remember the afternoon as if i'd had a conversation with him. so there was some strange alchemy still going on there of a which he was in charge, clearly. >> well, joe, one of the things you document is his evolution as a comedian. he didn't start out the richard pryor we just showed. >> well, he didn't. i mean, he was coming out of what was referred to as the
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chitlin circuit, bridging vaudeville into the nightclub years. when he was first on tv as many of us saw him right off, he was under the spell of bill cosby because bill cosby was making incredible hay. richard had seen that and thought, they're only going to let one of us through at a time. if i'm going to be successful, i better go the way bill's going. then he was sort of radicalized and very quickly owned his own voice. as you mentioned earlier, you know, he spent time in berkeley with the black panthers, studying malcolm x, listening to miles davis, and i think it dawned on him he had to be relevant, not just an entertainer. >> and he certainly did become relevant. he goes on to have all kinds of stand-up routines, all kind of television appearances many on "saturday night live," and to have many incredible appearances in movies.
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a great role. one film that a lot of people, even richard pryor lovers may not have seen, is "blue collar." paul shrader's first movie as a director. i always love it when sort of the comedian "blue collar." i love it when the comedian turns serious. we're talking about the fall of detroit, and he just portrays it in this amazing way. >> he did. and he was always at his best, i think, when he went exactly playing for laughs. we make a point of saying over and over in the book that he didn't really tell jokes, even when he was at the height of his stand-up popularity. you know, when he really broke through. i think comedians are incredible actors. you think of jackie gleason in "the hustler" for somebody of an earlier time. but richard pryor did a stand-up stage perform as different characters. and he didn't necessarily play them for laughs or the characters he was playing
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weren't trying to get laughs. they were funny, but it was more the laugh of recognition, the way he sort of became these characters and showed their humanity from within. he was an incredible actor. >> joe -- joe, let's deal with a bit of his humanity, one of the deepest moments of his life when he sets himself on fire. from your perspective, why did that happen? >> well, i think he finally later in his life copped to the fact that it was a suicide attempt. it was not an accident as it was first portrayed. i don't think it's a stretch to imagine that he was completely demoralized by, you know, where he had gotten physically, spiritually, professionally, you know. holed up in his house for days on end, smoked everything that was to smoke. and, you know, when there was nothing left, you know, outside there was left inside either. >> indeed. david and joe, thank you very
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much. breaking news from london right now. police say several people are hurt after either the balcony or the ceiling of the apollo heater in london collapsed. we'll be right back.
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what if we could keep enough plastic waste to cover mt. rainier out of landfills each year? by using one less trash bag each month, we can. and glad forceflex bags stretch until they're full.*
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so you can take them out less often.
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back to that breaking news from london. you are looking at live pictures of the scene of a collapse at a theater. a rescue operation is currently under way. police say several people are hurt after either the balcony or the ceiling of the apollo theater in london collapsed. now on to my rant. a turn when i was growing up, i dreamed of being on broadway. i started acting and singing pretty much before i could walk. the lights, the crowd, and the challenge of playing a character totally different than myself.
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it was my love. that's me as a bearded woman. i was just 7 years old then, and it's pretty embarrassing to show you all now. but life turned out a little bit different for me. somehow i found my way to our merry band of misfits on the cycle, also known for enoates own sense of drama and theater, which i'm very grateful for. we all dream of being a teacher, a firefighter, or maybe being a political talking head. and it doesn't always work out the way we imagined. but most find our own unique purpose doing something else, like tory, being a beekeeper. >> the hive is 12 feet tall and 18 inches wide with about 60,000 angry bees. >> ah, we battled through the wall. it was the biggest hive i have ever seen. >> that is amazing. as arthur brooks points out in "the new york times" this week, work can bring happiness by marrying our passions to our skills, and powering us to
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create value in our lives and in the lives of others. in fact, 80% of americans say they are at least fairly satisfied with their jobs, and nearly 75% of americans wouldn't quit their jobs even if a financial windfall like the mega million jackpot let them live comfortably for the rest of their lives without working. well, that's what they say, at least. clearly there is greater happiness that we get from our jobs than just a paycheck at the end of the week. the majority of americans live to work, not the other way around. it gives them confidence, a purpose, and a reason to wake up in the morning. when we talk about the american dream, happiness is really at the heart of it. it's been said before that our founding fathers created a moral compact with the american people by asserting that we all have certain unailable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. so how do we ensure as a country we're upholding this compact and p protecting this for all americans? one that relies on well paying
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jobs that will be here for the long run. and also insures folks receive an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. if we don't, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness will be in jeopardy. the reality is that money does have a big impact on happiness for folks at the lowest income levels. having a living wage takes daily stresses away from being able to put dinner on the table or care for a sick child. so as we continue this debate around raising the minimum wage and income inequality, let's remember what this debate is really about, the pursuit of happiness, self-worth and purpose. ever single hardworking american deserves that. as for me, maybe one daily try out the whole broadway thing. but for now the sickle is the thing that keeps me on my toes. all right that does it for us. now we yield to the ari melber experience at 4:00. it's all yours, buddy. >> thanks, buddy. good afternoon. i'm ari melber. it is thursday, december 19th. don't look now, but the holiday spirit is upon us.
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♪ >> the ayes are 64. the nays are 36. >> we took a very important step forward. >> we're not going to be looking back at this date saying where were you? >> the shakespearean drama that is mitch mcconnell. >> i remind my colleagues on the other side that one day they'll find themselves in the minority again. >> shea big boy. >> smell the coffee. >> this is what gets me up in the morning. >> the world is changing. >> it's a strange new normal, isn't it? >> it may be christmas vacation, but president obama has some homework. >> the message is railroad clear. nsa, you've gone too far. >> james clapper should resign. >> okay, here it comes. >> what happens to anybody in this country who loses as the no, ma'am knie knee to their party? they become a loser for life. >> they all think they know what it is like to run. >> nobody knows what it's like. >> i have to push for the answer. >> i am seriously thinking about it. >> make that decision, you know, some time next year. >> we are following breaking
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news out of london where police say an unknown number of people were injured when the balcony or perhaps a ceiling at london's apollo theater collapsed. rescue crews are currently on the scene, as you can see there. and we will keep an eye on the story. now, before president obama heads off to hawaii for his holiday vacation tomorrow, he's got a budget deal to sign. and along with the board shorts, he may be packing other fun items like a new 300-page report recommending a reigning in of domestic data collection. after all, it is a long plain ride. and given a year of turmoil, the glitches and the gridlock galore, the getaway could give the president a chance to grab some new year's resolution ideas because he is going to need it. the health care website roll-out and leaks about? sa spying did bring the president's approval rating to lows this year and led many americans to question his leadership. just 50% now view the president as honest and trustworthy, down from a full three-quarters of americans saying the

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