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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  December 24, 2013 5:00am-11:01am PST

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everything looking in great shape. the crew running a few minutes ahead of the time line. >> a christmas space odyssey under way to fix a critical problem on the international space station. a very good morning to you and happy holidays. i'm kristen welker. you're watching msnbc. we'll have much more on that. plus christmas in the dark? thousands across the country are without power after being pounded by snow and ice. relief could be days away. and edward snowden's christmas stunner. in a groundbreaking new interview, the nsa leaker says his mission is already accomplished. plus -- >> 10% discount as opposed to
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identity theft and all the problems involved with that isn't worth it to me. >> holiday shoppers angry about the target security breach, while disappointing new numbers are out about this shopping season. and -- >> yeah. yeah, yeah, yeah. >> make a lot of money. >> yeah. i do all right for myself. >> looks like a good one. lots of movies about to hit theaters tomorrow. which ones are worth watching? we'll break it all down for you. but we begin with the winter wallop. a developing story here on msnbc. thousands of people all across the country are without power as they wake up due to a nasty winter storm. and here's some coal in your stocking. that is all could lead to a dark christmas for a lot of people. in parts of maine, electricity won't be restored until at least friday. this monster storm has also slowed air traffic. more than 5,000 flights were delayed across the country on monday. more problems are expected today. and from the sky to the waters, they've been rising in upstate
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new york and that's led to flood warnings. so what can you expect for the rest of your holiday? dylan dreyer has the forecast. dylan? good morning, kristen. we are going to see much better weather as we head through the holidays here. we've got this cold front. that's the one that produced all the nasty weather all across the country this weekend with the ice, the snow, the record-high temperatures and everything else that we saw. but it is finally exiting the east coast and we will see some improvements along the coastline north and south carolina. we'll start to see an end to the rain and some increasing sunshine. we have a strong northwest wind. it's a very cold wind crossing over the waters of the great lakes. so it is still going to be snowing across parts of the great lakes where we'll end up with about 1 to 3 inches, maybe some higher amounts right off the shores of the lakes themselves, about 3 to 6 inches right through erie, pennsylvania. but you head further west and we have winter weather advisories. we could end up with snow and
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blowing snow. winds are going to be very gusty. so visibility is going to be very poor. we'll most likely see about 3 to 6 inches through western wisconsin into parts of southern minnesota right into minneapolis for the next 48 hours. we could even see about 6 to 12 inches across southeastern north dakota. so no doubt a white christmas in the northern plains into the upper midwest as well. look at our bitter windchills, though. looking at the chance of windchills to feel like about 30 to 40 degrees below zero so it is almost dangerous to be outside so you will need to bundle up in that area. through the day today, we'll see temperatures start cooling down across east coast and right in time for christmas, it will feel like it. temperatures about 30 degrees. >> dylan tracking it all. thanks, dylan. new revelations this morning from edward snowden himself, the nsa contractor who leaked scores of intelligence documents triggering a cascade of international criticism and forcing president obama to now reconsider how the agency does business.
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in an exclusive interview with "the washington post," the first he's given in person since settling in russia, snowden said he's done what he set out to do, saying, "the mission's already accomplished. i already won. as soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that i had been trying to do was validated because, remember, i didn't want to change society. i wanted to give society a chance to determine if it could change itself." joining me now, nbc news senior political editor mark murray. thanks for joining me this morning. >> good morning, kristen. >> so, mark, i wanted to start off and get your reaction to this really stunning interview, the most expansive interview that we've heard so far from edward snowden. what do you make of it and the timing of it give than he has recently asked for asylum from brazil? >> well, in the tile lg, kristen, i think it's remarkable give than the ruling that a federal judge just recently gave saying that the nsa programs of the united states were likely unconstitutional as well as president obama saying in his perez conference on friday he's
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going to be giving a speech next month laying out a series of reforms to the nsa. you could take that whole interview together, "the washington post," and see that edward snowden was kind of spiking the proverbial football in the end zone. and while edward snowden ended up losing out to "time's" man of the year to pope francis, he probably had the most impactful year in 2013, just given all the leaks, all the revelation, all the news he was able to make. that would be something both his detractors and supporters would agree on. >> i want to read you more from this interview and get your reaction on the other side. he says, "dianne feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings. mike rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. the system failed comprehensively in each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this, abdicated their responsibility." he's sort of putting the blame on other people, saying he was forced to do this.
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we've heard him make this argument more broadly before, but he's calling out people and getting specific in this instance. >> well, not only is it context of justifying why he took the action he did, one of the things president obama said in his news conference when asked a question about edward snowden was whether he would grant asylum or do something on that. and president obama ended up saying that, you know, edward snowden still ended up breaking the law, that he wishes there had been another way, that he could have been able to get that information out to try to bring about change. edward snowden in those remarks said that was the only way he really had to shake the trees to be able to get change to happen. he said that change is happening right now. but his detractors, kristen, would argue that one of the things that edward snowden did was actually hurt the united states, particularly when it comes to diplomatic relations. president obama touched on this friday saying some of the leaks like the united states spying on angela merkel, the chancellor of germany, was a little bit one-sided give than there isn't
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kind of an acknowledgment that other countries are probably doing the same to the united states, as everyone knows whoever seen a james bond movie or read one of those books, everybody seems to be psi spying on everybody. >> mark murray, thank you very much. >> thanks, kristen. christmas eve is all about the race to the finish, adding to that today, americans buying health insurance have just 16 hours to finish their applications if they want coverage by the first of the year. as the president is waking up in hawaii this morning, the administration is saying the grace period tacked on to what was supposed to be the december 23rd deadline was necessary because of a surge in online activity. here's what white house communications director jennifer palmieri told me monday. >> because we had such a big crush of visitor s we wanted to make sure that people who were trying to sign up today were actually able to do it and get covered by january 1 and wanted to add a cushion on the back end so if somebody tries to enroll today but they're not successful
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and able to do that, we'll have another 24 hours to process those people. >> the white house insists they did not move the goal posts here, but critics say it's just the latest indication that the site and the law itself are not ready for prime time. joining me now in suite washington bureau chief for the "chicago sun-times," happy holidays, lynn, and thanks for joining me. good to see you. >> good morning. >> so, lynn, i want to get your reaction to what the white house is saying. they are calling this a grace period. nonetheless, it sort of adds to the confusion, doesn't it? >> it does. and i feel bad for a consumer who put it off thinking they could maybe get another date tomorrow or the next day because if you want coverage by january 1, don't let the chatter about the politics of this stop you. go to the computer today and sign up. but, yes, it's one more reason to say this is a system that wasn't ready, but i think we knew that already, kristen. we knew that there were flaws in this and the one-day grace
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period i think will be the least criticism one could say of this botched rollout. >> and let's look at that point more broadly. we have a graphic of some of the recent changes, delays, tweaks to this. i'll read through a few of them. the hardship exemption expanded, small business site enrollment pushed back, larger employer mandate delayed, out of pocket cost limits delayed, 2014 open enrollment pushed back. when you look at this checklist, it's sort of stunning in terms of how many changes they have made. what does the administration need to do to sort of change this narrative to get it back on track in 2014? >> well, what they need to do, and i think they know this, we both are at the white house, is they have got to get people happy. they have got to get people who had their policies not renewed into policies because that's an angry army out there, and they have to have people who are not ensured get insured and realize
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this enormous benefit, no matter their politics, of having insurance policies. there's still going to be a residue of people who found that they don't have the coverage at the price they wanted, but this litany of mistakes you make are things that will be used against democrats in the 2014 campaign, especially if people are out there and there's a video of them saying if you like your policy nothing will change. if they trusted the president when he said it and they echoed him, that will be a problem for them no matter how smoothly the program works in the long term if there are still short term glitches. but that list you showed is just reasons why this self-inflicted wound is so damaging to the white house in the short term, at least, because everything on that list were things that you thought could have been avoided. >> all right. lynn sweet, thank you for tracking it all for us this morning. we appreciate it. >> thank you. happy holidays. >> happy holidays to you. now we go to live pictures of christmas eve spacewalk under
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way at the international space station. we'll tell you what they're trying to accomplish. a christmas miracle. not really, but it will be a feat, that's for sure. we'll have the latest. are you ready grandma? just a second, sweetie. [ female announcer ] we eased your back pain,
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we're here to keep our promises. to help you realize a better tomorrow. from the families of aig, happy holidays.
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back on this christmas eve and they are hoping for a miracle on this second and possibly final spacewalk that's been happening now on the international space station for just over an hour. astronauts are installing a new pump on the station's cooling system. this is a live look. today's spacewalk follows up on a better than expected one saturday when an old pump was successfully removed. in a mission last summer an astronaut nearly drowned when his helmet filled with water. let's bring in nbc's jay barbree. thanks for joining me. happy holidays to you.
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>> merry christmas to you. ? thank you so much. explain what they are doing right now and what is the degree of difficulty with this second spacewalk? >> well, right now everything is going very well. in fact, they got started early this morning, and they're out on the truss at this time and they are taking the new pump off of its truss and they're moving it over and putting it in place where they took the old one off on saturday. now, it's about the size of a refrigerator, kristen, weighs 760 pounds on earth, but up there in weightlessness that's 760 pounds of mass and they can handle it real easy. so it looks like if they continue going as they are going, they will have it in place, turn it on, if it's operating, then they will have restored both full coolant systems on the space station and everything is back to normal. they hope to get that done today. if they do not on this second spacewalk, they will walk again in a couple of days, kristen. >> jay, just explain why this
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was such a critical mission in the first place. this has to do with a cooling pump that wasn't functioning properly. why was this necessary? why did it come to a spacewalk? >> well, because they have to replace -- you know, the station is 15 years old and they have to replace items on board it all the time. so whthey have to pull the pump out. they've got a full coolant system doing everything they need, but they have no backup. if the they should lose the one that they have operating now and they're both down, they'd have to borrow a little coolant from the russians. they could do that from the russian side for three or four days, but then if they ran out of that they couldn't get the systems up, they would have to abandon the station. they have two spacecraft that are docked to the international space station. there are six people on board. three would get in each of the spacecraft and return to earth. so right now they get this done, they'll be operating back to normal, kristen. listen, just a minute. wait. kristen, just a minute.
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the astronauts are giving us this report. they have just -- they're going near the north pole. they have just spotted santa claus. he is now loading his sleigh. they're saying it looks like it's a little overloaded but he's on schedule and they said tell all the children they'll let them know when he launches for his trip tonight on christmas eve. so right now santa claus is on schedule and the spacewalk's on schedule, kristen. >> jay, those are two of the best pieces of news you could have given us this morning. we will continue to check in with you throughout the morning, and thank you so much for that great update. we appreciate it. we'll be tracking santa also. >> thank you. >> thank you. christmas and movies go hand in hand and this year some big ones are opening either on or around christmas day. one of the most anticipated is about a man to who escapes his life by disappearing into a world of fantasy that include
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heroism, action, and romance. take a look. >> the ice, she moves like a woman. i'm walter. >> cheryl. where have you been? >> testing the limbs of the human spirit. >> i'd like to climb your hair and test that out. >> two of my favorite actors. joining me now, entertainment editor chris witherspoon. thanks for being here. happy holidays to you. >> same to you. >> let's start right there with "the secret life of walter mitty." everyone can relate to this idea of daydreaming. looks like a great film. >> if you're a constant dreamer and hopeless romantic, this film is for you. it will probably get big numbers because it's one of those movies people will come out in droves to see. it's being compared to last year's "life of pi" and this is doing that same kind of buzz preliminary. ben stiller is directing and producing this based on a book
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or a series of short stories published in the new yorker in 1939 and now we have it in theaters. i expect it to go big today. >> definitely one to check out. let's run through a list of some of the other ones that are getting a lot of buzz. "47 ronin" with keanu reeves. "the wolf of wall street," leonardo dicaprio. anything with sylvester stallone i'll see. when you look at that list, what stands out? >> "the wolf of wall street" because it's martin scoand leonardo. one of those films that's gritty, a dark comedy, getting a lot of buzz already. justin bieber's believe. >> one for teens. >> that will be huge for teens. his last one he had in 2011 brought in $98 million.
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he's had a rough year, a rough couple of year, so it's kind of a redemption story, getting to see what's been behind the scenes going on in his life and how he's overcome a lot of bad press. >> we have to take a look at this film. "anchorman 2." take a look and we'll talk about it on the other side. >> mr. burgundy, we're starting a 24-hour news channel, first of its kind, gnn. >> that is without a doubt the dumbest thing i've ever heard. you mean news going 24 hours around the clock? >> yeah. >> a channel that's never off, in other words. >> yeah. yeah. just 24 hours. it's -- >> no offense, but you are stupid. >> hey, we can relate to that here. 24 hours of news. unfortunately there have been some mixed reviews with this sequel. >> i interviewed the cast of this film. will ferrell talked about how there was so much pressure for this movie, almost a decade in the making. there have been mixed reviews.
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there aren't as many one-liners you walk away with like keep the classy, san diego, or the different phrases from the first one. but it's still a great film. the true fans of this franchise are satisfied, happy to see will ferrell and that team back together. it's a great story. >> i think that's a great point. if you're a fan of the first one -- >> you'll find a nug net this film to take home and love. >> absolutely. chris witherspoon, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> we appreciate it. have a great holiday. >> same to you. >> when we come back, the last-minute dash for gifts and some coal in the stocking for the nation's retailers. lots to unwrap. >> i want to wish my family merry christmas and happy new year. i love you. i miss you. i'll see you in february. (vo) you are a business pro.
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a procrastinator at heart and i do everything last minute. >> so many of us can relate to that. are you done shopping yet? am i stressing you out? all kidding aside, it is crunch time for all of us and all of the retailers trying to make hit the short holiday season. it started off strong, but the latest reports are that sales have actually fallen for the third consecutive week, down 3.1% over last year to just under $43 billion. of course higher than any of our budgets but still below expectations. nbc's gabe gutierrez is outside of atlanta at a shopping mall there. gabe, what are things looking like? is the store open? folks showing up yet? looks pretty empty so far. >> yeah. that's right, kristen. but they are ready. we're here in front of the toys "r" us. it was open all night. as you mentioned, there seem to be more employees inside the
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store than customers, but they are ready. retailers are trying to lure those procrastinators after a disappointing few weeks. as you mentioned, shopper track released figures yesterday showing that holiday sales last week for down about 3% and foot traffic was down a whopping 21% from last year. that may have had something to do with the weather. but shoppers again seem to be holding back and seem to be holding out for those last-minute details. so retailers are responding in kind. this toys "r" us expecting to be open till 9:00 tonight. it will have been open for 87 consecutive hours. other retailers like macy's, kohl's, and kmart plan to be open more than 100 hours. many retailers are offering discounts of 20%, 30%, 40%, but some shoppers say they might be waiting until after christmas this year to get even better deals. kristen? >> gabe, i have to ask you a quick question. they have been going 87 consecutive hours. how are the employees there
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holding up on this christmas eve? >> well, so far just chatted with a few briefly in there. they seem to be here. they're getting holiday pay, but other than that, they're, you know, stocking the shelves, busy as can be, well, busy stocking the shelves. they hoped they were a little more busy with the customers. but they're holding up as best they can on this christmas eve. >> happy holidays to you, gabe. thank you so much for that update. we appreciate it. >> reporter: no problem. you bet. well, is there any hope that washington will be more productive in 2014 than it was this year? we'll look at the unfinished business that awaits congress in january. 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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right now, live pictures from outside the international space station. two astronauts are trying to finish installing a new ammonia pump. mission control says unless something goes awry the work might get finished today.
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nasa originally thought three space walks might be needed. christmas miracle indeed. and welcome back, everybody. i'm kristen welker. happy holidays. chase bank is easing restrictions it placed on customers who used debit cards at target stores during a recent security breach. their customers can now withdraw up to $250 a day in cash and spend up to $1,000 a day on purchases. previous limits had been $100 in cash and $300 in purchases. the breach led to the theft of information of about 40 million credit and debit card accounts. we have new records on wall street to tell you about. the dow rose 73 points to end at over 16,000 monday. the s&p 500 gained almost 10 and finished over 1,800. stocks climbed after apple announced a distribution deal with china mobile. a california judge has ruled a teenage girl left brain-dead after tonsil surgery will remain on life support until the end of the month.
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the judge also ordered a second examination of the 13-year-old. her family wants to keep her hooked up to a respirator and moved to a different facility. a call for more help in south sudan from united nations secretary-general ban ki-moon. he wants 5,500 additional soldiers and 400 more police to be sent to reinforce the current peacekeeping mission there. tens of thousands have fled the country amid fighting between rebels and government troops. and pope francis is getting ready to deliver his first christmas message, but before he begins his busy holiday schedule he visited pope francis. he spent about 30 minutes with his predecessor at the convent on the vatican grounds. martin fletcher has a preview of pope francis' first christmas in the vatican. >> reporter: what a beautiful tay it is here today. they're expecting rain, but instead record crowds are expected here in st. peter's square for the first christmas address from the man known here as the humble pope whose
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official title is simply papa francesco. he's spreading cheer and go goodwill by personal example. he's only been pope since march but has already endeared himself to catholics and beyond. bringing the church to the people, especially the poor and the abandoned. he celebrated his birthday with four homeless people. he's embraced the disfigured and washed the feet of prisoners, including two muslims and two women. his modesty and compassion, traditional virtues, but in a thoroughly modern form of perfection. he's the most searched name on the internet. all popes choose their own papal names and he broke the tradition. there have been 14 clements, 16 benedicts, 21 johns and only one pope francis. he's the first to choose the patron san patron sanltd of the poor. born in modest circumstances it's a long way from buenos aires to the vatican.
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and he doesn't like everything he sees, especially the vast vatican bureaucracy and waste and corruption in the church. he suspended a german bishop who spent $40 million renovating this residence including a bathtub for $20,000. and he shocked traditionalists by bringing in outside analysts like ernst & young and mckenzie. >> that's common sense. if you're going to teach as a church you want to be able to give an example of honesty. >> reporter: he sometimes comes off like everyone's favorite granddad, not standing on ceremony. some of his comments appear to challenge accepted faith. on gay priests he said, who am i to judge? on women in the church he said, they are essential. do his comments signal a change in catholic dogma or are they just a change in style? >> they're certainly a style change, which is simplicity. but he's not somebody who's going to be throwing out core
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doctrine. >> reporter: this christmas week, pope francis is stressing his core message, help the poor, help the homeless, but he ended his last public prayer before christmas with another seasonal message -- have a good lunch and see you soon. kristen? >> martin fletcher, thank you so much. well, 2013 will go down in the record books as the most unproductive year for congress with fewer than 60 substantive bills passed into law compared to 231 last year and 906 in 1948's do-nothing congress. among the items left undone, immigration reform, long-term unemployment benefits, and a farm bill. so the big question, will 2014 be any more productive? let's bring in jerry bernstein. jared is a senior fellow at the center of budget and policy priority, former chief economist and economic adviser to vice president joe biden and an msnbc contributor. thanks for being here. happy holidays. >> thank you, kristen. nice to see you. >> great to see you as well. i want to ask you about this point you raised in politico
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last week. we have a graphic of it. you write, does the recent outbreak of compromise between the parties that delivered the murray/ryan budget deal mean more much cooperation is on the way? that's the question. what's the answer? more cooperation in 2014? >> i'm afraid we're not going to see a lot but we'll see some. whether 2014 will be more productive than 2013 just makes it a very low bar and i think probably they'll be able to clear that. i mean, remember, at the end of the year as we said, there was a little bit of bipartisanship on a tiny budget deal. also very important to add to your list of those three bullet points you had, raise the debt ceiling. that's critical. that's got to get done. >> is that going to be another knockdown, dragout fight? you already have some saber-rattling on both sides. the president saying he's not going to negotiate. then you have republicans, mitch mcconnell, house speaker john boehner saying they want to extract something. what do you expect? >> right. so this is where i believe we very quickly began to move away from kumbaya a couple weeks ago
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the very week that they negotiated on that little budget deal on sunday, paul ryan went on the sunday talk shows and said we're going to have to extract a lot if we're going to raise the debt ceiling. right back into it. look, you covered the government shutdown. you know as well as anyone what damage that did to conservatives or the republican brand. hard to imagine they'd get back into that with a big debt ceiling fight. on the other hand, you did have the saber-rattling so we'll have to see. >> jared, let's just talk about unemployment insurance benefits, 1.3 million americans are going to see their benefits expire. here's what harry reid has to say about this. e he wants to get that done in the new year. take a listen. >> we have a number of republicans who have stated publicly, including the senator from nevada, elder senator from nevada, a republican that will support an extension of unemployment benefits unpaid for. so i'm anxious to move forward on this. that will be our first item of business. of course we'll try to make it
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retroactive for days that we lose. >> so, jared, that's the plan. but is it realistic? >> i think it may well be. now, we're not talking about the yearlong extension that some of the democrats wanted. probably something more in the spirit of three months. that might have a price tag of somewhere in the $6 billion to $8 billion range. they ought to either be able to find that or as senator reid said leave that unpaid for. that's forgetly legitimate to do in the short term with a small bill like that when the economy is still climbing back and the job market really isn't yet providing people with the opportunities they need. >> jared bernstein, it is always great to see you. thanks so much for being here. hope you have a great holiday. >> you, too, kristen. >> well, congress may not be getting down to business, but santa certainly is. and kids all over the world are counting down the hours until the biggest morning of the year. so are the adults, by the year. joining me now, general chuck
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jacobey and his son, t.j. he's tracking santa's every move. chuck, let me start with you. where is santa right now? that is the big question. >> yeah. good morning and merry christmas. so santa has just left the philippine islands and he's within a minute of crossing into the air space over taiwan, the island of taiwan. >> over the island of taiwan. we are watching him right there. so, c.j., let me ask you, when do we expect him to arrive here in the u.s.? >> well, he usually comes between 9:00 p.m. and midnight depending on where you are in the u.s. no matter what. >> 9:00 p.m. okay. that's the time we will be -- >> that's very scientific calculation. >> this is for both of you.
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do you have a sense of how many gifts he's delivered so far? >> we're all about statistics here at norad so, i can tell you we're over 782 million gifts have been delivered. so santa has been on his game today. >> all right. well, just talk to me, would you, from a personal perspective. obviously, this is a lot of fun every year. what is this like for you both to track santa? c.j., you can go first with that one. >> well, it's really one of the most enjoyable things we do every year so we have a serious mission, 365 days a year on this day. we're totally committed to making sure boys and girls around the world get the holiday spirit and follow family traditions and all the things we love about christmas. so it's a real privilege to get
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a chance to participate in that and be with my son and 1,200 other volunteers who come in and man the phones and really get a lot out of giving back to all the folks that love christmas. >> well, you certainly are giving to a lot of the kids out there who are watching this right now. i know that they look forward to getting these updates on where santa is, and we appreciate it as well. so thank you. general charles jacoby jr. and lieutenant c.j. jacoby, thank you both so much. we want to say there was a little bit of a delay there, which is to be expected. next on our christmas gift to you, some last-minute ideas for that special someone who's just so hard to shop for. but first a gift money can't buy. >> i'm sergeant thomas bailey from kabul, afghanistan. i'd like to say merry christmas and happy new year to my family, my mom and dad, my nieces, audrey and hanna. i love you guys and miss you and i'll be home soon.
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shoppers in new york and around the country trying to wrap up their holiday shopping. take a minute and think have you gotten something for everyone on your christmas list? if not, don't despair. there's still time. not much but time nonetheless. joe is the special projects editor for "popular mechanics." thanks for joining us. >> happy to be here. >> i want to start out front with this suitcase. everyone loves a toomey. what makes that one so great? >> this is made of a new material called tegris. the line is called tegra light and is indeed light. it looks like carbon fiber but it's a new material, very strong, usesed in football padding, in military armor, even in nascar bodies.
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>> and it's green. i like the color. >> and it's green. >> let's talk about this megatool kit. if you have this, you don't need any other tools for a lifetime. >> you don't. this is just $140. it's a dewalt set. a very high quality tool. we call this 204 pieces of chrome plated bliss. >> that's a pretty good deal for a tool set of this size. >> it is. you can find much smaller ones that are running you $59, $79, but this one is the mother. >> let's talk about this pen. you say this pen is fit for a navy s.e.a.l. why? >> well, they say the pen is mightier than the sword. this is actually both. this can be used as a weapon. >> okay. >> it's made of milled aluminum. it can write under water. and the really creepy thing about it is that it has a dna collector in tas you get in a fight. >> a dna collector. my gosh. serious pen. >> everybody pen should have dna collector. >> what about the pad? >> the notepads as you can see, we have these excellent field
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notepads out in front. and the cool thing about them is that they are waterproof and indestructible. i invite you to try to rip this in half from the outside from there. >> can't do it. oh my gosh. look at that. you could take this anywhere. you could take this on a serious hike. >> our reporters are very tough. >> how much does that set you back, the pen and the notepad? >> the pen is about 20 bucks. >> not bad. >> the notepad is nine bucks. >> talk about this lap blanket. this is something i should have at all times. it keeps you warm. >> yes, you should. you know, the wrap is for tough -- this is a wrap for a tough person. it's also a great lap blanket. i drive around in my convertible when the weather's a little warmer as it was this past weekend, and this is a great thing to have in your car or around the house. >> okay. how much? >> that's $100. >> okay. all right. now, let's talk about this. this is a home basically -- >> it's a home brew kit. what we love about this home brew kit, it's made by hot box.
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it is made of locally sourced pine or reclaimed wood, so we like the sustainability factor. also this is really cool. you could put it on your kitchen counter and be happy with it. that's 140 bucks and lit make you a gallon of beer in about two weeks. >> how does the beer taste? >> it depends on what ingreed consequents you put in and how good you are. you have to fine-tune it over time. >> you have to teach yourself to do this. >> that's right. >> now, these are wireless devices. talk to me about this and what makes them so unique. >> we have two wireless and one wired. i want to start with the harman cardon speakers. i've been living with these for about a month and they're awesome. they're about $300, which is the upper end of this type of product. but it is blue tooth enabled. it has 1 1/2-inch tweeter, 2.5-inch drives and this internal cone that you see enhances the base. >> it looks chic too. >> it's very cool looking. >> a statement piece. >> and it sounds good too.
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>> all right. finally that speaker. >> this is for listening on the go. this goes into the cage on your water cage on your bicycle. >> kind of looks like a flashlight. >> it does. however, it pumps out tunes. it has a 360-degree speaker. this is good for safety. obviously you recollected not wear earphones or headphones when you're riding your bicycle. you want to be aware of your surroundings. this is a nice way to listen to music and for your friends riding with you to hear the music also. >> how is the volume? >> it's good. it cranks up pretty well. if you're riding you can hear, you know, two or three bikes ahead and in front. >> just generally, when people are shopping for these types of pieces, which are sort of specific, what should they be thinking about for the person? >> they should be thinking about the person's lifestyle. they should be thinking about, you know, what type of things people are drawn to, whether they're low tech, they would like this, and the tools, whether they're a little higher tech, they're going to go for the blue tooth. i also have to point out these grotto headphones which are made
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in brooklyn. brooklyn in the house. these are beautiful, beautiful headphones for 100 bucks. they're not flashy like a lot of the ones you see on the market today but they have beautiful sound. >> joe bartman, thank you so much for these gift ideas. they're fantastic. ? thank you. after a rough year in washington, we'll run down the stories to watch in 2014. here's hint -- take a deep breath. hi, i'm terry and i have diabetic nerve pain.
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our friends at first read have put together a big list of what to watch at the white house next year. mark murray join us again. thanks for copping back. >> good morning, kristen.
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>> i want to start off with what political fortunes we should watch for in 2014. i think the biggest question is can president obama rebound and of course dependent upon that will be what happens with health care. we should point out that peter alexander is reporting that nearly 2 million visits to healthcare.gov and 250,000 phone calls since yesterday. moving in the right direction but hasn't rebounded yet. >> president obama's approval rating and the health care law's fortunes go hand in hand. our last nbc/"wall street journal" poll that was released a couple weeks ago had president obama's approval rating at 43%, and that's not a good number for democrats who are looking ahead to the 2014 midterms. but our nbc/"wall street journal" pollster fred yang put it this way -- that as 2014 goes on the health care law so goes president obama's approval numbers. and the point being that so much of the hit that president obama ended up taking in the last two
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months of 2013 were due to the rollout of the health care law. all the negative stories, one after the other, and a better health care or website, a better functioning law, some success stories to point to could end up helping president obama maybe get up to the mid-40s, even the high 40s. a president obama at 48% versus at 43% is a different of night and day for a democratic party and democrats who will be out in 2014. >> mark, quickly, the gop, we have watched them sort of have this ideological warfare really. does that get worked out in 2014? and who comes out on top? the tea party or the more establishment republicans? >> we're going the find that out in the 2014 midterm, kristen. there are many establishment versus tea party primaries for the senate that we'll see during the spring, summer of next year. and you are right. one of the reasons that we haven't heard too much about this republican party and the
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ideological war inside of it is due to the fact that the website and the problems with the website dominated the political session over the past two months. but those problems for the republican party haven't gone away. and one early indication we're going to get is that debt ceiling showdown. the debt ceiling needs to be raised by february 7th. some republicans seem to want some concessions from the administration. and the question is do some republicans like we saw from ted cruz and other tea party types decide to have a big confrontation showdown with the president there and we'll get a good sense of where the republican party is, how confrontational it wants to be or how willing it is to make compromises just like we saw with the recent very small-scale budget agreement from just a week ago. >> and, mark, we only have a few seconds left, but what are the key races that you're going to be watching in 2014? i know that florida's special election is one of them. >> yeah. the florida special election, that is going to be taking place in march.
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it gives us good indication of whether democrats can be willing to win in some of the races that can give them a chance. it's a very small chance of being able to take back the house. so circle your calendars for march. that's a key special election in that state of florida. >> all right. mark murray with all the political news. we appreciate it. >> thanks, kristen. >> and that will do it for us for this hour. i'm kristen welker. thanks for watching. richard lui is on deck next with the push increase, the minimum wage, and new promising signs for workers, many of whom are working for the holidays. have a fantastic holiday. thanks for joining us. [ male announcer ] welcome back all the sweet things your family loves with 0-calorie monk fruit in the raw. ♪ welcome back [ male announcer ] it's made with the natural, vine-ripened sweetness of fruit, so you can serve up deliciously sweet treats without all the sugar. so let no drink go unsweetened. no spatula un-licked. and no last bit un-sipped. you don't have to throw a party, but you'll probably feel like celebrating.
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just to have this opportunity in utah, in our home state, we could have gone to california, to another state, but we're utahans, and that is huge! that's huge. >> this christmas eve morning, holiday joy in utah and a mad dash to tie the knot as the state turns to a higher court to
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stop same-sex marriage. good morning. i'm richard lui. so glad you're with us. also ahead, stocking stunner. nsa leaker edward snowden speaking out in a groundbreaking new interview. why he says his mission is already accomplished. plus, blastoff. >> okay, guys. as you can tell we're coming into orbital sunlight so configure as needed. and developing news here. a christmas eve spacewalk. on your way right now to complete a critical repair there on the international space station. all that and the top internet searches of 2013. here's a hint for you. the royals were among them. did you hear we have a new website? msnbc.com? we begin this hour with weather. let's face it. that's what everybody's talking about at this moment. weekend storms are still causing problems for people across the country. thousands of christmas trees are dark because there is simply no power including over 100,000
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people in maine alone. so what can we expect for the rest of the holiday? how about an early christmas gift. nbc's dylan dreyer. >> good morning, richard. it is going to be a pretty decent day for most areas across the country on this christmas eve. this cold front, the one that brought all of the terrible weather across the country this weekend, is finally exiting the east coast. a couple morning showers still falling through north and south carolina off the coast of virginia too. but those will continue to move eastward. we'll even see increasing sunshine by later on today. where we won't see a whole lot of sun, buffalo, new york, erie, pennsylvania, even into cleveland, because we have a strong northwest wind crossing over the relatively warmer waters of the great lakes and there you're left with lake-effect snow. we could end up with about 3 to 6 inches off the shores of the lake but most areas will see 1 to 3 inches. not a huge event. a bigger event to the west of that, winter weather advisories into minnesota and the dakotas, even wisconsin, not only because we'll see a widespread 3 to 6
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inches, 6 to 12 across southeastern north dakota but also for the gusting winds that will create blowing snow. that will make visibility very poor throughout the day today and especially tonight. now, speaking of that wind, we have windchill advisories and warnings. the warnings just west of minneapolis where we could have your feels-like temperature around 30 to 40 degrees below zero. so very, very uncomfortable and dangerous cold out that way. 11 for our high in minneapolis with snow showers developing through the day today especially heavy overnight and on christmas day you'll wake up to a white christmas no problem. chicago seeing a white christmas with lighter snow showers and the east coast will start to cool off, 25 degrees in boston, about 30 degrees for a high in new york city on christmas day. richard? >> dylan, thank you so much. the midwest seeing that great weather. yes. big developments possible in utah today. same-sex couples are rushing to get married there taking advantage of a judge's dee situation to strike down a nearly decade-old ban on same-sex marriage. but state officials are working
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to get that ban put back in place, appealing to a higher court that could rule at any time. pete williams is nbc's justice correspondent and joins us right now. pete, you know, what do we expect from this tenth circuit court and will that rule being the final word here? >> that's the appeals court in denver, colorado. and frankly i was a little surprised that they didn't rule last night because they asked for all the briefs to be in by 5:00 mountain time, but they didn't do anything last night. they almost certainly will do something today to decide whether to put a stay on the judge's ruling friday that struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage the unleashed what you're seeing now. all these couples in utah rushing to get married. some 400 licenses have been issued to same-sex couples. the county clerk in salt lake county estimates in the last couple days those that were started friday afternoon after the judge ruled. and then yesterday. the state appealed. they said that the judge -- the tenth circuit should put this on
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hold while it pursues an appeal to preserve the status quo. the judge who made this ruling on friday declined yesterday to stay the effect of his own ruling. the mormon church issued a statement last night saying we continue to believe that voters in utah did the right thing, talking about a state constitutional amendment, by providing clear direction in the state constitution that marriage should be between a man and a woman and we are hopeful that this view will be validated by a higher court. now whatever happens today, richard, remember, that's just temporary. that would be a stay until the court can decide the underlying merits of the case, whether the judge was right that the state constitution in utah violates the federal constitution. and of course that is many months away, so the question is whether same-sex couples can continue to marry there or whether the court will put a halt to it while it takes this appeal. >> pete williams, thank you very much. >> you bet. nsa leaker edward snowden is portraying himself as a kind of public servant forced to take action to expose the agency's
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massive data collection techniques because no one else had done so, so he says. in an exclusive in-person interview with "the washington post," snowden said, dianne feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings. mike rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden. the system failed comprehensively. and each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that could have addressed this abdicated their responsibility." let's bring in our panel. irene carmon is national reporter with msnbc.com. andy sullivan is a reuters correspondent. what do you think about those statements he made, abdicating responsibility? >> well, i mean, i think on the one hand he says i already won and he says it's not about me. there's a temptation for all of us to make this about edward snowden as opposed to the programs he exposed and the hubris of his comments at times i think makes it easy to do that. but ultimately, i mean, a
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federal district court recently ruled, you know, that these are almost orwellian programs. ultimately he gave his materials to journalist who is then responsibly wrote about it. so i think, yes, edward snowden himself is a fascinating figure but it's about much more than edward snowden. >> andy, i want to read you something that edward snowden told "the washington post." he said, "i am not trying to bring down the nsa. i am working to improve the nsa. i am still working for the nsa right now. they are the only ones who don't realize it." interesting statements as irin was alluding to. do you think the nsa will be better off and more effective because of what we're seeing happening today? >> well, i think maybe what that statement means is that his paychecks are not being forwarded to moscow. so maybe he's trying to -- >> i don't think they are. that's correct. >> but, i mean, i think clearly what's happened is the conversation has changed over the course of this year because of the documents that he's leaked. i mean, you have aside from the court ruling, the president
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considering the findings of this panel that would scale back a lot of its data collection practices. you have companies like google and yahoo! saying we're going to be encrypting our files so the nsa can't just come in through the back door. and i think they're going to start to see pushback from the business community at large. boeing lost a big contract in brazil because brazil got angry about these revelations and so it decided to go with another company. so, i mean, i think his basic statement that he's succeeded is correct. he has changed the conversation. we are looking at scaling back the nsa. now, to your original question about whether the nsa would think that it's more effective, i think they probably disagree with that. i think most of us would like to use as many capabilities as we can and when you have outside pressure, when you have congress or the other elements of the government scaling them back, they probably are not so happy about that. >> irin, why now? why is he talking now, having this follow-up interview? >> we're only beginning to learn the revelations.
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the people who are in possession of the documents that edward snowden gave them are still plowing through them. there are still people sitting in rooms reading, trying to figure out what happened. "the new york times" has been publishing some of the revelations. this is clearly an unfolding story. and i think edward snowden of course has been criticized roundly, especially by the intelligence establishment, and now is the time for him to step aside from the original crazed kind of -- you know, the dust has settled a little bit. he can kind of defend himself. >> is it timing as well? you have those 46 recommendations of the president, a break going on right now. >> right. validated by the federal courts as well. i think this is a moment where he can feel vind kalted as well. >> might we see and hear more of him, andy, based on this time, this idea of what's happening despite critics like mike rogers who is the chairman of the house intelligence committee, who they say he committed treason by doing things like offering to trade secrets to brazil in exchange for perm negligent asylum? what do you think?
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>> are we going to see more of him? >> yeah. >> well, we're certainly going to see probably more documents. from what i understand there is a big cache of material that he has not released yet. and so we could still see the steady drip, drip, drip of revelations over the coming months or even years. as to whether we'll see more of snowden, whether he might ultimately return to the united states under a plea deal, who knows. >> irin, president obama saying he wants to continue to allow the agency to be effective, to do what it is doing but increase transparency. is he going to be able to have it both ways here? >> he has tried to have it both ways. president obama, when he was a senator, had a very different perspective on these kinds of programs. certainly under the bush administration he was quite critical of them. obviously you're in a different position when you're in charge. your natural bias is to be more afraid of a terrorist attack than a violation of civil liberties, but that's why external pressure and transparency from journalists, a sort of one that the president did not invite but now has to
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contend with, ends up providing a system of checks and balances that the system has failed to offer. >> thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> thanks. congressional crystal ball. is there hope for immigration reform? and new gun laws next year. i'll speak with democratic congressman jerrold nadler. could 2014 will the year for a $15 an hour minimum wage? we'll it will you about some promising signs regarding that. to help secure retirements and protect financial futures. to help communities recover and rebuild. for companies going from garage to global. on the ground, in the air, even into space. we repaid every dollar america lent us. and gave america back a profit. we're here to keep our promises. to help you realize a better tomorrow. from the families of aig, happy holidays. bigger, tougher messes was better leverage,
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the 113th congress is just past its halfway point. what will it get done in the final stretch? so far in almost every way you measure it, they're at a run rate that will leave them as the least productive congress in history. but given the quick bipartisan budget agreement, perhaps a new year could bring a new attitude.
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here to talk about a few items on the list, jerrold nadler. congressman, thanks for being here. >> pleasure. >> let's talk about immigration first. this was supposed to be the year, 2013, at least after the election, many thought. but then you've got these two groups that watch what president obama did on immigration before the election. they gave him overwhelming support. latino-americans, 71-27, asian-americans as much as 77% according to aldaf. yet a comprehensive bipartisan bill through the senate, 68-32, stuck in the house as you know right now. what can supporters do to get this done in 2014? >> well, there has to be tremendous pressure on the republicans who control the house, who have refused -- the speaker says he will not permit any comprehensive bill to come to the floor. in fact, we in the judiciary committee have passed five very limited and quite obnoxious bills on limited aspects of reform. some of the conservatives in the
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house don't want even those bills. >> why obnoxious? >> because they would throw billions of dollars at enforcement that would be ineffective because we're already doing very strong enforcement. they would cut down on diversity visas in order to bring more high-tech people to the country. we want the more high-tech people that shouldn't be at the cost of diversity. and they don't deal with some of the keys like a pathway to citizenship. they don't deal with the dream that kids are brought here at 6 months old, think they're american, don't even though they weren't born here, and get to 18 and suddenly find they can't go to college, have no career path. these are some of the severe problems we have to address. some of the republicans are saying they don't want even these very narrow right-wing bills to pass the house because they're afraid they don't want to have anything pass the house unless they go with confidence to the senate with a more
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comprehensive bill. we'll see. >> what would you be fine with? >> a comprehensive bill that deals with all the different questions. >> how about piecemeal getting it done little by little as the president indicated he might have support for? >> depending what piecemeal. the problem with the piecemeal approach is that the republicans, the conservatives on this issue, might say, all right, we'll do the conservative pieces, not the liberal pieces. so you get -- >> you'd be open to it so long as it fits into an end goal of reaching what might be a compromise of the plan. >> absolutely. >> all right. >> let me say the hope is that speaker boehner has hired a staff person recently who's worked on -- >> ex-senator mccain staffer. >> so maybe he's willing to change the path that the republicans have been taking in the house so far because that path will lead nowhere. >> you think he might be, if you will, switching colors on us, going for a more comprehensive piece of legislation. >> he might be and that's the hope. >> okay. when you look at immigration reform and the idea of it, many activities have been happening
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from groups that are supportive of immigration reform. there was just a fast for instance and it may still will going on for some of those groups that are out there. but was the timing right in 2013? are they coming together and working in the right pace? >> they're working at the right pace, doing everything that's possible to be done. the question is, you know, this used to be considered somewhat bipartisan but you have these ultras in the republican ranks these days, the tea partyers, who don't want to see anything except for more -- >> i'm talking about those that got together and were putting together a fast for a good number of weeks as you know. was it too early? >> no, i think it's not too early. you have to keep mounting the pressure. >> okay. i want to switch topics while we've got you here and move on to gun control and the future of possible legislation. outgoing new york mayor michael bloomberg and activist shannon watts have an op-ed today in politico announcing they will merge their two organizations. they call it an uphill battle for gun control a fight that can
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be won and unless we are willing to accept that 33 americans will be murdered with guns every day. it's a fight we must win. that's what they say. how does the new year look for you when it comes to gun legislation? >> i don't know. again, we could pass decent gun legislation probably in the senate. the house it's up to the republicans. and they have been slaves to the nra. some democrats, too. i don't want to make this partisan. but the bulk of the republicans have been slaves to the nra and they're not reasonable. now, there is very reasonable and modest legislation that you can pass, that we should pass, namely to get rid of the gun show exception to background checks. we should not be selling guns to insane people, to criminals, et cetera. and we have that law with respect to gun shops but not with respect to gun shows. so just to expand that to gun shows so we don't sell guns to lunatics and to criminal s ough
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to be easy but it isn't. >> gun legislation, immigration as well. as i started the segment here today, representative nadler, the question was, with that relatively quick bipartisan budget deal, how much did that increase your hopefulness for what might happen in this final second half of the 113th? >> i am pessimistic. >> it went down? >> no. it didn't go down, but it didn't go up very much. that was a very minor deal. it was -- the republicans had been severely wounded politically by the shutdown. they didn't want to do that again. so we have a very minor deal which doesn't really deal with our budget problem, doesn't deal with the economic problems at all but puts off decisions for a few months. that's what it does. and we have the debt ceiling raise coming up. and all you do when you raise the debt ceiling is agree to pay the bills that you've already voted to incur, which the republicans voted to incur through that deal that was made.
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>> election sequence start taos. >> yeah, but if they're saying they're not going to raise the debt ceiling as they are saying again, unless there are concessions, they're inviting another crisis. >> democratic congressman from new york, thank you so much. appreciate your time. >> pleasure. straight ahead, why you're probably up early. that last very desperate dash for some gifts. if you are one of those procrastinat procrastinators, with eel tell you what's the absolute last chance to get those presents. i'm major steven meadows from kabul, afghanistan. i'd like to wish my family and friends merry christmas and a happy new year. look forward to seeing everybody in 2014. to bridge the seasonal gap, hi nvmsed in a franchise, christmas
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a final farewell to san francisco's candlestick park. the 49ers said good-bye to the stadium where they've held the most number of "monday night football" games in the analyst history of the nfl.
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it has been their home since '71 with a thrilling victory last night over the atlanta falcons. there were fireworks, tears, both on and off the field. >> we've been crying all day long. i met my husband here 30 years ago. >> tailgating, friends, making not only friends but family. it's wonderful. it's wonderful. i'm going to miss it. >> my dad brought me to the first game here. the first playoff game in 1971. and now it's going on to the next generation. >> half-century of memories. i'm going to miss it myself, being from san francisco. joe montana play there at the park. and the beatles playing their last public concert there in the '60s. the new stadium will be in santa clara. the park is slated for demolition as early as the fall, but you never know. the 49ers might be playing one of their playoff games there. knock on wood. it's christmas eve. if you've still not gotten those gifts to check off your list, you're not alone. according to one research group, only two-thirds of americans are done or close to finished with
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their holiday shopping two days before christmas. retailers hope consumers pick up the pace. sales down 3.1% compared to last year ringing in at about $43 billion. nbc's gabe gutierrez spent about a billion of that on his own. right? you're in atlanta. in front of a toys "r" us. gabe, you know, it doesn't look like there's a lot of last-minute folks there. >> reporter: yeah, that's right, richard. we haven't seen too many this morning, all though we did see a few trickle in a few minutes ago. the employees have been here all night. the store by the time it's all said and done at 9:00 p.m. tonight will have been open for about 87 consecutive hours. retailers are trying to lure last-minute shoppers. hasn't been an exciting season so far. according to shopper track last week, sales down 3%. and foot traffic in stores was down a whopping 21%. now, the weather last week may have had something to do with that, but retailers in the hours leading up to christmas are really busting out all the
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stops. discounts of 20%, 30%, 40%, and other retailers not just toys "r" us being open for so many hours but kmart, kohl's, macy's, some of their stores open for more than 100 consecutive hours over the last few days. so the retailers here, toys "r" us, hopes to see more shoppers stop by throughout the day. but as you saw and are seeing, richard, not a whole lot of shoppers here right now. back to you. >> reporter: you know, gabe, you can call me lui. i'll call you gutierrez and we'll be even there. >> reporter: mr. lui i should have said. >> a lit tool formal, my friend, especially on the holiday. have a good one. hope it picks thereupon so it gets a little more interesting, shall we say. >> reporter: no problem. if it doesn't, more time for me to shop without the long lines. when we come back, pope francis and his predecessor meet ahead of the christmas holiday. what to expect in the next year of his papacy. first, this special holiday message. hello. this is pfc dylan vitsky.
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[ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ i'm richard lui. here's a quick look at some of the top stories making news. chase is easing restrictions it placed on customer who is used debit cards at target stores during a recent security breach. chase customers can now withdraw up to $250 a day in cash up from $100 and spend up to $1,000 a day on purchases, up from $350. previous limits had been a little bit lower. now the breach led to the theft of information from about 40 million credit and debit card accounts. the california judge ruled that a teenaged girl left brain-dead after tonsil surgery will remain on life support until december 30th. the judge also ordered a second examination of the 13-year-old girl. the girl's family wants to keep her hooked up to a respirator and moved to a different facility. nearly 250 seniors at a
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wisconsin high school have to retake a calculus test after suspected cheating. the wisconsin state journal reports that students in middletown used cell phones to take pictures of the tests and then shared and sold those photos with other students. the school district is investigating. those students have yet to be disciplined. we continue to watch nasa's spacewalk. live pictures from 200 miles above. a new coolant pump on the international space station is being put in right now. astronauts have been working on this for nearly three hours. nbc's jay barbree has been following it all for us. jay, as we're watching some of these live pictures, that cooling pump, it's like 800 pounds, a little less than that, right? about the size of a refrigerator. >> that's correct, richard. in fact, it's 760 earth pounds up there, of course in weightlessness of course 760 pounds of mass. anybody can push it along with a little finger. you see threat on the end of the robot arm. they took it off okay.
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now they're moving it to get it in position, and once they get it anchored where it's supposed to be and they flip on the pump, if it all works they'll be through with the job. everything will be back up to normal. >> so, jay, that's on the left-hand side there. right? that's the new pump we're seeing on the left-hand side that they're putting in? >> that is absolutely correct. they added on another truss. they're moving it over there in position right now. they're running a little bit behind, but everything's going real well and they hope to wrap up the whole job today, richard. >> now, jay, they had those issues earlier with the water developing in the space suits. they were retrofitting them for the first couple of walks. is that completely done now? >> yeah. it's done. there's really been no issue from saturday. they had a switch sort of out of place. that was all. but they have taken all the precautions that they need. everything is working fine. suits are fine, all that stuff. also for the children, richard, we just got another report about 15 minutes ago from the
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astronauts. they said when they went past the north pole that santa was still loading his sleigh. they're a little concerned because it looks like he's got so many toys that he might have a little difficulty launching but all the reindeer are in good shame. when he launches and heads this way we'll let you know. >> i'm sure he gave the astronauts a thumbs up there as well and then so did the ast nauts, right? >> that's right, richard. >> that's the protocol up in space nowadays. so, they need this cooling pump so they can get delivery of supplies. right? they're not going to allow supplies to go up to the international space station until they replace that pump. >> that's right. in other words, they have two coolant loops on that space station. and the one just backs up the other. so one goes down. they have to get it back up. they have the parts there. and once they do, they'll be able to have the next delivery
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of pargo come up and they'll take off the supplies, send out the trash, do all the things that they do. >> all right. great stuff. nbc's jay barbree is going to continue to watch what's happening 200 miles up with that refrigerator. talk to you later. >> thank you, richard. >> what many have considered an out of this world idea, washington could take up a minimum wage proposal in 2014. the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour. that's an annual income of about $15,000 for a full-time worker. let's bring in jack temple, a policy analyst at the national employment law project. jack, good tuesday to you. the real value of the federal minimum wage as you've been watching has dropped by, what, about a third over the past four decades. when you look at that information, why is there so much resistance to raise the minimum wage when you look at those points of data? >> well, i think there's actual lay real growing consensus, actually, in fact, an overwhelming majority of voters now are calling for a federal
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minimum wage increase if for no other reason that the core of the u.s. economy is beginning to be defined by low-wage jobs. we've seen over the last years that even as the unemployment rate has declined in many parts of the country, low-wage industries like fast food, like retail, like the restaurant industry, are really making up the bulk of new job growth. and so i think actually to the extent that, you know, low wage jobs continue to make up the bulk of the economic recovery, to the extent that more americans find themselves relying on low-wage work to make ends meet, there's going to be real pressure on congress and on state legislatures to raise wages. they're not doing it on their own. >> when we look at this, jack, some states are taking the lead here. we've got 13 states on this map that are raising their minimum wages at the beginning of 2014. of those states, the highest rate will be washington state at $9.32 an hour. is that a living wage at that rate? >> i think that there is a number of ways to look at this.
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i think what we've seen over the last year as you've noted, obviously, growing numbers of workers in many industries i mentioned, fast food and retail, calling for a $15 wage. i think what we've seen over the next year is that a growing number of taxpayers and businesses, the public as a whole is really going to start to have the backs of those workers as well because we're starting to see the costs show um of the low-wage business model in the economy. taxpayers are concerned that low-paid workers and fast food and retail workers have to rely on public assistance in order to make ends meet. actually other businesses, particularly small businesses, are concerned that low wages paid by these large retailers, large restaurant companies, are meeting less spending, meaning weaker sales revenue. >> you add some of those critics of the minimum wage are saying you should instead focus on the earned income tax credit to relieve some of the shish shoes that this end of the socioeconomic scale are dealing with. is it a collection of all these
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ideas, minimum wage hike, earned income tax credit and other assistance from the government? >> i think the earned income tax credit and the minimum wage are key complementary policies to each other. the earned income tax credit obviously is a really important source of assistance for low income families across the country. when you raise the minimum wage, you ensure employers are paying a decent wage as well. we have a public commitment to raising wages and a commitment as well. that's been shown to reduce poverty to an effective degree. >> jack temple from the national employment job project, thanks for your time. quite a year for pope francis. in nine short months his humility has landed him at the center of the world stage and on the cover of "time" as person of the year. his actions have spoken volumes. we all remember his embrace of 8-year-old dominic of rhode island on easter sunday. and this holiday dominic's mother is still in awe of that
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unscripted moment. >> it felt like a little kiss from heaven. all the people that were in st. peter's square, my son, you know, who is a person that many people just look over, was kissed. >> now, the pope has also displayed his signature um close and personal approach, snapping selfies with tourists, sharing the stage with a scene-stealing little boy, and washing the feet of dieetainees in a youth priso. here with me now to reflect on this papacy, father john vanbrook from new jersey. thanks for being here. >> merry christmas, richard. >> to you as well. what's been the most powerful you think that pope francis has already done? >> the most powerful thing he's done is he's the pope of the personal encounter. you see this replayed just in the segment you just gave. he wants to encounter people on a personal level. and all of us, whether we are christian or not, encourages us
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to encounter people at that personal level, to be as he less less self-reverential. >> what will be next for him? >> i think he'll continue to model for us what some people call the franciscan revolution but might be better called the franciscan evolution because he's not commanding. he simply does and wants us to follow what he does, to imitate him, which is just an imitation of jesus. he's called for -- he has spoken on many occasions about the globalization of indifference and the impersonal dictatorship of the current economic systems in the world. he says we need to counter that by what he calls a revolution of tenderness. >> what might he do in the future regarding women many the church? >> well, he's already said that he wants to have women have a greater role in the church. he's ruled out priesthood, and just the other day through someone said that he'd ruled out cardinals, female cardinals. but i think he's talking about
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bringing women into theological circles as consulters, as members of the congregations in rome that make decisions for the worldwide church, and i think he would like to see women involved at a greater level even in the national conferences throughout the world. women are highly involved at the parish level. any ordinary parish like my own, most of the people you find in leadership at the parish are women, but they stop at that level. they haven't moved beyond that. >> there's an opinion piece in "usa today" that says, "the most influential religious leader on the planet has created a template apublicable in the very secular world of american politics." do you think there's a lesson for politicians to learn from what he is doing? >> absolutely. in september he gave homily and said politics and the social doctrine of the church is the highest form of charity because it is at the service of the common good, and each of us has something to contribute to the common good of all. it come ports with what plato spoke -- you know, in the original purist form of politics, politics is service to
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the citizens of your country. >> you saw the video of the emeritus pope as well as pope francis together. just seeing that picture, that video, was quite amazing to me. i don't know about you but seeing two popes together. >> yeah. one spoke about the dictatorship of relativism. this one has taken a step further, the dictatorship of unjust economic systems and the impersonalization of the economy, just spoke about a few moments ago on your broadcast, about the minimum wage, how many people are kept at the very bottom. and this pope has spoken out on numerous occasions about that, that we have this growing gap between the rich and the poor and how that gap needs to be narrowed, not widened. >> amazing picture right there. thank you so much, father, for your time today. >> thank you. the top news searches of 2013. we've got the good, the bad, and some ugly.
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all right. so the crowds are picking up this morning on the day before
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christmas as shoppers in new york and around the country try to wrap up their holiday shopping. some folks just want to come to 30 rock to get a little ice-skating. why not? families gathering and talking holiday. some will ask the question as you get together, i have no -- will ask you several questions as you go along such as, you know, with the holiday week itself. some will ask a question, some will answer i have no idea, and then what to you do? you go out and search the internet for that. right? so valerie cohens is a consumer trends expert for ask.com. i was going to start to do a search to find out what i should be saying next on that introduction. but i think i finally got it out. so you have looked at what the top searches have been. i'll just read some of those quickly. you've broken down your top searches into categories. for news, the royal baby, the boston marathon bombing, the crisis in syria topped that list. what type of questions were asked regarding those topics? >> so, you know, we at ask.com
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get 100 million users a month asking questions. really for what we saw this year spike tremendously is what is a royal baby's name? also in the celebrity realm we saw why did kim kardashian and kanye west name their baby north? really those two events for better or worse kind of defined what was on america's minds this year. >> we look at syria. what does that tell us about american minds, that we don't know what syria is or we are very aware now of global issues around us? what did you find? >> i think we are more aware of global issues. the internet has become sort of a lifeline to find out information immediately. with the boston marathon bombing, you know, that story really gripped the nation, and people wanted to know where is the suspect hiding, where was he found, and the internet really is the place to go to get that information immediately and get that instant gratification. >> politics, topping that list,
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the government shutdown, nsa leaker snoeld snoed a eer edwar california's proposition 8. what were those questions like? >> the government shutdown, it's been around 20 years since he've seen a precedent for that. i think people were confused. people didn't know what that meant, wondering how that affected them. the other thing that we really saw emerge is a concern about user privacy so the question is, you know, is the nsa spying on me, you know, where is edward snowden, what was, you know, the sentence for bradley manning. people are more aware than ever of their own personal privacy and whether it is or could be compromised by today's sort of systems and technologietechnolo. >> you talked about celebrities. let's do a little bit more of that. we're all celebrity crazed at some level i guess. the top searches were kanye, kim kardashian's baby, north west, miley cyrus and cory mon teaff.
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>> when it comes to celebrity searches it's the impact. for miley we're looking at the top questions asked. the top question asked was what did she do at the vmas, which speaks to the fact that had huge social appeal, went viral on social network, and drove a lot of search volume. >> valley cohens, you have a good new year. >> thank you. you too. it's going to come up at the dinner table this holiday week, the duck dynasty controversy. how to handle your relatives if they're on the other side of the political and social spectrum. "stubborn love" by the lumineers did you get my email? i did. so what did you think of the house? did you see the school ratings? oh, you're right. hey babe, i got to go. bye daddy! have a good day at school, ok? ...but what about when my parents visit? ok.
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so just hours from now, millions of us will be sitting down to christmas eve dinner with our families. and if the possibility of political charged conversations and awkward confrontations has you quaking in your snow boots, don't panic. we brought from steven petro, author to the complete guide to gay and lesbian manners and
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civil behavior column for "the new york times." if we manage to dodge that awkward conversation over a meal at thanksgiving, we've got more meals ahead of us, don't we, where this still might happen. and thanks to social media, the researchers at the pew center find that 40% of our friends hold political beliefs that do surprise us, that we do not expect. so in those situations, what do you suggest? >> yes, absolutely, richard. and good christmas eve day to you. i guess i'm not surprised by the last segment that we didn't hear civility in the top search terms, did we. >> no. >> so yes. it was kind of surprising this pew study that showed that 40 of us are surprised by our friends and families' political views and we really owe that to what facebook and twitter are showing us. in the old days what we didn't know, we didn't know. but now we do. so we spend the year defriending, blocking, hiding, inflaming each other and then all of a sudden it's christmas eve dinner or christmas day and
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i'm sitting next to aunt alice who i defriended. what do you do then, right? >> so has social media made it easier or more difficult? you could actually go to their facebook page and find out what their views might be before actually sitting down next to them, right? >> well, you certainly can, and i think one of the benefits of the old days before social media was that we didn't actually know everyone's point of view on all of these topics, like "duck dynasty" or obamacare or same-sex marriage. so now we do when we sit down to the table. and a lot of times there have been rough elbows during the year. so you're sitting next to your nearest and dearest and you may have called them out at some point. so i think there are a couple of rules for these holidays that we're all well served by. the first is agree to disagree. you know, the point of coming together as a family is not to win. we're not running for office. it's to celebrate and to be together. i think another rule is don't
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bring up topics that you know are going to be provocative or really divisive. in my in-laws family where i'm going tonight, that's obamacare. in some other families, it's going to be same-sex marriage. you generally know the hot buttons so stay away from them. >> is it practical to think that you're going to try to sway -- let's say you do decide to bring up an issue that might be controversial or might be too late. you look at the cheney family where in their family they have different views on something. do you choose battles because you know they're important issues to you or your family? >> well, you know, i always say choose battles and for the cheneys, i'm kind of sorry for them if this all really spilled out into public this year. that's going to be a hard holiday dinner. but i think it's important to remember that you don't really change people's minds by bludgeoning them to your point of view. in the process of doing all of the social media, we've learned
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to be very sort of sassy and smart and snarky but we kind of lost the art of conversation, which means how do you listen to somebody? how do you talk with someone, not just sort of at them? and we need to do some more of that as we sit down to the table. >> now, in your book -- >> let me also give you my -- >> sure, go ahead. >> go ahead. sorry, richard. >> i was going to say in your book that you offer some suggestions for members of the lgbt community who might be coming home with a same-sex partner for the very first time on this holiday. and you say, first of all, try to avoid that. but then if you do end up in that situation, be sure someone has your back. you also say kindness, respect and patience are your key and you also say you don't have to make a big announcement. >> yes. a lot of readers have asked me is christmas or the holidays the right time to come out to your family. i say really the answer is it's not a great time because there's just so much else going on, you don't want to add to that. so try to do it before. now that we're up to december
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24th, i'd suggest waiting until maybe the day after christmas to have a heartfelt talk like that. >> steven petrow, thank you for your time today. that will do it for this hour. i'm richard lui. kristen welker picks it up next with christmas in the dark. luckily we've got lights but a whole lot of others don't this morning. a winter weather update coming your way after the break. [ male announcer ] playing in the nfl is tough.
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mission is already accomplished. and pope francis prepares for his first christmas mass as pontiff by meeting with his predecessors. our top political story is a last-minute shopping spree for health insurance. over a million people logged on to the government's health care portal on monday. the record-setting crush of last-minute shoppers prompted the white house to create a 24-hour grace period on its deadline for new health plans that start on january 1st. the move has also sparked yet another round of criticism of the affordable care act. joining us now is nbc news political editor mark murray. thanks for joining us again. >> good morning, kristen. >> so let's start right there with this so-called grace period. will there be a fallout from this, as you have already heard republicans pouncing, saying this is just another indication that this law is not ready for primetime? >> of course republicans are going to pounce on any type of hiccup, either minor or major in all of this. kristen, one of the reasons behind this was just the sheer
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amount of demand. when the obama administration ended up making its fixes to its website, it was doing so to actually have 50,000 simultaneous users and 800,000 users in one day. but the amount of demand we ended up seeing twice that amount. peter alexander ended up reporting that nearly two million people ended up visiting the website yesterday, and of course that triggered a queueing mechanism where people got e-mails back to come back at a later time and this seemed to be all about capacity. they wanted to make sure that if you tried to access the site yesterday and were unable to complete the application that you had today to finish it up. >> all right, mark, let's hear what white house communications director jim palmieri had to say and i'm get your reaction on the other side. >> because we had such a crush of visitors we wanted to make sure people trying to sign up would get covered by january 1 and wanted to add a cushion so
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if someone tried to enroll today and not successful and able to do that, we'll have another 24 hours so we can process those people. >> so that's the administration's deadline or explanation, rather. how critical is this deadline, mark, and obviously they wanted to get about three million people signed up. that's not going to happen. but we are seeing enrollment numbers swell, that's for sure. >> well, that's right. this enrollment deadline wasn't important unless you're somebody who wants that insurance to kick in come january 1st. if you want to make sure you're not sick on january 1st, january 2nd, you get insurance, then getting on yesterday and finishing it up today is very important. but the really big deadline, kristen, is march 31st. that's the end of the six-month enrollment period where you have to be able to have health insurance or you end up getting a penalty when you end up doing your taxes. and so that's -- there's still three months to go. as you mentioned, enrollment is up right now and it does show that the website is working in a much better way than it was in
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october or november. the challenge for the administration is just to make sure that there are not a lot more hiccups down the road. that it shows that they have success stories to point to. there's also a challenge for republicans as well. a lot of them say this program is flawed in its dna, it can't work. but seeing the demand, seeing the enrollment numbers go up exponentially it does undercut the argument that the republicans are making that this thing can't ever work. >> mark, just a political question for you, as you look toward 2014. there's a lot of concern that the botched rollout of this health care website could have implications for those who are facing re-election. could democrats actually lose the senate because of this botched rollout and what does the administration have to do to prevent that from happening? >> if democrats lose the senate it's probably because the playing field benefits the republican party. the major senate contests are in states like arkansas, alaska, north carolina, all states where president obama in his best day
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of 2012 winning re-election could not end up getting a majority of the vote. so that benefits republicans. this was a short-term winner for republicans. the question is in the long term is this still a story we're talking about? i think that remains to be seen. >> that is the critical question. all right, mark murray, as always, thank you so much. >> thanks, kristen. well, the white house is also likely keeping an eye on the latest comments from nsa leaker edward snowden. the american exile responsible for the biggest security breach in u.s. history may be treating himself to something of a victory lap. in a new interview published today in "the washington post" snowden said, quote, the mission's already accomplished. i already won. as soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that i had been trying to do was validated. the remarks underscored just one of the big challenges facing president obama as he heads into 2014. joining us m.j. leaf and david, reporter for "the washington
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post." thanks for being here. we appreciate it. >> good morning. >> david, i just want to read you what the white house is saying and get your reaction to what we're hearing from edward snowden. this is from caitlin hayden. she said mr. snowden faces felony charges here in the united states and should be returned to the u.s. as soon as possible where he will be afforded due process and all the protection of our criminal justice system. so that is from the white house, continuing to urge him to come home and face justice. obviously the timing of this comes after a panel has made 46 recommendations about how to change the nsa to the president. what do you make of this? >> kristen, i have no inside information at the "post" about this interview but it looks like snowden is spiking the football and says mission accomplished. a couple of things stand out to me in this interview. number one, snowden is saying i'm not trying to bring down the nsa, i'm trying to make the nsa better so he's almost lecturing this agency that he worked for to say that you've got to clean up your act and those of us inside recognize that. one of the other things that stood out for me is that he said that along the way he did raise
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red flags inside the system. he's been accused by the higher managers at nsa of being reckless and sort of a leaker and a hacker who did this improperly. but he's saying, hey, i talked to my bosses that we needed better security, that we can't also allow this kind of sweeping engagement of all people's personal records and files and i tried to raise that up the flag pole and no one listened. he also said he raised it past fellow employees and gauged people's reaction gauging this. so it's interesting how he's saying the agency is denying these things. >> that stood out to me as well. that's certainly the first time that we have heard that, that snowden took some of his concerns to the higher-ups. m.j., i want to read you a little more of what snowden had to say. he's actually calling out some lawmakers by name. he said dianne feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings. mike rogers elected me when he kept these programs hidden.
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the system failed comprehensive in each level of oversight, each level of responsibility that should have addressed this abdicated their responsibility, essentially making the argument that he had a responsibility to do this because no one else was providing the proper oversight. what do you make of that argument, m.j.? >> kristen, i think one argument that he made along those lines, i think the line was i wasn't interested in changing society, i was merely interested in getting the information out there to society so that if it wanted, if it decided that it wanted to make a change, it had the information to do so. if you're looking at it from that angle and consider that his goal maybe was to bring information about the nsa surveillance program out there, he certainly has accomplished that. if he says mission accomplished on that specific point, then he probably is right. i mean you look back on the press conference that the president had the other day, you know, probably no other topic other than obama care was discussed more at this press
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conference than the nsa and also just the broader question of whether this president is committed to transparency. so i think going forward, you know, what the obama administration ends up doing to perhaps make changes to the nsa's programs i think actually will speak more broadly to the question of is this the president who is committed to running things in a very transparent way, which is a promise that he made when he first came into this white house. >> i want to just get both of your reactions to where things stand on the health care law right now. quickly i want to take a look at the latest setbacks, tweaks to this law that the administration has issued, the hardship exemption has been expanded, small business site enrollment has been pushed back, 2014 open enrollment has been pushed back, just to name a few. david, what do you make of where the administration stands right now in trying to change this narrative? it doesn't seem like they have quite gotten -- reversed the course on this, in other words.
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it still seems to be a botched rollout. >> they're not there yet, kristen. you talked earlier to mark. he made a point and you made the point that enrollments are growing and surging. that's the good news. the question is, though, as they keep pushing back some of these deadlines and making exceptions for these hardship cases, does that undermine more of the confidence in how this program goes forward. there are now some concerns not enough young people will enroll to keep the premiums down and some people could have sticker shock as they realize that whatever low cost premiums they do by, turns out they have higher deductibles. so these could continue to make concerns for this white house as they keep going. i think what the white house is trying to do is say we're going to try to get as many people in by the end of the year as we can. >> and of course the enrollment of young people will be key to making this law work. thank you both for joining us this morning, we appreciate it. >> thank you. happy holidays. >> and to you, happy holidays as well. an up likely place to spend
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christmas eve. outer space. today two nasa astronauts will we on a six and a half hour space walk to repair the cooling system at the international space station. mission control says it's not worried about the space walk interfering with santa's work saying, quote, we are not working any conjunctions or maneuvers for a sleigh being pulled by a reindeer and occupied by a jolly man with a beard and a suit over the next two days. mission control said the skies are all clear. this is nasa's second space walk in just four days. nbc's tom costello has the story. >> right over the heart of south america. >> reporter: the mission, 260 miles above the earth, got under way just before 4:00 a.m. pacific time this morning. >> okay, guys, as you can tell, we're coming into orbital sunlight now so configure as needed. >> reporter: two astronauts traveling at 17,000 miles per hour and working to replace a critical cooling pump that failed nearly two weeks ago,
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forcing the space station to conserve power and rely on just one cooling system. >> i don't know if you guys believe in miraclings, but i got the hitch on the first track. >> reporter: saturday's space walk went so well. >> we're about an hour and a half ahead. >> reporter: nasa was able to scrub the second of three planned space walks. >> take it easy for just a few minutes for us. >> reporter: instead, they're planning to finish the job today. mike hopkins on just his second space walk out on the canada arm to remove the large replacement cooling unit into the spot they cleared on saturday. >> you can't move them around with your fingertip, they have to wrestle them, hold them and actually move them a very substantial distance from their storage slots down the side of the space station to where they need to be installed. >> reporter: all told, it should take about six hours. today's walk delayed a day, so the more senior rick could switch suits. after an exhausting walk on saturday, back in the air lock,
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he actually let a small amount of water leak into a part of his suit designed to dissipate heat. >> it was an accident. the crew hit a switch and they quickly within seconds reset the switch. >> reporter: nothing like the water problems that caused an italian astronaut to nearly drown in his helmet last july and led nasa to outfit today's space walkers with homemade snorkels. joining us now is jay barberi. jay, thanks for joining us. what is the very latest? last time i checked in with you, you said things are looking good. is that still the case? >> they are looking good. in fact they are bolting the new one in place. they moved it over with the arm. the new pump system is going in place now. as soon as they have it in there, all the connections made, then they will try to fire it up, that should happen in an hour or so. if it's all working, job done. so everything is looking good again this morning, as tom costello said in his piece there. things could not be going better. i just want to say, kristen,
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apparently you and i are the only two people at nbc that know how to dress for christmas. >> well, you certainly do, jay, in your christmas red. you look great and we appreciate it. and a very hop haappy holidays you. we will keep checking in with you throughout the day. >> all right, kristen. same-sex weddings are continuing this christmas eve in utah. richard shelby denied a request by the state to stop marriages while it appeals an earlier ruling. last friday shelby overturned utah's ban on same-sex marriages saying it was unconstitutional. the state is expected to take its appeal to the higher circuit court. ♪ ♪ here comes santa claus, here comes santa claus ♪ i've got a big date, but my sinuses are acting up. it's time for advil cold and sinus. [ male announcer ] truth is that won't relieve all your symptoms. hmm? [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer plus-d
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the obama administration looks like it's sliding another deadline this week, but this time it's for afghanistan. just one month after giving afghanistan president hamid karzai a year-end deadline to sign a bilateral security agreement with the u.s., "the new york times" that the white house is backing off. for weeks u.s. officials have been warning karzai that if he refused to sign the accord by december 31st, the u.s. could pull out all remaining forces as it did this iraq in 2011, but now it appears the administration's calculus has changed. saying, quote, it looks like karzai is calling us out. this is from the "times." an american official told the "times." if we want a deal, we're going to have to wait. joining us now is former u.s. ambassador mark ginsburg. thank you for joining us this morning, we appreciate it. >> merry christmas. >> and to you, merry christmas to you as well. so let's start right there with
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afghanistan. reports that the administration seems to be easing this deadline after threatening that they would resort to a zero troop option if karzai didn't sign that security agreement. does this make the united states look weak? does it weaken its leverage? or is this just smart policy? >> i think it comes down to smart policy. first of all, we still have troops in afghanistan. secondly, even after any agreement, we can't possibly do what happened in iraq, pull out and look at the countries blowing up in iraq. karzai is an irascible and very difficult person to manage, and frankly the fact that we're having to deal with him anymore is a challenge i think to most americans, given the fact that he's extorted us enough times now and now is trying to extort more out of the united states in return for this agreement. but karzai is not the issue here. the issue is american honor in afghanistan insofar as it relates to what it is we're trying to do and what we're going to do when we finally leave. it's not so much that karzai is
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going to force us to stay as much as we know that we have to do what is necessary to protect american interests in afghanistan, and that first and foremost is the american presence there that has to be protected. >> well, what should the deadline be then? how should the united states proceed to make sure that its interests are protected, as you say? >> well, i think it's just a matter of weeks now. i don't think that karzai can hold us hostage much longer. the status of forces agreement that the united states wants to negotiate with afghanistan is crucial. look, let's be very clear here, if karzai and his government is prepared to put the afghany people in jeopardy as a result of his own internal ma machinations, president obama has made it very clear he wants to close the military presence there. i don't think it's going to be more than a month or two longer.
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>> the iraqi minister met with karzai and advised him to take the deal. does that impact his decision-making process at all, do you think, or does it have no impact? >> kristen, it had to be a wake-ul call to karzai from the foreign minister of iraq who basically said to him if you're dumb enough not to enter into a status of forces agreement and we failed to do so and look what has happened to our country, which is now in major sectarian strife, it's going to be your problem and it's a problem that you should avoid at all costs. so that's why i think in some respects the administration is giving karzai, shall we say, more time to reflect on the conversation that he had with the iraqi foreign minister. >> i want to turn to south sudan. as you know, that situation seems to be potentially careening toward civil war. how likely is it that south sudan will find itself in an actual civil war? the united states obviously monitoring the situation quite closely, trying to get americans out. >> well, it's a terrible situation. here's a classic example of another country that newly
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independent, south sudan, very wealthy and rich in oil, is now in a tribal confrontation between two tribes, and the vice president and the president are leading competing forces against each other and people are -- atrocities are being committed left and right. the united nations is extraordinarily concerned, as is the president, as well as there's tens of thousands of civilians caught in a crossfire. look, america doesn't have a direct interest in here strategically but the united nations has an important role to play to try to protect these people from being massacred on both sides. >> ambassador mark ginsburg, thank you for all of that great information. we appreciate it. >> it's good to be with you, thank you. coming up, it's beginning to look like a holiday mess. ice, frigid temps and massive power outages. we'll get the very latest forecast on the deep freeze, all when we come right back. stay with us.
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hi, i'm specialist ellick from afghanistan. i want to say merry christmas to my family and friends. i love you guys and miss you guys. i'll be home soon. i want to say i love you, jonathan. happy one-year anniversary. i'll be home soon. i love you. i will be home. how are things with the new guy? all we do is go out to dinner. that's it? i mean, he picks up the tab every time, which is great...what? he's using you. he probably has a citi thankyou card and gets 2x the points at restaurants. so he's just racking up points with me. some people... ugh! no, i've got it. the citi thankyou preferred card. now earn 2x the points on dining out and entertainment, with no annual fee.to apply, go to citi.com/thankyoucards
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across the country, throughout new england and the midwest hundreds of thousands of americans are in the dark today after a massive ice storm knocked out their power this week. the worst of the storm appears to be over and utility companies are working to restore power, but nearly 400,000 homes and businesses in michigan, upstate new york, maine and vermont are still without electricity this morning, making this christmas eve a very cold one. joining us now is the weather channel's maria la rosa. so good morning to you, maria, thanks to being here. so what kind of weather can we expect over the next couple of
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days? it's shaping up to be a tough holiday for some folks across the country. >> oh, absolutely, kristen. unfortunately, a lot of those areas from maine, vermont, michigan, won't get above freezing until this weekend at the earliest. so unfortunately we do have that. part of the problem is we're kind of stuck in this. we'll see a series of these quick-moving systems but it will be giving us a white christmas in other areas. looking at current conditions right now, you have some snow showers. these are lake-effect. these are the cold air rushing over the warm lake waters and that's triggering some of the snow showers. but we have another system that will be sweeping on down. that's the reason for the winter weather advisory. this is not going to be a show-stopper snow but just enough, we're talking a few inches as we get in through tonight and tomorrow. by tomorrow it's a white christmas for chicago with the actual snowfall and by tomorrow looking at places like detroit picking up a few inches. there will be spots along the eastern shows of lake michigan
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that could pick up half a foot of snow. >> chicago sounds like the place to be, a white christmas. maria, thank you. well, wall street has one week left in the trading year. are the markets headed for a correction next year? we'll get the 2014 outlook from cnbc next. plus as the national jobs numbers improve, the unemployment picture for recent veterans is noticeably worse. we'll talk about a pair of lawmakers who are looking to change that. that's just ahead. you got the bargain kind? you need a bunch of those to clean this mess. then i'll use a bunch of them. then how is that a bargain? [ sighs ] no, that's too many -- it's not gonna fit! whoa! cascade kitchen and math counselor. here's a solution. one pac of cascade complete cleans tough food better than six pacs of the bargain brand combined. so you can tackle tough messes the first time. that is more like it. how are you with taxes?
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do we expect this growth to continue? i know that there has been some skepticism and we have a graphic of the growth actually, 4.1%, third quarter 3.6%. what are your predictions looking forward? >> certainly this year as you can see from the graphic the momentum has been build. as for going into next year, the hope is that we will continue to build on that. you would logically assume that the fed would not have made that decision to start pulling back on its extraordinary steam if it didn't feel the economy was strong enough and today we got another strong economic number. we got durable goods for november. they were up 3.5%. that was far better than the 2.5% gain expected. capital goods orders are picking up. retail sales for november, personal spending, they were both better than expected. so there certainly are some good signs out there and you might have heard this week the international monetary fund, the imf saying u.s. economic growth is likely to speed up next year.
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it's raising its 2014 forecast from 2.5% to a higher number that we will get in january, but 3% or more, kristen, really is seen as the gdp number that we want on a sustained basis. >> mandy, let's talk about what the fed did. they eased their bond buying program. what do you make of that? what could the impact be? and could we start to see interest rates going up? >> we're certainly starting to see the impact on interest rates and of course people are starting to ask the multi billion dollar question, and that is as you see interest rates going up, can stocks also rise. naturally when you see record high after record high like we're seeing in the stock markets right now, you would expect at least a pause is healthy, but a correction of 5% to 10% is a completely different thing so if those bond yields continue to rise as the fed continues to pull back or to taper, as we call it, it is possible it could weigh on stocks. a number of people i've spoken to we'll probably be fine in the
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first half and then the second half is a different story if the 10-year treasury yield breaks out, stocks could have a rockier time. >> mandy, we saw congress for the first time in a long time find compromise on a budget at the end of the year, but they're going to be dealing with some big issues when they come back. the debt ceiling. if we see the type of divisiveness, partisan divides that we have seen in the past, could that slow down the growth that we're seeing here? >> potentially. and naturally when there are those kind of toings and froings that we see in washington, wall street takes notice. but i think we can say increasingly wall street is starting to ignore what's been going on in washington, because i guess i don't want to put it too bluntly, but it's starting to get used to its dysfunction. naturally if there's any kind of further impasse, then it could have an impact on the stock market, but that just does remain to be seen. >> i think that's a good way to
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put it. all right, mandy drury, thanks so much. >> thank you. while things are looking positive for markets, how is the job outlook for veterans? the unemployment rate for veterans is 6.9%, but for those who have served since 9/11, the number stands at 10%, far higher than the national average. joining me in studio is new york state senator greg ball, who leads the efforts to create equality jobs for returning veterans, and from my hometown of philadelphia, former congressman, iraq vet and msnbc contributor, patrick murphy. thanks to both of you for ginning me on this christmas eve and happy holidays. >> merry christmas. >> thanks, chris. and come back home to philadelphia to celebrate the holiday. >> i will. i will come say hello at some point, absolutely. senator, i wanted to start with you. you have introduced a bill to give disabled veterans preferences on state contracts. it has made its way through the senate, hasn't gotten through the assembly yet. what are some of the challenges and why do you argue this is the right piece of legislation? >> this is a really big deal.
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when you look at the veterans in that post 9/11 environment, over 10% unemployment. when you ask them, 50% say we're having a very hard time transitioning back into the economy. we do a very good job of telling 18 and 19-year-old men and women, getting them to raise their right hand and say i'm willing to fight and die for this country. we do not do a very good job transitioning them back into the economy. new york state is behind. we need governor cuomo to join us in our effort. the assembly refuses to push this forward. we're talking about 44 other states that are leading the way and new york state is lagging behind. we have millions of veterans and hundreds of thousands of service-disabled veterans who need meaningful, meaningful employment. and this bill will allow them to tap into a multi billion dollar economy. >> patrick, let me get you to react to this legislation. we're just talking about one effort to improve employment amongst veterans. as you know nationwide the president, the obama
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administration has taken steps, but it still hasn't been enough. so react to this legislation and then what more needs to happen nationally? >> well, kristen, first i just want to say i applaud senator ball's efforts and i stand with him to help out in any way i can. he's a republican, i'm a former democrat -- well, a democrat, so this isn't a partisan issue so i applaud those efforts. more needs to be done in the private sector as well. as far as the federal government, kristen, you see the federal employees this past year, 40% of the new hires in the federal government are veterans. that is tremendous. the highest mark ever. that's positive. but the private sector needs to step up as well to the table and make sure that we're recruiting these great americans coming out of the service, these great men and women who have leadership capability, who love our country and are ready to devote themself in the workplace to achieve great things. >> let's put up some of the numbers so folks know what we are talking about.
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the unemployment rates for veterans, again, in october, 6.9% but for those who served since september 11th, 10%. for gulf war disabled veterans, 12.5%. patrick, what seems to be at the root of the issue? i know that there are potentially some transitional problems. you talk about the private sector needing to do more, needing to make a stronger effort to recruit returning veterans. >> yeah. kristen, i will tell you, ten years ago today i was in iraq in my second deployment. and when i came home and transitioned out of ft. bragg, north carolina, basically i got a discharge papers and i went back to pennsylvania. now at least there's a transition program where it's three to five days where they give them some type of training and make sure, because we spend months recruiting these heroes, training them to be great leaders in the military and then when we leave them, there's no
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real transition. so at least it's something. i do believe that more needs to be done. we need to link them up with local chambers of commerce. i know the chamber of commerce has a higher hero program but at a local level we need to give them one person, when they go back home to touch base with, to help them and make sure that that transition isn't just when they're leaving right there to do a resume, it's a transition months in advance. >> and, senator ball, it's not just the issue of unemployment, it's also the issue of health care and then you have a number of veterans waiting on a backlog for veterans benefits. >> well, veterans are not asking for a handout. they're looking for an opportunity. and if you give veterans an opportunity, these are men and women coming back from horrific scenarios where they have provided leadership in real ways and kept people safe. so you allow them to go into that private sector, they're going to create jobs and so the congressman is absolutely right, there's only so much the government can do. in new york state we need to match that federal said-aside
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and allow vets to get in that private sector. people are saying we want to hire vets. we want to hire service-disabled veterans in new york state but they do not have a conduit to do it because new york state, dereliction of duty, refuses to match that federal set-aside. so veterans will stick together, they will accomplish great things and the number one thing we can do for a vet is make sure they have meaningful employment. thank you so much, senator, for being here. and patrick, thank you so much. happy holidays to both of you and also to all of those who are serving right now overseas. cracker barrel reverses course on its decision to remove "duck dynasty" items from its shelves. while some conservatives double down on their duck outrage, others may have forgotten where all the controversy started in the first place. we'll explain and discuss all of that coming up right after a quick break. what if we could keep enough plastic waste to cover mt. rainier out of landfills each year?
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conservatives and outraged cracker barrel customers can claim a small victory now that their online social media war has forced cracker barrel restaurant and old country store to reverse its decision to take "duck dynasty" items off their shelves. last week a & e suspended "duck dynasty" star phil robertson over his controversial comments about gays and african-americans. joining me in studio is keith boykin and from washington, d.c., republican strategist rick tyler. happy holidays to both of you and thanks for being here. >> merry christmas. >> merry christmas. >> rick, i want to start with you. i'm going to read this statement from cracker barrel. they had initially pulled their items from the shelves, decided to put it back up. they say, quote, you told us we made a mistake and you weren't shy about it. you wrote, you called and took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. you flat out told us we were wrong. we listened. today we are putting all our "duck dynasty" products back in our stores and we apologize for
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offending you. so what does it say about this issue that cracker barrel initially pulled these items and then essentially caved, right, to all of this public pressure? >> well, it tells you that they overreacted and they probably should have waited a few days to see how this would play out. look, cracker barrel made a decision. i imagine it was based on a financial decision that their customers actually liked phil robertson and they agreed in some part with what he had said and they didn't like the idea that they were going to be part of the effort to punish phil robertson. so look, that's a market reaction. it's really nothing to do with freedom of speech, which is sort of misconstrued. it wasn't the government shutting down phil robertson, phil robertson still has his freedom of speech and cracker barrel decided that they thought there was probably more profit in keeping the items on the shelf than there wasn't. >> keith, do you agree? >> i completely agree, especially the freedom of speech. this is completely misconstrued
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in this debate. you have the right to stay whatever you want, the government can't stop you from saying anything. you can make racist, sexist, homo phobic statements and nobody can stop you from that. and the gop has become aligned with these issues, unfortunately, and it's kind of hurting -- it is hurting their brand except among those social conservatives who hold those views. >> and let's pick up on that point. you had sarah palin, one of the republicans who dove into this argument. take a listen to what she had to say last night. she sort of revealed that she hasn't actually read the comments. take a listen. >> in the article, and i know he's a graphic-type guy, but do you have any objection on how he said it? >> i haven't read the article. i don't know exactly how he said it. >> rick, it's sort of stunning she came out in such a strong way to defend the "duck dynasty" star and then admitted that she
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hasn't even read it. is this a statement about sarah palin or a statement about the state of our politics that you have sarah palin and others jumping on an defending something they might not fully understand. >> well, it does show you that she should go back and read the original source comments. there were some things tow look, just because we can separate this out from a free speech issue, doesn't mean it doesn't have a larger cultural context. i read it and found them to be crass, crude and unnecessary in part. but in another part he went on to say that he doesn't dislike gays. it didn't strike me that he was anti-gay. he quoted a letter that paul had written to the city of corinth over 2,000 years when he was worried about this wild and woolly city and that the church was being influenced by the culture. here we are 2,000 years later talking about exactly the same thing. so look, yes, you've got to go back and read the original comments. phil robertson has a right to
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say what he wants to say, a & e has a right to fire him. msnbc fired three people i can think of recently all who said things on the air that msnbc fired them. i support msnbc's right to do that and people in the market can decide. >> but i think, rick, the point here and what's interesting about this debate is that he has sort of gone after homosexuals and the backlash that you are seeing, does it suggest that for the republican party, it might not be politically viable to not support same-sex marriage, especially when you see states like utah, new mexico approving same-sex marriage? >> well, what you mention there, those are legal issues in the way we govern ourselves. and the way we govern ourselves should be based on some moral standard. >> but if the polls show that as well, the polls show a majority of americans now support same-sex marriage. so is this no longer a
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politically viable argument for the republican party? >> i don't think so. i think the republican party abandons its position on two issues, life and marriage, that you won't have a republican party. that's a political reality. but notice what you're saying. you're talking about legal issues and governing structure. let's just say for the sake of argument that tomorrow the court rules that same-sex marriage is legal in all the states and we have same-sex marriage in all the states and some aspects of society will celebrate. then the question becomes does the state have a right to compel the church and the individual to believe that same-sex marriage is marriage or not? and that's the issue we have. >> that's not really the question. the problem is -- >> i think that is the question. >> the problem for phil robertson is he didn't just talk about gays and lesbians, he talked about african-americans. he said we were all better off before the civil rights movement happened. somehow we weren't complaining about anything, weren't singing the blues back then, which is a complete misrepresentation and distortion of history. the republicans in 2012 lost 93% of the black vote.
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they lost 76% of the lgbt vote, 55% of the women's vote, 60% of the vote of people who were under 30. you can't win as a political party when you're losing -- >> but the democrats were putting all those rules, the jim crow loss, those were all democrats. we forget about that. >> you know which side is supportive of civil rights today and which side isn't. don't go back and change history. >> that's right, don't change history. >> the debate will continue. it's been a fascinating discussion. thanks to both of you, keith and rick, for being here. we really appreciate it. well, pope francis prepares to lead his first christmas eve mass at st. peter's, but first the new pontiff has a very important meeting. we'll have the very latest from the vatican. that's next. hi, i'm major craig holloway from afghanistan. i'd like to wish merry christmas and happy new year to my wife kim and all of my family. we'll see you soon. [ sneezes, coughs ]
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this is the first christmas pope francis will celebrate as the head of the catholic church and he's riding super high popularity. a new poll shows 88% of american catholics approve of how francis is handling his role. nbc's martin fletcher has more on christmas in vatican city. >> reporter: kristen, what a beautiful day it is here. they're expecting rain. instead record crowds are expected here in st. peter's square for the first christmas address from the man known here as the humble pope, whose official title is simply papa francesca. he's spreading cheer and good will by personal example. he's only been pope since march, but has already endeared himself to catholics and beyond, bringing the church to the people, especially the poor and the abandoned. he celebrated his birthday with four homeless people. he's embraced the disfigured and washed the feet of prisoners,
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including two muslims and two women. his modesty and compassion, traditional virtues, have won him a thoroughly modern form of affection. ten million followers on twitter. he's the most searched name on the internet. all popes choose their own papal names and pope francis broke with tradition. there have been 16 benedicts, 21 johns and only 1 pope francis. he's the first to choose the patron st. of the poor. born himself in modest circumstances, it's a long way from buenos aires to the vatican and he doesn't like everything he sees, especially the vast vatican bureaucracy and waste and corruption in the church. he suspended a german bishop who spent $40 million renovating this residence, including a bathtub for $20,000. and he shocked traditionalists by bringing in outside analysts like ernst and young and
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mckenzie. >> that's common sense. if you're going to teach as a church, you want to be able to give an example of honesty. >> reporter: he sometimes comes off as someone's greatest grand dad, but some of his comments challenge accept it faith. on gay priests, he said who am i to judge? on women in the church, he said they are essential. do his comments signal a change in catholic dogma or are they just a change in style? >> they're certainly a style change, which is simplicity. but he's not -- he's not somebody who's going to be -- who's going to be throwing out core doctrine. >> reporter: this christmas week pope francis is stressing his core message, help the poor, help the homeless. but he ended his last public prayer before christmas with another seasonal message. have a good lunch, and see you soon. kristen. >> all right, martin fletcher reporting from vatican city. thank you. that does it for me on this hour on msnbc. richard lui is up next. i'm nathan and i quit smoking with chantix.
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a drama unfolding 230 miles above the earth right now. i'm richard lui, you're watching msnbc. in this hour it looks a lot like the thriller "gravity," but this is a real-life problem houston needs solved and now. you're looking at live pictures. two astronauts continue their christmas eve mission to repair the international space station. plus, as pope francis prepares to celebrate his first christmas mass, we're learning just how popular a pontiff he is. 88% of americans believe handles hid first year as the leader of the church well. the question is can he get american catholics back into the pews. and the clock may be working against any and all of you last-minute shoppers out there but have no fear here. we have some solutions to keep
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you in good friends and family members you haven't crossed off your list. we begin this hour with a political and economic battle. this saturday, three days after christmas, 1.3 million out of work americans will lose their unemployment benefits because congress went on their holiday vacation without reauthorizing federal unemployment insurance. families like the walkers of phoenixville, pennsylvania, have a lot more to worry about this time. last january, charlie walker lost his job of 11 years. since then, he and his wife, andrea, have been downscaling. that means no restaurants, no new winter coats, no more zero balance on their credit cards for the walkers. andrea's job and charlie's $300 a week unemployment benefits have made it possible for the walkers to get by, but come saturday, it will be another story for them. the unemployment wasn't that much, but it made the difference, says andrea walker. senate democrats have said they'll come back in early january to renew unemployment benefits. new york democratic congressman elliott engle joins us right now
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in studio. good to have you here during this holiday week. you know last year jobless benefits kept, what, some 1.7 million americans out of poverty. why hasn't this been a priority this time around? >> well, it's i priority for us as democrats. the republicans who have a majority in the house refused to bring it up. there was just this budget agreement which we voted on between the house and the senate and we very much wanted unemployment benefits to be part of the agreement and republicans refused. they seem to have an attitude that people who can't get work and need unemployment benefits to survive are ripping off the system. it's really disgraceful. these people need help and we should help them. >> could democrats have done more, though, in that give and take to get that budget deal done with not a lot of fan fare, which a lot of people are surprised to see. could democrats have pushed a little bit more for this group that needs so much more help? >> i think democrats pushed very, very hard. it was a matter of what can you
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do. the senate is controlled by democrats, the house is controlled by republicans. if the house doesn't go along with it, you can't do it. many of us were outraged and we considered voting against the budget agreement. >> what was the conversation that you had had in thamerms of plan since you knew you couldn't get it into that deal? >> we're going to raise it again. i'm one of nancy pelosi's ranking members and we have our meetings in the morning and nancy was outraged and we were all outraged. i think that 95% of democrats, maybe even more feel strongly that they should be reinstated. the republicans seem to have the attitude that somehow or other people don't need this or it's a disincentive for people to go back to work. it's ridiculous. nobody wants to collect unemployment and benefits in lieu of working and making more money and feeling good about yourself and having a job. >> what will that deal look like? will it include an equal number of cuts on the budget side in terms of that negotiation that may be happening across the
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aisle? >> that's always the fight. they call it the pay fors. if you're going to pay for something, how are you going to get the money for it. of course republicans don't want to hurt the wealthy, they don't want to cut taxes. >> you're open to that then? >> well, i think that i want to protect the middle class and the working class. again, the republicans, they don't want to raise the minimum wage, they don't want to protect people who have lost their jobs. that's what government should be doing. >> what's the number, 1010? are you going to go with the senate democrats on that? >> perhaps, we'll have to just see. >> elliott engle from new york, i appreciate your time today. >> thank you. can congress do anything for the 1.3 million americans poised to lose their unemployment insurance on saturday? let's bring in from chicago former managing editor at at the the chicago tribune" jim warm and also joanne kennen. that you both for joining us. joanne, starting with you, how likely is it that congress is likely to get republicans on board to extend unemployment
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benefits, getting both sides together as the congressman and i were just talking about? >> so far we don't see a lot of sign of that. there was an agreement on the budget, it was a small agreement and we don't really see them embracing and suddenly loving each other and deciding we're going to work together on everything. so this will be a struggle. >> do you think it's going to be a struggle? and jim, john boehner, he wants matching cuts, as i was bringing up just a second ago, in order to even consider a bill with regard to this. now, even if the bill goes somewhere in the senate, does this mean the bill basically, it's done in the house, as we've seen with other issues? >> it might be. but to answer your question to the congressman, perhaps a bit more forthrightly, the answer is yes. patty murray, senator from washington, was at the table with paul ryan of wisconsin when they cut this deal. you alluded to that family, the walkers. they're among 1.3 million people, i believe, that are going to be impacted by the end
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of the extension of unemployment for the long-term jobless. it's pretty outrageous. i'll be reminded of that tonight when i go to a church pantry where i and my kids officially volunteer at that's actually a pretty nice upscale area of the north side of chicago and one of the shocking things is, as the months have gone on, richard, a lot of those people look more similar to you and me than one might imagine. a lot of folks are hurting out there and down on their luck. but it's the same john boehner who has no problem reflexively voting for $80 billion in aid for the war in afghanistan this coming year and hiking up the amount of money being spent on an aircraft carrier being built at this moment in newport news, virginia, named after the late president gerald r. ford. the overruns now put it at $13 billion. so i think both sides stand accused of rather abhorrent spending priorities. >> it seems that if you would poll most americans, they would
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see that this group needs continued support through these unemployment benefits. a "washington post" piece from this morning says republicans could face serious backlash over unemployment benefit expiration and they're looking at basically polls through four key republican districts and it shows according to the polling from ppp in this article that republicans for the most part support this too, but is it just not translating as we've seen in the past to d.c.? >> yeah, it's not translating to d.c. in any way, shape or form, particularly with folks who on the republican side who might live in mortal fear of being primaried. and for those normal people out there who don't know what that term is, hopefully, that means somebody from sort of the tea party right coming after them in a primary next year and perhaps talking about needless spending. but this is something that surely we can agree on by next year, particularly given the reality of long lines at
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pantries and nice neighborhoods on the north side of chicago with people that just look a lot like us. >> talking about tea party, rand paul calling unemployment, his words here, a disservice to workers. yesterday he tweeted a festuvus grievance along the same line. fed policies make you poorer and hurt the poor and middle class the most. ridiculous monetary policies increase the cost of goods, end quote. >> i think he has a wonderful twitter feed and we all had fun reading his tweets yesterday but his views are not entirely in sync with everybody else in the republican senate. i mean he is -- he is more conservative even than the current crop of conservatives. so there's just not a lot of coming back in january, trying to move ahead. just think about what's going on with the health care law. you're going to hear a lot about that again.
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that didn't go away. they're going to be coming back. >> even some of these lawmakers, though, this is when they start the fund-raising. this is when they start to hit the road and they have got to talk to their constituents. would this not be an issue they'd need to make a clear stance on and make a move on? >> there's a difference between what they talk about and what they do as well. some of them are open to some kind of spending that the democrats want as long as they have something on their agenda, and that's what failed in the budget talks. they came up with a deal that they could both live with. each of them had a whole list of action items. obviously the democrats had unemployment but you have to match something the other side wants in order to move ahead on what you want and that's what they haven't been able to do. >> i guess we'll see if there's going to be some seasonal good cheer in the next couple of weeks that may change an agreement there. thank you, jim, thank you, joan so much. you both have a great couple of weeks ahead. we've been getting in incredible live pictures from the international space station. for the second time in nasa history, a pair of astronauts
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are conducting a space walk on christmas eve, and they're also working, as you can see, to support them as they're making that space walk. they're hoping to give a final fix to the space station's cooling system. we're watching these live pictures and we'll check in with jay barbree coming up.
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a record-setting surge of people signing up for health insurance has prompted another fix to the affordable care act. the white house saying nearly two million people visited healthcare.gov on monday. also 250,000 plus calls were made to the affordable care act help line. to meet demand, the white house extended its deadline by 24 hours to sign up for plans starting on january 1st. now, a new delay, of course, means a new round of attacks on the president's signature health
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reform initiative. joining me now is msnbc news senior political editor mark murray. so we got that note. holiday week here, mark, and not necessarily surprising for somebody like yourself who watches the comings an goings of such announcements. not the first delay also. depending on how you're counting them, you could this is the fifth, you could say this is the eighth but let's say there are about eight changes or adjustments or delays to the law so far. how much does this one hurt politically, just this 24-hour delay? >> i'm not sure it hurts overall politically. it's another headache for the administration and with the republicans able to say, see, another delay, another extension. these guys are just making it up as they go along. but for the administration, they need to point out that people are signing up. that the policy is more important than the politics right now. that the more people who sign up, the harder it is for republicans to say repeal or take things away. so if the administration and president obama on friday, last friday ended up saying that one
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million people had signed up on either state or federal exchanges. with this surge that we've seen on the website, if they're able to get to 1.3 million, 1.5 million by the end of the month, they could see that as a good sign that, yes, we got a late start because of the website, but people are beginning to sign up more and more and more each month and there is a virtuous cycle of progress. and that's what they hope to be able to point to in thinking that these stories about delays and extensions are secondary to that larger goal. >> okay. so the cbo, the congressional budget office, had predicted that, what, some seven million people would sign up by the end of 2014. so when you look at this last-minute crush based on the deadlines here, does that bring some confidence then to the white house that they might be able to reach that number, that key seven million number from the cbo? >> well, richard, if they're able to get to that seven million, they're going to have to have a great last three months in january, february and march. of course march 31st is the end
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of the six-month enrollment. that's when people should have their insurance or be subject to the fine under the mandate, so they do have time to go. apparently insurance companies are sitting on millions and millions of dollars on tv ads to get those people to buy insurance and that's once all the website issues are resolved, particularly on the back end there. and so you might end up seeing 1.5 million these first three months and then hopefully that they're able to get an exponential increase where maybe they don't hit seven million but come as close as they can. >> as a narrative, you talked about the back end here. you also have all the states that have had to adjust based on these adjustments and announcements coming from the president. it seems like by at least early reports that things have moved smoothly based on what were the problems earlier on. you know, those connections to those old legacy systems that was giving the site and the back end so much trouble. >> richard, one of the bigger problems that the administration has had to deal with is in this new age of 24/7 coverage on
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twitter, social media, that building something and creating something up from scratch like this is very difficult to do with just the new website that was involved. this wasn't a simple kind of website that you would see on amazon.com, this is a website that links into the irs for tax information data, that has one state talking to another state to get all these types of information. this is very difficult building something new and something that actually touches so much of the u.s. economy. but the big problem the administration has had has become a big political story with republicans waiting to pounce on every little misstep. >> a good point, because those irs servers go back some six, seven decades, some of the code does, amazingly, and they have had to connect to that. mark murray, as always, thank you, my friend. >> thanks, richard. health care promises to be one of the top challenges if not the biggest challenge awaiting president obama in 2014. so when we look at the strategy, what is it to meet that challenge and how will the republican opposition continue to try to battle against him on that? joining us now is zerlina
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maxwell, political analyst and contributor to thegrio.com and david winston. good to see both of you, david, let's start with you. good morning. take a listen to what white house communications director jennifer palmieri had to say about this latest delay. >> because we had such a big crush of visitors and wanted to make sure people trying to sign up were able to do it and get covered by january 1 and wanted to add a cushion on the back end so that if someone tries to enroll today and they're not successful and not able to do that, that we'll have another 24 hours so that we can process those people. >> so, david, the white house saying that this is just like standing in line on election day. if the polls close while you're in line, then you still get to vote. how do you respond? >> well, the problem, implementation has been a huge problem here and unfortunately for them, while they may have a good reason for this one this time, it's still a bit of
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whack-a-mole. every time you turn around, there's something popping up. last week the president laid out a new exemption, those people who had lost their insurance if it was in fact too expensive, he was granting them a special exemption. the problem is that the implementation has been so erratic, so sporadic, that they find themselves, even itch they're doing it for the right reason, it's showing the program isn't working the way it needs to. going back to the number that mark was describing before, that seven million has to be reached by the end of march. if you don't have those people in the pool, then you've got a real problem in terms of the health care system where you've just got sick people so the seven million isn't simply a nice number, it's to make the program work. >> zerlina, you were listening to our conversation so far. as mark was saying, this is just the latest of several corrections, adjustments, delays, depending on what your view is on this. you know, how long might this still be the political football it is, that those who are against the president might use? is it done after the new year? >> no.
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>> or is this good for a whole quarter? >> i think that we're still going to be talking about this in the midterm elections next year. the difference is, is that this delay in particular is a consumer-driven delay. someone like me, who needs health insurance and has gone through all of my different options and has it in my cart and just hasn't clicked submit yet, people like me, that's what this delay is for. but next year when we're talking about this, we're not going to be talking about the website or talking about these delays, we'll talk about the millions of people who like me are able to go to the doctor. that's going to be the headlines leading into the midterms and i think that will change the narrative about whether or not this has been successful or not. >> that's the story they'll have to tell, the white house and other democrats. david, as we do look to the new year and let's say you do have two million people signed up, i mean for republicans isn't it time then just to say, okay, they're signed up, there are two million people that have found insurance plans through aca. we might as well take a step back from this now because it's just de facto?
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>> again, this point is not clear if there are more or less people right now, given the people who lost their insurance, who have insurance, that's going to be the big question. who's signed up, how many have signed up, has this program has been fundamentally a success? and that seven million is an important figure. however, going to your pointing, if republicans are going to object, and clearly we do, i don't think that's a mystery to anybody, but i think the challenge to republicans is, okay, so what's the alternative plan? what's the better plan? whether what would you suggest? >> i think to a large degree there will be alternatives put forth in terms of republicans next year trying to lay out a direction because here is the bottom line. this is an element in terms of what do republicans believe. they actually believe that the policy of the president isn't going to work but the onus on the republican party then, if that's what your believe, what's the alternative. having said that, i still don't think it's going work. >> there's also the insurance companies in this conversation, as you both know. they have responded to this.
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here's a top consultant who works for some of the big carriers. take a listen to this. >> the insurance companies really need two or three weeks to process a normal number of enrollments and they're going to have a week to process an extraordinary number of enrollments with lots of errors. >> wassy look at the insurance companies, they have been fairly quiet but this certainly could change. >> i think, you know, it's in their best interests for this to work, right? millions and millions of americans are going to be enrolling so they actually have a bottom line interest in making sure this is effective. i think like you said in the intro, they're going to be -- they're going to start to advertise to folks as we get closer to march and then millions and millions of more people will know about the health insurance, will not want to get the penalty, the $95 penalty, and they're going to want to go to the doctor. i mean that's really what we're talking about. we're talking about a lot of the politics and the narrative but the bottom line is millions of americans will be able to go to the doctor and that's a huge
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deal. >> as we know insurance companies advertise very well and they'll be going for it in this coming year. thank you so much. >> pleasure. next, great news from houston. nasa officials have assured astronauts santa and his sleigh will not pose a problem for today's space walk. we've got more on that. we'll have all the latest on the drama unfold 230 miles above the earth when we come back. hello, my name is command sergeant major james kirk patrick here in kabul, afghanistan. i'd like to say merry christmas and happy holidays to my family and friends back in colorado springs, colorado. i used to be thin and grungy.
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mm. now he's totally huggable. i wash everything with tide plus downy. makes his clothes soft and clean... just like one of my teddy bears. more like a grizzly bear. a teddy bear. that's my tide. what's yours?
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i have a cold with this annoying runny nose. [ sniffles ] i better take something. [ male announcer ] dayquil cold and flu doesn't treat all that. it doesn't? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast-acting antihistamine. oh, what a relief it is! so today two nasa astronauts are celebrating the holidays a little differently this year, on a six and a half hour space walk to repair the cooling system at
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the international space station. nasa tv giving us these extraordinary live pictures of the space walk. veteran space correspondent jay barbree has been watching it with us all today and, jay, there's a delay right now. they're having a little bit of a hiccup. >> they sure are. this is the first one, richard, this morning. all had been going so well. they were right on time. now they're about four hours, four and a half hours actually into their six and a half hour space walk. they have to hook up four lines to the new pump. they had them on the old pump, of course, and they put them to the side and attached them to a buckhead there so that they would be ready to put in today. the first two went on fine without any problem. now they're having trouble with the third fluid line. they can't seem to get it off of the hook-up where they have it now. they have to take it off. they keep turning it, but it just won't come off. and then they have to put it on. if they can't do this, if they can't get it hooked up, they may have to come back in in a couple
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of hours and have people on the ground brainstorm about the problem for a couple of days and go back out for a third space walk. they're hoping, richard, that they can solve the problem, get it free and get it hooked up to the new pump here in the next hour or so. >> all right, nbc's jay barbree watching that for us and everybody hoping they can get that done. we're just getting in some news on edward snowden. the nsa leaker is expected to deliver a christmas message. we'll have those details next. plus pope francis prepares to celebrate christmas eve mass as catholics across america question whether he'll eventually lead the church. stay with us. ♪ frosty the snowman was a happy jolly soul ♪ ♪ with a corn cob pipe [ male announcer ] this is george.
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the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪
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would you like apple or cherry? cherry. oil...or cream? definitely cream. [ male announcer ] never made with hydrogenated oil. oh, yeah. [ male announcer ] always made with real cream. the sound of reddi wip is the sound of joy. [ male announcer ] always made with real cream. wout of landfills each year? plastic waste to cover mt. rainier by using one less trash bag each month, we can. and glad forceflex bags stretch until they're full.* so you can take them out less often. nsa leaker edward snowden
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pulling off the biggest security breach in u.s. history this year and now he's capping off 2013 evidently with a new christmas message, right after spiking the ball in the face of official washington. in an interview published today in "the washington post" snowden said the mission is already accomplished. i already won. as soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that i had been trying to do was validated, end quote. joining me now is nbc news national investigative correspondent. so mike, as we look at these announcements, this interview from "the washington post" there's word coming out that he's going to be a televised statement very soon. michael isikoff, what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: well, this is known as the alternative address to the queen of england. it's an annual tradition in the u.k. the queen gives a televised message and then channel 4, one of the british tv stations, then has this tradition of offering an alternative to the queen's
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message. and this year it's going to be edward snowden. i am told that this 60-second message was actually filmed by laura poitress who is the documentary filmmaker who is one of only three journalists who snowden has spoken to and given interviews. it's the same three people who he initially leaked these documents to, who have gotten all the access to mr. snowden. glenn greenwald, of course, previously of "the guardian," bart gelman who did the interview today in "the washington post" and laura poitress, the filmmaker. and in this alternative 60-second message, snowden invokes george orwell, says he warned us of the danger of this kind of information, the types of collection in the book, 1984, microphones, video cameras, tvs
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that watch us are nothing compared to what we have available today. so he's talking about the surveillance state, and that's the message in this snowden media blitz. >> michael isikoff, we're going to be watching to see what he does say in that 60-second address. certainly a lot of people in washington too. thank you so much. >> reporter: okay, thank you. it's been quite a few weeks for the lgbt community in light of the pivotal rulings in favor of marriage equality in utah and ohio. the "duck dynasty" controversy and the announcement of the u.s. olympic delegation to sochi. joining me now from reno, nevada, is the vice president of communication for human rights watch. fred, thanks for joining us today. i want to start with ohio and utah. how pivotal are these rulings in these two states that we're learning about. >> absolutely momentous and historic. the more courts that we have opining in favor of loving and committed relationships by gay and lesbian couples, the better. we started this year with 14% of the u.s. population living in
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marriage equality states and will finish the year with 40% of the u.s. population. we're going from 8 to 18 states. and i think that has an awful lot to do with the fact that on an increasing basis, more and more americans are seeing the justness of allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to express their love and commitment for one another through the institution of marriage. >> what does this mean for federal courts? >> well, clearly we saw a federal judge in utah find that the denial of marriage equality was not in keeping with the u.s. constitution. his decision was an incredibly swift one. in ohio as well yesterday we saw another federal judge say that the denial of allowing a married partner to be listed on one's death certificate was also not in keeping with the equal protection clause of the u.s. constitution. so on an increasing basis across the united states, we are seeing a consistent amount of judges,
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both at the federal and at the state level, find that the denial of marriage rights to committed gay and lesbian couples is simply not in keeping with our u.s. constitution and we believe that's progress. >> i want to talk about another development recently here if we can, fred, and that is the united states choosing its delegation for the sochi olympics. the names there, brian boitano, billie jean king, caitlin cahow, three openly gay athletes, what do you think of this? >> we believe that it was quite purposeful on the part of the white house to choose this kind of a delegation. first, we believe that it is a really well intentioned snub to president putin to not have a member of the cabinet, to not have the president, the vice president, the first lady, first time since the year 2000 that a member of the cabinet or a member of the first family has not been included in the u.s. delegation. so we believe that it was very purposeful and that the delegation is at the right level. we also believe that it is completely appropriate that gay
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athletes, gay olympians represent the united states. it really is an incredibly important message that the u.s. send gay athletes over there in order to show the inclusive nature of our democracy. >> fred sainz, thank you so much of the human rights campaign for your time today. >> thank you. merry christmas. >> you too! the family of 13-year-old jahi mcmath is breathing a sigh of relief after receiving an early christmas gift yesterday. a california judge ruled to keep the teen on a ventilator through the week while doctors perform more tests. the family is waiting to see if jahi has any chance of recovery after she was ruled brain dead follow a routine tonsillectomy. take a look at this, two popes together on the eve of christmas. when we come back, he's won over hearts and minds across the globe, but can pope francis actually bring millions of american catholics back into the fold? stay with us. ♪ [ sneezes, coughs ]
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for pope francis, the man who has surprised the world certainly with his humility, tolerance and compassion, this christmas is a holiday of firsts for him. tonight pope francis will celebrate his first midnight mass as head of the catholic church. tomorrow his first christmas day as pope. he'll deliver the orby message at st. peter's square. after a year of bucking tradition, this christmas pope francis appears to be playing a more traditional role, at least for now. joining us now is father dave dwyer, host of the busted halo show on sirius xm radio. we also have e.j. dionne. father, among catholics themselves, how much of an impact has this pope francis meant to the catholic church?
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>> a huge impact. people are talking about the francis effect they're seeing so far anecdotally. people coming back to church, people coming back to confession. i hear people that call in and say i haven't given much of the church a thought but i'm interested now. >> how is the francis effect different than the benedict effect? >> i think the benedict effect was let's call it hunkering down. the francis effect is the people on the fringes are coming back. >> e.j., do you think that the pope's tolerance and compassion that we've just been eluding to is more than just a stylistic change here? can he impose some structural institutional change? >> i think you're already beginning to see him do that. first of all, i've got to say one of the things that makes him so popular, this is the first pope on the record condemning sour pusses. i don't think we've ever had a pope do that and i think that speaks to an open style and the preaching of a god who's loving
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and merciful. but i think that you're seeing that he's made changes already in the congregation for bishops and removing really a more conservative bishop and putting in a more moderate bishop. i think that's going to change the nature of the bishops we get around the world. and i think that the very message he's giving, he hasn't changed church doctrine on issues like abortion, but he has said that the church's priorities under him are going to be different. he has put much heavier emphasis on social justice and care for the poor and i think when a pope sends a message like that, it reverberates throughout the entire church. >> is he done, then, with these moves or is this a foundation for even more changes that we might see in 2014, e.j.? >> oh, i think we're going to see more. he's already -- there is going to be a meeting at the end of the year of bishops. he has created a sort of almost a cabinet which reflects -- of
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eight cardinals which reflects his view that he wants to decentralize some power from rome. there is a reform going on in the vatican bank. i think we're going to see a lot more action and reform in the vatican this year. >> with reform here, father, will we then see more catholics in the pews? according to research that's not happened yet. we're not seeing greater numbers coming to church. >> i think tomorrow will be an excellent example. >> you'll be out there counting? >> i will. but research has shown that these days, like this year there was a poll that said more people were interested in watching "it's a wonderful life" than going to church. i think this pope is turning that around but turning it around my making us a humble, more approachable church. he's saying we who are ordained are not supposed to be power hungry but serving the people of god. >> father, is that the right way to count whether he is indeed
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bringing in more catholics? you saw the number that we just showed of the 88% of americans supporting what pope francis has done. >> sure. >> is there another way that we should be measuring this, other than people sitting down in the pews? >> sure. what i experience is people identifying themselves as catholic. i can't tell you how many times in the last couple of weeks when i've been on a subway or in the makeup room here where people said, you know, i really love the church, i love this pope. people haven't been talking like that for decades. >> have you been treated differently? are they high fiving you? >> yeah, pope francis. sure. >> everybody is nice to father. i'm sure he's not being treated differently. i just want to be on the record as saying i think it's a good thing, both to go to church and to watch "it's a wonderful life." i love the message of that movie. >> absolutely. e.j., i also want to finish with this, though. pope francis, person of the year. do you agree with this, and what do you think? >> oh, i definitely agreed with
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that choice because, first of all, there are few institutions with a global reach that the catholic church has. and i think that he is a leader who has shown that he wants to transform the institution in the same way that pope john xxiii did who called the second vatican council. so i think a person of the year is someone who has an effect on now but is likely to have an effect on the long term and, boy, do i see francis as having that long-term effect too. >> father? >> absolutely. he is making a global impact beyond just that vatican city. in fact what he did just a couple of days ago says we need to get outside of these walls and start giving power back to the people. >> e.j. dionne, thank you so much as well as our high fiving father, father dwyer. appreciate that. best way to say hello to each other, evidently it's acceptable. on this christmas eve, santa has already begun to deliver his gifts to the millions of boys and girls across the globe. if you ask the kids, santa is
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priceless. but insure.com calculated how much santa would make if he got paid. researchers compared pay grades for jobs like manufacturing executive, i.e. santa's workshop, investigator, i.e. snowing if kids are bad or good and pilot. they found santa would earn more than $137,000 a year if he received a salary. but among those surveyed, 27% said he deserves $1.8 billion. a dollar for every child in the world. 37% said he shouldn't be paid at all. all right. next, nothing under the tree? don't panic yet. we have some last-minute solutions for you to save you from entering this season's holiday naughty list when we come back. camp phoenix, afghanistan. i want to say merry christmas to my wife, bridget, my kids, and i'm from southern california. my friends down south, i just want to say merry christmas, san diego. plan [ male announcer ] this is george.
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the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪
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to share with family. [ woman 2 ] to carry on traditions. [ woman 3 ] to come together even when we're apart. [ male announcer ] in stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and more, swanson makes holiday dishes delicious.
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fellow procrastinators, listen to me. there's still a chance to score a bargain. retailers looking to move merchandise. according to shoppertrak, last week's sales were down 3 percent from last year and in store traffic down 21%. what does this mean for you the last minute shopper? retail analyst joins us right now. i guess you're kind of like a shopping analyst, a shopping therapist, right? a lot of us are procrastinators here. >> right. >> a lot of us not going out to the stores. there are some deals out there. looking at a report earlier today and it's pretty quiet. >> that's exactly what the shoppertrak study was saying. no one wants to go out there. part of the reason why, a lot of people are doing shopping
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online. we were talking about this. paypal came out with a study that said 53% of people did not want to go into stores. they were doing shopping online, on mobile devices. >> do you blame them? >> of course not. it's so much easier to do that than brave the clouds. >> digital clicks higher? >> that's what they are expecting. we're going to see a lot of digital sales increase over the years. it's becoming so much easier and retailers getting on the wagon. they are starting to build infrastructure for that. >> what's discounted and are the numbers bigger? >> a lot of things discounted. yes, the numbers are definitely bigger. they are realizing a lot of overstock on the shelves. after peril discounted 40 to 70% off. we're seeing tvs discounted 20 to 50% off. cameras 10 to 40% off depending on the brand. the amazon kindle fire, i own one, that's 12% will go to amazon and get one.
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>> that's a larger percentage. you and i talked before, what's the magic percentage? >> the magic percentage is 30%. >> we're way over that? >> way over. when you start seeing retailers go bo 50, 60, 70% off, that starts eating into margins. in layman's terms they are starting to lose money. it's bad for retailers, good for consumer was-of- because we get a mainly discount. >> if i'm seeing numbers, we're seeing bigger numbers during post christmas sale. >> we're seeing fewer people. people coming to expect discounts. they are waiting. maybe they have a deal with loved ones and family members. they just say, listen, we're just going to go out and get the gifts after christmas. those discounts are really going to be great. >> what i'm noticing, not like i'm an avid shopper, they are discounting money now, discounting gift cards, if you will. >> in terms of that, gift cards, if you go in and go to an applebee's or morton's, for
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example, you can buy $50 worth of gift card and they will give you a $10 extra for yourself. morton's gift card costs $100, they will give you $20 extra. if you go to chili's, for example, $50 gift card, $10 for yourself. >> 20% off my rib-eye right there. >> they are promotional again. perks, they want you to come in and spend your money there. one for you, two for me kind of mentality. >> discount money. i haven't seen that before. i was talking to my producer. bringing up the idea here i card gift card. >> it's basically cash but packaged in a better way. you give an i card, it's a gift card but you can use it as 100 different retailers. >> not just one. >> not getting a specific store. you can buy this card and they can use it for a cup of coffee. they can use it for starbucks. they can use it at gilt.com, a bunch of different places you can use it. sort of like universal cash but
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in gift card form. >> kind of like visa mastercard. >> a little less cheesy and more formal. not so last minute, even though it is very last minute. >> very last minute. we are down to the wire, right? you can't buy it online. quick suggestions, what do you need to do? >> if you need to get that gift out there, i suggest you go to netflix or spotify.com. i'm obsessed with that. make music, buy a sub skrupgs to that. also made service. who doesn't want someone to come and clean their home, their apartment. >> hand raised. hand raised. >> concert tickets. my favorite, though, richard, beyonce. beyonce just came out with that album, $15 on itunes. she looks beautiful. even just to watch it is kind of amazing. if you're in a pickle, buy that for someone. >> i'm in a pickle, i like made service, great idea. thank you so much.
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good to see you. have a great holiday. that does it for me on this hour of msnbc. kristen welker picks things up, much more on the president's year ahead, power outages in the midwest, plus the drama unfolding 200 miles above the earth right now. do stay with us.
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mission accomplished. that's what edward snowden says in a new interview. what else did he say when he talked for 14 hours? >> 10% discount as opposed to identity theft and all the problems isn't worth it to me. >> the target effect, the latest on the fallout from that big credit theft and how is it
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playing with last-minute shoppers there and elsewhere? we'll tell you. time to gaze into the future. we'll take a look at what's likely to be the biggest political stories in the year ahead. >> make a lot of money? >> yeah, i do all right for myself. >> that film hits the big screen tomorrow but it's not the only expected blockbuster that opens christmas day. there's plenty more and we will show you. good day, everyone. happy holidays. i'm kristen welker. all that in the next hour. first we begin this hour with the winter weather. all across the country ice storms brought down trees and power lines this past weekend are still causing problems from michigan to maine. hundreds of thousands do not have power and might not be able to light up their christmas trees this holiday. in "up" state new york extended flood warnings as rising waters causing concern. on monday more than 5,000 flights delayed. while there are very low delays
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right now, some winter weather advisories in the midwest could change that. so with that, lets bring in weather channel meteorologist maria la rosa. maria, what can we expect for the rest of the holiday? >> kristen, part of the weather story in the next few days, those areas that are cold will stay cold. unfortunately all those without power, that's going to be very much a concern over the next few days. part of the issue, we're seeing a series of clippers, quick moving areas of low pressure just enough to produce snowfall. that's winter weather advisory to duluth. this is for today. that is for quick moving dusting of snow here. some areas may be a little more in the way of a few inches of accumulation. by tonight it begins to push into places like chicago. also grand rapids and looking into detroit as we get in for christmas day. that means a white christmas in a lot of these spots. notice darker shades here. this is where lake enhancement comes in. we could be seeing some spots eastern shore of lake michigan, up michigan, maybe as much as
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half a foot of snow. all in all, this will be the weather story. the one thing that could be slowing down holiday travel. but also giving a white christmas to those in those areas. kristen. >> all right. maria la rosa, thank you for that update. we appreciate it. former contractor edward snowden taking a victory lap of sorts speaking out about leaking scores of government documents, triggering a massive security breach. in an exclusive "washington post" interview snowden said, quote, the mission's already accomplished. i already won, as soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that i had been trying to do was validated. michael isikoff national correspondent joins me to talk about this interview with edward snowden. thanks for being here, michael. what do you make of the timing and how expansive this interview is. fourteen hours it went on for. >> first of all, it's great timing for snowden because it comes after a week in which he
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really -- the critics of the nsa surveillance got some big boosts. first there was that federal judge's ruling that the metadata telephone collection program was unconstitutional. then you had the nsa review panel report to president obama recommending ending the program in its current form. so in that sense, it does seem to have vindicated a lot of what snowden was trying to bring to light. at the same time, first of all, this is still an ongoing process. president obama has not decided to adopt all of those recommendations, and there's going to be pushback from some in congress. but what struck me about this, kristen, is it's almost the sort of reverse -- snowden is doing the reverse of what the -- or parallel of what the nsa is doing, granting interviews only to friendly journalists, just
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like that "60 minutes" piece in which nsa granted john miller, former fbi official, took a lot of criticism on that because it was favorable to the nsa. snowden grants his first interview to one of the only three journalists who he actually originally granted -- gave the documents to. >> that's a really interesting point. the other thing that stood out to me, michael, about this interview, he suggests that he actually brought some of the nsa information to light to some of his superiors, our own pete williams, barton gelman who did the interview for the post. take a listen to the interview and i want to get your reaction on the other side. >> almost recklessly if you don't want to get caught he was asking them about the front page test. what do you think the american people would think if they knew about this. >> michael, what do you make of the fact he apparently brought this up the chain before he made
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it public to journalists, he says? >> this is the first time snowden has said this. exactly who he raised it with and in what form is still a little bit unclear. the nsa says they have no record of him raising this. that doesn't mean he didn't. but it certainly -- there's a lot more one would want to learn about how and in what form he raised it. just to pick up on -- following up on the point i just made, we also have as part of this snowden media blitz, this 60 second video that's going to be aired on channel 4 in the uk tomorrow. it's the alternative to the queen's annual message. there's a tradition channel 4 then has an alternative message. this year it's going to be snowden. snowden gave this message, taped it, with laura, the third
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journalist to whom he leaked the documents. you have snowden still working through this very small group getting his message out as the alternative to the nsa's message. it's a fascinating series of developments. >> michael, just looking forward a little bit, president obama came out last friday, talked about the fact he had gotten 46 recommendations from a panel he had appointed seemed to signal he's seriously considering some changes. was that your takeaway? if he does announce changes, does that not, in effect, validate what edward snowden has done, in snowden's eyes at least? >> look, precisely what he's going to do we still don't know. remember, there's another report coming from the privacy and civil liberties board that's doing its own review of this program. they briefed denis mcdonough of chief of staff and susan rice last week. it's not clear their recommendations are going to be
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exactly the same what this nsa review panel recommended. i can tell you on one issue leaving the phone records with the phone companies, there are some skeptics on the civil liberties board about that because of the civil liberties implications of that. some people say that could open up even more privacy violations if you do that. so it's a very difficult -- some very difficult issues here about how they are going to sort that out. i think it's clear that the basic metadata program is going to be changed in some form. >> i agree. >> support is there in congress for it. that's the major thing snowden exposed. in that sense, if it changes in any form, he will be able to claim victory. >> all right. nbc national investigative correspondent michael isikoff, thank you for those insights. nothing like some last-minute holiday shopping.
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you've still got time to buy heck. for the third time the white house has extended the deadline to enroll in plans starting january 1st. it says nearly 2 million people visited healthcare.gov just yesterday. joining us now is msnbc news political editor mark murray. hey, mark. >> hey, kristen. >> what's behind the white house's decision to extend the deadline? >> it's all about capacity. when they ended up getting the website fixed and operational, according to their standards, that was meant to hold 50,000 simultaneous users and about 800,000 people a day. well, the numbers we ended up getting, they got more than 2 million people. that's twice the amount of 800,000 per day. they were trying to build capacity waiting for a moment like this. their logic is if people were trying to purchase yesterday on yesterday's deadline, they still have today to be able to do so, all in an effort to make sure they are not denying people that said, hey, i was at the website. i wanted to. now i can't get insurance starting january 1st.
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the move yesterday allowed those folks to be able to have extra time to fill out their applications. >> so they got that high volume of people. the website seems to be supporting that high volume so far, which is really a turnaround for this website in a way, mark. >> it is. it points to progress. all the reporting so far, there were mixed results. some people had an easy time getting through. others had a significant wait time. things are significantly better than they were back in october and november. in some ways as the website goes as goes the president and his health care law. one of the damaging things they had was that they wanted to be able to tell people here is what you can actually end up getting if your health insurance was canceled under the law. without a functioning website, people were unable to do the shopping to be able to see they might be able to get a very good deal. so better functioning website cures a lot of ills. the administration is hoping they put the worst behind them and starting to look at more the successes on the rollout and
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getting to other issues rather than talking about the website and rocky rollout of the health care law. >> as you point out, so much is riding on this for the president. i wonder what do you make of the pace of enrollments? they have gotten more than a million people to date. they wanted about 3 million. still, it is picking up the pace that we're seeing. >> that's right. they are not going to be able to hit the targets they wanted because the website wasn't up and running for two months. what they are getting is exponential growth. some of the newspapers as of october, roughly 100,000 people who had enrolled in state exchanges or federal exchange by november that number had gone up to 365,000. then last friday president obama mentioned the number was well above a million. you were talking about maybe by the end of this month you're at 1.5 million. you've gone from 100,000 to 1.5 million. you're getting exponential growth hoping that increases in january, february, and starting to see a cycle of good numbers for them. of course, again, for the bottom
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line when it comes to the health care law, they want a very good mix of young people, old people, in all the different states where you end up having these exchanges. >> all right. mark murray, thank you. we appreciate it. >> thanks, kristen. >> the holiday hustle is in full swing today as last-minute shoppers hit the stores. >> it's fun, a little stressful. >> i'm a procrastinator at heart and i do everything last minute. >> some stores are staying open for extended hours in an effort to make up for falling sales. the latest reports indicate those holiday sales have dropped three weeks in a row now, down 3.1% compared to last year, just under $43 billion. meantime lawsuits are piling up on retail giant target in the wake of a security breach that left approximately 40 million americans debit and credit card information at risk. gabe gutierrez in georgia. thanks so much for joining us this afternoon. we appreciate it, gabe. what are retailers doing to maximize their sales in this
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homestret homestretch? >> this is offering extended hours. open until 9:00. at that point it will have been open 87 hours. brick and mortar retailers are trying to do everything they can for last minute shoppers. latest shoppertrak numbers suggested holiday sales were down 3% from last year and foot traffic, holiday foot traffic in stores was down a whopping 21%. the bad weather may have had something to do with that. but retailers like toys "r" us are extended hours, some like kohl's and macy's have been staying open for longer than 100 consecutive hours. mobile sales and online sales are picking up, though, so these brick and mortar stores are trying to do everything they can. there have even been a few, including old navy, that announced their after christmas sales with deals up to 75% off,
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kristen. >> gabe, obviously there's been so much discussion about target, breaches with people's debit cards, credit cards, what's the latest in that situation? how is target handling the data breach. >> target, as they have been for the last few weeks say they are cooperating fully with the u.s. department of justice investigation and state investigations, by state attorneys general. they are saying executives are working around the clock to make things right. jpmorgan chase is easing restrictions on some of their customers. a few days ago over the weekend they imposed $100 daily withdrawal limits and $300 purchases. they are now upping that limit to $250 cash withdrawals and $1,000 purchases. over the weekend target offered 10% discounts and free credit monitoring to some customers. while many loyal shoppers at target say they have been doing -- the company has been doing a great job, others just don't think it's enough.
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>> i noticed there was two charges on there that didn't make sense. i'm like uh-oh, we've got a problem. >> start using cash. cash only. >> you can't say you're going to be scared to shop at target because it could happen anywhere. >> while there will always be christmas shoppers that don't think extra hours are necessary, back here at toys "r" us, again, open until 9:00 tonight. some of the shoppers we've been speaking with say they are glad to get this last minute shopping in. i guess they are procrastinators. we have been noticing quite a bit more foot traffic in the last few hours than we saw much earlier in the morning, kristen. >> gabe, we know they are pulling long hours at toys "r" us. so are you. we appreciate it. gabe gutierrez, thank you. >> you bet. >> still ahead, walking on air. everything was going fine with today's spacewalk until the last hour or so. we'll tell you about a new glitch in a live report. pope francis and his predecessor exchange christmas greetings. a look at the new pope and how
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he's changed the vatican this holiday season when we come right back. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of all day pain relief. this season, discover aleve. all day pain relief with just two pills.
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it may sound alarming, an unexpect the event during today's spacewalk to install a new pump on the cooling system, the walk follows up on a better than expected one saturday when an old pump was successfully removed. lets bring in jay. jay, what are they doing? what's the latest? is there a glitch with what they are trying to accomplish? >> reporter: yes, they were. they are now fussing with the final fourth line. they about have it in. they are trying to make sure it's sealed. if they get this one sealed properly, they will have done their job today. a while ago when they were having problems with the third fluid line they lost some
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ammonia. ammonia is very poisonous. they got some ammonia flakes on their suits. when they go back in the air lot of, they have to go through decontamination procedures and make sure they clean the ammonia off before they can open the lock between the station and the lock and they can go back inside the station. how long that will take them, we don't know, but it has to be done. that's the biggest problem they have ahead of them now. they are still fussing with this final connection to make sure it's okay to make sure they can turn on the new pump. if they get that in the next few minutes, they will have done their job. when both astronauts get into the air lock, they will have to go through decontamination procedures to get rid of all the ammonia. kristen. >> jay, has this added time onto today's mission i guess is the first part of the question. the second part, i know they
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were doing this with two space walks. could this add an extra spacewalk? >> no. if they get the fourth line okay here, they should be okay with the day's spacewalk. they are running about five and a half hours. they have an hour to go. they can extend another hour if they have to, because everything is running okay. they will try to finish this up, get back inside the air lock and then take care of their decontamination problems with getting ammonia flakes on them. they don't know how much they got but they did have quite a few come out. they don't know how many is on their suits. but they will have to make sure they get rid of them before they can go back into the station. >> jay, just quickly, how complicated is that process of removing the ammonia? how dangerous is it? >> it can be very complicated. it's like trying to get dandruff, if you will, off your shoulders. you make sure you get every fleck. you can't take any of that
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inside the space station. once they are comfortable they have, they have got it off in the air lock, then they can open the air lock and go into the space station, kristen. then when they move in there they close the air lock out. the question will be, will they have to leave their suits in there. will they get them clean enough they are okay they can say, well, we can still use these suits if we have to. so it's a process they didn't want but it did happen. >> all right, jay barberi, thanks for staying on top of these developments. we appreciate it. still ahead, legal victories for same-sex marriage, the latest out of utah and ohio. thousands from midwest to new england faced with the prospect of spending christmas in the dark. we'll have the very latest. [ sneezes, coughs ]
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i've got a big date, but my sinuses are acting up. it's time for advil cold and sinus. [ male announcer ] truth is that won't relieve all your symptoms. new alka seltzer plus-d relieves more symptoms than any other behind the counter liquid gel. oh what a relief it is. on this christmas eve pope francis at the vatican prepared to celebrate his first christmas at the catholic church. he visited his predecessor
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emeritus for a formal christmas greeting. the two pontiffs embraced and prayed together at a chapel adjoining to the vatican residence. this is only the second time they met in public since benedict's retirement. martin fletcher joins me from the vatican. hello, martin. >> reporter: what a beautiful day here. they are expecting rain. instead record crowds at st. peter's square for the first christmas address for the man known here as the humble pope, whose official title is papa francisco. spreading cheer and goodwill, only pope since march but already endeared himself to catholics and beyond bringing the church to the people, especially the poor and the abandoned. he celebrated his birthday with four homeless people. he's embraced the disfigured, washed the feet of prisoners including two muslims and two women. his modesty and compassion
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traditional virtues have won him a thoroughly modern form of affection. 10 million followers on twitter. the most sempled name on the internet. all popes choose their own papal names, pope francis broke with tradition. there have been 14, 16 ben addicts, 21 johns and only one pope francis. he's the first to choose the patron saint of the poor. born himself in modest circumstances, it's a long way from buenos aires to ireland and doesn't like everything he sees, especially the vast vatican beaurocracy and waste and corruption in the church. he suspended a german bishop who spent $40 million renovating this residence including a bathtub for $20,000. he shocked traditionalists by bringing in outside analysts. >> that's common sense. if you're going to teach as a church, you want to give an
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example of honesty. >> he sometimes come off like everyone's favorite granddad not standing on ceremony. some comments appear to challenge accepted faith. on gay priests he said, who am i to judge. on women in the church he said, they are essential. do his comments signal a change in catholic dogma or rather just a change in style? >> there's certainly a style change, which is simplicity. he's not somebody who is going to be throwing out core doctrine. >> reporter: this christmas week pope francis stressing his core message, help the poor. he ended with another seasonal message, have a good lunch and see you soon. kristen. >> great message. all right. nbc's martin fletcher at st. peter's square in vatican city. thanks so much. still ahead, who are the big winners and loser in this week's holiday rush. here is a hint. you could be a winner. more reaction to nsa leaker
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edward snowden saying mission accomplished. after months of revelations and the judge ruling the program unconstitutional, has he really won? we'll debate that after the break. it's not the "i only earn decent rewards at the gas station" card. it's the no-games, no-signing up, everyday-rewarding, kung-fu-fighting, silver-lightning-in-a-bottle, bringing-home-the-bacon cash back card. this is the quicksilver card from capital one. unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere, every single day. so ask yourself, what's in your wallet?
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geico anywhere anytime. just a tap away on the geico app. and welcome back to msnbc. i'm kristen welker. it's 12:30 christmas eve. in the news this afternoon, the obama administration out with new health care numbers. yesterday alone white house says 2 million people visited the site and more than a quarter of a million people called to inquire about health care plans. this comes after the administration extended january enrollment deadline by one day to midnight tonight. two important legal victories for supporters of same-sex marriage. in ohio a federal judge struck down part of that state's ban ordering state officials to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates. ohio's attorney general said the state will appeal. same-sex couples in utah are lining up to get married after a federal judge refused to delay his ruling which overturned the state's ban.
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utah is the first republican state to allow same-sex marriage. 150 marines are ready to move into south sudan in case they need to evacuate the embassy amid the violence. officials say they believe all american civilians have been evacuated from the country that's now on the brink of a civil war. the mother of a 13-year-old girl who was pronounced brain dead after routine tonsil surgery vowing to fight on. she wants to keep her daughter on the ventilator and hope she'll wake up. this is by doctors saying there's, quote, no medical possibility. the girl's condition is reversible. now to what could be a cold and dark christmas for hundreds of thousands, from michigan to maine, who still have no power after this weekend's ice storm. >> it's too cold. he uses a breathing machine at night. no electricity, he can't use his machine. >> we're up on day number two and we still don't have power. >> we have about 600 linemen working on the property. a lot of their families are
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without their power right now. >> what a way to spend this holiday. nbc's john yang in bath, michigan, with latest. john. >> reporter: kristen, power crews in michigan all the way to maine racing the clock. they want to restore power to as many homes as possible before at least the end of christmas day. but officials say in some places that may not be possible and that power is going to remain out until at least saturday. one of the things the crews are fighting against is the bitter cold. here in michigan the highs only in the teens today not expected to break the freezing mark until this coming weekend. that means the power cables workers are working with will be cold and brittle, hard to manipulate, hard to move. also the ice is going to remain on the trees attachment a look at the tree behind me. you can see how the limbs and branches are sagging under weight of the ice. you can see where one limbaha already broken off and that crack is growing. that means more limbs could be
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falling and they could be bringing down more power lines even as crews work to restore the power and take care of the lines that are already down. kristen. >> all right. nbc's john yang, thank you so much. stay warm out there. new numbers show consumer centimeter at a five-month high as shoppers scramble to get last minute gifts. while retail stores might be busy, sales during the 2013 holiday season are bleaker than 2012. in fact, holiday sales have fallen for the third straight week. what's the retail outlook headed into 2014. i'm joined by regina lewis. happy holidays to you and thanks for joining me. >> thanks, kristen. >> lets start off by looking at some of these retail figures. you have in the week leading up to christmas in store sales down 3.1%. in-store traffic down 21.2%.
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the source for that shop track. if consumer confidence is high but sales are not following, what's the message and what's going on here? >> i think just because you can shop doesn't mean you will. because giving what's happened since 2008, even the pope cautioning against consumption. i think the sentiment changed. you might have have given someone a cashmere scarf five years ago and now you are going to give them a candle. you might have sent out high-end holiday cards now you're going to post on facebook. austerity measures hard to shake. you see that with cnbc, big brand retailers, all of those stocks down. there's even an anti-logo sentiment. kids saying i'll pop tags at a thrift shop. i don't have to have abercrombie. the climate is even if i'm optimistic, buying things like automobiles and health care, i'm not buying high-end gifts.
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not because i can't, just because the climate doesn't make that in vogue. >> we've been reporting the last several days. the weather has been tough. has that been a big contributor as well? what are major contributors. >> a shorter season, take a weekend out of it, you add 47% of the country has snow. certainly a factor. can you make up for that? i don't know. a lot of focus on are there last-minute deals. i'll tell you what, if i'm a retailer, you're boxed in. it's a convenience premium. i'm not offering a sale. i'll offer it 26th, 27th being the second biggest shopping day of the year. i think there will be postseason sales. keep in mind all of these folks have to maintain margins. they don't want to condition people to shop when they are 70% off. call it macy's one-day sale trap. macy's has made a tremendous comeback but they conditioned the market to only shop one day
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a year. what happens the other 364 days? i'm waiting. that's what retailers don't want you to do. >> regina, lets take a look at long hours. us r us 9:00 p.m., kmart, 10:00 p.m. they are pulling long hours trying to make up for hours. the 26th is a busy day. can they make up for these losses? >> probably not. from the get go you couldn't, early thunder around black friday. the sequence was i'm going to stand in line at best buy for xbox, two weeks later available, three weeks later available on toysrus.com, same thing you waited online for. last night my own significant other found it in a suburb. the sequence was such they are managing supply and demand. i'll tell you where to really go for sales soon, t.j.maxx and
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marshall's of the world as they get overrun inventory. all that, lets not kid ourselves, it's predetermined. i think if you're holding out for a sale at this point, certainly wait but don't expect 70, 80% off. that channel has already abandon determined. it's going to make its way to t.j.maxx and marshals of the world. top premium department stores don't want you to expect 60, 0% off. those aren't margins they can live with long-term. >> thank you for that great advice. we appreciate it. edward snowden is back in the headlines. the man who blew the whistle on nsa's snooping practices gave a 14-hour interview to the "washington post" in which he said, quote, for me in terms of personal satisfaction the mission is already accomplished. i didn't want to change society. i wanted to give society a chance to determine if it could change itself. joining me now is msnbc.com reporter and "politico's" ken vog vogel.
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thanks to both of you for being here. merry christmas eve. i'm going to start with you since you're sitting with me. snowden said he's accomplished what he set out to do. you have the president coming out saying he's going to take a look at the nsa and see if he wants to change it. has, to a certain extent snowden had a moment. >> i think snowden can say he's been vindicated by events. not only has his revelations dominated the headlines as people did not realize the extent to which nsa was surveilling american and foreign citizens, he can also say in recent weeks he's been vindicated in his criticism of the programs. you have a district court decision saying unconstitutional. a review board appointed by president obama also raising serious concerns about it and members of congress saying even though it's our job to have oversight, we think there's further to go. >> ken, talk about the timing of this, sort of mapped out what has happened in the past several days.
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is this sort of snowden spiking the football? >> i think certainly his critics will present it that way. obviously a lot of them have already seized on this idea it's about him, some hubris. the remarkable level of self-awareness and introspection he considered before he under took this perilous course for himself in releasing all these documents and files. he said he was sort of most concerned that people wouldn't care. there would be an apathy and marketplace of ideas would determine whether this was as remarkable as he thought it was. obviously it has. he has been vindicated to that extent. the timing, you know, there is still very much in play. a lot of central ten either of whether the nsa's programs will be sort of upheld and continued
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at their current rate. president obama is going to consider obviously the review that has come back. this is still in play. it reads to me as an effort to keep spotlight and pressure on issues as opposed to himself. >> part of what we learned in this interview with him, he says, at least, he's part of a decision-making process that ken just talked about, tried to show his revelations to some of his superiors. does that change the equation in terms of how he'll be viewed? the nsa said that didn't necessarily happen. >> he said he raised concerns. it's not clear he went through formal channels of whistleblower or complaint. he said he said to his colleagues what if this were on the front page. i do think there's inertia that happens in an organization where it's easier -- you're more afraid of the fact god forbid another terror attack than violating civil liberties. within an organization it becomes self-justifying.
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you do need someone who has hubris, the best word for it, step outside and say i'm going to be the person who makes the united states stand up to its ideals. >> i'm asking you to look to the future a little bit, president obama seemed to signal he was seriously considering making changes to the nsa. is that how you read the president's comments? what are your expectations here? >> i think the president is going to have to sustain some changes in the program whether he likes it or not. again, this is continuing to go through the justice system. congress is becoming more impatient. he previously said he's raised receipt or cal changes about it. he hasn't changed policies. particularly with pressure from the business community, international leadership, i think whether he likes it or not a change is coming. >> ken, obviously snowden is getting a lot of pressure as well from the united states to come back to face justice but it doesn't seem like that's very likely. do you see that changing? >> i don't necessarily see it changing in the near term. even if the united states was able to extradite or come home
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voluntarily which seems very unlikely, there will be huge, huge public pressure to not prosecute him to the full extent of the law because there is so much public sentiment that is supportive of what he did and opposed to the things he revealed. >> thanks to both of you for being here. hope you have a great holiday. >> thanks to you to. >> thanks, kristen. still ahead, big names hitting the big screen this christmas, leonardo decaprio to the biebs. 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.* so you can take them out less often.
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>> two of my favorite actors. that, of course, a scene from the secret life of walter mitty, just one of a number of films opening at the box office from ben stiller to leonardo dicaprio, some big names will hit the big screen. for more i'm joined by e! news correspondent. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> you've seen most of these films. what did you like the most? >> busy box office. five movies open. among them getting a lot of buzz, the wolf of wall street." i liked it a lot martin scorsese. three hours. scorsese does it long, 2:59. >> extra large popcorn. >> i loved american household already open but going in wider release. jennifer lawrence, such a phenomenal movie. also a movie for everybody, bleebers, justin bieber concert. >> lets take a look at wolf and
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talk on the other side. >> i forgot to tell you, he's got some. >> couple mill coming in like a week. when it gets in, i'll give you a call and you can come pick it up. >> he'll give me a call. >> when it gets here, i'll give you a call and you can come pick it up. >> we don't work for you, man. >> some people are calling this leonardo dicaprio's best film. are we talking oscar buzz? >> it's getting oscar buzz. the only problem it's so long, way over three hours, it had to be reedited, screeners got to academy members late. they didn't see it. leonardo is a christmas baby. some of his biggest movies, "titanic," aviator opened on christmas or around. >> you talk about the justin bieber film. this is obviously going to get a lot of hype among teenagers, right? >> it is. his last concert movie made about $100 million. this is different. different distributor and only
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going in 1,000 theaters. the box office draw will not be as big as last time. >> we have to talk about this one, "anchorman 2." i haven't seen it yet but i'm going to. lets watch a clip of "anchorman 2" and we'll talk about it. >> mr. burgundy we're starting a 24 hour news channel, first of its kind, gnn. >> that is without a doubt the dumbest thing i've ever heard. you mean news going 24 hours around the clock? >> yes. >> a channel that's never off, in other words. >> yeah, yeah. just 24 hours. >> no offense but you are stupid. >> i love that clip, because, first of all, we're 24 hours. second of all, i think a lot of people remember that moment when cable news channels were just starting. is "anchorman 2" living up to the hype? >> it's living up to the hype. i saw this and i was laughing and laughing and laughing. onlily thing it lost to hobbit,
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people are going to see it and love it. if you didn't see the first one it doesn't matter. if you did see the first one, you're going to love this one. >> some people say it's not as good as the first one. but i have a sense you laugh as hard. >> it's hard for sequels to be as good as the first one. they have done so well with the marketing internationally it will bring home bucks. >> marketing has been incredibly. >> thank you so much. happy holidays. appreciate you being here. still ahead a look at political forecast for next year right after a quick break. picking him up and holding him against me. it wasn't just about me anymore. i had to quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. chantix didn't have nicotine in it, and that was important to me. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it.
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between nonstop headaches obama care and nsa and lackluster achievements on gun control and immigration, this was not the president's greatest year. what lies ahead in 2014? msnbc political reporter here to tell us all about it. thanks for joining us today. appreciate it. so you just wrote an article in which you say 2013 was president obama's lost year. but you also say this. you call it the year congress stole. explain both of those statements
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to me. >> president obama had a fairly ambitious agenda he talked up in 2012 election. he thought if he won he would break the fever among republicans and they would suddenly be interested in helping him out on infrastructure, environment. it hasn't quite turned out that way. the dynamic hasn't change that much, still house republicans are blocking everything. when i talk to former obama administration officials, people close to the white house that's what they will mention. look, these guys can't keep the lights on, let alone pass major policy. >> when you talk about breaking the fever, we did see it was not a remarkable achievement in terms of the piece of legislation but they did come together and agree on a budget. so what does that say about what we might expect from immigration control and gun control. does that suggest they can find common ground on larger issues. >> some of the senators i talked to thought it might build
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momentum but it's a modest deal. it's essentially keeping the lights on and not much more. when president obama is running 2012, the big thing he's talking about, we need momentum to get big deals, trade tax increases for entitlement reform, to pass new infrastructure spending. this is still very far from that. it's possible something like immigration could come back. >> when you look at 2014, obviously midterm elections are going to dominate. does that overshadow and make other legislation more difficult to get accomplished or do you see things like immigration reform and possibly other spending measures getting passed through? >> it's an interesting debate how the midterms affect policy. on immigration, a lot of senators like mccain who have worked on this are warning don't let this go into 2014 we don't election politics around it.
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delaying it because after filing election papers, taking the politics out of it. it's hard to tell how it will affect policy going forward. >> in terms of 2014, obviously republicans would like to take back the senate. what do you think their chances are for that especially given the health care law. a lot of republicans are going to use that as an issue. what else are republicans focused on in this next year? >> republicans are absolutely focused on taking back the senate. they really think they have the issue that could do it. this was always going to be a difficult year for democrats, mainly because it's been six years since 2008 when obama won in a landslide, won these senate seats, got to 60 votes in the senate. they have a lot of ground to defend in red states like alaska, arkansas, louisiana. even in the best of circumstances, i think republicans are very hopeful about their chances of taking the senate. >> it's going to be another interesting year. we know you'll be watching it owl for us. thanks so much. >> thanks for having me. still ahead sarah palin was
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one of the first conservatives to defend phil robertson after anti-gay comments. now she says she never actually read the "gq" article. my colleague craig melvin has more and picks things up next. we're gonna be late. ♪ ♪ ♪ oh are we early? [ male announcer ] commute your way with the bold, all-new nissan rogue. ♪
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[ male announcer ] dayquil cold and flu doesn't treat all that. it doesn't? [ male announcer ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast-acting antihistamine. oh, what a relief it is! the dow closing this hour. a glitch in the works. everything going smoothly today's spacewalk until it wasn't. details on that straight ahead. there she goes again. sarah palin on what she did not read and what it has to do with that "duck dynasty" guy. happy christmas eve. i'm craig melvin and here is what's happening. nsa leaker edward snowden has recorded a tv message that aired on christmas day in britain. snowden's message will be an alternative to the queen's annual holiday message. it will also be his first time speaking out publicly since
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being granted asylum in russia. this comes as snowden is speaking out in an exclusive "washington post" interview where he says, quote, the mission's already accomplished. i already won. as soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that i had been trying to do was validated. martin gelman interviewed snowden for 14 hours in moscow. he explained that comment to nbc news today. >> he's talking about his whole purpose was to make the information available to the american public so it can decide what kind of electronic surveillance it's comfortable with. >> noeb correspondent peter alexander in honolulu where he's traveling with the vacationing president. first of all, why is snowden speaking out now? >> it's a good question, craig. he's obviously made a pretty active decision he thought now was the appropriate time to speak out. this at the end of 2013, the year that the nsa leaks he's responsible for are really
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viewed as the most significant stories. what you're noting is the statement that he will be presenting tomorrow on channel 4 a british broadcaster. we will watch it from here. it will take place in the afternoon, midday our time. it's tradition someone speaks after the queen's remarks on the channel. we're get a sense whaf he will say. some of those remarks provided to the "guardian" newspaper. among other things edward snowden will say the conversation will determine the amount of trust we can place in the technology that sounds us and the government that regulates it. together we find better balance and mass surveillance and remine the government that if it really want to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying. what was notable, learned a little about the life edward snowden has been living effectively in exile, a refugee of some sort from the united states now. he has said he wanted to get to latin america when his passport was pulled he got stuck in
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russia. he described his life like an indoor cat during 14 hours of interviews martin gelman said snowden didn't even pull the curtains open in the room he was in. we reached out to the white house to see if it had any specific response to snowden's comment that he's already accomplished his mission here. they didn't specific to the article but did provide us with this statement where they said mr. snowden faces felony charges here in the u.s. and should be returned to the u.s. as soon as possible where he will be afforded due process and all the protections of the criminal justice system. craig. >> before i let you go, lets turn to health care quickly. today the last day to sign up to get health care coverage by january 1. the administration reporting 2 million folks headed to healthcare.gov yesterday. do we know whether people are signing up? >> well, first of all, we should be very clear. this time they mean the deadline is real. we heard this yesterday. this one is official, right?
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so this is really your last chance to complete your enrollment. specifically in the 36 states that go through the federal exchange. some other states have different systems in place. connecticut, for example, said yesterday was its deadline, california said it will allow people to get through today. in terms of whether people are signing up, the white house really doesn't give us those numbers. they are much more free about the number of visitors than they are about the total number of enrollments. it is clear there has been a spike. in october 106,000 americans signed up for insurance. the president in his remarks just a couple days ago said in the first three weeks of this month it was more than 500,000 who had signed up. so clearly it's going in the right direction. even if they are above a million right now, it's still shy of that 3 million plus number, craig, the administration had been hoping to have by this point. again, to be very clear, the analysts say the number we should really watch is the total number, not how many sign up but exactly who signs up, another
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piece of information we don't really know, that breakdown between younger healthy folks and older sick americans. >> peter alexander traveling with the president in hawaii. to the weather now. the prospect hundreds of thousands may celebrate christmas in the dark. crews are working feverishly to fix outages from the ice storm. the unrelenting cold means hundreds of thousands without power might not be able to light up their christmas trees for santa. upstate new york rising waters are causing concerns prompting extended flood warnings. meanwhile winter weather advisories in the midwest could spell trouble for air travel. monday more than 5,000 flights were delayed. lets bring in weather channel meteorologist maria la rosa. maria, what are we looking at over the next 12 to 24 hours? >> looking for weathermakers, going to be snow mainly from the northern plains midwest into the great lakes. we do have winter weather advisories posted, duluth,
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minneapolis, fargo all included. this is a quick moving area of low pressure. just enough moisture, a few inches of snowfall. you can see from today to tonight moves into madison and also chicago. eventually pushing into detroit. that will produce a white christmas in the areas with snowfall. shores of lake michigan, lake will enhance some of that. these spots areas in purple, uk of michigan include, half an inch of snowfall could slow down holiday travel on the way home. falling late wednesday to early thursday. three to five inches from minneapolis, one to two in chicago metro. a guaranteed white but very cold christmas especially in the midwest. >> maria la rosa, thank you. it is officially crunch time, just a matter of hours before santa makes its rounds holiday retailers are hoping for one final rush on this christmas eve, but it's looking rather gloomy. retail sales are down for the third week in a row, 3.1% this
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week last year, just under $43 billion. the security breach at retail giant target leaving almost 40 million americans debit and credit card information at risk, that's not helping the situation. what can we expect in these final shopping hours? cnbc's sarah outside kohl's in new jersey, she's killing two birds with one stone, doing some reporting and some shopping. what's the scene like there, sarah? >> well, the parking lot is full now, craig. but i have to tell you, this is a whole new phenomenon here, 24/7 shopping during christmas week. we were used to it during black friday. this year it's happening this week. some stores, kohl's behind me, toys "r" us, they have been open friday, saturday, nonstop. toys "r" us in new york times square, benchmark store, that has been opt eopen since december 1st, 500 plus hours.
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it sounds like a gimmick to get holiday shoppers into the store last minute but there's actually serious concerns that the retailers have and they are trying to address with this strategy. number one, you mentioned it. so far it's been somewhat of a sluggish season. in fact, there are new numbers out from a research firm called shoppertrak. they show shopper traffic last week, the all important week before christmas actually we're down 20% from a year earlier. so not such positive signals from the consumer. they are hoping to make up for that. online, growing like gang busters, 24/7, retailers need to compete with that. a double whammy. this shopping season is six days shorter between the time from thanksgiving to christmas than usual. they need to stretch it out so they can get the same amount of profits in fewer amount of time. >> any reason to believe at this point retailers are going to make up this lost ground over the next 24 hours, not even 24
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hours? >> yeah, really. most of the stores are open at least through 6:00 p.m. tonight. not open on christmas. perhaps that's the next thing to come. in fact, we are told next year you can expect thanksgiving shopping hours noon, 4:00 p.m. on thanksgiving day. the signals are grim when it comes to consumer, traffic, shopping. the 24 hour strategy, they are not optimistic. the bottom line, according to pros, it's not going to get people to spend more than they planned in the budget to spend on the holiday shopping season, just going to distribute it throughout different times of the day. that it is doing. we had a crew here at 3:00 a.m. i can tell you, there were at least 20, 30 people inside toys "r" us. so that's something. >> you've also got to wonder at least if what we're seeing play out in the last few hours of shopping in this brick and mortar stores offset by the online shopping. so many folks doing it now at
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their computers, online sales, of course, up just over 37% over 2012. even sales on those mobile devices up some 53%. i guess that's what we're seeing, some tectonic shift in the way that we shop. >> we are. that's a huge theme. it's a huge point for the retailers to take away from this holiday shopping season. you just mentioned those numbers up almost 40% the weekend before christmas from last year. double digit growth online. still to put that in perspective for you, craig, online sales as a percentage of total retail sales are only about 6%. so it is important for retailers to get the traffic in, the brick and mortars to get people coming in doing this 24 hour while they work on online strategies and beef them up because that's obviously where the growth is. >> sarah, thank you very much. i'll e-mail my sizes.
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federal judge denied a request by the state to stop marriage while it appeals an earlier ruling i'm join-- oppon keep fighting. is this going to be an uphill battle in utah? >> of course they are going to keep fighting. the governor and attorney general in utah, mormon church, establishment in a sense believes that the voters have decided this issue when they supported a constitutional moment when they said it was between a man and a woman. utah had to agree one man and one woman to enter the country and now they are asked for a new definition they don't agree with, so they are going to continue to fight. i was looking off the camera. i'm looking at the electronic docket for tenth circuit court
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of appeals in denver. that's what everybody is waiting for to see what they will do. it's interesting, that appeals court very quickly dealt with requests from utah earlier to issue stays and said, no, you're ahead of the curve, filing too early. we don't allow that under our rules. now it's been 24 hours when the trial judge declined to set his own ruling. set 9:00 mountain time for all written briefs to be filed. now it's open three or four hours this morning and still nothing. i don't know what that means. everyone is waiting assuming by the end of the day the court will say something. meantime marriages go on. 4 to 500 in salt lake. some counties are not issuing marriage licenses because they say they talked to their own county attorneys who say with all the courts yet to weigh in they don't know what to do. the salt lake county courthouse
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is open for business. that's where you see these lines of people getting their licenses. >> and so we wait. >> right. >> pete williams, thank you so much. the only person probably in america right now watching electronic docket for the tenth circuit court of appeals. >> only person outside of utah anyway. >> that's true. merry christmas, sir, always good to see you. still ahead, a traffic jam on healthcare.gov website. is this what the white house has been waiting for? our panel weighs in on that. [ male announcer ] here's a question for you:
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the administration pushed health care signup again yesterday it seems like with good reason. the white house says nearly 2 million people visited healthcare.gov credit and 1 million people signed up for obama care total so far.
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"the chicago-sun times" and alexander burns of "politico" joins me now. i want to talk about something here really quickly, alexander. we've been talking about this 2 million people visiting the website yesterday. here is the thing. we don't have a point of reference. do we know how many people visit the website on a normal day or do we not know that information, alex? >> part of the problem, there isn't a normal day for this website. when it launched back in october, enrollment started in october, we know technical glitches that prevented a lot of people from logging on. the white house says there's this late surge of interesting for the enrollment deadline. that's an unusual circumstance. it may be after the first of the year, once we're passed the first set of time krumplg deadlines we see what does normal usage for this website look like and what does normal interest look like from the
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public. >> how confident they have worked out the kinks in the system and good to go from new year's day and beyond? >> well, i would say there's cautious optimism. people have to make sure the payment went in, the insurance company has the right information. so the number to look at in the end is how many people are fully enrolled. the visits at this point, i think, are nice to know. it shows the system is getting input. >> it can handle that input. the website a few months ago could not handle 2 million people. >> absolutely. give them a plus for that. this is all for a purpose. so the other thing is if you want coverage by january 1, you have to be signed up by now with today being a grace period. the first window is open until march. it just won't kick in january 1. so the other thing is what we still don't know is how many of the people who had their
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policies not renewed. this is this angry army of people who thought that nothing would change. how satisfied are they with either the alternative policies they got or with the idea of staying on under some waivers that the president got granted. are they going to be happy knowing this? it's not just the website but a few factors out there before anyone in the administration can come out and say you got this all fixed. very too early to say. >> alex, i want to go back to something peter said at the top of the hour. what do we know about the kinds of people who are signing up for obama care so far in of course that's an important question because one of the main premises for this, the idea younger healthy folks will sign up and offset the costs of older, sicker americans. do we know whether young healthy
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folks are flocking to the website and signing up en masse? >> we certainly don't know in the kind of conclusive way would allow us to say whether this program will work overall and shift the health care market in the direction we want. we do know in the states opted to set up exchanges in places like kentucky will there's been a lot of interest, enrollment in the medicaid side of the program and slower enrollment in standard side of the program. if that's a trend that were to continue, that would certainly put real financial stress on that side of the federal health care rollout. but you know, look, as you say we're going to know before the midterm elections whether as lynn said people who get the plan like their plan, the larger big picture democrats made government solution on health care reform is something the country wants is actually a positive. >> lynn, is this going to be the single issue that defines
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midterm elections? >> it's a factor. people are talking about nsa, spying, jobs. i think the reason health care has a potential to stay as a defining factor, the primaries, we get two bites of the apple, primary election, i think in some swing districts that question will have a different set of factors whether it's republican, democrat on democrat primary. it's staying power. everybody has health issues, transcends race, gender, orientation, religion. everybody out there, no matter politics, do need health insurance, how people think this program is going and whether it helps them. it's an intensely personal question. i think as time goes on, this is one of these policy issues where
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personal experience plays a larger role than other things because people bring to the table their own experiences with this program. >> alexander, 30 seconds here. something lynn just said that piqued my interest, nsa, spying, something that could perhaps move the needle at the midterms. we talk about it, papers write about it. it's undeniably important for a number of reasons but is that an issue john q. six-pack in irrelevant what says i'm going to the polls and i'm going to vote for this person because they side with me on spying. >> it's a small group of people fired up to vote on nsa. but people who do feel strongly about it are people who are going to turn out. it's not really clear at all which party they vote for. >> primary voters. >> lynn sweet, alexander burns, big thanks to you on this christmas eve. do appreciate your time. >> thank you. >> wall street and main street,
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might they go in two different directions again in 2014? we'll talk about that. "duck dynasty" dad phil robertson refusing to back down. now, one of the conservatives who rushed to his defense admitted she didn't reign read the "gq" article. if i can impart one lesson to a new business owner, it would be one thing i've learned is my philosophy is real simple american express open forum is an on-line community, that helps our members connect and share ideas to make smart business decisions. if you mess up, fess up. be your partners best partner.
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a & e! network suspended phil robertson indefinitely following controversial remarks about gays and blacks. now questions are circulating about the future of that show. can and should it stay on the air? here is nbc's mike taibbi. >> "duck dynasty" family patriarch phil robertson reportedly told his church group he was just reading from the scriptures when he lumped homosexuality with beastiality and prostitution. whether i said it or people read it, what's the difference, the sins are the same. robertson made no reference to
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his controversial remarks about african-americans, that when he was growing up he never saw blacks mistreated. they were happy, he said, no one was singing the blues. robertson did say last week, i would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. i love all of humanity but the standoff continues. this hugely popular reality show about a likable down home family of louisiana hunters and sel self-described bible thumpers. versus cable networks. the rest of the group vowing they will not go on without him. can there be middle ground? >> the show can go on if they come up with a way views don't come into the show and advertisers feel comfortable with what the show is. >> one hint what advertisers might face, cracker barrel stopped selling "duck dynasty" merchandise quickly relented as
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a result of the show's fans. ann coulter. >> there's nothing offensive about what phil robertson said. >> to louisiana governor bobby jindal. >> i think it's important to stand up for his right to be heard. >> reporter: as the standoff continues groups representing blacks and gays preparing for an extended fight. glad, for example, saying it will increase pressure on cracker barrel now and advertisers later if necessary. a middle ground in this dispute hard to see. mike taibbi, nbc news, los angeles. >> a look at some of the stories making headlines ahead including deep freeze from midwest to new england. an ice storm threatens to leave thousands in the dark on christmas day.
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[ male announcer ] this december, experience the gift of unsurpassed craftsmanship and some of the best offers of the year at the lexus december to remember sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection. i've got a big date, but my sinuses are acting up. it's time for advil cold and sinus. [ male announcer ] truth is that won't relieve all your symptoms. new alka seltzer plus-d relieves more symptoms than any other behind the counter liquid gel. oh what a relief it is. welcome back to msnbc. i'm craig melvin just after 1:30 christmas eve. here are stories making
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headlines. retail sales are down for a third straight week now. that's putting a lot of pressure on stores to get shoppers spending in what's typically the biggest shopping day of the year. it does include online purchases up. supporters of same-sex marriage, in ohio a federal judge struck down part of that state's ban ordering state officials to recognize same-sex marriages on death certificates. ohio's attorney general says the state will appeal. meanwhile same-sex couples in utah lining up to get married after a federal judge there refused to delay his own ruling which overturned the state's ban. utah has now become the first republican state to allow same-sex marriage. 150 marines now ready to move into south sudan in case they need to evacuate the embassy amid continued violence there. they believe all american
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civilians have been evacuated. sudan appears to be on the brink of another civil war. back here to what could be a cold and dark christmas for hundreds of thousands without power from michigan to new england. thanks to last weekend's ice storm. >> he uses a breathing machine at night. no electricity, can't use his machine. >> day number two. >> about 600 linemen working on the property. a lot of their families are without power. >> john yang in bath, michigan, with the very latest. >> craig, from here in michigan all the way east to maine, power crews are racing the clock. their goal is to restore power to as many homes as possible before at least the end of christmas day. in some places officials say it's not possible. they are not going to have power restored until saturday.
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one of the things working against the crew is bitter crew. here in michigan highs only in the mid teens, not expected to get out of the freezing mark until saturday at the earliest. that means power cables crews are working with are cold and brittle, hard to manipulate, hard to move. >> take a look at the tree behind me. you can see how limbs are sagging under the weight of that ice. you can see where one limbahaard brokenocity and ice is growing on the tree limbs. that means more limbs could be falling and they could be taking with them more power lines, even as crews work to restore the power taken out by the lines that are already down. craig. >> all right. john yang for us in michigan. some moments of concern at today's spacewalk at the international space station. it ended a short time ago. the walk follows up on a better
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than expected walk saturday when an old pump was successfully removed. i wan to bring in nbc's jay barberi. i just heard from the news desk. the walk wrapped up a few moments ago. was it a success? >> it's a big success. in fact, it is wrapping up right now. they ran a bump test after they got all four of the flood lines hooked up. the pump went up to full speed and works like a charm. they will be checking it out overnight of the astronauts did get some ammonia on their suits. they have to get rid of the stuff. they can't take it back into the space station because it's so poisonous. they are staying out a little longer, 6 hours, 40 minutes. they are going to stay out 7 hours to bake it off before they come back in. essentially it is all over with. everything is fine. it's operating. they don't have to do another spacewalk. they are going to have an easy
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christmas tomorrow, going to be relaxing. they are looking forward to that. i can admission control told us that the astronauts on their last pass here the north poll got to see santa claus launch. santa claus is coming, fred. tell the children he's on his way. there is a lot of weather between here and there. that's not going to bother much. as they launch, they could see, it's real bright. santa shouldn't have any trouble between here and north pole. all the children here in north america get ready. santa is on his way. >> that's fantastic news. jay barberee making a lot of kids happy. thanks for your santa travel report. s&p 500 and dow just closed, closed early here because of the holiday. they closed at record highs
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ahead of christmas. there you see it right there. the dow up almost 63, s&p up over 5, snads nasdaq up 6.5. they are up. how will the economic recovery continue into next year? will it continue neck year? what it means for wall street? what it means for main street. jerry bernstein and msnbc contributor, a former white house economic adviser. always good to see you. president obama said friday 2014 could be, the word he used, breakthrough, could be a breakthrough year for this economy. how so? >> well, there are just a lot of key variables moving in the right direction. in fact, some of them are moving with a little more economic pep in their step than they were earlier. right now we're adding 200,000 jobs per month. if you go back four months, we were adding 160. extra 40k per month makes a
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difference. last gdp report had a 4 in front of it, 4.5%. that's higher than several years. the federal reserve last week took a little off their monetary stimulus because they thought the economy was doing better. that's the macroeconomy. we have to be mindful. you alluded when you said wall street and main street. you have to be mindful the extent this growth is making it to lower and middle incoworkers. their things are not nearly as obvious. we'll have to see how that develops. >> i want to ask you about extension of unemployment benefits. we know unless something happens dramatically that there are going to be lots of folks in this country who stop getting unemployment benefits. the long-term unemployed. what would the effect of that be on the economy, macroand micro? >> sure. sure. it's an important question because one has to distinguish
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between improving as i said in my first comments and healed, all better. the job market is far from healed. we still have very high levels of long-term unemployment. in fact, whenever we've had this much long-term unemployment congress extended unemployment insurance benefits. they didn't do that this year. at the micro level, people without a job. it's not because they are not trying, it's because of a lack of employment slots are going to lose on average $300 a week. that's at the micro level. aggregate that to the macrolevel it will suck a few points off gdp growth in 2015. >> stock market done exceptionally well by all measures, what are we looking at in 2014 specifically with the markets? >> there are those including nobel laureate robert schiller who made a living out of predicting bubbles who suggests the stock market is a little bit bubbly. i think there's something to that.
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the market had a much better year this year than, say, average growth rates, pocketbooks of many middle class people. corporate profitability was very high. part of that comes from foreign earnings. my guess, things will settle down. not that there's a down market but meltups we saw this year, i'm not talking meltdowns, will be somewhat diminished in 2014. >> wrote a piece for "huffington post" responding to reports that obama care is hurting the middle class. you write in part, "it's not a simple story. and it's certainly not the case that most of the middle class will end up facing higher cost under aca or the current system or any plausible alternative. what kind of effect do you see the president's health care plan having on the middle class right now? >> right now i think there are a lot of people trying to figure out the answer to that question. that makes for transitional
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anxiety. i think the most important thing i uncovered in that piece, there's a lot of rhetoric about how this is going to be costly to middle class families when, in fact, if you look at the average income of the families in the scale they are within that subcity range. when you talk about higher premiums, in many cases for higher quality plans, we can't forget once this rolls in, and we know the rollout has been problematic, they are going to get subsidies, many of those households and that's going to help themafter forward better quality coverage. >> congress closed out the year by mercifully agreeing to bipartisan budget deal. any other economic agreements you see being peacefully brokered this year. >> maybe peacefully is the wrong word. i'm very much convinced that they are going to broker a debt ceiling agreement early in the year. i don't think there's going to be some of the usual scrumming around.
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in fact, paul ryan has already made noise we want to extract some goodies from that fight. i'm confident they will raise debt ceiling. >> merry christmas to you. >> thanks to you. see you soon. >> see you soon. maybe next year. still ahead, have you been naughty? have you been nice? you just got jay's forecast. we're going to give you another one here. we are tracking santa with less than 12 hours to christmas day. kids, come back. [ male announcer ] no matter what city you're playing tomorrow. [ coughs ] ♪ [ male announcer ] you can't let a cold keep you up tonight. vicks nyquil -- powerful nighttime 6-symptom cold & flu relief. ♪
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that your favorite dutch apple pie starts with a golden flaky crust, wedges of fresh fuji apples, and a brown sugar streusel on top. so she made her dutch apple pie just like that. marie callender's. it's time to savor. kids all over the world are counting down the hours, counting down the minutes now until the biggest morning of the year, if you've been nice. in case you want to know when putting cookies out for santaish lets bring in someone tracking his every move. this is major general charles lucky, chief of staff of norad
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and u.s. north com. general, good to see you, sir. first of all, the question everyone wants to know, where is santa right now? >> okay. right now, he is just left mogadishu in somalia and he is headed to the islands. he should be there in about a minute and a half. he's traveling about the speed of starlight right now. he'll be hitting the east coast of the united states here about 8:30, 9:00 p.m. local time. >> 8:30, 9:00 p.m. east coast local time. thank you so much. we should note for viewers at home, there is a significant satellite delay because, again, the general is at norad and there's a lot of interference between here and there. how many gifts has he delivered so far, general? do we know?
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>> about 3 million he's delivered. he's got a ways to go. he'll more than double that before the night is out. hitting the east coast about 8:30, 9:00. kids need to get to bed so he can make the stop. one of the challenges with santa, if people are in bed and he's got to come back around later that slows him down. frankly creates more of an icing problem for the sleigh. encourage folks to get to bed early so santa doesn't have to make a detour and come back. >> i'm glad you made that appoint. very important point to make. last point, general, any word on the number of kids on the naughty list and the number of kids on the nice list? >> i don't have any good statistics for you on that, but i'm confident the number of kids on the nice list is going to be
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significantly larger than the kids on the naughty list. >> you made a lot of kids happy. major general charles luckey spending time with us. we know this is a busy day for you. we thank you for carving out time for us. the kid in the double box right there does not look like he's going to be on the nice list. that one we showed you there. general, thank you. still ahead, sarah palin, one of the first conservatives to defend "duck dynasty" patriarch after anti-gay, anti-black comments, now she says, well, she never actually read the article. ♪ [ male announcer ] what kind of energy is so abundant, it can help provide the power for all this? natural gas. ♪ more than ever before, america's electricity is generated by it. exxonmobil uses advanced visualization and drilling technologies to produce natural gas... powering our lives... while reducing emissions by up to 60%.
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now to the latest in the "duck dynasty" drama, sarah palin staunchly defended the show as star after he made those offensive comments to "gq" and was suspended. turns out palin may not have known what she was defending him
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for. this is sarah palin on fox yesterday. >> in the article and i know it's a graphic type guy, do you have any objection on the matters as to how he said it? >> i haven't read the article. i don't know exactly how he said it. >> at least she admitted she didn't read it. she didn't pretend. >> jason stanford, a democratic strategist, joe watkins a republican strategist, also former aide to george h.w. bush. let me start with you, jason, how surprising is it that sarah palin did not actually read the story she so staunchly spoke out about initially? >> craig wouldn't we be surprised if she read the article or any article for that matter. the fact it showed up in a national magazine proves all of the first amendment concerns. the man can say what he wants and a&e has the right to fire.
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republican candidates and office holders all over the country, including several here in texas have leapt to his defense, citing his views as republican orthodoxy and expression of christianity. i grew up in a fundamentally bible church and didn't see jesus linking homosexuality too beastality. >> joe watkins, from a purely -- >> thanks for making us put -- lumping us into one boat. i guess we're all one in the same. >> i want to hear one republican condemn these views, one. >> joe watkins, you can be the first. >> let me be the one. let me say this, i think part of the problem in the united states is we talk at each other, not to each other. for people like me, i'm not only a former white house aide but minister and pastor and born again believer guy. and i believe what the bible
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says. and that being said, i still believe that we can find common ground that we don't talk to people we may not agree and often times are accused of not living one another and i believe we can. i'm offering this on your show, craig melvin, i offer phil robertson and his family, i'll host a meeting and also leaders of the gay and lesbian alliance against defameation, i would would be delighted and have my friend ed rendell join me. at the end of the day we can find common ground and we can talk to each other and don't have to hate each other. >> what say you to that? >> what he said -- >> i'm glad you brought that up. >> in the south is insane. >> naacp, i'm asking americans, i'm a member and be delighted to have them involved also. >> i'm glad you brought that up. i do want to make viewers aware,
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because that actually is kind of gotten lost in all of this, what he said about blacks specifically or about that time period specifically. among the comments that you fire was one that robertson made about african-americans -- african-american workers who he said were happier in jim crow louisiana than they are today in his new york times weekend column, he wrote this in part, robertson's comments conjure the methodology of historic southern fiction, that of contented slave and ben voluntary lent master, glee any and happily accepting their social stations. how common of a misperception is that joe watkins? >> i'm a african-american from the north that lived in the deep south in louisiana. i know back in the 1970s and i know at times were very
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difficult for people of color in the south in the 1960s and even 1970s. that being said, i don't have hate in my heart for phil robertson. i would love to talk to phil robertson. i think dialogue is better than accusation and what we have now, which is just the continued exchange of mean words between across the aisle saying not only do we disagree but we don't like you. >> i don't know if -- i don't know if i heard folks say they don't like him. folks say they disagree with what he said. >> 14 million viewers watch him every week. they are authentic and people like them because they are who they are they shouldn't have to necessarily apologize for it. doesn't mean they can't change. >> ten seconds, jason. >> i think at the end of the day. >> let's start there. this is the kind of apologizing
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for the right. they need to say these views are wrong before we can go forward. that is what is required here. >> joe watkins, jason stanford, big thanks to both of you. >> remember my offer. >> merry christmas. >> we'll have new updates throughout the rest of the day. merry christmas. by using one less trash bag each month, we can. and glad forceflex bags stretch until they're full.* so you can take them out less often.
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the day building a play set begins with a surprise twinge of back pain... and a choice. take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ the right wing delivers a crazy 13. let's play "hard ball." >> hello, i'm chris matthews in washington. politicians on the right have dop disturbing and and destructive things, derailed every major legislative item they could, immigration, the budget and even workplace discrimination. when they did take up legislation it looked like this. more than 45 separate votes to kill the affordable care act. abortion laws cooked up

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