tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 27, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
your fire speaks in the air, settles in our bones. your drum, soloing, our breath into the beat, unbeat. your hands, shimmering on the legs of rain. your hands. ♪ shimmering on the legs of rain. that last one is inscribed on his tombstone. >> thank you. >> oh, thank you, thank you. >> beautiful. so glad we got that in. >> thank you, my dear brother. >> sonja sanchez. that does it for "the cycle." karen finney, it's your turn. >> good afternoon, i'm karen finney. it's friday, december 27th. and you know what that means? one day until unemployment insurance runs out for 1.3 million americans. >> it was the night before christmas. >> we know how busy it is.
>> are you kidding me? >> 1. 3 million americans losing benefits. >> does it make sense to borrow money from china to give to the unemployed in america. >> merry christmas. >> the american economy stuck in a new normal. >> getting our economy moving again. we ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal. >> mr. president, what are you waiting for? >> mele kalikimaka. and we hope you have a great new year, as well. >> we begin with an update on what you might have missed while you were busy with those awkward political discussions with your family over christmas dinner. president obama yesterday took a break from hiking and golfing with family and friends to sign the bipartisan budget deal that was actually passed by congress before everyone left town for the holiday break. now while the deal is no grand bargain, it does decrease the
chance of a government shutdown over the budget for nearly two years. but don't forget, the next debt ceiling fight is just around the corner. however, something that's not prevented in that budget is the loss of long-term unemployment benefits, which will expire tomorrow for 1.3 million unemployed americans. as the progressive advocacy group americans united for change made clear in a newly released political ad, the failure to help extend benefits is like a lump of coal in the stockings of the unemployed. >> to the 1.3 million americans losing benefits, merry christmas, from the gop. it's wrong to leave more than 1 million americans behind. >> now, with another 1.9 million expected to lose benefits by the middle of the year, senator jack reid, a democrat from rhode island, announced yesterday that he's co sponsoring a bill, along with republican senator, dean heller of nevada that would extend federal unemployment insurance for three months. its legislation they're hoping to receive a procedural vote when congress returns in january. here's the thing.
tomorrow's expiration of unemployment benefits is not the only deadline affecting millions of americans this holiday season. the official deadline to receive health insurance coverage on january 1st, through the affordable care act, was midnight on christmas eve. now, with a few case by case exceptions for those who attempted to enroll but couldn't, the flawed but vastly improved healthcare.gov website saw 2 million visitors monday, alone. and the call center received an additional 250,000 calls. the real test begins in january 1st, when the newly insured will begin to put those policies to use. something tells me, though, if there are any problems, we are going to hear all about it. let's get right to our panel. political reporter from the "washington post," karen tumty, and professor james peterson. thank you both for joining me. >> thanks, karen. >> hi, karen. >> professor peterson, obama signed the bipartisan budget yesterday, and let's just look at how the a.p. described it. they said, quote, the bill
signing marks one of obama's last official acts in a year, beset by a partial government shutdown, near default by the treasury, a calamitous health care rollout and near perpetual congressional gridlock. wow. when you put it that way, it sounds like a pretty bad year. i would say in hawaii. >> it was a rough year for the president. and he seems to be having an unusually good time in hawaii right now. but -- and i think the a.p. is being as objective as you can be about these things. this is clear obstructionism. the healthcare.gov rollout was not as strong as it needed to be. but there are some signs of improvement. obviously, we have this budget deal for two years. i think the president needs to understand that going into the next or last three years of his term, he needs to be optimistic and figure out what are the things he can get done. and i think immigration is there. i think we're going to see not a grand bargain, but we will see some roll backs of the sequester cuts that hopefully will favor the economy in better ways. and we might see some movement on an actual jobs/infrastructure bill. that's would i would love to see
the president get done before his second term ends. >> karen, i think we have to take the phrase brand bargain out of our lexicon. when you look at unemployment, it expires tomorrow for 1.3 million americans and polling show americans support an extension of benefits. but that might not matter. take a look at this clip from msnbc this morning. >> latest polling shows the majority of americans feel these unemployment benefits should be extended. i don't know how it's going to play out. >> how is gerrymandering -- it doesn't reflect a majority of the country. the house is drawn in a certain way that is not -- that is not sort of matching opinion, though. >> karen, is that really what's going on here? that it doesn't matter what a majority of americans want anymore, because of the way these gerrymander districts have been drawn up? >> well, the thing is, this is not necessarily about politics. this is about economics. and right now we have the highest rate of long-term unemployment in this country that we have had since world war ii. and it's not like there are jobs
out there for these people. the bureau of labor statistics says there are 2.9 unemployed for every one job there is out there. and that also the long term unemployed are everybody. it hits every single demographic group. married, unmarried, with kids, without kids. old, young, college, high school-educated. so, you know, it's an enormous problem hanging over from the recession. and again, people are going to see these benefits hit them in ways that are not necessarily political. >> well, but don't you think, james, what's going to end up happening, there will be something of a political backlash. if you're on unemployment and your benefits run out 20e78 tomorrow, you're going to talk to somebody. you're going to try to call somebody for help. >> we can hope there will be a political backlash. you look at the republican party right now, you can see that the business interests in the party are starting to step up and stand up. and they're pushing back and long term unemployed employment
is trapped in at least two different economic challenges. one is, we need to transition our economy into a green economy, into an economy for the future. and the other is, the recession. the recovery from a recession without enough government spending to add jobs. so the confluence of those things to make this a particularly thorny situation for the business world. and now the stock market is through the roof. the job creators, allegedly, have what they're supposed to have. we don't have jobs. and so politicos have to understand that. and there will be backlash if they don't respond. >> you know, karen, here is something interesting. if we look at who is going to be hit the hardest in terms of unemployment benefits, the state hardest hit would be none other than new jersey. and governor chris christie, remains popular, running for president, i think we know that. but won't he lose some of his popularity when his stance on policies result in unemployment and hardship? >> well, especially since this is something that is reaching into so many families across the country. but, you know, in addition to
extending unemployment benefits, there are other things that i think economists think the government ought to be looking at, maybe tax incentives for businesses to hire some of these long-term unemployed. maybe job sharing. maybe more hiring by the government of the long-term unemployed. i mean, there are -- you know, there are solutions out there, too, that go beyond just cutting checks for people that, you know, congress is giving absolutely no thought to. >> well, but james, isn't part of the reason -- i think the president has actually talked about a lot of those ideas, tried to put them forward. but the obstruction we have seen from congress has prevented any movement on those kinds of things. >> true. hopefully, again, with the budget deal and with the real fragmenting of the republican party along business lines versus ideological lines, hopefully we're going to see some movement. but you're right. those ideas have already been floated. and, again, you can't recover from the kind of recession we're trying to recover from. and cut government spending in the way we have been cutting government spending.
and so you have to add -- the government has got to add jobs in this environment in order to address things like long term unemployment the right way. >> and you can only do that by making investments, whether the gop likes it or not. karen and professor james peterson, thank you both. >> thanks, karen. coming up, we'll hear from a member of congress and get her take on economic policy here at home, as well as several hot spots that are flaring up abroad. and later, politics and entertainment often share the stage in 2013. we'll remind you of some of our favorite moments. stamps.com is the best.
issue number one for most americans continues to be the economy. will new outbreaks, though, of unrest throughout the middle east and africa mean once again domestic issues get put on the back burner? joining me is congresswoman karen bass from california. >> we talked earlier about unemployment insurance, we have a big expiration date tomorrow for 1.3 million americans, polls suggest that a majority of americans support the extension of long term unemployment benefits. how confident are you that this will get addressed in early january when congress returns? >> well, i absolutely think it's the most urgent thing for us to do. in my state alone, over 200,000 people are going to lose their unemployment insurance tomorrow. but i am concerned about it, because this is a ideological battle amongst my republican colleagues who believe for some reason that an unemployment check is a disincentive to work.
as opposed to the reality, that our economy still has not created enough jobs. >> right. >> and i think it's one of the sad things, because frankly, if we hadn't done the self inflicted damage to the economy, i do think our economy would be roaring right now. we know it's getting better, but it's not roaring. still too many people out of work. >> so speaking of partisan issues, before leaving for the holiday break, none other than senate minority leader mitch mcconnell suggested he's more than willing to take hostages on the debt ceiling crisis in february. so we could see a shutdown again. what kind of pressure can boehner and his leadership team apply from really making -- letting that happen? >> well, you know, we did see the speaker do something quite remarkable a few weeks ago. he actually was the speaker. and he stood up, he stood up to the tea party faction and said he was not going to allow the government to be shut down. i'm hoping that behavior will continue and he will continue to lead. but there's two ways. number one, that should happen
on unemployment. but it should also happen on the debt ceiling. the debt ceiling should be raised. unemployment extended without looking for other areas to cut. because it's not necessary to do so. >> so congresswoman, i want the to shift gears a little bit, because i would be remiss to not take advantage of your expertise and talk about the unrest we have seen in south sudan. you're the ranking member on the house subcommittee on africa. earlier today, south sudan's government agreed to end hostilities. we have seen the deployment of u.s. marines. quick reaction forces. it's the light footprint approach we have heard. how confident are you this is going to stick, this ceasing of hostilities? >> i really hope it is. i mean, you know, i have been to south sudan, met the president and the vice president, the two in conflict right now. and it's such a tragedy, because it is a brand-new country. it's africa's newest country. it's only two years old. and you know, before they became a country, they were focused on fighting sudan.
and when they declared their independence, now they have turned against each other. they did have a long-standing conflict. so given that the president has said he's willing to talk, i'm very hopeful that the vice president will also agree to negotiations. if they don't like each other, frankly, they should wait until an election and run against each other. but not declare independence and start a civil war. >> right. and obviously, as you know, it is not just south sudan that we are seeing violence and unrest today. we saw car bombing in beirut that took the life of a former ambassador to the u.s. we are seeing protests and violence in egypt. there is the continuing violence in syria. i know that sounds horribly depressing. but point is, you know, there are a lot of hot spots right now. are you concerned at all, though, these -- some of these issues could actually put some of those domestic concerns we were talking about on the back burner? >> no, i don't think so. you know, because if you think about the last few years, i mean, we have pretty much been experiencing this for quite a
while. also, an up surge in violence in iraq. so i do believe that we can move forward with the domestic agenda while still keeping very close attention to the international arena, as well. we have to do both. we really have no choice. >> all right. congresswoman karen bass, thanks very much for joining me. >> thanks for having me on. >> for more on these flare-ups around the world, i'm joined by the director of the national security, heather nor burt bert. you heard the congresswoman there, talking about 120,000 people in south sudan already displaced. and talking about sort of what seems like a fairly fragile piece and possible solution there. how confident are you in that -- in what's been announced today? >> you know, i agree exactly with what the congresswoman said. there is reason for hope and not a lot of reason for confidence. that it's very disappointing that the president and vice president have decided that their power struggle is worth plunging the country back into
violence of this kind. and it's very -- it's very concerning after all the evidence that the u.s., the u.n., international community and people of south sudan put in. so i'm worried about it. but karen, to your bigger question, you know, the important point is, in south sudan, in syria, in egypt, in tunisia, in lebanon, none of those are problems that can be resolved by u.s. force or by the u.s. acting alone. so there's no excuse for us to get knocked off track of what we need to do, what we need to do here at home. but so let me ask you then, to that point, heather. because we sort of took that sort of light footprint approach, if you will, in south sudan. we had a task force strike force of marines, able to go in and kind of deal with what our initial interests were. is that more what you think we will see in the region as we try to deal with some of these hot spot? >> yes. because the u.s. doesn't -- if -- you've got a civil conflict inside south sudan. the u.s. has an interest in
south sudan being at peace. its people having a chance at prosperity, building better lives. at enjoying the freedoms they struggled all those years for. we don't have a dog in who it is that's running south saw sudan. so no reason, no interest to put our troops' lives at risk, to have a kind of heavy footprint invasion, occupation approach. the reason the marines were deployed was to safeguard the many, many americans who were there, public sector, private sector, religious folks, doing all kinds of volunteer and work to help that country build itself up. but that's very different from, you know, having an interest in actually occupying a society and deciding how it governs itself, as you saw in the last ten years. >> yes. it is a big difference. and let's hope we stick to that one. i want to turn quickly to beirut, lebanon. we had a car bomb earlier today which killed mohamed shata, former ambassador to the united states. we got a statement from secretary of state, john kerry,
this afternoon condemning it as an act of terrorism. but have we heard anything or any rumblings about who might be responsible for the attack? >> well, he was very strongly anti hezbollah. the guerilla movement that operates out of lebanon, and anti bashir al assad, president of syria, with whom hezbollah alied. and this will be the second time in recent months there has been a really devastating and destabilizing attack inside lebanon that looks like it links back to the civil war in syria. and now here, you know, this is a little different from what i just said about south sudan. because if the syrian war, if the syrian civil war is going to spill over, and destabilize lebanon, then you're watching turkey, you're watching israel, you're watching jordan. and all of which are our allies of the u.s. so this is -- this is a very bad development, obviously, for someone who was a friend of the
u.s., for lebanon, and for the region. >> so very briefly, heather, it sounds like what you're saying is, part of the argument, if we do continue to take action or take any additional action, the president and the administration is going to have to really justify the difference between the kind of action we might take in egypt or syria versus south sudan and despite the fact that for most of us here at home, we're seeing violent acts and it's not clear sort of who is behind each of those acts. >> well, what you're seeing all over the region, karen, is people whose countries don't have institutions, don't have structures, to have power struggles any way other than through violence. rig >> right. >> so that's the first thing through americans to understand. then the question, where does that violence and power struggles affect core u.s. interests versus where are they tragic, unpleasant, horrible. but not something that can be made better by the application of u.s. military power, or what kind of, you know -- what are things the u.s. can do that actually makes tragic situations
better rather than making them worse. >> and we will keep an eye on it. heather herlbert, thank you very much. with the full newtown shooting report released, some might say it was an inaction on gun violence. but not everyone has given up. we see the brighter side for the gun reformers straight ahead. you're comfortable here.
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just over an hour ago, authorities in connecticut released the full state police report on the sandy hook shooting. the report includes thousands of pages with some information redacted, as well as images some of them graphic, related to the elementary school rampage by adam lanza. we're coming through the details now, and while there's still no clear motive, one early finding based on an interview with a relative shows adam lanza may have been angry with his mother, who was his first victim, for
volunteer work she did at sandy hook. volunteer work that was confirmed in a thank you note to nancy lanza, dating back to 1999. the report is a reminder, of course, at year's end of the continued search for answers to gun violence in america. but we don't really need today's newtown report to set up a gun conversation. not when you have new examples of the impact of deadly gun violence on a daily basis. in louisiana, four people are dead, including alleged gunman, ben freeman, and three more injured in a spree killing thursday, possibly motivated by a custody battle that played out across rural parts of the state. on christmas day in newark, new jersey, 13-year-old zany haley was an innocent victim in a shooting that may have been over a stolen car that left two dead and pushed newark past the 100 homicide mark for the first time since 2006. the gunman in this case remains at large. and in colorado, 17-year-old claire davis, a random victim of karl pierson at arapahoe high school earlier this month, died
monday. eight days after the shooting. when does it end, is the question we're asking. how does it end, is the question we have to answer. danielle hernandez was an intern for congresswoman gabby giffords and helped save her life the day she was shot in tucson. joining me again, msnbc contributor, professor james peterson. david, i want to start with you. one of the things when we were talking about doing this segment, while frustration about the lack of action at the federal level, there really has been a lot going on outside the beltway, if we get out of the beltway. it looks a little bit better in terms of the activism that groups like the ones you're working with, are engaging in. >> you know, we're seeing every single day thousands of people becoming activated around this country, because this is an issue they're starting to pay attention to, more so than ever before. and states and localities, you
see things get done, which is shocking, when we look at the federal government, which hasn't done anything on a variety of issues. but local and state level, we have seen four states pass universal background checks, including states like connecticut, new york, colorado. but we're seeing places like the city of tucson banning sales -- sorry, banning gun shows without background checks. so localities and states are having to take things into their own hands because the federal government isn't doing their job. >> you know, james, as 2013 draws to a close, we also saw the president really come back to this issue, and he talked about it in a recent weekly address. after the newtown anniversary. let's take a listen. >> we haven't yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer. we have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. we have to do more to heal troubled minds. we have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm. >> you know, james, when you listen to that, and it's an
important reminder and when you listen to the list of things daniel was talking about, there is not one solution. that we have to attack this problem on multilevels. >> that's right. it's very, very important we keep the holistic approach. the president listed the main points, we need universal background checks and the federal government to take the lead, and congress to take the lead so states and municipalities have political cover. remember, there are all these folks making this legislation targets of the nra and targets of a certain kind of political process. so the federal government can provide coverage. we also have to have a much more robust, mental health care system. the aca is a part of that. but we have to work as a nation to sort of fight against the stigmas that go along with mental health care so folks can get the help they need. and last but not least, careful about how we legislate and create policies so the municipalities have to be careful not to penalize young people, when we have to target gun manufacturers, gun sellers, particularly second-hand sales and things of that nature.
very, very specific. >> daniel, to that point, i know that mayors against illegal guns and americans for responsible solutions, the brady campaign, have really tried to take up different parts of this issue to do exactly that. and in 2014, i mean, do you think this is going to be an issue in the fall election? is that part of your mission, going into the 2014 elections? >> you know, i think one of the things we often forget, this is not just a sprint. it's a marathon. and as we see time and time again, elections have consequences. and unfortunately, we haven't had elected officials who have the confidence that they can go up against the nra. so i think when we look at places like virginia, where we saw a slate of candidates for the first time get elected statewide, who were for gun reforms, we know this is a winning issue. and we know that when we go into 2014, people like kelly ayotte of new hampshire, you know, her ratings in the home state after she voted against manchin/toomey went known.
so when we tie this to people in the record, we'll see electoral effects and it's going to be very important we keep the pressure up and not go away. and that's what mayors is kmeted to do and the brady campaign. we're not going away, because the nra is not going away either. >> daniel hernandez and professor james peterson, thank you both. daniel, thank you for the work you're doing. coming up, same-sex marriage comes to utah. how this red state may redefine this civil rights fight for the better or for the worse. stay with us. ♪ you know, ronny... folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy?
moving fast when you start seeing same-sex couples tie the knot in utah. that's right, the same state that put tea party favorite mike lee in the u.s. senate and the same state that hasn't voted for a democrat for president since 1964 in lyndon johnson. that same deeply red state is at least for the moment the 18th in which -- in the nation where gay marriage is happening now. joining us now from our chicago bureau is wayne bessen, founder of the lgbt rights group, and igor volski, think progress.org. so wayne, utah. did you ever think you would see the day when same-sex couples would get married in utah? >> yes, i did. but i thought i would be older than i am. this is amazing. and the symbolic value alone is going to go miles for us. the writing is on the wall. it's almost like one of those old new york subway train cars.
that much of writing on the wall, that marriage equality is something we're going to see within our lifetimes. but quicker than we ever imagined. it's very exciting to watch this unfold. >> you know, igor, that's an important point. just last week, you know, new mexico became the 17th state where same-sex couples could marry. now a judge has made it possible in utah. i just want to say that again. utah. the idea that you've got that going on in a red state, does have a highly symbolic importance. at the same time -- we know there is a legal fight going on in that state. what's the status of that? >> now it's going to go to the supreme court, and they're going to have to make some kind of decision. you know, the justices, i think, who decided on doma over the summer, a big ruling saying the federal government can't discriminate against gay people, is going to take -- have to look at the issue again. i think sooner than they expected. and what they're going to be looking for -- even the justices who struck down that part of
doma were skeptical about getting too far ahead of public opinion. >> right. >> now that you have this decision, the red state, it's really going to be the experiment in the backlash. >> right. >> what do -- what does comfort utah think? does it matter to conservative utah that gay people can now get married? and i think that some of that fear that if the court gets too ahead of the public, there's going to be backlash, and there's going to be problems, that's going to be, i think, overblown. and what the court is going to say is that most people really don't care. >> you know, wayne, i guess this -- i think this is such an important point. there is a lot of conversation over the summer about the strategy around enda and marriage equality, some likening it to what we saw around roe vs. wade in terms of this idea of the court getting ahead of people, and so it strikes me if we're talking about a state like utah, we're not talking just california, right? we're talking about a place like utah. that does start to suggest that people, as the person in the opening clip said, is actually
ahead of the court's and ahead of the government. i would think that would be a positive going into a supreme court case. >> yeah, i think that it is the case. it's just not that controversial anymore. only a third of americans really strongly oppose marriage equality. the vast majority of young people, over 70%, are in favor of it. and then you look at the doom and gloom, the sky is falling predictions from the right. they just didn't happen. it didn't materialize. i got married in a very rural state in vermont. that's liberal. but there is also marriage equality in iowa. now minnesota. so all these predictions about how bad it was going to be, people saw they were overblown. that these laws affected nobody who is heterosexual, and actually improved the lives of gay people and helped their families, if they had kids. so i think our opposition just doesn't have any strong arguments left. >> right. >> and you remember the big debate over whether or not president obama should come out for marriage, will it hurt him in re-election. he came out for marriage and nobody cared. i mean, i think for gay people
it was a big deal. but the opposition, they weren't going to vote for him anyway, so it didn't matter. >> but politically speaking, igor, don't you think it's significant in that it strikes me if you were going to be a candidate for the presidency of the united states of america from the democratic party, how can you not be for marriage equality going forward? >> oh --. that was the significance of it. >> very significant. and a lot of gay people, me included, i think the next day after he came out for marriage, i think we all held our heads a little higher and proud the president recognized your equality and said so publicly. and now you move into 2016 or even 2014, and what is that political dynamic going to look like? certainly on the democratic side, they're going to be for marriage equality, but what happens on the gop? does someone like chris christie embrace marriage? because now politically, especially when you're in 2016, it's a whole different ball game. there's not the kind of backlash we saw back in 2008 and 2004. so i think the way this plays out politically moving forward is going to be very, very interesting.
and who is going to be the first big national republican to come out for marriage? that i think is an interesting question. >> yes. and we will be watching. thanks, igor volski and wayne bessen. up next, it's no picnic in paradi paradise, or is it? despite those rounds of golf, we have a live report from honolulu on the president's working vacation. you know who had a merry christmas? the richest one percent, that's who. republicans in congress made sure of that protecting billions in taxpayer giveaways. and for those facing tough times? republicans stripped 1.3 million americans of jobless benefits folks who want to work, but cannot find a job kicking them to the curb during christmas. so to the 1.3 million americans losing benefits merry christmas - from the gop. it's wrong to leave more than a million americans behind. tell republicans: restore unemployment benefits now.
"stubborn love" by the lumineers did you i did. email? 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. i just love this one... and it's next to a park. i love it. i love it too. here's our new house... daddy! you're not just looking for a house. you're looking for a place for your life to happen. president obama has a few good reasons to feel good today. first, of course, he woke up in hawaii on the seventh day of his vacation. and, in fact, we've just gotten word he's en route to the beach with his family right now. that's after he signed a host of bills yesterday, including the two-year budget bill and national defense authorization act. and nearly 5,000 miles away, in new york, a federal judge upheld the controversial government counterterrorism program that his administration has been
taking the heat for. the bulk collection of americans' phone records. joining me now from hawaii is nbc white house correspondent, peter alexander, traveling with the president. and did i mention that peter is in hawaii. looks tough out there, peter. >> i thought you would be on this assignment, karen. we were looking for you. >> you know, i was trying. i want to start with department of justice said they were pleased with the decision upholding the collection of americans' phone data. obviously, it counters a ruling two weeks ago that claimed the program was, quote, almost orwellian. what are you hearing from white house officials, and how does this impact the president's decision that he'll be making in january on those nsa reforms? >> reporter: well, so to be clear here, you have two individual judges, two separate decisions on this. this one obviously in support of what the u.s. government is doing right now. but i think an important point that's in the bottom of today's decision from judge poly is the simple fact he says is it legal, yes. should it be done? ultimately, that's up to the
president and congress. really what it does is just put a little more pressure on the president as he moves forward with the decisions he's making, even as we speak during this vacation, carrying with him that 300-plus page series of recommendations from the advisory panel on what the government should do in this regard. we know before he left he seemed to signal in the clearest terms yet some willingness to have the phone records no longer stored by the government, by the nsa, but more specifically to go to the phone companies. but i think one of the bottom lines that came out in today's ruling was the fact this judge said this represented basically the government's counter punch to al qaeda, and he talked about the significance of this data collection to try to piece together those separate threads to prevent what could be a -- in his language, horrific attack from taking place. >> right. i want to shift gears a little bit. the passage and signing of the national defense and authorization act did not get attention but delivered the president a pretty significant victory on his fight to close gitmo for the first time since the president took office. congress actually eased regulations on gitmo, which has
basically given the president a little more flexibility to send about half the remaining detainees back to their home countries. the president released a statement when he signed it, saying the provision, quote, represents an improvement over current law and is a welcome step toward closing the facility. now, you know, he's had a tough year. but this is another bright spot for this president. >> yeah. i think the white house would characterize this certainly as a win. how big of a win is unclear. this is something the president has been fighting over, over the course of the last four years. but i think you hit it on the head when you refer to this as this additional flexibility. they have obviously been taking -- taking moves -- taking efforts over the course of the past several months to try to allow this to happen, which is they can send back some of these detainees either to their home country or other countries that were willing to detain them, and ultimately try them. what hasn't happened yet and something the president will continue to push for and there is bipartisan opposition to this, as well as the effort to bring some of those detainees back to the u.s. for
imprisonment, trial and other medical emergencies, that seems to be far removed from happening at this time. but certainly it is, after a year that the president even in his news conference last week was asked right out of the gates, was this the worst year of his presidency, right before the end of the year. a little bit of evidence of some progress being made on the topic that's obviously one he's passionate about. >> right. and one he's clearly wanted more flexibility on. nbc's peter alexander, thank you so much. >> we've got space on the beach, karen. >> i'll be right there. all right. coming up, pop culture goes the beltway. it was the best reality show, it was the worst reality show. it was washington 2013. ♪ mine was earned orbiting the moon in 1971. afghanistan in 2009. on the u.s.s. saratoga in 1982. [ male announcer ] once it's earned,
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of congress but washington lawmakers did manage to pass less than 60 substantive bills, compared to 231 in 2012. but guess what? they did deliver for one very important constituency. and that would be the nation's comedy writers and late-night satirists. once again, the nation's loss was their gain. joining us now is kim serafin and toure, co host of "the cycle." and i think i beat you in that game. >> you can have that one exciting moment in your life. congratulations. >> all right. so toure, we've got "saturday night live" taking on two of the year's biggest political stories. let's take a listen. ♪ ♪ we are so shut down getting so shut down ♪ ♪ yeah ♪ da, da, da ♪ ripping gop
♪ doing whatever we want >> millions of americans are visiting healthcare.gov, which is great news. unfortunately, the site was only designed to handle six users at a time. >> okay. so nobody was left unscathed, i think is fair to say. but i have to ask, is that how you like to think of speaker boehner? >> no. god, no. i don't like to think of speaker boehner like that at all. i actually had that erased from my mind. but it was an absurd year from the shutdown to the rollout to weiner to filner, coast to coast. there was a lot for the jon stewarts and stevphen colberts and we also have substantive reflexes on politics, "house of cards" coming back in a couple months. which was this extraordinary thing. which actually didn't make fun of it, but portrayed politics in this machiavellian way that made it look interesting. it's a shark pit, but made it look actually interesting. >> i have to go back to miley
cyrus. 2013 was the year of miley cyrus. and she -- you can talk about music, miley say russ, entertainment, miley cyrus. this was probably the best sketch snl did all year. her with the ♪ la dee dee de ♪ republican party in your heft head the rest of the day now. >> just when we thought we were going to get it out of our head. toure's point. we did see this convergence where some of the substantive issues we were dealing with became fodder for these late-night shows and this clashing. sometimes people realized what was going on as it was happening and sometimes they didn't. i want to talk about the controversial voter i.d. law in north carolina, and let's watch a part of the daily show where they interviewed a now former gop official in the states. let's take a listen. >> if it hurts a bunch of college kids, too lazy to get up and go get a photo i.d., so be it. >> right. >> if it hurts the whites, so be
it. if it hurts a bunch of lazy blacks, so be it. >> i'm not sure that's a more tolerant gop. i don't think there was a chapter on that in the gop autopsy. >> no. >> i think that's just the power also of jon stewart and the daily show that people say something there and it will go viral and it can get people fired. and i think this is jon stewart. and people get relaxed because they think i'm on a light night talk show, it's a comedy show. and people look to him for real truth. people look to him for satire, but to tell the truth. and i think that's why people want to go on his show. but you have to be careful. >> i also note from working with politicians, you always have to warn them, do not feel comfortable. you've got to stay on your guard. >> you're right. but anywhere you come out and say something that's incredibly racist like that. and just incredibly honest about the real intentions of voter i.d. laws, that's going to go viral. and jon stewart and others had fun with it, stephen colbert.
but this voter i.d. situation in north carolina and texas and other states is tragic. they are trying to take people's rights away and pretend they're actually trying to protect these rights. >> but to kim's point, what's important, when someone like a jon stewart in a satirical way is trying to shine a light on that in ways people are not paying attention to how dire it is, when you get quotes like that, oh, my gosh, i better pay attention to this. >> because people are paying attention maybe not watching the sunday morning shows. everyone paying attention to pop culture and entertainment is paying attention. >> we only have a minute. but very quickly, i would be remiss if i did not mention "duck dynasty." homophobic and racist remarks in "gq." and very quickly to both of you. you had ted cruz coming to the defense. mike huckabee also potential 2016 contender. this actually really, i think, had a mark on our culture this year. >> yeah, the gop is in the business of defending their sort
of folks. even when they are racist or sexist or homophobic or ignorant. because they're in the business of presenting this idea that it is straight, white men who are actually the victimized class in america who are the aggrieved ones, beleaguered ones, embattled in america. they used to have hundred% of the power. now 95% of the power. so it seems that equality is actually working out worse for them, versus everybody else. so when they speak out on these issues, then they get people saying racist things. and sexiest things, homophobic things and they feel a need to defend them. >> kim, we did not get to talk about what i thought was president obama may be angling for, a cameo. >> a cameo on "house of cards." i would love to see this. he should do it, yes. >> maybe we'll see that. thank you, toure and kim serafin. we'll be right back. ♪ [ female announcer ] you walk into your laundry room and...boom!
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thanks so much for watching. be sure to join me this weekend for my show, "disrupt" which airs on saturdays and sundays at 4:00 p.m. eastern. we have a lot in store for you. coming up now, "the ed show," with a look back at 2013, your favorite guests and stories. >> good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show." let's get to work! ♪ let's get to work. >> one of the missions i had when i came to msnbc was that -- president obama had just been elected. i wanted to do health care. >> you need to pay attention to what's happening in your backyard! >> fixing health care in this country is a moral obligation. >> what is our part and what is our soul as a country? is what the next generation is going to have to answer. >> when we start picking and choosing neighborhoods, who is going to get the resources and who is not going to get the