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tv   Up W Steve Kornacki  MSNBC  December 29, 2013 5:00am-7:01am PST

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and can alert you to an unusual charge instantly. so you can be a member of a more secure world. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. marriage equality comes to red state america. it is the last sunday of 2013, which means we're taking stock this morning of everything that has been accomplished this year. it has been a remarkable year for gay rights in the united states. doma was overturned and state after state joined the movement for marriage equality. that movement isn't over yet. it is now moving on to the red states of utah and indiana. where will it be heading next? also, do you like to drink soda or maybe they call it pop where you're from. expert linguists have concocted
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a pretty amazing and simple quiz that can predict with pinpoint accuracy where americans lived based on how we talk. also, we all know that in the house, this was the most unproductive year in congress ever. there is some praise to be handed out today for the senate, something major happened there this year with potentially giant ramifications for next year, and for beyond. we're going to talk about that later. and, if it is new year, it must be bowl time. this is no ordinary time for college football. the bcs, maybe you heard of it, critics say it is one letter too long. it is the 15-year-old system for choosing a national champion. well, it is on its way out. we will tackle where this supposedly amateur sport is going in the post bcs era, that's later. but first, if you look at the history of gay marriage in the united states, you need to start in massachusetts. bluest of blue states and the first in the country to legalize same sex marriage was back in 2003. from there, on to california, where the right was lost for a
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while, but then won back soon after, and then affirmed by the supreme court just this year. and then connecticut and iowa and vermont and new hampshire, new york, maryland. you get the picture. states where democrats typically do well. because that's how we have come to understand gay marriage in this country, something this divides along blue states and red state lines. take a look at the 2012 election map. president obama defeated republican mitt romney by 51-47 margin. in the places that have marriage equality, if you take the average score of those 17 states in the district of columbia, president obama won 61% of the vote there, while mitt romney took just 37%. in fact, if you look at president obama's top 16 margins in the country, places where he wracked up his biggest majorities last year, they are the 15 states and the district of columbia where marriage equality is the law. but all the way down there at
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the very opposite end of the spectrum, right-hand corner of the chart, state where the margin was the widest against president obama in 2012. well that would be utah. president obama lost that state by 48 points last year. and yet five days before christmas, a federal judge there handed down a ruling declaring the state's 2004 ban on same sex marriage to be unconstitutional. which made utah the 18th state where gay marriage is legal. at least for now. last weekend same sex couples in utah started marrying and they're doing so at a record shattering pace. previous record for most marriages in a day in salt lake city county was 85. on monday, though, for first full day that clerks were allowed to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples, the county clerks office handed out 353 marriage licenses. at first, some utah county clerks didn't adhere to the
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ruling, refused to hand out licenses. they're appealing to the courts to put the brakes on same sex marriage in the state, but the 10th circuit court of appeals already denied the governor's emergency motion for a temporary stay. the appeal was denied because the lower court's rationale is firmly backed up by a decision and a dissent from the supreme court in june. the united stat the majority opinion in the ruling written by justice anthony kennedy found that, quote, domdoma's principle effe is to identify a subset and make them unequal. kennedy said doma denied the equal protection and due process guaranteed under the 14th amendment, because, quote, it is motivated by a bare desire to harm couples in same sex marriages. in response to that, conservative justice anthony scalia took issue with the
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characterization and in his dissent, how the decision, how the characterization of doma would be interpreted. he wrote, quote, how easy it is, indeed how inevitable to reach the same conclusion. and lo and behold, less than six months later, we now have a federal judge in utah who wrote last week that, quote, the court agrees with justice scalia's interpretation of windsor and finds the important -- that the important federalism concerns at issue here are nevertheless insufficient to save a state law prohibition that denies the plaintiffs their rights to due process and equal protection under the law. so there is the situation in deeply conservative utah. the first red state to get marriage equality. so far the state's conservative political leadership has been unable to fight it off. and there is also a big test coming up in indiana. with the exception of a very slim victory for obama there in 2008, republicans have dominated
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presidential elections there for the last half century. and now gay marriage opponents are making the hoosier state their next mark key battleground, the place where they hope to put the seemingly unstoppable momentum of gay marriage to the test with the ballot question this november, another constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage. this is how they hoped to prove to the country that this issue is far from resolved, that there remains deep popular opposition to gay marriage and a strong popular will to resort to altering state constitutions to prevent it. governor mike pence, christian conservative and former congressman, is now entering his second year in office. he opposes same sex marriage, but he is also notably exhibited limited public passion for the fight this time around. social conservatives are applying intense pressure on state's republican led legislature to put their marriage amendment on the 2014 ballot. and while the legislature will debate it, the republican
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speaker of the state house in indiana hardly seems enthusiastic about it. >> and, yes, while it is not high on the agenda, we all know we have to deal with whether hoosiers should be entrusted with the important decision of the marriage amendment. my charge to you as we debate a very emotional and personal issue is that we do so with the recognition of the dignity of every hoosier in here and elsewhere. >> story of gay marriage that we know already is the story of a rapid evolution from a fringe concept to an accepted consensus issue and half of america. in blue state america. that's the story of the last decade, the story of the last few years, really. now, 2014 dawns, that story is shifting. gay marriage has now arrived in one of the reddest states in america. and gay marriage opponents are picking what could be a defining fight in another red state. will 2014 be the year that gay marriage takes the next big
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step, away from being a red state/blue state issue, and closer to being a nonissue. to discuss, i want to bring in brian brown, the president of the national organization for marriage, rachel bade, a policy reporter at politico. josh barrow at business insider, and aisha moody mills at the center for american progress. thank you for joining us this morning. aisha, i'll start with you. we're taking what has happened in utah, what may be happening in indiana next year, also we should note there was a ruling in ohio in the last two weeks, ruling in ohio that basically said same sex couples should be -- should qualify for death benefits in that state, citing the supreme court ruling from earlier this year. and it seems to me something is going to give, whether in 2014 or 2015, in the very near future, something gives at the ballot box, maybe in a red state like indiana, where, you know, voters sort of surprise people and say, you know, we're not --
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we don't want to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage or something will give at the supreme court level and the supreme court will have to issue a ruling that finally says in all 50 states these are the rules. it feels to me like we're fast approaching the point where something will give on this in a big way. >> well, yeah. what we have seen this year is certainly we hit a tipping point. we hit a tipping point decades in the making. we more than doubled the number of states where we have marriage equality in just one year. that's huge. that's huge and we also have seen the public opinion kind of go off the charts now. more than 50% of the public believes that marriage equality should just be the law of the land and it is not really that big of a deal. i think that what we have seen in utah is really what we're going to continue to see around the country, courts are coming in and saying this is a constitutional issue here. you cannot treat some couples differently than you treat other couples. i think we're going to see that even in the face of, you know what is becoming smaller and smaller pockets of conservative opposition from a political stand standpoint, i think we'll see it
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prevail in this case. >> in utah, you had a judge, a federal judge who was appointed at the behest of orrin hatch, conservative senator from utah, mike lee signed off on the appointment too, that's where he's coming from. but he's looking at the supreme court ruling from june and basically following it to its logical conclusion. it is what anthony scalia was warning about in his dissent. he's basically saying, you can't have two standards here. >> i think scalia's logic was correct. if follows the majority opinion. the majority opinion didn't address the question, it didn't have to. scalia could say this is what is going to happen next. what is interesting about this year, you've seen this explosion of marriage equality through three different channels. court decisions like in utah, there has been legislative action in places like illinois and minnesota and then you had at the end of 2012 voters in washington state and maryland and maine approving gay marriage by a ballot measure. so i think you're going to see advances on all three of those fronts for a time because gay
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marriage is prohibited in so many state constitutions, the only way it is legalized is through another popular vote or through a court decision regarding the federal constitution. i think you're going to see more and more of that movement unless the supreme court sweeps in and legalizes gay marriage everywhere and makes the issue moot. i think for a long time, gay rights campaigners got used to saying things shouldn't go to the ballot box. that these things shouldn't be put to a vote and they're going to have to get quite comfortable going to the ballot box because -- unless the courts come in, that will be the only way to advance marriage equality in a lot of the remaining states. >> i want to come back to the issue of going to the ballot box and some interesting results from the 2012 election and stuff coming up on the horizon in 2014. i want to start also with the court side, to keep on that for a second. josh marshall of talking points memo.com, he wrote, he looked at the decision in utah, he looked at this ruling in ohio, and he basically said that judicial -- in terms of the courts, the clock has really sped up because
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of the these two rulings. everybody on each side of the issue realized for the past two or three years it is only a matter of time until this happens. the decade or so of different policies from state to state appears quite unlikely. i see little way to look at last week and not conclude gay marriage will be the law of land in every state of the country in the near future probably during the obama presidency and maybe sooner still. i don't know how you can be sooner than the obama presidency, but taking -- what he's basically saying is the court, which thought it was maybe buying itself some time on this issue with how it finessed the issue back in june, that this has now been sped up and the court is going to have to rule on this as it applies it all 50 states maybe by 2015. >> potentially. and it all comes back to the equal protection clause of the constitution. in 2013, you know, we have seen a double in the number of states who recognize same sex marriage has doubled. and so that brings up the question of can people just move from one state to another and see their rights sort of disappear? so right now say you have a
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lesbian couple in vermont and get married, state recognizes their marriage, the federal government recognizes their marriage because of the supreme court ruling this summer, but, say, one of the wives gets interest transferred to texas and now that marriage is not recognized anymore and the benefits they got in their state of vermont are no longer there. but the equal protection clause of the constitution essentially says that americans should not see significant legal protections disappear moving from one part of the country to the other. so this is definitely stepping on the gas. now 40% of americans live in states where same sex marriage is allowed, so what about these rates? are they transferrable from one state to the next? the supreme court is definitely going to see that it has to answer this sooner rather than later, especially now that we're seeing so many states -- >> that's one issue, brian, i know your group is out there fighting this, that was the issue that was at the heart of this ruling in ohio, where a judge looked at this couple, it was married legally in a state that has gay marriage, and
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basically said how can a state of owe owe deny death benefits to one of the spouses when the entire history of the state of ohio and just about every state in this country, when it comes to marriage, it is a history of reciprocity. we honor the marriage in one state in this state. why would you single out same sex couples legally married in the state of maryland, that's where this couple got married, why would you single them out and say you're denied the death benefits that spouses should get in the state of ohio. that's being raised all across the country now. >> attempting to use the full faith and credit clause of the constitution to impose same sex marriage on states is nothing new. this goes all the way back to the decision in massachusetts. look, the importance of the utah decision doesn't signify at all any change on the part of the voters of utah. what it does signify is one federal judge decided that it is okay to throw out two-thirds of the voters' will in a single decision and the tenth circuit is unwilling to have justice be done and put a state on this
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decision. everyone who looks at this knows what he's trying to do. let's get as many gay marriages as possible to occur in utah, so it is hard to roll back the clock. let's impose this immediately. something that the ninth circuit and the california example refused to do. at least showed some attempt to restrain itself. this judge does not want to do. so now what we're going to find out is whether the supreme court itself is going to put a stay on this. this will go to sotomayor, there will be -- it is not filed yet, but there will be another attempt to restore law in utah by going to the court and saying, let's stop this nonsense. >> but you raise a couple of interesting points there. i know sort of the conservative argument, the anti-gay marriage argument, i think there is a conservative argument for gay marriage, but the anti-gay marriage argument, a lot of it revolves around bashing activist judges and he was appointed at the behaest of orrin hatch and signed off by mike lee, the question i asked you, it wasn't
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about utah, it was about ohio. we had two rulings in the last couple of weeks. that question of basic fairness that rachel was talking about. a couple that is legally married in the state, in the state of maryland, legally married there, and they are residents, they move to ohio, one of the spouses dies, why shouldn't the marriage laws of the state of ohio, isn't it only a matter of fairness the death benefits aply to the spouse? >> it is not fairness at all. if your logic holds true, then no state should be able to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman because there are a few states that have redefined marriage. again, mostly bit courts. >> more than half of the country -- more than half of the population lives in a place where -- >> we still have 33 states where people have largely overwhelmingly voted to amend their constitution because they know there is something true and good and unique about unions. >> that's not why -- >> i think overwhelmingly and the argument from the other side is the reason that they voted
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this way often is because of bigotry. >> yes. >> well. >> yes, that is the argument. that's the truth. >> our own president, over a year and a half ago, weias he a bigot because -- >> we have reached an interesting point and getting into the question of the popular -- there is a lot to be said and josh has something to say in response to this. we will take a break and pick it right up where we left off after this. he loves me. he loves me not. he loves me. he loves me not. ♪ he loves me! that's right. [ mom ] warm and flaky in 15, everyone loves pillsbury grands! [ girl ] make dinner pop! enew 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. we built it for our members, but it's open for everyone. there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum.
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talking about the court battle, the pending court battle that is going back to the supreme court over gay marriage. also just the issue of the state referendums that's how this all started in utah, the voters of utah in 2004, a decade ago, voting to ban gay marriage. brian was starting to talk about that. josh, you wanted to say a response to that. >> you had a number of states that passed these referendum over a period of about a decade
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and you've been having a shift in public opinion, three states that passed by popular referendum legalization of gay marriage in 2013, minnesota defeated a proposal, and you do find that support for gay marriage at the poll tends to lag the opinion polls by a few points. opposition to gay marriage is shameful and people are ashamed to tell pollsters they hold this position. that bigotry is falling away. and i can see in indiana they want to go now in part because this is maybe their last opportunity to get it done. but if it passes it, it will be like what the speaker of the house said in north carolina, i think it is going to pass now and think it will be repealed within 20 years. the tide of changing public opinion is still going out by two or three points a year, and that's going to sweep over the country gradually over time, and ultimately into the reddest states. >> josh -- i have to respond to that.
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josh basically proving my point for me. look, when you can so callously and with such pious elitism discount the votes of the overwhelming majority of americans as simply bigotry, and then you can applaud a federal judge when he discards those votes and say that's because it is simply shameful to believe anything other than two men and two women should get married, and that all of human history, all of human history is wrong and how -- >> not all of human history. >> i'm right up until the last 15 years. and then the hypocrisy of, well, it is no big deal if we change it, well, of course it is a big deal if we change it. if the government starts to say what josh is saying, that those of us who believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman, are the fufrpgsnctional equivalf racist -- >> but, brian, here's the question, though, how do you -- i like you to respond to how dramatically public opinion is shifting. we can talk about referenda that
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passed in 2004 and 2006, even 2008. just to give you a sense of how dramatically this has changed. the first time we started polling this yes in 1996, here was the 27 to 68 against legalized same sex marriage in the country. that number doubled in 17 years for support. it is now majority support across the country. 54/43. you were quoted this week in the new york times talking about how this battle in indiana, this proposed constitutional amendment in indiana, red state indiana this year, is a big deal to your group and to your movement. well, here is the latest polling on that constitutional amendment in indiana. first of all, this is polling for same sex marriage overall in indiana. support 48/46. this is for same sex marriage. here is the question your constitutional amendment. 58 opposed, 38% support. that is a huge dramatic shift. so we are now really talking about -- let's be honest about what we're talking about here. we're talking about a country that in last 15 years has
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fundamentally changed to majority support for this. >> no, i actually disagree with that. of course the polling has moved. why would the polling not move in the direction of redefining marriage when you have almost all of the elites trying to bludgeon and put down people who disagree with this new orthodoxy as somehow -- >> do you think that's what it is? or more people now know gay people? know them in families and know them in neighborhoods. >> let's look at the polling if we accept your arguments on polling. in 2008, during proposition eight, we had polling showing that proposition eight was down by 18 points. most recently in north carolina, you mentioned the four states that voted either to redefine marriage or not to amend their constitution to protect marriage by the ballot. what you don't mention is that in north carolina roughly the same time, 61% of the people of north carolina, this is not long ago, voted to amend their constitution to protect marriage. in all of those states we saw polls showing that the ballot
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initiative was going to fail. and by huge margins. so the polling -- >> what if you lose. what if you lose in indiana next year? what does it mean? >> it means we continue to stand up and fight, in and out of season, for the truth. the truth is, and americans know this, the truth is there is something unique and special about men and women coming together in marriage and that is not bigotry. that is not bigotry. >> i'm kind of watching this show here because it is really hilarious. the longer you let him talk and let the arguments continue, the more that conservatives and these arguments against marriage sync themselves in general. i'm reminded, very short history here, i am reminded of all of the arguments that were made to support jim crow laws, to support slavery, all of the kind of anti- -- >> now we're going to live -- >> that was happening and it is -- it is absolutely the same type of bigotry that what we're talking about here say group of people who think that because there are other folks who are different, they should be treated differently under the law. and what we know in america is
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that should never be the case. and that's -- >> all right, aisha has the last word for this segment. we're back for the next segment after this. 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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take up to 4 advil in a day or 2 aleve for all day relief. [ male announcer ] that's handy. ♪ i didn't show this earlier. there is another piece of polling data i wanted to point up that i think tells the story of this shift in public opinion that we have seen. this is, again, this is nothingnothinfrom national, support for the legalization of gay marriage by age group. this tells a story. 18 to 34, seven out of ten support this. 55 plus, still a more exotic concept. fewer than four out of ten. i think you're seeing the future in that polling. we have so many political science studies and social science studies that talk about how your sort of political ideology or philosophy is locked in at a young age.
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rachel, the theme of the segment is how this may be shifting from a red state/blue state issue, eventually to a nonissue. and there is movement, you're seeing, among conservatives in red state america on this. talk about that. >> yeah, absolutely. brian mentioned that in utah was one, you know, a judge who said that gay marriage needed to be legal in utah, wasn't necessarily the masses coming up and saying in utah we want this for our state. but it is interesting because if you look at other conservative states, can see a shift supporting more -- more people supporting gay marriage. you look at south carolina, for example, this is a very red state, republican in the governor's mansion, republican controlled state house, almost all their elected members -- >> elected newt gingrich in the primary. >> haven't voted for a democratic president since jimmy carter, i don't think. in 2006, i think the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage passed by something like 80%. in polls, this fall, have sort
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of shown that that has decreased and now about 50% -- 52% of south carolinaens still disagree with allowing gay marriage in their state. that's a drastic change from 80% to, you know, 52%. and just, you know, young republicans around the country, polls have shown that republicans under 50, more than half of them, think that gay marriage should be legal. if you look at the supreme court ruling this summer, republicans of all ages, 43% of them agreed with the supreme court ruling that gay marriages should be recognized by the federal government. and we even have seen this change in people who you normally think of being against gay marriage, conservative christians, young evangelicals, romney pollster did a study and found that something like 64% of younger evangelicals support gay marriage. the catholic church says about 60% or more support gay marriage there. so i mean, i think we have seen a change. i wouldn't go as far as to say, you know, red states are going
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to be bringing up this to a ballot and will pass right away and gay marriage will become legal right away. there has been a shift over -- >> that's why i think indiana is such a very interesting and telling test for 2014. the republican party itself, first of all, we should remember, recognized this in this autopsy report after the election last year. they called, i believe the term they used for gay rights was a gateway issue. they said younger people are not even going to consider our party's message on anything else until they're satisfied on gay rights dwoent ha s we don't hav with it. we'll see if this gets on the ballot. i have a feeling if this constitutional amendment gets on the ballot it will lose in indiana, we'll see. it is the lack of enthusiasm from -- i remember mike pence being one of the most outspoken conservative christian congressman and he's so far refusing to take the lead on getting this thing on the ballot in indiana. >> i think that's a really important point to make is that even social conservatives are
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kind of over these issues, like marriage equality, which essentially are about divisiveness, trying to divide the electorate or tearing the party apart and what they realize is that that wing of their party, that kind of staunchly socially conservative wing is essentially going to drive down their ability to maintain power. that's why you see some reticence on the behalf of a lot of members to take up this issue. one, it is a nonstarter for young people. in general. i'm so thankful you brought up the polling around young republicans, young evangelicals. this issue should be a nonissue. at the end of the day, it is not about partisanship. it is about how we treat people in america and what the constitution says. so it does get -- brian raised the question at the break, is this a civil rights issue. it is a civil rights issue. it is about how people are being treated under the civil rights of the united states of america an we see the supreme court weighing in, we see other federal courts weighing in. one of the things we also know is that sometimes voters are lagging indicator of where we should be going in terms of the
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evolution of democracy. i take it back to when we're talking about dismantling jim crow laws, when we're talking about other laws, if we allowed the public to vote at that time, folks would have continued to keep african-americans a second class citizens. so i completely reject this argument that -- >> this is comparing apples and oranges. laws -- anti-misogyny -- >> as a black lesbian woman, no it is not. >> we don't have a majority of americans who are somehow raving bigots because they understand that marriage is the union of a man and a woman. on indiana, governor pence has come out and supported the marriage amendment, supported it going to a vote, and i strongly believe that if it gets on the ballot, you're going to see that all this polling that you're bringing out, you're again going to see north carolina all over again. strong majority will support -- >> i want to just get a straight answer on this question from you, though, because you have said, you were quoted in the new york times article talking about
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how big indiana is to you. i show the poll -- >> only thing they have. >> what happens if -- what happens to your movement what does it say to you if the voters in indiana disagree with you this year? do you rethink where public opinion is on this, where you are on this? >> we lost a state. >> you lost a red state -- >> it is a big fight. indiana is not the only state that may have this on the ballot. you have oregon, you have ohio, you have indiana. in ohio, supporters of redefining marriage are likely putting their own amendment forward. you have three votes possibly in 2014. indiana, of course, is very important. very confident that the voters of indiana will make the right choice that will not let judges for same sex marriage on them, they will vote to amend the constitution to protect -- >> the whole point of our constitution is that sometimes the majority will is incorrect. the purpose of it is to restrict the kinds of laws that can be made by the popular will.
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to say they're replacing the considered judgment of voters, they are replacing the judgment of voters, that's part of the american system for more than 200 years. it doesn't make it per se invalid for them to do so. >> not a singer founder that would accept your interpretation of the u.s. constitution. >> a lot of the founders owned slaves. >> i want to thank the panel. i'll see you in the next hour. coming up next, tag sale, yard sale, rummage sale, tell me which term you use, and i can tell you exactly where you're from. how america is divided by words. how is this for a segment? that's next. clerk stumbled upon a cottage. [knock] no one was at home, but on the kitchen table sat three insurance policies. the first had lots of coverage. the second, only a little. but the third was... just right! bear: hi! yeah, we love visitors. that's why we moved to a secluded house in the middle of the wilderness. just the right coverage at just the right price.
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>> did you say utes? >> yeah, two utes. >> what is a ute. >> oh, excuse me, your honor, two youths. >> the famous utes scene from the movie "my cousin vinnie." even if you're not an italian-american lawyer defending your cousin in a murder trial in the deep south, you probably experienced the frustration of wondering what someone was talking about in another part of the country. not so much how they were pronouncing a word, but what the actual term they were using meant. up next, the colorful ways in which our increasingly homogenous country is still wonderfully diverse when it comes to language. he loves me. he loves me not. ♪ he loves me! that's right. [ mom ] warm and flaky in 15, everyone loves pillsbury grands! [ girl ] make dinner pop!
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everyone loves pillsbury grands! 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. 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 let's say you're back at your holiday gathering earlier this week and mom needs to get everyone's attention. maybe she wants a photograph or dinner time. she needs everyone's attention. so what term does she use it address the crowd? does she say, listen up, you guys? or, hey y'all or maybe you lot or yins.
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if you've been anywhere near social media this week, you may know why i'm asking this. a survey went viral this week. 25 questions, the surveymakers claim they can pinpoint your dialect to a very specific, very narrow slice of the country. for instance, what do you call the rubber soled shoes worn in jim class or athletic abilities. if you answered sneakers, you're likely from the northeast or maybe from florida. if you said tennis shoes, even when not playing tennis, you're probably from pretty much everywhere else, except maybe chicago or cincinnati or some people apparently use the term gym shoes. the quiz was based on a decade long linguistic study conducted at harvard university and a survey of more than 350,000 people. results are not always perfect. but when i took the quiz, placed me somewhere between springfield, mass and boston providence. since i'm from groten, massachusetts, isn't far from any of those places, i would say the survey is pretty spot on. in a world of big box stores, chain restaurants, and so many
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other things that started to make this country look and feel the same in state after state, these distinct cultural pockets and language patterns that differentiate how we talk are one of the ways that still make our nation a wonderful mish-mash of quirky regionalism. here to discuss our linguistically diverse nation, we have ben zim, linguist and columnist and jane hall, a professor at american university school of communication, lynn sweet, washington bureau chief with the chicago sun-times and jimmy tingle, comedian and political humorist. jimmy, you are from boston, i think anybody who hears you talk in the next ten seconds will pick that up right away. >> why do you say that? >> i brought this -- one of our producers brought this up. this is called the boston dictionary. it is all these, like, only in boston expressions. it struck me preparing for this segment, maybe my bias of growing up in massachusetts and new england, but it seems to me there are sort of these quirky
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regional expressions and the accent is more quirky in particular in boston and massachusetts, new england, than anywhere else in the country. is that something you found traveling around? >> i definitely found that to be true. my father is originally from north carolina. so every summer as kids we would go to north carolina to visit his relatives and clearly coming from cambridge, mass, where we grew up, to north carolina, we would have all these different words. for example, we're going to a store in north carolina, as kids go, i want a tonic. a tonic? they come up with a jar of -- and then they say, you know, they would have words for us, you know, like my relatives would say, we'll give you -- just say park the car in the harvard yard. and they had words for us, like dam yankees. >> we go through some of these to give you -- if you haven't taken the test this week, maybe we can give you a few examples. one of the questions in the test. what do you call a traffic situation in which several roads meet in a circle.
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so, lynn, chicago area native, what would you call it -- a rotary, a round about, a circle, a traffic circle, a traffic circus, what is the term you would use? >> in chicago, it would be none of the above. which i don't know that was an option there. but in the test, here's the giveaway for chicago on that test, and it was, gym shoes, which is everyone the right thing to call -- >> you call them gym shoes? >> absolutely. >> i thought it was a trick answer or something. who would call these things -- >> you did say in your opening, some people say -- i have a little respect for everyone out there. gym shoes, #gymshoes. >> this question about the -- where the roads meet in a circle is the giveaway. the test tells you what gave away where you're from. the dead giveaway was mine, is i call this a rotary. i call them a rotary. a rotary, near where i lived, the west concord rotary, one of
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the most dangerous in the state. but, jane, you took the test. how accurate was it for you? >> it is interesting. i was somewhat disappointed to find that they pemegged me for mobile or tallahassee, but i'm from texas. i said median and service road. i don't know how they pegged me on that, but i was thinking about tells and one of the things that is a tell for me, someone watched me on tv and said i didn't know jane hall was from texas until i heard her say might could. it is a texas conditional. we might could be able to go. it pecked me as more southern. i have southern heritage so that made sense. >> there is a dictionary of american regional english that the university of wisconsin puts out. there is great expressions i've never heard, blind pig. this is a california expression apparently, that's a place that sells liquor illegally. there is an appalachian verb to
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get schnydered. you got scammed. kentucky, tag tale. a wyoming expression. someone who lags behind. in wyoming, i guess with would say liz cheney is tag taling in the race for u.s. senate right now. but, ben, when you look at these, are these expressions that in these sort of regional distinctions in terms of how we talk, are they here to stay or in this country of, like, the same chain restaurants in maine is in california, the same big box stores, are they going to disappear, are these things here to stay? >> linguistic diversity is not going anywhere in the united states. american english has always been tremendously diverse. and as you say, there are forces for homogenizatiohomogenization. greater mobility, people are traveling around the country, they're in the staying in their own location so much. there is mass media and other things that might cause people to shirt a common language. but as this quiz demonstrates, there is still lots of diversity in other parts of the country.
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i'm from central new jersey, and so we call it a circle there. i grew up in a town that had three of them. you know, we're -- >> you got the jug handles of new jersey too. i lived in new jersey what the heck is this. >> got to know your jug handles and circles. >> so we talk about the media in the show. when we come back, i want to talk about how the linguistic differences, how they affect our politics. when you're in the north, how do you hear a southern politician, you're in the south, you hear a northern politician, a news anchor with a distinct dialect, something like that. let's talk about that when we come back. there are cameras, police, guards... but who looks after us online, where we spend more than 200 billion dollars a year. american express can help protect you. with intelligent security that learns your spending patterns, and can alert you instantly to an unusual charge. so you can be a member of a more secure world. this is what membership is. this is what membership does.
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"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. 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.
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good to be with you. i said it right this morning with biscuits and cheesy grits. i tell you, delicious. >> that was one of many -- that is most cringe inducing mitt romney moment from 2012. that is sort of one of the dangers of -- in politic, you take a candidate from one part of the country, want to go to the other part of the country
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and find some sort of common ground with the locals and that's the most disastrous thing that could happen. >> it is. except the second most disastrous thing is mispronouncing the name of the field where the green bay packers play, which i won't say because i may do that. to your point of regional differences, and politics, in chicago, you know, there is differences within even the north side and the south side. i -- if you -- we call them ds, dumbs and dos, a variance of a chicago accent, which you see i might still have because i haven't -- i go back to brush up. so the only -- so that is, if you live -- listen to bill daley and rahm emanuel, both white house chiefs of staff, both grew up in a place called chicago, but the way they speak is very different. so bill daley has some of the ds, dumbs and dos speech. rahm who grew up, whose father lived in the neighborhood that i grew up in, but then they had to move to a better neighborhood than the one i grew up in, so we have some regional accents the
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same, but not as pronounced. the one unifier, though, is da bears. but if you look at the children of bears, we call them the cubs. >> that gets to a point, jimmy, talking about this a little bit in the break. lynn, from chicago, can appreciate the very in some cases subtle differences between -- >> subtle? like a sledgehammer. >> sutt toto us it is all chica. all the tv shows set in boston, somebody from boston hears the accent of how hollywood filters the boston accent, now how boston hears it. >> it is difficult to reproduce on screen if you're not from boston. some people do it very well. in the movie "the town," they did it really well. in the movie "the fighter," they did it really well. don't understand why they don't just hire more actors from boston who play boston roles.
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mitt romney, what does he do? >> alabama. >> after that, he had to self-deport. >> or mississippi. i'm sorry. he also lost -- he lost the mississippi primary. jane, also, i wonder from a news media standpoint, we think of, like, i imagine in a local market, if you're talking about, like, a news anchor, that kind of accent maybe is appreciated if you have the local accent. is there sort of -- would we trust a national news anchor with a thick distinctive -- i'm trying to think of -- >> i think that the coaches tell them to get rid of their accents. dan rather was famous for ratherisms, you know, about like a cat in the roomful of rockers, that kind of thing. but the coaches don't want people to have regional accents. which i think is very interesting. the other thing i remember growing up and coming to new york is it is more accent than speech. but you sort of would be stereotyped, people assumed if you were from the south, you were possibly a cracker,
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possibly, you know, ignorant, that sort of thing, you know. i remember people making fun of lbj after kennedy's -- he seemed like a corn pone to a lot of people. >> there is a regional word also. if you want to take a quiz, we'll publish a link to it on the website, on msnbc.com. the whole thing about this congress being the least effective, most pointless congress ever it kind of true. also something really big and really important that did happen in congress this we're. we'll talk about it next. like, you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec® liquid gels. nothing starts working faster than zyrtec® at relieving your allergy symptoms for 24 hours. zyrtec®. love the air.
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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. ♪ you think back over the last year, two of the most memorable episodes on capitol hill involved individual members of the u.s. senate going out of this irway, way out of their way to prevent their colleagues from doing something, to shut down the chamber. there was rand paul back in march holding the floor for 12 hours and 52 minutes, a filibuster of the nomination of john brennen to lead the cia.
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didn't work. plenty of bipartisan support for brennan. but it attracted a ton of attention, elevated paul's profile and even provided a little laughter. >> i would go for another 12 hours to try to break strom thurmond's record, but i discovered there are some limits to filibustering, and i'm going to have to take care of one of those in a few minutes here. >> and there was ted cruz who took to the floor in late september and did not stop speaking for 21 hours and 19 minutes. technically what cruz did wasn't actually a filibust, but same basic idea, the senate was about to pass a plan to keep the government open without defunding obama care. and cruz who pushed his party into the shutdown fight, was making a symbolic stand against the deal. and really that's what filibusters are supposed to be, how they're supposed to work. if one member or a small band of members of the senate doesn't like something about to pass, you can slow things down, you can draw attention to something they care about, and maybe,
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maybe they can even extract some kind of a concession before relenting and letting the senate get back to business and pass whatever it was about to pass. that's the filibuster at its best. problem, of course, is that it is always ripe for abuse. the filibuster most infamously is how one group of senators, all of them white, mainly from the south, banded together to hold back the tide of racial equality for nearly a century. that kind of abuse that led to some changes to the filibuster over the years. the number of votes needed to kill one has been rolled back. it was once 67, two-thirds of the senate, now 60. exceptions were made in 1975, rule was passed that said any legislation that deals with deficit reduction couldn't be filibustered. no simple tweaking of the rules could have addressed how the filibuster has been abused during the obama presidency. how it has become a routine tactic employed by republicans on virtually every significant piece of legislation and on all
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sorts of nominations. 60 votes, 60 votes out of 100, super majority, is what democrats needed to get almost anything out of the senate in the obama era. that's what happens when all of the senators from one party, from the opposition party, decide that they're all going to band together, week after week, month after month, year after year, to stall to an instruct and it derail the white house's agenda. not what the filibuster was designed to be, and it had huge implications for the kind of footprint barack obama has been able to establish as president. and it is why the biggest story of the year in washington, one of the biggest stories of the year in all of politics is what democrats finally decided to do about it. they went nuclear. they went partially nuclear. they made a rules change in november that they have been threatening to make for a long time, that almost no one believed they ever actually followed through on. but in november, when republicans made it clear that they would use the filibuster to block any obama nominee, no matter how qualified, no matter how impeccably qualified from
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serving on the second most powerful court in america, that's the d.c. circuit court of appeals, as jurisdiction over all of the laws that pass in congress, since congress is in d.c., when republicans made it clear that that's what they were doing with the filibuster, democrats went ahead and they changed the rules. from that point forward, there would be no filibustering of nominees, judicial nominees and nominees for executive branch posts, for cabinet appointees, people running federal agencies, to that kind of thing. we talk all indictment about how little happens in washington. but because of that rules change, some very big, very real and very important things have started happening in washington. like this. patricia millett confirmed to serve on the d.c. circuit court of appeals and mel watt was confirmed to run the federal housing finance agency. neither one received 60 votes. under the old rules, both would have stalled, both nominations would have stalled before the rules change. after the rules change, democrats needed a simple
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majority to confirm them. so they were both confirmed on december 10th. that's one new obama appointee running a vital agency that badly needed a leader, and it is a new obama appointee on the second most important court on the country, a court tilting conservative. and it actually now is two new obama appointees who have been confirmed to that hugely important court because cor cornelia pillard was cleared. when they made the change, republicans vowed receiptry bugs, hinted at the senate that might reach new levels of dysfunction, blustered that democrats would face the wrath of an angry public . but the story of the post nuclear senate, so far, is that almost none of that happened. democrats changed the rules and they got -- they got actual nominees confirmed. they got people in place in very important agencies and on courts. it raises the question of what's
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next. what's next for the filibuster, for what's left of the filibuster. there has been a clear reward for democrats so far in getting rid of it on nominations, but what about all legislation? is that the next domino that will fall? are we watching the senate transform itself into the house? where simple majority is the rule on basically everything. and are there unintended, unforeseen consequences when that day comes? if that day comes? here to discuss it, we have back at the table, josh barro, aisha moody mills, lynn sweet, washington bureau chief and rachael bade, reporter with politico. i want to start with the polling maybe puts this in perspective. we talked to years, this was on the table when republicans were running the senate, george w. bush was president, the nuclear option, it has been on the table, on the table for years with obama as president, democrats running the senate. and here. it actually happened, democrats went nuclear on nominations and
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here is the polling. this is a national journal poll from december 12th to 15th. do you agree or disagree with the democrats going nuclear for nominations? 47 agree, 44 degree. a fairly standard party line thing. not dramatic. the country is not revolting. for all the years of talk, the reaction from the country to a huge deal in the senate has been sort of ho-hum. >> it has. this appeals to the fairness of people. if you don't know a lot about the arcane rules of congress, it would just seem to be fair, right? majority rules have a vote, vote yes, vote no, and get on with it. so what ad can you make against this? no matter what side you take on this issue. can't say steve kornacki is against majority rule. vote against steve kornacki. people say what the heck is that over. in some ways it is more restrictive because the leadership there locks up everything that gets to the
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floor. so and it is -- even though that is where it is so much more fair that you majority rule because a lot of rules they have there and there is still ways that a minority can tie things up in the senate, which we could get to if we have time, so the minority party still has -- still has some tools in the box. >> one of those tools is you could dig it from the floor, you can go to the committee level, and at the committee level they could boycott meetings and they can, you know -- >> also in judicial nominees, for judges that sit in circuits based in states, there is a tradition that is still being held to that the senators have to agree, even if they're not of the party of the white house. some states work out a working relationship because they know that things can change in the power in the white house and in the makeup of the congress. and facing midterm elections, by the way, that's the reason i don't think the senate will put in more rules, we're too close and what if they do lose -- dems
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lose in 2014. so you have states where you can tie up judges if the senators won't agree on who the nominees are that you go to the white house. >> which gets to the nature of the senate and what is always sort of traditionally separated the senate from the house, the individual prerogatives of the senators. they have more sort of individual autonomy in the senate, six-year term elected state white, not representative of a small district for two years. what comes is a little bit traditionally a little more of the power. the filibuster is part of that power. traditionally when used right, it is a bargaining chip. i guess the question is in the era we're now living in, when ideology is so synced up with partisanship, the republicans and the conservative party, the republicans the left of center party, regional, cultural divide between the parties are so stark and everything is a party line vote. is there any role for filibuster in the senate anymore? >> i think probably not. i think it is part of a broader
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question. any democratic system has a set of structures that are used to impede majority rule. it is not just that whatever 51% of the public wants happens. you have a bicameral legislature. things have to pass the house and the senate, even if you had the same rules that would make things more difficult than passing something through a legislature that had just one house. you have a constitution that imposes various rules that says what kinds of laws congress can't make this . this is another structure that ma makes it difficult to enact laws. the republicans, they sort of see so many things slipping away from them in the country, and so this tool that allows you to basically stop anything from happening and say no has become very appealing and very useful as an obstructive mechanism. i don't think there is some grand overarching principle about democracy that says what the correct number of votes is to get through the senate. i think you to look at the specifics of the times and now it is looking pretty inappropriate. >> i would actually disagree and sort of talk about -- like to talk about the merits of the
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filibuster. you go back to the founders of the nation, created two different parts of congress, bicameral system, and the house was supposed to be protecting the voice of majority, and the senate was inherently made to sort of be a slower moving body that really thought about what it was doing, was less susceptible to public opinion actually, the six-year terms senators really have time to do things, don't have to think about the election right away. and that being said, filibuster and the motion to proceed requiring 60 votes or before it was even higher, sort of, you know, protected the minority so that they got a chance to get their amendments on the floor, and, yes, there have been a lot of things hemmld up and that's big problem for obama and that obviously has been. when obama was a senator, he was a democrat, and republicans wanted to do this, he was against it. the argument is that if you do this for nominees and only make it, you know, 51 votes in the senate and just like the house,
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majority rule, then eventually it will move into legislation and if it moves into legislation, and all you need is majority to get something passed in the senate, there is no need to go bipartisan. >> we should play, there is one democrat who was against these rule changes, a veteran democrat from michigan, carl levin, retiring in 2014, this was his warning as his fellow democrats were changing the rules, he was saying no, this is what he said in november. >> if it can be changed on judges or on other nominees, this precedent is going to be used, i fear, to change the rules on consideration of legislation and down the road, we don't know how far down the road, we never know that in a democracy, but down the road, the hard won protections and benefits for our people's health and welfare will be lost. >> so, aisha, he's saying -- he's saying let's say it is
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january 17 and president chris christie has been elected and he's got a republican senate and he's got a republican house, and the first order of business for the republican led senate is, you know what, the filibuster on legislation is gone too. now we need 50 votes and the vice president to pass whatever we want in the senate and he's saying basically every major progressive peace of legislation they could then dismantle. is that something you worry about? >> there is always going to be fear of taking advantage of the system, right? what we have seen, we can't forget how we got to this point of this nuclear option in first place. the republicans were taking advantage of the filibuster and literally stalling the government from being able to function. this is not a situation where, oh, we just don't agree with, like, the laws you want to pass today, so we're going to block them. they actually very strategically were using the filibuster to keep the obama administration from being able to actually perform its work, to keep the government from being actually able to serve the american people. and what is interesting is that they use it as a tool for political gain to say, we're going to block nominees, keep people off the bench and this
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isn't just the federal benches and just like a couple of nominees. there is a whole kind of bench -- a slew of people that are waiting for confirmation, which means there are federal jobs that aren't being done right now because they have been held up. so that the republicans can then go out and campaign and say, look, we told you government doesn't work, we told you the administration doesn't work and it is essentiallyusing the fili block the process. do we want the senate to be playing these tricks and games with the american people and with our government, shutting it down, not shutting it down, not letting anything happen, and that's how it came to the desperate place of a nuclear option. >> lynn is dieing to get in here and she will in two minutes. >> okay. the quicksilver cash back card from capital one. it's not the "juggle a bunch of rotating categories" card. it's not the "sign up for rewards each quarter" card. it's the no-games, no-messing-'round, no-earning-limit-having, do-i-look-like-i'm-joking, turbo-boosting, heavyweight-champion- of-the-world cash back card. this is the quicksilver cash back card from capital one. unlimited 1.5% cash back
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okay, the filibuster, lynn, you were about to say. >> i think that the obama administration could have been more aggressive in trying to
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figure out the reality and the hand they were dealt and how to navigate it. and it is true what the statistics that you pointed out that the republicans gang s ga him to deny him, but they needed to figure out a way around it or pull the nuclear option sooner or it is called making deals. okay. >> i guess that's the issue. is the republican opposition he's been facing, is it different than what we have seen -- >> i don't think comparisons are all that useful. i work in the real world. if we were playing cards here, you don't say, well, lynn, five hands a go, i had a better hand. so what, guys. you have to deal with the hand you're dealt. the compariseons just aren't tht useful when you're faced with an obstina obstinate, polarized republican opposition who doesn't want to help you. well, deal with it.
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>> let's talk about the potential longer term consequences. here is one i see. let's say everybody looks at the 2014 senate map and there is a plausible scenario that republicans are going to win the senate in 2014. i would say they're underdogs but let's say republicans win the senate 2014 elections. they now have a majority in the senate. so they -- if votes on nominations are becoming party line votes, which is what we're seeing, if republicans then have 51 votes in senate, does that mean in the years 2015 and 2016 obama is still president, does that mean every nomination is just going to die in the senate because republicans -- these things are becoming party line votes. does your party need to control the senate if you also control the white house to get anybody through? >> it won't be every nomination. for example, janet yellen got a number of republican votes. harry reid didn't vote on her. she would have gotten 60 if the old rules had still been in place. i think on executive branch nominations, if there is a republican majority, the president has to be more consultative with republicans and frankly give up a lot in
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agreements on those. i think as to likely that republicans will hold up a lot of judicial nominations if they get a majority going into the last two years of the president's term because they know if republicans win the presidency back, those will be open judicial positions they get to fill with their own choices. i think the -- i think the filibuster to your point, it doesn't fix the problem of option c and partisan polarization in washington. >> it becomes another problem too, let's say republicans say in 2015 and 2016 let's block the judicial picks because we get the presidency back, let's say they get it back in 2016, but they get the senate back. this is the longer term issue of how our system is becoming much more like a parliamentary system where everything is a party line vote. and when everything is a party line vote, and you've got to get nominations confirmed by the senate, i see a long-term problem there, of any party getting anybody through. >> it is. on the judicial nominees, that's the obama legacy. i think the executive
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appointments will come and go with the administration for sure. the judicial appointments are so important because they live on forever. >> right. it could be the biggest legacy of the party. the other question too is on the legislative filibuster, no incentive right now for democrats to end the legislative filibuster, they don't control the house. everything through the senate, the house can just block it. i mean, do you guys assume that is something that whether it is the democrats with full control in 2017, the republicans, is it just a matter of time before that gos? >> i think probably, i think the other thing is, the legislative filibuster is structurely adventurous to the right. you had carl leven talking about if the filibuster goes away, i think that's the wrong analysis. on average, democrats are trying to create new programs, republicans are saying they're trying to repeal programs, it is easier to create a program. ending a filibust work make it easier for the left.
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i think actually it is republicans who have reason to fear that the legislative filibuster would go away. i think republicans would not get rid of the legislative filibuster even if they got control of congress and the presidency because they fear exactly that. they know what democrats would do if they had full control of the government with no filibuster. >> i agree. i don't think the slope is as slippery as i think we're doing the sky is falling scenario now because we don't know what the next five years are going to look like. i don't think the slope is that slippery at all. >> i talk about maybe a lurch toward a parliamentary system, the labor government in britain passed the national health service. it does make me wonder if republicans got absolute control in the system, how much they would actually dismantle. >> i don't think we'll see a change in the filibuster rules unless a party controls everything. why would democrats do it now with republicans controlling the
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house. they're going to get pushback from it. >> also, if all three parties -- if one party controlled all three chambers, the leaders control what gets on the floor as a practical matter, so the rules become less important. >> it still is interesting too to look back at the presidency, the first two years with democratic control of the house, with super majority of the senate for part of the time, whatever you think of the legislation that came out of it, they got a lot of important legislation through. and the story now for the past three plus years has been absolute paralysis, divided government with this kind of partisan polarization. it is just not fun to cover. anyway, i want to thank lynn sweet, chicago sun-times, rachel bade, josh barro, aisha moody mills. a different kind of american institution ripe for big change. that's next. [ male announcer ] playing in the nfl is tough. ♪
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football season is reaching its peak. it is bowl week in college football. the nfl playoffs are almost here. we'll talk about it today because there is a huge change coming to the college game. a change valued at billions of dollars. change that fans have been agitating for ever and one i'm excited about. to explain what going on, i'm going to start about by talking about college basketball. one of my strongly held beliefs is when it comes to the world of sports, there is nothing more beautiful, more perfect, more fair than how a champion is crowned in that sport. works like this. 351 schools that play division one college basketball. 351. they range from the giant powerhouses that you all heard of, duke, north carolina, indiana, kansas, kentucky, all of the blue bloods. all the way down to the tiny anonymous teams like the stetson university hatters or the murray state racers or the newest addition, one of my new
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favorites, the university of massachusetts at lowell river hawks, playing division one this year and are off to a 1-11 start. i got eight credits there. i got to put them into the script. there are huge disparities among the schools, the dukes and uncs play in front of tens of thousands of fans with millions watching on tv at home. they have lucrative shoe contracts, coaches paid a fortune, budgets for recruiting, travel, everything they could ever possibly need are eye bulging. the umass lowells play in glorified high school gyms with maybe a few hundred fans watching if they're lucky with no tv cameras in sight, with almost no one even aware that they exist. what unites all of these teams from the biggest of the big to the smallest of the small is that they all have it in their own power to earn the title of national champion. simple. if you play division one basketball, and you win your conference, you get an automatic bid to the ncaa tournament. march madness. celebrate it every year. if you win that tournament, you
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become the undisputed national champion. that's why i love college basketball. there is more variety than any other sport. 351 teams playing. but all of them, at least theoretically, can say at the start of every year, we can go out and we can win the national championship. in reality, of course, the little guys never really end up winning the whole thing, but they can make noise in the tournament, can knock off one of the goliaths or two or three, they can screw up everyone's bracket, can make it farther than everyone thought they could, can make a hardened cynic believe just for a fleeting moment that anything is possible. college basketball, our most democratic sport. that's why i love it. that's my sermon on that. it is for that same reason that for years college football has driven me and millions of other fans to the brink of insanity with how its championship is decided. it is called the bowl championship series, the bcs. basically in case you don't already know, it goes like this, from labor day to just after thanksgiving, the 120 or so teams that make up the top division in college football
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play 12 regular season games. then they stop and a computer formula decides which two of those teams will play each other for the national championship. then those teams wait about a month and finally play each other. and that championship game can be ugly. the teams have had way too much rest, they're rusty. but the real problem is how unjust, how unfair and how undemocratic the matchups can be. you have 120 teams playing just 12 games a season, decreeing that exactly two have distinguished themselves enough to play for the national championship is ludicrous. what if there are more than two undefeated teams? that happened before. or the bias against teams from small conferences. if you play in the s.e.c. or the big ten or one of the powerhouse conferences and you go undefeated, you'll probably play for the championship. but if you play in one of the small conferences, you can go undefeated and it won't matter. they're going to lock you out anyway. that's happened to tulane, to boise state, to tcu, to cincinnati. if you like underdogs, if you
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like cinderella stories, like what makes the ncaa basketball tournament so amazing, you hate the bcs. just maddeningly unfair. and yet college football has stuck with it for last 15 years. created in 1998, supposed to be an improvement over the old system, though i'm not sure it actually was, for all of that time, the sports overlords resisted the simple obvious solution, a post season tournament. now, finally, mercifully, the bcs is coming to an end. on january 6th, florida state will play auburn for the final bcs championship game. and starting next year, 2014 season, there will be a little more fairness and fun in college football's post season. instead of picking two teams at the end of the year to play for the title, four teams will get to play in a playoff. not a perfect solution, not the system i want, but a start. a long overdue start. a start that fans all across the country have been clamoring for years. this is the next big step in the evolution of college football
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from a quirky sport defined by regional rivalries to a true national game. college football has more fans than ever before, higher ratings, more lucrative television contracts than ever before, the question is why it has taken this long to figure out something as simple as how to pick a champion. what are the other major changes that are on the horizon for the sport. for this, i want to bring in anita marks, a member of the new york giants broadcast team, the radio host with nbc sports, mike uzani at forbes, co-host of forbes sports on money and the yes network, don mcpherson, former nfl quarterback and ncaa football hall of famer, don was part of syracuse's unbeaten 1987 team, which did not get a chance to play for the national title, and mike pesca, sports report we are npr. welcome to all of you. don, i'll start with you. we were prepared for this show, we were watch something highlights from the 1987 -- >> black and white. >> we saw your comeback against west virginia to preserve the
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undefeated season. nice to see you go on and play in the sugar bowl. a tie in that game. i looked at that and the injustice of college football stands out, even if you won the sugar bowl, you wouldn't have won the national title, even though you did everything in your power -- you would have gone undefeated. how did college football get this so wrong for so long? >> i don't think college football has it so wrong. i think that when we play it, i played in the cherry bowl and we lost, but you still walked away as a bowl champion and walked away with something positive in your season. between football and basketball, you play it out very clearly, with basketball, you can play those games two or three in a week, and you can get down from 100 some odd schools down to two, down to the final four or whatever it is that you celebrate. football, you can't do that. and so there are a lot of schools out there playing football. it is not as easy. i think the comparison really should be to division two and three. they do a playoff throughout the month of december, which division one can clearly do.
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>> why doesn't -- if the one double a teams -- >> they're so lucrative. >> there were a couple on yesterday. i guess the tv ratings are different. i see half empty stands, a 6-6 team playing a 7-5 team. it is, like, who cares and you can do this anyway, but why don't they have that tournament they have at the other levels of football? >> all because of the money, exactly right. the schools are often taking a bath on it. they charge the band, for instance, full ticket price. but the people that run the bowls make money and stood in the way for a long time of any form of the system. i agree with you. it has been quite obvious it was easy to do a playoff system. they're going to do a playoff system. and the future is people will love it so much and the ratings will be so high that they will insist that it expand to eight teams. it will make the last few weeks of the regular season unbelievably exciting. i think in ten years, i don't know if it will expand that much beyond eight teams, but in a few years we'll look back at this system as the dark ages as, my
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gosh, i can't even -- like, we'll look at it like when states elected -- when states pointed senators instead of elected senators. won't even seem plausible. >> that's my dream, that eight or 16 teams. >> i have to disagree with you. to say that a team goes to a bowl game and win he's a bowl g but isn't seen as the number one team in the country, i think there something wrong with that. i like the new system being implemented. i can't wait. and go one step further and in regard to how so many people are going to be watching, keep in mind, those two bowl games, those semifinals, three of them will be played -- three will be played on new year's eve and three of them will be played on new year's day. it will change the culture of new year's and who is going to go to those top notch restaurants? nobody. everybody is going to stay home and watch the three games, that are going to decide a lot, and new year's day it will decide a
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lot. nobody will go anywhere. these will be the top games that everyone wants to watch. >> we have the biggest bowls, except we decree the national championship, florida state and auburn game, i'll watch it, it is a fun matchup, but the big marquis bowls, the rose bowl, michigan state against stanford, it is a great game, but playing for fourth place basically. it is a glorified exhibition game, isn't it? >> it is a fantastic football game. watch it, enjoy it. >> i will watch it. but i'll go crazy because they're going for fourth place. >> here is what they have to address when they get to a bigger playoff format. are you ever going to pay the players more? right? you got all this money coming in -- >> get a little bit of variety, maybe a free -- a scholarship, a small stipend. as these gentlemen pointed out, it is all about money and the player format. you get four teams picked by committee. not like you've really gone to a more serious playoff format.
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it is about the money. the money that espn is paying to televise the games. and when do the players get more? >> so this is the money we're talking about here, to try to put this on the -- $7.3 billion. this is what espn paid for a -- the rights to a playoff for 12 years, four-team playoff, through the 2025, 2026 season, that breaks down to they're paying $608 million a year for the rights to broadcast. what they had been paying under the current bcs formula was $495 million a year. so it increased in value $113 million by having more of these games mean something. i'm wondering if in a couple of years, saying the same thing, maybe the value is going to be -- they'll realize it is higher. >> oh, yeah. and granted that contract is for 12 years. once those 12 years are up, i guarantee the bidding war will be insane. >> i don't think that will -- >> that's true. also, the playing game, from what i understand, will make 250 to $500 million. and that -- i should say that
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plus one game. and this -- that year, 2014, it is going to be at cowboys stadium. jerry jones has to love that. they're not going any income from it, but the city is. and what i like about that plus one game, the championship game we're going to see, i believe it is january 12th, 2015, is that each year it is going to be in a different city. it is kind of like the super bowl. cities are going to be -- cities will bid for that national championship. i love it. i love the system. >> like we're doing with the super bowl sfwlnow. >> we're going to legitimately appoint a national champion. >> don hit it on the head. this contract is not going to last full term. there is a renegotiation period. you look at the ratings, right, you get to the national championship and some of the other bowl games, they're not that much lower than the professional football playoffs. you look at pro football, talked about the $608 million, they're taking it from the net work and
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espn, 4.9 billion. a huge gap in the money, but not that big a gap in the ratings. that's why don hit it on the head. >> we have to take a break. we'll talk more about the money and also my solution, i worked up a little solution yesterday. i think when they blow up the contract in a couple of years, i'll show you my solution when we come back. ncer ] trying for a baby? only clearblue advanced digital ovulation tests can identify your four best days to get pregnant -- two more than any other test. maximize your chances of getting pregnant. "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.
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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. break, here is my solution, we're talking about the four-team playoff that will start to determine college football's championship next year. and it is a 12-year contract. let's say it blows up in a few years. i'm pushing for a 16-team team tournament. the principle of this is like the college basketball tournament, every conference, no matter how big, how small, the champion of the conference gets in. this is what it would look like. the champion of the conference gets in, ten conferences, it would leave space for six at large teams. and so you get, like you have in college basketball, these cinderella -- louisiana lafayette would go to florida
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state on the first weekend and maybe they pull off the upset, maybe lose by 50 points i don't know, rice to auburn. you work your way through to a national championship game. this is what i ultimately want to see done. is this ever going to happen? >> not a chance. not a chance. what happened over the last several years is that the top five conferences and could have been six if the big east was able to manage to keep itself together, but the top five conferences started to push everyone else out. and now it is just a matter of deciding, i think, that does boise get to be in one of those conferences? does the pac-12 want to -- or pac-12 want to go and allow boise in or the big 12? that is the next step. i think we're right in the middle of it. don't think we have come close to a conconclusion. i don't think it will be a four-time playoff very long. i think the money is going to be so great, they'll figure out, now that we have it, the word governance, they want to change the rules to bring in more student athletes to these top five conferences, who don't necessarily qualify to be on campus -- >> that's the trend you're
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seeing is an expansion among -- talking about the s.e.c., the pac-12, the big ten. what i love about college sports, the variety, the little guy, relatively speaking, has a chance, but is that the consequence here? is that going to disappear? >> i didn't want to say anything but i think your premise about the ncaa basketball tournament is a little off. the little guy doesn't really have a chance. the little guy occasionally does well and -- >> gets a shot. gets a shot. >> that's that september is for. >> when your budge st is $5 million -- the entire thing about the whole conversation, everything you're saying about relining all the conferences, think about the fallout, how many athlete playsing women's lacrosse or people at the school who aren't even athletes, university of tennessee has to buy off its coach and can't pay for programs because of all the money driving college football, college football is affecting every division one athlete, college football is affecting colleges and education so much,
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it is -- it is all realignment and chasing the money. i would like the -- the ncaa, the big college football teams do not need the ncaa. it seems like this is -- the ncaa is desperately trying to hold on to try to enforce some rules. >> i want to take the opposite side of that. i think your system has a chance precisely because i disagree with mike. i think that the other sports get funded by football. and i think getting towards your playoffs -- >> vast majority of schools lose money on football. >> vast majority make money on football and -- >> simply not true. >> it is. it is a fact. the money that goes from football funds the academic programs. you can go online, look at the statements, look at the operating revenues and expenses for each program. information is all -- >> you're telling me that duke football is funding duke basketball? >> i'm talking about big time college. you won't see duke playing a big bowl game, i don't think. talking about all the -- talking about penn state, oklahoma,
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alabama, lsu . the top teams. that's who is going to be in your expanded playoff. not going to be duke making it to the final four or the final eight. it is going to be the top programs and the money is going to be huge. >> we had the $7.3 billion figure for what this four-team thing is worth for 12 years. seems to be a consensus that 12 years will not last. if this thing is a hit, and if that price tag goes way up, and we're talking closer to nfl levels, does that money change -- that trickle down in other ways? >> absolutely. >> let's put it into this perspective, everybody saw that alabama and auburn game. how much money would you pay to watch them play depend? if the college system was implemented this year that 2-3 would be alabama and auburn. i would pay like $5,000 for that ticket to go watch them play again. absolutely. and think about it, you think auburn will be able -- you think the team of destiny, think it will happen twice? more than likely alabama will win the game and we'll see the plus one game we wanted to see.
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and that's alabama and -- >> and top football schools. >> alabama and fsu -- >> the average ticket price of the secondary market was over $800 for some of the big games. like alabama, texas a&m. they're leaving a lot of money on the table. the small schools, yes, their football programs -- i'm talking about the top schools that compete for the championship, they're leaving a lot of money on the table. >> and here is the rub for all of this. i've said this about sports in general, across our society, from youth sports all the way up to the nfl, is that people are expecting sports to do something today that was never expected to do. it wasn't expected to raise kids and build character and integrity, and all those things. those are byproducts. sports and higher education was never meant to be a revenue generator, and in a nonprofit academic institution. and the other side of the conversation that has not been
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expressed in this conversation is the academic side. and as soon as you get to those kinds of gaudy numbers, asoon as you get to start changing the system, and the way this college athletics operates and whatever is -- people start to really understand what football is paying for and where and how, you're going to see that the academic side say hold on, we're not doing this, we're not playing this game, we're not the nfl. >> what about the donors? how many people donate money to a school because they like the music program -- they watch because they like the way you play football. >> even the donors, as big time as they are, i work with my alma mater, the donors are important, they're being now you surprisuse television contract. it is being usurped by media. >> we got to leave it there. i do want to point out, in my 16-team team bracket, stanford upsets alabama. i just got to say, my thing on
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the ncaa basketball tournament, i getet chills when vermont bea syracuse in the first round. syracuse in the first round. what should we a question i show. the answers from the year after this. l zyrtec-d®. at the pharmacy counter. 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.
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so we close the books on 2013, one thing i know now that i didn't know when the year began is that you never know what's going to happen when you ask a group of really smart and funny people what we should know. time to find out what our guests know that they didn't know when the week began. caroline? >> i didn't know how beautiful your teeth were before i was on this show. and i have a 5-year-old, and now i have to save so much money. >> now i know not to go to steve kornacki for christmas dinner. >> area 51 is real. >> are you running for president in 2015? >> i'm glad you asked that question. >> clinton's communication skills, i think you're right. >> that's very nice of you to say, you're definitely invited back now. >> art basel has something in common with chris christie. >> whoa, whoa, whoa. >> if hillary clinton doesn't room, al gore? >> the al gore rumors are back. >> i fully and enthusiastically support the u.s. olympics team and i am now reading this from a
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script. go, america, usa. melissa is ready to kill me for this. i'm losing circulation as i speak. thank you for joining us today. and i have to watch what i say around melissa, no taking shots at the new orleans saints anymore. although i want the cardinals to make the playoffs today. some final thoughts right after this. 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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[ male announcer ] that's handy. stick with innovation. stick with power. stick with technology. get the new flexcare platinum from philips sonicare and save now. philips sonicare.
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one thing i want everyone to know today is that i have the smartest, hardest working team and crew in television, on this show. and none of what we've done this year, none of what we've done today or anytime this year would have been possible without them. and i want to thank our guests today, tom mcpherson, mike peska, anita marks, and thanks for getting up and joining us this morning. and joining us every saturday and sunday morning this week. we'll be back next weekend, next year, actually, and we double dare you to watch on saturday, when one of our guests will include television host, game show host, tv personality
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extraordinaire, mark summers. stick around, right now, because up next is a can't-miss edition of melissa harris-perry. it's mhp's second annual look back at the year in laughter. a phenomenal panel of comedians join her. we hope to see you next week, next year, right here on "up." m] we eased your back pain, you turned up the fun. tylenol® provides strong pain relief while being gentle on your stomach. but for everything we do, we know you do so much more. tylenol®. 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.
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shhhh! shhhh. [ coughs ] i have a cold with this annoying runny nose. [ sniffles ] i better take something. [ male announcer ] truth is, dayquil cold and flu
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doesn't treat all that. it doesn't? [ male announcer ] nope. [ sniffles ] alka-seltzer plus fights your worst cold symptoms plus has a fast acting antihistamine to relieve your runny nose. oh, what a relief it is! [ man ] shhhh! for fast cold and flu relief, day or night, try alka-seltzer plus day and night liquid gels. this morning, my question. what happens when nerds try to be funny? well, besides a quadratic equation jokes and loud snorting, tickled nerds can lead to some serious political absurdity. so get ready, because we're about to embark on nerdland's second annual look back at laughte laughter. good morning. i'm melissa harris-perry. and welcome to "mhp's" show second annual look back at

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