tv MSNBC Live MSNBC December 31, 2013 5:00am-1:01pm PST
rocky road of healthcare.gov. one thing democrats and republicans can agree on, 2013 was a rough year in washington. we have the highlights, the lowlights, and a look ahead to 2014. good morning to you. happy new year's eve on this tuesday. i'm richard lui in new york where the countdown is on. crowds already gathering in times square. here is a live look at times square where more than a million people are expected to ring in the new year tonight. officials gave the go-ahead after testing the massive ball yesterday. >> two, one! happy new year! this year a special guest star will push the button that lets the ball drop. supreme court justice sonja sotomayor and the ball adorned with more than 2,600 waterford crystal triangles features a new design as well. joining me now, the ceo of philips lighting north america.
bruno, a rough job. >> good morning. >> good morning to you. a tough job. lots of fun here, but this is a 12,000-pound ball. 12 feet in diameter? >> yes. >> what is new this year about it? >> not only is it a heavy ball but we have over 32,000 l.e.d.s that light the ball. so the new twist to it if you would is the technology. we at philips are known for technology and innovation. in this particular case, we're focusing on technology that makes a difference, ta touches people, that creates possibilities like new year's eve. >> this thing is amazing. four different colors. we were just watching sydney, australia. they're ringing in 2014 right now. when we think of new york city, we think of this 100-year tradition of ringing in the new year. they have fireworks over there. other cities across the country have em law ewe lated this ball drop in times square.
>> isn't quite as iconic, though, as times square, clearly. we've had the fortunate partnership and involvement with new york's times square for 15 years. we like to thank our partners, the times square alliance. but it is something we at philips are proud of. >> how many folks does it take to get things going? are we talking about armies of light soldiers if you will? >> as i said all about technology. 2,600 waterford crystal triangles. >> lots of things on it. tell us about this version. there have been seven versions over the time. the original ball was, what, 400 pounds? >> mm-hmm. again, it really is about technology. we are really crossing a wonderful threshold in lighting. lighting is going through a metamorphosis. it used to be a very stagnant, mundane kind of technology, and it's now, because of the
intelligence of the digital age -- >> bruno, i can tell you love lighting, as well you should, given who you work for. what is next then? you pus put in these amazing l.e.d. lights. what would be next? >> what's next is when you look at the numerals this year, for example, when you look at the one and the four, they will be lit up and they will be lit up with our new q technology which e essentially has intelligence built into the lamp. and you can control it with any smart device. >> who has that iphone or that android that will be controlling it? you? >> you have different apps. >> it will be sonja sotomayor. that's who it will be. bruno, thanks so much. appreciate your insight to this amazing piece of technology. in a matter of 16 hours there in times square. appreciate your time today. joining us now from times square is nbc's stephanie gosk. stephanie, i guess you'll have to put on your sunglasses given
how many lights we've been talking act that will be shining down upon the folks below. that's going on throughout the day that you know about? we were talking about justice sotomayor, who's part of the festivities. >> reporter: yeah. it's pretty exciting. the first time a supreme court justice has let the ball drop in the 100-year history. also of course the first hispanic supreme court justice. a big day for the city. she's a bronx native. she comes out just after miley cyrus. i don't know it's that often those two get to share the same stage, but they will tonight. it will be active here all day long, just getting more and more crazy as the day progresses. right now there's still some traffic coming through here. that will come to an end. then the people will start coming in. an estimated one million people. the first comers get the closest but have to wait the longest. it is cold out here. it's only going to get colder. it should be in the 20s by the time the ball drops.
they will have to go through somewhat of an endurance test. they won't have access to bathrooms. they'll have to be standing. they're not allowed to bring in backpacks for security reasons. but the excitement here is so great that that really does provide the apartment that people need. this goes down as one of life's great experiences. richard? >> what an endurance test for folk who is decide to participate in times square. stephanie gosk, thanks so much. from times square. the next big test for the affordable care act comes tomorrow when some of the 2 million people who siped up start showing up at their doctors and find out if their coverage is really there, really in place. on sunday, republican congressman darrell issa was a bit pessimistic about those chances. >> it's a failed program taking a less than perfect health care system from standpoint of cost and mafking it worse. so the damage that obamacare has
already done and will do on january 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, will have to be dealt with as any part of reform. >> my guests joining me now. happy new year's eve to both of you. let's start with this. what's the potential for a nightmare scenario for the administration? it's only been a week since the last sign-up happened. when we think about this, we have to ask, might people get the wrong coverage or no coverage at all when they show up, rebecca? >> this has been the big question for the administration, obviously just how many of the back-end issues with the website have been resolved. we've seen all the focus on the front end, the problems with the website, those were resolved, but you still hear complaints from insurers if they receive duplicate or erroneous enrollments. now as it gets closer and closer, the nightmare scenario is scores of people on january
1st discovering that they may have assumed they were insured but perhaps they aren't. that remains to be seen as the obamacare era officially starts tomorrow. >> it is a one-week gap between the last person who signed up and then they'll have to implement come january 1st, next week on january 1st when people start to get back to work. evan, if we start getting reports of problems with coverage, does that undo all the good news the administration has been pushing out if they have these sorts of problems after the surge in enrollments which seem to be good for if them? >> it's certainly been a problem in the past. what we've seen throughout this thing is there's a lot of positive news the white house wants to talk about in terms of options for coverage, eliminating things people didn't like in the past, pre-existing condition ban, things like that, that are gone now, but all those things are often overshadowed by these website problems, the
technical problems and the rollout of obamacare. so, you know, we've got to sort of get used to the idea, i guess. we've gotten used to the idea that sort of glitches are what dominate this process. >> a lot of folks are saying not the way to do it, beta testing in public. >> absolutely. it certainly appears that way, right? you'd be hard-pressed to predict that anything would go right with the rollout of the way the website works, the way things have gone so far, but the white house is extremely confident these days. they're talking about the big numbers they have, big interest they have in the website, in health care, and they feel like like that interest is the kind of good news that they need to sort of overcome these glitches and all these problems they've been having with implementing the program. >> half full if the bar is low they might turn out well given
that current run rate. right? >> that's i think how they would like to see it think. >> i want to ask about this, because in addition to january 1, expansion of the number of folks that have signed up through the exchange, there's also the expansion of medicaid come january 1 affecting 25 states and the district of columbia. so, you know, rebecca, are the sates ready for that too? that's a big number. >> we're already seeing some of those states scrambling, obviously california having its own issues and states elsewhere. this is one reason we're seeing from the administration this new push. we already know that 2014 is shaping up to be kind of the war of anecdotes. so the administration is rolling out the administration's allies on capitol hill and also advocacy groups who have been proponents of the affordable care act are pushing these individual stories, getting ready with individual stories of people who have benefited from insurance they've received under the affordable care act. >> what about medicaid though, rebec rebecca? >> absolutely.
that's another huge issue. one of the interesting things we'll see i think from the administration is the contracts between states who have enrolled people under medicaid and states that have not. that's a push we saw last night, where they were highlighting the numbers of enrollments. as the glitches pile up, and we're expecting to see some of them, again, california will be a huge issue, they've enrolled almost more people than anyone else clearly. seeing how that rollout takes place is going to be the next frontier of this narrative war. >> evan, as we look forward to 2014, all things come to pass, we go past the march 31st deadline. but the next open enrollment, looking forward to the next year, that's what republicans might be looking at, the november 14th date, do they have the time and will they be able to make a push to repeal, change, or offer a new plan by them? talking about an election year, 2014. >> i think republicans realize they need to have better
messaging on this. it's going to be very hard to push repeal of this bill now that there are so many people who are actually getting benefits from the bill. one of the reasons there was so much talk about repeal and stopping this thing and the government shutdown and everything that we went through was they had to sort of stop this bill before it became an active part of american life. and now it is part of american life, makes it much more difficult to go to people who are getting insurance for the first time and say we want to take that insurance away. so republicans are trying to build some kind of message they have of their own of some alternative, but that runs into the problem of in the gop itself, having their own problem working as a cohesive unit as a party. there's a lot of infighting going on, a lot of people on one side or the other. they need to resolve those problems. then maybe they can create an alternative health care plan and try to use that as an election cudgel. but that's a heavy lift for a party that's been going through a lot of sort of growing pains
since 2010. >> yeah. again, the election happening and that can put everything up in the air. we'll see where that will land for the next year. appreciate your time, evan. rebecca. have a great new year's. >> thanks. >> thank you. congress gets back to work on monday. topping the agenda, renewing unemployment benefits for millions of americans. can lawmakers get the job done? i'll talk with democratic senator bob casy. and protect financial futures. to help communities recover and rebuild. for companies going from garage to global. on the ground, in the air, even into space. we repaid every dollar america lent us. and gave america back a profit. we're here to keep our promises. to help you realize a better tomorrow. from the families of aig, happy holidays.
end of 2014. the cost to put long-term unemployment benefits back in place here about $19 billion a year. republicans say that's too much and without finding cults to balance it out they don't want to spend the money. pennsylvania democratic senator bob casey, member of the finance committee, joins us right now. senator, good day to you, and as we just were talking about this $19 billion, what are the prospects of finding that amount to offset the cost of extending those benefits for a year or even for a three-month extension? >> richard, i think we can find an juf set and we should. as you know, we went a lot of years in this country providing unemployment compensation without an offset. if that's what it takes to get it done, i think we can get that done. the key thing i think not only for families, those who are in need of emergency unemployment compensation, is to make sure that we put it in place for them and for their families but also
for the larger economy. we don't continue this kind of unemployment compensation, so-called euc, emergency unemployment compensation, which went into effect under george bush in 2008, by the way, if we don't do that, we lose by estimate 200,000 jobs, by another estimate 300,000 jobs in addition to the cataclysmic impact it has on the families of the unemployed. >> where are you going to get $19 billion? >> there's plenty of places to go. often the tax code provides some opportunities. our side not just on this issue but on a range of issues has provided the opportunity for getting rid of loopholes and giveaways in the tax code. and i hope our republican friends are willing to join us in getting rid of some loopholes that have been in place for a long period of time to be able to do this for the unemployed
and for the larger economy. >> senator, i imagine that 1.3 million, but we're really talking about 4 million under this long-term unemployment benefits group. >> right. what's the case? what's your case here for extending these benefits and that they will actually help people get back to work? we're treating the entire group as really all the same. shouldn't be there be separate segmented solutions? this is a very large group that are very, very different. >> well, there's no question that of all we did for the early part of 2014 was to extend unemployment compensation, that wouldn't be enough either for those who are unemployed or for the economy itself. we've got to do a lot more than that. as soon as we get unemployment compensation done, we should also raise the minimum wage. but there are a whole series of things we have to do after that that focus on creating jobs in the middle class. that should be the theme of the year, the middle class and jobs, because too often the last year
because of the political divide, the government shutdown, which i think was caused by a tea party takeover of the republican party, all of that had adverse impact on the economy generally, but most specifically because when you're debating whether to open the government up you're not working on job creation strategies for the middle class. >> pennsylvania senator bob casey. thanks for your time. >> thanks, richard. residents of an entire north dakota town are being urged to leave their homes after a fiery freight train crash. the details ahead on that. plus, it's been a week since that russian ship got stuck in the antarctic ice. we'll tell you about a new effort to reach the 70 people on board. i'm gonna go to the moon. and then we can float to school. ahh. [ female announcer ] remember when you thought anything was possible? it still is. you can do weight watchers new simple start plan entirely online. and get more support than ever. it's a 2-week plan to start losing weight right away.
some cases. difficult to wear that little black dress tonight in international falls. >> don't do it. >> minus 44 windchill right now if you walk outside. i mean, that's like frostbite weather in like five minutes if you walk outside. that's horrendous. fargo's not much better. chicago feels like minus 13. believe it or not, you have snow coming tonight in chicago, so you have to deal with it being so cold plus the roads will be slippery. thankfully a fluffy snow and it will just blow off the roads as the cars are driving by. it's cold throughout new england. thing have changed. we're cold to the deep south. two storms on map, one very weak, just producing a light coating of snow across ohio, now heading through areas of pennsylvania and buffalo, trying to move through new england during the day today, again, just a coating of snow. the second one is the more robust storm that's going to produce a swath of snow over the next 48 hours. here's my snowfall map. doesn't look like a big
nor'easter-type storm but we'll be watching snow tonight, chicago, about 3 to 5 inches total, especially central illinois, columbus, cleveland, shoveling for new year's day. for thursday, that's when the snow moves up through new england, mostly a central new england storm, it looks like, richard, areas like boston, albany, springfield, hartford, those are the ones that will be getting maybe 6 to 8 fluffy inches, new york a little fluffier than that. >> leaving your little black dress at home tonight i guess. >> i had to decide which one to wear first. you know how that goes. >> i don't want to see it. have a good new year, my friend. >> i got good legs. >> whoa. we'll move on from that, my friend. talking about bad weather, in antarctica it's preventing rescuers from rescuing a ship trapped for weeks now. martin, when will weather let up so rescuers can get to that ship they're trying to res dlu?
>> that's right. they've called off the sea rescue because no icebreakers can get through the ice, which is up to ten feet thick. the skipper of the most powerful ice breaker from australia said he was afraid of getting stuck too. so now it's plan b. air evacuation. rescue by helicopter. helicopter standing by on the snow dragon, a chinese icebreaker, at the edge of the ice about 15 miles away. as soon as there's a break in the weather, which now is windy and snowing and of course it's nighttime there, the chopper will take cough and ferry all 52 passengers from the trapped ship, about a dozen at a time. so today the passengers began stomping on the ice and snow to prepare a landing pad for the chopper, richard. >> what will happen to the ship after they helicopter everybody out? >> that's a good question. the 22 crew will stay on the ship. as for the ship itself, it best hope is a change in the wind. at the moment there's an east wind which is pushing ice against the ship. when the wind turns into a west
wind it will push the ice away from the ship, but no one knows when that will happen, in the same way they don't know when the weather will improve enough for the chopper. after spending christmas in the ice, the passengers will be spending new year's eve stuck too. one heck of a new year's eve, richard. >> why not on the holidays what they're thinking at this point. martin fletcher following this story for us in london. here are some other stories topping the news right now. crews on the scene of that train derailment in north dakota are hoping the wind will not shift and blow dangerous fumes into the nearby town. the train was carrying crude oil when it jumped the tracks near castleton setting off a series of explosions that sent flames and black smoke into the air there. nearly 65% of the town's 2,400 residents have been evacuated as of late monday. doctors say formula 1 race champ michael schumacher is showing small signs of improvement he suffered brain injuries in a ski accident on sunday. the california girl declared
brain-dead after undergoing tonsil surgery will stay on life support for at least another week. doctors were poised to end life support monday, but a judge intervened there. jahi mcmath's mother has vowed to keep fighting for her daughter even though doctors say she'll never recover. a new survey finds more than one-third of americans do not believe in evolution. the pew research foundation says they believe humans have existed in their present form since the beginning of time. also split along political or religious lines. meanwhile, there may be a consensus on the worst words of 2013. hashtag made the top three according to lake superior state university's 39th annual list. twerk and twerking. surprising, isn't it. that came in second. and, yes, the selfie tops the list of words to banish for
here's nbc's first read top political stories. do you agree? the senate passing the immigration bill, which languished in the republican-controlled house. the shutdown over syria's chemical weapons. three, the bombshell release of nsa leaks. two, the government shutdown which clobbered republicans in the polls but then number one, the botched rollout of the healthcare.gov website and exchange which took a big toll on president obama's job approval. that was 2013. for a look forward to 2014, let's bring in democratic strategist and former edwards communications director chris calfinas and susan. always great to see you. chris, start with you.
start with your picks for that year. start with obamacare. >> it's simple. if the republicans are right and it continue s to be a mess, the political liability is obvious. what we saw i think in december are significant pickups in enrollment numbers and as this thing picks up positive steam, you know, we could see a good shift. a lot of this is going to determine enrollment numbers, how people view it. if it's seen as a positive or at least a neutral, the political consequences for 2014 are more limited. >> your big picks, susan, for 2014, talking about these political stories, also you selected obamacare. will republicans then have to shift their tune of what happens what chris is describing as these positive stories happening? >> i think you're more likely to hear the reporting on the negative stories and part two of
if you liked your plan, you can keep your plan, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. a lot of doctors are not being carried over into these plans. and the costs are hitting home to the middle class. even if they get the enrollment, in all fairness to roll out a program like this is tremendous but the focus will most likely be on the negative, not the positive. i just think in general in the reporting. >> you're saying republicans will continue to push that note. chris, also on your list for 2014, immigration, that's number two. you say that's going to happen. you also predict a gop civil war. >> well, you know, immigration passed in senate, there will be some deal i think in terms of maybe a piecemeal approach. if that doesn't happen and the republicans cannot get their, you know, act together in terms of, you know, basically pushing forward some kind of immigration reform, the kwenlss for the republican party are pretty severe, especially focusing on
2016. i think it's going to happen personally, but, boy, if it doesn't, republicans are really shooting themselves in the foot. >> susan, your number two was control the senate. >> yes. it almost kind of tails into a little bit of what chris was just saying in the what's going to happen in the republican primaries. that's going to be key and how the republicans are able to gain the senate because if they go too right and make too many headlines like frankly they did in 2012 then that's going to hurt their chances, and immigration reform we probably will see after those primaries because it's going to open up a little window for house. >> susan, your winner and loser, fast. >> winner is presidential front-runners chris christie and hillary clinton. and losers president obama. >> chris? >> winner is secretary clinton, perfect time to go for the administration, not a great political year. the loser is congress. about as popular as melanoma and about as dysfunctional as mayor ford from toronto. >> he went there, ladies and
gentlemen. you guys have a great new year and a great 2014. i'm sure we'll be talking many a day. >> thank you. happy new year. >> happy new year. the senate votes monday on temporarily extending unemployment benefits. that may be too late. 1.3 million out of work americans start the new year with a lot of uncertainty. on saturday unemployment checks were cut off because a budget deal failed to include a benefits extension for those unemployed longer than six months. that is more than 4 million americans. more than any month of the great recession. alic alicia nesbitt is among those who had their benefits cut off. you were laid off on new year's eve exactly one year ago as a college financial aid administrator. how would you reflect on how this last year has gone by? are there prospects now for you? >> well, i'd love to tell you that there are. but not really. not something that's viable.
still looking as many people are. as far as the new year, i'd like to think there are prospects out there but nothing's come to fruition yet. >> when you say "not viable," do you have other offers that just don't fit your qualifications or what you like to do? >> no. actually, it's kind of the opposite. i have been looking for work outside of what i do specifically. so anything that would be within the realm of what i'd be qualify i'm definitely applying for. i have to have a job. >> how much do you get a month in unemployment assistance? i understand by the end of this year you would have received your last two checks which amounted to, what, $350 or so. >> the last check actually came this morning and it's $213 a week. >> $213 a week. so, yes.
>> not an awful lot. >> how do you divide that up? how do you budget that $213 a week? >> not much to budget there. i live with my boyfriend, and if it wasn't for the fact that he works full-time i'd be dead many the water. my money primarily goes to gas and to food. >> what are you going to do here, alicia, if the checks don't return? >> well, i'm going to be continuing looking for work, that's for sure. the game has changed as far as looking for work and what that really means. the days of picking up the paper and just calling someone are long gone. the amount of work that goes into applying for a position, especially if you're a professional person, does take time, you know, a lot of thought is put into it from the cover letter right to, you know,
trying to get an interview. it's been a game changer. >> alicia, your one-word message to congress. >> act. >> alicia nesbitt, thank you and we hope you have a great year ahead of you and a lot more luck, and to you and your family as well. >> thank you very much. happy new year. the international olympic committee says it's confident russia can keep the games safe and secure despite a series of deadly suicide bombings over just the last 48 hours. thousand ls of police and government troops have detained dozens of people after a pair of explosions in volgograd. one blast gutted a railway station on sunday, then the second tore through a trolley bus monday. at least 30 people were killed in that. the attacks left the city in shock. mourners are leaving flower, candles, and teddy bears at the sites. volgograd is a transportation hub that connects to sochi, the site of the olympic games.
jim maceda has been following the story live. i guess the question is what is the latest on the investigation? and do you see evidence of that increased security force? >> reporter: hi, richard. nice to be with you from sochi. police now believe it was a male suicide bomber who set off sunday's bomb just inside volgograd's train station. he's been identified by several news sources to be a 26-year-old russian named pavel, a medical school graduate who converted to a radical and violent form of islam. now, you'll recall, richard, there was speculation early on that a female suicide bomber had set off that first bomb. investigators are now running dna tests to confirm that i.d. on monday sayed they they'd found links between the two bombs, specifically on the similarities of the explosives
and the shrapnel used to maximize the carnage. obviously, this means there have been advances in the investigation. as expected, the death toll from the two blasts has risen to at least 33. there are still almost 60 wounded who remain in the hospital. meanwhile, russia is on a heightened state of alert. security forces have been seen beefing up transportation hubs, train stations, airports. they seem to be the favorite targets for the insurgents. as for here in sochi, you don't feel the so-called ring of steel yet, richard, but that will certainly change in the weeks -- the days and weeks ahead as some 40,000 security forces are expected to spread out over this security zone that's apparently going to turn sochi into a fortre fortress. but there are growing worries that a lone determined suicide bomber might breach that fortress and cause havoc. richard, back to you.
>> nbc's jim maceda, thank you so much. 2013 was a banner year for same-sex couples, from 18 states, legalizing same-sex marriage to a landmark supreme court decision. we'll take a look at the top heroes for gay rights of 2013 next. hmm, fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. everybody knows that parker. well, did you know auctioneers make bad grocery store clerks? that'll be $23.50. now .75, 23.75, hold 'em. hey now do i hear 23.75? 24! hey 24 dollar, 24 and a quarter, quarter, now half, 24 and a half and .75! 25! now a quarter, hey 26 and a quarter, do you wanna pay now, you wanna do it, 25 and a quarter - sold to the man in the khaki jacket! geico. fifteen minutes could save you... well, you know. explaining my moderate to severe so there i was again, chronic plaque psoriasis to another new stylist. it was a total embarrassment. and not the kind of attention i wanted. so i had a serious talk with my dermatologist about my treatment options. this time, she prescribed humira-adalimumab.
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let's start with number five. >> ted olson and david boyce, the two lawyers who brought the case in california challenging proposition 8 and were ultimately successful in getting the supreme court to end the enforcement of proposition 8 but not for all the reasons they wanted. they wanted a broad constitutional ruling and they didn't get it. they're back in next year to try to get it. >> you have russian lgbt activists and they've put themselves out there. a little bit of a risk. right? >> it will be very important next month to see at the sochi games what happens in russia, of course. there is a new law in russia which makes even talking about issues related to sexual orientation anywhere where minors could be present a crime punishable by imprisonment and we'll see what happens in russia next month. lit make that olympics even all the more exciting and interesting and give it a news focus. >> on your list is president obama, and wasn't his inaugural address you're making note of
here? >> his inaugural address was so important but also as important was the fact that he came out for same-sex marriage last year but we saw this year his justice department really go to bat and to fight for and alongside gay and lesbian advocates fighting for same-sex marriage. his support made a huge difference this year. >> number three is an unlikely hero, some might say, and that is justice anthony kennedy. >> he wrote the decision in the windsor case this summer, which many believe set the groundwork finally for the supreme court to rule perhaps next year that there is a federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage. and it was a very bold decision, 5-4, talked about the dignity that gay and lesbian americans are entitled to. >> up with quote that was tweeted a lot, "who am i to judge?" talking about pope francis. when you look at this, might this be a change in views for
the catholic church? >> pope francis is on my list because it is the promise of it, not the actuality. the catholic church is still not a completely inclusive and welcoming place for gays and lesbians but it is moving in that direction and francis certainly looks like he wants to take us there. >> and your favorite, number one on the list. >> edie windsor is a remarkable figure. she's nm number one on my list. her story is compelling. the romance in her life is compelling. she was a great -- you know, her case was the case that changed everything for us this summer. and she does it all with great style. she's an older person. we're not used to seeing someone who looks kind of like a grandma as a political hero. but she is an amazing -- it's an amaze, compelling story. and there are many others this year. you know, i thought tom dailey,
the british olympian who came out last -- at the beginning of this month in a very kind of new way, not just saying that, you know, he was dating someone of the same sex, not wanting to be defined. >> talking about public figures, abc's robin roberts just recognizing her girlfriend. we've got other very famous media figures that have come out. >> absolutely. became much easier to come out about your sexual orientation this year. and i think it's something that we will see a lot more of next year. you know, certainly popular programming like "glee" made that possible, but we really saw the interesting mix between the political and the cultural. right? the cultural is often leading the political on a lot of these things. >> watershed years you say not seen since 1969. appreciate your time today, richard. >> thanks for having me. the official gift-giving holiday season might be over, but, you know, now's a great time to cash in that gift card or get something for yourself. we're going to run down some of the best deals.
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let's get some insider shopping advice from the host of marketplace money on apm. there's deals. >> good morning. >> amazon. i'm not going to go out and celebrate the new year. go shopping. >> you don't have to leave the desk. right? amazon, 70% off clothes and shoes, all women, kids, men, everything. >> everything. >> not everything, but a lot of things. now, 60% off select electronics. we're talking dozens and dozens of electronics. best buy, up to 50% off clearance and open-box items. have to use my cheat sheet because we have a lot to go
through. old navy, up to 75% off clothing and accessories. a lot of sales like macy's ended yesterday, but new sales are coming on boorld with online coupons so you want to check those out like jcp, otherwise known at jcpenney. >> going old school. >> they're going back to old school. those coupons online. target needs a lot of help right now in terms of folks having trust in the ability to shop. year-end clearance up to 60% off. >> so how did the shopping season turn out? will we see even steeper deals in january, second week, first week, whatever it might be? >> you may and you will, especially with electronics. don't forget, anybody who's done this for a long time and i've been doing this a long time, knows this is the time to buy electronics. looking for that flat screen, it won't be black friday. it's now. this is a great time to do that. in terms of sales, we have mixed number, some analysts saying we're coming out ahead by 3%, some saying week to week sales
were down 3%. there's a still a lot of inventory and what's fuelling the sales a lot on the positive end, the gift cards. billions of dollars in gift cards out there. everyone's looking to spend them. retailers want that money so they can get it on their sheets. >> what do you think, carmen? since you've been watching this for so many years and seasons, what does it tell us about sfwhirn. >> here's thing. >> about the economy, how we're doing. >> we're seeing a shift in how people are spending so, for example, luxury items, big cutback this year. that is very telling. that means that people are still not feeling safe enough to be able to spend money on luxury items. there's a lot of items for the home, a lot of clothes for the kids, a lot of very basic needs, but we're seeing people hold on to their wallets when it comes to bigger things. postholiday sales, save some of your holiday budgeting money for post holiday season. you need something, this is a great time to get it. >> i did and i did find some stuff. >> did you. >> i was listening to your advice. carmen wong ulrich, thank you so
much. >> happy new year. if you're in the market for a new car, ford is shaping up to be 2013's best-selling car brand in the u.s. just learning that. more than 2.4 million vehicles sold this year. ford expecting to widen it lead over toyota with record sales in the fusion, escape, and fiesta models. that does it for me this hour. i'm richard lui. kristen welker picks up our coverage after this. happy new year. feels like listerine®? because no other mouthwash works like listerine®. in your mouth, bacteria forms in layers. listerine® penetrates these layers deeper than other mouthwashes, killing bacteria all the way down to the bottom layer. so for a cleaner, healthier mouth, go with #1 dentist recommended listerine®. power to your mouth™. also try listerine® pocketpaks to kill bad breath germs on-the-go.
it gets an impressive 34 highway mpg and comes with no charge scheduled maintenance. and right now you can drive one home for practically just your signature. sign. then drive. get zero due at signing, zero down, zero deposit, and zero first month's payment on any new 2014 volkswagen. hurry, this offer ends january 2nd. visit vwdealer.com today it is already 2014 in some parts of the year. the countdown is on to the world's biggest bash. more than a million people are expected to gath nor times square tonight. the first day of 2014 means the first day of new health insurance for millions of americans. they'll get coverage. but the question is will it kick in without a hitch?
i'll ask the white house adviser for health policy and reform in just a moment. and new year, new laws. colorado is about to make history, the first state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana since the federal government banned it more than 75 years ago. a very good morning to you and happy new year's eve. i'm kristen welker in new york where police and partygoers are gearing up for a chilly but exciting night. here's a live look at times square where some big names will help bring in the new year. the crowd of about a million people is expected there to watch the ball drop. of course millions more will be watching at home. joining me now from times square is nbc's stephanie gosk. what is going on throughout the day? gives us a little bit of a preview. i understand that justice sotomayor is part of the festivities too. >> reporter: she is. hello, kristen, from a very cold times square. it's in the twenty right now. it's probably going to be in the 20s when the ball drops and the people that come out here better
bring their endurance with them. right now there's still traffic coming through the square. it's sort of business as usual. you can tell something big is definitely ramping up. they have all the barricades set up. they will start getting people slowly trickling through over the course of the day. and the people that come early will get very close. they'll also have to wait a long time. and security is a big issue as it always is. it's really the new reality in this country for any large public event. everyone's bag will be checked, no backpacks allowed, have to go through a metal detector. anyone that refuses isn't allowed to stay. once they're in the pens they're not allowed to leave. there are no bathrooms. they really just have to stand there and stick it out. but it's such an exciting event that those hours go by pretty quickly. as you mentioned u.s. supreme court justice sonja sotomayor will be tropping the ball, the first supreme court justice ever to do that in the more than 100 years of the vent.
she is a bronx native. it's exciting for new yorkers to have her there, the first hispanic supreme court justice. it will be exciting for the city to see her. she comes just after miley cyrus' live performance. it just goes to show what kind of event this is that those two can share the same stage. kristen? >> who are some of the other big names who are going to be there? i know you said it is cold out there. we're still expecting a big crowd. do you think the cold might keep any people away? >> reporter: i don't think so. it takes a lot to keep people from this event. there are a lot of people from around the world really that travel here to do it. it's kind of the pinnacle of new year's eve around the world and the celebrations that we see in other cities in large respect try to mimic what happens here in new york. i think people are prepared for the cold temperatures, but it is definitely going to be rough. i have a lot of respect for them tonight. >> indeed.
stephanie, i have a lot of respect for you for standing out there right now. i hope you get some time indoors. thanks for that great report. appreciate it. well, when the ball drops tonight it won't just be the start of a new year. the obama administration is hoping it will be the start of a new era in health care coverage as insurance kicks in for nearly 2 million new enrollees. but with the disastrous rollout still fresh in their minds, officials are also bracing for potential problems. white house adviser for health policy and reform joins us. happy new year. >> thanks so much, kristen, and happy new year's eve to you too. >> thank you. set the scene for me tomorrow. a very important deadline. how confident are you that by tomorrow everyone who has signed up will have coverage so they won't have any glitches when they go to the doctor's office, for example? >> well, we're very excited about tomorrow, but we're vigilant. we've been working very closely with insurers, with hospitals, with pharmacies weather doctors, to make sure we have as good a
day tomorrow and the next day and the day after that as we can. you know, what's interesting is insurers and pharmacies go through this every year. they went through this before the affordable care act was ever passed because people change policies, because seniors change programs in the part d program. they know how to handle this. we've worked very closely with them because we know they'll be a spotlight tomorrow. we don't want anybody to have problems but we know some people will. that's why we've set up a toll-free number. 1-800-318-2596. i want to repeat that one more time. it's 1-800-318-2596. if anyone's having problems tomorrow, if they go to a pharmacy, if they go to a hospital, there's no records, they should call that number. the insurer can call that number. we'll be able to determine in five minutes whether or not they properly enrolled. if they have a bigger problem, then we'll assign a case worker to it and try to get a
resolution as quickly as possible. >> i've been speaking to officials within the insurance industry. they say they are still dealing with, wrestling with problems with enrollment applications. do you on this day have a sense of how large the percentage of flawed enrollment applications are? and could that create some horror stories come january 1st? >> i hope it won't lead to my horror stories tomorrow, but, again, every year there may be some transitional problems. that's why we've set up the toll-free number. we're working very closely with the unsurers. they've done an extraordinary job because so many people are interested in getting health insurance to be prepared. so if someone is in the system, if they've gone through the paper work and for some reason the insurer doesn't have it, if they call that number we'll be able to identify them. >> do you have a sense of the percentage of -- >> i cannot give you a percentage. what i can toll ytell you is th
population that people have been concerned about have all been contacted by the federal government, contacted by the insurers, in some cases two or three times. so we've done everything we can to let people know that there could be a problem, and we're working with the insurers to make sure we can smooth out those difficulties tomorrow. >> phil, i want to talk to you about the numbers. obviously the white house has been touting the fact that more than a million people have now enrolled in the federal marketplace, 850,000 through the state-run exchanges. those numbers certainly show an uptick in enrollments. but still far short of what you were hoping for at this point. you were hoping for about 3 million people, i believe. are you confident that you're going to be able to meet your target of getting 7 million people by the end of march? and is that still your target number? >> well, that was never our target number. that was a target that was put out by the congressional budget office and has become the accepted number.
>> kathleen sebelius has said 7 million people. >> but that was because it came from the congressional budget office and it had become an accepted number. there's no magic to the 7 million. what there is magic to is that in the month of december a million americans signed up for insurance. not because they had to. they didn't face a penalty if they didn't. they signed up because they wanted insurance on january 1st. there's no doubt we had a slow start. october, november, there weren't many sign-ups. but in december we had nearly a million people sign up on the federal exchange. i wanted to come this morning and give you some new numbers. unfortunately, we can't do that because we have to verify numbers repeatedly. there is somebody who's been calculating, a group of people, one charles gavin, who -- >> when will we get the next set of enrollment figures? >> we don't want to put any numbers out unless they're absolutely accurate so we're trying to do that as quickly as we can. i will say this, because other
people can extrapolate and we can't, charles gabor has estimated there are about 2 million people in the federal and state exchanges. he's estimated another 4 million people will be in the medicaid program. that's not even counting the 3 million young adults who are on their parents' plans. if he's in the right ballpark, and i can't say whether he is today, but if he's in the right ballpark, that's a lot of people signing up for insurance. >> i want to just get one more quick question in. i understand that the white house is going to be doing a pr push in the new year. what is that going to look like, and will you be targeting those young, healthy aadults specifical specifically, and how will you do that? >> well, we've been trying to get people enrolled throughout the insurance companies are. a quick point. we're only talking about enrollment. today is a very important day. today is the last day women in the united states can be discriminated against when it comes to insurance simply
because they're women. it's the last day a roofer or painter can be discriminated against because they paint houses for a live organize put in roofs. it's the last day a cancer patient can be told by their insurance company that cancer treatments aren't covered. and it's the last day people can face limits on their coverage in the future. that's just enormous. that's why we're so excited about tomorrow. enrollment is very important. we're very excited about the increasing numbers. that's only part of the affordable care act story. these changes for individuals, for families, are critically important. >> phil, thank you so much for joining me. hope you have a great new year. appreciate it. >> you, too. thanks, kristen. a different kind of rocky mountain high when colorado rings in the new year tonight. it will be the first state in the country to allow marijuana use just for fun. plus, congressman john y yarmuth joins me. there's a new form of innovation taking shape.
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with fewer than 60 bills signed into law this year, poll numbers down, members have a lot to make up for next year. joining me is democratic congressman john yarmuth of kentuc kentucky. happy new year. thanks for being here. >> same to you, kristen. thanks for having me. >> first i want you to react from what we just heard from the white house. he said that 7 million is not necessarily a target number for enrollment by the end of march. there's when the enrollment period ends. just react to that for me. does that suggest that they are kind of pulling back in terms of what they are expecting to get in terms of enrollments? >> well, i think he accurately
described the situation, the cbo said 7 million is what was necessary to comply with all the projections that were being made. so it's become the established number and that's just the world we live in. but i think he made the most important point, is that the number of people enrolling has dramatically ramped up. here in kentucky we've had a phenomenal experience where we already have almost 20% of our uninsured now covered just in the first three months of the program. so the key point is that there is a huge demand out there for the products being offered on the exchanges and the expansion of medicaid, and i think we are ooh going to see that only grow. >> and congressman, i want to talk to you about kentucky. as you point out, you really are a success story when it comes to signing people up. what do you know in kentucky that the federal government doesn't know? what can they learn from you and what's happening there?
>> i think the main thing we did that probably the federal government should do is that our 1/2 guy or thes, the individuals who are -- we call them connectors because our program is called ky-nect, they go out and look for the people who most likely need the program. they're going to neighborhood festivals, to places where people gather and they can reach out to the people that most likely would need the product. so it's not just sitting in an office waiting for people to call. it's actually going out and recruiting essentially people into the program. i think that's the main difference. but we made our program very, very simple here. at the outset, when we were developing the exchange in kentucky, everybody who was participating was at the table. the insurance companies were at the table, the provider networks were at the table, many community groups were at the table so the whole program was constructed with a lot of cooperation and a lot of
thoughtfulness. you know, that's one thing that we hope that every state would do. unfortunately, the balance of states decided not to do that. >> congressman, i want to talk to you about 2014, what's on tap for congress. a little bit of a glimmer of hope at the end of the year with that bipartisan budget deal, but of course you have to debt ceiling looming. do you think that this is going to be another knockdown, dragout fight and the nation's going to come to the brink again of default? >> i hope not. and i think speaker boehner learned a very, very important lesson in the last couple of crises, and that is that he really has a lot of power at his disposal and it's not the end of the world if he marginalizes some of his more extreme members and actually tries to get things done on a bipartisan basis. i think this will empower him, and that's why i'm very optimistic that we can move forward on immigration reform and some of the other things possibly -- >> do you see immigration reform getting passed, kongman?
>> i am absolutely convinced immigration reform will be passed this year. i was part of the house group that was doing that. and i believe that -- i already know there's a majority of house members ready to vote for it. just a question of how we get something to the floor. >> okay. with that, we're out of time. really appreciate your being here this morning. kentucky congressman john yarmuth. thanks so much. have a great holiday. >> you're welcome, kristen. thank you. you too. it could be a very happy new year's day for some in colorado. starting tomorrow, businesses can legally begin selling marijuana. now, it's the first state in the nation to allow people to buy pot for recreational use and it will mean big business as well. >> the world will be different from january 1st on. we brought in a staff of people. we have three people that have been rolling joints for two days straight. >> joining me now live in denver right now is nbc's gabe gutierrez, who has been
following this hot topic. so, gabe, break it all down for us. what is the debate? i know it's still raging on. quite a live shot you've got there. >> reporter: hi there, kristen. good morning and happy new year. yeah. the state of colorado expects the sales of recreational pot to bring in $67 million a year in extra tax revenue. much of that will be set aside to build schools. now, starting tomorrow, customers 21 and over will be able to buy, legally buy one ounce of pot if they're colorado residents. they will be limited to a quarter ounce of pot if they're from out of state. but as you can imagine, this is still a huge controversy in this state and across the country. colorado is really one of the pioneers of medical marijuana, but voters in 2012 went that extra step to allow the sale of pot just for fun, basically.
and since then the state has been busy coming up with some of the heaviest and most complex regulations in the world really. you can't light up in public. it's going to be heavily taxed. more than 25%. and growers will have strict rules they need to follow. but this is all very interesting because the federal government technically still considers the sale of marijuana a federal crime. but federal government has said they're not really going to prosecute the sale of marijuana here. so critics are waiting to see how this plays out. sales start tomorrow here at the evergreen apothecary at 8:00 a.m. and they expect long lines, kristen. back to you. >> i bet they will get them. fascinating story out of colorado. gabe, thanks so much. we appreciate it. have a great new year's. still ahead, a ring of steel. that's what russian officials call the security zone around sochi, assuring the world the olympics will be safe despite a series of recent terror attacks. will 2014 be the year to buy a new home or sell your current home?
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russia's launched a massive police response in the wake of twin bombings in volgograd. 5200 police officers and government troops have detained dozens of people but none is considered a suspect in either of the two attacks in the last 48 hours. one blast tore through a trolley bus on monday. the first explosion gutted a railway station sunday. the blast was captured on surveillance cameras. at least 30 people were killed in 48 hours. volgograd is a transportation hub that connects to sochi 400 miles to the north. the site of the olympic games, of course. but the international olympic committee says it's confident russia can keep the games safe and secure. nbc's jim maceda joins us live in sochi. jim, what is the latest on the investigation there?
>> reporter: hi there, kristen. police now believe it was a male suicide bomber who set off sunday's bomb just inside volgograd's train station. he's been identified by several news sources to be a 26-year-old russian, a medical school graduate who converted to a very radical and violent form of islam. you'll recall, kristen, there was speculation early on that a female suicide bomber had actually set off that first bomb inside the train station. investigators are now running dna tests to confirm that i.d. on monday, they said they had found links between the two bombings, specifically on the similarity of the explosives and of the shrapnel used to maximize the carnage in both bombs. now, as expected, the death toll for the two blasts has risen to at least 33. there are also 60 wounded who
are still in the hospital. meanwhile, russia is on a heightened state of alert. the security forces have been seep beefing up in transportation hubs like you mentioned. the train stations, airports, those seem to be the favorite targets for the insurgents. and here at sochi's olympic village, you don't feel the so-called ring of steel just yet. but that certainly will change in the weeks ahead as some 40,000 security forces will spread out over a 1,500-square-mile security zone that will really turn sochi into a fortress. back to you, kristen. >> nbc's jim maceda, thank you so much. we appreciate it. and now here's a look at some of the other stories topping the news now. there's word the accused war criminal and syrian president bashar al assad met with the father of wikileaks creator.
it's turned three longtime gitmo detainees over the slovakian government. the three were released under court order in 2008. there are 155 detainees still in custody at guantanamo bay. well, the california girl declared brain-dead after undergoing tonsil surgery will stay on life support for at least another week. doctor s were set to end life support monday but a judge intervened. crews on the scene of a train derailment in north dakota are hoping the winds won't shift. the train was carrying crude oil when it jumped the tracks near castleton. more than half of the town's 2,400 residents have been ev evacuat evacuated. ex-quarterback tim tebow is getting a new start as a college football analyst on espn. tebow led florida to two national championships but got ditched by the broncos, the jets, and the patriots. tebow says he's so excited about
the opportunity. and this is not a typo. it was 116-12. southern university beat baptist college by 104 points last night. southern university's being classy. the school's keeping pictures and highlights off their home page for the time being. [ male announcer ] when you wear dentures you may not know
that your mouth is under attack, from food particles and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth and kills bacteria for fresh breath. ♪ fixodent, and forget it. a large portion of the upper midwest is dealing with severe weather. different story in wilmington, north carolina, where they woke up to a beautiful sunrise and temperatures in the 50s. not bad there. let's get more from weather channel meteorologist mike seidel. how cold is it going to get for the folks in the midwest and the northeast hoping to celebrate their new year's? >> well, it's going to be a cold
next couple of days and into next week, early part of january. right now 10 in chicago and we've got snow coming in, kristen, an advisory up. you're going to see at least 4 or 5 inches of snow. right now in grand forks, north dakota, 25 below zero. the high today 20 below zero. that's all we can muster up there in the plains. now, this snow will continue. this is all going to move off to the east. look at the total, down from the lake south bend, michigan, 8 inches. chicagoland, 5 to 8-inch snowfall will which will taper off and be a light snow tomorrow and tomorrow night. the northeast storm comes out of gulf of mexico, going to come right off the coast thursday night and friday bringing significant snow to boston and hartford. new york city will get certainly shovelable snow. this will end on friday but the temperatures will be in the single numbers and teens with windchills below zero into saturday. as far as snowfall total, this is our forecast from the european right now. with think the biggest totals
will be boston to the cape, 8 to 12 inches, wind-driven snow, very fluffy, because it will be about 10 to 15 degrees. new york city right now we're thinking 3 to 5 in central park. more upstate and certainly towards hartford a-5 to 8 inch snowfall. again, kristen, this is not etched in stone. we'll follow the updates with the models and keep you updated for the next couple days but get the shovels ready in this neck of the woods. back to you. >> indeed get those shovels out. thanks for tracking it all for us, mike. happy new year to you. >> same to you. [ bell ] it's the final trading day of what's been a banner year for your 401(k) and i.r.a. stocks are climbing higher into record territory. the stock market has been leading the economic recovery. is dow is up a whopping 26% this year, the s&p 50029%, and the tech-heavy nasdaq up an
eye-popping 34%. housing market is also roaring back with home prices returning to record levels in 10 of the 50 largest metro areas. and the job market has been picking up steam as well with unemployment down nearly 1% this year and nearly 2 million jobs added. here is what we can expect in the year ahead. cnbc contribute or the ron insana. happy new year. thanks for being here. >> and you, chris tep. thanks for having me. stocks have showed great gains over this past year. do you expect that trend to continue into 2014? >> we're in what they call on wall street a secular bull market or long-term bull market that started at the very bottom march 9th, 2009. astonishing 160% gains since then. i think 2014 might be a traditional year insofar as the economy may accelerate, interest rates may move up, and that could cause a correction in the stock market. but i think over the longer haul, the next three or four
years, i still think stocks in the united states in particular will do very well. investors ought to brace themselves far correction. we haven't had a down move of 0 10% or more in over 500 days so we may be a little overdue and a little overbought as well. >> let's talk about unemployment because there's a big story there. more than 2 million jobs were added to the job market. certainly picking up steam this year. certainly encouraging. but then you have that action by the fed. so what is the overall picture looking toward unemployment when we look at 2014? >> i think if you look somewhat dispassionately at it and kind of take the fed out of the picture and look at the underlying economy where we're having an energy boom, something of a manufacturing renaissance in the united states with energy costs so low, we're seeing u.s. companies and overseas companies bring manufacturing facilities to the united states to take advantage of very cheap natural gas prices. we're seeing as you mentioned a real estate rebound, and technology is booming as well.
so, you know, whenou look forward, the employment situation does look better in 2014. health care's also an industry that's going to do quite well. so one could expect that jobs will be created. now there's a quirk in the unemployment statistics, if some of those missing workers as they're called come back into the workforce, it could push the unemployment rate up a little bit even though jobs are being created, possibly even at a faster clip next year than that. that will be kind of a misleading indicator when it comes to what's going on in the employment market. the unemployment right raitt may be less relevant next year than the number of jobs created. >> picking up on your point about homes, home prices up 9.4%. should folks be thinking act buying a house this year if they're interested? >> listen, if you've got the credit, if you've got the money, you've got a solid job, despite the fact that mortgage rates have gone up a full percentage point since last year and despite the fact that prices are up, this is still a buyer's market in residential real estate. this is still in many cases a generational opportunity to buy
a home give than the average mortgage rate is just under 4.6%. that's still historically low. when i was growing up, there were mortgages in the early 1980s that were 18%, 19%, 20%, and the average is around 8%. we're about half the average. again, if you have good credit, if you do have an adequate down payment, you've got the house you want and a secure job, absolutely go ahead and buy. >> and, ron, just really quickly because we're almost out of time, washington has some potential big battles on the horizon including another one over the debt ceiling. could this impact the economy? how closely will the marks be watched in washington? >> closely as always. we've done this kabuki dance every so often down there. i think they'll avoid a real battle over the debt ceiling with the november elections in front of both parties. i don't think they want that to be top of mind when it comes to that. i think we may get a little back and forth on it but i don't think it will be the type of event that's rocked markets in the past.
>> all right. cnbc contributor ron insana, thanks so much. >> and to you. thanks. >> still to come this hour on msnbc, 2014 political predictions. just how big are the midterm elections for next year for both parties? we'll break it down. and will president obama will able to gain some credibility back after the health care deback snl we're aig. and we're here. to help secure retirements and protect financial futures. to help communities recover and rebuild. for companies going from garage to global. on the ground, in the air, even into space. we repaid every dollar america lent us. and gave america back a profit. we're here to keep our promises. to help you realize a better tomorrow. from the families of aig, happy holidays. i can't believe your mom has a mom cave! today i have new campbell's chunky spicy chicken quesadilla soup. she gives me chunky before every game. i'm very souperstitious.
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administration may have suffered worst damage through the rollout of the aca. as we prepare for 2014, we'll see who can turn the page. danielle is a democratic strategist and vice president at the center for american progress. steven law is president and ceo of american crossroads, and m.j. lee is politico's financial services reporter. thanks to all of you for being here on new year's eve. happy holidays. >> good morning. >> i want to start off by playing a sound bite from phil shariro who i interviewed earlier today about health care. i want you to listen and get your reaction on the other side. >> came from the congressional budget office and became an accepted number. there's no magic to the 7 million. what there is magic to is that in the month of december a million americans signed up for insurance, not because they had to, they didn't face a penalty if they didn't. they signed up because they wanted insurance on january 1st. >> so, steven, fist to you, no imagine nick that 7 million number. what do you make of those comments?
expected or does it sound like the white house may be backtracking on the 7 million target? >> they certainly are, but i think what happens with obamacare in stwirn going to be a lot bigger than the number of people who sign up for obamacare. next month people are going to learn whether they get to go to the doctors they've been to in march. we're going to start seeing the new fine imposed on people who don't have insurance. and by the summer people are going to see skyrocketing premium rates as employers and insurers reup. even those who sign up are going to find some of the benefits they thought they were getting are going to be much more expensive and out of reach than they'd hoped. i think it will be a tough year for obamacare and therefore a good year for republicans on that issue. >> steven, of course a lot of that remains to be seen. there's a lot of debate on how it will actually play up. daniella, pick up on those question marks that are lingering. thousand critical are these next several months for administration in terms of turning this narrative around? >> you know, i think it's really important. and i think there's a lot of hope on the republican side that things go wrong with obamacare.
but i think what you'll actually see in the next couple months are the more positive stories. you'll see the people signing and getting coverage for the first time, finding out that coverage is cheaper than they thought it was. finding out they qualified for subsidies. look, anytime you launch a huge program like this there are going to be glitches and i think everybody acknowledges the rollout was not perfect and it was actually pretty bad. i think over the next couple months you will see the benefits start to come out much more and coverage changing on how people talk about obamacare. and i think that the people who are standing on the sidelines and cheering for its defeat, you know, i don't think people will look very kindly upon that. >> m.j., jump in here. how critical is this january 1st deadline for obama administration? and what does success look like in terms of their ability to turn this narrative around? >> well, kristen, wednesday really is the big day that we've been waiting for and it's, you know, the next couple of days as we start to hear the stories
sort of trickle in, people who are getting to see a doctor for the first time in so many years. i think it will be helpful for the white house to finally have some of these real-life stories come in. but i do think that there are challenges certainly for the administration going ahead. we don't know yet whether, you know, they will be facing some of the glitches that it really has been plagued with throughout the rollout process. but i think that the republican party really will be dealing with a new political reality which is that this is a law that is now really going to go into place and will affect real americans. so, you know, does it work to continue to say let's repeal this law? it doesn't. it has to be a more nuanced argument because now it's a law that millions of americans will start to depend on. >> and just quickly, yes-or-no answers because i want to get to your predictions for 2014. will immigration reform pass? steven? >> i think it's going to be a
very tough row to hoe. i do expect something to come out of the house. but whether that can be merged together with what the senate would produce is a really big question. i have to say the answer is no. >> we're running out of time. so let me get to your predict n predictions for 2014. daniella, you say a big fight will be a minimum wage in 2014. it will be a wedge issue for democrats. is it a smart strategy or is it purely -- is there any practicality to it, any chance that can get passed? >> yes. i think so. you'll see starting tomorrow, raising the minimum wage is very popular politically and polls well, but aside from that it puts more money back in people's pocket who is then turn around and spend it. i definitely think it's a good issue for democrats. you will see them pushing forward on minimum wage and combatting inequality. to answer your question, yes, i think immigration reform will get passed. >> steven, one of your predictions. you say the senate will stand at 50/50 after the midterms.
not a shutout by a seismic shift. tell me why you think that. and m.j., i want your take on that. >> sure. well, republicans have a tremendous opportunity to compete for the senate where we've got seven states, the democrats currently hold, mitt romney won in 2012. in each of those contests i expect we'll have really strong candidates. many will be strongly conservative. a few will be moderately conservative, but they'll all match their states and run great races. i don't think we'll sweep it all but i think we'll have a great showing next november. it will be 50/50 and from there the senate in the following cycle. >> m.j., is steven right? 50/50 in the senate? >> i think democrats have a good chance of holding the senate but i think a lot of these races will be very close. the dynamic we want to be watching most closely is how some of these tea party candidates that are challenging the more mainstream candidates, how they end up doing and how widely outside groups end up getting involved in some of these races. >> all right. daniella, final word, ten
seconds. do you agree? >> yeah. i agree. i think it definitely depends on which gop decides to show up and which candidates actually win. if it's a repeat of 2010, i think the democrats will do a much better job holding those seats. >> daniella gibbs, center for american progress, steven law with american crossroads, and politico's m.j. lee, thanks for joining me this morning. really appreciate it. >> happy new year, kristen. >> happy new year. >> happen ham to you. >> in new york's times square they're starting to get set up for tonight's celebration. but it's already 2014 in some places around the world. we'll bring the party to you.
always incredible. this was the scene in sydney, australia, just a couple of hours ago where fireworks ushered in the new year. i'm joined by corrine pertell who's here with a look at new year's celebrations and traditions all around the world. thanks for joining me, i appreciate it. >> hi, how are you, kristen? >> i'm doing great. folks in new york here are going to be braving subfreezing temperatures. not the case, though, for everyone. some people get to celebrate the new year in some warmer climates, south america, for example. give us a sense of what this other celebrations are going to look like. >> exactly. in the southern hemisphere, obviously new year's day is -- new year's is a summer holiday, so people would celebrate, there's a lot of beach parties, a lot of picnics, copacabana celebration with a couple of
million people there. the boech is popular in capetown, south africa, new zealand. you would expect a lot of barbecues, outdoor picnics, things like that. it's very much an outdoor summertime holiday. >> can't think of a better place to celebrate than rio. one of the things that's so great about this holiday are all of the different traditions. i lived in spain for a year. they eat grapes on new year's eve. tell us a little bit about some of these unique traditions. >> yeah, for sure. as you had mentioned and as you know, in spain people have a handful of 12 grapes for when the clock chimes midnight and the tradition is to eat a grape per chime, which is apparently a lot harder than it sounds. also in spain and a lot of south american countries, chile in particular, people will eat lentils which signifies prosperity and wealth of the and in the american south, the
traditional new year's day meal is black-eyed peas, collard greens and hog jowls. the collard greens -- the green is for wealth, for money and the hog jowls are delicious. >> corrine pertell, thanks for breaking it all down for us, appreciate it. hope you have a great holiday. while we're about to celebrate a new year, not everyone is feeling so happy. for some, the holidays can bring on feelings of loneliness and depression, so while a lot of people turn to traditional therapy, we spoke to some folks who say they found happiness just by going online. >> it's the most wonderful time of the year. but for some, the holidays can be a real downer. david byers is one of those people. >> something just wasn't right inside of me. >> reporter: byers, a south carolina dad, went through a tough divorce years ago and says afterwards the holidays brought on feelings of loneliness. so in 2007 he decided to do something about it. >> i googled the word
"happiness." >> reporter: his search led him to a website called pathway to happiness.com. it's a lot like online therapy, offering materials to read, podcasts, even audio and phone sessions, all aimed at helping people like byers get their life back on track. >> working with pathway to happiness has changed my life. i'm going to be happy to me, with that being full and then the relationship is going to work because now i have something to give and something to truly offer. >> reporter: gary is the man behind pathwaytohappiness.com. he said his website gets a million hits a year, with a 20% uptick just after the holidays. and many people find him just by googling the word "happiness." >> there's a lot of stress in the holidays that then people really feel and say i want to do something about this. it's the stress of being with family, it's the stress, like you said, of being alone. >> reporter: not a licensed
therapist, gary says he's more like a life coach. >> while there is a similarity with therapists of we're trying to get to the same outcome. we're trying to get people out of emotional drama, out of the unhappiness in their life and into a happy, healthy, emotional state. >> reporter: people are increasingly turning to the internet for therapy, and a recent study found that online therapy can be just as effective as conventional face-to-face treatment. michael payne is a licensed clinical social worker. >> and i see the internet as a resource, both traditional psychotherapy and internet therapy require a lot of work if you're really going to benefit from it. >> reporter: belinda said she was depressed last year during the holidays. >> i got online and i think i may have googled happiness or finding happiness. >> reporter: she is a mental health professional herself so she was skeptical herself, but gave pathway to happiness a chance, and she says she's glad she did. >> i feel what it did was
increased a lot of self awareness and induced a sense of mindfulness and thoughtfulness behind speech and action and also reaction, so i feel, i would say i'm happier. >> now, gary, the life coach, says people should manage their expectations during the holiday. enjoy the small things and don't expect that you'll feel elated at every moment. he also acknowledges online therapy is not a right fit for everyone. well, i'm kristen welker and that does it for me this hour. brian shactman picks up our coverage next right here on msnbc. have a very happy new year, everyone.
more than a million people bill descend on new york city for tonight's celebration. that is a live look at times square. we'll have a live report from times square. it's nice and cozy in here, a little chilly outside so we'll stay where we are this hour. definitely looking ahead as much as behind this new year's eve, we are going to delve into key election races for 2014. that's correct, we're going to break them down for you. we'll also look at the best and worst political stories of 2013. and right in my wheel house, we'll talk the year in sports with "sports illustrated" and do that later in the show. we want to begin with the white house staying on offense. health care enrollment numbers are taking a turn for the better but some of the new faces in the west wing will not be satisfied with any moral victories and they want to stay focused on the big picture. >> enrollment is very important. we're very excited about the increasing numbers. that's only part of the affordable care act story. these changes for individuals, for families are critically
important. >> california congressman adam schiff joins me now. happy new year, sir. >> thanks, brian. >> listen, we have phil shiliro back in the white house, john podesta back in there. you've been critical at various points about the rollout here. do you actually think we've turned the corner? >> i think so. i'm very encouraged by what i saw in december when we had about a million people enroll through the federal exchange and substantial enrollment through the state changes. we're now up to about two million. that's not as high as where we wanted it but it's a lot better than where things looked in october, november. so i'm very encouraged and i do think that goal that was set at the outset, that milestone of seven million next year is doable. i also think it's going to deliver very important health care access to millions of people that haven't had it before. >> any pooicht this point even don't get to three million or the seven, it seems like it will
be a victory. i'm sure hyou've had many meetings on how to message this. how do you feel you're going to message the aca as you go out and stump? >> a lot of going to depend on the next few months. the enrollment was one thing and we're over the worst of the bumps on the enrollment, but the other is going to be how do people like their plans. are they getting the coverage, are they getting the access to specialists and primary care doctors. i think those things are going to work well and that's going to heavily influence what people say out on the stump on this. but every time there is a problem, and there are going to be continued problems with reform of this size, you know, one party has the interest in making this unsuccessful. so they're going to be out there inflating any kind of hiccup or problem along the way and it's going to be our job to tell the success stories, to point out the problems that we had before this reform. to talk about how many more people with pre-existing conditions can get access to health care and how people keep their kids on their policies.
a lot of very positive changes here. >> and as you alluded to generally, it doesn't start until jan 1 so we don't know the positive stories yet. you've been vocal about a couple of other things because of your intelligence committee work. i want to quickly take a little bit of a turn into the nsa for a second here. we've had different court rulings. obviously you want the info to be staying with the phone companies and they have pushed back a little bit on that. what i want to know from you, because you're very involved nnls kind of stuff. we have the recommendations, we don't know what president obama is going to do. in 2014, will it be status quo? >> it won't be the status quo. i was encouraged that the task force was as strong in its recommendation as it was. it truly was independent. i think the administration will take that very seriously. they're not going to do everything the task force recommended but i do think we'll see restructuring of the metadata program not only because it was recommended by this high-level group but also
pause the congress and the american people are very uncomfortable with the government getting all that data on domestic calls. we had a very close vote where the program almost went away completely, so i think that's going to force the administration to embrace reform of that. i think we'll also see changes in the fisa court. >> i want to get everything in here, congressman. i want to ask you, if snowden came home, what do you think would happen? >> i think he'd be arrested and prosecuted. and i think he should have stayed in this country if he had the courage of his convictions and been willing to stand up and take the heat rather than running off to these authoritarian countries like china and russia where is there no expectation of privacy, a deep irony there. i think he has kindled an important debate and there will be important changes come about as a result of it. but we can't have a system where every employee who works on the intelligence community can decide on their own what the policy ought to be. it won't work and won't protect
the country. >> i know we're tight on time but i feel like we have to get to benghazi. the state department briefing yesterday, take a quick listen. >> no indications at this point that core al qaeda director planned what happened in benghazi. we do know, as we've said from the beginning, that extremists were involved. these folks don't carry i.d. cards, they don't come out and wear a t-shirt that says i belong to al qaeda. >> listen, we're tight on time, but did this "new york times" piece, is it really just about the nuance? close affiliation with al qaeda, loose affiliation, in the end does it matter or does it matter? >> well, i think you're right, it's an issue of characterization. i think what you just played and the state department characterization, that this was not a plan of core al qaeda, a mission directed by core al qaeda, i think that's exactly right. but when you have people who are inspired by al qaeda or have ties to al qaeda, is that an al qaeda involvement? i think it is. is it a critical difference?
probably not. and particularly if we have to recognize the fact that we have to protect the country not only from al qaeda but from other militant organizations that may be equally lethal in any given instance. so from that point of view it probably isn't that significant. it is something that we're going to need to get to the bottom of in terms of the investigation and prosecution of those responsible. >> and maybe that's a valuable part of the piece, that the focus was too much on al qaeda and other elements might have slipped through the cracks. congressman schiff, we appreciate your time and have a good one. >> you too. i want to talk about the biggest political issues and how they'll play out in the 2014 campaign. let's go to our panel. nbc news political reporter kasie hunt and mark murray. mark, i want to start with you. you heard the congressman early in that conversation talk about the aca. what do you think the democrat strategy is going to be heading into the midterms here? >> it depends where the campaign is actually occurring.
if you are someone like congressman schiff running for re-election in california, it turns out the state exchange there is working pretty well. but if you are a democrat, like mary landrieu, a senator from louisiana that's actually a state that has been republican leaning in the past few years, you have to brace on for dear life and have to hold on for a victory. and one of the things that benefits republicans going into 2014 when you look at the senate map is just the states that are involved. we're talking alaska, arkansas, louisiana and north carolina. and that favors republicans. >> you know, kasie, are congressmen going to come back and democrats feel a little better about how they're going to message it? >> i think at this point you're starting to see democrats get more nervous. i think the trend is kind of away from them. i think they're starting to deal with some sort of ideological splits in their own party. they're still wrestling with the rollout of healthcare.gov. i think the early months of the year will be critical because we'll start to see whether or not people are happy with the insurance they're getting or
whether or not republicans are right when they argue people will run into questions of whether or not they can keep their doctor. that's the next phase of the health care rollout. i think only time will tell between now and march just how the rollout continues to play. and i think that's going to be a central determining factor for how democrats fare in the fall. >> i want to expand it to the senate specifically. at this moment we would assume republicans would pick up a few seats in the senate. who knows if they'll wrest control away. kasie, my question to you is how is that going for impact legislation, a, if they get more seats and, b, if they even get control? >> well, the senate republicans have sort of the best chance they have had in a while to take back the senate but they are heading into a potentially nasty primary season. so what happens between now and june approximately you're going to have primaries for senator john cornyn, who's a leader in the senate as well as lindsey graham, mitch mcconnell. how those turn out is going to
say a lot about whether republicans will be able to take back the senate come the fall. if they are or if they do take some extra seats, if they wrest control completely, it sounds like we're in for another round of governing similar to what we've seen the last year or so. senator mitch mcconnell won't say whether or not he would roll back these rules changes that harry reid made so it's kind of a situation where you're going to see increased rancor. >> i was fascinated with the "new york times" piece on the minimum wage. if you get this minimum wage issue on the ballot, then they might come in and might go straight down the line and that might be a net positive. do you think that's a strategy that could actually happen? >> yeah. you want to be able to fire up your supporters. one thing republicans had the advantage also in the 2014 midterms is it's a midterm season and usually you have older, more republican, whiter folks who show up in midterm elections rather than a full presidential election where the turnout us a lot larger, so
democrats want to use something like the minimum wage to get their supporters fired up and go to the polls. i'm not sure in covering elections over the past 15 years whether minimum wage is ever won or lost you a big-time election, but it is something where democrats feel like they can go on the offense and talk about income inequality, pretty much draw the 2012 playbook that they used against mitt romney. and we'll see if that ends up working out. probably the biggest difference is this is something they can play offense as opposed to defense when it comes to health care. >> mark, kasie, great work. part of me feels like we'll see you tomorrow but i'm not entirely sure. coming up on msnbc, supreme court justice sonia sotomayor and miley cyrus, there's a combo. they're going to be at the same party tonight along with an expected one million other revelers. we'll tell you where they're going to be after the break. later, drugs, lies and high crimes. we're not talking about american hustle, pretty solid flick, by the way, we are talking about
the northeastern part of the country may be ringing in the new year with a winter storm. people in the midwest already dealing with subzero temperatures and some icy road conditions. this video is from hennepin county, minnesota. dozens of accidents and those people out there know how to drive in bad weather so you know it's really bad. a lot of cars losing control on the highway there. the weather channel's mike seidel joins me now. a lot of people traveling, a lot of people outside. what's it looking like? >> next monday we're forecasting a high in the twin cities of 12 below zero. first things first. swath of snow coming right at chicago. we have an advisory later up today and tonight into wednesday
morning. we're looking at a general total of 4, 5, 6 inches and a little bit more as we get off lake michigan. so we're talking about south bend and also around the areas including benton harbor, michigan. so watch out for the snowfall there. we're talking as much as 5 to 6 inches. wouldn't you know it, the graphics -- there we go. now they're moving. they're frozen, they're frozen up there. here's that snow on new year's day. it drops south to kc, we'll have an inch or two there and still flaking around chicago as we roll through the holiday. here's your snowfall total first for the midwest. 5 to 8 in chicago, it's a very powdery snow so it has a high ratio. usually we talk 10 to 1. an inch of rain equals 10 inches of snow but we've had ratios of 15, 20, even 30 to 1 because it is so cold out there. now to the big story. everybody is chattering about this on social media. the storm in the northeast. that's going to come out of the gulf of mexico as we go into
thursday morning. and once again, this storm will bring rain and snow up the northeast coast. once again the graphics are a little slow this morning. >> mike, it's okay. >> i've got another clicker. there we go. >> the thing is i want to tell people, first of all, i was going to say you clean up nice. i'm used to seeing you outside in some sort of major storm. >> here we go. we're back, we're back, and i'll be out in this one too, brian, i promise. snow moves in overnight into boston and eventually new york city. then the storm will crank up and throw moisture back into the cold air and that is going to bring in the snowfall as we roll into thursday night and friday. that's going to be the brunt of the storm, thursday night and friday. boston is the epicenter right now for the snowfall. there's the thursday map again. now, we'll push both clickers and get into friday, i promise you. the snow and the wind around boston, we could have blizzard conditions certainly out on cape cod and the snowfall totals are going to be pretty hefty, at
least around the boston area. down around new york city we're thinking generally in a 4 to 6 inch category for new york city, a little higher up towards albany and out towards boston at least 6 to 10. but the fluff factor will be very, very high. once the storm pulls on out, windy and cold weather will blow and drift the snow around and windchills below zero. highs in boston will stay in the single numbers so we got through it with two clickers. >> do we need to stay in the city thursday night? all the folks on the floor want to know. are we going to have to get a hotel room or will the friday morning commute be all right for us? that's all i want to know. >> well, the friday morning commute will be a bit dicey. you may want to stay in the city because the suburbs may get 7, 8, 9 inches based on the current thinking. >> i hope my wife is watching. i'm going to have a nice -- >> plan for that but stay tuned for the updates. >> i'm going to stay in town then. thank you, mike. mike seidel from the weather channel. they're already celebrating the new year in some parts of the world. this is the scene, it's almost iconic now.
it looks exactly the same in sydney, australia, when the clock struck midnight as fireworks ushered in 2014 there. here at home, more than a million people are expected to pack times square in new york city to ring in the new year. here's how it looks right now. take a live look at times square. in just a few hours, it will be the place to be. they're still letting the cars through right now. of course a lot of people like to put it on their bucket list to ring in the new year there. thousands of your best friends pushing you into barriers and trying to get by you. organizers held a final dress rehearsal yesterday which included testing the famous ball. this year's ball is covered with more than 2600 crystals and u.s. supreme court justice sonia sotomayor will push the button to drop the ball. nbc's stephanie gosk live in the middle of times square, and it is chilly. are they all done getting ready? >> reporter: yeah, brian, it is really cold. we have a very happy japanese contingent behind me already celebrating the new year, although i sort of feel like
they're cheating a little bit because for the rest of us there are hours to go and it is very cold. but people are already starting to flow into times square. the nypd will let them in around 3:00. they're in these enclosed banks. the ones who get here the earliest will get the closest and have to wait the longest. they'll be dealing with really tight security as it is every year. the reality here in the united states for any large scale public event like this is heavy security. there are no backpacks allowed. everyone has to go through a metal detector to get into the pen. if they want they don't want to, then they don't get in. once they're in, there are no bathrooms, there are no real facilities. they're not allowed to have backpacks. it's a bit of an endurance test for them. as for the police, they'll be sealing the manhole covers. there will be a number of undercover police and plainclothes officers who will be milling about the crowd. but really tonight is about this event, which is really a pinnacle event for new york city
and for many people around the world. as you mentioned, a million people will be flowing into times square tonight. there will be in the neighborhood of around a billion people that will watch the ball as it drops. >> i will tell you that my kids always beg me to go and now that they can't go to the bathroom from 3:00 p.m. to midnight, i am never taking them to times square. stephanie, get warm, get some hot chocolate, happy new year. >> happy new year to you too. let's turn to more serious news. after two deadly suicide bombings, russia deploys thousands of police to one of its major transportation hubs. how does the kremlin plan on keeping its promise of hosting the safest games in olympic history? we'll get a live update from moscow coming up next. out five s . it was different than the other times i tried to quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix varenicline is proven to help people quit smoking. it's a non-nicotine pill. chantix reduced my urge to smoke. that helped me quit smoking.
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volgograd exploded on sunday. it's just disturbing to see the internal video. that's the day before monday's bus explosion. the bombings killing more than 30 people, leaving the world on edge. still, the president of the international olympics committee says he is confident russia will deliver a safe and secure games. the "washington post" foreign correspondent will england joins me from moscow. volgograd is the biggest city in the region, a transit hub. two of the week's bombings targeted public transportation. i first want to start with moscow. you're there. how nervous are officials there about what's going on? >> reporter: well, people here are, of course, very concerned and unhappy about the bombings in volgograd but i think they believe they have got a very good security plan for sochi.
so the idea of an attack directly on the olympics, i think that would be very, very hard for any terrorist organization to pull off. at the same time, though, president putin made an audacious gamble when he bid to put the olympics in sochi in the first place. the caucusas mountain range for year has been the scene of political unrest, lawlessness, a war in chechnya, religious extremism and he's saying we're going to put the olympics on the black sea coast right by the caucusas mountains and show russia has prevailed over these problems. although volgograd is 400 miles away shall the bombings don't help that image very much. >> so there's confidence that sochi will be secure but they're worried about possible ways to get there, maybe even including moscow?
>> reporter: well, the hardening of sochi as a target in fact kind of in a way perhaps induces terrorists who -- some of whom are quite intent on trying to disrupt the olympics to choose other targets. i think moscow is also probably quite a -- going to be quite a secure place. there's an awful lot riding on these olympics, most out of town visitors, most foreign visitors will be flying in i think through moscow. i think the most likely places of concern are going to be outside the capital and outside sochi itself. >> listen, i'm flying through moscow on the way there, so there's no doubt about a little apprehensiveness. this gentleman who is not linked to it, hasn't claimed responsibility but a lot of people think he is the chechen war lord behind this stuff, just talk about are they actively -- is putin actively trying to get him? and the second element of the question i want to ask, is there
a lot of backlash against chechens right now in russia? >> reporter: well, in july, he issued a proclamation that it was time to bring violence to the russian heartland and he specifically mentioned the olympics as one of the causes. sochi is the home of the -- ancestral home of the people and there's an ill feeling of kind of a defilement of their old homeland. putin has -- the argument is that russia really has defeated chechen separatism. obviously it hasn't. there's quite a lot of violence in chechnya and more particularly in neighboring dagistan all the time. russians lose more interior ministry troops to casualties than americans do in
afghanistan, it's that bad a situation. they certainly feel that they have -- that they have had this problem bottled up in the eastern caucusas, which is quite some distance from sochi. volgograd is a sharp alarm that people could take this fight out of that region and into russia proper. >> we hope the games go safely and there's no more incidents there or anywhere. will, we appreciate it here on msnbc. let's turn back to the united states here for a second. officials are urging residents of a north dakota town to evacuate after a fiery train derailment yesterday. the mile-long train carrying crude oil went off the tracks and collided with an oncoming train near castleton, north dakota. authorities are advising residents to leave their homes in case the wind shifts and sends hazardous smoke their way. coming up, doma struck down.
the government shut down. anthony weiner melted down. we'll take you through the top moments from the past year in politics. plus republicans need six seats to take control of the senate. we'll show you where they are focusing their time and their money. that's ahead. in the nation, sometimes bad things happen. add brand new belongings from nationwide insurance and we'll replace stolen or destroyed items with brand-new versions. we put members first. join the nation. ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ [ laughing ] or use my magic wand to make rainbows fall from the sky. [ female announcer ] remember when you thought anything was possible? [ laughing ] it still is. you can do weight watchers new simple start plan entirely online or on that magic phone of yours. it's a 2-week plan to start losing weight right away. join for free. weight watchers online. log into your new beginning today.
what a year, the government shutdown, edward snowden, gay marriage, the obamacare rollout, senator ted cruz's now infamous quasi or pseudofilibuster and then the departure of anthony weiner. 2013 was full of highs and lows but mostly about dysfunction. politico recaps the last 365 days. >> well, this isn't a progress report because there's no progress to report. when it comes to the fiscal cliff that's threatening our economy and threatening jobs, the white house has wasted another week.
>> i put forward a very clear principle. i will not negotiate around the debt ceiling. >> who do you think will be the first to fold? >> if i knew that, i'd be a famous man if i knew what was the first to fold. >> nobody should have to fold. this is not a card game. this is real life. >> whether or not we reach an agreement in the short time we have left, we'll need cooperation on both sides before taxes go up tomorrow for every family in america. >> we tried before and we failed. we tried before and we failed. >> that is enough. >> how much is it going to cost? >> the sergeant at arms will restore order in the gallery. >> the house does not intend to take up the senate bill. the house is going to do its own job on developing an immigration bill. >> what we're hearing is that immigration is going to die a slow death in the house. >> i need your help. there are thousands of -- >> that's exactly what we're talking about here. if in fact i could solve all
these problems without passing laws in congress, then i would do so. >> as proud as the president is, as proud as i am of the progress we've made, we need congress to act. the american people are demanding it. >> so all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for washington. but this effort is not over. i want to make it clear to the american people, we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence so long as the american people don't give up on it. >> sandy and i want to say how happy we are not only to be able to return to california and finally get married, but to be able to say to the children in california, no matter where you live, no matter who your parents
are, no matter what family you're in, you are equal, you are as good as your friends' parents and as your friends. >> what we know is, is that we're following all the appropriate legal -- >> now, that is just a snippet. joining us now from politico, thanks for joining us here. when i ask what's your favorite political story, there's so many negatives. but generally speaking, what stands out the most? >> i think the one that stands out to me is the 16-day government shutdown back in october that started as a fight over defunding the president's health care law. i think that really was the shutdown in 17 years. it really created a battle on capitol hill over the health care law, really divided republicans, but now also the other biggest story of the year is the botched rollout of the health care law that really changed the momentum where republicans were on the defensive after the government shutdown, where republicans are really on the offensive with all the problems that have been
going on with the health care law. >> but i want to know your favorite. i'm going to give you mine. i'll give you a little time to think about it. when i talk about favorites, to me, wendy davis was such a fascinating story. i mean she ultimate lly lost he battle on that abortion law in texas, but i didn't even know who she was before she filibustered in her pink sneakers and now she is running for governor. she is not the favorite in that race but she's a factor and is going to raise a lot of money. just for the sheer reason that i didn't know much about her at all and now she's a household name, i thought that was pretty cool. now you've had 45 seconds. what's your favorite story? >> okay, my favorite story i have to say, because i've been covering the issue the last several months, is the immigration debate on capitol hill and off capitol hill. i think it's been remarkable to see after the november elections immigration reform was on the top of capitol hill's agenda for 2013. it seemed like all the stars had aligned to get some major
comprehensive reform bill passed through congress, you know, after the last failed effort six years ago. there was a bipartisan group, you can't forget the senate gang of eight including marco rubio and chuck schumer, which do you ever see those guys together. it passed through the senate but it really has lagged in the house. and the consequences -- first of all, whether the house is going to vote on any sort of immigration builds in 2014 is still in question. the consequences of it at the ballot box in november is going to be very interesting to watch as well. >> let's do quickly winners and losers. when i sat down to think about this and write down some notes, it just didn't seem like a lot of political winners last year. give me one or two people that you think stood out, if you want to give one on the plus side, one on the negative side in the world of politics. >> in the world of politics, i think one winner, as you say it is hard to find winners in such a dysfunctional capitol hill. i would have to say one winner is probably patty murray. she's one of the -- she's a democrat from washington who
helped craft that budget deal with paul ryan, the house budget chairman. the republicans vice presidential nominee in 2012. and we started 2013 off in crisis with the fiscal cliff, and at least in december it ended with some semblance of bipartisanship of some sort of budget normalcy. patty murray has been relatively obscure until now but has helped propel that to the forefront. as for political losers, there's a lot to choose from. >> just throw a dart at the wall. >> i would have to say just congress in general. as constantly the public approval for capitol hill are at record lows, and now we're heading into an election year. as we know, it's going to be very hard, if not impossible, to get major things done in an election year. we've got another fiscal crisis with the debt ceiling coming upon us and we don't know how congress is going to handle that. >> and of course patty murray's partner, paul ryan, who lost an election on the front of it and the back end somehow made a deal
on the budget and didn't offend his base. he seemed to be a winner as well. seung min kim, we appreciate the time. we want to show you video of that train derail maekmenderail. no one kwaz was injured but authorities are recommending evacuation of that town. there's so much oil coming out of here and there's going to be a big debate in 2014 and beyond how to get it -- whether by rail or by pipeline, but there's too much oil coming out of there. i'm not saying this is why this happened but oil comes out of here like 800,000 to a million barrels a day. after the least productive congress of maybe all time, how will the dysfunction translate in the polls? yes, we will look at the races to watch in 2014 next. i take prilosec otc each morning for my frequent heartburn.
year, it's only a matter of time until the countdown to election day begins. our politics team has assembled the list of most competitive and attention-grabbing midterm races for 2014 and we're going to talk about them right now. ed o'keefe and philip bump, staff writer at the wire. thank you guys for being here. i want to start with kentucky. senator minority leader mitch mcconnell and his opponent, allison grimes. we've had some comments from people around the state. notably john yarmuth said he wants grimes to be more vocal on the issues. at some point not being mitch mcconnell is not going to be enough, end quote. i guess whether it's politics or policy, my curiosity is how is obamacare going to play into this whole race in kentucky? >> that's a good question. certainly the exchange that's been set up in kentucky is working well. there clearly is a demand for health care in that state.
but michigtch mcconnell leading charge against the law and trying to find ways to undo it or tweak it in 2014. he remains wildly unpopular but i think allison grimes will have to step up and begin explaining to kentucky about why unseating the most senior republican in the senate and all the seniority that comes with that for the bluegrass state would make sense by sending her to washington instead. i think she's got a tough road to climb still. certainly democrats willing to spend a lot of money but she's going to have to deliver as well. >> he looked so vulnerable a couple of months ago and now not so much. >> it's true. >> he's also got this primary challenger, matt bevin, who he leads handily but it means he's going to have a bruising fight before he gets to grimes. which is going to be problematic if republicans nationally are suffering. mcconnell could take a hit from that as well. >> our politics team said the marquee gubernatorial contest is
rick scott will put tons of his own money into this race against republican turned independent turned democrat charlie crist. this is a big story. do you think that crist can pull it off? >> scott is very unpopular. crist has a strong background in the state of florida. he has a high name i.d. and, you know, i think that the switch from republican to independent and then democrat, it's been done before where people have been successful. i think scott is very, very vulnerable. >> so you think he can justify the moves ideologically to the left. >> yeah. >> republicans neat a net gain of six seats to regain the senate. they have been campaigning hard against mary landrieu in louisiana. meanwhile she's been on the defensive over obamacare. she eventually voted for it but she had that ad that basically takes credit for getting the president to change his policy with this if you like it you can keep it. ed, is she going to lose?
>> we'll see. you know, she always runs tight races, always pulls in low 50 percentage points, so she's used to these types of races. remember, louisiana ione of those places where if you don't hit 50% in a multi candidate runoff, you have to go into a runoff in december. and so if she fails to exceed 50% and has a challenger close behind her, we could be waiting around a few weeks to see who really holds control of the senate. but there is a primary under way there. bill cassidy is the favored republican, he faces some competition but landrieu is expected to begin focusing on issues of concern to louisiana in order to find a way to hold on to that seat. >> and she's got the name. >> absolutely. >> let's talk about arkansas. mark pryor. i want to know your handy cap but how involved are the clintons? >> they have already committed to coming out and doing some campaigning. obviously it's good for hillary clinton to get in the state in advance of 2016, rebuild her
name recognition, but it's also important for them to have a friendly senator in the state. who wins this race is up for grabs. it's still fairly early in the cycle but pryor is very, very vulnerable on a lot of the issues that democrats are vulnerable on nationally. >> the clintons want to really focus on their legacy and a lot of their candidates from people who work for them. it's important to them. >> absolutely. and they had a pretty good 2013. bill de blasio who ran her 2013 senate campaign and terry mcauliffe holding on to not only the seat. you can expect to see bill clinton a lot but tom conton is a war hero, young, you get him in there and he could be there for life. >> thanks for coming in. coming up we'll look back at some of the memorable moments of the year in sports. stick with msnbc. severe severe chronic plaque psoriasis to another new stylist.
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both on the field and off the field. the most captivating stories didn't all involve championships. plenty of controversy. a little history for fans across america and across the world. we're going to talk about those guys. author of "56, joe dimaggio and the last magic number in sports," i got my copy today. pete rose coming up in the spring? >> that's right. >> you're tackling just some small subjects. >> exactly. >> it will be interesting what you have to say about pete and whether he should go into the hall of fame. there's so many bad stories in sports. i want to start with something good. i'm a bostonian and so the red sox winning it to me in conjunction with the marathon bombing had to be by far the best story of the year. >> it's an incredible story. when the red sox won in 2004, what could be bigger than that, of course breaking the curse. and in some ways this was just as emotional because of what happened and their beards were such a delight. it was like you saw them every
day. they were fun to look at and it was also just a sign of unity. people rallied around them and it was really great, i think, for people who weren't specifically red sox fans or not red sox fans they were a great team to be around. >> that's what i want to ask you. them having a last place to first place turn-around, that's fine and good if you're a baseball fan, but this story actually went beyond baseball. do you think fans in general and people across the country got onto the story? >> to some degree. people are set in their ways so red sox, the marquee team, you feel what you feel kind of about them. but papi being such a figure, big papi in boston and playing the way he played in the postseason and the world series, i think it did captivate a lot of people. i found a lot of people energized by the team. >> when he said this is our bleeping city, it was a little profane but it resonated because it's what they think about security and they wanted to take
that back. what i want to ask you next is after that, is there a big dropoff? any other stories that crossed your radar that you think were great in 2013? >> all the championships, a lot of them had a little bit of -- louisville winning the basketball championship, college basketball. they had kevin ware with his broken leg. there were some good sports stories. to me the one with the biggest social impact was jason collins coming out as the first openly gay player in a major u.s. sport. and that was really a -- to me it was a powerful moment because at the moment everybody wanted to talk about it and international interest and a flurry of activity. and then it was sort of met with a collective shrug in a way. it was like great. it wasn't such a big deal, which was a wonderful sign that, you know, it isn't such a big deal. >> there's been huge progress the entire year. i'm not saying it started with that, but in terms of gay, lesbian issues, from gay marriage on down it's been a hugely positive year.
but in terms of following up the story, he didn't get a job this year. he's not working in pro sports. and for me, that's the next step is we need somebody who's playing the game in the locker room every day that we know about and have that be acceptable in the locker room and socially. then we take the next step. >> i agree, that is the next step. not to say jason collins still might not get a job. he's still at an age where he could catch on with somebody for a playoff run or something like that. he was a borderline guy about whether or not he was going to stick, but you're absolutely right. that's when we'll really see how it works. there's a lot of questions, how will it work in the locker room environment and all that. i think it will work fine, but that will be answered when it comes out. >> we had some horrible, horrible stories. >> yeah. >> let's be honest. oscar pistorius and that murder across the world and aaron hernandez accused of murder here, a guy that most people thought was -- nobody knew about what was going on in his life. you've covered pro sports for a long time. i mean how much -- how little do
we know about these guys? i mean and do you even in the locker room every day, do you get to see what they're really like and you just sort of have to navigate how much to delve into it? >> these are stories in the sports world and the world at large. >> but they're happening -- >> they are. you get other things to do with the steroids and with -- maybe there will be assault cases and serious issues, but something about like what happened with aaron hernandez, i don't think anybody really saw that coming. obviously we knew or it was known that he had kind of a rough background and certain ties and all that. but that stuff i really think is a little bit of a one-off. it feels like it happens more because there's a lot of scrutiny, but i think the sort of wave of -- there is an increase of violence and drug use, those are real issues that are getting more prolific. >> where the steroid is more of a pervasive pattern. we started with lance armstrong and ended the year with a-rod. talk about the negative impact
on sports fans and your love of sports and where you see it going next year. >> i think both of those were huge stories. in the lance case, the news that he admitted it, the news itself was no big news, everybody kind of knew it. but watching him there after having lied so defiantly and scornfully all those years was really compelling. the a and the a-rod thing too, now he's lumped into guys like clemens and bonds, guys who did not get in the hall of fame so we're seeing people reacting to it. i don't think it spoiled the game for people but it raised an eyebrow and made it less clean. >> one thing we learned is that how you handle it dictates your legacy. as a journalist if someone looks you in the eye and lies to you, that scar never heals. you will dislike that person honestly maybe forever. it was good to see you, bud. we have a pass. we used to cover the nhl back in the day so it's good to see you
and your lovely daughter is here as well. so happy holidays. msnbc live continues next with thomas roberts. he'll catch up with new york congressman charlie rangel. plus the latest on rescue efforts for those passengers stranded on a ship stuck in the ice off antarctica. and a look back at the best movies of 2013. and which ones have the most oscar buzz. that would be her, the operating system. we'll be back. before you settle for another ordinary mattress, isn't it time you discovered the sleep number bed? because only the sleep number bed offers dual air technology that lets two people find the perfect balance of comfort and support for their bodies. their sleep number setting. ok, right there. and only the sleep number bed is clinically proven to relieve back pain and improve sleep quality. oh that feels really good. it's hugging my body. and right now, we're offering our lowest prices of the season. save $300 to $800 on our newest innovations. it's the perfect time for you to try the sleep number bed. plus, for one week only, special financing until
hi, everybody, good morning. i'm thomas roberts. great to have you with me. as you know, we here at 30 rock are just blocks away from times square where millions will gather to watch the iconic ball drop this evening. in this hour wee look back at the top stories of 2013 and a look forward, what we can all expect in the coming year of 2014. however, we begin this hour with some financial reality. for millions of americans, many are struggling with the loss of unemployment benefits while low income workers are seeing small, but critical support in over a dozen states. starting tomorrow 13 states will
see the increase of their minimum wage for workers, but there is this national call for more action on the issue and it could grow as midterm races heat up in the new year. new york congressman charlie rangel joins me now in studio. congressman, great to have you here. happy new year to you. >> happy new year to you. >> there are millions of americans who lost unemployment benefits on the 28th, and meanwhile we have certain states that are looking forward to the new year where the minimum wage will go up. when we think about the income inequality in this country, what's the appetite in washington, d.c., for a raise of the federal national minimum wage? >> i -- that is all dependent on whether or not the republican party has really given up on being a national party. there's no questions on guns, immigration, tax reform. they have decided to be against all of these things. now wall street has seen that
they don't mind losing because they can't lose their congressional seats. it seems to me that if they want to have a candidate at all, that they will be dealing with minimum wage, immigration and a variety of other things they haven't touched. but where my hope lies is in the middle class. without the middle class, we cannot have these high rollers make income that they're making. without the middle class, there's no hope for the poor ever to do better in their lives. and without the middle class, there's no america. that's what we're all about. >> what is the american dream. it's great that you bring up wall street because i wanted to show everybody the markets and how we're going to close out 2013. this has been a gang buster year for those that are invested. as we look at the dow jones right now, up by 41 points today but a story that just hit on cnbc's website saying u.s. stocks climbed on tuesday with the s&p 500 on track for its largest yearly gain in 16 years and the dow hitting this record high after consumer confidence
is showing that it climbed more than expected in december. so when is it that we're going to see our members of congress stop putting the profits of our wall street companies ahead of the main street people in this country? >> you know the influence that wall street has on the congress, i don't think anyone challenges the fact that money has allowed them really to be the protected class in the united states of america. but the strength of america really in that middle class hasn't been exercised. there was a time 50, 60 years ago black folks had just given up on civil rights and something hit this great country in black and white and jews and gentiles said enough already and they really turned it around. right now more people's dreams have been shattered because they made it to the middle class and now they're sliding right back into where their parents and their grandparents were. the dream is just being
shattered. now, there are two factors here. one has to be the church. it's the moral thing, that people should not die out of hunger or health care or shelter. and these things are being affected, especially in the cities where the wealth is actually killing affordable housing for a lot of people. one out of five kids are born into poverty in the united states of america. and the church certainly can be vocal at the polls when it comes to same-sex marriage and a variety of other things. what a great opportunity if we listen to the pope and he says we cannot have this separation of the poor and the rich in the country that is supposed to set the example for the rest of the world. i think it can happen. i think it can happen with increases in the minimum wage, i think it can happen with expansion of the affordable care act. we can get health care there. and i think it can happen with immigration where it's good for
america and it's the moral and the right thing to do. >> 2014 is going to be a year for you where you're going to be running for re-election. what are the roads ahead looking like for you? what's the forecast for this re-election campaign for the midterm? >> well, it's going to be a rough one, but, you know, it's like shooting crap. either you win or you lose, you just can't stay even with the first shot. health care is the most exciting thing that's happened for the united states of america since the republic began. and it was obama who's done it. now, if the health care plan proved to be as bad as the rollout, we've shot crap. but as far as i'm concerned, the 50 million people that have hoped, dreamed and prayed that one day they could get insurance no matter what their status was, this is going to start to roll in and all of those people who have been afraid to stand with the president i think will be making a great moral mistake, but more importantly a great political mistake as well for
2014. >> it's a big uplift to our social contract to each other in this country, so we'll see how it goes starting tomorrow. congressman charlie rankel, great to have you here. happy new year. two more people are dead following brazen suicide attacks. this has raised the death toll into the 30s and a lot of concern ahead of the 2014 sochi olympics. jim maceda is on the ground in sochi for us this morning. >> reporter: good morning, thomas. while no one has claimed responsibility for the latest blasts, the islamist militants seem set to carry out the bombings up to and during the winter olympics to start right here at the olympic park in sochi in a little more than a month. a security camera catches the moment the train station in volgograd explodes. just one day before monday's bus explosion. in all, more than 30 killed, 100 wounded, and a city of one million terrified. russian president vladimir putin, who has spent a fortune
and staked his personal reputation on the games here has ordered a crackdown, putting troops on the streets in volgograd and beefing up security around the country. the u.s. government has respondrespond quickly. >> our diplomatic security personnel have been working with the russians for many months on security. they obviously work with our team, with high level officials. also we provide u.s. citizen services to folks that will be traveling there, so we're ready to support in any way we can to help with the security situation. >> investigators believe both bombings and a third attack in october, also on a volgograd bus were inspired by this man, a chechen war lord. he has ordered his fighters to disrupt the winter games here by killing civilians. >> there's no doubt in my mind that this is a concerted effort by terrorist groups in the northern caucusas to embarrass and disrupt the olympics that are so closely associated with
vladimir putin and the russian state. >> reporter: the militants hate putin and dream of disrupting the games, which means that putin has turned this once sleepy seaside town of sochi into a fortress. some 40,000 security forces patrolling a ring of steel. and despite initial reports that the attack on volgograd's train station was carried out by a female suicide bomber, police now believe it was a russian male medical school graduate who had converted to a very radical form of islam. thomas. >> jim maceda reporting in sochi, russia, for us. thanks so much. coming up, from hollywood blockbusters to the online hits that you love, we'll take you through the best films and tv shows of 2013. plus it's going to be a frigid and snowy new year for millions of people from the midwest through the northeast. we'll bring you the latest on the forecast next.
take a peek with me. this is where all the madness will be happening tonight. a live look into times square. look at how crowded it is already, as people are gathering. the trucks are coming in with who knows what, and i guess barricades. mike, what have you got on those trucks? you're just shaking your head, you don't know. not fireworks, right? >> no fireworks. >> so we're going to get a lot of people in there piling into times square 12 hours from now for the big ball to drop. however, much of the northeast is about to celebrate the new year with a major storm. the weather channel's mike seidel joins me now to explain more on that. mike, good to see you, buddy. tell us what we're in for. >> hey, thomas. no snow for the ball drop in times square. it will be about 29 at midnight so it will be cold but not unusually cold. but we've got issues coming down at us from the north and west. first into the midwest with snow coming into chicago. we have an advisory up from 4:00 p.m. this afternoon until 10:00
a.m. tomorrow morning. we're looking at at least 3 to 4 inches of snow. it's going to be very powdery. at o'hare right now it's only 7 with a windchill 4 below zero. temperatures will come up overnight and by tomorrow morning will be up around 20. that snow will drop down towards kc and st. louis with a couple of inches possible for new year's day. there's the snow totals, maybe as much as a foot as they get lake-effect but generally around chicagoland we're talking about 5 or 6 inches of snow. then the storm comes out of the gulf of mexico. this is the one that will impact millions, whether you're driving or flying. it's coming up the coast thursday night and off the coast pretty quickly friday. we're starting to get into the new american model information and it still looks pretty similar to what we've seen since last night. snow gets into boston, certainly late tomorrow night, and it's going to be snowing for the rush hour thursday morning and snows friday morning. new york city gets in a little later. rain in washington. then it will change to snow as the cold air comes in. snow and wind.
temperatures on friday morning in new york city and boston with the snow and that windchill will only be about 10 to 15 degrees. that's about as cold as you'll ever see it snowing in central park. right now we're looking at 5 to 8-inch snowfall in the new york metro city area. out on the cape we could have a blizzard raging thursday night and friday morning. once the snow moves out by midday, saturday morning will be one of the coldest mornings as we drop down to single numbers in new york city, down just below zero at logan in boston. if you're doing any kind of flying or driving thursday and friday in this corridor, thomas, it is going to be tough going. i think there's going to be a lot of issues at the hubs, the airports, thursday after lunchtime until midday friday. we're talking probably hundreds of cancellations. i wouldn't be surprised to see that as we get this kind of wind and snow into logan and also into the new york city airports. thomas, happy new year from atlanta. >> thank you, sir. does this meet the qualifications to be deemed a nor'easter? >> yeah, this is going to be a
nor'easter. yes. the storm will come up and we'll have east to northeast winds or northeast winds and that's really going to bring down this very cold air. something we didn't have last weekend, when we had all the rain. we had some snow in maine but last weekend we didn't have the cold to the north, thus you got rain in new york and boston. this time around you'll have as cold of air as you'll really ever see. daytime highs will drop into the single numbers around boston. and 20, 25 below zero in those colder new england locations saturday morning. thomas. >> mike seidel, thanks, sir. happy new year. >> same to you, bulledddy. we asked our friends at buzzfeed to weigh in on the movies that made a splash. well, two films topping the list are in theaters now. we have spike jones 21st century love story "her" and the cohen brothers "inside llewny davis." we believe "fruitvale station"
and "12 years a slave" and the outer space blockbuster "gravity." joining me now jordan zackerin. you gave us a nuanced look as we pick the best movies of 2013. so let's take a look back so everybody can check this off of their list if they haven't gotten to see these films yet. let's take a look first at "her" which is an award winner that might not have the buzz so far. but let's show everybody just a short version here with scarlett johansson. >> good morning, theodore. >> good morning. >> you have a meeting in five minutes. do you want try getting out of bed? get up! >> you're too funny. the man that i've been seeing, samantha, she's an operating system. >> you're dating an os? what is that like? >> i feel really close to her, like when i talk to her, i feel like she's with me. >> i don't love them the way i love you. >> me too. >> so this is a love story.
>> yes. >> the guy that we see there, joaquin phoenix, falls in love with the voice, the operating system? >> she's a much more alluring and intelligent. she can do more than minimal tasks. it's an incredible movie. spike jones, the director, it's set in the future l.a. so there's actually public transportation and it's a gorgeous film. joaquin phoenix is really incredible. really just him and the voice of scarlett johansson and just his facial expressions alone make it worth seeing. so we've got the cohen brothers movie that stars oscar isaac john goodwin. we see justin timberlake and adam driver. take a look. >> look, i'm happy for the gig, but who wrote this? >> please, mr. kennedy, take one and we're rolling. >> 1, 2. 1, 2, 3, 4.
♪ 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, three, 2 -- ♪ ♪ 1 second please >> is justin timberlake stealing the show? >> he doesn't have a huge part in the movie. but another movie that's not very nice to its protagonists. but he's a great singer and looks to be breaking out and this looks to be the role for him to do that on. >> the other ones you recommend, "12 years a slave," which was an epic story told from the perspective of solomon northrop's book, "12 years a slave." i saw this movie and i was trying to tell you in the commercial break, it's hard to qualify how great this is and a must-see that it is because it's such a brutal telling of the story. >> you're not going to go to the theater, it's not a date night movie necessarily, but it's an important movie. we can talk about slavery and read about it but to see it put in these images, steve mcqueen,
the director, has a history of making just brutal films, but this movie is difficult to watch but incredibly important. >> also "fruitvale station" and "gravity" among the movies out on dvd early next year. >> "fruitvale station" you can see it as a companion piece to "12 years a slave." so you can see those together. >> let's take a look at entertainment headlines for the year. your list includes the revival of matthew mcconaughey's career, the emergence of netflix as a content provider and a successful content provider, the fast and furious mega franchise and the tragic death of paul walker included in that. then you call 2013 the year of jennifer lawrence and of course we cannot leave out the "duck dynasty" drama which of course a & e is having no trouble capitalizing on with their a & e "duck dynasty" marathons.
>> it is well timed. i guess they scheduled that before the controversy arose. >> if you believe that, i've got a bridge to sell you. >> maybe they knew it was coming. >> who knows how they do their scheduling, but if you're flipping around on your guide, you'll probably notice a lot of "duck dynasty" marathons, but it has been a popular show prior to the controversy in and of itself. but let's talk about the year of jennifer lawrence because she started off the year on a tear and she's ending the year on a complete high note too because he's in the film "american hustle" which is well thought out. but she started the year as an as c oscar winner and has been able to carry that through because the second in the frarcnchise ce out, but she's just so like al. she's just kind of cool, like a girl that you'd know. >> first of all, it's been two great years of jennifer lawrence. whether it was the first "hunger games" movie, she was in "x-men" and now "american hustle" that she's great in. she goes on talk shows and she's just herself.
you see a lot of late night shows and people tell the same boring ant eecdoteanecdotes. she's relatable, which is rare. >> and she just seems like she's self deprecating but she's just nice and highly talented. so she's got a lot going for her. when you've got the talent to back it up, it makes you feel jealous, doesn't it? jordan, great to see you, sir. thanks for coming and happy new year. from the supreme court break through on lgbt rights, we look at the most influential stories in politics in 2013. that and much more coming your way next. to help me become an olympian, she was pretty much okay with me turning her home into an ice rink. ♪ she'd just reach for the bounty select-a-size. it's the smaller, powerful sheet that acts like a big sheet. look, one select-a-size sheet of bounty is 50% more absorbent than a full size sheet of the leading ordinary brand.
george w. bush as well. and of course revelations about just how dysfunctional one congress can be. joining me now is national political correspondent for the "washington post" karen tumulty and alexander burns. alex, let me start with you. what do you think was the most significant moment of 2013 politically speaking? >> hi, thomas. i think you have to put the government shutdown as number one, at least in terms of short to medium term political implications. that was really -- you know, we've seen this president and this congress on a collision course for a couple of years with just escalating contempt on both sides and that was where we saw it all collide. as far as longer range implications, you mentioned the nsa blow up with the revelations from edward snowden and other leaks of course. and i do think when you think about the longer arc of the political debates that both parties are having about the size of government, the power of government, the national security posture of the united states, that one is probably the
biggest ongoing question mark for both parties. >> karen, how about for you, what was your favorite or most significant story of 2013 to cover? >> well, i think i would join alexander with the government shutdown, but book end it, which looked like it was such a disaster for the republicans but then it is book-ended by the disastrous rollout of the new health care law, which, you know, the white house and the administration are now just sort of getting back on their feet from. and it really was, i think, a reminder to all of us, and especially all of us who cover politics, that when one side looks down, it could be up the very next week. >> and when we think about the fact that the connective tissue of the shutdown is because of the aca and the mandate, alex, do you think that that was the biggest congressional letdown? >> the shutdown specifically, thomas? i do think that when you think about the fact that you're
talking about coequal branches of government that have shared responsibility to keep the country up and running, it's hard for anything to touch a government shutdown as far as sort of sheer system failure. you can look at a number of other issues that came before the congress like immigration, for example. if you think back to at the beginning of the year what seemed to be a real mandate for change in that area and real enthusiasm on the part of both parties for something to happen, the fact that here we are on december 31st with absolutely nothing to show for it is pretty remarkable. >> and it has been a year to look back at social justice trends, and certainly with the supreme court, karen, and what we saw happening with their rulings when it came to voting rights in this country and also when it came to equality rights on the marital front for the lgbt community, we now have twice as many states that offer marriage equality in 2013 than in 2012. do you think in your estimation that we're going see this wave continue? it's going to be as big of a story arc in 2014? >> well, first of all, who would
have thought at the beginning of the year that by the end of the year we'd be looking at gay marriage in utah? but i think that the polling does suggest that the courts and the states are really behind public opinion on this particular issue. and that, you know, even -- even among republicans, even among younger evangelicals, the shift that we have seen on gay marriage is truly extraordinary. >> and so, alex, as you look ahead to 2014, do you have predictions of the biggest stories of the year? are all eyes going to be on the midterms and the fact that we really aren't going to be seeing much get done in congress because of that? >> yeah, absolutely. i mean we talked about health care already, but that is the number one foreseeable theme in these midterms. there's always the chance that something will happen in the economy, something will happen with national security, the news we've seen out of china and
japan and iran the last couple of weeks is all pretty alarming. but i do think it's obama care and the larger conversation about what kind of services government should be providing to people that is going to be, you know, the consistent drum beat of this election. >> karen, for the president to get his political mojo back, one, of course the aca needs to get the liftoff that it needs. we've seen encouraging numbers that have been provided so far. we're certainly skeptical of seeing that seven million number by march that was kicked around, but if the liftoff is there and the tides change for public perception of what the aca means, do you think that the president can get back on his agenda of immigration reform and looking at the potential for bipartisan gun reform in this country as well? >> well, first of all, on the aca i would say if i were at the white house right now, what i would be losing sleep over is the question of whether starting january 2nd when people presumably have their new health insurance cards, whether they're going to find doctors and
hospitals that they are satisfied with to treat them. and that, i think, is the more -- you know, in many ways the more difficult thing than getting the website to work. but i do -- i do think that if immigration -- there's an outside chance that immigration reform could happen, but that is going to be a very difficult thing to do, particularly in a primary season where so many republican incumbents are going to be, you know, looking over their right shoulder at potential challenges. >> karen, alex, great to see you both. happy new year. i look forward to seeing you both in 2014. >> happy new year, thomas. >> thanks, thomas. >> thank you. so it's been a week since a russian research ship got stuck in ice. now there's a new plan to rescue the 74 scientists on board. we bring you that story and more after a quick break. ♪
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eve. a helicopter will be used to rescue passengers in groups of 12. that's if the weather cooperates. and this comes after a rescue vessel and vessels then failed to break through the ice to get to the passengers on board and the bad weather has also been much of an issue for all this. martin fletcher joins us from london with the latest on this. martin, we use the word "stranded" to talk about these passengers but they are the most incommunicated passengers stranded ever in the history of stranded passengers. >> well, i think that's right. they have been very savvy at using the internet. they have been posting web videos, vine videos and of course they have been speaking to their families throughout as well, mostly concerned with telling their families they're going to be okay. now the news that the three ice breakers have said they cannot get through, they have called off the sea rescue and now it's going to be an evacuation by helicopter. that's a significant change. there's an end in sight for these people.
but yeah, you're absolutely right, in terms of trapped at the end of the world, that isn't quite the way it is. >> well, i think a lot of people at home would be looking at these images and the aerial shots knowing that helicopters have been used to take aerial video of the passengers. why wouldn't they just take them out, why wouldn't they come up with a plan that would rescue them in an air flight situation like that. so do we know how long this plan could take, obviously if weather cooperates? >> reporter: well, when the weather is okay, when there's a break in the weather, and right now it is blizzard conditions, it's nighttime there right now, there's been a blizzard all day, there's been heavy fog and heavy snow. so when the weather improves, then the helicopter, the rescue helicopter can take off from the chinese ship, the snow dragon, but it can't take off until the weather is better. when it does take off, they'll ferry about 12 passengers at a time from the stranded ship. there's 52 passengers. they're going to leave the 22 crew on the ship. so it will take about half a day
because it's got to fly about 14, 15 miles each way with the passengers. so about five round trips to get the passengers off the trapped ship. then when they get to the chinese body, then they have to go from their to the australian vessel which will take them back to their home. >> it's quite an experience for these researchers but explain again or remind us again what their original mission was before this mess happened. >> reporter: well, they went out on an expedition to duplicate an explorer from 100 years ago who himself, by the way, at the end of his expedition got stuck for a year. he actually missed the boat back, and it was a tragic expedition. and what they were doing -- what they were doing this time is trying to replicate his journey, duplicate the measurements in order to see what climate change there's been, how much ice is there, is the water temperature any different, how deep is the sea bed. so they have been replicating
his experiments 100 years later from the point of view of climate control. and while they have been stuck, they have been continuing those experiments. >> it will be fascinating to see how all of this pans out. as you said, they have really kept their spirits up by staying connected, by tweeting, by keeping people informed about their conditions, but we'll wait to see about their safe rescue and return to dry land. nbc's martin fletcher, thank you, sir. great to see you. syria misses a deadline to send chemical weapons out of the country but the state department said the overall disarmament is on track. we'll check on that coming your way next. to help secure retirements and protect financial futures. to help communities recover and rebuild. for companies going from garage to global. on the ground, in the air, even into space. we repaid every dollar america lent us. and gave america back a profit. we're here to keep our promises. to help you realize a better tomorrow.
i needed a new laptop for my pre-med classes, something that runs office and has a keyboard. but i wanted a tablet for me, for stuff like twitter and xbox, so my downtime can be more like uptime. that's why i got a windows 2 in 1 which does both -- works as a laptop and a tablet. so i can manage my crazy life, and also have a life. [ beep ] gotta go. ♪ so syria failed to meet today's deadline to remove its chemical weapons out of the country. the u.n.'s organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons said bad weather and security concerns are to blame. now, the ships deployed to escort chemical weapons to be
destroyed were sent back to port. christopher hill is a former u.s. ambassador and former assistant secretary of state. he's currently the dean of the university of denver's school of international studies. ambassador hill, it's great to have you with me today. as we dissect this, in your opinion could this delay concern officials about syria's ability to meet this june 30th deadline? again, that just being six months away. >> well, certainly when they reached this agreement in the first place, there was an understanding that these timelines were very ambitious. at the same time there was tremendous pressure at the time to get this thing moving. so the fact that they missed this first key date or appear to have missed this december 31 date is to some extent of concern, but i think you have to look at this in the context of sort of the overall pattern. have the syrians been cooperating, have they been allowing the equipment to get into the country. i mean what does the overall
pattern look like? from what i understand it's been pretty positive overall. so obviously this needs to be watched very carefully because this is a key moment. i mean getting the actual stuff out of the country. but i think it's a little early to be pushing a panic button over it. >> just the completed mission that the syrian government admitted that it had weapons like this was such a big leap forward. as you point out, yes, the timeline has been ambitious. as we have heard the leader of the chemical weapons team says even though they missed today's deadline, the work continues. i want to play a small portion of what they had to say. take a listen. >> a lot of work is ongoing and that's why we chose to come out with a statement to say there is a delay, yes. progress is very strong and of course there's a clear determination by all parties to achieve success, i.e. complete removal and destruction of the chemical weapons program of the syrian republic.
>> do you think this is a situation where we have gained a little bit of trust with what's going on with syria, and as we see this type of erosion of not meeting deadlines, that that is the syrian government just taking their time to comply and that they're trying to take some of the power back? >> well, you know, we're dealing in a part of the world where deadlines are not often the most important thing to people. so i think there's a cultural issue here. but i think overall there has been a positive experience in dealing with the assad government on this chemical weapons destruction program, so overall it's kind of moved the ball forward for assad. of course that's been combined with the increasing focus on the islamists that are arrayed against him. so overall he's kind of benefitted from this. i think it's also worth pointing out that since this all happened, there has not been to our knowledge any renewed use of
chemical weapons. so obviously we have to look at it very carefully. when i was doing the north koreans and they would miss deadlines constantly, there was an element or it came in the context of not being helpful otherwise, so there was a lot of concern about those missing deadlines and whether the north koreans were serious about their undertakings. i think it's a little too early to draw any dour consequences of that kind with respect to the syrians. >> what's your opinion as to whether or not there could be some fault or questions raised against vladimir putin who offered to be the diplomatic chaperone to get this to be a completed plan. >> what they try to do all the time is put the onus on the country in question. that is it's syria's responsibility to do x and y. that came across again and will continue to come across. but there's no question that the russians and president putin in
particular have a particular interest in making sure this works. first of all, they have the armored vehicles on the ground that are supposed to be bringing this to port. so certainly if this doesn't work out, this will not be a good day for russia's syrian diplomacy. >> ambassador christopher hill. great to see you, sir. thanks for your time. >> thank you. coming up we'll speak with the photographer who took some of the most iconic images from the boston marathon bombing. that and much more coming your way right after this. is everyt? there's nothing like being your own boss! and my customers are really liking your flat rate shipping. fedex one rate. really makes my life easier. maybe a promotion is in order. good news. i got a new title. and a raise? management couldn't make that happen. [ male announcer ] introducing fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex.
so we wrap up 2013, we begin another year, but we reflect on one of the biggest stories that we covered over this past year, that is the boston marathon bombing. it was over eight months since that deadly bomb -- bombs exploded on boston's boylston street and injuring hundreds of marathon runners and spectators who gathered to cheer them on. joining us from boston is a photographer whose images have
become some of the most iconic. john, it's good to have you with us. as i pointed out, it has been eight months since the boston marathon. we can all go back in a flash, remembering exactly where we were when we first heard about it, seeing some of those first images. but tell us what you remember most. what stands out in your mind most about that day? >> what stands out most is hearing the first bomb go off and not being sure what it was. i thought maybe it was a cannon salute or manhole cover. but getting right up to the sidewalk and when the smoke cleared just seeing the bodies there and people with their legs blown off. it was just so shocking. i was so angry. and i think just that horror of seeing what had happened to so many people that still is in my mind, you know. so it's hard to get over that. >> john, explain to all of us how you were able to stay calm to such a point that you were
then able to shift into what you do best, into being a photographer and capturing the images, as i said, that have been some of the most iconic from that day. >> i think what to show what the reality is of terrorism. i'm glad i did my job. i'm glad i took the photos. i still felt guilt by taking some of those images. i have to deal with that myself.
>> john, is there one image that stands out to you most from that day? obviously it's a huge collection of striking images that you were able to chronicle and document. is there one that stands out to you emotionally from the perspective that you can't believe you actually captured it? >> well, i think the first image i took was the three boston police officers running towards what fell on the ground in front of me. i can't believe i shot that image. it happened so fast. within eight seconds of the first bomb going off when i was running forward. the picture in my mind that i still feel so compelled i'm glad i took it was the picture of sidney corcoran who has her life being saved by two onlookers, two first responders, matt and zach who tied t-shirts around her leg and stopped her from bleeding to death. she had a piece of shrapnel, if you could can imagine, the size
of a cell phone that severed her femoral atry. i can't believe she lived with that. >> you spent time with the mom and the daughter, they were both severely injured that day. tell us about the recovery of mom and daughter. it has not been an easy road. >> it hasn't been an easy road. it was almost two different looks at them. thereof the public image of them when they put on that happy face and everything was going great. there was also the private moments. kale, "a reporter who worked with me on this project, we got to see the intimate part of their life. they would basically be home. some days celeste couldn't get out of bed, she would be crying. she couldn't face the reality of not having her legs. we worked with them on that. we photographed their recovery, talked with them about it. it wasn't easy. sometimes she was so frustrated
with her first set of legs. she said i'm going to be the first one who can't walk with a set of prosthetics. she was determined. she went to florida, got an incredible state-of-the-art set of legs with a gyro scope in them. since she got those legs, her life has changed. i really think they have affected her emotionally and psychologically. >> just a reminder, john, standby for me. if we can pull that image up one more time. i think it is celeste walking down the driveway with those new prosthetic legs john mentioned there. you can see a much happier version the fact she's up. she's in athletic gear. it looks like her spirits have really rebounded, especially given the enormity of the tragedy that happened to her, her family, and the other people there that day out to support the marathon and the runners. >> it is really amazing in five months she was able to have these legs, to be able to walk
on them. and another thing that's coming up for her, she's actually going back to florida to get running legs. she's going to train in these running legs. hopefully her goal at this point in april is to be able to run across the finish line of the boston marathon with sidney and with her sister carmen. >> i think these images, we're looking at video now. we have to remember and reflect on what we watched over this year. hopefully we can all look back with gratitude, just being thankful we're happy and healthy in a way this family, it's completely different for them as they move on forward. they are such an inspiration. john, your pictures. thank you, sir. >> thank you so much. >> thank you so much for what you were able to do that day, to be able to chronicle and document that day in our country's history. thank you so much. happy new year. >> you too, thank you. >> i'm thomas roberts, see you back at 2:00 eastern. if you have time stick around. kristen welker will be joining you next. if you don't get to stick
i'm kristen welker. it's noon on the east coast. top story this new year's eve. warning americans traveling to the olympic game to be on alert after a series of suicide bombings in russia killed more than 30 people and left hundreds more injured. u.s. officials have also offered to help russia with security and counter-terrorism operations leading up to and during the games. this morning on "today," the head of the u.s. olympic committee was asked if he's worried about security in sochi. take a listen. >> more concerned, i think this is the first time we've had an incident close to the games, both in terms of geography and time. we're hopeful the russians commitment to security, which is frankly one of the highest levels of commitment we've ever seen from a government and organizing committee will serve us well. >> the president of the international olympic committee says he's confident russia can keep the games sayre and secure. meanwhile russian president putin promised to fight
terrorists until they are, quote, completely annihilated. police swept volgograd for dozens of people. jim maceda with the latest on the attacks. >> reporter: hi there. in terms of the investigation, police now believe it was a male suicide bomb here set off sunday's bomb just inside volgograd's train station. he's been identified by several sources to be a 26-year-old russian, a medical school graduate who converted to a radical and violent form of islam. you recall there's speculation early on that a female suicide bomber had, in fact, set off the first bomb. investigators are now running dna tests to confirm the latest id. on monday they said they had found links specifically between the two attacks related to the similarity of the explosives on the one hand and the shrapnel
used on the other hand to maximize the carnage. that investigation is ongoing. now, as expected, the death toll from those two palaces has risen to at least 33. there are also 60 wounded who remain in the hospital. meanwhile russia is on a heightened state of alert. the security forces have been seen beefing up in those transportation hubs, like train stations and airports. those seem to be the favorite targets for the militants. here meanwhile at sochi's olympic village, you don't get a feeling of the so-called ring of steel. things are still very quiet but will certainly change in the days and weeks ahead as some 40,000 security forces spread out over 1500 square mile security zone that will turn sochi, really, into a fortress. there are still growing worries that a lone determined suicide bomber might breach the fortress
and cause huge havoc. kristen, back to you. >> all right. jim maceda, thank you for that report. i want to bring in a former secret service agent who worked on security at the salt lake city olympics and he's the author of the book "life inside the bubble." thanks so much for joining me, dan, i appreciate it. happy new year. >> happy new year, kristen. >> i want to ask you as someone who has worked on games in the past if you were working on securing these games, what would your biggest concern be right now? >> the biggest concern is confusion between access control and security. they are not the same thing. think about it. a ticket to a redskins game locally is an access device but not necessarily a security device. what i mean is, they might be paying a lot of money for security but doesn't always relate to good security, might be fancy identification badges. have you to make sure the
screening process the so-called ring of steel is up to snuff. >> you heard the president of the olympic committee, also vladimir putin saying, look, the games are going to be safe. are you confident right now, dan, that sochi will be safe for the olympians and folks going overseas to watch? >> no, if i'm a betting man, no, i'm not. i'm sure the russians are doing a good job. of course it's in their interest to provide a safe environment. no one wants to be embarrassed. i don't know if the heavy-handed approach they tend to take may not cause a blowback that might lead to a worse security situation than if they dealt with it through proper investigative manner. the answer to that question is, no, i'm not confident right now it's as secure as it could be. >> what do we know specifically about terrorist groups carrying out these attacks? they have said there will be more attacks. >> we know they don't seem to fit a profile.
they are one of the few terrorist groups known to use women as well as men. there's not a specific physiological profile you can point out. they are willing to do just about anything to inflict maximum carnage. i don't think it was an accident they did this at the train station in volgograd used as a commuter hub to sochi. i think this was a message and we would be doing ourselves a serious disservice to ignore that message. >> dan, if you could talk to some of the americans planning to travel to sochi for the olympics, what would your advice be to them right now? >> i would say, listen, your responsible as well for your security. keep in mind, it's not just the venues you're going to, the security there that matters. lets say the motorcade route like we would in security from event to event as well. remember, the athletes are as much of a target as we saw in munich as well as target and locations. >> dan, always appreciate your
insights. thanks so much. >> thanks. happy new year. >> happy new year to you. the next big test for president obama's health care law comes tomorrow. that's when estimated 2 million people signing up for coverage can begin showing up at doctor's offices, hospitals and pharmacies as their insurance goes into effect. earlier today i talked to a special adviser to the white house, brought in following the disastrous rollout about whether any potential problems are anticipated tomorrow. here is what he said. >> we're very excited about tomorrow, but we're vigilant. we've been working closely with insurers, hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, to make sure we have as good a day tomorrow and the next day and the next day after that as we can. >> joining me live nbc political editor mark murray. happy new year. >> happy new year. >> you heard phil say there would probably be a few problems. they are trying to make sure tomorrow and the days following go as smoothly as possible. what does success look like from the perspective of the white
house in terms of shifting this narrative away from the rocky rollout. >> success starts with actually having -- starting to be able to show that people can get on the website and get insurance. i do think while they haven't met their targets set out well before the website show wasn't working for all of october and november. they are having people who are able to enroll and be able to spotlight some success stories. one of the reasons why this has been a political problem for the administration is these types of implementation things are tricky. it's very disruptive. reform changes. there are going to be winner. there are going to be losers. some people won't be affected. the conversation about people negatively impacted so far rather than success stories. so the administration really wants to be able to get out the success stories, the people who wouldn't have had health insurance, the people who are now being covered to get that to combat the other negative stories that have been out there and really dominating the news the last two or three months.
>> mark, i want to pick up on the point you made about those enrollment figures. of course the white house touting the fact more than a million people have now signed up for coverage. 850,000 people signed up through the state exchanges. that's still far short of what they are hoping for. they wanted to have 3 million people at this point. then 7 million people was initially what they had indicated they were aiming for by the end of march. here is what phil had to say about that. i want to get your reaction on the other side. take a listen. >> that was never our target number. that was a target put out by the congressional budget office and has become the accepted number. >> kathleen sebelius has said 7 million people. that's the goal. >> that was because it came from the congressional budget office and had become an accepted number. there's no magic to the 7 million. >> as i get your reaction, mark, i just want to let you know the administration has just announced more than 2 million people have now enrolled. what do you make of what phil
was saying? >> he's actually trying to make the case what was said, and he is right, the congressional budget office is the one that set these targets. they weren't targets but estimates on what people should be able -- what the administration should expect to see. of course that was always set up without the idea that you wouldn't have a functioning website for two months. and the administration really doesn't want to get in this game of are they meeting this target goal or not, rather they want to show they have a policy that works. people are signing up. where the enrollment has gone from $100,000 total state and federal enrollment to 350,000 in november, 2 million in december and that is growing. there are people who are able to get health insurance. that's what they really want to be able to talk about. it isn't a winning situation for them if they are trying to measure up to these cbo goals maybe they will not be able to come close to meeting but they want to be able to have this good mix of people, healthy,
young, old. just a good mixture. so they show that the policy is working to be able to get beyond some of the politics. >> mark, the white house has signaled they are going to sort of launch a new pr push in the new year. what do we expect to see and how critical is this not only for the white house but for some of those democratic senators facing tough re-elections? >> they want to be able to go and present a counter-narrative there are some success stories. kristen, one of the things that's always been interesting, the polling for the health care law that always been down. the individual portions of the health care law have been much more popular. things likely no longer insurance companies can ban folks with pre-existing conditions. young people can be on their health insurance. those are actually really important things. i wouldn't be surprised if the administration tries to highlight that. the other part of pr we haven't seen until the website is truly operational, pr offensive and
television ads from the health insurance industries companies themselves. once those start hitting particularly in the states that are under the federal exchange, the 36 states on the federal exchange, i think that you're going to start to see areas where the democrats and supporters of the law can really highlight some of the successes to be able to drive some of the enrollment. >> all right. mark murray, thanks so much. >> thanks, kristen. >> have a good one. >> you, too. for residents in parts of the midwest and northeast, the new year will bring another round of severe weather. the far reaching weather system is triggering dangerous road conditions across the midwest. as it shifts east the same storm expected to bring between four to 12 inches to cincinnati all the way through boston friday. the weather channel's mike seidel has more. >> we're keeping an eye on two areas of snow. first the one that's taking aim at chicagoland. a winter weather advisory there up until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning, kicks in this afternoon. we're going to see three, four,
five inches of snow. it's dry and powdery. temperatures in the morning 7 or 8 in o'hare. some issues at the airport, icing. minneapolis may get up to zero today. it's going to stay plain old cold early january. that band will drop south kc, st. louis a little snow on new year's day. this is more of a nuisance than anything. here are snowfall totals, notice generally one to three snowfall, st. louis to kc. up to chicago five to eight. lake-effect may pump up totals a little off the lake in michigan. the big story is the storm on the east coast, off cape cod friday. snow into boston early. there will be snow as temperatures start off in the 20s. on friday morning, temperatures low- to mid-teens in central park and logan and boston. there will be a lot of wind especially out on the cape. we could get a blizzard warning out there for the snow and reduced visibility for more than three hours. here are your totals. new york city right now, we're thinking five to eight.
maybe a little more north and east. a fluff factor, dry, powdery snow. 30, 40, 45 miles an hour as you head out to cape cod. then once the storm moves out friday afternoon, the cold air comes in. saturday morning will be one of the coldest mornings in a long time, below zero in boston. single numbers in central park. a lot to keep an eye on and a lot of travel headaches thursday and friday at the major hubs. likely a lot of cancellations and long flight delays. we'll keep you updated from the weather channel. back to you. >> all right, mike. thanks for tracking it all for us. we're still hours away from ushering in 2014 but parts of the world are already celebrating the new year. japan became one of the first countries to celebrate as fireworks decorated the sky over tokyo. in sidney more than a million people watched fireworks over sidney harbor lighting up the city's iconic opera house and harbor bridge.
incredible sight there. two hours away new zealand the first country to bring in the new year with massive fireworks display over auckland sky tower. still ahead, some of the pictures from the west bank as israel released 26 palestinian prisoners. it comes just days before secretary of state john kerry travels to the region to outline a peace plan. the latest on that and other big stories from around the world that we're watching in 2014. plus the family of a 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead after tonsil surgery gets a last-minute extension to keep her on life support. the family is not giving up despite several doctors saying there's nothing that can save her. >> we have a pediatrician who has seen her and has sworn she is not dead. >> we will have more on this family's heartbreaking fight right after a quick break.
paragraph fight is for the over for the family of a 13-year-old girl in california now that a judge granted extension to keep her on life support for a week. the judge's last minute ruling means her family will have until january 7th to find a long-term care facility for her. it appears a facility on new york's long island may be willing to do it. she went into cardiac arrest due to complications from a spf tonsectomy. a doctor said she was brain dead. the family sees signs of life. >> we have a pediatrician who has seen her and has sworn she is not dead. >> joining me now "san francisco chronicle" reporter henry lee who has been covering the story.
thanks for joining me, henry. before i get to my questions, i want to read a little breaking news, we have confirmed new beginnings community center in medford, new york, in long island is willing to take her and provide 24 hour medical care. according to documents an air ambulance company arranged for a doctor to accompany her on a private jet from oakland to long isla island. what can you tell me about the latest developments? >> the family said they have the air ambulance and facility willing to accept her. the hospital in oakland wants to make sure the facility is aware that in their mind she is brain dead. there's no possibility she can come back to life. she is on a ventilator, which is not the same thing as a life support system. the hospital saying again, no amount of prayer, no amount of hope can bring her back to life but we will abide by the court
order that bars us from removing that ventilator until at least tuesday. >> henry, can you walk us through the legal history and what got us this point? >> after a tonsillectomy and other procedures she suffered cardiac arrest and was brain dead. the hospital wanted to remove her from the ventilator but the family is saying she still has a heartbeat. we are not giving up hope. so they filed a court injunction asking the judge to bar the hospital from removing the ventilator. the judge agreed. the same judge has extended that same temporary restraining order. meanwhile the family's attorney filed two other motions in federal court as well as california court of appeals. so multiple legal front, multiple fights. now this family has some room to see what happens next. >> henry, this is such a heartbreaking story to report on, to watch from afar. i wonder, i know you've been covering this from the beginning. how is the family holding up?
>> the mother of jahi has gone to depths of despair, risen up to jubilation. she was ecstatic last night, very happy she has more time to spend with her daughter. she wanted to spend christmas with her. they can bring in the new year with her. they refuse to believe she's brain dead. they are citing movements made by jahi, the teenager when the mother talks to her. the hospital saying speaking generally there are moments, lazarus effect, a person brain dead might make involuntary movements that have nothing to do with life but instead are purely movements that have nothing to do with actual life. so very emotional case, as you can imagine, kristen. this case continues. we'll be monitoring it. the next step is to see if the hospital will accept -- the facility will accept jahi in the next few days or so. >> henry lee, great reporting. thank you so much. we appreciate it. >> thank you.
♪ ♪ a controversial new law is set to take place tomorrow in california granting rights to transgender students in public schools. students in grade k through 12 who identify as transgender will be allowed to use school bathrooms and play on sport teams consistent with their gender identity. that law is the first of its kind in the united states but could be suspended within just days. lisa reports on lgtb issues for the "associated press" and she joins me now. thanks, lisa, for joining me now. i appreciate it. >> thanks for having me, kristen. >> just set the stage for me, lisa. what are schools doing to prepare for this law to take
effect? >> they are doing a variety of things. mostly looking at nondiscrimination policies to see where they stand right now. some are looking at facilities to make sure they have enough gender neutral bathrooms or privacy screens in places they might need it. they are looking at overnight field trip forms to make sure they have a place where students can indicate their gender identity. they are scheduling pronounce training for teachers to make sure they use the proper name for students. >> there's obviously a lot of opposition to it. i want to read something a republican senator said, state senator steve knight. we don't know what's going to happen when they come back from the vacation, are there going to be 15-year-old girls in the
bathroom talking and in walks a 15-year-old boy? what are they going to do, scream and run out? i want to get your reaction to that. i know there's been a lot of pushback. it's a divisive issue. >> i think a lot depends on what community you're in, what experience the school has had dealing with transgender. both san francisco and los angeles have had policies like this in place for quite sometime. they say they haven't had any problems wit. there have been some communities where students have expressed, including sacramento where students have expressed some concern about what's going to happen, particularly girls in the locker room, the bathroom, and that sort of thing. there's also some parents that have tried to give statements to their local schools demanding privacy on behalf of their students. again, i think a lot of it really depends where the schools are and how much familiarity they have with transgender students. >> those groups that oppose this
are going to launch a legal challenge, conservative group privacy for all students has collected hundreds of thousands of signatures to try to get a public vote to repeal the law. how likely is it they will be successful and governor jerry brown would sign off on it if it got to his desk? >> governor brown signed the law, what opponents are seeking is a referendum to overturn the law. it's difficult to overturn for the ballot in california. you have to get 504,000 signatures and you only have three months to do it. right now touch and go. coming down to the wire. counties in california in the process of spot-checking those signatures. in order to -- for the referendum to make it, it has to have something like 85% validity right. it would trigger a full count of
signatures. counties have until january 8th to complete that spot-check process. right now they have barely enough to trig area full count of all the signatures. >> all right. we will continue to watch this. lisa, thank you so much. appreciate your being here. >> thanks for having me. still ahead, residents of a north dakota town are being urged to evacuate after a train carrying crude oil derailed triggering a massive fireball. more on the potential health hazard there. from toronto's crack smoking mayor to sexting with carlos danger, we'll take a look at some of the craziest political stories this year that just had you shaking your head. quite a few of them. ♪ [ male announcer ] new vicks dayquil severe. helps relieve your ugliest, nastiest, roughest, toughest cold symptoms. new dayquil severe. with maximum symptom fighting ingredients. ♪ new vicks nyquil severe. helps relieve your ugliest,
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when he returns this week. the secretary of state is scheduled to head there tomorrow to meet with prime minister netanyahu. he'll meet once again with palestinian president abab. israel freed another 26 palestinian prisoners. the release is part of the u.s. brokered agreement in july that revised israel-palestinian peace talks after a three-year break. joining me now time magazine international editor who is here to look at the top international stories in the new year. thanks for joining me. happy new year. >> same to you. >> lets start with peace talks, secretary kerry heading over there to make headway. is there optimism he'll be able to do so in the next visitor in the future? he's been criticized for spreading himself too thin trying to do too much and not getting huge accomplishments. >> if he had this way, this would be priority number one. the war keeps intruding on that
and other crisis require his attention. he's given himself a deadline. he's put himself in a hard place. he's given himself a tough deadline of april. by april he wants to see a deal. there's not a lot of optimism this trip will yield very much towards that. both sides palestinians and israelis managing expectations saying there's not going to be a breakthrough. what he's trying to do is come up with some sort of an outline. to get them to agree to some parameters. >> do you think they might get an outline? that would be progress. >> a huge step in the right direction. it's hard to know. kerry has been careful about telling the rest of the world what that outline is going to look like. they have been playing the cards close to their chest. it's hard to see given the history of those two nations. it is hard to see there's going to be a breakthrough. kerry clearly thinks this is something he's going to -- this is his legacy and he's going to put all of his political
capital, it appears, into this. >> lets talk about syria, 100,000 people killed, dying every day. the united states almost came to the brink of war with syria, really, came back from that and got this deal to get rid of syria's chemical weapons. now it looks like syria is going to miss the first deadline, critical deadline here. how important was this deadline and does it have bad implications for the success of this. >> just like kerry with the israeli-palestinian mission, the deadline was always tough. those negotiating expected there would be some slippages. they set a tough deadline expecting that. the syria crisis now no longer simply about chemical weapons. in some respects chemical weapons no longer the conversation. the big conversation assad is still there. another year and he's still there. there's nothing to suggest in 2014 that will change. what will change is a lot more people will die. the latest numbers are 130,000. a lot more people.
the process of refugees, there are 2 million refugees. they think there will be 4 million at the end of the year. >> given what you're saying, i've asked the administration if they are going to change their strategy. it's not working. assad that not been weakened, will they be forced to change their strategy. >> they are outmaneuvered over syria. for the u.s. to get back to the table, have a seat at the table in deciding what happens in syria is going to take a bit of political and diplomatic jujitsu on the part of the administration. so far the administration hasn't demonstrated it has that kind of skill. as i said, it has other crises to deal with. the question is how much president obama wants to be part of that question. so far it doesn't look like he does. >> lets talk about iran, the six-month deal. members of congress are pushing to react stiffer sanctions when they come back.
what would be the impact of that be? the white house says it would derail the deal. >> it would derail the deal. there are hard-liners on the irani side said, we want to enrich to 60% uranium. both presidents of the iran and united states have a very difficult line to walk where they have to keep hard-liners at bay while showing progress. iran needs to show it is getting progress and the u.s. needs to show it is getting progress. right now there have been sort of warm and fuzzy words from both the president. we haven't seen actual change on the ground. in 2014, the six-month deadline will end in june, then we'll know that's where the rubber hits the road prof fascinating discussion. thank you for being here. >> happy to be here. >> appreciate it. well, from mayors behaving badly to a former congressman with a penchant for texting, 2013 saw its share of over the top, outrageous political
stories. "politico" recapped the weirdest stories we saw this year including anthony weiner sexting and down falls of toronto mayor bob ford and san diego mayor bob filner and there are some surprises on the list like beyonce. here to help explain it all "politico's" reporter. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> lets go through a couple you pointed out on this list, top ten list, anthony weiner carlos danger sexting scandal. representative steve cohen texting with a woman he turned out to be who he said was his daughter during the state of the union address. rand paul who was accused of plagiarizing. he said, look, that's not true and said he was going to make some changes in terms of how he goes about things. the beyonce sing-off at the president's inauguration. she wasn't exactly singing. then the mayor, san diego mayor
bob filner, toronto mayor rob ford. let me have you pick it up with rob ford. he was sort of the biggest stunner in some ways. >> canada got their moment in the sun with a crazy political story. it all started earlier this year when gawker and toronto star both watched a video of him smoking crack cocaine. he denied it for months and months until november when police announced they had seen the video. then in a shocking, ridiculous press conference he admitted he had indeed smoked crack cocaine probably in one of his drunken stupors. that story crazy because he's still in office, hasn't stepped down, he's a radio host once a week in d.c. lets talk about one that has implications really all across the world. that, of course, is edward snowden. i didn't mention him when i was going through the list. this is something that will continue to have a ripple effect. we expect president obama to come out in the first few days of january to announce what, if any, changes he's going to make
to the nsa in the new year. arguably edward snowden had really one of the biggest impacts on this country and other countries this entire year. >> absolutely. from the questions he raised about our security and intelligence community, those were absolutely big things that will have repercussions in 2014. he's also set for a big 2014 himself. his temporary asylum in russia is only a year long. in august we'll get to find out is he going to go somewhere else, what's his plan, and we might relive dram action of 2013 where we didn't know where he would end up. >> i think one of the more widely watched scandals, the carlos danger, anthony weiner self-destruction. he got into the new york mayor's race, seemed to actually have a pretty strong start. but then, of course, new revelations he was sexting. is this a cautionary tale for other politicians in terms of
thinking through things a little bit more before you dive into a race like this? >> i think certainly. i mean, when you look at his situation, he had already been through this before in 2011. i think that's one of the reasons this was one of the wildest stories of 2013 was no one expected this to happen again. they thought what happened in 2011 when he was caught and had to resign was just as extreme as it could get. then again in 2013, he reenters the race, gets back on the public stage, and then text messages online, e-mail exchanges come out. it's revealed he's been sexting all along and with this ridiculous name carlos danger. >> that will go down in history undoubtedly. lets do a little entertainment scandal. beyonce, she admitted she wasn't actually singing at the president's inauguration. but in this great sort of pr moment in her next press conference, she said, okay, i'll sing for you guys. i'll prove to you that i can
actually sing this song. what do you make of how she handled that situation. >> it was a brilliant move. there was a bit of mystery with the marine band saying we don't know if she sang, maybe she did, maybe she didn't. all these public officials dancing around it. she was able to put a stop to it by getting up there and saying you guys know i can sing, i'm going to prove it to you and kick off this press conference showing what i've done. brilliant move. obviously beyonce had a great 2013. >> doesn't seem like she was too scathed by that. thank you so much. have a great new year. >> thanks. happy new year. still ahead dozens trapped in a sea of ice off antartica waiting for a helicopter rescue. first the weather has to clear up. we'll have the latest on that. the stories that had us buzzing this year from miley cyrus's vma to beyonce breaking records and changing the game with her surprise album. the senior editor of variety magazine will join us.
rescue a research team stranded on russian ship antarctic ice since christmas eve. a helicopter will be used to rescue passengers. 2 members of the crew will remain on board. this comes after three rescue vessels failed to break the ice to get to the stranded ship. nbc's martin fletcher joins us from london with the very latest. what is the very latest, martin? >> three ice breakers failed to get through called off sea rescue effort and there is going to be an air evacuation of passengers on the ship. 52 people will be ferried off by helicopter from the chinese ice breaker, snow dragon. they can't do that until the weather improves. right now it's nighttime, of course. there was heavy snow during the
day and mist so the helicopters couldn't take off. as soon as there is a break in the weather, helicopters will take off and rescue the stranded passengers. 52 people taken off in groups of about 12. as i say, can't happen until the weather improves. right now they are hoping by this time tomorrow night the weather will improve. they don't know. passengers have just celebrated new year's eve, celebrated christmas stuck on the ice, now new year's stuck on the ice, too, kristen. >> martin, i wonder if you could give us a sense of we've seen some pictures of them how they are handle this of this seem to be holding up okay considering the circumstances. is that your impression? >> definitely. actually they seem to be in good spirits communicating every day with the family. they are showing pictures on
vine, attending lectures on the boat. there's no cause for concern with the people on the boat. they are supposed to be on the boat at this point. they are still not far behind schedule, even though they have been stuck on the ice for a week. there's no sense of danger for their personal safety. there's always plan b, the helicopter evacuation. i should point out the helicopter, again, i can't say enough, the helicopter option can't go into operation until the weather improves. they say it will improve. there's no sense of danger yet for people on the boat, kristen. >> all right. we'll keep watching. nbc's martin fletcher, thank you so much. >> thank you. now to some other headlines making news today, doctors treating michael schumacher saying he's showing small signs of improvement. the formula one champion skiing with his son sunday in france when he hit a rock and suffered brain injuries a brain scan after schumacher's second operation showed positive signs.
the doctor in charge of the care for seven-time champion says coming hours are crucial. some residents in southeastern north dakota are evacuating their homes after a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded overnight. no one was hurt in the explosion. however, no injuries have been reported. they were concerned about toxic fumes from the explosion that it could blow into the town. what web suffixes like dot-com, dot-net won't be alone. new suffixes will enter the marketplace by the end of january. there are currently 20 domain names by the end of january. you might start to see new names which might include dot-clothing, dot-singles. tim tebow landed a new job at espn. the quarterback will be a football analyst for network and upstart of the network.
tebow was dropped by new england patriots before the 2013 season began leaving him as a free agent. tebow, who also played for denver broncos and new york jets said he is excited that espn gave him this incredible opportunity. still ahead, this year in pop culture from tv stars whose mouths got them in trouble to the babies we just couldn't wait to see, a look at the stories that got us all talking this year after a quick break. [ male announcer ] this december, experience the gift of exacting precision and some of the best offers of the year at the lexus december to remember sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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when it comes to the biggest entertainment stories of the year, who could forget this miley cyrus making headlines for her performance at the mtv video performance reminding everyone the days of hannah montana are gone. or who could forget this. >> if there's anyone out there that has never said something that they wish they could take back, if you're out there, please pick up that stone and
throw it so hard at my head that it kills me. please. i want to meet you. i want to meet you. i is what i is, and i'm not changing. >> that, of course, was paula deen's "today" show appearance following her revelations about her alleged use of offensive language in the past which led to the end of her relationship with the food network. 2013 definitely had its share of watershed pop culture moment joining me "variety" magazine senior editor. >> thanks for having me. >> happy new year. lets start off with those two moments. miley cyrus, came out with this performance on the vmas sort of making it clear, i'm not hannah montana, i'm all grown up. >> she's been trying to do that going back to "vanity fair" cover shot where she was dressed provocatively. the vmas dancing on the stage,
dancing provocatively, made so many headlines. we've seen miley, she's trying to transition. in wrecking ball, not wearing clothes, provocatively licking sledgehammer. she's really trying to show she's not a little girl. i really like her music. as long as that works, lets not criticize her. >> give her time to go through the transition. lets talk about paula deen. we saw her apology there on the "today" show. she's kept a low profile since scandal brochlt are we going to see a comeback? >> we haven't seen a lot from paula deen since she was on the "today" show. the lesson from paula deen, she lost a lot of sponsor ships and her deal with the food network, in this era of social media you have to be careful and did he fin tifr. she released multiple videos, she went on the "today" show and didn't have a clear message, clear apology. her son said she's regrouping an wants to come back.
we might see paula deen in the new year. lets talk about ben affleck. he sort of had a mixed year in terms of the reviews of his work. won an oscar for "argo," then got backlash for batman. >> cast as batman, superman the new sequel. fans were really upset. they didn't want him to be batman. he even commented on the fact he didn't expect so much backlash. we'll see. the movie opens in 2015, we have some time. we'll see how he does in the bat suit. >> a good batman movie is fun. >> hard to beat -- remember when george clooney was batman with nipples and got backlash in the day. it was great. we'll see how ben affleck does. >> the royal baby, of course. all eyes on the royal baby. continue to be. i'm sure we'll watch every move. >> prince george of cambridge
born over the summer, third in line for the throne. the royal family had a busy year. busy few years, royal level in 2011, announcement of pregnancy in 2013 and royal baby in 2013. >> finally, this has been the year in some ways of jennifer lawrence. she's such an incredible actress. so many people admire her work and the roles keep coming for her. >> people love her. she's a matchup of julia roberts, meryl streep and angelina jolie. >> she's so young. >> in her early 20s. started out winning an oscar, "silver linings playbook," number two most pickup lar movie hunger games 2. new movie. you go on tumblr, people love her and pay tribute to her and honor her. good for her. i'm excited. hollywood should be excited to had have her. >> i want to see "american
hustl hustle". as soon as i have time off i'm going to see it. have a good holiday. >> you, too. my colleague brian shactman is next. we'll have a live report for times square where last minute preparations under way for the ball drop. we're tracking winter storm and some of the coldest temperatures of the year. have a great holiday, everyone and a great new year. xxxx
good afternoon, everyone. i'm brian shactman at msnbc. our top story on the last day of 2013. russian president vladimir putin speaking out for the first time about the twin suicide bombings that killed 34 people and injured dozens more over the last two days. in a new year's eve address putin vowed to fought terrorist until their, quote, complete nileation. today in the city of volgograd where attacks took place, thousands of police officers swept the streets and they have detained dozens of people. there's no indication any of those being held are connected to the attacks. security efforts also intensified in other parts of
the country including moscow and sochi where the olympics will be held. meanwhile the president of the international olympic committee said despite the bombings, he's confident russia will deliver games that are, quote, safe and secure. there are only six weeks away. joining me from london, duncan, do you have anything new in terms of the investigation here? >> reporter: hello, brian. investigators are saying they believe a male suicide bomber is responsible for yesterday's attack on a bus. a russian agency citing unnamed sources said the attacker wanted for the blast on sunday, the one at the railway station they thought he was an ethnic russian converted to islam and moved to the area of dagestan and joined militants there. no group claimed responsibility but the focus from authorities and analysts seems to be on islamic militants from the north
caucuses. >> what about these fringe groups? a lot of people in the united states don't know much about the insurgents, vowing to disrupt the games. can you give us a little insight into the intention, what they are trying to accomplish here? >> generally they want to carve out an islamic state in russia's south. suicide bombings have been their preferred method of attack for many years. in the summer the chechen leader who has been referred to as the russian osama bin laden urged militants to use maximum force to present the of sochi games going ahead. people are looking at this to see if this is part of a pattern of behavior, part of a build up of terror campaign leading up to the sochi games. >> is that the consensus that this is just sort of a scare tactic or this is sort of part one of several things to come? >> well, this is the question, because, of course, to a certain extent sochi can no longer be secured longer than it already
is. in fact the olympic chief of the russian group said you can't do anymore to security in sochi because it is already quite formidable. they have the most extreme security being put in place. a large exclusion zone, masses of security forces. you'll need to provide passport details in order to gain access to the games. so nothing more can be done there. so analysts believe that the militants might be trying to target so-called soft targets, that is areas away from sochi, i.e. places like volgograd. >> last question. a lot of people now that we know what we know, why did the ioc let the games happen here? why did putin want to have it here? >> well, this was a major prestige project for president putin, one of his pledges when he was running for election. it is his pet project, his baby, if you like. he has a lot running on this.
that's why you can expect a formidable response as we're already seeing from the security being stepped up elsewhere in the country. he will come down hard on this, as he always has done, on islamic militants in that particular part of russia. brian. >> all right. reporting for us from london, we appreciate it. happy new year, bud. >> and to you. thank you. tomorrow it begins. an estimated 2 million people who signed up for health care coverage can begin using their plans in the new year. earlier today here on msnbc, the special advisers the white house brought in, of course, following the disastrous rollout of healthcare.gov talked about whether any potential problems are anticipated? >> we're very excited about tomorrow but vigilant. we've been working very closely with insurers, hospitals, pharmacies, doctors, to make sure we have as good a day tomorrow and the next day and the day after that as we can. >> joining me now political
editor mark murray, john yang with the president in hawaii. start with you, obviously getting updates. what's the sense of how involved today and leading into tomorrow and the sentiment right now? >> the president has been getting daily updates on this, brian, along with the usual security updates, briefings he's been getting. not only obviously is a president on vacation still president of the united states but this is a very important issue to him. the success of this program, key to his legacy, centerpiece of the campaign not only for the election but re-election. so they really want to make this program work. >> mark, we've talked a lot about the numbers, 1.1 million or so through the federal exchange gets us over 2 million. if you put it all together, in the last hour, people listening, talked bow how they are trying to deemphasize the numbers. are they going to be able to control that debate? at what point will the numbers maybe start to work for the
administration? >> it's going to be hard to live up to the estimates the congressional budget office set. those estimates you'd have 3.3 million signed up by the end of december and 7 million by march. it's going to be hard to live up for that given the website did not work for all of october and most of november. what the white house is hoping to show is exponential growth. end of october 100,000 signed up on federal and state exchanges. in november 350,000. now they are at 2 million. they are hoping to show it keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and that becomes a success story and shows, yes, the website is working. if you want health care, you'll be able to log on and get it. >> john, what's the confidence level to spin this story positive in 2014 after what was pretty much a horrible end to 2013 on this? >> i can tell you, brian, this is the point at which the white house has always wanted to get. they have always wanted to get to the point where people
actually had coverage. they said once people get coverage, they are going to like it, they say. they say no one will be talking about repeal and no one will be calling it obama care, they say, once we get to this point. there are signs already that the politics of this are changing. senator ron johnson of wisconsin, a tea party-backed republican has said that this does change the situation. no longer is the affordable health care act a piece of paper that can be repealed once people actually have coverage. once people are actually insured by this program, he said any changes you've got to take that into account that people are being insured by this program. so the white house has always said this the point they wanted to get to. they had a little trouble getting here but they think -- they hope from here on out it will ab positive. >> put aside your reporting for a sec, what people are telling you. in estimation, your opinion, are democrats running for election 2014 going to use this as a
positive or defensive on this going bo the election? >> brian, right now it looks like a lot are going to be defensive, particularly in a lot of red states where senators are up for re-election. talk about mary landrieu in louisiana, mark begich in alaska, mark pryor in arkansas, but they are wanting to run on other things. those democrats want to use the government shutdown we saw in october. the republicans want to be able to use the health care. it is very possible, though, brian, by the time we get to march, we get to april, we could be talking about something else. the news cycle moves so quickly. as john yang just put it, the politics change january 1st. republicans talking about repeal. it's much harder to repeal something where people are actually getting benefits. there is something that does change come tomorrow regarding the law, although i can guarantee you the politics and back and forth won't stop. >> republicans have a challenge. there seems to be a split in terms of how to approach it. repealing it is off the table for now at least in the foreseeable future.
john, before i let you go, i want to talk about the state of the union. we touched on it the other day when i talked to you. any sense, any leaks, any idea of what he might lead with? we know it's going to be comprehensive, one or two themes at the top? >> i think one big thing obviously they are going to be continuing to talk about health care and to promote the idea that it's working and people are covered by it. another big thing will be income equality. you heard the president talk about it, tee it up in a number of speeches toward the end of this year. his renewed push on increasing the minimum wage from current $7.25 to as high as $10.10. something polls are showing there's increasing public support for. it's also an issue they think they can run against republicans on as they go into the 2014 midterm elections. >> quickly, mark, we've got to go. seems like last couple days talking about minimum wage issue, spinning it forward on health insurance, this
unemployment benefit story isn't being talked about as much as you might expect. is it going to just fade? >> i don't know if it's going to necessarily fade. it's going to be a big agenda when congress comes back. i do think democrats want to use minimum wage and talk about unemployment benefits as a way to create a narrative the republicans aren't looking out for the disadvantaged, aren't looking out for the middle class. that's going to be a talking point. that could very well be one of the big fights of 2014 talking about people who haven't fared that well as the economy starts getting better. >> john yang, i'm jealous, geography. still ahead on this new year's eve. fireworks exploding from auckland sky tower as new zealand running in 2014 earlier today. meantime looking at a cold and stormy start to the new year here at home. taking a live look at times
square where they are still letting vehicles there a little bit. it's starting to get a little bit more crowded as people gather to see the ball drop in about 11 hours time. live report plus the latest on a snowstorm forecasters say could be significant. there's a new form of innovation taking shape.
to broadband internet at home. it's a place named one america's most veteran friendly employers. next is information and entertainment in ways you never thought possible. welcome to what's next. comcastnbcuniversal. parts of northeast and midwest bringing in the new year with a storm. far reaching weather system triggering dangerous road conditions across the midwest. as it shifts to the east, the same storm expected to bring between four to to twelve inches from cincinnati all the way to beantown. that is through friday. weather channel's mike seidel has more. >> we are keeping an eye on two areas of snow. first taking place in chicago
land, winter weather advisory, 3, 4, 5 inches of snow dry and powdery. temperatures 7, 8 degrees at o'hare. issues at the airport, deicing. minneapolis may get up to zero today. plain old cold into early january. that band will drop south kc, st. louis a little snow on new year's day. more of a nuisance than anything. snowfall totals, one to three st. louis to kc. up to chicago five to eight. lake-effect may pump up those totals a little bit off the lake there in south bend and benton harbor, michigan. then the big story is the storm up the east coast and off cape cod on friday. snow into boston early, later in new york city. it will be snow as temperatures start in the 20s. friday morning temperatures low- to mid-teens central park and logan and boston. a lot of wind especially out on the cape. we could get a blizzard warning out there for the snow and reduced visibility for more than three hours.
here are totals, new york city right now we're thinking five to eight maybe more as you go north and east. eight to 12 around the boston area. a fluff factor, 30, 40, miles an hour as you head to cape cod. saturday morning will be one of the coldest mornings in a long time, below zero in boston. single numbers in central park. a lot to keep an eye on and a lot of travel headaches thursday and friday at the major hubs. likely a lot of cancellations and long flight delays. we'll keep you updated from the weather channel. back to you. >> all right, mike. thank you very much. happy new year, buddy. we're still hours from ushering in 2014. parts of the world, i love this about the planet, already the new year. new zealand among the first to ring in the new year with massive fireworks display over auckland sky tower. again, i feel like this is iconic because it looks the same every year in sidney.
more than a million people watching fireworks over sidney harbor lighting up the iconic opera house and harbor bridge. japan celebrated as fireworks decorated the sky over tokyo. meanwhile here at home more than a million are expected to pack times square in new york city to ring in the new year. it's an area look here as revellers begin gathering hours early. stephanie gosk live. they are not technically allowed in there, right? >> no, they aren't. the picture you see there, a lot will change in the next couple of hours. right now, first of all, cars on the street. police will clear them out. it's going to fill up with people and what nypd unceremoniously calls their pens. they will fill in starting at 3:00. people who get here early are going to have a long time to wait and it's going to be very, very cold. the temperatures tonight in the 20s. on a very serious note, the security is a big concern here as it is every year.
for every major public event in the united states. nypd is going through a number of measures that will feel familiar to people to ho have been here before. they are sealing manhole covers of they are checking everyone that goes in as a spectator with metal detectors. they are not able to bring in backpacks. a number of plain clothes police officers milling about in the crowd. as you said, a million people here in times square, another billion or so watching. they are going to have their eyes trained on the ball. the ball is a pretty impressive thing. it's been dropping over 100 years. the very first one was made of wood, sort of unimpressively, this one is very different. 12 feet in diameter, weighs 12,000 pounds, has upwards 2600 panels of waterford crystal on it. it's a pretty amazing thing to take in. this year for the first time ever a u.s. supreme court justice will be dropping the ball. sonia sotomayer, a bronx native.
>> want to ask you quickly, both in terms of positive energy and security, you've been down there for a while now. i don't know if you covered it before. does it feel safe, almost sealed off? also, is there palpable energy? >> a lot of people will have on their minds boston marathon bombing. it's something people will think about here. what the nypd is doing, to make this feel as safe as possible but also keep it at a minimum so people aren't focused on the security aspect of tonight but rather the festivity of it. you see people walking around with families and little kids, certainly no sense of fear anything is going to happen. that is as it should be. >> stephanie gosk reporting live in times square, happy new year. >> happy new year. there's been a lot of talk about expanding the use of drones across this nation. now officials have taken a
critical next step announcing six test sites, each for a very specific reason. we'll have the latest on that story plus the economic outlook for 2014. will the economy grow faster? will unemployment continue to fall? a look at the trends most experts agree on for next year. my mother and my grandmother are very old fashioned. i think we both are clean freaks. i used to scrub the floor on my knees. [ daughter ] i've mastered the art of foot cleaning. oh, boy. oh, boy. oh, boy. [ carmel ] that drives me nuts. it gives me anxiety just thinking about how crazy they get. [ doorbell rings ] [ daughter ] oh, wow. [ carmel ] swiffer wetjet. you guys should try this. it's so easy. oh, my. [ gasps ] i just washed this floor. if i didn't see it i wouldn't believe it. [ carmel ] it did my heart good to see you cleaning. [ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff. [ daughter ] oh, yeah.
[ regina ] yeah, your generation has all the good stuff. "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. welcome back to msnbc. the faa has announced a critical new step to get drones into the skies. the agency named six test sites in six different sites to help guide this future endeavor in aviation. here is nbc pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski with more. >> reporter: internet retailer amazon gave us all a glimpse of the future working out plans to use remote control drones to deliver packages straight to your front door. but who is going to regulate that andy sure it's safe. the federal aviation agency is working on plans of its own. >> if we want to ensure the highest level of safety, we have
to have a complete understanding of how these aircraft operate. >> reporter: so today faa chose six separate test sites, each with unique challenges for drone operations, from the bitter cold of alaska to sweltering heat of corpus christi, texas, to rome, new york, where drones will be tested in the heavy air traffic all with the eyes of opening the skies to commercial. >> a kitty hawk moment. unmanned aircraft is the next big step prosecutor here at the pentagon and cia, they have relied on drones for more than a decade to wage war against enemy forces overseas. drones flown remotely by trained, experienced pilots. but for now any civilian with training is free to fly drones as long as it's below 400 feet and away from populated areas or airports. and what about those drones equipped with video cameras? >> that's going to raise all
kinds of privacy concerns for people whose houses and yards and personal space is going to be invade by these drones delivering packages to their neighbors. >> it could take years before all the necessary safeguards and regulations are in place. but it's clear that drone technology has taken wing and the sky is the limit. jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the pentagon. still ahead the family of a 13-year-old girl declared brain dead after tonsil surgery gets a last-minute extension to find a hospital that will keep her on life support. >> we have a pediatrician who has seen jahi who has sworn she is not dead. >> also with fewer than 60 bills signed into law this year, 1 13th congress set to go down as the least productive in 40 years. many call the do nothing congress that actually did something. we'll talk about what they actually did this year. being your own boss! and my customers are really liking your flat rate shipping.
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wall street poised to end the year on a positive note. all major indexes on the upside. dow jones industrial average heading towards 17,000. you want to take a look at the whole year? dow up 20%, s&p 500 almost 30%, nasdaq 38% to the up side. latest figures show the economy had a pretty strong third quarter growing at annual rate of 4.1% of that's the best pace in two years. this year is over. see what 2014 is going to look like. neal, thanks for being here. >> my pleasure. >> i want to start with the stock market. it's incredible for people in it. we'll talk about the average investor in a minute. can they have a positive 2014 after the kind of year on 2013? >> stocks are on the expensive side. not outrageously expensive like the tech bubble or anything like
that. obviously when stocks go up, people become enamored with stocks. it's near the top of a market top small investors get in. when everyone loves stocks you shouldn't love them. when everyone wants to run the other direction you should like them. >> disconnect wall street and main street. retail investor, average person saying i don't want to go in here, i'll get burned. they said that all the way up and missed the entire rally. has main street not felt wealth affect from what's going on? >> main street feeling the affect. housing has done very well this year. overall household net worth is up quite smartly in 2013. >> talk about housing for a second. is that another thing that feels bubblish from the people you talked to? it's come back, we talked about yesterday, some markets are past on the upside 2007 peaks. >> in some markets looking
toppish, saw an increase in houses nationally throughout the year. half the markets you saw double digit growth. it's been a very strong year. i don't think nationally we're anywhere near where we were in 2006 when you start to look at the value of homes. >> are people starting to take eck out of their homes? >> to the extent banks will let you do that, yes. bankers are far more cautious. probably they got burned, partly the government had a microscope on the banking industry. things you saw in 2006 you can't get away with. >> i know from from my time in cnbc, headline number of unemployment looks really good. a lot of people will argue there's fewer people in the marketplace, people left the job market completely. generally speaking a positive story. do you expect that to continue next month and beyond. >> it's a positive story. looks like we are seeing unemployment going down. federal reserve janet yellin very accommodative towards the housing market.
i think overall we're going in on a strong note. we'd like to see it to your point closer to 6.5%, 6%. as you said, there are a lot of adults who have just given up. so when you look at the actual participation rate of adults in the job market in the u.s., at a multi-decade low now. people are just staying home. >> put it all together, all the positives and negatives, fed comes in, we're going to dial back bond buying. for people at home it's basically all this free money to the macroeconomy to sort of come back to where they were more normalized levels. is this the right time to do it? are they going to dial down completely in 2014? >> i think the fed is going to dial down very carefully and give us a lot of warning flags along the way. they don't want to trip up the economy. clearly what we have in this economy is a lot of momentum from the economy but we also have a lot of strange things going on financially. we have federal reserve with a
huge amount of giant balance sheet. we have bonds at a record low. a lot of strange things going on. whether the federal reserve can sort of pull back without tripping up the economy is the trillion dollar question. >> yes or no, positive on 2014, though? >> yes. >> happy new year, editor in chief american banker. 2013 widely considered to be the least productive year in the history of the united states congress. halfway through its terms 113th congress passed 65 bills, only 55 of those were what we call substantive bills as opposed to ones that rename the post offices and streets. even despite dysfunction and partisan bickering, there are a few things congress did manage to get done. some are even notable. ben jacobs of the "daily beast" came up with a list of the seven things do nothing congress did. ben joins me now with some of those laws there on his list. ben, thanks for being on the show. >> brian, thanks for having me.
happy new year. >> thank you. you as well. start with number one, the violence against women reauthorization. give me details on that. >> violence against women reauthorization act, the act was first passed in 1994 sponsored by senator joe biden. it expired in 2011 and ran into issues because democrats in the senate added provisions dealing with protecting gays and lesbians as well as dealing with indian jurisdiction. republicans in the house sort of blanched on dealing with the provisions of tribal law, tribal courts on indian reservations. but then after 2012 election they finally gave in deciding it was better to be against violence against women than stick up for an obscure legal point. >> there was a point this year where we talked about student loans being as bad as credit card loans. obviously still a major problem but a little better because congress actually got something done. >> yes. the student loan rate was set to
double and actually did double. congress didn't act retroactively and ended up passing compromised legislation pushed by republicans and moderate democrats that would peg student loan rates to the market but started slowly so that student loan rates would rise slowly over the next couple of years rather than immediately doubling. >> post newtown there was a lot of clamor for strong gun legislation. just about everything did not happen. there was one piece of legislation that got through unanimously. >> yes, a bill to ban plastic undetectible guns. this first came up in 1988, guns added that can't be sensed in metal detectors. these are still not fully technologically possible. they have been used more in diehard movies than actual crimes. but this continued to ban, although there was an attempt by democrats to strengthen it that
failed for making it guns with metal components. >> line of fire john malkovich, 3d printing it's a huge actual real threat right now. quickly, some other items on the list people might not know about. give us one or two you wanted to point out. >> one campaign act, freedom to phish act, moderate senator from tennessee with rand paul pushed a bill that was acceptable to force government to allow fishing below dams on cumberland river. he's already bragging because parental this the best place to fish. he's using this to strengthen anti-government credentials with tea party voters. >> all right. good for him. appreciate it. happy new year, bud. >> thanks. still ahead time for plan b. passengers trapped in a sea of ice off antartica can now be evacuated by a helicopter but weather remains an issue. we'll have that story.
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new plans to rescue a research team stranded in antarctic ice. a helicopter will be used to rescue 52 passengers. the 22 crew members will remain on board. this comes after three rescue vessels failed to break the ice to get to the stranded ship. nbc's martin fletcher joins us from london. martin, we talked about it yesterday. why don't they just do it and they must have been listening. >> actually after you asked me that yesterday i took the pains to find out. they weren't ready to go. they didn't feel the urgency yet to lift the people off the boat because they were expecting the
weather to turn. anyway, they had plenty of food. now they are seeing the weather may not turn. it's all about the wind. there's an east wind pushing ice against the boat. they are waiting for the wind to turn. if it's a west wind it will push the ice away from the boat. it isn't happening. they have decided to go ahead and do an air evacuation. the people you just saw in the pictures now they are stomping the ice down preparing the ground, the ice next to the ship for the helicopter to lan. that will happen as soon as the weather gets better, brian. >> what about the crew? are they going to stay there until they get out -- rupp out of provisions or go after all the passengers. >> they have got a bad deal. they are doing to be staying on the boat. all 22 crew members will be staying on the boat after passengers are airlifted out. they are going to wait for the weather to change. when it does change, as i mentioned, the wind is a key factor, then ice will start melting around the boat and
pushed away from the boat. they will be able to maneuver the boat and sale safely out through a channel that will be created in the future by ice breakers. the crew stays on board. another interesting question, which is who pays for all this. apparently under maritime law, the ship that's stranded sends out a distress signal. ships in the area have to respond. but then that ship's owners of the distressed ship, the owners have to pay for the cost and lost earnings of the ships that helped them. a big bill is going to be handled to the owners of this ship, brian. >> a lawsuit. they already have their new year's eve party, right? >> yes, about 11, 10 hours -- 15 hours ahead of you. so yes, the new year, they are celebrating. they aren't really going to celebrate until they are back home to safety. >> martin fletcher, live for us. happy new year, friend, appreciate it. other stories making
headlines, donald schumacher's doctors says brain scans shows promising signs. he suffered brain injuries after a skiing accident in the french alps. he has brain lesions and a second operation today. the coming hours are crucial and can't say if the retired seven-time champion is out of danger. a last-minute ruling from a judge in oakland, california, will keep a teenager girl alive for another week. jahi mcmath was declared brain dead two and a half weeks ago after suffering complications from a complex tonsillectomy. doctors poised to end her life on monday but a judge intervened. >> my daughter, she's alive. she's warm. i kiss her and go in there and let her know all the time, we won today. >> it would be cruel to give any hope that jahi mcmath is coming back. she's deceased and on a
ventilator. >> the the ruling gives jahi another week to find a long-term care facility. hospital officials say it raises medical and ethical issues to transfer a patient who is not considered to be alive. ntsb and local investigators on site in north dakota where a mile long train derailed and exploded overnight. hazmat teams testing the air quality after officials urged residents to leave their homes. government officials estimate 65% of the more than 2,000 residence evacuated." of course, oil is what's burning. colorado becoming the first place to allow recreational marijuana use in the united states. many calling it a social experiment paving the way for how other states would legalize recreational pot use as well. gabe gutierrez in denver, colorado with more. >> reporter: brian, we're here at the evergreen apothecary in denver, one of the stores licensed to sell recreational pot. starting tomorrow customers 21
and over with a colorado id will be able to legally buy one ounce of pot. those from out of state will be limited to a quarter ounce. >> the world will be different from january 1st on. >> reporter: this morning anticipation is growing. >> we brought in a staff of people. we have three people that have been rolling joints for two days straight. >> reporter: colorado about to become the first state to allow the sale of recreational marijuana since the federal government banned it in 1937. >> this is one ounce of ak-47. >> reporter: at denver's evergreen apothecary, the owner calls it historic. >> i think the end of prohibition is a phenomenal time. >> reporter: colorado pioneered medical marijuana but voters went the extra step in 2012 approving pot just for fun. since then the states built the most complex regulations for weed in the world.
no smoking in public, taxes topping 25% and strict rules for growers. >> we'll be carding every single person that comes in the door. >> reporter: colorado expects to rank in tens of millions in tax revenue, much of that set aside to build schools. but technically -- >> every transaction in every dispensary is a federal crime even if the federal government promised for now we're not going to prosecute it. >> reporter: a burning controversy. new businesses popping up like this 420 tour bus in shops selling pots-laced food and drink. denver airport refusing to go green, keep marijuana ban. >> i think it's safer than alcohol. >> i don't like the idea of people driving while high. >> law is what it is. >> to catch stoned drivers, breath tests won't work but blood tests will. >> looking for the same signs. >> reporter: candidates argue legalizing will increase trafficking to neighboring states and fill colorado's family friendly ski resorts for
tourists looking for a different amount of rocky mountain high. >> i think it's going to be a huge disaster. i think it's something there will be so much damage done to the children out there. it's going to be very difficult to undo it. >> reporter: voters in washington state also approve recreational marijuana but those sales won't get under way until later in 2014. here they expect long lines to start tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m. brian. >> thanks, gabe. a lot of marijuana behind his shoulder there. still ahead from the guy who kept popping up during the bizarre anthony weiner conference to the woman who became the face of the botched health care website, we're going to look at some of the people who got their 15 minutes of political fame in 2013. [ mom ] over the years, i've learned how to stretch my party budget. but when my so-called bargain brand towel made a mess of things, i switched to bounty basic. look! one sheet of bounty basic is 50% stronger than a full sheet of the bargain brand. bounty basic. the strong but affordable picker upper.
in 2002, just months after the september 11th terrorist attacks. he signed his last bill yesterday banning indoor e-smoking. mayor bloomberg plans to dedicate his time out of office to philanthropy. a california congressman running for re-election has filed in the wrong place. the sacramento bee reports congressman ed royce mistakenly filed in the 40th district instead of the 39th. royce, who chairs the house foreign affairs committee used to represent the 40th, which could explain the typo. his re-election campaign called the report erroneous. said the paper filed was a routine financial disclosure form not his declaration of candidacy. and the governor of arkansas calling for lieutenant governor mark darr to step down. the request comes a day after darr agreed to pay $11,000 in fines. darr who violated spending rules 11 times since 2010 said he has no plans to quit.
well this year saw a new set of political scandals, and another group of americans who found themselves thrust into the political spotlight seemingly out of nowhere. from the missouri rodeo clown with a mask depicting president obama to those involved in the anthony weiner scandal to the young woman who unwittingly became the face of healthcare.gov. we saw a lot of unique and unexpected americans who got their 15 minutes of fame. now politico broke down a top ten list of celebrities for the year. politico joins me now. i'm going to tick off a few of these for people at home to just pay attention to. and then we will ask you a couple questions about them. let's start with number ten, the marines who held the umbrellas for the president and the prime minister of turkey at a news conference. the guest who heckled the president during his immigration speech in california last month. who could forget number seven, sydney leathers who is the sexting partner of mr. anthony weiner. cubicle guy who kept popping up
in that anthony weiner news conference. a lot of them came out of that. how about the man who mowed the lawn at the lincoln memorial during the government shutdown. the woman whose face adorned healthcare.gov. that's kind of a sad story, she's been harassed by it. and pajama boy. pajama boy is your number one. why? >> it's definitely the most recent. it's really top of mind. it's sort of been dominating the news cycle most recently. it'sen interesting story, organizing for action. formally the president's campaign apparatus has been promoting health care and they tweeted out this picture of this young man in pajamas, sipping cocoa saying this december sip hot cocoa and talk about health care. all of a sudden it dominated our screens for a few news cycles. people are still using this picture when they're talking about health care. it's become the new sort of cover art on article about health care pushes. so it's really the most recent and the most sort of topical example of how these people can
really go from anonymity to a lot of fame completely overnight. >> so you talk about you know how the recent element sort of propels him to number one. is the criteria totally qualitative? hey, we're the 20 best ones and just sort of slotted them in one through ten? >> it certainly was not a scene tiefic process. i wasn't sitting there with excel spread sheets tabulating the varying degrees of fame. but it was a wrack your mind, try to remember those people who sort of came into existence overnight and really faded away as we were going through these. and of course i asked my colleagues for some examples if they could think of any. some of them i couldn't even remember happened this year. they sort of seemed so important for a few days and then we completely forgot about them. >> who came out the best and the worst? sydney leathers, obviously it's, i mean some of the stuff she's done is questionable. but she seemed to try to milk it for the most that she could, and stay in the limelight as long as she could. >> yeah, definitely. i mean, best and worst is an
interesting question. because it certainly speaks to the motive that each of these people had. i mean sydney leathers really took advantage of it. she went on a media tour. she actually showed up on election night at anthony weiner's party. she released a pornographic video. she really took advantage of the situation to her own ends. and then you have some other people on the list who really i don't think ever wanted to be famous. i mean certainly you mention the healthcare.gov lady being kind of a sad story. because the woman who wanted free family photos and decided to take some stock photography and became the face of this really troubled website that conservatives just slammed. and so she bore the brunt of that, really personally. so you could argue that she definitely got the worst end of it. but even the obama rodeo clown which, you know, was the clown in the missouri state fair who wore a obama mask for his act. he was banned for life from the rodeo fair, from the missouri state fair grounds. he said he never intended any racial overtones to his act. he also felt personally affected
by something unintended. >> you could see how people would be offended by that. but the truth is they use facades of all sorts of presidents and major figures so you could see how some might portray him as a victim as well. appreciate it. happy new year. >> happy new year to you. thank you. >> that does it for me. my colleague thomas roberts is next. if i don't see you happy new year. but i will be back here bright and early tomorrow morning. i'm randy, and i quit smoking with chantix. as a police officer, i've helped many people in the last 23 years, but i needed help in quitting smoking. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix varenicline is proven to help people quit smoking. chantix reduced the urge for me to smoke. it actually caught me by surprise. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking, or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. if you notice any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental-health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix. don't take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it.
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hi, everybody. great to have you with me. i'm thomas roberts keeping warm in the studios here of 3a in rockefeller center. so warm i actually have a fan under my desk. just outside crowds are gathering in near freezing weather in anticipation of the ball which will drop tonight right there. and in sydney, and other cities around the globe, people have already rung in the new year, celebrating 2014 while in washington, 2014 probably couldn't come soon enough for democrats and republicans. in january a last-minute fiscal
cliff deal couldn't prevent a two-week government shutdown in october and while the year ended with a budget deal it's the health care rollout that dominates the political debate as we head into 2014, coverage for those enrolled begins tomorrow. and democrats say higher enrollment numbers in december demonstrate the rollout process is actually improving even some republicans are slowly coming to accept that obamacare is here to stay. >> will obamacare survive, whether you like it or not? >> obamacare is a reality. >> the man at the center of this year's drama, president obama, is on vacation with his family in honolulu right now. so let's get right to nbc's john yang he is with the president in hawaii. let's first start off talking about how the first family and the president oh, god that's beautiful there, how are they going to spend -- i'm looking behind you. beautiful. how are they going to be spending new year's with the
weather there, this,i mean, it's, it's breathtaking. i can't help myself. >> it has been a particularly good week. i hate to distress you even more there, thomas. it -- but i think the president's probably going to spend a quiet night in -- at home in the -- at the vacation rental house on the other side of the island here. he has been going out practically every day playing golf, and they expect him to spend a quiet night at home. he's got both hawaii friends and friends from chicago in town. of course the whole family is here. the first lady, daughters malia and sasha, and the first lady's mother, mrs. robinson. so i think there will be a quiet night at home with family and friends to usher in 2014. >> so we talk about obviously this is a holiday with a lot of family and friends around on this vacation but we know that the white house travels wherever the president goes, so this would be partially a working
vacation, as well. golf thrown in, of course. but with the -- >> it is. he's -- >> with the aca obviously a big topic. >> absolutely. he's getting daily briefings on the progress of the aca, of the sign-ups, how many people have signed up, the hhs secretary, and the special adviser to the white house on this effort just had a conference call with reporters more than 2 million people they say have signed up so far. the deadline for coverage to get coverage starting tomorrow, january 1st, was december 24th. he's also getting updates on security matters. he's been briefed on the terrorist attacks in volgograd in russia. so even though the president on vacation is still president, thomas. >> all right, john i'm just staring at the beautiful shot behind you. not that i don't enjoy you but i'm looking at that beauty shot, the catamaran, it's just so lovely. nbc's john yang for us. happy new year my friend, thanks
for joining me. >> thanks, thomas. you, too. >> earlier today my colleague kristen welker interviewed the white house's adviser for health care and asked him directly is the white house worried that it may not hit that magic 7 million number the enrollment figure that was touted earlier in the year, and his response, that was never the white house's goal. take a listen. >> that was never our target number. that was a target that was put out by the congressional budget office and has become the accepted number. >> but kathleen sebelius has said 7 million people that that's the goal. >> that was because it came from the congressional budget confidence and it had become an accepted number. there's no magic to the 7 million. >> we wish there was magic to the 7 million. maybe that's what he'd like to say. joining us, susan tell percent yo, republican strategist and msnbc contributor and columnist for the washington. dana, let me start with you, how much of that is spin, trying to, you know, parse the numbers like that? >> i think he spun around about 7 million times there.
well, of course it is. but you know the thing with the, the health care rollout there have been so many numbers, and so many deadlines, you can be sure that he wouldn't be backtrack inglike that if he were confident that they would be hitting that number. on the other hand there have been so many goals and so many numbers that each one is going to be harder for the opposition to make a case that the thing is failing. clearly got off to a bad start. clearly, picking up steam now and clearly here to say. so it's really just a question of how much the republican opposition wants to highlight each of these deadlines. >> so you can lead a horse to water, susan, you can't make it drink. we know that there was a lot of state level opposition, republican-led, in starting up their own state exchanges. the federal exchanges we've seen grow by leaps and bounds once they got glitchy.gov figured out. but when do republicans actually recognize the fact that the aca,
and the health coverage for all, like we're seeing in kentucky, where connect has done so well, that could actually be good for the republicans? >> that interview was spot on. it is here. it is the law. so what are you going to do about it? you're not going to repeal it. it's not going to go away. but it is going to have to change. it's already changed several times under president obama, with policies, and deadlines, and 7 million is important or it's not. but what's critical here is the implementation. the website was the tip of the iceberg. how many of their applications are going to make it through on january 1st when they go to get their prescriptions. that's a lot more problems. but you can't expect all the good stories that happened frankly two years ago what they've been touting and ignore the bad stuff. >> dana you hit on the failure to renew extended unemployment
benefits for the long-term unemployed. and this is a big issue. because we have harry reid saying that a vote in the senate is coming on monday. but, really, is there any chance for survival? i mean it doesn't seem like that, that, that it could be a reality and meanwhile there are millions that have those expired benefits on the 28th. >> yeah, i'm pretty optimistic that it will become law as it has virtually every time before. that doesn't mean it's going to happen right away. that doesn't mean it's going to happen without a lot of haggling. whether they're going to have to take the money from somewhere else. it's just unimaginable at a time where there's more long-term unemployment than at any time since the end of the second world war, that this congress would allow these people to suffer that way. so, already 1.3 million people kicked off, millions more will be kicked off. it's just impossible to imagine that they'll allow that to go on. >> susan, do you agree? >> i do think there will be a short-term solution, probably
not for a year but probably three months. what's critical is that this is affecting people now. normally washington budget process you try and fig the future. so for example, they're probably going to haggle maybe with veterans pension benefits, which is due to take place a year from now, and a lot of republicans want to fight for that right now. so that may be the tradeoff. for extension of unemployment benefits. i think you'll see it for about three months. >> when we look at the fact that the longer, as we go for a year, you know, that's money that the economy needs, and in three months, 90 days of unemployment benefits being extended, what's the likelihood that someone's actually going to be able to tuck themselves out of unemployment and find the job that they need so sustain themselves or a family through 2014? >> well, this is by no means a program that's meant to go on in perpetuity. and with the way we've seen unemployment numbers the fact is if you see it dip town to maybe
6.9 which is a very possible thing given the current trends in the economy, that's going to change a lot of things for a lot of people. so, the fact is you can't let this go on in perpetuity. i think probably three months is the best compromise. six months would have been ideal. >> dana, democrats obviously they're going to be picking up on this team as we talk about 9 extension of unemployment benefits but also when we look at the erosion of the middle class and what's going on with the lower income americans in this country, and the inequality measures of income it really is getting wider and wider. and as we look at the market boards and guys i don't know if we can put the markets up but cnbc was talking earlier today how we're going to go out this year at a 16-year high and look at the dow jones and how well it's doing and we're on a 52-week high, it seems, dana, that, that the rich keep getting richer, and the american dream keeps slipping further away from those who would like to grasp onto it, and, and at least then think their kids can get further
than them. >> well, that's right. and that's certainly not a development just of the last few months or few years. it's been going on and on and it has been getting worse and worse. that's why i think you'll hear the obama administration, not just on the unemployment benefits, but on the minimum wage, on a whole variety of worker training programs, and whatnot, because while it is true that these -- these -- the unemployment benefits were not meant to be extended in perpetuity, this congress has really done nothing to help these people who have been out of work, many of them for an awfully long time. and they're only have roughly a 12% chance of finding a job in any given month. you can't just take away the benefits without actually doing something to create more jobs, giving these people the skill. so i think you're going to see the administration and democrats in congress hitting those themes quite hard to address the inequality. >> susan, what do you think for republicans as we look at everybody trying to compromise to figure out some economic
shifting going on? because, company profitability not an issue. wall street profitability, not an issue. as we see what we're doing with our marketplace right now, the unemployment numbers, as you point out, they're going down. but we're not seeing so many of these great companies giving back in terms of creating the jobs and then we've got the minimum wage discussion from these billion dollar companies like a mcdonald's or a walmart who could afford to pay their workers a little bit more, but they don't want to. they want to be -- they want to be dragged out into the sunlight to have to do this than to do the right thing. so how do you get republicans on board with giving an inch? >> well, first of all when you talk about wall street doing so well, and the dow finishing at record highs, let's not forget how much that helps city and state governments which will now help them rehire people who they had to lay off because of the pensions that they have to meet. their pension needs. so you're probably going to see an increase in the government sector of hiring back workers. so when wall street does well, it does also help the city and
state governments tremendously. when it comes to minimum wage, i think for democrats, that's something that they should keep if they want to get the democrats, the republicans in a box, that's probably the best issue for them to do it on. and it will take a public pressure for republicans to move on it. and not that they necessarily should go all the way but there's got to be some kind of compromise, and we're already seeing it within the states. like i think there's five states right now as of tomorrow, the minimum wage -- >> 13 different states where it's going to go up, new york being one of them where it's going to increase to $8. but right now as we look at the federal landscape it's $7.25. the math just not adding up especially when we look at how wall street's doing as well. david milbank, susan del percio, great to see you guys. coming up a full report from russia where a pair of suicide bombings have put that country on high alert just ahead of the olympic games.
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so russia is on a heightened state of alert. two suicide bombings at a train station and one bus trolley bus in the city of volgograd left at least 33 dead, 60 injured. so six weeks before the winter olympics are due to begin in sochi. that's 400 miles to the southwest. so far there has been no claim of responsibility though russian invest gators are focused on muslim separatists in neighboring dagestan. nbc's jim maceda joins us live from sochi with the very latest on this. >> hello there. well police now believe that it was a male suicide bomber who set off sunday's bomb just
inside volgograd's train station. he's been identified by several news sources to be a 26-year-old russian named pavel petchunkin. a medical school graduate who converted to a radical and violent form of islam. you recall perhaps that early on there was speculation that a female suicide bomber had set off that first bomb. investigators are now running dna tests to confirm that i.d. on monday they said that they'd found links between the two attacks, specifically on the similarity of the explosives that were used, and the shrapnel used, as well, to maximize the carnage. now, as expected, the death toll today for the two blasts rose to at least 33. there are still almost 60 wounded who remain in the hospital. meanwhile, russia is on a heightened state of alert. security forces have been seen beefing up those transportation
hubs like volgograd. like train stations, and airports. those seem to be the favorite targets for the insurgents. and here at sochi's olympic village you don't yet get the feel of the so-called ring of steel, but that will certainly change in the days and weeks ahead as 40,000 security forces spread out over a 1500 square mile security zone that will turn sochi, some people say, into a fortress. but there's still growing worries here that a lone, determined, suicide bomber might breach that fortress and cause havoc. i'm jim maceda, nbc news reporting from sochi. now back to you. >> jim maceda, thank you sir, much appreciated. meanwhile secretary of state john kerry will begin the new year with a trip to the middle east in an effort to provide israeli/palestinian peace talks. kerry heads to jerusalem tomorrow to meet with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu. and will also travel to ramallah to sit down with palestinian
president mahmoud abbas. for more on what we can expect from those talks i'm joined now by former assistant secretary of state for public affairs p.j. crowley. great to have you with me. before i get to this trip for secretary kerry, briefly your reaction to that report there from jim maceda and the revelations that are, are, being thought out now about what it means for russia's security in and around the olympics, and as jim points out, 40,000 security forces will be turning sochi into a fortress but what do you think that that means for what military or any analyst would call a softer target in and around russia and those trying to get to the games? >> well, this is a long-standing problem for russia with its restive republicans dominated by muslim separatists. but now just as putin is trying to take advantage of the international spotlight, to project a modern and vigorous russia, so, too, these
separatists with their own agenda are trying to project that we're still here, and so what that will do for anything leading up to sochi or during sochi there will be talk about russia, but there will be a yeah, but. but there are these security kernss. and the dilemma is that for security forces in russia the targets going forward don't have to be in sochi. but it's just about stealing headlines. and having a dive aided picture so you have all of the sports triumph on one side of the green but obviously the security danger on the other. >> looking to turn perception into reality about what's really going on over there. p.j. let me get you on track with the middle east and this trip by secretary kerry. it's his tenth trip to the region. the u.s. wants an interim agreement by april 2014 really setting the stage for a full-blown peace treaty in the future. how likely is that? is that just being way too optimistic about the new year?
>> well, john kerry deserves an enormous amount of credit. the ground quite honestly is not particularly fertile for a breakthrough on the middle east peace process but he is -- he is diligently going about trying to achieve what the state department calls a framework agreement which would just be, you know, kind of the underlying approach to a final status negotiation. i think this is a long-term project, there's a great deal of mistrust that's built up, particularly between prime minister netanyahu, and president abbas. they're not friends. they don't consider each other partners. so there's a lot of heavy lifting to be done here. >> so when we look at what "the new york times" is now reporting, p.j., saying that mr. netanyahu will agree to release a total of 104 palestinian prisoners over nine months of negotiations, rather than freeze settlement constructions said on monday that the protection of the settlement in the land of israel is one of the nation's vital
interests. so if settlement construction continues do you think that that's the lynchpin for a peace deal being reached? >> well, i think it's an indication of how this process either from one side or the other is about one step forward, one step back. on the one hand, you know, prime minister netanyahu is taking on some, you know, political heat. he's paying a political price for releasing these prisoners. they do have israeli blood on their hands. but on the other hand, he then, in turn, gives the palestinians something that obviously announcing almost as a tandem the prisoner release, and new settlement activity. what it really means is you're not -- neither side has created the conditions that enable very difficult compromises that will have to be made as part of any kind of successful negotiation. the irony here is that the issues are well known. you know, jerusalem, right of return, you know, borders and security. there have been a lot of ideas
floated around for many years going back to 2000 in the so-called clinton parameters. they know what the end game looks like, but working the politics to get there is something that quite honestly neither side is really doing. >> but is the show of good faith really resting the onus on benjamin netanyahu going ahead with that agreed release? >> well, i mean, israel is the stronger partner. ultimately they're going to have to give something meaningful, you know, to get what they want, which is an end to the conflict. you know, both sides have weapons they can use. and this is where the united states' role is critical to try to find a way to keep this alive to where you can get that political breakthrough. but i think, you know, getting a framework agreement by april may well happen. but i still think that this is going to be a long, drawn out process, it's going to be very, very difficult to get to an actual final agreement. >> real quickly before i let you
go, want to get your thoughts on the recent "new york times" report on benghazi, which said that there was no core al qaeda involvement on the attack of the consulate there. but there was clearly an intelligence failure, p.j. so what do you make of the report? because the absence of finding any evidence of al qaeda right at this juncture doesn't mean that there wasn't any type of al qaeda influence indirectly. >> well, i think on the one hand, you know, this is a manifestation of the evolving tlist threat. that, you know, that this was not something that was directed from the outside. what david kirkpatrick reported is that these guys are acting primarily based on an agenda that involved inside libya not outside libya. but clearly whoever was there had some sympathy for the al qaeda philosophy or trying to push a narrow agenda in to libya. i think to some extent all of this misses the point which is that when you have this kind of
political vacuum, whether it's in libya, or in syria, you're actually providing opportunities for al qaeda directly or indirectly to establish a toe hold in these places. and this is where the political paralysis, you know, whether that is involved with the fall of gadhafi or the assault against the assad regime you know creates opportunities for al qaeda. whether those attacks are directed inside those countries or those attacks are directed outside the united states. so there say terrorist dimension to this. but clearly, at the end of the day what you see is that, you know, the infamous talking points were far more right than wrong. p.j. crowley, great to have you here. happy new year to you. when we come right back the countdown continuing as we take a peek back at those huge crowds they are gathering, and they're going to need to be really bundled up. hopefully body heat and togetherness is going to help them because the ball drops in times square at midnight. we're going to get a check on the forecast plus an unexpected
all right, so with the new year just a few hours away the northeast is already bracing for the first snowstorm of 2014. right now crowds are already gathering in times square, where temps, they're going to be dipping into the 20s tonight with dangerously cold temperatures elsewhere around the country. as americans ring in the new year. weather channel meteorologist mike seidel has more on tonight's weather, and the storm look ahead. mike? >> we are keeping an eye on two areas of snow. first the one that's taking aim at chicagoland. we have a winter weather advisory there up until 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning kicks in this afternoon. we're going to see three, four, five inches of snow. it's very dry and powdery because temperatures at late morning were only at 7, 8 degrees at o'hare. there will be some issues at the airport, certainly de-icing.
minneapolis may get up to zero today. it's going to stay plain old cold. that band will drop south. st. louis will get a little bit of snow on new year's day. this is going to be more of a nuisance than anything. snow fall totals, generally 1 to 3 snowfall st. louis to kc. up towards chicago, 5 to 8. the lake effect may pump up those totals a little bit off the lake in south bend and bentsen harbor, michigan. then the big story is the storm coming up the east coast and off cape cod on friday. snow into boston early thursday morning a little later in new york city. and it will be snow. and then on friday morning, temperatures will be in the low to the mid teens in central park and at logan in boston. there will be a lot of wind, especially out on the cape. we could get a blizzard warning out there for the snow and the reduced visibility for more than three hours. here are your totals. new york city right now we're thinking 5 to 8. maybe a little more as you go north and east of the city. 8 to 12 around the boston area, there will certainly be a fluff factor. it will be a dry, powdery snow,
blown around by wind gusts. 30, 40 or 45 miles an hour as you head out to cape cod. and once the storm moves out friday afternoon the cold air comes in, saturday morning will be one of the coldest mornings in a long time. below zero in boston. single numbers in central park. a lot to keep an eye on and a lot of travel headaches thursday and friday at the major hubs will likely be a lot of cancellations and long flight delays. we'll keep you updated from the weather channel. back to you. >> messy to start the new year. thanks so much. a bit later we're going to take you to times square where those that want to ring in the new year to the in the comfort of times square will be keeping warm however they can. coming up we're going to talk for minimum wage and immigration reform to the battle for congress. it's really going to be a high stakes 2014 in washington so stick around. we're back after this. is this the bacon and cheese diet? this is the creamy chicken corn chowder.
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so it is not a presidential election year but 2014 will see some vitally important decisions being made at the ballot box from the democrat long shot hopes of taking back the house to the gop's attempt to gain control of the senate, the new year will begin with both parties laying out the themes they hope to focus on. for the democrats, this will likely be a theme of populism led in part by a focus on an increase in the minimum wage. for republicans, a continued effort to highlight the problems with the affordable care act, and an ongoing effort to make serious cuts to government spending. for more i'm joined by james holman of politico and democratic strategist. gentlemen it's good to have you here. james, let me start with you about this, because with the house and after october's shut skwloun we have house republicans looking really bad in the poll. what looked like a real possibility that democrats could take back the house. however, the aca and the problematic rollout for obamacare, does that possibility do you think still exist, or
have republicans been able to shore that up? 11 months is an eternity in politics. so anything could happen. but, there basically is a zero chance that democrats will win the house. a lot would have to go wrong for republicans. they'd really have to blow it traditionally, the president's party loses seats in the sixth year of his administration. remember 2006, so a lot would have to happen for democrats to have a realistic path. and because of redistricting, there are fewer and fewer competitive seats even on the table that democrats could win if they had good candidates and the environment was favorable. >> i think the redistricting issue is a more a realistic one than a steady as she goes approach for the republican party. because there is a long time between now and november. chris, as we look for some changes to happen in the new year we know that before leaving for the holiday recess we had speaker john boehner seeming to highlight what would be a major
theme for 2014 for the gop, and i want to remind everybody what they can expect. take a look. >> we spent you know the last year trying to protect the american people from the consequences of this health care law, and if you look toward next year, we're going to continue to look for ways to protect the american people from what's happening out there. >> okay, so they want to lead the year on the boogie man of the aca. and protecting americans from having access to affordable health care. how much do you think that that's going to play out by the time the midterms come around? certainly there will be time to put commercials together, chris, but if people really start to dig, having their health care, and that they're paying less, or they have access for the first time in their lives, isn't that something that's going to make the republicans turn on their heels about trying to spin their way? >> i think there's two dynamics here. one is obviously you want more good news you know on the aca front. as the enrollment numbers grow
as the positive stories come out the perception that came from the bad rollout start to shift start to change and that ends up creating a positive. on the other side the other dynamic is the republicans you know, i do kind of find it am e amusing they shifted their language from protect used to be they wanted to repeal. now they want to protect health care. but you still have to have an alternative. you still have to have ideas and as long as republicans don't offer any alternative they kind of set themselves up for basically being able to criticize but not be able to offer any kind of viable solutions. so as long as those two forces kind of continue to play out, and that's what ends up happening, the aca negative for democrats i think starts getting minimized the more the good news starts to grow, and so the question is, is there going to be more good news? i think there's going to be. >> if we look at the senate for a minute, perception being reality in politics. and what it means to the average midterm voter, because that's different than your presidential voter. the midterm voters are a lot more engaged. and however it doesn't get as
many people out there. but the gop needs to net six senate seats to take control of the senate. which races are they likely looking at to try to accomplish that feat? and are republicans at risk of actually losing any seats? possibly even mitch mcconnells in kentucky where connect is doing so well? >> the race is obviously that they're looking at west virgi a virginia, montana, south dakota, alaska, louisiana, north carolina, even new hampshire. realistically, you know, i think right now given the realities of where we are, you're talking probably about three that are in real jeopardy on the democratic side. you know, depending on what happens over the next year, then those changes, you know, those numbers may change. but on the republican side you've got georgia, and kentucky, that they have a real chance of losing, and not to mention the fact that we've seen this cycle before where republicans are supposed to win seats that they end up losing, because their candidates come out and say something so extreme, and so, you know, dislikeal that they end up
losing key voting blocs. so a lot of this still is really kind of tough to put a clear number or handle on. >> okay and one thing, though, that will get a lot of people's attention obviously is the year progresses the new year that is, is more of the story to come from snowden. edward snowden and the potential nsa surveillance situation james i know you wrote a piece earlier this week about certain democratic candidates who've been openly criticizing the nsa surveillance program. so are the president's low approval ratings going to cause other candidates to find ways like that to distance themselves from his policies? >> yeah, absolutely. democrats have to defend seven senate seats in states that mitt romney carried. in three of those states the incumbent senator is retiring. but there are four democratic incumbents in states that romney won, and all of them are going to distance themselves from obama to varying lengths. especially in the west, and in alaska, where we've seen a lot of criticism of the nsa
traditionally more libertarian states. but the reason the nsa is a great issue for democratic senators to break with obama on is that they can plead liberals who are also very skeptical of the nsa program while appealing to libertarian, independent-minded folks in some of those states. but it's not just the nsa. on alabamacare or the aca, you know, every ink s&l democratic senator voted for that. every one of them who is up is vulnerable to be attacked as the deciding vote on the law. and so you're seeing them to various degrees based on how vulnerable they are say that they're trying to fix the law or criticize the law or criticize the implementation of the law and i suspect that will continue even as some of the good news comes out for example in louisiana mary landrieu one of the more vulnerable incumbents was unabashed talking up the law. her first campaign commercial highlighted her trying to distance herself, saying she was
as angry as anyone with these problems. how much are these democrats in red states going to move away from obama, who's -- who already lost in 2012 but his popularity has only slipped since then. >> we'll wait to see how that goes. one of the obvious things that we have to witness tomorrow in political history is when new york city swears in its newest mayor in bill de blasio and as we all know here in new york and many people know around the country as well the message that he ran on it was very clear as a populist about the need for more economic equality not insignificantly president bill clinton is going to be the one swearing de blasio in. hillary clinton is going to be there as well. so chris do you think that we're going to see this theme move beyond new york with democratic candidates focusing on minimum wage and again, going off the fact that we have 13 states tomorrow, that are increasing their minimum wages new york being one of them which will go up to $8 an hour. the federal level is $7.25 but do you think that that is going
to help catch fire in 2014, and shake the attention of congress? >> i think it definitely has potential. there clearly is, this has been growing for the last few cycles, this populist streak amongst the american public. the minimum wage issue is one. you know the other one i would say that i you know we were just talking about is this issue of privacy. and i think are you are seeing both americans who consider themselves republican and democrat politically become very energized and excited about this notion that it's simply not fair when in terms of what's going on out there, in determines of data breaches, surveillance. i think the same thing is happening in terms of minimum wage. people look at it both republicans and democrats and say wait a second, this doesn't make a lot of sense given the, you know, the where the country is economically, fiscally and otherwise we need to make sure that people have a certain amount of money in order to be able to survive. that it clearly is going to be something that democrats are going to tap. but the question i think ends up
becoming -- >> you can't afford -- you can't afford the iphone or the computer. so who cares about the digital privacy if you can't afford to actually have access to those kinds of items? >> well, i, think what ends up happening that may be true. but in terms of voters we need to come out in the midterms which is a different demographic than shows up in a general election you've got to have young voters so tapping those issues may excite voters that otherwise might check out in the critical midterm elections. >> happy new year to you and yours. appreciate your time. so coming up the countdown continuing when we check in at times square all right no ice is needed for the champagne there because it's plenty chilly enough as you can see as we go back shot to shot, the crowds, they keep swelling. we'll check in. ♪
>> >> the biggest rolling party in the world is coming to a time zone near you. and prance the biggest new year's party of all is right here in new york city so check out the scene we sent nbc's stephanie gosk into the middle of it all. hi, stephanie. >> hey, thomas. happy new year's eve to you. you know i've been here since the early morning and you can really feel the buildup of excitement. people are pouring in. the police are eventually going to let them in to what they unceremoniously call pens here. they will be letting them in. the earliest will have to stand here for hours and hours. there could be upwards of a million people that gather here in times square, and a further billion or so that tune in either online, or on tv. you know the ball has been dropping here in times square for over 100 years. the first ball to drop wasn't really that spectacular. it was made of wood with just a few lights. this one is totally different. it is 12 feet in diameter, has
2,688 waterford crystals on it. and it weighs about 12,000 pounds. it's triggered at 11:59. it takes a minute to drop, and this year, for the very first time, a u.s. supreme court justice will be dropping the ball. sonia sotomayor. she is the first hispanic supreme court justice, and she's also a native of the bronx. thomas? >> stephanie, happy new year to you. thanks so much. nbc's stephanie gosk reporting for us there. 2013 saw several victories for lgbt rights. but the victories did not come without controversy. ♪ i want to spread a little love this year ♪ [ male announcer ] this december, experience the gift of unsurpassed craftsmanship and some of the best offers of the year at the lexus december to remember sales event. this is the pursuit of perfection.
we're utahans and that is huge. that's huge. >> same-sex couples lined up to tie the knot in utah shattering marriage records in that state after a federal judge there ruled its same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. without a doubt 2013 was a historic year for gay rights in america. in june, the supreme court struck down most of the defense of marriage act. and who could forget plaintiff edith windsor speaking about her landmark victory before reporters in washington, d.c. >> today is like a spectacular event for me. i mean it's a lifetime kind of event. and i know that the spirit of my light spouse okay right here watching and listening and would be very proud and happy of where we've come to. thank you all. >> marriage equality has been sweeping the land. utah being one of the most recent states to get marriage equality. now a federal judge in ohio threw out parts of that state's
same-sex marriage ban this month but a judge in michigan and pennsylvania, they are set now to hear cases challenging the gay marriage bans in those states in 2014. here to discuss all of this historic progress as well as the controversies and whether or not the movement can sustain the momentum in the new year is columnist for the daily beast, and executive director of the log cabin republicans gregory angelo. gentlemen it's great to have you here. we're going to close out the hour together here on msnbc and the year for that matter. >> yeah. >> but let's start with dean, because you think we've been able to capitalize on so much progress in 2013 but how do you think that the momentum is going to shift in 2014? or is it just now it's coattail riding for other states? >> i think honestly that we've hit a tipping point and that's one from public opinion. second from a legal point of view. i used to be a lawyer. and for years i would say if you look at the equal protection clause you cannot to prevent gay americans from being married simply because of their
orientation. the judge's ruling in utah was fabulous. that's the one that could go to the supreme court. that's well reasoned, beautifully reasoned, i think you could see amazing things in 2014. >> greg, how significant is it that it is as dean points out this very conservative judge in utah a bit laidback framework for that state and the fact that that progress has come again we're pointing to utah, which is a conservative state and this is a conservative judge. >> yeah, it's especially significant. in fact judge shelby is just the latest republican judge or republican appointed judge to make a decision supporting marriage equality for committed same-sex couples. you talk about the progress that we've made as a movement this year in 2013, i don't think this was just a banner year for equal rights for gays and lesbians in the united states. i think this was a banner year for growing republican support for equal rights for gays and lesbians in the gop. if you look at where we -- where we started the year and where we ended the year we now have three sitting republican united states senators supportive of marriage equality joining two republicans in the house.
we have ten republicans who voted for the employment nondiscrimination act. and we have republicans around the country, these were all bipartisan votes that happened where marriage equality was recognized in the state level and it was republicans who stepped up in some cases to make the critical difference to allow marriage equality to become a reality. >> i certainly don't want to discount those numbers. because it is important to see growth in the gop on this. but we have the autopsy that came out earlier this year from the rnc that said that they needed to move on issues when it came to equality and not just for the lgbt community but also on immigration equality, also on women's rights, and issues to deal with that. so when we think about the autopsy that came out, and they, they, they know where they need to shore up problems within the foundation, what, why do you think that they're so slow to jump on board when especially we as dean points out the trend in social recognition of marriage equality is over on the side the majority of americans support marriage equality.
why would republicans not see that trend? >> well, sometimes for me, and my standpoint, i see what you do not see and hear sometimes just as important as what you do. to me it was amazing to hear the deafening silence that came out of many in the gop after the supreme court's ruling on the defense of marriage act. what does that show me? shows me that this is a party that is still trying to find its way, find a more nuanced messaging on marriage equality and understanding marriage equality and where this country is going in accepting equal rights for gay and lesbian americans. i'd also point out really dean talked about we're hitting a tipping point in this country. well i think the tipping point that we're hitting in this country is perhaps no better exemplified than this duck dynasty controversy over the course of the last two weeks which shows we need to engage with evangelical christians as the final frontier in making equal rights for gays and lesbians in this country. that's going to be a tough nut to crack but we need to have dialogue with that community and it's not just court cases that are going to ultimately sway
public opinion when it comes to republican opinions. >> when you talk about court cases, with the supreme court and doma and knowing a plaintiff like edie windsor somebody that we can all recognize as a grandmother or great aunt in our own families and who is going to the supreme court and fighting for equality for the fact that the government did not recognize her marriage, and gave her a heavy tax bill for the death of her partner her wife. but when we also had that president obama reached out to the plaintiffs in prop 8. we know that prop 8 was the california law it got kicked back but it allowed those plaintiffs we had sandy steer and we had her partner kris they were planning to get married but the president called them during the show that i was hosting i just want to remind everybody what he had to say as he congratulated them live.
>> thank you mr. president. >> such a great moment when the president calls in on an iphone happens live during your show, it's good stuff. but dean, this was not just a moment where the supreme court ruled on the side of justice. but the white house is behind these couples behind these plaintiffs, and when you have that type of momentum, you have to think that it's only a matter of time for the rest of the country to latch onto that momentum. >> i think frankly, and i'm not saying this because you're here as a republican, i think it's the republican party that's lagging. the latest poll i saw about 65% of republicans oppose same-sex marriage so there's tension within their party and that's definitely true. so you might have some leaders going look it's inevitable we have to get on board, it's wrong, we're on the wrong side of history. rank and file are saying no we're opposed to same-sex marriage and there's going to be a point where that is defined as bigotry. and it's not yet.
i recognize, i respect people's opinions. if they say aim against same-sex marriage you try to bring them over, you try to move them when you can but at some point there will not be a discussion. just like there's not two sides of anti-semitism, two sides of racism, there will not be two sides to marriage equality. >> when we look at the fact that the duck dynasty controversy brought to light where positions of that these positions can coexist, in a country where the majority of those polled would think that it is an acceptable and reasonable belief to allow gay and lesbian couples the right to marry. but you can also, then, hear the opinions of someone like the guy on duck dynasty who doesn't believe in that, and feels that that's wrong, and yet we saw it become such a political not hot potato but a political hot issue where people had to dig in, and pick a side. >> yeah, this notion of religious liberty is a notion that a lot in the republican party are championing. what we point out often is log
cabin republicans is that support for equal rights for gays and lesbians and support for religious liberty is not a zero sum game. you can have your own beliefs as a person of faith but still understand that having gay and lesbian couples get a piece of paper from the government acknowledging the rights, protections, responsibilities of civil marriage completely separate and distinct from the sacrament of holy matrimony. i'd also point out one other thing we talk about the supreme court's decision on doma that was brought about because of the death tax. republicans are almost in bloc against the death tax. i joke with some of the social conservatives, if you guys spent half the time focusing on repealing the death tax as you do fighting the drum against marriage equality we might have had the supreme court's decision on doma right now. it's a matter of priorities for the republicans. >> it's been a really wild and interesting year and only more to come in 2014 as we watch this wave of social equality go over our country but gentlemen it's great to have you here. great to see you. it's been fantastic conversation
we could talk about this a lot more. thanks so much for joining me today this new year's eve day. melissa rehberger is going to be picking things up for here. here is a scene in dubai. it's where the clock has just struck midnight in 2014, and from all of us hire, to all of us -- or to all of you at home, i got confused as i'm watching the fireworks, we say have a blessed 2014. happy new year, everybody. take care. and it feels like your lifeate revolves around your symptoms, ask your gastroenterologist about humira adalimumab. humira has been proven to work for adults who have tried other medications but still experience the symptoms of moderate to severe crohn's disease. in clinical studies, the majority of patients on humira saw significant symptom relief, and many achieved remission. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal events, such as infections, lymphoma, or other types of cancer, have happened.
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hello, everyone, i'm melissa rehberger with hours to go until the ball drops in times square it is time to put the champagne on ice. crowds are gathering in new york's times square in anticipation of the big countdown there. while celebrations already kicked off in cities from sydney to hong kong, and dubai. with more points to begin in eastern europe a very short time from now. and while president obama, who is on vacation in honolulu with his family, will be one of the
last to enter the new year, coverage for those enrolled on the health care exchanges will have begun for most enrollees once the ball drops in the president's home state. earlier today, my colleague nbc's kristen welker spoke with a white house adviser on health care policy. the subject was health care enrollment and whether it matters if the exchanges don't meet that supposedly magical 7 million enrollment number by the end of march. >> that was never our target number. that was a target that was put out by the congressional budget office and has become the accepted number. >> kath even sebelius has said 7 million people, that that's the goal. >> but that was because it came from the congressional budget office, and it had become an accepted number. there's no magic to the 7 million. >> for more let's go straight to nbc's john yang who is following the president in honolulu. welcome, john. and congratulations on the plumb assignment for the year. >> thank you. thank you. >> sure. with health care coverage expected to begin in just a few hours for many uninsured
americans how much of this is a working vacation for the president? >> well, of course, the president wherever he is as president, whether he's in hawaii on a vacation house or in the white house, he is getting daily briefings on the progress of the sign-up for the affordable health care act. this is very important to him. very important to his legacy. it was the centerpiece of his election campaign. the centerpiece of his re-election campaign. they really want this to work. he's also getting daily security briefings, the terrorist attacks in russia he's been fully briefed on. so this is really a -- he's still at work even though he spent just about every afternoon on the golf course. >> what is the mood in the white house after the latest enrollment the numbers which found that about 1 million signed up on the federal exchange in december. >> they just had a conference call a million on the federal exchanges federal marketplace
bringing the state marketplace that goes up to about 2.1 million. you count in expanded medicare and children's health insurance program that adds an additional 3.9 million. this is the point white house officials always wanted to get to it. even the president talked about that once people had the coverage, once people were actually insured by this program, he said that they would like the insurance, that they would no longer be talking about repeal so i do think this is where they wanted to get. can you argue about whether they're hitting the targets or not. but at least they're talking about people signing up which is what i think the white house wants to sign about. >> you mentioned sochi just a minutes ago. we're just a few weeks away from the winter olympics there. there have been two suicide bombings there. more than two dozen have been killed. what is the white house saying about that? what is the actually spons and is there any kind of action
planned as we send americans over to russia? >> well, they are talking about the cooperation, the intelligence cooperation that's going on between the united states and russia in advance of this. the efforts did increase after the boston marathon bombing, of course, two of the the two alleged perpetrators of that with ties to chechnya. but at the same time, they're saying that they're offering even more cooperation to the russians, and that they would like to see closer cooperation, so, it sort of it sounds like what they're saying is that the, that the so, the russians have not accepted everything they've offered. and they'd like to see even more cooperation as the opening ceremonies approach. of course you know there's been a bit of a chill between the white house and vladimir putin and i think that as the games approach, they're trying to offer more, trying to open up relations in the name of security for the not only the
u.s. athletes, but all the athletes who are going to be computing at the games. milissa? >> nbc's john yang. thank you and happy new year's to you. >> thanks, you, too. back here at home much colder weather in new york's times square new year's is a delicate operation for city officials and law enforcement as you can imagine. for more on the preparations here we turn to nbc's stephanie gosk who is in times square. >> milissa, happy new year's eve to you. the excitement is building here in times square. people have been gathering since the very early mornings. they are extremely brave to do so. because it is cold. and it is only going to get colder in the 20s now it should stay in the 20s until the ball drops. right now, they're estimating about a million people will be here and what they will find when they get to times square is a number of security measures. a lot of them very familiar if they've been here before. police have been sealing manhole covers. they will also check people in metal detectors. there are no back packs allowed. once people are let in to these
pens, they have to stay there. they are not allowed to go and use the bathroom. it is definitely something of an endurance test for those people who get here early. on their minds, of course, will be some of the nerves that have built up since the boston bombing. but the nypd has been doing this for years now, and they do a good job of it. so, security is something that they will take care of what i can tell you is even with all of that security there is still a level of excitement here. everyone very excited to see that ball drop. this year it will be u.s. supreme court justice sonia sotomayor who will drop it. she's the first supreme court justice to do so. and she is a bronx native. back to you. >> nbc's stephanie gosk bundled up for the cold. thank you. coming up, breaking benghazi. we'll take a look at the "new york times" investigation into that attack. stay with us.
we've got some very exciting news. a "new york times" report on last year's deadly assault on the u.s. consulate in benghazi is reviving the heated political debate over that attacks. the "times" story concluded that there was no evidence that al qaeda or other international terrorist groups had own role in that assault. that led some republicans like new york congressman peter king to accuse the "times" of a cover-up. >> i believe that the "times" is certainly covering for the state department. obviously, hillary clinton was the secretary of state at that time. i think they're also trying to defuse what they believe is a republican issue in the next presidential campaign. >> joining me to discuss the "times" story is former u.s. ambassador and white house middle east adviser mark ginsberg.
thank you so much for being here with us today. >> sure, good to be with you. happy new year. >> thank you. i'm sure you know that some people are calling this a vindication for the administration. others, other critics are calling it a whitewash. hat do you think is the biggest revelation that comes out of this "times" story? >> i think the most important revelation is actually what was not written in the "times" story, which is the fact of the matter is is that there was still inadequate protection for ambassador stevens. number one. and number two, the islamic organization inside libya, inside benghazi, that was responsible for this attack, has been well known as an extremist islamic organization, has used violence before. it's one of the reasons why there had been prior attacks in benghazi before ambassador stevens was killed on the british consulate as well as on other european consulates. so the fact that al qaeda, the umbrella organization, may not have been or not have put its rubber stamp on it to me is largely academic.
because, what difference does it make if in the end we knew that there was an islamic extremist organization operating, that had already attacked foreign missions in benghazi. >> there's also this notion being put about that the people on the ground there that you just mentioned benefited from nato air strikes and other activities on the ground meant to oust colonel gadhafi. that they could have taken advantage of those very things to attack the consulate. >> well, indeed. and, in fact, ambassador stevens was a personal friend. i have great admiration for him. but the fact of the matter is, the fault still lies with the senior management staff at the state department that had failed to provide him adequate security when his regional security officer had asked for it. number one. number two, benghazi had always been the hotbed of islamic extremism against gadhafi. all of us who knew libya knew that that was a cauldron and chris stevens knew it, as well, which is why he had spent a lot of time there and knew the challenges there. but the bottom line is that the senior management at the state
department did not provide him the support he needed. >> as an ambassador i'm very curious about your take on this thing and i would imagine you feel strongly about votes to limit funding for security at embassies and consulates around the world. >> well, this has been, of course, the problem which has been lost in all of this benghazi. it's not that secretary clinton did or did not know. that's -- that was not really her responsibility. the responsible is the management bureau of the state department that has the responsibility of the determining the threat assessments for each embassy. but these are civil servants. they're not police officers. they don't have the security background. these are civil servants and foreign service officers who should no longer be responsible for that responsibility. and because of their failure to provide chris stevens and his staff adequate security, that's one of the reasons why i think we have the mess that we created in benghazi for ourselves. >> you mention al qaeda before and i want to bring up something very interesting. there's a huge debate on what al qaeda actually means.
you mention this enormous umbrella organization. "the new york times" amy davidson wrote and i want to read this to you wrote turning al qaeda into a radically loose term is different from observing correctly that al qaeda today involves decentralized local affiliates using the name so generically and broadly is a deliberate decision not to understand who our enemies are. based on what you said earlier -- >> i couldn't agree more. >> you do? >> i couldn't agree more. let's use the cauldron. the extraordinary disaster unfolding for the united states foreign policy in syria. the people who are the islamic extremists who are going to fight inside syria, that take the name of some umbrella al qaeda organization, or in effect a franchise of al qaeda, this is more of a sunni organization that is fighting a shiite government. the al qaeda umbrella is something that most americans don't understand at this point in time. they have adopted perhaps the al
qaeda ideology but it's more meant to fight shiite islam. there's these two branches of islam. i could spend a lot of time discussing them -- >> we both could. >> but that's what's inevitably happened in syria. this is not so much directed against the united states, for example in syria right now. it's directed against shiite islam. and we don't really understand why al qaeda's benefiting from this, because it's this call by to by sunnis to in effect go after the shiite regime of president assad that's attracting all of this islamic sunni extremism, under the umbrella of al qaeda. >> still on the subject, a new political -- politico story has an eye-catching headline, let me read it to you. al qaeda's big year. the jihadist groups regional affiliates have dramatically reasserted themselves into multiple countries, carrying out spectacular attacks and inflicting increasing levels of carnage.
what do you make of this idea that it is somehow becoming stronger, and multiplying into different areas, and does it seem, from that point of view, that it's uncontrollable? >> it's actually now al qaeda 3.0. after bin laden. all of these franchise cells are operating independently of any command and control. they have regional aspirations with regional goals and objectives whether it's in yemen, iraq, syria, north africa, or even right now the attacks in russia which has an effect on islamic extremism. there is the ideology of islamic extremism which is driving these, it's very hard for us, we sort of focused our efforts on al qaeda 1.0 but we really now have taken our eyes off the ball on al qaeda 3.0. and this is going to be one of the reasons why i think the 2014 is going to be far more dangerous, and indeed, i agree, al qaeda's become far more dangerous than it was in 2013 and 2012.
>> i was actually asked to wrap after this but i do have one more question if that's okay. i just want to ask your opinion on something that's back to the security issue. at consulates and embassies around the world. when you see the political back and forth and the finger pointing and an attempt to say one person is responsible for an attack say at benghazi, when you see that, and you, and you talk about security, and how it's been limited, as an ambassador, as a person who goes out into the world and actually does this, and, and befriends people there and has a staff, do you ever see something like that and feel like you've been left out there? >> well, i, as an ambassador, i always felt responsible first and foremost to my staff. i was ambassador in a different era. but right now there's no doubt that we should be taking a good, hard look at what we need to do to maintain the integrity and capacity of the foreign service ability to do its job, and at the same time to ensure that they and their families are better protected, and the recommendations that secretary kerry's considering within the state department, and the funding needs, that are
necessary should be granted because this is not a partisan issue. this is in the best interest of both republicans and democrats, because these are the people on the front lines, just like our soldiers. >> ambassador ginsberg, thank you. my absolute best to you and your colleagues and your family in the new year. >> thank you. >> thank you. coming up while people are still talking about benghazi and the nsa, what happened to the irs scandal, and will we hear more about it come 2014? stay with us. i'm nathan and i quit smoking with chantix. when my son was born, i remember, you know, picking him up and holding him against me. it wasn't just about me anymore. i had to quit. [ male announcer ] along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it reduces the urge to smoke. chantix didn't have nicotine in it, and that was important to me. [ male announcer ] some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood,