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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  January 16, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PST

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getting hung up and ruined enjoying a rivalry of a run for the white house. not much to go on, but a useful bit of reality for those thinking of jumping into the run in 2016. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. chris christie is ready to move on. in fact, a lot of people on the right are ready to turn the page on the george washington bridge scandal. it is over. he has apologized. time to move on. >> without a doubt, we will cooperate with all appropriate inquiries to insure that this breach of trust does not happen again. >> not for nothing, governor but these inquiries aren't happening
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to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. it is hard to imagine anyone in the future being quite as craven. there to find out what happened this time. we still don't know. there are still so many questions that need to be answered, including, what was david sampson's role in the george washington bridge scandal. >> i met two hours yesterday with mr. sampson, general sampson. again, i am confident that he had no knowledge of this. >> last week, chris christie issued a sweeping defense of this man, david sampson, one of several people implicated in the first batch of e-mails who has managed to escape the axe. david sampson is not a formerly anonymous political operative like david weinstein or bridget kelly. he is a pillar of new jersey politics. >> the question of the hour is, is david sampson at some point going to be subpoenaed by this committee and what i'm hearing
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is that there is an enormous amount of pressure to not have him subpoena david sampson, because of his role in new jersey politics? >> he has one of the thickest resumes in the state. it calls him the second most influential man in new jersey politics. he has worked under four governors, democrats and republicans, serving as everything from general counsel to the new jersey turnpike authority to attorney general of new jersey, 2002, under democrat, jim mcgreevey. he runs one of the most powerful law firms in the state. christie appointed sampson's partner, jeffrey kieza as the interim senator. david samson is also very, very tight with christie. he served as his campaign council and went on to head up his transition team and when his inauguration day arrived, he helped to do the honors. >> my name is david samson. over the past 2 1/2 months, i
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have been privileged to be part of the governor elect chairman. >> later, christie appointed him chairman of the port authority. when he did his walk through for the 2012 republican convention, samson is there. he is, simply put, one of christie's closest advisers. >> traveling with the governor, susana martinez and port authority, chairman, david samson. >> as he was calling his other newly fired advisers liars, he stood by david samson whose name appeared in the first batch of e-mails from david wildstein. he said he was helping us to retaliate against the new york port authority. on september 13th, the now resigned bill barone forwarded an irate e-mail with the question, general, as in former attorney general, can i call you on this now?
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then, just four hours later, wildstein was e-mailing that sampson was helping us to retaliate. the document dub also includes a text message indicating that samson discussed a possible meeting with chris stay days before the traffic jam plot was put into motion. we do not know if that meeting took place. christie and samson were together in the same place on the third day of that same traffic jam. the inconsistencies of david samson's story are becoming more clear by the day. he was forced to tell the press, i have no plans to immediately resign. the big question now is, what's your definition of immediately, general? >> joining me now, darryl and kate and tara, who worked at the port authority and in the mcgreevey administration, where david samson was attorney general. i want to just get.
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to me, as i follow this and i get barbarian on it, samson's role becomes more and more important. partly because, "a," this is a prominent, very important figure in new jersey politics. this is a big guy, a rainmaker. you want to do a development deal, you hire david samson. he is a big deal. it is not bridget kelly who most people hadn't heard of until two weeks ago. he is the one guy that is in all these e-mails, governor christie sat down with for two hours. can samson convince them i had nothing to do with it? chris christie wants us to believe he had nothing to do with it. to me, samson is the fire-all. >> i agree with you. the problem for the governor is, he came out here and gave yet another assurance that somebody else was not involved. remember, that's how this started. none of my staff was involved. they all told me.
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he did it again with samson, yet samson's names are all over those e-mails, including one that says, samson helping us to retaliate. that's a problem. >> here is what you have to believe. if the governor, chris christie, is telling the truth, here is what had to happen. stepian and bridget kelly pulls it off and randy lee catches the wind and says, what the heck are you idiots doing? you are going to get someone killed. i've shut this down. they, not having been happy with shutting down traffic for four days, they want the thing to keep going. they push back hard and call in samson, the chair of the whole port authority to help them. in order for the truth to already be on the table, it has to be the case that samson is helping them push back against new york having been told a lie about the origin of the traffic jam, believing that lie and
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acting upon that lie. >> not only that. he, at the very least, didn't ask the right question. you have to wonder, why was this traffic study such a big deal? is there any merritt to his argument. what strikes me about the e-mails is that samson was most interested, not in what happened to the people of ft. lee and the other new jersey commuters, he was most interested in, we have to protect the governor and we are angry for putting the story out here. his primary interest was political damage control. >> he thinks he is the source for the wall street journal stories. they are all furious. you know, because you worked at the port authority. part of the context is the snake's nest that is the port authority. these are really brutal politics. because there is a $20 billion budget or something crazy. it is co-appointed by new york government and new jersey government and they are all basically at war with each other. >> that's great context.
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the port authority, there is so much tension between people in new york and people in new jersey. that's the context. there is this push and pull that goes on. what's problematic for governor christie, former attorney general sampson knew, then it is going to be hard for governor christie to make the case he did not know. >> that is the fireable argument. we just played that footage. this isn't some guy i never met or i was student president and an athlete in high school and i haven't seen david wildstein in how long. he is walk on the stage, on the bus tour with you, introducing you to donors. >> he has called him a mentor at times. this is not bridget kelly. this guy is it in political circles. they showed the new jersey power
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list. i actually put that together. >> i was not on that. >> you were number 101. >> i was smarting from that. i think we put david samson last year number two. i am sure he was top five this year. he has been in politics for years. he has had prominent positions in republican and democratic positions. this is a guy who is politics in new jersey. he is not a guy that operated on his own. >> he is also very loyal. >> i want to make this clear. i have no idea whether david samson knew about this or not. i do not know. it may be totally the case. he was just going to war against the new york people because he was being loyal. that's what he believed. i want to make clear. i don't want to impune the guy without the facts there. he is very well-respected. that's the other thing. this isn't some pack operative.
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>> he is extremely well-respected on both sides of the aisle which is very hard to be. his firm is well-respected. he does ethics for the judiciary. if, in fact, he knew, obviously, this is where people are trying to go, if, in fact, he knew, this creates another problem for christie as more and more people are implicated and with the specter of them knowing, it gets so much closer to him. from a purely political standpoint, fund-raising standpoint, 2016, premature. we know his eyes are on that prize. the more stuff that comes out, it just prolongs this and it keeps the drip going. >> speaking of drips, we are going to get probably subpoenas tomorrow from two different committees. what are you expecting out of those? >> i think they are going to try to -- there is also the u.s. attorney's investigation. we are going to see that
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committee trying to get its work out quickly, because they don't want to be preempted by the u.s. attorney's investigation. they don't want to have the governor say, well, i'm going to cooperate with the appropriate investigation by the u.s. attorney. i think they are going to rush to get those subpoenas out and get as many e-mails as they can. >> the big question is, everyone knows they are going to subpoena bridget kelly. she writes. lord knows what is in those e-mails. i have heard from some people i have talked to in new jersey politics that there is a lot of resistance or pushback against this thought of subpoenaing david samson. there are some favors being called in right now to make sure that doesn't happen. >> i don't think they would do that likely. it is no the a bridget kelly, a deputy chief of staff. this is a guy you have to tread lightly around. this is a hugely respected guy in new jersey politics. this is not a shady guy by all
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accounts. this is a guy who for years has been respected by both sides of the aisle. you don't just drag him into this lightly and from his side, i have to think, he wants nothing to do with this. he has a very, very prominent law firm in the state of new jersey. to even be mentioned in this thing has got to be killing him. >> finally, we had some news that one of the committees has hired former u.s. prosecutor, who is wa the person that prosecuted rod blagojevich to be their chief investigator. like you said, there is kind of a race right now about who is going to get to what fast. the best thing to happen, for christie, is the fact that an u.s. attorney investigation he can cooperate that isn't in the papers every day. he can say, i'm cooperating and try to snuff this out. the worse case is, if they get more subpoenas, we get more documents and there is more fuel on the fire. >> we are more likely to get stuff in the legislature than
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the u.s. attorney's office. they did not want to say anything. they were lucky to say they were looking into this. darryl, kate, tara, thank you for joining me. many could go up next -- >> we don't know if chris christie ordered the lanes closed to get back at a mayor or knew that his close friend did. if it comes out that he did, it is a 100% disqualifying for higher offices. someone willing to shut down the world's biggest bridge as payback over a petty political slight, cannot be trusted with the irs or the nsa or the nuclear codes. >> that was in the first report we did one month ago tomorrow. do republican primary voters and big money donors agree it is disqualifying? we will talk about the political future of chris christie ahead and what accounts as disqualifying right after this.
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how did bill clinton survive when anthony weiner crashed and burned. i'll be talking about that next.
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when does a scandal disqualify a political figure from holding public office? tweet your answers or post at i'll share a couple in the show. stay with us. [ female announcer ] some people like to pretend a flood could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending. only flood insurance covers floods. ♪ visit to learn your risk.
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bad news for chris christie, the bridge scandal is entering the pop mockery stage. culminating in this epic takedown on jimmy fallon. >> the day we sweat it out on the streets ducking traffic on
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the gwb. they shut down the toll booths of glory because we didn't endorse christie. ♪ we stuck cheek to cheek with blue collar truckers and, man, i really gotta take a leak but i can't. i'm stuck in governor chris christie leading the new jersey traffic jam. >> that was bruce springsteen up there with jimmy fallon. >> bruce springsteen is chris christie's hero. >> we hugged. he told me it was official we are friends. i told the president today that the hug was great and when we got home, there was a lot of weeping because of the hug and the president's wife said, i was the one doing the weeping.
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>> mockery is a key element in a scandal becoming so crippling they cannot recover from it. howard dean was forced to abandon his presidential ambitions because of a mike that was turned up a bit too high. the question surrounding chris christie and his office are far more serious. many political observers wondering, is chris christie toast? a set is headed for this weekend headed to fund-raisers for governor rick scott across the state? will they buy what christie is selling. can he survive this? it got us thinking about what is survivable and not. gary hart, considered a front-runner, 1978. a political career undone with a daliance with donna rice. a week before he dropped out of the race, he addressed questions of marital infidelity with nbc news.
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>> it is standard for being well-known in this country whatever profession you are in. those charges only hurt if they stick and they only stick if there is some credibility to them. in my case, there isn't. just an hour later, he flew to washington where he met donna rice for the weekend. a few months after that, joe biden was forced to end his bid for the white house after the crime of plagiarizing some speeches. >> biden supporters preferred to watch the senators withdrawal in private. headquarters drawers were locked and final paychecks taped on the windows. >> it dashed his political career. it was not over. neither was republican senator, david vitters found number was found in a prostitution ring. governor clinton stayed in office and governor stanford said the time i went missing for
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six days, i lied to the people and the staff, i left my country to be with my argentine lover. chris christie's current political mess doesn't involve a hiking story or a yacht named monkey business or using something else as your own. if the governor had anything to do with the traffic problems in ft. lee, it absolutely disqualifies him from being president. will donors, republican and primary voters and the public at-large feel the same way. joining me now, latunde and charles. so first of all, there are two questions, what gains tracks and sells in the media that gets out of control of people that they so first of all, there are two questions, what gains tracks and
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sells in the media that gets out of control of people that they have to jump out. what do we think is disqualifying, as people, as citizens? from the first moment that i caught whiff of it, that i looked into it, if you have anything to do with it, it is absolutely disqualifying. george will made this point in terms of comparing it to nixon. >> john dean sent a memo to mr. higby who was the assistant of the staff alderman saying we should use the federal machinery of government to screw or enemies. that's what this was about up there. >> disqualifying. >> i think it is disqualifying for a lot of reasons, the timing this is a guy who is clearly abusing his power at the very least. it may be also disfall phiing. >> or his hand-selected people are disqualifying. >> he is so clueless despite the >> he is so clueless despite the fact of what he has projected in
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terms of being about competence that you can't trust anything he is saying. ultimately, what's going to disqualify him is a combination of the fact that he has no constituency, really. there is no hard core -- >> there is no one defending him. >> ken langone and rudy giuliani. he is going to a fund-raiser for rick scott. can you show anybody less popular? >> the man that ran a company that paid the largest medicare fraud. >> if he had anything to lose, i don't think chris christie would be there. >> i want to rewind on the whole concept of what type of scandal this is. i am disappointed with the level of this. this is petty, partisan payback, dick ta toral. it is america. go big or go home.
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>> it is the pettyness of that that makes it gripping as drama. ultimately, if there were 100 americans dead from this thing, it would be this horrible, morose disaster. >> or one. >> in the grand scheme of things, what to me makes it disqualifying isn't necessarily the harm caused, it's the violation, the abuse of power. charlie, what do you think about that? >> every time we have a presidential cycle, the argument is that senators have a tough time getting elected president because there are two or three votes they can't defend. governors have a different problem. i cut my teeth covering politics in that terrarium for drifters
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known as the massachusetts state legislature. every state house has five or six guys that hang around the elevators and know everything, whether it is true or not. governors have problems with the people back in their states. you saw this with bill clinton. what you've got here with the scandal, i think he is correct on this. basically, this is local political -- called rat copulation. the legend of richard daley is full of mysterious construction outside his opponent's headquarters. james michael curly, his opponents were afflicted with water mains breaking. to an extent, that's what this is. it is a classic example of the problem governors have when they run for president. scott walker came out yesterday and sort of like half defended chris christie.
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scott walker has his own problems. his whole administration is covered with this penny-annie scandals where people were literally robbing from war orphans to go to the zoo. >> we have just seen what happen today bob mcdonald. there is this taint that sticks to you. i want to talk about the timing. i think the whole that the christie folks have is that this is early enough that he is going to ride it out. i want you guys to respond right after we take this break.
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♪ ♪ that is governor chris christie doing a karaoke of born to run. still with me, barry, sam and charles. the question on the table before i left is the timing. the christie camp is hoping this is early enough we are going to digest it, it will go away. you kind of do the thing donald rumsfeld did. you kind of just let it go and people lose. they find something else.
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>> this is one of the worst times for it. if it happened three months before the election, and he had been elected governor of new jersey, the story would have been over. if it happened when he was one of the frontrunners in the republican primary, you would see the republicans coalesce and it would become some sort of culture for conservatives. >> if this was an election leader, conservatives would rally around him. >> there are a lot of complex factors that go into the formula of disqualification, timing, how much diet coke the population has consumed as well as what audience we are talking about. with christie, republican kingmakers, tea party people, early primary decisions. of the two things he has done, this bridge situation and all the petty payback or the nonviolent physical contact he had with president obama, the
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hug, i think the latter is much more offensive to the base than this. >> they are not rallying to him. charlie, do you think the timing here actually works against him for the reason sam said? >> i think -- i'm less sure the conservatives wouldn't throw him over. there are enough realists in the republican party. if you take chris christie out, whose your candidate? >> were i chris christie, the there are enough realists in the republican party. if you take chris christie out, whose your candidate? >> were i chris christie, the first thing i would do is announce my candidacy, was announce i am not going anywhere near the state of iowa. republicans and the state of iowa represent nothing except the demographic cataclysm. >> i want to separate out the merits of something someone did. or having an affair with
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someone. these are different or having an affair with someone. these are different substantively. the question is, how they are handled politically. >> you made a good point, chris. >> you made a good point. you can ride them out. the worst political scandal of my lifetime was not watergate. it was iran contra. very few people involved in the iran contra scandal missed a peak in their political careers. george h.w. bush was up to his hips in it and got elected president because he got to be mean to dan rather on tv. >> there is the ride it out. so i think christie wants to ride it out. the problem for christie is, there is more subpoenas. we are going to find out more. there is this huge mystery that's going to be solved. >> i don't think there is a formula when it comes to
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scandal. >> this was about defending ronald reagan in some respect. there was an idealogical drive in some respect. it is very hard to defend on any grounds you can peg towards any idealogical situation. >> there is no formula but there is a context and it is always changing. it is a sad answer. it depends. john huntsman, what was his great disqualification? he spoke mandarin and believed in the threat of climate change. that disqualified him. >> ultimately, it is a set of primary voters and donors that decide who is disqualifying. going back to this timing question, there are two examples of candidates having big things blow up in the midst of them running.
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there is bill clinton with jennifer flowers. everyone thought he was toast but he wasn't. >> when it comes it surviving scandal, bill clinton exists in another realm. >> there was barack obama who had the reverend wright tape that was playing on every cable news channel, the substance, i don't think it was scandalous and volume but there was scandal. the point in both of those was the key is about the substance of using the power that is granted you by the voter for this petty end that is as core central disqualifying to me as anything having to do with judgment or lying. >> there are also a half dozen bodies that are investigating this for criminal reasons which you didn't have. >> baratunde, sam and charlie, thanks for joining us. >> we are not legendary. >> you are not charlie pierce.
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>> speaking of the political future, how is wendy davis doing in her bid to become the first democratic governor of texas in 30 years. numbers released today say better than you think. that is coming up.
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good news for democrats. democrat, wendy davis, has outraised her top republican opponent, attorney general greg abbott. she pulled together more than $12.2 million compared to abbott's $11.5 million. she rose to fame and earned a passionate national following for her filibuster of an draconian anti-abortion bill in june. it was signed into law in texas. part of an unprecedented assault on abortion rights in the state. in the past three years, more anti-abortion in the past ten years. today, that was front and center in washington. anti-abortion groups are challenging the constitutional
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of massachusetts 2007 buffer law. a measure designed to come bass intimidation of women trying to access a constitutionally protected medical service and clinic workers trying to provide that service. you have to tip your hat to the anti-abortion forces who have found the best possible plaintiff for their cause. 77-year-old eleanor mccullen who describes herself as a 5'1" plump grandmother. she says, she just wants to have quiet conversations with women seeking abortions. of course, buffer zones and other laws were not enacted because of all the harmless, quiet conversations taking place there. they were enacted because stuff like this was happening at clinic entrances. also, even worse, stuff like that. violence at abortion clinics has again claimed lives. >> the gunman shot four people before escaping here. one woman, a clinic worker, died at the scene.
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the terror wasn't over. just ten minutes later, a similar attack at a clinic blocks away by a gunman also dressed in black. that was the news out of a boston suburb, december, 1994. obviously, shooting up abortion clinics is illegal even without buffer zones. the polling by the national abortion federation found that 51% of clinics with buffer zones reported a drop in criminal activities after the buffer zone was enacted. 75% said the buffer zones improved patient and staff access to their clinic. i'm a free speech maximalist. i tend to be deeply skeptical and in the past thought they were a bad idea. we have a record. it is very difficult to believe that the first amendment is being trampled because the shortest, kindest, most well-meaning anti-abortion grandmother can be forced to stand on a line that is roughly the size of two parking spaces. we'll be right back. she loves a lot of the same things you do.
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a couple years ago, i lost my job. unemployment ran out. i'm spending my 401(k) money. employers are in a place where they can pick and choose who they want. they can pick people who have every single thing on their wish list as for an employee. >> that was nancy penn appearing on this show on monday.
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she did everything she was told. she got an education, got herself off welfare. she got a job before being laid off two years ago. she is among the nearly 4 million americans who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more. on december 28th, 1.3 million of them lost their long-term unemployment benefits. yesterday, senate republicans voted to prevent those people and the 2.3 million children in their households from getting that life line back. >> the vote to extend long-term unemployment benefits went down as the chamber descended into partisan argument. the vote was 55-45. it needed 60 votes to advance. >> there were actually two votes yesterday, one, a bill that would have extended long-term employment benefits and paid with it with cuts to medicare providers and another that would have extended them for three months at a cost of $6.4 million that would have been added to
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the deficit. senate republicans blocked both proposals. despite gop arguments about the unfairness of the process, the simple process is, republicans chose to keep millions of americans from gaining benefits they desperately needed. they filibustered those folks. every day that goes by, brings the prospect of one more mortgage, one more eviction notice, one more mother who does not know how she will put food on the table, extending long-term unemployment benefits was a top priority for harry reid and the white house and for me. we are here, little reason for hope. joining me now is senator jeff merkley, democrat of oregon. a yes vote on extended unemployment benefits. senator, what are you saying to your republican colleagues at this point? >> i say, you really have to stop distributing lumps of coal. you need to allow an up and down
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vote. this is not some theoretical issue. these are folks that are not going to have jobs and may get kicked out of their homes. this was a republican-led plan out of the bush administration. when unemployment is high, we need a longer bridge to the next job. it is not a partisan issue in the past. it shouldn't be today. allow an up and down vote for people across america. >> this is the john boehner of immigration strategy. you put your hands in your pockets and whistle and every day, you rip a new page off the calendar and throw it in the trash and you hope everyone forgets about it. millions of people suffer and millions of people's lives are screwed and that me strikes me as a strategy. what do you do to counter that strategy? >> we are insisting that as soon as we come back, we take up this
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issue. we are hoping as people go out across america, americans will come to the town halls. if senators don't hold town halls, we hope they will go to their offices across the country and let them know it is absolutely wrong to be protect willing that's breaks for the very rich and never, if you will, say there need to be offsets while you are throwing the struggling working americans out on the street. if they get that message, i think they will come back and we will get a deal on this. it should have been done. december 28th is quite a while ago now. families are desperate. it should have been done immediately. we can no the let this issue drop. >> here is what's so bonkers. you have this incredibly, historically gridlocked congress led by an off the charts right wing republican caucus. you have a deal on the budget with patty murray and paul ryan getting together.
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today, the house passes north of $1 trillion on a spending bill. there is stuff i don't like, stuff you don't like, stuff republicans don't like. of all the things, this is the hill you are going to die on. this is the war you are going to wage. you are going to compromise all over the place. these 1.3 million people who are unemployed, this is really where you are going to put your political capital. >> well, you know what really is astounding, while the house is saying, let's cut $40 billion out of food stamps, we will not discuss raising the minimum wage, does not want to leave in place the bridge to the next job that has worked so well during periods of high unemployment. about the poor and poverty and the challenges of the shrinking number of living wage jobs. well, let's not talk sympathetically. let's act to fix the challenge to create the living wage jobs, keep the safety net in place, make sure there's food on the table for the children.
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talk is cheap. action counts. >> you know we had last week, it was the headlines everywhere. was the story driving the sunday shows at some point. republicans get serious on poverty. here's the vote. this is what getting serious means. senator jeff merkley, democrat from oregon. thank you for your time. >> thank you. now, as for other senate democrat, they seem absolutely intent on sabotaging the president's peace talks with iran and pushing us toward another war. i'm going to name names. so stick around. you want to see something cool? snapshot, from progressive. my insurance company told me not to talk to people like you. you always do what they tell you? no... try it, and see what your good driving can save you. you don't even have to switch. unless you're scared. i'm not scared, it's... you know we can still see you. no, you can't. pretty sure we can... try snapshot today -- no pressure.
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earlier in the show we asked you when does a scandal disqualify a political figure from -- julia from facebook who said people like clinton a lot, sexual wandering is not in the same class as messing up the public for purposes of revenge and gain. not comparable at all. alabama outcast on twitter thinks, quote, it contradicts, compromises or effects the values, laws or constituents they represent. for the new mattress models
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today, a few hours ago president obama met with the democratic senate caucus at the white house for several hours. we don't know what exactly was said in the meeting, if i were the president, here's what i would have started out with. fellow democrats, welcome. why are you trying to get us into another war? and why are you sabotaging my presidency to do it? currently, 16 senate democrats led by robert menendez of new jersey are poised to join senate republicans to sabotage what could be the single biggest diplomatic and foreign policy accomplishment of this administration. a real shock at a peaceful resolution to the iranian nuclear program and perhaps an entirely new chapter in our fraught and dangerous relationship with the middle east. after 30 years of silence, iran and the u.s. are engaged in direct talks over the fate of iran's nuclear program. agreed to an interim deal that requires iran to roll back some of its nuclear enrichment and open its doors to inspections. two countries try to work toward a comprehensive agreement that would ultimately result in iran
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abandoning any nuclear weapons program in exchange for lifting sanctions and perhaps full diplomatic recognition in both directions. this would be, to quote joe biden, a big fing deal. now, there are a set of usual suspects who are apoplectic at the thought of peace. >> we're giving them an additional $7 billion, some people say as much as $20 billion which they'll use to continue to spread terror over the world. >> they're getting sanctions relief which is unbelievable, dismantling nothing and getting sanctions relief. >> it's like the iranians dangled a shiny object in front of the negotiators and they fell for it. >> those sorts of criticisms can be heard abroad, too. >> america has managed to anger two of its staunchest allies in the region with this agreement. one is israel, as margaret mentioned earlier. the other is saudi arabia, worried about iran growing stronger and exercising more influence in the region. >> it's a historic mistake. this agreement has made the
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world a much more dangerous place. >> so it is not surprising that mitch mcconnell, senate republicans are doing their best to blow up the deal with a new senate bill that would add more sanctions to iran. this despite the fact iran already has a set of absolutely crippling sanctions in place, nearly all of which will stay in place for the duration of the current rounds of talks. advocates of the bill say they're just trying to give the white house more leverage. but president obama, himself, said in a statement that imposing additional sanctions now will only risk derailing our efforts to resolve this issue peacefully. on top of that, iran's foreign minister seen by many as the person around most invested in a diplomatic solution has said if congress passes new sanctions, "the entire deal is dead." in other words, it is absolutely clear to anyone following this policy that the bill is designed to destroy the current talks, burn diplomacy to the ground and salt the ashes. end of story.
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so why the heck are 16 senate democrats co-sponsoring this piece of legislation? it's not like there's some broad popular revolt against the iran talks. polling shows public support and agreement is skeptical it will work. diplomacy endorsed by everyone from peace groups to the head of the council on foreign relations and the "washington post" editorial page which seems to almost always side with the neocons on these matters. so the only plausible answer is that these democrats either genuinely want military escalation with iran, or they are afraid of the extremely powerful and influential american/israel political action committee which has made passing this bill their current number one priority. and they are making a political calculation that is as in their political interest not to cross apac and its allies because they're not a group you want to get on the wrong side of. here's what i would say to these democrats.
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the ones you see listed there particularly to folks like kirsten gillibrand and cory booker who are thought to entertain aspirations for higher office. years ago, another group of democratic senators faced a monumental choice on how to vote on an urgent matter of war and piece and their advisers were telling them they had to vote in such a way that they would look tough and resolute and bolster their credibility. when the time came to vote on the resolution for the authorization of force in iraq, this is what happened. >> i have concluded after careful and serious consideration that a vote for the resolution best serves the security of our nation. >> i will vote because i believe it is the best way to hold saddam hussein accountable. >> so senator booker, before voting on this bill, maybe call up john kerry and hillary clinton and ask them if they wish they could have that vote back. if we end up in a war with iran, the public will hate it rightly and will be seen as a disaster and you'll be condemned by history and public opinion for your role in bringing it about. if we end up with peace in iran,
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it will be viewed as a monumental achievement that happened in spite of your obstruction. think hard senator booker, gillibrand, blumenthal, everyone else, whose advice and counsel you should be listening to. if you happen to be a constituent of one of the senators you see on the screen now, maybe you should tell them how you feel. war and peace is too darn important to leave to the professionals. all right. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now. >> amazing show, man. well done. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. okay. say you are in new jersey and for some reason you want to go to new york, the most famous way to do that is up top here, it's how you cross from ft. lee, new jersey, specifically over to the top of manhattan. that's the george washington bridge. it's famous now for the chris christie bridge scandal. but it's also a landmark in its own right. right? the busiest bridge for vehicular traffic in the entire world. the george washington bridge up


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