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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  January 29, 2014 8:00pm-9:01pm PST

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pieces of the puzzle being fit together by lawyers and legislators in the state of new jersey. so so far, allegations and documentation have centered around alleged political retribution. today we have a story of an apparent reward. >> this is a historic day. i can tell you i've watched politics in this state for most of my life, and i never thought i'd see a day like this. >> for the christie re-election campaign the mission was clear. win a second term by a blowout
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margin and then set sights on the white house in 2016. and central to that mission was painting christie as a bipartisan kind of guy, capable of winning over republicans and democrats alike. the key to that is racking up endorsements. today the new york times reports on what length the christie re-election campaign went to to get democratic endorsements. and central to the political moneyball approach was the town of belleville. >> belleville, i need a number for a katherine romano. >> thank you. for what city. >> [ bleep ] belleville. >> a town of almost 40,000, essex county, new jersey. belleville's mayor is a democrat, the executive is joseph di vincenzo. getting the support of the bellevilles of new jersey or as the christie campaign called them, the mini-ohios was a priority. in april, christie met personally with belleville mayor and county executive. in may, mayor kimball said he
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planned on endorsing christie, saying, i think the governor is going to help the town of belleville with certain projects we need. shortly thereafter, the star ledger reports the town received $6 million to build franklin manner, a project that had been in the works long before super storm sandy hit. the money came from the federally funded community development block grant program, just part of the billions given to new jersey to rebuild after the destruction of sandy. the christie administration said the project would help those displaced from the storm from other towns. and the money was pushed for personally by the republican governor. but when christie attended the unveiling of the project himself, he barely mentioned sandy. >> what we need is to set an example in our state for how people can work together. how people work across party lines. >> less than two weeks later,
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both kimball and di vincenzo endorsed christie. belleville received $6 million in sandy reconstruction money for a single housing project despite emerging from sandy, relatively unscathed. particularly compared to other parts of the state. for a comparison, this was hoboken before and after sandy. according to the fair share housing center, residents and businesses inside all of hoboken received $4.76 million from that same pool of money total. that is less than one senior housing center in a politically coveted town. so was sandy money about helping victims of the storm or helping christie's political aspirations? >> i'll be happy to admit i was trying to run up the score. absolutely, and that's what you do in a political campaign. >> joining me now the reporter
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from the new jersey star ledger who has been covering the story. excellent piece of reporting. what do you have against this senior citizens of belleville, what's the problem? $6 million of state money, you get a senior housing center, what's the issue? >> actually, most people i talk to consider that a totally worthy project, and something belleville's been trying to get off the ground for at least five years. the thing, though, that has nothing to do with sandy. i watched 20 minutes of videos at this event where they unveiled the project, and sandy was only mentioned in passing and not even in the context of resettling seniors, this was really about a project that people in belleville desperately wanted but had nothing to do with the storm. >> right, there's a project, it long predates sandy, the people that want it, the governor says, oh, i think i can make this happen. how does the governor make this happen? >> well, if you look in some
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press releases that essex county put out, very deep in the press release, there was one quote, to sum it up it said, and people affected by sandy will be eligible to live here too. that's kind of the way you can make it eligible for the money by saying them too. joe di vincenzo who you mentioned in that segment, well, people in belleville will have priority, but you can't keep people who were affected by sandy out. >> if it were to happen we had extra spaces and someone from sandy needed to relocate we could look into that possibly. >> the only promise they have gotten from the developer is that it was marketed to sandy victims. >> we're talking $6 million. it's not a small amount of money. in the broad amount of $50 million in government
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appropriations it is. but particularly for the folks in belleville, that is a lot of money on the ground for a project that the local mayors really wanted. the issue that i think a lot of people start to have is, is this sandy money just a slush fund sitting in the governor's bank account? what is the process whereby this money is getting from the federal government that authorized and appropriated it, to people who need the money because they were hit by sandy? >> right, and there's -- there have been calls for more strict oversight. the legislator passed a bill to have federal monitors, i believe they would have monitored this community black grant money. this is the most -- have you the most flexibility with this money out of any sandy recovery aid. this is one thing can you use for political chips. they passed a bill and sent it to the governor to create monitors, independent monitors. and the governor vetoed that legislation.
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he did, however, and this was bewildering. and i think it was weeks later, he said, we're going to install our own monitors and he did. how that relates to whether those monitors took a look at this -- >> well, let me tell you, we've been reporting on this, you've been reporting on this, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to fact check things or figure out a figure, how much money was spent. how easy is it to figure out the flow of money? how easy is it? >> there is a website, i believe it's where i confirmed the belleville figure that i had been told before. it's hard to navigate, it takes a lot of patience. but there is some information on there, i'm also not sure if it's updated too frequently. >> i found it incredibly difficult even to get the apples to apples comparison. the big question is about then the next question is, are there other towns like this? are there other places like this, is this a pattern of behavior where there's punishment for some, reward for other, and the carrot and/or the stick is this sandy money?
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that seems like a fruitful line of reporting? >> i definitely think so, while i'm not prepared to say one way or the other, there have been enough questions raised between the mayor of hoboken's claims and the george washington bridge scandal it's an interesting line of reporting. that's why i went through belleville. i focused pretty much exclusively on belleville. >> matt friedman from the star ledger, thank you very much. joining me now, congressman pallone. what's your reaction to the stories. there's the zimmer allegation, there's a story in the star leather today about belleville, this is, of course, federal money that was appropriated because people had their lives destroyed by a once in a century storm, it's quite unclear at this point whether on the ground this money is getting to the people whom it was intended for. >> well, i'll tell you, it's not
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getting to the people that it's intended for, because so many of my constituents still tell me they haven't received their money, they're on waiting lists, they don't know exactly what that means to be on a waiting list or what the criteria are. so we're basically asking hud to look into this contract. you know, there was a company called hgi out of louisiana that was supposed to be running this block grant program. they were hired back in may by the christie administration, and then last week the christie administration fired hgi, they fired them seven weeks earlier, but told us last week, they haven't told us who's replacing them, so we're asking hud to tell us, what happened, was there mismanagement? why were they fired? who's running the show, and please look at the way the state and the christie administration is basically dealing with this
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community block grant because there's so many people at the jersey shore and elsewhere that haven't received their money and aren't able to rebuild their homes or businesses. >> i just want to repeat something you said there for folks who are not familiar with the story. there was a contractor who got the multimillion dollar contract from the state of new jersey to oversee this program, community development block grant. >> $58 million contract. >> say that number again? >> $68 million contract. this federal money for sandy was very hard to obtain, we worked two months in congress and there was a lot of opposition to it, and they were saying, you know, new jersey, new york aren't going to use it properly. it's very important that this is used properly. >> $68 million contract, that contractor was unceremoniously fired, apparently some weeks ago. it was only copped to the fact they had been fired a week ago. no explanation of why they were fired and who has replaced them
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on a $68 million federal contract that is specifically to oversee the kind of grant that we are talking about when we're talking about the belleville senior center. >> and the point that we've asked hud to have an independent monitor, i know matt mentioned the legislature asking for an independent monitor, we're asking for the shame thing with hud. chris, understand this is a problem for a lot of reasons, but you still have so many people at the shore and throughout the state that have not received their checks from the community block grant to rebuild their homes. and so, you know, and they don't even know why. they'll call my office and say, i'm on a waiting list, what does that mean? what are the criteria? hud has to look into what this contractor was doing in administering this money, you know, why was it going to some people and not to others? and what's happening with the money now. >> let me ask you this. you're from the new jersey delegation, you have interactions with the governor of your state.
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there was an article about the way that office ran. talked about the top 100, the swing town, that governor chris christie wanted to win as he prepared for a re-election campaign. sometimes referred to as mini-ohios or mini-florida. he is the most popular choice for republican candidate in 2016. do you get the sense that they were very detail oriented and hands on and knew exactly who was in line for favors or extra attention from the governor? >> i think the governor was very much aware of what was going on in terms of the distribution of sandy money. you know, i've also brought up to the hud inspector general, this whole stronger than the storm ad campaign where he chose the higher bidder because that bidder was the one that agreed to put him and his family in the tv commercials just before the election. and there's no question that his administration was asking that in order to get the bid. so i mean, these kinds of details are out there, i think there's a clear path of abuse of power here, chris, and every day
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there's more and more evidence of it. >> congressman frank pallone of new jersey thank you. >> thank you. coming up, confused by all the moving parts in chris christie's bridge scandal? and its subsidiaries? you'll want to stay tuned for our handy guide next. when electricity is generated with natural gas instead of today's most used source, how much are co2 emissions reduced? up to 30%? 45%? 60%? the answer is... up to 60% less. and that's a big reason why the u.s. is a world leader in reducing co2 emissions. take the energy quiz. energy lives here. ♪ [ woman ] i will embrace change... everything life throws my way. except for frown lines. those i'm throwing back. [ female announcer ] olay total effects. nourishing vitamins,
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it is really really bad down south right now. while a serious situation, it's generated some pretty awesome finds, like this one of jim cantore being video bombed as he was doing a live report. >> gotten into the worst part of this storm yet. that is its -- >> let's see that again in slow mo. jim was in charleston, south carolina where they got freezing
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rain, sleet and a screaming person. and then atlanta that became a parking lot after they got 2.6 inches of snow. >> 25 reporters spread out all over metro atlanta in north georgia, updating you on the conditions on the road. >> legendary 25 box. and the obligatory bonus, now that you're up to date on all the snow vines. steve kornacki will join me next. stitute for experience. for what reality teaches you firsthand. in the face of danger, and under the most demanding circumstances. experience builds character. experience builds confidence. and experience... has built this. introducing the 2014 glk. the engineering and the experience of mercedes-benz. see your authorized dealer for exceptional offers through mercedes-benz financial services.
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traffic problems in ft. lee e-mail, seems a new allegation of abuse of power has surfaced against governor chris christie. sum total of this is taking its toll on the governor politically. his favorability ratings plunging since the scandal surfaced. it's getting harder and harder to keep track of all the scandals that have come to the floor as the dam of silence has broken in the wake of bridge gate. here's a handy all in guide. it was bridge gate that started it all. an allegation the governor's aides contrived a massive traffic jam for several days as some form of punishment, punishment for what is open to debate. to get back at mayor sokolich and then mayor zimmer came on our show. the connection between bridge gate and mayor zimmer's allegation was two fold, punishing the mayor and the port
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authority. the crucial body involved in bridge gate, which was also involved for pushing for the private development in zimmer's hoboken and there's david samson whose law firm represents the private developer in the hoboken allegations. we do not know if he was bart of the ft. lee traffic plot. but he's head of the port authority and referenced numerous times in the e-mails. here's where the accusations started to flow. the m.o. for the christie crew. there's possible political reward as we just covered. there's also mayor steven phillip who said he would not be endorsing christie. it's requested for help with hurricane sandy recovery transportation and other issues falling on deaf ears.
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so that potentially affected sandy funds and other possible revenue streams as well. the picture that's come into focus for everyone is an administration that has been ruthlessly specific and obsessive about punishing their foes and warning their friends. sometimes it could be argued it's within the bounds of hardball politics. sometimes it's alleged outside those boundaries. one story that has been reported and no one paid attention to until now is this. a former hunter ton county prosecutor saying he was fired in 2010 because he refused to drop a case against debra trout, a christie ally. an allegation which if true could rank up with all the others. joining me now is msnbc's chief new jersey expert steve kornacki. one of the things we've been doing as we've been going
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through this, everyone pops up with stories of bullying. you have to separate the weak. the allegations on the table in hunterdon are if true pretty damning, you have a situation which a local prosecutor that has an indictment of a local sheriff goes to a grand jury, gets the indictment and a christie employee comes in, vacates the indictment, fires the people because allegedly this person was a christie ally. i mean, particularly from a former federal prosecutor, that is a pretty intense allegation. >> right, it calls into question the allegation. the interesting thing to consider about this, that story was reported in september or october of last year, a few weeks before the election. at the time christie was 20 to 30 points ahead in the polls. reported in the new york times. it got absolutely no traction. i was thinking of that this week in the context of dawn zimmer when she came on our show.
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i asked her, and the first skeptical question everyone asks, why did you wait so long? this happened a year ago, why did you wait so long? basically, i didn't think in the climate of early 2013 people would have believed me. you think about that hunterdon story, that's the climate she's talking before. the climate where that story can be reported on the first page of the new york times, it can be reported in other major outlets. it just landed with a complete thud. nobody even knew it happened. in this climate, because of dawn zimmer, many other things, that story is getting a second look, people are willing to consider what dawn zimmer has to say. i think she's absolutely right about that. if she had come on any show a year ago and said that, it's the same thing as the hunterdon story. >> there is some -- there's four members of that grand jury who say, this is craziness. we're on the grand jury, this was legitimate, and you have a civil case right now, by the prosecutor who was fired, asking for records from the state, they're stonewalling him on that, that's an active situation. more broadly, the thing you
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heard always about christie from new jersey people when you talk to them, was just like, man, this guy -- everyone's scared of him. >> you can be scared of someone who's a really good politician, doesn't mean they're corrupt or abusing power. but he did have a hold on that state. he really did, and right now, the question is, was that a legitimate or illegitimate hold? the thing you heard, he was good at being governor. >> right. >> in a lot of ways, new jersey has the most constitutionally powerful governorship in the country. the governor has more power to appoint people at all sorts of levels, to control authority, to veto things out of the budget. to reward and punish people. they always get to that gray area. christie more than john corzine, he was good at knowing what those levers were and how to use them.
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it's that aspect to the inside game. to buttress that, though, was the outside game, he had such a great reputation with the people of new jersey, and nationally, both because of what happened with hurricane sandy -- that's the obvious one, but his style, i think, wore really well, with the majority of new jersey, this guy was a straight shooter, different than any politician you had ever seen. that's why the turning point in all of this, we can talk about the traffic. when he got up there and gave that press conference for 1:45, it was about an issue that was so local and trivial, everyone could understand. you're watching that press conference and saying, i don't know what the full story is here, but he's not telling it. that's the turning point. >> and that's also the trajectory of former federal prosecutor puts people away for corruption. now he's like, i don't know what people were doing. steve kornacki, you can catch his shows weekends at 8:00 a.m. thanks for joining us. a man who heads up hud joins me next. it says here that a woman's sex drive
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a big part of making policy is sitting in an office and crunching data, digging into statistics, staring at spreadsheets and all that is, of course, really important. sometimes to solve a problem, you have to find the people you're trying to help, talk to them, listen to what they have to say. every year, hud organizes tens of thousands of volunteers who spend the night walking through the streets, shelters and subway stations to identify america's homeless to combat homelessness.
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since the obama administration launched the opening doors act, chronic homelessness is down 16%, and homelessness among veterans has fallen an incredible 14%. after the show, shaun donovan will be joining volunteers to walk the capitol hill neighborhood to learn more about how these folks are and what they need. joining me now is the secretary of the u.s. housing and urban development. ending homelessness ends in some ways impossible. but there is reason to believe that this is a problem that government can solve with the right policy in place. >> i'm so glad you started that way, chris. i'm a guy who got interested in housing by volunteering at a homeless shelter in college, and
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if you had asked me back then, if you had asked just about anybody who was volunteering with me, we could have never imagined we would be talking about ending homelessness, but through the remarkable efforts of volunteers like i'm going to be with tonight out on capitol hill, remarkable mayors, nonprofits, the private sector, and some good work on the federal government side as well, we can actually talk about, and actually have a president who has a plan to end homelessness. and one of the reasons why this is working is because the more work we've done on ending homelessness, the more we realize it not only saves lives, it actually saves money as well. it's more expensive for somebody to be on the streets long term than it is to house them. that's part of why this has gained such traction. >> one of the things if you encounter folks who are homeless, you live in a major metropolitan area, particularly
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in new york city you do often. the people that are battling mental illness in some way or another, our social contract doesn't do a great job of figuring out what obligations we have for people who are struggling with mental illness. this chart has always struck me. this is people we have institutionalized. there is a long period of time where we had people in mental institutions, and then we made the choice to get them out of mental institutions. and right around there, incarceration rates shot up. we have solved this problem we don't know what to do with by either putting them in prison or letting them be on the streets. >> this is one of the key things that has allowed us to make progress. we used to say that if you were mentally ill, living on the
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streets, you might be able to get into a program, we might be able to help you with your substance abuse, that often comes along with, we were only going to help you into housing once you graduated from that effort, you were successful. one of the things that has really transformed our efforts around homelessness, we call housing first. it may sound simple now, but it was a major step forward. look, somebody is going to be able to get the help they need if they have mental illness, take their medication much better if they're housed than if they're on the street. >> the way to solve homelessness is to give people homes. the home is the cornerstone, right? that's the thing you start out with. since i have you here, i need to ask you about this, about the sandy money. >> hud has overseen the bulk of that money. there are a lot of allegations flying around, not just in new jersey, but generally, that this money is not getting to people
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quickly enough, that it's not been overseen in a transparent enough fashion, since the bulk of the money comes through the cabinet agency you oversee, are you confident that that money is the monitor adequately? >> well, first of all we just talked about the tragedy of homelessness. sandy was a tragedy of a scale -- i'm a new yorker, that i have never seen. and by definition, money can never get to families fast enough to repair that damage. and so are there things that could move faster? absolutely right. but if you look at overall, this money is moving faster than in any prior major disaster and also remember the cdbg money is really the last resort for families who haven't been able to get help. >> they get immediate money from feel mark they get money from their insurance programs, and this is the last step, so it's not unusual that we would have
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folks a year after the storm who are still rebuilding. remember, these are the folks whose homes were devastated the worst, and where we knew the rebuilding process would be a long one, what i will tell you is, could it be going faster? yes, are we doing everything we can to cult red tape? absolutely, but i am confident that we are monitoring this money closely. >> hud secretary sean donovan, stay warm out there. thanks for joining me. >> thank you. i know you watched the state of the union last night, did you watch the response? you may be saying, there were so many, which one. don't worry, we've rounded up the best. that it's given me timo reflect on some of life's biggest questions. like, if you could save hundreds on car insurance by making one simple call, why wouldn't you make that call? see, the only thing i can think of is that you can't get any... bars. ah, that's better. it's a beautiful view. i wonder if i can see mt. rushmore from here. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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3 amazing benefits in 1 super fiber. he was a matted messiley in a small cage. ng day. 3 amazing benefits so that was our first task, was getting him to wellness. without angie's list, i don't know if we could have found all the services we needed for our riley. from contractors and doctors to dog sitters and landscapers, you can find it all on angie's list. we found riley at the shelter, and found everything he needed at angie's list. join today at republicans have a lot to say about the president's state of the union address last night. between the official response, the adapted spanish language response, the tea party response, the rand paul response and the internet, we're talking high volume respondage. there may be money you haven't seen yet. worry not, we're here to help
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you with the best caught on camera responses to the state of the union address and/or annoying screechy college kids. >> god bless you, and god bless the united states of america. >> welcome back to washington. we are awaiting the republican response. >> the republicans offered four responses. >> good evening. good evening. >> tonight we honor america. >> is that santa claus? >> it is santa clause. we're going to be listening to santa claus tonight. >> the ticket for the middle class is not higher taxes. >> the president talks a lot about income equality. >> obama care all by itself is an inequality godzilla. inequality godzilla. >> is that santa claus?
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>> i appreciate what the president said tonight. >> mr. president, where are the jobs? >> none of those americans are asking the question, where are the jobs? >> we have not gotten into the worst part of this storm yet. >> on floor house waiting for kommandant-in-chef. >> that is the story a little later on tonight. >> i don't even understand what that means. >> you say you have a pen and a phone to work around congress. i have an oath and a constitution. >> the president has a pen, let him use that pen to sign laws made by the congress. >> the republicans are talking about opportunity, jobs, economy, national defense, we need those now. >> we need the president to work with us, to get the economy booming again. >> that is to come a little later on tonight. >> that's the genius of america. >> thank you, and god bless america. >> good night, and god bless.
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>> that was on the tape. none of those responses is the republican response that everyone is talking about today. none of that. today america is talking about one and only one gop response from last night, and it is this one. >> we haven't had a chance to talk about -- >> this is only about the president. >> i am -- [ inaudible ] >> that now famous scene played out as a local new york city reporter tried to ask michael grimm about an investigation into his campaign finances. we'll talk about that incident along with last night's less physically threatening republican remarks up next. [ male announcer ] new gain flings! smell so amazing,
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congressman michael grimm is the only member of the new york city delegation for the republican party in congress. he introduced himself to the country last night. most new yorkers know grimm because of the federal investigation into the congressman's campaign fund-raising. last night a reporter caught up with him and tried to ask him about that ongoing federal investigation. >> just finally, before we let you go, since we have you here, we haven't had a chance -- >> this is only about the president -- >> well, what about -- all right, so congressman michael grimm does not want to talk about the allegations concerning his campaign finances.
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we wanted to get him on camera, but he refused to talk about that, as you saw. joining me now, congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz and katrina vanden heuvel. during the commercial break, you said if i didn't go to you first you would break me in half like a little boy. >> absolutely. >> what is your response to that? >> i mean really, it's pretty
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disturbing. i have to tell you, i've been in office for 21 years and i admit there are times when a reporter asks me a question i'd rather not answer. but my instinctive reaction has never been to threaten them with physical violence. >> have you ever seen -- >> this is an honest question across the aisle for republican democrats. have you ever seen a member of congress talk to a reporter that way? >> not to a reporter. >> all the time, are you kidding? >> each other. constituents like joe walsh. don't forget joe walsh. >> i've actually -- katrina, i've spent some time with michael grimm, i interviewed him. that was not a side of him that i ever got to see. i should say, there was a long new yorker piece about michael grimm, one that he called fiction, a witch hunt and a hatchet job. there was a report of him
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leaving a club at 4:00 a.m. just before the club closed. and he returned with a gun. >> it's like bully boy time in politics. i mean, we're seeing it with christie, we're seeing it with this guy. if you go into politics, excuse me, congresswoman. you don't have a thin skin, and you learn to deal with the media. and you're there to respond to questions. the media, unless these people think the media doesn't play any role which i don't think this guy does -- >> let me stick up with chris christie. there's metaphorical and threatening -- no one had ever -- michael grimm, though, is the one sort of gop response that everyone's paying attention to today. here's the thing i thought was interesting. the speech was billed as, the president's going to go it alone. the republican response was primed to be in response to that, and go apoplectic about an imperial presidency. what the president was talking about was pretty marginal stuff.
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this is not like some huge restructuring of federal power. >> no, where was this gop when dick cheney decided, you know, erosion of executive power after watergate, we're going to restore the imperial presidency. the nation is not for extreme manifestations of executive paw, but in support of the jobless, the planet, the homeless, there was one executive order last night, in order to raise minimum wage for workers and federal contractors. >> executive power, we should make this point. executive power not just in pursuit of the goals, but within the four square of the constitution, it's not like he was testing out some novel theory in signing this. >> juxtaposed against congress doing nothing. we passed 72 bills into law last year. it's the do nothing congress. what president obama's speech was about last night, look, i have a phone and i have a pen. the phone is available for you
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to call me, and i'll sit down with anyone and find common ground, but i am not going to allow you to stall progress. >> well, here -- >> the country faces multiple crisis. we have a republican party which has obstructed a jobs bill, infrastructure funding. all kinds of things that could bring some relief to americans. in my mind this is not about left and right this is about right and wrong. the president last night used his power to say, hey, we need to find a way forward in this time of crisis and inequality. >> here's the thing i thought -- it was to me, the message wasn't even -- and i thought chris matthews said this, i was sort of surprised by the vective that came from the speech. i thought the speech -- the message last night was for the love of god, just don't do anything to screw this up. please, no more crisis. >> the message of the speech was, we need to work together. it wasn't just the minimum wage that the president proposed, he talked about creating the my ira treasury bond so the low wage workers can create a retirement
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account for themselves. he talked about making sure we can focus on those manufacturing hubs, we've been able to establish two. >> here's the thing. >> he also -- it comes against the backdrop of the uncountry that is -- you know, there's this populous resurgence, there are people in the streets, fast food workers that have been agitating for some of what the president spoke to yesterday. that is often how change comes about. the republicans, the desperation of their response is a measure of the cluelessness, the out of touch, the desperation. >> particularly in light of the fact that president obama in his first term issued the smallest number of executive orders of any president in history. not just of the last few. >> the smallest number, this is always to me, the amazing kind
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of obama paradox, someone who is so sort of to his bones a kind of institutionalist, pragmatic, very cautious in certain ways is viewed through this prism in which he is this absolutely tyrannical extremist, even when he comes and says, i'm going to issue one freaking executive order to give some people a raise -- >> i mean, there's a disconnect. you had lindsey graham escorting the "duck dynasty" cast member and saying president obama's call for iran will lead to us being bombed -- >> well, lindsey graham, give the brother a break about he's got a primary to win, and if he's got to win by parading around "duck dynasty" let him do it. thank you both. when we come back, a prize winning columnist will be here with us on the president's inequality agenda, stay with us. ] how do you get your bounce? well, did you know that just one sheet of bounce outdoor fresh gives you more freshness than two sheets of the leading national store brand? who knew?
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wherever i can take steps to expand opportunity for more families regardless of what congress does, that's what i'm going to do. because i am determined to work with all of you and citizens across this country on the defining project of our generation, and that is to restore opportunity for every single person who's willing to work hard and take responsibility in this country. that's what i'm committed to doing. >> that was president obama speaking this after you in pittsburgh touting what he is calling his opportunity agenda. he wrote an amazing book called the price of inequality, today's divided society. your reaction to the president's speech, the centrality of inequality and prescriptions for solving it. >> i think it was a good thing
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that he talked, continue to talk about inequality. i think he's getting a mixed picture of what's going on. he championed the fact that america is the land of opportunity, talked about himself and other people making it from the bottom to the top. what he didn't point out was those are exceptions. >> right. >> we talk about the opportunity is, what is the probability and a chance? the life prospects of young americans are more young -- more dependent than in other advanced countries in. >> we have new data on this that suggests this is a long term, enduring feature. one of the things that that strikes me is the distance between the size of the problem, which is just how much money is going to how a few hands and for how long and how bad the labor
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market is, and the solutions that are being offered or politically possible. all of those things are great, but you are talking about a massive problems. >> one of the difficulties is that he didn't provide any diagnosis of how we came into this situation. sort of like suddenly something has happened in the last couple years to create this inequality issue. it has been an enduring problem, and very strong over the last 30 years and getting worse. but he didn't talk about, for instance, how our tax structure contributes to this growing inequality. he didn't talk about how the corporate governance laws allow the ceos to take a larger and larger share of the corporate pride. he didn't talk about how the financial sector has preyed on the poorest americans, predatory lending, abuse of credit card practices. >> right. >> he was very conciliatory.
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>> as is his way. that is his signature rhetorical moment. >> talking about important things. >> raising the minimum wage. >> he could not get it through congress, said he would have to do it by executive order. >> right. let me ask you this. it seems to me that part of the mismatch here is when it comes down to inequality, is it a problem that can be solved by a set of technocratic policies? we know what policies there are. it is a problem of power, right? who has power in a society and who doesn't. >> that's right, although there are some really important economic issues, economic policies that would make a difference. the big question is, why do we do these things to know could make a big difference. that comes down to politics. politics drives this. it's not just politics but the way we structure society,
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economy. the weakening of unions. >> yes. >> over the last 30 years has meant the voice of workers has not been adequately heard. either in the political sphere or at the bargaining table. >> we have seen that in some of the ways that the gains of productivity, the gains and relationship between capital and labor, what goes to profit in wages has gone totally out of whack. >> two numbers that illustrate how bad things have gotten, 95% of the gains that have happened since the end of the recession, 2009, have gone to the upper 1%. >> that's crazy. >> that's crazy. for 99%, there is not a recovery. >> joseph, thank you so much for your time. that is all in for this evening. rachel, the evening. >> thanks for staying with us for this hour. this was election night in november 2010.
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>> that was michael grimm, nancy pelosi ought to be scared right now. he was first elected to congress in 2010. he performed the almost impossible political task of personally overshadowing the entire state of the union address and every other response to it when he threatened to kill a reporter. right there in the u.s. capitol building while the camera on him was still running. >> congressman michael grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances, we wanted to get him on camera on that, but he refused to talk about


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