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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  February 17, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST

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damage, that heartache will remain tragically familiar. that does it for us. when the pressure is mounting alongside the snowfall, it's time to get out of dodge. it's monday, february 17th, and this is "now" live from washington, d.c. >> new reporting by msnbc. >> connecting a police officer with close ties to governor christie in the george washington bridge scandal. >> he drove david wildstein on a tour of the area while the lanes were shut down. >> chip michaels grew up in the same town as both christie and wildstein. >> the circle is expanding. >> his brother is a top republican lobbyist in this state. >> as the sort of corruption
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unfolds -- >> more people close to him are going to be implicated. >> do you want this guy in charge of the u.s. military or the nsa? >> when is it okay if everyone around you knows and thinks this is okay, even if you personally didn't know it was going on? >> we got off a winter i wished would end yesterday. umbrella drinks on the caribbean sea. as the east coast digs out from another snowstorm, chris christie is enjoying a long president's day weekend reportedly on the sunny shores of puerto rico. another day, another probe, and more skepticism about statements like this one. >> i was blindsided yesterday morning. i was done with my workout yesterday morning and got a call from my communications director
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at about 8:50, 8:55, informing me of this story that had just broken on the website. that was the first time i had known about this. >> the list of his team and acquaintances who had eyes on is growing. you're familiar with former deputy chief of staff bridget kelly, who is since been fired. there's bill baroni, the state senator that was appointed at the port authority's executive director. the guy who testified that the lane closures were part of a traffic study. then there's david wildstein, the former point authority appoint man who knew christie in high school. david wildstein has now resigned and he claims through his attorney that evidence exists showing governor christie knew of the lane closures as they
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were happening. in the latest twist, another childhood pal of chris christie's is tied to the scandal by e-mails. the message first reported indicated that chip michaels, the police officer, knew about it the day before it happened. is there going to be a new traffic pattern installed for monday the 9th? and will this effect our normal rush hour operation? the answer from mr. licorice, most likely. chip michaels took david wildstein for a wide through the
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now infamous traffic jam in ft. lee. officer michaels grew up in livingston, the same town as chris christie and david wildstein. michael coached christie's son in little league hockey. jeff michaels happens to be one of the most powerful republicans in the state of new jersey, all of which places another person with long time christie ties right smack in the middle of the bridgegate scene. coincidence? only time will tell. joining me now is hunter walker and managing editor of "the washington post." we're in the same town, but we're not in the same room. i'm going to let our viewers in on that secret. >> it's fine. i got to see you off camera. >> i have in front of me the
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cast of characters in the chris christie bridgegate scandal and we are now getting ready to do our third card because all the names won't fit on the first two cards. >> right. >> darcy licorice is now part of this. chip -- what is his last name? chip michaels. chip michaels is now involved. >> right. >> we don't know that any of these people actually communicated with governor christie, but the notion of plausible deni plausib plausible denial blt seems to be eroding. how could chris christie not have known about bridgegate? >> you played a clip from that january 9th press conference. that was -- i think chris christie wanted to put it as close to an end point to the
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conversation as he knew there. he probably knew in his heart of hearts that this is going to get worse before it gets better. you've hit on it. the nub of the question here is chris christie either did know more than what he was saying or everyone around him knew and he didn't know. so the best case politically speaking was that despite the fact that everyone around him knew, he didn't. i think that's entire plausible. that's not a great story line for chris christie at the moment, but it's the best story line he's got out of his options. >> right. hunter, it's possible. i take issue with it being plausible, especially when we have reports as we do today that port authority -- cops on the george washington bridge were
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approaching motorists. one motorist recalled that an officer approached his window without prompting. he delivered the message, are you frustrated? what's going on, michael replayed? the officer says, call the mayor's office to complain. as anyone who has been stuck in traffic knows, it is rare that traffic cops come up to you, ask you to roll down the window, and ask are you frustrated. it appears someone issued instructions or talking points. that would seem to be the case, would it not? >> that's one of the allegations the former mayor made initially. that the cops were telling people it was his fault. that's always been one of the most disturbing, least
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explainable elements of this whole story. the real key here is these investigations are ongoing at multiple points. chip michaels is probably going to be subpoenaed. that's one of the key mysteries the committee is trying to solve right now. >> let's be clear here. these are not just random people. these are people who have relationships with chris christie. this is a guy who taught chris christie's hockey team. his brother is a big christie donor. >> i don't disagree with you, alex. when you sit in traffic, the cops don't come up and say is there anything we can do for you? >> yes. i am. >> look, simply because that certainly does look like a coordinated effort to get people angry at the mayor of ft. lee, that still does not mean chris
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christie knew about it and checked off on it. >> yes. >> i don't find it implausible that bridget kelly, bill baroni, somebody in that orbit certainly knew and possibly set that in motion, but that's not the same thing as governor christie. i think we need to be careful. people close to him quite clearly, and most have been fired, did wrong things here. no one is debating that. the question i'm debating as we look to his political future is did chris christie -- can you draw a connect the dots line that makes direct sense to chris christie? >> we are not there yet. hunter, as governor ted strickland -- he raised the
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point that chris christie did not ask bridget kelly why she sent that e-mail or who urged her or told her to send that e-mail, that to strickland is unbelievable. given how involved we know the governor was in the day-to-day affairs of the state, this is one who approved the board of physical therapists in the state. this just seems a little bit farfetched. >> ted strickland is the one leading the attack for the dnc. they've made a two-fold argument. it's kind of unbelievable that christie wouldn't have had kelly about this. it is possible that his staff sort of went rogue here. what does that say about his abilities as a governor? what does that say about his
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control over his own state and office? >> what's the play nationally for the republican party at this point? there are three buckets we have seen lately. one rally around christie. there's go negative. and then there's just kind of sit on the sidelines and be as quiet as possible. do you sense that the tide is shifting internally in the republican party as the drip, drip, drip continues? is the mood shifting? >> you need another whole bucket for rudy juliany. there are calls for him to step down as the republican governor's association chairman. that was a position he sought to take after he got electe eelect.
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you've heard some people suggest that maybe christie should step aside. that, to me, alex, is where you should look because that's a plausible thing that a reporter that in any state has a serious republican politician can ask and answer. rick scott, not really around. when he's got to other states, other candidates have been a little -- they're more than happy to take the money that chris christie raises for him, but don't want to appear in public. if that keeps happening, i think there might be a little bit of a momentum here. christie will resist that to the end because that would be a major concession and they would view it politically as slipperslippe
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slippe slippery slope. i see no evidence that that's happening yet. >> a -- thank you both for your time. coming up, president obama rolls out a new line in the debate over climate change. there is no debate. we'll talk false equivalent sis. the future of the fair wage, that's next.
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on friday, auto workers in tennessee dealt a painful blow to the american labor movement. in a vote of 712 to 626, the 1,500 men and women of the volkswagen plant in chattanooga voted against unionizing. instead, thanks to tennessee republicans, the opposition forces were outside the plant. republican governor bill haslem announced that auto suppliers
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wouldn't relocate to chattanooga if the workers unionized. tennessee senator bob corker, the city's former mayor and a man whom two weeks ago pledged not to get involved, he issued the following pronouncement just two days ahead of the vote. should the workers vote against the uaw, volkswagen will announce it will manufacture its new mid size suv here in chattanooga. there was just one problem with his statement. it wasn't true. the chairman of volkswagen, a man named frank fisher, responded. there is no connection between our chattanooga's employees decision and where to build a new product for the u.s.
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department. grover norquist launched the center for worker freedom. this billboard delivered the suggestion of socialism, united obama workers. and this one meant to strike fear in the hearts of workers everywhere. detroit, brought to you by the uaw. >> so they can't help with the wages. you've got a facility that is the most advanced environmental sound facility in the world right here in chattanooga, tennessee. so what is this about? it's about one thing. it's about money and it's about power. >> that's the one thing senator corker did get right in all of this. the fight in workers rights and the battle over unionization is about those things -- money and power. joining me now from washington,
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timothy noah. thank you so much for joining the program, especially on this day when the conversation about fair wages is as relevant as it ever has been. what struck me was the odd bedfellows here. the uaw took a neutral position on the unionization of its own employe employees. the first step to getting a workers council is allowing peoples to unionize. were you struck by the fierceness of the conservative opposition to this? >> it was strange. you had politicians interfering
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with private business. you had volkswagen perfectly happy to see its plant unionized, but the local politicians couldn't tolerate it because they didn't want unions acquiring any power in the state of tennessee for political reasons. it has nothing to do with what's happening in one individual plant. the local republican establishment is terrified that unions are going to acquire political power in tennessee. in a way, i find it -- even though the defeat was disheartening, i didn't norquist had gotten into the union busting business. i think that's kind of a hopeful side. he thinks there is a threat there. i'm delighted to hear it. >> it's part of the reason they were fighting so hard against this. it was unionization of a foreign
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company. unions tend to kind of create an infrastructure from which progressives and democrats organize and vote more. if you look at unionized states, voter turnout is greater in the top ten unionized states compared to the least unionized states. health insurance coverage is almost 5% points greater in the most unionized states compareed to the least unionized states. these are progressive principals. there are benefits to society at large when there's a union in town, and that's beyond wages. >> you think norquist cares whether a vw plant in tennessee gets unionized or not?
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this is the model for unionization, the works council model that europe embraced after world war ii. a man tried to get it in the united states and he was rebuffed by management. in the 1960s, a lot of conservatives preached more labor union cooperation. when there's a situation where you might have workers and employers coming together on equal terms, conservatives, and especially republican politicians, will oppose it. >> you have talked about this in your book. you track income inequality in this country and it goes almost
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parallel with the low activity of unions. part of the problem seems to be this is almost a race to the bottom in terms of what the unions have had to agreed to effectively. they've agreed to a two-tier wage system at the three auto-makers. what is the future here as they sort of cultural norms become cemented in and around unions? >> i would hope that we will see a revival of the labor movement. obviously, we're not seeing it today. but when i speak to groups about inequality, what i tell them is if you're interested in the problem of income inequality in the u.s., get interested in
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something like chess. >> there's a piece out today that i think nails this a little bit. he talks about how the uaw has supported the idea of organized labor, finds great welcome in nyu, but when it comes down to it you have workers on an assembly line in chattanooga, tennessee, have turned down the option. the politician of race and culture of the eclipse those of class in the u.s. the culture memes around unions distracted from the actual economic benefits of them. >> the south has always been hostile territory for union organizing. the culture war in the south trumps the class war. you already have right to work laws. even if they unionized the plants, those who benefitted from the presence of that union
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wouldn't have had to pay union dues if they didn't feel like it. the opposition i gathered portrayed this as a northern invasion, a refighting of the civil war. apparently there are not a lot of black employees in this particular plant, so that kind -- waving of the confederate flag was an effective strategy. >> that would explain the sign, united obama workers. thank you as always for your time and thoughts. coming up from food stamps to sochi, an olympian puts a new face on american hunger. we'll introduce you to our newest champ. that's coming up. first, the haters were out in force to protest michael sam. who got his back? that's just ahead.
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♪ ♪ ♪ i really like the fact that michael did it before the draft because his attitude was, you know what? i know who i am. i know i can play great football and judge me on the merits. >> since he announced to the
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world that he is gay and announced that before the nfl draft, university of missouri michael sam has received praise from many corners. no everyone has greeted him with an open mind. westboro church protesters were there in his hometown to make him as uncomfortable as possible. but so were student who is formed a chain to get the protesters out. he received a standing ovation from his classmates during the halftime of the missouri-tennessee basketball game. >> divided we are weak. together we are strong. after the break, secretary of state john kerry says to climate change deniers, we don't have time for you.
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we discuss the platform of the flat earth society. that's coming up next.
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the debate is settled. climate change is a fact. >> we should not allow a tiny minority of shoddy scientists and science and extreme ideaologues to compete with scientific fact. >> president obama and john kerry have announced the debate over climate change is over. >> there is not agreement around the fact of exactly what is causing this. you don't make good laws, sustainable laws, when you'rehy.
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>> the debate is raging and he's losing it. >> for some republican lawmakers, climate change denialism has become a badge of honor, a way to show off conservative credentials and rile up the base. nobody is better at that than senator ted cruz. >> it is freezing. i mean, it is really cold. i have to admit i was surprised. al gore told us this wouldn't happen. >> the new standard operating procedure in the gop is to cite winter weather as evidence that global warming doesn't exist. this is john cornyn tweeting on friday. snow on the ground in 49 and 50
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states and global warming should be an urgent priority. it's snowing. the snowgate theorists report temperatures as repudiation. there's conservatives who would like to make snow angels on the top of dvds of an "inconvenient truth." >> just so you'll know, global warming is a total fraud. the federal government wants to create global government to control our lives. it's step by step more and bigger control over our lies. global warming is simply that
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strategy in spades. >> 97% of scientists agree that humans are causing global warming, but try finding a single republican in congress to confirm that basic fact. years after newt gingrich and john mccain and george w. bush acknowledged the erarth is warming, climate change denialism is the de facto position for the republican party. an amendment was voted down that would have stated that climate change is occurring. to be clear, all the republicans present voted no and all the democrats present voted yes. joining me now is a political report at "the national journal." thank you for joining me on a subject that causes me no ending
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amount of distress. let's talk about the debate. it was brought to my attention to my great producer who works on this show and on this segment that in 2003, there was a memo that said the following. the scientific debate is closing against us, but not yet closed. there's still a window of opportunity to challenge the science should the public come to believe the scientific issues are settled, their attitudes will change about global warming. now 11 years later, alex, that's exa exactly what the gop has done to the degree there's now a "quote/unquote, debate over whether climate change is real. how did that happen? >> it is said we're still having this debate. there was a point where a lot of republicans and democrats agreed with the basic science that this
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was real. the climategate e-mail hacking issue, that was a turning point where a lot of these people, the people who had a financial interest in tearing down the science, they seized on that and they turned everything around. we're talking about the fossil fuel industry and the coal industry. and there's also a lot of ideological revulsion from republicans. they hate anything obama does. if obama believes in climate science, then they don't. they're trying to sow a seed of doubt in people's minds. >> what's crazy is there are actual facts to back up the warming of the earth's temperature. that's why almost every single
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scientists believe this is real. there are more insidious reasons why republicans are climate change deniers. part of it they don't believe it is actually happening, but it is tied to the president and the government. if you believe that the earth's atmosphere is warming, some large body has to do something. it's government. government may pose one part of the solution in terms of programs, infrastructure, and regulation. my question to you is -- what happened to newt gingrich's george w. bushes, who agreed a decade ago this was happening? >> they're old news. they've been completely pushed aside by this libertarian, more radical, more extremist wing of
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the party that's proudly pro industry. they see anything as stopping climate change. if you acknowledge that it exists, you have to do something to stop it. they have to go all the way back to square one and combat the very science behind it. i think progressives are on the right side of this issue, but if they don't acknowledge there are costs and jobs on the line here, there are regions supported by these economies like coal -- the libertarians have aligned themselves with these people and are telling them the government is going to make you pay more at your gas tank and heating bill. they've used that to their advantage. >> i want to ask about the new tact that the president has taken and the secretary of state
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has taken. on some level, given the go goalposts were moved back to the right, i'll read about the debate that happened this week. what is scary is the side of the debate that is wrong and is wrong in a way that will lead to a worldwide disaster in a few generations will possibly be taken because it is by a party. >> i think you have to look at this kind of like the overturn
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window. the space in which you can make policy. things have moved so far in the anti-science direction that obama is trying to stake out a strong position. he can do that to some degree. this is really the classic example of false equivalency. you have two sides, and you present them as equal when that's really not the case. 97% of climate scientists on one side. the president has given up on congress. he is having a yolo second term. >> yolo on climate change. >> literally, actually, that's the dark truth about climate change. we do only have one planet. he's doing a lot of good stuff through the administration and he's just kind of saying to hell with congress. >> on friday, he made a landmarc
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speech on climate change. he proposed a $1 billion climate fund as part of the 2015 budget, which will be presented next month. getting anything through congress seems difficult, but getting a climate fund approved by this congress seems nearly impossible. do you think that issue that wins over independence? 66% of democrats believe human activity is the main cause of global warming. 25% of republicans. can it be used to hammer the gop? >> the problem with that is despite those numbers if you ask voters which issues they care about climate change is low on the list. there was an effort early in the obama administration to make it an issue to appeal to
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independents. when you're talking strictly about climate change, i don't think it has that much political relevancy. it's huge. it's long term. there's not much you can do on an individual level. i think what he's doing there is trying to shore up the base and make sure that liberals come out and environmentalists come out to support democrats. >> it may be hard to understand, but in 2012 there were 905 natural catastrophes worldwide. california, 92% of that state is currently experiencing a drought. the economic impact is real and whether we choose to do anything about it is up to us. thank you as always for your time. >> thanks, alex. coming up, tonight is a
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how you doing? my mom always told me to get some exercise. she used to say, why don't you go to the store with your mother? and i would say, why don't you shut up? >> that was jimmy fallon at his "saturday night live" audition back in 1998 doing his best adam sandler. tonight he'll take over "the
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tonight show," bringing it back to new york city. we are ready. it was really hard to choose, but here are some of our favorite moments from his run at "late night." ♪ >> we can't stop. >> we won't stop. >> #trueplayersforlife. >> you should listen to the president. or as i like to call him, the prezzy of the united stezzy. she's already a champ. we'll explain coming up next.
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with three types of good bacteria. i should probably take this. live the regular life. phillips'. i just served my mother-in-law your chicken noodle soup but she loved it so much... i told her it was homemade. everyone tells a little white lie now and then. but now she wants my recipe [ clears his throat ] [ softly ] she's right behind me isn't she? [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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when you think about hunger in america, this is not the face that comes to mind. emily scott is one of the 47 million recipients of food stamp assistance. she was raised by her father craig who worked seven days a week to support the family. they lived paycheck to paycheck. she made the junior olympic team in gymnastics and had to give up the sport because it was too expensi expensive. she became one of the best inline and speed skaters in the world. she struggled to make ends meet. scott was training eight hours a day and working at a medical supply factory to pay the bills. when her stipend was cut to $600
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a month, she needed help from the government. emily scott, the number two ranked u.s. speed skater in america, knew she couldn't earn the paycheck she needed. she wasn't proud of applying for food stamps. i felt like everything i worked so hard for was crashing down. everyone with world-class skills, she lived in jeopardy because of the poverty she was born into. what got her to sochi was an appeal she made on a crowd funding website where donations provided her enough money to compete. like emily scott, the majority of them are working age. food assistance is there to keep them afloat. emily scott is a reminder that
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the face of poverty hides in public. she is a sign of how pervasive poverty can be and how inescapable can be no matter the work or the skill. she's our champ. that's all for now. i'll see you back here tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. eastern. good evening, americans, and welcome to "the ed show" live from new york. let's get to work. >> a major blow to union organizers in the south. >> if workers don't stand up for themselves and fight, they're not going to have any rights. >> the volkswagen plant in chattanooga, tennessee, will remain without a union. >> i have never witnessed a

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