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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  March 28, 2014 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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should have to do kissing with surveillance cameras working. at least then we could see the stooping these guys are willing to do in order to conquer. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from washington. i'm alex wagner in for chris hayes. late breaking news tonight. the only person who definitely knows why it was time for some traffic problems in ft. lee, the person who wrote that e-mail, chris christie's former deputy chief of staff, bridget anne kelly, who was fired by the governor, savaged in an internal report released yesterday and called a liar by christie again today has responded tonight with a rocket of a statement from her attorney which says kelly will talk if given, "appropriate procedural safeguards by the u.s. attorney's office."
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if that happens, kelly's lawyer says she will be fully cooperative and provide truthful and complete answers to any questions asked of her by the appropriate law enforcement authorities. this is a potentially huge development that comes on the heels of christie today holding his first news conference since january. follows the release of a 360 page internal report that found the governor was not involved in the seemingly politically motivated decision to close access lanes on the george washington bridge in september, leading to four days of traffic gridlock. christie spoke to the press for more than an hour today before the release of bridget anne kelly's statement and carried himself like a man vindicated despite the fact the internal investigation he commissioned was derided as little more than a taxpayer-funded whitewash by critics. >> it's colorful, brian. colorful. why don't you just get to the question and cut the commentary back a little?
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not my top person. can you get to it already? i'll answer. no, i joked -- christine, stop. you have to get the facts right if you're going to ask me a question. it's amusing to me when you guys, like, write stories about what you think you're entitled to. what i think you're entitled to is the answers when i get them. seriously, i'm up here trying to very carefully answer your questions, and i don't know whether you can't take notes, or you're not listening. listen, everybody, i appreciate all the questions. it's such an extraordinary joy and relief for me finally to be able to come back and interact with you in the kind and gentle way that we always have. i'd love to say i missed you, but i didn't. but i'm looking forward to having you all back. >> christie kicked off that press conference by announcing the resignation of another key player in the bridge-gate scandal, the chairman of the port authority of new york and new jersey, david samson.
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the fourth christie aide or appointee to resign or be fired since the bridge-gate scandal began. samson is a close christy rishr, who like bridget kelly denied to be interviewed. portrayed samson's resignation as unrelated to the scandals that have engulfed his second term. >> david has been talk to me for the better part of a year about wanting to move on because he just was tired. he had served a long time. he's 74 years old and said, chris, i'd like to spend more time doing other thing. >> this month, flag prosecutors subpoenas, related to mr. samson's potential conflicts of interest amid questions over samson's votes to award bridge contracts to two large construction companies that have been represented by his law firm. and former port authority official david wildstein, a man who was heavily criticized in the internal christie report, wrote in the bridge-gate e-mails that samson was helping us to
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retaliate. as for bridget kelly, the statement from her lawyer today complained of, "venomous, gratuitous and inappropriate sexist remarks concerning miss kelly." christie's internal report speculated that kelly's role in the scandal may have been part of an emotional reaction following a breakup with former christie chief of staff bill stepien. in response to a question today about whether the report was fair to kelly, christie cast it as simply reflecting reality. >> i think the report laid out the facts as the investigators found them. and however anybody wants to interpret those is up to your particular interpretation. >> joining me now, my msnbc colleague, steve kornacki, host of "up" and mel lisissa hayes, statehouse reporter for "the record." steve, he me start with you. i hesitate to use the word bombshell, but it's kind of a bombshell in terms of developments in and around the
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christie case. this statement from bridget kelly to me is the clearest indication that she is willing to sing if she is granted immunity. how did you read it? >> yeah. well, it means there's a bit of a competition going on right now because for a while david wildstein made it clear he wants a deal, he would talk if he was given immunity. now bridget kelly, many suspected she might want a deal. that basically explicitly s saying, she is through her lawyer that she wants a deal. there's an effort there in the language of this statement, there's sort of an effort to make the public case for why she should get the deal and not wildstein. she basically sets it up as, like, wildstein made one set of claims, christie has made another set of claims and now here's bridget kelly in the middle who's uniquely positioned to say which one is right and which one is wrong and to back it up. obviously the question becomes a legal question of, you know, does she have the goods that could really answer all the questions or implicate somebody
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else in way that would make her attractive to a federal prosecutors? or does wildstein or neither? there's a bit of a competition between them now that's been set off. >> melissa, there's another part of the statement that is highly deeply ominous. i want to read this excerpt here. it says "preemptive strike to isolate miss kelly and impugn her credibility isn't surprising. despite mr. mastro," christie's lawyer," despite mr. mastro's editorialized comments, miss kelly is not a liar, a single mother of four children who's deeply devoted and committed to her job at the office during her tenure. worked tirelessly to pursue the goals of the office during her tenure. one wonders, melissa, what those goals really were. >> sure. i mean, there's a lot of questions about whether or not bridget kelly was acting alone or getting orders from some sort of higher up. we done know the answers to that because we haven't heard from bridget kelly yet.
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we do know, officially, her role in the governor christie's office was as head of intergovernmental affairs. her office interacted with mayors and other local officials who had concerns or needed things from the state. so she oversaw this group of appointees that interacted with those local officials. >> melissa, let me ask you about another dimension of the whole bridget kelly back and forth. this, i guess, bridge-gate part ii. insofar as christie in this report, team christie had suggested bridget kelly was overcome with emotion. he's not exactly won the favor of feminists or a lot of women sitting on the sidelines saying is that really a fair characterization in a report that's just supposed to be the facts? we now have bridget kelly coming out saying it was a venomous characterization. that cannot help christie's case with new jersey women and women nationally. >> i mean, i actually asked governor christie today what he thought of the portrayal of
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bridget kelly and don zimmer, mayor of hoboken, who made allegations against him, his administration. whether he thought they were portrayed fairly in the report today because the report doesn't say anything about the emotional state of the men. they don't get into the, you know, how stepien was dealing with the breakup with bridget kelly. so he said that he thought that it had to do with evidence and what the investigators had at their fingertips. he kind of avoided the question directly, whether or not it was fair. but said, you know, he didn't see any other reason why it wouldn't have touched on the emotional state of the men other than the fact that the investigators must not have had information about that. >> steve, there's a lot to unpack in this unfolding drama, but we have not yet spoken of david samson and his resignat n resignation. what, effectively -- i mean, if you had to read the tea leaves on this, christie said he found out two hours in advance. samson is the subject of a federal investigation. it is, perhaps, more convenient to have him off center stage and to longer at the port authority, but do you think this sort of is
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broadly more of an assist to christie than just today's news? >> well, you know, it, look, david samson has sort of been the silent man in all this, the silent person in all this. it raises the immediate question to me of, this report, you know, apparently according to christie, this report is what triggered david samson to come to him this morning and say he wants to resign as chairman of the port authority. not that he'd done anything wrong according to christie, but just that this report made clear to them that major changes were needed at the port authority and a new chairman would be best positioned to oversee those changes. it raises the question to me, if this report is so meaningful to david samson, so significant to him, if he was apparently anticipating it for a while to make a very, you know, big decision for his own life, why did he have no interest in cooperating with it? he refused to cooperate with christie's -- the investigative team that christie selected. that law firm. he refused to cooperate. if this report was so meaningful to him, why wouldn't he answer
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their questions or share his own thoughts about what was going on at the port authority? why wouldn't he want to turn over documents they might want to see? why wouldn't he want to do his part to make this a more thorough, more complete investigation and more thorough and more complete report? yet, he's completely missing. his input is completely missing from this report. >> also, steve, this is coming amid the governor embracing the suggestion or putting it out there that he will try and move forward on the notion of splitting up the port authority into an organization that's run by new jersey and new york rather than one umbrella. one would think you would want the person who is heading up that organization to oversee it or at least stay in office until that transition is completed. seems like a major move here. >> well, we've seen the same assertion now twice when it comes to port authority appointees from chris christie. he talked at his last press conference about how bill baroni's resignation, the deputy executive director of the port authority. christie appointed. who resigned back in december with david wildstein.
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christie talked about his press last conference about how bill baroni had actually been talking for a long -- he'd actually decided earlier, much earlier, that he'd be stepping aside at the end of 2013. christie today talking about david samson basically says, actually david samson said a year ago that he was ready to step aside. you know, as he played in the clip there, that he's getting older, wants to do other things with his time. christie actually persuaded him to stay on this long. so we heard sort of the same thing come up twice now when there's been an abrupt seeming resignation from the port authority. >> melissa, let me ask you about the tenner. you were in the room today. for those of us who do not watch -- had not watched chris christie's press conferences before, with great regularity and in-depth attention before the bridge-gate scandal began, is this kind of relationship which seems incredibly adversarial, is that relationship he has with the press par for the course? were you surprised by how
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tenacious and i would say even bullying he was at moments? i remember at one point he said these questions are so awful, they are beneath the office to answer. as a new jersey reporter, i mean, is this just sort of status quo? >> we're used to confrontations with the governor. i think he kind of -- we saw a different chris christie the january 9th press conference where he was announcing all this. you know, he was very contrite there and he was very apologetic to the people of new jersey about what was going on. he was not at all confrontational with the press. today, we returned to the chris christie we all know from before that event. the chris christie i think we see a lot of in his town hall style events across the state where he's not afraid to challenge people who he doesn't agree with or doesn't like the question. it's not just the media. we've seen him do this with the members of the public as well. i think this is indicative of christie trying to show us he's putting the bridge scandal
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behind him and settling back into his old ways. i don't know if you had it in the clip before, but he says he'll be taking our questions going forward. this was the first time in months we had a chance to question him since the january 9th press conference. >> let me ask you, melissa, really quickly. do you think he's still feeling as confident and vindicated now that the bridget kelly response has been released? >> you know, i'm not sure what he thinks about that, but he was asked yesterday by diane sawyer if he thought that if bridget kelly were to speak out if she would be able to discredit the report. he said he did not think she'd be able to. he seemed confident yesterday before she issued her statement that he was standing by this report and believed it to be fact. he reiterated that numerous times today. he called this facts and said there were footnotes and things. he didn't really focus on the fact a lot of this was information gathered through interviews which you might be able to argue are subjective and bridget kelly wasn't one of the people that was interviewed. >> indeed she was not. governor christie is a betting man and a good thing he's on his way to las vegas. steve kornacki, you can catch my
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friend, steve's, show this weekend at 8:00 a.m. eastern right here on msnbc. and melissa hayes from the "bergen record." thank you both. >> sure. coming up, the governor and 2016. >> anybody who tries to game out the politics of this kind of stuff years in advance, that should probably show them that that's a fool's errand. >> a fool's errand. this from a guy who is flying out to las vegas this weekend to meet with someone who bankrolls republican presidential campaigns and who happens to have some baggage that no presidential hopeful really wants to carry on. we will talk about that just ahead. sn't a street... ...return on investment isn't the only return i'm looking forward to... for some, every dollar is earned with sweat, sacrifice, courage. which is why usaa is honored to help our members with everything from investing for retirement to saving for college.
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coming up, chances are if you've heard anything about the new film, "noah" it was probably accompanied by a lot of shouting about how the movie isn't as good as the book. a movie critic and a biblical scholar will be here to discuss, just ahead.
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when chris christie opened up the floor for questions this afternoon, the first one, the first one out of the box, was whether the decision to shut down lanes on the george washington bridge, a decision in which christie asserts he has been vindicated by a report written by a team of lawyers that he hired at taxpayer expense, whether that decision would impact his decision to run for president in 2016. >> i'm just telling you that it won't. and in the long sweep of things, any voters, if they consider this issue at all in considering my candidacy if there ever is one, i got a feeling it would be a very small element of it, if any element at all.
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>> today's press conference and more specifically, that answer, appears to be the first in a series of calculated moves to reassure donors that christie remains a strong pick for 2016. his next move in that campaign looks to be a trip to las vegas this weekend where casino magnate sheldon adelson is hosting potential 2016 republican presidential candidates as part of republican jewish coalition's annual meeting. adelson it a powerful man with a lot of money to spend. in the 2012 cycle, propublica reported he and his wife spent at least $98 million. $30 million of which went to a superpac supporting mitt romney. with all this money on the table, it was not surprising that chris christie was asked today whether he would be meeting privately with adelson this weekend in vegas. >> i don't know whether i'm having a private meeting with sheldon or not. i haven't looked at my schedule for tomorrow. the only thing i know i'm doing
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for sure is speaking to the coalition which i've done before. i'm sure i'll have meetings. i haven't looked yet as to what my schedule is. i usually wait until i get on the plane tomorrow and look at what i'm going to be doing when i get there. >> joining me, dave weigel, political reporter for "slate." is there an iota of a thread of chance that chris christie doesn't know whether he's meeting with sheldon adelson? >> like a lot of times in the press conference, he's being a little bit cute about this. the appeal of chris christie to the republic an who wanted him o win the election was manifold. he already locked in a lot of the donors who made mitt romney the nominee. actually before mitt romney was the nominee, in 2011, he met in person in new york with david koch, a lot of people who promised to bankroll whatever he wanted for a campaign if he got into the race. he's trying to reestablish that because he spent three months not just explaining his story, but sinking in the polls and needs to reassure these people. that sorts tomorrow. >> we had this breaking news about bridget kelly, her
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response to the governor's report. she calls it venomous and sexist. she underscores the fact that she's the mother of four. there's the whole question of whether or not there were sexist sort of analyses in that report. how much does that sort of undermine the network that christie has established insofar as donors say, i don't now how great it is for you to be the candidate if you alienated half the country? >> what he can do is turn it back against the media. we saw the return of the chris christie who sparred with reporters and made fun personally of the guys he dealt with before. i don't think the -- that was what chris christie was when these guys were ready to shower him with money in 2011. 2010, the brief honeymoon he had when he was the guaranteed nominee, which tells people not to write those stories about 2016 too early. that was the christie they liked. i don't think that's a problem for him. >> okay. if we're talking about doorways where windows may shut and
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doorways may open, i want to play the sound from glenn beck talking about what, who i would presume to be his nominee in 2016. a man named rand paul. let us take a listen to that. >> if he were on the left, he would be being heralded as god. barack obama might be jesus, but what this guy can bridge is astounding, and if he was -- if he was a republican or a democrat, they would be calling him god. we had the son of god. now god has shown up. >> dave, god has shown up. how legitimate is glenn beck's contention that, you know, he is not even the second coming of christ, but actually god for a republican audience? >> i haven't seen "noah" yet so i can't confirm whether that's true or not. this happens a lo wit with the candidates who media finds interesting. it's unique somebody like rand
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paul who's very libertarian, very conservative on a lot of issues is the candidate the press finds interesting. as much as conservatives don't like the press, when someone gets that crossover coverage, can go to berkeley and get applauded, somebody can go to not an occupy rally but civil libertarian rallies in d.c. >> and take credit for the nsa reforms. >> when somebody's joined by ron wyden on the floor and mark udall, they get a certain kind of coverage. i remember john mccain going to college campuses when he was a presumptive nominee. i've seen this before where the press finds the bridge-building aspects of a candidate interesting. once they actually run for president, they start to get covered for how they actually govern. and it's interesting, beck has tried to reestablish himself. his reputation suffered a lot as he was on his way out of fox news. tried to reestablish himself as the kind of libertarian who builds these bridges between ideologies. paul can do that for now. he's good at it. he's a very natural politician. once he starts to become a presidential candidate, which is going to happen maybe in flnine
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months, i do think that's going to shift. it will be interesting to see if the young liberals and libertarians who like him now stick with him when he has to compete in iowa and change what he's focusing on. >> well, he does have the -- he's the first republican to assemble a network in all 50 states. >> yes. >> bridge building versus bridge-gate. if i were in vegas tonight, i kind of know whose cards i'd want to be playing. dave weigel from "slate", thank you as always, my friend. coming up, a lawmaker channels his inner frank underwood to stick it to frank underwood. art imitates life, imitates art. i'll tell you all about that, next. ups is a global company, but most of our employees
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mr. mendoza is present. >> under protest. >> cornwall is present. >> under protest. >> mr. walsh is present. and mr. hosis is present. >> i'll filibuster the main bill. >> no you won't. >> he loves barbecue, power, and possibly his life. he's the anti-hero of political junkies everywhere and he's a mascot for underhanded washington deal making. he is frank underwood from "house of cards." a wildly popular internet television show on netflix is filmed in maryland. when "house of cards" producers threatened to pull production from the state unless they got bigger tax breaks than they're already getting, one maryland
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lawmaker decided to channel his own inner frank underwood. one of the reasons a d.c. drama is being filmed in baltimore is because the film companies often get big tax breaks from states that are looking to bring in business. according to the "washington post," "house of cards" already claimed $26.6 million over 2 seasons. but the people who make the show wanted an increase in those tax breaks for season 3. it is a demand worthy of a character on "house of cards." enter delegate c. william frick in the maryland house of delegates who said, i thought what is an appropriate frank underwood response to a threat like this? he proposed an amendment to the state budget which passed yesterday afternoon with little debate and no roll call vote. it simply states the department of business and economic development under certain circumstances can exercise certain powers of eminent domain
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to acquire the property of a film production company that claimed more than $10 million in tax credits and then ceases filming in the state." translation, if you stop filming in maryland, we may seize your property. maryland state senators reportedly big "house of cards" fans like all senators would have to pass this measure and the governor would have to sign it to become law. but if delegate frick wanted to send a message, he just might have succeeded in out-underwooding the people who invented underwood, himself. joining me now is that delegate, bill frick. delegate frick, thank you, welcome to the show. you have managed what is seemingly impossible. you've out-underwooded the people who created frank underwood as they tried to underwood maryland. tell us about how you came to this strategy and whether you worry about a backlash. >> sure. you covered some of the backstory already, but we've been held to "house of cards" for two seasons. we've supported them with our film credit program to the tune
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of $27 million. when they started talking about season 3, we're in negotiations with them, they sent the general assembly and the governor a letter. and they said, basically if you're not the highest bidder, if you don't give us everything we want, we are going to pack up our set, break down our stages, roll up our offices and leave to another state. and that just struck me as extremely heavy handed. i sat back, i thought, all right, frank underwood just threatened me. what's the right response? what would frank do? >> wwfd. part of me wonders whether this isn't a snake eating its own tail. because this is about washington and politics and the palace intrigue in and around the nation's capital. it's sort of a built-in audience with senators and people in politics. if this was a show about teenage cheerleaders, would the maryland legislature really have put up with this if they weren't fans of the show, themselves, already? >> well, i think it's a good point. there's actually -- there's the fun piece of this.
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there's the sort of playing on the almost post-modern element of frank underwood. you actually saw the maryland house of delegates chamber in the clips you were showing earlier. but there's also a broader issue about tax credits. generally the way that these businesses play one state off against the other. are we getting the economic impact we want here? i mean, i don't know if we would be so eager to throw money at these productions if they weren't sexy, if they weren't movie stars. >> and ego boosting. >> egos. kevin spacey came and lobbied himself. maybe we would. some people do it simply for the cost benefit. >> you bring up a really important point. the tax breaks that are given to corporations to keep business in-state, it's hostage taking almost. boeing got -- sorry, berkshire hathaway 310 subsidies totaling over $1 billion. boeing more than $13 million. i mean, this is beyond just incentiveizing economics. this seems like actual hostage taking.
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>> right. it's a race to the bottom. it's not unique to this industry. we face it all the time. every time there's a corporate relocation, states are played off one against the other. we've seen it in defense contracting, in a number of different industries. and the states are kind of stuck. we'd all be better off if these decisions were made solely on the merits, but instead, they're based on packages. we're fighting against virginia, we're fighting against research triangle. so we find ourselves really in a race to the bottom with one another and would be better off if it was just done on the merits. >> delegate frick, keep to your guns as frank underwood would. thank you for your time and thoughts. coming up, why a movie about a guy, a boat, and a bunch of animals has outraged conservatives. stay with us.
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senate contender was caught on tape last week telling the annual meeting of the louisiana oil and gas association what he
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thinks about uninsured people, that they are, quote, relatively less sophisticated, less comfortable with forms,less educated. >> insurance people, they will tell you that they will go to a company and an employer will pay for everything, and there are some people who will not sign up. turns out those are my patients. they're illiterate. i'm not saying that to be mean. i say that in compassion. they cannot read. the idea that they're going to go on the internet and work through a 16-page document to put in their data and sign up does not reflect an understanding of who is having the hardest time in our economy. >> congressman bill cassidy sought to clarify those remarks yesterday saying that "the uninsured come from all segments of society. this includes the more and the less educated. that's exactly the point i made and make. if we seek to be truly compassionate, our policies must meet people where they are."
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but here's the thing about where congressman cassidy's people are. louisiana. a state whose republican governor, bobby jindal, is refusing to expand medicaid. even though the federal government will pick up the tab for that extension for the next three years, and even though that decision leaves 87% of poor adults in louisiana without health coverage. it is a good bet that a lot of the men and women of louisiana who don't have insurance don't have it not because they're illiterate and not because they're undereducated and not because they won't sign up, but because governor jindal and congressman bill cassidy are making sure they can't. we'll be right back.
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(dad) that's good to know. (mom) i'm so excited. it is awful. i believe that it is not a godless climate change movie. it's more like "sinbad the sailor" meets "shining" and "friday the 13th" with a sprinkle of "mad max beyond the thunderdome." >> the reviews from the right of darren aronofsky's latest film "noah" are flooding in. the story of a man and his ark is not embraced by everyone. blogger erick erickson, this response, "any christian leaders who thinks noah is an awesome
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movie should be burned at the stake. conservatives are taking issue with some of the movie's artistic decisions. decisions that prompted the director, himself, to call noah the least biblical biblical film ever made. >> it doesn't use the word god. not once throughout the entire film. >> "noah" may not mention the word god. >> that's like writing an american history book without mentioning george washington. >> the problem is, though, the bible uses the word god. >> i read the story of "noah" today and counted the number of times god is used in the three books. >> good for you. all right. good research. how many? >> all right. god is used 20 times and lord is used 9 times. >> with "noah's" mathematics settled, the movie refers to the higher power guiding noah as the creator. also at issue, plot points. >> if you're looking for a biblical movie, this is definitely not it. >> in this movie, the great sin humanity commits is degrading the environment.
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the worst sins you can commit are apparently he lly eating a hamburger. >> i don't think it's an environmentalist thing as much as it's pro-animal and anti-human. >> if you don't want to make it biblical, make it kneel in the flood. >> so is the eating on animals. that's a big problem. the degradation of the environment by mining is a huge problem. so prehistoric fracking. >> all of this is very problematic if you happen to love the guy who plays noah. so, in the presence of a priest, sean hannity confessed. >> all right. i will be honest. i have been looking forward, i want to really see this movie. i love russell crowe. i can quote "gladiator." are you not entertained? i love russell crowe. gladiator. >> russell crowe, himself, shared his thoughts on the right-wing freak-out with a fox news reporter. >> it is kind of strange people are willing to put their stamp and name to a grand statement about something they haven't seen. the unfortunate thing is you
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have a whole bunch of people who have already been infected by that stupidity. you know? and they seem to somehow think that this is a bad thing. >> joining me now is david ed lstein, chief film critter for "new york" magazine. thanks for joining me. you're the film critic here. but hollywood taking artistic license with biblical stories seems basically as old as the bible, itself. is all the outcry here just because there are sort of leftist progressive themes of environmentalism and veganism and this movie? >> this is what happens when you leave film criticism to amateurs, i'm afraid. i don't think these people would have been happy unless sarah palin was the voice of god. you know, the film basically z pozits the idea of an all seeing, all powerful deity who will exterminate human kind for its wickedness. also the reality of religious visions. on all the major issues, this
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film is in line with everything in the old testament. where it does depart is yes, yes, noah has a problem eating meat. well, given the fact that his, you know, ship is groaning with animals that come, i should say, not two by two, considerably more of them, you know, i think that's only -- that's a kind of a classy move on his point. i mean, they don't want to smell that. they don't want to smell him cooking, you know, a hamburger or something. >> and, you know, to the point of some of the themes being more inclusive, david, the use of the word "creator" is obviously an artistic choice by the director, but it also is a marketing choice. insofar as every major hollywood blockbuster now has an eye toward international distribution, and by making this nondenominational, doesn't that actually help them sell this film overseas? >> sure. and at the risk of raising religious conservatives' ire, you know, we should remember
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that, you know, reputable bible scholars of all faiths have pointed to gilgamesh as actually a source of the flood tale. you know, the idea of wanting to make this inclusive doesn't seem to me heredical. it seems to me good business which i think these people would support. since it doesn't undermine the basic tenets of the faith. the most curious episode of the bible comes after the flood when noah goes out and gets bombed and one of his sons finds him naked and another one covers him up and he curses that son for all eternity and his descendants. if that had been in there, people would have been more up in arms. out of respect darren aronofsky leave it out and make noah actually kind of a dull guy. >> which is a point that has been completely lost on people like erick erickson who say
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anybody who thinks "noah" is an awesome movie should be burned at the stake. let me get to the larger point of biblical or faith-centered movies, if not faith-based. there is "son of god" which is another bible-based movie from 20th century fox. later this year, "exodus: the moses story in 3-d." my question to you as a film critic, is this because film studios are thinking there's a bigger audience for religious films and themes or reflect a dearth of ideas in los angeles, california? >> no, i think on one hand, it does -- they do think that there's a healthy market for this and we know on the evidence that there is. the other thing is, these are special effects heavy movies. >> right. >> the apocalypse is big business. we know from the spate of distone yan movies that open and make hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, that people want to see the world destroyed over and over. and the idea of it not being
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some random asteroid, but in fact, the deity, the creator, whatever you want to call him, coming down and doing this seems to me i'm sure they think it's a slam dunk. i'm sure paramount is utterly mystified by the response to this movie. and, frankly, i'm mystified by the response to it. >> well, you know, part of me thinks that it -- we played that sean hannity clip for a reason. it must be endlessly frustrating for sort of the right wing that loves kind of stereotypically macho male leads like russell crowe to see him starring in this movie as a vegan and environmentalist. someone who cares about the consciousness of animals. that casting actually, you know, of course russell crowe can carry a huge hollywood blockbust blockbuster, but that must be the final insult to the sean hannitys of the world. >> sure. the people who were kind of weaned on "gladiator" who thought of "gladiator" as a firm
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that affirmed militaristic values that were sadly lacking in the culture back in the year 2000 or whenever it came out. yes, i think they probably see this as a cruel betrayal. >> the next thing you know, mel gibson is going to be advocating for pay equity in a film. >> mel gibson has long wanted to make the juda mcabee story. >> it is a high bar for bloodiest things. coming up, david is going to stick around and we will be joined by someone who knows a lot about the bible to do some fact checking. stay with us. miles per tank. salesperson #2: actually, we're throwing in a $1,000 fuel reward card. we've never done that. that's why there's never been a better time to buy a passat tdi clean diesel. husband: so it's like two deals in one? avo: during the salesperson #2: first ever exactly. volkswagen tdi clean diesel event, get a great deal on a passat tdi, that gets up to 795 highway miles per tank. and get a $1000 dollar fuel reward card. it's like two deals in one. hurry in and get a $1,000 fuel reward card and 0.9% apr for 60 months on tdi models.
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you can watch "star wars" and not believe in yoda. why can't you watch this and maybe not agree with it? what's wrong with the lesson of the ten commandments, what's wrong with thou shall not steal?
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>> the new film "noah" riled up the right wing and perhaps confused it as well. still with me, "new york" magazine film critic david edelstein and joining the conference, anthea butler, religious studies at the university of pennsylvania. professor, may i start with you here. >> absolutely. >> as someone who knows a thing or two about the bible. the story of noah is actually a really short story in the bible, so it would seem kind of almost impossible to do an entire movie without taking some creative licensing. >> yeah, absolutely. and, you know, when you think about it, it's maybe a chapter, chapter and a half at best. so you have to add some embellishment. so i think what aronofsky does interestingly is put the creation story in midst of tell of the destruction and the flood story. he's trying to use some of the elements of the bible. how he uses them is what conservatives are really upset about. and i think that's the thing.
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>> david, let me ask you from the studio perspective, paramount we know is doing special screenings, but seems sort of flatfooted or unprepared for the response they would get from this film. did that surprise you that they didn't sort of anticipate this outcry more? >> i don't know if i'm spilling any beans here, but actually paramount contacted me about a month ago and apparently darren aronofsky said you're showing this to religious leaders but you're not showing it to any film critics. i actually had a screening of my own about three weeks ago, well before my colleagues. i agreed not to write about the film because they wanted to know how film critics would receive this movie. i'm afraid my response was all over the place and probably confused them. because i don't think it's darren aronofsky's most interesting movie, but i did think it was very interesting to introduce a kind of abraham and isaac theme in it whereby noah believes that he has a command
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from the creator to essentially slay his own family to make sure that humans do not survive. it's a very interesting wrinkle to the whole story, and frankly, i think it adds a dramatic dimension that maybe is missing from the old testament if that doesn't sound too heretical. >> professor butler, david makes a great point here. humans are not seen as the sort of top of the food chain or they are not the be all end all in this movie. the animals get sort of their fair share, and that in and of itself seems to be one of the major problems that people in certain circles have with this film. >> yeah, absolutely. i'm not giving away everything in the film, but in the mouth of kane comes out a big statement, maybe evangelical and conservative christians believe, he talks about the biggest creation is humanity and that humans have dominion over
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everything else. you know, the bees to the field. all of this other thing. so i think the problem for people when they watch this movie is that they -- if you have the kind of belief going, if you believe that human beings have dominion over everything, then the preferential treatment that plants and the animals get and the fact noah wants to kill off his entire family and it makes it very difficult. really difficult. and also, let me just say one more thing. the part that i had a real problem with was the part in which he -- not just want to kill all the family, but a specific portion, if a female child had been born, and i thought that brought up a whole bunch of issues which is another story altogether. i'll leave it at that. >> yeah, there are a lot of complicating issues. professor, i just ask as a follow-on to that. the right wing has now found itself in its anger and sort of misenthropic position regarding this film aligned with predominantly muslim countries who have taken issue with the
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film because of its depiction of false prophets, including indonesia, united emirates, qatar. these are strange bedfellows, speaking theologically and religiously. >> in a way, they are very good bedfellows because they have a sort of way they want to look at the world which, you know, those of us in religious study say is a fundamentalist viewpoint. on the muslim side, you don't depict anyone who's heard the voice of god, a prophet of god. so noah as a prophet of god should not be depicted. on the christian side, i'll use erick erickson for the example. he's done exactly some of the same thing muslim clerics have done. by saying if anybody says they like this, they should be burned at the stake. these kinds of pronouncements that come out about movies like this, especially a movie where you have, you know -- it's from the jewish tradition, the christian tradition, and the muslim tradition that they all share the same book. i think that paramount probably knew upfront they would have some problems, but perhaps they
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should have put in a couple religious study scholars to talk about what's probably going to happen. because i think if you make your movies, anybody has a right to make whatever they want, but it's just the problematic of how people respond. >> david, really quickly before we go. does all of this rigmarole, all this controversy help in terms of film ticket sales? >> well, no. i actually think that it's going to cut down on the number of people who will flock to the film, save the audience who supported "the passion of the christ." on the other hand, you know, we're talking about it now. if it becomes a kind of cause celebra on the left, maybe it will help ticket sales. at the end it's going to be word of mouth, do people think the special effects are really cool? does the bad guy get it so it hurts? so we'll see. i don't know how it's going to play with the mass audience. >> we shall see. support the environment. go see "noah." film critic edelstein and anthea
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butler. "the rachel maddow show" starts now with ari melber in for rachel. good evening, ari. >> good evening. i know what i'm going to see this weekend. thanks, alex. thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. rachel has the night off. today was the biggest day in the ongoing bridge-gate scandal surrounding governor chris christie of new jersey. we still do not know why access lanes on the busiest bridge in the world were shut down. gridlocking a small town in new jersey on the orders of a senior member of governor christie's administration. but today we learned a lot more about what happened with a new resignation, and tonight, a new response from one of christie's former aides in the eye of the storm. the most striking part of today's events was how much of the events we actually carefully choreographed. several of these developments looked planned and well coordinated with team christieing a


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