tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC November 21, 2014 1:00am-2:01am PST
in such a way that what happened was inevitable and the audience, instead of going to the audience, the audience came to him in films and will forever. >> we've got to go. films. and will forever. >> we've got to go. it's 11:00. but in his last tony speech, when he accepted his last tony two years ago, it was in the theater where he had appeared once before, winning a pie-eating contest when he was a kid. he said that was nice, but this is better. what a life, what a career. james lipton, thank you very much. we need you on a night like this to give us the perspective on this career. thank you very much. really, really appreciate you coming in. >> thank you. >> thank you. "the rachel maddow show" is next. it was a hot day in june. the summer before the 2012 election, and president obama went to the rose garden to make an important statement about a policy change that he was instituting. and in the middle of the president standing there formally in a suit at the podium
with the presidential seal and everything all set up in the very formal rose garden, in the middle of all that, a guy who works at tucker carlson's website started yelling at the president in the middle of his statement. and it was a weird thing to happen in any circumstance, but in the formal setting of the rose garden, while the president is there giving an official presidential statement, it was -- it was really weird. and the president got really mad. >> it is the right thing to do. excuse me, sir. it's not time for questions, sir. >> no, you have to take questions. >> not while i'm speaking. and the answer to your question, sir, and the next time i prefer you let me finish my statements before you ask that question is this is the right thing to do for the american people. >> the guy who was yelling at the president, as you can see there, has -- see the red thing there? has a press credential around his neck. he was a credentialed member of the white house press corps for the tucker carlson website.
and not once, not twice, he yelled out at the president during the president's remarks that day. not during that question and answer period, but while the president was still trying to make his statement. and you know, this president, like every president, has been heckled before. we have seen him heckled a lot about immigration activists, for example. we have seen him quietly heckled by a conservative justice from the supreme court one time. we saw him sort of pitfully heckled by a member of congress. remember that? you lie! but an accredited member of the press, of the press corps, stopping a presidential announcement to heckle the president while he gave his statement. i mean, that was just weird. it was not weird like the iraqi guy throwing the shoe at president bush. that guy was a member of the press corps, too. it wasn't that weird. that guy went to jail for three years for doing that. but still, that moment in the rose garden in the summer of 2012, it was an astonishing moment. the publication that guy worked for actually put out a statement after the incident saying they
were very proud of their reporter for his behavior during that presidential rose garden address. and that guy still works there. that was 2012 in the heat of president obama's re-election campaign about five months before the 2012 election. and what the president was announcing that day was that for a specific group of people who conceivably could be deported, he was going to offer them temporary relief from the fear of deportation. people who had been brought to this country as kids when they had no say in the matter, people who have grown up here in this country, who have known no other home as adults, those young people, he didn't give them citizenship, legal residency and greencards, but he did give them temporary relief from one thing, from the threat of being deported. and the republicans lost their minds. congressman steve king said the republicans should sue the prosecutes to stop this terrible thing he was doing. but they didn't sue the president, and the policy went into effect. when the policy went into effect, you may remember this
was the scene all over the country on the first day when young people could turn up, make themselves known, fill out an application, find out if they qualified. that was 2 1/2 years ago. and so far between 500,000 and 600,000 young people across the country have qualified under that program to get temporary relief from the threat of being deported. and the sky did not fall. the economy did not collapse. under the weight of this small-scale compassionate account athat the president announced in 2012 unless you consider falling unemployment accelerated economic growth and the dow approaching 18,000 to be a novel form of economic collapse. the president announced that policy change two years ago, in the summer of 2012. the realms and the conservative media, they couldn't even wait until he had physically stopped announcing it before they sta started screaming at him about it. but you know what? that policy change, it has kind of worked out okay. the country's okay. and tonight's announcement from the white house builds on both that policy that he announced in
2012. it essentially expands the idea of temporary relief from deportation, to include families, right, who have a legal resident or a u.s. citizen in them. so families do not get physically divided by force because there are different immigration statuses among different members of the same family. >> we're going to offer the following deal. if you've been in america for more than five years, if you have children who are american citizens or legal residents, if you register, pass a criminal background check and you're willing to pay your fair share of taxes, you'll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily. >> president obama announced tonight from the east room just about an hour ago. substantive what he announced tonight, it builds on that idea that president obama announced unilaterally in 2012 in the rose garden. it builds on what they call
daka, that was that program. but it also builds on a long track record from this president. frankly, a long list of warnings signs from this president that he was going to do something like what he just did tonight. and i don't know whether or not consistency is a virtue in politics or in life. but in this case on this issue, president barack obama and even just barack obama, before he was president, has been really consistent on this issue. in 2007 when he was the united states senator, the bush administration wrote a big comprehensive immigration reform bill. and even though it had been written by the bush administration, republicans in congress still didn't support it. barack obama voted for it, though, as a senator. when barack obama ran for president, he campaigned on his support for the dream act, which, again, would be a very specific form of immigration reform targeted at young people, particularly young people who had made promising investments in themselves like going to college or joining the military. he campaigned on the dream act when he ran for president. when he got elected president, he supported the dream act. democrats in the house
introduced the dream act. they got it passed in the house in the first half of his first term. democrats in the senate, most of them supported it as well, but it fell to a republican filibuster. so they tried on the dream act, but they couldn't get it done. then when he was running for re-election in the summer of 2012, he made that dada announcement while the tucker carlson guy screamed at him. that was in the leadup to the election. then president obama won that election. and democrats picked up seats in both the house and the senate and everybody's diagnosis, even the republican party's self-diagnosis in 2012 was part of the reason that republicans had lost so badly in 2012 is that they didn't support immigration reform. and so after that 2012 election with the republican party's official autopsy of what went wrong, recommending explicitly that the republican party embrace immigration reform and champion it, with even fox news getting religion on the issue after that election. >> we've got to get rid of the immigration issue altogether. it's simple for me to fix it.
i think you control the border first. you create a pathway for those people that are here. you don't say you've got to go home. and that is a position that i've evolved on. >> he evolved. he has since unevolved. right after the 2012 election, the republican party, fox news, house speaker john boehner, they were all saying the republican party had finally come around and support immigration reform. this was going to happen in 2012, right? right after he was sworn in for his second term, president obama took a trip out to nevada, gave a speech at a high school in las vegas where he was so happy, he was, like, vibrating three feet off the ground. he had just been re-elected, just been sworn in for a second term, democrats did great all the way down the ticket, all around the country, nevada had voted for him by a mile. he's at this high school with the kids in the crowd who are all psyched to see him and then listen to what he says here about how he thinks it's finally going to happen. it's an emerging consensus.
republicans are finally coming around. he really believed it. everybody did. >> those of you who have a seat, feel free to take a seat. i don't mind. i love you back! now, last week, last week i had the honor of being sworn in for a second term as president of the united states. i know that some issues will be harder to lift than others. some debates will be more contentious. that's to be expected. but the reason i came here today is because of a challenge where the differences are dwindling. where a broad consensus is emerging. and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across america. i'm here today because the time has come for common sense,
comprehensive immigration reform. the time is now. now's the time. now's the time. >> you hear the crowd actually getting louder, swelling there? it's because the crowd really did go wild. they gave him a standing ovation. but the case that he's making there is a remarkable moment in time. he says, the differences are dwindling. a broad consensus is emerging. in other words, the republicans have finally agreed to do it, you guys. this is right after the 2012 election. and everybody said immigration reform would happen. even fox news thought immigration reform would happen. and it started to happen. within six months of that speech, the senate had passed a bill, a big bipartisan, tough comprehensive bill with enough votes to beat the republican filibuster. they got 14 republican senators to sign on to that thing. okay, so that's step one, right? we've got this emerging consensus, differences are
dwindling. 14 republican senators agreed with this, and that's enough to pass it, even over the filibuster. okay. all right. done. now it's time for the house. go on, house. you take it from here, house. john boehner had said that the house would pass immigration reform. but they got that bipartisan bill from the senate, and then it just -- you know, it never came up. for a while, it just sat there with no explanation. then finally, the house republicans came up with a procedural objection. they said they didn't want to pass a comprehensive bill. they wanted to pass a bill piecemeal. they just wanted to pass each individual piece of it bit by bit. and the democrats responded, and the president responded, okay, whatever you want. however you want to do it. we'll do it that way if that's the way you need to do it. >> they're suspicious of comprehensive bills, but you know what? if they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, i don't care what it looks like,
as long as it's actually delivering on those core values that we talk about. >> you need to chop it up, jaw wired shut, can only chew tiny things, okay. piecemeal is a weird way to do it, but if that's what you need to do, we'll do it. they said that's what they needed to be able to do it, but that apparently wasn't what they needed. even after getting an agreement to do it that way, they still just never did it. and as much as everybody thought they were going to, as much as they said they were going to, as much as they promised they were going to, as much as they said it would be in their own interest to do so, and of course, they would do it, they never did it. the house republicans never did it. and that's what happened. and that was more than 500 days ago. and so now tonight, the president, like he did with daka in 2012, the president tonight announced that he would act on his own. he can't change the law, but he can't change the enforcement priorities of his administration and the homeland security department and all the rest of it. and now congress will not vote on these things that the
president announced tonight. those changes will just go into effect starting january 1st, 2015. and yeah, the republicans and the president's critics say they feel blindsided by this action, but it's not like no one knew where he stood. it's not like he didn't tell you over and over and over again that this was coming. >> enact comprehensive immigration reform once and for all. they need not -- we can't wait 20 years from now to do it. we can't wait 10 years from now to do it. we need to do it by the end of my first term as president of the united states of america. we want to move this process. we can't continue with a broken immigration system. the time has come for common-sense, comprehensive immigration reform. the time is now. now's the time. today i'm beginning a new effort to fix as much of our immigration system as i can on my own. i've said before that if congress failed to live up to
its responsibilities to solve this problem, i would act to fix as much of our immigration system as i can on my own, and i meant what i said. so this is not a question of if, but when. >> see the timestamps on all of those for the last oh, five, six years? whether you like what president obama announced tonight or not, it's not like you didn't know it was coming. and republicans are losing their minds over this, in some interesting ways. we will be talking more about that including with some of our republican friends. but you know what? what the president did tonight is something that he said he was going to do for a long time. there's no question that this is a big political fight. and it's going to be fascinating to watch what's going to happen between the president and congress, between democrats and republicans. this is an absolutely riveting part of how the game of politics is played. big presidential announcement like this, congress saying no, we're going to light our hair on fire! we'll never let you do it! it's an amazing thing to watch.
fights like this in politics are really, really top of the ticket fights. but that is not actually what this story is about. this is not at all what tonight was about at its most important level. this is what this story is really about. what the president announced tonight will have practical, everyday effects on millions of people in this country. millions of families. i mean, from the moment they wake up in the morning to the moment they go to bed at night, this announcement is going to have an immediate effect on people's lives and their families now and for generations to come. 5 million families just had their trajectory in life changed dramatically. for all the politics, this is the real story here. joining us now is the host of "the rundown" on msnbc and also a news anchor on telemundo. great to see you. what is your reaction to what the president did tonight? >> 5 million people. 5 million families. 5 million people that tonight see the opportunity of coming out from under the shadows of fear and that have been living
here -- remember, this is going to be people that have been living here five years or more in the united states of america and have u.s.-born children or u.s. residence. imagine what that means for 5 million people that for years have seen their children go to school, and they fear maybe not being there when their children come home from school. imagine going to work not knowing if you are going to come back to work because you don't have the documents to do that work that many times other americans don't want to do. talk about the american dream, rachel, this is 5 million people. you know, i was with the president in las vegas, the 29th of january in 2013, in the high school in las vegas which, by the way, rachel, the president's going back to tomorrow. >> exactly. >> to that same high school. and then the day after that on the 30th of january of 2013 in the white house, i interviewed the president. and i asked him about latisha, a mother i met at that speech in
las vegas. and she came to see me after she saw the president of the united states of america. and she told me i wish i could have told him this. i have u.s.-born children. and i was deported from the united states. i left my children here. and one of them was molested. so i have come back knowing that my fate is probably sealed, but a mother's responsibility is far stronger than laws when my children were born here. ask the president if he can do for the dream -- he can do for me what he did for the dreamers. i kept thinking about letitia tonight, rachel. and you know, all things are limited. and this is a short program. it's for three years and it's going to be contested. but rachel, thank you for bringing up it all boils down to human beings. and what are we as a country? do we not care for human beings? these are children born in the united states, families separated, and that is going to change for 5 million people in short order. >> jose, when we have seen
presidents take unilateral action, not to change law, but to change the way the law is enforced, in the past, the two big times that's happened for big swaths of people have been in the administration of george h.w. bush and president reagan, both of them took action of a similar character to what president obama did tonight to the extent that they were about keeping families together. they would acknowledge that the legal policies that were being enforced had had the effect of tearing families apart. they wanted to try to allow families to stay together while still maintaining the law. should this be seen as in line with those previous examples? >> yeah, except to be very clear, rachel, both george h.w. bush and ronald reagan actually went towards amnesty. so this is something that the president of the united states currently says is not possible. and he doesn't think that his executive orders will be able to go towards anything that could be considered amnesty. this is a short period of time, three years, and this doesn't give you greencard or the possibility of being a citizen of the united states of america.
now, clearly, those folks that are critics of today's action will tell you that both bush and reagan were acting as a response to legislation that was either in the pipeline or had already been passed by both houses of congress. but the fact is, this is a very limited program. sure, it's 5 million people, but it's about 41% of the undocumented population of the united states, which is about the same population percentage, i should say, that was affected by the decisions of both bush and reagan, 41%. different numbers in totality, but the same percentage. look, the fact is, the folks that work behind me right there and you said it very clearly, had the opportunity to do something about it, well, maybe they'll look and see that maybe now is the time to deal with issues. it's not going to go away just because you don't want to deal with it. >> that's right. and if they want to change something about what's about to happen on january 1st, it's because they have to act on their own terms and they've been unwilling.
jose balart, jose, a big night. thanks for making time for us. >> a pleasure. much more on head on this historic night. please do stay with us. . you're on to the next thing. clinically proven neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair. it targets fine lines and wrinkles with the fastest retinol formula available. you'll see younger looking skin in just one week. one week? this one's a keeper. rapid wrinkle repair. and for dark spots rapid tone repair. from neutrogena®. and for dark spots rapid tone repair. boy: once upon a time, there was a nice house that lived with a family. one day, it started to rain. the house tried to keep out all the water, but water got inside and ruined everybody's everythings. the house thought she let the family down. they just didn't think it could happen.
it's been this way for decades. and for decades, we haven't done much about it. >> ahead of the president's big speech tonight on immigration, the newspaper "usa today" published a surprising interview with oklahoma republican senator tom coburn. susan page asked senator coburn how he thinks republicans are going to react to tonight's speech. this, amazingly, was his answer. >> i don't think it's so much a republican reaction here. the country's going to go nuts because they're going to see it as a move outside of the authority of the president. and it's going to be a very dangerous situation. you're going to see hopefully not, but you could see instances of anarchy. >> what do you mean? >> you could see violence. >> the country's going to go nuts. instances of anarchy by which i mean violence.
really, sthor? are you sure? joining us now is robert gibbs who knows a thing or two about this white house and about political conflict, both understandable and crazy. mr. gibbs was white house press secretary and also senior adviser to the president's 2012 campaign. robert, it's nice to see you. thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me, rachel. >> first of all, what is the white house -- how is the white house handling that core charge from republicans that this is outside the president's authority, that this is unprecedented, that this is tierenical? how are they dealing with that charge? >> well, i think the president dealt with it head on in the speech tonight and addressed it very early by discussing how he actually did possess all the authority necessary to do that. legal scholars will back that up. i think what senator coburn was saying actually probably isn't something that you'll see the white house spend a ton of time responding to because i think like many of the viewers who just watched that interview, they're a bit taken aback by the idea that the president's
announcement will be met with lawlessness and violence. after all, the core policy of immigration reform that the president enunciated today is supported by probably 60% to 65% of the american people. there aren't policy differences on this. there's a difference on the will to get it done. >> so on that point, there is -- there's a lot of good political axioms about whether or not you're fighting about the process or whether you're fighting about the substance. if you're complaining about the process, usually people say that means you're losing the fight. >> right. >> but on the issue of the process, we can't get any republican elected officials to come on the air tonight to talk about this. even before the president's speech, no one would come on to talk about it. republican strategists very reasonable guys, very nice guys, actually friends of mine in both cases, doug hind and steve schmidt were so exercised, you could see them sweat, so upset about the president being so unappropriate and unconstitutional in this action, i don't think they're faking it. i think they've really talked
themselves into this idea that this is something not just that no other president has done, but this president has never done anything this radical. i feel like their sort of position of conflict against the president right now is as sharp an edge as it's ever been. >> which is so hard to believe given the fact that, you know, i think republicans, this town -- most of america has known this has been coming for quite some time. in fact, if anything, democrats got upset at the president for having delayed what they thought this announcement would be at the end of the summer. now it's -- now it's almost at the end of the year. so none of it's a surprise. i do think it puts republicans in a tough political situation. you know, you talked at the beginning of the broadcast where two-thirds of the senate voted for comprehensive immigration reform. and you know, if the bill got put up in the house today, a majority would support it.
republicans are in a very tough bind. they can't shut down the government because quite frankly, we've seen how that works. they don't look like they have reasonable policies to defund this. they have talked about taking it to court. i don't know that there is, interestingly enough, a genuine organized response to something that they knew largely was coming. i think the smarter voices in the republican party, i saw senator jeff flake say earlier today that our response ought to be to pass a bill. and again, i think what's remarkable about this is we know the outlines of what that reform and what that bill would be because it passed a rear and a half ago in senate. and quite frankly, it's not a lot different than what president bush was talking about in 2005, 2006 and in 2007. it's not a policy difference, it's a will. >> robert gibbs, former white house press secretary for the obama administration, thank you for your help on this tonight, robert. nice to see you. >> thank you. >> it's an interesting point he's making there, too, about
if -- about what they're going to do. i mean, if you think about the temperament, the upset, we're going to impeach him, there's going to be anarchy, there's going to be violence. the statement from rand paul, i will stand in front of this by any means necessary! sometimes a good sign about whether or not somebody has anything practical to offer against something is the number of exclamation points on their statement about what they're going to do in response. the more exclamation points, the more anger, the more all caps and crazy it is, the less functionally they actually think they can do. maybe that's what's going on. ironically, today's announcement does fiulfill some of the immigration reform dreams of some presidents. we'll have more on that straight ahead. stay with us. >> scripture tells us that we should not oppress a stranger, for we know the heart of a stranger. we were strangers once, too. my fellow americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants.
the actions i'm taking are not only lawful, they're the kinds of actions taken by every single republican president and every single democratic president for the past half century. and to those members of congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better or question the wisdom of me acting where congress has failed, i have one answer. pass a bill. >> pass a bill. we in no way support drinking games on this network or on this show, but every time any republican anywhere says that what president obama did tonight means that now republicans won't pass an immigration bill, drink. they were never going to pass an immigration bill before this. now that president obama has taken this action, maybe they now will or maybe they won't now. but the person who may know more about whether that's going to
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amnesty is the immigration system we have today. millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time. that's the real amnesty. leaving this broken system the way it is. mass amnesty would be unfair. mass deportation would be both impossible and contrary to our character. what i'm describing is accountability. >> that was president obama a little over an hour ago addressing the nation about his plans for the kind of limited immigration reform that a president can do alone without congress. for the record, i should tell you this is what the big three broadcast networks were playing while the president made his address tonight. cbs didn't dare show the remarks. for the west coast only but not for the rest of the country, but not the rest of cbs nor nbc, nor
abc ran it at all because there was this other stuff to show that was way too important to delay for ten minutes for a presidential address on the biggest change in our nation's immigration policy in 25 years. ahem. in may 2006, i should men, then-president george w. bush gave his own primetime speech calling for immigration reform. >> some in this country argue that the solution is to deport every illegal immigrant. and that any proposal short of this amounts to amnesty. i disagree. it is neither wise nor realistic to round up millions of people, many with deep roots in the united states, and send them across the border. there is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant and a program of mass deportation. that middle ground recognizes there are differences between an illegal immigrant who crossed the border recently and someone who has worked here for many
years and has a home, a family and an otherwise clean record. >> in 2006, president george w. bush's pro-immigration reform speech -- i should say it was about twice as long as president obama's speech tonight, and all the broadcast networks happily carried that one. and they got a huge reward for it. they got a huge audience. more than 40 million people watched that 2006 speech on immigration. basically the same number of people who watched the state of the union that year. you'll remember that one. that was the one where he talked about switchgrass, and he whispered it. but after president gave that speech in 2006, his administration then basically wrote a bill for comprehensive immigration reform. it died. republican opponents of the bill said they were elated when it died. republican senator jeff sessions of alabama was a leading opponent of the bill, he said that talk radio was a big factor in derailing the immigration bill. jeff sessions said supporters of the bill tried to ram the thing through, quote, before rush
limbaugh could tell the american people what was in it. so not that long ago it was president bush pushing for immigration reform and jefferson beauregard sessions iii and rush limbaugh beating him so he would not get it. a democratic senator by the nam of barack obama voted for that bush bill, by the way, but not enough republicans did. even though the bush white house wrote the bill. and so it died. and interestingly, after that bill died, president bush moved ahead to implement some parts of what he had called for, even though congress wouldn't approve it. he said in a statement in august 2007, quote, although the congress has not addressed our broken immigration system by passing comprehensive reform legislation, my administration will continue to take every possible step to build upon the progress already made. that same day, explaining what the bush white house was doing without congress, press secretary at the time explained, quote, we're going as far as we possibly can without congress acting. so they did what they could by
executive action after they couldn't move even republicans, people in their own party in congress to support a bill to reform immigration. the bush white house. the george w. bush white house acted alone, just as the other bush white house did as well on immigration and just as the reagan white house did as well on immigration. procedurally, every recent president has acted on some element of immigration reform when congress wouldn't. but there remains this really interesting and still-unanswered question. why didn't president george w. bush win that fight? within his party? in 2005, 2006, 2007? he called for immigration reform. he really wasn't for it. he made the case. his administration wrote the bill. he was the leader of his party. his own party told him to stuff it. why did george w. bush lose on this? he really lost on this. this is what the latest incarnation of would-be leadership sounded like this on this. this is what the republican party became post-george w. bush on this issue. >> the question is, if i were
elected and congress were to pass the dream act, would i veto it? and the answer is yes. >> should there be aggressive seek them out, find them and arrest them as sheriff arpaio advocates? >> i think you see a model here in arizona. we hired a lawn company to mow our lawn. and they had illegal immigrants that were working there. and when that was pointed out to us, we let them go. we went to the company and we said look, you can't have any illegals working on our property. i'm running for office for pete's sake. i can't have illegals. >> you say you don't want to round them up and deport them, but they would have to go back, so if you don't deport them, how would you send them home? >> well, the answer is self-deportation. >> self-deportation. that's the last iteration of what the republican party was offering in terms of potential presidential leadership on this issue. self-deportation. i'm running for office, for pete's sake. that's where the republican party is on this issue right now is the party of, like, tom tancredo on this issue. that's why president obama acted alone instead of signing some
bill tonight, because republicans really won't pass anything on immigration through congress. how did that happen? why did george w. bush lose this fight in his own party? to such impressive effect? joining us now is nicole wallace, former communications director for the bush administration, senior adviser to the mccain/palin campaign. she's now a cohost of "the view." it's great to see you. thank you for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> do you dispute my premise? >> no, but let me tell you a couple things that are different. president obama controlled obviously the white house, the senate and the house, and he could have done this with the congress when his party controlled all three branches. >> yes, but republicans did filibuster it in the senate. >> but the republicans also did vote for a senate bill. there is a senate bill with bipartisan support, and the house should have taken it up. the house republicans should have taken it up. they supported a more piecemeal approach which i'm not a fan of. >> he said he would be happy to do the piecemeal approach, then they never brought up one of those. >> and they should have. listen, i'm out of step with the
current republican party. i still stand with the president i worked for. i worked on that speech. that address to the nation on immigration, and i remember we had a hard time getting network time, too. i think we actually moved it around a little bit to work with some football games. so i want to say -- >> they always do. >> we were probably a little more flexible with the networks and that's why we got the air time. what we pushed had the support of senator ted kennedy and at the time senator mccain. and so there was bipartisan support for what george w. bush was doing. there was also public support. i think we had over 60% of the public behind comprehensive immigration reform which is the only immigration reform that works. you cannot ignore the fact that -- we use the number 11.2 million people. there are actually some estimates that have put it at about 17 million people who are either here illegally or vast numbers of people are here with expired visas. so they're just working illegally. and anyone in our party that suggests that oh, we've got to lock up the borders first, it's
illogical. >> why didn't he win that fight? was it talk radio? >> talk radio's power isn't derived in a booth. talk radio's power is because the millions of people that listen are convinced of the argument. so there are a lot of people who are still either unconvinced that this is -- that this problem is -- i mane, 17 million people is a lot of people. that's not, like, texas' problem or california's problem. that is coast to coast. illegal immigration is everywhere. and after 9/11, i believe there was a moment where you could combine the fact that this is -- we basically have an unrepresented class of people living in our country going to our schools, you know, working in our neighborhoods. george w. bush is a former texas governor, understood, but illegal immigration wasn't someone else's problem. these were our jebs. and jeb bush has a very interesting approach and philosophy on this because he's trying to exist and survive in this modern republican party, but he understands that illegal
immigration, he called it an act of love, and he got a world of you know what for saying it. >> then he wrote a book saying no, we need to be hard-lined on the issue. >> listen, if you can't survive the politics of your party, you can't lead. >> but you can't be a republican right now to be a squish on this issue. the republican house had every opportunity to do this any way they wanted including working on even just parts of a bill that got 14 republican senators to do it. they never got close to it. they were never going to bring it up. people who were saying oh, this ruins the chance for john boehner to move ahead like john boehner was going to move ahead, meese. it was never going to happen. >> listen, president obama is the one that said for six years that he didn't have the authority to do exactly what he did tonight. listen, don't pit me against obama. i'm pitting obama against obama. and what he no longer gets to be is our constitutional law professor in chief. >> hold on. wait. what he was saying, people would say change the law. and he said i can't change the law. and so he gave the speech tonight. he said it very clear, this is not citizenship. i'm not doing amnesty.
reagan did amnesty. i'm doing -- it's not citizenship. >> i'm not offended and the republican party shouldn't be offended by an attempt to keep families together. the republican party cannot be against -- these are nuclear families. these are moms and dads of american-born kids. we cannot stake out a position where we're against keeping nuclear peoples together. no one is for that. but i think that a majority of americans oppose what he did tonight. a majority of americans oppose using executive action to change immigration laws. >> he's not doing -- the reason is because the republicans are telling him that this is some unprecedented thing are ronald reagan, george h.w. bush and to a lesser extent george w. bush took executive action. the republicans have made people against it because they've told them this is tyranny. >> we're suddenly powerful enough -- obama said this is tyranny, i'm not an emperor. >> he said it would be if he didn't change the law. >> the bottom line is he didn't do anything. i think these people are deserving of legislation. i think these are moms and dads
of kids that go to schools and live in our towns. and i hope the republicans call his bluff and pass comprehensive immigration reform. call me another class of dreamers. i hope they someday will. george w. bush won 44% of the hispanic vote in 2004. mccain won about 26%. and at the time, he was for comprehensive. he, i think, has evolved on the issue and -- >> well, yeah, he said he'd vote against his own bill. that was a good one. that was a great moment. >> the republican party is on the wrong track on this. and one of president bush's advisers on this, i talked to her on my way over here. i said where do we go from here? she said republicans really need to govern and legislate and get this done and lead on this issue, and i think she's absolutely right. and i hope we see a robust debate in the presidential contest. i hope jeb bush doubles down as someone who understands that the act of illegal immigration, while illegal, is motivated by law. that is motivate td by this long-held dream of american
life. and until we get our heads around it, i think we are in a very tough spot politically in a very important part of the country. >> and the fact that the republican party can't evolve on that despite that argument, i think, is an unexplained thing in american politics which is -- i think it's -- i think it's unexplained -- >> listen, i think president obama thought the politics were clear-cut, he would have done this three weeks ago. >> no, i think he knew what he was going to do. i think vulnerable democrats said don't do it. >> why didn't he do it three weeks ago? >> he was afraid, oh, it might save mark prior. that's a democratic sickness. >> pass both houses. >> democrats are wrong on strategy. republicans are wrong on substance. i know which one i'd rather take to the gates of st. peter. >> i worked for the guy who was right on both. he was right on politics and policy and he failed. i think we have to get back to the place where we have leaders who are strong enough to stand up to the loudest voices on our party which on our side is talk radio who will never be where
reform, ronald reagan was president. it used to be a republican thing! but here at 30 rock, the reagan amnesty news in 1987 ended up being a shock inside this building for a totally unexpected reason. >> and one of those happy to see this day come is nbc news correspondent james mccawa. much to our surprise, james today was online applying for amnesty. none of us knew that he has been an illegal alien since his student visa ran out. mcka'ua came here in 1977 to attend high school and to escape the war at home. it was then call eed rodesia. now zimbabwe. never lying about his status but never really telling anyone either. he has been paying taxes and social security all this time and worrying that someday he would be caught. now, he says, he's relieved to be able to begin the process of getting amnesty to becoming a legal american.
>> worrying that someday he would be caught. nobody at nbc had any clue until that happened. and that young man has had a remarkable life since that happened. and brief programming note, he's going to be on our show tomorrow night. all right. we've got much more ahead. stay with us. [ julie ] the wrinkle cream graveyard. if it doesn't work fast... you're on to the next thing. clinically proven neutrogena® rapid wrinkle repair. it targets fine lines and wrinkles with the fastest retinol formula available. you'll see younger looking skin in just one week. one week? this one's a keeper. rapid wrinkle repair. and for dark spots rapid tone repair. from neutrogena®.
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politicians from both parties for months, tonight was a huge deal. >> right here, right now! right now! i am! i am! somebody! somebody! and i deserve! and i deserve! full equality! full equality! right here! right here! right now! right now! >> after the president's announcement tonight will come more fighting in congress. this is going to be fireworks in washington for a very long time over this. but tonight right now for these folks, this moment is about all sorts of things. it's about celebration. it's about joy. it's worry that this will not go
far enough to help everybody and their families. maybe there's some relief that finally immigration policy can change, at least in a small way. this announcement tonight will transform the lives of millions of people across this country. and that is truly a very big deal. step forward and in the midst of our worst start to winter we broke three more records toward the warmest year ever. good morning. thank you for joining us. a personal plea for peace ahead of a possible announcement by the grand jury. >> thank you for lifting your voices but hurting other and destroyingpe