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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  January 19, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PST

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that marks it over time we can see our nation has at least shifted in how we deal with these crimes. we are not past the days of racial violence even on a grand and terrible scale, >> good evening, rachel. thank you for that important and moving report. thank you. >> thanks. well, the president's polling numbers are up on the eve of his sixth state of the union address. >> you never get completely used to it. there is a certain pageantry to it. >> a pretty good time for the president politically and economically. >> surging approval ratings, a surging stock market, a plummetting unemployment rate. >> this is the fourth quarter of barack obama's presidency. >> president obama will unveil his new tax plan. >> we have to play the game. >> middle class tax relief and
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higher taxes on the president. >> the president has been very aggressive lately, very bold. >> raising taxes on people who are successful. >> you're already seeing republicans start to object. >> it's not going to make people who are struggling more successful. >> is it a political legacy? >> mitt romney may be back and he's got a new platform to prove it. >> very problematic for mitt romney who has others to run a campaign on poverty. >> he choked like a dog. we cannot allow that to happen again. >> who in their right mind would listen to someone who keeps getting whupped. >> charlie brown keeps kicking that football. a new poll from the "washington post" and abc news shows president obama's approval rating hitting the 50% mark since may of 2013. among all adults polled, 50%
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approve of the way president obama is handling his job while 44% disapprove. in the october poll, same poll, president obama's approval rating was 10 points layer, at 40%. president obama will announce a package of state cuts paid for by an increase in the capital gains tax. a video released by the white house today, president obama gave a preview of tomorrow's state of the union address. >> last year was the best job growth we had seen since the 1990s. the unemployment rate has now dropped to 5.6%. we have seen manufacturing come back. we have cut our deficits, gas prices have dropped, so we are well positioned for the future. >> joining me now, david coren, and an msnbc analyst. david coren, at the state of the union address tomorrow night, do
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you think the white house will be able to use that same soundtrack music for comments? it really helps. it sounded really good. >> i think we all do better with a soundtrack, lawrence. >> yeah. these speeches usually need some kind of external energy boost. >> seriously, you raise a good point. the soundtrack he's going into the state of the union with is with that approval number being high, gas prices being incredibly low -- i feel like i'm in high school again -- and the federal deficit is as low as it's been since 2007, and i think democrats probably in some ways are pulling their hair out saying, why couldn't this happen in november? but yet the president does seem to have picked up some momentum and he's actually going to put it to good use tomorrow night. >> i mentioned that same poll had him at 40% in october which is relevant to the congressional campaigns.
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what has happened, david, between then and now to push him up 10 points, and why couldn't he have gotten those 10 points back in october when he needed them? >> i've been saying all along the president is smart in a lot of ways. i don't think he's done a good job of telling an overarching political narrative that includes the rest of his party in it, in these off-year elections. he did it going into 2014. the economy has gotten better in the last couple months. i think taking charge in immigration, the cuban policy, he looked strong again. i think the republicans got off to a rocky start. so all politics is relevant. he looks very strong and decisive compared to them these days. the more people hear about ted cruz, i think it's good for the president. maybe even for mitt romney, it's good for the president. he has some good balances. people tend to like him overall, so when he does well, the
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numbers move quickly for him. >> describe the tax cuts and tax benefits the president is going to propose tomorrow night and how he will try to convince republicans to pay for that with an increase in the capital gains rate. >> well, neither party is probably going to work too hard on it because they're not going to listen to that. the increase in the capital gains rate is from 24 to 28% which, by the way, they will tell you in assess -- incessantly is the rate that was approved by ronald reagan. this is the deal where if you're a rich person and you pass on, you can leave your capital gains to your heirs, and they go out and sell all that stock that appreciated over the years, they don't have to pay a tax on it. even if it's a $40 million capital gains, that goes untaxed.
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it's called stepping up basis and they plan to get rid of it. even some republicans i know think this is a loophole that ought to go. then they raise another 100 billion, by the way, by increasing a fee on 100 of the largest financial institutions, all of which have assets of 50 billion to the extent those financial institutions are leveraged, which is one of the things that got us into this mess in the first place. what do they use it for? basically more opportunity for folks to get an education, for folks to pay for child care, tax credit for a second earner. there is some college benefits. there is an automatic enrollment into retirement plan. you'll hear him tick through all these tomorrow night. i think they come under the rubric of kind of enhancing opportunity for the middle class. >> david coren, what are the politics of this?
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>> well, i think the president is talking in a way that most democrats are going to like if they go and swing voters and moderates will find very appealing when talking about opportunity in terms of college costs to kids, and if you have a second earner in your family, being able to keep a little bit more of that money. and going after the top 10% of the top 1% will get a lot of republicans very ticked off. you've seen it already. now, there's no, i think, any deal here on how this can go forward, as jerrod just says wisely, but i think it's about setting up this overarching fight. the president wants to at least leave behind winning in some debate points, that the republicans stand for trickle-down economics and he wants to share the benefits of this recovery which haven't been
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shared widely enough yet. >> and jerrod, it seems to me that isolating the pay-for side of this tax package on the capital gains rate is a way of saying, in effect, look what the republicans are willing to deny us just to hold onto this capital gains rate for the highest income earners. >> i think that's right. and by the way, when you talk about this loophole, basically, the trust fund loophole i mentioned where you can bequeath all those gazillions to your heirs without taxation, there aren't a lot of republicans that will move on it. they do go around talking about how they have to close these loop holes. i think what i like about how the president is structuring this, and you and david have been getting at it, is it goes to this problem of untaxed
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inheritances while the middle class have been falling behind. while we've been hearing this rhetoric from jeb bush, from mitt romney now, what we've yet to see is anything more than rhetoric. what kind of policy, kind of architecture do they have in mind. historically it's just been trickled down, and we just know that won't do it. >> and david, there's something remarkably bold, although there shouldn't be. but proposing an increase in the capital gains tax in this environment with this republican congress is, in and of itself, bold. >> i think what the president is doing here is saying, i'm not going to play on your territory. i still can try to set the debate, i can still set the ground. i don't expect you to comment and expect you to win this, but it's a long-term fight about the political themes, the political values that will drive what happens in the future. and i think he's always been very interested in having -- in sort of having the debate over values. this is what this is going to boil down to.
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we're going to see this play out for the next two years. hopefully into 2016. >> jerrod, a point you made earlier, this was the capital gains rate under ronald reagan, so the country survived -- the increase the president is proposing, the country survived it. it was under president lincoln, the country survived it, to put it mildly, in both of those decades. >> economic analysis, i've done some of this myself, but bipartisan analysis has shown that the linkages between where you set the capital gains rate and things like investments in the economy's capital goods are not correlated at all. so, really, having a capital gains tax rate at the reagan rate i'm sure will be fine for the economy. >> and david, we're going to hear about governor norquist's pledge that you can never raise taxes in any way. virtually all these republicans have signed that. >> well, that's right, and that's why -- it's really hard
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to envision a scenario in which john boehner and mitch mcconnell will cut a deal that gives the president a lot of what he's asking for. and i think the president knows that, and, you know, maybe on immigration, though i doubt it, but there may be other things, patent reform and other places where there will be an outburst of bipartisan cooperation between the white house and the republican congress. but i think in all the big picture items, and that's what the president is doing here, he's drawing a big picture, there won't be. it will be a healthy debate and it will be something the president has a chance of defining terms for the 2016 election and onward. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. coming up, when a tv series runs as long as mitt romney has been running for president, you've got to do something to keep it fresh, which is why mitt romney has decided to kill off one of the characters in the romney for president show.
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and in the rewrite tonight when lyndon johnson and the "new york times" turned against martin luther king jr. ♪ go! go! go! he's challenging the very fabric of society. in a post cannonball world! was it grilled cheese? guilty! the aquatic delinquency is a larger issue to this ♪ you did it again, didn't you? yup. ♪ (kids laughing) you know i tried one of those bargain paper towels but i had to use so many sheets per spill the roll just disappeared. i knew i should've bought bounty bounty is 2x more absorbent and strong when wet. just look how much longer bounty lasts versus one of those bargain brand towels. and that's a good deal. bounty. the long lasting picker upper
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the director and the stars of the oscar-nominated "selma" marked the 50th anniversary of the protest march from selma to montgomery by marching across the edmonton bridge. before the march, oprah winfrey, who plays in "selma," says this. >> i'm so proud that once again i get to walk across the bridge, not portraying annie cooper, but in following in the shoes and on the shoulders of everyone who came before us. up next, who does mitt romney have to get rid of to succeed in his next presidential campaign? set of nutrients.
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>> let me state unequivocally that i have no intention of running for u.s. senator of massachusetts. >> mitt romney, who obviously has never once in his life stopped thinking about running for president, said on friday at the republican national committee's winter meeting that he is, quote, giving some serious consideration to the future. romney pre viewed his new presidential campaign style on friday, taking on the likely democratic presidential nominee.
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>> i used to joke during the campaign that president obama didn't have a foreign policy. and, of course, that was a joke because he did have a foreign policy, and the foreign policy was one that was crafted by he and his secretary of state, hillary clinton, and their foreign policy was based in part on the premise that if we're friendly enough to other people and if we smile broadly enough and press the reset button, peace is going to break out around the world. and the results of the hillary clinton/barack obama foreign policy have been devastating. >> in his last presidential campaign, this is all mitt romney had to say about poverty in america. >> i'm in this race because i care about americans. i'm not concerned about the very poor. we have a safety net there. if it needs repair, i'll fix it. >> mitt romney who is, in effect, the showrunner in what is now a nine-year tv series about mitt romney running for president has apparently decided to breathe through life into the
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series the way many tv writers before him have done: by killing off a character and introducing a new one. romney has decided to kill off the ultra rich presidential candidate who doesn't care about the poor and replace him with a republican presidential candidate who is concerned about income equality and pulling people out of poverty. >> as a matter of fact, under president obama, the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more poor people than ever before under this president. their liberal policies are good for four years after a campaign but they don't get the job done. the only policies that will reach into the hearts of american people and pull people out of poverty and break the cycle of poverty are republican principles, conservative principles.
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>> 13% want to see mitt romney one again, 50% want to see jeb bush, 40% for mike huckabee, 30% for sarah palin, 20% for chris christie and 27% for rand paul. david, i think one of the challenges that remain in your party is that 30% who really want to see sarah palin run for president. >> well, they said run, they don't necessarily say be nominated. >> so they're like me -- they want the entertainment. >> the more the merrier. >> with all this ridicule that mitt romney is facing about running for president a third
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time, we have to notice he does come in at the top of the polls of republicans. why shouldn't the guy at the top of these polls run? >> you know, i'm not going to defend mitt romney on much, but he is not alone. he's been seeking the presidency at least three times. ronald reagan did it, tom dewey did it. once this bug grabs hold, it never lets go. obviously the opinions have been from people who voted for him last time. i was thinking he could run these great political ads where the slogan is mitt romney for president. he'll stand up for the 47%. it would be really interesting. >> well, you know, david, he has kind of built a political career
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on not worrying about what he has said in the past about giving political issues, including changing his position on abortion over the years as a political candidate. and so his career seems to be based on the idea that four years is plenty of time to completely change what you're saying about any given subject. >> you know, an old friend of mine who was an observer of american politics said the key to understanding american politics is that americans love underdogs but hate losers. so the moment you've lost, the bombay is open and the whole barrage of ridicule falls on you. here's the thing to keep in mind about romney's candidacy. again, i'm not encouraging him to make a decision one way or the other. in 2012, he ran about half a point behind where george w. bush ran in the year 2000. the republican party is not a very effective presidential-winning machine anymore. it hasn't been since 1998. this deal about putting things on mitt romney's shoulders and blame him and him alone is going to prevent the problem being solved.
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mitt romney's famous gaffe wasn't a gaffe at all, it was a doctrine. if he's going to lead the party away from that, that would be a very welcome thing from someone who got a lot of votes in 2012. >> i would love to see a presidential campaign where the candidates are fighting over who has the better idea for getting people out of poverty. >> well, i would love that, and i think something very important is happening in politics right now. you're seeing all the republicans start talking about wage stagnation and income inequality. you've got john boehner, you've got mitt romney, you've got marco rubio and you've got jeb bush. when one side starts talking, the other sides talk because those are democratic issues. that's a real sign that
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something is changing. back when reagan won, democrats fell all over themselves to talk about markets and entrepreneurship, and one democrat told me in that period, we used to talk about immunizing little children. now we talk about investments in human capital. well, you've got republicans talking about a fundamentally democratic issue, that opens up a lot of room and democrats are going to ask, okay, what are you going to do about it? >> david, to look at the second tier of republican candidates, these are the ones running well behind sarah palin. that's marco rubio 26%, scott walker 22, ted cruz 21, ted benson tied with ted cruz, rick santorum at 19, bobby jindal 14%, only 14% of republicans want to see bobby jindal on a presidential campaign stage. how important are those polls, david, in republicans making up their minds about getting into this?
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>> not very. i should think at this point in the 2008 cycle, barack obama is both behind hillary clinton and john edwards. sarah walker and ted cruz will probably rise. he said something about the what, not the who of politics. it is not clear that wage stagnation is a democratic issue at all. and the president's state of the union is going to demonstrate how untrue that is. the president's ideas are all about transferring money around after it's been earned. he doesn't have an answer to the question of why are wages stagnating, he has a plan for reshuffling the cards after the wages have stagnated. and the thing that they can bring to this debate is the question of why what people actually earn is not going up. >> i want to thank david for what he said, but i also hope that means that republicans will now turn around and endorse a strong labor movement so we can
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indeed raise wages before the government has to redistribute. >> david, how many of these republicans are looking at the joe biden model and running -- going to run in this presidential campaign to push themselves up for consideration for vice president? >> well, i don't hear a lot of vice presidential names there. if you're thinking who are the vice presidential likelies, they're not in that mix at all. martinez, mike portman, people who represent important must-run states and are going to bring some type of ballast to where the top of the ticket is going to lead in probably a pretty conservative direction, so there needs to be someone on the ticket that leads more toward the center of the party. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. coming up, what we know about that massacre in africa. 2,000 killed by boko haran.
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and later, he had a lot of support until he started talking about vietnam. then lyndon johnson turned against him and the "new york times" turned against him. that's in the rewrite. curling up in bed with a favorite book is nice. but i think women would rather curl up with their favorite man. but here's the thing: about half of men over 40 have some degree of erectile dysfunction. well, viagra helps guys with ed get and keep an erection.
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boek -- boko haram is the most dangerous group today.
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>> they have killed 16,000 people in nigeria since 2011. roughly 10,000 of those deaths occurred in the last year. roughly 200,000 people have fled nigeria because of the violence. in the first few days of 2015, they made the largest attack yet. it's hard to confirm the exact number of fatalities, but local officials say somewhere between hundreds and perhaps 2,000 people were massacred during these raids. they recently released satellite images shows videos before and after the attack. the top one shows the village of duram baga before the attack. that last one is after.
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it shows trees and vegetation. several hundred structures were damaged or destroyed. the atrocities continued following the attack when boko haram used girls in two suicide bombings. they shocked the world last spring when insurgents kidnapped over 200 girls from a high school in northeast nigeria. joining me now is journalist china ocaci who was raised in nigeria and has written politics for i'm not sure when i heard about boko haram, but it might have been when they kidnapped the girls. that's when the world started paying attention. >> this might be a problem for hillary clinton. boko haram has been around for a while. it became a stronger hold in
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2009. when hillary clinton was secretary of state, she was a bit reluctant to put boko haram on the terrorist list because she did not want to give them that validation they were looking for. it wasn't until john kerry came in that they heard about that move. what did they do when 9/11 happened? they said, 9/11, never forget. what is the culture around that forgetting. why do we not have a memory around that space. why people not saying, april 14, 2014, we lost over 200 girls. i'm guessing it's 300-something were kidnapped, so on and so forth. we're just going to stick with 276. why are we not saying april 14, 2014? why are we not even looking at what the significance of that date is? we look at 9/11 and we always
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remember what that is. so, you know -- >> what has been the nigerian government's response? >> nothing. silence. >> why is that? >> well, here's the thing. they do not -- they're not held to any sort of standards. people do not burn the fire underneath their feet, and a lot of people here talk about, well, the president needs to make a statement, he needs to say something. i don't even ask that much. i just ask that he defines what is going on. tell us what happened in the past, tell us what is happening now, tell us what will happen in the future. define for us what we are looking at. can he even do that much? >> the president -- good luck, jonathan -- actually spoke about the terror attack in paris before he spoke about what happened in nigeria, didn't sne. >> absolutely. i cannot make sense of that. >> the political meeting in nigeria doesn't have the type of strength and grit to get a comment out of the president after something like this? >> it's complex.
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i global searched for anyone, any journalist in nigeria that would come out and say nigeria is at war. i found one journalist holding the president to task. one. this is when you have your borders attacked by foreign wars. it's not just a foreign war, it's a civil war. so we have a hybrid war happening for the first time in nigeria without the president actually defining it as such. >> what are the stated goals of boko haram? >> they have actually moved to isis-style attacks where they actually want to claim occupancy. they're trying to convert the northeastern nigeria into an islamic state. >> it's a movement without violence. >> they believe the region should become a counterfeit region in which the education is not western. they reject all western values and they believe in their god and their movement.
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like i said, they're taking an isis style approach. this is very significant. and the president needs to actually come out, define it and say something. because if he cannot define this now when we're actually just dealing with terrorism on the ground, who knows? >> presidential election coming up there in february. what happens? >> well, in february you have president goodluck jonathan who is with the pdp party and you have an ex-military official, bohari, who is running against president jonathan. if elections are not rigged and if everything goes well, we may actually have an outcome where it overtakes him because he's using this to his benefit. >> he's using it as the crackdown on boko haram? >> nobody is using boko haram for the elections, and it's shocking. you would think they would
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considering they were taking 10-year-old girls. we do not have as the case. in fact, it's deafening silence and that's what makes it so atrocious. >> china, thank you so much for keeping us up to date on this important story. coming up, why martin luther king jr. refused to be silent about the war in vietnam. he explained it all in -- what else -- a sermon. and later, the north korea attack on sony. we now know why the president was so sure about who mounted that attack. the world is filled with air. but
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>> but four days before the surgery, the hospital said they would have to come up with a co-pay of $2500. kayla's students at monroe high school where she is a teacher decided they have to help. >> she's a really nice person. she's a really good person. >> i was thinking we were just going to raise a little bit of money to show her we care about her, but, like, students actually came through. >> we told them what happened and people were giving lunch money, i gave my lunch money, everybody in the class gave their lunch money. >> they ended up raising $600 in one afternoon. and within four days kayla and josh raised enough money. the surgery went well and the couple is now almost fully recovered. kayla returns to teaching next week and her husband matt will finish up his paramedic training thanks in part to those student at monroe high. "the rewrite" is next.
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the reverend dr. martin luther king jr. lost a lot of supporters and allies, including lyndon johnson when dr. king spoke emphatically against the vietnam war. dr. king's first comments about the vietnam war were in 1965 when he answer aid reporter's question by saying the war in vietnam accomplished nothing. that didn't say much but it did get president johnson's attention. in a phone message lbj complained that some people were getting the impression that you're against me in vietnam. lbj's words. lbj was right to be worried that martin luther king was turning against him on vietnam. over the next two years as lyndon johnson turned others to their deaths in vietnam, dr. king tried to steer clear.
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he worried that expanding his civil rights campaign of injustice that turning it to the civil war would hurt the movement in the united states. dr. king found it impossible to speak about justice without speaking about the vietnam war which he called, quote, an unjust, evil and futile war. he was, of course, right about the futility of the war. the united states of america lost the war in vietnam after fighting the vietnam war more than twice as long as we fought world war ii. the united states was driven out of vietnam in defeat, although the united states government never had to formally admit that because there were no surrender documents to be signed. here is video of the last americans leading vietnam from the american embassy in saigon. they were fleeing for their lives as the city fell to the north vietnamese.
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after praising martin luther king jr. earlier in the 1960s for his work on civil rights and voting rights, the "new york times" ran this editorial on april 7, 1967 entitled, "dr. king's error." in recent speeches and statements, the reverend dr. martin luther king jr. has linked his personal opposition to the war in vietnam with the cause of negro inequality in the united states. he said the war, he argues, should be stopped not only because it is a futile war waged for the wrong ends but also because it is a barrier to social progress in this country and therefore prevents negroes from achieving their just place in american life. this is a fusing of two public problems that are distinct and separate. by drawing them together, dr. king has done a disservice to both. the moral issues in vietnam are less clearcut than he suggests. the political strategy of
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uniting the peace movement and the civil rights movement could very well be disastrous for both causes. the "new york times" told dr. king to "stay in his lane." as one of the most respected leaders of the civil rights movement he has an equally weighty obligation to direct that movement's efforts in the most constructive and relevant way. in other words, dr. king had an obligation to know his place, according to editorials like that. three weeks after that editorial in the "new york times," dr. king went to new york city to the riverside church and delivered a sermon entitled "why i am opposed to the war in vietnam." dr. king said that the war in vietnam was diverting resources from the anti-poverty programs that president johnson supported, the so-called great society.
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dr. king said that as spending on the hopeless vietnam war increased, the anti poverty program was, quote, broken as if it was some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. he also said, i was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and attack it as such. dr. king explained that when he spoke to younger civil rights protesters telling them that violence never solves anything, they would say to him, so what about vietnam? dr. king said their questions about vietnam hit home and helped him see the connection. in an illusion to the "new york times" lecturing him on staying in his place, he said that newspapers like the "new york times" applauded him on freedom rides and praised him for leading the protest in selma and for urging protesters to be non-violent toward the selma sheriff, jim clark.
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dr. king said he found it strangely inconsistent that he could be placed for urging non-violence toward jim clark but cursed when urging non-violence toward vietnamese children. dr. king told the congregation in the riverside church that day that the nobel peace prize he had received three years earlier was a commission, a commission to work harder than he had ever worked before for the brotherhood of man. he said he opposed the war in vietnam because he loved america and that he spoke out against the war with sorrow in his heart and with, quote, a passionate desire to see our beloved country stand as the moral example of the war. dr. king challenged president johnson directly in his sermon, saying, i call on washington today, i call on every man and woman of good will all over america today. i call on the young men of america who must make a choice
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today to take a stand on this issue. tomorrow may be too late. the book may close. and don't let anybody make you think that god chose america as his divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. it was a sermon delivered by a clergyman in a church. it was full of religious references from beginning to end. 30 to 40 minutes of sermon rich in professions of faith. >> with this faith, we will be able to speed up the day when all over the world, we will be able to join hands and singing the words of the old negro spirits of free at last, free at last. lord god almighty, we are free at last. we get ready to sing it now. men will be able to beat their
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guess which member of congress released this statement today on martin luther king day? as we reflect upon the life of reverend martin luther king jr. today, we also recognize how our nation has been strengthened by his legacy. dr. king challenged our country to fight the challenges of liberty, equality and justice prescribed in the founding of our great nation. he seeks the liberty of
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inequality and justice. that was steve scalese who voted against establishing martin luther king's birthday as a holiday in louisiana and may have voted against it as a federal holiday. we don't know because it was a voice vote in the house of representatives, and we have asked the congressman's office over a week ago how he voted on that, and he's refused to answer the question. up next, how the fbi knew it was north korea attacking sony. the nsa has been inside the north korean attack machine for a while now.
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i thought it was very, very important that we as a government, we as the fbi said we know who hacked sony. it was the north koreans who hacked sony and call out that conduct and explain it. >> we could confirm that north korea engaged in this attack. it says something interesting about north korea, that they decided to have the state mount
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an all-out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical movie.
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obama rising. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. i hope you've had a good martin luther king day with time for reflection on its meaning to this country. and it's certainly been a good day for president obama. i've been saying for a while now that the president's about to cut into positive territory. and today he did. the abc/"washington post" poll became today the first major poll to show him, again, crossing the 50% line into positive territory. what's powerful here is the speed with which he's moving right now in terms of popularity. the momentum of this thing. in december he was at 41% in the "washington post" poll. and


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