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tv   MSNBC Special Coverage State of the Union Address  MSNBC  January 12, 2016 10:00pm-2:01am PST

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to your mobile with no interruptions. i've never felt so alive. make your business phone mobile with voice mobility. comcast business. built for business. it's now 9:00 on capitol hill in washington, d.c. we are expecting president obama to make his entrance into the house of representatives for his final state of the union speech. he will be there any minute. this is obviously an enormous night for american politics.
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we look at what the president wants to accomplish. he's been saying over and over that he intends to leave it on the field in this final year of his presidency. so we are expecting him to make some concrete proposals. and we are looking for how he will sum up his time in office. many of the thing he's done already are still contested and in some ways still on the line in 2016. this last year for him he will be playing for keeps. we do not have a bigger stage than this or a bigger night.
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i love this night. >> we are looking at the members of the senate. a lot would like to be president. >> elizabeth warren is out there. a lot of the famous faces and they're all in one room tonight. >> it is extraordinary. chris hayes. you actually have to be together once. you know. they have to spend time together. there is the secretary of agriculture. >> is he the only member of the cabinet? all eight years. he's the only one. a lot of them are table hoppers. they like to move around and meet people even though they work with them every day. >> secretary castro there. energy secretary who is there, he has amazing hair. >> john kerry we saw will be rechecking his phone john kerry who will be checking his phone throughout the speech. has had one of the most active
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years of any secretary of state ever. >> elijah cummings is letting people wonder whether he is running for the senate or not. >> he is polling ahead of everyone else. >> he is definitely a player in the issue of maryland politics. there is justice kennedy, who is getting on in years. one of the people we watch to see if he will retire and whether that will create an amazing situation between now and the end of this year. >> ash carter and the white house chief of staff there. >> kelly reported that the caucus lined up earlier than usual tonight. his historic for them, too. this is the last state of the union address by our only african-american president. has last hoorahs go, the emotional depth of this as part
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of the experience in that body. it is really a unique night for them. many of them may never live to see another african-american president. >> i prefer to think of him as our first african-american, not our only. but absolutely in terms of historical. >> dan malloy, sitting next to the first lady. >> dr. jill biden there. extremely outspoken on guns. >> this is great, everybody. lawrence you know this world. these two guys have been chatting 25, 30 minutes now. i remember the old days when tip o'neal would chat with george bush. i would hand this station, trashing reagan. what do you think of this statement? he passed it over to bush. bush like handed him a machine gun. don't give me that,io ep to see that. they would kid about that when the mics were off. >> there are no cheap seats in that room. there is a shocking intimacy in the chamber even though it sits that many people at once.
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it feels like you can reach out and touch anyone there. >> this is one of those moments, when we get this view. it calls into question, people being nice to each other and inquiring about their families and talking shop. it's still an effective thing. whether that is necessary, social grease on the wheels in order to get things done. i tend to be a person that thinks that that stuff matters less than everybody says it does. then you see it in action on a night like this. you think, maybe joe biden and paul ryan worked something out on cancer funding. they have been talking a long time. and the conversations here are real and they potentially could be -- >> let's all remember the last two budgets have happened without huge amounts of drama. there were deals worked out. there was horse trading. paul ryan was a part of both of those. so it hasn't, it's been a different tenor the last year at
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least on the basics of funding the government in terms of conflict. >> that was basically joe biden's job. he does not enjoy the greasing of hands. biden loves it and did it. >> here's the sergeant at arms. >> that's true. >> the president of the united states. [ applause ]
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[ applause ]
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>> thank you. thank you so much.
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>> thank you so much. >> all right. let's bring this to order here. >> members of congress, i have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. [ applause ]
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>> thank you so much. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. mr. speaker, mr. vice president, members of congress, my fellow americans. tonight marks the eighth year that i've come here to report on the state of the union. and for this final one, i'm going to try to make it a little shorter. i know some of you are antsy to get back to iowa. i've been there. i'll be shaking hands afterwards if you want some tips.
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i understand that because it's a season, expectations for what we will achieve this year are low. but mr. speaker, i appreciate the approach to make tax cuts permanent for working families. so i hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities. like criminal justice reform and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse. so, who knows, we might surprise the cynics again. but tonight, i want to go easy on the traditional list of proposals for the year ahead. don't worry. i got plenty from helping students to learn to write
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computer code to personalizing medical treatments for patients and i will keep pushing for progress on the work that i believe still needs to be done. fixing a broken immigration system. protecting our kids from gun violence. equal pay for equal work. paid leave. raising the minimum wage. all these things, all these things still matter to hard working families. they're still the right thing, i won't let up until they get done. for my final address to this chamber, i don't want to talk about just next year. i want to focus on the next five years and the next ten years. and beyond i want to focus on
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our future. we live in a time of extraordinary change. change that's reshaping the way we live, the way we work, our planet, our place in the world. it's change that promises amazing medical breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that strain working families. i promise education for girls in the most remote villages, that also connects terrorists to plotting an ocean away. it's change that can broaden opportunity or widen inequality. and whether we like it or not, the pace of this change will only accelerate. america's been through big changes before. wars and depression, the influx of new immigrants. workers fighting for a fair deal. movement to expand civil rights.
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each time there have been those that told us to fear the future. who claimed we could slam the brakes on change. who promise to restore past glory if we got some group or idea that was threatening america under control. and each time we overcame those fears. we did not in the words of lincoln adhere to the dogmas to the quiet past. instead, we fought anew. and acted anew. we made change work for us. always extending america's promise outward to the next frontier, to more people. and because we did, because we saw opportunity where others saw
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peril, we emerged stronger and better than before. what was true then can be true now. our unique strengths as a nation our optimism and work ethic. our spirit of discovery our diversity, our commitment to rule of law, these things give us everything we need to prosperity and security for generations to come. in fact, it's in that spirit we have made progress these seven years. that's how we recovered from the worst economic crisis in generations. [ applause ]
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>> that's how we reform our health care system and reinvented our energy sector. [ applause ] that's how we, that's how we delivered more care and benefits to our troops coming home and our veterans. that's how we, that's how we secured the freedom in every state to marry the person we love. [ applause ] but such progress is not
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inevitable. it's the result of choices we make together and we face such choices right now. will we respond to the changes of our time with fear turning inward as a nation. turning against each other as a people or will we face the future with confidence in who we are, in what we stand for and the incredible things we can do together? >> so let's talk about the future. and four big questions that i believe we as a country have to answer, regardless of who the next president is or who controls the next congress. first, how do we give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and
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security in this new economy? second, how do we make technology work for us. not against us. especially when it comes to solving urgent things like climate change? third, how do we keep america safe and lead the world without becoming its policemen? and finally, how can we make our politics reflect what's best in us and not what's worse?
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let me start with the economy. and the bake facts. the united states of america, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. we're in the middle of the longest streak of job creation in history. more than 14 million new jobs. the strongest two years of job growth since the 1990s. an unemployment rate cut in half. our auto industry had the best year ever. that's just part of a
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manufacturing surge that has created 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. and we did all this by cutting our deficits by almost three quarters. anyone claiming america's economy is in decline is peddling fiction. now, what is true and the reason that a lot of americans feel anxious is that the economy has been changing in profound ways. changes that started long before the great recession hit. changes that have not let up. today technology doesn't just replace jobs on the assembly lines, but any job where work can be automated. companies in the global economy can locate anywhere.
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and they face tougher competition. as a result, workers have less leverage for a raise. companies have less loyalty to their communities. and more and more wealth and income is concentrated at the very top. all these trends have squeezed workers. even when they have jobs, even when the economy is growing, it's made it harder for a hard working family to pull itself out of poverty. harder for young people to start their careers. tougher for workers to retire when they want to. although none of these trends are unique to america they have a uniquely american belief that everyone that works hard should get a fair shot.
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for the past seven years, our goal has been a growing economy that also works better for everybody. we made progress. but we need to make more. despite all the political arguments we've had these past few years, there are actually some areas where americans broadly agree. we agree that real opportunity requires every american to get the education and training they need to land a good paying job. the bipartisan reform of no child left behind was an important start and together we've increased early childhood education. lifted high school graduation rates to new highs, boosted graduates in fields like engineering. in the coming years, we should build on that progress by providing pre k for all and offering every student --
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[ applause ] offering every student hands on computer science and math classes to make them job ready on day one. we should recruit and support more great teachers for our kids. and we have to make college affordable for every american. no hard working student should be stuck in the red. we've reduced student loan payments to 10 percent of a borrower's income. that's good. now we have to cut the cost of college.
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[ applause ] providing two years of community college at no cost for every responsible student is one of the best ways to do that. i'm going to keep fighting to get that started this year. it's the right thing to do. but a great education isn't all we need in this new economy. we also need benefits and protections that provide a basic measure of security. it's not too much of a stretch to say some of the only people in america will work the same job and the same place with the health and retirement package for 30 years are sitting in this chamber. for everyone else, especially
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folks in their 40s and 50s, saving for retirement, bouncing back from job losses has gotten lot tougher. americans understand that at some point in their careers in this new economy, they may have to retool, retrain, they shouldn't lose what they've already worked so hard to build in the process. that's why social security and medicare are more important than ever. we should weaken them, we should strengthen them. >> and for americans short of retirement, basic benefits should be just as mobile as everything else is today that by the way is what the affordable care act is all about. it's about filling the gaps in employer based care so that when
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you lose a job or you go back to school, or you strike out and launch that new business, you'll still have coverage. nearly 18 million people have gained coverage so far and in the process, in the process, health care inflation has slowed. and our businesses have created jobs every single month since it became law. now, i'm guessing we won't agree on health care any time soon, but -- the little applause there. but there should be other ways parties can work together to improve economic security. say a hard working american
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loses his job, we shouldn't just make sure that he can get unemployment insurance. we should make sure that program encourages him to retrain for a business that's ready to hire him. if that new job doesn't pay as much, there should be a system of wage insurance in place so that he can still pay his bills. and even if he's going from job-to-job, he should be able to save for retirement and take his savings with him. that's the way we make the new economy work better for everybody. i also know speaker ryan has talked about his interest in tackling poverty. america is about giving everybody willing to work a chance, a hand up. and i'd welcome a serious discussion about strategy that we can all support. like expanding tax cuts for low income workers who don't have children.
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but there are some areas where we have to be honest. it has been difficult to find agreement over the last seven years. a lot fall under the category for what role the government should play in making sure the system is not rigged in favor of the wealthiest and biggest corporations and it's an honest disagreement. and the american people have a choice to make. i believe a thriving private sector is the life blood of our economy. i think there are outdated regulations that need to be changed. there is red tape that needs to be cut. yeah.
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but after years now of record corporate profits, working families won't get more opportunity or bigger paychecks just by letting big banks or bill oil or hedge funds make their own rules at everybody else's expense. but middle class families are not going to feel more secure because we allow the tax on collective bargaining to go unanswered. food stamp recipients did not cause the financial crisis. recklessness on wall street did.
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immigrants aren't the principle reason wages haven't gone up. those decisions are made in the board rooms that all too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns. it's sure not the average family watching tonight that have avoids paying taxes through offshore accounts. the point is, i believe, that in this new economy, workers and start-ups and small businesses need more of a voice, not less. the rules should work for them. and i'm not alone in this. this year i plan to lift up the many businesses who figured out that doing right by the workers, whether commerce or communities ends up being good for their shareholders. and i want to spread those best practices across america. that's a part of a brighter future.
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in fact, it turns out, many of our best corporate citizens are also our most creative. and this brings me to the second big question we as a country have to answer. huh do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges? 60 years ago, when the russians boat us into space, we didn't deny sputnik was up there. we didn't argue about the science or shrink our research and development budget, we built a space program almost overnight and 12 years later, we were walking on the moon. [ applause ]
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now, that spirit of discovery is in our dna. america is thomas edison and the wright brothers and george washington carver. america is grace hopper and katherine johnson and sally rye. america is every immigrant and entrepreneur from boston to silicon valley racing to shape a better future. that's who we are. and over the past seven years, we've nurtured that spirit. we've protected an open internet and taken bold new steps to get more students and low income americans online. we've launched next generation manufacturing hubs and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day. but we can do so much more.
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now, last year, vice president biden said that when the new moon shot america can cure cancer. last month, he worked with this congress to give scientists at the national institutes of health the strongest resource they've had in over a decade. well -- so, so tonight i'm announcing a new national effort to get it done and because he's been to the mat for all of us on so many issues over the past 40 years, i'm putting joe in charge of mission control. for the loved ones we've all lost, for the families that we can still say, let's make america the country that cures cancer once and for all? what do you say?
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make it happen. [ applause ] medical research is critical. we need the same level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources. look. if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change. have at it. you will be pretty lonely. because you'll be debating our military, most of america's business leaders. the majority of the american people. almost the entire scientific community and 200 nations around the world who agree it's a problem and intend to solve it.
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but, but even if, even if the planet wasn't at stake, even if 2014 wasn't the warmest year on record until 2015 turned out to be even hotter, why would we want to pass up the chance for american businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future? listen, seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. here are the results. in fields from iowa to texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier conventional power. on rooftops, from arizona to new york, solar is saving americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills and
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employs more americans than coal, in jobs that paid better than average. we're taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy. something by the way that environmentalists and tea partiers have teamed up to support. meanwhile, we've cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60% and cut carbon pollution by more than any other country on earth. gas under $2 bucks a gallon ain't bad, either. now we've got to accelerate the transition away from old dirtier energy sources.
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rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future. especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. we do them no favor when we don't show them where the trends are going. that's why i'm going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so they better reflect the cost on our taxpayers and planet. that way we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of americans to work, building a 21st century transportation system. now, none of this is going to happen overnight. and, yes, there are plenty of interests that want to protect the status quo, but the jobs we'll create, the money we'll
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save, the planet we'll preserve. that is the kind of future our grandkids and kids deserve and it's within our grasp. climate change is one of many issues, where our security is linked to the rest of the world. that's why the third big question that we have to answer together is how to keep america safe and strong without either isolating ourself or trying a nation built everywhere there is a problem. i told you earlier, all the talk of america's economic decline is political hot air. well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and america getting weaker. let me tell you something, the united states of america is the most powerful nation on earth. period. [ applause ] period. it's not even close.
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it's not even close. it's not even close. we spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. [ applause ] no nation attacks us directly or our allies because they know that's the path to ruin. surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when i was elected to this office and
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when it comes to every important international issue. people of the world do not look to beijing or moscow to lead. they call us. so, i think you spoke at a level set here. because when we don't, we don't make good decisions. now someone who begins every day with an intelligence briefing, i know this is a dangerous time. but that's not primarily because of some looming super power out there. it's certainly not because of diminished american strength. in today's world, we're threatened less by evil empires and more by failing states.
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the middle east is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation. rooted in conflicts that date back millennia. economic head winds are blowing in from a chinese economy that is in significant transition. even as their economy severely contracts, russia is pouring resources into prop up ukraine and syria. client states that they saw slipping away from their orbit. and the international system we built after world war ii is now struggling to keep pace with this new reality. it's up to us, the united states of america to help re-make that system. and to do that well, it means that we've got to set priorities. priority number one is protecting the american people and going after terrorist networks.
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[ applause ] both al qaeda and now isil pose a direct threat to our people because in today's world, even a handful of terrorists who place no value on human life, including their own, can do a lot of damage they use the internet to poison the minds of individuals inside our country. their actions undermine and destabilize our allies. we have to take them out. but as we focus on destroying isil, over the top claims that this is world war iii, just play into their hands.
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massive fighters on the back of pick-up trucks, twisted souls plotting in apartments or garages, they pose an enormous danger to civilians. they have to be stopped. but they do not threaten our national existence. that's the story isil wants to tell. that's the kind of propaganda they use to recruit. we don't need to build them up to show that we're serious. and we sure don't need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that isil is somehow representative of one of the world's largest religions.
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we just need to call them what they are. kimmers and fanatics. who have to be rooted out, hunted down and destroyed. [ applause ] >> and that's exactly what we're doing. for more than a year, america has led a coalition of more than 60 countries to cut off isil's financing, disrupt their plots, stop the flow of terrorist fighters. and stamp out their vicious ideology. with nearly 10,000 airstrikes, we're talking out their leadership, their oil, their training camps, their weapons. we are training, arming and supporting forces who are steadily reclaiming territory in iraq and syria. if this congress is serious about winning this war and wants to send a message to our troops
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and the world, authorize the use of military force against isil. take a vote. take a vote. but the american people should know, with or without congressional action, isil will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them. if you doubt america's commitment, or mine, see that justice is done. just ask osama bin laden. [ applause ] ask the leader of al qaeda in yemen who was taken out last year or the perpetrator of the benghazi attacks, who sits in a prison cell. when you come after americans, we go after you. and it may take time. but we have long memories and
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our reach has no limits. our foreign policy has to be focused on the threat from isil and al qaeda, but it can't stop there. for even without isil, even without al qaeda, instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world. in the middle east, in afghanistan and parts of pakistan and part of central america and africa and asia, some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks. others will just fall victim to ethnic conflict or famine. feeding the next wave of refugees.
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the world will look to us to help solve these problems. and our answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. >> that may work as a tv sound byte. -- muster on the world stage. we can't take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis. even if it's done with the best of intentions. that's not leadership. that's a recipe for quagmire, spilling american blood and treasure that ultimately will weaken us. it's is lesson of vietnam. it's the lesson of iraq. and we should have learned it by now.
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now, fortunately, there is a smarter approach. a patient and disciplined strategy that uses every element of our national power. it says america will always act alone, if necessary, to protect our people and our allies. but on issues of global concern, we will mobilize the world to work with us and make sure other countries pull their own weight. that's our approach to conflicts like syria, where we are partnering with local forces and leading international efforts. to help that broken society pursue a lasting peace. that's why we built a global coalition with sanctions and principle diplomacy, to prevent a nuclear armed iran and as we speak, iran has rolled back its nuclear program, shipped out its uranium stockpile and the world has avoided another war.
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that's how, that's how we stop the spread of ebola in west africa. our military, our doctors, our development workers, they were heroic. they set up the platform that then allowed other countries to join in behind us and stamp out that epidemic. hundreds of thousands, maybe a couple million lives were saved. that's how we forged a transpacific partnership to open markets and protect workers in the environment and advance american leadership in asia. it cuts 18,000 taxes on products made in america. which will then support more good jobs here in america.
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ptt china does not set the rules in that region, we do. if you want to show strength in that region, approve this agreement. give us the tools to enforce it. it's the right thing to do. let me give you another example. 50 years of isolating cuba have failed to promote democracy. it set us back in latin america. that's why we restored diplomatic relations. opened the door to travel and commerce. position ourselves to improve the lives of the cuban people. so if you want to consolidate our leadership and credibility in the hemisphere, recognize that the cold war is over. lift the embargo.
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the point is, american leadership in the 21st century is not a choice between ignoring the rest of the world, except when we kill terrorists, or occupying and rebuilding whatever society is unraveling. leadership means a wise application of military power and rallying the world behind causes that are right. it means seeing our foreign assistance as a part of our national security, not something separate, not charity. when we lead nearly 200 nations to the most ambitious agreement in history to fight climate change, yes, that helps vulnerable countries, but it also protects our kids. when we help ukraine defend its democracy or colombia resolve a decades long war, that strengthens the international order we depend on.
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when we help african countries feed their people and care for the sick, it's the right thing to do and it prevents the next pandemic from reaching our shores. right now we're on track to end the scourge of hiv/aids. that's within our grasp. and we have the chance to accomplish the same thing with malaria, something i'll be pushing this congress to fund this year. that's american strength. that's american leadership. and that kind of leadership depends on the power of our example. that's why i will keep working to shut down the prison at guantanamo. it is expensive, it is unnecessary and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for our enemies. there's a better way.
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and that's why we need to reject any politics, any politics that targets people because of race or religion. let me just say this. this is not a matter of political correctness. this is a matter of understanding just what it is that makes us strong. the world respects us, not just for our arsenal. it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.
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his holiness pope francis told this body from the very spot i'm standing on tonight that to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. when politicians insult muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized or a kid is called names, that doesn't make us safer. that's not telling it like it is. it's just wrong. it diminishes us in the eyes of the world. it makes it harder to achieve our goals. it betrays who we are as a country.
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we the people. our constitution begins with those three simple words. words we've come to recognize mean all the people, not just some. words that insist we rise and fall together. and that's how we might perfect our union. and that brings me to the fourth and maybe most important thing i want to say tonight. the future we want, all of us want, opportunity and security for our families, a rising
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standard of living, a sustainable, peaceful planet for our kids, all that is within our reach. but it will only happen if we work together. it will only happen if we can have rational, constructive debates. it will only happen if we fix our politics. a better politics doesn't mean we have to agree on everything. this is a big country -- different region, different attitudes, different interests. that's one of our strengths, too. our founders distributed power between states and branches of government, and expected us to argue. just as they did. fiercely. over the size and shape of government, over commerce and foreign relations, over the meaning of liberty and security.
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but democracy does require basic bonds of trust between its citizens. it doesn't work if we think the people who disagree with us are all motivated by malice. it doesn't work if we think that our political opponents are unpatriotic. or trying to weaken america. democracy grinds to a halt without a willingness to compromise. or when even basic facts are contested or when we listen only to those who agree with us. our public life withers when only the most extreme voices get all the attention.
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and most of all, democracy breaks down when the average person feels their voice doesn't matter, that the system is rigged in favor of the rich or the powerful or some special interest. too many americans feel that way right now. it's one of the few regrets of my presidency, that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. i have no doubt, a president with the gifts of lincoln or roosevelt might have better bridged the divide. and i guarantee, i'll keep trying to be better, so long as i hold this office. but my fellow americans, this cannot be my task or any president's alone. there are a whole lot of folks in this chamber, good people, who would like to see more cooperation, would like to see a more elevated debate in washington, but feel trapped by
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the imperatives of getting elected, by the noise coming out of your base. i know. you've told me. it's the worst kept secret in washington. and a lot of you aren't enjoying being trapped in that kind of rancor. but that means if we want a better politics -- and i'm addressing the american people now -- if we want better politics, it's not enough to just change a congressman or change a senator, or even change a president. we have to change the system to reflect our better selves. i think we've got to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so politicians can pick their voters and not the other way around.
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let a bipartisan group do it. i believe we've got to reduce the influence of money in our politics so that a handful of families and hidden interests can't bank roll our election. and if our existing approach to campaign finance reform can't pass muster in the courts, we need to work together to find a real solution, because it's a problem. and most of you don't like raising money. i know. i've done it. we've got to make it easier to vote, not harder. we need to modernize it. [ applause ] this is america.
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we want to make it easier for people to participate. and over the course of this year, i intend to travel the country to push for reforms that do just that. but i can't do these things on my own. changes in our political process, in not just who gets elected, but how they get elected, that will only happen when the american people demand it. it depends on you. that's what's meant by a government of, by, and for the people. what i'm suggesting is hard. it's a lot easier to be cynical. to accept the change is not
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possible, and politics is hopeless. and the problem is all the folks who were elected don't care. and to believe that our voices and our actions don't matter. but if we give up now then we fore sake a better future. those with money and power will gain greater control over which of its citizens to send to war, or roll back the equal rights and voting rights that generations of americans have fought, even died, to secure. and then as frustration grows, there will be voices urging us to fall back into our respective tribes. to scapegoat fellow citizens who
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don't look like us or pray like us or vote like we do. or share the same background. we can't afford to go down that path. it won't deliver the economy we want. it will not produce the security we want. but most of all, it contradicts everything that makes us the envy of the world. so my fellow americans, whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, whether you supported my agenda or fought as hard as you could against it, our collective futures depends on your willingness to uphold your duties as a citizen, to vote, to speak out, to stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable. knowing that each of us is only here because somebody somewhere stood up for us.
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we need every american to remain active in our life. and not just at election time so that our public life reflects the goodness and the decency that i see in the american people every single day. it is not easy. our brand of democracy is hard. but i can promise that a little over a year from now when i no longer hold this office, i will be right there with you as a citizen, inspired by those voices of fairness and vision of grit and good humor and kindness that have helped america travel so far.
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voices that help us see ourselves, not first and foremost as black or white or asian or latino, not as gay or straight, immigrant or native born, not democrat or republican, but as americans first. bound by a common creed. voices dr. king believed would have the final word. voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love. and they're out there, those voices. they don't get a lot of attention. they don't seek a lot of fanfare, but they're busy doing the work this country needs doing. i see them everywhere i travel in this incredible country of ours.
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i see you, the american people, and in your daily acts of citizenship, i see our future unfolding. i see it in the worker on the assembly line who clocked extra shifts to keep his company open. and the boss who pays him higher wages instead of laying him off. i see it in the dreamer who stays up late at night to finish her science project, and the teacher who comes in early, maybe with some extra supplies that she bought because she knows that young girl might someday cure a disease. i see it in the american who served his time, made bad mistakes as a child, but now is dreaming of starting over. and i see it in the business owner who gives him that second chance. the protester determined to
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prove that justice matters, and the young cop walking the beat, treating everybody with respect, doing the brave, quiet work of keeping us safe. i see it in the soldier who gives almost everything to save his brothers. the nurse who tends to him until he can run a marathon. the community that lines up to cheer him on. it's the son who finds the courage to come out as who he is. and the father whose love for that son overrides everything he's been taught. i see it in the elderly woman who will wait in line to cast her vote as long as she has to. the new citizen who casts his vote for the first time. the volunteers at the polls who believe every vote should count.
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because each of them in different ways know how much that precious right is worth. that's the america i know. that's the country we love -- clear eyed, big hearted, daunted by challenge, optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. that's what makes me so hopeful about our future. i believe in change because i believe in you. the american people. and that's why i stand here as confident as i've ever been that the state of our union is strong. thank you. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. [ applause ]
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>> president obama giving his final state of the union address. martin luther king won the nobel peace prize in 1964. he said i believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. this is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. president obama echoing those words tonight, closing the speech by saying clear-eyed, big-hearted, optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. it's the second time he used that phrase in his address tonight.
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optimistic. unarmed truth and unconditional love. the president always has a choice about when he's going to say his assessment of what the state of the union is. tonight, president obama saving that for the very last line of his address. i stand here confident that the state of our union is strong. the very outset of the speech, the president running through a very fast list of the things that he has called for in every state of the union address. that democrats and republicans are at logger heads about. paid leave, rise in the minimum wage, all big democratic applause lines and for things republicans do not cheer. he ran through them immediately at the outset and said what i want to talk about is not the year ahead, but the future, five years, ten years. and then a long-ish -- they told us it would be short, it was a longish speech and a serious one. closing with the martin luther king quote. >> it was pretty good.
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i think it was interesting he ran through all the partisan causes. i support them all. i think you do, too. but they were democratic causes. before the camera began the process of shooting between the democrat and the republican side. i thought it was interesting he was able to jam them through before they began that sort of tired old procedure of showing which side is applauding. i thought it was nice when they gave joe biden, too, who lost his son to cancer, to give him a cheer, to put him in charge of some new government program to try to cure cancer, which is in all its elements and all its different kinds and organic kinds, it's a frightening disease, of course, and the fact that they're going to talk about ending it in the next years is kind of heroic. i thought that was interesting. but i thought the part that we're going to remember, and i've already gotten word that the news agencies and major newspapers, the metropolitan press focus on what came at the end. and that was the swan song by this president, the admission of failure by this president on something he said, rare case, regrets.
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which in a way is not a humble statement, but certainly a true one. his inability to fix the political system. and we all know it's as bad or worse than when he came in. the partisanship is total. it's propelled and fueled by gerrymandering, as the president said where the legislature are able to pick their voters. they're able to find speets will reelect them again and again. he made a shot saying these are the only jobs where you can have 30 years of paid vacation and health care and a solid salary from the same employer, being a member of congress, another shot there. maybe that's why a lot of the members of congress don't really like him that much. but he did -- i think he met the real problem of our time, which is the inability of people who come to congress, who find some way once they get there of negotiating. as he said, we don't agree on much, but why can't you negotiate solutions? we go to the store every day and pay a price we're willing to pay. we haggle sometimes over a car, but we end up buying it.
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why can't the process of politics work the way our marketplace works? why can't there be a price for every deal and a deal for every price. and he admits now he has not been able to fix that problem. so i think it's a sad ending to a presidency in that sense. i think he was pretty strong on things like climate, science, change, the things that separate, i must say, progressives from conservatives. happy with science, happy with the fact that back in the '50s, he recognized sputnik as a reality of the soviet advantage of the space program and defeated them within ten years of getting a man on the moon. i thought the fact that he wants wind power to work and it's working. and it's interesting, i don't think he got into iran. >> he touched iran with one sentence. >> i think he tried to avoid, as someone ahead said he was not going to do so he wouldn't combine both headlines.
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i think he's hoping he'll still get his headline for fixing the political system. he will have a side bar perhaps or even the main bar focus on the story of iran. let's bring back our republican strategist steve schmidt and joy reid. they're all sitting here, lawrence o'donnell, host of "the last word" and chris hayes who's somewhere in a remote location, but very reachable. in fact, in fairness to chris, let's go to you, chris, since i can't see you. >> they moved me to designated survivor position. in case something happens. i'm here with jay johnson. we're kicking back. we're both in manhattan. what did you think? >> jay is not talking. what are you saying, chris? >> you know, i thought the last part of that speech, which i think you're right, chris, is going to be the focus, which is about how american politics are broken and dysfunctional, that moment of regret about a better order than i, an fdr or lincoln maybe could have solved this. i thought that was the best part
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of the speech. and in some ways the most interesting analytically, because it can be hard sometimes to describe the actual cost of what is an historically unprecedented trend in american politics, the level of partisan polarization, not just among politicians but citizens as well. we haven't seen this since the civil war. to talk about this in ways that aren't cliche that don't end up in these, oh, if everyone can work together, he had a kind of novel and fresh and i thought powerful look at how it erodes democracy. the democracy he said fundamentally depends on the trusts of citizens. there is some basic kind of bond that is being eroded and he has watched it erode. he has not been able to build single handedly. i think it's profoundly true. i think it speaks to what a lot of people across the political spectrum feel. it's kind of a remarkable thing to hear a person, as steven said earlier in the night, is the most powerful man in the world. the man who sits in the center of this system that is losing
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its authority as we speak. >> and he said none of the problems can be tackled. we can do this through our politics. we need our system for everything we want to do. >> one part of the speech he actually went extemporaneous. >> a lot of it. >> we're trapped in this, members of congress. >> i think he recognizes that he's speaking to a political atmosphere that has now been dumbed down by trumpism, and he didn't, i don't think, specifically take on trumpism directly, but i think when he referenced it when he said things like anyone claiming that america's economy is in decline is peddling fiction. he had a couple of other lines like that that definitely speak to what trump is talking about. but i think he was saying it in an instructional way. this speech was filled with teaching about government, including lessons that most americans aren't old enough to personally remember. one of the most vivid lessons
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about how government can work is what he -- was his description of how the american space program began, when russia got into space before we did. didn't deny that it happened. our view about the science, he said. the congress got together, the president got together. they appropriated money, they started a program. they built a space program, faster than the russians did. 12 years later, we were walk on the moon. that was a fascinating and quick lesson about how government can and should work in a cooperative way in an era that is now way behind us. >> i would say to that point, you highlighted the fact that the president did announce this initiative on curing cancer. we saw that sort of extemporaneous moment when he turned around to vice president biden and said we're going to put you in the control room. the white house has already put out an announcement from the vice president's office in terms of what that is going to be. they are calling it a moon shot to cure cancer. you'll remember, the way that vice president talked about that in the speech where he announced he would not be running for
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president. he said had i run, i would be running to cure cancer. and now this will be a new national initiative to do that with the vice president at the helm. joining us now chris murphy, democrat from connecticut, one of the people we could see responding to the president's speech. thank you very much for being with us tonight. what's your overall take on the speech tonight and having been there in the room? >> i thought it was an exceptional finish. essentially, i think it was the president handing over his administration to the people and asking them to elevate this question of partisanship, this question of how we engage in debate when they're going to the polling place. and i did think a lot of this was an answer to trump. i thought especially the foreign policy section, which is talking about the danger of allowing our base politics to essentially create messaging that supported isil's campaign. it was really important. i was really pleased to hear him walk through how we keep america safe in a new world and how some of the electoral politics that
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are playing out in the republican field are actually making us less safe. and there was a line there where he specifically referenced the ted cruz line. i think he's not doing that to aid hillary clinton's campaign. i think he's doing that because he really fears some of this rhetoric actually makes us less safe by play into the anti-muslim civilization bias. that section of the speech really attracted me and i thought the end and finish was really brilliant. >> didn't you like the fact, to my generation, really, growing up with vietnam, and then going through iraq, and saying they're both a piece of the same lesson, which is we can't go out and take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis. that's not leadership. that's a recipe for quagmire. spilling american blood. and treasure that ultimately weakens us. he's basically taking on this macho culture of trump and the others. all we have to do is be tough and fight wars and be ready to fight at the drop of a hat. he said we're not fighting big powers anymore. we're fighting disorder. how do you fight disorder with macho?
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i thought he made that point tonight. >> i think it's really interesting, if you listen to how he opened that section of his speech. there was a lot of tough talk, right? he made it clear that you're not going to beat america. we've got the strongest military in the world. >> and we kill a lot of bad guys, too. >> and we kill a lot of bad guys. but then he did the second part of it, which is to remind us it is our hubris when it overtakes us that actually gets the most americans killed. that's a very fine line to walk. but i thought he took the longest section of his speech on that argument, because he wanted to make both sides of it. >> you're a senator, you don't have to worry about gerrymandering. you have a state you were elected by and they will continue to elect hopefully you. but what do you think of the members applauding his criticism of gerrymandering. both parties love the fact that their districts are 90% in some cases. they can't be defeated, yet they all stood up and applauded. are you kidding me? they love it. every member loves being
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re-elected constantly. it's a 30-year job, as he said. >> that system is in place for a reason. i'm not sure how sincere it was. but then he made this personal argument to members of congress. listen, you guys don't really like this job as much as you used to. do something about it. find a way to make this worthwhile by breaking out of this partisan gridlock. and that was a really important moment because every single member of congress said yeah, this job really isn't as fun when we're just sitting in our respective corners. i think that perked up a lot of ears on both sides of the aisle. >> he said he didn't like raising money. what's the alternative? everybody talks about it. what's the alternative? the public is not going to pay for you guys to become famous, the members of the senate. they're not going to pay. we talked about this for 50 years. >> come to connecticut. we'll show you. we have a public financing system that the public supports that makes you raise a bunch of money up front and puts up public money on the back end. i get that it we don't have the vote for that today. we've done it in connecticut and it's worked. >> senator chris murphy of connecticut. it's great to see you, sir.
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thank you very much for being with us tonight. really appreciate it. >> right on. >> senator murphy is one of those democrats that's trying to define the new face of american foreign policy. >> i think it's great. >> he's a young senator. he was a member of congress before he was a member of the senate. in such a heavy foreign policy speech, you could actually sense his enthusiasm. he's a pretty reserved guy, too. you could sense his bubbling enthusiasm coming out in the speech. >> it's the reason barack obama was elected president. he said we're not going to become this john wayne force in the world. the neo-cons want us to go into -- which one is the next? it's like a pez dispenser. they always have a war. let's do syria next. haven't we done that one y et in libya, egypt. i think he's got a good point there. we can't go into every country and rebuild it again. we end up not rebuilding it and we end up in a quagmire. the president's word, quagmire.
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>> the republican response is about 15 seconds away. tonight it's going to be south carolina governor nikki haley. >> we like nikki haley because of what she did with that flag. now let's listen to the republican state of the union from south carolina governor, nikki haley. >> good evening. i'm nikki haley, governor of the great state of south carolina. i'm speaking from columbia, our state's capital city. much like america as a whole, our state has a rich and complicated history. one that proves the idea that each day can be better than the last. in just a minute, i'm going to talk about a vision of a brighter american future. but first, i want to say a few words about president obama who just gave his final state of the union address. barack obama's election as president seven years ago broke historic barriers and inspired millions of americans. as he did when he first ran for office, tonight president obama spoke eloquently about grand
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things. he's at his best when he does that. unfortunately, the president's record has often fallen far short of his soaring words. as he enters his final year in office, many americans are still feeling the squeeze of an economy too weak to raise income levels. we're feeling a crushing national debt, a health care plan that has made insurance less affordable, and doctors less available. and chaotic unrest in many of our cities. even worse, we are facing the most dangerous terrorist threat our nation has seen since september 11. and this president appears unwilling or unable to deal with it. soon the obama presidency will end and america will have the chance to turn in a new direction. that direction is what i want to talk about tonight. at the outside, i'll say this. you can pay attention to what is
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happening in washington, and you're not naive. neither am i. i see what you see, and many of your frustrations are my frustrations. a frustration with a government that has grown day after day, year after year, yet does it serve us any better? a frustration with the same endless conversations we hear over and over again. a frustration with promises made and never kept. we need to be honest with each other and with ourselves. while democrats in washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing america today, they do not bear it alone. there is more than enough blame to go around. we as republicans need to own that truth. we need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in america's leadership. we need to accept that we've played a role in how and why our government is broken.
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and then we need to fix it. the foundation that has made america that last, best hope on earth hasn't gone anywhere. it still exists. it's up to us to return to it. for me, that starts right where it always has. i am the proud daughter of indian immigrants who reminded my brothers, my sister and me every day how blessed we were to live in this country. growing up in the rural south, my family didn't look like our neighbors and we didn't have much. there were times there were tough, but we had each other. and we had the opportunity to do anything, to be anything, as long as we were willing to work for it. my story is really not much different from millions of other americans. immigrants have been coming to our shores for generations to live the dream that is america. they wanted better for their children than for themselves. that remains the dream of all of
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us. and in this country, we have seen time and again that that dream is achievable. today we live in a time of threats, like few others in recent memory. during anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. we must resist that temptation. no one who is willing to work hard, abide by our laws, and love our traditions, should ever feel unwelcome in this country. at the same time, that does not mean we just flat-out open our borders. we can't do that. we cannot continue to allow immigrants to come here illegally. and in this age of terrorism, we must not let in refugees whose intentions cannot be determined. we must fix our broken immigration system.
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that means stopping illegal immigration. and it means welcoming properly vetted legal immigrants, regardless of their race or religion. just like we have for centuries. i have no doubt that if we act with proper focus, we can protect our borders, our sovereignty, and our citizens, all while remaining true to america's noblist legacies. this past summer, south carolina was dealt a tragic blow. on an otherwise ordinary wednesday evening in june at the historic mother emanuel church in charleston, 12 can faithful men and women, young and old, went to bible study. that night someone new joined them. he didn't look like them, didn't act like them, didn't sound like them. they didn't throw him out. they didn't call the police. instead, they pulled up a chair
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and prayed with him for an hour. we lost nine incredible souls that night. what happened after the tragedy is worth pausing to think about. our state was struck with shock, pain and fear. but our people would not allow hate to win. we didn't have violence, we had vigils. we didn't have riots, we had hugs. we didn't turn each other's race or religion. we turned toward god and towards the values that have long made our country the freest and greatest in the world. we removed a symbol that was being used to divide us. and we found a strength that united us against a domestic terrorist and the hate that filled him. there's an important lesson in this. in many parts of society today, whether in popular culture, academia, the media or politics, there's a tendency to falsely equate noise with results. some people think that you have to be the loudest voice in the room to make a difference.
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that's just not true. often, the best thing we can do is turn down the volume. when the sound is quieter, you can actually hear what someone else is saying. and that can make a world of difference. of course, that doesn't mean we won't have strong disagreements, we will. and as we you shallner this new era, republicans will stand up for our believes. if we held the white house, taxes would be lower for working families. and we would put the brakes on runaway spending and debt. we would encourage american innovation and success instead of demonizing them. so our economy would truly soar and good jobs would be available across our country. we would reform education so it worked best for students, parents and teachers, not washington bureaucrats and union bosses. we would end a disastrous health care program and replace them with reforms that lower costs and actually let you keep your
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doctor. we would respect differences in modern families, but we would also insist on respect for religious liberty as a corner stone of our democracy. we would recognize the importance of the separation of powers and honor the constitution in its entirety, and yes, that includes the second and tenth amendments. we would make international agreements that were celebrated in israel and protested in iran, not the other way around. and rather than just thanking our brave men and women in uniform, we would actually strengthen our military. so both our friends and our enemies would know that america seeks peace, but when we fight wars, we win them. we have big decisions that make.
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our country is being tested. but we've been tested in the past, and our people have always risen to the challenge. we have all the guidance we need to be safe and successful. our forefathers paved the way for us. let's take their values and their strengths and rededicate ourselves to doing whatever it takes to keep america the greatest country in the history of man. and woman. thank you, good night, and god bless. >> well, that's south carolina governor nikki haley with the official republican response. it sound like she took a veiled shot at donald trump. she said it could be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. we must resist that temptation. no one who loves our tradition and obeys our laws should ever feel unwelcomed in this country. rachel, what do you think? >> i think it was -- i mean, i think -- the most important
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thing here is that there was no harm done in this speech. the first state of the union response was done by bobby jindal. as of yesterday, he's unemployed. a failed presidential candidate no longer governor. the second was bob mcdonald who is waiting to hear whether or not he has to go to prison after being convicted on multiple felony corruption charges. one of the other responses was marco rubio with the big reach for the water bottle, which was probably the thing that he has done that is -- he's more famous for than anything else about him, even though he's now running for president. so it's easy to screw up these responses. or to have them be a sort of curse. i think nikki haley did an absolutely, totally normal republican response there. >> it was better to reach for a water bottle than a rolex watch. >> she said something we've never hear in a response to the state of the union address. accepting blame in her own party for problems in government.
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there is no one who has done a response has ever said that. >> jill, you haven't had a response to what the president said. >> i think it's interesting republicans. the republicans turned to bobby jindal in the first and nikki haley last, both immigrants. they have seen the world from within their own households from the point of view of people who are not american. i thought the first part of her speech, she kind of sounded a little bit by barack obama when she said we're bigger than our differences. that's a different message from a republican. she's also a former tea party candidate who went after her own party as a means of one way she got elected was because she was willing to stand up to the establishment. now that she's sort of the establishment savior, that's ironic. but on the president's speech, i think this was a true return to form. for the barack obama who burst on to the national stage in 2004 and who inspired people in 2008. it was reasoned argument and inspirational argument.
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he attempted to take the side of his opponents, to unts why they're angry to get inside that anger, reflected back and say we're bigger than this. we can actually get beyond this. it just drives the people who dislike obama crazy, because it seems like a lecture and it feels like inspare ration that still ignores their values. but i think it's the strongest attempt at it that i've seen this president make in eight years. i think he should have done more of that, more explecation. but i think it still comes across as speaking above the heads of the american people and lecturing them to believe in his program. >> there was something ideologically generous. you honed in on this. by giving the democratic applause lines, stacking them
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all up, not giving anybody time to applaud. he said listen, i'm not going to make that about this. he went out of his way to encourage and sort of applaud himself once he got republicans to rise to their feet and applaud something that he said about regulations. he is going out of his way to do judo on this thing. i'm not going to give you a clean shot at me. i want to talk about the places where we agree. i want to talk about paul ryan's interest in addressing poverty. he's trying to say, if you want to make me the enemy, i realize that's how you have to do it for politics. but there are so many things we have the same values. let's talk about that. >> he also tried to reorient the team. he said we all who do share a common share of american values have to be concerned if we allow ourselves to be divided, people with lots and lots of money will come after us all and come after all of our achievements, come after voting rights and civil rights and come after workers rights. and he made points that a lot of conservative republicans agree with. they don't want to be the -- >> i've got one here. i've got a conservative republican.
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what do you think people were saying? is you know how politics works. they walked out, they were civilized. there was nobody yelling you lie or nonsense. there was a little muttering one time in the back. but what do you think they say on the way out the door, the republican members? >> i think you saw barack obama and all his oratory gifts on full display. i think while you look at the culture of washington and you look broadly at the assignment of blame is with both parties and the leaders of both parties, including the president who did not govern as he campaigned as a repairer of the breach, but that doesn't make what he said tonight any less important in dealing with the toxicity of our political structure. it was interesting when he talked about redistricting reform. whether you think barack obama was a successful president, he's been a very consequential president. and the last truly consequential president the country had, who i
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also think was an extremely successful president, ronald reagan. and the valedictories of his president he talked about, how gerrymandering was so corrosive to our democracy. then as he talked about the cancer initiative, you look back to the original declaration of war of cancer on president nixon. a republican president. you should see on some of these issues a commonality there. but barack obama tonight, the president accurately diagnosed the political condition of the country when he summoned fdr, who on the eve of world war ii called knox and stimpson into his war cabinet, both republicans. and abraham lincoln talks about binding the wounds of this nation after the terrible civil war. so if one thing that barack obama can do in this last year of his presidency is to begin to
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repair the breach opened between us as americans during the course of his presidency, we're all the better for it. >> i think there's another question. the people there have a combined approval rating of 9%. all the people in the room. they're not effective. the establishment is in that room tonight and they're not doing well. >> you have to remember that no president has placed a greater fog of misinformation and outright lies in the public sphere than this president. he's giving that speech in a country where 20% of the people in this country believe that he is not an american.
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30% of the people in this country -- i'm not talking republicans, this is the american population -- 30% of them believe that president obama is muslim. he is also dealing with a congress where maybe a majority of the republican side of the congress believes that you can let the country go into default, that the debt ceiling is optional. every congress prior to the congresses president obama has had to work with has understood that the debt ceiling is not optional, that it's absolute must-pass. the lessons that he has had to teach, the elementary lessons of governing that he has struggled to teach this congress is something that no other president has ever had to go through. >> it is something. >> yeah. >> it is something that you have that percentage of people who believe he's a usurper. in fact, if you listen to trump. it's not just that he was born in kenya or indonesia somewhere, it's that he was an identity thief.
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trump goes on to say no one knew him in school. what spooky music are we supposed to know there. oh, you mean there isn't a barack obama? yeah, yeah. nobody knew him in school. so what is the point? >> it makes it hard to sort of take steve's point that, you know, there's a sort of equal measure of blame to go around on both sides for the inability to work together. these members of congress on republican side have to go home to districts where it's more than 30% of the people in districts who believe these things and who are making decisions based on an almost irrational hatred of the president. it's not as if he could have gone across the aisle and had republicans come back to him because the moment they worked with him, they were done. nikki haley was part of a tea party wave who went after any republican who dared to even propose working with this president. there was so much vitriol and rage that there was no opportunity for the president to reach across the aisle.
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>> one of the things we've been talking about here, we should play it back. this is where he talked about one of the few regrets of his presidency and addressed members of congress as fellow politicians. let's hear it. >> it's one of the few regrets of my presidency that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. i have no doubt, a president with the gifts of lincoln or roosevelt might have better bridged the divide. and i guarantee, i'll keep trying to be better so long as i hold this office. but my fellow americans, this cannot be my task or any president's alone. there are a whole lot of folks in this chamber, good people, who would like to see more cooperation. would like to see a more elevated debate in washington.
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but feel trapped by the imperatives of getting elected. by the noise coming out of your base. i know, you've told me. it's the worst kept secret in washington. and a lot of you aren't enjoying being trapped in that kind of rancor. but that means if we want a better politics -- and i'm addressing the american people now -- if we want better politic, it's not enough just to change a congressman or change a senator, or even change a president. we have to change the system to reflect our better selves. >> president obama speaking tonight in his final state of the union address. one of the very, very rare birds who he was only partially speaking to in that chamber tonight is an independent senator from maine, senator angus king who joins us now. senator, it's great to the you here tonight. thank you very much for your time. >> thank you.
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nice to be here, rachel. >> when the president talked about how uncomfortable members of congress are with the rancor and the noise coming from their own base and how partisanship, blind partisanship in some cases has made being a member of congress not all that much fun anymore. do you feel like you are except from that diagnosis because you are an independent? or did what the president say speak to you, too? >> it certainly speaks to the institution. and i think there's a great contradiction that the general public doesn't understand. they think we all hate each other. that there's this constant friction and confrontation and it's all unpleasant and toxic. i hear that word used. the truth is this place is institutionally confrontational and difficult to get things done. but personally, it's not that way. i think he really hit on an important point, that a lot of people here do feel sort of trapped in a system -- i think one of the best lines i heard was from a republican house
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member a couple of weeks ago. he said i spend all my time in washington trying to convince people i'm not crazy. and all the time in my district with my constituents that i am crazy. there's this real pressure to tow the line. and, of course, one of the litmus tests now is how you feel about this president. i thought that this was an extraordinary speech. i frankly think this was his best speech since the night eight years ago. >> he turned around and talked about paul ryan's interest in fighting poverty. he announced names and stories ahead of the speech, all focused on the issue of combatting poverty. most of them with from his own district. we also had this shot that a lot of us were watching to the wind up to the speech tonight. vice president biden and speaker ryan speaking intensely and in a friendly way for a very long
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time in context of this speech. i wonder if the era of speaker ryan, young as it is, feels any more constructive, that it might be an environment, stuff that can get done when the two parties don't disagree too drastically. >> i have to tell you what happened at the end of the year with the budget and the final negotiations was really remarkable and surprising. i wouldn't have given you 50-50 that it was going to come out that way two or three weeks before. so i think he has to -- speaker ryan has to take some credit there. one of the things that the president touched upon, and i think is really critical, and that is the idea that compromise itself, that talking to each other, listening to each other is itself a political offense. it's one thing to vote somebody out of office if you disagree with them on abortion or on the war or whatever. but if you vote somebody out of
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office because they manifest a willingness to listen and try to solve problems, then we're in real trouble. do you see what i mean? it makes it impossible because people say, well, i agree with you on this, we ought to be able to work this out. but if i'm seen working with you and compromising, that is a capital crime in my district. we've got to get beyond that, otherwise -- i've never seen anything like that. i have no problem with differing on issues. but if we differ on the fundamental process of working together and compromising and trying to find solutions to problems, man, we're in to real trouble. i think that was something he was trying to address tonight. >> let's talk about this. our policy is very progressive and liberal. we try to bring as many people as we can into the country. we had an immigration bill passed in the country.
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it had tough teeth in it. it really talked about stopping people from hiring people illegally. but it was also a way for people who have been here for a number of years to find its way to citizenship. it was a good comprehensive bill. the republican leadership of the house wouldn't let it come to a vote, not even a vote. it's supposed to be a democracy. how about using the word republican in the real sense? let the representatives vote on issues important to the people. here's what happened. here's how it breaks down. the president enraged by the failure of the congress to do anything took a number of steps by executive order. that enraged the republicans still further. in comes a new speaker, ryan, paul ryan says i'm not going to do anything on immigration reform as long as this guy is president of the united states. and people say how does it start? it's the cycle of stupidity and anger that goes step by step. now we won't have any immigration process done this year. people are surging across the border.
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it's happening again. and conservatives say they're doing something to stop illegal immigration. they won't let it come to a vote. your thoughts. >> but chris. you left out one important line of history about the passage of the bill the president enacting. a key event during that period was the defeat of eric cantor in the republican primary in virginia. i've heard all kinds of explanations on why that happened. they say he didn't go home often enough and pay attention to his district, but the perception here was that he lost that because he was deemed too soft, if you will, on immigration. now, i don't know what he said or did to make people think that. but that sort of cast a pall over this whole discussion. and this whole presidential election, immigration is one of the real hot button issues. so it's clearly something that we have to deal with. and it always bothered me that
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people use the word amnesty. if you get caught with an oui and you lose your license for six months and you pay your fine and you spend a weekend in jail or whatever and you get your license back, nobody says that's amnesty. that's just what happens after you've paid your debt to society. the same thing in the immigration bill. you had to go through a long process, nine years. you had to pay a fine, you had to have a clean record, all of those kinds of things. and yet people call it amnesty. and that word just took over the political discussion. i'm speaking to an entire chamber full of people, all descendants of immigrants talking about whether or not they should have immigration. that's who this country is. and frankly, you can go down steve jobs' father and madeleine albright and henry kissinger. the list just goes on and on of the way these folks from around the world, including my
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ancestors and yours, came here to find a better life. so to cut that off is not only wrong in terms of america but it is really stupid in terms of the economy. we need people in order to build our economy. so we've got to work this problem out. >> i came up with the family irish accents spoken at home. on the grand parents' side. we're only a few votes ahead of these people. thank you very much. let's bring in "the washington post" pulitzer prize winner eugene robinson. you're so great at this. take a chance. explain it all tonight. the president's swan song. it was a good one. and i think nikki haley, rachel said it did not harm. i thought it had a couple of points. we'll find the stuff we like and ignore the rest. but your thoughts? >> my thoughts, first of all, the president's speech, you know, the first thin i did was just take in the visual. visual information is so powerful.
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and so for one last time, we saw the first african-american president standing there with the vice president over one shoulder and the speaker of the house over another shoulder. that is still an amazing sight. that's powerful communication there. i agree with everyone that but the speech really got started when he paused and said we the people. and then the first three words of the constitution and went into the section about politics. about our broken politics. i thought that was vintage obama. it was extremely powerful. he explained things well and systematically, but there was passion there, there's self-criticism there. he proposed concrete things that could be done.
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to make things better and promised to work on it. then he started this explicit push towards a new politics earlier. was there an opportunity, maybe there wasn't. maybe last year, he could push it forward. i thought nikki haley's speech was better than all right. i thought it was quite good. i'm not sure i heard a better republican response. she did more than not flub her lines. i thought the notes she struck her immigrant family, i have inside knowledge here. her family used to run a clothing store just up the road from where i grew up in south carolina, a little town called bamburg. and my sister remembers her working in the store. that was genuine and heart felt.
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she was almost speaking for a republican party. but one wonders if it still exists. a republican party that's so open hearted and welcoming. a semireformed establishment view, i guess. the question is, are there followers for the philosophy she espoused? both speeches put together, it was really an anti-trump night. both can be heard as rebuttals, i think. erg that trump stands for and trump standing for this division and antagonism and sourness and anger that has afflicted our politics.
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so it's as if they tried to pour oil on the roiling waters. 1234 thank you so much. >> a virginia republican defeated then majority leader eric cantor in 2014 in that primary. congressman, was that true that account from senator king that you won because eric cantor, among his other deeds, supported immigration reform? >> this was one issue among many. but if you look at the presidential polls right now, i mean, you can kind of look at them in aggregate. national security, terrorism, wide open border. there's just an aggregate that the political class up here is not paying attention to. >> wait a minute, wait a minute. before you slip and slide away from the question. the question is this, what was wrong with a comprehensive immigration bill? i'm not talking about a giveaway or amnesty. i'm talking about a bill that
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said no more illegal hiring. we're going to make everify work. it's not going to be the bill from '86. it's truly comprehensive. what's wrong with that? when are you going to fix the system if not for a bill like that? >> i don't think we need to go comprehensive. we even done that in the past. comprehensive anything never works. obam thatcare is a comprehensive medical disaster. >> what kind of jabberwall is that? >> let me finish. >> that's not an answer. the only way to paz a bill is to have something for the right and something for the left. it's called compromise. >> let's go with something everyone agrees with first, sealing the border. last week, 10,000 kids came across according to "the washington post." we keep putting up green lights to welcome 7 million people in. >> i see the game here. so the politics you're playing here is anti-immigrant politics. >> no, absolutely not. we have a million legal immigrants per year that go through the proper channels and follow the rule of law. this country was made great
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because of the free market system and the rule of law. if the left would embrace those two simple things, the rest of the world would be rich and they wouldn't want to all migrate to the richest -- >> you keep changing the subjects to other parts of your jeremiah. i just want an answer. when are we going to get an immigration bill? >> as soon as we all compromise and seal off the southern border, which everything knows is a disaster. >> thank you, congressman for coming on tonight. i think you answered the question. i think i know why you beat eric cantor. >> here's an opportunity to widen the aperture. i think gene was right to say this was a lot of anti-trump messaging from both nikki haley and president obama, the part of the speech where it was appropriate to do that sort of thing. donald trump remains the overwhelming choice of republican voters as their
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presidential choice. he's winning by a mile. the only state he's not winning right now is iowa and in that place, it's really, really close. on the issue of immigration, we're talking about nikki haley being a child of immigrants. the country must be able to welcome anybody who abides by our laws and willing to love our tra dpipgs but if you're taking an eric cantoresque like line you're be taken out like eric cantor. >> it's interesting i was struck by a statistic earlier today before the speech today. if you go back to 1940, eight out of ten americans over 25 were white americans with nothing more than a college degree.
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inaugurated president, it was 3 in 10. 29%. that shrinking white class is who president obama was zeroing in on when he was talking about fear of change. they are what's animating the trump phenomenon. and they have a genuine fear about their own future, a lot of which is rooted in the fear that immigration is tied to their prosperity. >> i think it's what republicans want now. supporting donald trump and eventually he tarts to win all the demographics within the republican party. >> white women already he's leading. >> working class, they have the same views as white working class men. the views are not that different. >> one of the things you pointed out earlier, you talked about collectively the collapse of trust in the institution. one of the reasons that burger king and mcdonald's never attacked each other directly was because at result would be the selling of less hamburgers. we these discussions of who's up, who's down, who's winning. when they attack each other, they all lose. we look at imintegration and what republicans are saying across the country.
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i've been a long time advocate for a comprehensive solution to a dire problem. nobody trusts the government to competently execute the first part of the equation which is to secure the border and to stop the flow of illegal immigration which by the way, 40% of which comes from visa overstays and arrivals through jfk and other international airports not through the southern border. but that's what the primal scream is in the republican primary on this issue. >> let's bring into the conversation now vermont senator and democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders. over in sanders we saw a little bit of your response just by looking at the camera on you tonight in the room. i wonder if you felt like you heard a little bit of your own message, a little bit of your own campaign speech even in some of what will the president said tonight. >> i was thinking maybe the president was paying attention to my basic speech there.
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i thought what the president was saying is look, change is not a bad thing. we have to utilize changing to improve lives for all of our people. he gave some really great examples. the example ha stuck in my mind was the issue of climate change. our republican friends can deny the reality of climate change all they want but what's not going to stop the floods and droughts. what we have to do is understand that with our technology, with our scientific capability, we can be not only combat climate change but we can create millions of decent paying jobs working with countries all over the world to save the planet. the other issue he got into which was pretty interesting is his concern about the state of american democracy and the fact and he's absolutely right, a lot of working people, middle income people saying why should i participate. big money interests contribute hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns. i just got my own vote. i'm not going to doing it.
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he says reclaim american democracy. get involved. when he talks about that, yes, i don't have a super pac. we're depending on small individual contributions. that's the direction we need to go in this country. take on super pacs, take on billionaires trying to buy elections. i think his point was a very good one. >> a lot of people looked ahead to this speech tonight from president obama thinking that some of the messaging would be for you, would be for you and for secretary clinton. maybe even for governor o'malley, it would be about what he wants the democratic party, what he wants his potential successors from his own party to prioritize in the race to succeed him and if indeed one of you eds up becoming the next president, do you feel like that advice is out will from the president? do you feel like he's essentially lobbying you on how you ought to be campaigning and what kind of president you ought to be? >> i don't look at it that way. i do think what the president aid is look, the future of our
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country is not to have wage a bigoted attack and he didn't get into it in detail but we know what he's talking about against latinos where donald trump is suggestinging that mexicans who are coming into this country are rapists or criminals and ha we shouldn't be waging attacks against people who are muslims that to go forward, we've got to go forward together and not allow ourselves to be divided up. that is an extraordinarily important message because what demagogues like trump want to do is to divide us up, take our eyes off the main issue and that is how do we reverse income and wealth inequality and create decent paying jobs for all of our people. how do we end this corrupt campaign finance system which is undermining american democracy. how do we make sure that our public colleges and universities are tuition free, et cetera, et cetera. the only way we accomplish that
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goal is we we come together, not when we get divided up. >> senator, i'm going to ask you a political race question now. you are surging right now. i don't know if there's some exoj news factor that is driving that or if it is something about the way you and secretary clinton are campaigning. right now, your numbers are up a lot in new hampshire. they're up in iowa and they are up also nationwide. i wonder if you have a diagnosis for that and i also wonder if you have any overall feeling about the sharp contrast that secretary clinton is trying to draw with you on the interest of guns. during the president's speech she put out a new ad titled "i'm with him," saying it's time to pick a side implying you're not with the president on this issue. >> as i think most americans know by now, i am absolutely with the president on guns. i very strongly support his efforts to bring forth an
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executive order which will making it more difficult for people who should not have guns to get guns to move forward to end the so-called gun show loophole. look, i have a d minus voting record from the nra. d minus. back in 1988, long time ago, rachel, i may well have lost an election because i had the courage to stand up and say that maybe in the united states, we might want to ban assault weapons, military weapons designed to kill a whole lot of people. so i think what secretary clinton knows is that i think she is in trouble now in new hampshire and iowa. it's going to be a hard-fought race, but she understands that the american people are sick and tired of seeing the middle class continuing to decline almost will all new income and wealth going to the top 1%. the american people now want leadership that is prepared not to take money from wall street. not to take money from the pharmaceutical industry but to stand up to the big money
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interests who have so much power over our economy and our political life. that's why i believe we're doing well. >> i want to raise the noise level. why are the democratic campaign debates, they're now close. you're within 40 to 48 in the latest cbs poll. you and hillary clinton are right there by yourselves. why don't we have a debate like say during the week when people are watching television? why do you have these weird, almost like sunday morning at 6:00. why did you go along with itting? why did your people allow this campaign to be hidden? >> well, chris, chris, chris, you're right. >> i'm asking. >> and your assertion is right. some people have suggested maybe the debate would be 3:00 a.m. on christmas eve. you know? but look, what we were told and make no mistake about it, we said let's sit down about when and where we hold debates. we were told i think our
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campaign may be learned about it a few hours before, a day before. we were told that that is the way it was going to be. so please, you are right in your criticism. >> why don't you change it now that you're close to hillary clinton in the numbers nationally and say go back to deb debbie wasserman-schultz and say look, we want to schedule five or six debates so we can address the american people with this debate instead of having it hidden. >> that's i think a great idea. count me in. >> it's not my job. it's your job. >> yes, you know, one of the absurd things is the republican debates have 15 million, 20 million, 25 million people watching. we have 8 million people watching. we are not getting our ideas out to the american people which quite frankly in all cases are better than this right wing nonsense we're hearing from the republicans. yes, i'm open to the idea of more debates and having them on primetime. >> steve schmidt as a question
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for you. >> good evening. i think you're on track to shock the political world to win the iowa caucuses, to win the new hampshire primary. put yourself on february 9th. you've just won the new hampshire primary. the empire is ready to strike back now. what are you going to be saying from that victory stage having won the new hampshire primary most improbably against the conventional wisdom? how are you going to bring it home and be the democratic nominee. >> first thing, don't jinx me, please. don't get me up there on the stage. here's what i think and i said this time and again. i think we have a good chance to feel in iowa. i think we've got a good chance to win in new hampshire. please, we do not undersfimt secretary clinton's he was organization. she has more money in the bank than we have. so it's going to be a hard-fought struggle. but let me say this. if by some chance we do win in iowa and we do win in new hampshire, we are prepared and we're starting right now.
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we already have strong organizations in nevada, in south carolina, and many of the states that will be voting on march 1st. we are in this for the long haul. we think our message that there's something profoundly wrong with the middle class continues to decline and almost all new wealth and income goes to the top 1%, that's a message that's going to carry us to the end. i think you're right. i think we have a real shot to pull off one of the great political upsets in american history. >> vermont senator bernie sanders. it's a real pleasure to have you on. whenever you can make time. it's great to have you here. good luck. >> thank you, raich. >> i want to bringing in nbc's political director chuck todd and nbc news in chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchel mitchell. why did account bernie sanders campaign, why did they accept these ridiculously restricted
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debates that nobody watches? >> think about when they planned it at a time when bernie sanders was sitting at 5, 6, 7% in the polls. he was just registering. martin o'malley had no juice. hillary clinton was calling the shots. the dnc only had one campaign they had to you know, the assumption was if she doesn't show up, you can't hold a debate. so she held all the cards. i think it's a different situation now. it's when they plan these debates. look, i think it's been a total debacle for the dnc. it's embarrassing what's happened. there is no debate scheduled for the week before iowa. there's no debate scheduled between the week before iowa and new hampshire. that's not how this process has worked for frankly chris, since we've been doing this together for a decade or so and going back another 20 years. >> it looks like they're hiding. your thoughts about the both speeches. >> we saw and i'm sure you have
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said this. it was clearly, there was a laundry list of proposals but it was sort of the greatest hits of things he's proposed in past states of the union and couldn't get passed. it was a little bit of legacy you know, polishing a little bit. but i really think you can't help but see that the overall tone of the speech was meant to be a direct rebuttal to the republican campaign. and this was the most obama of the states of the union meaning the first one all the other ones that he did he was following a form lap whatever the agreed upon formula was that overtime presidents have agreed upon whether it was reagan, clinton, bush, et cetera. this was had more of him in it than hab any of these other states of the union. i'll just say one other thing. my little pet peeb, it does bother me that candidates or retiring politicians find religion in broken politics in the last year they're in washington or when they announce their retirement they talk how horrible money is in politics.
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you wish they would say make this your priority in your first year. it does say something that both president obama and nikki haley made broken politics one of their themes. >> andrea? >> well, i was very struck by how strongly he criticized the kind of language and rhetoric of the republican campaign. he has been champing at the bit i think to respond to the politics that he sees around him and he gave basically his first campaign speech of 2016 bill going after what donald trump as said and in one specific instance, ted cruz, the carpet bombing reference. he's been i think frustrated that he hasn't been able to get out there and this is the launch. he doesn't have his candidate yet because he's not endorsing while these primaries, the democratic primary is still going on. but he spoke about inclusion, spoke about the discrimination and the bigotry against muslims and how it affects us in terms of our foreign policy as well as
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how it is not calling us to our better spirits. it's not what america is. this is what he believes and he made it very clear today. and nikki haley also called out donald trump subtlety by saying the loudest voices are not necessarily in politics. so i think she did an awfully good job, tough challenge. the republican response, and i really thought she did a very good job as a person with immigrant heritage. she was very well positioned to speak out strongly against what she and many republicans feel is a broken immigration system. and a system that should not be falling down on the screening of refugees. so she hit all of those hard republican points but also called out republicans for being themselves responsible for the lack of trust in government. >> it's the second time she's impressed us all after bringing down the confederate battle flag and doing this. i think the republicans got more than they counted on from her tonight. >> her endorsement is going to
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be huge. >> is that imminent? >> i think it's coming. here's what i -- the leading saebment candidate coming out of new hampshire, probably has the early lead on it now that lindsay's out. marco rubio or jeb bush. go look on twitter and see how quickly this he praised her. that will tell you who needs most. >> somebody said any republican wants her on the ticket. i think it was lawrence o'donnell. thank you very much, chuck. thank you very much and my friend andrea mitchell. it's been one hell of a night. president obama laid out his vision for a new era of democratic ideals. all while this dramatic story unfolds as pentagon officials await at dawn the release of ten american sailors retained or detained in iran. we begin tonight by the way with the big moments from the president's final state of the union and a remarkable admission
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from a sitting president that the state of our political union has gotten worse on his watch. >> it's one of the few regrets of my presidency that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better. i have no doubt a president with the gifts of lincoln or roosevelt might have bridge the divide. i'll keep trying to be better so long as i hold this office. >> the president on the mission against the overheated war talk of the republican party taking a direct shot at senator ted cruz's line been carpet bombing isis and attacking governor chris christie who says we're already in world war ii. here he is. >> we have to take him out. but as we focus on destroying isil, over the top claims that this is world war iii just play into their hands. masses of fighters on the back
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of pickup trucks twisted souls plotting in apartments or garage s they pose an enormous danger to civilians. they have to be stopped. but they do not threaten our national existence. >> that is the story isil wants to tell. that's the kind of propaganda they use to recruit. we don't need to build them up to show that we're serious. and we sure don't need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that isil is somehow representative of one of the world's largest religions. [ applause ] >> it's amazing it takes a president to say we don't face a existingsal threat. bob all, he went after the scorched earth anger of donald
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trump. >> when politicians insult muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized or a kid is called names, that doesn't make us safer. what's not telling -- telling it like it is. it's just wrong. it diminishes us in the eyes of the world. it makes it harder to achieve our goals. it betrays who we are as a country. [ applause ] >> someone yelled something there. after 59 minutes, the big address the was capped off with this parting shot. i believe in change because i believe in you, the american people. that's why i stand here as
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confident as i have ever been that the state of our union is strong. thank you. god bless you. god bless the united states of america. >> raich willing, there it is. >> last one. that's the last one he'll do. one of the guests who was at the state of the union tonight sitting with the first lady was governor dannel malloy, a democrat from connecticut, governor malloy has had a lot of national attention in part because of the gun safety laws that he signed after the sandy hook massacre in his state three years ago. thanks for being with us tonight. >> it's great to be with you tonight. i've been following you. you're doing a great job covering this. let me give you my perspective. this was the president speaking to his supporters and his opponents, to the american people in general. this was a conversation that the president was having. i have to tell you, it's the most mature conversation any president has had about terrorism for a long, long time. maybe forever. it was the most mature discussion that any president has had about our body politic
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and the destructive nature of those politics that any president has even dared to have. i loved it. i thought it was great. one point i kind of reached over to the first lady and in a positive way, i said is this professor obama? because it really was conversational. he was getting it off his chest. he needed to get it off his chest and reminded america that we've created 14 million jobs during his presidency, twice the number of the bush administration. he deserves some credit for this. but he's trying to lead and you know, those guys that are running for the republican nomination, i'm not sure they like america to tell you the truth. they talk it down constantly. it's unbelievable. >> there was, you talk whether or not they like america. we didn't have one of those nights where you had half the chamber standing up half the time and the other half of the chamber standing up the other half of the time and people yelling and shouting. there was not a lot of rancor even if there was gentle teasing
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from president obama tonight. i wonder what your sense of sort of the temperature is right now for how much of a fight the american people want on these stark ideological differences. you've been through the fires in connecticut. you've passed stuff that has been very recontroversial and i know about the heat you have taken for it. i wonder if you feel like the temperature is still going up in this country or leveling off or going down? >> i look at the surveys of millenials. they wanton universal background checks. they want someone to lead a lowering of the violence rate and the shooting rate. i think they want to have that discussion. they want a different politics in the united states. the people are going to take over this country when i'm done. i think they're better focused and i think they're more realistic about our options abroad in the mideast and elsewhere. i think the president pointing out that this is a multigenerational problem at this point. we're going to having to stay a long course if we're going to win and we have to make sure
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that our muslim brothers and sisters don't think we think they're the enemy universally. we have enemies in those communities but we need to have a very sane and balanced discussion about the people who pose a threat 0 americans and to america and those who do not. >> governor malloy, the two main contenders for the democratic presidential nomination right now have long tenures in government both of them have had a lot of different public service jobs. neither of them has ever been a governor. i think when it comes time for the democratic nominee this year to pick a vice presidential running mate, it is likely they will choose somebody who is a governor who has other executive experience. are you in the running for vice presidential nominee? >> i hope not. i thought you liked me. that's a tough job. biden would do it again, i'd give it to him to tell you the truth. that's not what interests me. i enjoy being xwempb. listen, we've done a lot in connecticut.
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we were the first state to pass paid sick days. we did it in 11. no other state did it till '14. now only four states have done it. we were the first state to get behind 10.10 as a minimum wage. we were the best implementer of obamacare. we have taken on the issue of education. we were the first state to be certified as having ended chronic homelessness amongst veterans this past summer. we've done a lot of good work. it's been a hard environment. i'm not the most popular guy in the world but i'm a pretty hard working guy. we're going to get things done in connecticut over the next three years, as well. >> governor dannel malloy professing to be disinterested in the job and running a pretty good audition reel for it right there. thank you very much for being with us on the. >> great to be with you. >> let's bring back in chris hayes and our friend republican strategist steve schmidt.
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maria teresa, what's your overall take on the president's speech that the republican response, what do you think has been important tonight? >> the fact he walked us through the importance of what it is to be american. what i mean is he walked through our history and reminded us that we went to the moon when we wanted to do something. he reminded us about the fundamentals of immigration and about the fundamentals of our commerce and what it means. he said the only way this happens is by mass participation. e-book ended it by saying we need to vote, we need to participate. america is the greatest country in the world because we participate. and he also took a shot at every single republican candidate because he realizes that the only way to cement his legacy is in order to have a democrat in the white house. he was reminding me the american people duly in order the reason we got here was because we participated at the polls but also because in order for us to continue being great, we have to make sure there's a democrat in the white house. >> i did not hear that part of
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the argument. >> he obviously didn't say that explicitly. what part of his argument did you hear as and there needs to be a democrat president next. >> when he talked about chris christie and he was talking about donald trump and whether he talked about cruz, he was basically reminding the american public of what is wrong on the opposite side. when he was talking about division, he was talking about the reason there's mass division is because of what's lapping on the opposite side. he was saying let me remind you millennials and the governor pointed out the only way we can continue down these pathways of the environment, of job creation, of education is if we have someone that actually believes in these positions that you believe in in. >> the space line that you referenced there, how do we -- of 0 years ago he said when the russians beat us into space we didn't deny sputnik was up there. we built a space program.will
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overnight and 12 years later we walked on the moon. >> how remarkable would it be in the united states american astronauts go to the space station on russian rockets under the president's watch. but i did find it remarkable. >> you're blaming obama for that? >> i am blaming under this president we have lost that capability to launch american on american rockets. >> we have also developed a private space industry. do you give him credit for that? >> i don't think that is a function of the administrationing. > so if he doesn't get credit for that, but he does get blamed for that. >> innovators in the private sector. incredible to watch governor malloy talk at the beginning how moved he is by the president's call for this reconciliation and the very next sentence, i don't think these republican candidates like america very much. and there you go. an extraordinary moment. absolutely incredible, and the notion on this panel and i love you all, but the notion that the
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divisions in american politics rest solely on one side of the aisle, we have the front running candidate ostensibly candidate hillary clinton in a debate is asked who is the enemies, she goes -- it wasn't a joke at the time. it was a joke after the fact shoo she laughed whether he she said it which is how you know it was a joke. that's a key indicator. >> republicans. republicans. and over and over again, republicans have been raised this president as a straw man. their motives have been questioned on issue of an issue. we talking about great presidents able to repair the breach. remember ulysses s. grant. when he dice, three of his paul bearers are confederate generals such was his role in reconciling the country after this terrible civil war. divisions much greater but also ended reconstruction. but the point is, the president has more than his fair share of
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responsibility for the tone and tenor of our politics. >> polarization can be something that is both contributed to and stoked by both sides and also one side is doing it more. that is the nature ofs a symmetric polarization. i think in the emergence of donald trump you are seeing a phenomenon of the polarization drawn to such an acute scale even people like nikki haley clearly tonight, other members of the republican establishment are looking at what's feeding their base and saying what's going on here. that doesn't mean the democrats aren't also doing their own polarry decision. this is all structural. this is not a story about virtue, not a story who's brave and who's not. it's a story about what the incentives are. donald trump is leading in the polls. right in the we understand that the swing voter is gone. everybody understands the same way to build a majority. so you can tell a story who is
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virtuous and who's vicious and who is noble and who is not, fundamentally when the president talked about the way elections are un, financed and things like that, that's what's driving all this. it's not good guys and bad guys. >> we will senator king on earlier. he's an independent and maine produces a lot of independents. he talked about how he sometimes works with people in congress and they say to him i agree with you on the issues but cannot be seen to work with you or that will be electoral trouble for me. that is only true among republican politicians. he didn't say it that way. i'm going to assert that. there is no democratic base voter revuls for democrats who work with republicans. look at bernie sanders campaign ads. he braggs about doing legislation with republicans. he's the socialist. this is not thing where the democrats and republicans equally rejected the idea of compromise. the republican party has. >> i think it's right. >> i accept. >> they attack people for
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dealing with obama, not -- >> i think the problem in that sense is worse in the republican side. that is only because though we have a democratic president. when you had a republican president, there were no incentives and there was punitive action taken against democrats like joe lieberman for working on national security issues with george w. bush. so you know, what. >> joe lieberman who didn't end up being a democrat. >> who occupies the white house. >> i think it's great to have a partial concession from you. tonight, president obama's final state of the union address. it was also the last one for senator barbara boxer of california. she's retiring when her term ends after this year. she joins us now. senator, you won 24 years in the united states senate. you've never changed an inch. you've never buckled to popular opinion. you are a progressive. used to call you a liberal in the old days. 24 years in the senate.
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what did you make of the speech at any time tonight? >> my 34th straight speech that i heard, i frankly have to say it was a no o nostalgic moment as a watched the president doing his last speech up there. i was very touched by the speech. i was touched by the speech because i think what the president tried to do was conversational. and he tried to basically state some facts for the people. number one, look at what we've done. in the last seven years, you know, inheriting the worst recession since the great depression. i stood on that senate floor and held my head like this 700,000 jobs a month being lost. the housing crisis, deficits skyrocket package. now we've gone from 10% to 5% unemployment. 14 million jobs created. the housing crisis of appears to be behind us. the auto industry 640,000 new jobs on top of many that were
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saved. so i think the president reminded us of that, how resilient we are as a people. even with all the fighting that goes on in the united states senate and in the congress. so i think he gave us the hope that look at what we've done but then he laid out what we have to do. and some of the things touched my heart like voting rights. my goodness, it's unbelievable that the voting rights act was turned overturned in part by the supreme court. we need to fix that so people can participate in this greatest of nations. he reminded us that no religion is our enemy. and he talked about the fact that we can't get troops on the ground in countries to just change their regimes and get in the middle of civil wars. things that are very, very deep and important and he did it in a way that i thought was just terrific. i was touched and moved and i'm excited to get to work with joe biden so that we have a moon
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shot to cure cancer, some of the things the president talked about really got me excited tonight. >> his humility in talking about the fact that he's know roosevelt, no lincoln. >> yes. >> very few people are. but i was wondering. > wait a minute, roosevelt was hated by republicans. >> that man in the white house they called him. >> they hated him. he was able to do it because he had large majorities of democrats. >> go ahead. i wanted to jump in for a second. senator boxer, it's nice to see you tonight. you're on the formulations committee. i wanted to ask you about this other news tonight about these ten american sailors, nine men, one woman being held by the iranian revolutionary graurd. tonight we've had an assurance from secretary kerry that they will be released soon. we're getting those assurances. do you have any take on what's happening there? >> i've been briefed continually by my staff. and i also had the chance 0 look
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at kerry from across a crowded room in the house chamber. and i beak mouthed the words are we okay. and he gave meet thumbs up. i know him for so long, we know how to communicate that way. and you know, from what i understand from news reports, we're looking at a few hours. we'll see this resolved. thank god. but you know, when it comes to iran, i think we just have to hold our breath. we're going to -- we expect it all to be right. and it will be right. one way or the other, it will be right. but you know, obviously, we don't like in this moment in time and we're looking forward to the minutes clicking away and we get -- and i understand we've been hearing their voices already. they're fine. but we want to see them free. >> let me ask you about the president's admission tonight, his sort of a confession that he wasn't a great president when it came to ending this political crisis where the parties don't
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talk to each other. do you think that there's an issue, a real one he hasn't been a smoozer, that he hasn't spent the time that you need to sort of work deals? >> say that again? >> do you think the president has relied too much on his ortory and not spent enough time working deals on the hill on imintegration and issues like that? is that a fault of this president? >> do you know, that is so interesting. i've done writing about this. i really think the president has reached out. he's not a smoozer. he's not someone that likes to come over and say let's go have a pa beer. he spends the time that he has away from work with his family and i appreciate that. and i think it's very hard to work with people who are still questioning the fact that you actually were qualified to be president because of where you were born. i mean, it's really difficult to spend time with people who hurl insults at you. and some who said before the
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last election, you know, the very senate majority leader with whom i work very well with on a couple of issues, senator mish mcconnell said my one job is to defeat this man. so no, i think he was being a little bit too hard on himself. let me quickly say where i think things stand. i think there were real issues that separate the parties. deep, deep issues. whether it's the right to marry who you love, the desire to make sure yes, we respect the second amendment but common sense gun laws. that's important. whether we should let our kids have student loans that they can afford. do you know we have people who are collecting social security who are are paying off their student debt in america today? i mean, they don't want to do immigration reform. there's so many deep splits. so i think all au this talk about how and people give speeches former senators. they complain. i can work just fine with my
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colleagues when i find the sweet spot. but where is it? befound it on transportation. we found it in certain attacks reforms. it's very hard. it's not really about anything else but that. on top of that, you have some in the republican party who have such animosity toward this president that i mean, i don't care what he would say, they would say the opposite. i don't think i've ever seen that. i've been here awhile and i've seen it since tip o'neill was speaker, chris. you remember those days and ronald reagan was president. boy, i'll tell you something, i did not agree with romd reagan, trickle down economics and building all those nuclear weapons but we had a battle. we voted. and ronald reagan moved on and congress people moved on and tip o'neill move on. you tried to find the sweet spot. that's what's missing because the parties have grown apart since my day, the democrats have
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moved to the center. and the republicans have moved to the far right. i believe that is a fact in evidence. i really do. >> senator barbara boxer, again, tonight, as we heard, your 34th state of the union and the last one you'll see as a sitting senator. it's great to see you. >> thank you so much, raich. >> much more ahead tonight with our continuing coverage of the state of the union. we're going to be hearing from ted cruz. we're going to be hearing from steve kornacki. we're going to be hearing from a number of other people we haven't brought on yet tonight. lots more still to come. stay with us. >> i will keep pushing for progress on the work that i believe still needs to be done. fixing a broken immigration system. [ applause ] protecting our kids from gun violence. equal pay for equal work. paid leave. raising the minimum wage.
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civilians. that may work as a tv sound bite but it doesn't pass muster on the world stage. >> while democrats in washington bear much responsibility for the problems facing america today, they do not bear it alone. there is more than enough blame to go around. we as republican s need to own that truth. we need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in america's leadership. we need to accept that we've played a role in how and why our government is broken. and then we need to fix it. >> if you are a democrat or a liberal, and you're watching the republican response to the president's state of the union tonight, when she gets to the part where she says we as republicans need to own that truth. we need to recognize our contributions to the erosion of the public trust in america's leadership. we need to accept we republicans have played a role in how our government is broken.
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if you're hearing that, you're thinking she's speaking truth tonight. she's a republican who i could -- how do republicans hear that? let's bring in msnbc political correspondent steve kornacki with reaction from the right what happened tonight. >> this is interesting. we usually think of this response as being sort of a dead end in politics. tonight, a lot of conversation about nikki haley and about that speech. obviously the way you can interpret what she said tonight, this was an attempt by the republican establishment make no mistake about it, three weeks before iowa, four weeks before new hampshire to hit the brakes on rise of donald trump. the rise of trump. so how is it going over? let's press the other button. this is the chairman of the rnc great job nikki haley. fantastic balance and substance. our party is the new young and diverse party. priebus wants to send encouraging signs about this. paul ryan put out a statement
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praising her. you had a host of conservative and republican voices who have been very vocally critical of dot coming out saying they loved the speech, saying they loved the brand of republicanism she was promoting. so those folks were happy with it. however, take a look what we started to see come in from very familiar voices on the right. ann coulter has been aggressively promoting donald trump. she says trump should deport nikki haley. this is amanda carpenter. a communications director for ted cruz and now a pundit and says hailey's speech would have been good except for the gop self-loathing. laura engram has been very encouraging of donald trump. very disdainful of the establishment. the country is lit up with a populist fever by digging in criticizing the gop candidates dominating polls. not smart. she was on a tweet storm tonight. said too bad nikki haley missed
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her opportunities who stand with working people who want borders enforced, government shrunk. what we're seeing and it's still early right now but what we're seeing in the instant reaction to nikki haley's speeds, we are seeing the divide in the republican party that's been exposed by the rise of donald trump. you have the republican establishment saying we loved what nikki haley had to say tonight. we love her version of the republican party. but you have the people who have been fighting that establishment who have been encouraging trump. they are hearing that message and saying we don't want any of that. this is the story to watch in the coming days. does anybody give an inch or is this still the same divide. >> that is absolutely fascinating. we have more on this point from robert costa, an excellent national political reporter who specializes in having great sources among the republican leadership. robert, what are you hearing tonight from reserves and conservative leadership in terms of not just the reaction to the president but their reto nikki
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haley? >> there's been appreciation from my sources within the establishment. they think she said what needed to be said. they see trump nearing perhaps the nomination and want to put a stop to it even if it's an unsaid effort by the south carolina governor. such a divide rachel in the reaction on the right, talking to friends who work for xefrt conservative campaigns, people on the hard right in the gop are not happy with governor hailey's comments and think she is breaking away from the pulse of the gop at the moment. >> robert, the comment most specifically from nikki haley in her i guess the comment that could be read specifically related to donald trump although it wasn't explicitly related to him was when she said during anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. we must resist that temptation. is that being read as a specific shot against mr. trump and that's what's wrong with it, or
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is that sentiment itself being seen as blasphemous? >> i think it's more of the latter. trump defenders, trump allies see it as a shot at trump. more i'm seeing from my sources within the republican base they see it as a shot against conservatives. there's an embrace of the anger as we approach the post obama era within the republican party. a need for the anger and desire too express it in this primary process and to have the official response, someone who is tapped by mcconnell and speaker ryan to give this speech, this is seen as a message from washington to the grassroots base that there's no unity right now. >> well, there seems to be, you know, robert you and i talking about this on the air and off the air. i think there's a different split screen going on here. the president tonight, i don't think he follows donald trump's progress the last several months the way we do. i mean, donald trump is not just
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a bunch of invectives against immigrants. there's something else grabbing people there in the midst of it all. some ability to connect and interreact. as i say, to listen with his tongue. he goes into a room and comes out knowing more than when he went in. i'm not sure the president or the republican establishment has the information trump's been able to pick up the last several months. i know it's very elite to say i don't watch cable tv. you're missing a big part of the american political reality when you don't. i include the president in that. he misses a lot. do you think i'm right or not? i think there's more to the trump story. that's why they continue to underestimate the guy in a grab bag of ethnic prejudice. >> chris, i think you're spot on in the sense that trump hats a little antenna. i've been with him on the campaign trail. he reacts to things. he's not running an ideological campaign. and though the muslim ban is a
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central part of his candidacy, it is not what is thrusting him forward. he reacts to populist currents, to frustrations about the economy and simply seems to ride it. it's not always coherent but he's making some kind of argument to people who are frustrated with obama, with the republican establishment. and it's all jumbled up into this trump movement. >> you know, chris, as we're talking about this, i think one thing also to push this story forward you're starting to hear more and more from republicans in this establishment said side that bob was talking about that there is a, they're starting to believe that donald trump's going to win and b, they think it's going to force a reckoning within the party not necessarily all the way into a third party type you have situation but this is going to fundamentally reshape the gop. that's what you are seeing from nikki haley and from that wing of the party tonight. if you think about the state of the union the way the president approached this as almost a call for calm in politics, it's not that much different from what
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nikki haley had to say. we listened to the president talk to matt lauer a little bit this morning. he was talking about how he thinks washington is angrier at itself than the rest of america. i have to tell you, going to these rallies i think that's wrong. everyone in washington is part of the same system. and their defense of it is making people so angry. we're starting to see driving bernie sanders supporters, too. >> when the establishment calls time-out, is it going to mean anything to the people going to these rallies including the people going to the sanders rallies. they don't want to hear it. >> the same thing is at work on the right and the left. we thought this would be a bush/clinton eelection. it's going to be exactly the same as everything before. >> no. i'm worried about a clinton cruz election. that's boring enough. >> it's interesting the republican response to the barack obama moment has always been to try to re-create it.
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they'll put forward a bobby bobby jindal or marco rubio or nikki haley and try to showcase what there is of diversity on the republican side and try to appeal to what they think is a version i've democratic voter on their side that wants community and unity. the republican party is north of 90% a white party. trying to sell the idea that if this diverse person who can bring people together along sort of a cross racial milieu is the way to win, that's how democrats win. that's not how republicans win. it may come across as a little bit belittling to the base of the party to keep saying we must do immigration form. you're wrong. we must do multiculture rallism and you're just wrong. >> they don't do that to convince people of color they're the party. it's to convince people they're not racists. >> dtd isn't driving or causing the anger in the republican electorate. he's exploiting it. the person who has caused the
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anger in the republican electorate is president obama and the leadership of the republican party. republican voters believe barack obama has won. he succeeded and fundamentally transforming the country and that he's wrecked it. they believe that he wrecked it with a collaborationist complicit sellout republican establishment. the next president always has oppositional virtues to the last one so the conventional wisdom was that we would want a candidate with experience. not a first-term senator who are had been before that state assembly menmen or state senator and a community organizer. what's driving the republican republican electorate is a strong leader. we have the moment between issues and conservatism. sometime between the 34th and 3th vote to repeal obamacare, republican vote others said none of this is on the level. it's all play fighting. it's all theater. donald trump never backs down. he doubles down. that's the proofpoint that he
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has these opposite virtues that republican voters are craving as they see the country in their estimation weakening and slipping away. >> we've got donald trump can. katie, take over. >> donald trump left a few hours ago. he's no longer in this emptying quickly gymnasium. donald trump a little bit earlier tonight. >> i thought you had him. >> what was considered -- i had him earlier. considered to be the prebuttle to the state of the union. it wasn't really a prebuttle though. he only touched on the president lightly saying that this country is not in gad shape because if it was, then my poll numbers wouldn't be so strong. most of the speech was like many of his other speeches talking about his poll numbers and how he's going to make america great again. he's positioned himself as the anti-obama, obama's for fixing immigration, for amnesty. donald trump is for not for
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amnesty. he's for no exceptions. he doesn't want to let anybody in unless they're coming in legally. also the environment. donald trump is not a believer in in climate change. i may not be creating this anger as steve just said, but he is harnessing it in a way no other republican has been able to be do. ted cruz is coming close to him in places like iowa, but donald trump still turns out the biggest rallies and riles up the biggest crowds across the country. people are really angry at the status quo and feel like this country has not been taken in a good direction. they feel obama has wrecked this country. and they want someone who is going to go in and fix it. donald trump give a lot of specifics about that ever really. when ask them what he thinks he's going to able to do when he gets into the office, most voters tell us it's going to be a lot better. i'm going to be making more money. economy will be fixed.
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immigrants won't be here. we're not going to be worried about isis. they believe he's going to be able to be do all those things he says he's going to do despite the fact they've voted for politicians in the past that have promised big things and haven't been able to be deliver. >> is he going all out to win iowa? yes or no? is he willing to put the money out to try to beat cruz and win this whole thing from the beginning or not? >> he does have a very strong ground game here. he has chuck laudner here. chuck was instrumental in rick santorum winning. yes, is he putting the effort in. he's spending money here for the first time. i would think it would be silly to discount him. >> katy tur who was with donald trump tonight. live coverage of the state of the union continues. stay with us. we're going to hear from senator ted cruz campaigning for president up in new hampshire tonight. he skipped this thing.
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>> welcome back to special coverage of the state of the
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union address. president obama delivered his final state of the union and we were told this would not be a typical state of the union address and it was less of a summing up of the president's legacy than we might have expected from a final state of the union. he started off the speech at the top with the joke about this being an election year. >> my fellow americans, tonight marks the eighth year that i have come here to report on the state of the union. and for this final one, i'm going to try to make it a little shorter. i know some of you are antsy to get back to iowa. i have been there.
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i'll be shaking hands afterwards if you want tips. >> in terms of the length of the speech, this was almost his shortest ever, just under 59 minutes. he opened with a quick bullet point list of proposals he has made and is pushing for even though republicans will never agree to them. raising the minimum wage. he got through them right at the beginning and turned to what ended up being a mini specialty in tonight's speech, the part where he took shots at congress right where they live. >> a great education is not all we need in the new economy. we also need benefits and protections that provide a basic measure of security. it's not too much of a stretch to say that some of the oent people in america who are going to work the same job and the same place with the health and retirement package for 30 years are sitting in this chamber.
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>> one of those rare political speech moments where the proper response is oof. he threw a hard elbow on the issue of denialism or head in the sandism and he meant the republican party on science and climate change. >> how do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges? >> 60 years ago when the russians beat us into space, we didn't deny sputnik was up there. we didn't argue about the science or shrink our research and development budget. we built a space program almost overnight and 12 years later we were walking on the moon. >> were we really walking on the moon though? really?
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there was also a larger than expected portion of the speech on foreign policy and how not to do foreign policy. >> the world will look to us to help solve these problems. and our answer needs to be more than tough talk. more calls to carpet bomb civilians. that may work as a tv sound byte, but it doesn't pass muster is the world stage. we also can't try to take over and rebuild every country that falls into crisis. even if it's done with the best of intentions. that's not leadership. that's a recipe for a quagmyre. spilling american blood and treasure that ultimately will weaken us. it's the lesson of vietnam. it's the lesson of iraq and we should have learned it by now.
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>> the last quarter of the president's speech tonight, sort of the wide part of the crescendo when he called on congress and the american people to fix our political system. this was the passionate part of it. he returned to the earliest themes from his time on the national stage to his vision for one america and not a republican or democratic america. he reached back further to the nobel prize acceptance speech given by the reverend martin luther king in 1964. his famous phrase about unarmed truth and unconditional love and the faith they will win out. >> that's the america i know. that's the country we love. clear eyed, big hearted. undaunted by challenge. optimistic that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.
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that's what makes me so hopeful about our future. i believe in change because i believe in you. the american people. that's why i stand here as confident as i have ever been that the state of our union is strong! thank you. >> the president saved that essential summing up of the state of the union for the very end of his speech. i thought if i had to write a state of the union speech i would write it first and get it done and everybody relaxes because they won't mess with that. he saved it for the closing line tonight. whether you heard in the president's overall speech and in that crescendo and you hear in that moral force or naked politics, that probably depends on your partisan leaning, but this will be the last state of the union he gets. >> the woody allen movie where he kissed diane keaton and said
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now that's over with. now we can have a regular date. i thought the president's comments about the sputnik was the best line of the night. it went to the people, the science deniers and deny reality. they saw that sputnik and it surprised everybody and surprised me as a kid. we watched those van gard rockets go up and fall down. they failed and we couldn't do it. kennedy came along and said let's get a man on the moon in ten years. we did the squares. the uncool guys with slide rules and they did it. you were kidding about the fact that they were. there odd people. >> donald trump has to take this stuff seriously. >> the ending part we will be talking about a lot. the shared guilt over the failed political process. if i were a critic of the president, he talked about too much money and politics and who was the guy in the 2008
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elections who said forget the limits. i have more money than you do, john mccain. forget the limits. he broke the rules and trampled past him. we have news here. nbc's lester holt talked to ted cruz about the state of the union after the state of the union. here's some of that interview. >> we want to go to republican senator ted cruz. he is joining us live from the campaign trail. good evening. nice to have you with us. >> good to be with you. thank you for having me. >> you made the choice not to be in the chamber. why and do you regret it? >> i don't regret it. i think the speech tonight surprised nobody. it was more of the same. it was sadly i think less a state of union than it was a state of denial. president obama demonstrated just how out of touch he is. he told the american people the economy is doing fantastic.
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as i travel this country and the state of new hampshire and iowa and south carolina and across the country, that's not what i'm hearing from the men and women across the country. >> in the speech we all agree that the president essentially called you out on the issue of leadership and said the answer needs to be more than tough talk or calls to carpet bomb civilians. in the topic of leadership. what was your response to that? >> listen, i will apologize to nobody for my commitment to kill the terrorists. this speech once again president obama refused even to say the words radical islamic terrorism much less demonstrate clarity or vision or plan to destroy them. he diminished the threat of isis. think about it. this speech he didn't say a word about the paris terror attacks and a word about san bernardino and the philadelphia police officer who was shot 13 times by a terrorist pledging allegiance
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to isis. the american people are tired of having a president who will not acknowledge the evil we are facing much less do anything serious to stop it. >> ten u.s. sailors are in iranian custody and they are acknowledging that they sailed them into territorial waters. if they are true to their word and release the sailors, will that be a diplomatic win for the united states and will that have happened absent the relations that led to the nuclear arms agreement? >> listen, our prayers tonight are with the sailors and their families. we hope for their early release. it was striking in the state of the union that president obama didn't acknowledge that iran had captured two navy ships and had ten sailors as hostages. the fact that that happened in the first place is a direct consequence of the weakness of the obama-clinton foreign
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policy. the ayatollah and like putin do not fear or respect president obama. it is not a foreign policy victory if iran releases hostages after taking them. iran shouldn't be taking hostages and didn't do so because he is so weak and unwilling it defend the country. >> the republican race, donald trump introduced the birther issue and you tried to own it. why did he do that? >> you will have to ask him that. four weeks ago just about every republican candidate in the field was attacking donald trump. today just about everyone is attacking me. that suggests maybe something changed in the race. >> that is senator ted cruz. nbc's halle jackson is covering the campaign and joins us from
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manchester, new hampshire. there will be legal opinion on this about the status of senator cruz having been born in canada in calgary. what do you think it's doing to him. can you tell whether it's cutting or not? >> he has to talk about it. he asked about it at every stop by members of the national media, but the local media too. it may be the only chance they get to chat with ted cruz and it comes up every time. he has the same response. he laughs it off and it's a subtle legal matter. the tone on the trail was different from cruz than what we heard in the past. you heard it with lester tying folks like this who came out and donald trump is pointing to tying him to hillary clinton and tying donald trump to hillary clinton supporters. you heard him say that donald trump embodies new york values.
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you talked about this before. donald trump playing born in the usa, like a little dig. maybe he should play new york, new york. that's a message to say donald trump is not one of you. he is an east coast new yorker guy. as we get ready to go to charleston to warmer temperatures and climate on the debate stage on thursday, watch for that. >> why do you think, is there any way to decipher why senator cruz insists that the president is somehow deficient with islamic radical terrorism. i don't know the culture. is this something that will appeal to the evangelical christian? >> absolutely. >> they want to hear it's a war. >> cruz believes and you hear this from other candidates too, this is a cultural conflict. this is a clash of civilizations. that is how they believe this is
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framed and you talked about ted cruz, this is part of his speech since day one. hitting president obama for not saying the words radical islamic terrorism. it came up after one debate when the democrats were asked whether they would call it that and nearly unanimously they pounced on that. for them at least it's more than a matter of semantics and something they keep coming back to. >> hallie jack with the cruz campaign. the man who played hooky from the state of the union. >> i will introduce one other data point as we go back. there a number of responses to the state of the union now. there has been a republican response for decades in recent years. we have started getting a tea party response. some years we got a tea party response and a rand paul response. some years we just got a
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republican response and a rand paul response. it's a weird mix, but of the things they have done is had a republican response and a spanish language republican response. last time there was controversy and i thought there should have been more. a little bit of controversy over joanie ernst gave the response and the congressman gave the spanish language response. the only thing that would be different is personal identifying information. other than that a translation. he wouldn't say that. other than that it's the same thing. that's how they advertised it. he inserted a new section into the spanish language response that was nice words about immigration reform and how much republicans want that. it was only in the spanish language version. that happened again tonight. there was a spanish language response tonight from mario and he did hail closely. he talked about immigration reform and said it was necessary
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to find a solution to immigration reform and said there must be border defense and a permanent solution for those living in the shadows and modernize our visas. this was only in the spanish language version as if none of us will be able to tell what was in both and compare them. >> but you know what, none of us will be able to cut it into an ad and air it in 30 seconds in early primary states. those who can speak spanish. using different words with spanish language audiences. >> we have two contenders in the republican field this year. it will be interesting to see whether or not that does anything to the republican nominees's chances for a tracking the latino vote. i am weirded out and i'm interested in your take on how much i feel like tonight's discussion. both nicky haley's response and
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a big part of president obama's speech tonight was about the republican presidential primary process. why did that end up being the most important thing to talk about? >> look at obama's speech. some of the stuff he inserted was clearly a shot at donald trump. probably two things going on at once. he wanted to use the bully pulpit the way and the tone of the donald trump campaign. some of them are about that and also i see a lot of conservatives checking on twitter who head the president's speech as a way of inserting himself into the primary. trumpism as the demise of the republican party in 2016, knowing that anybody that barack obama said bad things about is probably going to be elevated. it was barack obama's way of elevating donald trump. if you are donald trump and the people pushing donald trump and you have the president taking
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shots at him and you have the republican establishment sort of hand picked face of the republican. >> also taking shots. >> 80% of the speech was really about donald trump. yes, we disagree with the president too. that was aimed at donald trump. everything that has been firing the trump movement for the last six or nine months, it's a republican establishment that these voters see as in cahoots with the president. that's what they saw. >> let's bring in michael steel who has insight into these things. my old friend. it's great to see you. can i be super rude and ask you if you think donald trump will win the nomination? >> he is in the best position to do it. he has the big mow, as they say. i asked two questions i haven't gotten an answer to. who stops him and when do they do it? you can't me that 40% of that
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vote that he has will dissipate over the next three weeks and succeeding weeks. this is no longer about winning or losing iowa and new hampshire. this is a trajectory that the campaign has put in place and is gaining steam along the way. my prediction is given what happened tonight and the front to the trump campaign from both the president and the gop establishment by friday, trump's numbers will be closer to 45%. >> you see the haley response in particular. >> my goodness. >> the direct shot at donald trump. jet fuel for the trump campaign. is it trouble for nicky haley? >> i don't know, but i tweeted out when she threw out the lines, i was like the establishment strikes back in bold print. this was their first salvo in this run up to the voting that begins in 2 1/2 weeks's time.
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they will go to the trenches on this. they right now, this is not a reconciliation of the possibility of a donald trump candidacy becoming the nominee and president. they feel they have to stop it and tonight was the official beginning of that. >> tweeting this out, michael, fantastic. this is support for what governor haley said. fantastic balance and substance. our party is the new young and diverse party. the enthusiasm there. do you think he had something to do with the speech or enthusiastic there after? >> he was doing what the political head of the party should do and that is to enthusiastically support the effort that was put out by the governor and her response. that was written very carefully by the folks on the hill.
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they wanted to send that signal that this is going to be a battle they intend to win. >> do you think the president's speech tonight, i want to suggest something. how about we allow the fact that for months donald trump has been giving us the state of the union as he hears it. >> hello. >> the president offered the response to that. >> it was a rebuttal. >> what we have been listening to on this program and our network and other networks. it has been going on now. >> a portion. not the whole speech. >> it wasn't the whole thing. >> a lot will be the parts that will be pulled out. it will be responding to trump. >> i think that is spot on because the one thing that was picked up very quickly in conservative circles and certainly in the twitter sphere, this was less a state of the union and more a retort to the
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donald trump campaign. it was the president definitively saying that the direction, the leadership, the style, the substance, all of that of trump is not the direction we need to go in and let me give you a few reasons why. he goes through a litany of the accomplishments we have done. we don't need to make america strong again because we are strong now. a lot of that was geared towards responding to that hold that donald trump has seemed to have gotten with a lot of american people. donald trump has in many ways reflected that anxiety and fear and frustration that they have. as i say to a lot of my friends on the left, you would be surprised how many democrats look at donald trump and say i can do that. that's the response that the president has to give in order to beat back that feeling.
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>> it's always great to have you, especially on a big night like this. >> i will say when he was talking, to michael's point, when the president saying anybody claiming the economy is in decline is pedalling fiction. our enemies are getting stronger and america getting weaker. that was the only point where he got rumblings from the back of the room. very exciting. lots more to come on live coverage on this big night. stay with us. . >> with our without congressional action, isil will learn the same lessons as terrorists before them. if you doubt america's commitment or mine to see that justice is done, just ask osama bin laden. is your head so congested it's ready to explode? you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec®-d to powerfully clear your blocked nose and relieve your other allergy symptoms.
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i told you earlier all the talk of america's economic decline is political hot air. so is all the rhetoric you hear about enemies getting stronger and america getting weaker. let me tell you something. the united states of america is the most powerful nation on
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earth, period. period. it's not even close. it's not even close. it's not even close. we spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. >> president obama in his state of the union address. it was interesting the rumbles when he said all this rhetoric you hear about enemies getting stronger and you hear the rumblings from the back of the room. maybe we are getting weaker. are we rooting for the enemies? sort of a weird moment. the united states of america is the strongest nation on earth.
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not even close. all the joint chiefs like the faces on the statues at easter island. among them congresswoman tammy duckworth. wounded combat union and standing up amid the generals to cheer for that while the president talked about our troops being the finest fighting force in the history of the world. that was the moment at which everybody got up, including all those generals. joining us now is major lisa jafter. she is one of the historic group, one of the three women to ever complete the course. one of the first lady michelle obama's guests tonight. major, congratulations on making history. it's an honor to have you here. thank you very much for joining us. >> it's an honor to be here. >> you got one of the few invites from the first lady to be there in person tonight. i don't know if you have ever
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done anything like that before. i have to ask what it meant to you to be there. >> it was the entire experience was amazing. it meant a lot to me to be able to represent future generations and the military. >> that ranger and the physical intensity is impossible to most of us and most of our military. it is the elite of the elite. now that you have been there and proved it and done it, there is political noise where people say the president is using the military for social engineering and weakening by opening combat jobs to women. i don't want to ask you to be a politician, but how does it feel to you having been through what you have proven. >> as an army reserve soldier
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and as you say, not a politician, again, i feel honored to have the opportunity and i look forward to seeing what else our military can do as we move forward with immigration. >> how has your life changed since you graduated and what happens next in terms of service? >> as an army reservist, i go back to my day job and there they expect me to perform at the same level as i did previously. they expect a little bit more leadership from me. as far as my service moving forward, i hope to be actively engaged with our military in any aspect possible especially ensuring that future generations have all the opportunities i had and we continue to grow and develop the best soldiers we can. >> lisa jafter, it's an honor to have you here and your accomplishments are not only impressive, but historic. you changed the country by
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proving what you were able to do. i'm glad enjoyed being there tonight. >> thank you very much. >> i agree with everything you said. i love the fact that women in combat, i was over in israel with my wife, years ago i sat at a movie theater in 1971, a rather good-looking soldier was sitting next to me with her uzi. they put everyone into battle. it's amazing. >> it's amazing that we are not having a bigger political battle. they silenced their critics. >> it's not affirmative action, but the physical ability to climb the ropes and the challenging things you have to do to get combat gear and march 5,000 miles and carry the rifle and hit the target. they earn every inch of this.
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>> very satisfying. >> we are joined by our presidential historian. that's an odd thing to be. not every network has one. i don't think the other networks have one. two questions that are reasonably connected. is what do you make of the presidency and what did obama do to attempt the win the hearts of you guys? >> in the end he has to wait a long time. from my point of view and we have discussed this before, i think you have to wait 30 or 40 years or more to judge a president for two reasons. number one, we are just to have a historical judgment of barack obama as opposed to a judgment in realtime, we have to have perspective and know how the mideast turned out and how the society and the economy turns out. we can't know that for at least 30 or 40 years. we historians and others who are
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interested in history have to have access to documents that show what things are like behind the scenes. if he kept a diary and written letters. they give you a very different picture of a president. sorry to give the long answer, but to have the view of a president, it won't happen for a long time. >> he thought a lot about this. >> i think he has. >> because i think he wants to be thought well of by that small community. i wonder if he wants to live in new york and i think he wants to be a man of the world more than a man of this country. nelson mandela travels the world
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arguing climate issues of social issues like health care. the nations whether it's cuba. all the things he began to put out there as the foundation. i see 30 years ahead of this selling what he has begun here. >> i wouldn't disagree with any of that and his program which he started my brother's keeper to better the lives of young african-american men. that's something that is new in history. as you know for most american history when a president retired, they did not necessarily expect to have a lot of years to which they could have another career. the president that you worked for, jimmy carter from 1981 to now, what, 35 years and counting, thank god. president carter has gotten a recent bill of very good health.
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barack obama will be a young man when he leaves the presidency. this is natural and in tune with other modern presidents. >> we had so many presidents they lost because they were assassinated and died in office. they never had the post presidential experience. roosevelt didn't even make it to the fourth term. it is really different because of life expectancy that carter would be in his 90s. lots more ahead. i think obama expects to live a long time and he is healthy and wants a 30-year run on these legacy issues. he had a lot to say about anger. we will talk about that when we get back. >> i will keep working to shut down the prison at guantanamo. it is expensive. it is unnecessary, and it only serves as a recruitment brochure for enemies. there is a better way.
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>> america has been through big changes before. wars and depression and the influx of new immigrants. workers fighting for a fair deal. movements to expand civil rights. each time there have been those who told us to fear the future.
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they claimed we could slam the brakes on change and promised to restore past glory if we got a group or idea who was threatening america under control. and each time we overcame those fears. >> wow. we heard president obama with his take on state of the union and americans are angry and frustrated and think the country is on the wrong track. this is a democratic and republican pollster. first we hear a lot more from the red hot republicans. what is the explanation you might have of why bernie sanders is grabbing the men in this surprise gender gap in the democratic fight? >> part of it is that he is having more trouble with the women. the women in the democratic primary really want to see a
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woman president. part of it is the presidency is still a hard thing. we never had a woman president. i think most women would have a much more difficult time than hillary clinton that is very qualified. it is the toughest office in the land for a woman to get. >> what do you think that is about? is it the old thing about the network anchorman had to be an anchorman and seems to be the case. priests have to be males. how did this become a gender-identified position? it's not true in other countries. prime ministers of other counties are women and they are the best. thatcher and merkel. >> what you suggest is that the biggest barrier is being tough enough for the job and all of these women were tough as nails and hillary clinton is certainly tough enough and resilient
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enough for the job, but one of the things that happens is whenever terrorism is on the rise, whenever there is concern about security, whenever there is concern about change, it is harder to get elected. it is always easier for women to get elected when times are good than if they are bad. hill hillary clinton has been the exception. she is the toughest and most knowledgeable about foreign affairs. it is a very difficult office for a woman to gain. >> do you mind if i jump in? >> do it. >> on the state of the democratic race right now, we have seen bernie sanders heading north. secretary clinton's numbers are not soft, but bernie sanders -- it wasn't a fluke. he is doing well at a crucial time. does it make sense when you look at the polling for hillary
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clinton driving the sharpest distinction on the issue of guns. she is really picking guns as the way she will fight with him. does that make sense? >> it makes a lot of sense for three reasons. one it is a real issue that democrats have consolidated on. there is a huge partisan difference on guns. democrats are no longer divided on guns. particularly primary voters. they have really consolidated. secondly, it is a way to have the mantle and follow the obama presidency who made clear his position on guns. and thirdly, bernie sanders has a long record that a lot of democrats disagree with on guns and even tonight in his response, he refused to say any of this was a mistake. that is a mistake. >> let me go to kelly on the agenda question. some states haven't elected women to a statewide position.
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ohio has one congresswoman. pennsylvania has not been so great. kat katie mcginty is running. is the country ready to pick a woman in a situation that is sort of wartime? it's terrorism time. >> it makes it more difficult for a woman. let's have an honest conversation. >> we're always do. let's move on from that shot. >> the question for the voters is not would you elect a woman president, but that woman president. it's not a hypothetical. it's hillary. >> do you think she is weak? >> i think she can't benefit from what helps female candidates. they are seen as warm and consensus builders and more ethical and lusz corruptible and not part of the cronyism. they are seen as fresh and new. i think in this
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anti-establishment and anti-washington politician year, she has a tough road. i want to say quickly that many of the things president obama said in his state of the union address helped bernie sanders and not hillary clinton. with bernie sanders with the anti-corporate and anti-billionaire comments. >> joe biden knew what he was doing. he was trying to fish in troubled waters. >> they are making it difficult with democratic voters. she lost in 2008. she is neck and neck with bernie sanders. >> see if you can beat her. you will have to try. our coverage continues in a moment. we calm your congestion and pain. you rally the team.
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>> i will keep pushing for
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progress on the work i still believe needs to be done. fixing a broken immigration system. protecting our kids from gun violence. equal pay for equal work. paid leave. raising the minimum wage. all these things still matter to hardworking families. they are still the right thing to do and i won't let up until they get done. >> he also wasn't going to spend the rest of the speech talking about them. the governor of the state of washington, voters passed one of the strictest background check laws in the nation on gun safety over a year ago. he announced his own actions aimed at strengthening the checks further. you have been a very busy man. thanks for joining us. >> you bet. we are thrilled with the
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leadership on trying to prevent gun violence. we are moving forward by almost a landslide. we approved a bill and i'm improving it with an executive order. we are taking a public approach to gun violence. we had really great success and reduced by 20%. the same thing with gun violence and i'm a prueher live of him taking common sense measures and acted as the right thing to do. >> you are in a blue state, but washington is a hetero genius place. it's a big state with ia lot of cross currents. i know it moved and that was a popular thing. i wonder how you felt about the
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backlash to what you did up there. >> just by telling the truth. the truth is that the vast majorities that support the idea that criminals ought not to be able to get guns. this is not a herculean stretch. we don't want felons to get guns. by telling the truth, that is what works. we need to do other things as well. one of the things is that we failed to think about or the gun violence involved in suicide. 80% of those folks are by suicide, self-inflicted gunshot wound. you are 11 times more likely to have that happen in your home than to shoot an intruder. you are three to four times more likely to have an accidental
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shooting where your kid shoots someone. than you would to shoot an intruder. with education and common sense measures to help people secure their firearms, they don't get stolen as well. a county sheriff said we have to keep them from getting stolen. >> the governor from washington state. great to see you. appreciate it. >> joining us for the final time. with us is correspondent from american networks. a minute each. >> about tonight, i thought it was an interesting night. i believe it was the beginning of the long goodbye for president barack obama. there was portions of the speech that were soaring, but this
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president wanted to get out there while he had the spotlight for this major moment to correct what he called fallacies. it was optimistic for moving forward, but he wanted to stop what was going on. you can keep saying that. you wanted to change the narrative and he had a chance to do that. we saw the consternation of many of the republicans. when he was chewing his gun, there were so many moments that you could see a clear divide. i don't believe there is going to be unity between both sides with the president. >> i think that's a profound thing that doesn't get remarked upon much. for half my youngest child's the president of the united states has been an african-american. to see two children of yawn
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european immigrants, three of the four parents are not from europe. that is a profound step forward and a change in who america is as a nation of immigrants. that's important. i think it was poignantly made in both of the people that we heard speak tonight. that in and of itself. >> see why it's unsettling to people who never wanted to see it. >> don't fear the future. that was his message. tonight fear the future. >> the governor talked about being indian immigrants. >> one of the most important parts of speech was the part on terrorism. the president keeps trying to say look into the cameras. isis is not a threat to the united states. we are the most powerful. >> aren't you sick of that word? it is absurd. >> things have never been more dangerous. it's the cuban missile crisis. here's the question.
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i do not have confidence in the political media with standing another terrorist attack. what happened in the last two, on paris and in san bernardino. the president saying everyone, get it together. we are a strong country and we will do what we have to do. that will be the question. if got forbid something else happen. >> he brought it to the forefront of having a brighter future. you have people in health care. he made monumental changes. we did that in a time where he came with the first african-american president. he miscalculated how ready we were not for conversations on race, but we started it. he has set a track record for us to embrace the next woman president and not be surprised by it.
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it's something that you mentioned earlier. he is also talking about the work that needs to be done after his presidency. he set the foundation. explicitly. it has to be about voting rights and redistricting. that will be one of the reasons that our politics are so far apart. gerrymandering. we have to make sure about the polls. >> chris hayes and chris matthews, this has been a very exciting night. it's always exciting to do this, but i love doing this with you guys. it has been a smart and interesting night.
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it's wednesday, january 13th. and right now on "first look," president obama cautions the nation, hits republicans hard, and is optimistic as he heads into his final year. his final year. >> that's what makes me so hopeful about our future. i believe in change because i believe in you, the american people and that's why i stand here as confident as i've ever been that the state of our union is strong. we are awaiting the imminent release of ten u.s. sailors currently being head by iranian authorities. but why the delay? the nfl vot


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