Skip to main content

tv   The War Room  Current  February 26, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

3:00 pm
3:01 pm
>> michael: this is "the war room." i'm michael shure. coming up tonight
3:02 pm
congratulations chuck hagel, you're going to be this country's new secretary of defense. you want to start on syria iran iran, north korea in the sequester tonight or get shut eye and start fresh in the morning? [ ♪ theme music ♪ ] so let's start off by running down the things we've been watching for tonight. we have one eye on the senate where president obama was able to restock his cap innocent. the senate republicans had one final chance to stand in the way of chuck hagel taking over as defense secretary. >> are there any senators wishing to vote or change their votes? if not the ayes, 58. nays 41. the nomination is confirmed.
3:03 pm
>> michael: four republicans crossed party lines to join senate democrats in confirming hagel. according to "the new york times," the 58-41 margin is the smallest for a defense secretary since the position was created in 1947. four days ago hagel's nomination seemed indoubt with the filibuster from negative. harry reid blamed the delay with republicans playing politics with national defense. >> it's time to set aside this partisanship. the pentagon needs a seasoned leader to implement cuts. u.n. the 12 days since the filibuster not one single thing has changed. not one. yet republicans had to have their filibuster for make their pointless partisan point. they are children. the president's pick for
3:04 pm
treasury secretary will have a he'dier time. approved the nomination of jacob lew. the vote after a three-hour confirmation hearing with he was pressed just a little bit about working sat citigroup after the financial collapse. unlike the manufactured crisis of bengahzi neither republicans nor democrats have made a national issue about the shaky investments, bailouts that lew has seen. we're more squinting after the smallest sign of progress on the sequester. the the white house and the congress have until wednesday night to avert the cross the board cuts. to highlight those cuts president obama went to newport news shipbuilding but it's dependent on military spending that is due to be slashed this friday. >> obama: the reason why we're
3:05 pm
even thinking about the sequester is because people are rightly concerned about the deficit and the debt. there is a sensible way of doing things and a dumb way of doing things. >> michael: well, that dumb way includes cutting social programs upon which many americans rely and cutting military spending which keeps all americans safe. the president said the smart way was to raise revenue by closing special tax loopholes and creating tax breaks--or that created tax breaks for the rich. he called on the senate to give him a bill that can be sold to the caucus. they haven't spoken since last week and he's getting a little testy. >> for 16 months the president has been traveling all over the country holding rallies instead of sitting down with senate leaders in order to try to forge an agreement over there. we should not have to move a third bill before the senate gets off their ass and begins to
3:06 pm
do something. >> michael: the speaker said "ass." he's only one shade away from turning bright way. the senator said angle less than a massive rewriting of tax code eliminateing loopholes is off the table. washington is on the clock. and finally as always we're keeping another eye on gun safety. today vice president joe biden met with retired military leaders at the white house. he's enlisting them for support in gun safety reform. part of the that support is mayors against illegal guns.
3:07 pm
>> michael: since sandy hook 2286 americans have died in gun violence. that's 88 newtowns since newtown. included in that heartbreaking toll are 65 people shot to death in chicago. chicago is the first test case in post new town politics. voters in the second congressional district have less than two hours to get to the polls to make their voices heard in a primary race to pick jesse jackson jr.'s successor. one of the loud he is has been michael bloomberg and his u.s. pac. he has run 200 hours of tv ad like this attacking debby
3:08 pm
halvorsong n ng un's voting history. james? >> snow is coming down in what is going to be a pretty small turnout will probably be close to minuscule given the conditions. >> michael: i mean, it's an easy political question to ask. sort of like a reflex to ask it, who does that mint if it's benefit? >> conventional wisdom is you probably have your most political active and astute and driven voters come out they might be older mostly african-american group that comes out. they would probably tend to be
3:09 pm
left of center, anti-guns, and that probably would give robin kelly, a former state senator ironically, a native new yorker who has never met bloomberg would probably give they are the edge since bloomberg's ad changed their tack a little bit about ten days ago instead of simply going an halverson the leading candidate who is backed by the nra. you would have to believe that helps her a lot. >> michael: this has been a national race because of jesse jackson jr. already p but then michael bloomberg stumbled on the race and spends all this money. who would benefit from all of that spending in this race? >> well, it's got to be kelly. just to give folks a bit of context. in the last financial disclosures for that bloomberg's
3:10 pm
super pac said he spent $2.2 million. somewhere around $2.5 million. that is far far more than all 15 candidates have raised combined throw in all the money kelly has raised and halverson and the other 13, it's probably not even close to $2.5 million. one interesting question, what impact does this have on the gun issue. this is a pretty democratic district pretty anti--gun. i think there will be a little bit, michael, because just put the nra on guard and reminds them that there is somebody who is steadfastly countered to their position, who is willing to perhaps spend whatever it takes around the country to support candidates he likes. >> michael: yes, that to me is
3:11 pm
really the--i think most interesting parts of the race aside from the players in the race is how the nra reacts when somebody else is spending money against them. i think that's compelling. how has halverson responded to the attacks because she doesn't have the money to respond in the way that bloomberg has to spend on her. >> well, michael, meekly. this is not necessarily a very well covered race in chicago. none of these candidates have been able to get the money to put up tv ads because the big market, which means you've got to spend significant sums on big market television stations. so she really hasn't had much of a mega phone. she's not historically a very strong campaigner. she's not a strong fundraiser. all she has been left to do is sort of complain about bloomberg's spending and complain that robin kelly upon
3:12 pm
the seeming frontrunner in the last ten days has is stayed away from any potential confrontations and stayed away from forums and rejected late requests for television debates. >> michael: right, right, so james warren, veteran of the mclaughlin group. i'll throw this at you. prediction who wins the race? >> oh, no, no, no. i have one bag to borrow that kelly winds by 15 points. i can say that i may have accepted that wager but nothing more than coffee. probably robin kelly. >> michael: we'll hold you to it and bring you back tomorrow to see how you did with the predictions snowstorm permitting permitting. james warren. coming up we'll look deeper in the sequester. plus a republican starting to change their tune on gay
3:13 pm
marriage? and a brief signed by dozens of gopers would say yes but can they drive along the rest of the rights. later, some of the most high profile murders bombings and assassinations in the civil rights era went unsolved for year. and if not for the work of investigative journalist jerry mitchell, it still would be. it's "the war room" on a tuesday night and we'll be right back.
3:14 pm
surprise -- your house was built on an ancient burial ground. [ ghosts moaning ] surprise -- your car needs a new transmission. [ coyote howls ] how about no more surprises? now you can get all the online trading tools you need without any surprise fees. ♪ ♪ it's not rocket science. it's just common sense. from td ameritrade.
3:15 pm
you know who is coming on to me now? you know the kind of guys that do reverse mortgage
3:16 pm
commercials? those types are coming on to me all the time now. (vo) she gets the comedians laughing and the thinkers thinking. >>ok, so there's wiggle room in the ten commandments, that's what you're saying. you would rather deal with ahmadinejad than me. >>absolutely. >> and so would mitt romney. (vo) she's joy behar. >>and the best part is that current will let me say anything. what the hell were they thinking? >> michael: chuck hagel's confirmation hearing may have started with a bang last week, but just moments ago they ended with more of a republican whimmer. after weeks of bluster innuendo and grandstanding, senate republicans finally allowed hagel to become defense secretary. but that was just a warm up. the new position is the biggest fight in washington, the battle over the sequester. if not averted the biggest cuts will go to the defense projects.
3:17 pm
that will dwarf all the other cuts. top military leaders from urging congress to act. here is army chief of staff general ray ogerono. >> if we do not have the resources to train and equip the force, our soldiers, our young men and women are the ones who will pay the price potentially with their lives. >> michael: and it's not just the troops who will suffer, the rest of the country will feel the economic impacts. the sequester could be 2 million jobs lost. half of those would be in the defense industry. over all we could see unemployment rate jump a full point and a half. that would put us back to about where we were right after the economic meltdown. today the president stressed those ramifications in his speech in virginia where more than a hundred ship builders could lost their jobs. he asked them to make smart cuts
3:18 pm
to balance the budget but not on the back of works workers. >> obama: so here at newport shipbuilding we said in order to maintain the finest navy the world has ever known we've got to make sure that this is an orallyorderly process whereby we're upgrading our ships, building new ships, maintaining ships properly. only congress has the power to pass a law that stops these damaging cuts and replaces them with smart savings and tax reform. >> michael: joining me now, lee munzil defense reporter from politico, she comes to us from washington, d.c. lee, i want to welcome you inside "the war room." i want to know what would these cuts mean, lee, for people in the defense industry, and for the economy as a whole? >> well, we know that sequester
3:19 pm
cuts are going to effect the pentagon. but it's not only the pentagon that will be hit hit. jobs could be lost even as far down as local businesses surrounding the pentagon. so in the d.c. maryland, virginia area there could be a significant impact on the local economy. >> michael: you know, as i listen to you say these things i think about the fact that chuck hagel fought so hard for this job, and i can't imagine who would want this job. does this defense budget that he's going to walk into need any major overall now that the wars in iraq and afghanistan are winding down and the president has cited cybersecurity as a new priority? >> absolutely. that's chuck hagel's first line of business. that's the first thing he'll have to do when he wakes up in the morning deal with sequester. as the troops come back from afghanistan the pentagon budget was going to be decreased
3:20 pm
already. but sequester cuts are significant on top of that. >> michael: and do you expect hagel, and we all expect him to pare down the defense budget. how do you expect him to do it? here is a guy with a history of calling for reasonable reforms in actuality which is why a lot of republicans opposed him. >> that was a major concern. he had inflammatory quotes brought up when they actually asked him questions about what he's going to be like as defense secretary. but his views on the budget, at one time he called bloated really concerned republicans. they were paying closely to what he had said in the past. chuck hagel is certainly going to have a lot to deal with and a lot on his plate with sequester and budget cuts in general. whether he'll approach them from this perspective that the pentagon budget is bloated or whether he'll echo the joint
3:21 pm
chief of staff. whether the sequester cuts are devastating we don't know for sure but there are definitely cuts coming it to the pentagon. >> michael: it's interesting because a lot of the problems with the haig. nomination involved republicans fighting among themselves, the deficit hawks versus the defense hawks in that body. and now can john boehner kiev the defense talks of his party at bay? will they be tempted to cut a deal with president obama now? >> well, the sequester deadline is on friday. so we're only a couple of days away and congress a lot of times that's a short time frame for getting something done at this point. republicans and congress are looking at a plan, and democrats and the stat have also put forward a plan for a temporary fix to sequester. however, it's looking less and less likely that that's going to
3:22 pm
happen. carl levin one of my colleagues grabbed him and of hagel vote and asked him about the sequester, and he said he has not given fully given up hope for the deadline. but he said it is looking more and more likely that sequester is going to go in affect. >> michael: so does it look like it's going to be tough to reach a deal. >> that is not to say that sequester will not go in affect and stay in effect. there is going to be wiggle room when the continuing resolution expires at the end of march. they may have time to make a deal but it's not looking like it's going to happen happen by march first. >> michael: leighs munzil thank you for joining me here in
3:23 pm
"the war room." >> thanks for having me. >> michael: the debate of stand your ground laws. one year later the tv vans are gone but the questions remain. and it's that very phrase that prompted journalist jerry mitchell to find answers in some of the high profile cases of the civil rights movement. join us right here in the war room, and we'll be right back. with award winning documentaries that take you inside the headlines. real, gripping, current. documentaries... on current tv. the bar harbor bake is really worth trying. [ male announcer ] get more during red lobster's lobsterfest. with the year's largest selection of mouth-watering lobster entrees. like our delicious lobster lover's dream, featuring two kinds of succulent lobster tails. or our savory, new grilled maine lobster and lobster tacos. it's back, but not for long. [ woman ] our guests go crazy for lobsterfest. my favorite entree is the lobster lover's dream.
3:24 pm
what's yours? come celebrate lobsterfest and sea food differently. can become major victories. i'm phil mickelson, pro golfer. when i was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis my rheumatologist prescribed enbrel for my pain and stiffness, and to help stop joint damage. [ male announcer ] enbrel may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections tuberculosis lymphoma, other cancers, nervous system and blood disorders,
3:25 pm
and allergic reactions have occurred. before starting enbrel your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. you should not start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu. tell your doctor if you're prone to infections, have cuts or sores have had hepatitis b have been treated for heart failure, or if you have symptoms such as persistent fever bruising, bleeding or paleness. since enbrel helped relieve my joint pain, it's the little things that mean the most. ask your rheumatologist if enbrel is right for you. [ doctor ] enbrel, the number one biologic medicine prescribed by rheumatologists.
3:26 pm
[ ♪ theme music ♪ ] >> michael: it has been exactly one year since the unarmed 17-year-old trayvon martin was gunned down in a quiet part suburb by george zimmerman. it sparked the million hoodie march and kick started a
3:27 pm
national conversation on issues like racial profiling and gun violence and stand your ground laws. the attention has trailed off recently, so let me get you, um to speed. zimmerman claimed martin was leaning over him when he fired his gun and cast doubt on zimmerman's timeline of events. they are awaiting trial. he'll appear in court on charges of second-degree murder. a second part of zimmerman's defense is stand your ground law. it says that anyone can use deadly force if he or she--anyone can do it if they're defending themselves. it is "t" essentially allows anyone to start shooting whenever they feel threatened. beside florida 24 other states have this law on the books. just last friday the task force commissioned by florida governor rick scott said they found no reason to change the law.
3:28 pm
in their eyes it it's fine the way it is even though evidence that stand your ground does not decrease crime: there will be a hoodie vigil to honor trayvon martin and all the victims of senseless gun violence. joining us from pensacola florida, is mike antonio. he hosts ring of fire with robert f kennedy and sam seder and president of the national trial lawyers association. welcome back in "the war room." >> how are you. >> michael: i'm well. i appreciate you being here to talk about this case. i want to know if this is any palpable feeling in florida. is that incident still etched in people's minds or have floridians moved past it and forgotten it. >> it's a sense of trying trying the
3:29 pm
case in the media in little segments. the first thing that is very important is the defense is trying to remove the race card from this case. if you remember the feds investigated this, federal government investigated this as a hate crime. they wrote up the report and after looking at anything they concluded that race alone was not an issue. it changes the way the case is tried. this is a very capable defense lawyer down in central florida and he's basically letting these little snippets out in the media so-to-where you almost conclude it's coming down to basically a self-defense case which is anybody's call. >> michael: yeah, i guess--i love how that happens how they let these snippets out. the trial is going to come about, and the defense will let more things out but you'll also hear the prosecution side. i imagine it's not going to be a short trial with reenactments
3:30 pm
etc. but florida is dubbed the gun shine shaped because its shaped like a gun. how is the gun safety debate straight from trayvonseparate from trayvon martin case, how is that going on in florida. >> you have the nra target about a dozen states. they had a window, and the window was they got everything they wanted. they got the ban on the assault weapons taken away. they got complete immunity to any kind of conduct they engage in no matter our egregious it is. they thought they had breathing room. during that breathing room, michael, they went to states like florida and they started to build their agenda in florida. the agenda was this stand your own ground laws it is not just florida. when you look at where there is republican governors and
3:31 pm
republican legislators, that's where they know they have the best chance to succeed. and rick scott is not the only republican governor who has jumped behind this with both feet. this is a governor who basically is at any time you have industry, any time you have the chamber of commerce, and certainly any time you have the nra asking this governor for something, he's going give it to them. there is no surprise about what has happened to florida. there is nothing unique about florida as far as the number of guns. they just came at florida very early and very quickly and very aggressively. they did that--they did that in an off-election year. >> michael: okay so it's interesting. all of this stuff florida is such an interesting state all the time. rick scott is even interesting. did he come around to obama-care last week. i guess anything is possible. but let's talk about the nra a little bit. the power of the nra, is it on the wane? they may have had a .8% success rate.
3:32 pm
they're good at grabbing headlines, but it seems as if they're more of a paper tiger than they have been in the past. >> they are. if politicians understood that they would realize if you look at the last cycles between 2004 and 2010 where you had senate elections and congression nat elections, they almost have a zero success rate. there are a lot of reasons for that. yes, more guns are being sold, but the guns being sold are not being sold to the broad public but the same small group. that's the first thing. because that have you don't have broad acceptance of the nra talking points. the second point is just as important. right now you have the nra spreading out their money between a bunch of small elections. if you really drilled that and found out what the nra puts in these elections it's about $2,500. that's not enough to move numbers in a broadway. but what they've done, michael
3:33 pm
very advisely, wisely, they target the primaries. that could be good or bad. when they jump behind a candidate in the primaries. they jump behind the loopiest cranked candidate they can find and they end up losing. they have a long history of picking losers. that's more of a loss for the republicans than the democrats. they always put up that loopy kind, a guy like scott who will say anything they want him to say and do anything that they want him to do. >> cenk: you make a point. when you hear gun sales are up, it's not like guns are becoming more popular. it's the same people are buying more of them. that is something that we should know. quickly before i let you go, i want to ask you chris christie, he has not been involvedded to see pac becausecpac because of his
3:34 pm
stand on gun safety. has cpac, has it become obsolete all by itself? >> it is the demise of the grand 'ol party. there is no grand 'ol party. it is the demise of the tea party. fortunate for christie he had enough sense to stay out of that the first first round. the fight will continue. it will be ugly. the adults will prevail. >> michael: let's hope so. they haven't prevailed much, but let's hope that they do. mike papantonio, thanks for being on "the war room." up next we have a group of high profile republicans filing a grief outlining their view of gay marriage. the shocking part, they're in favor of it. wow, wonders never cease. honest. they can question whether i'm right, but i think that the audience gets
3:35 pm
that this guy, to the best of his ability, is trying to look out for us. your vacuum doesn't always pick up what's left behind. only the resolve easy clean system has foam power to remove three times more dirt than vacuuming alone. don't just vacuum clean. resolve clean. dad, i'd put that down. ah. 4g, huh? verizon 4g lte. 700 megahertz spectrum end-to-end, pure lte build. the most consistent speeds indoors or out. and, obviously astonishing throughput. obviously... you know how fast our home wifi is? yeah. this is basically just as fast. oh. and verizon's got more fast lte coverage than all other networks combined. so it's better. yes.
3:36 pm
oh, why didn't you just say that? huh-- what is he doing?
3:37 pm
3:38 pm
>> michael: there was major news on the civil rights front today. more than 80 prominent republicans signed a brief supporting gay marriage and arguing that the supreme court should strike down california's prop 8. the brief might sway the supreme court's more conservative justices. it includes two sitting members of congress, six former governors, and top officials of all but recent republican administrations and hen campaigns. people like jon huntsman, carlos gutierrez, and meg whitman who supported prop 8 when she ran for governor of cal. then the two sitting members of congress, richard hanna of new york, and ileana of florida. the last two are of the
3:39 pm
minority. more are former elected oh officials so it's easier for them to come out on this issue. but it still represents a major shift in the party. joining me now, mark solomon for freedom to marry, he comes to us from new york. mark welcome inside "the war room"." >> thank you, thank you for having me. >> reporter: put this in perspective for us. how big of a deal is this. >> this is a big deal. we've seen republicans stand up in support of freedom to marry. but to see this wide array of former governors, current around former members of congress, high ranking officials from a number of different administrations shows that there is a big swath of americans that believe that freedom means freedom for everyone. >> michael: so i looked at the list of republicans. many of these republicans are out of office now. how much sway did they really have? >> i think one thing for people
3:40 pm
who are out of office, they can take a step back and see where their party is going. what they're see something in order for them to have an opportunity to win a majority of the country they need to be thinking more progressively about equality for same-sex couples. i think that they're seeing that younger voters, 72% of younger voters support the freedom of gay and lesbian couples to marry, so they're bringing a couple of different perspective. this includes people who may be running for office in the future like jon huntsman. >> michael: that's true, to, just because they're out of office now doesn't mean they won't seek it later. i think these people could have been like richard hanna and ileana have taken a step back when they were in office and have more of an affect. i think their courage is more
3:41 pm
important than those who are out of office. but does it give sitting republicans cover? will it be contagious? will some of them start to come out for gay marriage now? >> i think so. we're seeing more and more republicans around the country support the freedom of gay couples to marry. in new hampshire we had the majority of republicans in the legislature who voted our way. seeing this depth and breadth of support will undoubtedly lead others to say, it's safe, i'll have backing if i do what is the right thing. that's a great place for the country to be. >> michael: of course the proponents, the people that they want to hear that it's safe and okay are the people on the supreme court. now what kind of affect do you think this brief could have on the court as they start hunkering down now on cases like california's prop 8? >> it's hard to know what the affect will be on the supreme court. this is another sign that the
3:42 pm
country has moved a huge way on this issue and the center of gravity is now in support of the freedom to marry. the majority of americans poll after poll show that they support the freedom to marry younger republicans support freedom to marry, and now here is this group of elder statesmen and women from across the spectrum of the g.o.p. who are now in support that could only show one thing to the court that america is ready. >> john: you know, mark, listening, it makes me wonder how much of effort in lobbying and pressuring that comes from lgbt activists, how much of that is focused ohen republicans and should more of that be focused on republicans? >> well, i can tell you from our organization's standpoint, freedom to marry we spend a lot of time doing outreach to republicans. we have a republican lobbyist working on our behalf on capitol hill. we have a group called young
3:43 pm
conservatives for the freedom to marry. we believe that marriage and the freedom to marry is a conservative value. the value of limited government, the value of not having the government put obstacles in the way of people's happiness. we think this is a really strong appeal and we are seeing this more and more. >> michael: are you hopeful that this republican party that we look forward to, that it may be shaped more of a libertarian party rather than a socially confidentialityconservative one? >> i think that's where our party needs to go. if they're looking at where younger voters are younger voters are more libertarian more than 70% support the freedom to marry. if they want a party that is going to appeal to younger folks, they need to--they need to make adjustments. on the freedom of gay couples to live their lives and having their pursuit of happy that's where the party needs to be.
3:44 pm
>> michael: marc, i want to ask you with your organization, what do you do once the case is before the court? is is there any affect you can have on the court while the case is being considered or as it's being heard? >> well, you can't formally lobby the court. but we can create the best climate possible for the court to rule our way pop so what we're doing is we're working hard to win more states actually as we speak. the illinois committee of the house of representatives is considering freedom to marry bill so we're working in illinois and other states to advance the cause. and we're highlighting supporters like these 80-plus republicans, like the dozens and dozens of businesses that have signed on to another brief. i'm demonstrating just the broad spectrum of support for the freedom to marry in america. we think that's the best way to make the case that america is now ready.
3:45 pm
>> michael: yeah, i suspect that the more you do that the more you change it in the states that perhaps if the conservative court sees themselves as being behind america that is to them, that's the best lobbying because that is incentive for them to be more progressive more forward thinking. certainly it becomes a litmus test for the new justices that would come on the new court. is that something that you're always thinking about? >> sure, and really--these are historic decisions for the court, and i think that justices can't not be thinking about their legacy and being on the right side of history. that's the case that we want to make. one thing that i can say very clearly is i've never experienced the lawmaker who has voted our way who has regretted it but i have talked to many many lawmakers who voted against us who say you know, that's the one vote i wish i had back. when i talk to my kids and grandkids, etc. >> michael: i'm sure that every
3:46 pm
single civil rights movement has felt the same way the lawmakers there is a great deal of regret for people who fought against that. marc solomon with freedom to marry, we appreciate you coming in to talk about this. we'll have more for you on "the war room" next.
3:47 pm
3:48 pm
3:49 pm
>> michael: this year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of medgar evers who fought to overturn segregation at the university of mississippi. he was shot outside of his home in 1953 by the clue clue by byron de la beckwith who was arrested right away. but despite the murder weapon fingerprints two juries made of all white men failed to convict him. but jerry mitchell uncovered new evidence which led to the case being reopened. mitchell found that a state
3:50 pm
agency called the mississippi state sovereign commission aided de la beckwith's defense by weeding out sympathizers from the jury pool. a new jury in mississippi succeeded where the two previous ones failed. de la beckwith was found guilty for the murder of medgar evers and sentenced to life in prisonment. although 30 years is a long time for justice, the reopening and successful prosecution of cases like this suggests that mississippi may slowly be coming to turns with its racist past. joining me when has been opened cases against some of the biggest killings in the era. the 1963 church bombings and the murders of three civil rights workers in mississippi. thank you for joining us in "the war room," jerry. >> thank you.
3:51 pm
>> michael: you're right investigative reporter and part cold case detective. what inspires you to look in these cases. >> i saw the movie "mississippi burning" which i don't necessarily recommend in terms of any kind of history lesson, but i saw it with a couple of fbi agent who is investigated the case and a couple of journalist who is covered the case i was stunned more than 20 guys were involved in the killings of these three young men, yet no one had ever been prosecute ford murder. that horrified me. i couldn't believe it to be honest with you. i didn't know much about the civil rights movement. that was the start. >> michael: really, i mean, you come to us from mississippi. i know you're from texas originally. >> yes, i am. >> michael: what was it that brought you--i see you saw the movie. this is something though, about you that had to have click: was it the reporter in you or
3:52 pm
someone who was seeking the justice, which part of you? >> yeah, i think it was the latter. i think just always when people got away with crime or especially murder, it's always kind of stuck in my craw. injustices i guess have always fueled me and i've been interested in writing about them if they can be corrected, seeing what can be done to be corrected. >> michael: let's talk about another case first. it took almost 40 years to bring thomas glanto jr. and bob cherry to justice for the murder of four girls in the birmingham church bombing. an that interview that did you with cherry was instrumental in blowing his alibi. please tell us about that. >> well, i mean i wish i could claim that i was some great integrator or something like that, but literally it was a story he told me. he told me that he was watching
3:53 pm
wrestling that night on television, that was his alibi. what i found out was there was no wrestleing, you know, on television at all, ant hadn't been wrestling on for years. you know, he told me that, and i reported that, and of course they had already reopened the case. he ended up getting arrested and prosecuted in that case. >> michael: that was an interview that he requested of you. it wasn't something that you were banging down the jailhouse doors. >> absolutely. >> michael: why would anybody--why would any guilty party in a civil rights case want an interview with you? do you know? >> i don't know. i don't know. it boggles the mind, yeah. >> michael: it speaks to the intelligence of some of these guys too. >> well, this is an element there. i think in terms of everybody wants to tell their story.
3:54 pm
even clansmen. this is some appeal to that. i want to tell my life story. i want to tell this about myself. there is that appeal. and the fact that i'm a southerner. bobby and his wife would beat barbecue that's what they take clansmen out for. >> michael: that must have been really awkward. jerry, how hard was it then versus now. as the years have gone by, hearing everybody loves to tale their story, is it easier now to get witnesses and suspects to open up about events this many years later? >> well, on one level it's just as easy as people are wanting to tell their stories. one thing maybe time is on their side that people see they're at the end of their life, and want to go maybe confess something
3:55 pm
before the grave or something like that. so that part is on our side. but the other part that is not on our side, unfortunately technology. you know, when i first started doing these cases that's guys didn't put two and two together that i was the one writing the story. now the internet, you know, anybody with access to the internet, they can pretty quickly find out the kind of stuff i do. >> michael: and because of that, have you received threats? i imagine during the trials and whatnot you probably did. did you receive threats and have them been real and scary? >> oh, yeah, yeah, they've been very real, very scary. one guy who is a consistent caller he keeps threatening to slit my throat. you know, it's a weird thing. i relate everything back to the playground which may something about my mentality, but i was always the smallest guy on the playground, always just got beaten up all the time. so i always relate--think of
3:56 pm
them as bullies. bullies on the playground. they just try to bully--they're trying to bully me is the way i interpret it. even though it is a serious threat, i take them seriously but that's what they are bullies. >> michael: and you've been beating bullies your entire life. let's talk about the may ground in a way let's talk about kids, and you know it is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of medgar evers. the work you do is public in mississippi. what do you see, though n terms of civil rights as to how the younger generation is grasping this history today? >> well, i wish i could report that, you know, that everyone knows it all loves it, and that would just not be the case. but i will say the state of mississippi to its credit has taken steps now in public schools they're required to teach about the civil rights movement. not just some, oh, today we're
3:57 pm
studying civil rights movement, we're not going it talk about it any more type of thing. it's incorporated in the curricula of the public schools. it's part of state law. >> michael: that's a huge, huge historic victory. that's about the best news i've heard since you got these people put in jail. let's stay with mississippi. hard though this may be hard to believe, just this month officially ratified the 13th amendment. for those who don't know what that is, that's the amendment that abolished slavery. 148 years after it was adopted they did this. although they voted to ratify it in '95. >> they they were the last state to ratify it. you know, i think kentucky did in '75. anyway it's unfortunate. in the paperwork something
3:58 pm
happened. no one seems to know what happened but basically so finally the office of federal register said they never got the paperwork. finally they got the paperwork the other day and now it's official. >> michael: for people who don't listen in mississippi--live in mississippi it's an unbelievable thing. >> everyone had a lot of good laughs over that. >> michael: thank you for all the work that you do. >> thank you for having me. >> michael: we're delighted to have a real warrior in the civil rights struggle. i invite to you stay here in "the war room." i'm going to take my tie off and i want to you stick around for "the young turks"." stick around see you tomorrow. "the young turks" is next.
3:59 pm
michael my dishwasher must be broken. you know, it's not always the machine. it may be the detergent.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on