tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC August 22, 2011 9:00am-10:00am PDT
right to the dictator's doorstep. rb rebels say they have three of gadhafi's sons in custody, but their father seems to have vanished. nato secretary general is enforcing a no fly zone over libya to help rebels advance on the forces. >> the gadhafi regime is crumbling. the sooner gadhafi realizes that he cannot win the battle against his own people, the better. >> british p.m. david cameron echoed that sentiment. >> gadhafi must stop fighting without conditions and clearly show that he has given up any claim to control libya. >> here in the states top advisors are briefing president obama on the situation while he vacations in martha's vineyard. the president released a statement last night. tripoli is slipping from a grasp of a tyrant. the surest way for bloodshed to be end is simple, gadhafi needs to relinquish power once and for all. with about 80% of tripoli under rebel control, a libyan government spokesman begged for
a break in fighting to negotiate. >> each side is terrified of the orside. so let's suspend all military operations, all violence right now. >> nbc news chief foreign correspondent richard engel is in tripoli right now. he's on the phone with us. where do we stand in terms of the rebels taking control of every part of government there? >> reporter: we just returned a few hundred yards away from gadhafi's compound. there is the still an active battle going on in that area. gadhafi's loyalists, it's unclear how many there are are firing out of his compound with mortars and tanks. we heard small arm fire. the rebels in the area are very fully equipped. some of them were carrying knives. we saw one rebel carrying a spear gun, another with an ax. they have some small weapons plus artillery or rockets that we've seen some rebels with in other places.
so the fighting does continue. it seems to be mostly isolated in tripoli around gadhafi's compound. it seems that gadhafi's compound is still quite well fortified and being attacked by rebels who are no match for the the tanks inside. >> richard, we have the reports of gadhafi's sons being in custody. do you know of what the plans are for them? >> reporter: the plans are unclear. there were some negotiations -- initial negotiations earlier today to try and hand over the sons, two sons the most important of which is saif, he's run the day-to-day operations of this country for years over to a criminal court. that was what we heard this morning. over the last couple of hours we were told that there might be an attempt to have him tried in
libya. at this stage those negotiations they're unclear and ongoing. >> and we reported earlier that the rebels reportedly had taken control of the state television network there. how is information now getting out to the people in libya? >> reporter: this is a very dangerous stage in the conflict because the rebels are mostly in control but not in total control. they're still fighting in the capital. they're very enthusiastic, but there is no government to fill in behind gadhafi. it's taken the state tv off the air, but they haven't put anything on the air in its place. information is trickling out poorly. cell phones by and large don't work. you can hear from the quality of this line we are on a satellite phone. that is one of the only means to communicate. generally the rebels don't have satellite phones and they're very hard to communicate even among others. news is spreading mostly by word
of mouth. >> this transitional council, how much power, authority, influence does it have at this point? >> reporter: the transitional council is mostly in benghazi. the government has noi arrived -- has not arrived here. we have a city that's mostly fallen. some loyalists know that he's inside trying to hold a grip on to the sea. the government spokesman still trying to claim for a cease fire which seems a little bit ridiculous at this point. the government invading still in benghazi. it is a very decentralized conflict to say the least. >> thank you very much, richard engel for staying on top of things there. by the way, we have just heard from ban key moon the u.n. secretary general who is demanding that muammar gadhafi stop fighting and allow the transition of power. he says that u.n. member states are obligated to abide by the
criminal court at the hague which has issued an arrest order for gadhafi. his son and gadhafi's intelligence chief. mark ginsburg former u.s. ambassador tomo rocco joins me from washington, d.c. good to see you, ambassador. >> good to be with you, contessa. >> what's the primary concern at this point for other nations when we're talking about the nay toy etoe nations, the united states, for egypt which has recognized the tradition -- tra sigsal crisis? >> the worst thing that can happen ovenly the nato to the investment by nato in the united states as well as other arab states is a breakdown of law and order inside the major cities. as richard just reported the traditional national council is based way to the east of benghazi and tripoli in the best of times never really had anything but dick torl police
state controlling the city. if that evaporates there's a danger of looting, a doirch of instability. the history tells us that leaderless revolutions are not good for democrats. there's a huge power vacuum that is going to be the subject of intense efforts to try to cease control by many of the tribal leaders that have largely waited by the sidelines here. >> in fact, that's one of the concerns that we talked about months ago when the fighting first began in libya is who are the rebels? who do they have ties to in terms of sponsors, in terms of weapons? it wasn't just nato that we were hearing was pushing the rebels to lead this insurgentsy against muammar gadhafi. how does they toe help? how does the united states help make sure there is a leader that there is a transitional council with influence and power? >> one good thing that the obama administration has done to its credit is it has stationed some very talented foreign service
officing with the ben gazy based transitional national council to prepare for this very day. that very important step in the right direction credit again to the fact that we've been predicting that this day would come sooner rather than later. but at the same time there's no doubt that the transition national council is composed of a variety of factions. you have islamists sometimes very radical islamists part of the libyan fighting group that were tied to al qaeda that may be part of the council. you have secular democrats part of the february 17th movement that was akip to the movement in egypt. you have tribal leaders. you have former gadhafi loyalists, military officials. then you have a large group of clansmen on the sidelines. you don't have a representative council even at this stage, that's one of the most important things that the united states and nato is going to try to do.
to expand the reputation of this council to include orfactions that stayed out of the conflict. >> thank you so much for lending your experience and perspective to all of us. >> sure. >> kristen welker is in mart yast's vineyard following the president on vacation. what do you have today? >> reporter: we're expecting to get an update from the white house within the hour. here's what we can tell you right now. president obama released a statement late last night essentially saying that this is a tipping point for libya. he also said that the united states now recognizes the transitional national council as the governing body of lib yachl quite a strong statement ramping up the pressure for gadhafi to leave. white house officials say president obama may be on vacation, but he is getting briefed about this situation regularly by his counterterrorism advisor john brennan. then last night at 9:00 in the evening he had a conference call with some of his top advisors including his chief of staff
bill daly, secretary of defense, chairman of the joint chiefs and several others. white house officials say the president will continue to get briefed about this situation today. a lot of people wondering if we're going to hear from president obama. at this point it's just not clear. white house officials say the president is not going to speak about this situation until they have 100% confirmation of what exactly is happening on the ground. getting information is quite difficult right now. some of the information coming out of tripoli is a bit murky. so again, no plans for the president to speak until the white house knows exactly what's happening inside of libya. one more note, contessa, pentagon officials say they believe it is quite likely that gadhafi is still inside of libya. the president, the white house monitoring this situation very closely. contessa, back to you. >> kristen welker reporting. thank you very much. it's such a hopeful moment when people organically overthrow a dictator. look at egypt. it's not all smooth sailing.
you heard the concerns by ambassador ginsberg. by big question today, will the libyan rebels have the perseverance, the dedication to see a democracy flourish? let me know what you think on facebook, twitter. the united nations human rights council meets today in switzerlands to discuss possible violations in syria. the u.n. sent a humanitarian mission to syria over the weekend to check out the crackdown on antibiotic government protests there. yesterday syrian president went on state tv promising political reform, but refusing to step aside. president obama and european leaders have called on him to resign. he said what they have to say means nothing to us. assad said a parliamentary election will be held in february. hurricane irene is the first hurricane of the stop sign sn and it's headed towards florida. we have new video from san juan,
puerto rico, showing some of the damage left behind. the wind knocked over trees. we have the latest on hurricane irene's path. and where it is right now. hi, nick. >> those pictures by the way were when irene was a tropical storm. a minimal hurricane 80 miles per hour but expected to get stronger. its location 105 miles weft northwest on san juan, puerto rico. there are hurricane warns for the dominican republic and turks and caicos. probably just skirting the northern coast of the island of hispaniola. this is critical. if the center stays out over open water, we're going to have a stronger hurricane on our hands than if it went directly over land. but we'll continue to see it strengthening all the way up into the bahamas near florida by the latter part of the week.
by then we may have a major hurricane on our hands. 115 miles per hour hurricane, a category three. so florida not off the hook yet. georgia, the carolina shores all these areas need to make sure you have your plans in place for where you would go if you need to evacuate. have that emergency kit on hand and know how to protect your property. all these areas could be impacted by a major hurricane by the time we get to the weekend. >> nick, thank you for the warning. here we go, while texas governor rick perry has shaken up the gop field this past week, now it's jon huntsman who's picking a fight. is huntsman using perry to get attention for his campaign? the sexual assault case against dominique strauss-kahn could be dropped as early as tomorrow. this is the guy who was expected to be france's next president. we'll have the live report ahead. plus taking a look at stocks today. looks like we're in positive territory. nice to see green arrows for a change.
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those are the celebrations across libya after rebels took control of the capital, bringing an end to six months of fighting there. world leaders are calling honmo mar gadhafi to step down. right now nobody seems to know where he is. three of his sons now reportedly are in rebel custody. in the race to be the republican nominee for president, jon huntsman isn't letting up when it comes to new attack strategy. last week he started calling out the other candidates on evolution and climate change. now he's hitting rick perry over comments fed chairman ben
bernanke may be treasonous. >> i'm not sure that the afternoon voter is going to hear the treasonous remark and say that sounds like someone who's a presidential candidate. someone who's serious on the issues. it gets to the broader point that the fact that we've had so much hope on the hype in politics. we found ourselves at the extreme ends of the political spectrum. people are crying out for us to get back to some level of responsibility. karen finny is with us. and jennifer donahue is a fellow at the eisenhower institute. jennifer, does painting yourself as a moderate work in a republican primary? >> it won't this year. huntsman is talking to the consciousness of the republican party before 2010. now mathematically i think to win the primary you really do have to hug the right. that's what perry is doing. i don't think he intentionally
made the berman key comment. i do think he -- i think this race is very far right. i think that's where people are going to win the primary. huntsman is a great articulator of the moderating of the republican party. which although small right now still exits. he made a better articulation of that than romney is. >> we talked last week about his tweet in response to rick perry being asked about global warming and evolution. he said, look, the texas schools teach creationism and you have to make a choice between that and evolutionism. i know you're smart in which points texas schools don't teach creationism as part of the official curriculum. here's jon huntsman's reply, to be clear, i believe in evolution, truces scientists on global warming, call me crazy. it's a big splash, you don't often seen conservative candidates running for office who will willingly embrace
science? >> this is a very smart tactic in any kind of race. if you're the person who's behind and you get an opening to go after one of the people who's perceived to be ahead, you go for it. that's what he did. he did it in a way that got some message out there. it wasn't just an attack. i think it's also an appeal obviously to moderates and independents. a couple of the primaries coming up they're open primaries where independents can vote. that's part of the strategy. that's part of romney's strategy. some of the backlash that perry got although i actually tend to think it may have helped him being attacked by the establishment helps him with the far right, at the same time do donors didn't like it. remember that. they saw this as maybe this guy is going to speak too much off the cuff. he's going to be able to be taken seriously. ultimately at the end of the day every republican voter is going to think about electability. if huntsman can get in there and say make the argument for
lekablity. moderate is a death nail for the republican primary candidate. he does have some fairly conservative views for example on issues of choice. if he can stress those views and kind of play it both sides, he may make some movement. >> when we look at the latest opinion poll here, cnn opinion research shows romney in the lead with 17% of support, perry at 15%. palin at 12%. michele bachmann with 7%. huntsman 4%. we already saw tim pawlenty drop out of the race because he didn't win in the straw poll. are you seeing that the money is all of a sudden going to to say jon huntsman or mitt romney because people are afraid of rick perry? >> no, i think actually that rick perry is the heart and soul of where the republican party is right now. karen's right that there are independents who vote in new hampshire and south carolina. but the bomb line is this year i think republicans smell blood.
they think that obama is so vulnerable that they're thinking about a base candidate to win the general election, which is unusual. it doesn't always work. it's risky. when mccain was nominated last time they were making a safer, more moderate choice. they were thinking let's think with our heads not with our harts. in 1996 when dole was nominated let's think with our heads, not with our harts. but this time i think the republican party has moved so far right, hearts and minds are together in trying to elect someone like rick perry. i think it's very hard for anybody to get to the left of mitt room knee who's trying to play it both ways. he's saying i'm a conservative and independence. >> you know what else would be hard is getting a house bigger than mitt romney's? he's filed an application to increase his house from 3,000 square feet to 11,000 square feet. >> that seems pretty out of touch. that's something that will hurt him. >> he just needs a little more
space, probably a basketball court in there. maybe a putting green. >> isn't having a big house like being too rich or too thin, it's impossible. >> i think romney is too thin and too rich for this race. he doesn't have enough stature and he seems out of touch. >> it would not be completed until after the election. >> it shows he's got the money and that's ultimately going to be very important. >> thank you both very much. appreciate your time. in what would be a complete and dramatic reversal of fortune, the sexual assault case against former imf chief dominique strauss-kahn could be tossed out. perhaps as early as tomorrow. and the opening of a new memorial to a man who changed this nation. y do relationships ? [ grandpa ] relationships are the basis of everything. [ grandma ] relationships are life... if you don't have that thing that fills your heart and your soul,
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weapons, but i'm very much concerned about the sa-7 shoaler fired surface to air guided missiles. it can be fired by individual troops from the ground. doesn't take very much timing and could take down any aircraft within its range. if these things go someplace it's not supposed to go and nobody can account for them, i think air travel is in trouble. >> there's a lot of concerns at this point. that could be one reason the president is not talking about this until he has a better grasp on what the situation on the ground actually is as kristen welker reported. colonel, thanks. the men known as the west memphis three had their first weekend of freedom after 20 years in prison for the murders of three young boys. one of the members is speaking out on why he thinks cops went after him. we're in west memphis, arkansas, with the exclusive interview. >> reporter: let me take you back to the beginning of this
jury here. it was 18 years ago here where the bodies of three 8-year-old boys were found. they were hog-tied. one had been beaten to death the other two drowned. the west memphis three were arrested and convicted of those murders. but now as you just said, they have been released, but despite that the district attorney said they did get the right people and the case is closed. the men known as the west memphis three in court almost two decades after juries found them guilty of the horrific murders of three cub scouts. they each pled guilty while professing their innocence. >> your honor, i am innocent of these charges. >> reporter: then they were set free. >> this was not justice. >> reporter: in an exclusive interview with "today", just released jason baldwin claimed law enforcement pinned the case on them in part because of how
they looked. >> we were penniless, poor teenagers who listened to rock or had extreme hair styles. >> reporter: but he says he agreed to plea to save codefendant damion echols who was on death row. >> when we went to trial the first time they came in with ghost stories, rumors, things that had nothing to do with the case whatsoever. they knew the whole world was watching. >> reporter: the whole world was watching what might have been a new trial because of two films. their documentaries for hbo raised questions about missing physical evidence and how the prosecutors pictured the teenagers as satan worshippers and that one was named damion only made the case that much more compelling in this deeply religious community. >> in the late '80s, early '90s there was a wave of satanic
hysteria. >> reporter: the documentaries included many of their innocence. actors and singers were sure of their innocence. >> there's not enough physical evidence. >> reporter: if not these men, then who killed the three boys? baldwin says he may know, but will not say. >> i am so leery of pointing the finger at anyone no matter how i may feel they be suspect simply because i've had the finger pointed at me and i know what it feels like and i do not want to get it wrong. >> reporter: baldwin says that now that he's free he'd like to have a gps come computer chip inserted in his body so that the authorities could track him so he will never be accused of being somewhere where he is not. meantime some of the families and the judge who oversaw this
case say that the wrong people have been released here and that this is a mistake and releasing them is nothing short of injustice. >> kerry, thank you. congressman ron paul wins new hampshire's young republicans straw poll. why as he suggests is the big media ignoring him? we're going to talk to his campaign. more than 40 years after i have a dream speech, a moving memorial for the man who helped change a nation. gotta love the protein for muscles-- whoo-hoo! and omega-rich nutrition for that shiny coat. ever think healthy could taste so good? [ woman announcing ] new beneful healthy fiesta. ♪ [ male announcer ] you've reached the age where you don't back down from a challenge.
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i'm andrea mitchell, coming up next on "andrea mitchell reports," what is next for libya after gadhafi? we've got all the answers from the american diplomat who's been working with the rebel leaders in benghazi to top military experts here at home. plus, are we any closer to fulfilling martin luther king junior's dream? the memorial to his voice opening today. we'll see you in 15 minutes right here on "andrea mitchell
reports." we continue to follow the breaking news out of libya. rebels struck a decisive blow against the dictatorship there seizing control of most of tripoli. 80% of the capital is under rebel control. there are still scattered clashs. a senior pension official tells nbc news u.s. intelligence believes muammar gadhafi is in libya possibly hiding out in the tripoli yar. a prosecutor from the international criminal court is urging rebels to hand over gadhafi's son to stand trial in the hague. rebels reportedly have three of gadhafi's sons in custody. ron paul may not get enough attention, but he certainly cleaned up in new hampshire over the week. he won the new hampshire young republicans straw poll. and last week he was just 152 votes behind michele bachmann in the ames, iowa, straw poll. and check out this ad the paul campaign is running in iowa and
new hampshire. >> a story of failed policies. failed leadership. a story of smooth talking politicians. games of he said, she said, rhetoric. one man has stood apart. stood strong and true. >> joining me now jesse benton chairman for ron paul's presidential campaign. for the folks who may have been listening on the radio, there's ron paul basically comparing some of his opponents to the most recognizable democrats on capitol hill. is that a strategy that's working? >> i think that it is. every other candidate in this race represents for more or less the status quo. we have some major problems, systemic problems in this country and ron paul is the only candidate that's going to make the changes we need, changes to foreign policy, monetary policy and balanced budget reform. bring jobs back to this country. >> when you look at the straw
polls, he's coming in very strong, but when you look at joef all opinion polls, he's still struggling here. the cnn opinion poll puts him with 12% of the support. real clear politics average putting him at 8%. why aren't you seeing the straw poll support translating into real poll support? >> well, i think the 12% right now at this point many the race is a pretty strong place to be nationally. the only polls that really matter are the early states. ron's at 16% in iowa. in new hampshire in the most recent poll 14%. we're seeing good growth in follows. straw polls are a reflection of your organization. we have unparalleled organization in this campaign. so we're going to continue to build the numbers and we're going to outorganize and outwork the campaigns. >> do you feel like he's being taken more seriously than he was in previous presidential campaigns? >> absolutely. he's being taken a lot more seriously by the people.
they're waking up to the fact that our government's broke and we're solving oir problems or trying to solve our problems by throwing printing press money at them. people are seeing inflation and they're seeing a crumbling system. they're seeing that we're in real danger of losing our great american traditions and they want real change and real reform. dr. paul is the only one that's talking sense. >> he's talked far long time about the problem with the federal reserve. he doesn't think that there should be a federal income tax. if he were elected president, would he push to eliminate the federal income tax? >> absolutely. it couldn't be done overnight. you've got to realize that 52% of our government revenue comes from sources other than to the income tax. we could spend the same amount of money that we spent in 2003 and have no federal income tax. it could be done. we'd have to work on our spending. cut spending. we could do it. >> given his libertarian position, i know that he believes that the federal government should stay out of the whole issue of same-sex marriage. but that it should be left up to
the states. does any government have a role in deciding who should be able to marry whom? >> sure. and the most important thing dr. paul thinks is that government should not be forcing one view of marriage on the people. that's why he's supported the defensive marriage act. and takes a very, very strong position that activist judges and legislatures in se new york shouldn't be able to force -- >> given that he's a libertarian isn't who you marry somewhat of an individual choice? why should a government state or otherwise legislate chor or otherwise decide that issue? >> the most important thing is he's running for federal office. he believes that the federal government should not be forcing any definition of marriage on the states. that's what we're hearing from people all over the country that they don't want the federal government forcing one definition on the states and dr. paul is a very, very strong advocate of defending that. >> jesse, good of you to join us today. i appreciate your time.
>> thank you, contessa. political side bar now. today westward expansion. mitt romney's campaign confirms he and his wife are looking to bulldoze their 3,000 foot california breach front home. in its place they want to build a new mansion that's triple the original size. with five married sons and 16 grandchildren the romneys say the old house is just too small. speaking of expansions, the gop's already crowded the 2012 field. it could even get more crowded. at least five more people are reportedly thinking, toying with the idea of jumping in. they include candidates like george pataki. there are reports an announcement could come next week. paul ryan who's medicare busting budget plans in the spring is reportedly thinking of getting in and former new york major rudy giuliani. chris christie says he's not interested, but uh-huh the buzz about him won't go away.
and then there's sarah palin she's been showing up at gop events for months now teasing supporters if she intends to run in 2012. she'll head back to iowa in september. over the weekend sarah pac released this online video just to get everybody in the mood. pailen still isn't saying when she'll decide for sure. but karl rove says her time is running out. >> if she doesn't get in shortly after next week, then i think people are going to basically say she's not in. she won't be in. if she gets in, i'm not going to be for her. you can only tease so many times. >> next month's iowa visit will be palin's second in as many months. we'll be right back. listen to . three out of four americans don't get enough vegetables. so here's five bucks to help you buy v8 juice. five bucks. that's a lot of green. go to v8juice.com for coupons. you can count on us.
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king jr. that memorial opened about an hour ago. we got some immediate reaction. >> mesmerized. it was beautiful. i can't explain it. he's overlooking the actual river and it's just a dream come true for all of us in america to be able to have such a tribute to him. >> for everybody. >> president obama is scheduled to speak at the official dedication this weekend. we're live from the national mall in d.c. >> reporter: hey, contessa. this has been a long time in the making. 15 years in the planning, $120 million spent. finally the day has come to unveil this memorial. it's the first memorial, major
memorial here at the national mall for a nonpresident and an african-american. it's in the company of the lincoln memorial, the jefferson memorial and the washington monument and just steps from where dr. king led his famous march on washington in 1963. the memorial itself consists of three major parts all made of granite rock. there's the mountain of despair, which is two parts it provides a passage way for visitors to enter into the memorial where they come upon the stone of hope. that is the block of granite that dr. king's statue is carved out of standing more than 30 feet tall. the jefferson and the lincoln memorials are 19 feet tall. it's higher than either one of those. the memorial also features two crescent shaped walls that have on them 15 scenes from dr. king over the span of his life. those are hand etched into the stone there. it was one of dr. king's quotes that was the inspiration for this memorial. a line from his i have a dream
speech where he said out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. that was the inspiration for this design here. that's what the artists and project managers were trying to convey with this design. the official dedication takes place sunday the 28th, that is the 48th anniversary of the march on washington. up to 300,000 visitors are expected to attend. president obama is expected to speak. there will be performances from aretha franklin, maya ang lou. it will be a star-studded event to mark the significance of this occasion. >> really incredible. we can see the crowd around that new memorial. thank you. i appreciate that you watched today. i'm contessa brewer. i'll see you back here tomorrow noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. out west. up next "andrea mitchell reports." hi, andrea. hi, contessa. great to see you. thank you. up next on "andrea mitchell reports," gadhafi's power crumbles in libya, but the fight isn't over. we'll hear from richard engel who's on the ground in tripoli.
plus, what lies ahead for the u.s. and nato with william cohen and house intelligence chair mike rogers. and congressman and civil rights pioneer john lewis reflects on the new multimillion dollar tribute to martin luther king's dream. "andrea mitchell reports" next on msnbc. in a business like ours, personal connections are so important. we use our american express open gold card to further those connections. last year we took dozens of trips using membership rewards points to meet with farmers that grow our sweet potatoes and merchants that sell our product. vo: get the card built for business spending. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. over a million people have discovered how easy it is to use legalzoom for important legal documents. so start your business, protect your family, launch your dreams. at legalzoom.com we put the law on your side. toi switched to a complete0, multivitamin with more.
>>. >> finally libya is free. finally we have that taste of freedom. >> gadhafi is the worst man on earth. he lies. he kills our people. now it's time for him to step down. right now on "andrea mitchell reports," the downfall of a dictator. from tripoli to pennsylvania avenue, libyans are celebrating as rebel forces advance to gadhafi's front door. while time runs out for gadhafi, it is a new day in libya. can the rebel coalition establish order? with us this order libya's