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tv   The Last Word  MSNBC  September 21, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT

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of troy davis, waiting for a decision from the u.s. supreme court. davis was convicted in 1991 of killing a savannah, georgia, police officer. seven of the nine witnesses recanted their original testimony against him. and three jurors who sentenced him want his life spared. this case has garnered worldwide attention and for more condemnation. for now as the u.s. supreme court considers whether to issue a stay of execution, the georgia department of corrections says, "we are in a delay. there has not been a reprieve issued." joining us now, is nbc's tom trong outside the prison tonight. i understand that as of 7:12 p.m. this evening, people outside the prison started singing, "we shall overcome" hearing that this young man may well have received some kind of reprieve, some kind of stay? >> reporter: yeah, and it's hard to get word and confirmation on the decision at this point,
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martin. there have been sporadic heres and then moments of silence as people wait to get any type of word on whether this execution is going to move ahead or is going to be further delayed at this point. there's a large show of force of riot police in full gear at this point. more than 100 i would say. on the other side of highway 36, the georgia diagnostic prison is located on highway 36 in jackson, georgia. across the street, it's just an average truck stop but lining the highway right now are hundreds of supporters and protesters. it's on the opposite side you have hundreds and hundreds of proteste protesters. on the other side, you have the large show of force, georgia riot police in full gear. we're assuming obviously this is going to be a preventative and preemptive measure in case anything breaks out. depending on where they go with this execution at this point. there is a pit area, if we can call it that, where more protesters are inside the fences of the diagnostic prison. they've been waiting here,
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chanting, holding vigil trying to get any word of whether this execution is going to move ahead. there was a scene about 20 minutes ago that as i stood from where i'm standing right now, my vantage point, i saw the sun going down and there was this orange glow. you could see below that that pit of protesters inside, people praying and hoping there's going to be some type of stay of execution at this point. but at this hour we're still trying to get some confirmation from the georgia department of corrections whether troy davis is going to be executed. we know that three of the surviving members of the macphail foamily, officer macphail was the officer from savannah that was shot and killed. his wife, his widow, surviviuri son, surviving daughter, are in the execution chamber. they're not thirsty for blood. they're thirsty for justice. this has been delayed several times through the years and obviously right now they want to
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get it over with. they say all the talk of the recanting of the statements of the seven of the nine witnesses, they said, all of that is bunk. they said, look, this has gone through the process and under the legal process and outside of the legal process now. these witnesses are recanting their statements. they say it shouldn't be acce acceptaccep accepted. >> mr. davis was due to be executed at 7:00 p.m. am i right to assume he had eaten his last meal, he was prepared and taken down to the place where he would be executed? >> reporter: he has, martin. and we haven't gotten confirmation from that. as you can imagine, the georgia department of corrections went through the process as this was going to move ahead. there's been some type of stay or delay at this point. i shouldn't use the word stay. there's been a delay in the execution. the georgia department of corrections right now is just waiting to hear from the u.s. supreme court and we understand that he did decline, troy davis did decline when offered th his faly today from 9:00 to 3:00
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p.m. family and friends. he declined that choice for a last meal. instead, he had the prison standard, as they call it, of a cheeseburger, baked beans and potato potatoes. martin? >> thanh, stay with us. we'll be back with you later in the program. joining me now, nbc news justice correspondent, pete williams. and, pete, why has it taken until today for the supreme court to receive this? >> well, because it wasn't ready to go to the supreme court yet. it started with the clemency process in georgia. then it went through the courts and only when all the options were cleared away in the state of georgia were the lawyers and in any legal position to come to the u.s. supreme court. they didn't file here until just after 6:00 tonight one hour -- i suppose just a few minutes less than the scheduled execution time.
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about 23 or 24 minutes after that, the state attorney general from georgia filed with the supreme court and basically opposed in stay. so here's where it stands. what the lawyers for troy davis have done is they've gone to the u.s. supreme court and they've said, look, we're going to file an appeal with you. we haven't done it yet. it's coming shortly was the term they used. but in the meantime we want you to put a hold on his excuse because it will do nobody any good for you to look at his appeal, decide, yes, you're going to take the appeal and find out in the meantime he's been executed. so while you wait for the appeal, please hold off on the execution. this is a fairly standard request in death penalty cases. what's unusual about this, of course, is it comes less than an hour before the scheduled execution. >> pete, what is the procedure now in terms of the supreme court? does there need to be a majority vote? >> yes. yes. it takes five -- there are nine justices. it takes five votes to grant a stay. it would take -- this may seem
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odd to you, but it would take four votes to hear an appeal from someone. in the normal course of business when the supreme court decides to take a case, it only takes four of the nine justices to agree to hear a case. but it takes five votes to grant a stay. so, you know, the justices are not in the supreme court building tonight. they're all over the place. i don't factually know where they all are. the court session doesn't start, the new term doesn't begin for a little over a week. some of them are in town, some of them are out of town. this is what the court does all the time in these emergency appeal cases where there's a clerk of the court who notifies the justices that they may be called upon to make a decision and, you know, faxes or gets them on the phone or whatever is required here. but it would take a vote of five justices to grant a stay. now, you know, and the stay will either be granted or denied and we'll never know precisely which justices voted which way. that's not the way these things are handed down. we will simply get an order that
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says, in this case, this stay is granted or the stay is denied and that's it. but the reason it didn't come to the supreme court until tonight is there wasn't -- it procedurally was not in a p posture where they could have come to the supreme court. everything is jammed up at the end. that's the way these cases often happen. >> you explained that you and many of us don't know where these justices are. so do you think that there will be a formal decision on this stay this evening -- >> yes. >> -- or you think there will be tonight? >> oh, yes. i'd be very surprised. the justices go at their own pace but they know what's going on here. they're not ignorant of the fact that the execution was scheduled for 7:00. they're away that there's -- the state of georgia is in essence waiting for the supreme court to do something. i'd be stunned if the supreme court doesn't do something here within the next hour or so. martin, just for your information, we went through something like this last week in the case of a texas man named
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dwayne buck who was arguing that his sentencing hearing was flawed because it was racially -- there was racially tainted testimony. his execution date was set -- his lawyers made a last minute appeal to the supreme court. and the supreme court's order granting a stay of execution came two hours of the time scheduled for dwayne buck's execution. so the state of texas waited as the state of georgia is going now. >> pete williams, as ever, thank you for your expertise on this. we'll be back to you i'm sure as the evening progresses. joining me live from atlanta is the reverend al sharpton, host of "politics nation" on msnbc. good evening, al. >> good evening. >> your reaction to this remarkable news this evening. literally at the final minutes that this is currently in reprieve of some kind. we don't know whether the stay is going to be granted. we don't know if mr. davis will be executed this evening.
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your reaction. >> well, you know, it reminds me of 2008. i'd been involved in this case for the past 3 1/2 years. his sisters came to national action network, the civil rights group i head, and we looked into it. we delved into it and we became involved which is why we held a vigil today that is still going on. and i was there in 2008, martin, where we stood in that same courtyard that we were having the vigil all day and i was holding troy davis' mother's hand. 90 minutes before his scheduled execution and the supreme court stated and she pointed and told me, look -- and i looked and saw the hearse that troy davis' body was to be taken out of at execution leave the penitentiary. and she started jumping up and down. his mother has since died. but tonight i almost feel the same way as i talked to his sisters, both of whom i saw before i came from jackson to
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the studio to do these shows tonight. and i feel like we're where we were in '08. i hope it's a stay. the only thing we don't know is whether or not this is going to be an official reprieve or a stay, as we were just told by pete, we don't know until they find all of the justices and see if five vote for a stay. clearly there's enough, in my judgment, for them to at least wait and hear what the appeal is going to be judging on these merits. >> we're hearing that three members of the officer who was killed were waiting to observe this execution and as far as they're concerned, these recantations of testimony are worthless, they feel mr. davis has been through the criminal justice process and deserves to be executed. >> you mean three members of his family? >> indeed. >> well, i think that anyone would understand a family who has lost a son, a brother, wants
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to see some form of justice and should get all of the justice that the state can give them. i'm against the death penalty, but i also think that the job of the justice system is not to be swayed by emotion or passion, understandable and justified or not, on either side of this. the fact of the matter is that if the wrong man is executed, that is an injustice to officer macphail and officer macphail's family. so where it is understandable how they feel, the state's responsibility is to make sure whatever they do is beyond a reasonable doubt. you cannot say when there's been recanted testimony and the testimony of the eyewitnesss, martin, was the only evidence this man was convicted on. there was no physical evidence. there was no dna. there was no recovery of a weapon. since the only thing you had was
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the eyewitness testimonies, and that's been recanted, you can't say there is not reasonable doubt there to stop an execution. now, if you recanted but there was physical efs dense, dna evidence or other evidence, you can say that doesn't mean anything. when that's the only thing that was used and now when you have jurors in the trial come forward and said, i wouldn't have voted to convict him if i knew the ballistic evidence did not lead to where they said it was, that is a whole lot to overlook and say i'm going to take a man's life. there is huge reasonable doubt here. >> reverend al, a remarkable insight. it's great to have you on this network because your perspective oz a civil rights activist, relationships with some of the members of mr. davis' family and your prospective as a broadcaster, we're grateful to you for the moment. >> thank you, martin. we go now on the phone to laura moy, who's director of amnesty international. she's inside the gates at the prison.
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laura, i wonder if i can ask you for your immediate reaction to learning that there has been this delay in the execution of mr. davis. >> well, you know, it's a very emotional scene down here. people are a little bit more calm. i'm on the grounds of the prison where a couple hundred supporters are gathered. -- several hundred people who are on the other side of the highway who are waiting for some kind of word. people got the wrong information there was a stay and it turned out it was simply a delay. it's been a very intense evening. the security here is incredibly intense despite the fact that nobody is doing anything to provoke any sort of situation. people are just gathered here very peacefully even though sometimes there are some loud chanting of people who are very just upset about what may happen here. but i don't think it's that unusual for the supreme court to
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create a delay. there are always these last-minute appeals. sometimes people get stays of execution. i was down here in georgia when a man got three stays of execution in one week and at the end of the week was executed. so it's a very torturous process. people need to understand that about the death penalty. it's not a clean clinical procedure like it's designed to appear. >> laura, why did amnesty international take up this man's case? >> well, in 2007, we issued a report called "where is the justice for me?" we decided troy davis' case has salient issues in it that were emblematic of problems with the justice system, problems with the death penalty system and we felt like we had an opportunity to help one man but also to shine a light on a larger system where, you know -- shine a light on this larger system that is so terribly broken and biased. you know, we are really just
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amazed to see the outpouring of support. almost a million people signed the petition for clemency. thousands marched in atlanta on friday. we had concurrent events. hundreds of them. we haven't seen this sort of support. mr. davis' case is galvanizing movement to abolish the death penalty because it just speaks volumes of how wrong it is for the state to be in this position to take human life and here is the state of georgia poised to take a man's life and we can't even be sure that he's guilty of the crime for which he would pay with his life. >> laura moye of amnesty international. thank you very much for joining us. >> you got it. thank you. >> we will continue to follow developments from georgia tonight in the case of troy davis. up next, ron suskind's new book tells a controversial story of what happened inside the white house during the financial crisis. ron suskind joins me next. today i own 165 wendy's restaurants. and i get my financing from ge capital. but i also get stuff that goes way beyond banking.
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holding a vigil waiting to see what will happen. troy davis who was sentenced to be executed at 7:00 p.m. eastern. the execution has been delayed. more coming up. and next, ron suskind on his book about the inner workings of the white house during the financial crisis. [ male announcer ] do you know how you will react when someone changes lanes without warning? or when you're distracted? when you're falling asleep at the wheel? do you know how you'll react? lexus can now precisely test the most unpredictable variable in a car -- the driver. when you pursue perfection, you don't just engineer the world's most advanced driving simulator.
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you engineer amazing. ♪ we're watching developments from jackson, georgia, tonight, where there is a delay in the execution of troy davis. the state of georgia has delayed the execution waiting for the supreme court to respond to a request for a stay of execution. nbc's kristin welker at the white house has just gotten a response from press secretary jay carney who says, "it's not
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appropriate for the president of the united states to weigh in on specific cases like this one which is a state prosecution." we'll continue to watch that case. the president today delivered a strong measured address to the united nations general assembly about the intrans-genes je intransgency. the president declared palestinians must first make peace with israel before statehood is a possibility and reiterated his position that the u.s. will oppose the effort by the palestinian authority to seek u.n. recognition of a palestinian state. >> peace is hard work. peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the united nations. if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. ultimately, it is the israelis and the palestinians who must live side by side.
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ultimately it is the israelis and palestinians, not us, who must reach agreement on issues that divide them. >> here's how the prime minister of israel scored president obama's handling of the attempt to secure u.n. sanction statehood. >> i think that standing your ground, taking this position of principle, which is also i think is the right way to achieve peace, i think this is a badge of honor. and i want to thank you for wearing that badge of honor and also i express my hope that others will follow your example. >> the leading republican presidential candidates disagreed with the prime minister of israel on how the president handled israel. >> the obama policy of moral equivalency which gives stances of grievances of israelis and palestinians including the
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orchestraters of terror is a very dangerous insult. >> the president should not be negotiating for his ally, israel. the president should stand behind israel. in part, the president's failure to stand by israel during a time of need over the last couple years has been very unfortunate for that part of the world. >> so despite the president's handling of the palestinian situation receiving gushing praise from israel's prim minister, whose opinion appears to matter most in the republican mind. it was somehow not good enough for the republican presidential candida candidates. such attacks seem misplaced considering the president's support of the security of israel's borders have been consistent with his republican predecessor and demonstrated considerable talent in matters of foreign policy through leading successful missions to topple moammar gadhafi and capture and kill osama bin laden. all without the loss of one american soldier's life or
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incii. and if that's not enough, within the confines of the white house as well. a new book from pulitzer prize winning journalist ron suskind entitled "confidence men" alleges president obama presided over an administration that unfairly treated women serving in the white house and failed to properly respond to the economic crisis. a failure to effectively carry out the president's orders and the lack of decisiveness from the president, himself. and joining us now i'm delighted to say, ron suskind, the author of "confidence men." good evening, sir. >> nice to be here. >> the last time i saw such a host of individual run for the hills is when the 12 disciples renounced jesus and ran away. why is it, why do you think so
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many of your sources have come up and denounced your book as frankly an overheated set of falsifications? >> well, you know, to the trained eye, i'm sure yours among others, most of those are nondenial denials. that's what happens when a book like this gets put out. when a curtain gets pulled back on an administration really for the first time many of the folks have a moment of what you call buyers' morse. it's difficult. you try to bring sources up to the moment. okay, the book's ready. i went over the quotes with them prior to publication. when the lights come up, and the heat, it's difficult. there are a few instances, one, of anita dunn with one of the key quotes which you probably want to mention here. it's a signature quote. why don't you read it? you probably have it right in front of you. >> i'll come to that in a moment. here's the interesting thing. many of these individuals who are now denouncing the book as a fabrication -- >> well, no, they're not.
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if you really look at what they said -- >> i'll come to that in a moment. >> no one is doing that. >> in the book -- you say no one is doing that. in the book you allege the president was not prepared for the baptism of fire caused by the financial crisis and said he was repeatedly undermined by his economic advisers. who told you that? >> all the economic advisers extensively sat -- >> did larry summers tell you that? >> summers, geithner, orszag, christina romer. all of them sat with me hour after hour for interviews. >> larry summers say -- attributed to me is a combination of fiction, distortion and words taken out of context. timothy geithner says "reports about this book bear no resemblance to the reality we lived." >> all of their -- >> that's not a soft walkback. >> no, no, well, it is if you read the book. the fact is on timothy geithner, for one, he has extensive responses to everything in the book that is in the book.
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what we did is we had an interview prior to publication. 35 minutes. we went through letter and verse. he has a very full explanation for what's in the book. he offers a denial, but not really a denial. if you read that, you'll find that -- >> a combination of fiction, distortion and words taken out of context. larry summers. >> larry summers is another example, larry and i talked many times. at the end of the day, larry's speaking about a specific thing. you should be more specific -- >> i'll come to that. in the book, you allege larry summers told peter orszag -- >> that's right. i'm not alleging it. >> we're home alone. there's no adult in charge. clinton would never have made these mistakes. was it peter orszag who told you that? >> peter orszag is quoted in the book. you should look at it. >> i have. peter orszag told you -- >> you bet. peter orszag is quoted saying that. summers said it not just to orszag. he said it to many people. it was called the home alone riff. many people heard it.
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when peter heard it for one, he was unsettled with it. what is larry saying? is larry right? what's interesting is orszag meditates on the larry summers home loan quote on a good page or two pages, is larry right or not? >> is it possible that mr. orszag who was hardly garlanded with praise when he left the white house, and he may have seen this as an opportunity to seek some kind of revenge. >> no, not at all. >> why not? >> the fact is the home alone quote from larry summers comes from many people. many people heard it. it was something i taub etalked larry about at the end of the day. >> isn't it interesting mr. orszag is the one individual who has not walked back anything in the book? mr. orszag has been silent. he's the one individual who many people would suggest has a reason for saying these kinds of things because he may be seeking some kind of revenge. >> well, you're way off here. the fact of the matter is is that orszag is one of many, many
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people, tim geithner, larry summers, orszag, romer, all the way through and the president, himself, who was presented the evidence reported in the book. did not deny it. went through explanations, as the president does in our interview. more importantly, more importantly, let's be clear here, is that when larry was confronted with the home alone quote, at first hi saie said, n didn't say it. he said, all right, i'll offer a response. it's in the book. he says, we're overwhelmed. there was a great deal going on. five times as many problems, without five times as many people. you know, i think it's important to note that the quote, itself, is not what we're talking about. there are many examples, evidence throughout the book of episode and incident where the president wasn't aware what was happening. he was often surprised. things were moving forward by virtue of the advisers' decisions without him being aware of it. so quotes are the framing but
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the actual disclosures are different. >> let's move on from the economic team to the issue of the president allowing what you describe as a potential hostile, almost misogynistic atmosphere in the white house. you write, the president has a real woman problem with the assessment of another high ranking female official. >> you bet. >> the idea of a boys club being just larry and rahm isn't fair. he, the president, was just as responsible, himself. you believe that? >> that's what the senior officials involved -- >> you're persuaded that mr. obama allowed a hostile environment? >> the people most directly involved who spent their time in the white house, senior female officials, that is from their lips. as well as the quotes on the record about this issue. and mind you, it's important to note that the issue of the gender battles in the white house did get reported. it was reported in jonathan alter's book. >> i read it.
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here's the point. they never quoted anyone saying they felt like a piece of meat. >> these stories evolve. >> they certainly do. let me put to you what christina romer told the "washington post." she cannot imagine ever having said this. ane ane anita dunn said, pointblank, the white house was not a hostile environment. >> let's talk about anita dunn. we discussed this. the white house directed me to anita dunn, said, look, we think the president did an okay job with this. we're looking for the president in the book where he exerted management authority. anita and i talked, a long, long interview in april of this year. she went through letter and verse not just from the administration, but from the campaign before where there was a women's issue. when she got to the white house, she said it was much more pronounced. and what was fascinating is that in that interview and other interviews i found that it was more pronounced and more pervasive than had been
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reported. >> why did you choose to be disingenuous in the way you presented that quote? what she actually said to you was without the president, this would have been a hostile environment. why did you choose not to include that clause? >> you want to know? disingenuous, you're way off there. if you go off and go on the internet you'll see the stories that happened with that. >> suskind, you're the author. >> you're really late on that part. that's already been essentially settled. let me explain it to you. after the april interview, i called -- before the book was published -- i called anita back as i do with almost all the sources in the book saying here's what's going next to your name in the book. >> indeed. you made that abundantly clear. >> we go to that letter and verse. we talked about that quote, other quotes. that one specifically, though. said, here's the quote, the longer quote on the tape that the "washington post" heard exactly in anita's voice and published a few days ago. that fuller tape, that fuller quote is out there p. we talked about the fuller quote and said, all right, here's the
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fuller quote. you talked to valerie jarrett during the administration and said if it wasn't for the president this woulde a hostile legally defined for women, on and on. two things, anita said, geez, could we not make that in present tense where i'm talking to valerie? i'm saying it now. let's make it in past tense. because frankly, ron, i can't be saying i saw a hostile legal workplace -- one minute. let me finish. a hostile legal workplace with my husband being the general counsel to the president. she said, look, i tell you this in april of 2011. it is me looking back. i said, fine, looking back. now, what about this thing about if it wasn't for the president? i said, anita, it doesn't make sense. what do you mean by that? you know, if there was a different president, but the still hostile workplace you'd feel differently about it? that doesn't make sense. she says, all right, well i just want to say that means we all were fascinated and love the president -- let me finish. i'm almost done. we'd walk across hot coals for
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this guy. i said, anita, that doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the quote. she said, that's right. i said, i'll lead into the quote with this feeling that the women -- they were not displeased with the president. they love the man. then we'll have, looking back, the rest of the quote. that will be in the book. that's what is in the book. anita agreed with that. >> finally, finally, finally, we don't have anymore time -- >> this is old news, by the way. >> listening for a moment about this president. here's a president who acknowledges with gratitude his grandmother nurtured him. here's a president who appoints countless women to senior positions -- >> yeah. accomplished women. >> here's what he says in his book "the audacity "the opportunity for women to pursue careers achieve economic independence and realize their talents on an equal footing with the men has been on the great achievements of modern life. >> the president did allow it
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until he recrecognized, wow, th is a problem. they confronted him at a dinner months. he was attentive to them, said, i feel what you're feeling, i feel your pain. ultimately i think that helped. all the women felt a kind of relief to have brought their appeal to the president. that was helpful. all in the book. the point is the president largely did engage here and did solve this problem largely when he recognized it. that's what the book says. this book is about the evolution of this man. to a president now, as he says in the finaler er binterview, y realized in ways he's not been before for the moment america is in now. >> ron suskind. author of "confidence man." thank you for joining me. >> my pleasure. coming up, the first reaction from president obama about the book. jonathan alter has the breaking news exclusive and he's our guest. we're awaiting word from the u.s. supreme court on whether there will be a stay of execution for troy davis. stay with us. [ artis brown ] america is facing some tough challenges right now.
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the troy davis' attorneys say seven of nine key witnesses against him have disputed all or parts of their testimony, state and federal judges have repeatedly ruled against granting him a new trial. the latest on his execution is ahead. and next, msnbc analyst jonathan alter is here with the reaction to ron suskind's new book about the treatment of women inside the white house.
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stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if cialis for daily use is right for you. for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to we just heard pulitzer prize winning journalist ron suskind defend his new book "confidence men" that alleges president
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obama presided over an administration that unfairly treated women in the white house and failed to provide proper leadership during the financial crisis. my next guest is also a veteran journalist who's written a book on the early days of the obama white house. joining me now, msnbc political analyst jonathan alter, columnist for "bloomberg view" and author of "the promise: president obama year one." >> hi, martin. >> good afternoon. or good evening even. before i get to wyour thoughts n ron suskind's book, you have managed to get some kind of response from the white house in relation to this book? >> all that i've heard is that the word got passed down to the staff, don't turn on each other over this book. we don't want to -- we don't have time to waste, you know, pointing fingers at who was the source of this or that. i mean, a lot of the sources are long gone from the white house, but the president didn't want time wasted on incriminations over this book. >> many of those sources are still there. you just watched that interview
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with mr. suskind. what's your reaction? >> well, you know, i don't agree with ron that any time you pull back the curtain everybody says this is untrue. i mean, i pulled back the curtain on my book. number a people didn't like it. larry summers hated the book and wouldn't talk to me for a year and a half. christina romer did not like the book at all and there were others. but there wasn't one person who came forward to say either publicly or privately to me that i'd gotten things wrong. >> or indeed nobody suggested it was fiction or a distortion. >> right. that's true of other authors as well. i'm not the only one. so this notion that it somehow proves that it's a good book if people are saying parts of it are not true i don't think holds water. >> he implied in the interview he had literally spoken to everyone in the administration economics team. is that true? >> no, actually it's not. in the last few days i have heard from, you know, several people i talked to on the economic team, one of them i think i can mention, austan
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goolsbee, cooperated a lot with me, you know, became chairman of the council of economic advisers. >> somewhat significant position. >> he didn't talk to ron. we have all our takes on this. the problem is, to me, is not these kind of methodological questions. it's silly for me to get into some sort of -- >> with another author. i get that. >> people can make their own judgments when they read the books, but it's a question of the larger take and whether the evidence is there for that. so is the evidence there that this was not just a boys club, which i reported in reported in my book and they had this dinner and i outlined who was at the dinner. >> i read that story and i assumed ron suskind had taken it from your book. >> rereport. there's a distinction between being a boys club and hostile
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work environment. and basically the white house is like a newsroom, a lot of companies, it's tough up there. the point is larry summers and rahm emanuel treated men and women in very harsh ways. but there was not a distinction between them where somehow these guys were horrible misogynists and engaged in creating hostile work environment. now, the response to that might be, well, she said it, anita dunn said it. you know? just because one person in a kind of a got you situation may have said something doesn't make it true. and the role of the author is to sort through all the many different things that sources say. on the record and off. to try to paint a true picture. something can be an accurate quote but not an accurate reflection. we all know that when it's reported in the wider world, people just get the short end. most people aren't reading these books, right? all they get is barack obama,
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sexist white house. that's not fair and it's not true. so we have to take some responsibility of the impressions, the larger impressions that we convey from our reporting. i think that's also true of him as a sessidecision maker. the idea they were home alone because the president was so much worse than clinton, that's not what i found in my reporting. i found, i talked to a number of people who interviewed both clinton, worked for both clinton and obama. they preferred clinton on some things but preferred obama as a decisive leader in a time of crisis. picked him as somehow not decisive in a time of crisis is not accurate. >> columnist for "the bloomberg view." jonathan alter, thanks for joining us. >> thanks, martin. ahead on msnbc rachel maddow will have the latest on the troy davis execution. davis convinced hundreds o thousands of people he did not kill an off duty police officer but not a justice system. his execution had been set to begin at 7:00 p.m. eastern.
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and still to come on "the last word," the author who moved into a house next door to sarah palin to write his book, "rogue" will join us. you can spot an amateur from a mile away... while going shoeless and metal-free in seconds. and from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle...and go. you can even take a full-size or above, and still pay the mid-size price. now this...will work. [ male announcer ] just like you, business pro. just like you. go national. go like a pro.
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yeah, my mom is pretty weird. ♪ the latest on the troy davis execution coming up on msnbc. next, sarah palin taunted republicans again last night with threats that she may run for president. the man who moved into a house next door to write a book about her joins us next.
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a new poll out today shows
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nonpresidential candidate sarah palin now trailing the actual president by only five points in a head to head matchup. and tied for third among republican candidates, if both she and rudy giuliani were to jump into the race. still, most republicans apparently are not ready to go rogue. when asked if they'd like sarah palin to run for president, a whopping 72% said absolutely not. only 24% said yes. so what does palin have to say about whether she'll run for president? queue an appearance on her favorite television network. >> i would say by november you have to make your decision, though, right? >> you do. legally you do because you have to start getting your ducks lined up to have your name on these ballots. whether we are candidates or whether we are supporters of the right candidacies, we're going to be out there working so hard in these next 14 months but a lot is going to happen in these next 14 months. mark my word, it is going to be
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an unconventional type of election process. >> wow. that was sarah palin giving her first interview since publication of a controversial new book, "the rogue: searching for the real sarah palin." of course, since the author of that book doesn't work for fox news, not a single question was asked about it. there's plenty to get your teeth into including allegations she once snorted cocaine and had a one night stand with a former basketball player. joining us now is the author of the book in question, joe mcginnis. good evening, joe. >> good evening. >> congratulations. you have single handedly managed to persuade numbers of americans no longer to loathe sarah palin but like here. "the new york times" says though most of "the rogue" is dated, petty and easily available to anyone with internet access, mr. mcginnis used his time in alaska to track unsubstantiated gossip about the palins often from unnamed sources like, quote, one
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resident and a friend, and these stories need not be consistent. is that fair? >> no, it's not fair. janet didn't like the book. that's obvious. when you said "the new york times," i wish you would have read a book editor wrote on the front page of the sunday review section because he felt very differently about it. you try to pick out the worst paragraph by the worst review of anybody who's read the book and lead off the interview like that. i don't think that's fair. >> in the book you said while sarah palin was a sports reporting in alaska she had a one-night stand with a then nba star to be glen rice, but she wasn't married at the time. so why did you include that? >> let me tell you why. that's a good question. now, that's a fair question, okay? the story that i first heard was that sarah had had a sexual encounter with a black athlete from the university of alaska. and that she had been so
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traumatized by this experience that people of color made her uncomfortable forever after. and it is a fact, and i write this in "the rogue" that when she became governor one of her first acts, when she saw there were people of color working in the state office building, she told her chief of staff to fire them because seeing so many black faces around made her uncomfortable. >> would you have included that story -- >> let me finish. >> would you have included that story if it was a white basketball player? >> the point is about racism. the point is about racism. the key is, and this is the key point which i'll get to very quickly, it is that the story turned out to be wrong. she didn't have a bad reaction. i've spent months and finally found the individual in question who was glen rice. when i talked to glen rice he said, no, it was nothing like that at all. and if you read the book, you'll see he has an good things to say about sarah palin. so i put that in there to counter the allegation that others were making that this was the cause of her ongoing racism.
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i do believe she's a racist. she married a racist bully in todd palin. when todd was in 12th grade at wasilla high school, he and two buddies took a seventh grade black boy out to a rock quarry behind the high school and beat him up because he was black. that's the man she chose for her husband. >> you said on the "today" show that at best sarah palin is a hypocrite, at worst a vindictive hypocrite. why? >> why? her -- her hypocrisy in pretending that she's a practicing christian, family values, mother of a large, close family is belied by the facts of the past 20 years when her children were growing up. i have example after example after example of she and her husband, todd, have never been close, always on the verge of divorce, that she was never a caregiver to her children and her christianity, while i do believe she wants america to be
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a christian republic, is not something she practices in a way that the right wing thinks she does. >> joe mcginnis, author of "the rogue." thanks so much for joining us this evening. ♪ come at just the right speed, that's logistics. ♪ ♪ medicine that can't wait legal briefs there by eight, ♪ ♪ that's logistics. ♪ ♪ freight for you, box for me box that keeps you healthy, ♪ ♪ that's logistics. ♪ ♪ saving time, cutting stress, when you use ups ♪ ♪ that's logistics. ♪ aflac... and major medical? major medical, boyyyy! [ beatboxing ] ♪ i help pay the doctor ♪ ain't that enough for you? ♪ there are things major medical doesn't do. aflac! pays cash so we don't have to fret. [ together ] ♪ something families should get ♪ ♪ like a safety net ♪ even helps pay deductibles, so cover your back, get... ♪ a-a-a-a-a-a-a-aflac!
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lawrence o'donnell is back tomorrow night. you can see my show every weekday at 3:00 p.m. right here on msnbc. "the rachel maddow show" is up next with the latest out of georgia on the troy davis case. here's the most arodite woman on american television. good evening, rachel. >> i eagerly await the arrival of that woman. martin, thank you very much for that. that was very kind. thank you at home for staying with us. we begin with the breaking news martin mentioned out of jackson, georgia. troy davis was scheduled for the fourth time it be executed at 7:00 p.m. eastern tonight. but at this ho