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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  April 4, 2013 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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trade center and the pentagon, yes, the pentagon. by the time you get past the half of the country that believe climate clang is an outright hoax, how do you do the rational thing about something like gun safety? that's our problem, that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. ♪ today was a huge news day in the ongoing political fight against gun violence in this country. the white house threw its most precious and powerful resource, the time and attention of the president of the united states, behind the issue today. the president traveled to denver, colorado, where he was introduced by the local police chief and planked by law enforcement officers to draw washington's attention, again, to gun safety. >> we need parents, we need teachers, we need police officers, we need pastors, we
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need hunters and sportsmen, americans of every background, to say, we've suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue. we're not going to just wait for the next newtown or the next aurora before we act. and i -- i genuinely believe that's what the overwhelming majority of americans, i don't care what party they belong to, that's what they want. they just want to see some progress. part of the reason it's so hard to get this done is because both sides of the debate sometimes don't listen to each other. the people who take absolute positions on these issues on both sides sometimes aren't willing to concede even an inch of ground. >> the president's choice of
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location was, of course, intentional. meant to send a message. recognizing how difficult it is to get anything done on the issue, the president flew to the state that against the odds just did. colorado, of course, just passed major new gun safety legislation. late last month, the state's democratic governor, john hickenlooper, required new laws requiring background checks for gun sales and banning sales of ammunition clips that hold more than 15 rounds. in a signing ceremony attended by family members of victims from the mass shootings in aurora and columbine, as well as newtown, connecticut. on monday, the president travels to connecticut to continue this same campaign, and connecticut is a symbolic stop on this particular road trip, not just as the other state with a very recent nationally famous mass shooting. it is also part of the very exclusive club of states that are managing to take real, meaningful action on gun safety. a bipartisan task force agreed
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yesterday on the details of a major overhaul of the state's gun laws and brought the legislation to the floor to the voted on tonight. the measure would require background checks for private gun sales, it would expand the existing assault weapons ban to include 100 new types of military-style rifles as banned assault weapons, it would raise the age required to 18 to 21 and ban ammunition clips with more than ten bullets. if you already own the banned clips, you get to keep them but will have to register with the state police. judging from the local news interviews, there will be some people who already own them. that legislation just passed the state's senate tonight by a vote of 26-10. it is expected to pass through the house, as well, and become law in connecticut. of course, what the president is trying to do by making these appearances in colorado today and in connecticut next week is push congress to move on this issue at the federal level, and right now, congress could use some pushing. last month, harry reid dumped the assault weapons ban from the main gun safety bill the senate is set to take up, which leaves
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background checks as the last remaining meaty, substantiative measure that's on the table. if background checks end up getting gutted or cut out, then you're left with a bill that's basically symbolic. but now, amazingly, even background checks, ones considered so uncontroversial the nra supported them are being described as a stumbling block. the senate gun bill was originally set to take up next week, but now it's being delayed as republicans start throwing around predictable threats after filibuster. everyone knows at this point that the american public supports background checks by ridiculously laughably, comically huge margins, so the political project for the president and advocates of gun safety is not persuading republicans not to filibuster and it's not about persuading the american people to support gun control, they already do. it is not a persuasion enterprise, it's a matter of mobilization and a matter of endurance.
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it is a matter of sustaining the attention of lawmakers and their constituents and activists for long enough to get it done. what we're looking at right now is three different political systems, three different policies, three different groups of citizens and institutions all trying to act on guns, colorado, connecticut, and the united states congress. colorado has succeeded. connecticut appears poised to succeed. but congress, congress is not succeeding, and there's a lot to learn in why colorado and connecticut are succeeding. the most obvious reason why they succeeded was the immediacy of the horror, connecticut just lived through a mass shooting at an elementary school and colorado at a movie theater. support for universal background checks is 93% in connecticut, even in the more gun-friendly colorado support is 80%. also, both connecticut and colorado kept attention on the issue and moved quickly. at the federal level, what proponents are pushing is also broadly popular and they are
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also trying to move quickly, but in the u.s. senate, that's like trying to swim through concrete, which means the biggest outstanding question today, right now, is whether democrats will be able to maintain attention on the issue for long enough to get it done. attention is a precious resource in politics. it is, in fact, the most precious resource in a political system. it's literally the only thing the president really, truly, and fully controls. you only get to choose a very small set of things to put on the agenda when you're the president and president obama has chosen this. he has chosen guns, and he continues to choose it and choose it and choose it. and the question is, will that choice pay off? joining me at the table, hakeem jeffries, alicia reece, and mayor pedro segarra. also we have david remote of he is in connecticut this evening to tell us about john hickenlooper's somewhat amazing conversion on the issue of guns. david, i want to start with you. i think there's a sense in which the signing of the law in colorado was not at all a done deal. if you were betting on it, you would not have guessed about it.
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how did it come into play? >> look, the governor of colorado, first, had said at the beginning after the aurora shooting that he wasn't necessarily supportive of even having a discussion about gun control. and then over the course of eight months, his position kind of evolved, and his position kind of evolved because, i think, there was public outcry. there was constant reports about the consequences of gun violence in colorado on the front page of the newspaper, on the radio, on local television every day. and essentially, he read the fact that the population wanted something to get done. but that didn't necessarily guarantee it, as you elude to, in the legislature. the republicans in the legislature right now, as just an example of how extreme they are on gun issues, they are proposing a piece of legislation right now that would force law that bans gun ownership by people convicted of domestic violence crimes. so, that gives you an example,
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but the democratic party, using its narrow majorities in the legislature, managed to push through exactly the kind of gun regulations that the president is pushing, and essentially what i think happened is they bet that though the nra is loud, and though the republican extremists are loud, that they do not have the support of most people here in colorado, they made the bet, they passed the legislation, and i think that politically they are going to benefit from it. the one thing i would add, though, and you heard president obama say that colorado is a model, and i think legislatively it is a model, but the problem is politically in colorado and in other states, there's no filibuster, so the president has to deal with an obstacle that state legislators don't have to deal with. >> which is that he can actually take majority support and transform majority support into a piece of legislation. >> that's exactly right. so, the governor of colorado can go out and talk about gun control and the legislators can talk about gun control, and they
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can pass something and they can pass it and the republicans can put up a fight, but they can't stop the institution from acting. the president doesn't have that luxury, so the reason he's going to colorado is exactly, as you put it in the beginning of this, is to try to whip up public support to really embarrass and humiliate the republicans in washington who are wielding that filibuster power, to embarrass them. that's the only thing the president can do with a filibuster, where 11% of the population has enough senate representation to stop what 89% of americans want. >> mayor, tell me how this is played out in connecticut. obviously, everybody in the country was devastated by newtown, but it also wasn't necessarily a done deal on the day after newtown that this package, which we think is being voted on in the house right now, that this would get passed. >> it wasn't a done deal afterwards. one would have expected that after the tragedy in newtown action would come and extremely
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quick. it took a while, but in connecticut we have bipartisan support. we went through the process of clearly having the people of connecticut demand action, the people of connecticut were very clear. >> what does that mean when you say demand action in concrete terms? >> the people of connecticut were devastated. this hit really close to home for a lot of people. it was a tragedy of horrific proportions, you had mothers and fathers that were concerned about their children. you had teachers concerned about school safety, you had people in the community concerns, so you had concerns from all corners, and people were very closely paying attention to what the elected leaders would do. we, the mayors, are certainly mindful, most of the homicides in connecticut happen in our cities, so i'm glad, i'm very thrilled, very thankful that we've been able to move beyond that, that the senate has already approved that. hopefully tonight the house will vote and tomorrow, if all goes well, which i assume it will, we'll have a bill signing with the governor at 12:00. >> i saw amazing footage today of parents of the victims in aurora, who don't live in colorado, but flew up for the
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bill signing last week. the testimony of victims and family members of victims have had a real powerful effect, and i'm curious how that's played in connecticut, particularly you, yourself, have experienced firsthand gun violence, how that's motivated your approach. >> well, connecticut is a small state, so even myself, of the 20 children that lost their lives, 20 angels that lost their lives, i had met one of them months before, the daughter of a jazz musician and someone who has close connections to the city, marquez-greene family, so i think the community really rallied, really rallied, and i think for the urban centers, we also have a lot of people in our cities that have died of gun
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violence. like you said, my father was a victim of gun violence, father that i never got to know, and who i've always missed. so, this was very close to us. i think the public made their case. we had a marathon in hartford, a run for sandy hook. 60,000 people in our streets in an event put together in several weeks' time. i think the public was demanding action, and i think we knew we had to action, i'm glad that we finally acted. >> is the nra in ohio representative at the state level, oftentimes i think conservative interest groups particularly have disproportionate force at the state level, partly that's a staffing issue, partly funding, partly the political makeup of the state. in your experience as a state legislator, how big does the nra play in the state house in ohio? >> well, they play a big role. i mean, i'm from ohio, and i think that's why it's so important for this issue to, you know, go even national. i mean, it's great that the states are acting, but you can go from state to state, for example, in ohio we've got loopholes, major loopholes. we have more gun shows coming to ohio because of the loopholes regarding background checks. from our democratic caucus has put forward legislation before
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the issue had taken this big national stage, and we haven't been able to get anywhere. we have got a legislature that during the time when all this was going on, they passed legislation to allow guns to be in the trunks of your car in the statehouse, so it clearly shows there's a disconnect, but then when you get into the communities, like in my district and around the state of ohio, you see the pastors marching, you're at the funerals. these are people from our community who have been gunned down. these are our babies, and i think that what newtown shows is newtown can be your town. and so i think -- >> do you think that -- is that, newtown can be your town, does that loom heavy in the minds of your constituents, of folks in ohio? i think what we're seeing, right, is the immediacy of aurora and the immediacy of newtown have spurred action in these two states, and the question is, is it the case the further you get away from the
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immediacy of that horror that it doesn't have that same political affect? >> i think you're right. we've got to act now, but i'll tell you, the longer we don't act, every day a child is getting, you know, gunned down. there's a murder, there's a mom losing a daughter or a son, there's a father losing a daughter or a son. so, every day we don't act, this is going on. in cincinnati, we have a double issue. we have illegal guns that are on the streets and finding out who are bringing these into the community, and there needs to be some stiff penalties. so i think this is the time, but i agree with the president that it needs to be on a federal level, while we're still working at the state level, so you can't change from state-to-state, right now you come to ohio and there's loopholes regarding background checks. >> congressman, the federal level, of course, being you. i want to talk about what your colleagues in the senate are doing and what democrats in the house are doing and how you plan to sustain at a legislative level the attention, right after we take this quick break.
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sir, congressman jeffries, as you watch the senate take this on, or not take it on, as you hear the news it's going to be another week, probably, that it's going to be pushed back for
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consideration of a bill, what is your reaction to that, and how do you think the momentum and the attention can be sustained long enough for the sheer democratic majority preference to manage to work its way into law? >> well, the progress in the senate to date is important. the fact that you had the universal background check provision voted successfully out of committee, the federal anti-trafficking gun statute proposal voted out of committee, even the assault weapons ban voted out of committee, even though that may be tabled. so, that's a significant step in the right direction. now when congress returns, we have to sustain the intensity and understand that the tactics that will be used by the nra will be twofold, one, distortion of the facts and delay. you've got the real world and you've got wayne's world. in wayne's world, wayne lapierre articulates the view, even though the nra was once for
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universal background checks, now they are against it, that they are ineffective, but the facts tell a very different story. since 1994, i believe, when background checks were first implemented on a wide scale, more than -- or approximately 2 million people have been denied guns because of felony convictions, domestic violence problems, in order of protection, 2 million people. now, that still means, though, however, given the loopholes, 40% of gun sales in the united states of america go without background checks. and so this can have a significant impact moving forward. >> and we look at some research today, the literature, there's not a ton of literature, but there is published peer review literature trying to ascertain the connection between background check legislation and reductions in violence and there is a correlation between background checks and reductions. some of it finds a small reduction, some fairly significant. here's wayne lapierre making the new case, not that background checks are evil, but they are
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simply futile and meaningless. take a look. >> my problem with background checks is, you're never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks. >> mr. lapierre, that's the point. the criminals won't go to purchase the guns, because there will be a background check. we'll stop them from the original purchase. you miss that point completely. i think it's basic. >> senator, i think you missed it. >> let there be order! >> david, the background checks were part of the colorado legislation. was it the same argument, more or less, in colorado, an argument of futility? >> absolutely. that's the argument. the perfect is the enemy of the good. well, background checks won't catch everybody, so that means we shouldn't have more background checks, a universal system. it's a ridiculous argument, and the way to understand how ridiculous it is is to think about the argument with other crimes. well, if murderers won't follow laws outlawing murder, we shouldn't have laws outlawing murder.
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nobody says that. it's a ridiculous argument, it makes no sense, and that's why the polls show 90% of the public supports universal background checks, because they understand even if it won't solve everything, it's a step that needs to be taken. >> i thought governor hickenlooper had a really fascinating take on this, where he basically said, look, i was convinced of the utility of background checks by looking at the actual research, obviously, it makes sense to me at a common sense level, but when you look at the research, there's research to support it really does work:here's hickenlooper saying that. >> people kept telling me, well, criminals aren't stupid, they are not going to look for background checks. well, we went back and looked at the statistics, 38 people were trying to buy a gun who were either convicted or accused of homicides, 600 burglars, 1500 felonious assaults, restraining orders from a judge and tried to buy a gun and we stopped them. 236 showed up to pick up their
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gun and we arrested them because they had a warrant for a violent felony out for them. i mean, this thing works. >> you're a mayor of a city, you deal with gun violence. is this persuasive to you, i imagine it is. >> universal checks are absolutely necessary, and i think that the american public is behind it. so, to me, it's illogical that the people we have as representatives would create this argument. >> but they are behind it, this gets to the way congress works. they are behind it if you call them up on their cell phones on a polling agency and say do you support universal background checks for criminals, people say, yeah, obviously, click. then they go about their day. the question is, are they behind it enough, you and i were talking during the break, rallies in different cities in connecticut to get this legislation passed and big press events and calling and lobbying, right? the question is, is that happening on capitol hill right now to transform a 90% majority approval for something into actual legislative action. >> i think the key is going to
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get the senate to pass the bill, and if the senate passes the bill, the spotlight is then shined on the house of representatives, and john boehner and the house gop will have to confront reality, and at that point, the will of the american people will need to be expressed in the most vociferous way. by rallies and things of that nation. >> david, ask a question quick. >> my question to you, congressman jeffries, is how much do you think gerrymandering plays into this? if the republicans have gerrymandered their district so much they have to fear mostly a primary challenge from a pro-gun, pro-nra challenger, does public opinion really matter if the main thing on their mind is i don't want an nra challenger in the primary? >> that certainly will be the case with some of the more extreme members, those concerned about facing extreme right wing primaries, but the one thing we have witnessed over the last several months is that the
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speaker has been willing to bring bills to the floor of the house of representatives when pushed, and being handed a product, finished product, from the senate democratic majority. it happened on -- >> fiscal cliff and the sandy supplemental. >> and on the violence against women's act where there was reluctance. it's the trifecta that's occurred already. i believe that if the bill lands on the floor of the house of representatives and there's enough pressure that's brought to bear, to your point, it will not pass with a majority of republicans supporting it. >> but it will pass on the majority. congressman hakeem jeffries in new york, alicia reese, hartford, connecticut, mayor pedro segarra. thank you so much. thanks, david. >> thank you. is the new secretary defense nightmare or a radical reformer who will tame the defense department? he gave us a big hint today. that's coming up.
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an update to the story about arkansas oil pipeline which spilled thousands of gallons of crude. congressman tim griffin, who represents the affected area, and who supports the keystone pipeline said in a radio interview today, well, first of all, pipelines, despite this accident, just like we have car accidents, despite this accident, pipelines are the safest way to move oil, they are safer than moving it in trucks and on a train. i think some people are trying to say, well, if there's a car crash, no more cars. if there's an accident with a pipeline, no more pipeline.
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if we follow that logic, we are all going to be riding bicycles. our invitation to congressman griffin to be a guest on our show stands. we can talk about bicycles. now as we say in this business for something completely different, this is a duck penis, and that is a fascinating thing. the phalluses are corkscrew shaped spirals, but the female counterparts have clockwise spiraling vaginas. in fact, quote, the males and females are engaged in a genital arms race. i learned about this from a scientist named patricia brennan defending her work from infantile attacks. turns out duck genitalia is part of an elaborate system. on a broader level, it's an incredible artifact of evolution, how it works. fox news predictably questioned whether it was an appropriate use of taxpayer money, along with a poll in which,
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shockingly, 89% of respondents said no. there's two types of scientific research, basic and applied. she correctly notes that basic research is the natural predecessor to applied research and notes that investment in the national science foundation is just over $20 per year per person, while it takes upward of $2,000 per year per person to fund the military. it's the latest example of a tried and true tradition of attacks on government-funded research. writers and republican politicians and conservative economists think the u.s. should invest more in basic research, the conservative noise machine is obsessed and seems to genuinely relish research projects they can hold up for ignorant mockery. here's a response to president obama's 2009 address before congress.
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>> and $140 million for something called volcano monitoring. instead of monitoring volcanos, what congress should be monitoring is the eruption of spending in washington, d.c. >> that guy. of course, about a month and a half later, there was a massive volcano eruption in alaska, but the persistent attacks have a real and destructive effect. this is what's happening to basic research funding. it's getting cut. the national science foundation national institutes of health are all suffering cuts from the sequester. republicans, led by senator tom coburn, even managed to smuggle an outrageous piece of language that instructs the director of the national science foundation that political sign research can only be funded if it is certified to promote national security or the economic interests of the united states. in other words, a rank bit of micromanaging by a few committed demagogues in the united states senate of the research agenda of academics.
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one of the things i admire and have truly learned from the conservative intellectual tradition is a kind of emphasis of humility on bureaucracy, government, central planning, and some of the best and wisest conservative writing emphasizes how little we know, how hard it is for institutions to predict the future. and it is, in a way, out of that spirit that we fund and embark upon basic research, because we do not know what we do not know. here's a classic example from an article in "the new yorker" about the worth of basic research. it's a british lepidopterist and his study of butterflies. all he did was tracking where those butterflies were. and you might think to yourself, that's fun, i guess, but who cares? why does this matter? and as he did his work, he began to find the butterflies' habitat was creeping ever northward and there's a map that's a perfect visual representation of how
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climate change is altering the planet. and he didn't know when he started tracking butterflies that he was going to create this incredible use of knowledge. he went at it because he loved knowledge and he was curious about the world and loved butterflies, and that's the beauty and genius of research. you do not know what benefits it will provide. and so we do not know right now just what breathtaking vistas of knowledge we are losing with each cut. we'll be right back with click three.
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chuck hagel was nominated because he looked like a man who could change the pentagon. he was attacked relentlessly and ridiculously because of that same apparent independence of mind. today we got to see if he escaped from the senate hazing with his will intact. that's coming up. first, i want to share the three awesomest things on the internet today. first, a series of incredible never before seen videotapes released by the shelby county registrar's office in tennessee. the tapes document the man who
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murdered dr. martin luther king jr., james earl ray. lots of fascinating stuff to sort through here. ray can be seen having his rights being led to him back to memphis, also his arrival at the shelby county jail, where he was searched, examined by a doctor, and placed into a cell. footage has been released to mark the anniversary of king's death, which is tomorrow. find the videos and read more on the shelby county registrar's website. this fascinating, maddening, and hilarious article is the second awesomest thing on the internet today. i just had the good fortune to stumble upon it today. it is a fantastic takedown by a little noticed move by the pentagon to spend a billion on 14 new ground-based missile defense systems in response to north korea's increasing provocations, and it makes a convincing case even if we assume the worst about north korea, that defense system won't even protect us. this is an in-depth look at the
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fine print of military spending that goes on without anyone noticing. while everyone focuses on cuts to social programs in the sequester, there's a billion bucks getting dropped without a second look. it's a great read. check it out at and the third awesomest thing on the internet today, bob costas quoting ludacris rapping about bob costas. >> kids, this is just the lyric, and i'm quoting it. i'd be rolling torpedos, get blunted with rastas and for a hefty fee i'm on your record like bob costas. >> if i can manage a long enough career in tv, i am personally hoping for kendrick lamar lyric about me some day. find all the links on our website, we'll be right back. my mantra?
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trust your instincts to make the call. to treat my low testosterone, my doctor and i went with axiron, the only underarm low t treatment. axiron can restore t levels to normal in about 2 weeks in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18 or men with prostate or breast cancer. women, especially those who are or who may become pregnant and children should avoid contact where axiron is applied as unexpected signs of puberty in children or changes in body hair or increased acne in women may occur. report these symptoms to your doctor. tell your doctor about all medical conditions and medications. serious side effects could include increased risk
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a huge day for the u.s. defense establishment, the entity that 25% of every income tax dollar goes to. today, secretary of defense chuck hagel gave his first major speech since he assumed the post in february. his first opportunity after a very rocky confirmation process to lay out his grand vision for the pentagon, one that focused largely on promises of change. >> change that involves not just tweaking or chipping away at existing structures and
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practices, but where necessary, fashioning entirely new ones that are better suited to 21st century realities and challenges. deep political and institutional obstacles through necessary reforms will need to be engaged and overcome. >> former republican senator from nebraska was a leading critic of the iraq surge, spoke out forcibly about israel's bombing campaign against lebanon in 2006, and has worked, maybe more accurately had a penchant for speaking frankly about cuts to the pentagon. here's hagel in 2011. >> our defense department budget is not a jobs program, it's not an economical development program for my state or district. >> he's someone who could and would take on the taboos of the defense establish. likely made him attractive to the president and elicited a genuinely hysterical response to his nomination from those on the
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right who said he was indifferent on the nuclear program. during his testimony in front of the senate earlier this year, hagel did not inspire confidence. he struggled to explain previous and laudable positions under interrogation from hostile senators and outright disowned a couple of them. so, the big, crucial, defining question for the second term of barack obama and the multibillion fate of the largest defense apparatus is, is chuck hagel as secretary of defense the radical reformer those on the right feared and those on the left hoped for or has he been coopted he promised today to take on? joining me is matija kramer, a tax policy research group, spencer ackerman, senior reporter for the blog "the danger room," and mattie duppler. i feel like being the head of the pentagon is like being the pope. it's like when there's a new -- when there's a vacancy, well,
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this next one's really going to have to deal with reforming the institution. they need reform inside the curiam. there's a lot of rot in there. then you go in, and guess what, you get coopted by the institution. what is your feeling about where chuck hagel will fit into that trajectory? >> there's a joke among defense reporters -- >> my favorite genre of joke. >> naturally. outside of papacy jokes. a joke that in order to be defense secretary, you have to give this speech that hagel gave, that you come in, you're going to make sure acquisitions are going to get cleaned up, personnel policies are going to be aligned with what's actually in the national interest, costs are going to come under control. you also can't get out of the pentagon before you renege on all of that and the building has ground you down into a fine powder. in terms of everything hagel said today, there's a lot for reformers to get excited about. implementation is what this is all about.
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>> since you tee this up, i want to play this incredible bit of sound that one of our second producers found, which is a speech that has been lost to history, but was given by donald rumsfeld on september 10, 2001, vowing in much sharper terms, vowing to take on the pentagon establishment. take a listen. >> let's make no mistake, the modernization of the department of defense is a matter of some urgency. in fact, it could be said that it's a matter of life and death, ultimately, every american. a new idea ignored may be the next threat overlooked. a person employed in a redundant task is one that could be countering terrorism or nuclear proliferation. every dollar squandered on waste is one denied to the war fighter. that's why we're here today, challenging us all to wage an all-out campaign to shift pentagon's resources from bureaucracy to the battlefield, from tale to the tip.
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some might ask how in the world could the secretary of defense attack the pentagon in front of its people. to them i reply, i have no desire to attack the pentagon, i want to liberate it. we need to save it from itself. >> now, i'm now confused, because what i want to say is, well, hagel didn't sound rumsfeldian, but is that a good or bad thing? >> hard to tell, hard to tell. this year in so-called austerity climate, we're going to spend $630 billion on defense, and here's the thing, they can't even tell us where all that money's going, because the pentagon can't pass an audit. those are big numbers. hagel put out some big stuff today. there's a lot to be excited about. he said, we can't just tweak. now the question is, we've heard that before. are we now going to see tweaks or are we going to see the real change he just gestured at? >> the reason i wanted to have you hear, mattie, you've been on
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"up" before, but i think it's fair to say skeptical about the size of the defense budget. >> right. >> i was sort of amazed, i have to say, you guys won a victory, which was i thought republicans were going to blanch at the sequester, and the reason they were going to blanch at the sequester, in fact, the design of the sequester was put something in to make them blanch, the $85 billion in the first year, half are on the defense side, which it's a big budget, but that's a big chunk, that's going to take a bite. somehow republicans got themselves to being okay with this. the question is, will that create political space for chuck hagel to do something more than tweaking? >> right. this is what we talked about last time i was on, that sequester was supposed to be the nerf ball, one of those things republicans didn't blink, and i think it does make it a lot easier to do some of the things we hope for, the kind of reform that we talk about all the time,
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because now republicans can't be impediment to the left or the right that they were before. look, they've done it once before. what's to say the second time this is different? you can't so say, no, i would never touch defense spending if you've already done it. >> does that scan to you? >> there's a line in the speech that risks getting overlooked in which he actually gives republican defense hawks an out, in which he says, if you want us to not have these cuts be so drastic, so dramatic, not maybe put everything on the table, to go a little slower about this or not cut as deeper, give us some kind of certainty in terms of what our budgets are going to be going forward. translated from the politician, it means you have to raise taxes. >> that's interesting. >> i don't know where that goes. >> one of the things i think is interesting is we now have, you know, on my monitor today, the hagel speech was here and north korea news stacking up on the other screen. and, of course, there's a connection between the north korea news and how hard it is to
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cut the pentagon budget, right? because when the north korea stuff is in the news, all of a sudden we're sending a missile defense system to guam, right, because when security's on the line, the money gets spent. i want to talk about that and talk about the nexus between those two and what to make of what's going on in north korea and south korea right after this.
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north korea has been a problem for not just the region, for many years. we, as you know, are undergoing joint exercises with the south
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koreans now. we are doing everything we can. it only takes being wrong once. and i don't want to be the secretary of defense who was wrong once. >> let's welcome to the conversation sue terry, expert in korean policy. >> thank you. >> it's hard to make sense of why tensions seem to ratchet up when they do. people seem to know about the korean peninsula and about the korean regime, but then it seems every two years or march in the spring around the joint exercises. >> holiday, they love to ruin all holidays. >> what is accounting right now, why are tensions so high right now? >> i think for two reasons. first of all, i never thought i'd say this, but kim jong un jr. is making me nostalgic for his father. he was more of a known entity. right now, two reasons, because
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he's still trying to consolidate his internal support, and second reason is because obama administration is not playing ball like previous administrations. meaning that this patience thing, we're not responding to north korea's provocations, not going back to the negotiating table. >> explain that, explain that. the strategy from north korea has been they provoke and we negotiate. >> we concede. we start to, you know, from us. this has been a negotiating strategy. this is what north koreans love to do, and they've been doing this for decades now, except the obama administration this time said since he came in from the first six months when he came into office, look what north koreans did, they responded by this is how they greeted this administration by this launch nuclear tests, withdrawing from the six party talks, pursuing uranium enrichment program. the obama administration said we're not going to play ball, we're not going to talk to you guys for talking, you have to
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denuclearize. >> here's my question. so, i came upon this op-ed today, which is written in 2006 by ashton carter, who is a very high ranking pentagon official. in fact, probably the highest ranking pentagon official with real korea expertise, and i was kind of amazed by this and think it might account for the defiant posture of the obama administration towards north korea. this is ashton carter while he was out of the government advocating for a strike on north korea. if north korea persists, the united states should make clear intentions to strike and destroy the north korean taepodong missile before it can be launched, for example, by a cruise missile launched from a submarine carrying a high explosive warhead. the effect would be devastating. is carter a -- >> you saw who he co-wrote the op-ed with.
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they wrote a lot about trying to detain north korea. i remember that op-ed very well. the idea was before they get to a preliminary stage where they perhaps get something into space that could be a precursor, just blow it up on the launch pad. the amount that can go wrong when you do that is tremendous, and you're not gambling with american lives, you're gambling with south korean and japanese lives if something goes wrong there. >> here's what i'm hearing and learning in real time, which is fascinating, the way we think about what changed in the equation that's creating this movement is the changes on the north korean side, but what i'm hearing from both of you is there's changes on american side, changes in the american policy and the way america has dealt with north korea is part of what's bringing about this
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moment of tension. >> well, it makes me wonder, too, this discussion we had earlier about how this is just posturing, we've heard this before, maybe the rest of the world doesn't think so. maybe they are taking it seriously. are we just too jaded from what we've heard before? maybe this is a turning point for us. >> it seems the u.s. is mobilizing in ways it hasn't in other moments of heightened tension. >> let's put it in context, it's not like we are going to do any kind of preemptive strike, let's also put into context, north koreans are not going to attack us. this is a lot of posturing, i know it sounds scary, they look scary and sound a little bit crazy, but they are not crazy, they are not suicidal. >> that's what i wanted to hear as i ended my night here. i didn't want the surprise of tonight's segment would be actually we should be preparing -- >> they are not suicidal. their utmost priority is preservation. >> spencer ackerman, the other thing i wanted to end my night on was an amazing statistic you had on defense cost overruns. >> this is an example of what chuck hagel was talking about in his speech today, if you just tally up one year's worth of