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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  June 13, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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has introduced a border security amendment to the gang of eight senate bill with the aim of ensuring basically one thing -- the gang of eight senate bill will die in the senate. >> put simply, what it does is it builds on the framework of the gang of eight which says that by ten years there has to be 100% situational awareness of the border and a 90% apprehension rate for people who come across illegally. >> senator cornyn i think has got, in my view, the key amendment to put us in a position where we can actually look at the american people with a straight face and say we are going to security the border. >> to say cornyn's proposal is unfeasible is to give it credit. cornyn's bill is covered in the magical pixie dust of totalle decollusion. among other things, 100% situational awareness of a 2,000-mile long border is about as likely as ensuring that every tooth in america is brushed before bedtime. cornyn's amendment would also leave undocumented citizens
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waiting for decades until a path to citizenship is available and it would cost a whole lot of money. >> we cannot, should not, and will not tell those who have waited in the shadows for so long that they should wait for 25 years. >> the money has to come from somewhere. where is it coming from? if the senator takes money from one -- adds money one place, it has to come from someplace else. that's simple first grade mathematics and i think it is incredible that the senator should stand there and say, yeah, we're adding these thousands of personnel but yet there's no additional cost. that's not possible. >> but reality, and its attendant concerns has not kept marco rubio from entertaining the idea of 100% situational awareness of the 2,000-mile border. last week rubio supported cornyn's amendment. >> i'm telling you that i refuse to accept the idea that the most
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powerful country on earth, the nation that put a man on the moon, is incapable of securing its own border. >> it's like the moon landing, people! but speaking with a spanish language audience last week rubio seemed to imply that 100% situational awareness might come after the issue of the country's 11 million undocumented residents had been addressed. "the legalization is going to happen. that means the following will happen. first comes legalization. then come measures to secure the border. then comes the process of permanent residence." if john cornyn is trying to have it his way and marco rubio is trying to have it both ways, there are some conservatives who are just saying no way. this morning, red state's eric erickson weighed in. republicans in the senate should not playing games and vet goens the legislation, vote against the cornyn amendment and stop giving the democrats cover to play their own political games with the hopes, ambition and
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lives of immigrants. remember this -- we're still in the senate. joining me, michael steele, maggie haver, man, sam stein, and jon meacham, author of "thomas jefferson, the art of power." also joining us from capitol hill, democratic congressman from texas, joaquin castro. congressman, we ended that long speech of mine that i just did with the precursor, there is the house insanity that awaits america on the subject of immigration reform. and i look at what is happening in the senate, and to some degree there is this widespread acknowledgement that political kabuki theater is part of immigration reform's passage.
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i wonder how optimistic or pessimistic that makes you feel over there in the lower chamber? >> well, certainly the 82-15 vote to move forward on debating the bill was very promising. but you're right -- from day to day now we are getting conflicting signals about where the republican party will go. to be clear, the president and democrats want to accomplish comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 and we believe that the nation wants us to do that, also. i even think that there is enough republicans to get this done to join with democrats and get it done but certainly amendments like the cornyn amendment don't help. i think that's a poison pill. getting 100% operational control, even of our prisons, has not proven possible over the years and so i thing it is more his attempt to secure his re-election in texas in 2014 like many republicans, he's concerned about being primary from the right. i'm hoping that enough republicans will see past that and join with democrats in
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supporting comprehensive reform. >> but congressman, isn't this sort of like watching your parents eat dessert for dinner? if people like john cornyn and mitch mcconnell who have in other cases been dealmakers and sort of our elder statesman here, if they're doing this in the supper chamer with been doesn't that then give license to all the completely crazy people in the house of republicans to do the very same thing once there is a bill in the house? >> sure. there is no question as big of anned a v ed a veadventure ss a senate, getting to the house, there are extreme folks on immigration. so it will be tough. i do think the momentum that will occur if the senate passes this bill will be incredible and that will make sure that the speaker doesn't employ the hastert rule and we get a full vote on the house floor. >> sam, lots of questions hanging over immigration reform. it is almost like it is sort of like my powerball chances.
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one day i really think it is going to happen, the next day it is very clear that it won't. >> you think you're going to win the powerball? >> some days, yes. >> good for you. >> but really -- >> it does change. the perception of the possibility of this legislation change all the time. the vote that we talked about, the cloture vote, was promising. but keep in mind gun control got through the first cloture vote and failed after that. my guess is that at some point down the road lawmakers in the gang of eight will have to do something different on border security if they want this thing to get the type of support they want to get, which is something more than 60. is it in the senate or is it going to go to the house and they'll demand even more concessions? from just a tactical standpoint there are all those questions hanging out there about when do you give in a little bit more? >> but michael steele, i have to
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question the obsession with border security, a time when net migration from mexico to the u.s. is zero. there is 631 miles of fencing. there are countless -- >> it's not zero. >> no, it's zero. in the last year it was zero -- >> no one caurossed the border. >> net migration. there's a lot being done to secure the border. the president, much to the chagrin of many immigration reform activists, has deported a record number of immigrants from this country. so how much is enough? i mean 100% situational awareness i really do think is like asking every tooth to be brushed. >> i think 100% situational awareness is the dream. that's the ultimate -- >> a different kind of approach. >> right. but republicans, remember, we've been in this room before. we did this in 1986 where we second-guessed on border security. we played down the significance of border security. we made a lot of promises about
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border security. and nothing was ever effectively put in place. here we are now, 20 years later with same situation we had 20-plus years ago. i think that's really what the driver is for a lot of conservatives in the house especially, is to make sure that we do not lose sight of the fact that we know we're not going to deport 12 million people. we know we're going to have to deal with the human element of this, but we also must deal with the logistical, very mundane, very not sexy aspects of making sure we're not in this room again 0 years from now. >> congressman, i want to ask you. we talk about the rhetoric around this and we also talk about winning over the hispanic vote or making inroads as the republican party needs to. i feel like the republican party gets into a lot of trouble when they start talking about the border because it brings back this dichotomy of us versus them and the more sort of extreme measures that are proposed. the words are hurtful to a
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dialogue that the republicans are trying to soften, if you will. >> i think a lot of rhetoric is very incendiary. it makes a lot of hispanic-americans, many of whom are first or second or third generation americans, feel like they're not part of america, they're not accepted as part of the american family. and so i don't think they've done themselves any favors in that way. i also think that what you see is republicans trying to attack the president from the right in saying that he hasn't secured the border when we know that he has, but also trying to attack him from the left by saying that he he's deported more people than any president. so they're essentially trying to have it both ways. think all of that gets jumbled up and their message gets lost. >> paul ryan yesterday was talking about irish immigration in the 1850s and talking about the american idea of the melting pot, and then at the same time the house is passing a measure to block president obama@executive order to allow dreamers, the children of ill --
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illegal children immigrants who came here as children, to stay in the country. so on one hand they're trying to sort of come forward with this kinder, softer message, one that's accepting of those who are here, perhaps illegally, they're part of the american economy, part of our dna, then on the other hand legislatively he's doing something that totally undermines that. >> one thing we should remember about the irish, it was not the smoothest -- no irish need apply. one of the driving dramas of the kennedy family was to avenge that, to show the wasps that they could rule. and so the fear of the other has been a significant factor in american life since the 1790s when the alien extradition acts were passed for fear there were aliens in the midst of the country who were going to sell the country out to the french or to the british or whomever. this is a perennial problem. it flares up. it is like a virus. >> it is like a 17-year cicada. >> it is a long -- but the most
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important thing is that the country has always become stronger. this is just a clinical historical point. country has always become stronger the wider its opened its arms. >> i'm still concerned we're going to be sold out to the french, for what it's worth. >> well, you should be. you're probably the leading edge. >> the difference between the irish migration and -- i am not great student of history. my memory only goes back to the late '60s, basically. not because i was born there -- >> 18 or 17? >> 18. the reality is there is an electoral reality facing the party. the democrats pretty much have a win-win situation in terms of this. if immigration does not pass, they'll blame republicans. if it does pass, it is a win for president obama. i think the fire underneath republican feet is considerably hotter perhaps than it was 150 years ago. >> no doubt about that. i do think the caveat to this -- we talked about this recently --
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whether the notion that hispanic voters were largely what gets talked about in terms of where republicans need to mess animal better on immigration, that's not necessarily the lead issue that hispanic voters make their decisions on. they make their decisions on a lot of issues. i do think it becomes a lot harder for republicans to get their mess animal across. the perception is we are not listening to immigrants, we are anti-immigrant. this opens the door to being heard. they still have a huge problem in -- even if this passes. >> i have a question for the congressman. it goes back to the '80s when they were debating border enforcement then. technology has moved us very much further down the road here. my question is can you envision a future in which we apply -- whether it is drone technology, biometric fingerprinting, or a robust e-verify program, in which the concept of border security -- not the physical border -- but the security from illegal immigration is much less costly than it is conceived of as of right now? >> less costly?
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>> yeah. less costly. >> no, i think that's true. as technology develops and you achieve economies of scale, for example, and other benefits, sure, i think that future is possible. what's interesting about john cornyn's amendment is that it doesn't really deal much with technology or developing technology. his is kind of this old traditional style boots on the ground border enforcement and it really is a shame that it doesn't deal more with the future and with technology. >> representative joaquin castro, thank you, as always, my friend. we will be coming back to you as this craziness unfolds. after the break -- the republican party can't stop, won't stop talking about rape. we'll discuss next on "now." [ male announcer ] erica had a rough day.
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rights. a match made in the office of a democratic strategist. yesterday republicans on the house judiciary committee passed yet another anti-abortion bill. the committee voted 20-12 to move forward on a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, when some studies suggest a fetus can feel pain. studies, incidentally, that have been debunked by the journal of the american medical association and researchers at harvard university. of the 20 votes yesterday in favor of restricting abortions, not a single one was cast by a woman. in fact, included among those who voted to proceed with debate on the bill, gop all-stars darrel issa, steve king, raul
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labrador and bob goodlatte. if passed, the bill would be unconstitutional, upending roe v. wade by banning abortion before the threshold of 24 weeks. and it wouldn't be a republican committee on abortion if there wasn't at least one rape gaffe. enter the bill's sponsor, arizona republican trent franks who while arguing against exceptions for rape and incest could not resist saying something insensitive, speculative and totally subjective about rape. >> before when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape an incest a subject -- because the incidents of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low. >> what is "low" to trent franks, someone who will never get pregnant from rape nor ever have an idea what it is like to get pregnant from rape
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sickeningly high for the 32,000 people who get pregnant from rape every year. plenty of democrats had much to say about franks' widely foolish observations but republican massachusetts senate candidate gabriel gomez probably put it best when he told abc news, "i think is he a moron and he proves that stupid has no political affiliation. i have no idea what goes on in the moron like that. these kinds of comments only come from a moron." franks vying with todd achingen and richard mourdock tried to clarify -- i'm talking when the incidents when pregnancy from rape results in an abortion after the sixth month or beyond are very rare. joining us now from washington, former dnc communications director and host of msnbc's "disrupt," karen finney. she's also a board member of pro
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choice america. michael steele is sitting on the far end of this table and is so excited that i am introducing you first and giving you the first question as opposed to him. -- >> i bet he is! i bet he's even more happy that i'm not sitting there right next to him! >> yes, that's also true. that's also true. but let's talk about this, karen. i don't know -- >> you can't make this stuff up! >> you can'tly can't. what were your reactions to trent franks' comments. >> he's also someone who wanted to amend the civil rights act to include that you can't have an abortion based on race. so i mean the guy is whacked out anyway. i hate to say it but i guess i agree with gomez, what a moron. i think more seriously than this, we've seen this kind of legislation cropping up in the states. we've now seen it here on capitol hill. and there's two things.
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right? one is, these men have decided that women's reproductive freedom and help is talth is th they're going to keep stoke th ire of the base. i think a lot of us are really sick of that. i wish they'd go find some other subject. then secondly, on a very serious note, what's dangerous about this is that the legal strategy is to try to get a case to the supreme court to try to actually challenge roe versus wade very directly. that's when this becomes very serious. you are right, these fetal pain bills, the evidence suggests that that is completely inaccurate. that has not stopped people from like scott walker from introducing yet another vaginal probe requirement for women. >> on that note, michael steele -- >> yeah! there you go, michael. >> -- there is the debate in congress, which ebbs and flows, but then there's real stuff happening at the state level. scott walker is expected to sign that into law. that keeps this stuff alive for
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the party. and i guess it works for the base. if that's the strategy. but real large -- as the party tries to move into the 20th century on some of this stuff, what's the strategy? >> there is no strategy. that's part of the problem, number one. number two, i don't think that republicans should necessarily have this conversation at this time. simply because it's not where america is right now. it is not driving their activism. it's not driving their involvement in their communities. but just to put some of this in context so that we understand why we're seeing this pressed particularly at the state level and now at the federal level with various bills, for close to 30 years the pro-life community has sat and waited on the promise, from many republicans who have been elected, saying we're going to go and fight this cause, we're going to go in and
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return roe versus wade back to the states or overturn it all together. for 30-plus years they've been waiting. quite frankly, they got sick and tired of waiting. they said okay, you've lied, you've lied, you you've lied. and that part of the activist community has now figured out, okay, we will legislatively approach this at the state level. so when they are looking at candidates who are running for office, even if you're running -- like i did in 1998 for comptroller, the first question at my debate in maryland was are you pro-life or pro-choice. they want to know your standing simply because they are trying to find the ways to best leverage the change that was promised to them that has yet to come. >> okay. there is the argument of pro-choice versus pro-life. what we are talking about here maggie, the republican language around rape, around victimhood.
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there could be an argument to be had in this country over abortion rights but another thing that's happening in republican circles which is incredibly dee divisive and dismissive of women who have been raped and do not serve the party well. >> so i think two things. agree they are two separate issues. it's not identical to aiken. in aiken had that comment about sort of lady cards shut everything down. >> franks did not say the rate of pregnancy is low. he says the incidence is low. 30,000 pregnancies from rape. i'd say that's a lot. i suppose if you compare it to the total number of abortions, could you argue it is not so many. franks was not relying on pseudo scientific nuttery about the lady parts shutting down during
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pregnancy. >> that having been said, what he said is not where the bulk of the republican party wants to be. there is this general argument that the overall language is to distant from where the party should be. this was a big part of the autopsy that the rnc did after the election and things have not necessarily changed. . is not an argument -- i do think there is a different between these state-based legislative fights we are seeing and this kind of thing. they are related, but this is ultimately what people hear. they don't hear so much about what walker is doing. >> the fact that it was an all-male -- i still don't understand. the opposition to the exception for rape and incest. the fact that it was all male creates this aura of complete insensitivity that i think is really damaging for the party. i think that in its own right is as damaging as the stupid attempt at biology. >> karen. >> this is something we talked about last year. it's not just that it is
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insensitive. it is that it is completely ignorant about the way people are living our lives in america in 2013. i would put to you -- i think that's part of the problem. maybe part of the base has said, the anti-choice groups, they want what they want. but meanwhile, america has moved on. majority of americans are in a very different place. remember in the last election. in the key battleground states, a majority of women, top voting issue over the economy, was access to legal abortion care. so my point is, it is not just about the language. it is about that the language conveys a complete lack of respect for women as equal human beings and that is something i think women are saying we are just not going to stand for anymore. >> jon meacham. >> i think michael has a very good point. there are two central claims to the modern religious right movement. one was a school prayer amendment to the constitution after the 1962 decision. the other was an anti-abortion amendment after the 1973 roe
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decision. they elected ronald reagan on this. they elected george herbert walker bush on this. they elected george w. bush on this and no one made even remotely a serious attempt to make it happen. part of what you see here is a kind of bitter endism. you see these people who are so frustrated, their icons failed them, so there is this immense fru frustration which leads to an irrational level of debate. >> irrational, indeed it is. it is important to underscore the economics here. something we unfortunately don't have as much time to discuss. but women who are denied abortions are three times more likely to end up below the federal poverty line. you sort of talk about what this means. women's reproductive choices are directly tied to the health of the american economy. to say this is just a social issue i think glosses over the very dynamic and multi-faceted nature of it. >> i completely agree. these are the same people who
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want to cut the very programs that would help those same women who, if you don't have an abortion and you are more likely to then live in poverty or lower middle class, they also want to cut the programs that would help you be a better parent and raise your kid. what about life once you're born? >> i think that's a very central point that a lot of pro-life activists have tried to adopt in recent years, is finding that balance on that very, very point about, okay, we can be pro life but let's talk about once you have the child, talk about the life. let's talk about the community that child is going to grow up in and what can we do as a community to make sure that that life is sustained, not just at the moment of conception and birth but beyond that. >> one of the things that's admirable about catholic social policy. you may disagree with it, but by god, so to speak, they are anti-abortion, anti-death penalty, and they are -- poverty
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programs. there is an intellectual coherence in catholic thinking that does not exist in american politics. >> unfortunately, we have to leave it there. you've been been a highly disruptive presence! i mean it in only the best way. catch karen finney's new show "disrupt" etch and every weekend at 4:00 p.m. eastern on msnbc. karen, thanks as always for joining us. coming up -- a byproduct of economic downturn and urban decay. tens of thousands of abandoned and vacant homes. skeletons left behind in once vibrant cities. we will discuss baltimore's plan to bring back charm city just ahead.
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this afternoon to discuss comprehensive immigration reform. we will bring you more details as we get them. coming you up -- while cities around the country confront urban blight, baltimore is working on a strategy for u its vacant homes. that's next on "now." we've been bringing people together. today, we'd like people to come together on something that concerns all of us. obesity. and as the nation's leading beverage company, we can play an important role. that includes continually providing more options. giving people easy ways to help make informed choices. and offering portion controlled versions of our most popular drinks. it also means working with our industry to voluntarily change what's offered in schools. but beating obesity will take continued action by all of us, based on one simple common sense fact...
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our show will be live in the windy city tomorrow. one of cgi's commitments this year is to revitalize broken cities, including re-investing in a program that's failing neighborhoods in baltimore. 11 years ago the dawson family of east baltimore had had enough with the rampant crime and dug dreelg in their neighborhood. family members went to the police with you but in the end, they became the target.
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molotov cocktails thrown into the dawson house killed everyone at home. the event became known as the dawson tragedy and it changed the neighborhood. >> it may have made some people go farther and farther into their homes because you're afraid. you're afraid if you say something to the police or to someone about what's going on in the neighborhood, that something will happen to you. and that's what's probably caused the vacancies and things like that, because people were afraid. they saw what was going on but they say they don't want to get involved. >> reporter: rows of boarded-up abandoned houses, communities gutted. this wasn't just a phenomenon in one neighborhood. over the last 50 years, baltimore has seen an exodus of one-third of the city's population. it's left more than 16,000 vacant homes and buildings. but lately the blocks of north broadway and preston street are seeing new life. this week the clinton global initiative america holds its annual meeting and the
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organization has made a commitment to baltimore, bringing together $26 million in public funding for a program known as vacants to value. sawn is the president of trftp, a non-profit housing development group working with vacants to values. >> we've taken houses where trees are growing out of, entired floors have collapsed. what we've said is these are great houses regardless of their existing condition. >> reporter: through the city run program, entire neighborhoods are being transformed. >> when you live next to a vacant home for 30, 40 years, change isn't a bad thing. change is the hope for a better tomorrow. >> reporter: currently, nearly 1,200 homes that were once vacant are now either renovated or under construction. but not every home survives. with an eye towards renewal, baltimore mayor stephanie roll links-make has a goal of
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demolishing 4,000 homes in the next ten years. inevitably there are some who don't want to leave. >> we have a few areas where we have homeowners that are like that but we have to be patient and work with them. you can't expect someone to get up and move if they don't see what's coming. we have to show and prove that more's coming, that better is coming. >> reporter: a critical component of vacants to value is earning community support. >> you're always going to have someone -- you're never going to have 100% of anything. what the churches are helping us do is create sort of enough civic engagement and enough commitment to place that say, yeah, by an large we, collectively, the majority of us would like to do this. >> reporter: in a corner of baltimore where so much has been left behind, for the first time in a long time, people might be coming home again. >> life is like steps. you go up the next step. and then you deal with what's on that level.
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you know what i mean? but with, if you fall down, you get up and you start all over again and you'll see that if you stay steady, everything will be all right. >> michael steele, former lieutenant governor of maryland, i grew up in the shadow of baltimore in washington, d.c. and some of the problems that plague washington plague baltimore as well. i remember growing up and seeing abandoned row house after row house after row house. it is really emotional actually just -- not living there, just seeing block after block after block -- it's devastating. and i think there is no solution that makes everybody happy. right? but there is definitely something really empowering and powerful in seeing on one side of the street abandoned houses and on the other side, rehabilitated houses. >> and i give the mayor great credit for that, recognizing that against a lot of inside pressure, both from the right and the left, if you will, in city politics. my only caution -- i say this
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about my hometown where i grew up in washington, d.c. and i saw what happened, when it went through its change, which it is still going through, these old neighborhoods with these grabbed old homes and grandmas who sit on the front stoop have real value that oftentimes get push out. where do they go? how are they addressed and taken care of. i think the mayor's question is people are hesitant to really step into the future unless they have a sense of what they're stepping into. so if the v to v program is one that the mayor and the clinton initiative and others have really drilled down in their thinking to deal with the people who stay behind -- not the ones who abandon, but the folks who are still there, this can have a real powerful effect and impact on urban renewal across the country. >> jon, if you look at statistics on vacant homes, in detroit there are 30,000 vacant homes. flint, michigan, 5,800. grand rapids -- 2,700. chicago where we'll be tomorrow -- 62,000 properties in
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chicago were vacant at the end of last year and they are largely -- two-thirds of them are in low-income black neighborhoods. >> the great book 25 years ago, "the promised land." the only real solution was almost a marshall plan. it required head start, absolutely everything. you always want to do the bobby kennedy thing about you change one life and that's absolutely right. but, when you're talking about the list of cities you just did, you really realize that there's an enormous amount of nation building to be done here. >> absolutely. we have to take a break but when we come back, nothing says small government conservative like blasting the feds for refusing to supply disaster aid after telling that very same government hands off. such are the complexities of being governor rick perry. we'll discuss just ahead. [ mrs. hutchison ] friday night has always been all fun and games
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. governor rick perry slams the federal government for refusing to provide additional funding to help rebuild the town of west texas. this from the man who detests big government so very much that he couldn't even remember the third federal agency he would abolish. >> you can't name the third one? >> the third agency of government -- i would do away with education, the -- >> commerce. >> -- commerce. and let's see -- i can't. the third one, i can't. sorry. oops. >> it does not get old, jon meacham. that clip does not get old. we'll discuss rick perry's great conundrum next.
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yesterday fema, the agency
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responsible for providing and coordinating emergency response to disaster, refused to provide additional money to help rebuild the town of west texas. in april a fertilizer plant in west exploded killing 15 and injuring over 160. since the explosion, fema has pledged millions in aid and loans to individuals, and ada additional assistance to cover the cost of debris removal. what fema will not do is give the town of west millions to rebuild. they reveed the appeal to help but decided the explosion was not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration. fema decided instead the county and state could pay for the damage, a price tag of $57 million, according to the mayor. at a memorial in texas after the explosion, president obama pledged the support of the federal government. >> we'll be there even after the cameras leave. and after the attention turns
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elsewhere. your country will remain ever ready to help you recover and rebuild and reclaim your community. >> in a statement monday, governor rick perry said we anticipate the president will hold true to his word and help us work with fema to ensure much needed assistance reaches the community of west. as a reminder, this is a plea for federal aid coming from a man who said this back in 2011. >> i think we're going through those difficult economic times for a purpose, and that to bring us back to those biblical principles of don't spend all the money. not asking for pharaoh to give everything to everybody and to take care of folks, because at the end of the day, it's slavery. and we become slaves to government. >> slaves to government, sam. also, i did not know that there was written in the biblical
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don't spend all the money. >> oh, its tlae. d deuterono deuteronomy. >> and in that language. >> before we get to whether fema should support the rebuilding of the city, we must look at the utter hypocrisy of rick perry here, who's also denying the extension of medicaid to the poor and needy of his own state, and at the same time chastising the federal government for not coming to the assistance -- >> it seems in texas you want to spend federal money on rebuilding towns and border security. everything else you don't want to spend money. i think it is hypocritical for governor perry to ask for this from different agencies he wants to abolish. that said, how do we define a disaster? is it when a plant sloedz and kills a lot of people? is it when a hurricane goes through a town? i would like to know what the actual delineations are for a disaster. i do think there is a role for
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the federal government to play in helping this town get back on its feet. >> let's be clear, this fertilizer plant was associated by schools, places of business. retirement homes. that's not zoning that should have been done and there is anti-regulatory zeal that is actually a selling point for texas if you're governor rick perry. and this is what -- these are the -- you sow the seeds and this is what happened. this could have been mitigated if you hadn't put schools and places of interest next to a fertilizer plant. >> the president of the united states said what he said. are you talking about $57 million. i hate to say this, but in the federal government, you know that's not a huge amount of money. it is a huge amount of money for a state and a county. the president makes a pledge like that, i don't think -- i think the spirit of that was we'll be there when the cameras are gone and whether you approve of what the governor of texas says or not, the president made a pledge. >> question is, say the
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explosion was half that size. does that rise to the -- >> but assuming there are guidelines for this. >> the bottom line is the president, at that moment, said what he said. honor the pledge. write the check. move on. then you can deal with the discussion about the guidelines and what, to sam's point, constitutes a disaster that fema or any other federal agency would write a check for in the future. but right now this moment, irrespective of what rick perry said in the past or recently, the president has sort of put his stamp on -- >> this is not unusual for fema to turn down this kind of existence. a northern california gas pipe explode. they were rejected. people died. fema is providing funds and loans to people affected by this. they are providing fund to remove debris.
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they are not providing funds to rebuild the town of west. >> if the president goes to those disasters and stands in front of the cameras with the american flag draped behind him and say that when the cameras go off we will be here for you. if he did not, then fema's well within its guidelines to turn down. if he did, then you've got to hon north pledge. >> are you totally right but you will also remember this happens in so many disasters, including in this state after 9/11. it is not like there was not years of debate over exactly what fema would cover and what it wouldn't. >> i hope you're there when governor perry runs in 2016 and starts talking about the problem with federal spending. i hope you come on the show did the governor want fema to give him money? yes, he did. >> up in maryland we did to deal with a hurricane that ripped through maryland and we recognize the relationship, the partnership of the federal government to help us get our citizens back on their feet. any governor of the state -- >> should, theoretically. >> our own chris christie made
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it very clear, look, i'm here to take care of my people. i'm not getting into this political squabble of whether a democrat writes check or a republican writes the check. i want the check written. >> rick perry is full of plenty of questionable and puzzling statements. we'll have to leave it there. that is all for "now." i'll see you tomorrow live from chicago at noon. i'll be joined by david axelrod, representative robin kelly, director of mayors against illegal guns mark glaze, clelcy clinton and former president bill clinton. we are so excited. until then, you can follow us on twitter @nowwithalex. since aflac is helping with his expenses while he can't work, he can focus on his recovery. he doesn't have to worry so much about his mortgage, groceries, or even gas bills. kick! kick...
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in the case of the breast cancer gene. the supreme court rules that human dna cannot be patented. >> court said sorry, that's a product of nature and you can't patent a product of nature. >> nbc's pete williams is live at the supreme court with us on how today's decision will expand the field of medical research and all genetic testing from now on. two for the price of one? hillary clinton returns to the clinton global initiative on president obama's home turf of chicago, a city she now also calls home. >> i listened to my friend, mayor emanuel, reference the blackhawk games. i can remember listening to the blackhawk games on the radio when i did my homework all those years ago. and my father and brothers and i were big blackhawk fans. but three overtimes?