tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC September 15, 2013 9:00am-11:01am PDT
the long road on syria. where will it lead as the u.s. cuts a deal on chemical weapons? more from the president and one leading democrat next. it is far from over. in fact, some new number on the colorado flooding are scary. on the ground there are still people stranded. we've got a live report in minutes. 50 years ago today a deadly act of hatred and violence that further changed the course of race relations in this country. we go back as the community marks the sad memorial. trying to right this ship. this testament to tragic failure is still there more than 20 months later. but could it be floating away as soon as tomorrow? hello, everyone.
it's high noon here in the east. welcome to "weekends with alex witt." new today, president obama's first interview since his national address on sooer yyria. it comes aa -- a day after the u.s. and russia agreed to a diehl on the chemical weapons. >> what we can do is make sure that the worst weapons, the indiscriminate weapons that don't distinguish between a soldier and an infant are not used. and if we get that accomplished, then we may also have a foundation to begin what has to be an international process in which assad sponsors primarily iran and russia recognize this is terrible for the syrian people and they are willing to come in a serious way to arrive at some sort of political settlement that would deal with the underlying terrible conflict -- >> and a bit earlier today, secretary kerry met with israeli
prime minister benjamin netanyahu who warned that diplomacy alone cannot solve the crisis. >> the syrians must be stripped of all its kchemical weapons. that would make our entire region a lot safer. if diplomacy has any chance to work, it must be coupled with a credible military threat. >> joining me now with more, nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker. good sunday to you, kristen. i know you were watching these sunday talk shows today. the deal did not get a lot of support. how has the white house been framing it? >> reporter: well, good afternoon, alex. president obama, the white house stressing that this is an important first step but also acknowledging that there is a lot of work that remains and also a lot of uncertainty. but you're right. lawmakers flocked to the sunday talk shows, many of them criticizing this deal. republicans, including senator john mccain, calling this a
victory for president vladimir putin. those democrats who say they support the deal also expressed a fair amount of skepticism about whether or not president bashar al assad will follow through with this plan that's been put in place. here's a little bit more of what president obama had to say specifically on that point, about whether or not this is a victory for vladimir putin. take a listen. >> i know sometimes this gets framed or looked at through the lens of the u.s. versus russia. that's not what this is about. what this is about is how do we make sure we don't have the worst weapons in the hands either of a murderous regime or in the alternative, some elements of the opposition that are as opposed to the united states as they are to assad. >> reporter: now, one of the contentious issues is the u.n. resolution that's still being hammered out. the obama administration has said that it doesn't need to include the threat of military action. the white house saying that the president reserves the right to
take military action unilaterally if president obama feels as though assad is not following through with the proposed plan. chemical weapons experts say the real work, though, is going to begin when inspectors actually try to remove those chemical weapons. they're spread out all over the country. they say it's a difficult task regardless of the situation. this would have to take place in the middle of a civil war, which makes it infinitely more complex. one u.s. official telling nbc news that the job is simply daunting. alex? >> okay. to say the least, i think. kristen welker, thank you so much. to colorado now and the growing catastrophe there. president obama signed a disaster declaration and ordered federal aid for the water-stricken state. flooding has claimed at least four lives. and officials say more than 500 are unaccounted for, but they stress those numbersi could either rise or fall since communication is so poor in areas. those unaccounted for are not necessarily considered missing. meantime, the flooding has now
spread over a 4500 square mile area. that's almost as large as the entire state of connecticut. many residents say they're in complete shock. >> the houses were just crumbling off of the mountainside. and people's entire lives, everything that they owned just fell off of a mountain into a river and down. >> the water force coming down this road was so intense that it tore up six inches of tarmac and asphalt. >> we painted sos on the driveway this morning in big orange letters, and not an hour later. >> more than 1700 people have been evacuated from laramer county. crews are working around the clock to reach those who are stranded. nbc's joe fryer is in boulder, colorado, for us. as i look at -- is that still the boulder, colorado, stream behind you that look like a rushing river? >> reporter: yeah, that is the boulder creek behind us here. it does continue to go down, but it is moving here pretty
quickly. the rain has actually picked up here in boulder in the last few minutes. because of the rain and the low visibility, those helicopter rescues we've been seeing over the last few days, well, those are on hold right now. the helicopters are not taking off. as you mentioned, in the last few days the national guard and military have been able to rescue about 1750 people. still, the recovery is far from over. alex, apologies there. a little audio issues. we can also tell you the laramer county sheriff sent out a few tweets in the past hour. in laramer county alone, that's the county surrounding ft. collins, nearly 500 people there are considered unaccounted for. they say some names have been added to the list. others have been taken off the list. the sheriff there also confirming that an 80-year-old woman who was missing is
presumed dead. that would be the fifth death statewide tied to these floods. alex? >> yeah, hey, joe, when we last left you about this time yesterday, there was rain in the forecast. what happened there overnight? was there kind of insult to injury with that? >> reporter: you know, overnight was actually pretty dry. this rain we're seeing right now has literally started picking up in it the last half hour. so thankfully it has been dry for a couple of days. that has helped a lot of these waters recede. this is certainly not going to help because we still know there's a lot of water built up in the system from all that rain we had last week. this will probably just add to it. so it could exacerbate some of the problems that we've been seeing in some of these towns. >> yeah, joe, for all those parents of kids that are at the boulder -- you know, university of colorado at boulder there, do you know any updates on the campus? is that okay? i know they had canceled classes. do you know what's in stock for tomorrow? >> reporter: actually, i have not been able to check to see. i know they canceled classes on
thursday and friday. we haven't been able to see what the situation is for tomorrow. we know there was some damage to some parts of the university, mostly flooding in basements and things like that. everyone at the university was safe. no one was hurt or anything like that. we will have to check and see what the status is for classes there tomorrow. >> yeah, i'm sure. you, kids, parents, everybody checking on that. okay, joe. thank you very much for that live report. we appreciate that. we have seen many striking images from this disaster. many were taken from high above the damage. let's look at a field of parked cars partially submerged. look at that. that is near greeley, colorado, yesterday. all this happened as rivers flooded the towns and the farms from the rockies. let's look at a group of trailers all smashed together there at a storage site. dozens of them floating away when the flood waters rose. and let's look at that green dot in the middle of your screen. that's a tractor partially submerged in a field after the flooding along the south platt
river. incredible pictures. well, today marks 50 years since the 16th street baptist church bombing that killed four little girls this birmingham, alabama. this morning at the iconic church, a remembrance service was held to commemorate a turning point in the struggle for civil rights. the city is also hosting empowerment week which started wednesday, to demonstrate the impact of the civil rights movement. joining me now, nbc's sarah daloff, who's in birmingham to mark this occasion. let's talk about the mood there overall today. it's got to be one of remembrance and a certain sadness. often times from the ashes rises a phoenix. anything positive to come from this? >> reporter: you're seeing a mix of emotions here today, alex, because it is so different for each and every person who's coming here to remember those four girls and the way of life at the time of this bombing. for some people, it is closing
the wounds from 50 years ago and for others it is just opening them back up all over again. for many who were in birmingham at the time of the bombing, these four girls didn't just represent tragic loss. they also represented a terrible way of life where violence against those who stood for civil rights was all too common. bombings, beatings, very frequent things. now we just a few minutes ago spoke to sarah collins rudolph. she's the sister of one of the victims of that bombing. she was in the bathroom with her sister when the bomb went off. today she carries scars, both physical and mental, but it was important to be here today. obviously, a very emotional, a very difficult day for her. >> absolutely. i know that former secretary of state condoleezza rice and eric holder scheduled to speak. interestingly, condoleezza rice grew up in birmingham. didn't she know one of the victims? >> reporter: that's correct. she says she used to play dolls
with one of these young victims. and she commented about this tight-knit community here. if you went to one of these churches or if you were in fact community, you knew one of these little girls or the family of one of the girls. that is how wide this impact was. that is how tight-knit this community was at the time. everybody knew someone that was terribly affected by the bombing if not one of the little girls that was killed, someone who was badly injured in the explosion. >> and sarah, i mentioned this empowerment week, which started wednesday. what can you tell us about that? >> reporter: it's a range of activities, really, all aimed at recognizing the strides the civil rights have made and the sacrifice these four little girls and others have made to get the country where it is today. and these aren't all solemn occasions like the memorial service or the tolling of the bells to mark the moment of the explosion today. there's also some more upbeat things. jamie foxx is giving a concert tonight. you're going to hear condoleezza rice and eric holder hold a
panel discussion. >> okay. nbc's sarah dallof in birmingham. thank you. a leading democrat in the house assesses the chemical weapons deal with a scathing description of russia. and righting the ship. it is still there after 20 months. could tomorrow be the day when the costa concordia finally floats away? well mr. baldwin... it appears our journey has come to a delightful end. then i better use the capital one purchase eraser to redeem my venture miles for this trip. purchase eraser? it's the easy way to erase any recent travel expense. i just pick a charge, like my flight with a few taps, it's taken care of. impressive baldwin. does it work for hotels? absolutely thank goodness. mrs. villain and i are planning our... you scare me. and i like it. let's go what's in your wallet?
some headlines making news on the west coast. the los angeles times has a front page story titled "immigrants find a legal work-around." it's about how many illegal immigrants are in the u.s. they're discovering they can find work by running their own companies. that is because there's no law prohibiting people living in the country illegally from starting a business or becoming an independent contractor. and this headline "drivers ease off the gas in cultural shift."
it's about how since the economy went south in '80s, oregon residents are now driving light. that's only getting behind the wheel when they absolutely have to. president obama said in a new interview out this morning that confiscating syria's chemical weapons could create the foundation for a political settlement in the now 2 1/2-year syrian civil war. joining me now, democratic congressman adam schiff. good to see you. thanks for joining me. your reaction, first off, to this deal. >> i think it's a very positive step forward. look, this is going to be really tough trying to place these stockpiles under u.n. supervision in the middle of a civil war. nonetheless, it's the first path that has the potential of taking these weapons off the battlefield so assad can't use them again and more than that when the regime ultimately falls, it ensures that these weapons don't get in the hands of al qaeda, hezbollah, or others who may use them against us or our allies.
this is a very positive step forward. it's a positive step on a long and tough road ahead. but i applaud what we've been able to work out. >> interesting because earlier today you said that president putin is like a lawyer who lost control of his client, meaning president assad. but with this deal, did he just get his client off? >> well, i think he got his client, perhaps, back under control. you know, we'll have to see. but, yes, i think he's like the lawyer that lost control of his client. if he were a shrew, if we were that chess player people are making him out to be, that grand master seeing moves well in advance, he would have told putin in no uncertain terms a year ago, drawn his own red line and said, look, you're ahead on the battlefield, don't do anything stupid like using chemical weapons that could drag the u.s. into this conflict. but he didn't do that. if there were any independent heads, which there aren't, they'd be questioning him. why did you leave it go to the brink when assad had momentum
militarily? so he's trying to gain control of his client. we'll see in the weeks and months to come whether he can do that successfully. but this is in russia's interest. it's also in the united states' interest. had we gone through with a military strike, that may have deterred assad. it may have degraded his capability, but it would not have dealt with the problem of those chemical weapons. those might ultimately have fallen in the wrong hands. >> and i want to get to that in a moment, but if syria does not comply with all these deadlines that are being laid out, should the u.s. use military force? >> well, i think the u.s. needs to act in concert with others. the primary concern i have is that the u.s. may have been at the verge of acting unilaterally. i don't think we should act unilaterally in pursuit of an international convention of the use of chemical weapons. during the process of syria compiling its inventory, we need to work on an international consensus for what we do if the regime balks, if they stall, if
they hide. we need to try to find an international answer to that problem. we have some time to do it. i think that's got to be priority number one. >> so i want to talk about presidents here with you. assad is believed to have used chemical weapons. if this deal happens, his punishment will be just turn over the rest of the stockpile. iraq used kchemical weapons on ir iran. is there enough of a deterrent to stop other militaries from using them? >> that's a great question. i suppose it all depends on how this chapter ends. i don't think it's going to be enough merely to take the chemical weapons away. the people who use them and assad himself ultimately are going to have to be held accountable. i'd love to see them dragged before in a national criminal court on work crimes charges. i'd love to see those named within those special units that have responsibility for chemical weapons put on a list of those that will be tried as war
criminals. if we can hold them accountable, it will tell future dictators and their henchmen that if they go down this path, they will be ultimately called to account. >> politically speaking, representative schiff, does this deal match the rhetoric we've heard from president obama and secretary kerry over the last few weeks, and does it matter? there are so many who have criticized this president saying his speech was coming from different directions and didn't have this cohesive message. yet, the fact is the president said, we want you to stop using chemical weapons, and it would seem that if this deal goes through, he's won without launching one tomahawk missile. >> that's the thing. if we were to look back into a crystal ball and see where we were today, syria signing the chemical weapons ban, all without a single shot fired, we'd say any administration that can make that happen has got to be brilliant. now, it's been ugly getting here. this has been an uncertain and
checkered step forward, but this is where we are. this holds the potential of getting those weapons off the battlefield. now, is this going to be as good as the hype? time alone will tell if we can enforce this, if the russians are serious about this, if assad can be brought to heel on this. it's going to be a challenge, but you know, there are some precedents that should give us some optimism. if you look at what the inspectors were able to do in iraq, it was opposed by saddam hussein, he tried to delay, but nonetheless it was largely successful in going after those chemical stockpiles. >> there have been recent reports that the u.s. has supplied light weapons via the cia. they finally began reaching the rebels. can you tell us anything about the scale of these supplies or why it's taken so long after president obama's announcement? >> well, you know, i can't get into great specifics, but i can say that i don't think we're talking about a level of weaponry that's likely to change
the balance on the battlefield. and this is a concern that i have, which is if it's not enough to change the balance, we're going to be called on to provide more weapons. if those aren't enough, we'll be called on to provide even more sophisticated weapons. pretty soon, you are stuck in the middle of this war and taking it ownership for it. then if the regime falls too precipitously and there's chaos a , it's going to be our responsibility to fiction this broken object. no one wants to take ownership of this. so i'm concerned that arming these rebels is going to lead us on this slippery slope to greater entanglement in the war. i don't think it's the right path for us. >> i have to say, i always appreciate the thoughtful answers you give me when i ask you the questions i know you really can't answer. nonetheless, i appreciate it. which is why we'll have you back again. representative adam schiff, thank you. a new milestone for the yellow brick road. plus, why the white house didn't blow the birther controversy out of the water any sooner than it
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a new ranking of the world's best economy shows up. improving financial markets helped the u.s. place fifth on this year's list. just two spots higher from a year ago. the leader, switzerland, scoring particularly well for business spending on research and development. singapore ranked second followed by finland, germany, and the u.s. california's minimum wage will go up to $9 next year and $10 in 2016 if governor jerry brown approves the increase as expected. currently washington is the high estate minimum wage at $8.67 an hour. the federal's minimum of $7.25 has been in effect for more than four years. fans of the dallas cowboys have the privilege of paying the most to see an nfl game.
the marketing team reports two tickets, a couple beers, and parking add up to $313. new england patriot fans pay about $20 less than that. chicago bears fans pay the third highest at $272. paying the least, cleveland browns fans at $143. oh, gosh, it's the smallest dog in terms of height in the whole entire world. >> and that british tv reporter is just about as thrilled as we are about miracle milly. the chihuahua stands 3.8 inches high. that's it. a new guinness world record. those are your number ones here on "weekends with alex witt."
weapon. police opened fire. two women were hit by bullets. the man who was not shot was eventually arrested. mexico's bracing for two storms that are expected to bring life-threatening floods. tropical
storm manuel is heading for the pacific shoreline. hurricane ingrid is approaching the gulf rim. a roller coaster at six flags over texas reopened this weekend for the first time since a rider died in summer. the texas giant has redesigned restraint bars and seat belts. in july, a woman fell from the ride to her death. in italy, a complicated salvage operation on the wreck of the costa concordia is expected to begin tomorrow. that luxury cruiseliner crashed into rocks in january, last year, killing 32 people. the ship's captain is also facing manslaughter charges. nbc's michelle kosinski is there in italy for us. good day to you. we are all trying to fathom what is going to happen tomorrow. can you explain what type of operation this is?
>> reporter: i know. it's hard to believe that it's still sitting here, right? it'll be two years in january. at the same time, it is hard to believe that this is really starting tomorrow. what they're going to
do is roll the ship up from being on its side in that position that you see it now to an upright position. it's an incredibly complicated operation. just as this is the largest cruise ship wreck ever, getting rid of it is the largest salvage operation of its kind ever. over the past year, hundreds of workers have been working in shifts literally around the clock to install cables around the side of it, around the exposed side. the pulling machines that are going to right the ship are on the land side. so basically, if this is the ship and it's on its side, they're going to pull it up this way. they've also installed these giant floats along the edges of the ship. that's going to keep it upright. and it's going to be a couple more months before they can pull it out of here. that doesn't even begin to describe the scale of this.
all this time this ship has been resting on these two reefs, points of reefs, and they don't even meet. it's basically been sort of balancing and moving slightly in between those two points. so between the reefs, they've had to put all this cement underneath. they've had to build an under water platform, so when they start to roll the ship, it can rest on that. you can imagine all that's gone into this. it's more than a $500 million operation. but the italian civil protection authorities today when we asked, you know, what is the percentage of certainty that this is going to go as planned? because really, there's been nothing like this ever before. in the past they've responded, well, we think it's about 50/50. today they said it's 100%, that they are 100% certain that this is going to work. it will starts at 6:00 a.m. local time tomorrow. >> yeah, expect it to take hours, i know. a couple questions, michelle. do we know about the state of the hull that's been sitting in
the water? is there any chance that could break apart as it's trying to be righted? >> reporter: yeah, that's such a good question. in describing it, you even hear yourself, like, not describing it correctly. this is just so complicated. the amount of time that went into it includes the strength of the ship. they've had to calculate to make sure they know what kind of loads, even the structure itself can take. so they think it's relatively stable. it hasn't been moving around much. it hasn't been deforming that much. i mean, you see the size of it. it is made to be strong. it carried more than 4,000 people. but over time, as the water's gotten in, as some of the structures have bent by sitting -- you know, they were cut by the rocks and they've been resting on the rocks. they just don't know. they think it will be stable. like we said, they say it's 100% certain it's not going to break apart, but that's really the biggest risk, that some of the internal structures could start cracking or collapsing. you could get a tear in the hull. you could get a big part of the
structure collapsing. that could warp the whole thing. they're just -- they say they're very confident, but there are a lot of variables in there, as you can imagine. >> extraordinary watching this. thanks, michelle. appreciate the report and your explanations. let's go back to the big developing story in colorado, which desperately needs a break from the rain after days of deadly flash floods. but that's not what's happening right now. let's go now back to nbc's joe fryer. okay, joe, i'm coming back to you because the top of the show we were talking about how the rain had let up a little bit. it had been raining slightly. you got a deluge going on there. >> reporter: yeah, alex. we just talked to you half an hour ago. a big difference between now and then. the rain is really coming down hard right now. this is like a sucker punch to an already battered region. we'll pan off and give you a look at the creek here in boulder. we've been happy to say over the past couple days that the creek had been receding, but really right now, it doesn't appear to be receding anymore. in fact, it might be coming up a
little bit. you know, all that rain from the last week has still been working its way through the system. that's why in some parts of colorado we were still seeing some new flooding yesterday. the hope, though, was with everything drying out that that water would finally get on through and we could start to see only relief. this certainly isn't going to help, especially because it's not a light drizzle. if it lasts for a long time, certainly this water is going to build up, and it's going to make an already difficult situation potentially even worse. alex? >> yeah, i'm sorry to come back to you for this reason, joe. thank you very much for the update. get dry if you can. let's go now to washington. the clock is ticking toward an important october 1st deadline for congress to approve a spending bill and increase the debt limit soon after. today president obama is standing firm saying the debt ceiling is not up for negotiation. >> when it comes to budgets, we've never had a situation in which a party said that, you know, unless we get our way 100%, then we're going to let
the united states default. never in history have we used just making sure that the u.s. government is paying its bills as a lever to radically cut government at the kind of scale they're talking about. >> joining me now, political reporter for reuters, andy sullivan, and politics editor for roll call, sheera center. best wishes to you, newlywed. >> thank you. >> we always go with newlyweds first. what is the risk/reward factor for republicans if they decide to force a government shutdown over obama care? >> right. so the reward is really with the party's conservative base. this is something a lot of republicans, especially in the house, ran on in their conservative districts. they wanted to cut government spending. in many way, the debt ceiling is an opportunity for them to use as a bargaining chip to get more cuts to spending. they've tried to do this in the
past as well with some success, mostly failures. >> okay. andy, i'm taking a look right now at an op-ed in "the los angeles times." republican senator ted cruz of texas and his come -- pom patriot -- who has the most to lose in a government shutdown, and who would get the blame? >> who has the most to lose? i mean, aside from the american people who depend on the services of the government. if we're talking purely politics, i think the republicans would shoulder most of the blame. there was a cnn report out last week that said the republicans -- i think 51% of americans would blame the republicans. the democrats are very aware. they're united. they're saying we're not really interested in making concessions on the debt ceiling. we're willing to talk with you about the budget deal. they're very aware of these divisions within the republican party. you've got the ted cruz faction
that says this is a real opportunity to get what we want in terms of cutting the legs out from under obama care, but you have leaders who have been through this in the '90s and who saw the damage their party took during the debt ceiling debate. >> there are those who would suggest that when this happened in 1995, and president clinton, it was perhaps one of his weakest points, after that, the public was so angry it was part of his political comeback. you have a recent pew poll that shows 7 in 10 tea party candidates disapprove of congressional leaders. how much power does the tea party have over republicans? i said this yesterday, how long is the tail going to wag the republican dog? >> it still has a large amount of influence. i mean candidates who ran on the tea party platform or on the tea party mantle in 2010. we see it every day with the way john boehner has to, for
example, try to pass a cr. he's having difficulties because of people like andy mentioned. in the senate there's ted cruz and a tea party faction in the house that wants to make sure obama care is defunded. so yes, they still wield an incredible amount of influence. >> can i ask you, andy, on a scale of one to ten, ten being most likely, what are the chances we see a government shutdown come october 1st? >> on a scale of one to ten, i would say three. i don't think it's that likely. i don't think republican leaders want that. i don't think republican rank and file necessarily wants that either. then you have to take into account that they're not really unified. leader boehner doesn't really have control of his troops. so there's that chaos factor to take into account as well. i think they're looking ahead to the debt ceiling fight as the real showdown. that will come a few weeks later. that could have tremendously catastrophic results. if you recall back in 2011, the
hit that took to the economy and consumer confidence, that could be much more damaging than any worries over a shutdown. >> okay. sheera, you want to throw out a number? >> i agree with andy. i think under five certainly. probably around three. republican leaders to not want a fight over a government shutdown. it's bad politics. it's bad messaging. they'd much rather very a show down over the debt ceiling. >> okay. andy sullivan and mrs. center, thank you very much. have a good one. how smart phones have made the problem of cyber bullying harder to fight. we're going to tell you about a case in florida that ended tragically after the mother did everything she could to protect her 12-year-old daughter. and we're going to take you back to colorado. check it out right now. no relief from the rains there. we'll have another live report ahead. my asthma's under control. i get out a lot... except when it's too cold. like the last three weekends. asthma doesn't affect my job... you missed the meeting again last week! it doesn't affect my family.
he wrote "big lies" a couple decades ago. he it witells me he thinks the is turning towards support for obama care. >> well, i think the numbers have gotten better. if you go back and look at the poll numbers from 2010 to today, they're gradually improving as people understand more and more. but it's taken a long time. i think probably the same thing was true of medicare when it was started in 1965. ronald reagan stood up in 1965 and said if we pass medicare, it will be socialism and we're going to end up like the soviet union and that'll be the end of freedom in the western world. you know, nobody says that anymore. everybody gets that medicare was really a good thing for our elderly population and for the country as a whole. so i think over time, you know, people will come to understand what it means to try to have universal hb universal health care, why it's good for our economy. >> let's talk about "big lies." it's the lies you say
conservatives tell about liberals. that was a 2003 book, if i'm not mistaken. so 2013, give me new lies. >> obama care was the forum for a tremendous amount of false information from the very beginning. if i were writing "big lies" today, we'd have at least one chapter, probably more than that, about health care, obama care, what that meant, the death panels. you won't have your own doctor anymore. all these things that were myths that were spread about that, that were very typical of the same kind of mythology that i tried to expose in "big lies" ten years ago. i don't think the propensity of the far right to lie about political leaders or politics is any different now than it was then. it might be more extreme now. we have, i think, everybody agrees everybody greater polarization now. the birthers, an enormous lie the president wasn't born in this country, even though there's a birth certificate in
hawaii that the republican governor gave them. why don't they believe that? >> here's a question, though. when you talk about the way the president handles things -- and let's go back to your article on syria just this week. the birther controversy. couldn't he have blown that out of the water a lot sooner than he did? >> the part of the president that i think doesn't want to engage with nonsense like that, and he's a constitutional law professor. he's a very serious guy. he doesn't love that part of politics. bill clinton liked to fight those fights. obama doesn't. he would rather not engage. so i think for a long time they didn't engage that. there was a policy in the white house, we're not going to answer that because it's too ridiculous. and then finally, they had to. they decided it's too distracting, we're going to put the birth certificate out, and of course, it didn't convince the people who aren't going to be convinced anyway. i think you're right. i think ultimately looking back, they would have better off if they had just answered it either
themselves or had a surrogate do it from the beginning. >> i know you guys are a big tennis family, right? did you go to the u.s. open? >> we love to watch, and we love to play. the children, especially, have -- now at the age of 6, they're coming into their own, really able to swing the racket and hit the ball. they love watching too. we watched the finals last week. they were, you know, as everybody know, incredible games. >> rafael or jodjokovic? >> the kids were for rafa. >> probably easier to say his name. >> easier to say his name, but they like djokovic too. they have rafa tennis rackets. and venus and serena. >> all of them. next weekend, my interview with hoda kotb. we're off to see the wizard three quarters of a century later. this marked the 75th anniversary of "the wiz ward of oz" hitting
the theater. a restored version will go on sale on dvd. how old is the oldest person you've known? we gave people a sticker and had them show us. we learned a lot of us have known someone who's lived well into their 90s. and that's a great thing. but even though we're living longer, one thing that hasn't changed much is the official retirement age. ♪ the question is how do you make sure you have the money you need to enjoy all of these years. ♪
a deal has been reached on syr syria, but will it work? the u.s. and russia are agreed to a plan that will confiscate assad's chemical weapons. experts say it will be an extremely complicated road ahead. joining me to talk about it, barry mccaffrey and christopher hill. gentlemen, welcome back. good to see you both. >> good to be with you. >> thank you. >> general, first up to you. your reaction to this deal? >> well, look, the good news is we're talking to the russians in geneva instead of bombing the syr syria syrians, something that would be else can la toir, something not supported by nato, by congress. we've offramped a bad policy option. you know, so i suppose that's positive. the bad news is the brutal assad regime almost gets a timeout
while we talk about chemical weapons. the artillery bombardments of suburbs of damascus continues. when you look at this actual so-called framework agreement, there's three things in it that are interesting. one, there's no use of military force to coerce their compliance. two, they didn't agree that arms control negotiators could go to the senior chemical warfare people and question them. three, the russians never agreed on where the chemicals were, the so-called 42 sites. so, you know, it's a work in progress. but this is a flawed -- a series of flawed policy options by the administration. >> i'm going to get to your area of expertise, because you have some experience in this. but ambassador, what do you think about this? >> well, i think like a lot of things in life you have to consider the options. the other options were really bad. i think this particular decision, though, makes less likely the future use of chemical weapons by assad than
the other options did. so i chock that up on the positive side. i think there's a real chance of moving ahead with this. i share the general's concerns about the complexity of this. i mean, just naming what the sites are, getting teams in during a time when people are shooting at each other is going to be very difficult. finally, i think what i worry about is the impunity issue where assad's forces are able to use these chemical weapons and seem to be scott free. but, you know, justice is sometimes slow. i happen to have been in iraq the day they faced justice. i think eventually you can get around to that. i think this is probably the best deal on the table. i applaud secretary kerry for really going after this. it wasn't easy. you know, the whole social media echo chamber. there was so much criticism of this as if people had a better idea. so i really applaud him for doing it. >> well, and that is something the social media echo chamber,
something you, general, did not have to deal with back in '93 when you were the military liaison to the chemical weapons convention that established this current ban. can you talk about what goes on behind the scenes in these sorts of negotiations? >> well, of course, you know, the chemical weapons convention, which i was there with that wonderful secretary. we signed it in paris in '93. most of the world community came aboard. seven nations didn't sign up. that had been the result of 15 years of painful negotiation. a lot of which goes on inside the u.s. government. out of it we've almost completed a destruction of our own stock peoples as have the russians, the former soviets. i think the timelines they'rege simply not believable. but i agree with ambassador hill. this is the best of a bad option. better to talk to the syrians than bomb them.
the real question is the slaughter of the syrian people. 117,000 murdered, primarily by artillery, tanks, and door-to-door assassinations and aircraft. we haven't done anything about that. we've been pathetic in arming the opposition. it's almost too many over-intellectualizing young people involved in this process. maybe they ought to get colin powell back in the white house as chief of staff. >> interesting. may i ask you quickly just the logistics of trying to move and destroy chemical weapons, general. how tough a task is that? >> well, it's hard to imagine. by the way, you can't -- if assad says, here's where my chemicals are and how many there are, and if gets out to the rebels, in theory that puts them at risk of being captured by the rebels. it may have been an inflated number. i suspect it was. 75,000 international people need to come in to locate, transport,
guard, et cetera, these weapons. even if it is an inflated number, i mean, the mechanics of doing this don't seem feasible with an ongoing brutal civil war. >> ambassador, if syria does not comply with the deadlines, should the u.s. then use military force? >> i think we always have to keep that option on the table for ourselves and whether we end up having to do it in very unpleasant circumstances, that is when we're the only once, i think we have to keep that option. what i'm kind of encouraged by is the fact that the u.s. and the russians could work on this and whether this, that is chemical weapons issues, can be resolved. i think there's some hope that maybe this long-talked about geneva two processing get going. whether we arm the rebels to the teeth or don't arm them or whatever, this is not going to be solved by military means. we need a political way forward. we need to kind of agree on some
things. i think maybe assad would be more inclined to participate in a process if the russians are front and center simply because we have kind of ruled him out of the game and people are very grouchy about participating in processes where the objective is to get rid of them. so i think he pwould be prepare to do it in the u.s.-russia context co-chair with other countries coming in. this problem desperately needs a political solution, regardless of how many weapons one sends into syria. >> ambassador hill -- yes, general mccaffrey, last word, quickly. >> i respectfully take a different view. this is a fight to the death. you have a group fearful of being slaughtered by sunni jihadists. i think the political end will ratify somebody's military victory. >> all right, gentlemen. thank you for your time.
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welcome to "weekends with alex witt." just past 1:00 here in the east. colorado is issuing a stern warning to anyone considering staying behind. leave now or be prepared to endure weeks without electricity, running water, and basic supplies. more than 1700 people have been evacuated from laramer county and the flood zone has expanded to nearly the size of the state of connecticut. >> people's entire lives, everything that they own just fell off of a mountain into a river and down. >> there's been some incredible stories. we rescued a young couple yesterday from lyons. a young lady's pregnant. her due date is tomorrow. we got her out of lyons. we got her to a home in longmont and her water broke last night. >> the people that have come to
colorado aren't like everyone else, right. i think we are tougher. i think we're more resilient. i think we're going to help each other more. >> president obama signed a disaster declaration and ordered federal aid for colorado. the action makes federal funding available to affected individuals in boulder county. the government says more counties could be added later. nbc's joe fryer is riding it out there in boulder, colorado. let's talk about the rains. have they let up a little bit or no? is it still coming down? >> reporter: no, it's pretty much been like this for the last hour now. a pretty heavy downpour after a couple days of dry weather. the boulder creek here, which we've been keeping an eye on the last few days, had been receding. i don't think it's receding. if anything, in some spots, it might be coming up a little bit. certainly all of this rain adds to the problems that this region is already facing. we can tell you there are 16 helicopters ready to go to do more air rescues. right now none of those helicopters can take off because of this rain. they're keeping an eye on this, monitoring it hour by hour.
certainly right now this recovery is far from over. to call this a 100-year flood in the minds of some would be an understatement. >> as one of our county engineers told us yesterday, a once in a 500 to 1,000 year storm. >> reporter: just ask elizabeth vasqu vasquez. she hiked six miles through brush to rescue her mother. >> i help take care of her. >> reporter: video taken by a drone gives incredible perspective of the remodeled landscape. the damage is so great, helicopters offer of the only form of transit for hundreds of stranded residents trying to escape jamestown. even a helicopter filled with politicians surveying the damage ended up rescuing a couple families. >> i think what we have going on here in the last 24 hours is the greatest number of americans rescued by helicopters since hurricane katrina.
>> reporter: it appears colorado can't catch a break. another round of storms south of denver pelted places with hail and caused even more flooding. yet, back in boulder, a glimmer of hope as two flood victims it press on with their wedding. >> we decided to embrace the water. >> a little ho imagimage to the. >> reporter: they know there's always room for a happily ever after. >> we start our marriage this way. i don't know how we can't survive the rest of it. >> reporter: that bride and groom certainly would not be out here today in this rain taking any pictures. the rain continues to come down. that is slowing down recovery efforts. again, helicopters can't take off, but we can tell you there are two 80-person fema teams that are here. some of them have vehicles on the ground that can actually drive through five feet of flood waters. they're heading into some canyons and areas where they don't know if people are l still stranded in those spots. they're going to be going door to door knocking on doors to see
if they can find anymore people who are unaccounted for. alex? >> it would be extraordinary to see a video from inside those because part of what you provided for us yesterday, you remember that inside from that fire truck? all the water that was sloshing up on that huge fire truck and their front windows. that's got to be an extraordinary thing to see. joe, can i ask you about that warning that was put out for residents saying that if you don't get out now, you may be going for weeks without any kind of electricity, completely cut off. is there an idea of the numbers of people who still may be out there stranded? >> reporter: na realthey really know. we know at least in laramer county close to 500 people unaccounted for. perhaps a few hundred more here in boulder. it doesn't mean missing, just no one has heard from them. at this point it's really hard to say because they're literally going into some of these neighborhoods, knocking on
doors, trying to cover as much ground as they can. this is hard because we're not dealing with a flat area. we're talking about areas filled with hills and canyons that are tough to access, especially when you consider so many of the roads are washed away and under water. like you mentioned, they're telling some of these people, if you don't get out now, we might not be able to get back to you. today is a perfect example why. first of all, so many of the roads are impassable. that means the only way out is a helicopter. today the helicopters can't take off. >> absolutely. okay. nbc's joe fryer. thanks so much. to the crisis in syria now. new today, president obama's first interview since his national address when he tried to sell the american people on military force in syria. now with a deal between the u.s. and russia to destroy syria's chemical weapons, the president talked about his broader goals for the civil war that is now in its third year. >> what we can do is make sure that the worst weapons, the indiscriminate weapons that don't distinguish between a soldier and an infant are not used.
if we get that accomplished, then we may also have a foundation to begin what has to be an international process in which assad sponsors primarily iran and russia recognize this is terrible for the syrian people and they are willing to come in a serious way to arrive at some sort of political settlement that would deal with the underlying terrible conflict. >> earlier today, secretary kerry met with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu who warned that diplomacy alone cannot solve the crisis. >> the syrian regime must be stripped of all its chemical weapons. and that would make our entire region a lot safer. if diplomacy has any chance to work, it must be coupled with a credible military threat. >> joining me now is eleanor clift, contributing editor for daily beast. welcome to you both.
good to see you. >> hi, alex. >> good to see you. >> eleanor, we just heard president obama saying that confiscating syria's chemical weapons could lead to that often cited political solution. do you think syria's closer to that than it was a week ago? >> well, i think the negotiations over the chemical weapons have opened the door to a potentially wider dialogue because you've got the russians. you have president putin involved. they have leverage over the syrians. prime minister lavrov seems very actively engaged with secretary of state kerry. and president assad is now a player. maybe some people think as a brutal dictator he shouldn't have a seat at the negotiating table, but he has a vested interest, i think, in maybe bringing this to a settlement because he sees a path to stay in power. i don't hear president obama saying assad must go. he's saying, well, i don't see
how he can continue given what he's done to his people. so the u.s. has certainly softened their line. so they have a vested interest in getting to the negotiating table. i think that's positive. >> james, let's take a listen to another clip from that interview. >> i know sometimes this gets framed or looked at through the lens of the u.s. versus russia. that's not what this is about. what this is about is how do we make sure we don't have the worst weapons in the hands either of a murderous regime or in the alternative some elements of the opposition that are as opposed to the united states as they are to assad. >> do you think people have gone too far trying to paint this as some sort of a proxy war between the u.s. and russia, or do you see that as the reality? >> well, alex, i think that a lot of republicans who have been with the president on syria, mike rodgers, the chairman of the house intelligence committee from michigan, john mccain and lindsey graham, really do see this as a proxy war. they think the president is
getting played by putin. democrats are breathing a sigh of relief that this sort of kicks the can down the road, allows them to avoid taking a tough vote. republicans who have supported the president are very, very skeptical of this. they don't think it's going to work. they think this is just buying time until november. this is really united republicans who have been divided over what to do about syria. >> eleanor, do you think this deal has given russia too much of an influence over a region where they previously had a very small footprint? >> depends how you define the size of their footprint. they've been basically backing the assad regime, providing him with money and weapons. i think they've had some considerable leverage over this particular civil war. i think much of the coverage has been like a horse race. you know, who's up, who's down. if putin looks good, does that
mean the president looks bad? putin has sort of stepped into this vacuum and has sort of enjoyed cuffing around president obama on world stage. in diplomacy, the whole idea is that everybody is supposed to look like they're winning. i think putin really would like to be seen as a world leader. i think he still hasn't recovered from the fact that the old soviet union collapsed and russia isn't considered a super power. this lets him look like a peacemaker on the world stage as opposed to a regional bully. i think this is very good for him, and he has a real vested interest in not having those chemical weapons floating around in that area because they could very easily make it into chechnya and be a much bigger problem for him. you know, i think both these -- i think actually president putin and president obama in their private discussions have probably been a lot more adult about this than some of the hysterical coverage on both sides. >> james, i want to take a look
at this poll from gallup. it was before the president's national address on tuesday. you see 51% of americans oppose to air strikes. after the address, that jumped up 11 points to 62%. did the president have any hope of selling the american people on the use of military force? >> he was in a very tricky position. the speech was awkward. a lot of people think he probably should have canceled it because of the breakthrough with russia, which came one month after he canceled his visit after the summit he went to in st. petersburg. the president was in a tricky position because he couldn't didn't really seem like he was pushing military action that hard by the time he gave the speech. it's not at all surprising. although, it is pretty remarkable. i don't think that's the direction the administration thought the numbers would move. >> james, any chance the reason that 11-point move happened was in part because people are listening to the president thinking, hey, there may be a
diplomatic solution here so, no, no, let's not use military force. don't you think that helped influence that 11-point shift? >> i do. i think a lot of people on the left want to give the president a shadow, you know, give him support. that same gallup poll showed an even split between americans who were optimistic that this -- working with the russians would be fruitful versus people who were skeptical of it. i do think there really is a consensus that's formed among elites in d.c. in both parties and really among the voters that we don't want to strike syria. you know, that's the sense you get when you talk to people on the hill. it's kind of a lose/lose situation. the president has gotten to a place where he has an out. he was able to get out of the box, at least for a couple months. >> eleanor and james, good to talk with you both. thank you. >> thank you, als. >> thanks. >> today marks half a century since the 16th street baptist church bombing that killed four
little girls in birmingham, alabama. it's regarded as a turning point in the struggle for civil rights. during a service this morning at the historic church, bells tolled in remembrance. [ bells tolling ] nbc's sarah dallof is in birmingham to mark this occasion for us. sarah, how have things gone this past hour or so since we spoke? are people talking about what happened 50 years ago? does it seem fresh in people's minds? >> reporter: very fresh in people's minds. it really means something different for every person whose life has been affected by this or who may have actually been there. for some people, it's helping to close old wounds from 50 years ago. for other people, it's just opening them back up again.
it's a very painful event. now, the four girls who were killed were inside a bathroom at the church. what isn't talked about a lot today is that there was actually a fifth girl in there. her name was sarah collins rudolph. she was the sister of one of the girls who was killed. she was very badly wounded in that bombing. today she was back here at the church. >> i heard a noise, boom. i said, jesus, real fast, then i say, addy, addy, but she never did answer. i can still feel some of the hate, you know. for instance, people closing doors up in my face. you know, i just can feel it. >> reporter: now, for those who lived in birmingham at time of the bombing, these four girls not only represented tragic loss, they also represented a terrifying way of life here in which violence against those who stood for equal rights was all
too common. alex? >> and sarah, what about attorney general eric holder and former secretary of state condoleezza rice? expected to speak today. can you talk about that? >> reporter: of course, yes. both are expected to talk today. eric holder at both a panel discussion and at a public memory service. condoleezza rice will also participate in that panel discussion. she, if you didn't know, is a birmingham native and actually knew one of the little girls. used to play dolls with her, who was killed in this bombing. she talks about how if you lived here, furp part of this community, you did always know someone who was affected by this bombing, if not someone who was killed in it. >> okay. nbc's sarah dallof, thank you. a young girl loses her life in a tragedy her mother tries to prevent, but did authorities do enough?
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in florida a group of 15 young girls is under investigation for possibly bullying a fellow 12-year-old classmate so viciously that she killed herself. last week, 12-year-old rebecca sed wick changed her user name on her cell phone messier app to "the dead girl," sent a messages to two friends saying good-bye forever and jumped to her death at an old cement factory less than a mile from her home. her mother says she received messages from bullies like, why are you still alive, you're ugly, go kill yourself. joining me now is robin sachs, a bullying expert. a welcome to you. i know rebecca's mother says she did everything she could. she put her daughter in a different school. she changed her phone number. she shut down her facebook page, took her to counseling. but then rebecca recently signed on and got these new phone apps and that led to renewed bullying and messaging to her.
it seems, robin, like her mom did everything she could. how hard is it to fight back against cyber bullying? >> you know, i'm so impressed with this mom taking such a proactive role. you know, you can look at this in hindsight. if i were advising her, i would say you needed to go one step further. you actually probably should have gotten a restraining order against these girls. also, monitor every site out there. once that phone went back, that's where the renewed interest and new applications began. >> yeah, you know, on the outside rebecca appeared pretty resilient. in fact, there was a message she received that said, can you die, please? she said, nope, but i can live. >> that's right. i think that part of the mistake that happened was when kids get punished, meaning that her phone was taken away from her, so the victim ends up being the one in trouble, if you will, when that happens, of course she's not going to want to go back and
tell her mom again because then she's the one who has to live without the phone. when in reality, it should have been those 15 other girls who should have lost their phones and lost their computers. >> right, but how does a parent go about doing that? we know that this mother went to the school, first of all, and said, look, we're having these kinds of problems. the school investigated. they moved her class for her. they said they would give her an escort between her classes, which never came to pass. what can a mother do? what do you do, call up the parents of all these 15 girls? >> first of all, she should have started by having google alerts out with her kid's screen name. a lot of time you have google alerts out for your name. if your kid's name is butterfly 123, you should have google earth for butterfly 123. you should be tracking and snooping on your kids. that's where the footprint and media and internet is such an advantage to parents. we have an opportunity now to
snoop on our kids that we never would have had before. in the past, we'd have to look at their shoes and notebooks to see what they were writing. if you actually get in there and follow what they're doing and learn about these sites, it's way beyond facebook, it's way beyond myspace, it's way beyond twitter. it is these smaller sites. then to go on and see what apps and programs the kids are visiting on a daily basis, not just once a month. >> i want to ask you about what's being considered by the polk county sheriffs office, which is filing charges against the middle school students who did this aemged cyber bullying. florida passed a law that made it easier. what do you think should happen? >> i think they absolutely should. it will take one kid to actually be criminally prosecuted when you start seeing them actually being in fear of prosecution, which may have the deterrent effect we're looking for. >> yeah, i'm with you. robin, thank you very much. >> thank you. paula deen reemerges. did she get a cool reception? restaurant we all like?
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new jersey governor chris christie is pledging millions in state aid in response to a jersey shore boardwalk fire that obliterated scores of businesses. nbc's michelle franzen is in seaside heights, new jersey. good sunday to you. i know the governor toured the boardwalk this weekend. what did he say? >> reporter: he did. he toured the boardwalk and he didn't really say anything publicly other than meet with business owners yesterday and pledged to help them in any way he could. earmarking some $15 million in the stronger new jersey business fund they have. that was good news for the many business owners. also today, take a look at the main focus out here. again, investigators are back out here on this beautiful sunday day that is just marred by this charred boardwalk you see behind me. so far investigators have preserved this area, not letting
anyone into that area, sifting through the rubble, looking for clues to determine what caused this fire. christie has pledged that aid. many business owners met yesterday and they face tough hurdles ahead. >> i'll get with my professional people. we'll start assessing the economic loss and dollars and cents and the emotional loss. >> this is an extreme economic impact. i lost my business. i can't even put a figure on it. >> i got to feed my family. i got to feed my kids. this is how we do it. we just depend on people to come back and support us once we're open. >> reporter: you know, the timing of this, no time would be good for something like this. it happened to coincide with with the boardwalk centennial celebration. the section that is still open, that is still not marred by any fire, went ahead and celebrated that last night. many people have still come out here to support what's left of the seaside boardwalk. >> all right, michelle. thank you very much for that. well, celebrity chef paula deen
has reappeared three months after publicly owning up to making racial slurs. >> these are tears of joy, y'all. >> reporter: paula deen stepped into the kitchen and back on to the national stage. >> as y'all all know, unless you've been under a rock, i had a little rough patch. >> reporter: the queen of southern cooking took center stage at the metropolitan cooking show in houston. her first public appearance since her food empire unraveled earlier this year. >> i just want to thank y'all from the bottom of my heart. [ cheers and applause ] -- for your love and support. >> reporter: after deen was sued by a former restaurant manager on allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination, claims that were later dismissed. as the controversy was unfolding in june, deen bailed on a last-minute interview here on "today" and then offered up a series of taped apologies. >> i beg for your forgiveness. >> reporter: she did join matt lauer for an emotional
interview. >> i have never, with any intention, hurt anybody on purpose, and i never would. >> reporter: but by then, her big name endorsements had virtually disappeared. >> i just want to say before we start cooking, i'm so thankful and i'm so full of gratitude. >> reporter: brand experts say deen's appearance this weekend shows she can make a comeback. >> it's going to be a long haul, but this was a good first step, and she can come back. tiger woods came back. martha stewart's came back. paula deen can come back. >> reporter: even deen admits that the time away from the spotlight was good. >> you know, it was an opportunity to learn. i learned a lot about myself and certainly about my business. >> reporter: while hoping to find another recipe for success. charles hadlock, nbc news, dallas. there's a new protest to change the name of one of the
nfl's most iconic franchises. but why would the league give in this time? that's next. ss can save by sharing. like carpools... polly wants to know if we can pick her up. yeah, we can make room. yeah. [ male announcer ] ...office space. yes, we're loving this communal seating. it's great. [ male announcer ] the best thing to share? a data plan. at&t mobile share for business. one bucket of data for everyone on the plan, unlimited talk and text on smart phones. now, everyone's in the spirit of sharing. hey, can i borrow your boat this weekend? no. [ male announcer ] share more. save more. at&t mobile share for business. ♪ more is better. that's why we designed the all-new nissan versa note, with more technology, to get you into, and out of, tight spots. and more space so that you always have your favorite stuff. and just for good measure, an incredibly efficient 40 mpg highway. so that when you're doing more, you're spending less. the all-new nissan versa note. your door to more.
welcome back to "weekends with alex witt. "the green bay packers host washington at lambeau field today. outside the stadium, there's a protest going on. >> the word redskins is deeply hurtful to native americans. it is what our people were called as our lands were taken. it is the insult native american parents heard as their children were taken. and sadly, it is the racial slur the nfl continues to use to describe the team that represents our nation's capital. >> joining me now is suzanne, president of the morning star institute. suzanne, welcome. thanks for joining me. >> thank you. >> i know you're on the other side of this, but has anyone given you reasonable explanation as to why they hold on to the
name? >> no, they haven't. and i think a lot of people just consider it the same as the team and that it's being disloyal to the team. but you can do two things at once. you can love the team and hate the name. you can love the team and still want the name changed. >> yeah, you know, i'm just going to read a text i got from a dear friend of mine who's one of the most politically correct people i know. she's a long-time redskins fan. she said, i can't imagine the team i've loved and followed since i was a little girl not being called the redskins. we think of ourselves as warriors. that is the way that family interprets the name. does that at all make sense to you, and can you concede that to some? >> well, no. that's sort of the disney version of the world. what we're dealing here with is racism and a toy of racism. it's one of the last vestiges of just out and out blatant racism
against an entire group of people that exists in the united states of america. people can use this name with -- so cavalierly and not even think about it is one thing, but a lot of people know that it's racist. they know it's a racial slur. and if the -- and still use it. they don't care. >> you took this matter all the way to the supreme court, and you lost. why do you think this radio campaign is going to work when nothing else has? >> well, we've been trying things since the national indian youth council started in 1963 and the national congress of american indians and every major national native organization has called for this name to be changed. it's always been held up since the '60s on every campus as the worst example of this kind of racister it
racister it -- racist stereo typing of us in american sports. you never know what tipping point is and then you look back and say, ah, that was the tipping point. it doesn't mean the last thing made it happen. it's cumulative. >> yeah, well, i think the trajectory of that tipping point has got to come from somewhere. i read back a transcript of the november 17th, last year, espn.com event that you did when you had a conversation. some of what was said was absolutely horrific to you, and you endured it with such graciousness, i have to tell you. i don't know how you did that. i would have fought back in a much more unpleasant way. but let's talk about roger goodell, commissioner of the nfl. he hasn't exactly seen eye to eye with you on this issue. recently he said this, if we are offending one person, we need to be listening and making sure we're going the right things to try to address that. goodell grew up in the washington area for part of his childhood. do you believe he's coming around? >> well, i would hope so.
people are never too old to learn. he must long for the days the team actually did business and played in washington. now it's sort of the landover team. but we're hoping that every single person comes around, but they don't have to do it sequentially. they can do it all together. >> all right. suzanne, thank you very much for your time. best of luck. >> thank you. back to the syria situation now. secretary kerry is now in paris after meeting in jerusalem this morning with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu to discuss the plan to confiscate syria's chemical weapons. atia, good evening to you. how is the israeli government reacting to this deal between russia and the u.s.? >> reporter: good afternoon, alex. well, there's a really happy reaction, if it actually comes through fruition. many israeli officials are skeptical syria will give up
their entire chemical armament. that being said, secretary of state did make a quick stop over on his way from geneva to paris to discuss the ongoing peace process with the palestinians, but mainly to discuss syria situation. secretary kerry said they're taking the process very seriously and that a military action is still on the table if syria does not abide by the rules of this new accord. prime minister benjamin netanyahu, for his part, says that he welcomes a full disarmament of syria's chemical weapons. he says that the entire region would be much safer if it happens. but another thing that they discuss and what one israeli official calls the big elephant in the room was iran. secretary kerry says the entire international community needs to take this process very seriously because it will be used as an example in the future, whether it's north korea or iran. prime minister netanyahu, for his part, had some very stronger
words for iran. >> the world needs to ensure that radical regimes don't have weapons of mass destruction because as we've learned once again in syria, if regimes have weapons of mass destruction, they will use them. the determination of the international community shows regarding syria will have a direct impact on the syrian regime's patron, iran. >> reporter: alex, as i mentioned, most israeli officials would be very happy if syria did get stripped of all its chemical weapons, including one retired major general, who had a briefing with journalists and said this is a, quote, win, win, win situation for the syrians, for the u.s., and for israel, but it's a losing situation for the rebels. on that note, he also mentioned that it has to be done because
most israelis are very skeptical because they don't trust syrian president bashar al assad. alex? >> okay. atia, thanks. style versus substance in the standoff with syria. that's ahead in the big three. [ male announcer ] a doctor running late for a medical convention loses his computer, exposing thousands of patient records to identity theft. data breaches can happen that easily. we don't believe you should be a victim of someone else's mistake. we're lifelock. we constantly monitor the web so if any of your personal information is misused, we're on it. ♪ ow. [ male announcer ] call 1-800-lifelock or go to lifelock.com today.
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mmm. i love cheeseburgers. i know you do. when did you get this place? when i negotiated your new contract, it was part of the deal. cool. [ male announcer ] campbell's chunky soup. it fills you up right. now to what the atlantic calls the enduring legacy of president john f. kennedy. november marks 50 years since he was killed in dallas. a special commemorative issue marking his life and political career is on newsstands right now. jfk in his time and ours is a compilation of new and old pieces highlighting the glamour of his life and the era and shock of his assassination. joining me now is a historical novelist. welcome. >> thank you. >> what is it about president kennedy that continues to captivate? >> oh, i think the glamour, the time, the danger of the time that he presided over, the
youth, the good looks. i was a very young person. i was between 9 and 12 when he was president. it had a lot to do with forming my imagination, my sense of myself as an american, sense of myself as a catholic. all of those things, i think, stuck with me more than almost any other presidency would have stuck with me. >> your piece in the atlantic, it's called "magnified." what if lee harvey oswald had lost his nerve? it's a fascinating theory. what would have happened if he didn't go through with it? >> i don't concentrate so much on what would have happened to the country had kennedy lived. there are all of those enduring questions. would he have pulled out of vietnam? would he have enacted his legislative program? those remain forever. what i try to do is reduce it down to the human factor and imagine a situation in which lee harvey oswald, who was committing both, i think, psychological and political
crime, it was a kind of combination of those things, what if he had a very human failure of nerve at the last moment and pulled the gun back in through the book depository window? how would things have unfolded differently in his life? of course, by extension, throughout the world. >> you know, there's also an essay explaining why jfk is held in much higher esteem than other historians. as a historian yourself, is this true? just how successful was kennedy as a president? >> well, i don't think we can give any final answer to that because so much of what he did was really left hanging. but i think that his largest effect, which is very difficult to measure, is an inefable one. it really has to do with the way he made americans think about themselves, the pride that he gave americans in their country,
and it gave them a mythic sense, i think, of themselves. i think americans carried that through with them, whatever their politics were, straight through the end of the cold war. i think it was very much a part of our identity. >> yeah, thus the association with camelot. thank you for your time. >> thank you. the big three on the "r" word coming up. but with a mortgage. and the furniture's a lot nicer. and suddenly, the most important person in my life is someone i haven't even met yet. who matters most to you says the most about you. at massmutual we're owned by our policyowners, and they matter most to us. as you plan your next step, we'll help you get there. ron: i'm sorry, who are you? jc: i'm your coworker! c'mon guys, i'm driving. jc: you guys comfortable? it's best-in-class rear legroom. jim: do you work for volkswagen? jc: what? no. i work for... the company we all work for.
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. it is time for the big three and today's topics, style versus results, the r word, and this week's must reads. so joining me joe watkins, golden taylor, and erin carmone. we'll blister through in about 4 1/2 minutes. as we talk about style versus results, joe, the president saying today people are being critical of him for style, but he's been effective when it comes to substance on syria. isn't it the result that
matters? >> yes, but what has hurt are the mixed messages that the public has gotten, certainly the world has gotten over the last several weeks. but results matter. if this thing works out so that this agreement works out, that's a good thing for the president and the united states. >> goldie, your reaction. >> diplomacy is messy and sometimes it involves bullets. if the president had not put the use of force on the table, syria would not have admitted they had chemical weapons and would be no treaty and russia certainly would not be at the table. so does substance matter over style? absolutely. >> and the president said he is less concerned about style and more concerned about getting the policy right. >> to the extent this is about who is a bigger macho guy, that is a style question that is not interesting. but on the substance when people were generally concerned about whether there was a firm hand at the till here, so it's not just a question of did he say the right thick, it's also people
are wary of being committed to a conflict without knowing where it's going. >> let's go to our topic two. that is the r word. and we've been talking this weekend about the washington redskins. goldie, you're also there in atlanta, we can talk about the atlanta braves, so what is your reaction? >> my grandmother used to like calling us all colored. she was african-american herself. but i wouldn't want the washington redskins to be called the washington coloreds. so if people feel that it harkens back to cruel staereo types, we ought to consider making a real change. >> the issue has been taken to the supreme court and lost. does that factor into what you're thinking at all? >> it doesn't factor in. i think this has to be about the audience respect about the pum who put their butts in the seats every week. it's up to them to bring this team, this money making machine
to a point of consciousness about it. >> protesters, joe, are expected at today's game between the redskins and the packers. what do you think, should they change their name? >> i think we ought to do the right thing by nature taf americ difference americans. this if they think it's offensive, change the name. >> what will it take, is it a matter of when and not if at this point. >> i think it has to be something that affects their bottom line, that average people position that they need to staun and say this is not okay. this is the very least that we owe of people who had a history of disrespect. >> do you think it should go to the extent of people boycotting their games? >> if the case is made to them that that would change something, then yes. >> and joe, if that kind of behavior does not change anything, then what, does the name stay, does majority rule
here? >> well, i guess ultimately it's in the hands of the owners. so the owners have the final say. >> and by the way the owner said the name is not going to change. >> but they can have a change of heart, they can do right by native americans. if nature differenive americans offensive, why not change the name. >> your must reads. joe. >> "washington post," great story. ted cruz made the mistake of holding up jesse helms. and if we're going to hold up the names of great southern americans, it should be somebody like sheldon hack any who just died, he was a great american from the deep south. >> goldie, yours. >> my read today is from the daily beast and it is 40 years past the bombing. what took us so long to solve the bombing. and interesting read on the front of the daily basteast.
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this sunday morning, the breaking news on a chemical weapons deal in syria. could president obama win without a fight, or is the deal just a stall tactic? with no end in sight to the syrian civil war, the question remains, will syria's president assad comply? the view from key members of the senate this morning, plus "the new york times" columnist tom friedman with his analysis and our roundtable on president obama's search for a solution. authors bob woodward and richard wolffe, "washington post" columnist kathleen parker and republican strategist ana navarro analyze the president's decision-making. plus, the fifth anniversary of t