tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC November 27, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PST
control and a majority of americans support increasing women's access to birth control, are we still talking about it? yesterday, the supreme court agreed to hear two cases conferring the affordable care act's requirement that companies' insurance plans cover birth control. two private for-profit company, the hobby lobby, claim that the birth control mandate is a violation of their religious lib ierty. the owners said they, quote, integrate their faith into their daily lives, including work. and on hobby lobby's website, they proclaim their commitment to, quote, honoring the lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with biblical principles. now, in this case, integrating faith and honoring the lord means cutting off access to reproductive health care for their female employees. it's worth noting that over half of women in america between the ages of 18 and 64 get their health insurance through their employers. and 27 million women are currently being covered by the
birth control provision. hopefully when the case is argued before the supreme court this spring, the justices will place the individual rights of these women over those of corporations. joining me now is the president of plan the parenthood federation of america cecile richards and msnbc.com national reporter erin carmone. this is a very pro-choice conversation we're about to have. i want to start with you, cecile, and talk about the broader implications of these cases. >> well, i think you hit on it in the beginning. for women, birth control is the most common medical prescription in america. 99% of women use it. so when these objections are being made to birth control, i think it's really confusing for women. for women, birth control is not a religious issue. it's actually a health issue. many women, in fact, use oral contraceptives for things other than preventing unintended pregnancy. it's also an economic issue. i think this has really gotten lost in this story. if you are a minimum-wage
worker, working at a national craft -- arts and crafts company and you're paying $600 for birth control, not covering it is a big deal. it's an economic issue. >> erin, the other thash strikes me, there was a citation of citizens united in this, and this sort of question of are corporations people too? do you put the rights of the individual over the corporation? it does raise dramatic implications. but there's also broader legal implications. >> what's important to note is that when you incorporate your company, you're shielding yourself from certain kinds of liability. you're turni ining it into a coy and you have responsibilities and rights. you don't get to have it both ways. these cases are likely going to be decided not on the basis of citizens united or a first amendment argument but on the religious freedom restoration act which was passed by congress in the early '90s. i think what they have to show
is -- they have to prove two things in order for these private employers to be able to deny their employees contraception. they have to show that a corporation can even have religious liberty, which is certainly a stretch, that it has absolutely no basis and precedent, citizens united aside. it would be an enormously radical thing to say a corporation has a religious exercise. then they would also have to show that women, that their employees accessing birth control is a burden on that and the government's compelling interest doesn't supersede that. >> and i want to get to the politics, because we've seen the politics over the last couple weeks about the nuclear option and judges. one of the things i think this case underlines and underscores is that judges matter, particularly the circuit court judges we've been talking about. cecile, you've made an interesting point about wanting to see this case sort of make it its way up to the supreme court for that. >> right. that's really why the supreme court took these two cases. because we have differing opinions at the circuit court level. it's important this issue be decided. i believe it should be decided that women have the right to
access birth control. you know, erin makes a good point and you do too, which is we all believe in religious freedom. i think the question is, does an employer, particularly a big corporation, have the right to have their, the owner's own religious freedoms basically trump that of all of his employees. >> and you know, erin, here's the thing that makes me just infuriated about this. the idea that my employer in 2013 gets to tell me as a woman what medicines i can take. that's like i have to have a husband to have a bank account. that is how backwards this thinking really is. >> there were previous cases where employers said they wanted to pay women less because they didn't believe that women should be earning money. that was found to be unconstitutional. they claim that was their religious belief, that the man is the head of household. this opens up the idea that your employer can make up a kinds of decisions for you and deny all kinds of rights and access to you. it's all very well to say, i'm not stopping anyone from taking birth control, but the
difference, it's an economic justice issue. you know, you can have that right on paper, but if your employer is actively thwarting your consummation of that right, then it makes a big difference. >> i want to play -- i believe we have a full screen of an anti-obama care cartoon that illustrates what we're talking about here. so it says, got insurance? no! what i got is an std from one of the many women who now get free birth control and a website i can't access. now you can too. thanks, obama care. now, cartoonist ann fran crco s he's not opposed to birth control, just paying with it through his taxes. so much wrong with this cartoon. >> where do you start? crazy. >> it ain't like the guys are participating this in process as well. >> that's the irony. men support birth control just like women do. this is normative behavior. again, incredibly common. if you look at what happened in obama care in a much bigger picture, the birth control benefit is one piece of it. it was really important.
but that was part of a bigger preventive care benefit, which was saying, actually, society has an interest in public health, has an interest in women having preventive care. we can prevent unintended pregnancy, we can detect breast cancer earlier. there are a whole host of things that are happening to really equalize health care for women. it's incredible that this benefit, which only benefits women, is suddenly under attack. >> and, you know, i feel like time and time again there is a benefit or a something that only benefits women and it is women fighting the fight. it seems to me just on a political context, erin, that the gop in particular does not understand that women, they have not forgotten this. this is not going away. i think we have great evidence from virginia. women are going to fight this issue. we're talking about access to birth control when in the last election cycle, people were supportive of access to abortion care. i mean, this is -- >> we were just remembering last year, honestly. i remember being in a rage watching certain, you know, respectable pundits say obama made a huge mistake, you know, they need to capitulate to the
catholic bishops and scale back contraceptive access. these are the same people who don't want to see abortion in america. i don't think they really understand how medicine works. >> well, they don't understand that some of us actually take birth control for migraines and other things. >> exactly. a whole host of reasons. >> very quickly, cecile, i also think this case highlights why it's so important we're paying attention at the state level. albuquerque, a great example. texas, another example. talk about that a little bit. >> you're exactly right. all these cases come from below, come from states. what we are seeing in keeping with what erin was saying about the last election, which is people are overwhelmingly support i have of women having access to health care. we just saw in virginia ken cuccinelli overwhelmingly defeated by women in that state and men who said he's too extreme. again, birth control was a major issue there. just saw a win in albuquerque. again, i spent the summer in texas where this whole set of issues about women losing access to health care became a huge political fire storm. i think it lit a fire in texas
that is not going out. >> yeah, all right. thanks to you both. after the break, as millions of americans travel to celebrate thanksgiving with family and friends, it's a sloppy, wet mess out there. we'll get a live report and tomorrow's turkey day forecast from the weather channel's reynolds wolf. that's next on "now." ♪ you know, ronny... folks who save hundreds of dollars by switching to geico sure are happy. and how happy are they jimmy? i'd say happier than a bodybuilder directing traffic. he does look happy. get happy. get geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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national weather service this morning said, quote, the timing couldn't be worse. well, that's for sure. joining me now is weather channel meteorologist tom niziol. tom, give us a sense of how the storm, how bad it is and when we might see relief. >> yeah, the bad part of the storm is all of that rainfall on the east coast. that's really hampering air travel. that rain is going to move off the coast as we get into later afternoon. that'll improve conditions somewhat, but then we're going to have to contend with winds along that east coast, both tonight and into tomorrow morning. >> so to that point about the wind, that's raised concerns about tomorrow and how it might affect the macy's thanksgiving day parade here in new york. will we be able to get the balloons off the ground? >> i'm really concerned about that now. i expect to see winds sustained over 20 miles an hour. i can show you that here. we have a graphic that shows the winds along the coastal area of new england. this is going to include places from new york up to boston. you can see winds sustained at 20 to 25 miles an hour. we may see some gusts early in
the morning around the 8:00 a.m. time frame of 40 miles an hour. that's going to really wreak havoc with those balloons. i know they know what they're doing, but with those kinds of winds, that could cause problems. >> any idea when they're expected to die down? >> i expect by later tomorrow morning into the afternoon they'll drop down to the 10 to 20-mile-an-hour range. that should improve conditions not only, you know, along where the parade route was but certainly for air travel as well. >> our times square camera, you can really see it shaking. >> yeah, it's shaking now because the winds are gusting over 30. like i say, tomorrow morning on the backside of this cold front, you're going to see winds gusting as high as 40 miles an hour. i'll tell you what, if you're going to the parade, bundle up. that combination of colder temperatures and strong winds is going to really put a chill in were body. >> absolutely. if you're going to be hitting the roads, be patient with it. weather channel's tom niziol, thank you so much. >> you're welcome. coming up, the short-term nuclear deal has been made with
iran. but now president obama has to convince congress to follow his lead. we'll talk to the deputy national security adviser about president obama's diplomatic pursuits both abroad and here at home. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses,
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>> in order to work, nuclear weapons require either highly enriched uranium or plutonium. uranium, as i'm sure you know, is found in nature, but it's found in a form, a raw form, that can't be used for a bomb. >> but that has not deterred some hard liners in congress. democratic senator bob menendes and mark kirk are currently working on a bill that would reimpose $7 billion worth of sanctions. now, this is the same senator kirk who recently quipped, quote, how do you define an iranian moderate? that's an iranian who's out of bullets and money. nice. the administration has warned that additional sanctions could torpedo this carefully negotiated first step, but the man who determines whether new sanctions get a vote, senate minority leader harry reid, is keeping his cards very close to the chest. >> we'll take a look at this when i get back.
all aspects of it. but we all have to acknowledge that it's an important first step. is a first step good enough? we'll take a look at this. >> meanwhile, yesterday iranian president rouhani sold the deal to his own people on the 100th day of his term as president, tweeting under #100days. quote, investment will increase, economic activity will increase. joining me now, business and economics correspondent for slate, matthew iglesias, political editor and white house correspondent for the huffington post, sam stein. nbc's cassie hunt, and senior congressional reporter for talking points memo. and joining me from the white house briefing room is deputy national security adviser tony blinken. thanks so much for joining us. >> thanks for having me. >> tony, we're getting reports this morning according to french spokesman that essentially iran
will continue construction of the water reactor despite the deal which says there should be no further activities. what can you tell us about that? >> first, let's be clear about a couple things. this deal is important because for the first time in a decade, it halts the progress of iran's nuclear program, it rolls it back in some key respects, and it gives us the monitoring and inspections we've never had before. with regard to the iraq facility, the deal says that -- and the iranians have pledged they will not make any progress on iraq for the duration of this deal. that includes not putting fuel in it the reactor, not making fuel for the reactor, not installing components into the reactor. those are the key things. that is what stops the progress of this plutonium reactor, which were it to be fueled and turned on, would present a real problem. >> but it strikes me we're sort of talking about construction or not construction. i mean, they're defining it as not construction. what you just laid out sounds like construction, no? >> it's really a nonissue. what construction refers to is
the building itself. that's basically built. it's basically there. so if under the agreement, if they were to paint a wall, that would be okay. but the point is, it's largely constructed. the issue with iraq is whether fuel sl made for it, fuel goes into it, and the components, the innards go into it. that's what's been stopped in its tracks. it can't go hot. that's a major, major achievement. >> i want to bring the panel in. cassie, i want to start with you. how is the white house going to get congress on board? as as we pointed out in the opening, not get in the way essentially. >> there is rare bipartisan appetite in congress for further sanctions on iran. one of my questions for tony would be whether or not the president would walk away from sanctions that were additional sanctions that would only be imposed if it became clear that iran was not meeting the terms of the deal that we've laid out or of this interim deal so far.
it looks like that's starting to emerge as a potential compromise, basically to say, okay, we want to act, we want to be more aggressive about this, we want to show the american people we're being more aggressive, but we're willing to give the administration the benefit of the doubt, except that we're going to be the hammer on the back end and say if you don't follow through -- >> i'm going to give tony an opportunity to respond to that. >> so we've had a terrific partnership with congress on this. as a result of that partnership, we've had the most devastating sanctions program really in the history of sanctions. we've also brought along, thanks to the president's leadership, countries around the world whose participation is necessary for these sanctions to be effective. during this six months, keep in mind, it's very important, the sanctions will continue to be implemented and indeed the pressure on iran will grow during the six months. it won't decrease. the small amount of relief they get will be dwarfed by the sanctions that continue to be applied against them. so we don't need anymore pressure at this point. second, it's really not necessary because if at the end of the six months there is no comprehensive solution or if during the six months the
iranians don't make good on their commitments, we can turn on a dime and congress can turn on a dime and implement new sanctions. there's already a house bill. the senate could take that up and pass spananctions in a matt of a day. the truth s we really don't need anything now, even something that has a trigger six months from now. it's not necessary and it could prove divisive because it could be taken as a sign of bad faith by our allies and irans. >> i want to switch gears and point out something senator john cornyn tweeted because i think it shows what we are dealing with here. he tweeted, amazing at what white house will do to distract from o-care. our colleague dana millbank said, quote, this would appear to be the first time a president has been accused of distracting the public's attention by making peace. call it wag the dove. what do you make of that? >> you know, i think republicans in congress really, really,
really want to talk about obama care and anything democrats do is seen in some light as a distraction from that. this is their moment to exploit all the bad things that are happening with this law, and this window might not last if the white house keeps to its word and fixes the website by the end of this month. things are going to go a lot better. come january, people are going to be covered. their window of opportunity will kind of diminish. so we've seen this with iran issue, we've seen this with senate democrats rationing back the filibuster with nuclear option. a lot of talk about, okay, senate democrats or democrats in general really -- >> i want to take the opportunity to admit a deal months in the making -- >> sam, i want to ask you a question. then you can ask tony a question. to tony's point about the impact of sanctions, we have seen data that suggests in terms of the harshest of sanctions, in 2009, there were a few thousand centrifuges. 2013, 18,000. so it's this question of whether or not harsher sanctions now is really the answer versus is now
the moment to try to get a deal. i mean, i think it's a fair point. >> well, yeah. and tony can probably speak to this. when you talk to anyone in diplomatic circles or who works the state department, they look at the election of rouhani as a window of opportunity that you needed to take advantage of. there was a very small sliver, a chance to actually pursue some sort of diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff. and if you were to tighten the sanctions at this juncture, it would be a massive rebuke and there would be ramifications for the iranian political culture as well. so maybe tony can speak to that as well. in addition to the idea that you guys planned this deal months in advance knowing that the obama care website was going to be dysfunctional, but seriously, is this a window now? and how closely are you monitoring the political situation, the political dynamics in iran to make sure that you're not pushing too hard or pushing too softly? i'm sure it's very fragile. i'm curious to hear what your thinking is on that. >> so two things. one, with regard to the sanctions, it's really important to remember why we developed these sanctions in the first
place. the point was to see if we could bring iran to the negotiating table to finally negotiate in good faith the international community's concerns about its nuclear program. that's exactly what they've achieved. that's what the pressure was designed to do. that's why everyone signed up for these sanctions, including countries around the world. now that we've succeeded in doing that, let's give diplomacy a chance to see if we can get a comprehensive solution. and we're going to be tracking this very, very, very carefully. as to the internal politics in iran, look, it's obviously a complicated thing. but one thing we know is this, rouhani was e effelected on a platform to do something about the economy. the way to do something about the economy was to do something about the sanctions. and that was to finally engage on the nuclear program. if we can get this to a place where -- remember, the goal is to make sure at the end of the day the international community is satisfied that their nuclear program can only be used for peaceful purposes, not to build a nuclear weapon. if we can get to that place, it
will be a major achievement. >> matt, i want to bring in the point there's a larger context here. there's the internal politics in iran. there's the internal politics in the united states. then there's the politics of the region. i want to read something you wrote. quote, while the western powers don't want iran to have a nuclear weapon, many other regional stake holders want iran to be weak. if you want iran to be weak, the risk isn't so much that the deal won't work as that the deal will work. >> well, yeah. i mean, i wrote that because these sanctions really are crippling iran. and a risk for sort of the other countries in it the region is that iran will comply with the terms and over time we will get a better deal. they will disarm their nuclear program in some meaningful way. and their economy will be able to start growing again. you know, a country with an advanced nuclear weapons science that's otherwise completely impoverished is in a lot of ways not an influential regional actor. >> like north korea. >> exactly. if iran manages to reintegrate with the global system, that
will be a great win for the iranian people and iran as a country but potentially a problem for its neighbors. >> tony, we've heard this comparison to north korea previously. i know there are some distinct differences. for some, it's a very valid comparison in terms of the concerns they have as to whether or not this six-month period is going to yield the results we're hoping for. >> so look, i think the comparison is fundamentally wrong. first of all, north korea already had nuclear weapons when we engaged it. so the challenge was to see if we could stop the advancements program and ultimately roll it back. they've already had nuclear weapons. iran does not. second, the inspections that we're getting, the access we're getting, the monitoring we're getting as a result of this interim deal is unlike anything we had in north korea and unlike anything we've had before in iran. this will give us a much greater ability to feel confident they're make got a on their commitments, to make sure they're not diverting material to a covert program and to create basically a basis for us to see if we can get to a
comprehensive solution without worrying that they're using the cover of talks to advance their program. so right now there's no question that what we've achieved in halting the advance of their program, rolling it back in some respects and getting these inspections is a big advance for our security, for the security of our partners in the region. by the way, an iran that doesn't have a nuclear weapon or an advanced program is going to have less cover for the kind of destabilizing activities that rightly are of deep concern to our partners and allies in the region. so that will actually benefit them if we get to that point. >> all right. tony blinken, we have to leave it there. we shall see over the coming months. have a great thanksgiving. >> thanks very much. one has a steady and deliberate walk. the other loves to listen to "halo" by beyonce. moments from now, we'll learn who will win the title of national thanksgiving turkey. i'll ask the panel if they are team caramel or popcorn. that's next on "now." hi honey, did you get the toaster cozy?
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for the past 50 years on the day before thanksgiving, every u.s. president has embarked on the annual tradition of the turkey pardon. and today will be no different when in about an hour, president obama will pardon the national thanksgiving turkey in the white house rose garden. some say the tradition started with president abraham lincoln. others say it was president kennedy. either way, it's been around a while, and it's not likely to go anywhere any time soon. this year the people get to decide which bird gets the pardon. now, the choice is between caramel, whose favorite song is lady gaga's "bad romance" and popcorn, who's more of a beyonce kind of guy. caramel and popcorn were chosen out of a pool of 8,000 newly hatched turkeys. according to "time" magazine, they had to endure weeks of
parapar paparazzi training, spent a lot of time listening to john mayer, and took up residence in a hotel. after today, president obama will have pardoned ten turkeys in all. stishlgs to this day, the turkey pardon of the century goes to none other than sarah palin. fresh off defeat in the 2008 election, palin managed to pardon a local alaska bird while live birds who had not been pardoned were being shoved into a machine by a man smiling behind her. >> oh, i don't know. >> come on, sarah. >> all right, yes. this is our pardon turkey. this was neat. i was happy to get to be invited to participate in this. >> what are you going to cook for thanksgiving? >> i'll be in charge of the turkey. i'm where i need to be today to prepare for that. >> all right. give me your votes, guys. are you for caramel, or are you for popcorn? and if you have a reason why, i'm hope to hearing it.
>> i think i like caramel's taste in music better. >> interesting. >> i think it's caramel. a fancy turkey. >> this is the question we're trying to answer. sam? >> i think they all have terrible taste in music. they both look delicious, i guess. i don't know. i can't choose. i'm too hungry. >> such a sam stein answer. >> the white house says caramel is a little taller. i'll go for that. >> you don't want the shorter turkey to live? >> when you say you go for that, do you want it pardoned or cooked? >> pardoned. >> fair enough. >> i'm with sam on the poor taste in music on both of them. i'm going with team popcorn. i'm a fan of the proud strut walk. >> i'm with popcorn. we had a conversation about this earlier. caramel is very fancy. >> how do they go through paparazzi training? >> i suspect -- i know this. >> you do? >> yes, i do. this is where my time at the white house will actually come in handy. the way they've traditionally done, this they have the turkey,
there's children, there's the press, there's adults, all kinds of noise. >> so this is a legit thing. >> they've literally had problems in the past with the turkey going crazy. so they literally prepare the turkey for -- they also don't really invite too many kids anymore. >> over the course of the day, they'll have a few cameras, more cameras, more people. >> you know when players practice with the sounds of the fans in the stands. >> i'd like to know why the white house is holding so much information about these turkeys. what do they know about benghazi? what did they know about obama care and what did they know it? >> do these turkeys code? >> i'm sure that darryl issa is working on a subpoena for more information. >> both of these turkeys will be fine at the end of the day. this is not a real thing. >> sam, don't say anything horrible that you might regret later. there might be children watching. >> i'll just sip my water. >> i think we've said all we can about the turkeys. coming up, going somewhere? it's the busiest travel day of
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i swapped it for staying in. [ shouts ] guess who's going out tomorrow. [ female announcer ] swap one snack a week for a yoplait. it is so good. flight delays and cancellations are piling up as a thanksgiving storm sweeps across the east coast. at least 200 flights have already been canceled today according to flightaware.com. that pushes the total flights canceled this week to more than 1500. nbc's katy tur is at laguardia airport in new york city. how are things there? >> reporter: laguardia is not so bad. across the country, though, about 239 flights canceled, hundreds of others delayed. here at laguardia, there are a smattering of delays across the board. we've seen a little bit more in the hours -- recent hours. for the most part, it's going pretty smoothly here. travelers, the longest they've had to wait that i've heard here is about an hour. pretty much most everyone is
getting off the ground on time. it's the outbound flights that are okay. the inbound flights are having much more of a problem. there's about an hour delay on flights coming into laguardia. it's two hours down in philly. that's where you're seeing most of the problems. much of the backup is down in atlanta right now, according to flight aware. just because you're not seeing a lot of bad weather at your airport in particular, other airports might be impacted and that can create a cascading effect of issues across the country. that's certainly what we're seeing. now, people at laguardia seem to be having a good time. we did have a guy dressed in a giant turkey costume walk by just a second ago. i'm not sure if my cameraman can get him, but he's down there. >> people are getting into the spirit is what you're saying. >> reporter: they're trying to lift spirits. there's also carollers. if you didn't want to celebrate thanksgiving, you can celebrate christmas already. and the producers were asking this earlier. the bar is fully stocked. i'm told the bar is fully stocked. >> that's the question we wanted to know. is it open and fully stocked?
nbc's katy tur. >> reporter: if you need it, you can go do it. >> all right. thanks. coming up, pope francis lays out a moral economic framework for the catholic church, but can the pope's policy principles be a lesson plan for some members of congress? we'll discuss who should be paying very close attention to this sunday's homily. that's next on "now." a subaru... ...are the hands that do good things for the whole community: the environment, seniors, kids, and animals. that's why we created the share the love event. by the end of this year, the total donated by subaru could reach 35 million dollars. you get a great deal on a new subaru. we'll donate 250 dollars to a choice of charities that benefit your community. it feels good to be a helping hand.
in his first exto beation, pope francis delivered a critique of global capitalism, calling on countries to refocus their efforts on addressing poverty and rising inequality. he said, quote, today the pope wrote everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest where the powerful feed upon the powerless. the pope also lambasted an economic system that he called, quote, unjust at its roots in which exclusion and inequality kills. he also blasted today's culture
of consumerism and called upon all nations to rein in the excesses of those at the top. the most controversial passage was one that particularly resonated in this country when he took a direct shot at supply side economics writing, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories, which assume that economic growth encouraged by a free market will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. this opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the workings of the prevailing economic system. well, there you have it. so sam, that's a very strong statement from the pope. we've heard similar statements since he became pope, talking about the poor, talking about income inequality. this is a pretty bold, fairly direct statement coming from the
pope. >> i mean, i'm not a follower of the papacy. i don't know the history of the papacy that well. i'm jewish. but i have to say, you know, honestly, this sin credibly impressive to me. is seems pretty daring on his part to weigh in so clearly on political and economic issues. for what it's worth, there is resonance here for american catholics obviously but for also our political dialogue. you should look at what he's saying and see if your policies are matching it. i don't know how much is going to change the debate in washington. certainly very brave on his behalf. >> we know paul ryan has been trying to, as i like to say, make the pivot to poverty. we have some sound from him, but clearly, you know, at the same time he is also heading this budget process that doesn't seem to be in line with what the pope is talking about. it feels like more trickle-down economics to a lot of people. but this is where paul ryan, a good catholic, is trying to stake his claim. >> you're seeing this theme sort
of permeate american politics a the this particular moment in time. you saw it with bill de blasio in new york city. "new york" magazine did a nice little quiz. who said it? bill de blasio. >> i feel like both can say it. it's really okay. >> but, you know, i think it's something in particular that democrats -- i talked to congressional democrats looking ahead to the midterm elections in 2014. one thing they're saying really working for them is this millionaires versus medicare message. that hits at some of the things paul ryan has been saying. they look at those numbers and they see it's really a winning issue for them, just like it was in 2012. at the end of the day, the crippling part of romney was this richie rich persona. >> paul ryan recognizes he's done con scentrated events and efforts to make sure people know he's focused on equality. it's the follow through policy. >> we have some sound from paul ryan. let's take a listen. >> i'm not a big income redistributionist. i believe in a society where we
help people who cannot help themselves, we help people when they're down on their luck, and we have an incentive based system where people want to get up and make the most of their lives for themselves and their kids. we don't want to turn this safety net into a hammock that ends up lulling people into lies and dependency and complacency. >> this is the point that i think infuriates a lot of people. the rhetoric up until the point about the hammock was pretty very much consistent with, you know, i am my brother's keeper, we should look out for people, all of that. but this insistence from paul ryan and the conservatives that this meme that somehow you're lazy if you're reliant on these services. that's where they seem to go right off the trail. >> i think this is why the pope's remarks are such a big deal. he's not just picking out these principles that everyone agrees with and society should do what's right. he's actually wading into the policy debate. he's railing against austerity. he's clearly not on the paul ryan page.
the problem is people are too dependent and if you simply break them from the shackles of dependency, they'll spring up and become productive members of society. he's saying we need to do less us aer it t austerity. this is a change from what we've seen. >> you know, matt, we've seen in europe and abroad and other places this idea that austerity is the answer, maybe not. people backing off from that. so in terms of the bigger picture, do we think the pope's message, obviously very targeted to the united states it seems like, but also to this broader conversation about austerity that's happening globally. >> well, i actually think it's quite important in the european context. it's the predominantly catholic countries that have the pain of austerity. but also within germany, the catholic portion of that country is the area that's sort of more politically conservative and has been pushing a lot of this agenda. you had an interesting story in
"the new york times" today. a lot of political leaders on that content are budget cutting, higher consumption taxes on people. if you can change the conversation around there, that matters less to americans maybe watching this show, but equally as much to the world. and the pope, you know, he has a global audience. he's from latin america. he's thinking about the whole world. >> you know, sam, to this point about this imf story that matt was talking about, it also sort of spoke to this idea that, you know, some of the folks at the top maybe have to help bear the burden of, you know, helping out the people at the bottom, a concept we've been talking about seems like ad nauseam for several years here in this country. thmpblt >> this is all happening in the context of continuing conversations of continuing assistance in the united states. we have these budget talks that should produce some sort of result on december 7th or mid december. the question is, what are they going to do about the fraying social safety net in america with respect to unemployment
insurance? it's a big open question mark. the white house has been pushing on it. but they could very well lapse. we'll have to see. >> you know, to that point, we have some of the numbers on income inequality. to sam's point, i think it's 1.3 million as of december 28th will be in need of additional unemployment insurance. 95% of income gains went to the top 1%, but somehow barack obama is still a socialist. incomes of top 1% grew 31.4%. incomes of bottom 99% grew 0.4. to what you were saying before, that the message is working, it feels like the politicians are actually starting to figure out because that's what's happening on the ground. it's not just the message. >> and it's happening on both the left and the right. it might not explicitly be about wealth in both of those contexts. you can even trace the tea party to these populous strains that are disenfranchised from the ruling elite, if you will, in washington. i think you're seeing that. on the left, you're also seeing income inequality. some analysts have pointed out when you're talking about
statistics of income inequality, if you map it out, what you see as far as how much of wealth is held by the top, like 10% or so, is approaching levels that it was when we were approaching the great depression. so this idea that there's this enormous gulf between the top and bottom is driving a lot of this. >> as we talk about this as a potential message for 2014, remember that, you know, where progressives kind of were back on their heels a little bit was, well, this is class warfare, it's pitting different groups of people against each other rather than, which i think the argument really is, no, we're all in this together. >> there's the alternative message to say, yes, it's class warfare and one class is winning. every day we get a new record-breaking stock market metric hit. you know, the data is there. there was a candidate who did pretty well on this in 2004 and 2008. his name is john edwards. but the whole two americas theme is not new. >> and that was part of de
blasio's theme. >> this is happening at a really critical moment. as we just discussed, income inequality is at its widest in history, even beyond the great depression. stagnating wages. the fact people can't afford education and health care. this is all happening at a really important moment. the pope has the large egs megaphone in the world. >> well, and part of the argument here is the bush tax cuts. when we take a look at what happened in the aftermath of the tax cuts, this has been part of the argument, that trickle-down economics doesn't work when you look at, you know, how those tax cuts benefitted the wealthy, didn't help people on the other end of the spectrum, yet it feels like we're still getting versions of that from paul ryan and his caucus. >> well, when you look at those tax cuts also and the aggregate of the bush sort of presidency, part of why there is such a backlash is, especially as we look at the scene now, not only did he implement those tax cuts, but he involved america in these two very expensive wars that people are essentially tired of
paying for. americans sitting at moment feeling like their paychecks aren't going up and this idea that income inequality is dri drive -- driving the conversation. >> matt, i have to say, given that tomorrow is thanksgiving and we know that some will actually be having to work, that does not seem like a message that is consistent here with what i think the pope is talking about. >> well, right. you know, we're talking about a time when the stock market is at its all-time high. we see these stories sort of day after day. think back to a year ago to the fiscal cliff debate, republicans were saying, well, if taxes go up, particularly taxes on the wealthy, it's going to crush investment. it's going to crush the economy. and we haven't seen that, right. investors are doing great. it's people who work for a living that have been struggling, struggling to get hours, struggling to get pay raises, struggling to find a job. you know, that's the sort of the economy of exclusion that we're
talking about. >> all right. we have to leave it there. thank you to matthew, sam, casey, and sahil. that's all for now. alex will be back at noon on monday. have a great thanksgiving, everyone. "andrea mitchell reports" is up next. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great. the money you spend here, stays here. in this place you call your neighborhood. this saturday is small business saturday. get out and shop small.
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