tv MSNBC Live MSNBC January 8, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
in hot water. and the president opens a new chapter in the war on poverty. >> 50 years after president lyndon johnson declared -- >> unconditional war on poverty. >> unemployment insurance has been a vital economic lifeline. >> it is a new agenda of classic warfa warfare. >> if you extend it beyond 26 weeks, you're causing them to become part of this perpetually unemployed group. >> these are your neighbors, your friends, your family. >> we lost. we should stop fighting. >> we are concerned about those who have had a difficult time. >> we would consider extending emergency unemployment benefits. >> we may be walked into a cul-de-sac by our colleagues.
>> theif there were provisions could agree to. it is a busy wednesday and we're following several developing and important stories this afternoon. the white house pushing back against startling claims against the obama administration in a new book by bob gates. and then time for some traffic problems in fort lee. those are lines you're going to hear again. some shocking e-mails that link a chris christie aid to a scandal. we begin today with lyndon johnson's war on poverty. an agenda that the president says is crucial to dealing with economic issues today. tomorrow, the president will get in action mode at the white
house laying out the first of five so-called promise zones. those are tax breaks and other assistances and programs for troubled cities to create job. that comes after the president stood beside some jobless americans this week. the house of representatives is just back from a recess. a rested and refreshed john boehner was out today with a fresh new outlook. >> jobs, jobs, jobs because the american people are still asking the question, where are the jobs? >> we have heard that line. the speaker did weigh in on benefits for the long-term jobless. >> i've made clear we would consider extending unemployment benefits if it was paid for and if there were provisions that we could agree to that would get our economy moving again and put the american people back to work. >> his republican colleague put
it more standard. >> really, this is america. >> this is america. we do know that. we're a country where people want to make sure the recovery doesn't leave people behind. if you want evidence, the subject of a speech by mark rubio today may be all you need. >> the uncomfortable truth is that there are now a number of other countries where there's much or more opportunity than ours. now america is still the land of opportunity for most, but it is not a land of opportunity for all. and if we are to remain an exceptional nation, we must close this gap in opportunity. >> we are going to debate some of those duelling ideas about closing the opportunity gap. first we're going to go to congresswoman.
thanks for joining us today. >> thank you. >> i want to start simply and briefly with your take on where we are on this anniversary of the war on poverty. >> you know, ari, let me say that for those who believe that the war on poverty did not work, let me make sure they understand clearly that without it we would have more people in poverty today than we do certainly with the expansion of nutrition programs and job training programs, things like job corps. people need to understand without these programs we would be worse off than where we are today. do we need to do more? absolutely. we still have many people, too many people, people who work every day, who can not make a living. who cannot take care of their families. >> that's why the anniversary can be useful as a discussion or
policy exercise. what is our baseline? republican steve sutherland said the war on poverty as failed and he said it's created generations who don't know how to work. take a listen to that. >> so many times we have individuals who are second, third, and fourth generation in poverty or government recipients of monies and therefore they've never seen it. i think from a compassionate, a caring standpoint of saying, we have to introduce the blessing of work to people who have never seen it. >> he is talking about compassion and blessings there. he's saying the problem here is that the united states is grandfathering these poverty benefits. your response. >> it is just amazing to me that some have convinced themselves that they are caring and they're compassionate. i think they're delusional.
but more importantly if you look at numbers, just look at the data, there are more people looking for jobs than there are jobs available. how do you say these people don't want to work? how do you imply these people are lazy or there is a history of not wanting to work? it is dishonest. it is hurtful to the american people to accuse them of not wanting to pull their weight. i think they need to stop talking and sounding as though they they really care when in fact they don't care. they are denigrating the dignity of people in this country. >> i think that's an important point here. it really goes to the status with which we treat people on these programs. the insurance goes into something people have paid into and deserve to get back in emergencies. we are in a job emergency that came from 2008 and has left us
with a lot fewer jobs. thanks for joining us today. >> thank you for having me. it's my pleasure. >> let's turn to our panel. he is a former adviser to president george w. bush and michael waldman. he served president clinton. welcome to you both. michael, i start with you. if you want to pick up with what the congresswoman was saying and how we take this anniversary, which means something to a lot of people, and think about the role of the president, specifically the federal government, in dealing with long-term poverty. >> 50 years ago president lyndon johnson engaged in rhetorical overkill in saying we were going to be able to wage unconditional war on poverty like the war on drugs. it's not the most effective way to look at it. there's no doubt as the census bureau shows with its new
studies that these programs have kept a lot of people out of poverty. the poverty rate would be double what it is now if you didn't have these programs. but when i hear about people talk about people trapped in cycles of dependency, we're not in 1980 anymore. we have a lot of programs that have been reformed. president clinton signed welfare reform that says you have to go to work. they expanded working poor tax credits. >> earned income, yep. >> it's all focused on getting people into the work force. but right now we have not enough jobs and structural changes in the economy some of it due to globalization and technology. >> and the reaction of the crisis is key. glen, i want to bring you in here. i want to play for you something
that marco rubio was saying today. i want to be clear it is probably a good thing or a potential point of progress that senator rubio wants to deal with inequali inequality. that's what he said he wants to do. >> what i am proposing today is the most fundamental change to how the federal government fights poverty and encourages upward mobility since president johnson first conceived the war on poverty 50 years ago today. i'm suggesting we turn over the poverty programs to the states. >> i give him points for the topic and zero points for the solution, which as you know and you've been in the heart of these debates, his solution strikes me to be no solution at all because what he's saying is discontinue the federal work here and see what happens at the local level. >> honestly, i think we need
both. we have made big successes in the world on poverty, but in terms of is a safety net. it's a safety net that needs to be strong. the real issue is inclusion. giving the people the opportunity to work. it's about investing in skills and strengthening the income tax credit. >> glen, speak to me if you will, about where we are with the conversation with the 1%. you served president george w. bush. there's politics here as well as economics. mitt romney made a political mistake about the 47%, right? on the economics of it, a lot of folks don't feel it is good economics or accurate to say any program at the federal level who has redistribution is
automatically a handout. >> that's right. if you go back to the rhetoric president johnson used years ago, this should be about a handup not a handout. i don't think people are lazy. i think people want to work. i think the question is giving people the skills, the training, the jobs to be able to do that. that should be the goal of policy, not bigger safety nets. >> i hear you on that. michael, go ahead. >> one of the things that we can learn from is not only the great society of the 1960s, but the new deal of the 1930s, where millions of people were given the opportunity to work on infrastructure, building institutions, dams, and everything else we're still living off of the capital they put into in the 1930s. if we want to be serious about getting people to work, there are lots of things democrats and republicans, progressives, and
conservatives used to agree on. there were other issues that are more ideological. this used to be what people talked about. hopefully with the recent budget deal, hopefully, we'll get past the hostage taking of further debt crisises. >> yeah, i think that's where there is some movement and attention here. you have some house republicans, who has we play, have been pretty tough on this. to glen's point, you are in the mainstream of the republican party as well. you and others have said, let's not only focus on that kind of attack on beneficiaries, let's think about these growth policies. we might see a little more action and a little less disparaging stuff. thank you both today. >> pleasure. >> pleasure. all right.
there is also big news about a man who many republicans think can get their party back into the white house. new e-mails that imp kate chris christie aides in a scandal. [ male announcer ] this is kevin. to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him, he's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. i was okay, but after lunch my knee started to hurt again. and now i've got to take more pills. ♪ yup. another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? ♪ for my pain, i want my aleve.
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busiest bridge. it seems to directly contradict for original lane closures on the george washington bridge. today the new materials suggest state officials shut down traffic to punish a political opponent of the governor. three weeks before the closures an e-mail read, quote, time for some traffic problems in fort lee. text messages were sent between the source of the documents and an unidentified person who is partially redacted for unknown reasons. "the new york times" identifies her as a christie deputy of staff. is it wrong that i'm smiling? no, says daniel. response, i feel badly about the kids.
another response, well, they're the children of bono voters. wildstein has filed a lawsuit to try to prevent the state legislators subpoena of his testimony. we don't know governor christie had any direct role in ordering these road closures or if he knew about them in advance. we're bringing in hunter walker who has been reporting on this issue for some time and interview interviewed new jersey's senate leader about that today. thank you both for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> hunter, you've been working on this story for a while. what do we know today that we didn't know yesterday? >> well, the big element of these e-mails is that a close aide to the governor was communicating with his
appointees at the port authority and was involved in the discussion about these lane closures prior to them happening. and you know, chris christie has maintained he had nothing to do with these lane closures and you've had nothing to do with it. >> let's pick up right there. it's not only that he said he didn't know about it, which maybe true, but whether or not he knew about what was being done in the state, he really diminished it and made it kind of a joke. take a listen to chris christie earlier on this issue. >> i worked the cones actually. unbeknownst to everybody, i was the guy out there. i was the guy working the cones out there. >> that's him saying this is so laughable it's a joke. there was a type of malfeasance
that effected people's lives. where does his response go from here? >> it extends his office. he cancelled his one public appearance today. i assume when he comes out and makes a statement, the statement is going to have to be -- outraged at bridget kelly. she's going to be thrown overboard quickly. if they set her up as the fall guy, the question is how does she respond? the question is there anymore documentary evidence out there that could implicate anybody else in the office. one, what's going to happen with david wildstein -- in the previous life, he was my
employer when he ran a nonpartison site in new jersey. is there going to be anything else that comes out whether it's from bridget kelly or anybody else that links this further to the governor's office. >> look at chris christie who gave that dramatic speech at the last convention that said he was a national figure and a big republican. as for the e-mails, if you put a lot of this in writing, which these folks did, by the way, some of them were on g-mail personal accounts, then what else is out there that goes to your point here? take a look at what "the national review" said today about this issue. they are -- some may insist this
is a display of toughness. it's rather shocking that this point needs to be made. >> hunter, that's from a conservative publication. >> first responders here also could be impacted. we know from early coverage of this in the early media there was a missing child and cardiac situation. no one died in fort lee during this time. but when you play in traffic, you do just that. you're messing around with life and death. it is a serious issue. >> i want to look at the other side, which is the defense -- we haven't heard from christie today. but the defense we may hear from him is somebody somewhere in new jersey government did something. i'm tough, but i didn't
personally authorize this. they may liken it to the irs allegations. when the irs made some mistakes, that doesn't mean the president is responsible for all of it. how does that play in that line? >> you're now dealing with a situation where the best case defense for chris christie is there is somebody in my office who had knowledge of this and i just didn't know about it. sure, okay. we'll give you the benefit of the doubt. this is a guy whose brand is he's the tough leader, he takes ultimate responsibility for things. he had no idea this was going on? it's completely possible that he didn't know. it just raises a completely different set of questions. i think one of the key questions to be asking is how are conse e
conservatives and republicans reacting to this? i think makie are they making excuses? yeah, this is a serious problem for the party. >> he gave them extra rope by being so -- you know, so casual about when it first came up. we'll see how that unfolds. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> we have to assume we'll hear from christie eventually. our experts may come back. you can catch up with him weekends at 8:00 a.m. here on msnbc. read any good books lately? [ telephone rings ] [ shirley ] edward jones.
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from tell alls to yes men, here are today's top lines. >> the blistering critique. >> it is from bob gates. >> read any good books lately. >> it is called "duty." >> it is causing heart burn in the white house. >> rips into the president over afghanistan saying quote, the president doesn't trust his own commander. >> and doesn't consider this war his. for him, it is all about getting out. >> he thinks he wasn't
sufficiently committed enough to his own strategy. >> i don't think that's true. >> do you want a president who says i see you're wearing four stars, i'll do whatever you say or do you want a president who says, let's think about this. >> read your history books. that's accurate. >> from the excerpts we've seen, president obama is not concerned about the war on national security. >> the stories themselves are confusing matt, not only did he praise him for the bin laden raid, but he said he thought he made the right decisions on afghanistan. >> it is also clear you've been one of the best. >> he was a clear, thoughtful, decisive decision maker. >> i'm deeply honored and moved. >> if you want a friend in
washington, get a dog. that was harry truman's famous line. some are calling it an explosive new book by bob gates. joining us now is david sanger of "the new york times." mark ginsburg and also joining us chuck todd, who was questioning jay carney about this at today's briefing. i think the biggest long range piece of this is that many policy and political people praise the president for picking bob gates, but you don't know how a story in washington ends until it is all the way over. how surprised are they? where do they think this lands on this relationship? >> where they're surprised is
the decision to be this critical at this period of time in the presidency. they're not surprised by any of the criticism that are lodged in the book. it's not as if secretary gates kept his -- kept this stuff completely quiet. he did some tell people how he thought the white house was micromanaging things, things that irritated him. if there were two polar opposites in that room during the entire debate about what to do in afghanistan in that search, it was gates and biden. was biden doing this on behalf of joe biden or did he have a role to play which the president asked him to play, which is being antagonistic? biden was the guy saying, no, small footprint. shrink it. don't expand it. there were others in the room.
what happened here, what you have to understand, during that entire 2009 strategy review, it was painful in many ways watching the process. painful for a lot of people who went through it. a lot of distrust was created after that between this white house and the pentagon. a lot of finger pointing about leaks. it was after this that the relationship between white house national security staff and pentagon staff deteriorated. >> to your point about the timing, those relationships are ongoing right now, which is why some people -- look for a journalistic view, the more understanding, the better. you've worked for a president before. you were saying that this feels like a secretary takes sides. >> indeed. i'm calling this gates gate. he did a disservice to the country and to himself. i have no particular role to
play here in defending the administration. every administration, i've served in three, have had these disagreements within the confines of a national security council. let's understand also secretary gates appears to be doing something which is inconsistent with the role of defense secretary. it is supposed to be a civilian run government military relationship. he's taken the position of defending the military against the white house. that's the side that he's taking. number two, why he wrote this book before the end of this administration is beyond me. it is inconsistent with everything i believe he stood for, which is beyond reproach. he now needs to be reproached for the timing of his book. number three, this was a man who was against the president's decision to go after bin laden. the fact that he is taking positions that are critical of the administration's policy,
secretary this, secretary that, vice president this, let's also understand he has been wrong on several major calls, including afghanistan, on the surge as well as bin laden. he's not beyond reproach. >> we don't have the book yet here in our news room. "the new york times" does. president obama eventually lost faith in his afghanistan strategy because of doubts fed to him by his advisories according to gates' narrative. he said the president backed off of his part of foreign policy there which would be okay if it was done for substantive reasons. that's part of policy planning, right? yet, do you feel from what you understand at this point in your reporting and your book on this, that gates is on to something in saying that this was a problematic because of the way obama, the president, reached this decision? >> well, first of all, you put
together a team of rivals and some of the rivals don't win the argument. you have to expect when they write their memoirs they're going to be up front about it. if you read his previous memoir, he writes a pretty forthright account. the story line in 2009 as chuck described and as i reported, is pretty much the accurate one. gates has added more fuel to it because you're hearing from an insider. president obama is a little bit inexperienced in the world of military affairs, went along with his generals to do the surge, and almost immediately
regretted it. you'll remember in 2010 he put together a very small team inside the white house that called itself the afghan good enough committee. that was a committee that was trying to narrow the goals so they can speed an exit. what you've learned now is secretary gates didn't believe that and lost that argument. >> i want to jump back to chuck todd there. the quotes that we've seen, and we have to look at the whole book when we get it, seem to verge on the challenge of the integrity of the president. he seems credible. the president's decision to go after bin laden was one of the most courageous in the white house and he says he was on the wrong side of that one. >> jay carney came out to the
press briefing having to defend walk this line. they do not want to trash gates. they do not want to make him the issue. they want to push back on where they want to push back and embrace him on where they agree with him. overall the conclusion from gates is overall, he thinks the president made the right calls on afghanistan and withdrawal strategy. >> he is known for his military and intelligence policy leadership and yet the most politically damaging parts here go more to psychology and what he sees in the president's mind and heart. >> we have to see the book. >> we will. david sanger, ginsburg, chuck todd, thank you all. >> sure. we have some breaking news. we have just received a statement from chris christie on those new allegations today and
road closures. here is the statement, quote, what i've seen today for the first time is unacceptable. i'm outraged and deeply saddened to learn not only was i misled by a member of my staff, but this completely inappropriate and unsanctioned conduct was made without my knowledge. this type of behavior is unacceptable. he says i will not tolerate because the people of new jersey deserve better. this is not representative of me or my administration in any way and people will be held responsible for their actions. again, that's a new statement out just now. we will be right back with more. [ dennis ] it's always the same dilemma --
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how the nsa does its work. it may represent the last time some of these people and officials have the chance to effect surveillance policy before the president announces changes to the nsa. for a preview, we bring in eugene robinson. welcome, eugene. >> thanks a lot. good to be here. >> just out of the commercial, we had some breaking news on chris christie. first, what you hear there from governor christie is a completely different tone and approach to this issue. not the laughing and diminishing chris christie that we heard. not someone that was suggesting this was made up by the media and his enemies.
if you take him at his word, he sounds upset by what was done by his employees. >> until now, he was totally dismissive. no big deal. forget about it. it's over. it's over. he wisely decided not to go the hangout route and let it come out in dribs and drabs. after the starting revolutielat in the e-mails we heard earlier today, he has thrown his staff under the bus. what did governor christie know and when did he know it? he says he first learned this today. i assume people will fact check that and try to establish whether he knew anything about this before today. so that's the next big question. >> i've got to tell you i've participated at a junior level as an attorney sometimes looking
over documents and e-mails. there are so many electronic records from ids that you swipe to the e-mails that you send about something else that tell people where you might have been and what you might have known. that might be a big issue for him and it does develop into the conversation that we did invite you on to have. here's how you frame the biggest problem. it doesn't tell you who the terrorists are and what they might be up to. if you were close to these meetings that the president was having today, which are all about the finding the right way to do quality surveillance that doesn't effect a lot of innocent people, what do you think he's hearing and what would you tell him? >> i would tell him to very
closely interrogate intelligence officials who are selling him the idea of total awareness. if we get all this information, we're going to be able to search this massive pile of information about phone records and e-mails, if we can get them, and figure out who the terrorists are by looking at the patterns. i think that's a colossal waste of time. every instance that's been cited by the intelligence community in which this data has been helpful has started with conventional intelligence information. they knew the phone number and name of a terrorist. and they tracked the data. they didn't have to have this big pot of information. they're moving in an unproductive direction and he needs to challenge them on that.
the problem isn't how many dots we have. the problem is connecting the dots. time after time, the cia doesn't tell the fbi what they need to know. the fbi doesn't tell the cia what they need to know. nobody tells the military. >> i think you really put your finger on it. it is a legal line, but it is also a practical one. for most of our history, the government has brought access to this stuff, but they have to ask for it in advance. as you've written, that creates a lot of issues, some of which may underlie our targeted approach to security. coming up, the war on poverty meets "occupy wall street." we have the market wrap. thanks. stocks closing the day mixed. the dow closing down 68 points
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50 years ago president lyndon johnson addressed the nation in his first state of the union he declared the war on poverty. it is driving a national debate. there are growing signs that republicans are actually feeling the pressure. senator marco rubio gave a speech addressing economic inequality. >> after president johnson first announced the war on poverty, the results of the big
government approach are in. >> some of the greatest gains didn't start with politicians in washington. they grew initially out of tremendous grass roots movements. where are they today? thank you both for being here. tim, let's get right to it. president johnson was successful in aspects of his goal and the ten years after that speech, unemployment went from 19% to 11%. it is back up to $15% i should say the poverty rate, not unemployment. we should redouble our efforts to make sure our economy works for every working american. how do you think we're doing? >> senator rubio says the big
government approach has failed. let's look at the stats. >> yes. >> when john f. kennedy became president 35% of american seniors were under the poverty line. 27% of american children were poor. 22% of all americans were considered poor. by 1973 when richard nixon changed his mind on the war on poverty, the poverty rate had been cut by half. between 1961 and 1973, we went from having 22% of americans living under the poverty line to 11%. >> i want to go to alexis on that. that's where the grass roots effort came in. >> i think it's important to remember that there were a lot of criticisms everyone of lbj's war on poverty coming from the left at the time.
martin luther king jr. said it was piecemeal. he said the great society has been broken and eviscerated and turned into an idle play thing by a society gone mad on war. i think we continue to see these problems today. we are treating the symptoms, but we continue to sharpen the knife. i see the knife the same as dr. martin luther king did. i also see wall street as one of those knives. it made 10 million people displaced in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. >> tim, can you document that aspect of it? can we measure how much that dynamic from the left helped? >> look, first of all, the war on poverty was not supposed to be a top-down operation. the community action part of it involved local organizations, private and public organizations. so, the theory behind this was not big government.
it was the federal government giving a helping hand to provide people the tools they needed to take advantage of opportunities. that issue still remains. by the way, the problem with the war on poverty was the rhetoric. >> and i think that's a key part of it. i want to apologize to both of you. we planned more time for this, but we had breaking news today. we'll keep in touch on this topic. thank you both. we'll be right back. ♪ could you teach our kids that trick? [ male announcer ] by not acting that way. it's how edward jones makes sense of investing.
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