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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  January 21, 2014 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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lam, that will generally get you in trouble. he was impeached then he resigned before the senate got a crack at him. when i said there were two governors elected in '09, there were, in fact, three. the one who got indicted today, the one whose administration is under intensive investigation, and the prison-freeing, massage-getting aiding and abetting ben fitiell of the northern mariatta islands. 2009 was a bang-up year for governors, yes? massage. >> sometimes a snowstorm is just a snowstorm. but when a snowstorm makes you cancel your inaugural party after retaking the oath of office as governor of new jersey, a lot of people wonder what you might have to cancel next. like maybe your presidential campaign. >> the people of new jersey have
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given me the opportunity to serve. >> chris christie takes the oath of office for his second term. >> second inauguration. >> it's only fitting in this administration. >> but regardly a fresh start. >> with more hurricanes, snowstorms. >> it's really coming down in trenton, new jersey. >> we begin the second term the same way. >> it wasn't supposed to be this way. >> we will follow the information we have. >> a supercommittee, he's fighting wars on two fronts. >> raises serious allegations. >> her allegations have to be looked into. >> i don't think she's going to succeed in shaking christie down. >> he called her a lady mayor. i assume that's not something you meant to say. >> i didn't mean for it to be taken the wrong way. >> every mayor in new jersey is going to be asked, what were your dealings with this administration? >> governor chris crist too eis trying to reset his political future. >> i think you're going to see a more reserveds christie going forward. >> i believe in you, new jersey.
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and i always, always will. >> it's hard out there for a republican governor. today, the republican who was governor of virginia just ten days ago was indicted along with his wife for illegally accepting more than $150,000 in gifts from a political donor. but chris christie cannot count on the mcdonald stannal to eclipse the far more important christie administration scandal. the mcdonald scandal used to be the most important republican political scandal way back when it involved a possible candidate for president. but the mcdonald scandal knocked bob mcdonald out of the running for president long, long before he was indicted today. so team christie is still number one when it comes to republican political scandals. and they continued to emphasize that by hiring some of the best
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criminal defense lawyers in the country to protect them. the latest high profile hire is former secretary of homeland committee michael chertoff who once was the u.s. attorney for the district of new jersey and newark. if you're in trouble in new jersey or anywhere else in america, you can't get better representation than michael chertoff. and now chris christie's favorite chairman of the port authority, david samson has michael chertoff representing him. chris christie's new team of the best and the brightest defense lawyers, headed by a former federal prosecutor will not be able to help chris christie with voters, who in a new quinnipiac poll out today are turning against him. in a hypothetical 2016 if thetial match against hillary clinton, mrs. clinton beats chris christie now 46% to 38%. a big change from the december
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poll that had christie actually one point ahead of mrs. clinton. 42 to 41. the biggest change in that poll is among prized independent voters who preferred christie over clinton in december by 15 points. and today say they would now choose clinton over christie by a point. that's a 16-point loss for chris christie from the last poll to today's poll. and as he loses support in the polls, chris christie is getting precious little public support from fellow republicans. and today, the most recent republican attorney general of virginia who came in second in his campaign for governor last year had this to say about chris christie's i remember chairmanship to the republican governors association. >> i think just from the perspective of setting side this as an issue in other races, it makes sense for him to sdep aside in that role. he does not serve the goals of that organization by staying as
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chairman. >> let me ask you -- >> and that doesn't mean any of the charge, political or otherwise, are substantive or not. it doesn't matter. perception is reality. >> joining me now, former white house press secretary and msnbc contributor, robert gibbs and msnbc analyst steve schmidt. robert gibbs, when you hear ken cuccinelli who's certainly no longer a big player in republican politic, being the first to talk about chris christie should step down from the republican governors association, does that -- does that sound like the first pebble rolling down that hill? >> it certainly sounds like it. obviously, as you mentioned, ken cuccinelli is no longer in public service, and it will be very interesting to see if there are other governors that follow suit, sitting governors that need the help of the rga. it was interesting, you know, when christie was over the weekend in florida doing fundraising. none of the events were open to
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the public. this was a guy who was partially installed to head the republican governor's association to give that brand of republicanism to other governors running for re-election that might need his help. those doors were locked this weekend and no pictures were allowed and you have to wonder if that doesn't impact his effectiveness to chair the rga. >> steve schmidt, tell us from inside the republican party about how that republican governors association works. what kind of abilities do you have to have in running it? and how might chris christie's abilities in running it be inhibited by what's going on in new jersey now? >> look, lawrence, what the republican governor's association job was going to let chris christie do was to build a national political organization led by his campaign manager, bill stepien. he was going to travel around the country, build relationships
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with governors all over the country, people who were running for governor that would be newly elected governors, meet the donors of every state around the country. and now, of course -- >> can i just ask you a question. >> yeah. >> can i ask you a question about that. stepien -- christie had a job for stepien. so he would be on that payroll, basically his travel financed to be at christie's side through every one of the things that you're talking about here. isn't that the way it would work? >> yeah, absolutely. and look, that would be very easy to transition. you know, a lot of this organization into the presidential campaign, or open the pac when this election psych sl over. obviously a more difficult road there now. but until things get worse, until there's an e-mail incriminating chris christie, very doubtful that his republican governors will throw him over the rail and out to
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sea, effectively ending his political career. he certainly can't run for president of the united states if he was forced by his fellow governors to resign under pressure from the rga, which is why i think that's unlikely to happen until or unless more information becomes available. >> let's listen to some of chris christie's inaugural address today. >> we cannot fall victim to the attitude of washington, d.c. the attitude that says i am always right and you are always wrong. the attitude that puts everyone into a box that they are not permitted to leave, the attitude that puts political victories ahead of policy agreements. the belief that compromise is a dirty word. >> it was one thing to give a speech like that a month ago. today, that kind of talk requires an authority that just didn't seem present to me.
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>> well, you have to give him a little credit for the chutzpah to give the speech he basically would have given or probably did give the night he was re-elected 11 weeks ago. obviously a lot has changed in those 11 weeks. look, i think the central problem that he has obviously is what you just heard is what he wants the people of new jersey to believe, and ultimately in 2016, the people of america to believe, that he's a much, much different kind of leader. what we see in the polling now, whether it's the quinnipiac poll or the pew poll that came out today, people are starting to see chris christie as just another average politician that does the things that average politicians do. and that's not the kind of message or biography that gets you elected to higher office. >> and steve schmidt, the -- christie went on with more of that in the address today. do you think he should have done
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something different? or is it right for him to try to in effect in public appearances act as if nothing else is on his mind? >> look, he's apologized and before this is over, lawrence, there's more subpoenas, there's more e-mails. this will go on for some time. i said last week, it will get worse for him before it gets better. certainly there's a statute of limitations on the apologies. i'm not sure that six or seven months from now he needs to be apologizing in every speech, but this is still in the early days of this. and to talk rhetorically, at least, precisely like he would have the day after the election, before all of this happened, i'm not sure at the end of the day is really consistent with what his new political reality is right now. because a lot has changed for him. and he's going to have to navigate his way through it if he's going to be a candidate for president. >> let's listen to what his biggest money backer said about
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him today. >> what he said is what it was. if he lied, and i'm certain he hasn't lied. i'm certain what he said is the absolute truth, i trust the man. this will go away. >> robert gibbs, that's the line. if he told the truth, this will go away. and it's -- there's also the -- what you also have to rely on there is, if there's nothing -- if there's no trail that you get to follow that gets you any closer to chris christie in the bridget kelly e-mails and all that stuff, then this goes away. it's a very big if. >> welt, i think sdsh and i go back to what steve said a second ago, it's going to get worse before it gets better. state and federal investigations don't go away overnight. and the question is, how much brand damage is inflicted upon
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you during this time period. and i think that certainly remains to be seen. if he's not healthy at home, if he's under investigation, he can't launch a presidential campaign. so look, in the end, we may find ourselves many, many months from here with this solved. the amount of damage that might be done between now and then which, again, i think this is a hit to the very central narrative of who chris christie wants you to believe he is. and quite frankly, it underscores the negative that republican candidates and democratic candidates alike in 2006 will say that he's a bully. he governs the state of nnl nnl as a bully. anytime you've got a scandal that hurts your centralaire tiff and props up the central thing that people want to use against you in one fell swoop, you gooeft a big, big political problem on your hands.
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of. >> and one of the reasons ken lingone is speaking publicly in his defense is not a lot of other people are. but one of them, one of the defenders out there today is halle barber. let's listen to what he had to say. >> christie has sense enough to walk and chew gum at the same time. he can be an outstanding, and will be in my opinion, an outstanding governor of new jersey and frankly, when the liberal media elite chase him around like this, some republicans, it helps him with and make them get energized to help elect more republican governors like christie who can run for relex on his record, rather than having to do like obama who ran on what's wrong with mitt romney. >> why aren't we hearing more republican defend es of chris christie step up to the microphone? a. >> well, there's not a lot of them. he's had quilt relationships. in the senate there's a couple of high profile senators who view him as competition for the
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nomination. rand paul being one of them. he took a couple of shots. they've had difficulties in the past. he has attacked the republican congress. has attacked the republican congress specifically over sandy funding. so chris christie, as someone who is outside of washington running against kwa roy is now finding that republican establishment in washington, largely silent, largely acting through the prism of their self-interest and really not a lot of other governors out there who want to get on point and defend chris christie before they know the question that ken langone raised. is he absolutely telling truth. he should get the benefit of the doubt here. he's entitled to due process. the point that robert made is that now there's federal and state investigators all over this. we'll find out exactly what happened. these people are going to be
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subpoenaed, be interview ed. what happened and who did what? this will be no different and we'll find out over the next couple of months. >> one of the things he said in his own defense, i delegate enormous authority to my staff. you could see that being thrown into attack ads if he does get to the republican primary. >> i think, you know, it's an interesting line of defense for someone who seems very involved. this governor we saw rushing to the sore to deal with hurricane sandy. you don't get the image of
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somebody who delegates enormous authority. 60% of the american people don't buy the excuse, didn't know what was going on. whether or not it did or not, i think the perception is that he's in a lot of danger because all of those things are now being questioned. >> thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> coming up, the new jersey legislature has created one supercommittee to investigate the scandals in chris christie's administration. that's next. and it turns out the republican party's new platform sounds a lot like the republican party's platform in 2012. and then in 1944, the state of south carolina executed a
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14-year-old boy for the murder of two girls. a judge is now considering reopening that case. to see if that boy was actually guilty. joy reid will join me on that. hey guys! sorry we're late. did you run into traffic? no, just had to stop by the house to grab a few things. you stopped by the house? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner. you leave the house in good shape? yea. yea, of course. ♪ [ sportscaster talking on tv ] last-second field go-- yea, sure ya did. [ male announcer ] introducing at&t digital life. personalized home security and automation. get professionally monitored security for just $29.99 a month. with limited availability in select markets. ♪ anybody have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three types of good bacteria. i should probably take this. live the regular life. phillips'.
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>> teernt mayor ooeb's rob ford is now admitting he is the person in a video posted on youtube and he admits he was drinking alcohol monday night which happens to be about two months after he said he's given up drinking. [ inaudible ] trying to tell me [ bleep ] you know what i mean, he's hiding here, i'm hiding here. [ bleep ] [ inaudible ]
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i swear to god. >> that's the goal, man. >> the mayor told reporters at city hall today, i was with some friends. what i do in my personal life and my personal friends, that's up to me. it has nothing to do with you guys. it's on my own time. the new jersey legislature now has one supercommittee to investigation the chris christie allegations. that ooex next. [ molly ] this is one way to keep your underwear clean.
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resources makes our work much more efficient. and certainly eliminating any questions about two houses competing. >> the new jersey legislature announced today it's gotten over its differences and will work together. the new joint committee is comprised of 12 members, eight from the assembly and four from the state senate. eight democrats and four republicans. when asked if the newly formed superdpit tee will investigate mayor dawn zimmer's investigations that the co-chair of the supercommittee said this -- >> clearly she raises serious allegations. there's a lot of facts swirling about in terms of who said what when. the first order of business for this committee is to follow the information we have to date. we see an attempt to cover up
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abuse of power. eel follow that wherever the trail leads but we're not going to switch gears now and follow another investigation. >> joining me now hunter walker, national affairs reporter for "talking points memo." ari, there was a little bit of controversy about why are they running a committee in the assembly, a committee in the senate. and they've responded to that by consolidati consolidation. that does seem like a sensible approach at this point, doesn't it? >> i think it's sensible. i think some of those differences related originally to local new jersey politics. the bottom line is it streamlined their inquiry. he made a big show he would respond to all, quote, appropriate investigations. the rubber is going to hit the road on that soon, lawrence, because he's going to have to figure out not only whether he continues to encourage people that he employs to testify, but something you see in a lot of investigations and that i've seen in private practice, which is do you wave privilege.
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do you allow for a total review of the materials you have because you have nothing to hide. or do you get pretty obstinate about how you define cooperation. >> the opportunity for leaks has just been cut in half. now reporters are going to have to work much harder to get the leaks out of one committee. i think we can safely anticipate that as the subpoenas unearth demeanor documents, there will be some leakage about at least what is in some of those documents. >> yeah, you know, so far, they've kept it pretty tight. that shocking 22-page package with the time for traffic problems quote was really the only thing that came out before the hearings. but i do think that we may see some sort of advanced previews of these especially juicy tidbits like that in the future.
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there's also an issue in the washington version of this. you know, well, if the congress investigates while there's a criminal investigation, that interferes with the criminal investigation and there's always that issue, well, should the congressional committees defer to the prosecutors and just not try to get involved with these witnesses. is that kind of dynamic likely to come up in this new jersey situation? >> well, i think allies of governor christie may raise it, and if there are potential improprieties, what we're talking about with leaking, if not done, you know, in an appropriate way or put on the public record, that can be something that hinders what can be seen as a more political investigation. but the fact is as a legal matter, they have overlapping jurisdictions. and they have a role in overseeing the -- the legislature i should say, has a role of overseeing the governor's office. although new jersey is a strong governor's state. only one of a handful of states
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that doesn't have an elected attorney general. many people would argue that makes it all the more important for a robust oversight from the legislate choo you are. and then you have potentially a state investigation. and then the inquiry at this point from the u.s. attorney, the very office that chris christie used to hold, i don't think there will be serious calls for them that back off because there's another inquiry going on. indeed, some of what the u.s. attorney is looking at, federal in nature, federal only, is limited and different than the potential sort of state misconduct violations that you could see within jersey. >> thank you very much. coming up next, republicans are going to meet tomorrow to discuss their platforms for the next year. but first they're going to march against women's reproductive rights, of course. [ male announcer ] this is the story of the little room
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>> in the spotlight tonight, the republican party's new strategy rooks a lot like their old one. tomorrow, republicans will gather in washington, d.c. for their winter meeting and the first item on the agenda is the annual march for life on the national mall. the anti-abortion rally that both republican national committee chair reince priebus will attend this year. richard cash, who is running against senator lindsay dra gra ha. in the republican primary appears to have already adopted
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this resolution as he delivered his own special version of the i have a dream speech on martin luther king day at the south carolina tea party convention. >> i have a dream. and what is it? i have a dream that one day each and every unborn baby created in the image of god will enji the same constitutional protections that you and i receive. that's our promise, that's what the republican party stands for. >> joining me now, krystal ball and jonathan capehart. the republican, try as they might, have a real struggle trying to work on that gender gap. >> they really do. and i mean, the sort of rhetoric that you just heard and the overwhelming focus on controlling what women do with
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their bodies, and even the attacks on family planning, these really, really turn off women voters. and look, the american public, they are much more in the middle on this issue, and they tend to gravitate towards the party that seems more reasonable to them. so when you see states like texas that have really launched an allout war not just on abortion, but on family planning. and even in a state like new jersey, a blue state where we think of chris christie as a moderate governor, he's also launched an attack on family planning. this is a huge problem for women who want to make a decision on their bodies and how and when they're going to have a family. >> jonathan capehart, after the big mitt romney loss, which the republicans were convinced were going to be a mitt romney win, there was really instantaneously, it seemed, even on fox news, with some of the people there, a very quick change of heart about how republicans should approach
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campaigning. there was that instant, virtually instant call well, we better do something about immigration reform. and that just seems like ten years ago now. >> flooes. lo at least. in march, priebus and other members of the republican party got together and put out what we off mi euphemistically call the gop up a autopsy. autopsies are done on dead things. they wrote bluntly in it, if they did not do something that would attract latinos, african-americans, women, lesbians and gays, a whole bunch of people who fled the party in the 2012 presidential election, that they were going to be in serio serious trouble. you thought that then would start the moment when they would start reaching out seriously.
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they have done some things but they need to change their demeanor or moderate policies. what we've seen ever since that report came out, the republican party doing things to tick off women, latino, african-americans, and to a lesser extent, the lesbian and gay community. but they haven't done anything to ensure that the gop goes from dead to alive. >> yeah. cryst crysthri krystal, there's a line in there where they say they have to figure out a way to appeal with women who agree with us on some but not issues. i wonder what those issues are they're talking about. . >> interesting. the fact of the matter is it's very simple math. you can't sort of write off half the population and expect to win elections. the problem for the republican party, too, is one of image. it's one of substance and it is one of image. women do not want to be told by a bunch of old white men what
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they should be doing with their lives. so when you have folks coming out and saying how things should be and what bills they're going to push forward and they overwhelmingly impact women, that's going to be extremely distasteful. one more stat for you. at the past three years in the state level, because this is happening at the federal level and it's happening at the state level and at the local level. in the past three years, we've had more restrictions on abortion than in the previous decade. so this is something that is ramping up. >> krystal ball and jonathan capehart, thanks for joining me tonight. >> thanks, lawrence. >> coming up, a judge in south carolina is considering reopening a murder case that ended with the execution of a 14-year-old boy. i'm nathan and i quit smoking with chantix.
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if that same governor and his lieutenant governor were accused of trying to manipulate disaster relief money for political purpose, we probably still wouldn't be covering that story. if butch otter was at center of such a scandal, the national media would not be covering it. butch otter as we learned last week is the republican governor of idaho. i discovered that when i was looking for the name of a governor i had never heard of to make the point that the national media is covering this story because it involves chris christie. and of course, i chose butch otter because he has the cooler name of all the governors i had never heard of. we are covering this story with the intensity of a presidential campaign because this is a story about a presidential campaign. it is specifically about skrchr christie's presidential campaign, which was going very smoothly until he had to say this. >> i delegate enormous authority to my staff. and enormous authority to my
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cabinet. >> this is chris christie's defense in the scandal that has stopped his presidential campaign before it could really get started. and that defense may be good enough legally, but it has no chance of working politically. candidates for president simply cannot be caught saying i delegate enormous authority to my staff and enormous authority to my cabinet. in my experience in government, from my observation, it is often a very good thing that an elected official delegates enormous authority to staff. but i have never met a voter who thinks so. as i said last week, if christie continues his run for president, republicans will use those words against him in attack ads and then christie republican opponents would join that statementn't delegating enormous authority to his staff request this statement. >> i am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team.
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>> republicans would use those statements to hammer away at christie in 30-second ads about delegating enormous authority to his staff. and they would hammer away at his being embarrassed and humiliated by his staff. and chris christie would have no political answer for that, because the worst thing, the very worst thing that can happen to you in a political campaign is for your opponents to be able to use your own spoken words on video against you. just ask retired politician mitt romney. here's how republican rick perry attacked republican mitt romney, or put another way, here's how republican rick perry used mitt romney to attack mitt romney. >> with the white house has pointed to massachusetts law for the model for obamacare. >> i agree with romney. >> follow the path that we pursue will find it the best
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path. >> i like mandates. i stand by what i wrote. >> doing the same thing for everyone in the country has been delet deleted. >> why if it's good for massachusetts and it's working for massachusetts wouldn't you apply it to the rest of the country? >> i would. >> romney has flip flopped on some of the issues. >> i changed my mind. i'm running for a different office. >> we've taken a mandate approach. >> there are lots of reasons not to elect me. >> he's right. >> when i made this point last week, since this is not a newspaper or radio show, i of course used the audiovisual tools at my disposal and actually created a 30-second video and showed what an attack ad against chris christie might look like using chris christie's own words. team christie didn't like what they saw and they cited that 30-second video as one of their grievances against this network in a press release on saturday in response to the brilliant reporting by steve on his program saturday morning
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including his interview with the mayor of hoboken in which the mayor said this. >> the fact is the lieutenant governor came to hoboken, pulled me aside in the parking lot and said i know this is not right and i know this shouldn't be connected but they are. and if you tell anyone, i'll deny it. so the bottom line is it's not fair for the governor to hold sandy funds host anl for the ci city of hoboken because he wants me to give back to one private developer. >> team christie's press release in response to steve kornacki's reporting could not have been longer and could not have been stranger. it essentially amounted to a complaint about this network's coverage of the affairs of state in new jersey and some quotes from positive things the mayor of hoboken had to say about governor christie in the past. remarkably, the very long press release did not include an actual denial, not one word of denial of what the mayor of
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hoboken had told steve kornacki. not one word of denial from the governor himself, not one word of denial from the lieutenant governor. the lieutenant governor waited two very long silent days before sfie finally saying this. >> mayor zimmer's version of our conversation in may of 2013 is not only false but is illogical and does not withstand scrutiny when all of the facts are examined. the suggestion that anyone would hold back sandy funds for any reason is wholly and completely false. i am very surprised by the mayor's allegations and i deny whole heartedly those allegations.
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>> team crist's very long press release on saturday strangely did not bother to say that the governor and lieutenant governor deny the mayor's accusation. they certainly had room in their very long press release to say that. in fact, governor christie still hasn't denied the mayor's accusation. i'm sure the governor will eventually get around to that, but on saturday upon first feeling the heat of the hoboken mayor's accusation, team christie had much more to say about me and others at this network than it said about the mayor's accusation. the press release accused me of, quote, taking the unpress debited step of airing a nearly three-minute attack ad against him this week. the three-minute attack ad the press release refers to was actually 30 seconds and it was not an ad. it was a videoshowing what an attack ad might look like using chris christie's own words. i delegate enormous authority to my staff and enormous authority
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to my cabinet and, quote, i am embarrassed and humiliated by the conduct of some of the people on my team. now, not all 30-second videos are ads. an ad is something you purchase time for on tv. now, one thing i do on this program with some frequency is make prediction, political predictions. in fact, cable news programming on all networks is littered with political predictions from hosts or guests every hour of the day and night. it's what we do. and last week, because this is television, i used 30 seconds of video as the basis of my prediction about chris christie's presidential campaign. my prediction about chris christie was and is that he has absolutely no chance of winning the republican nomination for president, and the reason i believe he has no chance at that
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nomination is that republicans can craft devastating 30-second attack ads, using chris christie's own words against him. and no one does that better than republicans trying to destroy republicans. >> i don't think i've ever hired an illegal in my life. we hired one company to mao my lawn and they had illegals working there. i'm running for office, for pete's sake. i can't have illegals. here's a : is your tv powered by coal? natural gas? nuclear? or renewables like solar... and wind? let's find out. this is where america's electricity comes from. a diversity of energy sources helps ensure the electricity we need is reliable. take the energy quiz.
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energy lives here. anybody have occasional constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating? one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against these digestive issues with three types of good bacteria. i should probably take this. live the regular life. phillips'.
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>> the youngest criminal defendant sentenced to death in the united states was a 14-year-old african-american boif in 1944. joy reid will join us next to tell us how that case has been reopened. h street the old dining table at 25th and hoffman. joy reid will join us next to tell us how that case has been reopened. in 1944.
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joy reid will join us next to tell us how that case has been reopened. it is the story of where every great idea begins. and of those who believed they had the power to do more. dell is honored to be part of some of the world's great stories. that began much the same way ours did. in a little dorm room -- 2713. ♪ this magic moment ♪
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>> judge carmen molen began hears arguments in the jaj of george stinney, found guilty of killing two young girls in the small town. but his family insists he didn't do it and is trying to have his case reopened to clear his name. columbia, south carolina's nbc
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affiliate wis-tv's megan norman has the story. >> reporter: in 1944, two young girls were murdered. 7-year-old mary and 14-year-old betty june benniker. jornl george stinney was taken into custody. >> betty june benniker's nieces say the only injustice is they never got to know their aunt. >> i believe he got what he deserved. he was put to death. he was old enough to know better. >> a medical report claims the girls were bludgeoned to death, their bodies left in a ditch. officers at the time claim stinney confessed, but there's no written record of it. the trial lasted about three hours. according to reports, stinney's defense presented no witnesses, no physical evidence and did not
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file an appeal. it took 12 minutes to decide his fate, just three months from the murders to stinney's execution by electric chair. >> they had no choice in how they died and he did. i think justice was served according to the laws in 1944 when this happened. uh. >> attorneys for stinney's side think differently. >> i think he would not have committed these murders. i think he saw those children, but i don't think he was the last person to see those children. of. >> joy, what happened in court today? >> essentially you had the attorneys working pro bono for george stinney's family arguing he did not receive a fair trial in 1944 for various reasons. they put his twoist issers on the stand to testify they were with him, they knew his whereabouts at the times of the killings. his brother who lives in brooklyn and is in his 70s
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testified by videotape. and so the interesting dynamic here is that the solicitor general, the guy you see in the tape is actually the son of the first african-american supreme court justice in south carolina. you have the irony that it's an african-american solicitor arguing against the stinney side. 12 jurors heard the case, a jury is verdict was rendered, case closed. but there's a lot of problems with the case the family has uncovered. starting with the fact that you had a 14-year-old boy in 1944 in south carolina who his father who worked in this mill town, a lumber mill town, the dad actually helped in the search for these two girls when they disappeared. and george stinney admitted having seen the girls because they came by the property of the family. the family was run out of town. he didn't have his parents with him either at the question organize the trial. the family had to leave the town
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for threat of lynching. he was questioned by two sheriff detectives alone by himself. this was premiranda, 20 years or more before the miranda warnings were instituted. he was never read his rights and he was alone. that's the basis upon which the family is seeking a new trial. notices were made today, there's a second hearing, part two, tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. >> and joy, what it sounds like from this distance is that as far as they knew, the law enforcement people, george was the last person to see these kids, and that was, at least as we sit here tonight, possibly the chief and maybe even only basis of their suspicion. >> well, there was that and also you have to realize the times as well. the original circulating rumors that actually wound up coming up was the allegation that he tried to rape the older girl, the benniker girl and he killed the younger girl because she was in the way and that he wound up killing both girls. these allegations of rape that were levelled against young men
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and black boys were obviously incredibly deadly. this was 1944, obviously 11 years before the emmett till lynching. and also, you had this mill town that was sort of bifurcated racially. these girls were playing near a railroad tracks near the black side of town. and he admitted to having talked to them and told them where they could find flowers they wanted to pick. but there's weird things about the physical evidence in the case, which was very little. one thing they found was a prosecuted spike which was the murder weapon that detectives say george stinney pointed out to them. he weighed 90 pounds. he was five feet tall, maybe 5'1". the railroad spike was huge and it alone weighed 20 pounds. so one of the pieces of evidence the stinney family was this boy couldn't have possibly killed two girls. their skulls were fractured, in one case in four or five pieces. these girls were brutally beaten in the head, each of them. and that for him to have done that alope, a little small 14-year-old boy, the stinney
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lawyers was saying was not possible. they're also disputing there was any evidence of sexual assault. >> i know you've been following this case before this court session. thank you very much for joining us tonight.