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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  August 4, 2014 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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side of poetry. >> there once was a woman from kentucky who thought in politics she'd be lucky. so she flew to l.a. for a hollywood bash. she came home in a flash with buckets of cash. >> if mitch mcconnell were a tv show, he'd be "mad men." treating women unfairly, stuck in 1968 and ending this season. good day, ineveryone. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. emory university is preparing for the second worker infected with the deadly ebola virus. kent brantly arrived at the hospital in a special unit where
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he's said to be improving. missionary nancy writebol is expected to depart liberia and a arrive at the same hospital tomorrow. joining me is bruce johnson, president of the christian mission organization and joining me from cleveland, an unfectuous disease expert at university hospital's case medical center in cleveland. thank you very much. bruce johnson, first to you. what do we know about nancy writebol's condition and how are they preparing to move her, i guess, on that same special plane that brought dr. brantly over. >> thank you, andrea. great to be with you. yeah, some good news about nancy. i talked with her husband david yesterday afternoon. and he indicated that, you know, he's very positive. she was moving around. and then actually just this morning, i got the latest update. she's received the second of three doses of the experimental medicine that was flown in.
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she's up and walking. her strength is better today, but i want to emphasize with this particular disease, one day does not indicate kind of the outcome. but, hey, we'll take this good news today. and this was really touched me when i talked to david. he said, you know, her appetite is improving a little bit. so she asked for her favorite liberian dish and that's potato soup and coffee. so we're really encouraged by these reports. >> dr. esper, this is encouraging. what does it mean medically, and what do we know about these special serums that's apparently both patients had the advantage of? >> yeah, from a medical standpoint, certainly when a patient is doing better on one day it makes you feel very good. although, you know, when you are talking about, you have to watch these patients very closely. seeing how a patient improves
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over time is like watching the stock market. you see these peaks where they are having good days and then these other times where they are not having good days. you look for the trend. if every day they are getting a little better than the ones they've had previously, then you feel a lot better and more reassured about how well they are progressing. it takes more than just one day. as for what a serum is, when you talk about what a serum usually that means it's antibodies. and antibodies against usually a virus or a toxin. and these antibodies can be produced either within the lab, where they experimentally, using sophisticated molecular techniques can generate antibodies or it can be developed through an animal or even from another human person who would be giving their antibodies if they've already recovered from the disease. >> now i know bruce johnson that you've worked with samaritan's purse which was dr. brantly's organization. what do we know about the possibility that anyone else in your group would be infected?
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have you any reports of illness from your teams over there? >> you know, working with the cdc that's on the ground there in liberia and both the protocols, as well as we've followed protocols established by other international health organizations, our folks have really been over there have been very rigorous in checking them. dr. frank can help explain this a little bit more, but one of the early sign is basically a spike in fever. so our people have been rigorous and taking their temperature four times a day, they have limited contact and so we've been very vigorous in that way. and, no, no one else indicates any sign of sickness. and any of a spike in fever, we've been very careful on that. >> now let me just ask you, i
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don't have to tell you that there's been some -- a lot on social media questioning whether your organization should even be bringing these americans back home. i want to give you the chance to respond to those who are afraid, those who are critical. >> yeah, thank you. i am a citizen of the u.s. as well. and what i've kept in mind, andrea is that my wife and i live in a neighborhood. and so i want my neighbors to be reassured that can we even hug bruce? and i had to come up to speed like the rest of our fellow citizens here in the united states. we have -- ebola from this time has really been somebody else's issue. suddenly, though, out of the graciousness of emory hospital and the state department being able to bring them back in this special plane, suddenly it is something, frankly, we had to come up to speed with, not as a nation.
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let me get this personal. i had to come up to speed on what ebola is. we just did a briefing with all of our staff on our campus here in charlotte. and did a thorough briefing by our medical director, our international health coordinator. both are qualified and have degrees in public health. our medical director is an epidemiologist. he's been in contact with other epidemiologists. they -- an epidemiologist, i had to figure out how to say that name, but they are specialists in disease. how does it spread, and so we have qualified people working with other people, but we needed to be informed. and i really appreciate how you have dr. frank on this program because we need to be informed in the u.s. that ebola is something certainly to be aware of, concerned, but the continued
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reports that i've seen and then through our briefings, this is something that is not to be feared because of our infrastructure of medicine across the united states. we've had to reassure our own staff here that this is something that they don't need to be afraid of. and then just to get a little more personal, i just came back from being with the six children and two adults that are on our campus that just came in last night from liberia. i embraced those kids. i hugged them. i held on to them. i am not afraid. and they are healthy and strong. our medical director has checked them out. both before they left liberia and since arriving here. and we're monitoring them. i just want to add this, too. there are actually what we found
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when they got here is they are more rigorous than even -- and know this and they are very aware of our fellow citizens. and so they are fully cooperating in the kind of rigors of just continuing to monitor themselves and then the local authorities were working with them. we're well prepared. >> doctor, picking up on that point, we're so glad that dr. brantly is back and apparently doing better and nancy writebol will be coming back. we understand the care that's being taken. that said, the cdc has its own issues and recently mishandled anthrax. so how confident can we be about the safety and emory university and other hospitals around the country. >> yeah, absolutely. there is a risk. i don't think anyone has come up and said there's absolutely no risk. these are infectious individuals. but as a physician, as well as
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the people at emory university, we are trained and we deal with infectious disease all the time. this infection may be a lot more life threatening and can be very contagious. but even before these patients showed up, we had infection control policies in place, as well as infection control facilities already built for this specific kind of situation. and so we had the infrastructure in place. we had the people who had already been alerted from the physicians all the way down to the janitorial staff on how to take and prepare for these individuals coming. how to take care of them when they are here. and after their disease has resolved, how to dispose of any of the equipment or any of the waste. so these are all set. i'm very confident. in fact, i'm somewhat encouraged that we are not so risk averse as a nation that we would let those americans stay out there when we had all this kind of technology and the desire to care for them that we would
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extract them and bring them here. and that we would be up to the challenge to care for these patients and have the compassion to say that we want to help these individuals and these americans as best we can. >> indeed. dr. esper, isn't there a risk of sort of a false hysteria with, you know, airports around the world and people even feeling like, oh, do i have a fever? what have i got? how do we avoid overly alarming the public? >> the thing about ebola, well, let me take this -- what i tell my patients every time i see them and we're dealing with an infection. we are born on to an inherently dangerous planet with viruses and bacteria and shark attacks and bear maulings and everything like that. and we have to deal with those problems. we can't live our lives in a bubble. so we are going to be exposed to germs. and we have a very vigorous immune system that helps us deal with those germs but not only
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that, but we actually have a very sophisticated medical apparatus and research in order to help us treat problems that do arise when our immune system isn't enough as is the case with ebola. we are working on vaccines. we are working an serums, medications in order to help those patients who are affected with it survive. i will tell you that from -- people who are concerned about this, i would say that the people who are most infectious with ebola are usually very, very sick. and usually bed bound. the people who are -- what we call in the asymptomatic phase when they don't have a lot of symptoms, they aren't very contagious. and the contagiousness of this infection usually occurs when the patient is so sick that they are bed bound and that the people who are caring for them, who have to go with prolonged, very intimate contact. those are the ones who are most at risk of actually contracting
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this disease. it's not contracted through very casual contact of being seated near them for a very short period of time. >> thank you so much to both of you. thanks very much, dr. esper and to bruce johnson. we really appreciate both of you taking part today. and overseas also, israel now pulling ground troops. out of gaza and hamas rocket fire has been tapering off in the last 24 hours. tensions are still very high. especially because of another israeli attack near a u.n. school and shelter an sunday that killed ten people. the u.s. called it appalling and disgraceful. the u.n. secretary-general called it a war crime and a criminal act. strained relations are also under pressure today because the newspaper in germany reporting they eavesdropped on secretary kerry's phone conversations during the peace talks. i'm joined by michael oren. good to see you. this is a very difficult time.
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i can't recall going back, you have to go back to 1982 with the reagan white house and begin to recall a time when there's been so much tension between two allies, the united states and israel. because of the attack on the u.n. school and shelter. what do we know about that and do you think that israel could have been more cautious about the way it was targeting a suspect right near the school? >> it's always good to be with you, andrea. thank you. tragic events in gaza, certainly. and in cases where civilians have been killed, the israeli army is going to investigate. you know how it works. this is an army that responds to democratically elected government. very fixed rules. it has a bank of international lawyers who sit alongside the generals and supervise every operation, most operations have to have the approval of that team, and international lawyers. if a mistake occurred here and
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it's too early to judge, in the past, we've rushed to decisions and rushed to judgments and found out they are baseless, then lessons will be drawn. and if people are found to have committed a serious error, then they'll pay a price, including soldiers. that's been our experience in the past. but let's not lose the context. we're fighting hamas and organization that's deeply dug in behind its civilian population. using that population as civilian shields. it is threatening civilians who want to leave combat areas. civilians who have been warned repeatedly by the israeli army to leave those civilian areas. this attack occurred around a u.n. school. u.n. schools have been used by hamas. been used to store weapons. we had three soldiers killed the other day. the u.n. medical clinic that was booby trapped. it's not as if hamas is making a distanks. they'd like to drag israel into a situation where it is causing
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civilian deaths, particularly around u.n. institutions because that makes the worst possible image for israel and brings down u.s. international pressure an israel's head and enables hamas to emerge from this round of fight chicago it started with some semblance of a gain. >> at this point, though you have jen saki from the state department saying the united states is appalled by this disgraceful shelling outside uunrwa school. the suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians. i want to play a little bit of richard engel's conversation with the u.n. official who said there were 33 warnings, one within an hour of that attack to israel as to what was -- that there were 3,000 people sheltered there. let's watch. >> do you think israel should have waited a few more seconds, a few more minutes until he was further away from this location?
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>> why? if this is a moving target and you are tracking him. why there? why there right at the gate of a shelter, the location of which you've been given 33 times, the last time not more than an hour before the attack. >> the question becomes -- >> i could barely hear that, andrea, but -- >> we know the context. we know that there have been -- there's fault on both sides. i'm not going to get into who started it and who responded. but at this stage, the world opinion and the u.s. opinion -- the u.s. is america's -- israel's closest ally, obviously, and chief supporter. and supplier of weapons and aid. don't you have to think about the overall effect of this continuing crisis and the civilian deaths? >> well, first of all, it is important to say who started this and who is responsible because hamas unequivocally started it. there's no debate about that not even between the united states
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and israel. we're dealing with a terrorist group whose charter calls for the murder of not only every israeli but every jew in the entire planet. racist genocidal group. no debate why they started it. there can be disagreements or misunderstandings about the degree to which israel is adhering to its very important ethic of trying to minimize civilian casualties, fighting in a densely populated area. and there will be an investigation. i haven't heard a word so far, at least an this broadcast, about the two terrorist attacks that occurred in jerusalem this afternoon with innocent people hurt. one killed. and right now in this very quiet city behind me there's a very serious terrorist alert. and we remember back in 2012, during the last round of fighting with hamas, it ended with a bus bombing right here in the neighborhood behind me. so there's a broader context than u.s. school -- than the u.n. school, as tragic as that was. i personally, i'm not an
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ambassador anymore. i expect more from our allies, particularly the united states to understand that we are in a desperate struggle with a terrorist group that is using the civilian population as a human shield. that is trying to destroy this country. an ally of the united states. an organization that is no different than al qaeda, no different than isis that seeks to destroy the civilization of which america is a part. and there are 90,000 young israelis fighting about an hour south of where i'm fighting right now. and they are fighting not just for israel. they are fighting for that civilization of which america is a part. and every time tragic events happen in afghanistan and civilians are killed by the united states, accidentally, tragically, the state of israel did not come out and condemn it. and i think that that should be taken into consideration, too. >> and i just have to ask you very briefly in ten seconds, were you aware any of eavesdropping on john ker rye by
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israeli intelligence? >> i cannot hear you, i'm sorry. >> michael oren, can you still hear us in tel aviv. i'm in tel aviv. i can't hear you. i'm sorry. >> this morning, msnbc's chris matthews spoke to former israeli president shimon peres just one week after peres left office. he discussed how to end the angoing bloodshed in gaza but said hamas is not a partner. peres made clear as along as hamas attacks, israel will defend itself. >> we don't want to kill anybody. doesn't bring knus any joy to s somebody suffering or to see children dying. but they do it and they have to stop it. that is the military side. on the other hand, the hamas political side which is not only in the hands of israel. we have to declare there is a
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sovereign over gaza, and it is not hamas because hamas is a killer, not a partner. >> and you can see much more of chris matthews' interview with shimon peres tonight on "hardball" at 7:00 eastern. completely unbelievabowl... totally delectabowl. real silky smooth or creamy broths. everything she's been waiting for. carefully crafted with real seafood, real veggies, and never any by-products or fillers. wow! being a cat just got more enjoyabowl. fancy feast broths. wow served daily.
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what a huge crowd for senator mcconnell's retirement party. >> there's only one way to begin to go in a different direction. that's to change the senate and make me the leader of a new majority to take america in a different direction. >> we still have three months to go before the midterm elections. in kentucky it starts earlier. the senate race already feels like the closing days of a fall
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campaign. insults being exchanged fast and furious this weekend. kicking off a week that kicks off some big primary contests. joining me, chris cillizza, former pennsylvania governor and former democratic chair ed rendell and former republican chair michael steel. welcome all. michael, that's the way they play in kentucky. they roll pretty tough. >> they roll hard. i've had the privilege of speaking there twice. and, trust me, it's a privilege. it is the rawest and the bare knucklest politics you can find. there's booing and catcalling nall good fun but there's some clear messages in lines being drawn there. you saw, i thought, with allison grimes someone who is prepared to stand on the stage toe-to-toe with the minority leader, mitch mcconnell. and mcconnell, you know, some said he seemed a little timid and -- i disagree. mcconnell was himself. he was in his element and he
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showed that he's ready for this fight over the next few weeks going into the fall. so we're off and running, andrea. this is going to be a real barn burner, i think, in kentucky. >> ed rendell, allison grimes has the clintons behind her. it's still tough unseat a republican leader in, you know, in kentucky. what are the chances that she's going to actually pull this off? >> people would have said it's tough to unseat a republican leader in virginia. and he was unseated. i think this is a bad time to be a leader in either party in washington, d.c. i think there's a great deal of antipathy among the citizenry towards the leadership of the congress. again, on both sides of the aisle. i was struck by watching that. i watched it this morning on "morning joe" to how alive and fresh and young and vibrant allison grimes looked and how old and tired and over the hill mitch mcconnell looked. i think he's in real trouble.
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>> chris cillizza, let's take a look at the president. you are voting either for mitch mcconnell or also, you know, for someone who would be aligned with president obama inspect an president obam is at historically low levels for him. let's look at his press conference on friday. he seemed put out with congress and put out with a lot of things going on. >> there you go, april. that's what i was talking about. somebody finally wished me a happy birthday, although it isn't until monday. >> so today is monday. happy birthday, mr. president. he didn't seem happy about almost anything. >> it was a weird sort of -- it made me -- it reminded me of festivus, that holiday they made up on "seinfeld." an airing of grievances. at least part of what the president did there was air a lot of grievances. you know, he talked about sort of how difficult the world situation is. he talked about how difficult it is to deal with congress. and it wasn't just rhetorically.
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he seemed sort of egrieved. he wasn't in a good mood. one thing i'll say about kentucky if president obama is an active discussion in this race, it's that much harder for allison grimes to win. she needs the race to be about, you don't like mitch mcconnell anymore. i'm not a national democrat, vote for me. if mitch mcconnell can turn the race, he's tried at fancy farm. if he can turn it into a vote for grimes is a vote for president obam ashe's going to lose. >> speaking of the reason why people don't like washington, the house and senate left. you saw them peeling off this weekend and they didn't do almost anything. michael steele, talk about how have ted cruz coming over from the senate and royaling the house so that they had to delay by 24 hours even a vote on immigration border crisis bill which is so stripped down that it isn't going anywhere. the senate will not -- >> i think for john boehner,
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when any of his members say i'm about to have pizza and beer with ted cruz, he should be concerned. really look at the calendar. >> it's the first test -- >> for the new leadership and they can't count. it's largely because when they have accounted, they are undermined by others. in this case it was ted cruz. i think it was a very sad display for the party. i think it showed not just inept but weak leadership to pull something together to get this done before they left town. and then again, the president wants $3 billion. they put $600 million an the table. you aren't really addressing the issue here that the american people are really concerned about. and i think this did some damage to the party an ton the way out door. we'll see how they recover when they come back. over the next few weeks, they have this to marinade as more folks continue to come across the border neppresident will be whining about the fact his hands are tied. we told him go do whatever you need to do, mr. president, but
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ignore that lawsuit. just messagewise, justice a bad week for the party. >> does that mean the democrats can get out of their defensive crouch and try to go on the offense and do something substantive during this so-called work period at home? >> they can try. and -- but they have hammer across the message that a flip of what michael said. look, it's more the feel to it. you leave washington without a problem resolved. you don't do something because ted cruz comes over and gins up the tea party. john boehner had the ability to do one simple thing. bring it to a vote. bring it to a vote. you know, there are things that could be done to keep things moving, but john boehner has to decide he's going to take on the tea party caucus. he's got to show some leadership. by doing what they did, they gave the democrats a good opportunity to spend five weeks just hammering him.
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and it's clearly a strategic mistake. they sort of become the problem. and i thought that this was going to be good republican year. maybe even a terrific republican year. not quite as good as 2010. but this party with impeachment talk, with their performance that michael highlighted, they are trying their very best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victsry. >> ed rendell, michael steele and chris cillizza. we'll get the latest from california battling historic wildfires and a deadly mudslide today. that's next right here on "andrea mitchell reports."
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>> andrea, the west was hammered over the weekend. wildfires here in oregon, while in california, not just fires but also floods. incredible pictures coming from san bernardino just outside of los angeles. there was monsoonal flooding. it poured mud and debris into the community of oak glen. that town of 1500 basically cut into two. one person was killed. another rescued. 1,000 people were stranded. meantime, all of california is in a state of emergency. it's not just floods but also fires. 14 major wildfires are ripping across the state. many of them growing overnight. meantime, here in oregon, the gulch fire continues to explode out of control with 50 square miles now burned. some 300 structures are threatened. six homes have already been lost. going to be a long day for firefighters on the front lines. they'll be depending on the air attack here. going to be a tough day all across the west. andrea?
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>> and thanks to you, miguel. now to an update an the urgent water crisis in toledo, ohio. the mayor there declared the water is now safe. lifting the ban on use. the city was left without water for days for any use after a treatment plant found toxic levels from algae in lake erie contaminated the city's water supply. toledo's water woes aren't over yet. nbc's anne thompson explains why. >> reporter: the water crisis is over in toledo but the problem still remains. let me explain why. behind me, this is the river that drains into lake erie. and as it goes into lake erie it carries runoffer from 4.5 million acres of farm land in this area. that runoff contained fertilize cher contains phosphorous and that feeds the algae bloom. this is the start of algae bloom season. it's not supposed to peak until september. city water officials have to watch the levels of that toxin carefully to make sure this
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water crisis doesn't happen again. andrea, back to you. >> thanks to you, anne thompson in toledo. coming up, the u.s. africa leaders summit beginning in washington today. so factors like diet can negatively impact good bacteria?
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so let's do it. let's simplify healthcare. let's close the gap between people and care. more than 40 african heads of state are here in washington now. it's the first u.s.-sponsored summit on africa. secretary of state john kerry opened the summit today focusing on economic opportunities for the continent. >> we need to invest in relationships not just with those who are in charge, in charge today, but with those who are pushing for change. trust is the heart of governance. and that trust begins and ends with a strong and vibrant, inclusive and independent civil society. that has been proven in country after country through all of history. >> with some of the region's
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most notorious dictators included. some are criticizing the administration for keeping human rights abuses off the agenda. joining me is senator chris coons. joining me from the white house. senator, great to see you. you focus on africa all the time. finally the administration, the world is fireworkocusing on afr the economic opportunities. i want to ask about the criticism from human rights groups that you've been to ethiopia, rwanda, other countries are included here and their leaders have been not permitting free expression. we know what the story is in uganda. they recently changed that law. that was on a technicality. the law against gay rights and that may still become an issue. what about that fact about human rights in civil society. >> well, as you may be able to hear, there's a very robust demonstration going on in front of the white house. there are challenges across the continent of africa in terms of
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democracy and governance, respect for human rights. in particular as you referenced in uganda and nigeria, respect for human rights in the forms of openness of their society to lgbt rights. but i think the best way that we can advance america's interests, our values interest agenda with africa is to also fully and robustly engage with the economic opportunity in africa. in many countries across this continent, this continent of 54 countries, the alternative to partnering with the united states is the chinese who do not advance human rights, journalism, free and open society and democracy. so i think the president is doing the right thing. i thing leaders of congress are doing the right thing in engaging these three days with the leaders of african countries that have enormous opportunity for us to both grow jobs for american workers and american companies and american communities and for us to put on the table our concerns over human rights and democracy. >> the economic growth in africa and many of these countries in the continent is astounding but
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partly the growth rate is so high because you are coming fromg from such a low base. the minerals there are. china is exploiting them and almost colonizing in their advances. >> well, what's try to. africa today has 6 out of 10 of the fast oast growing economies in the world. that sounds hugely impressive but it is against a small base. but the amount of opportunity on the continent is almost lm limitless. the amount of land that can be used to grow crops that's currently not being cultivated. the amount of mineral resources in oil and gas and the human resources. more than a billion people in africa, they will have the largest workforce of any continent by 2030. and the united states is better regarded in africa than anywhere else. 50 years after the peace corps, more than a dozen years after president bush and his signature intervention to help fight hiv/aids and with president obama's leadership on power and agriculture. i think we should build on that
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positive relationship that we've sustained that we've built over the last five decades with africa and take advantage of this opportunity. our competitors in russia n india, china and brazil, they are taking advantage of the opportunity and the united states shouldn't be left behind whin we have a chance to grow jobs here by tying better relationships between africa and the united states. senator, how concerned are you that ebola and the fear over ebola will either cloud the summit or stop peace corps advancement and other health care work in the region, in west africa because of fears? >> we need to take ebola very seriously. i spoke with the ambassador from liberia last night. i spoke with the president of liberia directly by phone last thursday. ebola is currently a serious public health crisis in three countries. and i will remind you this is a continent of 54 countries. it's a ten-hour flight from liberia to tanzania.
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in a meet i 45d with the president of tanzania, we were talking about our shared hope that this conference will not be overshadowed by the concerns about ebola as the director of the cdc has said it poses no significant threat to the united states. these are three of the poorest countries in the world that have very weak public health infrastructure. and where we are deploying public health experts, equipment, technical resources from the cdc, as we should, to make sure both that we help deal with the humanitarian challenges that ebola is posing to the countries of sierra leone, guinea and liberia but also to make sure it doesn't spread more regionally and it doesn't become a genuinely international health crisis. i think the president, secretary kerry, other leaders of the congress and i are going to be working hard to keep our focus, these three days, on the positive opportunities of africa. >> thank you so much. i know the president will be speaking to the conference to the summit tomorrow. thank you, senator. great to see you. coming up here, high times. we'll go to the flash point of
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the country's marijuana decriminalization debate. it's right here in d.c. that's next on "andrea mitchell reports." ganncr: we took care of your back pain. you make him the mvp. tylenol is clinically proven to provide strong, fast pain relief. but for everything we do, we know you do so much more. tylenol virtually all your important legal matters in just minutes. now it's quicker and easier for you to start your business, protect your family, and launch your dreams. at we put the law on your side. can you fix it, dad? yeah, i can fix that. (dad) i wanted a car that could handle anything. i fixed it! (dad) that's why i got a subaru legacy. (vo) symmetrical all-wheel drive plus 36 mpg.
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and it's not a narcotic you and your doctor should balance the benefits with the risks. all prescription nsaids, like celebrex, ibuprofen, naproxen and meloxicam have the same cardiovascular warning. they all may increase the chance of heart attack or stroke, which can lead to death. this chance increases if you have heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure or when nsaids are taken for long periods. nsaids, like celebrex, increase the chance of serious skin or allergic reactions, or stomach and intestine problems, such as bleeding and ulcers, which can occur without warning and may cause death. patients also taking aspirin and the elderly are at increased risk for stomach bleeding and ulcers. don't take celebrex if you have bleeding in the stomach or intestine, or had an asthma attack, hives, other allergies to aspirin, nsaids or sulfonamides. get help right away if you have swelling of the face or throat, or trouble breathing. tell your doctor your medical history. and ask your doctor about celebrex. for a body in motion. caman: thanks, captain obvious. wouldn't stay here tonight. captain obvious: i'd get a deal for tonight
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with deals for tonight from and you might want to get that pipe fixed. this summer isn't washington state. it's washington, d.c. getting into the marijuana debate. decriminalizing possession of marijuana. getting caught with less than 1 ounce of marijuana now in washington is only a $25 fine. and that's less than a parking ticket. i can attest to the parking ticket part of that. eleanor holmes norton is washington the congressional delegate. we know about the washington parking tickets. there's a ticket that gets written for marijuana possession? what is the thrust behind decriminalizing at least possession? >> well, actually, d.c. is pretty late. 18 states decriminalized before the district did. and d.c. was thrust into it by
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something a little different. two studies by very reputable organizations found that in this very progressive ton, even though blacks and whites in our city as in the rest of the country use marijuana at the same rates, nu90% of the arrest were african-americans. you take a black kid who has a, quote, drug arrest, he's read out of the workforce for the refts of his life. they immediately acted on this. all over the united states for reasons having to do with changes that are occurring everywhere. we see the decriminalization, even the legalization of marijuana. >> it's actually eight times as likely that an african-american will be arrested for marijuana possession. >> in this town. >> in this town, than white people. it's astounding. >> if you look at other parts of the united states, that's the case as well. it's probably because -- not because our progressive police are trying to catch kids smoking
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marijuana. by the way in d.c., even with decriminalization, you can't smoke it in the streets. we think it's because and those studies have been done, there are more police in some african-american neighborhoods. this is a college town. you'd expect blacks and whites who use marijuana at the same rate if they are going to be arrested, to be arrested at the same rate. >> but there are more police in the african-american community like howard, i presume than at g.w. it's also a real problem for our prisons in terms of the african-american population. so many of our people in our prison system were for a small marijuana arrest and were african-american and whites don't get arrested. >> that's why you've seen attorney general holder and now the commissioner who deals with
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this matter take action that will result in as many as 50,000 low level people being held for drug offenses having their sentences reduced. this is a waste of everything. it's a waste of money for the taxpayers. a waste of the lives of these -- >> waste of lives. >> and even the congress seems to recognize this except for when it comes to the district of columbia where they are trying to block a marijuana decriminalization because the congress has passed two laws. the house no less this time. one that says the d.a. can't go after medical marijuana in jurisdictions that have sanctioned it. and the other says that you cannot interfere with financial transactions. that's the congress. and yet a representative andy harris is trying to block the district of columbia from decriminalizing marijuana. and that's because there is still some residual power in the
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congress to, in fact, intervene into the affairs. most members of congress respect the fact that congress devolved that local authority to our local city council and our mayor but every once in a while there's somebody that jumps up and says i want to get into the district of columbia's business. even if everybody else is doing the same thing that the district of columbia is doing. >> eleanor holmes norton, colbert's favorite guest. thank you very much. great to see you. >> always a pleasure. more ahead right here on "andrea mitchell reports." try alka seltzer reliefchews. they work just as fast and taste better than tums smoothies assorted fruit. mmm. amazing. yeah, i get that a lot. alka seltzer heartburn reliefchews. enjoy the relief.
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mitchell reports." more from the u.s. africa summit tomorrow here. and follow the show online on facebook and on twitter @mitchell reports. "ronan farrow daily" is next. hi dad. she's a dietitian. and back when i wasn't eating right, she got me drinking boost. it's got a great taste, and it helps give me the nutrition i was missing. helping me stay more like me.
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goodness. is it save to drink water in toledo. they lifted the water ban. the family of dr. kent brantly says he's in good spirits. why they say they are confident in the care he's getting here, some are not so happy about his arrival. gazan officials say even during today's seven-hour pause a house in gaza city was hit, wounding 29, including an 8-year-old girl. 1:00 p.m. on the east coast. 10:00 a.m. in the west. here's what you need to know right now. a seven-hour cease-fire is over in gaza. palestinians poured into the streets today during that pause in fighting. the international outcry is continuing after yesterday's israeli air strike that hit near yet another u.n. school. u.n. secretary-general ban ki-moon called it, quote, a moral outrage and a criminal
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act. a political adviser to benjamin netanyahu responded earlier on "morning joe." >> israel does not target u.n. facilities. and israel does not target civilians. >> israel began drawing down its troops from heavily populated areas over the weekend. we're going to bring you a live report from the region later in the hour. back here in the u.s., the water in one of ohio's biggest cities is now once again safe to drink. for three days, 500,000 people in toledo couldn't use their water for drinking or bathing. you can see the reason here. that green sludge in lake erie. it's the result of a toxin. >> this is coming from every individual house that is putting fertilizer an their lawn. folks overapplying manure on some properties. >> that safety ban caused a run on bottled water all across the city. if ingested, the toxin can cause vomiting,