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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  September 22, 2015 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT

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russet is there on scene. look, what is it like there now. luke, can you hear me. >> it's a wild celebratory scene is the pope walked into the entrance with a thound rouse roar of applause from the crowd. people were able to make out his white robes from distance 206s, 30, 40 yards. what you're hearing behind me is a musical rendition of
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"alleluia." a lot of children came here after school. the majority of people here are also latino. i spoke to them in spanish and they said it was very important for them to see the first pope from south america. so a joyous festive occasion. people got their 30 seconds of seeing the unanimous the white robes and it's a memory they'll carry for a lifetime. >> luke, give us a sense of the place where you are. i know it's basically the vatican's embassy to washington. what is the residence like? is it a hotel? and we're having a lot of issues here with hearing down there it's so loud. can you hear me, luke? >> this is the center of the catholic church's operations in washington, d.c. it's the ambassador's residence
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as well. i can hear you, can you hear me? >> keep going. >> so what i was saying earlier the residence there that you mentioned, it's the center of the sort of the catholic church in the united states in terms of their diplomatic operations the ambassador lives there, the ambassador from the vatican, the holy see. the digs are spacious -- uh-oh, what do we have here. not uh-oh, it's a joyous occasion. it seems people are running back towards the door. anyways, that building is about i believe built in 1894. it's been on this plot of land for quite a while and it hosts a lot of formal catholic events. interestingly enough, it doesn't fall under the diocese of washington, it's an international catholic building. so the pope i presume will have nice digs but this is a pope of modest means, kate, as you know.
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he declined to live in the large residence in the vatican prefer ago smaller more humble apartment. and staying here is the tradition of popes so i imagine they're putting him up nicely. >> luke russert reporting from washington. let me go to ann thompson who we've seen all afternoon. anne, you were on the plane, now you're at andrews air force base. you've covered a number of trips. tell me what you expect tonight? is it time for him to rest and stay indoors or could he make an appearance? that's what the crowd is opening for. >> i can tell you when he was in quito a couple of months ago, kate, he was staying at the apostolic understand in ya which you are there. people were singing and praying and he came out and spoke to them as a grandfather and said "will you please go home so i can get sleep and so you can get some sleep?" and then he sail hail marys and
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blessed them and they dispersed and he went to bed. he has had, i can tell you, cuba was unbelievably hot and humid. he had two outdoor masses, the mass was indoors but this was not an easy trip for him all his days have been filled to the brim. tonight i think you can expect for him to have down time. it would not surprise me if he came out to greet the crowd. that's something he likes to do. but from tomorrow morning on when he starts at the white house until he leaves on sunday night he is going 60, 70 miles an hour so if he can get rest tonight, that's a good thing. >> anne, for people just joining us, refresh our memory, what happened on the plane? you had a briefing with the pope, he spoke to reporters, what were the headlines? >> there are a couple of headlines. first of all, we've been curious about what he's going to say to congress when he speaks to them
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on thursday. last week his secretary of state said the pope would bring up climate change, today the pope was asked if he would bring up the u.s. embargo against cuba when he meets with congress. you know the vatican historically is against all embargoes. the pope said no, it's not in his speech. he said it's on the negotiating table and he said he hopes both the u.s. and cuba reach an agreement good for both sides. the pope also talked about his meeting with fidel castro. he called it informal, he said they talked about jesuits they both knew. the pope, of course, is a jesuit. fidel castro was educated by jesuits. they also talked about the environment. castro, he said was interested in the pope's encyclical released earlier this year which basically calls on all of us to do a better job of taking care of the earth.
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the other point that came out was a question about why the pope didn't meet with cuban dissidents and human rights activists privately. they had requested a meeting but he said a lot of people requested private audiences including one head of state who he declined to name but he said he decided he didn't have time to do private audiences so everybody got turned down. the nunciature in havana did invite the dissidents to greet the pope at the cathedral there but he said they never identified themselves and he never saw them. he said he didn't know anything about reports of those dissidents being detained on their way to meet the pope. kate? >> interesting. i know the focus of that conversation on the plane was on cuba. they asked to only take questions on cuba. anne thompson, thank you so much. chris jansing was also at joint base andrews when the pope landed. she watched this whole scene
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unfold. you're at the white house most of the crime, chris, so i want to ask you about the obamas, the bidens, this was an historic moment for those two families and the leader of the free world. >> i think the first thing that struck me is there aren't many people who can upstage the president of the united states and the first family. that's also a rare thing. not only is it unusual for the president to come to andrews to pete someone but it's rare to see the first family together. anybody who has teenagers knows that they tend to have their own lives and we certainly have seen that with malia and sasha. they don't have a big public life so to see them together, and mrs. obama's mother as well, was something else. we also saw with vice president and dr. biden that they brought two of their andres alexander children with them. vice president biden spoke recently very movingly about the role his roman catholic faith
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played in recent months as he's been dealing with the death of his son beau. and i think what you saw was simply a sign of respect for this pope. the president was at the vatican last year in marge, they had a longer meeting than they expect and the president told him he was a great admirer. officially the white house will tell you they don't expect politics to get into this trip, this is a political town so we'll watch very carefully to see not just what topics he addresses but how he addresses them and what he doesn't have to say which will be equally telling. >> chris jansing at andrews air force base watching it play out. let's turn now to nbc news contributor maria shriver. maria, this was such a powerful moment this afternoon watching this all unfold. what type of message do you anticipate for the week? as you look forward now to what we're going to be seeing in washington, new york and philly,
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what are you anticipating? >> well, i think for the 70 million catholics in the united states they're excited about the pope coming here and even those who call themselves lapsed catholics, people of all faith look to this man as a pastor, they watch his words and actions. this is somebody who believes strongly in actions so you see him through trips grabbing children, reaching out to homeless people. he'll be dining with poor people. this pope put poor people at the front and center of his agenda and i think he will ask all of us to look at our follow man and woman and see how we can be of service so much is being made about the political issues he might touch on but i think he will ask all of us who call ourselves americans to think about what we can do about the poor among us about the global village we live in.
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socially politically and spir chili. >> thank you so much. we'll let you go now. >> mike, are we overstating the history of the moment? >> i don't think so at all, kate. if i did that feeling would have been diminished with his arrival. he's such an open and warm human being. what struck me is landing in washington, d.c., a city of power and politics he's not a
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candidate. and maybe his words will have a healing effect on the rhetoric we've heard from the candidates in this presidential election seas season. and i don't think we pay enough attention to the fact he is a jesuit. he talks about not judging. the great quotation he said "who am i to judge?" that's who he is. >> he was a high school teacher at one point in his life in argentina. and we've been talking about the man of the people, the man who reaches out and touches those who he also talks to.
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>> what do you make of them saying that when he speaks to the joint session of congress that people just listen and not applaud. >> we in the media, we think everything is about us, everything is about our media and politicians. everything is about our country. the pope is bigger than that and i think his address to the joint session of congress will be both instructive and uplifting. and i'm certain in his mind it's not political at all but it's going to your point a teaching moment hopefully. matthew 25, you know? "i had no clothes, you clothed me. i had no drink, you gave me drink. you visited me in prison." i think the substance of his address will point to people who live at the margins in this country and in this world and people who are under siege from economic inequality and environmental inequality. he'll touch upon all of that. now the politics of that, that will be drawn from the members of the house and the senate and the floor but not from the pope.
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>> mike barnicle. stay with us. i want to bring in our senior analyst. george, you have been watching this. you have such great perspective. your thoughts? >> we shouldn't think of pope francis as a cream puff. he's willing to make judgments. he's condemned what he called ideological colonization in the philippines, by which he meant forced population control. he's been critical of what he calls a throwaway culture, people who treat each other as a kind of disposable object. so he's not here to be nice. he's here to challenge. he's here to challenge us to be nobler people than we are. he's here to challenge us to live out the moral promise of
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america and i think you'll hear in this the congress. >> george, i'm going to ask you to stay with us and we'll come back to you in thehour. coming up, unprecedented security for the pope. we'll look at how d.c., new york, and philadelphia are preparing to keep pope francis and the crowds safe. plus, the president and the pontiff, that rare scene we saw last hour, president obama greeting pif greet ing pope francis at andrews air force base. we'll look at their relationship and the politics of the pope's visit just ahead. >> this message of love, him being out among the people, especially in our -- today in our society how things are changing, he's showing that message of what it means to be a true disciple of christ. anks fo. how may i help you? i heard i could call angie's list if i needed work done around my house at a fair price. you heard right, just tell us what you need done and we'll find a top rated provider to take care of it. so i could get a faulty light switch fixed? yup! or have a guy refinish my floors? absolutely! or send someone out to groom my pookie? pookie's what you call your?
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. >> this will be the pope's first visit to the united states. based on what we've seen in his
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visits to other countries, he will be acting very differently than any other pope that's come to this country in his desire to ming. >> that's bill bratton in new york preparing for this historic visit. pope francis's five-day visit to the u.s. also bringing with it the largest security operation in u.s. history. of course, the pope viz sing three cities in total -- washington, d.c., where he just landed a short time ago, new york city, and then philadelphia. the city of brotherly love finished up their final preps today with a mock training exercise to test their readiness. and local officials in new york and washington. joining us now is nbc national correspondent stephanie goss. pete, let me start with you. the pope is there. he's at the nunciature. it seems like everything has gone smoothly.
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>> the pope drove and didn't stop, got to the papal nunciature, an area that's closed off to traffic. and that was the easy one. from now on it gets more complicated because the pope will want to drive in the popemobile and maybe stop along the way. everywhere he'll go in washington, new york, and philadelphia. everywhere there are clouds that can see him those clouds will be screened. even along the side of the street certainly at the outdoor masses they will be screened, central park, here in d.c., in philadelphia, but it's the unpredictable the security people have to watch out for, both to protect the pope and the people there to see him. but all the restrictions are in place. flight restrictions over the cities, no drones to be flown, of course they can't be flown in washington any time anyway. but that applies in the other cities as well. parking restriction, vast areas
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of the city shut down. just the pope himself would present this huge thing of a security challenge but you add the other events going on in washington, the chinese officials coming on friday. with all these events clustered in a smaller city less accustomed to these heads of state business is an enormous headache. it's an all hands on deck operation. >> and stephanie i think you're at the psalm location next to big concrete objects. you see those over new york city all the time but this is different. we're gearing up for a major security operation in new york cit city. >> we were told today that 818 tons of cement are already on the streets in blockades. we also got a couple of other numbers, there will be more than 1700 patrol cars that are going
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to be on the streets while the pope is here. we got a tour of the city from the nypd the other day. we were up in the skies and they were telling us that as the pope is on the move it's going to be an incredible operation the city in effect will be in lockdown. he's going to hit four different spot, all corners of manhattan. it will be incredible to see. >> stephanie gosk in new york city, pete williams in washington watching it all. pope francis is in washington, as we've said. he'll be the first pope to speak before a joint session of congress. we'll look at the politics of the papal visit plus the big story in presidential politics today. ben carson defending his stance on religion in the white house. we'll look at why carly fiorina says carson is wrong. stay tuned. >> i would like to hear just what he thinks about american politics and what he thinks that
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francis at joint base andrews just a couple of hours ago today. the pope will spend the next two days in washington, d.c. where he'll visit the white house tomorrow and address a joint session of congress on thursday. since being elected in 2013, pope francis has been outspoken on a number of issues, including climate change he which he called mostly manmade. he's spoken about income inequality and capitalism and when speaking on homosexuality he once asked famously "who am i to judge?" so what will he say when he's here in the u.s. and speaking to congress? for more i want to brung in chuck todd, moderate or of "meet the press" and soon to be host of mtp daily here on msnbc joining us and back with us msnbc contributor mike barnicle. let's talk about the white house tomorrow where we don't expect much of a speech, i guess, from the pope. i'm not sure. did he address the crowd? >> i don't know if he'll fully address the crowd. it's almost like the way a state
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visit works if you'll recall. it will mostly be ceremonial. and he'll make some remarks but my guess is they're more -- they won't be pointed or anything. >> but the joint address the congress -- that. >> that's a different story. >> there's a couple things you have to think about. the two leaders of the two parties are both devout catholics, john boehner and nancy pelosi. so this is emotional for both of them. >> i've talked to people and this is important to them personally and i think a big honor. i think -- i go back to something i said earlier, i think democrats, catholic democrats have never been more excited about a papal visit and there have been some conservative catholics that have been a little bit nervous and what is he going to say? i think he'll make everybody uncomfortable. i think he'll lead with income inequality and climate change but the syrian refugee issue is the one i expect him to -- that will make everybody uncomfortable because there hasn't been this open arms from
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the united states here. there's been nervousness about how many refugees. >> it will take more. >> i wouldn't be surprised if he lectures most parties on that. the social issues, there's been the idea that he's de-emphasi de-emphasizing social issues which a lot of catholics say "no, you in the media say he's de-emphasizing social sues." >> on climate change there was an encyclical earlier this summer where he came out and said man has contributed -- human beings have contributed to the problem. there are some republicans who were quite uncomfortable politically with what he said. i know there's at least one member of congress who said he
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wouldn't attend. >> one member of the house. it's liable to become an issue because they will try to make it an issue, i assume, some of the more conservative republicans. the pope will try not to make it an issue. this is an observation and judgment he has made, he has published and spoken to, as well as income inequality. he will obviously i think address both of those in his address to the congress. i would be interested to find out later, we'll find out through people like chuck todd what the president and the pope discussed in the 45-minute private meeting in the oval office with just two other people present, two translators. and with regard to -- >> which is tomorrow, correct? >> correct. >> they have that time behind closed doors. >> yes, and with regard to john boehner and nancy pelosi both catholics, both truly excited about the prospect of the pope addressing the joint session of congre congress. most catholics, i think, are so excited to have him here because he lifted the burden that the church has been under with the sexual abuse scandal in the priesthood over the past decade and a half in this country.
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his arrival. his presence clears the air for so many people. >> kate, there was something bill richardson said, the former governor of new mexico when he said he hopes the popen't continues to want to play the mediator around the world. it's important to note the last time when the president was at the vatican it's then that the vatican was used as the back channel on cuba and he helped give the president some political cover. >> he was a mediator. my hunch is that it will be very much about syria. this is a crisis that hit home in europe. at the pope's backyard as well so i assume that's the large chunk. >> to remind people, the vatican has taken in a couple of families, syrian refugees and the pope a few sundays ago if i
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recall asked all -- everyone in europe, every parish, to take in syrian refugees if possible. >> again, matthew 25. a stranger and you welcomed me. that's who this pope is. >> does he want to insert himself in politics or is he just laying out his views and let the politicians think of it what they will? >> you know, i obviously don't know but i would expect just from garnering knowledge of him through his behavior and everything he said during his papacy and prior to that in argentina, i think he is much cuter politically -- >> cuter? >> cuter? >> savvy? >> savvy. i think he knows exactly what he's doing: think about where he grew up.
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a argentina had political turmoil and the catholic church had to be the rock. so i think he understands the politics of any issue probably better than maybe the previous pope as described more scholarly. this one has been hands on. >> chuck todd, nbc's "meet the press" moderator. mike barnicle, thanks so much. still to come, ben carson switching gear, defends his stands on islam and the presidency and now a leading republican candidate is criticizing him. plus, breaking news, hillary clinton makes a major announcement on the controversial keystone xl pipeline getting ahead of the white house on that issue. we'll have the latest from the campaign next. of red for many years.
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let's catch you up on
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politics now. on the campaign trail, it was not donald trump but ben carson finding himself the center of attention. carson was campaigning in ohio where he sought to clarify recent comments he made suggesting he could not support a muslim as president. >> if the question had been asked about a christian and they had said "would you support a christian who believes in establishing a theocracy" i would have said no. i don't care what a person's religious believes are or what their religious heritage is. if they embrace american culture, if they embrace our constitution and are willing to place that above their religious believes, i have no problem with them. >> at a second stop this afternoon, ben carson was asked why none of his fellow candidates came out and defended him over his initial comments. >> probably because they're being political. people like to do what's politically expedient not
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necessarily what's right they put the finger up in the air and say "what can i say that won't get me in trouble?" you'll notice i don't do that a whole lot. >> joining me, nbc's john yang traveling with carson in cedarville, ohio. john, what are you hearing from the campaign at this hour? >> well, the campaign tells me they acknowledge that they have a little work to do. they acknowledge they have work to do to correct what they call a misimpression. they're trying to put the emphasis on the first part of what you heard ben carson say there, that he would have applied to this test to anybody, christian or muslim. but i have to tell you carson's retelling of his exchange with chuck todd is a little bit different from what actually happened on "meet the press." but they acknowledge they have work to do and to that end they say they are reaching out the muslim american groups and islamic scholars. they want to try to have a meeting with people, including
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ca cair, the council on american islamic relations which has called for carson to drop out. they want to have a dialogue to come to terms with this and overcome what they call a misimpression. they say it hasn't affected their fund-raising, helping or hurting but they acknowledge they have a problem and they have work to do to resolve it. by the way i can tell you they also say that dr. carson will be in the house chamber on thursday when the pope addresses a joint session of congress, he'll be there as a guest of representative mark sanford. >> john yang reporting from ohio. joining us for more analysis, the host of "morning joe," joe scarborough. good to see you, joe, thanks for being here. >> thank you, kate. >> give me your perspective on what we just heard on how the carson campaign is handling this. yesterday it seemed like they were doubling down on what he
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said on "meet the press," now they seemed to be backing off. how has this been handled. >> it's been handled terribly by ben carson. he's showing he's new to the political game and he is trying to retell the story of exactly how thing went down on chuck todd's show. when you have people like hugh hewitt talking about how what he said isn't consistent with what he said of article vi of the constitution, when you have ted cruz saying the same thing, it's a problem for ben carson and it's a real problem for the republican party right now until this is cleaned up. i like the steps they're talking about taking but he has a long way to go. it's a problem. >> let's listen to more of what carson said today. he said he didn't want america to be a theocracy but he stressed our traditions have a judeo-christian base. here's what he said. >> if i become president of the united states -- [ cheers and applause ]
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i will respect all other religions, but believe me, that first christmas we're going to have a bang-up celebration at the white house. [ cheers and applause ] >> joe, before all this happened, you think back a week ago after the debate, his standing was still pretty good in his t polls. how do you see this playing out. >> it's impossible, kate s. you can't predict anything. donald trump is stronger after his second debate performance in some polls than his first. obviously the campaign is concerned, though, but the bottom line is what he said was troubling to conservatives, to constitutionalists, you don't have a religious test in the united states of america, whether you're talking about evangelical christians who, by the way, scored second in the listing of groups in a recent
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poll that americans wouldn't want to vote for for president. it didn't apply to catholics, it didn't to jfk in 1960 and it shouldn't apply to muslims right now. but this is a bigger problem for the republican party when you look at what happened in 2012, when you look at the fact that even asian americans voted against the party in record numbers. we can't be seen -- and i'm speaking as a republican -- our party can't be seen as a party of white, affluent, older americans: and unfortunately with every one of these controversies that seem to blow up, whether it's anne coulter striking out against supporters of israel and jews or ben carson striking out against muslims, it's one more ding in a party that got 26%, the 27% of the hispanic vote in 2012. we can't win back the white house as long as people are talking like ben carson. we just can't. >> we've been talking this afternoon, chuck todd has made the point a couple times that
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now we have this papal visit ongoing and maybe that changes the tone of the 24 hour news cycle. do you see that having an impact on the republican field? we spent the last few months with a lot of bickering. does it change with the pope in town? >> i think it may for a few days. the fact is, the pope is connecting with evangelical christians that aren't in line with some of the harder elements of the hard right. when the pope talks about turning away from excessive capitalism. worrying about the poor. that's been a growing trend among evangelicals, especially younger evangelicals for the past 10, 15 years. so his message is going to apply to groups of people who tra traditionally have voted for the republican party but may be turned off by what they're seeing at republican debates. there is certainly a disconnect from what we're hearing at republican debates and what
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you'll hear the pope say over the next several days and i for one am hopeful it will give us a time out with the bickering you're talking about. >> joe scarborough, thanks so much for the long day today. see you back here tomorrow morning. "morning joe requests weekday mornings starting at 6:00 a.m. on msnbc. let's turn to carly fiorina who finds herself surging in the polls. she began a three-day swing in the palmetto state after she weighed in on carson's comments last night on the "tonight show." >> i think that's wrong. it says in our constitution that religion cannot be a test for office. whether it's a person or christian faith or jewish faith or muslim faith or other faiths. i think faith gives us humility and empathy and optimism and those are important things? >> so you would be fine with that. >> yes, i would be fine with that. [ applause ] >> nbc's hallie jackson is in myrtle beach, south carolina,
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hallie, they sent out a memo to reporters saying donald trump has spent the last 36 hours tweeting up a storm about carly. "we get the point, mr. trump, you're worried, you should be. you'll be seeing more of that face." is that indicative of the mood in the fiorina campaign? do they feel momentum? >> it seems to be absolutely. it's the campaign and the candidate herself coming out with what you could call these understated digs at donald trump, we heard that at the event earlier today in south carolina when she made an off-the-cuff remark when her microphone stopped working that unlike some caricatures, as she called him, she is more soft spoken. the other part of this, too, not just coming after trump but how to capitalize in the momentum in the polls. it seems like the strategy is if irs to introduce herself to voters like the one in south caroli, hundreds of people packing this arena in myrtle
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beach to describe her life story. that secretary to ceo story that as we've been talking to supporters is compelling. the other part is outlining what she plans to do, diving more into her policy proposals. that's what you're hearing right now, the idea about it being a constitutional conservative, getting back to the core tenets as she's saying of the constitution, kate. >> the gulf voice because she's speaking over your shoulder. hallie jackson, thank you so much in myrtle beach. breaking news in the democratic race for president. while we were watching the pope campaigning in iowa this afternoon, democratic front-runner hillary clinton for the first time announced her opposition to construction of the keystone pipeline. >> i feel now i have a responsibility to you and other voters who ask me about this. it's imperative that we look at the keystone pipeline as what i believe it is, a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change
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and unfortunately from my perspective one that interferes with our ability to move forward to deal with all the other issues. therefore i oppose it. >> her announcement was welcomed by bernie sanders who said "as a senator who has vigorously opposed the pipeline from the beginning, i'm glad secretary clinton has made a decision and i welcome her opposition to the pupline." up next, we go back to washington, d.c. to meet the people who traveled from near and far to witness the pope's historic visit. stay with us. like i sweat money.
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pope francis is on the first day of his historic historic vie united states. just moments ago, the pope arrived at the apostolic nunsture where he'll be staying while in d.c. hundreds of enthusiastic supporters have been gathering outside that residence all day. nbc news capitol hill corresponde correspondent, luke russert, has moved over there, and he's on scene. luke? >> reporter: hi, there, kate. i'm here with camila, who's originally from honduras. why'd you come out to see the pope today? >> we came to see because he is hope. he is hope to all of us who -- bauds god is love. and it shows unity, peace, and we are together. that's what we need in our nation right now. >> reporter: you brought your daughter here. how special was it for you to come see the pope with your
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daughter? >> it's special because we represent family. family is very important for us. and for them also, because that's how they recognize that. we need unity in this nation and around the world. >> reporter: thousand, you told me earlier that you're going to be here tomorrow at 4:00 a.m.? >> yes. >> reporter: what are you going to do here at 4:00 a.m. while the pope is sleeping? >> we're going to be here at 4:00 a.m. in the morning. our community, we represent our church, catholic church, and we're going to sing to him the morning, a serenade. so it's a welcoming to him. we're going to sing to him and it's going to be beautiful. >> i hope he's up for it to enjoy it, right? are you worried you might wake him up? >> we will wake him up. it's a wake-up song and he's going to love it. >> reporter: they're so enthusiastic, they want to be back at 4:00 in the morning to wake the pope up with some song.
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let's hope he enjoys it. he's a man of the people, he definitely will. >> serenading the pope. still to come, as pope francis begins his visit to the united states, a look at the bond between him and president obama and the history of the papacy's relationship with the u.s. stay tuned. vo: today's the day. more and more people with type 2 diabetes are learning about long-acting levemir®. as my diabetes changed, it got harder to control my blood sugar. today, i'm asking about levemir®. vo: levemir® is an injectable insulin that can give you blood sugar control for up to 24 hours. and levemir® helps lower your a1c. levemir® lasts 42 days without refrigeration. that's 50% longer than lantus®, which lasts 28 days. levemir® comes in flextouch, the latest in insulin pen technology from novo nordisk. levemir® is a long-acting insulin used to control high blood sugar in adults and children with diabetes and is not recommended to treat diabetic ketoacidosis. do not use levemir® if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. the most common side effect is low blood sugar,
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he serves as a role model for so many, based on the way that he has lived out the values in his life. he doesn't just talk about them,
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but he lives them. and i think that has really struck a chord in many people. some of whom don't even share the catholic faith. >> president obama took the rare step of greeting pope francis at andrews' air force base when his holiness landed in the u.s. historically, presidents almost never go to andrews to welcome a visiting foreign leader, instead waiting for them to come to the white house. the two first met last year when the president visited the vatican and spoke with pope francis about concerns both of them share about issues like income inequality and the environment. for more on the special relationship between these two world leaders, i'm joined once again by nbc news senior vatican analyst, george weigel, and here in the studio, msnbc contributor, mike barnicle. george, let me start with you, they do seem to have a bond. they have met in the past, they have worked on, among other things, u.s./cuban relations. describe to me what their working relationship is like.
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>> reporter: my understanding, kate, is that that meeting 18 months ago was a rather robust one. the pope wanted to talk about religious freedom in the u.s. pressures that his bishops feel from the administration. the president wanted to talk about his agenda. i'm sure they both got their on thes points in. i suspect many of those same points will come up again in the white house tomorrow. there's obviously some level of regard back and forth, but these men are on a very different page, on a number of key issues for the catholic church, and i expect the pope will, in his friendly, cordial way, press those points when he meets with the president tomorrow. >> and mike, you said this earlier in the hour, the meeting they're going to have in the oval office, to be a fly on the wall, to be in there and hear what they have to say to each other, what do you think this visit could do to -- could it
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strengthen their relationship and build even more of a bridge between -- there's already quite a bridge between the u.s. and the vatican. >> yeah, i think it certainly could. there will be only four people in the oval office, the president, the pope, and two translators. and to george's point, there are obviously some social issues that divide the president and the pope, given the pope's faith and his pronouncement of various tenants of his faith, but i suspect that they have a wonderful relationship, it looks as if they have a wonderful relationship. i think what comes out of this trip, when people pause to think about it after the pope leaves, part of it will be his itinerary. who this pope is is defined by where he's going. in the bronx, here in new york, jim dwyer, "the new york times" had a list of the occupations of people the pope would meet with this. immigrants, some here legally, some here not. car washers, farmers, migrant workers, day laborers. in philadelphia, he's going to the largest city jail in philadelphia to meet with
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inmates, obviously. in washington, later tomorrow, he's going to meet with recipients of aid from catholic charities, one of the most fundamental tenants of the catholic faith, helping people who need help the most. >> and george is standing with that music behind him at the catholic university. there will be thousands of people there in the crowd tomorrow. >> it's going to be an enormous celebration of the unity and diversity of the catholic church, gathered around its chief shepherd. it's going to have a distinct e distinctively hispanic tone to it. one of the fellow members of my parish in suburban maryland is in the choir that's been put together for this event. and he told me there's going to be a little tango touch to the music tomorrow. >> excellent. excellent. well, of course, the pope, if you don't know, is a huge fan of the tango. george weigel, mike barnicle, thank you both for being with us miami kate snowe. thanks for joining us. steve kornacki picks up our live coverage right now.
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i'm steve kornacki right now on "msnbc live," breaking news. an the historic day as pope francis lands in washington for his first-ever visit to the united states. the pope landing at joint base andrews just before 4:00 p.m. eastern this afternoon. and even before he stepped off that plane, crowds began cheering and chanting. president obama and his entire family, as well as the vice president and his family, they were the first to greet the pope. >> welcome to the usa! >> and after meeting with several other dignitaries, the pope left andrews in a small fiat 500 en route to downtown washington, d.c. he arrived a to the vatican's diplomatic mission in washington shortly before 5:00 p.m. eastern time. all of this is