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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  September 24, 2015 6:00am-10:01am PDT

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abortion. two popes later, he seems to be deemphasizing those social issues that ended up being such wedge issues. that's sort of what i'm going to be looking for, the blue team or the red team? my guess is everybody's going to take away something they want to hear from the pope be and maybe deemphasize and ignore what they didn't want to hear? >> and do you in fact expect decorum as has been called for on both sides? -- i know we've seen over the last eight years a decline in decorum during these joint session speeches. i do not think you're going to
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see that today. both flansy pelosi and -- they're over the moon excited about this people. forget politics for a minute. as catholics, the two of them are incredibly excited. they have emphasized to their own conferences, this is not the time to have any political protest, this is not the time to be having one side stand. i will be stunned if we see anything like that. >> also, catholics are well represented in congress, about 30%, 166 in the house, 26 members of the senate. so there as the wat and it pretty bipartisan. it isn't as if one party as more a religion nner other one.
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even as far as catholicism is concerned, it really is very bipartisan. that's another reason why i think you'll see the best efforts by leaders in both parties to make sure everybody is on their best behavior. let me give you another sense of how excited the political world is about this speech, we've been watching guess after guess come throu through. >> we saw chris chris pop up in offer here. this the ticket to have, no matter your party. >> and another beautiful day in washington, d.c., almost going to be a hot summer day if you're out there in the sun. chuck todd, thanks. stand by where you are. rachel maddow is out among
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members of the crowd with a that hot ticket to see the holy father of the catholic church. good morning. >> good morning. it's great to be here. thank you. >> what's been happing so far? >> wul at the warnings about the security and the long lines and the enormous crowds, i mean this is a did you worry about getting around and everything, once you get out here people are so happy, you can't believe it. there's just a palpable sense of joy, a giddiness. yes, there's sassles getting around, there's and an ordering
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throughout his papacy. can you feel it among people. people are laughing and happening and being gin rouse to each other. it's a really nice vibe. >> that does separate this crowd, it strikes me, from a similarly loud gathering of americans, they call it the joy quotient. >> it is. and i'm not sure everybody expected that. we put everything through a partisan and political lens and this pope is a political activist by the way. he's been willing to be very confrontational and i think there was political anxiety about whether he'd be helping one side or hurting another on this trip. it's not really worked out that way. honestly, i think the most disorienting thing about this pope and how he's going to function politically here is that this pope, unreich the rest of america, he looks congress --
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he's here because he thinks politics is important, he calls it a lofty vocation, and that sort of simple lack of cynicism and ambition for what our public life is like isn't the way that most of us in this news or politics business comport ourselves. it's a nice reset. >> and also, he has already gone there on the issues and there's everynd case he's going to go there again today. >> i think that's right. i mean, i don't expect that this is going to be a stump speech. you know, this isn't going to be overtly trying to help one side in american partisan fights and hurt another. i do think he's cognizant of the fact that in big time politics in our country where there's a
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lot of anti- talking about different weights those countries. i don't think he is here to help one side win a in and to approach these thingsjoy. as moo front of the moat yesterday the issues he raised were on both sides of the political spectrum. >> they were. i think there's been more emphasis i think in some of the coverage about what he has said on climate change and what he has said on immigration and what he he has said, for instance, i think on economic issues but he is hitting right at religious
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freedom. it anyway understanding sfa, which include his health care law and the mandate about what catholic represent so he is hitting on issues that are of concern to both sides of the aisle. but i expect this speech today and i expect to where he can have the most immediate influence and that is i think it will be i think you're going to -- this is where i think thes to bring both parties together, which is you take care' chris
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matthews is also watching and listening along with pu. >> well, it's how can the pope not resist going up and saying hello to them. i was thinking how the khattic community used to be pretty simple. we rooted for notre dame and we adrord grace kelly and oo waushd holy name on monday night, saudi on tvs and it the division within the church in those cases. between the doo you're going to
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hear some people move on that. >> you've applauded certainly in your matter what my colleagues here is nsh -- and also with us is new york city police commissioner bill bratton. the moment the pope is wheels up from washington later today headed toward this city, the commissioner, the police department city of new york has a huge job. commissioner last night on local news one of your folks said that the area around where the pope will be staying in new york is more heavily secured than the white house. you have the perfect storm of security. you have the u.n. general assembly and the holy father of the khat lk church. are you ready? >> we are very ready.
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the suze orman, which is the lead organizationization that will -- if any and we're very excited about it like everybody else. we'll be focused on security, to use your term everyone focusing on a ji the security we can see, the barricades, the personnel and the infrastructure that the city of new york has had no choice but to set up in this 9/11 era. >> there are new elements of security, the eight-foot fencing that cannot be able and something you'll see more of going forward in the future. just this year the amount of resource, 3,000 officers today, 7,000 tomorrow, the largest number of police officers that
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have ever been used for events will be in place tomorrow. in the meantime we're still pleased to invest in the city. >> a watched an interview with you and you were asked what can be a ghoulish business your last fear. you listed lone actors, lone wolf, isis, you listed any number of criminal organizations but i guess that's the nature of your job now. it's down to finding and immobizing individuals. >> that's correct. our responsibility is security. at the same time we ask them to be mindful. focus on security for the crowd. we all have the boston marathon bombing in mind where the event occurred in the crowd, not on
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the main route, if you will. so we're relying very heavily on the fact that we have secured events -- to know who was in the program speaking to god. >> and you have a team in washington that is slightly in the background watching the security around the pope yesterday and today. >> that's correct. as you and i are talking here, the two agents we have down there from our intelligence bureau are constantly feeding information from the washington event to us. we're watching washington very closely to get a sense of this pope and, as expected, he's very uponious. i was watch being hill work loo at -- what was unexpected but it not unexpected.
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he's go that leads me to my next question. what do you doyour pro tks ee jaerns for physical contact? he and he wants to dive in. >> what the pope wants, he gets. it's that simple. the secret service, which has the principal responsibility, along with the vatican officials, vatican officials are certainly used to this pope, but you watch. they are in proximity, they know what they're doing and we have watched countless hours of video of him in country after country to get a sense of his rhythm, his motions and so we're pretty prepared for it. and quite frankly i think we'd be disappointed if it doesn't happen. i think that closeness that he seeks to bring to his flock, if it were not to happen, i think
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there would be disappointment. i don't think this pope wants to disappoint. >> we hear the cheers going up from the crowd at the site of that fiat. commissioner, this next week in new york city ballpark figure, how many motorcades large or small will you have on the streets at any given time? >> 206. >> 1,300 police vehicles, thousands of police officers. i actually had to take a thousand kidsut of the police academy to help with traffic control. you're going to see a lot of young women running around with gray shirts and nypd baseball hats, they're our newest recruits in our academy. >> i saw one this morning. >> good looking, aren't they? >> yes. >> the fences are up.
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all up on fifth avenue, already as someone who commutes into new york city, i could take the train, no problem but the streets are shut down. you've got a large part of the upper he's i'd. >> the irony of it, you go up and they'll have to watch tell and it does an impact on the vast majority of the city. >> looks like we're also going to be blessed with good weather as they're having in washington. just joining us, the pope has arrived. his diminutive fiat, just trust us, it's in there. chevy suburbans have looked all week like they are grudgingly accepting their italian cousin as part of -- >> i understand they might be auctioning off those fiats. >> chuck todd is right there where the motorcade pulled in, correct?
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>> he is right -- see the stairs. there's actually a way to go underneath those stairs behind me and that's where the pope is right now. you won't see him here. all of a sudden you seem swarms of people have left but he'll enter the capital that way. and he's entering on the rouse hide, my guess is that's where the speaker root now is probably greeting him. >> we should explain, chuck, because we don't do that all that often, today is historic for a point meeting it is larger, just purely in terms of gallery and number of seats, than the senate chamber built for obviously these are going to
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be all guests of members of congress. the gallery is a who's who of sort of the american political world. i think we've got up to seven different presidential candidates, not including i think the sitting senators that are running who are going to be in the audience listening. a whom slew of cabinet secretaries, i don't know about supreme court justices but i don't think it will be a surprise if. this is not what we're going to be used to when the president addresses congress this daes. and while you're talking, we're looking at the prowse,ion bay f when he greets the pope in the
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ceremonious speakers office in the capital. very excited about this, it was his e-mail that went out two days ago politely reminding colleagues this is something different for capitol hill, we have never seen this before, the pope will, as he did at the white house welcoming ceremony yesterday be speaking english and as we've said for these past few days of coverage, he is not happy with his english language skills. it's one of many languages he is fluent in but he takes his time and goes at it methodically and every should able just the throngs of capitol hill on a beautiful sunny morning in the nation's capital and as rachel mentioned, the vibe in the crowd, once you clear security, unlike a lot of other big events in our country, is one of joy.
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it's -- this is a happy day. this is a history-making day. and before we lose the police commissioner and the city of new york, i wanted to point out one more thing. commissioner, isn't it true that when a vip, a dignitary come to, whether the hope or pra so there is a standing force next to that duty. you have this ready to go and that also means the rest of the city close neness a female sergt in our traffic division who has done this for 25 years. the senior in our traffic division, this is his third
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pope, it will be his last pope. we were very excited. i was just watching the speaker, how nervous he is. >> well, here's why. >> exactly. how can you not rpond to that. so from the police officer on a traffic post on up to police commissioner, we're very excited about this and very happy about it. >> let's see if we can hear any of this interplay. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> thank you for being here. >> good morning. good morning.
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nice to see all of you. >> and with that, the news media are politely escorted out. the top of this -- now the speaker and the pope can enjoy their conversation. chris matthews, former employee of house speaker tip o'neill, so many times spent in that room. >> so many days the speaker and i. that's the green room.
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i said welcome to the room where we plot against you, mr. president. it's one of those great meeting places, those rooms right there. a chair has been added, desks taken away but that's the room. the chamber, they walked into that hall. then he'll come in and be introduced there. that is sort of the launching pad for his address today. i was thinking about democracy. there's ed markey, the senator from massachusetts. you mention about his love of the congress. i think it could come from the fact that the last three popes all lived and actually held their office under dictatorships, certainly benedictnd the nazis and john paul ii under the communist rule of the iron curtain and this pope under the generals down in arj teen, a they all knew tyranny and representative government. here i would like to think they do get it, that he does get it especially. there's elizabeth warren, the other senator from massachusetts
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there, running across the hall. and the catholic contingent is equally divided on all the things he's going to talk about. >> there are various concerned -- >> i tried to use as my guide post, when it comes to the constitution of the united states, that's a secular decision. the right of people to teach its values, to teach what sin is. that is the right of the church.
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i read a column in the "new york times" saying the church isn't abortion of sin. my attitude to this is you were in the wrong lane, get out of the lane, nor should the state tell the church what to believe. chuck brought up the issue of how do you accommodate religious faith when you try to implement that's good for the country, house of corrections and you don't allow people in. these are tricky, borderline questions, and they are. catholics are divided on those borderline issues. >> can you understand the blowback about the head of a catholic church raising a topic like climate chang. >> well, you know, it's a reb
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was very nice to bring up the phrase common home. he talked about that we do go back the same planet. we breathe the same air and we depend on the habitat we share. that's not a met forric statement. it's a reality statement. just sit down and breathe. try breathing when there's no air. when he said air pollution, he meant it in the more immediate sense and concern about dirty air but it was the long-term concern that we're heating up the planet too much with gasses. but going back to -- the catholic church has put husband foot in it. and it's cyclical. the right of individuals to be represented in the work place. thes and i think those are areas you have to look out for if
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you're concerned about a moral existence, and there's distributive justice, the way we treat our society is a moral question. it's not all about sexual sin, it's and it looks like college football game day. again people are very, very happy to be here. we saw the hawaii delegation, just like the are via a pool apparatus, something called host tv, where we are all privy to this kind of consortium of networks and between all of us, we have all the angles covered
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on this very active pope, all these motorcade routes and such. and speaking of that, we have to let the new york city police commissioner attend to his day job, which today will look a lot like his night job and on and on and on because his responsibility goes to the pope and all the visiting deg terrys for the u.n. general assembly. so with that, commissioner, good luck to you. >> thank you. >> and we wish that also to all the officers under your command and we hope new york gets a chance to shine and this is a safe and successful and sparkling visit by the hope. >> commissioner bill bratton, thank you very much for spending time with us here in our studios. >> kate snow with me here in new york. we have a number of our correspondents in washington. among them, chief foreign
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affairs correspondent, andrea mitchell. pa will you be watching for and listening for this morning. >> we are going to listen for slightly different subjects. he's going to speak of course about immigration and the hieg grant con flekts and about religious liberty and freedom, which is something very important to the american bishops in particular. but here in this house,s will to or things that are important to other members here where the senate will again be voting as the republicans try to strip out a ma and as part of that, there is most likely, we're toll, the
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pope made an unas soon ased advice the last night, which was paying be -- so that was his way -- the vatican's issue that it's very, very important to him, did tbut in this longer sp today, you're going to hear more of those issues as well. heem speak about the death penalty, the sanctity of life. and also pay tribute to -- this is going to be a wonderful speech in english. across pot tap tol-- but this
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moment of a pope coming in. behind him will be joe biden and john boehner. it will look like a state of the union but as you've been discussing, people on both sides have been teeld to behave and not have democrats on one side, republicans on the other, cheering at special moments. they're supposed to be more respectful and not grab at his hand and try to embrace him when he walks down that center aisle. it will stained with. >> not the first religious leader because technically that was 1991. >> drina mitchell, thanks. we wanted to let our viewers know what's going to happen here. andrea is absolutely right, it's going to look for all the world
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like the pom many and ceremony of the president's state of the union, paul irving, the house sergeant at arms, is initially going to sound like he does when he is announcing the president but he's going to come forward and say, mr. speaker, the pope of the holy sea. in place of "president of the united states." we've seen many, many members, there's mitch mcconnell as well, many, many members of the senate and house leadership. all members of the senate and house have at least one guest ticket. there will be a lot of bold faced names in the gallery. all attendees are going through this kind of gauntlet of still and television photographers as they go into the chamber.
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chris matthews, on your broadcast last night, you said if you had one criticism of yesterday that compared to the work done by the catholic church in this country every day that happens to be done, a preponderance of it that is done by nuns, you said yesterday it was all male. >> yes. if you this i about catholic relief services which was renowned, who taught you in school, who takes care of the kid that have mental problems, or what do you call it, special needs children, all this being they just don't get much pleasure, do they, they don't get much prominence? eventually in the culture we live in there's going to be a
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push for equality. the pope did say it wasn't going to happen. we'd be more likely to move toward a married priesthood people have said than a woman priesthood. nn who is modern know men and women are equal in many, many ways. spiritually there's an inequality is a tradition. it could be. >> chris, we've been watching these delegations from different countries. we know notre dame spent nine bus loads of college students. rachel maddow remains out and among them in the crowd. i'm quite sure you can walk from delegation to delegation in this crowd. >> reporter: yeah, it's nice. one thing that you see is families and multi-generational
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groups where people have there's a lot of babies and baby carriers out here and a group of -- people are here from all over. one this evening i'm not sure if you appreciate it in front t-- speaker's balcony is such a nice thing. everything that's happening, people are watching on the jumbotron. and every time he appears on the jumbotrons everybody's head snaps to it. as i said before, this is a very
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happy occasion. i'm happy to hear the police commissioner of new york talk about it and how much they want to make sure it's happy in new york, too. it's high security here. one of the delegates happen to to be from the oochlbut more than anything it was hot. >> we've seen some that. on occasion we'll see members of the security detail walking through the shot. i'm curious if there's a part of this speech that you'll be listening for, what is it? >> i feel like honestly by there be what i'm pretty optimistic we're going to get is kind of a
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spiritual booster shot for people who care about public service. i am moved by the fact that he decided to address our congress. americans look at our congress. he believes in the importance of public service here and i hope that our public servants are buoyed by that in a spiritual and lasting way and i think that's what he's going to try to do. that's what i'm most hoping for. >> chris matthews, same question. >> well, i hope we're a better america after this. we're having a hard time in this country politically. the intellectual political violence in our conversations has got i don't know worse. the demonization of the other side's gotten worse. the moral superiority of each argument, even as ragged as
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these,ments are sometimes, i'd like to see some point applause today where they all stand up that would be a win for the country. >> as we discussed yesterday, that was chuck todd's wild theory, that if we're not careful, this could actually make for better, nicer discourse in our country during this mean season of the for the least one to two weeks. is that dreaming, chris? >> well, you never know. it's certainly low. as raich empointed out, the approval level for congress and this explains i think the great poise -- you nope, back in the 6
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360s, the wall street journal asked the american people can it do what it sets out to do? it was 70%. . we ought to have an immigration bill that's compromised from where you have forced people to stay in their room would couple all some people hire people illegally pom sway come to. >> the pope of course mentioned imat the white house we are
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expecting to see the pope. we will hear from him in upcoming minute here. and before then we're going to tack a break. when we come back, we'll be getting to that, our live special coverage continues. so what's your news? i got a job! i'll be programming at ge. oh i got a job too, at zazzies. (friends gasp) the app where you put fruit hats on animals? i love that! guys, i'll be writing code that helps machines communicate. (interrupting) i just zazzied you. (phone vibrates) look at it! (friends giggle) i can do dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs... you name it. i'm going to transform the way the world works. (proudly) i programmed that hat. and i can do casaba melons. i'll be helping turbines power cities. i put a turbine on a cat. (friends ooh and ahh) i can make hospitals run more efficiently... this isn't a competition!
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ask your doctor about xarelto®. we are back. this was just moments ago. the vice president, along with other members of the senate. and vice president biden was in attendance yesterday at the catholic university event at the basilica. he was heading up this delegation of senators, as they came into the chamber. the pope himself will pass
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through statutory hall at some point. we saw a few minutes ago he started his meeting with the speaker of the house, john boehner, but this is where we are -- our cameras are concentrating until he walk noose that chamber and is introduced by the sergeant at arms. the crowd, as rachel pointed out, is very excited to see him when he goes out to the speakers' balcony. they will so otherwise his address, they will watch it on television or listen to it on speakers. all of it control and taking place under beautiful, sunny skies. we've been very blessed here along the east coast. it looks like the weather will hold for all three cities, all
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three venues on the pope's trip, washington, new york and philadelphia, a kind of east coast early americans not living in washington, new york and philadelphia can quickly name a whole bunch of places they would love the pope to visit to get a truer sense of this country. andfully that would certainly thrill a lot of american catholics. we see the backium here as legislators make their way into the chamber. all that will be done before the pope is able to come in. you'll see, again, very familiar backdrop, as he is introduced in the chamber and here's a warm reception for the vice president as he come down the high hp and
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dr droo, andrea watching and listening with us. this does feel like that winter week night every year when we gather to bring the state of the union address. >> it certainly does but with a big difference, we hope a little built more decor ul. pu there is a subtext of politics. you have a number who has been speaking out very forcefully about the pope and other big issues they share and of course the rab but now you see this is a very lig who are for to run for president, challenge hillary clinton. in the latest polls he's been
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moving on up into second place in the bloomberg poll this week, at least particularically tied, point ahead, margin of error ahead of bernie sanders and at 25 founts hillary clinton's 33 points in that national poll,s that heady enough the joint meeting will come to order. the chair committee will escort pope francis into the chamber. the gentleman from california, mr. mccarthy, the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scase, thia from north carolina, police floks, gentleman from kansas, mr. jenkins, gentleman from california, miss pell usi,
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there. the gentleman from new york, mr. crowley, the gentleman woman from connecticut, miss delawyero and gentleman from new mexico, mr. luhan. >> the president appoints the following senators as members of the committee. >> this is ceremony where they're appointing members of a committee to really be honorary escorts, to in plain english go get the pope and bring him into the chamber. and just a ceremonial roll call of the names as you know, there's senator warren, the senate and house members are still the seats, the mrs. s to what we've come accustomed to during state of the union addresses.
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the joint chiefs and members of the military are where they are. the members of the sport who have chosen to attend will be where they are. there are cardinals in attendance. that is not something we're used to seeing. but this scene of people coming down the aisle and being greeted by their colleagues, very familiar. let's listen in one again and of course we have so many candidates for president right now in the early runnings that it seems that every other person coming down the aisle we should mention because people recognize them from political debates during this season where the race is kind of bropd and wide open. congress and chris matthews
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remains with us. chris, you the pageantry when we gather like this for a state of the union. you have bemoaned the partisanship, and you have so far today joined everyone else in saying this must be different. this reception must be different, and you're hoping for actual joint applause over party lines. >> yeah, and i always love thursday nights on the hill because those were the nights that they'd close debate on the big fight of the week, and they would all join up, all show up, the roll call was really serious. and everyone came, and everyone was there together. and there was some wonderful scenes i came across. at one point after a very hot debate with two fellows from either side fighting it out, red-faced in both cases. and after it was over and the room was emptying out for the weekend, one of them came over from the republican side to the
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fellow on the democratic side and said, what are you doing this weekend? say hello to your wife. you know, that's the best. that's when it works, when you can argue and still maintain actual friendship. and you make an effort to do it. you know you've gotten hot. you know it's gotten overheated, and you know you have to mend a fence right away or it will stay unmended. and just that constant effort to say the gentleman from, the gentlelady from, all the old decorum. brian, you and i can say that's a bit archaic, but in fact it helps liquefy the thing. it keeps it moving. and i think these old ways of the roberts rules and addressing the chair, addressing the speaker and not being at hominum, these are the techniques that keep people from killing each other. today we had the situation where someone yelled out "you lie" to the president. these are not good moves on the part of any party. and i think boehner, the
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speaker, is going to really try to keep it together today. i thought it was interesting, brian, that he wanted to meet with the pontiff alone, maybe for personal reasons, moral reasons, his own life, he wanted to get some help. i thought it was unfortunate that all those cardinals stayed in the room with them. i thought he was going to get some private time with the pope. and it looked like he got a session there with some other leaders of the church. there's bernie sanders. riding high. that man is really beating the spread. and there's elizabeth warren who a lot of people would liked to have run. she's pulled back from this race but very, very popular on the democratic progressive side. there's cory booker behind her, another future star. you're right, they're all there. >> chris, while we're not here to teach a course in politics, i'm curious, you talk about the old days and getting along even after protracted battles. what happened? what changed it? >> it all began, i think most of the pros would say during the
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vietnam war, the hostility of both sides of the other. i think it began. then watergate. it was one layer of acrimony on top of another. and when you went to the whip meetings, those meetings held during the week, they were like scenes from the indian side of a cowboy and indian movie where geronimo characters would yell, we've got to give 'em hell, we've got to win. it was just partisanship. and unfortunately, that's what raises the money on both sides. you know that, brian. raise the money by being the most militant and saying the stakes are so high and the other side is so wrong that you have to give me money. and then you lose the moderate forces in both parties that way. >> chris, we just -- they introduced the diplomatic corps. the chamber has come down greatly, though we will still see the pope before he enters the chamber, as will all of the
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people outside. the pope will see them from the speaker's balcony, and we will see him on his way to the door before he is introduced by the sergeant at arms. chris, you've been vocal about what this has done to your adopted city of washington. >> well, it's been a living postcard, hasn't it. i was kidding with you yesterday saying i always tell people to come to washington. it's a beautiful city, and you already paid for it, your tax dollars. every museum, as you know, is free. every public place, the capitol, everything, the white house, it's all free. you should come and bring your family, especially when they're young. my family was lucky to come with my dad and mom when we were 8 or 9 years old. i think it's a city that loves to show itself off. it's made to be viewed. and in this situation, you see so many people on the streets dressed up. everyone has their shoes shined. they have their haircuts. everybody is at their absolute
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best for the picture. and i hope their behavior accords with that. i just think it's a city that's very proud of itself. as you know, it's a real city with real people living here. some for life. potomac fever, i can tell you personally, is real. once you've come here in your 20s, you really don't want to leave. that's been true of so many people. and i think a lot of the people in this chamber love this city. they love -- tip o'neill used to drive up in the morning to the capitol and look at the flag flying and be thrilled by it every day. and i think most of these members of congress are like that, even the ones who are somewhat difficult to defend otherwise. >> rachel maddow, that certainly is the spirit you've been telling us about from the crowd. >> yeah, brian. and i would just say that as this action has started in the chamber, welcoming people into the chamber, seeing those dignita dignitaries, those politicians, representatives and senators walking in, there's an absolute hush over the crowd here. >> mr. speaker, the chief justice and associate justices of the supreme court.
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>> a big turnout by members of the supreme court. rachel, while you were speaking, they're making their way down to their seats. last among them, sonia sotomayor who will be sitting next to justice ginsburg. there's justice kennedy, chief justice roberts. >> mr. speaker, the president's cabinet. >> we've been saying six justices of the supreme court out of the nine are catholics. there's john kerry, secretary of state, leading members of the cabinet down the aisle.
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again, you'd be forgiven for thinking this is a rare morning state of the union address. it looks just like that. except for the man they are all gathered to see. the leader of the catholic church, somewhere around 1.2 billion strong around the world. somewhere north of 70 million americans. as chris matthews has been referencing, as others have referenced, declining roles and something of a crisis of confidence and hope in the future, and it is hoped that this pope has done what so many feel he has, and that is rekindled interest and pride in the catholic church from the
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parish priest level all the way to the vatican. it is a sprawling organization. and as we referenced yesterday, he is a pastor at once and also the, in effect, ceo of this huge organization. waiting for the first glimpse of the pope. we last saw him sit down with speaker boehner. i'm told we are now back on the clock. back on schedule. a minute and a half to go till the top of the hour, 10:00 a.m. chris matthews, that's the thing about the catholic church, from local to global, it is -- it is what your contact with it is.
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>> well, the great thing about the catholic church, especially in the days of latin, you could go in any church in the world and you'd be at home. it's still that way in many ways. by the way, have you been watching the conversation between john boehner and the vice president? i think those two fellows, if they got in a room together, could solve most of the world's problems right now. certainly the american political problems. i wish it could work that way. they could both speak for their parties and get it done. it's also great, brian, i'm looking at jack lew who's this wonderful fellow who is secretary of the treasury standing next to john kerry, secretary of state. he sat to my right for most of six years when i worked for the speaker. every day, in a most helpful colleague i've ever had in my life. you ask jack a question about legislation, he was friendly as hell to tell you about it. what a good guy to have such a big job. it makes me proud to know him. it's just an interesting personal note to see a guy rise so high. it's great. >> chris, you're not the first person to wish we had a
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microphone up there to record the conversation between the vice president and the speaker. today, of course, what they have in common, they're both catholics, and they're both very excited about this visit. the pope, we're told, is up and on the move. and as soon as he comes into view of one of our priest camera locations -- here we go -- we'll stay here. and the flash photography usually is an indicator that he is close. and coming around the corner. of course, he is accompanied by a large contingent of both vatican security and u.s. secret service as they are responsible for him as long as he is in this country. a large traveling press corps which will be peared down becaue they have taken their positions in the capitol.
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rachel maddow, we paused. you were polite enough to allow members of the supreme court to come down the aisle, and you were making a point in the middle of that. >> i was just going to say that it is a very quiet, quiet west front of the capitol right now. everybody was previously taking selfies and chatting and milling around. it is rapt out here. it is very quiet. there is an absolute hush in terms of how people are paying attention to what's going on in the chamber. it's obviously still a very positive crowd, but the attention is there. every head is pointed in the same direction, and people know it's about to happen. >> as we saw him approaching the door, that means we are close to hearing him announced to the chamber.
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>> mr. speaker, the pope of the holy see! [ cheers and applause ]
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[ cheers and applause ] >> members of congress, i have
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the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you pope francis of the holy see. [ cheers and applause ] mr. vice president, mr. speaker, honorable members of congress, dear friends, i am most grateful for your
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invitation to address this joint session of congress in the land of the free and the home of the brave. [ cheers and applause ] i would like to think that the reason for this is that i too am a son of this great continent, from which we have all received so much and toward which we share a common responsibility.
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each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. your own responsibility as members of congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. you are the face of its people, their representatives. you are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.
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a political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. legislative activity is always based on care for the people. to this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you. yours is a work which makes me reflect in two ways on the
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figure of moses. on the one hand, the patriarch and lawgiver of the people of israel symbolizes the need of people to keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation. on the other, the figure of moses leads us directly to god and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. moses provides us with a good synthesis of your work.
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you are asked to protect, by means of the law, the image and likeness fashioned by god on every human life. today i would like not only to address you, but through you the entire people of the united states. here, together with their representatives, i would like to take this opportunity to dialogue with the many thousands of men and women who strive each day to do an honest day's work, to bring home their daily bread,
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to save money and, one step at a time, to build a better life for their families. these are men and women who are not concerned simply with paying their taxes, but in their own quiet way sustain the life of society. [ cheers and applause ] they generate solidarity by their actions, and they create organizations which offer a helping hand to those most in need. i would also like to enter into
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dialogue with the many elderly persons who are a storehouse of wisdom forged by experience, and who seek in many ways, especially through volunteer work, to share their stories and their insights. i know that many of them are retired, but still active. they keep working to build up this land. i also want to dialogue with all those young people who are working to realize their great and noble aspirations, who are not led astray by facile proposals, and who face
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difficult situations, often as a result of immaturity on the part of many adults. i wish to dialogue with all of you, and i would like to do so through the historical memory of your people. my visit takes place at a time when men and women of good will are marking the anniversaries of several great americans. the complexities of history and the reality of human weakness
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notwithstanding, these men and women, for all their many differences and limitations, were able by hard work and self-sacrifice, some at the cost of their lives, to build a better future. they shaped fundamental values which will endure forever in the spirit of the american people. a people with this spirit can live through many crises, tensions and conflicts, while always finding the resources to move forward, and to do so with dignity.
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these men and women offer us a way of seeing and interpreting reality. in honoring their memory, we are inspired, even amid conflicts, and in the here and now of each day, to draw upon our deepest cultural reserves. i would like to mention four of these americans, abraham lincoln, martin luther king, dorothy day and thomas merton.
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[ cheers and applause ] this year marks the 150th anniversary of the assassination of president abraham lincoln, the guardian of liberty, who labored tirelessly that this nation, under god, might have a new birth of freedom. building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity. all of us are quite aware of,
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and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of god and of religion. we know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. this means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind.
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a delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. [ cheers and applause ] but there is another temptation which we must especially guard against, the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil, or, if you will,
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the righteous and sinners. the contemporary world, with its open wounds which affect so many of our brothers and sisters, demands that we confront every form of polarization which would divide it into these two camps. we know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. to imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place.
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that is something which you, as a people, reject. [ cheers and applause ] our response must instead be one of hope and healing, of peace and justice. we are asked to summon the courage and the intelligence to resolve today's many geopolitical and economic crises. even in the developed world, the effects of unjust structures and actions are all too apparent.
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our efforts must aim at restoring hope, righting wrongs, maintaining commitments, and thus promoting the well-being of individuals and of peoples. we must move forward together, as one, in a renewed spirit of fraternity and solidarity, cooperating generously for the common good. the challenges facing us today call for a renewal of that spirit of cooperation, which has
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accomplished so much good throughout the history of the united states. the complexity, the gravity and the urgency of these challenges demand that we pool our resources and talents, and resolve to support one another, with respect for our differences and our convictions of conscience. in this land, the various religious denominations have greatly contributed to building and strengthening society.
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it is important that today, as in the past, the voice of faith continue to be heard, for it is a voice of fraternity and love, which tries to bring out the best in each person and in each society. such cooperation is a powerful resource in the battle to eliminate new global forms of slavery, born of grave injustices which can be overcome only through new policies and new forms of social consensus.
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politics is instead an expression of our compel iling need to live as one in order to build as one the greatest common good, that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share justice and peace, its good, its social life. i don't underestimate the difficulty that this involves. but i encourage you in this effort.
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here, too, i think of the march which martin luther king led from selma to montgomery 50 years ago as part of the campaign to fulfill his dream of full civil and political rights for african-americans. that dream continues to inspire us all. i am happy that america continues to be, for many, a land of dreams.
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dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people. in recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. we, the people of this
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continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us because most of us were once foreigners. [ cheers and applause ] i say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. [ applause ] tragically, the rights of those who were here long before us
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were not always respected. for those peoples and their nations, from the heart of american democracy, i wish to reaffirm my highest esteem and appreciation. those first contacts were often turbulent and violent, but we know it is very difficult to judge the past by the criteria of the present. [ applause ] nonetheless, when the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the
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errors of the past. [ applause ] we must resolve now to live as nobly and as justly as possible, as we educate new generations not to turn their back on our neighbors and everything around us. building a nation calls us to recognize that we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a mindset of hostility in order to adopt one of reciprocal subsidiarity, in a constant effort to do our best.
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i am confident that we can do this. our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the second world war. this presents us with great challenges and many hard decisions. on this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities.
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is this not what we want for our own children? [ applause ] we must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. to respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. we need to avoid a common temptation nowadays, to discard whatever proves troublesome. let us remember the golden rule,
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"do unto others as you would "do unto others as you will have them do unto you." this rule points us in a clear direction. let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. let us help others to grow, as
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we would like to be helped ourselves. in a word, if we want security, let us give security. if we want life, let us give life. if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. the yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us. [ applause ]
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the golden rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development. this conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty.
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i am convinced that this way is the best, since every life is sacred, every human person is endowed with an inalienable dignity, and society can only benefit from the rehabilitation of those convicted of crimes. recently my brother bishops here in the united states renewed their call for the abolition of the death penalty. not only do i support them, but i also offer encouragement to all those who are convinced that
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a just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation. [ applause ] in these times when social concerns are so important, i cannot fail to mention the servant of god dorothy day, who founded the catholic worker movement. her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the gospel, her faith, and the
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example of the saints. how much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world. how much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty. i know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. at the same time i would encourage you to keep in mind
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all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. they, too, need to be given hope. the fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes. i know that many americans today, as in the past, are working to deal with this problem. it goes without saying that part of this great effort is the creation and distribution of wealth. the right use of natural resources, the proper
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application of technology and the harnessing of the spirit of enterprise are essential elements of an economy which seeks to be modern, inclusive and sustainable. business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world. it can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to
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the common good. this common good also includes the earth, a central theme of the encyclical which i recently wrote in order to enter into dialogue with all people about our common home. we need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.
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in laudato si', i call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps, and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. i am convinced that we can make a difference, i'm sure. [ applause ]
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and i have no doubt that the united states, and this congress, have an important role to play. now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a culture of care and an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature. [ applause ] we have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology, to devise intelligent ways of developing and limiting our
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power, and to put technology at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral. in this regard, i am confident that america's outstanding academic and research institutions can make a vital contribution in the years ahead. [ applause ] a century ago, at the beginning of the great war, which pope benedict xv termed a pointless
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slaughter, another notable american was born, the cistercian monk thomas merton. he remains a source of spiritual inspiration and a guide for many people. in his autobiography he wrote, "i came into the world. free by nature, in the image of god, i was nevertheless the prisoner of my own violence and my own selfishness, in the image of the world into which i was born. that world was the picture of
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hell, full of men like myself, loving god, and yet hating him. born to love him, living instead in fear of hopeless self-contradictory hungers." merton was above all a man of prayer, a thinker who challenged the certitudes of his time and opened new horizons for souls and for the church. he was also a man of dialogue, a promoter of peace between peoples and religions.
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from this perspective of dialogue, i would like to recognize the efforts made in recent months to help overcome historic differences linked to painful episodes of the past. it is my duty to build bridges and to help all men and women, in any way possible, to do the same. when countries which have been at odds resume the path of dialogue, a dialogue which may have been interrupted for the most legitimate of reasons, new opportunities open up for all.
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[ applause ] this has required, and requires, courage and daring, which is not the same as irresponsibility. a good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism. a good political leader always opts to initiate processes rather than possessing space.
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[ applause ] being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world. here we have to ask ourselves, why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? sadly, the answer, as we all
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know, is simply for money, money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. in the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade. [ applause ] three sons and one daughter of this land, four individuals and
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four dreams. lincoln, liberty. martin luther king, liberty in plurality and non-exclusion. dorothy day, social justice and the rights of persons. and thomas merton, the capacity for dialogue and openness to god. four representatives of the american people. i will end my visit to your country in philadelphia, where i will take part in the world meeting of families. it is my wish that throughout my visit the family should be a
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recurrent theme. how essential the family has been to the building of this country. [ applause ] and how worthy it remains for our support and encouragement. yet i cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. fundamental relationships are being called into question, as
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is the very basis of marriage and the family. i can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life. [ applause ] in particular, i would like to call attention to those family members who are the most vulnerable, the young. for many of them, a future filled with countless possibilities beckons, yet so many others seem disoriented and
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aimless, trapped in a hopeless maze of violence, abuse and despair. their problems are our problems. [ applause ] we cannot avoid them. we need to face them together, to talk about them and to seek effective solutions rather than getting bogged down in discussions. at the risk of oversimplifying, we might say that we live in a culture which pressures young people not to start a family,
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because they lack possibilities for the future. yet this same culture presents others with so many options that they, too, are dissuaded from starting a family. a nation can be considered great when it defends liberty as lincoln did, when it fosters a culture which enables people to dream of full rights for all their brothers and sisters, as martin luther king sought to do, when it strives for justice and the cause of the oppressed, as dorothy day did by her tireless
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work, the fruit of a faith which becomes dialogue and sows peace in the contemplative style of thomas merton. in these remarks i have sought to present some of the richness of your cultural heritage, of the spirit of the american people. it is my desire that this spirit continue to develop and grow, so that as many young people as possible can inherit and dwell in a land which has inspired so many people to dream.
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god bless america! [ applause ] >> the first time in history the
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head of the roman catholic church addressing congress. what a striking sight he was, the light reflecting off his white robes. and chris matthews listening along with us. chris, he went there on issues from arms control to climate to equality to poverty, to human life, to fundamentalism, in tracing the lives of lincoln, king, day and merton. >> i think he was creating or structuring a spiritual mt. rushmore there for modern catholicism and a modern sense of values. i mean, clearly lincoln and martin luther king were no surprise in that mt. rushmore, but to bring in dorothy day, a woman of the catholic left, certainly the catholic progressive left who did so much for poverty and almost found a catholic version of marxism in a sense, very much concerned about inequality and the people who were trodden down in the cities of america. thomas merton has been a great force for a lot of people who have been in the recovering
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community. friends of mine, a big force in their way of finding prayer and elevating their relationship to god. it's so interesting how he put it all together. and also against kind of the political screen. i think it's very hardo find a member of congress in there who bought it all. i mean, if you think income inequality and immigration, certainly the liberals will like that. the progressives. on abortion, they may not have the same view about role of the government. they don't do in the role of protecting the unborn. capital punishment, there is a complete conflict on a life issue, a lot of liberal progressives would say, oh, we have to stop capital punishment, but you won't find many conservatives saying that but you will find them very concerned about abortion. and that that issue of reproductive rights. it's hard to find anyone -- i was looking in that room and thinking who agreed with all of that? i only can think of one face and that's bob casey of pennsylvania. i think the others, it's always an a la carte situation with the liberals taking what they prefer
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and the conservatives taking what they prefer. but i do like the idea of this tribute to american values through the forces of lincoln and king and dorothy day and thomas merton. >> what an interesting pageant, though, chris, an interesting reception. not shaking hands as he came down the aisle until he encountered john kerry. >> right. >> he received a very, very polite reception and sustained applause at the top. he had them at land of the free and home of the brave. >> right. >> and kept them right up until "god bless america." they loved when he called america "land of the dreams" and repeatedly almost reminding americans what is great about their country. andrea mitchell also watching with us. andrea, it was kind of a confident prodding more than it was a scolding on issues. >> absolutely.
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it was a pastoral message. our colleague, anne thompson, as you know, better than anyone, been traveling with the pope and says that he wasn't going to scold or lecture congress, and he didn't. but he tried to uplift and bring people to their best natures, and bridging all of the divides, i think so brilliantly and deftly, as you and chris have been mentioning. the pause at john kerry is significant because this pope has been a very strong supporter of both the iran negotiations and, of course, a secret mediator on the cuba diplomacy. and he credits john kerry and the administration with that. but certainly in his comments about the dignity of human life at every stage, that was a very important reaffirmation of his traditional of the church on this subject, the fact that he went to the little sisters of the poor who are suing the obama
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administration over obamacare and the leader of that order telling "usa today" now that that was a very important show of support for their fight against obamacare and the contraception mandate. as we see the pope now coming through the halls of congress, this is just such an important affirmation of all of his messages in one place. and just quickly, brian, as we were on the air, and he's talking about resolving conflicts, and we know resolving conflicts, and vladimir putin will be meeting with barack obama on monday for the first time in years, despite their disagreements over ukraine and syria. this will be a moment at the united nations. >> as this is a moment we're witnessing now, the pope walking through staff, visitors and press, held back at the rope line with the vice president and speaker at his side. he's on his way to the balcony.
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the statue of the saint whose cannonization we covered yesterday. the entire delegation pausing before the statue of father serra. >> he made reference -- >> interesting to note the last three popes have been invited to speak to a joint meeting of congress. this pope accepted. we also believe that the speech we just witnessed was the most
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english he has ever spoken at one time. here's the camera at the balcony. a make phoicrophone awaits. people outside know he's on his way. 50,000 tickets were issued for the outdoor gallery.
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a lot of anxiousness. you can hear the crowd. the chant of "papa." you see some rather anxious aides and photographers which would indicate that the pope is getting close.
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kate snow watching along with us here in new york. >> that balcony is a stunning view of washington, d.c., brian. i know you've been there. i used to cover capitol hill. and walking out there and seeing, you can barely see the washington monument there in the distance, and beyond that the lincoln memorial, for people not familiar with washington. that is the national mall. and look how filled it is with people today. but they're waiting for him to come through the speaker's office which, of course, is right in the center of the u.s. capitol. >> it is a stunning view. the view from there looks almost like an inauguration crowd. just packed and, of course, highly secured like an inauguration crowd. we've repeatedly called this the -- as the designation goes goes -- the largest national security event in the history of the nation. and don't forget, of course, the pope ends his day in new york
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where the general assembly of the united nations is gathering. so you have many, many heads of state, the largest such collection in the 70-year history of the u.n. great anticipation. remember, the crowd is watching themselves and the scene on the big-screen tv. and they will presumably see the holy father progress through the speaker's office and out to the speaker's balcony. from here, we will follow the progress of the motorcade. he's going to go to the catholic charities center in washington to help serve meals to the less fortunate. his schedule sprinkled with such events. reminding everyone of his calling and his mission.
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chris matthews, another line that got a lot of attention and applause, most of us were once foreigners. chris? >> you know, brian, it's interesting that that picture we're looking at right now, looking down the washington mall and then down pennsylvania avenue was the picture imagined by the man who won the american revolution, george washington. and an immigrant who laid out the city, they had that vision we're looking at right now, in the 1790s, when they commissioned the plan for the city, it's so amazing to think about that moment and this one, these many years later. >> we just saw steny hoyer from maryland. it looks like we're going to have nancy pelosi -- looks like we're going to have a mixture of
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cardinals and elected officials. harry reid, mitch mcconnell, vice president, the speaker. very emotional day for the speaker. [ cheers and applause ]
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[ cheers and applause ] >> would you like to bless them? would you like to bless them? buenos dias.
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>> translator: i'm so grateful for your presence here. the most important ones here, children. i'll ask god to bless them. father of all. bless these. bless each of them. bless the families.
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bless them all. and i ask you all, please, to pray for me. and if there are among you any who do not believe or cannot pray, i ask you, please, to send good wishes my way. thank you. thank you very much. and god bless america.
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[ cheers and applause ] >> they love you. we love you. >> in addition to the gracious remarks by the pope aimed at the children he could see below him, the interesting things you hear at an open mike. we heard the vice president wondering if he wanted to give a
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blessing. we heard the speaker say "a lot of people out there." the speaker who routinely loses control of his emotions has done so again today. it was a very emotional day for john boehner. after all, it was his invitation the pope accepted. but, again, the pope calling attention to children and that crowd of 50,000 people which will now make their way across washington. chris matthews, another moment in this day, still early. >> wasn't it nice of him, brian, to acknowledge that there are nonbelievers in that crowd that came out because they root for him. if they don't believe, they still root for him and acknowledge that, right out to the people by saying, well, at least extend me your good wishes. boy, that was an opening right there to the nonbelievers, which is a big part of our country. and we don't acknowledge it much, but not everyone has faith.
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and they should be considered part of the people and part of our community and concerned about our common home. i thought it was great. those little things separate him from maybe you might call it the old school of religion. >> kate snow has been here with us. and kate, it would do us well to remember what moments in this speech that we've just witnessed kind of brought the most applause, the biggest response within the chamber. >> there were quite a few. and mostly as promised, bipartisan support for the pope. as you mentioned, brian, he started with the theme of "land of the free and home of the brave." he mentioned the american dream several times over. but there were messages on everything from extremism and the need to be attentive to every type of fundamentalism, he said, whether religious or any other kind. he warned not to feed the enemy within and to imitate hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers, he said, is the best way to take their place.
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also called on the american people to be kind to each other. he talked about immigration. and in that vein, one of the most key comments and one of the biggest applause lines, if you will, was this one. >> let us remember the golden rule. "do unto others as you -- [ applause ] "do unto others as you will have them do unto you." >> it's just that simple, right? and he used that to frame so many other things, whether it was his views on immigration, his views on the death penalty,
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climate change, brian, one last note. i noticed that the only time that he went off script, we had been given an advanced copy of what he was likely to say. the only time he went off script when he said that i'm convinced that we can make a difference on climate change, and he said "i'm sure" -- he added the words "i'm sure" in english, not his first language, but he wanted to emphasize that we need to work together on preventing climate change. >> so many interesting moments. kelly o'donnell was inside the chamber for it. and kelly, let the word go forth that we will know this day hereafter because congress actually applauded the golden rule. >> reporter: brian, we are still in the chamber along with several hundred guests who had the one ticket from each member of congress. they have not opened the doors here. picking up on what kate just said when the holy father was talking about the environment, i had my eyes trained on jim inhofe of oklahoma.
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he's the republican chairman of the environment committee here in the is that the. and he is also one of the most critical voices challenging the notion of human involvement in climate change. his hands were clasped in his lap, as others around him were applauding. he had maybe a nod of a head at that moment, kate, referred to where the holy father went off script, not in adpreegreementagn what i would perceive as disagreement. in this chamber, this was so different. brian, you and i have talked about addresses from this place many times. today was notably different. i saw members of congress who had rosaries in their hands. the upper gallery is full of people wearing collars and habits which is, for me, a lifetime of memories. that's unusual for this kind of address, but, of course, expected with the holy father. and the politics was certainly present, but it was not as at a fever pitch as it certainly is in other contexts. there was standing ovations from both parties. there was something for members
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of congress and lawmakers and their guests to hear from different points of view. when the holy father talked about life and the death penalty, that cuts through a very thorny path in american politics. republicans who believe very strongly against abortion rights. many democrats who advocate for the end to the death penalty in certain circumstances. so it was an eloquent speech that touched on so many notes. and we remain here in the chamber. i also spoke to chris christie who was sitting behind me and dr. ben carson who was also behind ple to my left. dr. carson said he wanted to be in a place where for a moment there would be a pause and a reflection of faith. brian? >> kelly, thanks. we're watching the pope emerge from the capitol. very clear the guide to understanding this man, human contact appears to light him up. and in this case, it's elected officials. it is often just people.
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and it sounds strange to say that at times he's been starved for contact, but with the security requirements as they are, he too often is forced to drive by at a high rate of speed. he's too often separated from the people you know he would love to be greeting in person. but those are the realities of life in 2015 and the security apparatus that has to travel along with him. he's making his good-byes on capitol hill. again, the motorcade over to catholic charities in washington. as we watch them load up and get under way, the historian and author michael beschloss has been witnessing all of this with us. and michael, how do you process what you've seen today? >> morning, brian. you know, i've been so fascinated that pope francis made this choice, as you were saying earlier, to make this speech to a joint meeting of
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congress, as no pope had ever done before, although they've been offered because, you know, we're so used to seeing the setting mainly presidents giving state of the union addresses with laundry lists of things they want from congress and the american people. and the same thing with foreign leaders. you know, the first modern example of this was winston churchill, as you know, after pearl harbor, calling on americans to help the british win world war ii. but the interesting thing to me was how much really, in a way, this address resembled a state of the union in that he gave a very strong idea of what his moral values are, whom he admires, the americans he admires in history, but at the same time, very specific suggestions on what we americans in congress should do from abolishing the death penalty to the environment and foreign policy. and the last thing, brian, we know from recent popes that a number of them, especially john paul and ronald reagan, have worked quietly together to make very important departures in foreign policy in that case to
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end the cold war. we know that he and barack obama did that recently on cuba. when he said he was going to build bridges, wanted that to be done, i think he's hinting that we're going to see a lot of that more to come. >> and michael, i know you must have been reflecting over these past few days on the presidency of john f. kennedy and the path of the catholic church in american political life. >> indeed. you know, we all know from history, you know, you and i, as great students of history, in 1960, how large an obstacle john kennedy had to overcome to become the first catholic to be elected president to the point that he had to give a famous speech in houston saying that if i ever had to be in a situation where my -- the views of my church and the necessity of the country co-lillided, i would ren the office. that's something probably a modern candidate would not have to do today. we've come a long way, but as far as we have come, there have only been one catholic president, john kennedy, and one catholic vice president in
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american history, and that's joe biden. >> and the fear back then in the '60s was that somehow the pope would be sending orders directly to the white house. well, effective today, the pope has just addressed a joint meeting of congress. again, look at those barricades. keeping the people back. this is kind of an open zone for the motorcade to exit. the pope is waving to as many people as he can. in that fiat alongside the secret service chevy suburbans, displaying those particular papal visit license plates on the back, half american flag, half papal flag. going out through the security check poi checkpoints on the hill. again, they will hd over to catholic charities in washington. just the first half of a long day. the pope woke up in washington.
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he will go to bed tonight in new york where he starts an entirely new adventure. and before heading back home, there is philadelphia. and easily the largest single crowd the pope will face in the united states. of course, we all hope that there are many more visits and opportunities for him to see other parts of our country and meet other folks across the country. there will be limited camera angles of the motorcade now until we see him come into camera view and arrive at the next venue. chuck todd is back with us. chuck, your thoughts about what we've just witnessed. >> reporter: well, look. my breath was taken away by the moment on the balcony there. i still sort of -- that image, it is, for me, going to be the most indelible washington, seeing him address off the cuff in spanish but then saying, there's something about
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hearing "god bless america" from a pope that feels different. i'm not catholic, but there's something that you feel like, well, maybe -- maybe he's got a little more -- a little more sway when he says that. but the speech itself, brian, you know, a lot of people are going to talk about the litany of issues that he came across. and i thought michael put is very well. he did have an agenda, and he wanted to make sure that congress thood what his agenda was on different items. but i thought the larger message that he was bringing was using the greatness of america's democracy and the history of america's great democracy as a way of lecturing these current legislative bodies and our current state of politics. how many times did you hear the words pragmatism or common good or, you know, different ways of saying compromise? he was, to me, sending that message that over and above everything else on individual issues, guys and gals, work together for the greater good.
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and i wonder, six days before this place gets shut down -- and i'm sorry to introduce that kind of politics into this -- but i wonder if it will have an impact on those 535 people who listened to that today. >> well, chuck, i thought of you when the golden rule was interrupted by applause. and your thought, your hope, two days ago that this would perhaps change the nature of the debate if only for a short window of time. >> reporter: that's right. and by the way, just this short window would be enough to sort of save us from a silly season. look, i was moved watching all of those politicians in there moved to see whether it was biden dabbing an eye, the speaker dabbing an eye, marco rubio dabbing an eye. you could just see, you know, he did touch everybody, i think, in that room, a lot of people in that room individually. we don't know what issue touched them more than the others, but maybe that sentiment, you know. and look, this is what i believe our religious leaders should be doing, which is should be giving
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aspirational speeches, understanding that sometimes the politics is messy. but it was -- to me, that was the most powerful message that he sent in that speech. this idea of you're a great democracy. stay a great democracy. >> chuck todd, thanks. we're joined in the new york studio by bishop robert barron of los angeles, a man elevated to his position by this pope. bishop, your opinion of what we just watched transpire. >> it was very moving to me. i think as a catholic, as an american, and the juxtaposition of the two sets of values and the ingenious way he used those four figures, i found that most compelling. i was lining up as the talk went on, the more liberal issues, the more conservative ones, we all talk about that. catholic social teaching goes beyond left and right. and indeed, you could line the issues up. but what i found really intriguing was thomas merton. a great hero of mine. one of the reasons i'm a priest is thomas merton. great spiritual writer, new
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yorker, who comes from columbia university. he's on fifth avenue one day and sees this book in scrivener's bookstore. gets it. he was a complete skeptic at the time. read the book and began the process of his conversion to catholicism, eventually becoming a monk and the most influential spiritual writer of the 21st century. i think what he was saying was opening this secular society to god. and once you get that, then these issues line up. once you know god's existence and the dignity of the human being, then all of these issues line up as they do in catholic social teaching. so for me, bemerton was the key figure in the whole speech. maybe not a household name but someone who's a huge importance for american catholicism. >> what kate snow yesterday called the power of the pope. you say maybe not a household name, but one of the pope's purposes today was to teach through these remarks, and maybe this will prompt classroom teachers. maybe it will prompt parish
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priests to discuss it. and talk about it. we see that fiat winding its way through new york. we don't yet know what the vehicle of choice will be in new york other than the popemobile. here's the arrival now of the pope at the catholic charities center. a big crowd that's been waiting the entire time the pope was on capitol hill, they have been waiting here to catch a glimpse of him. >> he also mentioned dorothy day, a great new yorker, as he comes to catholic charities. day gave her life and service to the poor. a woman of tremendous faith and devotion to the blessed sa sacrament to retreat and all of that. then it gave rise to a deep commitment to social justice. so that would appeal very deeply to pope francis. >> we're watching here as the pope makes his way up the stairs.
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talking to his personal secretary. so much security. a mixture of vatican security and u.s. secret service. and the crowd gets a wave and a blessing. look at the devices of our age.
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>> the bishops yesterday were doing the same thing when he came to speak to all of us. >> i noted that. >> we were all holding up our cameras. stw >> just recently at several public events we've heard people say, take in the moment. enjoy this without seeing it through the lens of your device. but the possibility of getting a photo is just too tempting. the pope gave the holy water blessing upon entering the hall.
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>> this is the kind of scene that makes the secret service nervous. >> yes. and yet also the best example for members of the catholic faith of the aura, the power, people say they can feel in the presence of the holy father. >> you know, i felt it yesterday when he came to speak to the bishops. he's the living link to st. peter. so he's the 266th successor of st. peter who knew jesus personally. and so christianity is not an ideology or a philosophy. it's a relationship to a person. and this man now links us directly to peter who links us to christ. and you get that sense when he walks in the room.
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it's the vicar of christ, we call him. it's the tangible visceral quality of christianity, i think, that comes through in his presence. >> you see the outstretched hands. rosary beads, tokens, requests. look at that scene. it appears his hand is on the forehead of a child.
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it would appear that chair is meant for him.
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>> his deep devotion, of course, he prays before an image of pmay before he goes on all of his trips around the world. >> even on a whirlwind trip like this, he, of course, finds moments for absolute silence and reflection. >> he's a man that prays two to three hours a day in his own silent private prayer. >> he has called it the most important part of his role. >> mm-hmm.
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>> in talking with bishop robert barron of los angeles. we have been watching and chronicling the tenderness with which he approaches children, especially special needs children. it's really been striking. >> wonderful. and one of the reasons why he's captivated the world, that outreach to all those on the margins in different ways, especially those suffers from some sort of disability, physical or otherwise. and it's touched the whole world, you're right. and he's always that sensibility. read the biographies of pope francis, all throughout his priesthood, he's had that deep sensitivity to those that suffer. and he's brought that now to the papacy in a very compelling way. >> it's nice to see him smile. >> yeah. his cardinal in front of him has had a busy couple of days. >> yes, he has. as will cardinal dolan when the
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responsibility transfers up here to new york. >> another great host. as archbishop, i know on the left there, is the pope's representative in the united states. >> we've also been admiring his pace. >> yeah. >> 78 years old. >> he looks pretty good. he looks pretty vibrant. >> translator: it is a pleasure to see you here. good morning. you're going to hear two statements. one in spanish and one in english.
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[ cheers and applause ] >> translator: the first word i wish to say to you is thank you. thank you for welcoming me and for your efforts to make this meeting possible. here i think of a person whom i love, someone who is and has been very important throughout my life. he has been a support and an inspiration. he is the one i go to whenever
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i'm in a bind. you make me think of st. joseph. your faces remind me of his. joseph had to face some difficult situations in his life. one of them was the time when mary was about to give birth to have jesus. the bible tells us that while they were in bethlehem, the time came for her to deliver her child. and she gave birth to her
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firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. the bible is very clear about this. there was no room for them. i can imagine joseph with his wife about to have a child with no shelter, no home, no place to stay. the son of god came into this
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world as a homeless person. the son of god knew what it was to be a homeless person. what it was to start life without a roof over his head. we can imagine what joseph must have been thinking. how is it that the son of god has no home? why are we homeless? why don't we have housing? these are questions which many
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of you may ask daily. like st. joseph, you may ask, why are we homeless without a place to live? these are questions which all of us might well ask. why do these, our brothers and sisters, have no place to live? why are these brothers and sisters of ours homeless?
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joseph's questions are timely even today. they accompany all those who, throughout history, have been and are homeless. joseph was someone who asked questions. but first and foremost, he was a man of faith. faith gave joseph the power to find light just at the moment when everything seemed dark. faith sustained him amid the
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troubles of life. thanks to faith, joseph was able to press forward when everything seemed to be holding him back. in the face of unjust and painful situations, faith brings us the light that scatters the darkness. as it did for joseph, faith makes us open to the quiet presence of god at every moment of our lives, in every person and in every situation.
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god is present in every one of you, in each one of us. i want to be very clear. we can find no social or moral justification, no justification whatsoever, for lack of housing. there are many unjust situations, but we know that god is suffering with us, experiencing them at our side.
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he does not abandon us. we know that jesus wanted to show solidarity with every person. he wanted everyone to experience his companionship, his help, his love. he identified with all those who suffer, who weep, who suffer any kind of injustice.
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he tells us this clearly, "i was hungry and you gave me food, i was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. i was a stranger and you welcomed me. " faith makes us know that god is at our side, that god is in our midst and his presence spurs us to charity. charity is born of the call of a god who continues to knock on our door, the door of all
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people, to invite us to love, to compassion, to service of one another. jesus keeps knocking on our doors, the doors of our lives. he doesn't do this by magic, with special effects, with flashing lights and fireworks. jesus keeps knocking on our door in the faces of our brothers and sisters, in the faces of our
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neighbors, in the faces of those at our side. dear friends, one of the most effective ways we have to help us is that of prayer. prayer unites us. it makes us brothers and sisters. it opens our hearts and reminds us of a beautiful truth which we sometimes forget. in prayer, we all learn to say
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"father", "dad." and when we say "father" or "dad," we learn to see one another as brothers and sisters. in prayer, there are no rich and poor people, there are sons and daughters. in prayer, there is no first or second class, there is brotherhood. it is in prayer that our hearts find the strength not to be cold and insensitive in the face of injustice.
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in prayer, god keeps calling us, opening our hearts to charity. how good it is for us to pray together. how good it is to encounter one another in this place where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where we realize that we need one another. today i want to be one with you.
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i need your support, your closeness. i would like to invite you to pray together for one another. with one another. that way, we can keep helping one another to experience the joy of knowing that jesus is in our midst. and may jesus help us to solve the many injustices that he knew
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fir first. that of not having a home. are you ready to pray with me? i have started in spanish and you continue in english. our father, who art in heaven. hallowed be thy name.
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before leaving you, i would like to give you god's blessing. the lord bless you and keep you. the lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. the lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. and please don't forget to pray for me. thank you.
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>> we have the privilege of sitting here and watching this with bishop baron of los angeles. considering the fact he included non-believers in his remarks earlier today at the capitol, for believers, what lovely remarks these were. >> beautiful. and what struck me was when he said in prayer, we're all equal. in prayer there's no first class, second class. but very important points, not just the piety there. it's in relation to god that we find our equality. we're not equal any other way. we're not equal in beauty or strength or courage or skill or whatever. we are equal before god, and that's what he hinted at in his talk before congress. endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, created equal. take god out of the equation, then our equality is in danger. so it's very interesting point he's making there. in prayer, in relation to god, we find our equality. >> kate snow, you and i have been partners these past few days. just observing this man who just lights up a people. >> yeah. yeah.
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right before he started speaking we were talking about his vigor. i'm impressed constantly by his enthusiasm as he meets people. that scene of him walking down the center aisle just before this service started was quite something. >> really something. >> he's almost 79. he's had an absolutely grueling schedule the last couple days and he looks good, is very energetic. >> we keep reminding our viewers he had a lung removed as a young man and has just learned to live with one. this was for so many reasons, the light coming in the doorway behind him, the devices raised in front of him and then the hands outstretched. we'll never know what makes him pause, spend time, put his hand to the forehead of someone, offer a blessing. just that unspoken part of his
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role on earth. >> many commented upon in his previous life as priest and bishop, he's very retiring. very quiet, introverted man and didn't relate to the press very well by all accounts. then he becomes pope and this whole new side of him comes out. they say one of the cardinals who knew him very well came to see him if the vatican and said what have you done with jorge, who are you. something happened when he was elected pope that just awakened a dimension of his personality. >> anne thompson, before we pass the torch to andrea mitchell for the next time slot, you're in the room i'm told where the pope is about to enter? >> reporter: we are actually outside the church, brian. they have set up a tent here and there are 55 tables, 300 homeless people who have come to have lunch with pope francis. those doors that you see, the pope is going to walk through those doors and come down the stairs to a microphone and he will bless the food and i can tell you, there are 300 people
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who are really hoping that he walks around the tables and talks to them. people here are very, very excited to meet this pope. i spoke to one homeless man who came today and i said what is it that you like about pope francis, and he said simply that he walks in the footsteps of jesus. this is the kind of thing that pope francis loves to do. he speaks to congress because he has to. he's a head of state. he is the head of the vatican state. he is the pope. he has to do that. this is what he loves to do. this is his ministry. this is his heart. touching people, lifting up people who have nothing. and he can come here and give them hope and hopefully inspire them and give them confidence to make these steps forward in their lives. there were 200 people inside st. patrick's church, most of them are clients of catholic
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charities. they are people who need legal help. they are immigrants who need help getting citizenship in this country. they are addicts who need help in recovery. people who are homeless who need to find shelter for the night. so those are the people he spoke to inside and then these people are all homeless. they are all well known clients to catholic charities. they were all bussed in today. i said how do you vet them, how do you make sure that these people are indeed homeless people, and they said they are all people we know and here he comes. we should see in a minute here. i think you are going to hear a huge cheer from this crowd once he comes into view. >> i hope with all the words he's going to speak on this trip, the words he just spoke to that group live on, because it was a beautiful simple message telling the story, reminding everyone the story of the
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manger, st. joseph, especially for that audience. it was a lovely moment. >> reporter: until they see the man in the white cassock they aren't going to be happy. absolutely, whatever is at the roots of this faith, it is that mary and joseph were homeless. just like these people. and they found there was no room in any inn on that christmas night, and they found room in a manger. it's a very simple message. i think it's also, you can relate it back to the message that he gave congress today on the issue of immigration, that when they think about this, they need to live by the golden rule, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. that is, he said, the yardstick by which we will be measured at this time. that is something that he feels
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very strongly about. these trips, these meetings with homeless people, lunch with homeless people, is something he does on nearly every foreign trip and even trips within italy. when he took his trip to assisi in 2013 i was with him then. one of the most moving parts of that trip was he went and had lunch with some homeless people there. they told me that he didn't speak very much to them, that he just listened. it will be interesting to see if he does that again today. >> anne thompson, who has for a long time covered the catholic church, the vatican and the pope, and whose experience certainly pays off for us on trips like this when we need the context we're seeing. i'm sure all of these people coming down the stairs are nice people, but they are not the pope and so the crowd gets disappointed with everyone who isn't the pope.
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at this point to carry us the rest of the way, we will toss our coverage over to nbc's andrea mitchell. >> thank you very much, brian williams. right now, on "andrea mitchell reports," the golden rule. the pope's appeal to congress and america to live up to its highest calling and his blessing and his plea to the multitude that they pray for him. the first speech by a pope to congress calling for action on immigration, on climate change, an end to the arms trade, and an end to the death penalty. pope francis is now blessing the chapel at catholic charities before having lunch with the most venerable -- vulnerable, i should say, in our society. good day. i'm andrea mitchell on capitol hill today for this very special edition of "andrea mitchell reports," on an historic day. joining me now, someone who participated in all of this history here today, senator patrick leahy, the most senior catholic member of congress. he was part of the committee who escorted the pope into the house
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chamber. senator, just share with us the experience you just had. >> you know, both today and yesterday at the white house and in the afternoon at the mass, i could not help but think of my parents and grandparents, what they would have thought. they faced anti-catholic prejudice as young people. even in vermont, of course, that's not the way we are today. what a wonderful country we are but what wonderful things the pope said. >> the pope has just come down from the steps at st. patrick's after the blessings there. he's going on to catholic charities where he will be helping to feed the poor. this is so central to his mission. your parents having experienced the prejudice. he spoke of the freedom of religion, of religious freedom, but the balance that needs to be struck between having religious freedom and also rejecting
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religious fundamentalism. he was bridging so many divides in this historic speech. >> the message obviously, i look at it as a catholic and i think how wonderful it is, but then i step back and think of it as a u.s. senator. he wasn't speaking to any particular religion or even those who have none. he was speaking to our common core of humanity and what he was saying, if the whole world followed what he was saying, we would be such a better world. we would not have the killing of people in the name of religion. we would not have the prejudice against immigrants. we would not have a sense where you can oppress some people to build up others. even the brief words i had with him today, i was so thrilled to think here is somebody speaking to what should be the common
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values of all people, no matter what religion they are. >> we have seen so many states of the union addresses in this chamber where people are jumping up and down, based on whether it's an applause line for their side or another, and here he did touch a number of issues, he spoke about the sanctity of human life at all stages of human life. there's going to be a vote key to the abortion controversy later today in the senate, another effort to strip out planned parenthood which has been controversial. the whole shutdown controversy. but here, perhaps because of his spirit, his words, the eloquence of his words and how cleverly, really deftly he bridged the divides, it didn't appear, i don't know how it felt to you in the chamber, it didn't appear this people were antagonized by one side or the other, climate change, immigration. >> he spoke to common humanity. i'm hoping that some of those who want to just have votes for
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political purposes, they won't go anywhere but fit on a bumper sticker or campaign ad, step back from that. start acting like we are there for all americans and then maybe the approval rating of congress which is now in the cellar would come up. if we appear to be representing all americans. >> and the pope is now in the crowd as you know, is his want. let's pause for a moment and bring in our colleague anne thompson who has been with the pope all the way from the vatican, on his flight to cuba, in cuba and to here. he is doing exactly what francis does. >> reporter: this is what he loves to do, andrea. he would far rather spend time here with 300 homeless people than deliver any kind of formal speech. this is his ministry. this is what he is called to do. you know when he was in argentina, he was called the bishop of the slums because he
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spent so much time in the impoverished areas of argentina. he is very much at home with this. he's shaking hands. everybody's got a smartphone out. everybody is trying to get a picture with him. you see behind him, his top security guard, who has been a little concerned. you can see him wave to the children. take some time to speak to people. all kinds of hands reaching out to him. he's just lit up at this. >> when you heard the speech today, what struck you in terms of the important part of his pastoral message? >> reporter: i thought two things, andrea. i thought first of all, his call for congress to be united and to go forward together. i thought that was very important. the other thing i thought was
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key was all the time he spent on the issues of refugees and immigration, and he urged congress to follow the golden rule. when he said, you know, the golden rule being do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and then he said that is the yardstick by which time will measure us. that's important. and he also reminded them of america's roots, that this is a nation that has always been a land of dreams and continues to be a land of dreams for many people, and how important that is, and not to close its doors to people who like many of our forefathers came here in search of a better life. they weren't born here, but they came here because they saw opportunity, and to make sure that opportunity is extended not just in this generation but generations forward. >> we are going to keep your
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microphone open, because you are right there in the midst of all this. i just wanted to ask senator leahy, as you're watching these pictures of the pope, you were key to the diplomacy with cuba. you have been part of the foreign policy debates including the iran negotiations that he has endorsed and he did pause only once going down that aisle to the podium in the chamber. that was to shake the hand of john kerry, who really has been front and center. so this is part of his mission also, calling for an end to conflicts, obviously critical of the united states and the rest of the major powers for not doing more on syria and the continuing civil war. >> both president castro and president obama have told me how important his words were to bh of them. when he talks about syria and talks about iran, when he is
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saying why aren't we taking steps to avoid war. then on the question of immigration, talk about bringing us together. my mother is a first generation american. my wife was a first generation american. we -- it's immigrants that make this country. why don't we come together in the congress. it is ridiculous that people try to score points with xenophobic anti-immigrant speeches. let's remember what made this country great. it's a cliche to say we're the great melting pot, but we are. half of our fortune 500 companies were begun by immigrants. the jobs that are created by immigrants. let's appreciate and validate the differences in this country
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because it's what makes us great. he gave messages that should appeal to everybody, not just catholics, both believers and non-believers. got to realize, this is a man who speaks for our common humanity, what is best in both our country and in people. if the whole world listened to him, oh, we would be such a better place. >> senator, finally, do you think that this message has a shelf life with members of congress? because he is appealing to all of us to get above the current political conflict in this country which has never been more toxic, in my living memory. >> well, as one who learned the mass in latin, i would say let us pray. let us pray. because again, if it did bring us together, if it did stop the
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animosity and the gridlock in congress, i think the hope you would hear in the whole country, hallelujah, this has really done something. so i hope it works. >> senator, you have been front and center in all of this, witness to history. we love following your pictures. we will make sure we share some of those, those that we can, because you were right in the middle of it all. thank you so much, sir. thanks for being with us. anne thompson, as you mix in that crowd, that has got to be -- anne thompson is down in the middle of all this. joining me is chester gillis, theology professor at georgetown university, expert on the catholic church and the papacy, of course. thank you very much for being with us. what you have seen today and the message you heard from the holy father, what resonated with you? >> i think he's inspirational and strategic. this is a man who has spoken all
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over the world and he knows that this particular pulpit he had today was an opportunity to deliver a message to the american people and perhaps to the world, and he took advantage of it. there were things bold and strong, such as his immigration stance, and against the death penalty, but also there were subtleties such as an appeal to conscience, which much of the catholic population will resonate with, and things that just are not forward and front, but they are subtleties that say let's think about these things so that all people are welcome. >> when you heard him talk also about the sanctity of life, but also the end of the death penalty, he was sticking to a very strong principle with this pope, with the american conference of bishops, so
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despite the political divides in the u.s. and certainly in that chamber, he was speaking from his heart and from his religious base. >> he was indeed. he was supporting his brother bishops in the united states against the death penalty. interesting, when he talked about the right to life, people often immediately go to the abortion question. he went immediately to the death penalty issue. and that continuum of life. so it changes the rhetoric a little bit but it doesn't change the principle that life is sacred at all stages. >> i also wanted to play for just a moment his blessing to the multitude below because it was so touching when he asked people to pray for him but also reached out to those who perhaps are not catholic or are not believers. if we could play a little bit of that.
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>> translator: hello, everyone. i ask you all please to pray for me. and if there are among you any who do not believe, or cannot pray, i ask you please to send good wishes my way. >> professor gillis, he assumes yesterday and today once outside the nunciature, he said to someone from georgetown, pray for me, please promise you won't forget, pray for me. he seems to feel the burden of responsibility and of his mission, and the need for people
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to support him with prayer. am i inferring too much? >> no, i don't think you are inferring too much at all. i think he's a very humble and sincere man and he takes on the mantle of the papacy, he recognizes the responsibility he has. he's needs the grace of god and the poesupport and prayers of t people. i think it's completely sincere on his part. he wants people not only to support him but to pray for him so he will lead the church in the proper direction. there no there's no arrogance, no hubris in this man saying because i'm hope, i'm always right. i need god's grace and forgiveness and yours as well, like everyone. >> joining us now as well is congressman michael mccall, chairman of the house homeland security committee. thank you, congressman. tell me about being in the chamber as a catholic and as a member of congress, to hear the words of inspiration and the call to action from this pope. >> well, it was a really
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historic moment to see the people's pope, be in the people's house, go down into the chamber just like the president of the united states would and speak to the american people. i thought it was incredibly inspirational. he talked a lot about universal truths as well. i wouldn't say they were republican or democrat, necessarily, but more talked about the sanctity of life both born and unborn. >> also an end to the death penalty. so there are ways of extending his vision or sense of the sanctity of life beyond what some members of congress might believe, might agree with, members of the supreme court in the chamber. but he assumed from an outsider's perspective, those who are not he lelected officia such as myself, to be raising the dialogue for all of us, to think outside the normal boundaries of politics. >> he did end with we should have a dialogue among each
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other, when countries can't have a dialogue and get things done, that that creates a problem. that was a good message for congress. in many respects we have seen a dysfunctional congress where we can't govern and get things done that we should try to work together to enable this message of hope and support of the human condition. >> one of the key issues, of course, was his reference to being the son of immigrants, ours being a nation of immigrants, and talking about refugees, the migrants now from the syrian war. let's listen to some of this. >> our world is facing a refugee crisis of a magnitude not seen since the second world war. let us remember the golden rule. do unto others as you would have
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them do unto you. >> so the golden rule with congress, with a society has not been able to figure out a solution to the immigration crisis, but perhaps this could inspire people to sit down once again and see if there's a common ground to approach legislate summations. >> well as a catholic we talk about the condition of human life and i think immigrants have hard stories to tell, and i think he wants the dialogue to start again in the congress about what we can do about a broken immigration system. we all believe it's broken. it's just how to address that properly. as chairman of the homeland security committee, border security is one of the first and foremost things i think we need to achieve, and then have that discussion about reform. >> the president is about to go to the united nations after of course a state visit beginning tonit with the chinese leader. there is so much going on in
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washington and new york. but then the united nations, we understand now that he will be meeting with vladimir putin on monday, because of the syrian and ukraine crises, even though they have great differences. he is also, and john kerry has also promised to talk at the u.n. about the migration crisis, taking more, as many as 100,000 by next year. including many from syria. is the united states equipped to handle this in terms of the amount of screening that needs to be done? do we have the bureaucracy, do we have the arabic speakers to do the interviews? >> the fbi is quite frankly telling me that we don't at this point in time. i think the vetting process is very important in terms of screening, knowing who these individuals are before we bring them into the united states and the other point i think is important to address is dealing with the underlying problem itself and that is that the foreign policy that's created the condition, not addressing assad, not dealing with isis, and that has created this
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refugee problem that if we don't address the core, you know, root cause of the problem, we are going to continue to have that. i'm very concerned about that. now we have russia and mr. putin in syria attacking isis. israel is dealing with mr. putin now. so now is the holy father as well. hopefully we can come together. he didn't talk about religious extremism. he didn't mention isis by name but that's what he was talking about, the idea we need to come together to resolve this great evil that we see in the world. >> congressman mike mccall, it's great to see you. thank you very much. for coming here on this very important day, unprecedented day indeed. we will have a lot more on the pope, his visit to washington. right now, he is having lunch, a lunch of chicken and vegetables at catholic charities, helping to feed the poor. central part of his mission. we'll have more on all of that coming up next on "andrea mitchell reports."
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politics is an expression of our compelling need to live as one in order to build the greatest common good, that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share in justice and peace, its
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roots, its interests, its social life. i do not underestimate the difficulty that this involves, but i encourage you in this effort. >> pope francis appealing to congress to work for the greater good, to cooperate with each other. i'm joined now by nbc's kelly o'donnell, who was in the chamber for the speech, chris cillizza, msnbc contributor, founder of the "washington post" fix blog and ann gearan, political correspondent for the "washington post." we all covered politics for a long time. kelly, you were in the chamber. he is appealing for people to forget about their differences and start working together. >> i think that was well received. >> well received, but will it be absorbed? >> it may be a short-term glow. but we can take it for this moment that i think people were open to listening to the
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message. i was not without political messaging and response but i really felt that it was a muted response or more restrained and polite response than we have seen when i'm in the chamber for a president or another head of state. there was respect, clear respect given. there was something for members of both parties to take from this message which made it i think particularly special. i also wanted to share with you that when you're in the chamber, i spent a lot of the time studying the expressions of the guests in the gallery. i take little opera glasses in and try to look for expressions on the floor. and there was real emotion and there was i think some difficulty in understanding the holy father at times for some of the guests, straining to hear him, but i also think there was a real sense of when a message resonated, people responded in an honest way that didn't have some of the political overtones we see in the daily doings of congress. >> there were so many political candidates, presidential candidates in that chamber.
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if you looked in the chamber, ben carson was also there, gabbi giffords was there which was important and memorable to a lot of us who have known her for some time. we also saw the members obviously the senators who are running, bernie sanders whom we will be speaking to shortly as well as lindsey graham and rand paul, marco rubio, ted cruz, they were also there. there was that yet undecided potential candidate right there on the podium. you could overhear joe biden saying to the pope as he looked out over the throngs they love you, we love you. this was part of a number of moments for joe biden. he will be going out to andrews air force base, joint base andrews, to greet the president of china. what are you hearing about joe biden and his decision?
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>> well, we expected to hear that right about now, that it being the end of summer and all, which was his self-imposed deadline, what he had decided to do. i'm hearing that he's going to put it off a bit and i think we are seeing that play out, i mean just in part for the reasons you just mentioned. it's quite a busy week in washington and he has his day job to do. but i think -- >> let me interrupt for just a moment. i want to go to anne thompson, who has been at the pope's side. what are we seeing here? >> reporter: well, we just saw him pull up to the nunciature. he's gotten out of the fiat and is walking over to the crowd that's been waiting for him. you can see he goes right to the children. he has a connection with children. he clearly enjoys them. he now is patting some of them on the head, blessing some of them. again, hands reaching out to
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him. i think if there was sort of one symbol of pope francis' papacy it is that hand reaching toward him. people feel connected to him. young people in particular, andrea. when you talk to them, what they will tell you is the connection they feel to this 78-year-old man is that he represents truth to them. he is authentic. he isn't phony. this isn't a p.r. campaign. he doesn't have feet of clay, as so many of our leaders have proved to have. he is the real deal. they really connect to that. and you can just see for these people, this is a moment, this is a memory of a lifetime to have perhaps, you know, five seconds, ten seconds, 15 seconds with pope francis, a pope who has really done amazing things for the catholic church in just a short two and a half years
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simply by being who he is, showing people that it is possible to live a life of faith, that you don't have to be perfect, that it isn't about a whole lot of rules of things that you can't do, but it is a very basic thing that he asks of people and that is to treat them as you would want to be treated. and that theme was evident today in congress, it was evident here at catholic charities when he blessed the meal. it was a very short blessing. he had everybody make the sign of the cross and then said bon appetito, have a good appetite. before he came out here, he spoke in the chapel to about 200 clients of catholic charities and he spoke about the problem of homelessness and connected it back to mary and joseph, jesus' parents, who were homeless themselves on that christmas night when they couldn't find a place to stay and she gave birth
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to jesus christ in a manger. so he connects it to everyone and he includes everyone. and that is another hallmark of this papacy, that the church is not a narrow door for people to go through, but he wants to swing the doors wide open and welcome everyone in. andrea? >> anne thompson. we were just talking about joe biden, who is certainly getting a lot of exposure through these visits. >> absolutely. as you say, there he was on everyone's television screen right behind the pope as he spoke, and clearly reacting emotionally to the speech. i was watching his face during much of the speech and it resonated with him and then we saw him speak directly to the pope as a catholic, i can only imagine that for him that must have been an important and significant moment. politically, he's got a very,
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very large charge. he's got to make a decision as to whether to make a late entry into this race, now just two weeks before the first democratic debate, and when he would be significantly behind hillary clinton in money, and it must weigh heavily on him. >> and chris cillizza, what about the republican race right now and all the sharpened rhetoric that we're hearing in the aftermath of scott walker's dropping out, marco rubio going up in some polls in florida, over jeb bush. and of course, donald trump. >> i was going to say, donald trump continues to be donald trump, which continues to be the story of the race. attacking marco rubio for sweating and for supporting amnesty, that's the last 24 hours, fighting with the editor of the national review on twitter, and continuing to dominate the conversation in the race. there is some evidence that he has lost some momentum in polling. he is still ahead but he is
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losing from his own share as compared to previous polls. ben carson remains some of the biggest story moving up as does carly fiorina. obviously the debates have impact. you see carly fiorina and marco rubio moving up, particularly after the second debate. when you get 20 million plus people watching and you can thank donald trump for that audience, it does afford an opportunity to people who do well outside of sort of the trump show, for lack of a better word, to benefit. you saw it hurt scott walker for his inability to sort of distinguish himself. it's quite clearly helped carly fiorina and marco rubio. >> chris cillizza, at this stage of the campaign, is there any sense that you have, maybe i'm too close to this, having been at least up here on capitol hill, but when the country is transfixed with the papal visit, with the first speech by a pope to congress, with the call for us to think and observe the
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golden rule and embrace immigrants and refugees, is there any sense that that could possibly affect the presidential race, especially on the republican side? >> well, i don't want to be too cynical and say no, especially because the pope just spoke. so i do think if ever there was someone whose message could have an impact like that, i think he would be the person. that said, what happens here is that it is good politics in some ways for republicans, donald trump is at the top of this list, to talk in very aggressive terms about immigration and building a wall and deporting the millions of people who are here illegally, and it has boosted him in the polls. you know, the call to your better angels which i think is what the pope was doing almost literally, is nice, it's important. i'm not sure how much it influences the nitty-gritty of the day in, day out of politics.
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>> for the first time ever, i hope you're wrong. >> i agree. i'm with you. i hope i'm wrong, too. >> thank you both. joining me now is democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders. directly from the chamber, from having witnessed this historic moment. your reaction, sir? >> i was very moved. i think we just observed in person not just the leader of the catholic church, but one of the important religious and moral leaders not only of our time but of recent history. i think he's been playing an extraordinary role in this earth, talking about issues that many people would prefer not to talk about, talking about them in a very courageous way. >> we observed you taking a lot of notes during the speech. perhaps when he referred to dorothy day. >> did you know who dorothy day is? >> i did but i come out of a tradition that observes a lot of this.
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i think you do as well. >> i would say the vast majority of the american people do not know who dorothy day was. the fact he mentioned her as one of the four examples of people he admired was rather extraordinary unto itself. dorothy day died in 1980. she spent her entire life working amongst the poorest people in this country. she was a socialist. she organized workers to stand up against the wealthy and the powerful. and the fact that the pope signaled her as one of the leaders that he admired tells us what his view is in terms of what we should be doing around the world in terms of income and wealth inequality and poverty and the need to fight for justice. >> the fact this he put her in this pantheon with dr. martin luther king jr. and abraham lincoln and thomas merton. my colleagues chris matthews was pointing out that thomas merton
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has been such an influential figure to those struggling against substance abuse and struggling to reform themselves, that these are four figures that he chose and it tells you so much about his moral fervor and intellectual history. >> this is a brilliant man. i know the people think bernie sanders is a radical. read what the pope is writing about. he is not only talking about poverty and income and wealth inequality, he is getting to the heart of hypercapitalism and saying why as a society are we worshipping money. we are making money the golden idol, respecting and admiring people who have billions of dollars, at the same time as we are ignoring people who are sleeping out on the streets, who are going hungry, who have no health care. he's saying that's not the way we should be living our lives. that is a pretty profound critique of modern society. >> at the same time as he spoke out so passionately about
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climate change and he sees that not in political terms but in religious terms, that it's a sacred trust, and spoke out about poverty and about refugees and the son of immigrants and we are a country, a nation built on immigrants, he also spoke about the sanctity of human life. so there are things that he spoke about which you in the senate are going to be wrestling with later today. another effort to strip out funding for planned parenthood, from the continuing resolution, the effort to shut down the government as one minority attempt that is challenging this country right now. how do you and others in politics find ways to compromise and live up to the hope, the aspirations, of this leader? >> well, that is in a sense what he also talked about, the need for dialogue. look, my views have been very clear for 25 years. i believe that a woman has the right to control her own body, not the government, and i believe in gay marriage.
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on those issues, we have deep differences of opinion with the catholic church. but on those areas that we can work together, the fact that we have so much poverty in a land of plenty, the fact that big money interests have so much power and so many people feel hopeless and helpless and not part of the political process, those are issues he's talking about and i think we can work together on those issues. >> let's talk about the democratic debate and the democratic campaign. hillary clinton, the others in the race, the possibility of joe biden, how do you compete with the strength of these other -- of hillary clinton and the fact that joe biden is equalling you in some polls now and he hasn't even declared? >> well, we did the best that we can. what we do is we talk about the most important issues facing the american people in a serious way, not in a sound bite way. i don't know if you have ever been to any of my speeches.
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they go on for awhile and we take the american people seriously and we treat them as if they were intelligent, not just in terms of flashy sound bites. and the issues that we talk about are the collapse of the american middle class, income and wealth inequality, the fact and i have to use this word, we have a corrupt campaign finance system which allows billionaires to buy elections. we have to talk about climate change. we have to talk about education and the need to make public colleges and universities free so that all of our kids will be able to get an education and know that they can succeed even when they're in the fourth or sixth grade. we just raren't going to contine talking about the issues. we are doing great up until now. i think we will continue doing great. >> let's listen to part of the pope's appeal today.
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>> i call for a courageous and responsible effort to redirect our steps toward the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity. i'm convinced that we can make a difference, i'm sure. >> well, he was being more conservative in those remarks than he was in his encyclical. he understands what virtually the entire scientific community understands that, climate change is real, it is caused by human activity, it is already causing devastating problems. if we don't get our act together in a very short period of time the planet we will be leaving our kids and grandchildren is going to be in pretty sorry shape. >> a couple of quick but insoluble foreign policy issues that have arisen, vladimir putin
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will be meeting with president obama on monday at the united nations. both countries have announced, despite their past differences over ukraine and now syria. is this a good thing? >> absolutely. look, it's oweeasy to yell and scream at people you disagree with. the only way to make progress, that's kind of what the pope is talking about, is dialogue. you got to sit down. not everybody is going to agree with us and we won't agree with everybody. i think the idea that the president and putin will be sitting down is a step forward. >> bernie sanders, good luck on the campaign trail. good to see you. coming up next, democratic leader nancy pelosi live with us at the capitol on an historic day. the day of pope francis' address to a joint meeting of congress.
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i am most grateful for your invitation to address this joint session of congress in the land of the free and the home of the brave. >> and that of course, pope francis. i'm joined by house democratic leader nancy pelosi. well, an extraordinary moment for you and there he was referring to lincoln's second inaugural, the fact that he spoke of dr. martin luther king jr., dorothy day, thomas merton, abraham lincoln. he had so many references to america and america the beautiful as he did yesterday. what was the impact on you? you have spent your life as a catholic and bridging the divide between politics and religion. and meeting all these popes.
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>> it's pretty thrilling. i don't know that there's anything more thrilling to a catholic than to meet a pope. but to hear the pope speak with such respect for america in terms of our hero, abraham lincoln, as you mentioned, the four that he mentioned and the contribution that he made to fulfilling the american dream, because that's where he began and that's where he ended, on the idea that ours is a country of people with dreams. >> you in your life, your brother and father were the mayors of baltimore. you have held the highest offices, the highest office in the land that any woman has ever held in our country, and you as a child met pope pious? >> pious xii. >> john paul ii, surely. >> as a congresswoman, i met john paul ii and as speaker, i met pope benedict and now the privilege to welcome pope
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francis. >> from inside the chamber, what was your sense of the way your colleagues, democrats and republicans, were reacting, catholic and non-catholic alike? >> i think the reception was universally wonderful. the pope talked about hope, he talked about peace, he talked about dialogue. he talked about not being condescending or disrespectful of other people's views. he talked about bigger issues than an issue of politics, but more values and ethics of how we conduct ourselves. i think that was universally accepted in the manner in which it was intended. >> here's part of that extraordinary speech, speaking about the importance of family life. >> i cannot hide my concern for the family, which is threatened perhaps as never before from
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within and without. family relations are being called into question as is the very basis of marriage and the family. i can only reiterate the importance and the richness and the beauty of family life. >> surely there are things in his message that you would not support. there was a brief allusion to his opposition to gay marriage. certainly he repeated the church's long-held position on abortion. but there are things that you and republicans can agree on. >> of course. i think that the pope was very shall we say diplomatic or philosophical in how he presented what he said. he honored his own guidance to
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us to not be condescending or judgmental in the way he phrased what he said. when he talked about family, just moments before his speech, i showed him a picture of my family, all 20 of us, my husband and i, our five children, our grandchildren, and he blessed the photo. it was for the 50th anniversary of our marriage. it was so thrilling for me. when he was talking about that, i was really thinking of my on family and the fact that he was in some ways inscrutable. he said what needed to say. we all support the sanctity of life. we all rose up and applauded what he had to say there. but again, in terms of interpretation, how you hear it, how you respect it, you respect your own values in that regard. i think he left plenty of room for people to respect other people's opinions.
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>> is there room in the next few legislative days that remain for a compromise on keeping the government open, a continuing resolution that does not defund planned parenthood? >> i think so. i think his holiness gave us good guidance to be in dialogue and that was the message of st. thomas merton, of thomas merton in terms of dialogue. find a path, go forward. the pope, these last couple days, it's been about make progress, go forward, respect other people's views and come to solutions that do just that. so i feel quite certain that we will keep government open because it's the right thing to do. i know that there are those who want to express themselves as opposed to respect for women's health, have them express that,
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but our higher responsibility is to get the job done for the american people. that was an overriding thing of pope francis, to do what we've come here to do for the greater good, for the common good and to do it for this home, this planet home that we have in terms of what he called yesterday air pollution, a term very understandable by most people, where climate might be a bigger term and not clear as to what the challenge is immediately. so yes, on all the scores that he discussed, but in relationship to your question, we will keep government open and we will do it on time. >> democratic leaders such as yourself are possibly going to face a very tough choice coming up in the next couple of weeks as joe biden, who has been front and center at all of these events, makes his decision. how do you deal with the fact
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that you've got hillary clinton running, you are in her corner but you are such a good close friend of joe biden's and colleague for so many years. >> and martin o'malley from maryland, my colleague, my former colleague, bernie sanders. we have great candidates and we may have more, who knows. i would be one who thinks that let's have an open discussion about all of that. my responsibility is to make sure that we do have a democratic president but that that president has a cooperative congress so i'm trying to elect as many democrats as possible to the congress. i'm prayerful about -- i grew up in a very political family, very catholic family. we were taught not to pray about the outcome of elections. just let god's will be done. that's what we pray for. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> democratic leader nancy pelosi.
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always a privilege. coming up, more on the pope's plans over the next couple of days. first, here's what one woman who spoke to the pope here in washington told nbc's anne thompson. >> what did you say to the pope? >> please bless me because i need it. i've got two reasons to take care of my heart. that's why i take meta. meta is clinically proven
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thank you for being with us on this very special day. this job that we all have working for msnbc is a privilege, never more so than today, to be a part of this historic moment when pope francis, the first pope to address a joint meeting of congress. thanks again for being with us. as the pope said, so humbly, pray for him and for those who do not believe, send good wishes
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his way. that does it for us for this special edition. stay with msnbc for continuing coverage of pope francis in america. hey i'm here on the red carpet where our next arrival is... whoa! toenail fungus!? fight it! with jublia. jublia is a prescription medicine used to treat toenail fungus. use jublia as instructed by your doctor. are you getting this?! most common side effects include ingrown toenail, application site redness, itching, swelling, burning or stinging, blisters, and pain. oh, epic moves, big j! fight it! getting ready for your close-up? ask your doctor if jublia is right for you. visit our website for savings on larger size. you know, it's always bugged me that we couldn't say that, "cheerios are gluten free." oats don't contain gluten, but sometimes grains that do, get mixed in. so we took them out! which means now, cheerios can be enjoyed by everyone!
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without asking your doctor. get medical help right away if you have trouble breathing, sweating, extreme drowsiness, swelling of your face, tongue, or throat, dizziness, or confusion. today's the day to ask about levemir® flextouch. covered by most health insurance and medicare plans. good thursday to you. pope francis is resting for a few hours in washington, d.c. before he heads here, new york city. he will arrive later this afternoon and it has been a very busy day for pope francis so far, including of course, that historic speech before a joint meeting of congress. >> mr. speaker, the pope of the holy see. >> the speech was the first ever