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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  February 23, 2016 9:00am-10:01am PST

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r men. it's me. >>no way. just for men gives you a natural gray-free look. just lather in. in just five minutes. great-looking hair, made easy. just for men. right now breaking news, closing gitmo. president obama tries once again to fulfill his promise to close the prison at guantanamo bay. >> when it becomes clear that something is not working as intended and does not advance our security we have to change course. this is about close ag chapter in our history. it reflects the lessons that we have learned since 9/11. >> republicans and some democrats are dead set against the plan. >> it would be illegal under current law to transfer into the
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united states. >> not only are we not going to close guantanamo, when i'm president if we capture a terrorist alive they are not sent to nevada they are going to guantanamo. we are going to find out everything they know. >> and on to nevada. donald trump taking on a protestprotest er in las vegas. >> bye-bye. good job. here is a guy throwing punches, nasty as hell, screaming at everything else when we are talking and walking out smiling and laughing. i would like to punch him in the face, i'll tell you. >> good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. president obama submitted a plan to congress but does leave out key details that could with elections could effect them.
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just where in the u.s. would he move the remaining detainees. speaking from the white house this morning the president outlined the proposal to transfer to 13 unspecified facilities throughout the u.s. the president argued the plan will save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. despite initial price tag of up to $475 million for new facilities and upgraze and argued that guantanamo under mines america's position in the world. >> keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. it under mines our standing in the world. it is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law. and if as a nation we don't deal with this now when will we deal with it. >> republican leader mitch mcconnell immediately pushed back. >> attorney general recently confirmed it is illegal for the
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president to transfer any of these terrorists into the united states. we will review president obama's plan but since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities he should know the bipartisan will of congress has been expressed. >> ron, first at the white house. why did the president put this out now even though he doesn't have the specifics and we know it is dead on arrival in the republican senate and house? >> congress has asked by a plan by this deadline and that is what the administration has given them. you are right. the opposition has been very vocal in saying this is not something we are going to deal with. interesting that the president made this pitch by saying this is something that hasn't worked. it's reminiscent of his argument for changing our policy to cuba
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and to iran, working on the nuclear deal with them, for example. he also said blamed partisanship for this issue and recalled that people like senator john mccain had spoken out in favor of closing the prison. and now things have changed in the country that the politics have changed. politics the president thinks are very, very tough. unclear where the administration goes from here. the plan goes up to the hill. it will probably be kicked back. there is some discussion about whether the president could use executive authority as commander in chief to somehow challenge the law that prohibits detainees from guantanamo bay on u.s. soil and somehow move prisoners to a secure facility somewhere in the united states. unclear where the administration goes from here but clearly this is something the president had high on his agenda, campaign promise, something trying to do
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since he has been in office. this detailed plan that critics are saying doesn't have specificed about how they could assure that there would be security and safety. president pointing out numerous examples of convicted terrorists serving times in supermax prisons across the country where something he says has worked and something he sees as the future of what should happen to the 30 or 60 or so detainees when the administration says it has exhausted all possibilities of transferring them to other countries. >> who are the remaining prisoners and what does the military want to do with them? >> there are 91 of them and 35 of them are actually eligible for release to some country that would take them. they could be moved out of guantanamo bay within the next few months or so. there are 56. ten of them are facing criminal
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charges and these are the worst of the worst including five of those were involved in the 9/11 attack on the u.s. and the remaining are still up for review. they could be prosecuted or they could be at some point in the very future released. i can tell you one thing the military always does is plan. they play for everything. according to officials here there is no planning underway to shut down guantanamo bay and transfer the prisoners to the u.s. >> pete williams, the legal aspects of this, the prisoners are being held under military commissions which as the president point out led to no convictions. we were talking off camera some 300 convicted terrorists who stood trial, been convicted before juries or judges and are
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in prison. >> the plan the president sent to congress said they would put some people on trial before military commissions but they might try to put some if brought to the u.s. on trial in regular civilian courts. the problem is congress has repeatedly renewed this law that says you can't bring anybody in guantanamo into the u.s. for any reason. there are people who believe the president has this inherent authority as commander in chief to put basically law of war detainees wherever he wants and the congress can't stop him at this congressional ban is unconstitutional. that is an interesting view from legal experts but the administration has never tried to challenge that. it's always just assumed and accepted that congress has the authority to do this and that is why they haven't brought anybody here. that is why the attorneys general last two i think have said that is what the law says and why they haven't done it. it would be a real reversal.
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it would be a huge fight with congress for the administration now to say on second thought we don't think you can stop us, just try it. >> pete williams. joining me now by phone from guantanamo is senior journalist for the miami herald who has covered all of these proceedings down there. is there any reaction there from staff and officials? >> quite honestly the plan is just reaching the base. people are in court today with the 9/11 pretrial hearings and most of the attorneys who would be reacting have been in court in the 9/11 case asking the judge for discovery about the cia. they are in a lunch recess. i would say in terms of reaction we will have to wait a while. >> and by discovery they want to know what kind of interrogations took place in those sites. there is a senate report, a very
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controversial one nicknamed torture report from senator dianne feinstein which the cia pushed back very hard against as to how many prisoners were tortured or waterboarded and how many times and whether it was effective. that is the kind of information that the defense lawyers presume want to know before they go into these cases. >> that's correct. these five men are accused of plotting. they are accused of plotting the september 11 attacks as being trainers. whether their trial is in military commission here at guantanamo or the states defense lawyers say they want enough information to if they are convicted argue that the u.s. doesn't have the moral authority to execute them because of what went on in the three and four years when they were waterboarded and otherwise mistreated in fashions that are
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contained in the torture report in detail. that's what they want. one thing i wanted to say, a great unknown that came out is he is talking about tweaking military commissions. it's not in the plan and we don't know what -- >> back at guantanamo again. and up next gitmo politics, republicans on the campaign trail and senate slamming the president's proposal to close the prison camp. you are watching andrea mitchell reports only on mbs. msnbc. i think we should've taken a left at the river. tarzan know where tarzan go! tarzan does not know where tarzan go. hey, excuse me, do you know where the waterfall is? waterfall? no, me tarzan, king of jungle. why don't you want to just ask somebody? if you're a couple, you fight over directions. it's what you do.
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didn't take long for republican candidates to react
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to president obama's guantanamo announcement. >> we are not going to close guantanamo. we shouldn't be releasing the people that are there now. they are enemy combatants. >> and this tweet from john kasich after the announcement. the president is flat wrong on guantanamo bay. let's turn to our team in nevada. carey sanders and hallie jackson. donald trump is so far ahead that there is very little question as to who is going to come out on top of this nevada caucus late tonight. >> there is a lot of attention. i'm right now at reno guns and range. and i put myself here because as you see there are lots of folks here who believe that second amendment in this country is under attack.
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they say that [ inaudible ] supports the first amendment and he supports the second amendment. [ inaudible ] saying wow was ted cruz [ inaudible ] probably get a lot more later today. >> well, i'm afraid we could not hear most of that because the fire power was a little too great. we didn't know you were going to be there today.
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we didn't mean to interrupt that. hallie jackson, maybe you can take us through where the republican candidates are and especially this argument over who is going to come in behind donald trump. >> what we have seen we saw in new hampshire, south carolina and nevada is that battle for second place. marco rubio probably has more on the line here than ted cruz here. cruz notched a win in iowa. that is central to his strategy here and his campaign, the point that cruz is the only candidate in this race who has beaten donald trump and notched a win over him. rubio here in nevada. ben carson is, as well. interesting we talk about ted cruz. i interviewed dr. carson and we talked about why he is staying in the race given that he is that bottom tier guy and he
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essentially talking about how he believes there will be a point when the american public will turn away from being attracted to the gladiators. they will notice that rome is burning around them. carson's strategy is to try to win in the field. that is the strategy for basically every republican candidate besides donald trump. so carson is siphoning votes away from somebody like ted cruz. both of them share somewhat of a similar voting pool. they are going after evangelicals. what may be important are super tuesday states a week from today. these are places where cruz has to compete and he has boots on the ground in those states. once we get past tonight the race becomes much more national and difficult to do that retail politicking, that one-on-one interaction that you get so often in places like iowa and
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new hampshire. a different tone and different strategy. we are seeing campaigns focussing on that today. marco rubio won't watch caucus returns. he will be out in super tuesday states. at this point it feels like a moment in time in the republican race where we are looking ahead to the results tonight but a lot of folks are looking to see what happens seven days from today on super tuesday. >> when we talk about super tuesday and going beyond super tuesday doesn't rubio have to start winning someplace? should he be going to florida and trying to compete against donald trump in florida? if he loses his home state that is pretty failed. >> that is really an issue for him. there is a growing chorus that marco rubio needs to win somewhere. he has spun those at victories after the last couple of nominating contests and get the victory speech talking about how
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he is moving forward but at some point he has to get a first place win under his belt. the campaign would talk about delegate math and the idea that we are in proportional states and you can give somebody like a donald trump a run for his money. once you hit winners take all states it becomes a different race. rubio is absolutely looking ahead to florida. he is talking about florida being a place where he can win. given that he has set that expectation a lot of eyes will be on that state. >> does rubio feel confident now that certainly in the last 24 hours he not only wins after ted cruz on the trust issue but got ted cruz to fire his top communications spokesperson. >> what a wild day. let's talk about the cruz battle. not only did marco rubio come out in a fiery and fierce way talk about how dishonest essentially cruz and his campaign have been.
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we saw cruz firing one of his top aides, communications director rick tyler and the rubio campaign pouncing on that with a statement. something that clearly they believe is a vulnerability for ted cruz moving forward. the other part of it with marco rubio he has picked up a lot of establishment endorsements in the last 48 hours. people like bob dole coming out for him. the question is what kind of impact is that going to have on a republican electorate looking to outsiders like donald trump? does the establishment endorsement matter at this point? i think that is what we are about to find out. >> thanks so much, hallie jackson on all things republican. how would closing guantanamo work? i will talk to the state department coming up next. a 401(k) is the most sound way to go. let's talk asset allocation. sure. you seem knowledgeable, professional. would you trust me as your financial advisor? i would. i would indeed. well, let's be clear here. i'm actually a dj. [ dance music plays ]
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guantanamo. the politics of this are tough. in congress i recognize in part because of some of the fears of the public that have been fanned by misinformation there continues to be a fair amount of opposition to closing guantanamo. if it were easy it would have happened years ago. >> there is no question it is not easy. someone who knows that better than most is cliff sloane, the former special state department envoy in charge of negotiations to move prisoners. a large number have been moved. 500 or so under george w. bush before you and president obama were involved. tell me about this plan because it's been criticized for being too vague. there is no specific locations that could be the politics of an election year and senators who are up for reelection in states who are going ballistic on this. the whole negotiation is being
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slammed by congress. >> we are in the home stretch down to 91 detainees from a total of cloesz to 800. the plan is important for two reasons. there are more specifics than ever have been presented to congress. very thorough analysis by the pentagon about the cost that it would take in terms of moving a small number of detainees to the united states. i know the pentagon is going to be and the administration are talking to congress more about the details. secondly and i think this is important, the announcement of the plan today is a vivid demonstration of the very deep commitment by the president and the entire administration to finishing the job and closing guantanamo in the year that remains of the president's administration. >> opponents have pointed to an alleged 30% resitivism rate
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where terrorists sent home back to the battlefield. you counter that with other data from the intelligence community. >> that is a complete misconception. guantanamo has been a difficult issue. it is important to focus on the facts. and the fact is that of the detainees that have been transferred in this administration who have gone through a very rigorous process with the intelligence community, the defense community, law enforcement, foreign policy, all of them having to unanimously approve the person for transfer, less than 5% have been confirmed in engaging -- everybody wants that number to be zero. it is less than 5%. over 90% are not suspected of engaging in wrong doing. that is a complete misconception and those are figures from the
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director of national intelligence required by congress to put out a public report on their website every six months. >> you are responsible for trying to negotiate new places where they can go. what countries stepped up to take them back in? >> there are two categories of countries? those where we send somebody back to their home country and for a large number of detainees they cannot go back to their home country because of the security conditions in their home country. >> congress won't let that happen. we wouldn't do it. >> as a matter of executive branch policy, the executive branch will not send somebody back to country if the security conditions don't permit it or if there is not assurance of humane treatment. before congress put in restrictions as a matter of executive branch policy -- >> and congress has ordered that none go back to yemen which was the center of al qaeda and arabian peninsula and was
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considered one of the most hostile groups. >> before congress did that as a matter of executive branch policy people were not sent back because of the security situation there. that requires other countries stepping up and working with us and being willing to accept the detainees. very fortunate to have a wide range of countries that did this ranging from slovakia, georgia, many european countries have done it. our friends and allies have done it. many of them do it because they think it is vitally important for our counter terrorism efforts, collective security to shut guantanamo. so they are willing to work with us and accept detainees, agreements are negotiated. state department has done and is doing a terrific job in terms of finding countries and moving people out on that basis. one point i want to emphasize
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because this is another misconception. sometimes you hear people saying the only ones who are remaining in guantanamo are the worst of the worst. that is emphatically not the case. they are from yemen. they can't go back to their home country and it is important to have the countries who will work with us. >> the president suggested there might be some way if they came to the u.s. to not only prosecute them but also civilian. is there some leeway there? >> there should be. right now we have in place this ban bringing detainees from guantanamo to the u.s. at odds with our history of detention. because of that prohibition in the law we cannot use regular federal courts and for example the 9/11 conspirators and
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military commissions are going on and our federal courts have worked very, very well in terms of very serious terrorism defendants. one point that is important you don't choose between federal courts and military commissions you should have all options on the table. this ban on bringing people to the united states ties one hand behind our back. there are certain crimes that federal courts can adjudicate which military commissions cannot. there has been a public report that lawyers for 12 of the detainees there have said if they could get to federal courts they would plead guilty to offenses that are not crimes but because of this completely irational and unnecessary ban on bringing people to the united states for any reason they are stuck in guantanamo and cannot plead guilty to crimes when their lawyers say they are willing to do so. >> that is why we asked you here, cliff sloane, the man with the answers.
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and coming up, not in their state, both colorado senators now opposing the plan. one democrat, one republican opposing any plan to bring detainees to the supermax there. we are watching andrea mitchell reports only on nbc. it takes a lot of work... to run this business. but i really love it. i'm on the move all day long... and sometimes, i just don't eat the way i should. so i drink boost® to get the nutrition that i'm missing. boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin d to support strong bones and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle. all with a great taste. i don't plan on slowing down any time soon. look for savings on boost® in your sunday paper. frodoers don't stop. wake up, every day is a chance to do something great.
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were to become reality to having prisoners come to supermax which everyone believes is the best prison in the u.s. for them. >> number one, the law is the law. the president signed a bill saying that no detainees can be transferred to the united states. >> he had a signing statement in opposition to the defense authorization act. >> he signed the law and his secretary of defense has said the president lacks legal authority to transfer them to the united states. his attorney general says the president lacks authority to transfer and official staffer with the lieutenant general with the joint chiefs has the president lacks legal authority to move detainees. the president's own appointees say the president lacks legal ability to do this. the president talked about super max and i think the pentagon violated the law when the president sent a scouting troop
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to evaluate because the law says you can't spend money to transfer but says you can't spend money to assist in the transfer. how do you send a scouting team to colorado, kansas or south carolina without violating that portion of the law. if you look at the language they looked at supermax and a vacant colorado state prison. that is an idea they are considering is a closed prison in a community that resoundingly is opposed to the transfer in a state that sheriffs oppose the transfer. guantanamo bay is tailor made for terrorists and that is where they should stay. >> one of the opposing arguments just now from cliff sloane used to be special envoy to state department is that at least 12 prisoners' lawyers said they would plead guilty but they can't because the offenses they would plead guilty to are not
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adjudicable so they would have to plead guilty in a nonmilitary court in the u.s. so we are holding prisoners, paying for them and hurting our standing in the world because guantanamo has become such a red flag everywhere in the world. when we could have them locked up in the u.s. and put away for life. >> if you are a terrorist you belong in guantanamo bay. that is where they should stay. people in colorado believe they should remain thmpt idea that if you transfer then terrorists surrender is greatly mistaken. the fact is guantanamo bay isn't going to prevent the next terror attack from happening. they are going to come after us because they don't believe the values they hold as westerners. i think the president has put out white paper talking points on his plan to remove guantanamo bay detainees.
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your user agreement for the iphone is longer than the plan to transfer to the united states. i think that is iresponsible. >> bottom line, what is going to happen to this plan? >> i'm sorry? >> i say, what is your bottom line? what is going to happen to this plan in the senate? >> i think the plan is what it was deemed to be, a talking point for the white house. they don't expect congress to change the law. i think the president is trying to build his case based on a political promise to overturn the will of the people of the united states who sent congress to do their job, to overturn a law that the president has signed. i'm worried. if the president wanted to work with congress he would start responding to letters that congress has sent. i sent letters asking for the legal authority that he is basing his opinions on to transfer to the united states. i asked him for legal authority to send a scouting team to colorado. how is that not in violation of
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the law. we haven't heard a thing in response to our letters. if the president is willing to work with congress perhaps he should do more than just communicating to us through cnn or msnbc. >> thank you very much. appreciate that. and coming up next caucus night in nevada, the upcoming democratic primary in south carolina. we have it all covered. our dream team is up next. you are watching msnbc, the place for politics.
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john, to you first, what is on the line for the republicans? donald trump way out in front but does the party have to prove it can hold a caucus? >> they sure do. people may remember that four years ago tiny turnout about 7% or 8%. 33,000 votes took them two and a half days to count them. tonight they have paper ballots and taking pictures of the ballots with cell phones and texting them. the turnout is expected to be fairly low again. most of the campaigns don't think it will get past 40,000 votes i hear that returns will not be in until after 2:00 in the morning. and maybe not until 4:00 in the morning. let's hope those predictions are wrong. >> let me get this right. you are telling me they are going to have paper ballots and take an iphone picture and text
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that. i can't believe this is happening. it is 2016. why are we holding a caucus at all. >> i am very interested to see whether four years from now with harry reid no longer as powerful as he has been whether nevada gets early state vote at all. you know, if this goes badly and i can barely send text messages, i think it is in real jeopardy. i think the nevada republican party does a disservice holding a caucus not on the same day as the democratic one, not on a weekend and with results that come in at 2:00 in the morning it is hard to make it the center of the political universe for a day because it is so hard to
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report that story the night of. in many ways they have done it to themselves. >> and you were the republican leader so you can empathize. >> the fact that the dems had a nevada caucus. you leave these things with the states. as both have said the state party has to get a grip on this thing. taking photographs of ballots is not the way you run a caucus. so i think this is going to be another little nightmare in the making tonight. i think it will be a problem. >> let's go back to the candidates because trump is so far out ahead. then you have cruz and rubio and the fact that cruz had to fire rick tyler his communications
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guy after rubio exposed what was going on there. how badly damaged is ted cruz by this whole trust issue given that that is his slogan? >> i think it is one in a series of problems that have emerged for the campaign that they have not handled very well. this in the scheme of things was something that they actually got in front of everybody said this happened and corrected it. the firing looked heavy handed because there were things far worse that occurred that no one had gotten fired for like the whole deal with ben carson. i think this was sort of the makeup approach that was takeb by the campaign and presents ongoing problem for the cruz campaign if they can't get their act together internally it is hard to transfer that to votes. >> the marco rubio factor. we have confirmed that this key
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operative for the koch brothers left his job with the koch foundation and going to rubio. is that a signal of a lot of money to come? >> mark short is a very bright operative in his own rite. i think the kochs picked a candidate? the one thing i will say about that is i do wonder if it is too late at this point which is mar is going to get lots of establishment. he is going to get lots of establishment money and endorsements particularly with jeb out of the race. the question is can any of those things stop donald trump if he was going to be stopped these first four states, two caucuses, two primaries, you can spend a ton of time. you would think it would happen there. when the race goes national big states that cost a lot of money, donald trump is ahead i wonder if any amount of anything, staff, money, those sorts of
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things can stop the trump train that is clearly left the station. i would say it is moving at a pretty decent speed. >> what about talking about big money? where is his $100 million? >> you know, he is sitting in that casino down that way i'm sure tuned into msnbc, the only station i think he watches. it is funny there has been a couple of stories about how he has held his fire, how he and his wife are split between cruz and rubio. i think people misunderstand how much influence he has. i think he has the same problem that a lot of big donors have with rubio. when are you going to win a state? when is this three, five, two finish strategy you are adopting? he put out his campaign that nevada was the place he was going to win his campaign here.
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with the caucuses i just described it maybe some trump cell phones break down maybe he can win the caucus. i think he has a real problem convincing addleson that he is going to be able to be the nominee. >> you guys sit tight because we are going to be right back and talk about the democrats on the other side of the break. be right back. you're an at&t small business expert? sure am. my staff could use your help staying in touch with customers. at&t can help you stay connected. am i seeing double? no ma'am. our at&t 'buy one get one free' makes it easier for your staff to send appointment reminders to your customers... ...and share promotions on social media? you know it! now i'm seeing dollar signs. you should probably get your eyes checked. good one babe. optometry humor. right now get up to $650 in credits to help you switch to at&t. do something! get on the floor! oh i'm not a security guard, i'm a security monitor.
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wall street has endless supplies of money. and i mean endless. normal human beings say there is a certain amount of money we have. there is no certain amount of money. these guys have endless amounts of money to do what they want to do. >> they do not have me and they are never going to have me. >> bernie sanders in norfolk, virginia. let's bring back our panel.
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chris, bernie sanders now has to figure out what his path is. he is looking at caucus states of minnesota and colorado. the path going forward especially with him so far behind in south carolina which votes on saturday is really very difficult. >> he made the point about marco rubio. donor hesitation which is when is he going to win? i don't know major donors have hesitations about bernie sanders but the question before him is -- >> he doesn't need major donors. he is getting them in the millions. >> what he does need i think is he has to win outside of new hampshire. his win in new hampshire i think you cannot take away from a 22 point win in that state whether from vermont or mars he deserves a lot of credit for it. but if on march 1 all he wins are minnesota caucuses or colorado caucuses he runs the
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risk of being cast as the guy with quite clear appeal to certain segment but not someone who can beat her. he hawse gatten to the point where the question is can he beat her? not can he raise money and attract attention. he has proven he can do that. it is can he win and win and win. that is the question that i think he has oo answer on march 1 and march 15. >> did we get a definitive answer because campaigns are going back and forth as to who got the majority of latino votes in nevada saturday night? >> it's very confusing because the entrance polls showed that sanders was winning it. a couple of analysis by nate cohen and nate silver echoed this. if you look at how she dominated the latino majority it is clear she won probably not by as great a margin as hoped but she
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dominated the african-american vote and did well in rural nevada accounting for the margin. >> the republican national committee is up with ads against her in south carolina showing her with our friend and other whose are challenging her about the things that president obama said and the accusations that they were racially insensitive. >> it is the effort to continue to brand hillary clinton to get ahead of her assuming she will be the nominee of the party and sort of setting the platform for the republican nominee to launch the broad side that he or show will need to take her down. a lot of it is hinged on the narrative about hillary. at the end of the day does it work? it is just good for tv and good to talk about. i think on the republican side we know where patches are when
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it comes to hillary clinton. that is not a hard sell. trying to raise the doubt. >> got to be respect for her and republican leaders. >> do not assume that you are going to get the hillary clinton of 1992. this is a woman who has been secretary of state, united states senator. he will be a formidable candidate. >> already improved her battle game. thanks so much. that does it for us. tomorrow we are live on the trail from columbia, south carolina ahead of the saturday democratic presidential primary and on the coverage tonight. follow the show online and facebook and twitter. tune in tonight to msnbc's special coverage of the republican caucus. chris jansing picks up our coverage now.
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hello. live from las vegas, nevada. a plan to close the prison at guantanamo bay and boy has it set off a fire storm on capitol hill and on the campaign trail which goes through here today. president obama supporters, meantime, they have waited seven years for him to fulfill his campaign promise and they are gearing up for a fight. >> for many years it's been clear that the detention facility at guantanamo bay does not advance our national security. keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. today the department is submitting to congress our plan for finally closing the facility at guantanamo once and for all. >> reporter: he said one of the things that is important to him is that he not hand off what he considers to be a problem to the next president. that is a critical point