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tv   The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell  MSNBC  October 29, 2020 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT

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vote 'yes' on prop 19. tell them [record scratch] the party's over. what do you think the odds are that this time next week i not only will still be on tv but i will still be on tv from when i sat down on tuesday night? i have to get more comfortable pants. look, there you are. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you tomorrow. time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence >> i don't know what the odds are, rachel. i really don't. so my record time, my record time in an anchor chair was 2000
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of course when we settled into these chairs i think around 6:30 p.m. and had a bunch of different anchor desks around msnbc and forest sawyer and i were teamed up at one desk. i forget our jurisdiction in the discussion. we got out of those chairs 12 hours later. we got out of those chairs somewhere around 7:00 in the morning because that of course was 2000 and when we get out of the chairs at 7:00 in the morning it was not over. it went on in court for quite a while over florida, florida, florida as tim russert had kind of told us it might. >> tell me about which part of your back was the worst. >> okay. here is the amazing thing. here is the amazing thing. it was less physical stress in the chair than one hour in this chair is going to be now. there was something about it. it was so exciting and strange and disorienting that none of us
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had any sense of any kind of physical discomfort in the entire process. it was astonishing. we were all kind of amazed by that. >> wow. >> it wasn't difficult to do and i know that is maybe the strangest thing i've ever told you. >> i'm literally thinking about bringing gymnastic rings into the studio or something or a little rack i can put myself on to crank it and stretch my back out. >> you're not going to need them. if you're in that chair it's going to be so exciting that you're not going to need it. you're going to be running on a different kind of fuel. >> i'm going to hold you to it, lawrence, because once my back starts making me do this on tv, i'm going to call you. and tell you. >> i'm telling you, your back is going to cooperate. you'll be amazed. okay. thank you rachel. >> all right. thank you, lawrence. >> stretches. that's it. she'll be ready. no problem. senator doug jones will get
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the last word at the end of the hour tonight. senator jones won a special election for the united states senate three years ago, and he is running for re-election in a race that could determine which party controls the united states senate. democratic senator doug jones will get tonight's last word. kate benningfield will join us the deputy campaign manager of joe biden's campaign. we'll see how she is spending her hours and her minutes these days because i'm sure her time is no longer measured in days at this point. it is hour by hour. and after four of the longest years in american political history, it has come down to what might feel like the longest five days in american political history. >> five days left, folks. millions of americans are already voting. millions more are going to vote by the end of this week. and i believe when you use your
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power, the power to vote, you're going to change the course of this country for generations to come at home and abroad. this election is the most important one you've ever voted in whether it's your first or tenth. ladies and gentlemen, the heart and soul of this country is at stake. >> joe biden is holding his lead in national polls. a suffolk university national poll of likely voters shows joe biden ahead of donald trump by eight points, 52-44. we begin tonight focusing on one state. it is the state that both presidential candidates focused on today. joe biden and drum both had campaign events in florida today and joe biden actually told florida exactly why both presidential candidates were in florida today. >> right here in florida, it's up to you. you hold the key. if florida goes blue, it's over.
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it's over. >> if florida goes blue, it's over. that is what every professional campaign analyst has been saying for several weeks now. donald trump won florida last time. joe biden can win the electoral college without winning florida, but it is virtually impossible for the republican candidate to win the electoral college without florida's 29 electoral college votes. if joe biden wins florida, it really is all over for donald trump. donald trump knows that. and joe biden knows that. and that's why they were both in florida today. a new nbc/marist florida poll of likely voters shows joe biden four points ahead of donald trump. 51-47. but that poll has a margin of error of 4.4 points and so that poll is actually a statistical tie within that margin of error. and in a new monmouth florida
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poll of registered voters joe biden is ahead of donald trump by five points, 50% to 45. the margin of error in that poll is also 4.4 points so that, too, is a statistical tie within the margin of error. and so in these final days a quick refresher note on the margin of error in polls because it means a lot and it means a lot right now. the margin of error applies to both directions. it applies to every number in both directions up and down. so on the monmouth poll with a 4.4 margin of error, joe biden's 50 could actually be as high as 54.4% or it could be as low as 46 and donald trump's 45 could be as high as 49 or it could be as low as 41. so any poll you see where a candidate has a five-point lead at this point is simply way too close to call. but you would prefer to be the candidate with the higher
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number. and that's joe biden in florida. joe biden is the candidate with the higher number in florida tonight, and because of the slowness in counting the mountains of mail-in ballots that are going to come in all over the country it is very unlikely that on election night the next networks will be able to officially project a winner in the presidential race, but it is very possible that we will have a winner in florida, because florida will probably count its mail-in ballots much faster than other states. florida has been processing mail-in ballots for a month now, getting a head start on the counting process, and with most polls in florida closing at 7:00 p.m., and the polls in the panhandle of florida closing at 8:00 p.m., florida could be the first swing state to declare a winner on election night. as joe biden said today if the winner is joe biden, it is all over. now, that doesn't mean that
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there will be an official network call saying joe biden has been elected president but you will be hearing people like me saying things like or even more clearly than it is very hard to see where donald trump will make up those 29 electoral votes he just lost in florida. that's probably word for word something that steve kornacki will say. there is important data available now on new voters who have already voted early in florida. in florida, of the 788,698 new voters, who have already voted, 40% of them, are registered democrats and 28% are registered republicans. and the new voters are the voters who can flip the election in florida and new registered democrats are out voting new registered republicans by 12% in florida as of tonight. donald trump found a new way to threaten the lives of his voters
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today in florida. he has been threatening their lives with every rally he has had, where he in effect encourages his crowds not to wear masks except of course the people who are now seated behind him in the camera shot. they are required to wear masks. the trump campaign rallies have left covid infections in their wake wherever the trump campaign goes. there are more covid infections after the fact. we will never know how many. some have been reported. there have been some contact tracing of people who contracted coronavirus after being in trump crowds at trump rallies but we will never know the real number of people infected with coronavirus by attending trump rallies. today donald trump endangered his supporters once again by telling them that we are, quote, rounding the turn on the coronavirus, and he said that on the day that the country set a new record for the number of coronavirus cases in a single day. 88,452.
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on wednesday night donald trump left people stranded in the freezing cold after his rally in the snow in nebraska. people came close enough to freezing to death that they had to be hospitalized. seven people were hospitalized. 30 received medical treatment. and today in florida it was the opposite. in the crushing heat of the midday sun in florida, there was heat stroke in the trump crowd with people beginning to pass out in the heat while of course as in nebraska they were in a high risk environment for coronavirus without masks. local public health officials did nothing about the risks to the lives of people in florida at the trump event but the fire department knows an emergency when they see one and they knew what was happening as they saw people falling to the ground in the trump crowd. tampa fire rescue told nbc news that they responded to 17
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medical calls at the trump rally and transported 12 people to the hospital. the fire department tried to create a cooling mist of water over the crowd to save the lives that donald trump was endangering and, of course, donald trump, the most deadly presidential campaigner in history, had no idea what was happening. >> look at that. are they doing that on purpose? are they friend or foe? i don't know. it actually felt good. i felt water on my face. i said where the hell is that coming from? they may be doing that on purpose. let's find out if they're friend or foe and if they're foe let's take care of those son of a bitches. >> friend or foe. the most lethally dangerous presidential campaigner in history doesn't know what he is seeing when he is watching the fire department try to save the lives that he is personally
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endangering. he has no idea. friend or foe? no idea. he has no idea whether he is -- whether what he is looking at is good or bad. and in his rank stupidity he threatens the fire department and calls them sons of bitches. so there is the president of the united states. saying he wants to punish that act depending entirely on who is doing it. that is the essence of the trump presidency. that is the essence of donald trump's life. and that is what will be crushed on election night if joe biden wins florida. leading off our discussion tonight, professor eddie glaude chair of the department of african-american studies at princeton university. also with us lilly adams senior spokesperson and adviser to the
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democratic national committee. she served as communications director for senator kamala harris's 2020 presidential campaign. lilly, let me begin with you with the paraphrase of tim russert. it's actually a quote of tim russert from 20 years ago. and it is simply, florida, florida, florida. >> yeah, i mean, i think you're going to see a very close race in florida. if you look back, lawrence, at the last eight years there have been seven statewide elections in florida decided with less atlanta 1.2% margin. so it's going to be tight as a tick there until the end but i think what is important and what you pointed out is that for joe biden he has many paths to 270. some that include florida and some do not. for donald trump this is it. if he does not win florida he does not win this election. so you see him and vice president mike pence on defense in state after state after state. >> eddie glaude, we hear donald trump saying it all has to be
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decided on election night. if joe biden wins florida on election night, we can expect something different from donald trump suddenly on whether election night should be decisive. >> oh, absolutely. we know donald trump plays all sorts of shenanigans when it comes to his own self-interest. look, florida is important and it's critical and if joe biden wins florida it's a wrap. we have covid. we have elder voters. we have younger voters. we have puerto rican voters. we have black voters. so i think it all boils down to the turnout game. there is a whole host of new voters as you noted in the lead. i'm really interested in those young students from stoneman douglas high school and the organizing that they have been doing. we already see an uptick in gen zers and millennials and their participation in the process. i am really interested, lawrence, to see what happens in the ground game. who is going to turn out who? and i think the polls are
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rightly tight but i think this might be more interesting than we suspect. >> lily, tell viewers what to watch if we don't have a call in florida on election night or if donald trump wins florida on election night where should the focus shift at that point? >> well, look. i think, lawrence, what is the most important thing is that every voter gets to cast a ballot and every vote counts. i think what's remarkable is that the republican party seems to think that their path to victory is to try to keep voters from voting or keep ballots from being counted. and so that's why in state after state we're making sure that that won't happen. but if donald trump spent half the time that he spends trying to keep voters away from the polls on trying to keep the coronavirus out of this country we'd be in much better shape, but he didn't do that. what we're going to be doing is making sure there are tons of opportunities for folks to drop off their ballot at a drop box to probably not mail it in
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anymore or go vote on election day. but i think there are many paths either through the sun belt or through the midwest for joe biden regardless of the outcome in florida. it remains very tight there obviously. >> professor glaude, i want to get your reaction to this extraordinary set of events we've seen this week with this trump campaign in nebraska and in florida. the trump campaign leaving people behind in the cold, trapped. no way to get back to their cars which were miles away after, by the way, having packed them into buses, very dangerously, during the coronavirus pandemic. then there's no buses to take them back in the cold. then today dropping, just dropping right in the crowd you have older people in that crowd in florida and they are just dropping in the heat and donald trump completely oblivous to both of those things even when the fire department takes the precaution of putting the water over the crowd to try to help them through this. >> you know, lawrence, i read
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this in two different directions. so one, there is the obvious, calloused disregard that donald trump has for people who support him. donald trump is a self-interested personality. he is only concerned about his own well being. you know, i've referred to him as only i must live. that is the way he orients himself politically and the way he lives his life generally i think. i am also interested from the other side, that is the people who attend these rallies. the folks who see in some ways the callous disregard, the folk who make a choice to risk their lives to attend these super spreader events. i'm still trying to wrap my mind around the source of the attraction. it is not simply charismatic authority. it is not just simply charismatic power. i don't read donald trump as a charismatic figure. there is something that he represents. he's an avatar for something that in some ways inspires -- that's the wrong verb -- that
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leads these folk to risk their lives. i think we need to ask ourselves the question, what is that? because it's the question that takes us to the subsequent question. why do we still see a certain number, a large number of americans still supporting this guy after the record of four years? that's a question that's really deep for us to answer, particularly come november 4th. >> professor eddie glaude and lily adams. >> november 3rd. >> professor eddie glaude and lily adams thank you both for starting us off tonight. really appreciate it. >> thanks. and after this break, days left. hours left in the campaign. what do the campaign professionals do? we will be joined by kate bettingfield, deputy campaign manager for joe biden's presidential campaign. that's next. idential campaign. that's next. it's still warm. ♪ thanks, alice says hi.
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joe biden's most trusted political adviser who's been at his side in every campaign of his life is his sister valerie, the mastermind of his campaign for president, who has him holding the lead in every national poll is jen o'malley dillon a married mother of three young children. kate benningfield who will join us in a moment is the deputy campaign manager and communications director. simone simons another biden campaign spokesperson has joined us on this program repeatedly and of course joe biden's running mate is the first female
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democratic nominee for vice president in 36 years senator kamala harris. and tonight joe biden is running 24 points ahead of donald trump among women voters. joining us now is kate benningfield and my question is, are women going to get joe biden elected president of the united states and i mean that in more ways than one. >> well, there is no question that women voters are a huge part of the biden coalition. if you think about why joe biden became the democratic nominee it is because he was able to build the broadest, biggest coalition including suburban women in particular, including african-american voters, including union households, including latino voters and young voters. he was able to build the
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broadest coalition. it is why he is the democratic nominee and we believe the next president of the united states. he is able to speak directly to a wide array of voters and make the case for unity in this country. as we're coming down in the final four days of this campaign here he is making an argument, lawrence, that he got into the race making back in april of 2019 which is that we can come together as a country. we can overcome this broken moment that we're in in our politics. and so he's out making that case aggressively to voters including to women voters over the final four days of this campaign. >> talk to us about florida. joe biden today said it. he said it out loud. i have to tell you i was a little surprised he said it. but if he wins florida it's all over. was that a planned moment that today would be the day joe biden says that? >> look, he's absolutely right. i mean, that is a reminder to every voter in florida who has been frustrated with donald
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trump's mishandling of this pandemic, who has seen their wages go down during donald trump's presidency, who has been embarrassed by the kind of leadership that donald trump has offered in the white house. that was a reminder today. this is your moment. turn out and vote. you can make the difference. there is no question that florida is incredibly important and if joe biden can win florida on tuesday he will probably be well on his way to the white house. it is important to remember that is not the only path to the white house for him. it may be for donald trump but it isn't necessarily for joe biden. we are working to keep as many paths open as possible. he'll be tomorrow in wisconsin, going to iowa, going to minnesota. he'll be in pennsylvania again. he's going to michigan on saturday. you know, he is going all over talking to voters in these core battleground states to try to maintain as many pathways to 270 as possible and get to a victory on tuesday. >> so let me tell you what i saw as the risk in the way joe biden
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said that today because we get it and every campaign professional understands it. the republican probably cannot win the electoral college without florida. unprepared to say definitely cannot win the electoral college without florida. joe biden can win the electoral college without florida. however, if donald trump squeaks out a win in florida, on election night, donald trump will then say joe biden said it's all over, whoever wins florida, it's all over which is not of course exactly what joe biden said. >> it also as you well know, lawrence, doesn't work that way. he doesn't get to just come out and say, well i won florida and joe biden said if i won florida i win. fortunately for all of us that is not the way this works. the data will show who wins the election on tuesday that voters all across the country in all of these battleground states get to have a say and ultimately at the end of the day the american people are going to decide who is the next president.
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donald trump doesn't get to decide that. the american people get to decide that. and so we are really making the case in the last four days of the campaign for people to turn out to vote. you can vote early, vote in person, take your ballot to a drop-off box. take it to an election administration office. there are countless ways to vote. >> tell us how your focus will shift on election night if joe, if donald trump is projected to win in florida, if that is the network's call where would you tell voters to shift their focus to see how the electoral college will turn out? >> we'll see a whole array of states come in. the next round of states to report will include georgia, will include north carolina, then, you know, move on to wisconsin and michigan. there are key states all over this country. arizona out west. there are key states all over this country that are going to
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be critical to determining who is the next president of the united states. so, you know, for everybody who is kind of hanging on that first round of reporting, you know, there are a lot of states that are going to be reporting across the night that first wave of states, you know, that may not tell us who is ultimately going to be the winner. ultimately what is going to tell us that are people turning out all over this country in these core battleground states and casting their votes. whether we know early in the night, late in the night, the next day that doesn't change the fact that the process will play out and ultimately the american people will get to determine who is the next president of the united states. >> the successful campaign manager of barack obama's re-election campaign was here the other night and i forget how many days it was, about six or seven days out, and he described it in terms of hours. he said at the time i remember it was 169 hours left and he was describing how he would be working as a campaign manager based on hour by hour not
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including, i didn't hear in there, any space for sleep. how do your remaining hours look for you, kate, between now and election night? >> work, work, work, work, work. make sure we are talking to every single voter in this country who is looking for change, who wants to see a different direction, who wants a president who is going to get this virus under control, get our economy back on track. we'll be spending every last minute of this campaign from joe biden on down through every field organizer working on our campaign, through every staffer who is working on our campaign. we'll work hard to be sure people are hearing his message that they know this is their opportunity to work for change and that they know how to vote. we've worked really hard to ensure people understand there are a lot of different options and ways to vote and it is their choice. that they can be flexible, they can choose the method that works for them. at the end of the day what matters most is they get the
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vote in by november 3rd or on november 3rd. >> joe biden's deputy campaign manager kate benningfield who doesn't look nervous at all. kate, you look like there is nothing to worry about. just tuesday night everything is going to be fine, right? >> like a duck, lawrence. paddling under the surface. >> okay. thank you, kate. really appreciate you joining us tonight. thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. up next a court has decided to allow guns at polling places in michigan. the michigan secretary of state joins us next. false alarm. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪
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the party's over. today joe biden described the trump victory strategy. >> he knows if you vote he can't win. why do you think they're spending so much time keeping black folks and brown folks and poor folks from being able to vote? why make it so hard?
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because he knows when america votes they reject people like him. >> that's why donald trump has been in courts around the country trying to force unrealistic deadlines on the return of mail-in ballots and why donald trump will surely go to court after election day to try to stop counting ballots in some battleground states. michigan secretary of state says it will take 80 hours. at least. for michigan to complete counting ballots. unlike florida, michigan is not allowed to start counting mail-in ballots until 7:00 a.m. on election day. joining us now is michigan's secretary of state. secretary benson what are the biggest challenges michigan is going to face in counting these ballots? >> well, frankly part of it is going to be the pressure that we hope the national attention does not place on our clerks who are going to be working hard, really
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diligently to securely and methodically count every ballot. you know, we estimate it is going to take 80 hours which could take us through friday but i've got a lot of faith in our election workers and the work they'll be doing for the moment they can't start counting those at 7:00 on election day until they do this as accurately as possible and be efficient about it too. >> what do you think will be the effect of the judge's decision that it is legal and allowable for people to enter polling places with guns? >> we anticipate about one-third of our citizens will vote in person on election day and as the state's chief election officer i have a duty to protect every single one of them. every voter making sure they have a good, positive experience and their right to cast their vote is free from intimidation and harassment. notably today's court ruling which is the attorney general announced also recognized that
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anyone who does intimidate a voter in michigan by brandishing a firearm is committing a felony under existing law and mentioned and emphasized that remains enforceable by executive branch officers as well as local law enforcement. the bottom line is voter intimidation is illegal under state and federal law and i am going to continue to do everything in my authority to protect our voters and ensure the safety of every single citizen and the sanctity of our polling places. >> just to clarify this it may be technically legal to carry your firearm into a polling place but if another voter feels threatened by that or a law enforcement official feels what seems to be a threatening brandishing of a firearm, that could be an arrestable offense. >> certainly. active voter intimidation of instilling fear in the heart of a voter particularly with the intent of causing them to not vote is voter suppression. we are training our election officials at a local level to be prepared to know what to do which is really all this
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directive was about to give clarity and uniformity to our election workers so they could act quickly to protect voters in case that happens on election day. the idea of instilling fear in the heart of any voter right before they're about to cast their vote for the leader of the free world is against everything our democracy stands for and again as the chief election officer for the state of michigan my priority is to make sure voters are not fearful but prideful when they go to cast their vote on election day. >> what is the final outcome in michigan on the deadline for when mail-in ballots must be received? >> every voter has to have their ballot in by 8:00 p.m. on election day. just like in other states there's been litigation over that, in our state we've been very clear and consistent in our education efforts to our voters. as soon as we hit the two-week deadline around october 20th all of our messaging and voter education became immediately about directing people to our dropped boxes and local clerks'
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offices to return ballots that way. right now the michigan citizen has their absentee ballot we want them to return it to their township or city clerk office or local drop box by 8:00 p.m. on election day to ensure it counts. >> michigan secretary of state jocelyn benson thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> thank you. up next a very important announcement today by joe biden. if joe biden is president, he will create a white house task force at the highest level assigned to reunite 545 children with their families, children who were separated from their parents by the trump administration at the southern border. that became a top priority for the biden white house if joe biden is elected. n white house e biden is elected (burke) deep-sea driving, i see... (customer) something like that... (burke) well, here's something else: with your farmer's policy perk, new car replacement, you can get a new one. (customer) that is something else. (burke) get a whole lot of something with farmers policy perks. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
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first day of his presidency if he is elected he will sign an executive order to form a presidential white house task force that will focus on reuniting the over 545 migrant children who were separated from their parents under the trump policy in 2017 and are still separated from their parents because the trump administration does not know where the parents are. >> president trump issued his immigrant family separation order nearly three years ago. >> kids were under mylar blankets on concrete floors after being taken from the arms of their parents. i'll never forget seeing it with my own eyes. they call it torture. the american academy of pediatrics said it was government sanctioned child abuse. >> nearly three years after trump's order over 500 children are still not back with their parents. >> what happened? the kids were ripped from their
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arms and separated and now they cannot find over 500 sets of those parents and those kids are alone. nowhere to go. it's criminal. >> they are so well taken care of. they're in facilities that were so clean. >> on his first day as president, joe biden will issue an executive order creating a federal task force to reunite these children with their parents. >> i'm joe biden and i approve this message. >> the trump administration separated an additional 2,800 children under the zero tolerance policy in 2018. a report by the house judiciary committee released today found the family separation policy was, quote, marked by reckless incompetence and intentional cruelty. as administration officials had predicted the government lacked the capacity to track separated family members.
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joining our discussion now, a vice news host and msnbc contributor. she was the deputy director of hispanic press for hillary clinton's 2016 presidential campaign. what is your reaction to joe biden today announcing this will be presidential task force assignment to reunite those children? >> i think the ad you just played is the closing argument. it is not just the moral thing to do or the correct thing to do. that is the closing argument of this campaign. i think through the lens of immigration and through the lens of family separation you can truly see what the heart of this administration has been for four years. you can truly see the heart of the decision making of the trump administration, which is as you just read, intentional cruelty. separating thousands of children at the border is cruel. not knowing where their parents are is cruel. closing the border to desperate asylum seekers is cruel.
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you know what also is cruel, holding super spreader events in the middle of a pandemic when thousands of people are dead. that is cruel, also. diminishing covid-19 is also intentionally cruel. the muslim ban is cruel. i could go on. so what you see now what we see right now is sort of the argument that joe biden is making which is the character of this nation is on the ballot which is what he is constantly reminding his audience then just look at this video and decide for yourself. >> i was struck in the presidential debate that donald trump didn't even pretend that he would make an effort to find the parents of these children, didn't even pretend it was an issue. he left it at how well taken care of they are. this coming from someone who has literally never seen how they are cared for. >> right. i think the report says one of the traits of the administration, which is they're reckless, they're incompetent. if we want to talk about children being taken care of all we need to know is that under
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this administration at least seven migrant children have died in isis watch. and so, again, that is all we need to know to make up our minds this administration cannot even take care of the most vulnerable children. >> for the biden campaign going forward what do you see as what they need to do in reaching out to hispanic voters? >> this. so this will help any undecided latino voter that wasn't thinking of casting their ballot. to me the power of this ad goes beyond the latino voter. to me it goes to the undecided white voters, white women voters, suburban women, because i think this speaks to them. there is an ad or survey which came out today which found 60% of swing voters are against family separation. the interesting thing about this story is where immigration was once the trump campaign's best weapon, has how they started in
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2016, it is now back firing and that is not just helping with latino voters as it once did but now helping with other voters that were at one point unimaginable in this race. >> thank you very much for joining us tonight. really appreciate it. >> thanks, lawrence. thank you. when we come back, democratic senator doug jones is fighting to hold on to his seat in the state of alabama. senator jones gets tonight's last word after this break. a hay proven ingredients that fuel 5 indicators of brain performance. memory, focus, accuracy, learning, and concentration. try our new gummies for 30 days and see the difference. could protect you from cancer? what if one push-up could prevent heart disease? one wishful thinking, right? but there is one step adults 65 or older can take to help prevent another serious disease - pneumococcal pneumonia.
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on august 6, 1965, president linden johnson signed into law the voting rights act five months after future congressman john lewis nearly lost his life marching for voting rights across the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama. the republican candidate for senate in alabama is a former football coach who sees nothing
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good in the voting rights act. >> the thing about the voting rights act is -- you know, there's a lot of different things you can look at it as, you know, who's it going to help? what direction do we need to go with it? >> joining nous is a democratic candidate for senate in alabama, senat senator doug jones, the incumbent senator. senator jones, can you translate for us what he was just saying about the voting rights act? >> hell no, i can't do that. lawrence, it made no sense. the bottom line is he didn't have any idea what it is. that's the problem. it's just unbelievable someone who had offer himself as a senate candidate in alabama, the birthplace of the voting rights act, he didn't have an idea what it was and still doesn't know what it is. >> what is the number one issue
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in this campaign for you? >> i think the number one issue is health care. it's always been health care even before the pandemic. people are beginning to see and realize the affordable care act is under attack and that lawsuit of which alabama is a part of is going to be heard before the supreme court. it's going to put over 900,000 people with pre-existing conditions in jeopardy. it's going to put kids up to age 26, their health care in jeopardy, seniors prescription drugs. that's the number one issue, and they're very concerned about it. and they've seen the work i've done on this, and tommy tuberville, he's like donald trump. he's never put a plan out there about what he would do. he has no idea. >> and he has donald trump's full support in this election. what are the -- what do you see between now and the closing on election day as kind of the final case to be made to alabama voters? >> look, i think it's a combination of things, lawrence.
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people are starting to look at the candidates and starting to look at the issues. what they see in the last three years with me as their senator, someone who's had their back. 22 bipartisan bills, working for farmers and veterans, strong military. all the things that alabama people want, and it's their values. on the other hand, you've got a guy who will not tell them he doesn't debate, he doesn't talk about the issues. he only talks in platitudes about things, and the fact of the matter is they're beginning to see he's really extreme. he supports the alabama abortion law bill that bans all abortions without any exceptions for rape and incest. he's a climate denier, doesn't believe in the science, believes only god can change climate. and also he's just -- you know, that family separation you heard, that's his thing. he and jeff sessions and others, that's what they support. he's got some really extreme views which is another reason he's probably not out there talking to the people. >> and we now know from e-mails and justice department records
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that that family separation policy pushed by jeff sessions was deliberate, and it was deliberately cruel. they wanted it to be cruel to send a message to people to not bring their children to the border. >> absolutely. and tommy tuberville supports everything that donald trump does and says with immigration including that family separation. that goes against every value that alabamians have. and that's the information that's getting out there now, and that's why i think we're going to win this race. people see him as an extremist and that is just not what the folks in alabama want, it's not what they deserve. >> a record number of mail-in ballots, absentee ballots have been requested in alabama this year. the previous record for absentee ballots was 89,000. alabama has already received 259,000. there's another, say, 70,000 outstanding that haven't come
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back in yet. is that mail-in ballot, do you see that as a support base for you? >> yeah, absolutely. and i think there's a lot of early voting with those absentee ballots we've seen, too. i think overwhelmingly people went to the polls and they're concerned about covid. we've got cases rising in alabama, but they're also trying to show the folks in montgomery, alabama, the capitol, that we want early voting in this state. we want to be able to vote at the convenience of people and citizens to try to get the numbers up and not just at the convenience of a state legislator on one day for 12 hours. so i think those are breaking our way for sure based on everything we've seen. i believe we're going to top 300,000 absentee ballots and it's going to be well over 10% of the total vote that's going to be cast by november 3rd. >> you've got basically a three-year term on this special election. what have you told alabama voters about what a six-year
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term, a full term will mean to you with already three years of seniority you bring into it? >> i tell them look at what we did with three years, 22 bipartisan bills, how we've gotten so many things done for alabama and just double it. because we're going to hit the ground running just like we did in january of 2018. we're working for all alabama. a campaign is about one alabama, and that's the thing about this campaign that sets us apart from tommy tuberville and the alabama republican party. we represent everyone from one end of the state to the other, one alabama. we don't just represent a privileged few. we don't talk about us versus them. we talk about all of us. so i think the sky's the limit for alabama with doug jones with a full term. >> doug jones shot to the republican alabama party three years ago by winning a democratic seat in the united states senate. democratic senator doug jones, thank you very much for joining us tonight. >> always a pleasure, lawrence.
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thank you. >> senator doug jones gets tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts now. well, good evening once again. day 1,379 of the trump administration. now five days to go until election day. it'll be down to four by the time just this broadcast is over here in the east. we continue to cover two major stories -- a presidential campaign in the midst of the height of the coronavirus pandemic here in the united states. indeed today we saw another record setter over 88,000 cases today. that's a new single-day record. most public health specialists believe we're headed for 100,000 a day just as sure i'm sitting here talking to you nice folks. we lead the world with 9 million plus cases and a death toll approaching 230,000.