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tv   Craig Melvin Reports  MSNBC  March 2, 2022 8:00am-9:00am PST

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their treatment, essentially sentencing them to death. those were president putin's choices. now it's time for us to make ours. the united states is choosing to stand with the ukrainian people. we are choosing in coordination with our allies and partners to impose severe consequences on russia. we are choosing to hold russia accountable for its actions and we will soon turn to vote on a resolution that does just that. we believe this is a simple vote. vote yes if you believe you and member states, including your own, have a right to sovereignty and territorial integrity. vote yes if you believe russia should be held to account for its actions.
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vote yes if you believe in upholding the u.n. charter and everything this institution stands for. thank you very much. thank you, distinguished representative of the united states. and now i give -- good wednesday morning. welcome to this special edition of "white house reports." i'm peter alexander. >> and i am kristen welker. we're at the white house. we were listening to linda thomas greenfield at the u.n. making the case for why they should vote for an article to condemn russia, its actions in ukraine, its invasion in ukraine and it really underscores the
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extent to which this administration has tried to rally international support against russia and its actions. >> her key words, a message to the russian soldiers now in ukraine. she said, "your leaders are lying to you." she called on them to put down their weapons and return to their home country. >> reporter: yeah, she said don't commit more war crimes. pretty stern words there. the president just left a short time ago, following in a presidential tradition of a post-state of the union road stop. he stopped to speak to reporters on his way out. this is what he had to say. >> reporter: mr. president, how worried are you about president zelenskyy? do you think he should stay in ukraine or try to leave in. >> i think it's his judgment to make and we're doing everything we can to help him. >> reporter: have there been attempts to reach china?
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>> not directly yet. we're establishing contact with them. >> reporter: permanent military presence in poland and other eastern european countries now after what's happening in ukraine? >> we've always been all there, all nato countries. >> reporter: i'm talking about permanent basis. >> that's a decision to be made. i'm sorry. >> reporter: [ inaudible ]. >> nothing is off the table. >> reporter: do you think russia is committing war crimes in ukraine? >> we are following if very closely. it's early to say that. >> for the people of ukraine, pope francis is asking for prayers and fasting. what's your reaction to that, sir? >> he's right. i was with the cardinal this morning. he came over to give me ashes and we both prayed for the war, the people of ukraine. >> president biden on his way to the upper midwest to sell
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economic policies that he laid out last night in his first state of the union address making it clear one of his top priorities, his top priority, he said, is lowering inflation. but of course complicating that evident is russia's ongoing invasion of ukraine. >> in a few minutes, we will talk to the deputy director of the economic council live about how americans can expect to see the effects of what is playing out overseas. >> as we've noted, the president's address included a fierce condemnation of putin's brutal campaign against ukraine. ukraine's emergency services reporting that hundreds of civilians have now been killed, but of course the real number at this time is impossible to know. >> right now a 40-mile-long convoy is inching toward kyiv, now stalled due to a lack of food and fuel as these images capture the world's attention. the president used last night's address to try to reassure americans and the global community. >> i want you to know we're going to be okay.
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we're going to be okay. when the history of this era is written, putin's war in ukraine will have left russia weaker and the rest of the world stronger. >> we want to get right to our team on the ground. erin mclaughlin is in lviv and we're joined by our diplomacy and security analyst and peter simmons still on his perch. he is in moscow. first to erin. right now russia is stepping up its attack on major cities in ukraine. tell us what you're seeing from the ground there. >> reporter: hey, peter. well, here in lviv, this is a way point for so many that are fleeing this violence. earlier today we were at the central train station in the city and it was stagger and heart breaking to see the crush of humanity pouring out of the
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train station, sirens sounded while we were there, people sort of just stopping and looking around, not knowing what to do. many of these people don't even know where they're ultimately going. many of the people we talked to are fleeing the violence in kharkiv. that is a city in the northeastern section of the country under intense bombardment. take a listen to what some of the people that are fleeing kharkiv had to say earlier today. >> we're tired. i feel so -- i think i might be in increasing depression because i've never been in such situation far from my family and i don't know what will happen later. >> reporter: for days now kharkiv has been under attack from the air, from the land. russian paratroops landing there it this morning. missiles have been fired into residential areas. they struck government buildings. i was speaking to a woman named
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tatiana, a language professional there. she said she doesn't want to be one of the thousands to flee. she said someone needs to stay. back to you. >> erin mclaughlin on the ground in lviv, ukraine. erin, we hope you and your crew continue to stay safe. thank you for that reporting. i do want to go to keir now, who is in moscow. obviously the entire world was watching president biden's speech last night, that firm condemnation of vladimir putin where he also warned you don't even know what's coming. how is his speech being received there in moscow where you are? >> reporter: well, the speech was overnight here. russians don't switch on the television on in the middle of the night to hear the american president speak. >> there is a reaction from the kremlin admitting that the
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sanctions are tough but saying russia will keep on its feet. but western officials that i have been hearing from just in the past hour have been saying that there are indications that russian oligarchs, those billionaires who can own airplanes around the world, there are indications they are trying to move capital to get out of the way of the sanctions, a sign that the sanctions are going to have a real impact. those western officials, though, accepting it isn't clear how much pressure they would be able to put on president putin because it's not clear whether he's right now listening to anybody. so, look, i think the thing that may have even more impact on the russian people here will be not just the economic damage but the cultural tear that we are beginning to see with flights cancelled, people particularly in cities like this, moscow and st. petersburg, they have these
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deep connections now. this is the third biggest economy, they have these big connections to the world. they're just not going to have those connections anymore. i think another thing to mention and it's an important point, as the russians see what's happening in ukraine, particularly with potentially cities under siege, the russians themselves have deep historic experience of a siege, lenin grand, saint petersburg, in the second world war, 1 million people died. that's seared into their consciences. if that message gets across, that could have an impact on public opinion here. but knowing the dangers of hearing the truth for the russian people, the kremlin already in the past 28 to 48 hours, even while president biden was speaking, shutting down an independent television station and independent radio station. >> reporter: the reports we're hearing from you and others there, it is a changed experience for the people of
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russia right now as they witness the impact that these sanctions offer from the u.s. and allies. let me ask you about what we're seeing. we're seeing what we call the b roll, just awful images coming out of that country. the ukrainians have put up resistance. they're saying they defeated an elite russian unit this kharkiv. clearly russia is ratcheting up the assault, bombed that tv tower, the memorial site. this is a new escalation. where do you worry this is headed next? >> a couple of quick points to be made here. one is about russian casualties. we're starting to get i think increasingly reliable reports that those casualty levels are at the 2,000, 3,000, perhaps even 4,000.
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always tough to tell in this fog of war period. let's say there are 2,000, which seems like the floor to me of what it could be at this point. in 20 years of combat in afghanistan, the u.s. suffered 2,000 casualties. for russia to have suffered 2,000 killed in action here in seven days is really quite remarkable. and i think will have deep impact in moscow and other parts of russia. secondly, to keir's point, the cultural piece here, these are co-religious companies, these are orthodox ukrainian, orthodox russian. this is hard for russians to watch as their soldiers go after co-religious fellow orthodox. i say that as someone who comes from the greek orthodox culture, these are very close. thirdly, boy, that convoy is
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really quite remarkable. to the military mind that looks like the biggest target on the planet earth. we're not going to go bomb it, we nato, but if the ukrainians could get in and around that with javelins, start taking out some of that static offensive power, very significant. fourth and finally, the dog that really hasn't barked yet, peter, is cyber. and cyber attacks. so far the russians have not unveiled that capability. we know they have it. that could be a potential game changer because it could take out the ukrainian command and control, take the marvelous president zelenskyy off the air so to speak. so those are things i'm watching right now. very fluid situation. let's hope that the ukrainians continue to fight and fight hard. >> admiral, i want to ask you about that convoy against the backdrop of some really tough
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images we saw yesterday from richard engel, who visited a hospital in kyiv that had to convert their cold storage area into a ward. he talked to a new mom whose daughter was born with special needs. i want to show that you exchange. >> reporter: we were giving her a blood transfusion every two weeks but now her condition is getting worse and she feels worse. >> reporter: how are you feeling? i have a child myself who has special needs and has extra health issues and i know how powerless you can feel to be a parent with a sick child. it is very hard, she says. we want this war to stop because our kids suffer and we cannot go home. >> reporter: i think those types of images are just enraging for frankly the global community, admiral. we know the white house has said a no-fly zone is not an option, that they're not going to send in military forces. what can the white house -- what
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can the biden administration do to try to knock out that convoy? >> i'll come to that quick comment. you have to look at the kind of reporting that our reporters are doing, people like richard, a good friend. i know the situation with his friend. my wife and i watched that clip last night and both of us broke down in tears. it's remarkable. and that will be part of winning this, by showing those images to the world. in terms of the convoy, what we can do is flood the zone back in lviv in the west, but come across that polish border with the tools the ukrainians need to take out targets, big, juicy targets that are reflected in the logistic incompetence of the russians, surface to surface, hand-held javelin-style missiles could eat up that convoy right now. there are ways that the
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ukrainians can move them from the west. we need to get them into western ukraine so they can be used tactically at this moment. i know the pentagon has seized with this and continues to do so. >> we're hearing reporting that within the next 24 to 48 hours the administration may announce additional sanctions against a larger list of oligarchs. they've already targeted putin himself. it's on putin i want to direct your attention and our focus. we've been watching him appear increasingly erratic right now. how do military leaders deal with someone, a leader like that who is armed with nuclear weapons, that is described as increasingly erratic, frustrated and isolated. >> the only thing worse than a cold, calculating vladimir putin is a cold, calculating crazy vladimir putin. i don't think we're there yet. i don't think we're looking at the madness of king george.
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i do think that putin, like any leader in that scenario, is under immense pressure. he has also isolated himself physically and unfortunately i think emotionally from what's occurring in front of his very eyes. he does not look well to me and i think that u.s. intelligence is directing every asset we have to try and discern where he sets in all this. i think that's why, peter, additional sanctions on those around him could be helpful. at the end of the day if he really spirals into a deep depression and inching towards truly irrational actions using nuclear weapons, we are going to have to count on his inner circle stopping him. the more we can put pain on them, the more it will open their eyes to where this is trending. i think that's still a very small potential outcome, but it
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has to be part of the calculus as we look across the spectrum. >> we continue to watch and await what happens next. admiral, we always appreciate your time, friendship and expertise. and keir simmons, keep staying safe there as well. we'll have more special live coverage from the white house coming up, including how the republicans are reacting to president biden's first state of the union address. and happening live this hour, president biden's supreme court nominee, ketanji brown jackson, is on capitol hill. what we know about her meeting with the top senate republican, mitch mcconnell. plus as president biden acknowledges the rising prices, the crisis in ukraine threatens to drive some prices yet higher. we'll talk to one of the president's top economic advisers. you're watching white house live
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too many families are struggling to keep up with their bills. inflation is robbing them of gains they thought otherwise they would be able to feel. i get it. that's why my top priority is getting prices under control. >> that was president biden last night at his state of the union address discussing ways that he plans to improve the economy. joining us now to discuss all of this and what the president said last night is the deputy director of the national economic council. thanks so much for being here. nice to see you. >> we'll talk about what every commuter sees, triple a saying the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.61. the president said they would be opening the release of 31 million more barrels from the
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strategic reserves. with that have a real impact and when will americans start to feel that? >> the answer is, yes, it will have a real impact. americans should see it at the pump relatively soon but there's a global market for oil and with the russian and ukraine situation disruptions in the oil and gas market. and domestic production, we have seen already a substantial increase relative to last year. the federal government is not placing limitations on further production. in fact there's 9,000 permits for oil and gas drilling currently going unused. let's step back for a second. this really displays and underscores why we need to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. >> a lot of americans see headlines saying the u.s. is still buying oil from russia right now. why are we buying oil from
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russia right now? why not cut it off as the ultimate sanction? >> the russian sanctions are using, we've seen the value of the ruble close, the russian market is closed because it was crashing so badly. the president was clear he wanted to impose sanctions that had maximum effect on the russian economy and minimum on the u.s. consumers. going after russia oil and gas would affect u.s. consumer and could mean more profits for the russian oil history. -- industry. we don't want to go there right now. >> a lot of people are calling for that saying that's what needs to happen. >> we're going to continue monitoring. everything is on the table including that as a possibility. we don't want to do something that can be counterproductive and hurt american consumers. >> reporter: let me ask you about what we are expecting to see from the fed chairman, jay
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powell, signaling that he will increase interest rates. is now the right time to increase rates given that prices are up on everything? >> well, look, the federal reserve is independent. we're not going to comment on the decisions that they make on interest rates. >> reporter: do you worry about what would happen if they did raise interest rates? >> well, look, the economy is in a position of strength. we're coming off the single greatest year in the history of the united states for job creation, wages are going up across the board. the economy is strong. the labor market is by some measures the strongest it's ever been. we believe we're in a strong position and the fed is going to do what it's going to do and we can continue to make the progress we've seen over the last year. >> the president detailed last night inflation. he laid out economic solutions but you know well many, if not all of them, frankly, require congressional improvement. it's not clear there is the
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capitol on capitol hill to get that done. what can you do now to bring prices down? >> part of it is through congress, as you said. if we create a cap on the amount that people pay out of pocket for insulin, that will have an immediate effect on family budgets. but beyond that, the president has been aggressive about using the tools that he has to go after anti-competitive conduct that could be raising prices he's, for example, released twice from the spr millions and millions of oil in order to reduce gas prices. so every tool that we can use we are using, but some of the things that we need to do to make more progress is going to require congressional action. >> reporter: let me ask you about build back better. he didn't use the term build back better but it was clear he was pushing for it last night in its individual pieces. senator joe manchin said after
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the speech "they just can't help themselves," meaning he hasn't supported build back better, thinks the price tag is too high. why should americans think there will be any movement when there hasn't been to this point? >> the things he detailed last night, there's quite a bit of consensus around doing something on prescription drugs and consensus about doing something about free universal u.k. so there's a lot of consensus in the senate. it's just time for congress to act. he's put out some ideas, he's open to ideas from congress, but we've done enough talking. it's time for the president to act. >> the president talked about price gouging and monopolies, ocean freighters and meat
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packers is a key he's mentioned in the past. but how do you address that? it's part of capitalism. >> i guess i would push back on the idea everything they're doing is necessarily legal. there's going to be investigations. there's got to be continued oversight of these industries. on ocean shipping, which the prices have gone up 1,000% in some areas since the beginning of the pandemic, a thousand percent. that's increasing the cost of everything that consumers pay that goes aboard those ocean carriers to our shores. there's three global alliances that control those tradelines. we want to make sure if there's price gouging that we crack down on that and that's what the president advocated for last night. >> reporter: the president taughted the strength of the
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manufacturing sector as part of the economic recovery. in the more than 6 million jobs created last year, very few of them were actually in the manufacturing sector. where is the disconnect there? >> we created hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs last year. that is a significant increase. as the president detailed last night, we're on the verge of even more manufacturing jobs. they were talking about a $20 million investment outside of columbus ohio. >> intel -- >> exactly. a new investment in texas instruments, gm, announced in michigan thousands of jobs making electric vehicles. so people are proud and investing in the united states because we've made the united states a good place to invest in. >> reporter: we really appreciate your time today. we know it was a late night last night. thank you for being here. great to talk to you. >> thanks. >> and coming up next, we will get the republican response from
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what we heard from president biden last night. congressman james comber is here. >> plus, the white house is rolling out the next phase in its covid strategy, an effort to find a new normal. you're watching live right now on msnbc. g live right now on msnbc
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i'm peter alexander alongside kristen welker. this morning more details from the white house on the next phase of its covid strategy. the administration outlined his new test-to-treat plan. it would allow people to provide anti-virals immediately after a person tests positive. >> and they say it will increase funding to deal with long covid and work to improve ventilation requirements in offices and in schools. imagining the pandemic was one of the main topics in the response to the state of the union.
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>> republican governors face the same covid-19 virus head on, but we honored your freedoms and saw right away that lockdowns and school closures, they came with their own significant cost, that mandates weren't the answer. that's why iowa was the first state in the nation to require that schools open their doors. i was attacked by the left, i was attacked by the media, but it wasn't a hard choice. it was the right choice. >> joining us now is kentucky congressman james comber. we appreciate you being here. we want to talk to you about covid and challenges at home. let me ask you first about the situation in ukraine. as you witnessed during a speech last night, the president's comments on ukraine really did get bipartisan support there in the chamber.
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does the president deserve credit for harnessing international community in the moment? >> it's very clear the american people are behind ukraine. this is something we've all seen putin's evil. this is proof we all are rallying for the people of ukraine and are glad to see the people of ukraine are fighting for their freedom, fighting for their land. it's disappointing that didn't happen in afghanistan but it's happening in ukraine, and i think the republican congress is on board. >> let me ask you about some of the comments that governor reynolds made about domestic policy. you heard her in the clip we just played saying schools should have reopened sooner, restrictions should have been lifted faster. do you worry that type of messaging could back fire given the fact that basically is opening up now? >> i think republicans have been
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right all along. you look at the difference between the red and blue states and how they handled mandates. the red states are behind the policy when it comes to covid. there are still many cities that are controlled by the teachers union quite frankly, the school systems that still are requiring masking for children. this is something that does not back up the science. the school is the safest place for school children. we're already seeing kids with developmental disabilities and we should not be requiring our children to wear masks in schools. i'm glad to see the covid restrictions are coming off many of the cities in this vaccine passport here in washington. that was not good for business and i don't think there's any proof that it made a dent in the positivity rate of covid. >> if we can, let me ask you about inflation. you witnessed prices going up across the board on products and on gas right now. the president said it's his number one priority, his top
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priority. why shouldn't republicans get on board with some of the agenda items that he is proposing that could help lower costs for americans right now? >> honestly all we hear last night from his proposal to combat inflation was more government spending. and republicans believe that that's what's created inflation, excessive government spending. the government's been spending too much money for the past two years, ever since the beginning of covid. we've had too many covid relief funds, too many stimulus payments, too much extended unemployment and -- >> sir, you know that stimulus payments helped a lot of americans get out of the deep hole they were in, the country's economy is growing at the fastest pace in history, 6.6 million jobs in the last year right now. isn't that clear that some of that spending did have a real impact and there are other ways you can do it without spending money, putting pressure on prescription drug companies. why not take action to put money
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in americans' wallets. >> i think most republicans would support prescription -- the economy is on fire. there's no question about that. there's no need to spend recklessly, to continue to spend unnecessarily. when the government prints money, it leads to inflation. we believe if the government had just taken a much smaller role, that we would have still enjoyed this robust economy without the inflation. the inflation is a tax on everyone, especially the poor, and more government spending is only going to make inflation worse. >> congressman, i do want to ask you about what we all saw and heard frankly from the chamber. two of your colleagues were shouting at the president throughout his speech. one moment she shouted out 13 of them when the president was talking about soldiers in a flag-draped coffin. do you think that type of behavior is appropriate? >> well, certainly whether you
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agree or disagree with the president, i believe during the state of the union we should all show respect to the president, but honestly i share their frustration when you look at the crises that we're facing in this country -- >> reporter: understood but should they be vocalizing that in the mid of his state of the union address? does that the no undercut your party on those critical issues? >> it's not my style. i've heard that behavior, too, when we had republican presidents. >> democrats yelled at a republican president? when did that happen? >> when donald trump was president. the thing i think congress should do is listen and then we have an opportunity like i'm doing now to speak to america and speak to the press about our disagreements and move on. >> reporter: all right, congressman, thank you so much for your time. we know it was a late night.
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we appreciate you being here with us. >> congressman, nice to see you. next, what's happening on the other end of pennsylvania avenue right now as president biden's supreme court pick meets with top senator leaders. you are watching "white house reports" live right now on msnbc. msnbc.
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walk us how this meeting goes, how this process goes. how many senators will be on her roster meetings ahead? >> quite a few, peter. especially because you consider the members of the judiciary committee and then additional members who may want to meet with her. there has been some outreach, for example, to key republicans who could get to yes on her nomination. so that's definitely something that the white house and this sherpa committee here, the people guiding her through this process on the hill are definitely staying attuned to. in terms of today, this is the kickoff to the meet-and-greet season and this process. you see her with chuck schumer. right after that she met with senate minority leader mitch mcconnell and they talk about everything from the way that they are with their families, the things that they value, the empathy required in the judiciary system to more pertinent things like their ideology and the way that judge brown jackson thinks about her role on the court.
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this is how schumer put it right after he spoke to her. listen to what he told us. >> in all her walks of life, you couldn't find a single person, no matter what their philosophy or political viewpoint was to say a bad thing about her. having met her and gotten to know her in a little more personal way, i'd add a third word. i said she was brilliant and beloved and i'd add a third word, belongs. she belongs on the court. >> reporter: we expect her to meet can dirk durbin later today, head of the judiciary committee. schumer previewed they may have dates of when the process will move forward, judiciary committee hearings and potentially the ultimate vote on her confirmation. they have said in the past that they want do this on a quick timeline, as expeditiously as possible.
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what it looks like that's probably going to be is about six weeks. they keep laying that easter break as the mile marker. that's really what they're operating on right now. as we know, there can be wrinkles in these sorts of things. it can change but at the same time we can probably get a few more details today as she continues her meetings on the hill. >> the president reiterated there's real urgency for this and desire for her to be confirmed on a bipartisan basis. >> coming up next, how history will remember president biden's first state of the union address. that's next. you're watching "white house reports" only on msnbc.
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>> wonderful to see you both. >> reporter: we're so glad you're here to help us tick through everything that happened last night. i think peter set up perfectly. president biden one of several president biden one of several s to address the nation at a split screen moment, when we're dealing with a crisis on the world stage. >> i think -- my metric is if someone twur come from mars and didn't know who joe biden was and all that person, all that martian had to go on was thought they heard in the speech, i think the reaction would have been you found out who he was. what his believes and values and you found out what kind of society he wants to build and i think that's a really good way of looking at state of the unions. not even he would say it was a
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gettysburg address. when you have a crisis like ukraine, there's always a war between do you junk the original speech and give the speech about the crisis in ukraine or do you go ahead with the laundry list? because the floor serveicist waiting to hear whether it's getting a new reginal headquarters in denver or not. what biden did was both and i thought was really effective. like fdr 1941 saying we're in a struggle between dictator as and democracies. hitler between us and the british. we've got to seek for freedoms or lbj announcing the great society, saying i want voting rights and i want medicare and education. i want other bills. given all that, that speech last night had a lot of range. >> i think if any martian were
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to land and see the way politics work in this country, a lot would probably return to their own planet. >> especially they saw members of congress screaming at the president. >> there's correcting in our political system still needs. you gave historical context and compared to past presidents. this president came in like an fdr with this grand vision. last night he attacked more in the middle. saying things with a unifieg message. unity agenda. as you look at his presidency, where does he fit in the lens of history? >> i think we'll know a lot more a year from now. this could be, i think, very much like ronald reagan in 1982. you know from studying it at least that reagan was in the middle of a deep reesession. reagan, when he had to face the
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midterms did very badly to the point many people at the time were saying many the republicans should get a different nominee in 1984. as it happened, the economy rebounded and won in one of the great land slides in history. in these divided times, i don't thing that's going to happen. >> we apologize there. there's a truck backing up behind us. this white house is history in motion. there's always things happening. let me ask you as you noted the president did not, it appeared, rewrite his entire speech. he wrote a robust section at the top and it prompted some remarkable moments of bipartisanship. everyone applauding. things you don't typically see at state of the union addresses. do you wish he'd spent more time on that topic? and talking about what he seesed
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a a battle between democracies autooceracies. >> if the world loses control to dictatorships, doesn't matter whether we have a great economy in the united states or not or whether covid is over, our system will have collapsed. so, that's the first thing to do. and the other thing is everyone knows he is the one who's been warning against vladimir putin. the world has changed in seven days. a lot of people are going to be very skeptical of political leaders who were not. >> always a pleasure to be with you. we hope to see you in person. covid permitting. >> would love it. >> we'll be back with more tomorrow at 11:00 eastern. right now "andrea mitchell reports" starts next. tchell reports" starts next who said only this is good? and this is bad? i'm doing it my way.
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