tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC September 19, 2010 9:00am-10:00am EDT
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of suspected cult members including eight children. big storm little bermuda. is igor still on course to collide with that island? heading home. a bitter sweet return today for the american released from iran. plus, a republican conservative has given sarah palin the snub. good morning, everyone. i'm alex witt. welcome to msnbc sunday where it's just past 9:00 a.m. here on the east coast. 6:00 a.m. out west. right now we have breaking news. a spokeswoman for sarah shourd the american woman who spent 13 months behind bars in iran says the 32-year-old is now back in the united states. let's go live to nbc's ron allen who is in new york outside a hotel where she is scheduled to have a news conference today. ron, good morning. what is the latest you're hearing? >> well, we're not sure exactly where she landed but there are reports she arrived in washington, d.c. at dulles airport about a half hour or so ago. we do know that she is planning to be here in new york later this afternoon to hold a press conference to talk to the world
media. one reason that she is coming to new york is because there are also world leaders gathering here for the annual general assembly meeting at the united nations. she wants to keep on the world's agenda, on the world stage the fate of her two companions still being held in iran. the iranians have said they'll be put on trial so therefore even though shourd is now free her ordeal is not quite over. it is a bitter sweet time for her to be back here in the united states. >> do we know what she is going to say at this news conference, ron? any indication from a spokesperson otherwise? >> we understand she is going to make a statement and she is not going to take questions is what we've been told. and i suspect that's the case because she's being very cautious. you remember this is a very, very delicate situation. things that she says could affect the status of any talks that have been going on that could affect the freedom of her two companions. we also think we'll hear from the families of fattal and
bauer. their mothers we believe are going to be present at this news conference and they may have more to say. >> okay. nbc's ron allen. we'll be checking in throughout the morning with you. keep it right here. we will also carry sarah shourd's news conference live when that happens, scheduled at 3:00 p.m. eastern time here on msnbc sunday. five adults and eight children are missing in los angeles county and authorities are concerned that they could be involved in cult-like activity. authorities believe that group is made up of el salvadoran immigrants led by this woman, 32-year-old reyna mayor alcohol chicas. with a good morning to you, what's the latest in this investigation? >> well, good morning. investigators say a lot of the missing people are actually really vulnerable and following that woman who you just put up there, 32-year-old reyna marisol chicas. now, as you mentioned, eight children are among the missing. they are ages 3 through 17 so there is a lot of concern this morning about recovering those children. officials also believe as you said they may be immigrants from
el salvador. now, last night officials really flocked to this palmdale neighborhood which you're looking at right now where the missing live. they were reported missing yesterday afternoon by concerned relatives. they say these 13 people disappeared after a prayer service. now, these relatives became increasingly concerned when they found a purse that belonged to one of the missing women. that purse contained documents, cell phones, as well as really disturbing letters that talked about going to meet their relatives who were deceased, going to meet jesus. here's what one official had to say late last night. take a listen. >> well, they belong to a cult-like religious organization we believe. at least that's all the indications headed up by a woman, a female. and they left behind personal belongings and notes saying that they were going to go meet jesus or go meet their deceased relatives. >> now authorities say it is not exactly clear what the religious affiliation is of these people
but they believe this all started when they joined the same church and then they broke off into a separate group they believe and started practicing these unorthodox religious beliefs and family members have been concerned apparently about those beliefs for a long time and now of course this weekend they are incredibly concerned. alex? >> and it's not entire families that have gone, right? aren't husbands the ones that have been left behind and sort of tipped off authorities? >> that's right. two husbands were actually the ones who went to the authorities and said that our family members are missing. they believe that these 13 people may be members of three separate families who know each other. they're still looking into that. but you're absolutely right. these are not entire families and that speaks to the fact that they believe some of these people are incredibly vulnerable especially the young people, these eight children who are missing. so really a massive search under way here in southern california and we should point out that
palmdale is about an hour north of los angeles, alex. >> and there are a lot of places to go. it's right on the edge of the mohave desert so they can take their cars and travel. >> yes. >> thank you so much. >> absolutely. sure. bermuda is bracing for hurricane igor, the category one storm expected to strike the island later today. already big waves are pounding bermuda's beaches while islanders are rushing to board up windows and prep for the storm. let's get more details on this from the weather channel's jeff morrow. good morning to you. it has taken a pounding already. you've seen the pictures, right? >> yeah. i've seen the live pictures actually from bermuda and they're getting lashed with some of the banding from this hurricane already and that's going to continue for a long time, alex. even though this hurricane has diminished in wind intensity to 85 miles an hour that makes it a category one on the scale, it is such a big hurricane that the duration of the tropical storm and at times hurricane force winds is going to be on the order of 18 to 24 hours.
that kind of sustained 50, 60, 70, 80-mile-per-hour wind is going to knock out a lot of power and from what i understand there is already a lot of power outages there. it looks like that the center of this system is going to pass very close to bermuda if not just to the west. that's a bad place to be because oftentimes the worst winds are just to the right of where the center or the eye is and it looks like it's going to pass near or over bermuda sometime late today, probably maybe toward midnight tonight and then start to accelerate away off to the northeast but it's going to be a pretty big pounding that the folks in bermuda are going to have to endure. fortunately for the east coast once again a hurricane is being steered away by this big high. this high is stuck here and what it's going to do over the southeast today, aside from some rain in texas, with some moisture coming in off the gulf there, it's going to be a hot one. i mean, summer officially ends this coming wednesday, alex, but don't tell the people in the south that. i mean, it is hot down here. in fact, some areas could be in
the upper 90s and, yes, even approach a hundred degrees. where is the rain? where is the cool air? it's up over the great lakes and parts of the midwest. chicago, indianapolis, st. louis all having some rainy days today. alex? >> okay. we have a little indian summer going on today with about 80 degrees. okay. jeff morrow, thank you. >> all right. at least six people are dead from an accident in new york after a church van flipped over on the thruway. police say 14 people were inside that van when it crashed. about 55 miles north of new york city. at least eight others were injured and most of them critically. authorities are blaming a blown tire as the cause of that crash. well, there is plenty of economic blame to go around. with high unemployment and a slow recovery the party in power generally faces the worst of it but when it comes to how the nation got here, a new gallup poll shows 48% fault president obama. but there is a much higher number, 71%, who say that former president bush bears the responsibility. let's bring in cnbc's john harwood. hello, john.
good to see you on a sunday. >> good morning, alex. >> what do you make of these numbers? is it something the president and democrats can use to their advantage without looking like they're ducking responsibility by pointing the finger backwards? >> yes. and pointing the finger backwards is an important part of their strategy. the biggest thing president obama can do for democratic candidates, alex, is to frame a choice, not to have democratic candidates running against their own record. if it's a referendum as the president has said on how economic conditions are now and how the democrats and the white house have done on those conditions, they're going to lose. but if they can say, however you feel about what we're doing, remember what happened when george bush and the republicans were in charge and you didn't like that any better. in fact, you liked it worse. so vote for us. that's their hope to mitigate losses. they'll have big losses. the question is how big. >> you know, i read this article in politico and it basically speaks to all the leading democrats and they're saying, tell the white house to hone in the economic message. they don't want to hear any
more. stop saying the plan is working. has the president struggled to hit the right tone? >> well, look. the question is, is there any tone that you can hit that will be effective when people are feeling as fearful and anxious as they are right now. if you have unemployment near 10%, it's really hard to communicate on anything. now, some people fault the administration for not connecting at an emotional level with average voters. but when you think about it, alex, the argument, things are tough but they'd be tougher if i hadn't done what i had done. it's hard for people to feel that if they're not feeling great right now. >> how about, we always love getting your take on politics overall so pretty big primary wins by tea party candidates. in the long run, you think that is going to help democrats? should the white house draw or try to draw attention to the group's more extreme elements? >> as a general matter, the energy on the right, the mobilization on the right is good for republicans and that will pay off for them in november. but there are a couple of
particular races in a battle for the senate especially where one or two seats really could make the difference as to whether republicans take control or not. christine o'donnell is going to have a difficult time winning that general election in delaware. mike castle, who she defeated in the primary, would have been a slam dunk for winning so that's the case where there could be a particular fall out but as a general matter energy on the right is good for republicans. >> i'm always fascinated with voters whether they vote on principle or whether they vote because they think they can win. that's an interesting case right there in delaware voters tend to vote with their gut. >> okay. john, thanks so much. good to talk with you. >> you bet. >> we'll see a lot more of you tomorrow, everyone. john harwood is going to host a special town hall event with president obama. the president will discuss the economy and take questions from the audience airing live on our sister station cnbc. at this hour we are waiting to hear about a final test on the blown out well that spewed 206 million gallons of oil into
the gulf of mexico. after pumping in cement to seal the well from the bottom the test is the last step needed before the well can finally be declared dead. nbc's ann thompson has spent the better part of the last five months there in that part of the country and is now in lake ponchartrain, louisiana. so let's get the very latest on what you're hearing on this final test, ann. good morning. >> reporter: well, alex, we were out on the developer driller three yesterday, the rig that dug the relief well, and, in fact, it's also the crew that conducted the pressure test overnight. essentially the test was to see if the thousand-foot cement plug that they have put in the bottom of the mccondo well could with stand about 15,000 pounds of pressure. that was the wrait they were going to put on it. and everybody there expected the cement plug to pass litd eerall with flying colors. john wright, the man who oversaw the drilling of the relief well was so confident that the plug would pass the test he left the
rig yesterday afternoon. so now all we're waiting on is to hear from national incident commander thad allen to declare this well dead once and for all. as you know, it's been since july 15th since any oil spilled into the gulf. that is when the stacking cap actually closed off the flow of oil and then in august they were able to cement the well from the top with the static kill process but all along the federal government insisted that bp finish this well off with a bottom kill to make sure it would never leak again. so later this morning we expect to hear from admiral allen declaring this well dead once and for all. alex? >> how concerned are residents then when the well is declared dead that bp is going to take off or that the focus won't be on them still to get economic recovery help from this? >> reporter: they are very concerned. they have every right to be
concerned. though the oil has stopped flowing, and this well may indeed be dead, their lives are not back to normal in any sense. the federal waters off of much of southeastern louisiana remain closed and that is very bad news for charter boat captains because that is where they take their clients out to do deep sea fishing. they can't do that because of the oil spill. shrimpers are very upset because demand for louisiana shrimp has absolutely gone through the floor and along with -- as demand has plummeted, so have the prices for shrimp. and now they're getting so little for the shrimp they bring in, in some cases it's not worth it to pay for the fuel and pay for the ice to go out and get the shrimp. so that's a problem. and then there is a whole big backlog of claims. remember, ken feinberg, the claim czar in charge of the $20 billion fund? remember how he promised people if you file a claim, i'll have the check to you in 48 hours or
if you're a business, you know, you'll have a check in seven days. that's for that six-month emergency payment. that hasn't happened. and people are very upset about that. so there are still a lot of questions, a lot of problems that have not been solved and may not be solved, not just for weeks or months but years to come. ooh. not the kind of news we want to hear but thanks for giving it to us anyway, anne thompson. sarah palin was in the running in the values voter summit straw poll for president but how did she fare? that's ahead. also coming up, making the grade. new college rankings that go beyond the classroom. you'll see why some schools got high marks.
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spoken. their annual convention wrapped up in washington this weekend with this announcement. >> coming in as the top pick in the 2010 presidential candidate straw poll at the values voter summit is congressman mike pence. >> in fact, pence edged out former governors mike huckabee and mitt romney for that win and also bested former house speaker newt gingrich and sarah palin who came in at rear of the top five-pack. the praise for pence just kept coming. >> now in the vice presidential category the top pick for vice president, we had to actually take off the list because it was congressman mike pence. >> with pence out of the running sarah palin was named winner of the straw poll for vice president. i'm joined by eleanor clift and, ladies, welcome back. good morning.
>> good morning. >> good to be here. >> eleanor, last place for president sarah palin but a win in the vp contest. what's that about? >> well, first of all, it is totally meaning leless i leave to what the eventual results will be. what is it about? i think even people who love sarah palin don't really see her as a credible president and maybe they see the vice presidency as training ground and with a little seasoning she could get there. i suppose the vice presidential nomination by the summit was the consolation prize. sarah palin i still think will have more impact on the 2012 nominating process than mike pence, a conservative congressman who i think the people voting here see as somebody who is really trying to make legislative change in washington and they see him as somebody who is more able to implement their values than is sarah palin. >> if these mid term primaries
are any indication sarah palin certainly can back somebody and pull a punch there. so tony perkins chatted with reporters after the event and he said, quote, i think palin is a great spokesman. she says what a lot of people think but a lot of people sometimes realize we shouldn't say everything we think. maybe it is that she is more of a cheerleader and one who rallies conservatives together as opposed to maybe being their top choice for president. basically echoing what eleanor has just said. what's your take on this? >> exactly. i think that's the general consensus among a lot of republicans that sarah palin seems to be more of a media personality and a celebrity more than someone who can legitimately run and win the white house. and so i mean, i think that folks who are also looking at this poll will essentially say who is this guy mike pence? because he certainly doesn't have the platform that sarah palin does. we have seen her have some real power in these primaries among ultra conservative voters. but i think the question left
over from 2008 was really whether or not she was going to be able to widen her base of support and so far we haven't seen her be able to do that. if anything, she has really doubled down and narrowed in on this really far right constituency. >> and, eleanor, mike pence, why did he get the top spot in the straw poll for president as well as vice president? what does his win say about the gop? >> well, i think he is a committed foot soldier in their movement and if you belong to this particular part of the republican party, you know who mike pence is. maybe the wider world hasn't heard of him, but they see him, i think, as being with them through thick and thin when democrats are in charge he's fighting for them. he's a good, solid indiana congressman and he has some interest in running for the presidency. i think he has made some inquiries in iowa but the likelihood of mike pence taking off as a member of the house in
the presidential contest in 2012 i think is probably between zero and one. >> okay. very quickly, with regard to the upcoming mid term elections and of course the value of voters being all about sort of social issues, that's not going to be front and center. do you believe the mid term elections? isn't it all going to be about the economy? >> exactly. you see some republicans trying to push some of these values and family values whether it's, you know, talking about abortion or gay rights, but so far republicans feel like they can really win on the economy and that looks like so far where the conversation is going to stay. >> okay. ladies, have a great sunday. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. you too, alex. a new video of taep senate candidate christine o'donnell on a talk show has emerged. on that show she admitted she dabbled in witchcraft. the 1999 video ran on bill maher last night. she also said she once had a picnic with a witch on a satanic altar. it is not clear from the clip
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real shine, for real life. yours. [ female announcer ] new aveeno nourish plus shine. "newsweek" college rankings are out and there is no sing the best school since different students look for different things so the rankings reflect that. it is no surprise that the most desired schools and the best institutions for brain yaks are mostly in the ivy league but the rest of the rankings may surprise you. joining us to discuss the list and the methodology that went into them "newsweek" education editor susanne. we have the top 25 most desirable schools. they are harvard, yale, stanford, princeton, and m.i.t. why is harvard at the top of the list? >> we looked at all the standard measurements, test scores, admission rates, the student-to-faculty ratio and harvard does come out on top. it also has excellent facilities, dorms, housing,
dining, and, yes. it is the most desirable school in that particular category if you measure all things put together. >> okay. how about the top 25 schools for the surface minded. rhodes college, bryn mawr, emory & henry and syracuse. what about rhodes makes it go on top? >> i loved rhodes. it's a school in memphis, tennessee. it's small. 80% of their students participate in some sort of community service. the number two school is also a fantastic small school. it's wofford college and about 700 alums are doctors but also another 700 or 800 are clergy. so we -- what we wanted to do was put out rankings that were more than just -- these are the top 25 though we do have the most desirable list which is fantastic. we wanted to make sure we looked at other things, like what kind of student body were you looking
for when you're looking for a school? >> right. how about the 25 most diverse schools? they are in order penn, brown, overland, nyu. is it surprising that an ivy league like penn ranks at the top of that list. >> no it doesn't. penn is in an urban area, a big school. i think they make an effort to be very inclusive and we -- i'm not at all surprised. i think there is a smaller school on there that might surprise you, a new school called soka university of america and it's in california and they are also very diverse, also on some of our other best lists. they are founded on buddhist principles. they are very service minded. so you have these schools that are gay friendly that have a high proportion of ethnic diversity but also socioeconomic diversity which is one of the things we looked at at washington monthly. >> okay. last one to get to the 25 schools stocked with jocks shall
we say? nebraska, tulsa, alabama, bates and bowdoin. a lot of southern representation here. >> not only are they big sports schools in terms of the teams but they have a lot of intramural and varsity sports participation and i think that is partially because they're out in great weather. you know, they're outside a lot. the students come there and it is easy to have facilities where people can participate in sports. and for university of nebraska, the number one school, it's just, you know, a very, very sports minded school from top to bottom whether in intramural sports or the more elite part of the school sports system. >> we've got a lot of parents who have their kids applying for college and i hope they've been taking some notes on this. it's a great ranking. thank you for sharing it with us. "newsweek" education editor, thanks. let's go with penn state university which makes our number ones list today. why? it tops "the wall street journal" list whose schools are
most preferred by employers to fill entry level jobs. the study found employers looked to state school grads over those from ivy league and other top level art schools. let's go now to the music makers making money. the lead single "king of anything" helped the new album kaleidoscope heart to debut at number one on the billboard 200 chart. ♪ who died who made you king of anything ♪ ♪ open highway >> "our kind of love" a run through of today's number ones on msnbc sunday. [ male announcer ] let's throw down some style.
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island nation tonight. although it has weakened to a category one storm, igor is still packing sustained winds up to 85 miles an hour. we have more on that in a moment. authorities in southern california are looking for 13 members of a suspected cult reported missing by their families. the five adults and eight children disappeared yesterday and left behind clues that they might commit mass suicide. overseas pope benedict is wrapping up his four-day visit to the united kingdom. earlier this morning he celebrated an outdoor mass before a crowd of 50,000 people. and it's ban deadly day in baghdad with car bombings in two different neighborhoods leaving 23 people dead. those are this hour's fast five headlines. let's get more details on hurricane igor. that powerful storm is taking aim at bermuda and officials are warning the pounding rains and driving winds could be deadly. the weather channel's jim cantore is in bermuda with the very latest. hey, jim. >> hey, alex. it is definitely getting miserable here by the minute. we have begun what is probably going to be a 36-hour period of
these tropical storm and hurricane force winds. already starting to take its toll on the island. some of the southern provinces approximately 630 people have now lost power and that is only going to go up. trees and power lines are beginning to fail. even though igor is weakened and is a category one now, that doesn't mean we won't have problems in through here. the good news is the power company is definitely on stand by and ready to react. the problem is they won't be able to go out until the storm is over. the height of the storm is probably coming in tonight around the midnight hour where we'll see 75 or more-mile-per-hour wind gusts. that's hurricane force. you know, what this tropical storm force wind isn't going to do the wind is expected to do in terms of power damage and tree lines down. we're talking about wave action that continues to come in. huge breakers and swells. erosion will be massive especially at the time of high tide. you can't see it from my vantage point but there are chunks of at least four to six feet of beach taken away and that's only going to get worse before it gets
better. as a matter of fact, where we're standing may be very well in jeopardy by this time tomorrow morning. we'll keep you posted as long as we can, alex. back to you. >> thanks so much. for the latest on hurricane igor and its path as well as other storms logon to weather.com. it has been a week of targeted outreach. president obama addressing minority supporters who could make the difference in the upcoming elections. speaking to the congressional black caucus in washington last night, the president called on voters to help fend off gop opposition this fall. >> remember, the other side has a plan, too. it's a plan to turn back the clock on every bit of progress we've made. to paraphrase, my friend duval patrick, the last election was a changing of the guard. now we've got a guard to change. >> let's bring in doug wilder the former governor of virginia and former mayor of richmond. good morning.
>> hi, alex. how are you? >> i'm well. thank you for asking. i hope you are too. let's get to what you heard the president say there. is that the kind of message he needs to deliver right now to energize voters? >> two things. first of all, the governor is not going to -- the president is not going to be on the ballot this november. and there is great favorabilitiy for him in many quarters particularly the group he spoke to last evening. what has to happen is that message has to be made so as the people who stood in lines and who waited and who wanted to see a change feel a resonation and need to see it makes a difference in their lives. the president is starting to say no we haven't done all we should do, the stimulus hasn't done all it should but we want to do more. to the extent that he makes that case that he needs to do more, wants to do more, and that he is not satisfied with where they are and where his administration
is, and fastens that hope and that change with reality, addressing jobs, addressing the economy and making certain that spending isn't something that democrats will con yulely be tagged with by republicans, that has to be made. the economy and jobs are still number one. >> in other words, governor, you are agreeing with what many leading democrats have told when they were gathered by a poll with politico. they think the president needs to say, the plan is working. stop saying that. because people don't get it. they don't feel it. right? but you know the white house and you know the inside of administrations. they'll want to take some credit for things improving or at least not getting worse under his watch. >> i couldn't agree with you more, alex. i think these insiders, these people that you refer to, are supporters of the president. they want to see the administration do well. they want to see him do well, but they want to be realistic.
they want to be pragmatic. they want to show that, listen, tell the people, and i've always believed this, people are always ahead of politicians. they want to hear truth. you are seeing what is taking place today in america with reference to not just the tea party but people are disgruntled, poll after poll is showing people are saying throw all of them out, democrats, republicans, incumbents, period. and so the president has got to tailor that message to be certain that people understand he's serious. he is not just citing things to be citing numbers but he recognizes the need to improve where we are and develop more importantly a plan that is explainable and acceptable and simple enough for the american people to understand. >> and, governor, back in february, you were somewhat critical of the people around whom -- around whom the president is associating.
they are -- you said they were people that were very successful in getting him elected but they may not be as successful in governing this country. do you still feel that way? has there been any change in your opinion? >> i feel that the president's people around him sometimes are not saying the kinds of things that you and i spoke of earlier in this conversation. listen, this is the kinds of messages or these are the kinds of messages that need to resonate. these are the kinds of things that need to be said. you can't have some members of your party or some members of your administration saying such things as, well, you know, things are working well. the heavy lifting is over. now it's time to campaign. that's silly. nor can you say, well, the stimulus is working. we just need a little more time. people are saying, wait a minute. we are out of jobs. we are afraid of spending because we don't know what we're going to be doing. we don't know who is going to be taxed. we don't know if they are going to be taxed what that money is
going to be spent for and consequently if the president isn't saying that there needs to be somebody around on a regular, continuing basis, beating that drum so that it's heard by him so that he gets the message that's out there resonating with the american people today. unfortunately, in many quarters it's not being resonated and they might very well see it resonated more quickly in the house elections in congress this year, this november. >> governor, while the bottom line here, do you think the election hinges on turnout? or is it going to be a bigger problem for democrats to hold the house? >> i think you're right. i think it is going to be hinging on turnout. that's why i said earlier that the president's popularity has to be transformative and transcending as it relates to these candidates. it's one thing to say, okay. i want you to turn out, but turn out for whom and where and for what? those are the messages that have
to be laid out and made to the american people so, yes. it is going to be turnout. and so the question is, are you going to have that big turnout with the republicans -- i mean with the democrats? with the republicans maybe because the tea party does identify more so with the republicans than with democrats and so that energy is there. i don't care where you go in america, there is some excitement in some quarters. most of that excitement is with the opponents of the democratic party. >> governor, what the president was saying last night to the congressional black caucus fundraiser there, it was a great sound bite and we played it earlier but when he talks about the election having been the changing of the guard and now it's time to guard the change, do you think americans are feeling the change? >> that's the thing that i've been trying to say to you in response to some of the questions. people are wanting to say, let me see what it means to me, john doe. let me see how what took place
in 2008 has resonated with me seeing that change. i want to wish this president well. most americans want to see our nation do well, want to see not with standing who the president is do well but they want to feel it and see it, unfortunately, many are expressing particularly in polls they don't really see it yet. the president has got some time. i hope he does spend more of that time explaining just what that change to be guarded is. >> former democratic governor of virginia, doug wilder. we appreciate the canned did conversation very much and your time on msnbc sunday. >> thank you. a movie is about to hit the big screen about facebook founder mark zuckerberg and it is not exactly flattering but is it accurate? we'll talk to one of his harvard college classmates in a moment on msnbc sunday. -hour allergy r, comes in a liquid gel. zyrtec® liquid gels work fast, so i can love the air®.
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students and instructors at harrisburg university of science and technology. in fact they are not allowed to use any social media during a study to see what happens when they go cold turkey. just to make sure no one gives into temptation the school is blocking access to the social media websites during the study. a new article in "the daily beast" is taking an up close and personal look at facebook's creator mark zuckerberg. the story behind facebook's creation is a major motion picture called "the social network" which hits theaters october 1st. check it out. >> people want to go on the internet and check out their friends so why not build a website? talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online 2200 hits within two hours? >> a thousand -- 22,000. >> this idea is potentially worth millions of dollars. >> millions? >> you stole our website. >> they're saying we stole the facebook. >> i know what it said. >> so did we? >> joining me live now rebecca davis a contributor with the daily beast. good morning to you, rebecca. >> good morning.
>> tell me about your classmate mark zuckerberg. how did you know him and when did you first learn about the social network called facebook? >> i should say i haven't seen the film yet. i read the script and i am about as familiar with the actual movie as anyone else is but mark and i were assigned to the same house at harvard u, spent freshman year and then everyone is randomly assigned to one of the upper classmen houses and we were both in kirkland house which is one of the smaller houses at harvard, a very intimate, small community. so sophomore year we were sort of in the same, walking through the same dining hall and the same court yards a lot. we had a lot of mutual friends. that's how i know mark. i remember, you know, joining facebook, i heard about it through a friend of mine first and i think the crimson had already run a story about it. i remember getting an invitation from somebody else in kirkland house, a mutual friend, and then just signing up and immediately
sensing it was so different from everything else i had seen. it was so clean and crisp and looked very professional and also the fact that it was limited to harvard was i think a big appeal for a lot of people. it didn't feel so public. and it felt intimate and fun. >> what was mr. zuckerberg like? what was his personality like? was he quirky, brilliant, polite, obnoxious? i mean, was he isolated? what was he like? >> i can't really speak to his personality. i didn't hang out with him that much. i think that hopefully we can allow for some change in personality. i know i'm different now than i was at 19 or 20. but he was -- everyone knew him through face mash. it was the program he created earlier in the year in sophomore year that placed two faces of harvard students against one another and you could vote to see who was more attractive. that got a lot of attention. >> i was going to say that sounds controversial.
>> harvard students can be particularly competitive so i think that it brought out some unfavorable aspects of people's characters but it was very fun. he really obviously early on tapped into something about human nature, not just harvard students, but everyone, sort of an urge to share yourself online and create for a private individual -- >> what do you know if anything about the controversy with some fellow harvard students and their accusations that he stole facebook, stole that idea? >> well, you know, it's hard to talk -- i think ideas are so fluid it's really hard to say whether he stole something or not. you know, it's one thing to bandy about ideas and then for him to actually execute it. i mean, i -- i'm kind of sympathetic to mark here, frankly, and i know that there have been accusations that -- of him going into people's e-mail accounts. i was on a crimson and recently an article suggested that maybe there was some, that he misused
his authority as czar of facebook. you know, i don't know. i wasn't in those meetings with people although they did take place in kirkland dining hall at least a few of them. i can't really speak to that but i think there is a line in the movie in which mark zuckerberg says if you were the founders of facebook you would have founded facebook. and i kind of am inclined to agree with him on that. >> you have a point and you have made good ones throughout the interview. rebecca davis o'brien thank you so much. >> thank you for having me. coming up the candidates benefiting from the wave of tea party anger and the history of political failure. you're watching msnbc sunday.
so keeping our eyes trained on the white house and the activities there, there you see the first family as they were crossing lafayette square just a short time ago heading across the street to st. john's church on lafayette square. that is of course an episcopal church. it was frequented by president bush and former first lady laura bush all the time during that presidency. the obamas go to different churches around the area but today a very short stroll across
lafayette square with security in tow no doubt. it looks like they're not being protected. let me assure you the secret service is all over that. there you see presence of them right there. they are in church right now at st. john's episcopal church in washington. so you might think inflation would be the worst thing for the economy, right? maybe not. you'll find out why in just a bit here on msnbc sunday. copd makes it hard for me to breathe.
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new this morning on msnbc sunday, california cult. an emergency alert this morning for missing members of a cult-like organization. are they planning a mass suicide? bermuda braces for hurricane igor. when the storm will be at its worst and a live report from the weather channel. back home the hiker released from iran arrives on american soil for the first time since her long ordeal began. good morning everyone. i'm alex witt and welcome to msnbc sunday. we're approaching 10:00 a.m. here on the east coast, 7:00 a.m. out west. we begin with the white house now and in an