tv Meet the Press MSNBC February 22, 2015 11:00am-12:01pm PST
this sunday, war of words. controversy over how president obama talks about isis. >> the president e evokes in me that he loves this country. >> he loves this country. >> but ask yourself, does this -- >> we're not at war with islam. we are at war with people who have perverted islam. >> -- sound much different from this? >> this is by no means a war against islam. >> plus, after another week of unspeakable atrocities committed by isis, the threat abroad and the threat at home. i'll be joined by homeland security secretary jeh johnson. and as kevin spacey from "house of cards" moves into the white house -- >> there is but one rule. hunt or be hunted. >> -- we'll have a look at some of our favorite fictional presidents. i'm chuck todd. joining me to provide insight
and analysis this morning are former white house press secretary to president obama, robert gibbs. the cook political report amy walters. nia leaks henderson of the washington post. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." >> from nbc news in washington, this is "meet the press" with chuck todd. >> and good morning. it has been a battle that has waged since isis shocked the world with its cult of violence and death. what should president obama call this enemy? he's refused to use the term islamist or radical islam. insisting we're not at war with islam. but with some perversion of a great religion. conservatives argue that in doing so, mr. obama is failing to recognize the true fate of the enemy. we wondered in this debate about semantics and security is there precedent for the president's
position? we went back to the videotape and here's what we found. >> the terrorists do not speak for over a billion muslims who reject their hateful ideology. >> all americans must recognize the face of terror is not the true face of islam. >> we are not at war with islam. we are at war with people who have perverted islam. >> this is by no means a war against islam. >> i think all of us recognize that this is great religion, in the hands of a few extremists, has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified. >> the face of terror is not the true face of islam. that's not what islam is all about. islam is peace. >> so in fact president obama doesn't sound very different from president bush or vice president cheney. and now into this controversy jumps former new york city mayor rudy giuliani who insisted again
and again this week that he believes mr. obama doesn't love his country. should giuliani's opinion even matter, though? is it relevant or constructive? those questions, of course, weren't dealt with. instead, we got the inevitable media feeding frenzy that was wholly unsatisfactory and likely met with more than a few eye rolls. >> breaking tonight, new outrage and backlash. >> rudy giuliani adding insult to injury. >> i can't believe it came out of his mouth. >> it's cable cat nip and eventually front page cat nip too exhibit a of what happens when a former official desperate to stay relevant is given a megaphone. television turns up the volume and politicians, afraid of their own base, refuse to take it away. >> rudy giuliani. >> rudy giuliani. >> rudy giuliani. >> this week's race to the bottom led by former new york mayor rudy giuliani is proving why americans are learning to hate politics and the media. and wednesday, giuliani told a group of donors at a fund-raiser for which which wisconsin governor scott walker, i do not
believe and i know this is a horrible thing to say, but i do not believe that the president loves america. he wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and i was brought up through love of this country. over the next 48 hours, giuliani attempted to explain himself, and either doubled down or dug deeper, depending upon your point of view. >> mr. mayor, do you want to apologize for your comments? >> not at all. i want to repeat it. the reality is i, from all that i can see of this president, all i heard of him, he apologizes for america, he criticizes america. >> giuliani defended his comments to the new york times, saying, quote, some people thought it was racist. i thought that was a joke. since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools and most of this he learned from white people. this isn't racism. this is socialism. or possibly anti-colonialism. giuliani even used an old racial dog whistle of the civil rights era, communism. >> grandfather introduced him to frank marshall davis, who was a communist. >> democrats seemed to enjoy watching the spectacle unfold. the white house introduced the #obamalovesamerica on thursday. >> sad to see when somebody who
obtained a certain level of public stature and even admiration tarnishes that legacy so thoroughly. >> florida senator marco rubio demonstrated it is possible to criticize the president, but stay rational. >> democrats aren't asked to answer every time joe biden says something embarrassing. so i don't know why i should answer every time a republican does. i believe the president loves america. i just think his ideas are bad. >> given the opportunity to take the high road, other republicans whiffed. >> there are people all across the political spectrum from republican to democrat who certainly do. that's something the mayor and the president have to talk about. >> and louisiana governor bobby jindal put out a statement saying, quote, if you're looking for someone to condemn the mayor, look elsewhere. i'm joined by haley barbour, former governor of mississippi and the former chairman of the republican national committee and he's had to give advice or two every now and then to the republicans. welcome back to "meet the press."
>> thank you. >> i want to start with something you wrote in your book in your after word. you write, be polite to the 40, but make sure that the 60% super majority is welcomed and feels welcome. did rudy giuliani prove he wasn't being polite to the 40? >> well, you know, we got 60% in my lifetime. we ought to run our party and still get 60% of the vote. i wouldn't characterize my views of president obama the way mayor giuliani did. i think the problem with barack obama is his policies. bad policies produce bad results and that's what we all want to talk about. the democrats are loving not having to talk about that. they were talking about rudy giuliani until the cows come home. >> should we care what rudy giuliani thinks right now? he's not in office. he's not running for anything.
should it even matter? >> well, he's like me, his political future is behind him. and, look, to make this such a big deal is partially being fed by people that want to change the subject. i thought a couple of republican candidates for president made the point, you had marco rubio in that screener a minute ago. he said this is about policy. jeb bush said we should be talking about policies. that's how you run your party. so 60% of the people will be willing to consider voting for a republican. >> i know a lot of republicans ask you advice, how to handle
this day and age and we have seen -- it seems wisconsin governor scott walker is wondering what it is like to be considered a front-runner and he was asked over the weekend, been in town for the national governor's conference and he was asked about the president's religion. and we can debate whether that was an appropriate question or not. here is how he responded about whether the president is a christian. he said, i've actually never talked about it or i haven't read about that. i've never asked him that. you've asked me to make statements about people i haven't had a conversation with about. how can i say if i know either of you are a christian, referring to the two reporters from the washington post. i guess what is your advice to him? it seems he left it open. it was sort of a -- you can call it a gotcha question, but he chose to answer and left it open. is that a mistake? >> look, scott walker had a great record as governor of wisconsin. he's won three times in four years. in a tough state. he shares with chris christie, the fact he's won in a state that is hard for republicans to win in. he shouldn't take debate on this stuff. i don't think it is any kind of glaring problem. i think the post is trying to make a lot more out of it. there is a lot less here than meets the eye. >> they did respond, i should full disclosure here that after the story appeared and there was a little dust up last night, his office put out a response that said this, of course the governor thinks the president is a christian. he thinks these kinds of gotcha questions distract from what he's doing as governor of wisconsin to make the state bet,
make life better for people in the state. i guess it is sort of -- you got to be nimble if you're running for president, do you not? >> how you can mass up the opportunity, remember jeremiah wright, very unpopular among the people who were voting in the republican primary. if someone were asking me about that question, that's the way -- if i wanted to be political, i would take the question. i think scott walker was probably just being truthful. if he is a son of a preacher, he is a christian, and he may have taken that question away i did the first time i heard about it, do you believe it is really a christian or do you believe in just -- he professes to be a christian? i don't know the answer to that either. >> what does that mean? >> a lot of people say i'm a christian, but deep down inside they're not. that's what i thought the question was. do you think he really is? look -- >> i understand that -- >> you don't know my heart. >> this is how it comes across to some folks when there is a
debate about this. why is it that barack obama, the first african-american president, had questions about his religion pop up in the political conversation and didn't happen to bill clinton, didn't happen to george w. bush. that's a lot of his supporters hear that and think, this has some racial overtone. what do you say to that? >> i don't know that race has anything to do with it. i would bet a higher percentage of african-americans in the united states are christians than of whites. i mean, of course, i come from a place where i'm very familiar with that. very religious leaders, very powerful leaders in the black community of my state. there is good christians. so i don't get the race question about christianity. >> i understand. i'm telling you how other people hear it. that's what i'm going to, how does the republican party deal with that larger issue here? how the vast middle, this 20% extra of the 60 that you want to get, what did they hear when they hear republican candidates questioning things like this?
president patriotism and religion. >> well, it is not where we want to be talking. we want to be talking about policy. we want to be talking about results. that's our strength. that's obama's weakness. his bad policies are producing bad results. the governor's conference yesterday, democratic governors were talking about the weakest recovery since world war ii. we're talking about the lack of confidence of the future of the country. that wasn't the case ten years ago. it is the case now. those are democrat governors talking about that. that's where we ought to be focused, not on personal characteristics. you mentioned -- i was chairman of the republican national committee when bill clinton was president. our rule was we never talked about clinton personally. we never talked about clinton personally. we never talked about anything except clinton's policies and why they were -- >> you think that should be the rule. >> that's what the rule should be. that's our strength. >> do you wish rudy giuliani would apologize? >> look, rudy giuliani has been a great mayor and hero in a terrifically hard time on september 11th.
i admire what he did. that's up to him. >> all right. governor barbour, thank you for coming on "meet the press." let's go to the panel. robert gates, amy walter, michael gersa. so, amy, what did we learn from this mess? i say mess because i tell you i hated the story. in so many ways. i think it brings out the worst in the press. i think it brings out the worst in some politicians and it is a race to the bottom and now we know why everybody is cynical about the press and politics. >> also, welcome to the nfl, right? this is now the big leagues. and when you get asked these questions, which you will get from the press and, by the way, wait until voters start asking you questions because they're going to be even more in politics than these, you have to have a better answer than answering the question the way that scott walker did. marco rubio did a good job. rand paul did a good job. jeb bush did a good job of knowing how to answer these questions.
hillary clinton will get the same questions too. so we'll be back around on this. >> michael what did you learn from this and what should scott walker learn from this? >> i think republicans have a specific problem with the dangerous feedback loop between partisan media and populist candidates. and all of a sudden, for some, it feeds the worst discourse and all of a sudden talk radio was the voice inside your head, and you can't address the country that way. it is too inward looking. effective communicator would view the stereotype of the party that they're involved in, some holy war, as an opportunity to distinguish yourself, say i'm different here. and i think rubio took the opportunity, i think that walker proved he wasn't there yet. >> something was written yesterday that was interesting, he said this, ask any parent, our culture is coarsening. civility is eroding. the internet, this goes to your point, the internet reinforces and amplifies hateful language. no one wants to live in a country where the singular measure of patriotism is you agree with me. giuliani isn't a deplorable man.
his words were. >> i don't think really this has anything to do with social media or the coarsening of culture. i think culture was pretty coarse and uncivil in the 1950s and 1960s. i think as far as what we should focus on what rudy giuliani is saying. in so many ways, it is a flashback to 2007. we covered that campaign. and in hearing haley barbour talk to us now, him bringing up jeremiah wright, but saying, let's focus on policy, and rudy giuliani, of course, essentially saying that the president was raised as a communist, that he somehow is different and other -- i can't figure out why he's different, but that's his argument, and it is despicable, has no place in politics and it is unfortunate the president came out -- or his press people came out and said, you know, this is a sad -- for rudy giuliani.
i think in some ways it is indicative of the rudy giuliani people knew in new york. >> that has come through. robert, i guess -- i'll agree with nia a little bit. i think the internet is encouraging -- encouraging mainstream people to get into the base, where a progressive is more likely to call a republican a fascist, a conservative is more likely to call a democrat a communist, like we get into these -- where we're name calling and mainstream people are engaging in it. >> there is no doubt this is coarsening our discourse. it makes the needed political debate that our country was founded on impossible to have. it increases polarization, it makes it eminently more difficult for somebody then to sit down at a table and come to some series of compromises.
let's be clear, chuck. had dan balls asked scott walker if the president was a christian and he said yes, there wouldn't be a story in the washington post today. >> that's the part i don't get. >> but -- >> that seemed like an easy answer. >> there are trap doors every day running for president. if you want to run, and talk about policy, then you have to answer the very easy questions easily. if not, chuck, i'll say this, if we had a pack of dogs on this set, they would be going crazy from all the dog whistles in this. they were made even worse this morning. but if you answer the easy questions, do you think barack obama loves his country? yes. but i think his policies are bad. there isn't a story. do i think he's a christian? yes. now, and it is a terrible task for scott walker, but i haven't asked him. i've known you for 20 years, i haven't asked you if you love your country, but you host a program with a lot of flags, so i figure -- >> i do. and i love both major parties. i love all political parties. so come on along. when we come back, we'll have another debate that is taking, another war of words. terror threat against the u.s. also out there. i'm going to ask the homeland
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welcome back. this morning a new terror threat that is targeting malls welcome back. this morning, a new terror threat that is targeting malls in the u.s., canada and great britain. in a moment, i'll ask jeh johnson how serious u.s. officials are taking this threat from an al qaeda offshoot from somalia. first, this week's brutal mass beheadings of egyptian coptic christians shows the threat has expanded beyond syria and iraq. richard engel has been looking at how this has become such a menace to the world. >> reporter: the hostages
weren't famous, just egyptian christians who had been looking for migrant work in libya. they're famous now, butchered as part of the isis plan to enslave, convert or exterminate opposing faiths. >> and today we're on the south of rome, on the land of islam, libya, sending another message. >> reporter: and something else was murdered 21 times on that terrible day on the beach. the hopes and dreams of the arab spring, and with them, the u.s. administration's middle east policy. some experts are now calling libya the somalia of the mediterranean, a lawless land across from europe's shores. libya was the obama administration's first war of choice. >> what george w. bush did to iraq is the same thing that president barack obama did to libya. that is he took a state that was stable, that was an ally in the
war on terror, and went in with the military intervention and destroyed the state. >> reporter: although there was no identifiable threat or benefit to the united states, the administration sent in the jets to defend libyan rebels on moral grounds. colonel moammar gadhafi had repeatedly said he was about to flatten with no mercy the city of benghazi, where a rebel uprising live tweeted and full of hope was brewing. >> we have intervened to stop a massacre. >> reporter: and administration that couldn't wait to get out of iraq sent american troops into libya, and kept them overhead until gadhafi was well and truly gone. >> we came, we saw, he died. >> reporter: then the u.s. left libya to the mad max militia men who had taken it over. >> the best rebels turned out to be radical islamists. >> reporter: the war in libya would have far broader implications than that. it raised expectations in the wider arab world.
in syria, people took to the streets, confident that they too would get american help. the administration at first encouraged the syrian rebels, but never sent them any meaningful assistance or heavy weapons. and like a wound in the body, the growing chaos in syria spread, isis advanced and brought down iraq next door, which was barely on its feet after ten years of war. it was there, in the iraqi city of mosul, that isis leader abu al baghdadi declared himself the caliph of the islamic state, founding a terrorist state across syria and iraq, armed with american weapons. his man took from the iraqi army, which all but collapsed in fear. now, the u.s. is being dragged back into war in the middle east. it hopes to stand the iraqi army back up and send it into battle to take back mosul, with the help of kurdish fighters from northern iraq. the u.s. military says some american ground troops may be needed to lead the charge.
taking mosul will not be easy. especially since isis has had months to prepare for the battle. the real question is what is the wider strategy for stability in iraq and syria and now libya? stability that would truly deny isis a home. this remains the hard question, and this administration has yet to offer a convincing answer. and, chuck, several u.s. military officials who i've been speaking with have privately expressed a great amount of frustration at what they see as a lack of clarity about the u.s. strategy against isis. when i ask our nbc military analyst, colonel jack jacobs about the strategy, he paraphrased louis carol's alice in wonderland, if you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there. chuck?
>> richard, thank you. now to discuss the terror threat at home as well as the political fight over immigration, joined by homeland security secretary jeh johnson. second johnson, welcome back to "meet the press." >> thanks for having me, chuck. >> let me start with this terror threat by al shabab, an al qaeda offshoot from somalia, targeting -- we talked about it earlier, targeting malls. in particular mall of america in minneapolis, the twin cities, large somali population there, so obviously i assume a concern that you could have lone wolves. in an earlier interview this morning, you said the following, if anyone is planning to go to the mall of america today, they have got to be particularly careful. sounds like you're taking -- you believe this threat is that serious, you would basically tell people, almost telling them i hear that, i would not go to the mall. >> not saying that. i'm saying that the public needs to be particularly vigilant. chuck, we're in a new phase in the global terrorist threat now, which involves core al qaeda, but now other groups, the isil group being the most prominent example of that. with very effective use of video, publications, social
media and the internet, that have the ability to reach into communities, reach into homelands, and inspire independent actors to commit acts of violence, which is why we need a military approach and we have got one, we're through an international coalition, and embarking on air strikes militarily, but also a law enforcement approach, which includes countering violent extremism engagements and initiatives here in the homeland. that was one of the things that the summit this week at the white house was all about. >> i'll get to the summit. i go back to so -- give me an assessment of this threat. are you -- is this something that is one of those things that you've got -- we have got a whole bunch of security, extra security at the mall today, this is something we got to worry about all week, is this something -- can you give us more detail? >> we have seen this a number of times now where a group will call for an attack on a country, on a specific location, and so we got to be vigilant.
so we ramp up security. there was a call for an attack on locations in canada and europe and so in response to that, i ramped up the presence of the federal protective service at federal buildings a couple of months ago. i'm sure that security at this particular mall will be enhanced in ways visible and not visible. but it also involves public vigilance and public awareness. if you see something, say something, has to be more than a slogan. >> at this point, you're not telling people not to go to the mall? >> i'm not telling people to not go to the mall. i think that there needs to be an awareness, there needs to be vigilance and, you know, just be careful, obviously. it is a new phase. we're in a new phase right now. and that involves public participation in our efforts. >> the whole point of the extremist summit was about -- there is concern, you have communities, the twin cities, the somali community, large muslim population, other
communities in the u.s., is it harder for you to get cooperation in these communities. do you believe it is harder for you to get cooperation if the president were out there calling it radical islam referring to isis and having islamist extremists, using that phraseology. does it make it harder for you to do your job or not? >> good question. i've done a number of these engagements myself, and when i meet with muslim community leaders, they all pretty much tell me the same thing, which is that isil is attempting to hijack my religion. islam is about peace. and isil is attempting to hijack our religion, and what we're about. and so to me, to call it islamic extremism dignifies isil and gives them space in the islamic religion that they don't deserve and i don't believe muslim leaders think they deserve. it is a dangerous terrorist organization that represents a
serious potential threat to our homeland. we have to respond militarily. we have to respond through law enforcement. frankly, i'm more concerned about how we respond in our counterterrorism efforts than which two words we call it. >> let me move to immigration. your department runs out of funding at the end of the week on the 27th of february. obviously you want -- you don't want to just continue resolution, apologies for washington speak. you want your full budget. if you don't get it, on thursday, what happens? what departments shut down and what departments don't shut down? >> first of all, it is bizarre and absurd we're even having this discussion in these challenging times, given the global terrorist threat we have been talking about, given the harsh winter we're in the midst of and all the other things i need to do. we're talking about possibility of shutting down homeland security, because congress can't agree. if we go into government shutdown, some 30,000 employees of my department will be
furloughed, including a lot of headquarters personnel who i count on daily to stay one step ahead of ground troops like isil. a large part of the workforce will be required to come to work, but they'll come to work without pay. so the working men and women of my department will be required to work on the front lines, without a paycheck, which has serious consequences for waking men and women and their families. our grantmaking to state and local law enforcement grinds to a halt. we cannot pay for the added border security that we put on the southern border. last summer to deal with the spike in migration there. thankfully the numbers are down month to month, they're the lowest they have been in years. but we need to protect that and we need to keep border security in place. i could go on and on. so we need congress to fund the department of homeland security. we have got four working days in congress, and i'm talking every member of congress who will listen to me about the importance of doing this. >> we'll be covering this. we know immigration lawsuit, a lot of moving parts to this
debate. secretary johnson, it is a busy morning for you. thanks for coming on "meet the press." i want to turn to the republican chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, bob corker of tennessee. he just got back from the middle east. senator corker, welcome back to "meet the press." >> good to be with you, chuck. >> let me ask you about this debate about words. do you think it matters whether we call isis radical islam or just radical extremists? >> well, you know, what matters is what i call them. and they're islamic extremists. i just spent a week there, as you know. and, look, these -- they are islamic. no question. they are extreme in what they're doing. and they are a threat to our country. and we need to deal with that appropriately. it looks as if we have some pieces that are coming together appropriately in iraq. i think there is still a lot of questions, chuck, as to how we deal with isis and syria and as you talked about earlier in your program, they're a threat now in libya and other places.
so this is something that we as a nation are going to be dealing with for a long time. i think you know we're going to be debating an authorization for the use of military force here soon. this is an important issue, important to our homeland security. important to the world. and i hope as a nation we'll take it on in a sober and important way over next several weeks. >> for many americans, isis has been brought home by the brutal killings of american citizens that were held hostage. my colleague savannah guthrie just finished an interview with kayla mueller's parents who are taking specific issue with u.s. policy on hostages. i want to play a clip of it for you and get your response on the other side. >> we understand the policy about not paying ransom, but on the other hand, any parents out there would understand that you would want anything and everything done to bring your child home. and we tried. we asked.
but they put policy in front of american citizens' lives. >> senator corker, put policy in front of american citizens' lives. that is a grieving father. what do you say to him, what do you say to other americans? >> look, chuck, i can't imagine a greater pain for a parent than knowing that your child is abducted and you're doing everything you can to cause them to be free and be back home and be with your family. at the same time, what you do when you begin to pay ransom which is how these groups support themselves, what you do is encourage them to take even other american citizens, other people. and so you encourage them to continue to do what they're doing, even more. so this has been a long-standing u.s. policy. it is a policy that i support. at the same time, i understand
the extreme pain that a family would go through knowing that this is our u.s. policy and knowing that their daughter, their daughter lost her life. >> one of the other radical things that isis does is they are enslaving people, they're enslaving women in iraq. we have been hearing this. you've got a bill you want to introduce called end modern slavery, and you were dealing with this in the middle east. how bad of a problem is this? >> well, first of all, chuck, yes, they are enslaving people and in mosul, that's exactly what has happened. that's why as we go into mosul, we have got to understand there are a number of people there. this is going to be urban warfare. and we have got to get it right. and whether we do it in april or later, it has got to be done right. yes, we are taking on modern slavery. it wasn't intended to deal with it in this fashion. but there are 27 million people
today, chuck, around the world, that are enslaved, earning in rug-making facilities, brick kilns, all kinds of sex trafficking, we have seen this on the rise around the world. and these are crimes of opportunity. average business people are making money by enslaving people. so, yes, this week i hope we'll launch a bill, i'm certain we're going to launch a bill to end slavery by building off public private partnerships around the world. using best practices. this is something that takes u.s. leadership. it is not applicable to the situation you just described. it has been going on for years. and my guess is that we will begin taking this on in a real way, to really end this plague around the world that so many people aren't even aware of, but in many countries, this is the culture. people who are poor and impoverished don't have access to the criminal justice system.
we're going to build on the best practices. we're going to do something substantially about it. i look forward to this coming out of committee this week. >> senator, very quickly, this week, can you imagine a scenario where you shut down the department of homeland security? >> you know, chuck, i don't. i was gratified by the judge's ruling. the president, 22 times had said he couldn't do this. he didn't have the authority. i was very gratified by what the judge ruled. at the same time, i do believe in this time where we have the kind of threats we have from all over the world, we certainly need to make sure that homeland security is fully funded. my guess is we'll figure out a way to make sure that happens this week. >> all right, senator corker, republican from tennessee, thanks for coming on "meet the press." coming up -- all those new voter id laws are they more about preventing ft. lauderdale or are they more about preventing some people from voting. the voting rights act is 50 years old. are they going to get it done in
congress? we'll be right back. how much money do you have in your pocket right now? i have $40 $21. could something that small make an impact on something as big as your retirement? i don't think so. well if you start putting that towards your retirement every week and let it grow over time, for twenty to thirty years that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. ♪ ♪
it was 1965 and people across the country watched as men and women were beaten in the streets of alabama as they tried to march for voting rights. later that year, voting rights act was passed. two years ago, the supreme court found part of the act unconstitutional. and there has been no act in congress to amend the law, even though the chief justice ordered congress to rewrite the law. welcome to you both. let me start with you. what -- the biggest part of the voting rights act that was thrown out was this idea of the preclearance portion.
certain states, mostly in the south, that couldn't change their laws on voting without approval by the justice department. they said you can't single out states. so how do you want congress to rewrite this law? >> currently there is a bill, a bill that was, of course, supported by representative john louis, the civil rights icon and hero and voting rights legend, that would respond to what the supreme court said congress had to do. it essentially creates a formula that would require jurisdictions who had violations of the voting rights act over the last 15 years to be subjected to a similar preclearance provision of the kind that existed before. for states it would be five violations. for local jurisdictions, it would be three violations. it is a rolling formula so it
resolves the problem as the supreme court said was the problem with the former provision that it went back too far. and yet we had no movement on it, no hearing, no real effort to really try and move this bill as the court asked congress to do two years ago. >> congressman dent, you're on here because you're one of the few republicans, you and congressman sensenbrenner, a republican, want to rewrite this bill. but as she says, you're kind of alone here it seems in congress. only three or four of you on the republican side of the aisle intent on rewriting this. >> i think many republicans recognize the voting rights act was the single most important civil rights legislation ever passed in american history. we also take seriously the fact we need to amend the voting rights act given the d court's ruling. i believe there is more republican support for the bill than there are co-sponsors. i think there is going to be considerable support for this bill if it gets considered.
>> this formula that she outlined, know it is in this -- there say similar formula in this bill. is this a workable formula, you think? >> absolutely. i believe this formula strikes the right balance between states rights and voter rights. it is difficult because we're trying to -- by the way, under this formula, the sensenbrenner bill, i believe four states would be in preclearance as opposed to this case before, about nine states. it is -- i think it does strike the right balance. a lot of groups out there on the outside, naacp and others, are generally supportive of the bill. i think many -- certainly john louis an icon is supportive. and many republican members. i think we have got the right balance here. good start. >> if there is a sticking point, i understand it has to do with the idea of voter i.d. laws. it was a sticking point for you to support this bill. you wanted the ability, congressman dent, that states could have voter i.d. laws this is the part of the bill you don't like. could you accept some form of allowing voter i.d. or allowing states to have voter i.d. laws if you get this preclearance?
what's the compromise here sn >> voter i.d. is a problem. we just had this case in texas last year, in which a federal judge found that texas' voter i.d. law was passed for the purpose of discriminating against minority voters. this doesn't allow students to use their i.d., but you can use your concealed gun carry permit. it is a problem. i think we focus too much on the actual provisions. at the end of the day, we need a hearing on this bill. we need to figure out what is missing from our side. we need to figure out what is problematic from the other side. we need to work on that bill. we haven't been able to get a hearing on it. we need, in two weeks, thousands of people are going to converge on selma, alabama to celebrate -- the president of the united states is going to be there. lots of congress people, including many republicans, who go every year. but it can't be just about laying a wreath and marching across the bridge. it has to be about honoring what those people sacrificed for. and that's why we need movement on the bill. whatever the problems are, bring them to the table, let's have a hearing, let's talk about it.
>> any way this bill passes without a voter i.d. provision? >> well, i support voter i.d. i think republicans will insist on voter i.d. being protected. i'm from pennsylvania. i witnessed voter fraud. we had a sitting state senator thrown out because of absentee ballot fraud in the 1990s. i lived through that. it was awful. it was a stone election. we have seen it. we had had a candidate for congress many maryland not so long ago in 2012 who voted in both 2006 and 2008 in florida and maryland. she had to drop out. there is real fraud out there. i think we can be both for -- we can be against discrimination and against fraud. those two ideas are compatible. >> is there a way to support voter i.d. and say senior citizens and -- would get an exemption in 20 years. >> it is interesting. there is voter i.d. and voter i.d. the question is what voter i.d., rite? it is not that our groups are are against voter i.d. it is we're against the specific kinds of voter i.d. that unfairly restrict the ability of minorities to participate in the political process. what you're talking about, absentee voting, you saw that by expanding early voting.
people have more opportunities to vote and they don't need to vote absentee. >> i think that's why you guys need a hearing. you're getting close. anyway, congressman dent, chairman ifill, thank you for showing there is stuff you attempt to get done. thank you, both. coming up, a fun little nerd screen. don't miss it. it has to do with oscars and politics. has to do with o ♪ there's confidence. then there's trusting your vehicle maintenance to ford service confidence. our expertise, technology, and high quality parts mean your peace of mind. now you can get the works, a multi-point inspection with a synthetic blend oil change tire rotation, brake inspection and more. $29.95 or less. you show up. you stay up. you listen. you laugh. you worry.
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conversely, 78 of the 100 counties that talked the most about the film "birdman" voted for obama in 2012. just 22 voted for romney. so there you go. head to our website, by the way, for more about this and our nerd screen and how the key influential bubbles are very different from the rest of america. enjoy oscar night. ♪ welcome to the most social car we've ever designed. ♪ the all-new nissan murano. ♪ nissan. innovation that excites. ♪ turn around ♪ ♪ every now and then i get a little bit hungry ♪ ♪ and there's nothing good around ♪ ♪ turn around, barry ♪ ♪ i finally found the right snack ♪ [ female
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fictional. kevin spacey's frank underwood begins the new season of "house of cards" on netflix, having moved into the white house, believe it or not. nbc's cynthia mcfadden was granted exclusive behind the scenes access. take a look. >> anyone can commit suicide. or spout their mouth in front of a camera. you want to know what takes real courage? keeping your mouth shut no matter what you might be feeling. >> that's always been his philosophy. frank underwood, now president, is still the politician we love to hate. >> because i lack scruples and some would say compassion. >> frank underwood made it to the white house, star and producer kevin spacey gave me a tour of the new set. >> this is the white house press room. >> this is great. >> a life long democrat, spacey says he, like many americans, is frustrated with washington. >> i think that what is truly unfortunate is when an entire party makes a decision that they're going to block every
single thing that a president wants to accomplish. it is very hard -- it is hard to get anything done. >> even frank underwood would have trouble with that? >> i would just kill everybody. kill them all. >> the show captured the weird alchemy of the outlandish, and realistic. >> i think we're getting to the essence of what it means to contend with that much power in your hands. >> one reason the scripts are able to skate on such a fine edge, the show's creator and executive producer, bo willman. >> we're always pushing the boundary of plausibility, that everything that happens in the show is possible. >> you actually worked in politics yourself. >> i did. very low on the totem pole. >> did you come out of it a cynic about politics or -- >> absolutely not. no. francis underwood is an optimist. >> hold it. you mean he's an opportunist, he's a lot of things, but an optimist? >> an optimist. the ways he goes about it may be
distasteful to you. but what do people relish in a frank underwood, a guy who gets things done. they see that in his journey that they don't see in the real washington right now. >> a guy who gets things done by any means possible. let's hope fiction doesn't inspire the real politicians. for "meet the press," i'm cynthia mcfadden, maryland. when we come back, kevin kline, harrison ford, martin sheen, who is your favorite fictional president? we know it is really not frank underwood. that, plus the latest in the race to become the next nonfiction president. ♪ "here i am. rock you like a hurricane." ♪ fiber one now makes cookies. find them in the cookie aisle. ameriprise asked people a simple question: can you keep your lifestyle in retirement? i don't want to think about the alternative.
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nuts. seeds. sweetness. boom. delicious. let's go to the nonfiction race for the presidency. welcome back here to the panel. michael, before, i want to start with you, we had this whole language debate about extremism. and the fact of the matter is the president seems to be getting attacked from conservative republicans on an issue that he seems to be -- am i right to characterize same sort of stance that president bush took as well. >> you are right. there is a remarkable consistency between the previous administration and this one, and for a certain reason. a war of religion. >> they want a war of civilization. or a war of religion. >> that's what the frame that they want and that you need to resist. any future president will do this, i promise. you have muslim allies on the war on terror. you can't alienate them, the
jordanians or the turks or others. these are important allies and your language matters. >> i want to go to the race for the presidency a little bit. bill kristol wrote something interesting, upset about the way the campaign started. are we the only ones, referring to the weekly standard that are struck that they seem to be planning stale and tired campaigns. he goes on to say hillary will run a stale campaign, he believes, with tired themes, but polls suggest she would prevail in a conventional matchup of boring campaigns. is he on to something or do you think he's overpanicking? >> i thought there was a little bit of overpanicking here. we have 600 plus days before the election gets into -- >> we have 300 days until -- 350 days until iowa. >> 350 days, come on. i'll give you that. we have a long time for the candidates to actually grow as candidates and start talking about issues. we spent a whole lot of time and done it today talking about lots of things that really don't matter in a conventional sense
of politics and policy. but i think you have people that are running this year on the republican side, who have a lot to bring to the table, the question is whether they do it or not. i think you have marco rubio and a lot of governors, people who have put stuff forward, implemented things, as executives, and they have stuff to say, jeb bush has a lot to say, they haven't been saying it yet. >> this, by the way, has been a busy week. there was a topic that i think we would have gotten more to, the clinton campaign, wall street journal on the clinton foundation and all of its foreign donors, back raising money and foreign governments. let me put up a list. you see a who's who in the middle east, oman, qatar, saudi arabia, they say this is all do gooder stuff they're doing, having to do with health and food and things like this. but the perception of this, saudi arabia, there are lobbyists. they lobby america for -- >> i think there is no doubt that the appearances are awkward at best.
i think they're going to have to do something in the very short term to deal with this in a way that puts it off the table. look, i think there are a lot of people that have watched the sort of slow roll of the hillary clinton campaign really dating back to last year, with a book tour that some wondered why she was doing speeches that some wondered why she was doing -- and, you know, i think -- i think it is from the democratic perspective, things will get better when there is a formal campaign. but there is a -- there has been a slow roll of concerning headlines for a long time. >> the making of hillary 5.0. >> right. >> you to need to read the piece. >> not a good piece. hillary 5.0, which version will she be this go round. >> let's have some fun here. oscar time. i asked you guys to give me your favorite fictional presidents. michael, i'll start with you. your favorite fictional president was -- >> mine was president arnold schwarzenegger.
>> wasn't arnold. they called him a different name. >> not sure. but in the simpsons movie, he wanted a strong epa. >> your pick was -- >> selena myer who has been president now for one episode on veep. the happiest person to be a fictional president and also the most terrified as well. >> and amy, you went the animated route. >> i go simpsons but when lisa simpson was president and she did push for legalizing pot, thanks to bart simpson. >> and robert? robert, you went with the democratic party's dream president. >> i went with president bartlett. i will say i am struck, speaks to our current politics that two of you picked presidents from the simpsons. >> mine is harrison ford in "air force one." get off my plane. and at this point, we're going to get off the show. that's all for this sunday. you can see a lot more we'll have next week.
because if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." cameras are rolling all day every day. you'd be surprised what they catch. unlikely thieves. >> let it go, let it go, let it go! >> heroic bystanders and downright brazen criminals. >> i just don't understand what kind of person it takes to be able to steal from the boy scouts. >> a man chases a woman into a building, smashing his pickup through the doors. >> it was like, oh, my god. >> this guy drops in unannounced. >> i never expect all this mess. it was destroyed. >> and a strip mall casino robbery is foiled when a security guard breaks free and opens fire.