tv The Place for Politics 2016 MSNBC February 15, 2016 6:00am-2:01pm PST
it is president's day, major after shocks of a seismic shift from the death of supreme court justice antonin scalia that will have far reaching political, judicial and social implications not just for years but potentially for decades to come. we're just five days away from the republican presidential primary here in south carolina that could narrow the field even more. not to mention the democratic caucus in nevada. the high court vacancy has ignited a new and rare election year battle, one in which the white house, congress and supreme court are all in play. >> we ought to make the 2016 election a referendum on the supreme court. >> i think the real plan for it would be somebody just like justice scalia. >> there is no way the senate should confirm anyone that barack obama tries to appoint in his last year in office. >> we have a president, he was elected, he has the right to nominate another supreme court justice. >> i don't think the public will look kindly on republican
actions to try to thwart what he is supposed to be able to do. >> well, take this bet, we will hear a lot more about the supreme court on the campaign trail today. republicans making a dozen appearances here in south carolina, including jeb bush for the first time with his brother, former president george w. bush. john kasich is campaigning in michigan. on the democratic side hillary clinton is campaigning in nevada, bernie sanders in michigan. in a race that was already won for the history books this battle supreme takes it to a new level. we begin with three reports for you as we follow the fight to replace scalia. let's start with pete williams. wrapped up in the politics of all this and there is a lot of that, is a judicial reality that there are now cases before the court that are huge notice minds of liberals and conservatives alike. so let's start by laying out the big cases. >> right. well, even if everyone was in the same party and all -- everyone agreed there should be a replacement successor to
justice scalia on the bench soon, it would be quite clear that this term is going to finish with just eight justices and that is as the term moves into its busiest phase with some of the more controversial cases. with just eight justices it raises the possibility of a 4-4 tie and if that case -- in in a case it's as though there's no supreme court decision at all, it doesn't count. let's look at some of the big cases pending. there is a challenge to tough restrictions on abortion in texas that would require clinics to be built to ambulatory care standards for surgical standards and would say that doctors have to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. there's president obama's immigration policy that would allow up to 5 million people who are here illegally to remain. and there is a challenge to public sector unions that comes from california that if it's successful would weaken the ability of unions to raise money. if those end in ties it would leave the legal hold in place on the president's immigration policy, it would allow the texas
law to fully go into effect but it would be something of a victory for the unions because it would be -- beat back this challenge. the court is going to face a challenge of deciding these cases by 4-4 votes or they could say we will hold these cases and have them reargued next term. it's not clear there will be nine justices when the court reconvenes for its next term in october. it puts the court in a difficult situation, chris. >> in terms of having somebody in place by october and again take the politics out of it, historically how quickly have people been confirmed in the past and how long has it taken for somebody to be put on the bench? >> historically it takes about 70 days or so. it can sometimes take much, much, much longer. and also the shortest is one day in the eisenhower administration there was a vacancy on the court and president eisenhower had a recess appointment, believe it or not, the next day.
that's obviously not going to happen here. >> yeah, i'm not sure one year is even going to happen but we will see how all this plays out. pete williams, thanks to you. >> you bet. now, 20 people have an outsized role in this fight and those are the members of the senate judiciary committee who would economy any nominee if it gets that far. richard blumenthal of connecticut took to twitter saying i hope boat us will promptly nominate someone with strong intellect and integrity who can win bipartisan support and i will work v itcoteto achieve confirmation. senator blumenthal joins me now. good morning. >> good morning, chris. >> so, senator, the president says he will nominate someone, republicans starting with mitch mcconnell and ted cruz say that's not happening. so what happens now? >> what happens now is that the president will nominate someone and i believe that it will be someone with clear intellect and integrity and let me just say as a former federal prosecutor,
u.s. attorney here in connecticut and state attorney general who has argued cases before the united states supreme court, including before justice scalia, i have deep respect for the court and i hope that this nation can avoid it becoming a political football dragged into the morass of presidential partisan politics. we all have a common goal in making sure the credibility and respect for the court is preserved because that is one of its main assets, in fact, it's preeminent asset in our democracy. i really believe now going forward there is a constitutional responsibility for the judiciary committee and for the united states senate that cannot be abdicated and rejected as the majority leader mitch mcconnell is threatening to do. >> well, obviously he sees it differently. people like ted cruz see it differently. what can harry reid and the senior member on the democratic
side of your committee, path leahy, are you strategizing? wlar you going to do going forward to try to see this actually makes it to the judiciary committee? >> what all of us can do in combination with the judiciary committee, all of us who have experience in the federal courts and our state judiciary is to press repeatedly, vociferously, vigorously with the kind of energy and passion that i believe will unite the country because by and large people understand that those cases involving voting rights, labor rights, women's healthcare rights, reproductive rights as well as affirmative action and immigration policy are cases with real consequences for people's lives. they affect every day lives in america and the lack of certainty itself from what i hear in the business world as well as the labor world will affect our economy and job creation. so there are wide ranging
effects that i think we can articulate with the passion and energy that it really deserves. >> i don't think you can overstate how consequential this nomination could be. i don't think either that anybody would disagree that in an ideal world this president or any president would be able to nominate the person that he or she thinks is the best for the job and the best for the country. having said that given the political realities, do you think president obama has to nominate someone idealogically less than he might want and then hope that he can actually get that person through or does he just go all in, figuring he's not going to get a confirmation anyway? >> that's a great question. the question of the moment, chris, but keep in mind that some of the greatest justices have really evolved. i clerked for justice harry blackman on the supreme court who at the time of his nomination was regarded as one of the, quote, minnesota twins with warren berger, he evolved
into one of the most progressive and liberal justices, even though he began with that reputation. so i think that ideological tests are less important than character, intellect, integrity. i hope that's what the president drives to select, and i hope we can avoid the court becoming a political football when the presidential candidates talk about a referendum on the court, that's kind of highfalutin euphemistic way of talking about dragging the court into the morass of partisan politics. i'm sure you and i will be speaking along the way. senator richard blumenthal. thanks so much for coming on the program. >> thank you. and a programming note for you, my colleague andrea mitchell will have the ranking member of the senate judiciary committee path leahy at noon eastern time today. joining me in columbia, "washington post" reporter katie zizima.
let's start with congress and how this fight will shape up. what's it going to be like in d.c.? >> it's going to be quite something. senator mcconnell says he's going to block whoever the president puts in. it's going to be quite a fight, people will be digging in their heels. >> is there any room for compromise that you see? >> not that i see. i mean, especially here on the presidential campaign, you know, you see people like senator cruz saying that we're not going to let anyone in. he's threatening to filibuster as well. i think that it's really going to be a knock down drag out fight and there's not going to be much room for compromise. >> that's going to be interesting to watch through all of this and i think we sort of already are getting an indication anecdotallanecdotall everywhere i went over the weekend the level of awareness of people not just recognizing that antonin scalia had died unexpectedly but the implications of that death were tremendous, but i wonder how much it will change the 2016 race. you know, come the actual time when we're getting down to
choosing nominees and then into november how much it will eventually be looked at as having affected this race. >> i think it will completely change this race. there's going to be a massive focus on social issues, the court is supposed to be looking at a number of cases that involve social issues and i think that those are really going to come out on the campaign trail. senator cruz, for example, he said that 2016 should now be a referendum on the court. he has already made it a referendum on the court in many ways. he talks about it all the time how the supreme court is one justice away from doing away with the second amendment and making abortion more available. i really think we should look for them as well, former supreme court clerk, to really make this a focal point of his presidential campaign. >> and in addition to whoever is going to be the next president you can't ignore control of the senate and you look at some of key republicans, path toomey he is and rob portman and ron johnson whoer in more purple states and places where it will be a little more difficult for them to sound like ted cruz. what might it mean for them and
how will that play into what happens in washington? >> exactly. it would be a huge question as to what those senators do and representatives do. will they try and block? will they try to be a little more flexible? that's a huge wild card coming down the pike. >> good to see you. thanks so much. let's get reaction from the campaign trail. nbc's peter alexander is in charleston following the trump campaign, gabe gutierrez is in rock hill, south carolina, covering marco rubio. so, peter, donald trump is holding a news conference there 2:30 eastern time, one of three events today. what do we know about that and i guess one of the keys will be what he has to say about this supreme court change. >> reporter: well, what's notable is that this was announced late yesterday of course, it sort of trumps, as it were, jeb bush's big day where he will be campaigning for the first time with his brother, the former president. as you were speaking we're seeing a new tweet from donald trump this morning on that topic, he writes, now that
george bush is campaigning for jeb is he fair game for questions about world trade center, iraq war and the economic collapse? careful. this is sort of capitalizing on that line that we saw trump take during that fiery slugfest this weekend here in south carolina. the debate was hosted at a place called the peace center, but it was really a war between the candidates on that night. trump now adding this new rift about the economic collapse during george w. bush's time in office saying if it were not for jeb bush's brother barack obama would never have been president and the country would have been much better off. chris. >> meantime, marco rubio who is at a town hall he has been talking about missile defense. let's listen for a few minutes. >> -- in our navy in the sea in both the atlantic and mediterranean and also from the czech republic and poland. it would have given us three shots to strike down any threat to the united states and we need to rebuild that and i will when i'm president.
[ applause ] >> so we have a full day ahead so i'm going to stay here as long as i can to greet as many of you as possible but i obviously first of all want to thanks congressman mulvaney for attending today. he could have been home watching c-span and instead she's here. >> let's go to gabe gutierrez who is there with senator marco rubio. so we obviously just heard about national defense issues which anybody who is on the campaign trail knows always comes up in the q & a. if we can go back a second to this battle over the supreme court nominee. give us a sense of marco rubio, where he stands on this, what he's saying about it and how the campaign feels this has sort of shifted the focus of everything. >> reporter: hi there, chris. good morning. i'm going to keep my voice down as marco rubio finishes his remarks right here, we believe he's on his last question, but that issue of justice scalia's replacement came up first thing during this town hall this morning. marco rubio now saying that this election is about the essence of
this country. i spoke with the senator yesterday about this issue, here is what he had to say. >> why not even bring up a nominee? >> well, the president can nominate someone, that's his prerogative, but we don't have to confirm and we won't. the senate has made very clear there's 80 years of precedent that you do not nominate and confirm in the last year -- or the eighth year of a presidential term. we don't do it. that's been true for both parties. >> what candidate would be acceptable to you? >> i don't have a name in mind. i want to see someone nominated and appointed to interprets and applies the constitution according to its original meaning. >> reporter: so as you just heard marco rubio and many of the other republican candidates now trying to frame this election as a referendum on the supreme court. rubio has two more events after this town hall today as he crisscrosses south carolina. this is a big state for him, he had been hoping to rebound after that poor new hampshire debate
performance. his campaign says that he did just that in that fiery debate over the weekend. but south carolina looms large for him and his campaign thinks that they can finish strong here as they move on to nevada. chris. >> all right. thank you very much. let's go back to that debate for a minute. we have to talk about some of those -- i guess you would even call them incendiary moments. let me play a little bit from the debate. >> they lied. >> he's lying about all sorts of things. >> liar, liar, liar. >> obviously the war in iraq was a big fat mistake. all right? now, you can take it any way you want and it took -- it took jeb bush, if you remember at the beginning of his announcement when he announced for president took him five days. he went back, it was a mistake, it wasn't a mistake. >> i could care less about the insults that donald trump gives to me. it's blood sport for him, he enjoys it and i'm glad he's happy about it. >> well, peter alexander,
there's no doubt who was in the center of all this and you mentioned it a couple minutes ago. but listening to him over the last 24 hours, he doesn't seem to think he has hurt himself with what i think was his most combative debate performance yet. is that what the campaign really thinks or is that just the public stance? >> reporter: that's been interesting that we've witnessed is the back and forth not just between donald trump and jeb bush but also between donald trump and ted cruz. trump had pulled a negative ad that he was planning to run in this state, his campaign saying they want to focus on a more positive tone, then the debate took place including attacks on donald trump and trump said that the ad was back on, he referred to cruz once again in his words as a nasty guy. cruz attacking trump, saying on this topic of the supreme court the power of the pick so to speak that if donald trump were to make that pick the second amendment would be written out of the constitution, basically saying that trump is not a true
conservative, but trump clearly believes that there is value in fighting with both bush and with cruz and for that matter with the audience, referring to them as the donor class, the special interests in a series of highlights it was obvious that audience here in south carolina was heavily supportive of jeb bush and marco rubio more than it was of ted cruz and donald trump. but for the people who support him and remember the most recent polling still shows him leading here, that has not dissuaded them at all, it's just sort of solidifies his position as an outsider in this race. >> peter alexander and gabe gutierrez out on the campaign trail on the republican side. thank you, gentlemen. still ahead this hour, live from columbia, south carolina, we will turn to the democratic side where hillary clinton and bernie sanders stand on filling justice antonin scalia's supreme court seat. here in the city, parking is hard to find. seems like everyone drives. and those who do should switch to geico because you could save hundreds on car insurance. ah, perfect.
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donald trump says he wants the next supreme court justice to be someone just like the late justice scalia. in other words, another strong conservative voice. we may hear more from him about this at a 2:00 eastern time press conference when donald trump is scheduled to hold one in south carolina. joining me now katrina pierson, national spokeswoman for the trump campaign. good morning. >> good morning, chris. >> so this press conference got scheduled late last night. what's it about? why now? >> well, i mean, this isn't something new for mr. trump, he always schedules press conferences and i think he is the only candidate in the race that does interact with the media as much as he does. this is probably going to be another one of those let me set the record straight kind of things. we have horrible ads running, push polls running in south carolina and mr. trump is going to defend himself and set the record straight. >> well, let me ask you about some of the things that are out
there and that he may well get asked about and starting with the supreme court fight. the constitution says the presidential nominate supreme court judges. so what's the constitutional argument that says he shouldn't? >> well, i think there is a checks and balance system that's in place also. just because the president can nominate someone that does not mean the senate has to confirm them. i think it's been said by several candidates now that when you are in the last year of a two-term president you don't nominate that person to the supreme court. we're talking about things like hate speech that's coming up on the table, you have a president that tried to eliminate the right to bear arms for crying out loud. this is a very serious nomination process and it's very important that we wait and see who the people decide to put in charge in november. >> didn't the people decide to put barack obama in charge, not just once but twice? >> well, absolutely, and this is the thing, he is on his way out and i think which see on the democrat side there is an upheaval about who they want to continue this fight as well. when you see what's happening between bernie sanders and
hillary clinton, i think the democrats are in a little bit disarr disarray, too. what we also know is it's very, very important to have a supreme court on balance for many reasons today. we have so many problems in this country over the last eight years that it's definitely something we need to talk about, it needs to be debated and the president shouldn't just get his way just because. >> well, i don't know that anyone is saying he should get his way, i think the question is whether or not he should nominate someone and there should be a debate about it. let me play part of what your candidate said on "meet the press" about justice roberts. >> you look at where a guy like ted cruz pushed hard for justice roberts, everyone thought that was wonderful and justice roberts let everybody down by approving obamacare twice. he really did let us down. that's largely cruz's fault and the bush fault because they put the wrong guy in there. that was a shocking decision. so, you know, you never really know but at the time he looked
okay, but he is -- that was a ted cruz mistake. >> i mean, ted cruz did advocate for justice roberts but he wasn't even in the senate at the time, he was the texas solicitor general, and every single republican in the senate voted to confirm john roberts. so i think that may go into what donald trump just said, which is you never know. so why is it fair to pin this on ted cruz? >> well, it's fair to talk about this particularly because senator cruz is the one telling everyone that donald trump would nominate liberals when donald trump has never written an op-ed supporting anyone for supreme court justice and in this case as you pointed out senator cruz had. he praised justice roberts on his conservatism, on his judicial methodology and did push for john roberts which gave us obamacare. so senator cruz really doesn't have a right to say that someone else is going to appoint someone that may be liberal in the courts. >> let me just ask you really quickly about some things that were written about the debate the other night. from town hall they said, quote, about donald trump, he came off
as unhinged, angry and liberal. the national review said, by the normal rules trump's embracing a blood liable about george w. bush, he knew there were no wmd in iraq saying planned parenthood does great things and often swinging wildly and angrily would hurt him in a socially conservative south carolina. but we'll see. what's your response? i mean, those are two examples of people who thought frankly that donald trump was over the top on saturday night. >> well, donald trump was definitely feisty, defending himself and his positions, but i will also say that donald trump is an outsider candidate, he is not inside the echo chamber which so many people are used to hearing its same talking points and it's okay to acknowledge that there are, you know, cervical cancer screenings that should be okay, abortion should not be okay. and there are other things like with the war, whether it's intelligence or warnings that went unnoticed, it happened under george bush's watch.
these are the things that are driving force for folks on the ground. we don't want more wars. jeb bush has hired some of the exact same people and we really have to look back. we're talking about safety here. kwt he came up about safety, chris, and donald trump's definition of safety is not the same definition as the bush or establishment safety when it comes to building a border wall, visa reform, deportations and stopping hostile nations. bush does not meet that standard. >> katrina pierson with the trump campaign. thanks. good to see. >> you thank you. likewise. let's take a live look right now at a very cloudy and snowy supreme court. that's in our nation's capital. after the break a look at the difficult process of nominating a justice in an election year. our chief legal correspondent ari mel burn will join me next. for in new york state, we believe tomorrow starts today. all across the state the economy is growing, with creative new business incentives, and the lowest taxes in decades, attracting the talent and companies of tomorrow.
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the death of antonin scalia changes the 2016 election, no doubt about it, but this time coming in the middle of this hyper charged presidential race on top of the most divided congress in memory, does that mean none of the old rules apply? msnbc's chief legal correspondent ari melber is here to take a look at how this same process has unfolded in previous election years. >> i think you put it well, there is plenty of historical precedent and that comes up a lot in legal discussions because people care about what's come before. that's what case law is, it's saying we used to do this one way so we should keep doing it that way. what we're hearing from republicans is something different. here is the historical record, they say it does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of a president failing to nominate and or the senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election.
translation, chris, basically the idea that there is an election looming has never been a justification for not filling vacancies, indeed, the constitution says the president should appoint and the senate advise a consent on filling judicial vacancies. an example that's come up a lot president reagan put forward kennedy as a nominee and he was confirmed by a democratic senate. so this has come up before. i think the big picture now, though, as you alluded to is do the rules change because of the politics of the day, because of the intensity of support for justice scalia on the right, he was to conservatives what thurgood marshall might be to progressives. there is an intense interest in support for trying to replace him with either someone like him or getting the next republican president if they win to do it, but again, the brinksmanship we're seeing would be unpr unprecedent unprecedented, the idea that the president shouldn't be able to put anyone forward for about a year. >> unbelievable.
never ever has been dull, that's for sure, this election year and this amps everything up just a little bits more. msnbc's chief legal correspondent ari melber. for democrats hillary clinton and bernie sanders the death of justice scalia isn't as politically fraught as on the republican side but make no mistake the race is amping up with fights over super delegates, the minority vote, that's just for starters, how it's all playing out today in michigan and nevada next. i know how it is. you're all set to book a flight using your airline credit card miles. and surprise! those seats sometimes cost a ridiculous number of miles, making it really hard to book the flight you want. luckily, there's a better way... with the capital one venture card. with venture, you'll earn unlimited double miles on every purchase, every day. and when you're ready to travel, just book the flight you want, on any airline, then use your miles to cover the cost. now you're getting somewhere. what's in your wallet?
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church in las vegas they sat two aisles away from each other, spoke to the congregation, but according to reports not to each other. they are on the same page in going after latino and african-american voters. two blocks that will be key in the next two democratic nominating contests in nevada and south carolina. msnbc political reporter alex seitz-wald is covers the democratic presidential candidates but let's go first to reno, nevada and kristen welker. kristen, he thought that secretary clinton was supposed to be in florida today. has there been a schedule change and what's behind it? >> reporter: there has been, secretary clinton adding an extra day of campaigning here in nevada, chris. it's an indication that she is feeling the heat amid senator sanders' surge. she's intensifying her focus here, three events in the reno area today and she's also intensifying her focus on reaching out to those african-american and latino voters that you mentioned in
addition to that stop at the baptist church yesterday, chris, she also had an event with dreamers. she's released a number of campaign ads in spanish targeting that group and over the weekend, chris, she's rolling out a new line of attack that senator sanders is a single-issue candidate but she had a new twist on that line. take a listen to what she had to say. >> not everything is about an economic theory. right? if we broke up the big banks tomorrow, and i will if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, i will, would that end racism? would that end sexism? would that end discrimination against the lgbt community? would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight? >> reporter: and, chris, secretary clinton getting a little boost today, a group of ministers in flint, michigan, endorsing her saying that she's the only candidate who has
highlighted the water crisis there, that is of course an issue that resonates with african-american voters across the country and could help her in these larger more diverse states like nevada and like south carolina in particular. so the race heating up here in nevada with less than a week to go until the caucuses here. chris. >> it's fascinating to watch. so, alex, how is senator sanders responding to secretary clinton's latest comments. >> he's doing a classic move for a candidate who thinks they have been counted out, haven't been given a chance and is being attacked by a front runner which is basically to say this is good news. he's saying because hillary clinton is going after him it means she's nervous, she's concerned about his chances in nevada as kristen mentioned she'd adding campaign events there. there was one poll over the weekend not to totally trust but it shows the race tightening. he has picked up endorsements from dreamers in the state and there does seem to be some nervousness coming out of the clinton camp. look at specifically how he
responded, chris. >> you know, i've got to admit something. you know, this is obviously my first national campaign, but i am really stunned by some of the attacks that we're getting from secretary clinton. clearly they have been unraveled by the results in iowa, by our victory in new hampshire and by the progress that we're making all over this country. >> reporter: so this has been sanders' go-to response anytime he has been attacked by secretary clinton. so far not really taking on the content of her attack. we'll have to see if he does that moving on or if he will stick with this kind of claiming that any attack is a good attack against him because no one would have thought he would have been here a few months ago. >> alex seitz-wald, kristen welker, thanks to both of you. now, without justice scalia on the supreme court it's evenly split, four conservatives and four liberals. after the break we will talk about who president obama may pick to fill the vacancy and ted
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>> i think it will depend on what the president wants to accomplish with the nomination. right now it looks like there is no actual prospect that a nominee of the president will be confirmed. a lot of this may come down to a message that the president wants to send in favor of democrats for the general election and that would be a question of who he wants to talk to. is he trying to attract women, minorities, is he trying to send the message that he has the most qualified nominee? so it's a much more complicated nomination question than usual where you are just looking for the person who is most suited to the supreme court. >> professor, do you agree that this is really for the president to send a message? >> no, i think the president has an obligation to try to actually fill the seat and whether that happens or not is not exactly in his control. so it's the senate who will confirm. he has to do the nomination and so i think trying to fill the seat and maybe in a way that ronald reagan did with justice kennedy with a more centrist candidate might be the approach
he should take. >> let's look at the rest of this list and see if these are truly legitimate contenders. mare receipt garland, d.c. court of appeals, the california attorney general, jacquelyn wynn, three senators, amy klobuchar, amy booker. >> let me add, jane kelly, judge jane kelly on the 8th circuit, judges like judge kelly and judge srinvasan not confirmed in the senate by enormous margins, 96-0, 97-0. it would be difficult for senators to come along now and suggest that they are unqualified to serve on the supreme court. and they're both going to be a little more centrist type candidates than maybe justice sowed my i don't remember or justice aylan in a kagan were. >> the two the president has successfully put on the court. >> tom, you wrote yesterday, quote, it is impossible to
overstate the importance of ted cruz who will make the appointment a central issue in the campaign. here is part of what he said on "meet the press" yesterday. >> just as ronald reagan was to the presidency so antonin scalia was to the supreme court. he had that big an impact and i think his passing yesterday really underscores the stakes of this election. we are facing our fundamental rights in a balance. >> one of the things that has made sim such a divisive figure as you might know on capitol hill is the fact that he has really come in as a freshman senator and sort of changed the rules and stuck to his guns. what kind of influence do you think he can have on this debate? >> what he's going to do is it's going to make it virtually impossible for any republican senator to be willing to vote in favor of an obama nominee and maybe even to cast a vote at all. he's going to really make it a litmus test for adherence to conservative principles that
there would be a firm line against any democratic appointee replacing justice scalia and that's going to put republicans in a box, in a difficult situation in which any republican senator will face a conservative primary challenger if they're willing to take any nominee seriously. >> but do you think, tom, there's virtually no chance that we get a nominee before the election? >> you will get a nominee but you won't get a filled seat. i just cannot see any scenario in which any republican senator is willing to say not just that they will end a filibuster, for example, by other republicans or that they will vote in favor of a nominee. that seat is going to be open when the next president is confirmed. >> any chance that it gets filled before the next president? >> yes, i think there is a chance. it's the obligation of the senate to provide advice and consent. it would be unprecedented simply for purposes of holding over to the next election for the senate to refuse to nominate, for that to be the basis for the refusal
to nominate. a candidate -- to confirm a candidate and if you choose someone like judge kelly on the 8th circuit, for example, which is in senator grassley's -- it would be difficult for him not to try to shepherd this through the process as well. >> you are going to have some interesting conversations with your classes come youing up, always great to see you. up next, we will take a closer look at george w. bush's appearance later today here in south carolina on the stump for his brother jeb. donald trump as you know has been attacking jeb bush over his family's involvement in the campaign, but the former governor says he's proud of his brother's service. >> i'm running for president based on my own merits but the fact that he's supporting me will add value to the primary. seizing opportunity. and i'd like to... cut. so i'm gonna take this opportunity to direct. thank you, we'll call you. evening, film noir, smoke, atmosphere...
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just hours from now, former president george w. bush will be hitting the campaign trail with his brother for the first time. the two will appear at a rally in north charleston, 6:00 tonight, and jeb bush spoke about that public reunion on the "today" show this morning. >> this will be the first time he's gotten involved. i respect the fact that he has been out of the political fray. that's a good tradition. but like president clinton, i guess, supporting his spouse, and you know, he wants to help his brother. i don't have a problem with that at all. i'm proud of his service. i'm proud of my family's service. >> let me bring in state house reporter for south carolina bfs courier, suncynthia, and report for wis, jack kunsy. good to see both of you. you wrote about what this is going to be like tonight. what does it mean here in south carolina? >> it means a lot. the bushes have a strong family name in south carolina.
they're very popular. >> can they fill that huge venue, 14,000? >> that's what we're hearing. there's a possibility it could draw thousands. when we reported on friday that george w. bush was returning, i got dozens of phone calls from people who wanted to know how to get to the event. and they were very excited about it, and i got phone calls through the weekend about it. >> even here in columbia, which is how far of a drive? >> two hours. >> the washington post points out, the former president's approval rating among south carolina republicans stands at 84%. according to a private poll commissioned two months ago by a former state gop chairman. but jack, i wonder, does that translate? does it mean votes for jeb bush? >> that's the big question. i think george w. bush is still very popular in south carolina, but it almost seems like this is almost a desperation move by the jeb bush campaign to try to move those numbers in the polls because to this point, most of
the polling has been fairly consistent, i mean, the best polling result he's gotten so far is by the south carolina gop, at 13%. and you know, at that same poll, donald trump was polling almost three times as much. so i think that the bush campaign here is trying to pull out all the stops to move the numbers off of where they have been. >> they did, i think, feel like the campaign feels they got some help with the last couple debates. this debate, i don't know if part was driven by the death of antonin scalia, but the numbers were so enormous. 13.5 million viewers, and we saw this back and forth between trump and jeb bush, about weapons of mass destruction, donald trump going after george w. in a really pointed way. some people are questioning whether that's a great strategy. will that play here? could it hurt donald trump? >> it just seems like the voters who support donald trump are not the same as jeb bush's.
and bush is kind of making a play for third place in south carolina. it doesn't seem like south carolina is interested right now in his campaign proposal. they're more interested in the economy and the idea of bringing jobs back to the state. that's what donald trump is promoting. bush is hoping to end -- to fare well in south carolina, potentially a third place, to place him in the position that gives him a momentum boost to continue on to other states and see where it goes fraumg there. >> when you look at the huge numbers, you're looking at national numbers, jack, so we don't know how many of those folks are in south carolina or nevada, for that matter. with the popularity that george w. bush still holds here and the entire bush family, could what happened on saturday night backfire on donald trump? >> it's possible, but every time everybody predicts donald trump says the thing that is going to blow up his campaign, nothing seems to happen. there's still that element of the voting population that is
very unhappy with the establishment. they see jeb bush as part of that establishment. maybe his brother as part of that establishment. so does donald trump suffer by attacking either of the bushes? it's not clear. >> in ten seconds as you're both south carolinians and report on this, how big will the turnout be? >> very substantial for the republicans. >> huge? >> thousands. i'm voting thousands. >> all right. cynthia and jack, thanks to both of you for coming in today. be sure koo keep it right here. i'll be anchoring special coverage of the jeb bush rally featuring george w. bush. that's tonight, 6:00 p.m. eastern time, 3:00 p.m. pacific. that's going to do it for me this hour. i'm chris jansing live from the liberty tap room in columbia, south carolina. i'll see you back here 1:00 eastern time and again, 6:00 p.m. for the coverage of president george w. bush's campaign appearance for his brother. my colleague ari melber is up next who is watching for a town hall with john kasich live from allendale, michigan.
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you switch to geico. oh ohhhhh it's what you do. ohhhhhh! do you have to do that right in my ear? good monday morning to you. i'm ari melber in new york. we have special coverage in the fallout to justice scalia's death and reaction all across the campaign trail. john kasich about to speak on the stump in michigan. we'll bring any major news from him to you live. we also have reaction on the supreme court battle from jeb bush and ted cruz, speaking out this morning. as for the democrats, the president shooting down any idea that he should sit this fight out. >> we should not allow a lame duck president to essentially capture the supreme court. >> it's called delay, delay, delay. >> i plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor. >> it appears that some of my
republican colleagues in the senate have a very interesting view of the constitution. >> there shouldn't be an obama justice should not be appointed in an election year. >> see, this is what everyone is talking about. we have the latest on the political and legal battle from our reporters in the field, including what happens now that the court is missing a decisive vote and how this unexpected vacancy roiling the campaign debates. we begin with justice correspondent pete williams in washington who has been reporting on the story since rumors of justice scalia's death first began circulating on saturday. what can you tell us about the funeral plans? >> we're waiting to hear. it's up to the family. injustice' body was brought here overnight from texas where he died apparently of a heart attack saturday, friday night into saturday morning. it's going to be up to the family. they probably will be a church service of some kind, and then if the family likes, he could
lie in state in the great hall of the supreme court building. that's been an honor given to justices in the past. the last time that was done was about a decade ago for chief justices william rehnquist. that's a family decision and we hope to find out in the next day or so when that will be. the justices are in their mid-winter break, so they're very often off doing speeches and traveling around the country. but they do have a conference previously scheduled for this friday. so they would be coming back here into washington toward the end of the week anyway. so that may be something to factor into the planning. >> and you mentioned the ceremonial opportunities there, when chief justice rehnquist passing, walk us through who that works. who tends to go to pay their respects, if that is the case, if he is in the great hall? >> well, when it was done for the chief justice william rehnquist, it's open to the
public. and the casket is in the great hall, which is that magnificent space when you're looking at the supreme court building, if you went up the big stairs in front of the building, the big bronze doors. just inside there is the great hall. that's the part of the building that separates the ceremonial entrance from the actual entrance to the courtroom itself, deep inside the building. but that would be open to the public. there would be pallbearers that would bear it in, and then it would be open to the public. so we just don't know if that's how it's going to work, but that's how it could work. >> as you're speaking, we have been looking at footage both of the cars that returned to justice scalia's body there as well as the half-staff flag there at the supreme court. returning to the other big part of this conversation, pete, who might fill this vacancy. for folks who aren't as familiar with the process, walk us through who could fill the vacancy. you don't need to be a judge or
a lawyer. justice scalia celebrated as a long-standing judge as well as a professor and celebrated writer and intellectual. but the president could look very widely, yes? >> he could. and the president has talked about that. all the current justices and this goes back several decades, all of the current justices are -- were judges in the federal appeals courts or lower courts. you have to go back to sandra day o'connor for someone who had a political background. but she was also a judge in arizona. and there's been talk about trying to get more diversity on the court, someone who didn't just go to harvard or yale or stanford law school, and then be an appeals court judge. having someone from a broader background would help. we always hear that sort of discussion whenever there's a vacancy on the court, but the problem is that if you look at the past, there have been some famous people who had political backgrounds like earl warren, but that was in a period before
supreme court nominations and confirmations became so highly contentious. and now, to look at a person's record, you almost have to have somebody who has some judicial experience to be able to get them through the senate. so who knows? you're right. the president has that option. you don't have to be a lawyer to be on the supreme court. you certainly don't have to be a judge. but that has been the pattern. and it's sort of the safe place to go. >> then, pete, the names that are circulating. and most of this is just speculation, although some of it is speculation from very knowledgeable people. tom goldstein, the supreme court litigator who runs scotus blog who you have interviewed and worked with, has written several posts already looking at people, and looked at folks from the d.c. circuit, considered one of the main courts, and as well as people inside the administration. what are some of the names that are out there. >> so, tom goldstein nailed it a couple years ago with his
prediction way out in front of everybody that elena kagan would be the next supreme court justice. i think the piece he wrote on scotus blog said when the supreme court term begins in october, ruth bader ginsburg will turn and look at elena kagan and smile. he was exactly right. who knows now. he mentioned sri srinivasan and patricia mallet, who were two appeals courts here, which by the way, is the appeals court from which justice scalia came to the court, and also ruth bader ginsburg and chief justice john roberts. it is considered to be sort of the prestige appeals court of all of them. but there are lots of other people, and who knows what sort of factors the president is thinking about, whether this is going to be somebody that he will try to choose the safest possible nominee that will have the most possible republican support to try to get confirmed or just say, you know, let's swing for the fences and choose someone who would be more like
elena kagan or sonia sotomayor. >> pete williams in washington, thank you. we'll go back to you throughout the day, i'm sure. we go to ron allen. president obama there hosting a summit before he come back to washington. you're at the place where the pres came out and made some of those impromptu remarks. what have we learned about his thinking and the administration's approach to one of the most long standing decisions you ever make as president, who goes on the court? >> well, we're hoping to find out more from the president. he has a press conference tomorrow. we hope to have a briefing today from some of his top aides. it's unclear exactly what he is going to do. we think that he will nominate someone once the senate returns around february 22nd. and we think that he's going to do it quickly to take away the argument that there isn't enough time for the senate to act on this nominee. and as pete was laying out, very clearly there are a lot of options from swinging for the fences to a more traditional nominee like someone from the
appeals court. someone who has been approved by the senate recently and some of them unanimously to take away the argument that these are people who haven't been carefully vetted and who haven't -- don't have the qu qualifications for this particular post. this is going to be bare knuckle hardball politics going forward for the next year of the president's time in office. he, of course, is concerned about his legacy. he has an opportunity here to make a profound mark on the supreme court. and of course, the president and republicans in the congress have not gotten along. that's putting it very mildly. >> here's what eric schultz, deputy spokesman who of course briefs on the road when you're out there, given the senate is currently in recess, we don't expect the president to rush this through this week but instead will do so in due time once the senate returns from their recess. so ron, a little bit, if you want to read between the lines, he's saying don't rush me. you guys are on vacation. as you say, we're going to get right to it.
so doing what we reporters sometimes do, how do we turn those words into facts? does that sound to you like a two-week windo, a three-week window? when will we get something? >> the senate comes back february 22nd. that's a week there. it's my sense that the president is going to act sooner rather than later. he's not going to let this linger for a long time. and of course, he's appointed a couple other supreme court nominees over the years. so there's a list there, a group of people who has been vetted, a group of people in the pipeline, if you will. here's some of what the president had to say the other night after the death of justice scalia about his timing. >> i plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. there will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. >> and just for context, that statement was made saturday night right after statements by the gop leadership, mitch
mcconnell and others saying they were going to essentially put this thing on hold. so the president responded quickly, coming right out saturday night while here essentially on vacation before the summit to make the point that he's going to do this and do it quickly. so again, quite a fight ahead. an epic battle ahead. >> ron allen, thank you as always. we go to peter alexander, again, getting this from all angles. you're in charleston, south carolina. i think it's fair to see you and i might agree that last week, this was not the number one issue on the campaign trail. justice scalia's sudden death has made it. >> yeah, i think that's exactly right. the power of the pick as it were has definitely poured gasoline on what are already fiery feuds across the republican feed right now. we heard from ted cruz, marco rubio again this morning, all speaking out on this topic. cruz basically saying he believes that this election should be a referendum on the supreme court. both cruz and marco rubio reiterating their belief system that the senate should not
confirm any obama nominee, in this, his final and eighth year of his presidency right now. so obviously, what it does is sort of reiterates a point that a lot of these candidates have tried to make in the course of the campaign, which is the significance, the consequences of the decision being made by the american voters next up here in south carolina. ted cruz insisting that these voters cannot crust donald trump, that he would appoint a liberal to the bench. trump obviously having his own opinion about that, naming a serieses of conservative federal court judges he believes would be best suited to fill the slot. as cruz says, we need a true conservative on the bench. that's an argument that pretty much all the candidates are trying to make right now. >> you mention that, and there is ideology and different folks in the republican primary saying they are, as ted cruz put it, the true conservative. and then there's just knowledge and experience, which of course, also comes up. ted cruz is the super lawyer of the republican party. i mean, i don't think anyone can
claim in this race they know the court better than he does. walk us through whether that matters because he is still trailing donald trump. this is an area where i think even trump would admit he's relying on his adviser. when he said bill briar and diane psychos, i don't think they said, oh, yeah, i'm sure donald trump has read their opinions. they said, this is an example of his managerial process. he came up with strong pro-life, very conservative names to show that he has some way of reaching these decisions. >> yeah, i think you make a good point there. obviously, ted cruz was a law clerk for the justice william rehnquist. he obviously has a relationship to the court and as an attorney knows it perhaps better than anybody else in the field right now. all of them are making arguments about what they believe would be the best selections going forward. jeb bush being forced to defend his own brother's selection of justice john roberts right now. because of the fact that on the topic of obamacare, roberts ultimately sided with the more
liberal leaning view and allowed obamacare to stick. donald trump is blaming george w. bush and in effect, jeb bush for that, and also blamic ted cruz who sided with george w.'s selection of justice roberts when that was the topic at hand. each of these different candidates is trying to sort of put up their best credentials, saying i have the best judgment in terms of a selection as they go forward and make what will be a consequential pick. >> i want to add to the conversation mike sacks who is a reporter with the national law journal and a jd himself. you have been listening a little to our conversation. what do you make of that and the notion this is a chance for ted cruz politically to say even if all the guys might pick similar nominees on the republican side, he's the one who knows of what he speaks? >> of course, he's the one who knows of what he speaks. it would make massive hay if gop voters in the primaries were turned on to the supreme court.
luckily for ted cruz, h historical historically, gop voters are turned on to the supreme court. i think he will be able to get some steam behind that, but donald trump has been the juggernaut all along. whether cruz can puncture trump, we don't know. >> what do you make of the john roberts issue that peter was mentioning? on the one hand, chief justice john roberts has been an archconservative chief justice on issues of corporations, on free speech and deregulating campaign finance, on voting rights issues with he has argued and embraced federalist society conservative arguments, that the voting rights act which protects therectomi rights of black vote gone on too long without an update. not that it was constitutional, but it had outlived some of its application, basically. on a lot ofissues, mike, chief justice john roberts has been a conservative. but not conservative enough
according to some of these candidates. >> john roberts, twice over by upholding obamacare. what happens now with who is acceptable for republicans, you kind of have to go to someone like robert bork or justice samuel alito. that will be difficult for a democratic president such as obama to put forward to the senate. who at all could obama put forward that would even in some measure make chuck grassley, the chairman of the senate judiciary committee or mitch mcconnell go back on their stances that they're not going to hear confirmation hearings of any nominee obama puts forward. if john roberts is too liberal for that, who's acceptable? >> before we go, trump speaking at 2:00 p.m. what do we expect there? >> well, he has a news conference at 2:00 p.m. he made this announcement late yesterday. of course, today's headline, everybody anticipated, would be the return of george w. bush to the campaign trail. that scheduled for 6:00 this
evening. a rally with the two brothers standing sigh-by-side on the campaign trail for the first time. once again, donald trump has inserted himself into what would be a bush day, as it were, and a lot of the focus will be on donald trump again. i just checked his twitter and he has effectively trolled the bush family and jeb bush as well as his brother three times in the last four hours. again, he's sort of managed to find a way to insert himself into the conversation of the day, as he did in the debate. whether you agree or disagree about the argument he made about the consequences of george w. bush's presidency in terms of the world trade center, the iraq war and the economic collapse, trump brought that up and made it an issue that he is now a part of on a day where most of the focus will be on the past presidency. >> struck a nerve there. peter, what everyone thinks of donald trump, there's no denying the man knows how to tweet. thanks for joining us from the road. >> it's a busy preside's and who has theen momentum right no in nevada. we'll dig into that. go behind the headlines after a
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nevada's democratic caucuses are now just five days away. and it is really unclear at this point who has the advantage there. bernie sanders or hillary clinton. so the state is known to be difficult to survey. and at this point, there's no, quote, reliable polling out of there. all of this with nevada seen as critical ground for clinton to win after sanders landslide victory in new hampshire last week. joining me live now, john rolston, covering nevada politics for more than 25 years. he's only 27. he's the host of rolston live, which airs state-wide, and now an msnbc political analyst. so happy to have you on the team, john. let's talk about the headlines right now. as we mentioned, there's no, quote, reliable polls right now that we are pointing to, but what do you see as the headline? >> well, the headline here is that hillary, tamron, had a huge
head-start here. her campaign started here last spring. they reached out to latino community. they did a lot of events. she hired very, very smart, savvy operatives from 2008 here from the clinton and obama campaign. she had surrogates coming in. sanders didn't even arrive here until october, immediately had a campaign shake-up. doesn't have the same kind of people with imbued knowledge of nevada, but clearly, there is momentum now for the sanders campaign coming out of the big new hampshire win. it's clear that hillary clinton's internal polls show hemorrhaging here, which is why her campaign initially tried to lower expectations here. i still think that she has an organizational, institutional advantage. she has all of the unions accept the culinary union, which is staying neutral. seic just went on the air with spanish language ads on tv and radio, but i think they're worried about sanders' momentum.
he does have a lot of people on the ground, and remember, there's same-day registration for that caucus on saturday. a lot of new voters are going to come into the mix. i think the clinton campaign should be worried that those are sanders voters. >> if she is in fact hemorrhaging as it appears why she added the extra day, what groups or where do you see bernie sanders being able to really pick up some steam? >> well, i think that his appeal here is the same as it is everywhere. i was at a rally yesterday where he gave a very long speech in a high school gymnasium, the same bernie sanders stump speech, but it was a very diverse crowd, tamron. much more so than i have seen at some of his rallies. a lot of young people, a lot of young latinos in the group. she is speaking this afternoon here in reno, kristen welker will be there as well. she's right in what she senses is going on with as you mentioned hillary cancelling the florida events.
that's at a community college. i believe she needs to cut into the younger demographic, needs to get the millennials to support her, because that's where she's been hurting in campaign across the board. >> we have seen that generational divide, and the story line that will likely follow the two of them for some time now, until the end. actually, but let's talk about the latino votes. 19% of all nevada voters in 2012, obama won 71% of nevada's latino vote in 2012, versus 24% of romney votes. how have we seen the campaigns really try to tailor their message to that 19%? as we have seen a tailoring of the message quite honestly in south carolina when it came to the black vote, and the same thing in michigan right now with bernie sanders on the ground in detroit right now. >> yeah, there's a real pitch battle for the latino vote, and as you mentioned, the percentages just slightly under that, about 15% in the caucus
here in 2008. they're expecting probably similar numbers. as i said, hillary clinton had a lot of these latino endorsements early on. got very prominent dreamers here to do a press conference endorsing her. then sanders has essentially gotten some lesser known latino leaders includingflores, a former assembly woman running for congress this time. there's been actually public disputes over members of that steering committee defecting to hillary clinton's campaign, releasing a private e-mail to show who this person really likes. you can tell that both campaigns really want to win the latino vote. if it's close here, as i think it may be, that 15% or so that's the latino vote, could be very, very important. >> lt, john. we'll see you a lot more on msnbc. we're happy about that. thank you very much. and developing now, senator ted cruz and his -- one of his biggest supporters, certainly
one of the loudest, glenn beck, set to hold a campaign event in south carolina this hour. this weekend, beck questioned donald trump's christian values. even called him a negative influence among many other things. it will be interesting to hear what glenn beck has to say when that show continues. meanwhile, in just a few minutes, donald trump is set to hold a town haul. this is what you're looking at. this is in mt. pleasant, south carolina. as mentioned, later today, trump is going to hold a news conference. his campaign not giving us any information on the topics of this news conference, we'll see how that shakes up. we'll be back after a quick break. thank you for calling. we'll be with you shortly. yeah right... xerox predictive analytics help companies provide a better and faster customer experience. hello mr. kent. can i rebook your flight? i'm here! customer care can work better. with xerox. wait i'm here! mr. kent?
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beck. now, it's one of three events he's holding in the state ahead of the rally. he also called an impromptu press conference. vaughn hillyard was there. i understand the headlines, cruz still going after donald trump. >> hi, tamron. cruz is about to take the stage any moment. we had a gaggle that went on for 20 minutes. this is a candidate who is in all in this state. he's talked this entire time about building a national operation to go beyond iowa, go beyond new hampshire. this is a place where on paper he should win. a large evangelical population, just as much as iowa. he's got a ground organization of about 10,000 volunteers. they brought up glenn beck, the conservative stars. this is a place where on paper he should pull off a victory. but what we're seeing is donald trump is still up in the polls. still having these rallies. and that's where ted cruz, he's released several different ads
in the last 48 hours, ads going after him on who he would nominate to the supreme court, suggesting that donald trump is somebody who has been pro-abortion, anti-traditional marriage. this is a place where ted cruz, if he's able to pull off south e rest of the way. >> thank you very much, we'll keep an eye on the event. we're expected to get started with glenn beck and ted cruz also coming up. republican senator ted cruz, marco rubio, clashing over immigration, even having a spanish showdown in the middle of the debate. rubio claims cruz doesn't speak spanish. it played out in a very interesting way considering the back and forth right now over immigration. we'll play that moment and talk about it. that's next. ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪
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senator ted cruz there on stage as one of the events he's hosting in south carolina with glenn beck and then on the other side of this screen, the folks are sitting in that nice little room. that's donald trump's town hall. that's in mount pleasant, south carolina. these men are duking it out on the gop side. donald trump still has a sizable lead in that state on the gop. and then hillary clinton on the democratic side, no one is giving up at this point. marco rubio and ted cruz clashed over immigration reform in saturday's gop debate. as he repeatedly slammed, cruz did, for comprehensive immigration reform in 2014. joining is janet, president and ceo of the national council of the nation's largest national latino civil rights and advocacy organization. thank you so much for joining us, janet. let me play this moment, this exchange which is so interesting between the senators over immigration and spanish. let's play it.
>> marco went on univision in spanish and said he would not rescind the ak necessita amnest. >> i don't know how he knows what i said because he doesn't speak spanish. [ speaking foreign language ] >> and then how incredible it was to have a spanish duel between the two of them. >> well, it was incredible, but i'll tell you, i don't think they were helping themselves. when latino voters here are basically a contest between two candidates, hispanic, by the way, who are trying to outdo themselves in terms of who can be more anti-immigrant. that's not a great message as it relates to hispanic voters and latina voters. and i guess i would just say i am not sure if it's a winning
message when it comes to the broader republican party as a whole. one statistic that got overlooked coming out of new hampshire in an exit poll is that 56% of republicans in exit polls show that they support a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants. >> which is a great number to highlight, but we know that at this stage, it really is about the base. but when you look at, again, as you point out the overall number of gop voters, there seems to be an opening for some type of path, some type of compromise, but you would not know that from listening to the series of debates that have been held. >> that's absolutely right. i think it's a real mistake for these candidates to be so entrenched in this anti-immigrant and what's coming across to many latino voters as anti-latino. it's a very unwelcoming message,
and it's one that's really creating a sense of hostility. and for our latino voters, that is not what is going to inspire them and in fact, when you're seeing is that more and more, particularly in states like nevada now, where there is more of a diverse electorate, there's going to be a lot more incentive for hispanic voters to turn out and to weigh in, and to make sure that their views are known on the candidates that support the positions that are more inclusive and reflect their positions and values. >> well, thank you so much for joining us, janice. it's been noted the latino vote, the sleeping giant that can be awakened at any moment and see who gets to play for that important vote. thank you so much, we greatly appreciate your time. that does it for this hour of "msnbc live." i'm tamron hall. thank you so much for joining. i'll be back with thomas roberts at 3:00 p.m. eestern time. thop thomas, on the ground in south carolina, andrea mitchell reports next.
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right now, antonin scalia's death. the hot button issues like abortion and immigration hanging in the balance. >> we're advising that a lame duck president in an election year is not going to be able to tip the balance of the supreme court. >> i think it's up to mitch mcconnell and everybody else to stop it. it's called delay, delay, delay. >> the president has the right and responsibility to nominate a new supreme court justice, which he has said he will do. the united states senate has the constitution to act. >> the supreme court of the united states has nine members,
not eight. we need that ninth member. >> just ahead the top democrat, senator pat glahe. the bushes team up to take on donald trump, round two in their escalating war. >> while donald trump was building a reality tv show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe, and i'm proud of what he did. he's had the gal. >> the world trade center came down. >> hold on. >> who's had the gal to go after my mother? >> i won the lottery, i looked and saw my mom. she was the strongest mom i know. >> and power. could hillary clinton woo young voters? "saturday night live" plays a different tune. >> i love bernie's whole vibe.
♪ i can make you love me if you don't ♪ >> and good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. well, he was the most consequential supreme court justice of his generation and conservative thinker, influencing judges and lawyers throughout the country. now his passing becomes the critical fault line in the presidential election with shock waves that could affect who wins the white house, who controls the senate, and hot button issues. justice scalia found saturday morning on a texas resort ranch died of an apparent heart attack. he would have turned 80 next month. his home back in virginia and arriving at airport last night draped in an american flag. the loss of this solidly conservative voice could easily change the balance on the court. he was known for his wit, his passion, and combative style.
something he displayed from the first oral argument 29 years ago. all this sets up a huge political battle in the race for the white house. i'm joined now by nbc justice correspondent veteran court watcher, pete williams. pete, can't overstate the impact of antonin scalia's judicial thinking over the decades. >> in a couple of ways. he enlightened oral argument but pushed the court to get away from the idea long standing that you could interpret a federal law by what the members of congress meant, what their intent was. he skocoffed at that. it matters in the words of the s stat statute. they was very critical of that idea, and i think the court came around to that. >> in looking at the things written about him, i was struck by an article yesterday about how in his first oral argument,
justice leader with thurgood marshall was scalia asked so many questions and justice powell leans over to thurgood marshall and said, do you think he knows the rest of us are here? >> he continued that until his final oral argument on the court. he was a spirited person. sometimes, oral argument is a way that justice s talk to each other. he sort of threw out softballs to the lawyers he was trying to favor to kind of help them. little lifelines to rescue them from where their argument was going and get them back on track. so he was a very energetic participant and oral argument. >> the friendship with ruth baderginebade bade ginsburg. what she said in the statement was they not only shared new year's eve but two couples who vacationed together. who traveled together. they went to opera. but she also listened to him.
>> i thought her statement was very touching, andrea. she said we were best buddies. she certainly wrote her statement from the heart. but when she and the other justices said was, our opinions when we were in the majority and he was decembissenting, always better. he forced us to be better. >> that said, he was also criticized by some for the patronizing way he took after sandra day o'connor. >> he once said sandra made a majority opinion, can't be taken seriously. and said those remarks, he didn't think stung because people would be equal opportunity zingers, they would give it right back. but i suspect that sometimes those barbs did wound a bit. >> when we think about the court without him, right now, it's tied at 4-4. any decision he participated in oral argument cannot be, if it is tied, cannot stand.
>> his vote won't count in decisions that have already been in the process. the case has been argued. the court has taken an initial vote. and they're working on the opinion now. his votes won't count. if there are any cases of him casting a deciding vote, they can lead to a tie on those and we may have 4-4 ties comes up a that normally is 5-4. they could either issue a tie, no power whatsoever. basically affirms the lower court decision. who won below still wins or the court could say, you know what? we're going to order this case to be reordered for the next term. they may do that. they may do that quite a bit. they could put these cases on the shelf and put them down when the time comes. if that happens, you'd see a couple of consequences.
president obama with his only chance to go ahead and enforce his new immigration policy, was if the supreme court were to overturn the lower courts that have put it on hold. that now doesn't seem very likely. also, this big tough abortion law out of texas, the court may leave that in place. so it casts a big cloud of uncertainty over the rest of this term. >> and ted cruz right now is a member of the judiciary committee in south carolina talking about scalia. let's listen for a moment. >> the nomination in election year and now it's started. [ applause ] >> this is the people on this side. i intend to make 2016 a referendum on the u.s. supreme court. [ applause ] >> so ted cruz saying he's going to make this a referendum on the supreme court, thanks to you pete williams for teeing this up. i'm joined by top democrat,
former judiciary chairman, pat leahy from vermont. you heard our conversation a little bit of ted cruz, but i think you know where he stands on this. the fact is before the court had even announced that justice scalia died, it had been announced by the texas governor, but mitch mcconnell the senate republican leader, majority leader, came out and said there would be no action. i assume no committee action on the nominee and no vote. >> actually, what senator mcconnell and all the people that are the huge number of candidates who are in the debate the other night, they were talking from a republican playbook. i think we ought to talk about this. the constitution of the united states. the constitution of the united states says, the president shall nominate justices to the supreme
court and then the senate to vote, advise, and consent. it would be the height of irresponsibility for the republican leadership not to have a vote on a nominee from the president. we have had numerous times in our history that there's been a confirmation of a justice in the final year of a presidency. most recently, when president reagan, the democrats were in charge, president reagan's nominee was voted in the last year of his presidency. and we kept it out of politics. i believe it went through unanimously. >> tony was nominated in '87 and confirmed in '88. a longer lead time. >> yeah, but it's basically the same thing because if the democrats run the kind of attitude that the republicans are, he never would have had a
vote. and simply voted unanimously. this country has not gone with the yearlong vacancy on the supreme court since the civil war. yet we've had numerous vacancies filled in the final year of a president's term. beginning, of course, the first time with president washington, but republican, democratic president since. it would be the height of irresponsibility. and it's not as though we don't have time. the republicans have set more recesses this year than i've ever seen in my years in the senate. cancel a couple of those. bring us back. we get paid the same whether we're there or not. bring us back, let us do our job, and vote on a nominee. what kind of impression do you think we are giving to the rest of the world when our federal judiciary which is usually held
up as the gold standard for the whole world is suddenly thrust into such politics? i can't say i don't think the late justice scalia would want to see that. it is wrong. it is not responsible. it's beneath our country. it's beneath the united states senate. >> would you be arguing it the other way if it were a republican president and a republican senate holding up on a potential democratic nominee and the balances of the court were in -- >> you mean a republican president with a democratic senate? >> well, we -- yeah, i've been there in that situation. the president was named ronald reagan. the democrats were in the majority. and in the last year of his presidency, we put his nomination, his nominee through. and then that nominee couldn't have been in the balance of the
court. the fact is, i think of all the leaders i have known in the senate since i came to hugh scott for the republicans, the democrats, i have never heard any republican or democratic leader of the senate suggest doing something like this. it's unprecedented. it's pure politics. and the supreme court, of all places, should not be tied up in politics. and then they talk about what's the responsibility of the president? remember, president obama was elected. he was elected twice, the last time with a 5 million vote plurality. and everybody knew in voting for him, he might be nominating members of the supreme court. i don't see a ted cruz getting his 5 million vote plurality.
i commend the president for wanting to do his job. >> let's go behind the scenes, pull back the curtain a bit. you were in the white house. say you're the white house council. there are a number of people who have been named who were unanimously approved for the dc circuit within the last couple of years. they have stellar records. one even worked for george w. bush's white house, would that be top of mind to present someone so universally admired to be hard for republicans in the senate to not back down from this demand? >> well, i think there are a lot of people that would fit that bill, whether they would be responsible in this or not, i'm going to be talking with the president in vermont and i'll be going back. he'll be coming back from the conference he has, the asian conference. and we will sit down and talk about just some names, but he's got some names in mind. and it's finally in the final analysis. it's his decision.
but keep in mind, not since the civil war has this country gone a year without a full membership on the supreme court. of course, that was because of the civil war. we've come a long way in the united states of america since the civil war. let's not go back to that precedent. it makes no sense. >> what would be some names that might come to mind? >> well, i'm glad you asked that. i'll be sure to tell some of them to the president. >> i thought that would be the answer. senator leahy, as always, thank you. good to see you, sir. >> good talking with you. up next, the tag team. president george w. bush stepping back into the ring to help jeb take on donald trump. we're live on the trail. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc, the place for politics. or across the globe in under an hour.
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this is the first time he'll be involved. i respect him being out. that's a good tradition. but like president clinton supporting his spouse and, you know, he wants to help his brother. i'm proud of his service. i'm proud of my family's service. george bush is joining his brother in the fight against donald trump. nbc's peter alexander in charleston, south carolina. great to see you. this is after the debate, and trump, because of the popularity of the bush family in south carolina, went really far out on a limb against the bushes, and particularly, attacking him
for 9/11 saying that they are lies, he was responsible for 9/11. he could have prevented it, should have prevented it. what's your reaction down there? >> reporter: well, i think he, in effect, pre-butted. he tried to make it 45 out of his younger brother, george w. bush's, i should say. but he came out swinging, obviously, in that debate, donald trump. we expect to hear him in a short time from now in this location. this is a city hall about 15 miles north of charleston in a community relevant to this conversation because this is one of the places where they have been considering, the pentagon has been considering relocating detainees from guantanamo. this is obviously a heated debate and an opportunity, perhaps, for donald trump to attack the bush family on the
topic of 9/11 and george w. bush, describing a disastrous war on iraq. andrea? >> let's take a look for those who may not have seen this saturday night debate, it was really heated. a fiery debate. let's watch. >> george bush made a mistake. they lied. they said there were weapons of mass destruction. >> i'm sick and tired barack obama blaming my brother for all the problems that he's had. and frankly, i could care less about the insults that donald trump gives to me. it's blood sport for him. and i'm glad he's happy about it. but i am sick and tired of him going after my family. >> the world trade center came down during your brother's reign. >> hold on. let me finish. he's had the gal to go after my brother.
>> trump was tweeting today. he said now that george bush is campaigning for jeb, is he fair game for questions about world trade center, iraq war, and ec - eco-economic collapse. and you're right, trump is not backing off. >>. >> reporter: he's expanding the debate. on iraq and weapons of mass destruction, the tweet indicates that donald trump is willing to hit george w. bush on the economic collapse that took place under his watch and saying because of george w. bush, the failure of the economy beneath and barack obama became president to provide us in the eyes of donald trump with what are the disastrous policies he believes the u.s. is now dealing with right now. it's obvious that donald trump wanted to focus on a positive campaign. he's called jeb bush a loser and low energy but spending a lot of energy on jeb bush himself.
andrea? >> reporter: peter alexander, thank you so much. coming up, game changer. how the unexpected supreme court vacancy is already reshaping the 2016 race. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" only on msnbc. it takes a lot of work... to run this business. i'm on the move all day long... and sometimes, i just don't eat the way i should. so i drink boost to get the nutrition that i'm missing. boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin d to support strong bones and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle. all with a great taste. i don't plan on slowing down any time soon. stay strong. stay active with boost. now try new boost® compact and 100 calories. they represent blood cells. and if you have afib-an irregular heartbeat that may put you at five times greater risk of stroke they can pool together in the heart, forming a clot that can break free
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with the goodness of active naturals® oat and 5 vital nutrients for healthier looking skin in just one day. healthy skin equals beautiful skin. and for shower softness, add the body wash, too! aveeno® naturally beautiful results® the political battle of replacing justice scalia could change the court's balance of power and women's rights to immigration. joining me, "washington post," lawyer, and not a lawyer but plays one on television. okay, senator leahy said it's been since the civil war that there was a vacancy for a year. you've come up with a more recent example, 1970 after richard nixon tried to put
haynesworth and carlswell on the court. >> that's what google tells me. haynesworth, carswell, blac blacksman. it leaves a bad position for the court, if i'm concerned. if this were that long and easily could be if you think about it. if the president doesn't name a successor, a president at the end of january would have to name a successor and go through confirmation hearings. that goes for longer than 391 days and affects potentially two full terms of the court. those are the stakes. >> you have gridlock in the court. you have gridlock in the senate. we've got blue state senators, purple state senators, i should say, up for reelection in ohio, pennsylvania, illinois, and wisconsin. so the senate is in balance as well. if there is independent voter
reaction against the gridlock, if the president does something that some are saying would be politically smart and nominate someone respond approach who had been reasonably, unanimously confirmed by this senate for federal judgeship. >> you could see the ads. why won't kelly let them have nine full members? these republican senators will have to choose between siding with their leadership, which says no vote, no confirmation. >> kelly already came out and said she will. >> and the president, somebody universally respected, not some liberal fire brand that sparks a big reaction from republicans. why, how do these republican senators in competitive races decide that it's not worth giving him a hearing? i think that's a politically tough spot for them to be in. >> senator leahy said he would be talking about a potential list to the white house, the president has his list already,
said leahy and presumably, will be reaching out to the warren hatches of the world and the senior republicans on the committee, and basically say, what will it take? >> what would it take? and the answer is, it's not at all clear despite the political pressures that this is doable. remember, the new normal in this senate isn't that you become a supreme court justice with 51 votes. it's that you need 61 votes to become a supreme court justice. not always true. judge bork was defeated without going through a filibuster. in any event. so the way to do this is perhaps two things. one, for the president to show good faith and then the other is to make a dual argument to senators. first, that voters will potentially punish them for not doing their jobs, and then se second, let's be serious. the control is up for grabs too. the senate could come back with
a democrat in there, a democratic president and a democratic senate and get a way worse nominee than from their point of view than the one that the president would send them. >> and let's talk about potential people mentioned. you know some of these people from your coverage as well. we're talking about patricia mallette and schweena vauson and garnett, older, jayne kelly. >> sure, there are a bunch of possibilities. some are people like garland, the chief judge of the federal appeals court here in washington, dc who has been praised by some conservatives in the past. he's older but might be a route to success. others are younger, but offer sort of interesting narrative-like stories. patricia mallette and shrina
shrina vason and people who are the attorney general like loretta lynch. >> she did not have an easy confirmation. it would be easier to have someone with some republican standing like sri srinivasan. >> it strikes me having been confirmed unanimously to a lower court position doesn't carry a lot of presidentia presidential. but i believe he wants someone confirmed or if he gives up and said, i'm going to do something to cause the most heartache, electoral heartache.
>> the union issue, abortion, immigration, tied up in a 4-4 split. and the lower court would prevail. >> that would put additional pressure on the senate to cooperate. if we have a series of 4-4 decisions, they're disappointing because of the fifth vote. some disappointing for liberals to go the other way. each time that happens, there will be the question, this doesn't have to be a tie if we had a ninth justice on the court. it seems that's one thing. i'm not saying it's easy or likely, but i think it's possible that the politics of this plays out and the nomination plays out to have confirmation hearings and a vote sometime this year. >> why not hold hearings? >> and donald trump is holding one in mt. pleasant, south carolina. >> they talked about water boarding. he was fumbling and mumbling and stumbling. and he couldn't answer because he was afraid, he thought water
boarding was tough and didn't know how to answer the question. you have to see it the really understand it. and then they went to me and say, what do you think? i think it's not tough enough. i would go a step above water boarding. i'd give a very fast answer. so ted is very weak on immigration. he's extremely weak on illegal immigration. if it weren't for me, you wouldn't even be talking about illegal immigration, just so you understand. you wouldn't be talking about. the reason i tell you, who wants to take $2 million worth of commercials when i have cameras to get the word around, will you please. for $2 million, i could probably get the word out but it's tough to fight a guy who says whatever he wants to say. but he's very weak on illegal. very, very weak. he was an amnesty guy, 100%. he said it. but he's probably in a certain way, the weakest on illegal
immigration. although, i would say that for jeb bush, who i don't think is going to do well even though his brother is in town, which is lovely. but ask why his brother won a salad all these years, why, but he's nice. i think he should have used his family a long time ago. i said, it's better than a hyphen. it's better than exclamation points. so i just want to say that when it comes to the other candidates, we will do a job. i'm not influenced at all by anything having to do with money. when i have to tell ford, you have to move back, we're not going to let you do this when they build a $2.5 billion plan, no commercial interests group. i know most of them. they're great. they do a great job. donald, we'd like $1 million for a month and then we think we can
convince them to do what you want to do. these are guys who are fantastic. but no good. no good for the country. i'm working for you. i'm not working for any of these people. and we have to do that. we have to do that. i actually, i actually said something, because i've turned down tens of millions. jeb raised $4.8 million and take a look at who some of rubio's donors are, by the way, ted cruz's donors. i mean, that's a who's who. when you look at the issues, you take a look at as an example, the gay marriage issue, and then look at who his donors are, ted look at what he said about gay marriage when he was in the law office in manhattan and what he said under a microphone when he deba didn't know the microphone was working. you look at what he said. well, they're politicians, that's what they are. they're politicians, but i never
realized because i have always known politicians are not so hot, but when you see it from this side, and i've heard complaints about this over the years, but never one like ted cruz. i heard complaints about this over the years, that they're extremely dishonest. they'll say anything. but i've never seen it this way. i would say we have a couple of others but they're not in the same category. and the worst is holding up a bible all the time, talking about how you're willing to lie about anything and then you hold up a bible. to me, it's no good. and that's why i'm doing better with evangelicals because he is, nationwide, i'm leading with evangelicals. as you know, i'm christian. i'm protestant, presbetarian and christianity is chopped away and things we have to find out about muslims, we have to find out. what's going on? the hatred, the level of hatred is incredible. and we have to do that.
i said it about christians, probably there would be no problem. but for some reason, and i think i know the reason, they are willing to take your tax exemption and tax status away from you if you talk. that happened during lyndon johnson's reign and i would put that back so fast, because i have so many great friends, jerry falwell jr., he endorsed me. and i said to him, you know, jerry, liberty university, amazing guy. the job they've done with liberty university is incredible and i said, what do you think it is? because i said, a lot of them, so many ministers endorsing them and friends and pastors, and they're all afraid to get too involved because they don't want to lose their tax exemption. i said, then you really have all of these people -- they don't care. they're at a point to have this happen.
but it was a serious problem. they're afraid to talk. if you think about it, you have the most powerful lobby, the biggest lobby in the united states. bigger than women and bigger than men. like 250 million christians, okay. more than we have in women. more than we have in men. but they're afraid to talk because if they talk, their tax exception is goi exemption is taken away. >> trying to appeal to the evangelical vote. focused on the south carolina primary. democrats are all about invest because before south carolina votes on the democratic side, they have to deal with the nevada caucuses. bernie sanders pouring big money into nevada, more than $2 million, more than hillary clinton who needs the victory badly to change the momentum after her defeat in new hampshire. >> everything in my political gut tells me that we have the momentum here in this state.
that if people come out in large numbers on caucus day, we're going to win here in nevada. >> john rossen, msnbc political analyst and host of ralston live. i have not seen real polling since they've been going head to head all weekend. >> polling has been a problem because turnout in the caucuses on both sides is relatively low. i think that what bernie sanders is say tlg is probably true. he is hoping because they're same-day registration here on saturday and registered 30,000 new voters of democrats did in 2008 when we first had the early state status that all of these thousands of new voters will be bernie sanders voters and he believes the higher the turnout, of same-day rej stranlts on saturday, the better chance he has.
he's feeling the momentum here and i think there is momentum here. i think the clinton campaign's behavior indicates they're concerned about it. so i think the turnout, i know it's the oldest cliche we talk about, right andrea, turnout is everything on saturday. >> and you had a chance to talk to secretary clinton over the weekend. let me play a little bit of that interview. >> you came here last year. you emphasized the states. outreach to the dreamer community. and suenlsuddenly, you're like, might lose here. >> i have a great campaign. but i love nevada and nevada was put into this early process because of diversity. >> so she is now right up against bernie sanders, a caucus
date that could advantage him because of how well he organized iowa, what do you think's going to happen? >> it's truly interesting, that was after days, you know, her staff trying to lower expectations here after she got crushed in new hampshire saying nevada is an 80% state and then see her in the interview essentially just repudiating her staff. she has a great organization out here. she hired the right people with a great infrastructure set up. but the momentum sanders has in this state. it's undeniable. you see it at a rally, a much more diverse crowd but the fact that hillary clinton cancelled events in florida today to stay in nevada, she's doing two events here in reno and one in elko, rarely visited by democrats in rural nevada, i
think that says that she knows she is, if not in trouble in nevada, has to shore up the base. seiu came in today and started running spanish language ads trying to shore up the latino vote. you could tell that the clinton campaign is concerned. >> thank you so much. john ralston in reno. can supreme court justice get elected in a year? you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc.
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final year of the presidency. >> a statistical rarity. a month short of his 80th birthday, marks only the time in more than 60 years an active supreme court justice died in office. and adds to the uncertainty about a successor. chris matthews is here, host of "hardball." he's got big choices. two senators and i believe republican as well as democratic members of the judiciary committee. ted cruz, of course, the most high profile person right now on judiciary. they said they won't even hold the hearing the republicans have, but there is a narrow owe where if he chooses someone so universally respected. he could dare not to change his mind. >> that's all true. i thought for the beginning of this, almost a decent march to rejection here within minutes of the announcement of judge scalia's death.
a communications director, they said, no way it will happen. so fast. they didn't have to coordinate to decide to reject. they all, to the last man or last woman, in fact, all said no. we're not going to have hearings or a vote. it's not like they're going to reject the nominee. they weren't going to consider the nominee. that's strong stuff. goes to the chair of the committee and right down the line. >> grassley up for reelection in iowa. they think the political winds are blowing, so the purple state, new hampshire, you can look at the election returns from primary and the independent and republican voters are, you know, swinging this year. >> it's almost symmetrically polarized. guns versus gun safety. abortion rights versus life, if you will. all of those. but there's one i think the people want to see some action on by this court. at some point, citizens united.
i think that doesn't work both ways. i don't think there's a big constituency for citizens united. and for bernie sanders, it's his cause celebre. and then the executive orders and the texas limitations on the number of abortion. >> the abortion clinics in texas, the immigration policy, the executive orders. their view, of course, is that this president has been defying the constitution for seven years. >> so they see any pick would not be someone on the court. the court has been in balance for years with a conservative majority except with some swings and outlying instances but basically a 5-4 conservative majority and so now this is the opportunity for a historic change and wanted to deny that to barack obama. they have to realize, as susan
page i think, there is a 50-50 chance a democrat will be elected, bringing in a democratic senate. so the moderate -- >> bring in the majority. maybe not 60 votes. >> correct. >> i don't think the nuclear option applies here. i think you need 60 votes. >> i don't think we've ever understood. the fact that scalia came in with 98 votes, these are distant eras when people got the votes because of the qualifications. and i think this to me is the zenith of american politics right now. the inability to even consider a nomination for the supreme court. we even agree to disagree. but scalia, the body has not been buried yet. i had a half hour with him one time. that's small room. sort of an academic room and one thing i found, sort of envied his absolutely certitude.
he's a man of religion, roman catholic, his philosophy, very much an originalist and court duties. everything neatly together. it wasn't the usual things, usually people have inconsistency or conflict between religion and politics or philosophy of this country. all fit together for justice scalia. he was a happy man. >> he's a happy passionate man and -- >> you know him better than i do. >> so proud of his sons in the military in combat, which was quietly something he didn't brag about much, but nine children and so many grandchildren. >> there's a richness there of life and i kept thinking, i'm watching this rustic judgment, to use a phrase, like the kenzian scene in christmas carol where somebody is dead and come rushing to take the sheets off the bed before he's dead. this haste in which this was announced that they were going to reject this, even a
consideration of the president's nomin nominee, if there is a nominee, was awful. >> and chris matthews, as always. taking the bigger picture, really an operatic life. >> we should all have a life like rich and wonderfully cre e creative as his. chris will interview democratic presidential candidate, hillary clinton. and coming up, big bet. clinton is gambling on a nevada comeback. we'll get it live here on "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. a heart attack doesn't care if you run everyday,
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hillary clinton had several events in nevada today. she cancelled a previously scheduled fund raising trip to focus on how to halt bernie sanders momentum in the state. she is deploying her husband bill to florida. nbc's kristen welker joining me now from reno. kristen, this is a big stakes in nevada now for hillary clinton after the defeat in new
hampshire. >> reporter: it certainly is. and andrea, she was initially planning to be in florida today and instead, she has three events here in nevada and underscores the fact that she is feeling the pressure from bernie sanders who has been surging. nevada is crucial if she wants to regain the momentum that she lost after that bruising defeat in new hampshire. so secretary clinton trying to reach out to minority voters, particularly latino voters. they'll be key if she wants to win the state. yesterday, she met with dreamers here, talking about the importance of her plans to overhaul the immigration system, talked about the importance of a supreme court justice given the recent death of scalia and the fact that she said a democratic presidential candidate is necessary to fill that vacancy if the supreme court justice doesn't get confirmed under president obama. using that issue to try to rally that critical voting group, andrea, this is a state where the latino vote is key, as you know. but so are other minority voters and she's rolling out a new line
of attack. we heard her mention it last week during the debate. she is trying to paint senator sanders as a single issue candidate. she honed in that point and fired back saying the fact she's attacking him so aggressively a sign that her campaign is becoming unnerved by his surge. she is getting a little bit of a boost today, andrea, and an endorsement by ministers in flint, michigan, saying she's the candidate who best highlighted the water crisis there and of course, that's an issue that resonated with african-american voters across the country. that could help her in nevada but south carolina as well. so the stakes heating up with the nevada caucuses less than a week away. andrea? >> kristen welker got it all covered. and that does it for us for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." be sure to tune in to msnbc at 2:00 eastern. donald trump is holding a news conference live from south carolina and after that, 7:00 eastern, chris matthews, exclusive with hillary clinton.
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ask your doctor about the proven full 24-hour blood sugar control of toujeo®. hi, i'm chris jansing with all of my new best friends having lunch today here. we're continuing the campaign trail. where donald trump was about to hold a news conference, got all fired up. it just ended. it won't surprise anyone. he's throwing everything and the kitchen sink at ted cruz. cruz just said, i think he's an unstable person. i really do. he just said, donald trump does not like the second amendment.
i said, that's my whole thing. he's all in on cruz and then scalia, pouring gasoline on the fiery field. they will stand against president barack obama's ever coming to a vote. >> justice scalia's passing changes the entire contours of this race. >> it's called delay, delay, delay. >> the bottom line, i don't trust president obama on the appointment on supreme court justices. >> i think the president should not move forward and let the next president decide. >> there is another big news on the trail today and that is former president george w. bush appearing in charleston later today with his brother. as jeb defends the family name. >> this will be the first time
he's gotten involved. i respect the fact that he has been out of the political fray. but like president clinton, i guess, supporting his spouse and he wants to help his brother. i don't have a problem with that at all. i'm proud of his service and my family's service. >> on the other side of the aisle, the democrats are not in south carolina. in nevada while bernie sanders rallies voters in michigan. we have teams everywhere. south carolina, nevada, michigan. all covering the 2016 race. in greenville, south carolina, following the trump campaign and boy, unbelievable listening to h him. an anti-ted cruz before getting the record straight about cruz.
>> reporter: he called cruz unstable, weak, a liar and he focuses on ted cruz this morning and right now, he will be doing this news conference and i suspect based on what i'm told, be turning some of his attention to jeb bush, somebody that he has been hammering repeatedly in part because jeb bush's brother, george w. bush, will be campaigning in south carolina with jeb bush this evening or late this afternoon. helped deliver the election because of the chad dispute for george w. george w. is coming back to pay him back a favor. but as you heard in the debate over the weekend and donald trump saying over and over since then, he blames part of the attack on 9/11 on who was in charge at the time. george w. bush.
this is a little of the tenure of the sound from donald trump. probably the weakest, and his brother, coming into town, lovely. ask yourself why his brother went silent for all these years? no, don't ask yourself that but frankly, i think he should have used his family a long time ago. why don't you use the last name? it's better than a hyphen. it's better than exclamation points. >> reporter: now in the most recent poll of cbs news, u gov online poll in south carolina done in january, donald trump was leading at 42%. ted cruz with 20%. marco rubio at 15%. john kasich at 9% and down there, jeb bush with ben carson at 6%. but again, that poll was taken before the weekend here and
needless to say, chris, i mean, we're hearing the rhetoric about as loud and tough as we have heard. they say south carolina likes rough and tumble politics. they've got it. >> stay with msnbc for live coverage of donald trump's news conference in the next hour right here. now, let's take a look at some live pictures of marco rubio. he's talking to reporters before a town hall in florence, south carolina. trying to build on a debate performance, many saw a sharp bounceback from the previous one in new hampshire. nbc's gabe gutierrez on the floor in south carolina tracking the rubio campaign. seems like he's a lot more accessible to the press than in the past. >> reporter: thank you, i'll keep my voice down here at this event in south carolina about to get started. marco rubio has arrived here and yes, the rubio campaign is eager. it's adding events over the next
couple of days here in south carolina and trying to build some momentum after the debate this weekend. the campaign thinks it's bounced back. and critics have debated and seen as amnesty. the rubio campaign, of course, saying that isn't the case and marco rubio has been with the last several, established voters in south carolina. the gain with other republicans, they are stressing this replacement of justice scalia and saying that president obama should not put forward a nominee. marco rubio just spoke to reporters a few moments ago on that topic.
let's listen to what he had to say. >> i don't think president obama should do that at this point. it's the end of his term and allow the next president to do that. and senator mcconnell has already announced the senate is not moving forward. irrespective, we're not moving on until after the election. the next president should nominate the opening. i'll be the next president and i'll look for someone like scalia as possible. >> reporter: again, marco rubio's about to start this town hall here and later on this evening and lexington, south carolina. trying to build momentum here in south carolina and again, as he fights attacks from ted cruz, chris, back to you. >> gabe gutierrez in florence, south carolina, with the rubio campaign. thanks to you. it's expressed his extreme frustration with republicans who
don't think the president should nominate scalia. >> it would be the height of irresponsibility for the republican leadership not to have a vote on a nominee from the president. >> reporter: scalia's body arrived in washington from texas, transported to a virginia funeral home. we have a series of reports on what's next for the supreme court and the replacement for justice scalia. let's begin with mark alexander at state hall university and former advisor to president obama. an nbc analyst and former general council who played a central role in the bush v. gore recount case. argued before the supreme court and pete williams, who is our chief justice correspondent. let me start with you. obviously, this is being described as an epic political battle. take us inside that room in the white house where the president will be meeting with key staff members. he says at least it will be a week before he nominates anyone. what are those conversations
like, do you suppose? >> well, the president has done this twice before, nominated sonya sotomayor, excellent justices. he's got a bunch of folks going to be providing lists of names of the most qualified people for the position. the president knows it's his responsibility. the president shall nominate. it doesn't say maybe or maybe not in an election year. he shall nominate members of the supreme court. he's got to get the job done. get a list of good names and weigh the qualifications and make a firm decision. >> i would argue however, the political climate is a little bit different than when he nominated sotomayor or kaygan. the primary, they'll take a hard line approach, no, we don't want to have a vote on this. the president shouldn't be nominating anyone. but essentially, they're hurting themselves as they face the general election. is this obstructionist?
>> i actually think it's just the opposite, chris. i think this is a defining moment for the obama legacy and whether he's the commander in chief or polarizer in chief. as polarized as the country is, and you can see that in the bernie sanders results in the democratic primary i.tself and the senate, how polarized it's become since harry reid changed the nominating process or a filibuster process by invoking the nuclear option of 2013. this is really an opportunity for the democrats to show they're not polarizing the country and i don't agree with the construct you had an obstruction moment or not for the republicans. >> so the president isn't supposed to do what constitutionally he is empowered to do to show that he's not obstruo obstruction obstructionist? >> he can do what he's empowered to do under the constitution. but he has to realize that in making that nomination, he
stands to polarize things and just as the president can nominate -- >> and the republicans aren't doing that by saying he shouldn't do it? >> look, there are two things at work here. one is sort of the organizational politics. and sending a signal to the team, which is what i think the republican candidates and mitch mcconnell did. the second is what the constitution will call for. and now it's interesting that the play book the democrats set out with the nomination process for robert boric in reasonably circumstances similar to this will guide a lot of the attitudes amongst members of the senate in looking at whoever the president puts up. but who he puts up will determine whether there could conceivably be a consensus choice or whether it be a moment of polarization. >> so mark, he said he's going to nominate someone.
that's not even in question here. does he go for a moderate, someone been through a nominating process before and won for overwhelming approval and been confirmed? does he pick a liberal, feeling like he's not going to go through and make a statement? where do you see this going? >> certainly, he has the option to pick somebody who would be perhaps recently confirmed judge or perhaps a sitting u.s. senator. someone he knows there's a greater chance of getting the person confirmed. and that's kind of the opportunity the president wants to push it and doesn't want anyone to get in the way of that. the reality is that he's got to go forward with the nomination, and then to the extent the mcconnell and others said they're not even going to consider a nominee. that's a problem. and he knows they're trying to put a little bluster out there, but also what we all know is it takes on average 6 da8 days to it done. there's 140 days. this is not a close call.
the supreme court is at 8 members now and the president says who he thinks is best qualified and somebody who can indeed get through as quickly as possible for the court to do its business. >> mark alexander, former council to bush/cheney's campaign. let me bring in peter alexander now. there are obviously a consensus opinion, unlikely there will be a replacement for justice scalia before the end of this term. so what are the big cases in how is his death likely to impact him? >> number one, the supreme court will go on, even eight justices. something like 75% or 80%, the courts consider wouldn't have been close votes anyway. they often do 9-0 decisions, for example. so it will go on. the question i think is what about the cases where the court would be closely ideologically divided? let's look at some of them.
and you raise the prospect here of a 4-4 tie. what would happen then? and then a look at some of the cases. number one is the challenge to the president's new immigration policy that would say that those 5 million people here illegally could stay, that could produce a 4-4 tie or the justices could say, we'll come back to this later and put it on a shelf and reorder for another term. they could do that with all the close cases. there's the test of abortion cases, the abortion law in texas. saying abortion clinics have to be built to the standards of ambulatory and doctors have to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. there's a challenge to the power of public secretary of unions to raise dues, if they tie on that one, that would be a victory for the unions. whether they announce ties and simply say the lower court decisions will remain on the books or reargue these cases, come back to us next term, who
knows? they don't know when they'll get a ninth justice and face uncertainty as well. >> pete williams, thank you. frm should republicans block the supreme court nominee? the pulse is now live at pulse.msnbc.com to weigh in. . up next, this hour, we turn from the race here in south carolina to nevada. which was once considered hillary clinton's western firewall. is her edge there evaporating? >> everything in my political gut tells me that we have the momentum here in this state. if people come out on caucus day, we're going to win here in nevada.
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the democrats running for president see things differently. >> he was elected and has the right to nominate another supreme court justice. >> i just don't think it looks good for overtly political reasons that the right to nominate the replacement to the supreme court. it is a hot topic on the campaign trail in nevada and then the first of three stops she's making in that state today. and then the political team and
campaign to the clinton campaign at her event in reno. i know she's been all over this and this fight over whether or not the president should nominate someone to replace antonin scalia. >> reporter: no surprise. very firm in the president's corner and speaking out against leader mcconnell who said the president shouldn't have a vote on this. let me read you what she posted on facebook over the weekend. she posted, quote, obama as president until january 20th? 2017, it's his job to nominate the justice. the senate has a responsibility to vote. i wouldn't be surprised if we heard her echo those comments today. she has three different events here in the reno area. so she's going to talk about that. i also anticipate, chris, she's going to try to rally latino voters and talk about her plans to overhaul the immigration system, and she has been ruollig
out a new line of attack against sanders. she really hammered the point over the weekend. she's trying to paint senator sanders as a single issue candidate essentially arguing that taking on wall street doesn't do anything to address these broader problems, like immigration reform. like racism. those sorts of issues that she wants to take on. i wouldn't be surprised if we heard her talk about that as well today. senator sanders attacking her for making those comments making a sign that her campaign is unnerved by his surge and no doubt, chris, that the race here in nevada is tightening. supposed to have events in florida and instead, has three events in nevada. and then cause back the defeat.
and then i understand you are in a in a campaign related jam there. . >> reporter: this event stretches over a mile down the road with people, many of them and then one of the many signs a lot of people didn't necessarily pick up on ahead of the early contest. and of course, the argument going back and forth between hillary clinton and bernie sanders, kristen welker touched on a couple of them.
and michigan, of course, is an important place for them to appeal in minority voters. rolling out a series of endorsements from flint, michigan, the water crisis there becoming a focal point in this democratic race and supports bernie sanders' economic message. clinton has been criticizing is something that resonates deeply here as the site of the recession and the auto industry as it did. >> a busy president's day. you've got the press conference coming up with donald trump in the next hour. and then special coverage, by the way, of president george w. bush's campaign appearance for his brother, jeb, tonight. 6:00 eastern right here on msnbc. we'll be right back.
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i could care less about what donald trump says to me. i am sick and tired of him going after my family. my dad is the greatest man alive in my mind. while donald trump was building a reality tv show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe and i'm proud of what he did. >> the bush name on full display today. just a few hours from now, 6:00, jeb bush will hit the campaign trail, oh, about 2 hours drive from here in charleston, south carolina, and his brother there with former first lady laura bush. it's the first time george w. out on the campaign trail and using it to his advantage with donald trump. >> you know what? it's interesting that donald trump praises putin and attacks
my brother. i think in our south carolina primary, that's probably the wrong place to be. >> nbc's pete alexander. bush campaign say this is a good strategic timing. it may be opportunism but how big of a crowd do they expect tonight? >> reporter: i just hung up with a campaign with jeb bush, about 2500 or so people to be there. at the north charleston coliseum, a big venue for what's a big night for jeb bush and his brother. the first time 43 is coming out to make his brother, jeb bush, number 45. the next president of the united states. right now, we move to about 15 miles away in haan han. this is where donald trump is expected to hold a news conference. only a short time from now expected to free the anticipated
remarks. donald trump up again today, attacking jeb bush and george w. bush the same way during the course of the fiery debate this weekend on topics like the iraq war, weapons of mass destruction and now the economic collapse. donald trump insisting that because of that economic collapse under george w. bush, the u.s. ended up with barack obama as president and then ultimately, he's to blame for the disastrous policies we're experiencing throughout this country now. jeb bush, obviously, isn't letting this just pass. he's been targeting donald trump as well. and in addition to all of that, you have marco rubio and ted cruz getting into the fray. they're attacking one another and attacking donald trump so the circular firing squad continuing today. chris? >> does it ever, peter alexander in charleston. thank you so much for that. a quick programming note. hillary clinton will be chris matthews' guest on "hardball" here on msnbc. and still ahead, surrogates for
clinton hit the trail in south carolina. my interview with one of them, virginia senator, tim cain, is up next. first, as we head to break, a lighter moment as "saturday night live "takes on hillary clinton. >> i mean, hillary is the most qualified candidate in history, but at the same time, eh? >> i mean, hillary has every single thing i want in a president, but -- >> she's no bernie! ♪ turn down the light ♪ turn down the bass ♪ turn down these voices ♪ inside my head ♪ lay down with me ♪ tell me no lie ♪ just hold me close ♪ don't personalize using your airline credit card miles.
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one hour from now, bernie sanders will make an appearance at eastern michigan university where college affordability will be a major topic, about 60 miles from flint where democrats will debate next month. hillary clinton concentrating in nevada today where her campaign added three extra events. it's about clinton's message, particularly to younger voters. >> you're going to be talking to students among other people today. >> i'm excited aid and abebout >> what do you make of the fact that bernie sanders is doing well with young people and women in particular? >> he's running an admirable campaign. he's running a good race and i
like bernie a lot but i know hillary, bernie, ted cruz and rubio. and i know what it takes to do the job and there's just no comparison in being able to do the job. bernie's message is simple. i think that's part of the appeal. billionaires and millionaires at the root of all challenges. i don't think that's accurate. are there problems that can be at the feet of wall street and the koch problems and not all. why does every sitting senator from brown and tammy and joe who's endorsed hillary because we want to get things done and that's what the american people want. to be able to produce and hillary account one to can do t >> i'm not sure people argue with her resume and experience is, but i do think there's a issue. she's backed up by banks and special interests and taken money. they question whether or not she can be bought and sold. in that sense, bernie sanders
being of the people, the number of people give him all small donations is the same as the appeal. he's not beholden to special interests y they're so mad in the first place. >> i don't question bernie's sincerity, i just think hillary would be a better president. if you look at at hillary's life, i describe her as midwest methodist church kid. a constant theme in her life about empowering women and families. >> but the general perception? >> i have a hard time with the general perception. in terms of talking about her record, she has demonstrated a sincerity of conviction around women and families in everything she's done. and what i think really stands her head and shoulders above senator sanders but also the republican nominees, she's got a track record of being able to produce. we're in a tough, and the line of work we're in, the divisions and the challenges in court. you've got to have somebody to
make things happen. it's not a debating society. it's about improving people's quality of life. and that's where i think she stands he and shoulders. >> there's an old adage. you elect somebody for president you want to sit down and have a beer with, and sometimes, snl often sort of hits at the heart of what's going on and this weekend, they had a skit about her and she comes out the flame singing i can't make you love me and there's a sort of sense that it's a likability question. >> i tell you though. the people who have ever spent time with hillary clinton in any kind of a setting that's not 5,000 people in a room, it's not a question at all. in fact, colleagues, i've served on the armed services committee and she did too. john mccain, my chair. he talks about what a fantastic colleague and committee member she was, how much she did her homework and how much she contribute to the committee during the years there. she's not going to have a hard
time working with the people who are there to try to make decisions for the good of the nation. and i just see that plainly. i think a governing message and that's her message about governing the nation, make things happen. that can be a little more nuanced than just a campaigning message, blapiming everything b we live in a complicated world and we have to have who knows how to get results. >> and should she win the nomination, do you want to go on the record first time and say i would love to be her vp pick? >> i am planning on being on the stage with her when she's sworn in but i'll sit with the senators rather than the vice president spot. we'll be sitting. >> you're on all the lists. >> i love hi job and will be sitting with the senators. >> if she asked, you'd say no? >> she's going to do what she wants to do and i'll help her. that's what i'm here today, it's fun to come to other states. i tell everybody, i'm not sure a virginian is going to persuade a
south carolinian. but i go back and share that with the campaign and a big primary in virginia coming up march 1 and i do stumping about that. >> thank you so much, senator. good to see you. >> thank you, chris. and in the next hour, senator tim cain weighs in on the fight for antonin scalia. you'll want to watch that and the reminder to weigh in on today's pulse question. should republicans block president obama's supreme court nominee? check out the results so far and continue to vote at pulse.msnbc.c pulse.msnbc.com. >> justice scalia's death and the court vacancy. >> we were reminded on saturday evening by an untimely death, the future of the constitution is at stake. justice scalia will go down in history as one of the greatest justices in supreme court history. and the balance of the court means the future of the
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donald said his extreme awor abortion supporting sister would make a great supreme court justice. >> all the evangelical votes here. he should say, it is a federal appeals court judge and considered a staunch liberal. according to exit polls, evangelicals create two-thirds of the republican primary vote in the palmetto state. joining me now, former south carolina governor david beasley. you noted there is a bernie sanders supporter sitting behind me and guessing you would not be supporting bernie. >> he's a pretty nice guy. i wouldn't necessarily agree with some of his policies but
he's a nice guy. >> give me your state of play. where does the state ran? >> i've never seen it for a republican process in south carolina. when you look back at the four or six election cycles, you narrow it down to two men or women and now, well, never been women but now, it's clearly a state of confusion. and -- >> do you think that it's up for grabs? >> i do. >> or is this donald trump's? >> trump is the strongest. he made an extreme calculate move. and i think brilliant. we'll see how it plays out with george bush today. >> that's interesting. so donald trump, holding a press conference in the next hour and who knows what he's going to say, he's been going after ted cruz this morning but he's likely, we think, to hit jeb bush as he did. you don't think that's a risky
move in a state that seems to love the bush family? >> they do. i've been close to the bush family as anyone, historically with regards to politics and his brother now governors at the same time but i think it was a calculated move. a little bit of risk, but you know, this guy has a way of being risky and it pays off. but this risk, very calculated. because of the simple fact that george bush has got so much goodwill in south carolina and if jeb can cause that to translate to him, i think the one that benefits by keeping that little factor in the can is trump. trump took it to george bush. so he's down and answering questions about his presidential decisions on iraq war and this and that. possibility a liability for jeb and jeb has staying power because of money but if he comes in a distant fourth. jeb's in serious trouble. if rubio comes in fourth place,
almost no matter on any circumstance, rubio is in serious trouble because of the most dynamic instate and then that gets back to cruz. and cruz, most people think he would do extremely well in this state but pat buchanon and different in one way. they don't just vote one issue. they look at a broad spectrum of issues and the candidate, who they like it or not. in some ways, even though you could put a high percentage of the vote being evangelical, they in some ways reflect the average american voter in a way most people, i think, tend not to appreciate from the political analytical perspective. but i think you will see that cruz will do fairly well. but cap out, in my opinion, just
like buchanon did and others in the past and have. i think if it's cruz and trump, it's trump all way. >> a state that rewards dirty tricks, i think there are people who would be surprised have not taken back by the debate on s saturday night on how much donald trump really went all in. is that going to help him or hurt him here? >> you know, normally you'd say it would hurt him but he's so resilient because that's his persona and brand. people like it. normally, they would not like it in south carolina. but the problem, people are so frustrated with the american political spectrum from both parties. but particularly in the
republican party. the people voting for trump, there's a lot of evangelicals even though may may not agree with him on every issue, such a sense of frustration. they want somebody that's going to shake it up and shake the establishment up. which is very unusual for a state like south carolina. usually you have one outsider and one establishment candidate. now you've got two outsiders, two establishment candidates, one's clearly the leader. who knows, we've been trying to find track and trending. >> we've got to go. how close do you think this race will be in the end? >> if trump wins, it's over for about anybody. i'll let you know friday. >> governor david beasley going out on a limb for us. thank you so much. good to see you. up next an endorsement for hillary clinton. the mother of jordan davis with a poignant ad supporting clinton and calling her, quote, a clear choice. she'll speak with me about the endorsement on the other side of
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any minute now, hillary clinton will hold a get out the caucus event in elko, nevada. one of three events she has scheduled for today. she shifted her schedule to spend more time in that state. one of the topics hillary clinton has been talking about on the campaign trail is gun violence. she recently captured the endorsements from two mothers whose sons were killed as a result of guns. one of those mothers is lucia mcbath. her son, jordan davis, was shot in a florida gas station in an argument over loud music. she is the community outreach organizer for every town on gun safety. thank you so much for being with us, and of course, our sympathies at your loss. so many people brought to this
issue are brought in the horrific way that you are. tell me why for you hillary clinton. >> well, in my own personal endorsement, i've been a big fan of hillary clinton for many, many years, and i know in the 40-plus years that she's been active in the political arena, i've watched her time and time again be one that's been very concerned about the preservation of the civil, human and economic rights of people all across the nation. but in particular african-american communities. also for me, being the mother of a young man who was shot and killed due to the senseless gun violence in this country, for me she is the one candidate who has taken a very clear and determined stance on gun violence prevention in this country. >> you'll be campaigning for her in charleston, which, of course, is a city that sadly knows too well what it feels like to be victimized by gun violence. of course, that is where that church shooting happened while people were in the middle of a bible study.
i'm wondering, do you have a sense that this is playing in this primary here, the charleston loophole which officials say helped dylan roof acquire a firearm that has become part of the conversation. but do you have a sense that it's galvanizing votes in any way? >> i'm sure it must be, definitely. among the 90% of americans in this country, i'm very concerned about gun violence. we know with the charleston loophole, that very diluted, expansive law which allowed what happened to emanuel ame to those victims there, there's still a loss across the country. so i think people who are really concerned about the nature of gun violence are really paying attention to hillary clinton, they're really paying attention to all of the candidates on their stance for gun violence prevention, and i think that she's truly a clear choice. she has stood very definitively. she's been very out spospoken a the nature of gun violence and the need to change the laws so
they're not so expansive and that she can be able to do something to keep our communities and our generation safe. >> we're watching hillary clinton being introduced right now. she's about to get an event under way, get out the caucus event in elko, nevada at a local middle school there. let me ask you about what your experience has been like since you've gotten involved in this issue. over the years i've talked to so many family members going back to columbine about their frustration, about the polarization, about frankly the beliefs very strongly on the other side of this issue about second amendment rights. do you have any sense that in this highly polarized time and in the middle of a presidential campaign anything can get done? >> i believe that it can. we've seen some great success across the country. of course, the media will never tell you about the successes we've had with gun violence prevention, the enacting of background check legislation in some of the states across the country and also keeping guns
out of the hands of domestic abusers. of course, that never really gets talked about, but i do believe there has been some really good moves forward in gun violence prevention. i know that a lot of what we see happening in the country has to do with inaccurate rhetoric about gun violence prevention. it's not a matter of controlling anyone's guns, but, you know, not infringing on the second amendment rights which a lot of that rhetoric which comes from the nra gun lobby is not true. it's just a matter of putting together some commonsense legislation with our pending gun laws that keep americans safe, and i think most of the americans in this country now are beginning to understand that that's really what this movement is all about. >> lucia mcbath, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. z >> thank you. that's going to wrap up this hour of coverage. in the next hour, donald trump's
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♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪ i'm chris jansing live from columbia, south carolina. it is president's day and perhaps appropriately, a very busy one for the candidates fighting to be the 45th. any second now, donald trump will speak to the media. this press conference was scheduled late last night and a spokesperson tells msnbc trump wants to, quote, set the record straight. he's right in the milddle of a very public feud with ted cruz that has escalated even in just the last couple hours. both of them have already had events in south carolina today. the other big showdown, marco rubio versus jeb bush and the battle to be the establishment
alternative. jeb has a major event in just hours as he campaigns for the first time with his brother, former president george w. bush and his wife laura. and then you have john kasich, the kum ba ya candidate. he may reshape the republican race. let's get right to peter alexander who is on the phone from inside the location from trump is about to address the media. peter, as we said, trump scheduled this late last night and his spokesperson told me this morning he wants to set the record straight, which means what? >> reporter: well, that's a good question. we'll find out. there's been a lot of setting the record straight in recent days by candidates on all sides right now. we just heard that donald trump running 15 minutes behind will be in this room in an organized news conference designed to
pre-show this presidential debate tonight. about 15 minutes from where we are, the debate hours from now. donald trump trying to steal the spotlight. he's been fighting not just with jeb bush but with ted cruz. here's a little what we heard from donald trump hours ago about his texas rival, senator ted cruz. >> this guy is the most dishonest guy i've ever met in politics. i think he's an unstable person, i really do. he just said, donald trump does not like the second amendment. i said, the second amendment is my whole thing. he's very weak on illegal immigration. very, very weak. he was an amnesty guy 100%. he said it, he was an amnesty guy. >> so donald trump unloaded and ted cruz did the same in response. among other things, in the past couple hours, he said, if anyone calls out donald trump and marco rubio on the record, the men
screamed out "liar, liar, liar." they called out his position on planned parenthood, his temperament. the fight begins with only five days to go with the primary. it's a critical state. so critical here. they're responsible for $20 billion of the state's economy, 150,000 jobs. it's likely in this community, a community that has military ties and also home of the consolidated naval rig that we may hear from donald trump about frustrations here, about the potential that the pentagon has been considering this location as one possible location where detainees from guantanamo bay are relocated stateside. >> we talked about marco rubio versus donald trump, and there is also his battle going on with jeb bush over any number of things, not least the which is,
frankly, george w. bush campaigning tonight where we'll have double campaigning, trump really taking him on. in terms of the event itself tonight, what are we expecting? >> reporter: about 2500 people. this is significant because it's the first time both bushes will be on the trail. laura bush expected to be there as well. i spoke to the campaign a short while ago. they believe this is the appropriate time to bring out george w. bush, that he wanted to be part of this process especially given his respect within the military community and a state that has such strong military ties. there is no better way to communicate to the country, they believe, that jeb bush is a terrific potential commander in chief and to have the endorsement of the most recent commander in chief before barack obama, chris. >> thank you, peter. in the meantime, while we're waiting for him to show up, and trump may be about 10 minutes away now. he's running a little bit behind. after that he's going to hold a rally in greenville, south carolina which is where we find
nbc's kerry sanders. kerry, peter just gave us a rundown of what to expect at the press conference. talking to reporters is one thing, always, of course, speaking to suppospea. speaking to supporters at a rally is something else, although not so much when it comes to donald trump. tell us a little bit about the event where you are and what you're expecting there. >> reporter: expect a large crowd as always, but remember, at events like this, you have a lot of supporters and fans. thousands of people who come on an especially cold day like today to listen to donald trump and get inspired at a news conference which we expect to happen shortly, and you can see a picture of the podium. at a news conference, it can be a little different. it cob contentious. it's been two weeks to the day where donald trump engaged reporters with questions and answers. of course, he's done the debate and he's done some talk shows, and done some morning talk shows, but it's a little different when he engages reporters because reporters can
ask questions and be very direct. and because there's not the time limit you have on a live television show, you usually have the opportunity for some follow-up. i suspect after what we heard during the debate, one of the questions is going to be about donald trump's statements about george w. bush and his role during 9/11. you very pointedly heard during this back and forth when donald trump seemed to be blaming part of 9/11 on george w. bush, the catcalls that came from those in the auditorium listening to the debate. it has escalated since then. as you know, george w. bush is coming to the state to support his brother. this is a little of the back and forth we've heard on that issue. >> while donald trump was building a reality tv show, my brother was building a security apparatus to keep us safe. and i'm proud of what he did. >> the world -- excuse me. i lost hundreds of friends. the world trade center came down
during the rein of george bush. he kept us safe? that's not safe. >> now, there are long-time republicans who were saying that their fear is they see this unfold -- and this happens in every primary, people worry about the impact on the party as republicans are tearing each other apart or democrats are tearing each other apart. but on this particular issue, there is some concern that this could have a longlasting impact on the republican party. of course, as you know, there is an establishment feeling that has long been discussed now among republicans that somehow donald trump doesn't belong to the republican party. and we may hear some more conversation during this particular news conference about his republican conservative credentials as he, in that debate, clearly took on george w. bush. chris? >> did he ever. thank you so much. and i want to go now to new york if we can.
nbc's katie tur has been following the trump campaign since it began. katie, i want to get your take on why there is this press conference today, why you think he's calling it, why this why now. >> look at the timing. that's what's most interesting. what we're seeing tonight is george w. bush back on the campaign trail for the first time and campaigning for jeb. donald trump and jeb have had a long history of fighting so far, and the trump campaign knows and is well aware of george w.'s popularity down there. so what they're doing is they're trying to take the wind out of his sails. they're having this news conference in charleston. that's where george w. is going to be appearing a little bit later tonight, and they're trying to get on the attack. what they're trying to do is bolster a lot of trump's credentials. think about where they are. they're in south carolina. it's a hawkish state. it's a military state. so i would expect this press conference is going to deal with something having to do with those topics. i think peter alexander was dead on when he talked about where they are. they are in hannahan.
that was one of the sites the pentagon was considering for gitmo detainees. so i think we'll be hearing about that as well, and it will allow donald trump to bolster himself on his terror credentials, allow him to say he is the hardest line on terror. he wants to keep gitmo open. he's the one who thinks waterboarding and even worse will be okay. look at ted cruz. ted cruz is weak on waterboarding. he doesn't want to have it as one of the options at our military's disposal to deal with terror. then he can also potentially bring up george w. and relitigate all the aftermath of 9/11, the invasion of iraq and everything that happened since then. i think there was a poll taken a few years ago that showed that about 51% of americans still think they' think that going to war in iraq was a bad idea. they will be banking on the idea that south carolinans might agree, and if they don't agree, they'll be happy to find that someone out there is speaking their mind and be able to go about things in a stronger and
more sensible way if donald trump were to get into office. he's going to be fighting an uphill battle on that. but i will say this. when we were in south carolina in october. we were in anderson, south carolina, and donald trump just got into a twitter war with jeb over the idea that his brother didn't keep us safe after 9/11. we went to anderson, south carolina where donald trump was holding a rally. we spoke to people there and we couldn't find a single person who thought it was a negative thing that donald trump was bringing up. many didn't agree with it, said that george bush did keep us safe, did a good job with foreign policy, did a good job with information he had on hand, but they said they don't have to agree with donald trump on every issue. so i think that's what the campaign is hoping will still be the case here when he's talking about george w. now. >> well, let's talk a little bit about the idea of him, obviously, not just taking on george w. and bringing all of that up but taking the wind out of the sails. is that an indication that there
is a little concern on the trump side that maybe they're losing ground here or that this could be a big boost for jeb bush? what's behind this? >> reporter: i think they are rightly realizing it could be a big deal to have george w. campaign for jeb. i think they've never counted jeb out despite his polls, despite anything donald trump has said in the press, calling him weak, saying he doesn't have a shot in blank to get the nomination. i think they've rightly realized that jeb has a lot of sway, he's got a lot of political power, and he's also got a lot of money at his disposal. so jeb could be a formidable opponent once he gets his legs, and if he's going to do that, it's going to be here in south carolina, there in stk south carolina, and the campaign is not going to take any chances with that. they don't want jeb bush to take off. they don't want that cycle completely surrounding him. they want to get their name in there, and what they're doing is picking a fight to get donald trump as the headline and not jeb bush as the headline.
>> clearly they like winning and they very much want to win here. for them it's about only or how much is about margins. it's interesting, we just had the florida governor on, and they're kind of voicing the same thing we heard in new hampshire which is how volatile some of these tracking polls are, how many people are sort of in and out of candidates, how weak some of the support is from some people. i just wonder what you're hearing from the trump campaign about how solid they think his support is and how volatile they think the race here is. >> reporter: they will say on the record that they are very happy with where they are, that they believe that they're going to win south carolina. they will point to those tracking polls, they'll point to all the polling that says he is very ahead. off the record or on background, they will say this is a 50-state race. they're waging it across the country. it's a delegate race, so a loss here in south carolina, it doesn't necessarily spell the end of this campaign. remember, he does do, as of now, very well across the south ain
all of the polling. he just got a huge crowd yesterday in arkansas. he got a 20,000-something strong crowd in mobile, alabama in august. they expect they will be popular in the sec states and be able to give ted cruz a run for his money and perhaps beat him in a number of those states. >> all right. katie tur, who has been on the trail with donald trump since the very beginning, thank you very much. we're going to take a quick break. we're waiting for donald trump to come to the podium, and boy, if this morning is any indication, he is fired up as this race gets more and more interesting with the introduction of this battle over who can and should replace antonin scalia, not to mention his fight, as we've been talking about, with ted cruz and jeb bush. our coverage will continue at the place for politics right after this. connected.
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so this is where we're expecting donald trump any minute now, and he's going to face questions from the press, something he hasn't done in a little while. could get very interesting. the thing is, even when it's not facing the press, when it's at a town hall, you never know what people are going to say. for example, today marco rubio got asked a question, would he please expose donald trump as the closet liberal he is, to which marco rubio replied that trump hasn't been a long-time conservative and it's important to look at consistency, so you see the kind of back and forth that goes on on the campaign trail every single day. with marco rubio today is nbc's gabe gutierrez. this just wrapped up, this town hall. give us a sense of it and how much was about donald trump.
>> reporter: hi there, chris, good afternoon. yeah, he just wrapped up just a few moments ago. he's still shaking hands behind me. listen, with marco rubio he's always tried to keep his message that he's best positioned to take the democrats. he will attack donald trump if he gets a question about it. today he actually didn't just get a question about donald trump, he also got a question about his own experience. and he attacked jeb bush, saying it was jeb bush that had no foreign policy experience. chris, i'm being told, i understand, that donald trump is getting ready to speak. i'm going to send it back to you. >> all right, thanks very much. appreciate it, gabe gutierrez, who has been on the campaign trail with marco rubio. and there's donald trump who seems to be stopping and posing for some pictures. he's making his way to the podium. let's listen in. >> so. any questions? >> mr. trump, why is there so
much bad blood between you and the bush family? where did this start? you often say that you don't attack first, somebody else attacks first. >> it's a very fair question. there's no bad blood. what's happened is jeb bush has spent about $20 million on negative ads that in many cases are false, but they're negative ads. he's got a lot of special interest money. his campaign, in my opinion, is going absolutely nowhere, but he spent about $20 million on negative ads on me. and in theory, he has a long way before he catches and he should be looking -- or go positive. i think he would do better if he went positive. but the only reason is, and the only reason i bring it up is we have to respond to those negative ads. so that's the reason. no bad blood. >> what about george w. bush? he's never attacked you and you attacked him relentlessly -- >> but once he enters the fray like bill clinton three weeks ago entered the fray, and i helped bernie sanders much more
than he helped himself, believe me. because if you look at it, that's when she started going down, and that's when that race started getting competitive. so you just take a look. you study your numbers and study your dates. when she attacked me, i attacked her, and that's when hillary started going down and that race became much more competitive. take a look. you'll be very interested to see. only one political reporter got that one. yes? >> mr. trump, your comments about george w. bush and 9/11, ted cruz said today that was like michael moore, and says that you're more on the left. >> we put out a release. did you get the release, jack? i think he's a very unstable guy. i can tell you one thing about cruz that i can say only to a minor extent by comparison for the other politicians. i haven't been doing this long, i've been in it since june 16, but i will tell you i have never, ever met a person that lies more than ted cruz.
i have never, ever seen anything like it. he did it with ben carson, he did it with the voter violation fraud deal that he did. it was a fraud. his voter violation fraud, which you guys really didn't pick up. it was interesting, you picked up the ben carson thing very much where he told people that ben carson had left the race, he's out of the race, and now they have calls that are much less severe than they had at the time. but ben carson had left the race, come vote for ted cruz. which actually had an impact on me because that would have been probably a victory for trump but it doesn't matter. the thing you didn't pick up was the voter violation fraud that he committed. that was a fraud that he committed. you take a look. but i've never seen anybody that lied as much as ted cruz. and he goes around saying he's a christian. i don't know, you're going to have to really study that. yes. >> you said earlier today that ted cruz is unstable. what do you mean? >> i think he's an unstable person. i watch him, i see him. i always say he's a good
debater, but he can't talk. i don't know if he's even a good debater. i personally don't see he's a good debater. but he's a very unstable person. it's just my opinion. >> too unstable to be president? >> yes, i would say that's true. >> mr. trump, in the last event you said that george w. bush has gone silent for a number of years. do you think george bush was a failed president? >> i'm going to say i think he has some problems. i didn't want to say it, but he talked about the tremendous safety. excuse me, the world trade center came down during the reign of george bush, right? it came down. so during the ronald reagan -- if you remember the library debate, he said we were safe. we weren't safe. that was the greatest attack in the history of the united states, worse than pearl harbor
because we were attacked as individuals as opposed to the military. greatest single attack. so i'm standing up there saying, do i want to embarrass him by saying this? because i'm a nice person, i didn't do it. but then when he used it another time, i had to say, i'm sorry, but we weren't safe. the world trade center came down which was the greatest attack in history on this country. so you had that. you obviously had the war which was a big mistake. i think few people would say the war in iraq was a positive. you had him on the aircraft carrier saying all sorts of wonderful things, how the worar was essentially over. guess what? not over. the war with iraq is a disaster. now iran is taking over iraq as sure as you're sitting there. they're taking oil, they're taking everything. i was against the war in iraq, by the way. i was the only one on the stage who should get some points for vision, but i was totally against the war in iraq. i said it was going to destabilize the middle east. and when they were getting out, i said take the oil.
they didn't take the oil and now iran has the oil and isis has the oil. this has fueled isis because isis now has so much money because they've had the oil. yes, go ahead. >> today you've attacked jeb bush, marco rubio, ted cruz. you repeatedly said that you're a uniter. >> well, it is a political campaign. i mean, am i allowed to attack? i get attacked, they're attacking me all the time. no, did i attack marco? for what, joking? for being a joke artist? where did i attack him? for being a joke artist. >> sure. >> we can't have that as a president, can we? i don't think i attacked marco. >> your campaign has released statements that say ted cruz doesn't take down his ads. >> well, he's printed lies. he's said i'm pro choice and i'm pro life. look, what he did with ben
carson was terrible. i've never seen anything like that. it was a total lie. and by the way, 10 minutes after the election was over, the caucus, he went and said, oh, i'm sorry. he called ben. and ben didn't accept that apology, the way i look at it. didn't accept the apology. so i don't want to be in a position where it's saturday evening and i get a phone call from him, you know, i'm really sorry about that. my staff did something. he did three or four things. for instance, he talks about me being against the second amendment. i am the strongest person running in favor of the second amendment. i'm a member of the nra, my sons have been long-term members of the nra and their extraordinary shots. the whole thing is incredible. what he does is he'll walk up and say something. he said, i will appoint liberal judges. donald trump is going to appoint liberal judges. i named two judges that are -- and i named them during the debate. i was the only one that named two judges that i would appoint. now, it could be somebody else, but those two judges are highly
respected, conservative judges. they would be great judges to appoint. but he just gets up and says, if donald trump gets in, he's going to appoint liberal judges. just the opposite. but the only way i can fight it is all the press here. most people can't fight it but he's a liar. henry, who is lieutenant governor, said i can't believe the things he's saying because he understands the views on everything, and he just comes out and boom, boom, boom. absolute lies. he'll apologize but i don't want an apology after the election, i want an apology before. if he doesn't, i'm going to bring a lawsuit because in my opinion based on what i've learned over the last two or three days from top lawyers, he doesn't even have the right to serve as president or even run as president. he was born in canada. so i will bring that lawsuit if he doesn't apologize. [ inaudible question ] >> pretty quick. i do quick. >> before saturday? >> maybe if i can. we've got to get the papers drawn. don't worry, we have another one
coming up. it will be pretty quick. john, go ahead. >> the senator today is attacking your sister. >> can you imagine, my sister. my sister was appointed bir by ronald reagan originally. >> let me ask you this question, is family on or off limits, and has this gotten personal? >> i think my sister has nothing to do with me. she's a federal judge is the a high, high level, court of appeals, and she was originally appointed biry ronald reagan. a highly brilliant woman, a brilliant judge. i don't even know what her views are and i don't think she would want to tell me. she doesn't -- i remember one of your cohorts wanted to do a great story about her. i said, they want to do a great story about you, and she said, i don't want any great stories.
she's very much like me in that respect. see how we have the same parents? she's a federal judge highly respected at every level, by both sides. certainly what he said about her is horrible. they made her sound just terrible. she may have views on certain things. i've never asked her views, i don't want to ask her views. i don't think it's appropriate. she is a very, very solid person and a very great intellect. and she's acknowledged as being so in the court. >> but has this now become personal? it seems like the ten or or of campaign is more personal. >> in many respects. cruz for sure, because even jeb won't say, boom, donald trump is, like, against the second amendment or whatever. he doesn't do that. what cruz does is incredible. i've never seen anything like it. i think he actually said it,
"donald trump is against the second amendment." what? i did a radio show with a very good host. i won't mention the name but you can figure it out. and he said, he said you were totally in favor of obamacare. every speech i've made was we have to repeal and replace obamacare. i questioned him and he said, no, he really likes obamacare. how do you fight that except these people can fight it. don't forget, i only have three days to fight it. i don't have that i'll do it within a period of six months. we'll bring a lawsuit if he doesn't straighten himself out. he's a lying guy. this guy is just a plain outright liar. in fact, i felt better because marco rubio called him a liar the other night on stage. i felt so better. good, a politician called a politician a liar, now i can actually call him a liar. [ inaudible question ] >> this is for a different reason. this is for gitmo, and it's
really originally for gitmo, but you folks haven't asked that question yet, because it's ridiculous they're moving people into this area. we're totally against it, and if i win, we're moving them out. they shouldn't be closing gitmo, guantanamo bay. they should not be closing it in any way, shape or form. and they shouldn't be moving people, hardened criminals, into this area, and i will stop it. if i don't stop it in terms of time, if i win, they're going back. [ inaudible question ] >> i would keep it open. that's right, i would keep it open. we have to be very vigilant. we'll look at everybody's case, certainly, and you don't want to have people that are innocent of something suffering, but you have some very hardened people. you've let a lot of people go, he's letting them go one after the other. many of them are going back to the battlefields. so we want to keep it open, and that's the way i feel.
and here's the thing. i don't want people coming into this area. i've had such complaints. i've had people from south carolina calling me asking me to do this press conference about guantanamo bay, and there's not going to be any people coming here. and, frankly, i think the governor should take a very strong stand on it. >> do you think those people being held without trials, should they get a fair trial? >> eventually they should. i would increase the population as we capture other people that are terrorists and the like, i would absolutely increase it. i would be very strong on it. [ inaudible question ] >> the governor has a lot of power people don't realize. for instance, with the migration, you have people coming into the area of south carolina. they're coming in. if i were the governor, i wouldn't let them come in. i don't care what the rules and regulations say. in theory, the governor doesn't have anything to do with it. i would have something to do with it, believe me.
i would make it so uncomfortable for the federal government that they would say, okay, let's send them to other states or let's not take them in, period. we shouldn't be taking people in from the migration. we shouldn't be taking people in from syria. we don't know who they are, we don't know where they come from. you look at what's going on in sweden and germany and all these other countries, we should not be taking people in from the migration. now, we should help people with safe zones in syria, i will get the gulf states to pay for it, because right now they're paying for nothing and they're taking nobody. because they're smart. you know what? they're smart. but they'll pay. and we're not going to pay. we'll lead it, but we should build safe zones because you have to do something. but i don't want to take people into this country -- you saw what happened in california with two people that got married that were radicalized, and it was a disaster, okay? a disaster. they killed 14 and plenty of people laying right there in the hospital. you look at what's going on throughout the world, we're not
going to do it. we have enough problems as a country. you take a look at what's going on in germany, you take a look at what's going on in brussels, you take a look at what's going on in sweden the other night, we're not going to have that. >> your comments a couple minutes ago about president bush and the world trade center, what do you think the president should have done in 2001? >> i'm not saying anything. i'm just saying if you look back in your records, you will see there was tremendous information, and the cia and various other agencies were not talking and they were not getting along, and there were personality conflicts and they all hated each other and they ended up at the world trade center, okay? if you take a look at the book "the america redeserve" written in the year 2000, i mentioned in that book -- i wrote it -- osama bin laden. because i saw him a couple times and i read about him, and i said, you know, he's a bad dude. we better do something about him. i wasn't even a politician, i wasn't in politics, i just have always found it very interesting.
but i'm saying to myself, we better do something about that guy. if you did something about him, you wouldn't have had the world trade center come down. if you look back at the cia and the various other agencies, and i think john is nodding. i don't know if you remember it, but they had tremendous problems getting along together. that's management. because if they did, they knew some bad things were going to happen, they could have stopped it. [ inaudible question ] >> i don't say anything. here's what i say. here's what i say. are you ready? the world trade center came down during his reign. he was the top. the world trade center came down. >> he's accountable? >> the war with iraq which started this whole thing, the whole thing starts with the war in iraq.
s saddam hussein was a terrible guy. he understood and he killed terrorists. bad guy. but if the president and other people, and frankly, obama was no better because the way he got us out was a disaster. look what's happened since then. shouldn't have been there, shouldn't have got out the way we got out. but if the president went to the beach, we would have been better off, believe me. john, go ahead. >> is george w. bush responsible for 9/11? >> no, i think we could have had greater vigilance but i would never say anyone was responsible for that. >> he's arriving about an hour from now. >> say hello for me. give him my warmest regards. [ inaudible question ] >> actually, no. when was this set up? this was set up for guantanamo.
i compare him to bill clinton, so bill clinton came out four weeks ago and his wife made a statement about me having to do with sexism, right? and i made a statement about her and him. and i said once she made that statement and once he was campaigning, it's a whole different ball game. now, if the ex-president is campaigning for his brother, i think he's probably open to great scrutiny. maybe things that haven't been thought of in the past. when jeb used his name, as i said, in the first debate, in the raegan debate, i left it alone. but when he kept using it, i said, i have to bring it up. when he talked about the great safety we had, i said, i'm sorry. at some point we have to bring it up, and the other day i brought it up. i said the world trade center came down during your brother's reign. [ inaudible question ] >> i don't think anything can hurt him. he's doing so badly, how much worse can it be hurt?
>> you said on the debate states, delay, delay, delay. >> delay, yes. >> obviously a term for presidency is four months long. in a trump presidency when do you draw that cutoff line if there is a vacancy to fill. >> i don't blame obama. he's going to try to do it. i don't think he should be successful because mitch mcconnell has a long ways in terms of delay, et cetera, et cetera. i'm not saying obama shouldn't do it, i'm just saying the republicans should not allow it to happen. now, i also said the republicans should not have approved the budget they approved four weeks ago and they approved the budget. you never know. they've been very disappointing. the republicans have been very disappointi disappointing. i always say obama is the worst negotiator i've ever seen with everybody except the
republicans. >> some of these individuals, sheree lawson was a name that's been thrown around. if 97 to nothing was the score as it was then, what does that say about the republican party, and does that risk the senate for republicans going forward? >> i think what will happen is he'll put in somebody a little more moderate than he normally would have done. i think the new president should have that option. tom, go ahead. >> mr. trump, there is somebody who who is incredibly proud of their family name. you earlier attacked jeb bush for coming out with the bush logo -- >> i'm not the first. i said from the beginning. >> what does that tell you about him? >> it tells me nothing about him. i think the name bush would have been better than an exclamation point. he's jeb bush. the exclamation point didn't work so now he's using bush.
but i think he should have used his name. i think it shows that he wasn't proud of the family. i don't know exactly what it tells you, but i always said -- in fact, i would tell him, why don't you use the name bush. you're bush. use the name bush. >> getting back to your opposition of the war in iraq, can you cite something you said -- >> look, look, look. you can play cute. who are you, by the way? >> jim acostas, cnn. >> jim, you can play cute -- i'll tell you why it's cute. because i said many things for a long time, but i wasn't a politician. i'm not getting publicity. i said for a long time, don't go into the war, don't go into the war. i think the first time they have me down, you have it as 2003. this is right after the war started. some people said it doesn't make a difference because early on i said it. i was saying it before then, too. in 2003 right at the beginning, i said it and very strongly. in 204, i was in reuters and
quoted it all over the place because i was close to the war. very simple. i said, are you going to destabilize the east? iraq and iran were equal in terms of military strength. if you knock out the one's power, the other one will take over the middle east. i didn't know we would be so stupid to make a deal where we gave them $150 billion, which we just gave them. but now they have 150 billion, a very wonderful agreement with us in terms of -- they went out and they're spending their 150 billion. so far they haven't spent any of it with us. they bought 118 aircraft from airbus, which is european. they're spending their money all over europe, they're buying missiles from russia. they're spending their money with everybody but the united states. not good. not good. >> it seemed like especially in florida, it seemed like you were trying to be more optimistic. you waernt attaeren't attacking
rivals as much. what changed since then? >> i went to the debate and i was attacked. i thought it was my best debate. some people thought i was too tough. i thought it was my best debate. i was attacked from everybody. including by the moderator, because they were saying, donald trump said this and this about your brother. that's how this whole thing started. donald trump said in ancient times, so-and-so about your brother. i didn't bring it up. that was brought up by john, as you know. okay? so i didn't bring it up. so i was being attacked by the moderators from the standpoint that they were feeding -- it was like a feeding frenzy on trump. that's why they got good ratings. >> do you think you're winning south carolina voters? >> i think i'm doing great in south carolina. i know south carolina well. i've been here a lot. i think they have a very sophisticated voter and they get it. they get it. for instance, when cruz lies about virtually everything i've
done, they get it. i really believe they get it. >> if you're so confident, why not file it today? >> the democrats are going to file it, anyway. i get along with everybody, remember? i was a business guy and got along with everybody? if cruz ever got it -- i think i'm going to get it, but if cruz ever got the nomination, the democrats are going to file the lawsuit. so in a sense i'm doing him a favor because i'm filing it early. if i file it, i'm filing it early. but i have a very good lawyer, and a lawyer that truly believes in me. how do you give a man the nomination for your major party, one of the two major parties, and the man has a cloud over his head? i told him, get a declaratory judgment. you've got to do something, because the democrats are going to file. to the best of my knowledge,
there already are two lawsuits out there. [ inaudible question ] >> no, no. eventually it's going to be used, anyway. they're going to sue him. they're not going to sue now because they don't think he'll get the nomination. but if he gets the nomination, he's going to be sued. so frankly, if i were him, i would probably tell him, if i was advising him other than i'm more moral than he is, in my opinion, i would probably tell him very nicely, keep your lies going. you're going to get sued, anyway, you might as well keep your lies going. i think it's a good lawsuit. >> george w. bush is a very popular figure in the state of south carolina and a lot of people here may think that he kept the country safe after 9/11 -- >> what does it mean, he kept the country safe after 9/11? i heard that for years, jeremy. i heard for years he kept the
country safe -- what does that mean after? i lost a lot of friends that were killed in that building. the worst attack ever in this country. it was during his presidency. i mean, we had the worst attack ever. by the way, after that we did okay. that's meaning the team scored 19 runs in the first inning, but after that we played well. i don't think so. >> what are the stakes saturday for you in the campaign? >> i think we're doing well. we have a tremendous rally tonight. i'm here for the entire week, and -- >> is that because you're nervous about the campaign? >> the fact that i'm here? give me a break. [ inaudible question ] >> you have a situation here where people from syria are being settled in south carolina,
and i think it's disgrace fuful. and if i were nikki hailey, i would not allow it to happen. a governor has choice, believe me. [ inaudible question ] >> i don't know what you're talking about. go ahead. >> we talked about the intensity and ferocity of this campaign really revving up right now. you talked about the attacks and that you're making a lot of them. >> in all fairness, i'm responding to them. >> do you feel there is increased pressure right now? >> on me? >> how do you deal with this pressure? >> i think i deal with pressure well. i've won many club championships. my whole life has been pressure and i like pressure. i really do like pressure. but i don't think cruz deals well with pressure. i think he's a basket case. he thought he was going to win new hampshire, and not only did he lose, he lost big league. i think that cruz does not handle pressure well. i don't think rubio handles
pressure well. you saw that in his run-in with christie. i was standing right next to rubio and i thought he just got out of a swimming pool. he was soaking wet. i don't think he handles pressure well. i just don't see him -- look, i don't see that personality negotiating with putin like this personality, okay? you want to make a good deal for the country, you want a deal with russia, and there's nothing wrong with not fighting everybody, having russia where we have a good relationship as opposed to all the stupidity that's taken place. i'm going to make the great trade deals. these guys aren't, they're politicians. >> when people say south carolina is a real pressure cooker, you say what? >> everything is a pressure cooker. you have to handle pressure. that's what i like doing, i love the pressure. you can't lie. you can't allow lies to take place like where cruz is saying with guns, with abortion, with this, with virtually everything, it's just a lie.
someone has to come and somebody has to say it. i find the whole south carolina thing so interesting. i find the people -- you know, we've already had a couple events today. the people are amazing. the one thing that's really interesting, they're very knowledgeable politically in south carolina. i think that's a. they understand that they're all talk, no action. they're not going to make deals. i'm the only politician that's not getting money. all these guys, like cruz, is getting tremendous amounts of money from oil and all these different -- jeb bush. woody will totally control what happens. do you think the industry is going to be hurt by jeb bush when his committee is raising funds for him? the drug wars, basicing there a is no bidding.
we are the largest purchaser of drugs in the world. there is no bidding. do you know why there is no bidding? because the politicians take it as all money from the drug companies. same with the military companies, same with the lumber companies, same with everything. me, i'm not taking any money. i'll do what's right. i'll do what's right for the people. i think it has an impact. i'm not sure it's as big as it should be because i will have spent more in the time it's toefr. >> do you go in saying, i love trump because he's not taking money from the special interests or the lobbyists? [ inaudible question ]
>> we're going to see about it. i'm going to look at a whole lot of things, because what i see so far is unbelievable. that somebody can go and do what they're doing and make statements like that -- and i learned a lot from iowa. i've been doing this since june 16. i learned a lot from iowa when people can be so dishonest. i know you covered the ben carson thing, but what's worse was the voter violation form. it looked like it came right out of the irs. it said, "voter violation, you are in violation." i'll be looking. [ inaudible question ] >> very good reporter this guy. go ahead. [ inaudible ] >> they default. i'm very disappointed in the
rnc, republican national committee. i'm very disappointed in the rnc because for three debates, as an example, i gave to judges. bush got up and stumbled through an answer and i said, what are they doing? many of the people, i have to say, many in that room i know. and they're having fun. i get it. but some of them were friends of mine. they are special sbsinterests a they're lobbyists and that shouldn't be. they have total absolute control. i bring up the drug thing because the drug companies are going to go to competitive bid. whether we save 100 billion a
year or 350 pibillion a year, they're going to company bid. these people can't say that because the drug companies give them a fortune to run for office. tom? >> is senator ted cruz really the dirtiest politician you've come across? >> not the dirtiest, he's the biggest liar. i mean. if ted cruz did it and didn't get caught, he got caught with voter slilgs, and we caught him here making robo calls. they're saying donald trump is a horrible human being and would you vote for him? ted cruz is wonderful, what about ted cruz? what they're doing -- you know what it is -- push pulse. we caught him. so the really good ones are the ones that don't get caught.
every time he did anything, he got caught. but if you catch him and don't do anything about him, then it's your fault, okay? [ inaudible question ] >> for the what? very simple. great borders. we're going to build the wall. by the way, mexico is going to pay for the wall. that's a very interesting thing because these people come off the stage and say, mexico is not going to pay for the wall. my competitors. of course, they are. we lose so much money with mexico in terms of a deficit. we have a deficit with mexico that's so massive. the wall is peanuts. trust me, they're going to pay for the wall. but we're going to have a strong military. we're going to pay for our vets. we're going to end obamacare. it's going to be terminated. we're going to come up with something really good. there's so many different plans. part of the problem with the plans are the insurance companies dictated the plans to obama. insurance companies are making a fortune, some of them, with
obamacare. we're going to come up with a savings -- you know, you can do the health care savings plan, we're going to get rid of the boundaries around the states where it makes it totally noncompetitive. it's total the noncompetitive. we're getting rid of obamacare, repeeling and replacing obamacare. common core is dead. it's the worth. we're number 30 in education. you have norway, sweden, china, denmark. we're number 30. we spend more per pupil. so common core is dead. we're going to protect our second amendment. when i say dead, we're bringing in education locally. [ inaudible question ] >> what we're doing right here today, yeah. for guantanamo bay, we're not going to let people come here from guantanamo bay. you're talking about the local local. we are not letting people come
this area from guantanamo bay. they're not coming into the country, let alone this area. but they're not coming to this area, and this. you can bank on it. [ inaudible question ] >> winning south carolina would be a great thing, i agree. [ inaudible question ] >> i will tell you that i have received so many calls from people that you all know about and you write about and speak viciously about me where they want to come on board. they're politicians. i've received so many calls. you can speak to cory and we're not going to give your names, anyway.
cory, is that a correct statement to put it mildly? i have received so many calls from people, the most unsuspecting the people. john heilman would say, there is no way that guy called. they call. people you would not believe. it's all going to come together. i'm a unifier. obama is not a unifier. i'm a unifier. >> do you expect people to vote for you come saturday? >> i hope so. i'm here. we're working hard. we have a great relationship with the people of south carolina. i hope it holds. i can't tell you what's going to happen when a guy lies about your record. that's why you have to get the truth out. i think we're going to hold. i hope we're going to hold. i hope we're going to be successful. my whole theme is make america great again. south carolina is going to have a big part of that because south carolina -- i mean, this could be the start and may be running the table. i think if we win south carolina, we could conceivably run the table.
>> would you think about getting out of the race after south carolina if you win big here? >> i think you'll have certain people getting out of the race, yeah. >> do you think george w. bush should stay out of this fray? >> i think it would be better for him to stay out. >> will you be watching tonight? >> no. i think i'll be giving a rally. i'll see what happened, obviously. but i don't believe i'll be able to because i think i'm giving a rally at that time. am i? yes, i'm giving a rally. >> i have accused jeb bush of being weak on immigration -- >> weak, period. >> there are over 100,000 young people known as dreamers who have deferred action given to them. what should they expect? >> i want dreamers to come from this country. you mentioned dreamers. you mentioned dreamers? i want dreamers to come from the united states. i want the people in the united states that have children, i
want them to have dreams also. we're always talking about dreamers for other people. i want the children that are growing up in the united states to be dreamers also. they're not dreaming right now. and you look at african-american youth. i mean, 58% unemployment. you look at african-americans and they're 30 years old and 40 years old and we have an african-american president, and he has not done anything for the african-americans in this country, okay? and he got a free pass. and he shouldn't have. because if that were me or that were somebody else, we would be taking over the calls, believe me. it would not be a good situation. president obama has done nothing for the african-americans. you look at african-american youth, you look at african-americans that are 30 years old, 40 years old and 50 in their prime -- their prime -- and take a look at the statistics. it's very sad. how about one or two more questions? go ahead, sir. >> deferred action? >> i'll look at it.
excuse me, that's enough. >> can i ask you about cuba? >> about could you be a. -- cuba. >> yes. there are many who are opposed to the agreement with cuba. >> i think it's 50 years past its time but we need a better deal than we're making. we make bad deals. it's like the keystone pipeline. i'm totally for it. if you see that bush used eminent domain, he was talking about private and eminent domain, and a story came out about him using private. he just doesn't understand things like that. but the keystone pipeline, i will support the keystone pipeline, but i will make a deal for this country when we get a chunk of it. but when we have eminent domain, we make the keystone pipeline
and other things possible. they'll make a tremendous amount of money with the keystone pipeline. a lot of money they make will come back to the people of this country. >> you expressed a lot of confidence about the people of south carolina who has an election coming up, right? what is your biggest fear? >> lies. my only worry about south carolina is that my opponents lie. especially cruz. he's the single worst liar i've ever seen. if people believe the lies, then, you know, we won't make america great again, because nobody else is going to be able to do it but me. believe me, i know my competition. they're all bought and paid for by the special interests. they're not going to negotiate with the lumber companies, the drug companies, the oil and gas companies, any of them. they're not going to make good trade deals because trade deals are made by the lobbyists and the special interests. me, i'm going to have the greatest trade deals ever made. we're going to become rich again and we're going to become great
again. but i know my opponents. so the thing that i would say if i had a doubt is when a guy is allowed to lie like ted cruz where you can just say, take an issue, boom, just make it the opposite with no fact at all. on sunday i'll get a phone call, listen, i just want to say i didn't realize -- like ben carson did. ben carson got a call two hours after the election. in iowa they should have overturned the election based on what cruz did, honestly, he was so dishonest. between the voter violation and that, they should have overturned it. if they had a strong leader in iowa in terms of the republican party -- jeff is a good guy, but perhaps he's not strong, i don't know -- what cruz did is a fraud. what they should do is overturn that election. one more question. go ahead, how about you in the back? >> can you clarify, would ted cruz be on your short list for president?
>> no, he wouldn't be on my short list. >> the grievance you talked about with the rnc, does it open a question -- >> the rnc is in default. yeah, i understand. when somebody is in default, that means the other side can do what they have to do, okay? the rnc is in default. the rnc gave all the tickets to special interests that represented cruz and rubio. they had all the tickets. they walked on stage and the place went crazy. it was sort of interesting, one guy has very low in the polls, the other one is pretty low in the polls. there was nobody in the room. i had my wife and kids, okay? because i don't have donors. i don't have donors and i don't have special interests, i don't have any of that. but i think the rnc did an important job. we warned them twice, because this happened twice before, so we've warned them and they don't listen. i think the rnc is controlled. the bottom line is the rnc is controlled by the establishment, and the rnc is controlled by the special interests and the
donors, and that's too bad. that's why the republican party for president has lost so much for so long. thank you all very much. i appreciate it. thank you. >> we were just watching a wide-ranging news conference with donald trump who is in south carolina. i've got a couple of our team members who have been following the trump campaign, but i want to start off getting some reaction right now from iowa's republican congressman steve king. he is a staunch supporter of ted cruz for president. congressman, thank you so much for joining. >> thanks for having me on. >> there are so many places we could start, but i'll start with donald trump yet again calling the candidate you are supporting a liar, calling him one of the dirtiest politicians he's ever seen, also threatening now litigation in regards to his birther comments or birther attacks against ted cruz. gut reaction. what are we watching here? >> this is just -- it is a sickening display of a school yard bully.
we've never seen this in politics before. i notice that somebody tallied up in the debate saturday night that the word "liar" was used 22 times. we don't use that word where i come from, because when you make that kind of allegation, we look back at our founding fathers, for example, and realize that aaron burr fought to the death of allegations, and now we have them hurled out as though making that allegation somehow makes it true and makes it stick. i will say this. things i heard donald trump say, you would never want a president of the united states speaking like that from a podium. think of this press conference he just did. think of the great seal of the united states of america in front of him. the president of the united states hurling those baseless accusations out, attacking people, attacking their character willy-nilly, calling them liars with no basis or substance. by the way, not even being held accountable by the press. you have to go to the original source of the text, run the tape and tell me what wasn't true.
i don't know of a single thing that ted cruz said that wasn't objectively true and precisely stated. >> which is an interesting point you make regarding what the press should be doing, and i get completely what you are stating regarding at least a follow-up on some of these things. with that said, donald trump is still leading your party. he is double-digit lead above ted cruz right now. if these things that are being said by donald trump are not true, where are your ads? what is going on with the ted cruz strategy? if there is an opening here, why can't he seize the opportunity? >> well, i'm not going to speak to the strategy of the cruz campaign in that fashion, but i will say this. there is something that does happen in politics. when somebody calls you a liar and you turn around and say, "am not," they say "are so" and it turns into a schoolyard argument. you have to make the decision whether you want to go down in the muck with someone like that or stand above it, and with
clarity, have confidence with the voters. by the way, iowans have that clarity and donald trump is a sore loser. he lost by more than 6,000 votes in iowa, so now he has to give you this fury and threaten a lawsuit. there was nothing that happened in iowa that you can point to that was unethical or untrue on the part of what ted cruz said or did. in fact, those statements that came out, the origin of the carson issue came right out of carson's campaign. i went to meet carson two days later on a wednesday night in his hotel room. i met with the person that fed that information, and ben carson and i understand this. i think he should step up and say it originated with the carson campaign, it was embellished by cnn, and all cruz did was just transfer that message over to us. what i put out in my tweet, by the way, was objectively crew, what wouldn't have been true as if i would have said, looks like carson is in. that wouldn't have been true. >> obviously some of this has been linked to you. i understand why you say this is dirty politics.
we also know donald trump is not the only candidate that has called it dirty politics. let's, for a second if we can, leave iowa in the past and look at the debate states over the weekend where you had marco rubio and donald trump both calling ted cruz a liar when it comes to where he stood regarding amnesty. now your candidate is in the middle of what you referred to as the bully and potentially the establishment candidate here, and repeatedly what's being stuck to your candidate is the word "liar." how does he get out of this and beat back some of this double-digit deficit that he has here? >> the most important part is for the press to pin down donald trump and marco rubio. if you're going to hurl those vile allegations, then you go back to the original source and point that out and make that case. i've chased this down myself on the internet and i'm speaking with confidence here. what ted cruz said about marco rubio's position when he did the spanish language interview is
precisely true. he said that marco would not eliminate doca right away. immediately, i believe, is the word he used. that is what he said in the interview. i don't think that's disputed and i don't think marco rubio answered to that, and now he gets a free pass because the press will not pin him down and he gets to use that l word over and over again. please help us out with this. we won't have a free country if we don't deal with the objective. >> i have to ask you, though, about this battle over whether or not president obama should nominate a replacement for the supreme court. ted cruz has said he believes there should be a way. donald trump says a delay. what do you say? >> i say delay. however you want to shake this out, the constitution, of course, gives the president an opportunity to nominate, and with the advice of the senate, appoint. unless it's a recess appointment, appoint someone to
the supreme court. we can quote the constitution back and forth, there are points both ways. >> let's bring this into the political fight. chuck grassley has said the president should not nominate, but right now what's on line and trending are his own words from when george w. bush was president, and i quote here. the senate has never stopped confirming judicial nominees during the last few months of a president's term. that was chuck grassley then, which is different now. our own points this out. the supreme court nominees in both parties get confirmed in under 80 days. there are 300 days left in this term. if you want to have on one side the interpretation of the constitution, but we have republicans in their own words that simply don't match up here. >> and you'll find chuck schumer in his own words and others also that contradict themselves, and you're going to see if people have been in that senate long
enough that they have been on the opposite side of this equation, there will be arguments that are made on both sides of this. but if i heard chuck grassley's words right, he said judicial nominees, he didn't say supreme court justices. >> and others would say if we see the words correctly in the constitution, it clearly states the words of the congress and the senate. we'll see how it works out for ted cruz in south carolina and beyond. let's bring in michael steele, also the former chairman of the republican national committee of vermont. governor dean is the chairman of the national committee. i have to say quickly here, i rushed to wrap up congressman king, so if it looked like i was cutting him off, that wasn't the case. i know i have a window with both of you, so my apologies to the congressman there. michael, let's look at what donald trump said over the last hour here. now he's saying that the deal he made with the rnc not to run as an independent is off the table. he believes that the rnc stacked
the odds against him. he's going to file a lawsuit potentially against ted cruz if he doesn't knock it off, and i think the headline remains he continues to say that george w. bush is not keep america safe and 9/11 rests in front of him. how does this play out in south carolina? >> well, it plays out, i think, arguably, largely in his favor. he hit on a number of things that will resonate with the base, particularly those that relate to the establishment. i think what i said at the very beginning of donald trump's entry, and particularly when we had the initial flap with the rnc about will he go third party or not was this. for donald trump, every deal is a negotiation and every negotiation is renegotiable. and if you do not understand that in dealing with him, then you find yourselves up against the wall as you do now where he comes out and goes, well, you know, you haven't played fair so that deal is off the table. that is something that, again, relates back to a lot of folks
on the ground. i think it hurts them. i don't think you've gotten an appreciable amount of votes. >> what many republicans would see as a great offense in saying that george w. bush did not keep the country safe, as a result of 9/11, we know the facts and we know certainly the information that has come as a result of congressional investigations, and the list goes on and on. so is he unstoppable, michael? >> i think the test will come this saturday in south carolina. because given the goodwill, if you will, between the bush family, particularly george w. bush and the people of south carolina, we'll see if george bush tromps through south carolina after making those comments with a double-digit lead or even a strong
single-digit lead, you'll have your answer right now. >> let's talk about what we've heard from donald trump and ted cruz nominating a replacement for justice scalia. he can point to the planned parenthood comments from donald trump, he can also point to donald trump's liberal record which he has voiced in a number of places despite what he's saying now. what i mean is the sper views he did before running for president. >> i have to say i was abused by shawn king using the word liar. i'm sure they've all lied with president obama. there is a little false outrage there. look, i agree with michael. every time i think that trump has gone over the line, he seems to get stronger. we're going to see. there's five days until the
primary in south carolina. we'll see how it happens. i don't know how he takes on the bush family in south carolina. i've been wrong about donald trump and everything we said in march. does he in this firts event we'll see him in later this evening, does he take the bait? >> no, but he'll probably say you guys said he'll take the bait -- >> don't say that about me. that's so personal. i'm not a guy. >> guys is a millennial term. >> will he take the bait is my question? >> he will probably say something that will be interpreted as taking the bait. nice way of saying what i said letter, but presidents can't take the bait, ever, ex-presidents. they just can't do it. >> clinton does. >> well, he shouldn't.
i think george w. bush doesn't take the bait but he probably seems to take the bait. >> thank you so much, governor dean, chairman steele. great pleasure having both of you on. really appreciate it. katie tur is here. she has a follow-up to this entire event we just watched play out. a couple headlines, but for you you've covered the campaign. what was donald trump's goal with this news conference? >> i think initially the goal was to come in and talk about gitmo and talk about cuban gitmo open, which is an issue that plays very well in south carolina. it's an easy win. it would accentuate his hard lines on terror. i think they got sidetracked with this cruz stuff. it seems like he can't take a loss so he's focusing on iowa instead of moving to south carolina. then again, south carolina does pose issues with him with the evangelical community, and that's what cruz is hoping he
will clean the floor with. i think he's hoping to take cruz down at the knees before he can get too strong down there. donald trump is leading in the polls. he's leading by 20%. obviously they don't think that's enough, they don't totally trust those polls and they realize ted cruz has a very strong ground game there. he can come up from behind, he appeals ground level voters. what he's doing is he's coming out, calling him a liar, he's trying to take him out any way he can. instead of hitting on immigration, which is what rubio is doing, he's going after him on dirty tricks. weird to do that in south carolina which is a state that has a long history of dirty tricks and dirty tricks that make ted cruz's iowa tactics look tame in comparison. i was talking to a lot of south carolina operatives out tlt t. ham many wants to see you sit on their couch, south carolina wants to see how you take a
punch. they don't like whiners down there, and this could certainly be seen as donald trump whining a little bit. >> katie tur, thank you very much. i know you're heading to south carolina any moment as well. we're waiting to hear from senator cruz in south carolina. how will he respond to the latest attacks and the threat of a lawsuit now from donald trump? and tonight, george w. bush will get his chance to publicly respond to donald trump. you heard michael steele and howard dean both say that the former president will likely not take the bait. we'll see what happens. up next, the impact of george w. bush's presence on the campaign trail just days before the south carolina republican primary. trees? eese. xerox helps hospitals use electronic health records so doctors provide more personalized care. cheese? cheese! patient care can work better. with xerox. that's it. how was your commute? good.
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it would be the height of irresponsibility for the republican leadership not to have a vote on a nominee from the president. >> that was ranking member of the senate judiciary committee patrick leahy with my colleague andrea mitchell today in the fight over who should replace supreme court justice antonin scalia. moments ago, trump held a press conference and talked about that nomination. here's what trump thought should happen regarding a nominee for replacement. take a listen. >> i'm not saying that obama shouldn't do it, i'm just saying the republicans should not allow it to happen. now, i also said the republicans should not have approved the budget they approved four weeks ago, and they approved the budget. so you never know. they've been very disappointing. >> pete williams is the justice correspondent for nbc news. pete, obviously the president is moving forward. at some point we will hear a name. what are you expecting? what are we looking for next
here? obviously the name, though. >> well, we don't know the name. it seems like the white house was most likely prepared for -- not prepared for this vacancy. they probably had other contingency plans. they're now trying to figure out a way, we're told, to find a consensus nominee that would be acceptable to many republicans, certainly not all, but there seem to be some entreaties by the white house to members of the senate to say, who could we send up there that would have a chance? so there are lots of names that are being discussed, a couple judges here in washington, d.c., merrick garland who is well liked, former justice department official. all of these folks have been confirmed once before. shrishri vossen, who is a judge here. lots of names, but this is a process for the white house to work through deciding what kind of nominee they want to send up, and secondly, go through that
person's background. >> pete williams, thank you very much. sorry for the quick hit. we had the breaking news from donald trump but certainly valuable information. two days after a heated back and forth with donald trump about his family's name on live tv, jeb bush was or will physically stand by his brother tonight, campaigning alongside former president george w. bush as we mentioned. that will happen tonight at 6:00. the two tonight will hold a rally. former first lady laura bush will also be there. the question is will he or won't he respond to trump's comments that continued only moments ago. >> if the ex-president is campaigning for his brother, i think he's probably open to great scrutiny. maybe things that haven't been thought of in the past. you know, when jeb used his name, as i said, in the first debate, in the reagan debate, i left it alone. but when he kept using it, i said, i have to bring it up.
when he talked about the great safety we had, i said, i'm sorry. at some point we have to bring it up. and the other day i brought it up. i said the world trade center came down during your brother's reign. >> gavin jackson is state house reporter for the post. kerry, it's important to note that donald trump referred to it as a reign of george w. bush. jeb bush this morning was on a show and said it's interesting that he attacks my brother. how is this playing out amongst the loyal republicans in south carolina? >> reporter: well, i think, you know, what you really saw in that debate on saturday was donald trump setting the field for today, this huge event with george w. bush, the first time getting back on the campaign trail with his brother. a huge event tonight. what you saw trump do is where
he could overshadow himself by getting involved with this event and talking about it. that was kind of one of those trump tactics that really have been planned out over and over during this campaign. on the ground here in south carolina, it was kind of maybe expected. a lot of people who are jeb bush supporters still are going to support jeb bush. likewise people who support donald trump like him for that outspokenness, like him for talking about that, obviously liken the iraq war that george bush was maybe a risk for people, especially in the republican party. but it will be interesting to see how this plays out tonight. i don't think he would want to keep that going back and forth, but it's definitely going to be overshadowing this event tonight. >> absolutely in a lot of ways. but also you have this military population there. how does this, then, factor in with them as well and some of the reaction? essentially when you're looking at this, and we've all had the
conversation of the lives lost, the ongoing disruption in that region. this hits closer to home in that state than just about anywhere. >> yeah, especially when we're talking about charleston. south carolina is home to several military bases, several important military bases. just nearby here in columbia, we have fort jackson. it's a huge army basic training base. there is a lot of military here in south carolina. it's interesting, i was actually at a marco rubio event this morning, and i spoke with two vietnam veterans, and obviously they're for rubio, but they were also talking about donald trump, and one of them was saying, you know, you can kind of see through donald trump and see through kind of what he's doing, and it's only a matter of time until maybe he implodes or something happens. that's been talked about over and over during this campaign and it hasn't happened. is this event going to be something that does that? we don't know. he has attacked several people, several different demographics that would have tanked any other
campaign. so is attacking george w. bush's record going to do that? we don't know, but i know some veterans feel obviously that trump is not their candidate and likewise for jeb bush. he has so many veterans. he has lindsay graham, he has senator john mccain on his side, too, so a lot of that military might, you might say, is behind jeb bush, too. i don't know how much is there for donald trump per se, but i know there are a lot of people that like the way trump talks. >> gavin boston with the post and curry. it's important to hear about what hillary clinton and bernie sanders are doing in nevada. and although there's no reliable polling, we're told, out of nevada, there are reports of momentum picking up for bernie sanders as hillary clinton added a day of campaigning in that state. we'll see what else is going on on the ground. we'll be right back. cut.
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welcome back. ted cruz has an event right now under way. this is camden, south carolina. we just heard a pretty long press conference from donald trump. let's listen in to senator cruz. [ cheers and applause ] >> and when we do that, we should abolish the irs. [ cheers and applause ] >> there's something you all may be thinking. can we do this? can it happen? you know, scripture tells us there's nothing new under the sunme sun. i think where we are today is very much like the 1970s, like the jimmy carter era. same failed economic policies. same feckless and naive foreign
policies. in fact, the exact same countries, russia and iran, openly laughing at and mocking the president of the united states. now, why is it that that analogy gives me so much hope? because we remember how that story ended. all across this country, millions of men and women rose up and became the reagan revolution. [ applause ] >> and it didn't come from washington. washington despiced ronald reagan. it came from the american people who turned this country around. why am i so optimistic? the same thing is happening again. it took jimmy carter to give us ronald reagan.
and i am convinced the most long-lasting legacy of barack obama is going to be a new generation of leaders in the republican party who stand and fight for liberty. [ cheers and applause ] >> stand and fight! [ cheers and applause ] >> and with that, i'm happy to answer or dodge any questions. [ laughter ] >> we lost our signal there just as senator cruz was about to take some questions there. we'll maybe get it back up if we can so we're not accused of any
kind of conspiracy theory before that happened. while we work on that, let's move on. hillary clinton and bernie sanders are on opposite sides of the country this afternoon rallying their supporters. bernie sanders is holding an event in michigan right ahead of the state's primary that's march 8. here's a bit of what senator sanders had to say. >> i'll tell you how we can bring about the changes that this country desperately needs, and that is when tens of millions of people stand up. [ cheers and applause ] >> meanwhile, hillary clinton just wrapped up her first event of the day. that's in elko, nevada. at that event, hillary clinton talked about the vacancy on the supreme court and said the senate must take up president obama's nominee. >> if the republicans in the senate act as though they have no responsibility to work with the president to fill that vacant position because they
want to wait to see how the election comes out, the people of this country should send a very clear message. that is not the way our constitution works. you have a duty, we expect you to fulfill it. >> msnbc's alex seitz-wald following the campaign. he joins us from washington, d.c. as we pointed out earlier, alex, hillary clinton added a day to her schedule in nevada. let's talk about the strategy there and the reason behind it. >> nevada was always seen as safe clinton territory. it's a more diverse state than iowa or new hampshire with about 30% of the electorate being non-white. it comes right around south carolina where even a larger portion, about 60%, are expected to be non-white. we always assume it would be safe for clinton. i remember seeing bernie sanders in las vegas in june saying he was going to win nevada and i think a lot of reporters in the room had a bit of a chuckle. but now since we come a few days away from it, remember, it's a caulk is state that awards
enthusiasm, and bernie sanders has a lot of that on his side. and it's only the second time this has been done as an early nominating state. 2008 was the first time, so it's a very low turnout election and only about 100,000 people in 2008, only about 20% registered democrats in the state. so bernie sanders, people i've talked to in his campaign, they're feeling very bullish, and people on the clinton campaign are feeling very bearish right now trying to set expectations and saying this will be a very close race. it's a cliche, but it's true. it will all come down to turnout and organization on sanders' side and attendance on clinton's side. >> we spoke with john ralston who is one of our msnbc team members. he's been based in nevada for 20 years. he discussed with us, alex, hillary clinton's ground game and how she really did jump out in front and establishing your point that it's necessary because this is a caucus, a deep footprint of a ground game
there. >> absolutely, a similar story to what we saw in iowa where she was on the ground earlier, more aggressive and going after all the right places. this is a state she campaigned for before in 2008 where she actually narrowly won the popular vote but lost on delegates. she has experience, her team has experience. but sanders has tried his best to make up as much ground as possible. he has exploded the number of offices in the state, he's exploded his staff in the state, and they're really trying to use that enthusiasm on college students and young people to get them out to the caucuses. because this really is such a low turnout election that even a small number of voters can make all the difference. >> all right, alex, thank you very much. now let's talk about bernie sanders and his campaign. msnbc's kasie hunt is on the ground in michigan. big rally behind you there, kasie.
okay. this is our second time going to kasie hunt today. this happened at 11:00 and now it happeni it's happening again where we've had audio problems. we'll certainly work to get that fixed and get back with kasie hunt so we can hear what the senator had to say at a packed auditorium in michigan. still ahead, though, more on the democratic fight for the minority vote in south carolina. civil rights activist cleveland sellers will join me from columbia. and you are watching msnbc, the place for politics. we'll be right back. ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪ ♪jake reese, "day to feel alive"♪
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think big! [ cheers and applause ] >> all right, you can think hugely! >> hillary clinton and bernie sanders on the campaign trail in separate states today. let's go back. we worked out the audio problems just for you. msnbc's kkasie hunt is followin bernie sanders. what is the message right now in michigan for him? >> tamron, i appreciate all the effort getting us back up and running here. as you can see, this is a large crowd for bernie sanders. there is about 9500 seats in this arena, university of michigan university, most of the crowd behind me on the floor. this, of course, hash very focused on the crisis in flint. senator sanders meeting ahead of this event with seven family members who have kids that have
been affected by that water crisis. and he talked very emotionally about it, saying there are kids being poisoned in the united states and calling for federal intervention if necessary in this crisis. now, of course, hillary clinton has also called for that. i will say governor rick snyder of michigan not a popular figure here at this event. there are some people wearing t-shirts saying "arrest snider" and sanders was met with wild cheers when he talks about calling for snyder's resignation. you can hear this crowd very animated with his in answer. erin brockovich talking about that crisis. hillary clinton receiving endorsements from a number of ministers in flint. so this is clearly the focus here in michigan, but i have to tell you, this is definitely a place where that populist message that has resonated for sanders so far seems to be particularly resonating.
this is one of the largest events we've been to. there is a plan for the democrats to debate here next month, tamron. >> kasie, going back to that pop lust me s populist message, in flint, you would think it would be pertinent for bernie sanders to hit that message with his supporters. >> i think that's right, tamron. obviously, hillary clinton has talked about bernie sanders being a one-note candidate using that as criticism. for this crowd, that one note seems to be working, and of course this state hit very hard in the economic recession. bernie sanders plans to, after this event, meet with uaw members, the united auto workers, the
privately with some of these sanders campaign officials, and also talking to clinton people as well, that this is a state that they're watching for that very reason that you suggested, tamron. >> okay, kasie, thank you very much. going to take you back to south carolina, as i understand it. ted cruz is answering a few questions. let's listen in. >> and we are not in grade school where you just get to say "liar, liar, pants on fire" and not respond to the substance. listen, we saw saturday night two remarkable examples of that. one i pointed out, that donald
trump for 60 years of his life, has described himself as very, very, very pro choice and a supporter of partial birth abortion. >> he's a liar. >> and i also pointed out that even today he supports taxpayer funding for planned parenthood. >> yes, he does. >> now, his response, you'll recall, he got very, very upset and immediately began screaming, "he's a liar." it's an odd response. it's like, wait a second, there's video of you. those things on tripods when you look into them and speak, they actually capture what you say. and he says to me, when did i say that? well, you said it when we were having the fight over defunding planned parenthood and you said planned parenthood does all sorts of wonderful things. and remember what donald did?
he said, well, actually, i think planned parenthood does all sorts of wonderful things. >> let me switch you right now to bernie sanders, a huge event that he's holding right now in michigan. the shot went down on ted cruz. let's listen in to senator sanders. >> do not obstruct. obey the constitution! [ cheers and applause ] >> and when we talk about creating a vibrant democracy together, we will overturn this disastrous citizens united supreme court decision. [ cheers and applause ] >> no nominee of mine to the supreme court will get that
position against -- unless he or she is loud and clear in stating they will vote to end citizens united. [ cheers and applause ] >> now, everybody in this room knows that in a highly competitive global economy, this country needs the best educated work force in the world. what this country is supposed to be about is encouraging people to get the best education that they can. [ cheers and applause ] >> and that is why, to my mind, it is incomprehensible that hundreds of thousands of bright and qualified young people today
are unable to get a college education because their families lack the funds. [ cheers and applause ] >> 50 years ago, 100 years ago, when we talked about public education, it was appropriate to understand public education to mean first grade to 12th grade. because 50 years ago, you know what, if you had a high school degree, you could go out and get a pretty good job and make it into the middle class. the world has changed. today in many respects, a college degree is what a high school degree was 50 years ago. [ cheers and applause ] >> and that is why i believe that when we talk about public education today, it must mean free tuition at public colleges
and universities. [ cheers and applause ] >> this is not a radical idea. it's an idea that exists in countries throughout the world.. it is basically an idea that used to exist here, 50 or 60 years ago. now, in addition -- and here's what the revolutionary element of that idea is. i grew up in a family, didn't have a lot of money, my parents never went to college. there are kids in michigan and vermont, all over this country, parents never went to college. if we can make it clear that any kid in this country who studies hard does well in school, will be able to get a higher education regardless of the income of that family, that will revolutionize education in america.
>> bernie sanders in ipslante, michigan. we're hearing a very similar note from him regarding free college education and some of the things that have resonated with voters. also, at the very top there. senator sanders referring to the president nominating replacement for antonin scalia. we know that's been the dominant headline. and already, now, there are some names, familiar ones, perhaps to use, certainly, on the list. including u.s. attorney general loretta lynch, who tom goldstein, the scotus blog, is saying is the most likely nominee. but the big issue right now is whether the president should make the nomination, which has to be confirmed by the republican-led senate. let's go to our guests. mikhail lamar, a constitutional law professor at yale law. and i paused there -- thanks for joining us again. we talked earlier today.
this notion of whether or not the president. we had steve king, congressman king on earlier today. we know the president has absolutely right to make this nomination. we know that he is. so, lets pass the conversation to that, because he's already said he's going to make the nomination, to the scotus blog bringing up the name loretta lynch. if the president nominated the attorney general, why would this be a wise choice for him or do you see it as a wise choice? >> well, it's not just his right, but really his duty. he's supposed to take care that the constitution be faithfully executed. there's a vacancy. he's going to nominate. and then the senate can do what it wishes. now, here's a broader point. in recent years, the supreme court has been filled, basically, by sitting federal appellate judges. eight of the nine justices before justice scalia's passing were sitting federal court of appeals judges at the time of
appointment and the ninth was elena kagan, whose position as solicitor general was a very judge-like position. and before she was appointed, that position was actually held by john paul stevens, who was a sitting federal appellate judge at the time of his appointment. so there was a time not so long ago that all nine of the supreme court justices had been sitting federal appellate judges at the time of their appointment. but that's not how we've always done it. the court that gave you brown versus board of education had only one former federal judge. it had a governor, earl warner, chief justice. former senators, former attorneys general, like tom clark, like robert jackson, and so, if there were the nomination of someone like that, it would add not just perhaps a demographic diversity to the mix, but actually a diversity of previous job experience, getting someone who didn't merely work up through the judicial ranks. we could think about law deans,
who have been justices. elena kagan. there's a variety of backgrounds that might make for a good court. >> it's interesting, from your vantage point as a constitutional law professor, i'm sure in many respects with, to watch this all play out. but when you hear congressman king say this duty of the president, as stated, is almost subject to interpretation of the constitution, what is your reaction to that? >> well, king is not in the senate. so he's really -- he has no more of a -- >> but he is a key supporter of a presidential candidate, who's -- >> kind of why -- >> yeah. >> if the senate wants to vote "no," their prerogative. if they want to stall, their prerogative. but it may not play so well to the american people, who as a matter of fairness think, give the person a chance. give them at least a hearing. let them make their case. we, the people, can watch, it will be televised, and begin to make our own assessments. so this is going to play into a larger political process.
and that's proper, that's as it should, because we the people voted for a barack obama in 2012. we also voted for a republican senate in the last off-year election. and we're going to vote again. we are part of this process. it's an openly political process, the populating of the supreme court. presidents and senators pick justices, and we, the people, pick presidents and senators. it is a political process, to an important extent. >> and let's talk about the timeline here. there have been comparisons made between ronald reagan's nomination of justice kennedy, and we're looking at the last ten months of the obama administration. for perspective here, help people understand why this comparison is being made, because there are some who are pushing back at this. >> because it's a great comparison. the last year of an ideological president, who has served -- who is serving his second term, that was ronald reagan, that's barack obama. the presidency happens -- the senate is controlled by the other party, back at the end of
the reagan era. this was -- the senate was controlled by democrats. now it's controlled by republicans, an election year. and here's what happened last time around. an ideological, an idealistic republican president worked with a senate of another party, and we got a great pick, anthony kennedy, who has reached across the aisle as a justice and sometimes voted with republicans and sometimes voted with democrats. he's rare in washington, d.c., in doing that. and the process really worked well. and that was an election year, presidential election year. it could work really well again this time, if the two branches and the two parties could get together. >> professor, thank you so much for joining us with your incredible insight. always a pleasure speaking with you. thank you. i want to mention a programming note. msnbc will be hosting a town hall with hillary clinton and bernie sanders. that's going to be hosted by nbc's chuck todd, msnbc's jose diaz balart. that's this thursday, 9:00 eastern right here on msnbc.
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can get toujeo® at the lowest branded copay. ask your doctor about the proven full 24-hour blood sugar control of toujeo®. i'm steve kornacki, live in columbia, south carolina, home of the university of south carolina gamecocks, and we are live today at the liberty tap room, just down the street from the historic state capital. well, here he comes to save the day. or can he? right now, george w. bush is in south carolina. he is trying to rescue his brother, jeb's floundering campaign. this will be the first time in the seven years since he left office that we'll see the former president back out on the campaign trail. and he is walking into a war with the current republican front-runner, donald trump.
trump, who escoreuated the former president in saturday night's debate, accusing the president of lying the country into a disastrous war. the comments that prompted a heated retort from jeb bush, and comments that trump stood by in a press conference here just moments ago. >> the worst attack ever in this country, it was during his presidency. we had the worst attack ever. by the way, after that, we did okay. that's meaning, the team scored 19 runs in the first inning, but after that, we played well. >> what will the former president have to say about all of this? bush will be speaking at a rally with his brother, jeb, two hours from now. we're going to be carrying that rally live. you're not going to want to miss that one. and as trump's battle with the bush family boils over, tensions are also escalating on another front, with trump and ted cruz tearing into each other viciously today, with accusations that threaten to tear their already frayed party
apart. >> donald trump, when asked about the nuclear triad, had no idea what the nuclear triad was. he was asked, which leg of the nuclear triad should we focus on building up first? now the nuclear triad is, as all of you know, is how we defend ourselves from nuclear attacks. now, listen, that works in reality television. but the commander in chief needs to have a basic understanding of the threats facing this country and how we're defending ourselves. >> i've never seen anybody that lied as much as ted cruz. and he goes around saying he's a christian. i don't know, you're going to have to really study that. in my opinion, based on what i've learned over the last two, three days from very top lawyers, he doesn't even have the right to serve as president or even run as president. he was born in canada. so i will bring that lawsuit if he doesn't apologize. >> and we kick off the hour with nbc's katy tur.
she has been covering the trump campaign, keeping a close eye on all of the dramatic feuds the front-runner is getting himself into. and gabe gutierrez, he is with marco rubio in south carolina. katy, let me start with you. we have that countdown now to george w. bush's first appearance, back out there on the campaign trail. this is a battle he probably never thought he'd be in. the front-runner, donald trump, in this republican race, making an issue out of george w. bush's presidency and the iraq war, and essentially asking republicans to stand with him against george w. bush. >> and that's exactly what donald trump was hoping for today. the headlines are about him. the headlines aren't only about george w. bush going back out on the campaign trail, campaigning for his brother in a state that he did very well in back in 2000, a state where -- that is seen as a bush stronghold, a state where he could help his brother quite a bit a second time around. and donald trump is now -- now has that headline as himself. it's him battling with -- excuse
me. battling with george bush. there's my microphone. battling with george bush, instead of george bush coming back out on the campaign trail. and we saw in that press conference just a few minutes ago, he really hit him hard. he was trying to take everything he could out, to take the thunder away from george bush, saying that he did not keep us safe after 9/11, that the world trade center came down during his administration. he called it during his reign. it's the same thing we saw back in october. there was a twitter fight between jeb bush and donald trump on this very issue. and down there in south carolina, we were down there at the time and i asked a number of voter ifs they were bothered by that? if they thought it was out of bounds? because george bush is still very popular down there. and they told me, the ones that even thought it was not okay, said they didn't mind, because they don't have to agree with donald trump on everything. take a listen to why donald trump thinks it's fair game. >> if the ex-president is campaigning for his brother, i think he's probably open to
great scrutiny. maybe things that haven't been thought of in the past. you know, when jeb used his name, as i said, in the first debate, in the reagan debate, i left it alone. but when he kept using it, i said, i have to bring it up. when he talked about the great safety we had. i said, i'm sorry, at some point, we have to bring it up. and the other day i brought it up. i said, the world trade center came down during your brother's reign. >> and now donald trump is also touting his -- that he was against the iraq war, as far back as 2003, but there aren't really a lot of indications that he actually was. he did call it a "mess" to "the washington post." he's first on record saying it was a mistake back in 2004, although he's saying it was earlier than that, that people weren't necessarily paying attention. he also brought up saddam hussein in that press conference, saying he was bad, but at least he killed terrorists. it was a wide-ranging press conference. he also hit ted cruz ands also talked about gitmo, not closing it, in fact, keeping it open and
potentially multiplying the people that are in there right now. donald trump taking everything -- using everything he has in his arsenal to make the news about him today, and to continue with his lead in south carolina. the question is, whether george w. bush, on the campaign trail, once again, eat into that? >> yeah, also, katy, also, this issue you mentioned of ted cruz, this press conference that donald trump just wrapped up, in addition to everything he said about george w. bush, he's threatening a lawsuit against ted cruz. as you heard him there in the clip he said, he's going from saying he didn't think the canadian birth thing was an issue to now saying he doesn't think the guy can be president. he's threatening him a lawsuit and calling hip the worst liar he's ever seen. this is an amazing -- i guess predictable, but an amazing deterioration of their relationship. >> you know, he threatened a lawsuit right after iowa, then backpedaled on it and said he was going to look forward and didn't need to talk about it, now he's bringing it up again. it's almost like he can't let iowa go, he cannot look forward, he cannot less a loss go. but if you look at south
carolina, you do realize that ted cruz has a lot of the same advantages he had in iowa. he has a strong ground game, a lot of evangelicals down there. about 65% of south carolinians identify as evangelicals or born again. that's a group ted cruz is expected to do well in. there are a lot who think that it's not appropriate for a presidential candidate no cuss, certainly not probably for the a christian. so he has weaknesses down there. but donald trump has drawn very sizable crowds. it's where he introduced his muslim ban to resounding cheers. people like him down there. they say they don't have to agree with him. they like someone who will tell it like it is. they liken a outsider. right now he is leading by 20 points in that poll. that was taken before this last debate. we'll have to see whether this whole drama between him and george w. bush and jeb hurts him this time around and whether cruz is starting to come back up on him, especially on the issue
of his preparation for being commander in chief, when it comes to knowing about things like the nuclear triad. >> all right, katy tur, tracking all things donald trump. and if the trump/bush and trump/cruz battles aren't enough for you, well, there's also a very public fight between jeb bush and marco rubio, threatening to break out as well. rubio and bush, both competing for the same voters here in south carolina, and south carolina looming potentially as a test of survival for both of them. rubio went on the attack today, and while he didn't use any names, it was clearly who he was going after. >> people always tell me, you don't come from privilege. they're wrong. financially, no. i had no wealth. i didn't have a rolodex. when i got out of school, i didn't have a rolodex to say, all right, these are my mom's or dad's friends and they're going to hire me and raise a bunch of money for me one day. i didn't have that kind of privilege. >> and joining me now, nbc's gabe gutierrez from florence, south carolina. gabe, an interesting predicament that marco rubio is in here.
on the one hand, he's battling jeb bush. bush actually finished slightly ahead of him in new hampshire. on the other hand, it's not just bush, he's got to take out cruz, he's got to take out trump. he's got opponents all around he's got to neutralize here. how is his campaign approaching this? >> reporter: hi, steve. the stakes are very high for the rubio campaign here in south carolina. as you mentioned, there's a lot of history between him and jeb bush. his mentor and fellow floridian, a lot of people think there's only room for one floridian in this race. and right now, they seem to be battling for third place in south carolina. and while ted cruz and donald trump battle it out for first, marco rubio and jeb bush both need a strong showing here, to really carve out that establishment lane of the party and convince each of them trying to convince voters to stick with them. at the town hall that just wrapped up a short time ago, marco rubio did go after jeb bush, when he was asked about it. he said that jeb bush had zero foreign policy, but he's also having to walk a very fine line
here in south carolina, because the bush family, of course, is very well respected here, very popular here. so he was asked by reporters, marco rubio was asked by reporters what he thought of george w. bush coming to campaign for his brother, here was his response. >> i'm a huge admirer of president bush, both president bushes. both heros to me, both great presidents and great men. and i think, obviously, they'll be helpful to his campaign, but i expect it. they're family w. i mean, that's their brother and their son. george w. bush to me is someone who kept america safe and i'll always be grateful to him for that. >> so when given the chance, he did not go after george w. bush. and also this weekend, steve, he actually came to jeb bush's defense during the debate when donald trump went after jeb bush, blaming 9/11, essentially, on george w. bush. and marco rubio came to jeb bush's defense. but, again, the stakes are so high for both of those candidate. we expect the fight to play out
over the next couple of days for the rubio campaign that is seeking to bounce back from that disappointing fifth place finish in new hampshire. steve? >> all right, gabe gutierrez, with marco rubio. thank you for that. and again, less than two hours from now, 6:00 p.m. eastern time, jeb bush will be holding that rally with his brother, former president george w. bush. the 43rd president becoming a major issue in this republican race. and for more on that. i'm joined now by senior editor at the atlantic and former white house speechwriter for george w. bush, david frum. and david frum writes in a new piece, that quote, for a decade and a half, republicans have stifled internal debates about the george w. bush presidency. they have preserved a more or less common front, focusing all their accumulated anger on the figure of obama. the trump candidacy has smashed all those coping mechanisms. david, thanks for taking a few minutes. let me start with this. it feels to me like over the last eight or nine months, however long the trump campaign has been going on, he has just
shattered one preconception after another about what really matters and what is really sacred to the republican party base. so the conventional wisdom is, george w. bush, still extremely popular with the base. the base doesn't want people attacking george w. bush. do you feel like we're about to find out that that conventional wisdom was wrong? >> this year feels to me -- those of your viewers who are elderly enough to remember when freudian psychology was a thing, will remember the thing, the return of the repressed. and in freudian psychology, it was, you suffered a trauma, you repressed it, but you could never make it go away. the repression exhibited itself in hysterical behavior, and only -- the only way to deal with it was to bring to light what has been repressed. and that is what happened on that stage on saturday night. republicans are talking in a way they have not talked, ever. not in a decade and a half, about what they think about the george w. bush presidency, what was right, what was wrong. and it's a very painful discussion, especially because
it's coming so late. normally that happens in the first couple of years after an administration. and donald trump has shattered all of those conventions. >> it also feels like, just in terms of a marketing standpoint, you have all of these candidates out there, whether it's rubio, whether it's jeb bush, who are just instinctively, reflexively, their political instincts tell them, he's a former republican president, we defended him, defended his war throughout the last decade, we're supposed to defend him and supposed to defend the war that he waged. donald trump has all of the real estate to himself for republicans who are questioning that. >> when george w. bush left office, he was polling in the low 20s. a little more than a third of the country are republicans. so he lost a third of the republican party in those last years of his presidency, for a number of reasons. not just because of iraq, because of economic conditions, katrina, all of those things played in. since then, there has been a gloss, but that gloss is now being cracked. and that was inevitable.
the thing that is really striking to me about all of this discussion is that jeb bush did not foresee, when he decided to seek the presidency for himself, that it must inevitably turn into a referendum on his brother's presidency. he thought he would inherent all of the advantages of being a bush, and yet be able to dispense with all of the passion that his brother's administration raised. and not only in the primary, but he was heading towards a general election, in which he was going to give the electorate a chance to choose between another bush and another clinton, when we know that the clintons have won of the most favorable brands in american politics. they're associated with prosperity and the bushes have a more challenged brand, to put it mildly. >> well, you're right. and it's so interesting, too. the bush campaign really believed at the outset of this campaign they could achieve some kind of separation. that he wouldn't just be another bush running, that george w. bush wouldn't be a major character in this campaign. and here they are, heading into south carolina, pretty much a do-or-die contest for them, they are now relying on george w.
bush in this thing. you served under george w. bush. you know the guy a little bit. what do you think we're going to see when he takes the stage less than two hours from now, what do you think we're going to see? who is george w. bush and what is his role in politics right now? >> he is a loose and natural campaigner, unlike his brother. and what he also has, and one of the reasons that he was successful was, jeb bush has been baffled by how you deal with this domineering irrational bully that is donald trump. they're face to face and in all of their encounters, except maybe a little bit in south carolina, this weekend, jeb bush always comes off second-best or worse than that. george bush handled situations like that much better, because of his looseness, his fluidity. he's less worried about getting every comma correct, and that allows him to keep in mind what he's on the stage to do. he's older now, so he may, you know, he may not be quite the fluid campaigner that he was in 1992 and 2000, but i think you'll see something strong. and i think you'll see a lot of
humorous contempt for donald trump. >> it's interesting, too. so many people made fun of george w. bush's speaking style when he was in politics. i've also heard a lot of people make the comment over the years, that watching jeb, they have a new appreciation for the natural political talent of george w. bush. >> and can i say, as a speechwriter, i don't want to be an ex-speechwriter, speaking style is -- what you say is the least important part of a speech. how you stand, how you hold your face, the language of the body. look, we are -- you know, we're thinking and rational people, but we also spent hundreds of thousands of years as non-verbal primates. and that primate part of our brain comes forward when it comes time to select a primate pack leader. so one of the most decisive moments for george bush was during the 2000 election, in a debate with al gore, al gore is a much bigger man than george bush, george bush is quite slight. he's not that tall and has a trim body. and gore is a big man. and gore, as he often did, came over toward george bush and
crowded into his space. this was in a debate where they were sitting on stools. that was, you know, impolite, but possible. and george bush nodded at gore in such a way that every viewer thought, if it comes to a conflict, i'm betting on the little wiry guy to take down the big galute. it doesn't matter what you say, that nod is how moments are won. and george bush was always good at that, even if he got tongue tangled on some of the words. >> i remember that moment well. it was so dismissive, it was al gore's campaign had planned that thing out. he was going to invade his personal space. it was the alpha male moment. i remember that. it's interesting, you're right. we remember those sorts of moments more than we remember a lot of times the actual words that were said. david frum, appreciate the time. >> thank you. and straight ahead, the democratic matchup moves to nevada. democrats will caucus there. the same day republicans are voting here in south carolina this saturday. but today, bernie sanders is focusing on michigan and its
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the president, under our constitution, has a duty, to send forth a name to be considered by the senate and the senate has a duty to consider that. and to decide whether or not to confirm whoever the president nominates. >> that was hillary clinton earlier this afternoon at a get-out-the-caucus event in elko, nevada. where she's holding three events in nevada today, her husband, former president bill clinton, is campaigning for her in florida. and her daughter, chelsea, is on the trail in ohio. meanwhile, bernie sanders is campaigning in michigan for the first time, with his eyes on the state's march 8th primary. and joining me now from that sanders' event that just wrapped up is msnbc's kasie hunt. so kasie, bernie sanders venturing into new territory here. michigan, a big, important state, a blue-collar state, too, so maybe some potential for him. how's he sounding on the trail
today? >> that's right, steve. and this was a pretty substantial crowd. we have, of course, seen sanders draw thousands of people out to these events. this event was no exception. at eastern michigan university, this fieldhouse holds about 9,500 people. organizers with the arena say that there were 9,300 people in here for the sanders event. a really rowdy crowd. very briefly interrupted by a couple of people waving "make america great" again signs. the candidate wasn't interrupted, but they were up behind us and had to be crowded out a little bit. definitely a lot of populist feeling on both sides here, in a state that was hit very hard by the great recession. the auto industry, in particular, really, really struggling. so, i think you heard a lot of that today. this, of course, was a lot of students. senator sanders urging them to get out and vote. and also, focusing somewhat on donald trump, using that to get them excited. >> years ago, trump and the others were trying to tell us that president obama was not a legitimate president, was not
born in the united states of america. and then trump tries to tell us that people from mexico are criminals and rapists. and trump tries to tell us that we should not allow muslims to enter our country. >> there is, of course, a significant arab american population, not too far from us down the road in dearborn, where the next event of today will take place. but i also want to point out, steve, he talked at some length in a very passionate way about flint, in particular, before coming to this event. sanders met with about seven people who have family members, kids who have been affected by that lead water crisis. he discussed that in pretty forceful terms, saying that the federal government should intervene if necessary. he also talked a little bit about the turnout and the excitement surrounding his
campaign. there is definitely a sense, you know, we've been trying to figure out all the way along, what these crowds would translate into when it came down to actual voting. and if you look at the body language, kind of read the positioning of the sanders' campaign at this point, they're clearly cautiously optimistic about nevada, of course. that's next up. but also, it seems to be here, to the point that the candidate himself has been making references. and few yo listen carefully to how sanders talks about this, when he's not sure, they'll kind of leave it out there. but when they get more confident about where they are, they'll mention it on the stump. and he mentioned here, we were way down in michigan, and he said, it ain't going to turn out that way. so clearly some confidence in the sanders' campaign about where they stand in this state, steve. >> all right, kasie hunt with the bernie sanders camp. kasie, here's your pop trivia question. eastern michigan, what's the mascot? >> reporter: yes? oh, no, you're putting me on the spot here. i should know this. i'm a wolverines fan.
the eagles! >> there it is! the eagles. >> stop by the bookstore and get me a sweatshirt. i collect those things. >> thank you, preston. >> and don't miss the town hall with bernie sanders and hillary clinton this thursday. it will be moderated by chuck todd and jose diaz balart. it will be live from las vegas, starting at 9:00 eastern. also on msnbc and telemundo. the candidates weighing in today on who should nominate the next supreme court justice. president obama this is it should be him. if and when he does pick someone, will republicans block his pick? >> he's at the end of his term. he should allow the next president to do that. >> we're one justice away from a radical five-justice liberal majority. >> the president under our constitution has a duty to send forth a name to be considered by the senate and the senate has a duty to consider that. >> he'll put in somebody who's probably a little more moderate than he would have normally done. i still think the republicans should reject. i think the new president should have that option.
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i say delay. and however you want to shake this out, the constitution, of course, gives the president the opportunity to nominate, and with the advice and consent of the senate, appoint. but we'll have to fight it out politically and it's going to get ugly. >> and that's republican congressman, steve king, from iowa. he's also a ted cruz supporter. just moments ago on msnbc, talking about who should nominate the next supreme court justice. the empty seat left by justice antonin scalia changes the course of the 2016 election. the president says he will nominate a new justice, but many republicans like congressman king say that job should be left to the next president. msnbc chief legal correspondent ari melber is here to look at how this same process has unfolded before. ari? >> that's right, steve. you showed rep king there. he doesn't actually have a vote in this, but someone who does is patrick leahy, the former
chairman of the judiciary committee. let's look at what he also just said on msnbc. >> what kind of an impression do you think we are giving to the rest of the world when our federal judiciary, which is usually held up as the gold standard for the whole world, is suddenly thrust into such politics. i can't say, i don't think the late justice scalia would want to see that. it is wrong. >> reference there to the idea that maybe even justice scalia himself wouldn't like this politicking, although no one really knows, of course, what he would think. i can tell you, when you look at the historical record, what we're seeing now, the idea that the president shouldn't get to pick his person or put forward a name and get a vote on it in the year left of the term is unusual. here's how scotus blog, which is nonpartisan put it, as to the history. quote, the historical record does not reveal any instances since at least 1900 of the president failing to nominate or
the senate failing to confirm a nominee in a presidential election year because of the impending election. also, steve, in terms of comparisons, because we saw at the debate as well, the talking points going back and forth about what the record is, we crunched some of these numbers as well on the wait times. you can see president obama's path supreme court nominees waited about 77 days. bush, 53 days. and about 62 days for president clinton. i think we have that chart, if folks want to see it. but essentially, what it all comes down to is the idea that now is different. and in fairness to republicans, i think the record that i just went through shows that some of the republicans on the debate stage had their facts wrong in claiming that we don't usually move forward on nominations. but in fairness to republicans, you can argue that a lot has changed and indeed it was the democrats who changed the rules on the filibuster for lower court nominees back when they controlled the senate. and so having gone through all these changes now what is reaped is sewed and the democrats are facing a more aggressive republican majority in the senate.
that's the best counterargument, not twisting the history itself on how it used to work, which was, quite frankly, a lot faster. >> all right, armey melber. now joining us, arine carmon, who's been covering the supreme court, also the author of "the minors rbg," a book at ruth barrett ginsburg. and it's interesting, ruth bader ginsburg generally seen as the most liberal voice on the conservative, antonin scalia generally seen as the most conservative voice on the court. yet there was a real genuine personal affection between the two of them. can you talk about that a little. >> well, steve, as we see congress draw these sharp political lines, it's interesting to think about one of the most famous odd couple friendships. it began before either of them were supreme court judges, before they were even judges. they were both law professors and justice ginsburg, then a litigator and a law professor, saw scalia give a speech and
said later, i didn't agree with a word of what he said, but i loved how he said it. soon their friendship became warm, as they both served on the d.c. circuit. they would spend new year's together. they would say scalia, who passed away during a hunting trip, scalia would kill it, marty, rbg's husband would cook it. they would, in fact, even when justice ginsburg was nominated, the friendship was so warm and so famous in washington that democratic senators feared that scalia would have undue influence on her. they asked about a story that a clerk had told, which was asking scalia who would you rather be on a desert island with? mar mario cuomo or larry tribe, and he said, ruth bader ginsburg. during ginsburg's confirmation hearing, she was asked, do you want to be on a desert island with scalia? the fear was that she would be influenced by him. of course, despite the warmth of their friendship, she, yesterday, called him her best buddy. he did not sway any of her votes
and they remained very much on the other side of the court's most divided and contentious cases, steve. >> yeah, it's interesting, arine, over 20 years on the court for both of them, doesn't look like either one of them gave an inch in terms of the issues, but certainly that friendship behind the scenes, fascinating story. irin, thanks for joining us. and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell saying the next president should be appointing a supreme court replacement. let me bring in mike saks, he's a reporter and congressional correspondent with the national law journal on the latest in this shaping -- in the battle that's shaping up on this over capitol hill. mike, thanks for taking a few minutes. let me start with a basic question here. the democrats, we hear everybody on the democratic side saying, look, it's the president's prerogative, constitutionally. he should nominate someone, should get an up or down vote. the republicans are saying we don't -- the constitution doesn't say we have to do that. do you think if the roles were reversed here, if this were a liberal appointee resigning, and a conservative president about
to appoint a conservative replacement, each side would be making deferent arguments? >> yes, they would. we heard the same from senator schumer in 2007, prognosticating about the supreme court. and said, we shouldn't really move on that, under -- except for under extraordinary circumstances. there was an exception with alito going in for o'connor in 2005, but of course, that was 2005. bush had just won his re-election. there was no right around the corner around the corner. >> yeah, it's interesting. we were just talking about this with ari a minute ago. just how sort of the norms for this have changed and evolved through the years. where a generation or two ago, you'd have these 98-0 votes for confirmation. this isn't coming out of nowhere. i'm thinking back to sam alito being nominated by george w. bush in 2006. barack obama was in the senate, voted to filibuster the nomination. he didn't even want to vote on it. >> yeah, that's true. and you know, you can go historically all the way back to, what, 1795, when the senate rejected the chief justice nominee, john rutledge. so, the politics and supreme
court have always been mixed. it's a mistake to say that on matters of constitution of law or the constitution in general, politics should stay out of it. that document itself is a political document forged in compromise. so that, the supreme court, which is the arbitrator of the constitution, is subject to these political whins, especialy the wins we are in now, which are quite strong and may compliment a full year of supreme court justices may be no surprise. >> in terms of the politics on capitol hill, democrats obviously are going to try to really ramp up the pressure in election year, saying these are doing the worst form. do you think, politically, there could be any give in the republican opposition? is there a chance democrats could ultimately pressure republicans to come up with a vote on whoever president obama appoints or nominates? >> that depends on who obama nominates, but it also depends on whether mcconnell and grassley want to stick to their words. both those guys have full control over whether the nominee proceeds. grassley has already drawn a
line in the sand. those two tend to switch to the other side on the gop side and the committee, that's senators orrin hatch, senators lindsey graham, senators jeff flaik. the former of the two have already said they're not going to proceed with a nominee or don't want to. flake is still silent. there is hope, perhaps, from the republicans who are in embattled races, leading up to 2016, where they may lose control of their seat, and perhaps even lose control of the senate. but even those senators are coming in line with the republican talking points. so that's senators kelly ayotte, senators ron johnson, senator mark kirk. they've all fallen in line. i don't think there'll be too much pressure. any pressure democrats might put on republicans will just play into republican primary hands in the presidential election as well, for those who are saying, let's wait, let's wait, let's wait. that's red meat for the republican candidates. and it will probably be red meat for the base come the general election. >> all right. mike saks, national law journal,
expert on all things supreme court, thanks for gjoining us, appreciate it. we are about 90 minutes now from president george w. bush's campaign rally for his brother, jeb. we've heard bush 43 several private fund-raisers, but not yet an event of this scale. can he help his brother recover from those poor showings in new hampshire and iowa? we'll speak with a south carolina republican, right after this. ♪ ♪ it's easy to love your laxative
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sanders. he is there in greenville, ahead of tonight's event. so, kerry, you've got the former president in the state today. you've got donald trump going after him. he's going after jeb bush, he's going after ted cruz. this is a candidate who's really on the offensive right now. >> if words were bullets, today was machine gun fire. and yes, donald trump definitely pulled the trigger, at one point calling cruz not only "unstable," but "a liar," threatening to sue him. this is just some of what he had to say. >> i think he's a very unstable guy. and i must tell you one thing about ted cruz that i can say, that by only to a minor extent by comparison to the other politicians, i haven't been doing this long, i've been in it since june 16th, but i will tell you, i have never, ever met a person that lies more than ted cruz. i have never, ever seen anything like it. >> reporter: donald trump went on to say about cruz, i think he's a basketcase, cruz doesn't
handle pressure well. well, ted cruz firing back. >> i guess the only answer i could give for why he lost it today, because this is the most rattled ooifd ever seen donald, this preference today, where he just kind of stood and vented. i think he avoided profanity, so that was good. >> for a change. >> but i guess the only explanation that one can have is that his poll numbers in south carolina must be plummeting following that debate. >> reporter: it is not unusual, especially in south carolina, to hear politicians going at each o', but according to susan mcmahon, as a political analyst i spoke to, it's never been quite like this in a presidential election. she says, when i asked her, how is this going to impact voters, she says, actually, voters who are tv viewers have been prepping for this unwittingly for a long time because of reality television. reality television has been back
and forth with this kind of gutter sniping back and forth, so it really prepared the audience, the voters, for what's going on right now. it will be interesting tonight to see how donald trump's supporters react to what he has said, and probably will continue to say, when thousands are expected to gather here. steve, one of the things i found interesting is, among the people who i've spoken to at rallies like the one tonight, those who say they strongly support donald trump have told me that they're not big fans of how the discourse has turned and how there is no civility, but when i follow up and ask them whether they blame donald trump, they say, we still support him. >> kerry sanders in greenville at dueling rallies tonight. donald trump at one of the end state and jeb bush with his brother, see how those two go. very interesting. kerry sanders, thank you for that report. for me, i want to bring in a republican political strategist from south carolina, also the president of starboard communications, walter wexel. he was a senior adviser to rick perry's 2016 campaign.
a free agent now. you've not endorsed anybody. >> free agent. >> so your state has a way of bringing this out, it seems, in these campaigns. you have donald trump calling him unstable, calling him a head case, threatening lawsuits. you have the former president coming to town. there's something about south carolina republican primary politics where it really -- you bring out the fight in people. >> i think it's the nascar effect, you know? we don't -- we love nascar. we don't go to watch all the pretty cars go around and around and around very safely. we're looking for the crash. it could be in our dna. it could be something different. i think that's what's going on here. i think what voters do enjoy here, though, is to see how someone is going to react when challenged. >> so, yeah, so how do you think, watching that debate on saturday night, because i was interested in so much of the instant commentary was, wow, donald trump has gone too far this time. the things he said about iraq, the things he said about george w. bush. and i'm sitting there saying, i've been hearing this for eight or nine months, that he's gone too far, and he never does seem
to go too far. >> i think from saturday night's takeaway, the bush folks feel pretty pleased they delivered a solid punch. the thing about trump in the past, it seems to me, that he's gotten punched or swung at, but nothing's ever connected. i think the bush people believe they connected on saturday night. i think trump's reaction might give that some credence as well. >> what about the attitudes of south carolina republicans towards george w. bush? because that seemed to be -- people saying donald trump had really stepped in it saturday were saying, look, bush remains a beloved figure here. you can't go after him. or can you? >> i think some people question the strategy in the same sentence. you talked about lindsey graham, and for whatever you want to say about lindsey graham, the guy got 56% of the vote in a six-way republican primary. that's a pretty safe place to be. jeb bush traveling around the state, a guy that popular, who won so resoundingly, so recently, is probably not a -- is probably pretty positive. so i think there are some questions about the strategy.
i think you saw trump react in a way that wasn't quite as -- that we hadn't seen before. we hadn't really seen him take a punch. we just hadn't. we hadn't seen him get red to match the background of the set. >> right. well, what about cruz, too? so trump versus cruz is the undercard today. but cruz, is there still damage done for what happened in iowa. a lot of affection for evangelicals with ben carson. is that hurting cruz here? >> not for insiders, i don't belie believe. for the more casual voters, perhaps. but the insiders are pretty used to a rough-and-tumble, anything goes approach. i think most people, that went right in one ear and out the other. >> and we called you a free agent. are you leaning towards anybody right now? >> i'm not. i'm loving the nascar race. i'm in the pits for the first time watching it. >> walter whetsell, thank you so much. and coming up an longtime
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carolina where i am now, where i am joined by state representative, gary clairy. he's a kasich supporter. thanks for joining us. >> good to be here. >> you're trying to work from behind here in south carolina. donald trump is the guy with the target on his back right now, first place in the polls. do you think he did damage to himself the other night in that debate? >> you know, i can't say whether he did. i heard his press conference this afternoon. you know, south carolina is an unusual place. our politics get a little tough sometimes, but the thing that impressed me from the beginning about governor kasich is the fact that he has run a positive campaign, he's a sensible, responsible -- >> does that work here, though? because we always talk about this bare-knuckles reputation for south carolina. you're talking about it here. does the style you're talking about work? >> i've had more people in my district to tell me that they appreciate the fact that he's trying to talk about the issue, that he's trying to be the adult in the room, and to bring stability to this race in that
way. >> is that the theory here? that these other guys? because we have trump going after cruz today, threatening lawsuits. we have cruz firing back. we have rubio taking shots at jeb bush. is that, let them all fight with each other and do your own thing to the side? >> you know, i heart walt whetsell talking about nascar, and you know, governor kasich said, you know, this is like a demolition derby and i'm the only clean car out there. so i think with his message of being positive and trying to promote the fact that he has balanced a budget when he was in congress, first person -- or the first group to do that since man walked on the moon and the last time since, handed that off to president -- to george bush. and eight years later, there's an $8 trillion deficit. and so that's what he's trying to say. is that, you know, he's a person who's been in congress. he's balanced the budget. he goes to ohio. had an $8 billion deficit. now has a $2 billion surplus and has grown the economy by $400,000 jobs.