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tv   MSNBC Live With Jose Diaz- Balart  MSNBC  February 23, 2016 6:00am-8:01am PST

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all in new hampshire, we had a really strong several months where we were actually having a sincere conversation about that epidemic. i hope that we don't let that fall away. i hope that we continue talking about it. >> and, mika, what i learned is mike barnicle in his own words may owe you a truck. >> mike. >> well, if it's over, i've got to get -- if it's over for me. >> legendary mike barnicle loses that bet. steve kornacki picks up coverage from las vegas right now. the kind of thing legendary. one, two, three. >> legendary. >> forest green. and good morning, i'm steve kornacki. it's 6:00 a.m. here on the las vegas strip, not too far from the university of nevada, las vegas, republican caucus day here in the silver state. lots of coverage on that. lots to talk about on those caucuses but it is also 9:00 a.m. right now on the east
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coast. at the white house and that is where we are going to start this morning with breaking news. next hour president obama is going to make a statement about a plan for closing the u.s. prison in guantanamo bay, cuba. ron allen is at the white house and our justice correspondent pete williams is in our d.c. bureau. ron, a bit of breaking news, what is the latest you can tell us about what the president is going to say today? >> we don't know the specifics of the plan, but clearly this is a last ditch effort by the obama administration to fulfill what was even a campaign promise before president obama took office to close the prison at guantanamo bay. the problem of course is that congress and many others in the country are steadfastly opposed to bringing any of these suspected terrorists on to u.s. soil, on to military basis or federal prisons which is what the obama plan we believe intends to do. now, there are about 91 or so prisoners at the detention facility there now. the obama administration in the
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past weeks and months has been aggressively trying to bring that number down by transferring these prisoners to other countries that will take them, to their own countries or allies like saudi arabia and oman. the problem is that there is going to be a group of about 46 or so who are what's called an irreversible minimum or forever prisoners who cannot be charged with crimes and will forever be detained indefinitely is the expectation. what to do with them. in recent months the defense department and white house have looked at a number of states around the united states, south carolina, kansas, colorado and elsewhere where they could transform existing federal prisons or military bases they say to accommodate these detainees. there is opposition of course in those states and on the hill in congress to doing that. the administration argues that the cost of guantanamo, some $450 million a year to operate it are just excessive and they also say that it's a very potent recruitment tool used by
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extremists around the country to say how terrible a place the united states is that they would hold prisoners for 14 years without charge. so the lines have been drawn on this for some time. we expect the obama administration to come out with a plan, the plan will go to congress, we expect the congress to reject it, then the question becomes whether the president will use his executive authority as commander in chief to then move these prisoners from quantity mow to the united states. something that's certainly going to end up in the courts. a huge battle in the waning days at the baum strags but something president obama has been determined to do since before he even took office. steve. >> ron allen at the white house. pete williams, as ron is saying this is an issue that's been out there this entire obama presidency. here we are in the last year and the president stepping forward i guess with this plan today. let me ask you about that specific issue that ron is raising there. if you close guantanamo, if you ship some of the inmates overseas but deem others you
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can't ever release them, you have to bring them back into the united states can you just throw them in a prison in the united states? do you need to have trials? how would that work? >> reporter: you could certainly keep them in military custody in the united states just as they are in military custody in guantanamo bay. the supreme court has already said they have some legal rights in guantanamo bay by virtue of the u.s. control. the problem here is the one ron identified. it's illegal to bring them to the u.s. congress has explicitly banned it ever since 2009 when the obama administration said it wanted to bring guantanamo detainees to a largely unused correctional facility in illinois, that it would upgrade to handle them. that not only got push back from officials in illinois, it resulted in explicit language that congress has continued ever since that makes it illegal to bring any of them to the united states. so the president can't use an executive authority to bring them here. he has no legal authority to do it. he not only has no authority, it's specifically violated -- it
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would violate federal law. to add to the complexity of this, there are many countries that don't want them sent back there, either. so it's -- there is a problem of where -- you could say we will send some of them overseas to perhaps u.s. facilities overseas, but some of these countries, even places where they're from, have said they don't want them. of course, the administration has said as a matter of policy it's not going to send anybody from guantanamo bay to a country where these people would be tortured. so it's a real problem here. it will take congressional approval to bring them to the united states. it seems unlikely that they will get it. >> all right. pete williams in washington. thank you for that. we will bring you the president's full statement on guantanamo life in her next hour, it's expected sometime in the next 90 minutes. back now to today's republican caucuses here in nevada as voters get ready to meet in those caucuses. we have brand new national polling on the republican
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presidential race as well as the escalating fight between ted cruz and marco rubio. this with donald trump piling on some of them also for good measure. an nbc news survey monkey online weekly tracking poll out just in morning shows donald trump remaining firmly in the driver's seat on the republican side, you can see 36% there for trump basically doubling up cruz, rubio, a few points behind him. that's a slight uptick for marco rubio from the last week. so as rubio makes a slight gain in the national polls he is still attacking ted cruz relentlessly. cruz forced yesterday to fire his campaign spokesman for falsely accusing rubio of denigrating the bible. >> i had made clear in this campaign that we will conduct this campaign with a very highest standards of integrity. >> i think it's a very disturbing pattern of deceptive campaigns and flat out just lying to voters. >> and with rubio going after
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cruz donald trump got in on the action, too. also teeing off on the texas senator. >> but this guy cruz lies more than any human being i have ever dealt with. unbelievable. and he holds up the bible and he lies. and then he holds up the bible again and he lies. this guy is sick. there's something wrong with this guy. >> joining me now are nbc reporters who have been following the republicans hallie jackson is covering the cruz campaign, gabe gutierrez the rubio campaign and kerry sanders the trump campaign. hallie, let me start with you. the interesting thing here is the other campaigns have been setting up this attack on cruz for a while now. >> right. >> it started in iowa with the accusations about what they did about ben carson. when you reach this point where we reached yesterday they are trying to say this isn't just a bad thing happening with this bible issue, this is a pattern. >> they're saying it's a pattern but a couple of things to remember here is that some of these, quote/unquote, dirty
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tricks have come from have come from the super pac supporting ted cruz not from the campaign itself. there is no evidence that the cruz campaign is behind some of these things. there is a lot of talk about what this means. the issue for the cruz campaign is that it is something that has been now in the narrative for several weeks since iowa. this is something that day after day after day donald trump and marco rubio have hit ted cruz on. ted cruz is firing back now. i want you to listen to what he had to say at his rally late last night. >> there is nothing elected officials like worse than being held accountable for their own words and actions. >> this entire crazy year, this circus of attacks and lies and smears and tv and radio and all the nonsense, all that time has passed. this is now our time. >> so cruz trying to rally his supporters and his base sort of around this. this idea that, hey, they are attacking me because they see me as a threat. that is a point that the senator has made. he also interestingly in that
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sound bite talked about lies. that is a word that he hasn't used often unprompted in those stump speeches. so this is a way that he is now, i believe, trying to shift the narrative and essentially saying, listen, i'm the one who can beat donald trump head to head, i'm the one who has won a state, marco rubio has not. >> from the rubio standpoint it's interesting strategically on saturday night after south carolina the rubio campaign made it clear they want this to be viewed as a one on one race between marco rubio and donald trump but the fight yesterday is between rubio and consider you see. >> on saturday night they said it was a three-person race at that time but want to get it to this one-on-one with donald trump. and they really want to be seen as the anti-trump. now, interesting thing is, hallie, the rubio campaign they really have thrown around that word liar quite a bit and they've done it over and over again over the last few days. even that flap with the photo shop picture that wouldn't have been a big deal on most cycles but the rubio pounced on that early in the morning, showed it
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to reporters and wanted to advance this narrative which they hope will resonate with voters that ted cruz cannot be trusted. that is their main strategy right now. the criticism of the rubio campaign is they have not won a single state and when are they going to start doing that? when are they finally going to start winning? >> they feel if they come out of nevada with a strong showing and they are trying to make a push in this state which is where marco rubio has ties, he was here from 8 years old to 14, they are trying to reach out to hispanic voters here and we spoke with one of his cousins who is a state senator in nevada, he is actually a democrat interestingly enough and he showed us the neighborhood where marco rubio spent some time here as a child. let's listen to what he had to say. >> while we don't agree politically on all the issues, you know, just like anything, though, there are issues that you do agree on. this is an interesting cycle for me because i normally would be a surrogate in those kind of things and in this case i opted not to do that. i don't plan on, you know,
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campaigning against him. >> now, certainly polling here in nevada has been unreliable but donald trump seems to be in the driver's seat. the rubio campaign does want to finish strong here but they are already looking ahead to super tuesday. they do have this rally in las vegas but they are then going on a charter plane to minnesota and then michigan and heading to texas tomorrow. >> that playing field opens up after today, we stop having these individual state contests. hallie jackson, gabe gutierrez, thank you for that. we're going to go up to reno, nevada, that is in the northern part of the state, seven hours northwest of here, it is closer to a ten hour drive. kerry sanders is up there for a donald trump rally. kerry, this back and forth between rubio and cruz, donald trump getting into it last night with harsh words for ted cruz, he's still clearly keeping an eye on ted cruz. >> well, you know, it fits his strategy which is what he has done first starting out with jeb bush, just hammer away at the person that he wants to take down. he says that he only attacks
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those who attack him and now he's not his laser focus on ted cruz and again last night. now, he was on the strip in vegas, you know, getting tickets on the strip is always a challenge. this was really amazing. 5,000 people showing up in las vegas to hear donald trump speak and among the things that we often see at donald trump rallies are protest e. now, at most of the gatherings they play a pre recorded audio telling those who are there to support donald trump. that if there is a protester don't touch that protester. surround them and start shouting trump, trump, trump. they did not play that audio last night and there were about a little bit less than a half dozen protesters, one veterans for muslims, there were some others, but then there was one protester towards the end that really seemed to get the ire of donald trump who said he wished that people could react the way they used to. >> bye. bye.
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good job, fella. look, see, he's smiling. see, he's having a good time. honestly i hate to see that. here is a guy throwing punches, nasty as hell, screaming at everything else when we're talking and he's walking out and we are not allowed -- the guards are very gentle with him, he's walking out, big high-fives, smiling, laughing, i'd like to punch him in the face, i hellia. >> that played well with the crowd last night. donald trump did get into one specific when he started talking about the wall that he wants to build along the border to mexico. for the first time he sort of spelled out generally he says if they could build a wall in china, the great wall of china, then what would prevent us from building a wall, the united states from building a wall along the border with mexico? last night he seemed to suggest that perhaps the model for building that wall would be the wall around the vatican. you will remember that he got into a spat back and forth with the pope when the pope seemed to suggest that anybody who builds
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walls is not a christian. it looks like that spat is over, the vatican has said he was not specifically trying to attack donald trump, but nonetheless donald trump hanging on to that issue of, well, if they could build a wall around the vatican, maybe we should model our wall after that. steve. >> all right. kerry sanders in the biggest little city in the world, reno, nevada. thank you for that. nevada republicans not heading to their caucuses for another 11 hours or so, that will be much later today. results not coming in possibly for hours after that. took two and a half days by the way four years ago to actually get the results of the nevada republican caucuses so it promises to be a very long day in nevada. i want to welcome in sabrina and john. we have sports books all around here. basically the expectations game for donald trump, for ted cruz,
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for marco rubio, what's a good night look for all of them tonight in nevada? >> you can see at his rally last night that trump is kind of nervous about the caucuses. he says what is a caucuses? but it is going to be very hard for him not to get kind of a south carolina number, maybe even higher. so you have had this just incredible battle between cruz and rubio here for second place. cruz is playing to the rural counties in nevada which are the 15 counties besides the two sur ban ones, reno and vegas. there is a lot of republican votes out there. you remember most of the democratic votes are down here in vegas, but maybe half the vote is going to be outside of vegas tonight. could be that much. he's played that up with adam wax at who is the upper and coming republican star, sued on public land and the obama strags. rubio has appealed more to the mormon vote, that was big for mitt romney who won the caucuses twice. most experts i talk to say they don't think the mormon vote will be as much as it was in 2005.
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8, 10, 15% max. >> i want to put a few numbers up on the screen. the idea where is rubio going to win a state. this is polling for march 1st, these are the states voting. alabama trump is up 21, georgia trump is up 9, massachusetts trump is up 34, you know, trump is up 21 alabama, cruz is only ahead by 8 in texas, trump is up in oklahoma, trump it up in alaska. where does rubio actually break through? you can't come in second and third place forever? >> absolutely. the whole premise is that if we can eliminate the more immediate threat which is ted cruz they can frame this as a two-man race and hope that the party will consolidate around marco rubio and that donors especially will start flocking to him so that he will be the money to stay into the race and it's all about delegates in their view. if they continue to pick up delegates it's not so much about rubio winning as much as stopping donald trump from
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clinching the nomination -- >> and to get rid of cruz that would take basically -- if cruz gets blown out or can't win those southern states, sec states with evangelical populations next week -- >> and his argument was undercut in south carolina, ted cruz, where he essentially tied marco rubio for second place but came behind him by half a percentage point. really i think certainly exposed that ted cruz doesn't have a lock on southern evangelicals and donald trump very much will be a factor in these sec states. marco rubio having said that the reality is that when he goes into his home state of florida it will be difficult for him to lose to donald trump, he is currently trailing trump over there and to be able to argue that he can defeat him. the other problem with ted cruz and marco rubio is right now they are in this heated increasingly bitter battle with one another and donald trump is running away with the nomination. >> there's polls as we show texas, ted cruz's state donald trump is within 8 points in tacks, in ohio john kasich's home state new poll this morning trump is leading there, in tl marco rubio's state trump is leading there, all these
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different pockets of the country. that's the thing. i see all these strategies from the cruz side and rubio side, we will pick off delegates here, get half this state here, a quarter of this state here. if donald trump just keeps winning states psychologically that's going to win voters over to his side. >> he were with talking about this before we came on. any other person who had been doing what donald trump has been doing and would win big in nevada would also be called the presumptive nominee. because of what's happening in the republican party -- at some point marco rubio has to give one of his victory speeches and actually to have won a state. what his campaign here has done and nationally is built up this nevada is the place that he is finally going to win. they've been doing that for months and now it looks like he is probably going to lose nevada, finish in second and third and maybe very far behind donald trump. how does he make the argument, what is this, the three, five, two, three, you know, prior strategy, who knows? >> what do they tell you in terms of expectations for tonight? he likes to deliver very
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optimistic speeches on election night no matter what happens but what would it take? when we see polls showing trump up 25 points what would it take for rubio to say with a straight face this is a win for me. >> it would have to be certainly finishing well ahead of ted cruz is what they would chock up as a win. that was what gave him the ability to say in south carolina new hampshire while underwhelming was not a fatal blow to my campaign. they said it was a two-man race between donald trump and ted cruz but it was ted cruz who had a bad night in south carolina. they want to make that case tonight. if ted cruz were to finish ahead of him and especially well ahead of him that will be -- not devastating but pretty significant blow to rubio because a lot of their message is focused on trying to undercut the essential premise of cruz's candidacy as someone who is trusted and authentic. you can see how they have triesed to damage ted cruz and how much they realize he is the one standing in their way more
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immediately than donald trump. >> again, i say tonight if past is prologue it might be friday when we find out. >> don't say that is correct steve. >> you think it will be any better this year? >> i do not, but i'm always hopeful, steve. >> you are as optimistic as marco rubio. thank you both for joining us. we have a lot more ahead from las vegas this morning. president obama expected to make that statement next hour from the white house about guantanamo. we will also have that for you live, but after the break we will turn our attention to the democrats. hillary clinton making a final push in south carolina today while bernie sanders is in virginia. although it's an uphill battle sanders says the fight is not over yet. >> let me say something. every hears the path to victory, the short three-letter answer is y-e-s. first ingredient, it is always number one. we leave out poultry by-product meal, corn, wheat and soy.
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hillary clinton is holding on to a double digit national lead over bernie sanders as democrats zero in on saturday's primary in south carolina. according to an nbc news survey monkey online poll clinton's advantage over sanders is 51 to 40%. now, on the campaign trail today sanders is holding a rally in the super tuesday state of virginia. clinton is going to be attending a forum later this evening in columbia, south carolina, the state capital there. that is where we find south carolina house minority leader todd rutherford. he is a hillary clinton supporter. he was supposed to do this last week, but i appreciate you taking a few minutes. where this democratic race stands right now as a hillary clinton supporter are you feeling that after she won nifd da on saturday, after bernie sanders made that late push there, are you feeling she has solidified her hold on the nomination? >> i actually felt that before then. i watched her at a rally in nevada when she was talking to a
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bunch of hispanic voters and started talking about immigration and you could see it on her face that she gets this stuff. she knows it, o she knows it to her core and she started to walk it and she walked it through i could see the momentum kick in on her face. i called her campaign advisory in south carolina i said that's it, she's got it we will start moving this away from westerny and we did. i believe she will start walking away from her. there is no way he can watch her at this point, especially in south carolina. >> even though if that is true even if she does run away with the delegate count and does get the nomination we are still seeing state polls, his home state of vermont, massachusetts, oklahoma, virginia still close, we are looking at states where he has beaten her or can beat her. what does that say to you somebody that walked into this race with all of the advantages she walked into this race with has faced such a stiff challenge from a socialist united states senator? >> i think there are a number of democratic voters who simply did not want to hand it to anybody,
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including hillary clinton. that they were interested in alternatives, they looked at what bernie sanders had to offer, but as his message permeates, as people start to pick it apart and say you can't simply promise everybody the entire world, you can't simply give away everything including college educations and have these plans that don't make sense. as people listen to his message, processed t they realize it's not going to work and they will come back to hillary clinton and they have done that in south carolina and i believe that they will do that in the rest of the states as well. >> and there is we should say bernie sanders is out with a new radio ad that morning features an endorsement from spike lee the actor and director. i want to play that and ask you about it. >> bernie takes no money from corporations. nada. which means he is not on the take. and when bernie gets in the exhaust he will do the right thing. how can we be sure? bernie was at the march on washington with dr. king. he was arrested in chicago for protesting segregation and public schools. he fought for wealth and
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education equality throughout his whole career. no flipping, no flopping. >> those last words there, todd, no flipping, no flopping, saying, you know, bernie sanders is the candidate of consistency by implication, maybe hillary clinton isn't. that's sort of that idea that she's a little slippery on the issues that she's changed a little too much. wall street in particular. is that something that could dog her even past the primary? >> you know, for anyone in a has a history in politics, a history of having your ideas being translated into votes and those votes being remembered throughout history, you are going to have to change. as we begin an educational process throughout any issue you are going to change. the 18 years that i've been in the general assembly my votes have changed over the years, it's not flip-flopping it's simply education, those people unwilling to change are the ones that become the problem. it's interesting that bernie sanders keeps having african-americans come on and talk about his role in the civil rights movement but these aren't people that were saying it then,
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remembering his roles then, it's simply him telling us about it now but now it's too late. people remember the role that hillary clinton played in south carolina 40 years ago, they remember what she's done you will until now, there are friends in south carolina in terms of black americans and white americans in south carolina are replete with memories of what they have done here not just hillary but also her husband bill clinton. so again as that -- as that comes into place she's going to walk away with it not only here but also in other states as well. >> all right. todd rutherford the democratic leader in the south carolina state house and hillary clinton supporter. thanks for the time. >> thank you. and i'm holding your seat for you back here in columbia. >> one of these days i'm going to get back to soda city. i loved it down there. live pictures right now from the white house where president obama is due to speak from the roosevelt room. next hour he's expected to talk about a plan to close gaut mobay. we will have his remarks live. but first a shake up in the cruz campaign. ted cruz asks his communications director to resign after he
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tweeted out a misleading video of his opponent, marco rubio. i'm going to talk with cruz supporter ken kuch nelly after the break. know your financial plan won't keep you up at night. know you have insights from professional investment strategists to help set your mind at ease. know that planning for retirement can be the least of your worries.
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step on up and ask your doctor about diabetic nerve pain. tell 'em cedric sent you. and breaking news on msnbc in just about an hour. president obama is scheduled to speak at the white house. he is expected to make a statement about a plan to close the u.s. prison currently operating in guantanamo bay, cuba. we will bring you the president's statement live when it happens to keep it right here on msnbc. and in the meantime, back here on the vegas strip, it is caucus day in nevada for the republicans. the presidential candidates are already looking ahead to super tuesday. that is a week from today. "the washington post" writing in a clear admission of trump's dominant standing following decisive back to back primary victories, his top two vie valls, senators ted cruz and marco rubio are not even
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pretending them best the billionaire mogul on march 1st on super tuesday when 11 states hold primaries or caucuses. joining me now is robert cost at that. robert, this is a fascinating story. you paint a somewhat dire picture for ted cruz and marco rubio. if you're saying it doesn't look good for them on march 1st when basically a dozen states are voting where does it look good for them? >> at this point senator rubio, senator cruz are trying to make this a two-man race and it's going to be difficult to see how that happens before super tuesday and really even before mid march. can i at this point you see rubio and cruz attacking each other because they don't have the political skills, money or will to go after trump and have that engagement. it's taking out the other to get the race down. >> that's something else you mentioned in this article, this super pac, one of these super pacs backing ted cruz is training its fire not on donald trump but on marco rubio. what are the tactics there?
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>> the tactics here are broadly speaking to go after the other candidates, as i said, but the most important part of super tuesday is strategically targeting some of these 11 states that are going to be voting on march 1st because it's proportional allegation of delegates. for rubio and cruz if they are not going to win a state like texas or they are not going to win georgia they want to target some suburban districts if you're rubio, mainstream republicans or if you are a cruz rural conservative areas, cruz is also playing in the suburbs. it's a map game, about finding your spot. >> we saw a poll in texas, though, i did see one that put cruz -- it's close, ted cruz's home state but i did still see cruz ahead there. is there talk in a cruz campaign if he loses his home state to donald trump how you can go forward? >> i've spoken to several cruz advisors and they say their goal is to swin texas but they're
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willing to run up the score in texas to get his number up there. there is a concern that donald trump is powerful, this has become a national campaign as much as the first few contests were more intimate, where they were more regional, you could do hand shakes and diner stuff, now it's about advertising and national message. cruz has to win texas. they would like to get to 50% so they could get all the delegates in the state if not that they need to win. >> robert costa, thanks for joining up. ken kucuccinelli is a backer of cruz's campaign. the 11 states that will vote on super tuesday. ted cruz is up right now in texas, his home state, everywhere else it's basically trump, there there might be one that rubio is ahead in right now. when you look at that map what do you see? >> first of all, ted has put more time into the super tuesday states than all the other candidates. as you close one of the things we found in all the states is there is a large swath of people who don't decide until the last
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minute. and that time on the ground and the fact that they have had friends calling them and doing those kinds of things does come into play. and we have an advantage as far as those things go. when we swing fully into these states after nevada is over tonight i think you will see that play out. and texas is important as you all talked about, it's the senator's home state, it's important to perform well in your home state -- >> the other thing is in texas if he can get the -- the way these rules work if he can get it over 50% he can take all the delegates there. >> that's more delegates than have been awarded in all states up through tonight. >> right. but he is not at 50 right now. >> not yet. >> can he get to 50 in texas? >> it's at least a plausible opportunity that we will look at pushing ahead on because, you know, ted is consistent conservative message plays really well in texas. it's texas, for goodness sake, and he's been a fighter and in texas they like a fighter. you know, in other places ted has been criticized for being a fighter in washington, but he
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doesn't back down from that and in texas that's something they really appreciate. >> what about -- i think about the psychology of the electorate. when you are just watching this in these states that haven't voted yet, you see donald trump win new hampshire, win south carolina and if he wins in nevada you see this guy win three straight contests psychologically are you afraid there are voters who start to say, all right, i guess this is going to be the guy, i'm going to live with that? >> you always concern yourself with that. we took some advantage of it in grabbing some endorsements after iowa and so forth and, you know, momentum shifts, it goes back and forth as they say in the nfl that's why we play the game and we're counting on the fact that we have had a lot more live human contact with voters than any other campaign and, again, ted's message is one -- it's a track record, it's no, not just a vision, that's good, but it's important to back up that vision with a track record of performance and he is the only one who does that in the remaining three. >> we had you on yesterday this back and forth about rick tyler
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the cruz campaign spokesman. donald trump was bringing that up last night in the speech, he had harsh words for ted cruz, also -- >> i'm shocked. >> -- connecting it to donald trump's win with evangelical voters. i will play what he said and get you to respond to it. this is what trump said last night. >> the evangelicals were supposed to go with cruz. they were supposed to go with cruz. but do you know what, honestly, i won the evangelicals by a lot. you saw that, right? so the evangelicals didn't vote for him. do you know why? because they don't like liars. they are really smart people. they don't want to vote for a liar. >> now, it's a harsh thing to say but i think what he's getting at there beyond just the blunt force attack is this idea coming out of iowa with the ben carson situation there with the situation with the facebook video here. the idea that people, evangelical voters are looking at ted cruz and saying he hasn't run the cleanest campaign. >> and this is political tunism by donald trump and i guess in a political sense you get him
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doing it for tactical reasons but he's also playing off a stereotype and that stereotype is that evangelical voters all vote on one thing. i mean, evangelical voters care about the economy, they care about fighting terrorism, you all are going to be covering the president's guantanamo statement, it is undoubtedly going to run directly afoul of senator cruz's positions on guantanamo in the past. i'd be shocked if it didn't. happy to come back on and admit error, but i don't think i'm going to have to do that. >> i'm assuming all the republican candidates will be opposed -- >> true, but ted has a track record here and donald trump doesn't. that's important. senators deal with foreign policy, national security every day and ted is the most balanced and aggressive approach of all the candidates that i think most americans agree with. >> ken cuccinelli, thank you very much. we are keeping an eye on the white house. again, in less than an hour president obama expected to make that statement about guantanamo. we will have it for you when it happens live, plus a look at
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what to expect from the wildly unpredictable caucuses here in neva nevada. it look them three days to count the votes four years ago. this is msnbc, live from las vegas. welcome to opportunity's knocking, where self-proclaimed financial superstars pitch you investment opportunities. i've got a fantastic deal for you- gold! with the right pool of investors, there's a lot of money to be made. but first, investors must ask the right questions and use the smartcheck challenge to make the right decisions. you're not even registered; i'm done with you! i can...i can... savvy investors check their financial pro's background by visiting smartcheck.gov whose long dayis sheldon setting up the news starts with minor arthritis pain and a choice. take tylenol or take aleve, the #1 recommended pain reliever by orthopedic doctors. just two aleve can keep pain away all day. back to the news.
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to see how much you could save on car insurance, go to geico.com. ah! (car alarm sounds) it's ok! it's a brisk caucus day morning here in nevada. the republican candidates are on a last minute sprint to win over support ahead of tonight's big decision. a little more than an hour from now marco rubio is going to be holding a rally here in las vegas. ted cruz is going to pick off his own rally in fernly, nevada, two hours from now, later this afternoon donald trump will be in the northern part of the state with a rally in sparks. john kasich is spending the day campaigning in georgia. they are not going to vote in the peach state until march 1st. to give us his assessment of where things stand today, tomorrow and going forward in
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this tumultuous election season, dan balls. i guess, dan, tumultuous may be the word. there is something different about this election than we have ever seen before. i don't think anybody a year ago would have believed donald trump would be coming into nevada having won the new hampshire primary and having won the south carolina primary. let me ask you from a national standpoint when you look at leaders of the national republican party what is hair mood right now? is the mood we can still stop donald trump or is the mood this thing is starting to overwhelm us? >> i think it's a combination of both. i mean, i think that there is a recognition of the degree to which he is in the driver's seat right now, but i think, you know, one thing you have to think about, steve, is if you go back four years, mitt romney got beat in south carolina but then he had a big victory in florida and a big victory in nevada several days after that. he looked like he was in total command of the race. three days later a series of essentially meaningful events
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all won by rick santorum who had not been part of the conversation in florida or south carolina and suddenly he is a real contender, he is a real challenger. i think until donald trump loses he is in the situation he is in. he is the person to beat and he has a lot of advantages. we were to begin to lose in one state or another, that can change the discussion, it can change the dynamic. i'm not pre diblngting that that's going to happen today in nevada, one would suggest that he is the front runner there as he has been in most states, but among the establishment in the republican party it is a combination of concern, recognition of reality and wondering whether there is any way that somebody can actually begin to take him down. >> we're starting to see this rush of endorsements of elected officials in the republican party to marco rubio. asa hutchinson, orrin hatch, we have seen a bunch in the last 24, 48 hours. why didn't that happen sooner? >> well, in part because the
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field had not consolidated earlier, some of the people were where jeb bush, some standing on the sidelines, some were waiting. politicians are often risk avers. we know endorsements in the great scheme of things in presidential campaigns don't mean all that much. but, you know, what's happening now is that to a lot of the establishment republicans who don't particularly like ted cruz as you know marco rubio seems to be the last person standing. tom ridge who was on "morning joe" earlier today has shifted his support from jeb bush to john kasich. he is a governor's person. but for the most part they are looking around for who they think might be the last person standing against donald trump and to a lot of establishment republicans that seems to be marco rubio. >> are you picking up on any signs at all through back channels or whatever of the republican establishment sort of reaching out to donald trump, trying to make some overtures there? any sort of actions that they're
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taking in anticipation of him actually winning this thing? >> not yet in any significant way and i'm not sure that that would be notable other than just as a ratification of the fact that he is in a very strong position right now, but i think that will come in time if it looks like he is going to be the nominee. you know, the party is going to have to figure out a way to accommodate if he turns out to be their standard bearer, but it will make a lot of people uncomfortable and i think that, you know, the party will be split over that, no matter when or if it happens. >> in many ways the drama only begins if donald trump wins these primaries. dan balz thank you so much for joining us. i appreciate it. >> thank you, steve. >> live pictures right now from the white house. that's where president obama is going to be speaking from the roosevelt room next hour, he is expected to talk about guantanamo bay. we will have his remarks for you live, but first after the break we're going to talk about the nevada republican caucus turn out problem and how some things -- some here are trying
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to change things. msnbc's jacob soeb revolver joins me next. abdominal pain. urgent diarrhea. it could be ibs-d new prescription xifaxan is an ibs-d treatment that helps relieve your diarrhea and abdominal pain symptoms. do not use xifaxan if you have a history of sensitivity to rifaximin, rifamycin antibiotic agents, or any components of xifaxan. tell your doctor right away if your diarrhea worsens while taking xifaxan, as this may be a sign of a serious or even fatal condition. tell your doctor if you have liver disease or are taking other medications, because these may increase the amount of xifaxan in your body. tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are nursing. the most common side effects are nausea and an increase in liver enzymes. if you think you have ibs with diarrhea, ask to your doctor about new xifaxan. we built our factories here because of a huge natural resource. not the land. the water. or power sources.
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and back to our breaking news. president obama set to make a statement on guantanamo live from the roosevelt room at the white house. ron allen just got off a briefing call. he joins me from the white house. what have you learned? >> well, steve, senior administration officials are emphasizing this is a plan they're sending to congress and they want to engage congress in a dialogue about how to close this prison, responsibly and securely, to use their words, administration officials' words. they have done a survey of about 13 sites across the united states where they think these remaining prisoners can be transferred to and they think the final number will be between 30 and 60. they're aggressively trying to transfer as many prisoners out by the end of the year to
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countries that will accept them and they think the final number will be between 30 and 60. they say this is being done to cut costs. the prison costs so much to operate. they say it's a propaganda tool. they say it's an irritant with our allies. because this has been there for so long, for 14 years, and there are still prisoners who have not been tried or charged with a crime. and of course, they say administration officials do, that these orange jumpsuits, the pictures we see of prisoners in guantanamo, say say are still popping up in propaganda. the emphasis is they're sending the plan to congress and they want congress to be involved in a dialogue. the question they would not answer is whether the president has executive authority as commander in chief to say i need to do this for national security reasons through executive action. they really don't want to talk about that just yet because they want this dialogue to go forward. as we know, the congress has passed a number of laws blocking the administration from bringing
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any of these detainees onto u.s. soil. the question is whether the president thinks he has the authority to do that because those laws hinder his ability as commander in chief. again, the bottom line there, 91 prisoners there now. they think they can get the number down between 30 and 60 and they think they can get the prison built or refitted, existing military prisons by the end of the yerto bring this chapter to a close. again, opposition from the congress. steve. >> all right, ron allen at the white house. again, the president's statement about a half hour from now. we'll carry the for you live when it happens. thanks for that, ron. meanwhile, back here on the strip in vegas, this is only the third time that nevada has held presidential caucuses for both parties around the state, and that could explain why there tends to be so low voter turnout, but there are some people in nevada trying to change that. jacob soboroff chatting with voters who plan on caucusing today. what are you hearing? >> to put it politely, turn out
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at the nevada gop caucus has been horrible. in 2008, about 12%. in 2012, it was 7%. the nevada republican party is stepping in right now, trying to change that by holding caucus training to get people out tonight. let's be honest, i sort of hijacked one of them. take a look. this is the headquarters of the evnev republican party. what's going on inside is they're getting ready for a caucus training session. caucuses are relatively low turnout affairs. so people have to figure out how to go through the whole operation. we're going to see how they're doing. just curious, has anybody here caucuses before. >> no. >> nobody here has caucused before? is everybody here planning on caucusing? >> yes. >> what is your name? you seem nice. >> my name is robin. >> robin, what brings you out here? >> to learn about where the caucus is. this is the first time for me. i never heard of a caucus before. >> so you say never even heard of it. what compelled you to get out
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here? >> my husband. >> who is this guy? what's your name? >> brian. >> brian, why did you make your wife come to a caucus training? >> we lived in states that didn't have caucuses so we're here that has a caucus and it's very critical to understand what the process is. >> historically, these caucuses because they're new to a lot of people, like you have relatively low turnow. does anybody have a feeling about why that is? >> no one knows about the caucus. >> nobody knows about the caucus. >> they don't understand it. i don't. >> what about the time of night, between 5:00 and 9:00. is that an inconvenient time? >> for most of us, you think 5:00 is a perfect time. people are getting off work, but vegas is a 24-hour town. there's a lot of people working. >> 2008 was 12% caucus. 2012 was 7%. you think it's going to be higher now. >> we had seven years of obama and we're done. that's why we're here.
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>> the caucus seems like a very good idea to be there and be part of it. and get our voice heard. >> i hope to see some of you guys there. i appreciate you letting us come in. good luck. and see you out there. thank you guys. bye-bye. >> so to me, steve, what i think is the most interesting is the gentleman you saw who said we're fed up with obama. we have been through eight years and that's why we showed up. not one of those people had ever caucused before and they're seeing the caucus trainings day after day. there were two rooms at the same time, jam packed. they could be poised for an increase in turnout here, particularly that could advantage donald trump as we have seen in south carolina. >> we have seen it in the other republican contests. tu turnout has been up in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina. we hear these stories about four years ago, it took them two and a half days to count the vote. any indication it will bebeater? >> we'll see tonight. it could be a nightmare again. long story short, the system involves taking pictures of
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pieces of paper and e-mailing them back to the state party and getting them out to the associated press. >> god love the caucus. and that wraps up this hour of msnbc special coverage live from las vegas. i'm steve kornacki. thomas roberts is up next. thomas has a big show coming up with republican presidential candidate ben carson and donald trump jr. plus, president obama expected to deliver that statement on guantanamo. we'll have it live. you're watching msnbc, the place for politics. my lenses have a sunset mode. and an early morning mode. and a partly sunny mode. and an outside... to clear inside mode. transitions signature adaptive lenses now have chromea7 technology... making them more responsive than ever to changing light. so life can look more vivid & vibrant. why settle for a lens with just one mode? experience life well lit®. upgrade your lenses to transitions® signature™. visit your local visionwo and start living a life well lit
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or visit lifelock.com thsometimes you can't evento graimagine.h. that's the job. and she's the one who's proven she can get it done. ...securing a massive reduction in nuclear weapons... ...standing up against the abuse of women... ...protecting social security... ...expanding benefits for the national guard... ...and winning health care for 8 million children... the presidency is the toughest job in the world and she's the one who'll make a real difference for you. i'm hillary clinton and i approved this message. we are following breaking news on msnbc. take a live look into the roosevelt room. this is at the white house where in just about a half hour, president obama will deliver a statement on the u.s. prison in guantanamo bay, cuba. he's going to be unveiling the latest plan to close that detention facility. a plan that is on its way to congress right now.
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this has been a priority for the obama administration since the beginning of the president's first term seven years ago. but it will be met with some steep opposition from congressional republicans. want to give you a live look on the floor of the senate. that is where we do expect republican senator mitch mcconnell, the majority leader, scheduled to speak any minute now. we'll take you there when that happ happens. a good tuesday morning as wie wake up here in las vegas. i'm thomas roberts. we're here in place for tonight's nevada republican presidential caucus. that begins roughly around 7:00 p.m. we'll have more on that on msnbc, but let's get back to the breaking news and ron allen is at the white house. jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, and pete williams in washington. ron, the president campaigned on a promise of closing gitmo. explain what the white house is saying about the timing of this announcement. >> well, this is last-ditch effort by the obama administration to try to close this prison before the president
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leaves office. they think they can get it done logistically, but of course, there is just vehement opposition from congress. there are laws in place that forbid the administration from bringing detainees at guantanamo onto u.s. soil. so there's a huge obstacle. recent weeks, the administration has been surveying a number of sites around the united states. they say there are some 13 military prisons, federal prisons, where they think they can transfer what they say will be the remaining number of about 30 to 60 detainees out of guantanamo. the number at the detention center now stands at 91. it's come down from about 245 when president obama took office and has come down from the 700s when the prison was opened some 14 years ago. in recent weeks and months, the obama administration has been aggressively trying to transfer as many prisoners out to countries that will accept them, to their home countries or countries like saudi arabia who has been willing to take detainees over the years. the obama administration insists
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this is a prison inconsistent with our values. s they say it's a huge cost drain, and a propaganda tool for our enemies, extremists around the world. they want to get this done and turn the page. gut again, just massive resistance from congress. >> ron allen at the white house for us. we're going to go to jim miklaszewski at the pentagon. at the height, gitmo held roughly 700 detainees in 2003. still 91 men in this prison, as ron was reported there. who are they, and what are the options for them going forward? >> well, thomas, it's in answer to question why now? the congress had set today as the deadline for president obama and the obama administration to come up with a new plan to transfer all detainees from gitmo to some facilities in the united states. now, there are currently 91 of these detainees being held. 35 of them are eligible for
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release today. once they're cleared and they find some nation willing to accept them. ten of them currently face discipline or criminal charges, and quite frankly, pentagon officials labeled these ten as unlikely ever to be released because they include some of the top al qaeda leaders and at least five of them were directly involved in the 9/11 attack on the u.s. and 46 of them are currently in a periodic review to determine what kind of criminal charges they should be -- have filed against them. or whether they should be put in the list eligible for release. but the only thing really new in today's planned release is the fact that they put a dollar figure on it, that it would cost some $465 million to build a facility up to, to build a facility in the united states, but ultimately, it would save $180 million to maintain that
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facility for 30 to 60 detainees. i can tell you, the senior administration officials don't sound very confident that they will make any progress with this plan at all. instead, they're saying this opens the door for new conversation between the administration and congress. thomas. >> and mick, right now, let's take everybody to where mitch mcconnell is addressing the senate floor right now on this issue. >> secretary of defense ash carter has submitted a budget request for programs to balance against the regional ambitions of china and russia. in other words, some of the most senior national security officials within this administration are already working to better position the next president for the national security challenges it will face in 2017 and beyond.
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and yet, president obama seems to remain captured on one matter by a campaign promise he made way back in 2008. his ill-considered crusade to close the secure detention facility at guantanamo. today, we received a descriptions of where the president would like to detain terrorists within the united states. though not any actual proposed locations. despite the fact that it would be illegal under current law to transfer foreign terrorists at guantanamo into the united states. this isn't a case where the president can even try to justify the use of some pen and phone strategy. by claiming congress failed to act. to the contrary, congress acted over and over and over again in a bipartisan way to reject the president's desire to transfer dangerous terrorists to communities here in the united
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states. the president signed all these prohibitions. and his attorney general recently confirmed it is illegal, illegal, for the president to transfer any of these terrorists into the united states. so we'll review president obama's plan, but since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in u.s. communities, he should know that the bipartisan will of congress has already been expressed against that proposal. one final matter. the signs of the season are all around us. volunteers are taknocks on door. caucuses are caucusing. >> listening to mitch mcconnell talk about president obama's potential plan, the idea of closing gitmo and the process of what that all entails.
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mitch mcconnell saying it's an ill-considered crusade based on a campaign promise by barack obama, and the senator bringing up that congress banned moving prisoners to the u.s. in 2011, saying this is illegal to move these taearrorists to the u.s. i want to go to pete williams, our justice correspondent. talk about the process to determine whether or not there are certain detainees safe enough to be moved into the u.s., especially given that congress said that's illegal to do, and they did that back in 2011. >> there is no such process. what senator mcconnell is forget it. there's a process as mick referred to, to review the status of the detainees periodically, that's something that the obama administration started very early. you may remember that early on, he put together this team that was led by the attorney general and included people from the intelligence community and the defense department. they would look at every case, and that is how most of the detainees in guantanamo bay are gone. remember, it was almost 800 at some point.
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now it's down to 91. it's that process that has caused most of them to be sent elsewhere. but not into the united states. none of them can be reviewed for bringing into the u.s. because, as you point out, as senator mcconnell pointed out, as everybody pointed out, it's against the law. it wasn't always against the law. you may remember eric holder in the early days of his time as attorney general said we were going to bring khalid shaikh mohammed to new york to be put on trial there. the obama administration also came up with a plan to transfer guantanamo detainees to a facility called the thompson correctional facility in illinois. congress responded quickly to make that illegal, and it is renewed that law ever since. so that's the problem here. how do they overcome that ban? the president can't do this by executive order because the congress has foreclosed that. so if gitmo is to be shut down, that is just going to have to
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change. and at least in the opinion of senator mcconnell, that's his message is fat chance. >> pete williams reporting for us in washington, d.c. pete, we'll remind our viewers we do expect the president to speak any moment about the proposal he'll be sending on, and we're going to carry that, 10:30 eastern, we'll bring that to you live. back here in las vegas, we have to talk about what is taking place with the nevada caucuses, and ben carson said no matter what the outcome was in south carolina, he was going to move on to nevada. and after coming in last in the south carolina, vegas oddsmakers would say ben carson doesn't really have a chance. but his campaign is one he is willing to say will defy the odds. he's keeping his bid alive. dr. ben carson joins me. good to see you. thank you for making time for me. first, your reaction to the president's idea to close guantanamo. do you support that? >> well, if it was such a good
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idea, i guess it would have been done seven years ago. obviously, it's not a great idea. i don't support it. and you know, the assumption is that all presidents coming after him will also think it's a good idea. i think it's ill-conceived. if you think it's better to kill people rather than to capture them and obtain information from them, then i guess you would like this idea. >> i know you tweeted last night about your prescription for helping to end wasteful spending, by our country. and as we look at some of the numbers in 2014, it was calculated that it cost about $2.6 million a year to hold a prisoner there. a lot of people would look at that as wasteful. some would say it's a necessity. so from your perspective, what would you say to the folks who say gitmo is a recruiting tool or is it the opposite, that these people need to be held and detained? >> i would say there's a lot of different kinds of costs. it's not just the dollar amounts. there are psychological costs,
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and there are the costs of propaganda. i mean, i don't think you can just look at this as a dollars and cents issue. particularly when we have people who are dedicated to the destruction of our nation. >> how would you say on a world stage that other countries looking at this would say, this is completely un-american, to hold suspected extremists or terrorists without a judicial process is completely not what this country stands for. >> well, you know, you could make the argument that it's worthwhile to make it clear why they're being held. i think you could make that argument. >> and so what would you say to review for process of whether or not these detainees can be sent back into the world, whether it's through a third country, through a third-party supervision, or if it is deemed legal to potentially move them to a u.s. detainment facility? >> i would say the proof is in
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the pudding. what we have seen is about a third of them at least who are released end up on the battlefield gin, fighting us. so obviously, the process is not very good. >> we have an interesting process taking place here tonight with the nevada caucuses. you said after south carolina, you did not want there to be any confusion. you would be pushing forward to nevada no matter what. a lot of people are wondering because of single digit polling here, that it is not expected that you will do well in the caucus tonight. and that the campaign could be on its last legs. what do you say to those critics? >> i would say read the story of the tortoise and the hare and understand this is a marathon, it's not a sprint. and things happen. things change. so i am in here not because of some personal ambition but because millions of americans asked me to do it. and they're still asking me to stay in. and they're still supporting the effort. and i feel i have an obligation
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to them, but i feel i have an obligation to those who are coming after us. because when you look at where our nation is, you know, with our fiscal irresponsibility, we're about to go off the cliff. most people don't even know what the fiscal gap is and what the implications of that are. i just think, you know, in terms of education, you know, we're not doing the right kind of thing. we only have 330 million people. we're competing with china, with $1.4 billion, india with 1.1 billion. we have to develop all our people. we have a situation now where between the ages of 17 and 24, applicants to the voluntary military, 71% are rejected for mental, physical, or educational reasons. the vast majority educational reasons. we're failing our people in terms of educating them and that's putting our nation in jeopardy. >> i'll ask you about the bernie sanders free college in a second. when it comes to the path for you moving forward out of nevada and moving into super tuesday,
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explain how you see that path as donald trump and some others seem to be making obstacles for you more permanent. >> it's just too early. it may well be that many people in other states will decide. you know what, we have something to say about this. we're not going to allow ourselves to be dictated to by the first states or by the pundits or the media who try to determine things after just two or three or four contests, when there are 50 states. >> when it comes to armstrong william williams, your friend, telling the "washington post" problems for your campaign, for potentially attracting new voters and they're not finding an angry enough candidate. i think a lot of folks would say you're a calm guy. what do you say about that? that maybe you're not amped up enough to attract the attention you need to push through, through super tuesday. >> i would say we have to educate people as to what strength is. you know, i used to be a very
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angry person. i used to get into a lot of trouble. and god cured me. and i came to an understanding that the lash out at people, to punch somebody in the face, was not a sign of strength. it was a sign of weakness. if you're angry all the time, it also means you're selfish. it's always about me, my, and i. if you learn to step outside of the center of the equation, you can maintain control. that's what real strength is. >> you're referencing a struggle with your upbringing, coming up a poor young man in detroit, and some struggles you came through. you recently talked about president obama and maybe not having the authentic black experience. maybe you could be the first real black president. what did you mean by that? >> i simply was responding to something that someone was saying. and the fact of the matter is, you know, he did not grow up in black america. he grew up in white america. doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with that. it's just that when the claim is made that he represents the
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black experience, it's just not true. >> president obama probably would push back on that because he's been stereotyped in a lot of different ways through his presidency, but when it comes to the campaign for you, there was an issue out of iowa with the cruz campaign and they notified folks that you were leaving. wanted to infer you were going to be dropping out of the race. ted cruz won iowa. donald trump said those were some dirty tricks. we know recently, there has been a person who left the cruz campaign for dirty tricks against marco rubio. there was an accountability there for the marco rubio situation. your situation didn't get that type of response or accountability from ted cruz. are you disappointed they didn't take what happened to you and your campaign out of iowa more seriously based on their own actions? >> sometimes these things are cumulative. and you know, one thing happens and you can deny it to a certain degree, and then something else happens and it's pointing in the same direction.
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so you know, ultimately, it leads to the right thing being done. ultimately, there's some accountability. i guess that's a good thing. >> has anybody approached you, insiders in the republican race, asking that maybe you should step aside and allow a different candidate to come up that could challenge donald trump with more strength? in the delegate count. >> no one has come and made that suggestion. but of course, you hear that suggestion all the time. but whatever happened to let the process play out? and let's find out who the best candidate is. one of the things going on right now in this country is that we are looking at personalities. and we're looking at how loudly somebody proclaims something. we're not looking at their actual policies. and the problems that we face right now are so severe that unless we get serious, we're going to be in the same situation as ancient rome. everybody wants to go to the coliseum while rome is building
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down. we have got to get more serious soon, and i think it's going to happen. >> dr. ben carson, thanks so much. there will be a debate in houston, so we'll let you get back to work with the caucuses tonight. thank you for the time. >> much more ahead. 15 minutes from now, president obama will be delivering the statement on the attempt to close guantanamo. and this will happen all at the white house with the president unveiling this plan to close down the notorious u.s. detention center, but he does face steep opposition from congress on this. we'll be back with much more. beyond natural grain free pet food is committed to truth on the label. when we say real meat is the first ingredient, it is always number one. we leave out poultry by-product meal, corn, wheat and soy. and, we own where our dry food is made - 100%. can other brands say all that? for grain-free nutrition you can trust,
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so we're now just minutes away from president obama's statement on the plans to shut down the guantanamo bay detention center. my colleague andrea mitchell is
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back in washington, d.c. and picks up our coverage from here. >> good morning, thomas roberts, good morning to all of you. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. we're awaiting president obama from the white house any moment, the president will be coming into the roosevelt room which you see there. you see the podium set for him. he's going oo be unveiling his plan to close the u.s. prison facility at guantanamo bay in cuba. that plan was delivered to congress this morning. this hour it has been a priority for the white house since day one, one of the first orders he signed was his intention to close guantanamo. 91 detainees remain at the prison. several hundred have already been transferred to their home countries or released. sdrigz officials tell n brk c news they believe between 30 and 60 will be transferred to one of about a dozen or so possible facilities in the u.s. when it clo closes. this is all theoretical. the others would go to countries willing to accept them. they point out the high costs of operating guantanamo bay as well
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as its use as a propaganda tool for recruiting people to isis or other terrorist organizations. republicans are taking issue with the plan. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell calling it ill-considered and illegal. >> his attorney general recently confirmed it's illegal, illegal for the president to transfer any of these terrorists into the united states. so we'll review president obama's plan, but since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in u.s. communities, he should know that the bipartisan will of congress has already been expressed against that proposal. >> and that was mitch mcconnell expressing the view of the senate republicans. this has been repeatedly voted on by the congress, under the defense authorization bill. pete williams joins me here because this is a legal dispute that goes back to day one of the obama administration. and has, of course, been
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continually, continuously rejected by congress. >> well, what happened here is the history is that at first the justice department under eric holder said, we're going to bring some of these detainees from guantanamo and put them on trial in the u.s. khalid shaikh mohammed, the others involved in the 9/11 attacks should be tried in new york city. he said it twice, in the place where they attacked the world trade center. and that was specifically rejected by congress. there were other plans to bring detainees to a federal prison facility that was some parts were empty in illinois, the thompson correctional facility. congress responded by saying, oh, no, you can't bring any detainees at all from guantanamo to the united states, period. and that has been the consistent view of congress. interestingly, in this plan here that the government has sent to congress today, they say we're going to continue with those who are already before military commission trials in guantanamo, but we reserve the right, we might try some of them in regular federal courts.
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and this, of course, has been a consistent theme of the obama administration. that if you look at the history of prosecuting terrorists, there are many more that have been convicted and appeals all wrapped up and they're in prison than have ever been convicted before the military commission. they once again raise this as a possibility. >> in fact, the whole point that they have been making since eric holder and others in the obama white house is that they have been convicting these terror prisoners. they have not been released. they have not been given any kind of pass from juries, and they have been convicted, many in lower manhattan, right in the shadow of where the trade towers ca came down. there's no security reason or legal reason to expect they would not get tough treatment in a fair court of law. >> you remember the pushback from congress is in two ways. one is they say it's just not appropriate to put them on trial, and secondly, they say you have to continue to keep them in military custody because
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of the ability to continue to try to get intelligence out of them. you learn things on the battlefield, you want to come back to them. once you put them in the civilian trial system, you can't do that anymore. >> we should point out also that former republicans as well as democrats have argued for the closure of guantanamo because it is a magimate for groups now, isis. when we see prisoners being beheaded in orange jumsuits, that's their take- away from kwn tonno. i want to bring in ron allen, our colleague at the white house. this is, one could call it, a gesture by the president. he's presenting a plan as ordered by congress, but it's a plan under this congress is not going to be implemented. >> exactly. that's exactly what's going on here, andrea. yes, a gesture, because months ago when this came up, the administration was talking about using executive authority to try to do this. and i know that there are strong
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arguments against this, whether he has that right or not. but in recent weeks, they have said they will make this plan and present it to congress. try to engage them in a dialogue, trying to collaborate, but obviously, this plan seems dead on arrival at this point. the question now is, what will they do? will the president as commander in chief try to use his executive authority to try to close the prison, to bring these detainees on u.s. soil? senior administration officials were asked that several times in several ways on a call recently, and they would not answer it, the question, because they don't want to put that out there to essentially poison the conversations with congress. that they have trying to have. that's my guess of why they wouldn't answer the question. yes, clearly, this plan doesn't seem to be going anywhere. the question now is what will the administration do next? president obama has spoken out very forcefully about the need to do this. he says it is inconsistent with our values. they have made an argument about how much it costs, $450 million a year to house this relatively
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small number of detainees. these prisoners. they have said that it is an irritant with our allies. and you pointed out the propaganda value, that the administration also says this brings to extremist groups trying to attack america. interesting to see how they put this, but i think you're right. this is a gesture to congress. the administration probably has very low expectations that this will get anywhere, but they're going to go through the process to see what they can do, to see if they can push it forward at all. interestingly as well, andrea, they didn't name the 13 facilities that they have been surveying to see if they were appropriate to house these detainees. obviously, they don't want to focus attention on these particular facilities. we believe one is in south carolina, where the primary is coming up. so there's that concern as well. trying to keep this a secret, not to make any of those facilities a magnet for protests, a target for what would certainly be an outpouring
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of emotion against this plan to bring detainees onto u.s. soil. the bottom line, they're saying by the end of the year, they think they could build this prison or refit a prison by the end of 2016, and it would house about 30 to 60 detainees, is the number they have settled on as to where they think they will be at the end of the year after trying to transfer everyone they can and with these other military commissions, military tribunals proceeding. 30 to 60 is what they think the bottom line will be. >> and as ron was just reporting, we're talking about the possibility of injecting this into the political campaign. already, it has been a hot button issue for a number of the republican candidates, but you're talking about facilities reportedly in colorado and kansas and south carolina, and south carolina's democratic primary is saturday. kansas and colorado will vote next week. i want to bring in carol rosenberg. we have gotten the warning, but she's in guantanamo bay. she's the reporter from the miami herald who has been
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basically the chronicler of the prison for many years, has been there more than anyone else. what would be the impact there if there were any way to close the prison at guantanamo bay? >> well, what the administration is projecting is they would be able to downsize to at least 56 before they move them to the united states. there would be a closure, they say, of the detention center zone. they would dismantle the portion of the base where the prisoner is located -- >> the president has walked in. we'll pick this up on the other side. >> in our fight against terrorists like al qaeda and isil, we are using every element of our national power. our military, intelligence, diplomacy, homeland security, law enforcement, sfral, state, and local, as well as the example of our ideals as a country that is committed to universal values, including rule of law and human rights.
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in this fight, we learn and we work to constantly improve. when we find something that works, we keep on doing it. when it becomes clear that something is not working as intended, when it does not advance our security, we have to change course. for many years, it's been clear that the detention facility at guantanamo bay does not advance our national security. it undermines it. this is not just my opinion. this is the opinion of experts. this is the opinion of many in our military. it's counterproductive to our fight against terrorists because they use it as propaganda in their efforts to recruit. it drains military resources. with nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running. and more than $200 million in additional costs needed to keep
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it open going forward for less than 100 detainees. guantanamo harms our partnerships with allies in other countries whose cooperation we need against terrorism. when i talk to other world leaders, they bring up the fact that guantanamo is not resolved. moreover, keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. it undermines our standing in the world. it is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law. as americans, we pride ourselves on being a beacon to other nations, a model of the rule of law. but 15 years after 9/11, 15 years, after the worst terrorist attack in american history, we're still having to defend the existence of a facility and a
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process where not a single verdict has been reached in those attacks. not a single one. when i first ran for president, it was widely recognized that this facility needed to close. this was not just my opinion. this was not some radical, far left view. there was a bipartisan support to close it. my predecessor, president bush, to his credit, said he wanted to close it. it was one of the few things that i and my republican opponent, senator john mccain, agreed on. and so in one of my first acts as president, i took action to begin closing it. and because we had bipartisan support, i wanted to make sure that we did it right.
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i indicated that we would need to take our time to do it in a systematic way, and that we had examined all the options. and unfortunately, during that period where we were putting the pieces in place to close it, what had previously been bipartisan support suddenly became a partisan issue. suddenly, many who previously said it should be closed backed off because they were worried about the politics. the public was scared into thinking that, well, if we close it, somehow we'll be less safe. and since that time, congress has repeatedly imposed restrictions aimed at preventing us from closing this facility. now, despite the politics, we have made progress. of the nearly 800 detainees once held at guantanamo, more than
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85% have already been transferred to other countries. more than 500 of these transfers, by the way, occurred under president bush. since i took office, we have so far transferred 147 more. each under new significant restrictions to keep them from returning to the battlefield. and as a result of these actions, today just 91 detainees remain. less than 100. today, the defense department, thanks to very hard work by secretary of defense ash carter, as well as his team, working in concert with the office of management budget, today the department is submitting to congress our plan for finally closing the facility at guantanamo once and for all. it's a plan that reflects the hard work of my entire national security team. so i especially want to thank
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ash and his team at dod. this plan has my full support. it reflects our best thinking on how to best go after terrorists and deal with those who we may capture, and it's a strategy with four main elements. first, we'll continue to securely and responsibly transfer to other countries the 35 detainees out of the 91 that have already been approved for transfer. keep in mind this process involved extensive and careful coordination across our federal government to insure that our national security interests are met when an individual is transferred to another country. so for example, we insist that foreign countries institute strong security measures. and as we move forward, that means that we will have around 60, and potentially even fewer
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detainees remaining. second, we'll accelerate the periodic reviews of remaining detainees to determine whether their continued detention is necessary. our review board, which includes representatives from across government, will continue to look at all relevant information including current intelligence, and if certain detainees no longer pose a continuing significant threat, they may be eligible for transfer to another country as well. number three, we'll continue to use all legal tools to deal with the remaining detainees still held under law of war detention. currently, ten detainees are in some stage of military commission's process. a process that we worked hard to reform in my first year in office with bipartisan support from congress. but i have to say, with respect to these commissions, they are
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very costly. they have resulted in years of litigation without a resolution. we're therefore outlining additional changes to improve these commissions which would require congressional action and we will be consulting with them in the near future on that issue. i also want to point out that in contrast to the commission process, our article iii federal courts have proven to have an outstanding record of convicting some of the most hardened terrorists. these prosecutions allow for the gathering of intelligence against terrorist groups. it proves that we can both prosecute terrorists and protect the american people. think about it. terrorists like richard reid, the shoe bomber, a man who tried to blow up an airplane over detroit, fazl shu zaud, who put a car bomb in times square, and
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zohaar zan yev, who bombed the boston marathon, they were all convicted in our article iii courts and are now behind bars here in the united states. so we can capture terrorists, protect the american people, and when done right, we can try them and put them in our maximum security prisons and it works just fine. and in this sense, the plan we're putting forward today isn't just about closing the facility at guantanamo. it's not just about dealing with the current group of detainees. which is a complex piece of business, because of the manner in which they were originally apprehended and what happened. this is about closing a chapter in our history.
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it reflects the lessons we have learned since 9/11. lessons that need to guide our nation going forward. so even as we use military commissions to close out the cases of some current detainees, which given the unique circumstances of their cases make it difficult for them to be tried in article iii courts, this type of use of military commission should not set a precedent for the future. as they have been in past wars, military commissions will continue to be an option when individuals are detained during battle. but our preferred option, the most effective option for dealing with individuals detained outside military theaters, must be our strong, proven federal courts. fourth, and finally, we're going to work with congress to find a
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secure location in the united states to hold remaining detainees. these are detainees who are subject to military commissions. but it also includes those who cannot yet be transferred to other countries or who we have determined must continue to be detained because they pose a continuing significant threat to the united states. we are not identifying a specific facility today in this plan. we are outlining what options look like. as congress has imposed restrictions that currently prevent the transfer of detainees to the united states, we recognize that this is going to be a challenge. and we're going to keep making the case to congress that we can do this in a responsible and secure way, taking into account the lessons and great record of our maximum security prisons. and let me point out the plan we're submitting today is not only the right thing to do for
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our security, it will also save money. the defense department estimates that this plan compared to keeping guantanamo open would lower costs by up to $85 million a year. over ten years, it would generate savingoffs over $300 million. over 20 years, the savings would be $1.7 billion. in other words, we can insure our security, uphold our highest values around the world, and save american taxpayers a lot of money in the process. so in closing, i want to say i am very clear eyed about the hurdles to finally closing guantanamo. the politics of this are tough. i think a lot of the american public are worried about
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terrorism and in their mind, the notion of having terrorists held in the united states rather than in some distant place can be scary. but part of my message to the american people here is we're already holding a bunch of really dangerous terrorists here in the united states, because we threw the book at them. and there have been no incidents. we have managed it just fine. and in congress, i recognize in part because of some of the fears of the public that have been fanned oftentimes by misinformation, there continues to be a fair amount of opposition to closing guantanamo. if it were easy, it would have happened years ago, as i wanted, as i have been working to try to get done. but there remains bipartisan
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support for closing it. and given the stakes involved for our security, this plan deserves a fair hearing. even in an election year. we should be able to have an open, honest, good faith dialogue about how to best insure our national security. and the fact that i'm no longer running, joe is no longer running, we're not on the ballot, it gives us the capacity to not have to worry about the politics. let us do what is right for america. let us go ahead and close this chapter. and do it right. do it carefully, do it in a way that makes sure we're safe. but gives the next president and more importantly future generations the ability to apply the lessons we have learned in the fight against terrorism and doing it in a way that doesn't
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raise some of the problems that guantanamo has raised. i really think there is an opportunity here for progress. i believe we've got an obligation to try. president bush said he wanted to close guantanamo. despite everything that he had invested in it. i give him credit for that. there was an honest assessment on his part about what needed to happen. but he didn't get it done, and it was passed to me. i have been working for seven years now to get this thing closed. as president, i have spent countless hours dealing with this. i do not exaggerate about that. our closest allies raise it with me continually. they often raise specific cases of detainees repeatedly. i don't want to pass this problem on to the next president, whoever it is. and if as a nation we don't deal with this now, when will we deal with it? are we going to let this linger
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on for another 15 years? another 20 years? another 30 years? if we don't do what's required now, i think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history, and of justice, and our best american traditions was clear. so again, i want to thank secretary carter. you and your team did an outstanding job and you have shown great leadership on this issue. with this plan, we have the opportunity finally to eliminate a terrorist propaganda tool, strengthen relationships with allies and partners, enhance our national security, and most importantly, uphold the values that bind us as americans. i'm absolutely committed to closing the detention facility at guantanamo. i'm going to continue to make the case for doing so as long as i hold this office. but this is a good moment for
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everybody to step back, take a look at the facts, take a look at the views of those who have been most committed to fighting terrorism and understand this stuff. our operatives, our intelligence officials, our military. let's go ahead and get this thing done. thanks very much, everybody. >> president obama leaving the podium there in the roosevelt room, not taking questions. flanked by ash carter, the defense secretary who came up with plan, and the vice president. let's go back to guantanamo bay, cuba, to carol rosenberg, the reporter for the miami herald who has spent so many years there covering this issue. what will be the impact if this is simply a gesture to congress, and we already have heard of congress' disapproval? >> andrea, if he can't close it, there will continue to be based on the projections today, at least 56 detainees here at guantanamo. ten in military commissions
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preceding, and at this point, a staff of 2,000 soldiers and civilians running the detention center. they say that the new plan would cut costs. but if you downsize the number of detainees, and you don't downsize the budget, it looks like we're looking at comparable costs. but closing the detention center and moving them to kwan -- excuse me, and moving them to the united states, they mentioned that they would like to put some people into perhaps federal trials. that would take them out of military detention. and put them in federal custody, and guantanamo north would be even smaller if they could accomplish that. >> and what has been your access to these military commission proceedings, because there have been ups and downs with the press relationship with the military itself? >> today, we are watching pretrial arguments by the defense attorneys for the 9/11
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accused for khalid shaikh mohammed and the other men accused of plauotting the september 11th attacks. they're asking the judge for evidence about what happened to these men in cii custody and the black sites. two are at the war court today, but khalid shaikh mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the plot, is back at his prison. the secret camp seven prison and hasn't come to court today. we have been watching them get ready for the trials. i think what we understand from the president's plan is he believes he can move the trials to the united states and continue with military commissions. there was one intriguing thing he said. it looks liex he wants to tweak the commissions again and said he would be sending something to congress. this is new. i don't know what that's about. >> pete williams here, carol, thank you so much, because pete williams our justice correspondent, is nodding in agreement with what you just said. we have the document here. >> there's nothing in there. he did say that. he does, as care said, raise the possibility that some of them
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could be tried in normal civilian courts. but there's nothing in this plan that has gone to congress that talks about that. i guess he's saying that would come later. it would be the third, at least, tweak to the military commission system since they originally imposed in the bush administration. >> jim miklaszewski at the pentagon, this has long been demanded by congress, a plan. but congress in the defense authorization act every year put in all sorts of restrictions to forbid the release of prisoners to come to the united states. >> that's right, and about the time this plan hit capitol hill, mitch mcconnell, senator mcconnell, declared it dead on arrival. there were a couple new things in the plan that we hadn't heard before. first, that they considered 13 separate facilities. but the newest thing, and most provocative in my mind, was they're talking about the possibility of building a military facility or a detention facility on a military base in the u.s., which might take some of the political anxiety out of
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it. but i can tell you that officials here have no aspirations that this is actually going to happen, particularly within the next year, during this political season. >> and that is a perfect segue to our political director, the host of "meet the press," chuck todd. chuck, we're talking about kansas, south carolina, colorado, states that are in play in the next week. and this is already in south carolina, where the democrats are voting, something that nikki haley, the governor, has said not happening here. >> michael bennett, 20 minutes before the president went out, michael bennett, democratic senator, senior democratic senator from colorado, said i continue to oppose any transfer of these detainees to colorado. if you take colorado off, i mean, that super max facility has been considered one of the best facilities to properly do this. the point is this, this was a democrat, somebody who the obama administration can count on 90% of the time in michael bennett. always usually a team player when it comes to what they're
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looking for. and he's not there. the politics of this, not in my backyard. but eight years ago, the president had more political cover to do this. and he still couldn't get it done. you know, that was when lindsay graham and john mccain were actively ready to truly help, i think, at the time. then the politics shifted and everything went away, and whatever republican support was there totally has eroded since then. but i think this is about the president being able to say he tried. in his last year of his presidency, but i think we know politically, this has -- i think he's got a better shot of getting parts of his budget implemented than he does getting this moving along. he has a better shot of getting a eventual supreme court pick confirmed by this congress before the end of the year than getting this gitmo plan done. maybe i'm wrong, but i don't see it. >> and chuck, this would put some pressure on hillary
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clinton, as a former secretary of state, she could be very hard for her to break ranks with the president on this because it has been an article of faith among former secretary of states, and current secretaries of state, that this is such an impediment to our relationships overseas. guantanamo had become such a symbol. >> the president did her a favor in this respect. he didn't name a place. we're the ones saying it could be here, could be there. but she can support the broader concept of the plan and at the same time not come down for okay, where exactly do you do this. and who exactly gets them, and where does the facility get built or do you use a current facility? remember, andrea, they agreed to have a facility in illinois. he put his home state, they couldn't get it done to put it in the president's home state. he was willing to do the politics of that. the point is this, if they couldn't get it done when they had democrats in charge, when they had republicans working
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with them constantly at that time, lindsay graham was seriously actually working with them on this. when they couldn't get it done then, 'splaining to me how the politics have shifted in the president's favor since then. >> just now, we have a statement from the house speaker, paul ryan. just as the president has tried to be ambiguous about where they would be because of the political implications, paul ryan is saying that the president has failed to be specific on costs and on locations of these alternative facilities. >> they want -- look, they want to bait them on locations. why? it's an election year. being able to use that to stir fear and stir anger, so i get why locations weren't mentioned, and i get why the politics of this is oh, let's make him say locations because then it becomes a lightning rod. >> and just finally, in about 15 seconds left, pete williams, nikki haley can say she's against it, but if this were to
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proceed under federal and military authority, they've got federal, they've got bases, they've got authority over it. it would not be up to a governor. >> if they said we're going to bring them, the congress restriction goes away and they say we're going to bring them to the u.s. military base, what the governor says wouldn't matter. >> i think back to the late '70s when several governors including one bill clinton in arkansas and others in pennsylvania were objecting to the vietnam refugees coming to the united states. cuban detainees, and had no say over that. well, there's a lot to unpack here. we'll, of course, continue to have coverage on msnbc. that wraps up this hour of msnbc. live, i'm andrea mitchell. i'll see you back here at noon eastern. tamron hall is up next from charleston, south carolina.
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carolina, ahead of this state's democratic primary on saturday. we are in the heart of the city market here in charleston. this as republicans also get set for a big day today. the caucuses out in nevada. but we begin with breaking news we have been following for over an hour from the white house where president obama just announced he has sent a detailed plan this morning to congress to close the controversial u.s. military prison at guantanamo bay, cuba. something he promised to do when he was first elected. it sets up a showdown with congress. as well as republican candidates and some democrats alike who voted overwhelmingly to block the president's plans which call for transferring the remaining inmates add the maximum security prison in the united states including possibly a site right here about 20 minutes away from where we are in south carolina. the naval consolidated brig of charleston. >> for many years, it's been clear that the detention facility at guantanamo bay does

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