tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC November 13, 2013 12:00pm-1:00pm EST
administration. the white house pushed back on the report saying the challenges we are addressing today are a snapshot of november 13th, not november 30th. still, coming from an administration with a questionable track record on such predictions, concerns have not been allayed. not helping matters at all in any way, former president bill clinton who announced yesterday to forehead slaps across 1600 pennsylvania avenue that americans who have lost their plans as part of new, higher insurance standards in the aca should be able to keep them. president clinton did nothing to help the man in the oval office, but his pronouncement was a gift to the guy with the gavel. >> president clinton made clear he thought president obama should keep his promise. this is not about politics. these are about real people in our districts that are being harmed by obama care. it's time to fix this law. >> the republican feeding frenzy continued elsewhere on capitol hill as a house oversight hearing provided ample
opportunity to grill the administration's technology officers. chairman darryl issa wasted no time taking the president to task. >> president obama said, using it would be as easy as buying an airline ticket on kayak.com or buying a television on amazon. this is an insult to amazon and kayak. this wasn't a scaling mistake. this was a monumental mistake to go live and effectively explode on the launch pad. >> but underscoring the deeply political nature of the health care proceedings, the testier exchanges took place not between republicans an white house officials but between republicans and democrats. after delivering a typically self-serving and long-wibded hoping statement, chair darrell issa was determined to keep democratic questions to a minimum. >> although i understand -- >> the gentleman's time has
expi expired. >> i just asked for the same amount of time you had. >> i'm asking -- >> gentleman's recognized. >> you're not going to run a fair hearing. you're going to do this all the way. >> the gentleman from florida is recogni recognized. >> the partisan -- signs are emerging that several jittery democrats are inclined to support it. despite pleas for unity, roll call reports said a house democratic leadership aide predicted ominously there will be defections. the question now is how many. joining me today, senior writer for politico magazine, glen thrush, anchor for bbc world news america, katty kay.
what do you make of the white house pushback that these glitches and the problems we're hearing about now are problems now but will not be problems in two weeks from now? >> right. obviously it's a little hard when you're predicting the future. that's an absolutely fair charge to make. that said, what our reporting shows is that right now the site is handling between 20,000 to 30,000 people, which was half of what they projected was going to be the original traffic, which was quite low compared to how many people were logging on. in addition, cgi, one of the main contractors, has been able so far to fix six out of every ten defect they're identifying. when you have those statistics, it certainly raises questions about how fully the website will be fixed by the end of the month. i think you might have a lot of debate now about what constitutes being fully fixed.
>> in your reporting, did you get the sense that they did not expect to be in the place they are in now at this point? >> well, you know, i mean, i think the issue is they've been -- part of it is they set this end date at the end of the month and really were not clear what the benchmarks are along the way. it's hard to know. certainly they're not satisfied with where they are. that's very clear. they've shown some of that publicly and we're definitely getting that privately. >> glen, what's the game here for the white house? is it to now manage expectations in the next two weeks? is it to throw all -- i don't know how many more hands you can have on deck. maybe people from kayak and amazon.com. but how does the white house deal with this? >> i think more issa hearings would be very useful for the white house. every time these guys seem to be going under water, issa throws them a life raft. it's amazing to me the extent to which he keeps making the same mistake over and over again. i think in general, and my
colleague wrote a story this morning which makes this point as well, is to keep the president as far away from this mess as possible. we see them throwing a new person under the bus every day. henry chow, marilyn tavenner. i think the key is to sort of create this, i think, an illusion of collective irresponsibility as opposed to having a buck stops here moment. >> that's interesting. you think they would just keep president obama isolated, have other people take the fall as it were, even if no one gets fired. but this is part of actual strategy. >> yeah, and also -- and i think "the washington post" reported just to change the benchmarks constantly. we're going to keep this vague as to what we will subscribe a successful month to. define success downward. i think they will be able to buy themselves enough time to get something that works reasonably well. >> what did you make of former president bill clinton?
some conspiracy theorists will argue this is part of giving red state democrats or vulnerable democrats some room to operate. i'm of the mind that if puff enough ground swell of action in and around some of these bills to delay the individual mandate, to let americans stay on their crappy insurance plans, it's not good for the law as a whole. there's going to be even more pressure to enact this stuff. >> if you want a reason for why it's not good to go back and try and change this law in congress, you just saw it on television. the prospect that this could possibly change, could possibly get through the house at this point is fan it's a call. so i think the other conspiracy theory around bill clinton is that perhaps he was speaking with hillary in mind in 2016. why not distance her from it. he has a history of saying things that the white house doesn't like, this causes a whole load of fluster.
i was at the white house yesterday. causes a lot of flap in the building at the time. that's what he does. >> especially because, john, the president calls president clinton the explainer in chief. he was the guy at the democratic national convention explaining all this policy stuff. here he is doing something -- i'll read what was written in new york magazine. if you want to make sure every healthy person paying low rates in the individual market right now can keep their plan, you have two choices. one is to abolish obama care altogether. clinton doesn't want to do that. he continues to endorse the law. the second is to come up with some other source of funding to compensate insurance companies for their losses. when clinton delivered a well-received speech last summer, obama joked he should appoint the president as secretary of explaining stuff. of course, if he had a job like that, he would be fired within days. >> i mean, i don't pretend to ever understand the calculus that goes on inside of bill clinton's head. to a certain degree, this may be a bit of a honey badger moment.
i'm just going to say what i want to say. the people happiest with that are the republicans on the hill. this gives them a lot of cover, frankly, to bang on the administration for a lot of problems that are already justifiable, but this really takes it out of a political context for a few days, which i don't think the administration is very, very happy about. >> i take a slightly contrary view on this. i think clinton's doing him a favor. in clinton's convoluted mind, he thinks it he's doing him a favor. >> how so? >> i think this is an escape hatch from the current predicament. never mind that it's from a policy perspective in the strictest way nonsensical at the moment because we haven't figured out an a to b on this. i think you're seeing some momentum with the fred uptons in the house and some movement in the senate in terms of these conservative democrats who might be willing to go for some sort of a patch. and this is presumably perhaps like the only fix to this that could possibly -- >> but a patch? it's not really a patch, right?
>> from a policy perspective, it's really difficult. i was on the phone with insurance commissioners across the country who are the folks who really have to deal with this on the ground. yes, what you could do is encourage people, for example, to renew their policies, their subpar plans and other individual market plans early so that this would carry them through november 14th. but that's difficult for a host of reasons. they're not going to get access to the subsidies they would have otherwise. again, for the insurance companies, this is a huge headache. you need their buy-in and you need them to constrain rates. >> how vocal are the insurance companies and pharma and the health care industry? do they have the ear of any republicans in congress saying, guys this is a terrible idea? >> that's a great question. they're certainly in close communication with the white house. they've been excomplaplaining t don't like it and appealing to republicans. whether or not the republicans will listen is a big question. >> i have to ask you, as the exchanges are sort of -- as our
confidence has eroded around the december 1st everything's going to be okay date and the administration is more reliant on insurers and direct enrollment, it further creates tension in an already tense relationship, which is the president has long said, you know, there are big problems with the insurers. they have to be regulated. this is part of the reason we're changing the nation's health care guidelines. now the administration is very much dependent on insurers to help sail them through very choppy waters. >> exactly. they really want to boost direct enrollment, so it takes pressure off the website. but the problem with that is when you have, for example, an individual insurer making a pitch, they will say, by the way, you can check out other plans on healthcare.gov, but they don't tell what their competitor's plans are. so this really does create certain market distortions, which the administration was hoping to avoid and it ties them more tightly to frankly companies who are going to make individual decisions about their customers that might not be great from a political perspective. >> aye, aye, aye.
julia, thank you. thanks again for the great reporting. >> thanks so much. >> after the break, while the white house focuses on november 30th, congress faces a deadline of its own. will house republicans prevent lawmakers from reaching yet another budget deal? guess the answer to that. we'll discuss when congresswoman loretta sanchez joins us next on "now." so if you have a flat tire, dead battery, need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire. hmmm. uh... yeah, can you find a take where it's a bit more dramatic on that last line, yeah? yeah i got it right here. someone help me!!! i have a flat tire!!! well it's good... good for me. what do you think? geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
december 15th to agree on a comprehensive budget, something congress hasn't done since the year 1997. in the days after the shutdown debacle, budget committee chairs were eager to put on a happy face. >> we're going to find the two -- the common ground between our two budgets that we both can vote on. that's our goal. >> we're going back to regular order. this is the budget process. the house passes a budget, the senate passes a budget, you come together to try to reconcile the differences. that's the way we're supposed to do things. >> today the optimism is less pronounced. >> we're trying to find common ground, but we're not there yet. there's a big gap between our two budgets. >> indeed. the gap is big enough that it might better be described as a yawning chasm. but at least one side has put forward something in the way of a starting point for negotiations. in exchange for undoing sequester cuts set to hit in mid-january, democrats on friday proposed a list of 12 of the most egregious tax loopholes to
close, including deductions for shipping jobs overseas, the corporate jet loophole, and tax subsidies for yachts and vacation homes. but at the mere suggestion of revenue, even revenue from yachts and jets and fancy vacation homes, republicans pounced. senator oren hatch told the national journal, they would like to snooker republicans into just doing one part of tax reform. we can't do that. indeed, senator john thune, the third ranking senate republican, was not going to be snookerred. every time you close a loophole, said thune, you're raising taxes on somebody. in the end, it appears that all this yacht outrage may ultimately be displaced. speaker boehner is unsurprisingly ready to throw in the towel. never mind the december 13th budget deadline or the january 15th government funding deadline or the february 7th debt ceiling deadline. according to politico, in a recent meeting with his
republican leadership colleagues, speaker john boehner joked that it the house shouldn't even remain in session in december. joining the panel now is former white house press secretary robert gibbs and joining us from capitol hill is democratic congresswoman from california's 46th district, congresswoman loretta sanchez. congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. there are deadlines looming, and it sounds like nobody is at the captain's wheel. how confident are you that house republicans are going to do anything to avoid another government shutdown in january? >> well, i think they got burned by this last government shutdown, and i believe that they're going to work hard to ensure that that doesn't happen. there are plenty of republicans and democrats working together right now. i spoke to chairman david camp yesterday. he's working towards some tax reform. i'm hoping this budget committee will come together, and what i'm hearing out of that committee is not that they'll come out with the grand budget for the year or
a grand plan to solve all of this but there will be baby steps. they'll get something under their belt and put it forward and we'll be able to agree on it. but they'll also agree to next steps maybe. so it is a process that's ongoing, and i'm confident we can get there. i do not believe for one minute that speaker boehner will not have us here in december. i've been here for 17 years, except for -- well, every year i've been here december, usually december 23rd, december 18th. so we will be here working. >> congresswoman, i'm going to open this up to our folks in d.c. robert, i like that decidedly optimistic take from the congresswoman and reaffirmation that the congress is not going to be out of session for the entire month of december because there are just a couple things that need to get done. but in the wake of all of the government shutdown there has been a very strong focus on the affordable care act, which i think has provided smoke screen for a lot of republicans who otherwise have some very tough
questions to answer about the future of their party. and i think much of that remains highly unresolved. there are 25, 27 senators who rescinded or disavowed their vote reopening the government, preventing economic catastrophe. there is still a huge amount of tension over where to go next. i guess i wonder what, you know, your thinking is for the months ahead. >> well, look, i think maybe john boehner wasn't joking because it's entirely possible congress built on its 9% approval rating and won't be in session in december. i think we're going to dumb down success. success is probably going to be something on the order of, you know, a $10 billion to $20 billion change in the budget outlook, something little on one side, something a little bit on another side to get past some of the sequester cuts. but i think -- look, you know, the fact that legislating is
probably largely done for the year, i don't think is totally surprising. immigration reform wasn't going to happen this year. if you looked at the news recently, that was confirmed last week when they said the house wouldn't vote on it. we may not get immigration reform done next year. i don't see there's going to be a huge impetus to legislate, particularly when i think congress will be wrapped around a lot of aca hearings. >> well, and may not get immigration reform i think is probably more optimistic than most. i think most folks are going to say -- john, nothing is going to get done. we don't know where the farm bill is. comprehensive immigration reform effectively is doa. a budget that reaches beyond, you know, sort of a continuing resolution is a unicorn these days on capitol hill. >> absolutely. the interesting thing about how democrats have handled this is they've been pretty masterful in turning this into a question of
republicans once again not wanting to close these loopholes. it gives them a little bit of cover, frankly. democrats are absolutely opposed to any kind of changes to entitlement reform. progressives have already come out and said we've killed this deal because we're going to make sure we're going to protect the entitlement reforms. they're not catching much heat because republicans are sort of viscerally reacting to these questions about the loopholes. so long as they're able to do that, i don't see any reason for certainly democrats to move towards them and republicans are further entrenched. it sets up this dynamic like you say. you're not going to have the form bill. you're not going to have immigration reform. >> how about we dumb down success even further and just keep the government hope? it becomes a standard. >> that's where we're at now. >> i think we could well be in that position where absolutely nothing gets done. they'll claim that we managed to keep -- the u.s. government managed to stay open in january. it was a triumph. >> that's the new mission accomplished. >> or the fever has broken. >> the fever has broken and the
government is open. >> but it's also -- i mean, in that sense, it is interesting. i don't know why we continue to think that a group of people that got us to the point on both sides of shutting down was somehow two days later going to get us out of the same dynamic -- i mean, i'm thinking of that marching band in "animal house" that goes right down the dead end. you're not surprised they didn't pop out on the other side. it's a dead end. >> the only counter argument is that john boehner came out of that fiasco in a slightly stronger position with the conservative base of his party because he gave them everything they wanted. he tried to give them everything they wanted. republicans will tell you he's in a much stronger position now than he was during the shutdown. so maybe he has more room to negotiate. >> all these guys want to do is vote no. >> i was trying to be optimistic. >> no, no, i'm saying ultimately you'll get a resolution. i think what was proven by the last debt ceiling thing is if you give these guys an opportunity to vote no and they
get to tout that back home, then everything is fine. you can do whatever you want. >> congresswoman, from your vantage point, there's talks that these next sequester cuts, because they're primarily defense cuts, it gives democrats a little more leverage in these negotiations. a lot of folks look at the modern republican party as is sort of its rated by the likes of rand paul. cutting the defense budget has not proved to be as painful this go around as it has been in earlier go arounds or the suggestion has not carried with it as much weight. i wonder from your vantage point as a democrat in the house how effective a bargaining tool the defense cuts are. >> first of all, we have to take a look at these defense cuts. the first round that we took in sequestration we were able to pull moneys that were in other places and sort of move forward, but these next cuts will be cutting way deep, especially into the ability for our troops
to be ready to be sent off if we should need them. but more importantly, the reason i believe that republicans will come to the table is you have to remember that a lot of these defense installations are sitting in republican districts. they're in texas. they're in alabama. they're in mississippi. they're in places where this may be the largest employer some of these guys have. for example, in ohio, in dayton, ohio, you know, my colleague mike turner is always saying there's 20,000 uniformed people, there's 30,000 contractors outside of the fence who work there. that's 50,000 jobs in his district, for example. so if you really begin to see those deeper cuts into defense without us being able to realign how those cuts will be made, what you're going to see is these red district guys, these republicans screaming when they found out that they've cut their own throat. >> do you think they realize
that, that they may be in danger of cutting their own throats? >> well, i think until they start to hear it from their people, they may not be. certainly some of them have already come up to me and said, golly, you know, this is about my people. i now realize that we've been the ones that have had the largest defense in their districts. so we continue to tell people, well, what we're talking about is food stamps to help women and children, who are under the poverty line, you know, until we can get the jobs we need in our district. it really needs to be a trade-off. we will not cut $40 billion of food stamps, throw almost 4 million people off food stamps in order to protect their districts where they've got jobs in defense. this is what compromise is about. they are going to have to come to the table and get this done with us. >> give and take. the old chestnut. congresswoman loretta sanchez, thank you for your time.
>> thank you very much, alex. coming up, the crisis in the philippines enters a new dangerous phase. the chaos of hunger and the race to prevent disease. we'll get the latest live from manila next. ♪ ♪ you get your coffee here. you get your hair cut here. you find that certain thing you were looking for here, but actually you get so much more. when you shop at these small local businesses, you support all the things that make your community great. the money you spend here, stays here. in this place you call your neighborhood.
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chaos and confusion are creating new sorrows in the philippines. typhoon survivors are desperate for water and food. eight people were crushed to death as thousands of survivors broke into a rice warehouse. they died when one of the walls of the damaged structure collapsed on to them. in tacloban, looting is rampant. as one city administrator said, it's not criminality, it's self-preservation. while an estimated 90% of the city is in ruins, officials say just 20% of suffering residents have received aid. >> we need help! we need food! we need water! we need shelter! >> i am just tired.
sick of drinking seawater and dirty water from the canal, trying to survive. >> joining us now from manila is nbc's ian williams. ian, do we have an update on the death toll numbers? >> reporter: well, the latest we're hearing, alex, these are the official figures coming from the government, is 2,344. you'll recall the president said he doesn't expect the final figure to be more than 2,500. although, aid groups working down there are quite skeptical about that. they say we shouldn't be arguing over the number but concentrate on bringing this urgently needed aid to those who remain alive but have lost everything. the complaints down there are growing that basic items, drinking water, food, shelter, meds are simply not getting through to them. the u.s. ambassador today, the u.s. ambassador to the philippines was asked for his take on this. he said, well, now that what he
called the assessment phase is over, he expected the efforts now to be stepped up. that was a diplomatic answer you'd expect. far more so than we're hearing from the affected areas. the government itself has continued to say that the problems are logistical. debris as well as the devastation. they've also admitted they're not simply getting the aid through they want. of course, recognizing that the need is urgent and promising that they will be stepping it up, alex. >> nbc's ian williams. thank you for the update and stay safe. to help victims of the ftyphoon visit msnbc.com for a complete list of organizations accepting donations. after the break, there are new signs that the u.s. may be inching closer to shutting down guantanamo bay. we'll discuss the likelihood of closing gitmo with expert journalist carol rosenberg next on "now." [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ]
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12 years after it first opened and six months after president obama renewed his campaign pledge to close it, the prison at guantanamo cuba is still open. today, 164 detain knees, most of whom have been held there for over a decade, remain at the facility and over half of them, 84, very cleared for transfer. 11 of these detainees are presently on hunger strike and are being force fed on a daily basis. how long this will continue is anybody's guess. last week several reports indicated that the white house is engaged in something of a behind-the-scenes push to goes gitmo. on monday, president obama met with two special envoys to the prison from the state department and the pentagon. "time" magazine is reporting that the white house is lobbying for votes on a bill that could legalize the removal of the remaining detainees, something
which could result in a, quote, showdown, at the end of the year. the senate could take place as early as next week. while the debate in washington continues, a recent "60 minutes" report offered a rare glimpse into the reality of life at guantanamo bay prison as one of the detainees called out to the cameras. >> please, we are tired. you leave us to die in peace or tell the world the truth. let the world hear what's happening. >> joining us now from new york is carol rosenberg, who reports on guantanamo bay for "the miami herald." thanks so much for joining us. that footage is incredibly distressing, i think, might be one word to describe it. tell us, if you will, from your reporting down at gitmo what is the hunger strike, the larger hunger strike seems to have been reduced to a much smaller number of prisoners, but it is ongoing. is there a sense of complete
resignation at this point? what can you tell us about the mood down there? >> well, the detainees have mostly quit their hunger strike after the president's speech back in may and then ramadan came on. there was the expectation that there would be change. the president, you know, created these envoy positions. at the same time, the prison pretty much cracked down on the hunger strike pretty toughly. they put people in single-cell confinement, separated them from the other detainees, said it was for the ease of these tube feedings and keeping track of who's eating. so they got a pretty harsh response to their protest. they broke the strike for the most part. still, 11 prisoners hunger striking is about three times as many as were hunger striking this time last year. but i don't know if the mood is resignation. but it's important to know that that cbs footage you saw, that man who's shouting behind the cell, he was cleared for release about five or six years ago.
he's one of the people who could be gone if all things being equal and the task force recommendations had been followed. so there is frustration. there's continuing frustration. his lawyers have talked about the fact that he'd like to go back with his family and rejoin them in the u.k. he's a saudi citizen, and he's still there with 83 other cleared in some fashion or other detainees for release. >> and carol, we do talk a lot about those detainees. i think it causes a great amount of indignation, the notion that we're jailing these people for nothing, effectively, and are having a hard time getting them out. but what of the remaining folks inside the prison who have not been cleared for release and cannot be cleared for release and yet also are not going to stand trial, what happens to them? >> well, what's about to happen is one of the center pieces of the president's plan for the way forward are what they call periodic review boards.
they're almost like parole boards. we've seen versions of these in the past. the media were able to go in and watch a detainee make a case. and these boards, whether we see them or not, will be held for the forever prisoners, the 46 men that the obama administration at the start of the first term decided should be held there permanently as forever prisoners because there's nothing to try them on. there's no way to convict them, either because the evidence is too tainted or because they don't really have something that would constitute evidence but we're afraid of them. and the panel has decided they should be what they call indefinite detainees. the way forward for them are these paroleoards that should be starting down at guantanamo later this month, and we still don't really know how much transparency we're going to get with these panels. the idea of the panels was to give us confidence that when they let people go, they're making good decisions. we might not see that, however.
>> robert, i want to ask you, in terms of guantanamo bay, this is something the president's talked about since the beginning of his time in office. it is ongoing. how much -- i mean, we're talking about possible openings here to transfer detainees and finally get these 86 guys out of the prison. yet, there's pessimism around that. is this going to be something he occasionally doffs his hat to from time to time as it becomes -- as the news media brings it up or we get more stories from inside the prison facility? is this something -- i mean, how much do you think it weighs on his mind? >> i think it weighs on his mind a great deal. this is a promise that he simply didn't make because it sounded goop. i think when you sit in the situation room and listen to the commanders in chief tell you that this is a huge recruiting tool for al qaeda that our
indefinite detention of people like that who shouted to the news cameras is actually used to recruit the next wave of terrorists. i think the hardest thing is not going to be the 84 or 86 that might be transferred through saudi arabia's program or into yemen or even back into places like the united kingdom, but what to do with those 46. >> forever prisoners. >> right, because the truth is, the biggest impediment in closing guantanamo is not those that can be transferred to yemen. it is what do you then do with those 46? do you send them to a wing of the super max facility in florence, colorado, in which the warden has said he's never been to hell, but he's pretty sure that prison is worse than hell. you know, they're not going to build -- they're not going to take over the facility in illinois or michigan. the question is, how do you get congress to lift the prohibition
to bring some amount of those prisoners, some level of those 46 into the continental united states for indefinite detention. that's the hurdle. >> and let's keep in mind, john, there is movement on the senate side to transfer some of these guys out. it is costing us $3 million per detainee. this is fiscally, wildly unsound to say nothing of the foreign policy thorniness of it. yet, we were talking about this during the break, the notion that the house would do anything to assist the president or those who would like to see guantanamo bay be closed is -- i mean, it is another unicorn on the capitol hill. >> it is. even the senate, frankly -- it's obvious. so and so voted to bring terrorists to the united states. bang. nobody wants that. democrats and republicans both. even if they support closing guantanamo, even if they don't think this is just or cost effective, they don't want to see that ad run on them. i think that kind of political
reality is what's going to keep this thing from moving. >> i just think there's some other part of reality, which is we cannot and should not as americans be jailing people indefinitely who have committed no crimes. that is not what this country stands for. >> no, there's clearly a strong moral, legal, and political reason to close guantanamo bay and to sort out what to do with the prisoners. i wonder -- i mean, you're right, robert, that when guantanamo was first set up, it was a huge recruiting tool. i wonder 12 years later whether it is still as potent a recruiting tool. i don't know what the intelligence is saying on that. i'd be interested to know. it seems to have kind of -- in a sense, the damage to the united states was done when this was set up and when it wasn't closed back in 2008 when the president said he was going to. >> the last time i had access to that, there was no doubt it was a recruiting tool. i have no doubt that somebody has taken that cbs clip, made a youtube video and is circulating that in places like yemen and pakistan right now. >> carol, before we go, speaking of that, the recidivism rate
among gitmo detainees is confirmed at 4.% and suspected t 4.7%. 8% overall is not great, but i don't know where one comes down as far as what is too high. your optimism in terms of next steps and anything changing down in gitmo. >> it really doesn't feel like it's about to close any time soon. as much as the messaging overseas may be bad, there's some in congress who like the message that guantanamo sends to the world, which is mess with us, and you end up at guantanamo bay. there isn't any unanimity this thing is about to close. >> carol rosenberg of "the miami herald," thank you. thanks for the great reporting. >> thank you. coming up, hawaii is set to become the 15th state to say aloha to gay marriage. we'll discuss the march to 50 just ahead. ♪
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today hawaii is poised to become the 15th state to legalize gay marriage. last night the state senate passed a bill that allows thousands gay couples to marry in the state starting on december 2nd. hawaii governor neil a.m. control bee is expected to sign the bill into law later day. hawaii native president obama praised the bill's passage. i've always been proud to have been born in hawaii, and today's vote makes me even prouder. after the break, crack-smoking toronto mayor robb ford faces off with the city council. we'll have the fireworks for youment coing up next.
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after admitting that he had, in fact, purchased illegal drugs, crack-smoking toronto mayor -- i mean, crack-smoking toronto mayor just runs off the tongue -- answered questions from his city council today and reiterated his commitment to staying in office. >> i have talked to my family. we are moving forward in a positive direction. >> is there some way you can explain to us why you don't want to take a leave of absence? >> there's no need for me to take a leave of absence. i'm returning my calls. i'm going to committees. i'm watching every single dime that's being spent here. i've done it for 13 years. i'm going to continue doing it for another five years, one this time and four more after october 27th. >> he's never, ever leaving office. i know at politico you guys are giving a cover story to rob ford. you've been deep in research on rob ford. it strikes me as interesting that he is talking about his
ability to watch every single dime that has been spent here. >> i like the fact you're framing a serious question with this. >> i'm trying to. just so i can get an absurd response. he's been smoking crack and refuses to step down from office. how is that possible in today's day and age? >> i don't know. i think you should ask gibbs if he can come up with a comeback plan. >> robert, from a communications strategy -- >> first of all, let's be clear. there is no communications strategy. when your client goes out and says, i don't remember smoking crack because i was so drunk, you take the playbook and sort of move it over. my question is -- >> the crack alone -- >> who's calling him and what is he calling them back about? >> yes, who's meeting with rob ford at this point? >> i cannot imagine the absurdity and the damage that is done to a place like toronto to watch this happen --
>> canada. i'm going to extend it to canada. >> rob ford's polling numbers it rose after the admission. he has a huge base of support from suburban people who think he's fabulous. the more he gets into trouble, the more they seem to like him. >> do we have the clown photo? there's an excellent photo. that man -- that's before the crack or presumably perhaps the same -- >> attention suburban toronto residents, this is your mayor. >> perhaps smoking crack wasn't enough. but there is no floor here. the basement is not low enough. >> someone from a city that has had a crack-smoking mayor who has come back -- >> yes, i grew up with that. i've seen crack-smoking mayors. >> but with rob ford, it's not just the crack smoking. before he was mayor, the charges were dropped. he was charged with beating his
wife. he's been texting and driving, throwing up the finger. you can stack up the egregious things it rob ford has done. >> but the point made about the demographics of toronto are important too. you're dealing with a city in huge transition, big ethnic population. i think he's got a really pretty big base of, no pun intended, a big base of support. >> and people who are apparently okay can crack smoking. is it legal in toronto? is there not enough grounds to have the city council -- >> it he hasn't been charged with it. i know this is a basic question, but why hasn't he been charged with something? >> with smoking crack. to round this out on a sort of serious note, if one can, the travials of public officials, the more they're denigrated, this just -- when it goes in
level of the absurd, i worry about the long-term implication. >> well, you know, any time a politician goes into a school and says public service is a noble thing and then they go home and turn on the tv and see something like this, you know, you wonder if you are long past the notion of getting the best and brightest to serve. >> all i know, robert, is that you waited to pull out your yellow yarn wig and court jester costume until you were out of the white house. for that, we appreciate it. america appreciates it. >> glen dressed up just like me. >> thank you. that is all for now. i'll see you back in new york city tomorrow at noon eastern. "andrea mitchell reports" is coming up next. cars. ted is trying to get a hold of his insurance agent. maxwell is not. he's on geico.com setting up an appointment with an adjuster. ted is now on hold with his insurance company. maxwell is not and just confirmed a 5:30 time for tuesday. ted, is still waiting.
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