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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  January 9, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST

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will carry that speech live. stay tuned for that and for special coverage on "the rachel maddow show" and speaking of the very same rachel maddow, that show starts right now. >> missed you terribly while you were away last week. >> thank you. that is very kind. i did miss you. >> oh, don't be weird. >> i missed you and my lovely staff and the crew here. >> are you feeling liken ner jazzed like, i was made for this, this is the best time to be on tv? >> it's funny you say that because after this hour, i do feel that way. i didn't feel that way thinking about the lovely west coast that i enjoyed where it was 20 degrees warmer but i do feel that way at the end of this hour of television. >> we have the best jobs in the world but there has never been a better time to have this job than right now. >> i agree. thanks for joining us at home. i'm happy that you are here as well. he first ran for congress in 1978, the republican held that speech for a couple of terms was
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leaving to make room for the senate and it resulted in a very close election to replace that guy. it could not have been closer. that house race, 1978, ended up getting decided by 139 votes. but at the end of it in that unbelievably close election, the guy who ended up going to washington was this guy. and when he ran for re-election, when he ran two years later, it wasn't close at all. he won by more than 30 points. then, two years later, in 1982, he had to run again. the two congressional districts in his state got combined into one in that race. he had to run as an incumbent versus the other incumbent congressman in his state. he had to run against the other guy who was currently holding the house seat in south dakota. they went head to head and he won that election, too. and then in '84, he won again,
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blew the guy out by 15 points. he had this string of wins in the house. it was hard to get there in the first place but then he showed himself to be a very powerful campaigner and then decided to run for the senate, turned out to be a good move, he won again, another hard-fought race. he was a democrat running in south dakota but he won that senate seat in 1986 by the time he was running for reee election in 1992, it wasn't close at all. held on to his seat by a more than 30-point margin and then won again in 1988. by then, the whole map of south dakota was almost all blue. he was killing it. and he was rocketing up in washington, by 1990, the leader of the democrats in the united states senate. and then something incredible happened right after george w. bush was first elected. we all remember the 2000 election because of how close it was between al gore and george w. bush, right? gore wins the popular vote,
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disputed vote count in florida, presidential election gets thrown to the supreme court on partisan lines, they decide to stop the recount in florida and we all remember that part of the 2000 lekelection. the other way that it was close was in the united states senate. the partisan split in the senate after that 2000 election was 50/50, which is insane. bull's eye, right? and then this crazy thing happened. five months into the george w. bush administration with a 50/50 split in the senate, one republican senator decided to jump ships. he didn't jump from the republican party to the democratic party, but he stopped being a republican. he became an independent, he started caucusing with the democrats and that meant that five months into their being a new president, five months after this 50/50 split emerged in the senate, five months into the george w. bush presidency, the
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democrats midstream unexpectedly got control of the senate. and tom daschle became the senate majority leader and that drove republicans absolutely nuts. of course it did. and yes, they were very mad at senator jim for jumping ship but mostly their anger and hostility was blamed on tom daschle. they really, really hated tom daschle. they hated that he was in control of the senate. and even though tom daschle had this impressive record, he had been a dominating campaigner, he won that race by a 26-point margin even though a guy like that you would think would be impervious to political attacks. they went after him with everything they had. sometimes it felt in 2004 like george w. bush and dick cheney were working harder on the south dakota election, working harder
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to oust tom daschle than to get themselves re-elected. the sands were shifting in south dakota and in the republican direction at that time. even so, the republican fire power they brought from across the country to try to destroy tom daschle, they brought the full weight of the white house to crush tom daschle and it worked. he was the top democrat in the senate and he lost his seat in 2004. and that's kind of a weird place to be. you know, you're the senate majority leader just moments ago and now you're turfed out of a job, not even a senator anymore. tom daschle did not go home to south dakota. he did that lobbying thing that all congressional leaders seem to do the instant they are legally required to do so. but despite the way that republicans have forced him out
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of office, tom daschle stayed a big deal in democratic politics and he made some very shrewd moves because politically he's a very smart guy. as george w. bush finished his second term as democrats started to think about who was going to run in 2008, there was some noise that maybe tom daschle would make a run for president. that said, losing your last election in your home state is not an awesome platform from which to launch a presidential campaign. just ask rick santorum. so those early feelers that he might run for president in 2008, those were soon retracted. he announced in late 2006 that he would not be making a run for president himself. but then very soon there after, february 2007, he came out for barack obama. he came out as an early and very high-profile supporter of this one-term illinois senator. right. and that was a really important endorsement for obama. obama was going to be running
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against hillary clinton and well-known democrats trying to win the democratic nomination in '08. to get somebody as well known as tom daschle to come out for him and early? that was a huge deal for obama. and it turns out the ties between these two politicians were more than just skin deep. by an accident of timing, tom daschle was getting unexpectedly turfed out of office at the exact same moment that barack obama was arriving at the united states senate. the young senator obama was able to hire some very, very experienced, very politically adapt staffers from the office of the outgoing democratic senate leader. he got tom daschle's top staff for the senator, for his senate office. and tom daschle's top staff in turn helped barack obama optimize his first term in the senate to try to give him the best chance of making a run for the presidency in 2008. so, you know, history is
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interesting. tom daschle was the scalp in 2004. things worked out okay for tom daschle. he stayed in washington, started making a ton of money, you can tell he was very comfortable in his own skin because he started wearing those really cute sally jesse rafael glasses. they say it's a long way from here to south dakota. he became an influential and prominent ally of the rising star in the democratic party soon steaming toward the presidential nomination in 2008. tom daschle was a national co-chair of the obama presidential campaign. within obama world, daschle was seen as a specialist on health care and, yeah, he did work on health policy stuff but mostly he was seen as the person who could mastermind the politics on health care. the on-the-ground heavy lift of how to actually accomplish the big health reform that obama had made a centerpiece of his
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campaign, tom daschle was the point man. it surprised no one when he named tom daschle as his choice to lead health and human services. but that never came to pass. tom daschle never actually got to be in obama's cabinet. he did start the confirmation process as a nominee. they held hearings on him in two committees. they held hearings in the health committee, health and human services but traditionally, the health and human services cabinet nomination also goes through another committee. it goes through finance and finance is one of the committees that requires as a matter of course that they get tax returns from any nominee who they're considering. not all of the committees do that but finance does and finance considers that particular cabinet secretary nomination and tom daschle started to go through the confirmation process and then it was discovered in his taxes that he owed over $100,000 in back taxes.
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and that itself might not have been fatal. the obama nominee to run the department, tom geithner, also owed the irs. he became the treasury secretary. daschle's problems, though, they did prove fatal politically at that time, to his cabinet nomination, i should say. maybe it's because the amount of taxes he owed was more than what geithner owed. i think it was also maybe because of what exactly he owed the taxes on. >> the president has been forced to expend political capital he'd rather use for his economic plan instead protecting tom daschle's confirmation chances. just weeks ago, after his nomination to be the point man on health care reform, daschle paid back taxes for a car and driver made available to him by a political supporter over a three-year period which cost him approximately $130,000. >> nobody's perfect.
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it was a serious mistake, one that he caught and remedied. >> it's perception problems that may dog daschle than legal ones. the simple fact that he had a car and driver was in a contrast to what he projected in the '80s. democratic leaders are confident daschle will be confirmed but republicans who can slow the process down have yet to weigh in as a group. >> republicans problem did not have the numbers to stop tom daschle outright. remember, in the 2008 election, democrats had 60 seats in the u.s. senate. who cares what republicans in the senate say? but something embarrassing like this involving a lot of money, popping up in the second, third, fourth, fifth level of the vetting process, it was embarrassing and they pulled him. >> how do you prevent the lesson from being that no matter how losty the goals of the new gim coming in washington wins in the
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end? >> i don't think washington wins. look, the fact of the matter is, tom daschle pulled out today and i'm here on television saying i screwed up and that's part of the responsibility is not making mistakes is owning up to them and making sure you don't repeat them and that's what we intend to do. >> when tom daschle's taxes went wrong, when his nomination got pulled in the middle of the confirmation process, that was a distraction for the new obama administration. it was also a rare misstep for them. the incoming obama administration was famously aggressive in making sure all their vetting was air tight. and not just for people who should have been easy to confirm but for everybody. president obama didn't put together a cabinet full of billionaires like our incoming president seems to be doing but he did have one billionaire. he had penny pikser, heir to a
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hotel fortune, nominated her to be secretary of commerce. you have to fill out a form that lists all your financial holdings and it was 140 pages -- excuse me. 184 pages long. triplicate, please. the government office of ethics had to analyze all of her financial holdings, all of her business ties and come up with a plan to didvest and shield herself from her cabinet position. it took them six full months to come up with that plan because they had to come up with that plan around her almost 200 pages of financial holdings. "the new york times" reports today she had to sell off her stake in more than 200 different entities in order to satisfy the ethics office, that she could operate in the cabinet without potentially enriching herself or
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appearing to. the vetting process is hard. it is supposed to be hard. it's thorough for a reason. i mean, stuff does come up. george h.w. bush nominated somebody for democratic secretary who had been a united states senator. we didn't know it at the time but while he was in the senate, turns out a lot of his senate colleagues thought he was a hopeless drunk. that was not something they apparently felt like they needed to go to the public about as long as he was just staying on as a lowly u.s. senator. once he was nominated to run the pentagon, allegations that he accepted illegal campaign contributions while in the senate followed by big unexplained becames from defense contractors once he got out of the senate followed by the drunk thing, i mean, poppy bush did tap him to be secretary of defense and that nomination was rejected by the united states senate. the vetting process turned up unsavory stuff. the vetting process is
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important. not just because it's fun to air all of the dirty laundry of rich and powerful people. it's important because it sometimes turns up important stuff. i mean, rudy giuliani convinced george w. bush to nominate bernie kerik to operate the homeland security. luckily the vetting process turned that around because before long bernie kerik was reporting as a prisoner to the downtown man hat particular jail that previously had his name on the outside of it. the vetting process is important and it is complex and it is deep for a reason. cabinet nominees have to pass an fbi background check. they have to fill out that financial disclosure form, the one that ran 184 pages for penny. once they've declared their financial and business ties, they have to craft a binding plan, a binding letter that explains what they'll do to eliminate all of their potential conflicts of interests, fill out lengthy questionnaires for all
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of the committees and hand over years of tax returns. it's a lot. the incoming obama administration this time eight years ago had a huge vetting operation. they had dozens of lawyers working for months to dot every i and cross every "t" to get all of the vetting materials in on time so the new administration could be up and running with top staff as soon as humanly possible. even they, in that process, missed tom daschle's secret show officer and the distracting, time wasting withdrawal of his nomination in the early days of the presidency. the obama administration was really good at this and even they had some hiccups. the incoming trump administration doesn't seem to be so concerned. several weeks of reports that the vetting process has been haphazard or even nonexistent,
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even for high positions, this weekend there was an alarm sounded about the hearings that are due to start this week. "as the director of oge, the announced hearing schedule for several nominees who have not completed the ethics review process is of great concern to me. i'm not aware of any occasion in the four decades since oge was established when the senate held a confirmation hearing before the nominee had completed the ethics review process. this schedule has created undue pressure on staff and has left some nominees with potentially unknown or unresolved ethics issues shortly before their hearings. today, they have not received initial draft disclosure reports from some of the nominee who is are scheduled for hearings. it would be cause for alarm if the senate were to go forward with hearings on nominees whose reports the office of government
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ethics has not certified." the vetting process is supposed to be hard. it's supposed to be hard. it's everything you've ever done in public over the course of your entire life. it's every financial tie that you've got. it's every financial tie that your family has as well. and it's important to disclose it. i mean, there may be no law that says the president can't enrich himself using the powers of his office but there is a law that says that if they are not vetted properly and one of them is found to do something in office that benefits themselves or their family, that cabinet official will go to jail. the vetting process, the financial disclosures, all the rest of it, it's a bear. but it's not mean. it's there for a reason. and at least nine cabinet nominations are up this week already without the trump transition process bothering to get the vetting process done.
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it starts tomorrow with attorney general nominee jeff session who is is one of the most controversial picks if not the most controversial pick of the entire trump administration, one senator who has already decided and declared that he will vote no on the sessions confirmation joins us next. new girl, huh? yeah, i'm -- i couldn't help but notice you checking out my name your price tool. yeah, this bad boy gives you coverage options based on your budget. -oh -- -oh, not so fast, tadpole. you have to learn to swim first. claire, here's your name your price tool. -oh, thanks, flo. -mm-hmm. jamie, don't forget to clean the fridge when you're done. she seems nice. she seems nice. [ door closes ] she's actually pretty nice. oh. yeah. you foundi'm a robot! rawr yeti and found a place to service it, too. ♪ jingle bells now when you're ready, you can sell your old car and find your new one all on you know us for shopping, and now we're there for every turn.
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students, the lion's club volunteers to at this hour, democrats in the u.s. senate are about to turn the corner on hour three of what looks like it's going to be an all-night or at least a late-night stand to try to save obamacare. this is not usually a time when we see senators holding the floor but that's what senate democrats are doing. it's not exactly a filibuster but they are holding the floor into the late night, maybe into the overnight hours. this is the first view of how the democrats are planning to fight in washington, this extraordinary session that they are taking into the evening tonight. we're going to be checking in on them over the course of the evening tonight and from the
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united states senate we're going to have senator sherrod brown of ohio joining us live straight ahead. ♪ if you're gonna make an entrance... [car driving upon the water] ♪
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hope you've been eating your wheaties, hydrating and maybe going to the gym. i haven't been so i wouldn't have seen you if you were. new year's resolutions, i think they have a long sort of tail. anyway, this week is going to be your first endurance test of the new administration. there are at least nine cabinet nominees that are going to have their confirmation hearings this week, including five that will happen all at once, all on wednesday. that same day, the president-elect is due to give his first press conference since july. tomorrow night is president obama's big farewell address in chicago. we'll have more on that later. tomorrow during the day, it's the first of two days of confirmation hearings for arguably the most controversial trump nominee of all, jeff sessions iii who has been nominated to be the next attorney general of the united states. we're also gearing up for an
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all-night long vote arama. that's where senators will have to vote on amendment after amendment after amendment and in this case, on legislation up to and including the start of repealing obamacare. so the next three days alone are going to be absolutely nuts. we're talking active, kin neck particular moving parts politics all the way through the day and into the potential overnight for three solid days. and to prepare for all of that, senate democrats have decided to stay up all night tonight, too. they are holding down the floor of the united states senate right now and they have been for hours now. they are trying to stop the repeal of obamacare. joining us now from the u.s. senate is ohio senator sherrod brown. thank you for joining us. >> good to be back. >> what is going on tonight? >> democratic senator, all of whom all of us oppose repeal the affordable care act.
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we know that my state alone, 900,000 people lose their insurance, millions lose preventive care. there's parts of medicare services scaled back, up to 30 million people nationally lose something significant with their health care and we want to bring attention to that and that means some senators go to the floor and tell a story. on my website i urge people to sign saying to president-elect trump don't do this and to people in ohio i want people to tell me their personal story. i will repeat some of those on the senate floor, stories about what this means and how people's lives are markedly better because of the affordable care act and even governor kasich in ohio says -- a republican, says don't repeal this unless you replace it with something to take care of the ohioans. unfortunately, republicans in washington feel it's a good idea
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to repeal this health care. >> we're seeing the very beginning of a grassroots movement across the country where people are organizing basically to target their home state senators and representatives, telling their representatives and their senators, don't repeal obamacare or don't confirm jeff sessions or do this or don't do that related to whatever is going on with the trump administration and its agenda. on something like repealing obamacare, because the republicans are so publicly committed to it, do you think they are susceptible to what you are bringing in the senate and to the kind of pressure from the home state constituents if this grassroots movement, some of the other movements against trumpism really take off? >> there's a good deal of public bravado from my republican colleagues but privately they are jittery and even though they've all promised -- you've
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heard this metaphor, the dog chasing the car didn't know what to do when the dog caught the car. well, republicans never expected actually to face a vote where they really could repeal and replace but they never had any attention about replacement because they don't quite know what to do here. they are hearing from hospitals, they are hearing from patient advocates, from thousands of individual stories, like i talked to a woman kathy the other day who broke down on the phone from ohio whose husband has stage 4 cancer, obamacare saved his life and has given him a better quality of life and longer life than he would have had without it. multiply that by hundreds of thousands around the country and you can see why my colleagues in the house and senate, why they are jittery abobecause they kno
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the country will not receive this well. they know these nominees are extremists and they know the nominee for the secretary of edition, 90% of students are in schools, and build career and family philanthropy spending money trying to pull kids out of public schools and put them in for-profit schools in michigan. she wants to do that elsewhere. it's pretty clear that they are out of step, whether it's the secretary of health and human services and whether they raise the eligibility age for health care and people working in manufacturing and people working in dining and women cutting hair, they don't want to work until they are 67 or even 70. their bodies give out. members of congress, we have good benefits and salaries and we're working inside and climate control weather and not lifting heavy things and we're not wearing our knees or hips out and shoulders. it's easy for us but they ought to meet some of these workers who will really be hurt if
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republicans get away with raising the eligibility age for health care. >> senator sherrod brown working late tonight, it's going to be a busy week. take care of yourself and thanks for being with us. >> thank you very much, rachel. the first confirmation hearings begin tomorrow. jeff sessions and attorney general nomination starts tomorrow. senator brown is the first senator to come out and say he will not support that nomination. that hearing is going to be absolutely fascinating. much more ahead. stay with us. hthalmic solution. the first eye drop approved for the signs and symptoms of dry eye. one drop in each eye, twice a day. common side effects include eye irritation, discomfort or blurred vision when applied to the eye, and an unusual taste sensation. do not touch the container tip to your eye or any surface. remove contacts before using xiidra and wait for at least 15 minutes before reinserting them. if you have dry eyes, ask your doctor about xiidra.
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it was freaking cold this weekend. admit it, it was freaking cold. it was too cold to ice fish. in chicago, it was negative 11 with the windchill. which is why it was incredible on saturday morning to see this, thousands of people emptied their hat and sock drawers to endure subzero temperatures all to try to get one of these, a ticket to president obama's farewell address, which is going to be tomorrow night in chicago. all the tickets were gone in half an hour. they had 7,000 tickets to give away. you had to be there in person saturday morning to get them. already by 6:30 in the morning, there were more people in line than there were tickets. did i mention there were 7,000 tickets? people stood in the freezing cold for hours in the hopes they'd be able to see president obama come home to chicago to
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hear his speak one last time as president. here on msnbc, we'll have live coverage of the president's speech starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern. the speech itself is due to start right around 9:00 p.m. eastern. that's our usual show time. then, after the speech at 10:00 p.m., we'll have a special edition one hour later than we are usually on. there are just 11 more days in the obama presidency. it's been 62 days since the election. but these 62 days have been an awkward time and how the president plays out these final days, tomorrow night specifically, may tell us a lot about what we should expect from him in these next crucial years. hold that thought. that's next.
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one, but i'll make one eventually. cheers cheers. [ cheers ] >> i think that's all i should do. huh? >> candidate barack obama effortlessly dreaming a three-pointer in front of u.s. troops in kuwait just a few months before being elected president handedly over john mccain. he has a lot of gray hair and scars in his eight years of office but he prepares to enter this part of his presidency, this last few days of his presidency with higher approval ratings than most of his predecessors could hope for. he's not quite at the high raise of roof beams when he won in 2008 but he's at 56% approval as he leaves office, which is big
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and it is considerably higher than the incoming president who will replace him in 11 days. so few people expected the election to turn out the way it did that even white house sources admit there really was no plan at the obama white house for the event of hillary clinton losing the election, the event that they would be handing the reins to donald trump instead of hillary clinton. but whatever the plan, or lack thereof, it has felt, forgive me, a little bit like the magnitude of this change from barack obama to donald trump, of all people, the radical and jarring nature of that handoff, it has felt like it hasn't exactly been made manifest in how the obama lame duck period since the election has played out. and it's not to say that nothing has happened over these 62 days. president obama has put new safr sanctions on russia. he had the intelligence committee release its report on russia's attacks on hacking and
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ordered the transfer of a few more prisoners out of. [ gunfire ] guantanamo and it's not like nothing is happening. that's not what i'm saying. but in this unbelievable consequential period, is still feels quiet. as a big part of his last few weeks in office, they took a 17-day vacation in hawaii. he's done a few interviews here and there. he made one closed-door visit on capitol hill but, again, closed door. he held a private closed-door party for celebrity friends at the white house. we learned from several instagram accounts that it lasted until 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning and i'm sure that was awesome but these are the very last days of the obama presidency. at the end of which he will hand over the keys to somebody who represents not just 180-degree ideological swing from his own
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vision but elevation to the white house is causing significant amounts of anxiety among wide swaths of the country. and, you know, yeah, there's a little bit of a shock, a little bit of whiplash every time an opposing party wins the white house but this does feel different. and president obama and his wife, the first had delady, aref the most influential human beings on earth. and his wife's popularity puts him to shame. given that, how does it make sense that michelle obama's final public remarks as first lady were delivered at 11:00 a.m. on a friday at a school counselor of the year event? great remarks but, still, this feels like an eriely quiet
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ending. joining me is jody can for, author of "the obama"s and she wrote a marquise editorial. great to see you. >> thank you for being have me. >> do you agree with the premise that this is quiet? >> does the bang come tomorrow night? the president has a tradition of giving big speeches to big crowds and the white house has really played this one up but the president has a choice tomorrow night that i would say reflects a choice in the obama story. the president has always had two political identities. right? on the one hand, his impulse is always to be above it all, unifying, lofty american. he said there is no red and blue america. how does that look? a really polarized and divided nation. on the other hand, by a necessity, he's been forced to
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really become a partisan, to become a defender of the democratic legacy, of his own projects, which is not necessarily his natural political personality. so which does he choose tomorrow night and this is a nation -- this is a really confusing time, right? i mean, hillary clinton won the popular vote but lost the election. >> by a lot. >> there are these allegations of russian hacking, more than allegations, there's proof that raises questions about how we're supposed to even think about what happened in the election. so how does he navigate this moment and what message does he send? >> i think every point you just said is right and i have a ton of anticipation. farewell addresses are often great and presidents use them to bring up interesting and unexpected topics or areas of concern. that said, in terms of what is going to happen this week, wednesday morning is going to roll around and step on the tail of that speech.
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there's five simultaneous nomination hearings and the first president-elect conference since the summer. i feel like even if he does something phenomenal, he's set himself up, by pushing it this deem into the lame duck, we're not going to hear about it too much. >> also, who does he become for the next four or eight years? the presidential tradition is to recede and not really way in on matters of the moment and graciously hand the keys to -- >> not weigh in on political issues. >> right. but the obamas have to find a way to meet the moment. the democratic appetite is going to be huge and one thing we see in the president's own story is that when people really want to hear from you, that call is almost impossible to resist. they are going to be the first president and first lady of the social media era. i'm not sure that we want to see
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a day-to-day twitter war between former president obama and president trump but they are both going to have these sort of public megaphones with which to speak and the democratic party is under tremendous pressure to oppose and these are two of the only unifying figures left in a party that has really been in meltdown since the election. the obamas have a pretty difficult choice to make, i would argue. >> in terms of michelle obama, you've written recently about her potentially as a political figure and i think a lot of people are looking at that in terms of whether or not she herself will ever run for office. the president has been absolutely definitive in his statements about that saying that she would never do so. maybe she'll thank her mind about that but it doesn't seem like she's trying to build any support for that now. what do you anticipate? having studied and particularly her prefirst lady life and the way that she has brought her own political opinions and own sort
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of cultural power to bear on the circumstances she's found herself in, what do you think she's going to do? >> i've said this before, if michelle obama runs for political office, i will eat the book i wrote. that is how little she likes, you know, sort of everything about holding public office. but i covered her for six years and i started covering her in 2007 and there is kind of a pre2008 and a post 2008 michelle obama. it's not that the one that we've seen in the white house is fake or not authentic, she's heavily edited. she has not wanted to hurt her husband politically so what i would say the full michelle obama represents a brilliant harvard trained lawyer who is good at making arguments, somebody who is very warm but also very forceful in the way she analyzes things. she's very original and has led an interesting life. she likes defying what people
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expect her to say. she's got her own observation about things. she's got eight years worth of observations from a point in the landscape that almost nobody else has stood at. no african-americans have ever surveyed the country from the height that the obamas have. so the question is, how is she going to share those insights and i think there's actually a possibility that she could end up being more forceful than the president even though she's less inclined towards politics, her capacity for outrage is actually greater. >> i should point out in "the times" this weekend, she's going to be 53 as she leaves office. it's not like we can't expect a lot from her for a long time. jodi kantor, thanks for being here. >> thank you so much. jodi kantor is author of "the obamas." it's been newly updated. it might be a good time to read it. we'll be right back.
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he'd grown up in d.c., did a couple years in the navy.
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then he decided to go to broadcasting school. he'd been the announcer at football games at his high school. he remembered he liked so on a whim decided to go to broadcasting school. this is the 1940s, 1950s. he chased broadcasting jobs all the way to the southeast. he went to west virginia for a while. he was doing small town radio gigs in west virginia. that's where he met his future wife. they ended up being married for 65 years. then in 1956 he was at an orlando radio station and he got to interview the new owner of the washington senators baseball team. the owner took a shine to him, asked if he would consider coming back home to d.c. to audition for the announcer job at the washington senators home field. he went back to d.c., did the audition, got the job and he became the senators' announcer. became part of the fefshment of washington, d.c. he was the announcer for senators and he did it for a million other outfits. washington jewish week had a great profile of him a couple years ago where they listed all
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the little forgotten teams he had announced for at one time or another. the washington lions, hockey. washington presidents, hockey. it was a basketball team called the washington tapers, like they were candles? i don't know. there was a pro soccer team called the washington whips. another basketball team called the washington capitals. there was a forgotten washington football team called the washington federals. he announced for all of them. but there was one gig he held longer than any other. one he did for free. even though he is 89 years old now, he's still working. when his wife died, his wife of 65 years died a few weeks ago, he said throwing himself into work on that one project, that one special project of his is the one thing that's been keeping him going. he said he can't bring himself to think about his wife's death. but his work on this one project, which he does every four years, he's been doing every four years since 1957, he said he was grateful to be able to throw himself into that work again this year because it's been so hard. it's been a welcome distraction
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after his wife died. in man's just kind of an incredible american story at any level. by now you've probably figured out that the gig that he's been throwing himself into, the one he's been doing every four years since 1957 is his gig as the announcer of the inaugural parade. every time we swear in a new president, it's always him every four years, since eisenhower he's been doing it. look, this is a little nightly news profile that ran on him at the last inauguration in 2013. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president -- >> reporter: there he was at his perch today. if it sounds like charlie has done this show before, he has. you've seen 11 presidents walk down pennsylvania avenue. >> 11 different presidents. >> reporter: charlie is 85 years old. today was his 16th inaugural parade. they call him the president's announcer because the president listens to him for cues on when
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to salute, stand, sit. he remembers hearing it from a white house staffer. >> the woman says to me, did you know you are the eyes and ears of the president? i said, no i hadn't thought about it. i wish you hadn't told me. >> reporter: it all started in 1949, the first parade ever broadcast on tv. president truman's staff asked charlie and some other broadcasting students do play-by-play. a few years later he was announcing baseball games for the washington senators and met president eisenhower. the white house called up and asked him to do parade duty again. >> i said, this is incredible! i don't deserve it, but i'm not giving it back. >> reporter: and he hasn't. from eisenhower to obama. an inaugural parade, charlie says, always reflects the president's personality. eisenhower? >> he's a military man. he's probably saying, i got to get back to the white house and do some work. >> reporter: kennedy? >> kennedy is, let's party. >> reporter: all these years and
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charlie has never gotten a penny. for years from now, are you right back here? >> i am thinking about retiring when i'm 120. >> that was four years ago. this year donald trump fired him. he is 89 years old. he's been the announcer at every inaugural parade since ike in '57. he's done it for 60 years. he's great at it. incidentally, he says the preparation he was already doing for this year's parade has been the only thing keeping him going since the loss of his wife of 65 years, just a few weeks ago. but donald trump doesn't want him. the transition apparently sent him an e-mail firing him. he told cnn, quote, i felt le mohammed ali had hit me in t stomach. he said when he read the e-mail he thought, quote, he was going to commit suicide. he told the abc affiliate in washington he was heartbroken and destroyed. but he's fired. they have given the job, instead, to a trump supporter, who they say is a guy who has done some freelance announcing. but our inaugural announcer
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before now is charlie brotman, 89 years old. he did nothing to deserve this. but this is the new president, what he's like and charlie brotman 37 it's looking up not down. it's feeling up thinking up living up. it's being in motion... in body in spirit in the now. boost. it's not just nutrition. it's intelligent nutrition. with 26 vitamins and minerals and 10 grams of protein. all in 3 delicious flavors. it's choosing to go in one direction... up. boost. be up for it. th...oh, baked-on alfredo?e. ...gotta rinse that. nope. no way. nada. really? dish issues? throw it all in. cascade platinum powers through... your toughest stuck-on food. nice. cascade. i've been fortunate enough to win on golf's biggest stages. but when joint pain and stiffness from psoriatic arthritis hit... even the smallest things became difficult.
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learn more at . there's a lot still under way. the senate democrats are still going in the senate tonight. staying up until the wee hours to save obamacare. they're launching a nationwide call-in in the next minute to try to get the public on their side in this fight. i should also tell you the inauguration announcer for the past 06 years who donald trump just fired, he's about to be a guest on "the last word." joy reid is filling in for lawrence. good evening. >> good evening. i have to tell you, thank you so much for doing that extended profile on charlie brotman. he's the dearest, sweetest, most wonderful guy. i've been watching him on tv throughout the day and listening to his story. he's gotten progress sively les sad but he's promised to take a selfie with me.


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