tv MSNBC Live With Steve Kornacki MSNBC January 18, 2017 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
that is going to end the 3:00 eastern hour. i'll see you right back here from the capital tomorrow, same time, steve kornacki. >> hey kate, how you doing? thanks for that, good afternoon, i'm steve kornacki. we are live here in washington, continuing our coverage just two days away now until donald trump is sworn in as president. topping the agenda right now, the final press conference. >> let's be clear, chelsea manning has served a tough prison sentence. you know, i feel very comfortable that justice has been served and that a message has still been sent. >> president holding the final press conference before he
leaves office. and he defended his last minute decision to commute the sentence of chelsea manning. he also talked about russia and he revealed the one piece of advice that he has for president-elect donald trump. we'll talk about all of that and also within our agenda nominee to run the department of health and human services. that's congressman tom price, he faced a grilling on the hill today for a possible conflicts of interest with financial investments. >> you made the decision to purchase that stock, not a broker, yes or no. >> that is a decision i made, yes. >> price already conflicting information. the trump transition put out in his defense. democrats considering saying they want an investigation into his investments much more on the hearing just ahead. and rounding out our agenda, the pomp and circumstance of the transfer of power. >> the whole role of government
by saying the question we asked today is not whether it is too big or too small, but whether it works. >> 363 days after taking office. how close has barack obama lived up to the lofty promises that began his presidency? what is his legacy going to look like? the one, the only tom brokaw is going to join us here live to talk about that as we wind down the obama administration. we do begin right now with our top story just minutes ago, president obama wrapping up the final press conference of his presidency. he held that obviously at the white house, he was reflective in some of his answers to the press and the nation. take a look. >>le i was told to wear a tan suit today for my last press conference, but michelle, who is fashion sense is a little better than mine tells me that's not appropriate in january. i have enjoyed working with all
of you. that you have filed, but that's the point of this relationship. you're not supposed to be fans, you're supposed to be skeptics, you're supposed to ask me tough questions. i think it is in america's interest and the world's interest that we have a constructive relationship with russia. if president-elect trump is able to restart those talks in a serious way. i think there remains a lot of room for our two countries reduce our stockpiles. and this is something i have told him. that this is a job of such such magnitude that you can't do it by yourself. that you are reliable on a team. your cabinet, your senior white house staff, all the way to fairly junior folks in their 20s and 30s, but who are executing on significant responsibilities.
and so, how you put a team together to make sure that they're getting you the best information and they are teeing up the options from which you will ultimately make decisions. that's probably the most useful advice, the most constructive advice that i've been able to give him. >> some of president obama's remarks again, and the final press cons of his presidency. just for messages, maybe some direct, indirect for his successor. what'd you hear? >> i think the biggest message that we heard here was president obama, as he sees himself, this president, as he sees this presidency and key for a lot of democrats out there who frankly are disrespondent about the results of the election, what
he's going to do next. and you saw that really when he was asked about the future and he said, well he's going to write and he's going to relax. he's going to have some quiet time. spend time with his wife and daughters. he has clipped before that he's not going to set his alarm. but then he put off a laundry list of things that would make him speak up. very different than we saw, for example, from george bush. who went back to texas and decided that he was going to let the new president do what he was going to do. listen to some of the things that are on this list he talks about if there's systematic discrimination he will speak up. voting rights issues. if there are efforts to silence the press he would s up. he talked abou the dreamers and about how if there was some effort to round up people in this country and get rid of people who have lived here their whole lives. that would be something that would make him speak up.
and he also was hopeful, this has been something that people who are on his staff have said from the very beginning that he has been the first one to come around from being depressed about the results of the election to what do we do next? sounding many times throughout the course of this press conference a note of hope, take a listen. >> i believe in this country. i believe in the american people. i believe that people are more good than bad. and my core, i think we're going to be okay. we just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted. >> reporter: yeah, and about his daughters, they don't mope. even though they didn't like the results of the election. this was, steve, his 39th press conference in the white house. he has 224th press availability over the course of the last eight years, but with an approval of 60 or 62%, we haven't heard the last of barack
obama even when he leaves office on friday. steve. >> yeah, always interesting those final months of a presidency. the approval rating usually does go up on their way out. certainly has been the case for barack obama. chris over there at the white house. thank you for that. and of course we said, the first question, not unexpected at all here to president obama at the press conference today was about his decision yesterday to commute the sentence of former army soldier -- excuse me, chelsea manning. manning had been serving a 35 year sentence for stealing and distributing classified information, making it available through wikileaks. the decision to commute manning's sentence drew wide scrutiny from a defense community and intelligence officials. >> let's be clear, chelsea manning has served a tough prison sentence.
from the sentence that chelsea manning has served. the sentence she received was very disproportional, disproportionate relative to what other leakers have received. that it would make sense to commute and not pardon her sentence. >> currently the dean of the belmont university law school also author of true faith and allegiance. thank you for joining us. appreciate the time. let me ask you about the argument that president obama is making there in defense of this decision to commute chelsea manning's sentence. he's essentially saying look,
previous leak cases to the extent there's any comparable leaks cases, you're talking about sentences of usually about several years in prison. chelsea manning saying we'll have served seven years so in his mind, this is not letting somebody get away with it. this is letting somebody serve about what you'd expect to serve for a leaks case. does he have an argument there? >> i think the difference in the penalty may reflect the damage done to the national security of our country. i think that's why you have a difference in the penalty range. let me just say, as a general matter, the president of the united states, he does not have to defend this decision under the constitution. the president has unfeddered authority to pardon people, to grant congressmen si for any reon or no reason. i will say as a rule of thumb. if you take an executive action and you have to go out and defend it, not only against republicans, but against democrats for questioning, the reasons for this. then i think you have to ask yourself whether or not you're made the right decision. but again, as a general matter of the president, doesn't have
to defend himself. i believe the difference in the penalty may reflect the fact that there was a difference in the degree of harm to the united states by the actions of chelsea manning. >> you know, one thing that supporters of this commutation have -- one case they brought up is the case of david petraeus. the former cia director, he provided top secret information to his biographer, she had access to very, very sensitive information. he ended up getting just two years of probation, supporters of this commutation saying well, if the general only got probation, why should manning have gotten 35 years? disproportionate in that sense? >> well again, what i would look at is the danger of the united states, thousands of pages of documents. much different calculation as far as i'm concerned. and it's a reason why you had a sentence that may appear to be
disproportional compared to what others have received. that's the thing people should be focussed on. >> you're been in the white house. i'm curious if you could take us behind the scenes to the decision-making process for this. this is one of the sort of ultimate powers of the presidency. to grant a commutation, to grant a pardon, obviously there's a reason some of the most troervel one us usually come in the final days of a presidency. but what are those conversations like booibd the scenes and what is the decision-making process like? >> it depends on whether or not this is a political pardon or a regular pardon. a regular pardon goes to the department of justice. you have a pardon attorney that evaluates the case, makes a recommendation of the deputy attorney general who conveys that recommendation for accounts with the president. the president and provides his or her advice along with the department of justice.
he's going to grant clemency. >> i want to ask you about one other question. he was talking about the circumstances under which private citizen two, three days now, he might speak up in public debates in the future. and mentioned a few possible circumstances saying if there were attempts to silence dissent. suppress the media in some way, free speech. rights of minorities, those are concerns that clearly seem to be on his mind as donald trump takes over as president. are they concerns that are on your mind particular to the incoming president?
>> well, i would just say this, there are a lot of people to speak on those kinds of issues. and i'm not going to say -- be critical of what president obama intends to do. i'm going to say i support how president bush has handled himself. leaving the stage and letting president obama deal with the very serious issues that we confront today as a country. >> all right. former attorney general alberto gonzalez, thanks for the time, appreciate it. >> you bet, thanks for having me. i want to bring in howard fineman, political analyst, global editorial director at the huffington post. i want to talk big picture about the press conference, but let's just start on this question of manning obviously some last minute news in this administration. we've seen president clinton, the last dision on mark rich, big part of his legacy. cap wineburger, when the obama legacy is sort of comes into focus, 10, 20 years from now, how big will manning be in term was that? >> i think president obama thinks it's going to figure. which is why he knew at this
presser he was going to have to discuss it and defend it. and if i can try to combine my two purposes here. alberto gonzalez said when a president commutes a sentence as he just did, he doesn't have to explain it. the president feels he has to explain it not only for the sake of history, but for the sake of the future. and his own political future, i always, as a political reporter am fascinated by what politicians say, what they deny that they aren't accused of. twice in this last presser, the president said, that doesn't mean i'm going to be running for anything any time soon. he said that twice. >> you think it's on his mind? >> i think he is the -- other thanprint and theodore roosevelt, he's the youngest two-term president to leave the white house, he's 55 years old. i think he's got john kwinsy adams in mind who was a president -- >> goes back to congress. >> okay. >> and i think four or five --
be the first to predict it right here, four or five years down the road, or less, he's going to think about getting back in the ball game. michelle isn't going to like it. he made that clear. the daughters, i'm not sure. but he hasn't given up on the idea as he hasn't given up on america. >> maybe he can win that house seat from chicago. >> he's not going to win it playing golf on the golf course. but who knows. >> howard fineman starting up the speculation on that. let's talk more about the press conference and let's play this clip i just mentioned with alberto gonzalez, president obama talking about the circumstances he might reenter the public debate. take a listen to this. >> i put in that category, if i saw systematic discrimination. explicit or functional obstacles
to people being able to vote. to exercise their franchise. i put in that category institutional efforts to silence dissent or the press. the press stuff is interesting too and the prosecution of leaks. it's prosecution of whistle blowers. sort of off the charts compared to previous presidents. so this own administration when it comes to the voice of the press has questions they have to answer for history. wouldn't you make of what he was saying there? >> in his lawyerly way and listening to president obama is often like reading a legal brief for thearvard law review. he's distinguishing between every day politics. tax bills, maybe even obamacare, i didn't hear him say he was
going to make obamacare in every aspect or obamacare at all. the stuff i'm doing is above politics. jerry handering. freedom of the press, freedom of dissent. and so forth. these are structural constitutional things, he's going back to his constitutional law but doing it as a way to stay in politics. he's being deliberately naive there. voting rights, voting registration, they are the essence of american politics. so he's given himself license to participate as much as he wants, but in the high-minded way. it is already part of the political debate in state after
state. >> turning now to friday, the transfer of power. the reason hundreds of thousands of people as we speak descending on this city. donald trump's inauguration as the 45th president. many of them will celebrate the start of his presidency. many others will be protesting against it. demonstrations are planned for inauguration day, but the largest anti-trump protest, this is being called the women's march on washington is going to take place the day after the inauguration on saturday hundreds of thousands of people expected to participate in that, and that includes the family that is driving from colorado to washington. david rascon is tveling with them. he joins us now from abilene, kansas. i can't do the math, jacob, i think you have a few hours ahead of you before you're in d.c.
>> yeah. they're going from longm oorks nt, colorado public. and as you know, hundreds of thousands of women and others are expected in washington, d.c. each as his or her own reason for going. but let's talk briefly about why they're going. what about you? why and you're a registered nurse. why take off the time why do this big road trip? what's it all about? >> it's important to say that we stand up for all human rights, women's rights, hgbq rights. religious freedom and to say that we expect our rates to continue to progress and not go
backwards. >> just a statement maybe. >> we are just doing this to make the statement. we're going to be watching this administration and we're going to be watching to make sure that our rights as people are being respected. that's what this is -- this is why this is brought about. >> the way that he is. i mean, he's sexist and i am not willing to let that be a thing. we're here to make a statement, we're here to say that women are not just going to roll over and let just roll out his presidency. we're going to continue to make changes. >> thank you. thank you guys so much. in colorado, there are 2,000 people who have signed up to go. and as you know, many, many more coming from around the country to be there the day after the inauguration. steve. >> all right. well i know driving while texting is something you're not supposed to do, but apparently
it is safe to conduct a tv interview while driving. you've just proven that one. jacob rascon with the anti-trump protesters. this is a national event for both sides of the political debate in this very, very much divided country right now. jacob rascon, thank you for that. going to squeeze a quick break in. still ahead, more of donald trump's cabinet appointees faced senators today. including two of his more controversial picks. choice to lead the epa, scott pruitt, and nominee for tom price and among the fireworks in those hearings. this exchange featuring bernie sanders and scott pruitt. >> senator, i've acknowledged that i'm concerned -- >> acknowledged that you are concerned. record number of -- well, if that's the kind of administrator for the epa, your states having record breaking number of earthquakes. . that's the kind of epa administrator you will be, you're not going to get my vote.
>> are any of these trump nominees actually in danger of missing out on confirmation? can democrats knock one of them off. we're going to go live to capitol hill next. there's only one egg that just tastes better. so fresh from the farm. delicious. perfect. only one egg with more great nutrition- now with 5 times more vitamin d, 10 times more vitamin e, and 25% less saturated fat. only one egg good enough for my family. because why have ordinary when you can have the best. eggland's best. the only egg that gives you so much more: better taste. better nutrition. better eggs.
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this is a swamp cabinet full of bankers and billionaires. a swamp cabinet full of bankers and billionaires. the american people deserve to know the truth. and to sort through these discrepancies which can't be done and rushed. >> that is the other press conference making news this afternoon. senator chuck schumer, the top democrat in the senate, he is
now accusing therump transition team and repubcans in the senate of rushing trump's cabinet picks through the confirmation process. now we had four more confirmation hearings today, one of those still ongoing right now. that's scott pruitt. he's heading up the epa. just learned that general james mattis, defense secretary has been green lighted by the senate armed services committee. his name will be moving to the full senate where they will have a debate and up-down vote on his confirmation. for trump's cabinet, there's a long way to go. he'll be flanked by the emptiest cabinet in recent history. politico reporting today that senate leadership is working to approve much of his national security team by the inauguration, but many nominations are still ham strung by ethical concerns. perhaps one of the most glaring examples now a late edition to this list, congressman tom price, that's trump's pick for hhs secretary, his hearing today
kicked off on the heals of a report saying that price pushed legislation that would benefit some of his financial investments in health care companies. elizabeth warren went after price hard in this exchange. >> did you buy the stock and then did you introduce a bill that would be helpful to the companies you just bought stock in? >> it was bought by a broker who was making those decisions. i wasn't making those decisions. >> you said you weren't making those decisions. let me just make sure that i understand, these are your stock trades though, they are listed under your name, right? >> they are made on my behalf. >> let's be clear, it is not just a stockbroker someone you pay to handle the paperwork. this is someone who buys stock at your direction. this is someone who buys and sells the stock you want them to buy and sell. >> not true. >> so when you found out -- >> that's not true, senator. >> because you decide not to tell them? wink, wink, nod, nod, when you found out your broker had made
this trade without your knowledge, did you reprimand her? >> what i did was comply -- >> she made it. >> what i did was -- >> did you fire her? did you sell the stock? >> what i did was comply with the rules of the house in -- >> i'm not asking about the rules of the house. >> all right, casey hunt is standing by on capitol hill. so casey, democrats think they have something here it looks like it is big, the headline on this certainly sounds bad for tom price, price says look, there's context here that makes this not at all what it looks like. so the question is, how much of this is grand standing from the democrats versus how much do they have the goods on tom price? >> well steve, this is obviously a very complicated set of information that democrats wanted to make sure everyone was aware of before these hearings kicked off. in that way, they're running a political style campaign here against one of donald trump's
nominees. but, there is some information that has come to light over the course of the last day that adds to this story. it started, there was a cnn report that was discussing that stock that you just heard elizabeth warren explaining, and this was a big medical device firm. and tom price is lawyers are actually out today with a letter calling for a retraction of that report and saying that it was not true because of those very things that you just heard tom price explaining. him saying that his account was directed by a broker. that these trades were made without his direct knowledge. he found out about this later. after the time when he had introduced this bill that may have helped the bottom line of this medical device firm. but there is a new piece of information, a different company that came to light in a separate exchange with senator patti murray talking about a company called, forgive me if it's
wrong, inate immune no therapy. my apologies. but essentially price acknowledged in the exchange that he had discussed this company with congressman chris collins as you may recognize. simply allowing someone else to trade on his behalf. so that'she next set of information that i think we're going to talking about and investigating over the next 24 hours. >> all right. casey hunt on capitol hill, again, this is the question, republicans have the votes in the senate at least on paper to confirm all these picks. can democrats do something, bring some information to light that would cause some of those republicans to turn on this
obviously we will see if that's where this ends up. casey hunt, thank you for that report. we have another break we need to squeeze in. i promise it'll be quick on the other side. a spokesman confirms president george h.w bush remains in a houston area hospital. also the former first lady, barbara bush. she has now also been admitted for a health issue. the latest on their conditions, that's next. american express open cards can help you take on a new job, or fill a big order or expand your office and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at open.com. find out how american at angie's list, we believe there are certain things you can count on, like what goes down doesn't always come back up. [ toilet flushes ] so when you need a plumber, you can count on us to help you find the right person for the job.
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all right. time now far check of the headlines at the half hour. president obama taking one final round of questions from the white house press corps today. president explaining his decision to compute former army intelligence analyst chelsea manning's 35 year prison sentence. he says justice has already been served. obama also talking about other subjects including sanctions against russia, the middle east peace process, and what he plans to do when he leaves the white house just two days from now. also out of houston, former president george h.w. bush said to be resting comfortably in the
intensive care unit at a hospital down there. he is being treated for a respiratory problem stemming from pneumonia. spokesman saying the 92 yeerl was admitted on saturday after experiencing shortness of breath. also bush's 91-year-old wife, former first lady, barbara bush, she is also hospitalized. this a precaution we are told after experiencing fatigue and coughing. the widow of omar mateen pleading not guilty today to charges in connection with the worse mass shooting in american history. prosecutors say noor salman knew that her husband was planning to attack the gay bar where 49 people were killed back in june. her lawyer says she didn't know what her husband was going to do and she should not be charged. iraq's military says the united states backed military government groups control the eastern part of mosul. this coming three months after iraqi forces launched an offensive to drive isis from what is the country's second largest city. isis has controlled mosul since the summer of 2014.
scientists for the government saying today that global temperatures set new records in 2016. and that this is the third year in a row that has happened. nasa and the national ocean antic and atmospheric say that most of the record heat was from manmade climate change. as as we have mentioned, donald trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the united states. president-elect will have to give up many things, but he tells fox news that one of the things he will not be giving up, twitter. >> i don't like tweeting. i have other things i could be doing. but i get very dishonest media. very dishonest press. and it's my only way that i can counteract. >> but trump's fellow countrymen seem to think differently on this subject. our nbc news wall street journal poll finding that about seven in ten people say that trump's using twitter is a bad idea. joining us now, robert costa,
washington post national political reporter and msnbc political analyst, and robert, i understand you talked with the president elect and got a preview of sorts of what he's going to say to the country on friday. what are you hearing? >> over the weekend the president-elect wants toeep it relatively short. about 20 minutes long. he knows it's going to be relatively chilly in washington. he's looking to people like reagan and kennedy, not so much for the content of their speech, but for how they had a big picture theme kept it pretty brief, and had a memorable impression. also some of his aids tell me he's thinking about andrew jackson, the populist from centuries ago as he think abouts his own address. >> so much attention this week oofbl to the fight, the back and forth between trump and john lewis. you've got four dozen democrats you say they are not going. you've got a bunch of them saying trump's not even a legitimate president. we have these polls showing the approval rating already sitting down there in the 40s before the swearing in. is that on his mind? is that on the trump team's mind
as they craft this speech? the idea of trying to put some sort of unifying message out there? some sort of reconciliation? something that might change that dynamic in some way? >> he's always going to be donald trump, but when you talk to people close to him. they say look to his speech on election night. that was a more down tempo trump, someone who talked about being the president for all the people, including the people who didn't vote for him. and that's going to be the test on friday. can he actually speak to the whole country, even if he has this america first, this populist message and a deeply divided country where his own approval is someone on the rocks with a lot of americans. can he have anything to unite the country beyond just some rhetoric. >> and you know him and you know his world as well as anyone. i'm just curious, when you see these polls out there. the 40% or so favorable rating, the approval rating. we know trump he reads the polls, he makes that clear enough, but what is your sense? do those numbers bother him? does he look at them and say
i've got to do something to turn them around or look at them and just kind of thumb his nose at them? >> he's very attune to his image, popularity, steve. one of the thing that was a big takeaway from my conversation when he watches the health care debate. he sees and watches democrats talking about 20 million people losing insurance. he's saying he wants to cover insurance for everybody. that's a complicated answer to that question, how do you do it because you have tom price today the georgia congressman talking about access. paul ryan talking about access, but trump politically knows that republicans will be blamed for many quarters if they don't have an answer for that. as he thinks through things like his popularity. he's not striking a conservative republican message. it's more of a populist, what's best for trump to make sure that trump message comes through. >> and by the way, report from casey hunt on capitol hill, that tom price confirmation hearing for hhs today, it's hit some obstacles with this question of his investments and exactly what his roll there was in
legislation and in making the investment. is there any concern in trump's inner circle about whether it's the price nomination or any of the others? is there any concern about any of these nominations for his cabinet not getting through? >> not yet. there has been some questions, of course, about how all these things would play out. tillerson remained an open question for some privately. they thought all the nominees will be confirmed, because of the way senator rubio went after tillerson, there are some questions there. andy, the nominee for labor. there were some questions privately about whether he was really wanted the job now he is moving forward with his confirmation hearing. and with price, he's a target. he is seen as someone for democrats who is going to be changing the affordable care act and they wanted to make sure they seized on every opportunity to challenge his nomination and what the republicans want to do. >> all right. robert costa with the washington post. msnbc contributor, thanks as always for the time. >> thank you. and that new nbc news/wall street journal poll finds donald trump's transition as i just
said, not getting high marks, but how is that resinating with his supporters? up next, we're going to go to one of those key areas that flipped from obama in 2012 to trump in 2016. erie, pennsylvania, one of the reasons donald trump is going to be president friday. we're going to check in on the ground out there, next. my business was built with passion... but i keep it growing by making every dollar count. that's why i have the spark cash card from capital one. with it, i earn unlimited 2% cash back on
all right. just two days away now until president-elect donald trump becomes president donald trump. that'll be just behind me outside the u.s. capitol. president trump of course elected as the change candidate. our new nbc/wall street journal poll 52% say they have an unfavorable view of his transition. if you want to know how trump won the election, you can do a loss worst than to look at the rest belt city of erie, pennsylvania. look that the, back in 2012, erie county, pennsylvania, went for obama in a landslide.
you see it there. northwest part of the state. check this out. four years later, donald trump flipped it. he won erie county, he won pennsylvania, he won counties like that across the rust belt. that's how he got to 270. that's how he's going to be president-elect. thers no better place perhaps to check in. two days ahead of his inauguration. then with nbc's ron mott, he is at, i don't know if i'm saying this, brewery or brew erie. it's a bar in pennsylvania and b, what's the mood there? these are the folks that were with obama and then went to trump. >> reporter: hey there, steve, that's a great name, right? somebody decided to put a brewery in erie and called it that. so we're at the union station is a great old train station here they've converted into this great brew pub. we've been here all day talking to people about this election and why a lot of people around the country were so surprised that donald trump flipped this state from blue to red on november 8th. and we talked about a lot of the
issues that a lot of people here care about. jobs obviously, this is in the rust belt. i like to think of it as the buckle of the rust belt. they've lost jobs over generation, donald trump has promised to bring those jobs back to america. we'll see if if that happens. and so we also talked a lot about expectations that a lot of people have for donald trump going into his new presidency on friday, steve. here's a little bit of the conversation that we had a little earlier in the day. take a look. >> is there one issue that he has to address for you to keep your confidence where it is? >> for me it's definitely border security. if he back pedals, i would lose confidence. >> if he neglects israel as a nation and doesn't side with israel and or join with israel for me that would be a wrong step. >> i'd groo we karen, border security. they're taking our jobs and bringing the terrorists in with them. and he backs down on that, i'll
definitely be upset, that doesn't mean i won't still support him. >> reporter: all right. there's a group that will be heading out tomorrow for washington, d.c. here. they're very fired up about donald trump going into the white house on friday. he will officially become the 45th president of the united states, 12:00 on friday. this is a group of republicans who are very excited about this. we did talk about what is going to happen if he doesn't quite deliver on some of the promises he made during the campaign. they are giving him some time to learn his way around washington, if you will, steve. >> all right, ron mott at brewery in erie, pennsylvania, ron, thanks for that. squeeze a quick break in here. on the other side, always a treat for us here. nbc news special correspondent former nightly news anchor tom brokaw is going to join me. president obama's legacy and the transfer of power that's going to take place two days from now. here's a look back at a past
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nbc news coverage of the clinton inaugural continues. here again, are tom brokaw and bryant gumbl. >> thank you, we're back here in our kind of makeshift studio. it has a magnificent view behind us at the nation's capitol where atop of the labor building awaiting the beginning of the parade. bill clinton is going into the capitol now to sign some papers. >> look that the, they haven't changed the set in 24 years. he's still sitting here. tom brokaw at nbc nightly news anchor for bill clinton's inauguration back in 1993 for many other inaugurations we have covered. he's going to join me on the other side thft break and we are going to talk about that transfer of power. just two days away from now. stay with us, back right after this. american express open cards can help you take on a new job,
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in my core, i think we're going to be okay. we just have to fight for it, we have to work for it and not take it for granted. and i know you will help us do that. thank you very much press corps. good luck. >> as president obama leading the white house press room for the last time this afternoon. the end of his final press conference as president. of course, we are now just two days away from president-elect trump becoming president trump before that happens, we thought we would review president obama with our very own special correspondent tom brokaw. thank you for joining me now. i appreciate it lot. it's striking to me, president obama has that press conference today, i think our poll puts his
approval rating as he leaves office at or near 60%. he's really never been more popular as president, at the same time, this country elected as his successor, someone who couldn't be further from him in policy, in style, and how do you make sense of that? >> well the other piece of that by the way is that he spent the last couple of weeks of this campaign going around the country saying you've got to protect my legacy. so he put himself on the line. and it is unusual, it's always hard to fathom what voters are thinking at any given time, i believe, take george bush 43. his numbers have gone up. people have an affection for him, even though took us into threcession, the great housing crisis, and into a disastrous war, iran. i think what has happened is that the economy is better under obama. i think his style when people look at him feel good about who he is. his wonderful family, the way he's raised his daughters. and i think there's been a lowering of the temperature about hostility toward him.
on the other hand, donald trump who is going to be the next president, has not made the pivot. he is still tweeting all night long, there are real questions about russia. and how he works his way out of that, which i know having talked to people around him, that they're working hard at it. and they can only get so far. and then he puts out his answer, no, i'm going to do this. he still is campaigning in effect. and i think he's got to realize that it's a new role. >> it's interesting too that the election result i think obviously democrats didn't see the trump victory coming at all, one of the reasons why democrats didn't feel that anybody existed in this country who could vote for president obama twice and turn around and vote for donald trump. and yet, that is the reason trump is president. those crossover voters are out there. >> yeah, but the fact is, we heard this everywhere, we weren't paying enough attention either. everyone wanted change. and she was not an agent of change, mrs. clinton, to most of the voters in this country. and wherever i went for the last
eight years, even when president obama started to do better, people were saying, why can't they talk? we need to change things in washington. they think it's a small village on the east coast filled with people who are only looking to line their pockets and retain power. and they want to change that. and he came along with just exactly the right message for them. he pulled the pin on the grenade and rolled it into washington. and blew up expectations. >> we only have 30 seconds, do you think donald trump, there is a message he can deliver on friday that could unite the country more than it currently is in this transiti? >> i think it's more than a message by the way that he has to do. and one of the things aye learned over the years is never try to guess what a president is going to say when he is sworn in, nor should you try to guess what's going to happen in the next six months. we've been changed a lot. my favorite example is john f. kennedy, the best and brightest. this bright young man comes into office, first big act, bay of pigs. went off the ledge. and he understood the huge
mistake that he made. and there were other examples like that along the way. jimmy carter did not expect to have the iranians take our embassy hostage. so it's the uufo, tired my me saying, we don't know what this is yet. >> that's very true. tom brokaw, thanks for joining us. >> always a pleasure. >> that is going to do it for this hour, i'm steve kornacki, vice president-elect mike pence is with chuck todd next on mtp daily. starts right now. if it's wednesday of inaugural week, test less than 48 hours until the transition of executive power is complete. tonight president obama meets the press one last time. the message, let's mope more hope. >> in my core, i think we're going to be okay. >> pluz, my sit-down with vice president-elect mike pence. we know obamacare is among the first items up, but what else can we expect from trump's