tv First Look MSNBC December 6, 2013 2:00am-2:30am PST
viewed. as the details of the arrangements for the next few days emerge, we will bring them to you right here. that does it for us. thank you for being with us. . the world reacts to the loss of a global icon as news spreads of nelson mandela's death. >> we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. he no longer belongs to us. he belongs to the ages. >> this morning we'll take you to south africa and look at the man who spent so much of his life behind bars, yet his words and actions continue to have a profound impact around the world. and in other news, much of the u.s. braces for a major
winter storm with snow, ice and plunging temperatures cutting across the country. good morning. i'm ma ra schiavocampo. he's remembered as a man that changed the world. nelson mandela being mourned around the globe today. from a small prison cell, he rallied a nation. his long walk to freedom inspired hope in millions and his humility helped to revolutionize south africa. >> his tireless struggle for freedom earned him the respect of the world. >> his journey from a prisoner to a president embodied the promise that human beings and countries can change for the better. >> we should have the same type of spirit and caring as a people and as a nation. >> nbc's rohit kachroo begins our coverage live from johannesburg this morning. rohit, this was not entirely unexpected news, given mr. mandela's health. how are south africans reacting?
>> reporter: mara this was predictable news but painful none theless, announced late at night just before midnight south african time. many millions of south africans are still waking up to learn the news the father of this nation passed away during yesterday evening. first the mood here at nelson mandela's suburban home was fairly somber. now it is incredibly cell la braer to. people are bringing flowers, cheering, singing songs from the anti-apartheid struggle. they're celebrating his life and celebrating the lives they can now lead as a result of his anti-apartheid struggle. many people wondering here precisely what will happen next? what will the state event be. they're waiting for details about a lying in state which is expected in the next few days and about a burial which one american diplomat described as
being the biggest state burial in the world since that of winston churhill. >> celebration of a remarkable life, rohit kachroo, thank you for that. in so many ways nelson mandela is known as man who taught a country and the world to believe in a better future. nbc's brian williams is here with an in-depth look at his incredible life and unwavering spirit. >> to deny any person the human rights, is to challenge their very humanity. >> reporter: nelson mandela called his life a long walk to freedom, a struggle to end south africa's racist system of apartheid. as a young lawyer and activist, he initially advocated peaceful resistance until the 1960 sharpeville massacre. >> the police fired point-blank into the crowd. >> reporter: south african police killed scores of anti-apartheid demonstrators.
for nelson mandela, it was a turning point. >> there are many people who feel it is useless for us to continue talking peace and nonviolence against a government whose reply is only savage attacks on unarmed, defenseless people. >> reporter: mandela's african national conference was banned, he became an outlaw, but he refused to back down. arrested in 1962, mandela was charged with sabotage and with attempting to violently overthrow the government. he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. for years, for decades, the struggle for justice in south africa continued with the imprisoned nelson mandela as its symbol. at times, he was forced to break rocks in the hot sun for hours at a time. the government offered mandela freedom if he would renounce violence. he refused. >> today marks the 25th year
behind bars for nelson mandela. >> reporter: south africa became an international outcast facing sanctions, boycotts and growing political pressure. >> nelson mandela should be released to participate in the country's political process. >> reporter: rock concerts for the cause were broadcast around the world. ♪ hey mandela ♪ hey mandela ♪ the release of nelson mandela ♪ >> reporter: in 1989, south africa's hardlined president p.w. botha declined, replaced by f.w. de klerk, who slowly began to dismantle apartheid. the ban was lifted and on february 11th, 1990, nelson mandela walked to freedom. >> nelson mandela, free at last, and back among his people.
>> i greet you all in the name of peace. >> reporter: 27 years in prison had not weakened mandela's resolve. >> the struggle will go on as long as the government has not responded to our satisfaction. >> reporter: but he also urged restraint, even forgiveness, telling blacks to, quote, throw their guns into the sea and reassuring anxious whites. >> whites are fellow south africans and we want them to feel safe. >> reporter: mandela's courage and sacrifice were recognized around the world. in america, he was welcomed as a hero. mandela and de klerk were awarded the nobel peace prize in 1993p. the following year in the first mixed race election in south africa's history nelson mandela was elected president. >> today is a day like no other before it. >> reporter: we were the first to interview him on that first morning as president elect.
mandela tempered south africa's joy when he said healing his country would take time. >> it cannot be done overnight. it is going to take a year, two years, even as much as five years. so help me god. >> reporter: from enemy of the state to head of state, nelson mandela's walk to freedom became a journey shared by his entire nation. >> i have never been so excited and hopeful in my life in south africa as i am now. >> reporter: years later, nelson mandela paid a return visit to his former prison cell, this time accompanied by president bill clinton, who later presented him with the congressional gold medal. mandela stepped down as president in 1999, but he lived long enough to see the united states elect its own black president. >> so help me god. >> reporter: and in 2011 he was paid a visit
in south africa by first lady michelle obama who brought along first daughters malia and sasha. admired around the world and revered at home, nelson mandela's south africa embraced a multiracial future and re-entered the family of nations. he leaves a legacy of freedom and proof that one life can make a difference. >> we are one country, we are one people. >> reporter: brian williams, nbc news, new york. we'll have much more on mandela's death in just a moment, but first, a massive winter storm is blasting its way across much of the country. in oklahoma, a number of accidents have been reported due to the recent snow accumulation. temperatures in missouri hit so low that roads became sheets of ice leaving drivers sliding all over the place. now for a look at the national forecast, bill karins is here with more. good morning, bill. >> a lot of school delays today, cancellations, power outages, people may go for a week or so in arkansas and tennessee
without power. one of those ice storms, the setup is perfect. the arctic air yesterday and now the rain over the top of it and the pink on the map shows you where we're dealing with freezing rain or sleet. around the dallas area wasn't a lot of freezing rain, mostly sleet. you have an inch or two of sleet out there. that's dangerous to drive in. the worst of the ice from the little rock area northward up to ft. smith, arkansas and north of memphis there and western it tennessee during the day you're going to get it today and the temperatures are below freezing. significant snow overnight southern missouri, southern illinois, portions of southern indiana and shifting into ohio. so the temperatures are the key. look at dallas here, plenty cold. look at oklahoma city 19 with snow. 34 still in little rock where your temperatures will fall during the morning commute. that's when the ice will begin to accumulaaccumulate, 6 to 8 ie narrow band through the southern ohio valley north of the ohio river and very careful this morning around new york city and
through new england. there's some patchy areas of very dense fog out there. it's so unusually warm. like 60 degrees right now in new york city. >> it's balmy. >> very strange. >> almost like a summer-like morning. >> they had the ice cream truck out yesterday in front of the rockefeller center christmas tree which was very bizarre. thanks so much, bill. coming up, we'll have much more on the words and life of nelson mandela as he fought tirelessly for the rights and liberty for all south africans famously saying, quote, our march to freedom is irreversible, we must not allow fear to stand in our way. .
all those who love freedom and justice. >> leading the headlines around the world in the pretoria news "nation mourns." south africa has lost its greatest son as madiba dies at age 95. "the new york times," south africa's conquerer of apartheid, fighter, prisoner and president and symbol. times of london, passage from his book, quote, no one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or background or religion. people must learn to hate and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. "the washington post," a nation's healer is dead. the prisoner who became president, south african leader, was symbol of moral force. and in "time" protester, prisoner, peacemaker, nelson mandela, 1918-2013. joining me now for more on all of this is washington's --
joining me from washington is leela mcdowell, washington correspondent for arise tv, with nelson mandela when he was released from prison and i'm joined by ron allen who is leaving for south africa later this morning. thank you both for being here this morning. leela, i would like to start with you. you were a witness to history and had the privilege of meeting this iconic figure. what was that time like whe when mandela was released from prison and what was he like at that time in his life? >> it was a u forric time because it followed a long struggle, obviously, around the world to try to free this man. it was the first light in this darkness that maybe apartheid would be ended. obviously his courage, his inspiration, his unswerving commitment to justice inspired everyone. i had the honor of traveling with him on the plane when he went through his u.s. city tour where he wanted to thank the
people in the united states who had fought and marched and fought u.s. governments to try to get sanctions imposed against the ar par tied racist south african regime and ultimately successfully did so. we have to remember the united states considered nelson mandela a terrorist. he was not taken off the terrorist list here in the united states until 2008. so he wanted to thank the people of the united states for the unswerving commitment that they had to try to support the struggle against apartheid and so there was this incredible tour and everywhere he went the outpouring of love and inspiration and euphoria was amazing. >> if i can ask you, in times like this we look at these figures and they seem so iconic, larger than life, but you spent a lot of time with this man, the person. can you offer us any glimpses into what kind of person he was in dealing with him on a one-on-one basis? >> think about the most gentle, loving grandfather you've ever
met and that was nelson mandela. and yet, there was this incredible humility and strength about him. i remember asking him when we were on the plane just how he -- how he withstood the horrors of being in prison. i mean we have to remember the first 18 years when he was in prison it was without a bed, without plumbing. he only got one visitor a year for 30 minutes, one letter every six months. how did he w stand that and keep his spirits up? he said he never lost confidence they would win. he had this incredible spirit and courage and strength but he was so gentle you felt like you could tell him anything and he would comfort you, he would give you the insight, you know, whether talking about a broken heart or a struggle for justice. >> and ron, you've spent a lot of time in south africa, particularly this year. of course this man will be honored and remembered by the entire world, but how will he be remembered by his countrymen? you said for little kids it's like he's george washington?
>> he is. he's everything, he's the father of the nation. schools, people learn about nelson mandela, he is south africa as we know it today because of what he did. but you also hear a lot of people say and mandela himself often talk about how he was not -- he didn't do this alone. there was a whole generation of freedom fighters who were there for much of his life, he was a banned figure, he couldn't be quoted publicly, he couldn't be in a room with pore than one or two people and then, of course, he was in prison for 27 years from the time until he was about 70 years old, the most productive years of most people's lives, 50s, 60s, 70s, 40s and even younger, so it's really hard to overstate how significant he is. when you're in south africa, his image, his aura, the standard, the moral standard, he's the conscience of the nation. every leader there is measured by what he did. and the progress and future of the country are measured by his
dream and what he thought this country should be, the rainbow nation. in many respects it is. in many respects it isn't. south africa has one of the largest divides between haves and have nots in the world. while there's a lot that has t >> have a safe trip and we look forward to your reporting from south africa. leela mcdowell, thank you for your insight this morning. >> thank you. ahead, the day's other top stories. which rewards her for responsibly managing her card balance. before receiving $25 toward her balance each quarter for making more than her minimum payment on time each month. tracey got the bankamericard better balance rewards credit card, which fits nicely with everything else in life she has to balance. that's the benefit of responsibility. apply online or visit a bank of america near you. [ male announcer ] campbell's homestyle soup with farm grown veggies. just like yours. huh.
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making news this morning. vice president biden wrapped up his visit to china on thursday raising the issue of the treatment of american journalists in that country. nearly two dozen journalists from different american publications are in danger of not having their visas renewed by year's end. biden argued newspapers should be able to, quote, report the truth without fear of cups kwepss. police have arrested an 18-year-old for allegedly stealing a porsche from the part of the car that allegedly killed actor paul walker. the suspect posted panels of the roof panel on line bragging about the grab. at navy launched a drone from a submerged submarine thursday. it was fired from a torpedo tube and flew for several hours while transmitting live video. just ahead we'll turn to politics. politico's kevin cyrilly joins us. .
welcome back. time for our first look at politics. joined by politico's kevin cirilli live in washington. >> good morning. happy friday. >> president obama had an interview with chris mathews on "hardball." we'll talk on the other side. >> both hillary and joe would make outstanding presidents and possess the qualities that are needed to be outstanding presidents. they -- i think joe biden will go down in history as one of the best vice presidents ever and he has been with me at my side in every tough decision that i've made from going after bin laden to dealing with the health care issues to you name it, he's been
there. hillary i think will go down in history as one of the finest secretaries of state we've ever had and helped to transition us away from a deep hole we were in when i first came into office around the world. >> so, of course, he was weighing in on possible democratic candidates for 2016. what do you make of that? is that as far as he's ever going to go? >> two things. the first thing is that this is still very early and i think ha the president doesn't really want to be talking about his predecessor, but the second point is, it's good news for the vice president because he is being mentioned as a top tier alternative to hillary clinton earlier this week, senator elizabeth warren, a democrat from massachusetts, said that she would not be running for president so good for biden for keeping his name in the mix. >> and that interview took place at american university in front of a lot of college-aged students. it's hard to imagine that he would have any trouble with that group because young people propelled the president into the white house. do you think that he's going to have trouble convincing this group to sign in, to buy into the affordable care act, which
he needs for it to be successful? >> we 20 somethings like to procrastinate and that's bad news for obama because he does, as you mentioned, he needs those 20-somethings and millennials to enroll in obama care to get the numbers up. he's launched a three-week tour in which he will be speaking at colleges and universities trying to urge them to enroll so he can get those numbers ahead of the december 23rd deadline so folks can get enrolled by january 1st. >> we heard the president talk about a lot of issues from income inequality to raising the minimum wage to immigration. what issues will be at the forefront of his agenda as we enter 2014? >> i think he would like to see something get done on minimum wage but i'm not sure much can get done. all eyes will turn to this budget deal between representsive ryan and murray to see if they can prevent another shutdown. >> thanks for your time as always, kevin. >> thanks for having me.
>> this is "first look" on msnbc. stay with msnbc for more coverage of nelson mandela's death. "way too early" starts right now. >> i have challenan idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony. and -- and with equal opportunity. it is what i hope to live for and to achieve. but if need be it is for which i
am prepared to die. >> nelson mandela, lived to see a free democracy in south africa. this morning, his passing at age 95 means different things to people in different generations, from starting out as a lawyer and man of action to political prisoner to symbol to historic leader, to an icon and living legend. we will not only honor mandela but put him in historical perspective on this friday edition of "way too early." goo shaqman on this december 6th. we begin with nelson mandela. it would have been ground breaking enough to become south africa's first black president, but he was so much more not only to