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tv   Alex Witt Reports  MSNBC  November 28, 2021 9:00am-10:00am PST

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a very good day to all of you from msnbc headquarters here in new york. welcome to alex witt reports. we begin with growing concerns over the new omicron variant of coronavirus as more and more countries detect that strain. dr. anthony fauci this morning says it will inevitably hit here in the u.s., which is why it is more important than ever to get vaccinated and get your booster shot. >> even when you have variants of concern, you do well against them. it may not be as good as protecting against initial infection, but it has a very important impact on diminishing the likelihood that you're going to get a severe outcome from it. if you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated. if you're fully vaccinated, get
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boosted and get the children vaccinated also. on capitol hill the senate is back in session tomorrow. democrats are determined to get president biden's social spending bill across the finish line before the new year even amidst worries about inflation. republicans, on the other hand, are asking why now? >> making things more affordable for families. that means bringing down the cost of prescription drugs. that's what we do about the problem right in front of us. >> it's going to raise the price of gasoline at least about 20 cents a gallon. and it begins to have federal dictates as to how your child's preschool is handled, the curriculum even. it's a bad, bad, bad bill. congressman adam schiff on whether the house committee investigating the january 6th insurrection has seen any evidence that donald trump was directly involved with plans to
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storm the capitol. >> among the most important questions we're investigating is the complete role of the former president. what did he know in advance about the propensity for violence that day? the unknowns are those surrounding the former president and we are determined to get answers. but at this point, i'm not in a position to indicate what we know yet. first, the latest on omicron. we have nbc's gabe gutierrez from jfk airport, steven romo at la guardia and in nantucket josh letterman. thanks for joining me on a sunday. dave, starting tomorrow, airports are really going to be the first line of defense against omicron. what's the latest? >> the u.s. state department has issued a do not travel advisory to southern africa, while israel has closed its borders entirely. there's still a lot we don't
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know about this variant, but more countries are ramping up efforts to stop it. fresh fares over the omicron variant are gripping public health authorities around the world. israel banning visitors for two weeks. the u.k. tightening rules on mask wearing. >> this is the responsible course of action to slow down the spread of this new variant. >> reporter: britain, germany and italy announcing their first omicron cases. authorities checking how many are infected with the new variant. >> it's a real reminder that this pandemic is far from other. >> reporter: british citizen and business traveler henry warren is stuck in south africa. >> a rapid drive to the airport to try and see if there was any flights leaving. now we're kind of in limbo.
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>> reporter: the biden administration's new travel restrictions from south africa and seven other surrounding countries are set to take effect tomorrow, the cdc and state department also advising against travel to the region. travelers from there arriving at newark. >> we just heard about it last night. luckily we made it. >> reporter: dr. anthony fauci appearing on "today" saying omicron is likely in the u.s. already. >> you know, i would not be surprised if it is. we have not detected it yet. but when you have a virus showing this degree of transmissibility, it almost invariably is ultimately going to go essentially all over. >> reporter: there's only 100 confirmed cases of omicron in south africa, but health experts describe a rise in all covid cases and blame the new strain. >> it appears it is more
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transmissible than delta, but this is a small sample size and we need to see more broadly what it does outside of south africa. >> reporter: no confirmed cases here in the u.s., but new york's governor has declared a state of emergency taking effect later this week to increase hospital capacity and staffing shortages. >> let's check on la guardia airport here in new york. steven romo is with us. how concerned are travelers concerned about the omicron variant? >> reporter: reaction seems to be mixed. people are waiting to see what the days and weeks tell us about the omicron variant. aaa tells us 53.4 million americans are traveling this holiday. that's just about 5% less than we saw in 2019, the most recent pre-pandemic numbers we have for
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holiday travel. the news of this new variant broke just on wednesday when many people already had their travel plans set. many people were already traveling when they first heard of this variant, meaning, they were already on their way and trying to figure out exactly how many more precautions they needed to take. here's some of what we heard today. >> i'm feeling pretty comfortable at the moment. i have my booster scheduled for this week. everyone's been wearing masks. so i feel pretty safe so far. >> reporter: what about later holiday travel plans? >> it might change them as far as flying. i might just drive here because i'm going over to columbus. maybe it might change things up a bit. >> reporter: now, of course, in the meantime, we know people are waiting to get more information on what they should do if they have travel plans closer to christmas or new years. they're waiting to see what that
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will mean for them. like we heard from dr. anthony fauci, the best bet is to get the vaccine or the booster while we wait to get more information on omicron. >> thanks. joining me now dr. bedelia from boston university. what do we know about this variant today that we didn't know yesterday? is there anything new? because it seems like we've just heard about it and we're getting news, drip, drip, drip constantly on it. >> we're discovering more and more countries identifying potential cases with omicron. to dr. anthony fauci's point earlier, it's likely the variant is already in many more places including potentially the united
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states, partly because respiratory viruses tend to travel pretty fast. by the time you have a travel ban or restrictions in place, you might already have a case within your borders. the work is still being done. the unknowns are still out there. it really is going to take laboratory work and really looking at how this behaves in a larger population to try to get to the bottom of whether it's more transmissible, whether it causes a different kind of disease and whether it has impacts on vaccines and antibodies. >> you see you've got the atlantic ocean, which seems to be something of a barrier. but we know all it takes is a person or two to get on a plane and it's here. >> that's right. you have to look at a graph like this and look to see many of
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those countries potentially have better sequencing than the united states does. south africa has world class genomic sequencing. you may be picking it up where there's greater power to detect the variants. that's another thing to keep in mind. in the united states others are not as far ahead with sequencing. even without omicron, we're starting to see cases increase and we're going to see increases once the holiday travel begins. >> even though the w.h.o. is calling omicron a variant of concern, the doctor who first raised concerns about the omicron variant says the symptoms are mild. what's your level of concern overall? >> i would take that with a grain of salt. again, as we've seen, there's a very small sample.
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you really need to see a huge population have that same variant and get a better sense of how it's distributed. i think the limited observation doesn't say a lot. the concern for the medical community is if you see potentially based on genetic code and it's how it behaves in patients and a laboratory. the concern would be that some of the medical treatments we have such as monoclonal antibodies work. >> we're going to look to what we've already gone through with covid. you have researchers saying omicron does share some similarities with lambda and beta variants that are resistant to our current vaccines. neither of those made a significant impact. do you have an educated guess as
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to the omicron might go that way or be like delta, which did make a huge impact? >> immune protection from vaccines is not like an on/off switch. it you still have some protection which is why you're seeing this real push to try to get people vaccinated and boosted today. even if a worse case scenario comes up and omicron does reduce the efficacy, it won't completely go away. some of the other variants lambda and beta did not have higher transmissibility like debt that. because they were not as transmissible, delta was able to get around first to people. delta is what he's been dominant. now with omicron, the concern is it also seems to have greater transmissibility based on the
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genetic code and the observations from south africa. that's why the w.h.o. has called it concerning because it combines the genetic code that reduces vaccine effectiveness and treatment effectiveness, but also greater transmissibility. >> when you hear that some of these pharmaceutical companies are saying we may have to amend our vaccine somewhat to account for omicron. there are a lot of people who got their vaccine but thaw' now in the booster phase. should they wait to get the boosters? >> absolutely no. go get your booster today. our experience with delta has shown that with that variant, boosting your antibodies gave you greater protection. again, we don't know what the
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next two weeks will bring with omicron. again it's not an on/off switch. the more antibodies you have, the safer you will be. even if a booster is needed, it's going to be a couple months to get it to people. you're looking at spring or summer. today for your protection the best thing is getting vaccinated and getting boosted. >> let me ask you about what you said yesterday that the travel bans are essentially punishing south africa for being first to discover the omicron variant even though it may not have even started there. are there other measures that should be taken in response to this variant instead of a travel
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ban? >> the reason i feel that way is, look, south africa was able to detect this because they have this really great genomic capability. we don't know where this variant originated from. the concern is with these respiratory viruses, because they're so fast moving, the best travel bans can do is potentially slow. they won't stop. what bothers me in the situation is southern africa compared to hong kong and other places that have discovered cases should be consistent and do vaccination requirements and testing requirements for everybody coming into the country if you really want to slow this down. not only that, we don't have a vaccination requirement for domestic travel. if it's here, another way to slow that is make sure people are vaccinated when they travel domestically and encourage test
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egg. >> thank you so much. in just a matter of minutes, the president will be heading back to washington with a slew of critical items on his agenda this week. let's go to josh letterman. he's with the president in nantucket, massachusetts. given that omicron is big time on the radar, what are the other pressing issues the president has to face in addition to that one? >> reporter: you're right. first and foremost, it is covid-19, because the white house firmly believes that getting that situation under control really unlocks the solution to all of the other issues they're facing right now. they know people are very concerned about this omicron variant. really the only time we saw president biden step away from his thanksgiving holiday over the last few days was to deal with this variant, to make that decision to enact that travel ban, as well as to briefly address reporters about why he decided to put those measures
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into place. they feel leak these other issues that we're dealing with in the economy, be it inflation and the supply chain issues, really all go back to covid-19 and people's fears about getting back out there into the economy. i think you're going to see a very concerted push from the biden administration over this coming week now that those boosters are widely available to the broader population to get as many of those booster shots in arms, particularly as they're using travel restrictions to buy a little bit more time to get the situation under control. in the meantime, the white house facing a whole raft of deadlines coming up, particularly in congress, they really have to deal with sooner than later. in just a few days, government funding is set to run out on december 3rd. congress with the help of the administration is either going to have to pass a broader government spending bill or, more likely, frankly, a
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short-term measure to once again kick the can down the road, keep the government funding going in the short-term. in the middle of the month, the debt ceiling is once again set to be hit, according to treasury secretary janet yellen. mitch mcconnell, the senate republican leader has said while he did allow some republican senators to vote for the debt ceiling increase the last time, he doesn't plan to do that again. he says democrats should have to do that all on their own. expect a flash point there as the government works to find a way to keep its borrowing capacity, avoid a government default in the middle of the month. by the end of the month, president biden has set that deadline for wanting his $1.75 trillion spending bill to be finished an ready for him to sign into law. senator joe manchin and senator
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kyrsten sinema still question marks. and of course what happens once the senate passes their version, sends that back to the house for those two to be reconciled. the white house still hoping they can get this wrapped up, including those four weeks of paid leave, that immigration status they want on there, changing the deduction cap so they can head into the new year and the midterm elections next year with a major legislative accomplishment. >> buckle up. it's a busy month ahead. smash, grab and go. next, how one major retailer is responding to that wave of flash mob thefts. plus, pumping the brakes on rising gas prices. will two key moves by the white house reverse rising fuel prices? e white house reverse rising fuel prices
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right now, a shocking wave of smash and grab robberies with more brazen attacks this
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weekend. this during the busiest shopping day of the year. emily has the latest from los angeles. >> reporter: as shoppers rush into stores for deals, so are mobs of thieves, grabbing and going. police call them flash mob theft, a surge in crime plaguing businesses in their robust time of year. is it changing the way your family members are shopping? >> definitely. smell my mother's generation. they didn't want go out at all to shop. >> reporter: more crime, high-end handbags snatched in los angeles. at home depot a different target, look closely, nearly ten people running out with sledge hammers and crowbars. >> they had the sledge hammers ready to hit people trying to stop them. >> reporter: california home to three of the top ten worst cities for organized retail crime according to a report from one trade group. los angeles taking the number one spot. >> it's trying to get their hands on as much product as they can, specifically during a supply chain crisis.
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they're trying to get the product in the hands of the on-line sellers who want to list that product. >> reporter: the national retail federation says 75% of stores reported an increase of crimes like these during the pandemic. in minnesota a best buy was hit. the retailer among companies making changes in response to rising crime, locking up products, hiring security guards and brainstorming solutions with other retailers. >> we are seeing more loosely organized groups come together and target our stores. >> reporter: the company's ceo on cnbc this week. >> for our employees these are traumatic experiences an they're happening more and more across the country. >> at least ten people have been arrested in the l.a. area this week and 12 more near san francisco face charges. but dozens remain at large leaving shoppers and stores on edge. emily eket ta, nbc news, los angeles. california congressman john garamendi joins me on the armed
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services and transportation and infrastructure committees and a good friend to us. thank you for joining us on this holiday weekend. so congressman -- >> good to be with you. >> i'm glad to have you. this has been happening across california for weeks. what are you hearing from investigators there? >> they're certainly looking into it and these are gang operations. the interesting thing, what are they doing with the merchandise? mentioned on-line sales. i think there's a way in which the investigators are going to track all of this down, find out who is responsible, who is actually merchandising this -- these thefts, and you're going to see a ramp up of security and police operation as we should. >> yeah. you talk about gangs. it's been suggested it's organized crime and given the supply chain woes, do you think some of this stuff is trying to get to retailers so that they can in turn sell it when they don't have the supply? >> oh, i doubt that. i don't that.
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i'm sure that online sellers are not the big retailers, not even local retailers. it's far too risky for them and makes no sense for them to do that. there is a dark black market out there and that's where this -- these are going. we'll pay attention it to and the fbi and others will be engaged. with regard to the supply chain that's a different issue. >> as a one time businessman yourself, you're very well plugged into the business community there, what are store owners thinking about this? how are they reacting, and are they at all threatening to close up shop? would that help at all? >> no. they're not going to close up. they're going to continue to try to meet the demands of the purchasing public out there. they want their business. they want to succeed. but they're clearly going to ramp up their security. they're going to hire their own
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security and they're going to ask for greater police protection and i think the cities are going to respond. i know in my local area in the sacramento area, the police are responding. they are ramping up their surveillance of the various shopping mall, the likely places. one of the big surprises was home depot. i would not imagine that they would be looking there, but some of that equipment, the various tools, they are very expensive. in any case, the police are going to be more deeply involved. the investigation. this merchandise is going somewhere. probably through some organized gang situation on to the internet and being sold on the internet. probably at a deep discount. so this is something that is going to be monitored and it will be traced back and there will be many, many more arrests. these people will find themselves spending the next holidays over the next several years cooling their heels in some prison. >> let's talk about omicron,
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sir, because it is potentially a bit more bad news for business owners who are hoping to return to their prepandemic sales. to what extent do you have concerns omicron will impact the recovery? do you think americans should be concerned about having to shut things down again? >> i don't believe we're going to have another shutdown. if we are vaccinated. if we are boosted, we will be able to handle omicron or any other variant that comes along, unless it's extraordinarily unique. but we still have delta. delta has not disappeared. and most of the cases that we're seeing today are delta cases that are occurring in the unvaccinated. beyond my understanding why in the face of all of the evidence that the vaccines are safe, that the vaccines do work, that maybe a third of the total american population refuses to get vaccinated. it seems -- you mean you really
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want to get ill, run the risk of the delta variant and who knows what omicron may ultimately be. but vaccines work. face masks work. social distancing. >> yep. if you find out the answers to those questions please illuminate me. i can't figure it out either. >> let's just keep talking about -- go ahead, please. >> no. keep talking about it and get out there. i'm getting my booster this week, and i'm proud of it and relieved. the black friday numbers it shows in store shopping is up 47% but it is still 28% lower than preet pandemic levels. on the shopping down to $8.9 billion which is just a bit shy of last year's $9 billion. one of the big factors out there that's facing consumers is inflation because i don't have to tell you the price of almost everything is up. are democrats even privately raising alarm over this issue
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with the biden administration? >> well, of course we are. of course the entire american public is an probably around the world. consider for a moment that entire world's economy was literally shut down for a whole year, and the supply chain, the clothing manufacturers in vietnam are still shut down, and in the other countries, so you had a severe shortage of all kinds of things that people want, from toys to clothes to shoes and tools. so the red light is on, suddenly it turns green, everybody goes shopping and guesses what happens. supply and demand. supply is down, demand is up, prices are up. don't be surprised. this is exactly what we might expect to have happen and add to that the backlog at the ports in the west coast and los angeles and long beach.
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biden's program is working. there's a 30% reduction in the backlog and 25% reduction in the cost of shipping into the united states. we're seeing relief. it's not as much as any of us want, but we shouldn't have expectations beyond the reality that world shut down and up we're going. >> yeah. let me ask you about a question here about the intersection of gas prices and climate change because the president says he's going to allow energy companies to continue drilling on public lands and waterways. his effort to combat climate change, but it's not contributing to higher gas prices, but realistically, sir, would he have made this decision if gas prices had not skyrocketed? >> president biden and myself, i've been dedicated to this issue of climate change for more than 30 years, and i know my discussions with biden dating back 20, 25 years, our concern about climate change is the number one issue and we have to
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deal with it. we're not going to stop the production of petroleum or using gasoline or diesel in our automobiles, but we need to transition. what is important is the build back better legislation that has $500 billion for climate action, for various activities we must do to deal with transitioning, all kinds of things, solar, wind, batteries of all kinds. that's in the legislation. we're in a transition period. gasoline prices, keep in mind, less than just over a year ashgs the price of petroleum products was negative. the demand was way down, so the petroleum companies cut back on production because nobody was buying. now everybody wants to travel and there's a shortage. it's going to go down.
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when i purchased gasoline it was down 25 cents at the local gas station. >> okay. let's see if that is the trend that continues downward. consumers would appreciate that. >> let's hope so. >> congressman, thank you so much. meantime we only just learned about the new covid variant and some of the most vocal trump supporting networks are spewing conspiracy theories about omicron. it may be the most cynical thing you've heard this week and my panel will tackle it next. that's why, in difficult times, we provided one hundred and fifty million meals to feeding america. and now through the subaru share the love event, we're helping even more. by the end of this year, subaru will have donated over two hundred and twenty five million dollars to charity. this is what it means to be more than a car company. this is what it means to be subaru.
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so on top of everything on the docket for the next month there's a new hurdle for president biden, the emergence of the omicron variant a fresh and unexpected challenge depending on how it ult lit unfolds. joining me dawn callaway founder of the national vote procedure text act, susan dell per see yo, msnbc analyst and david jolly, former congressman from florida and msnbc political contributor.
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my sunday family. hey, guys. hope you had a great thanksgiving. good to see you all. we have a couple segments to spend together so let's get into this with you, don, because there is a list of all the things that democrats want to do before the end of the year. it's a big one. now we have this new variant that's causing more concern. do you think it's going to make it more difficult for the president to move forward with his agenda when covid is far from behind us? >> yeah. it absolutely does. because covid suddenly shifts to become the king of a universe of urgent priorities. there's none of those priorities that, quote, unquote, can wait because we know that next year is a do nothing year as far as midterms go, but covid will ultimately have to become the priority of any administration, just as though it were some type of security attack like on 9/11. that has to become the priority. we saw what happened during the trump administration when it wasn't a priority. i have great faith that joe biden and his team won't spread
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disinformation, will take it seriously, but it necessarily takes white house domestic policy resources away from this legislative agenda and congressional attention away as well. this has to be the priority. omicron is real and here. >> but david, there's a barrier for the white house when it comes to combatting covid in this country and dawn touched on it, misinformation, mainly on the right. take a listen to something said on fox news about this new variant. >> piece buttigieg, our transportation secretary, potentially our new president in 2024 or so the democrats want, has said, we can't fix the supply chain problem until the pandemic is over, until covid is over, and now we see the new variants. that's the answer, is more lockdowns, more lockdowns, more fear and therefore, he doesn't have to do his job of fixing the supply chain we'll just keep this whole thing going. >> always a new variant. >> and count on a variant about every october every few years.
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>> yeah. it seems they're just kind of suggesting that democrats are making up these new variants just to help president biden. first of all, it helps no one. certainly not the president. how cynical can they get on a scale of like 1 to 10, with 1 being the least dumb and 10 the dumbest thing you've ever heard, where does this land? >> alex, i guess i would answer it the graveyard is full of a lot of covid and vaccine deniers and that is the constituency that fox news continues to speak to and reinforce. it was a shameful moment by those three on air hosts who should have taken the appropriate responsible public health approach and says there's a lot we have yet to learn on this. dr. fauci said that this week as well. hopefully not as bad as some have indicated but the responsible public health approach is to get vaccinated and engage in responsible social behavior. that is not the fox news approach nor is it the
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republicans' approach. i would say joe biden and the democrats won last election. what we're hearing is the lament of people whose conspiracy theories didn't work and they're doubling down on it. >> for you, susan, take a listen to something stephen miller said about the new variant. >> covid is becoming endemic. it is going to continue to mutate, continue to evolve, it's all around planet earth. if president trump was still in office, by the way, we would already have modified vaccines to deal with the new variants. >> i mean, come on. >> well, stephen miller is never afraid to display his stupidity for all to see. that's all i can say about those comments. it's just all he's doing is trying to address an audience of one in the former president. this is, though, an important time for president biden. people are concerned right now.
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they hear about a new variant. there are economic challenges, inflation. this is the perfect time for president biden to address the nation and lay out what he -- what is this new variant all about, what do we need to do, do it with medical professionals, tell the public what to expect for the holidays and lay it out there the same way this country needed it when covid first hit other shores. we need reassurance. this is what biden promised us and why biden won a lot of right leaning independents and, you know, a small minority of republican voters, because they want to see this leadership, and they want to see someone who understand how government works and will do everything in their power to make sure we are safe during this holiday season. and that's what he must do. this is idiotness of stephen
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miller can have his moment but they mean nothing. >> we have a couple blocks together. in just a moment, 2024, why donald trump's hints might not just be talk. two big names democrats might want to see on the presidential ball lost. ball lost. n, there's extra dirt you can't see. watch this. that was in these clothes...ugh. but the clothes washed in tide- so much cleaner! if it's got to be clean, it's got to be tide hygienic clean no surprises in these clothes! couple more surprises.
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new reporting says trump is polling to test another bid for the white house writing, quote, according to the poll the former president led biden in arizona by 8 percentage points. georgia by 3 points. michigan by 12 points. pennsylvania by 6 points. wisconsin by 10 points. so my panel is back with me to talk about this. don, susan and david. david, first off to you, do you buy that? there is that mark twain quote that says, there are lies and statistics. which one is this one? >> yeah. you know, alex, it's interesting. in internal polling, typically candidates are spending their own resources, and they want accurate information. in this case and a few others, what you want is to create a public narrative about the strength of the candidate. that's what's going on here. to the extent there's any element of truth of a competitive race in those states, i think it is a reflection of the broader macro environment in which president
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biden and democrats' numbers are low and soft. i would suggest any generic republican up against biden in those states not only would perform as well as donald trump but probably better than the former president. >> that's one way to look at it. susan n 2020, trump's internal polling was friendlier to him than the reality. could this be a similar situation that way? again, it is his internal polling. >> well, it depends if you want to make the client happy and keep them as a client sometimes. and in this case, i believe that's the situation. i've seen it in a million times and performed hundreds of polls. let me tell you something, alex, when -- you know how you say read the fine flint a contract, it's all in the fine print, if a pollster doesn't release the entire poll, you can't believe any of the poll. without the backup, without the cross-tabs, there is no way to verify this information. unless you're going to show me
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all of it, it's worthless. >> okay. let's look at how this might be interpreted by the dems. is it good news for democrats? do they want trump to run again? he is such a flawed and divisive candidate. >> well, i don't necessarily think we want him to run again. he does animate a certain base, as despicable as a candidate and person he is, he animates a certain universe not as excited when he does a run, but i think that republicans should be far more concerned because of what we just saw in virginia. that was a pathway forward without donald trump's bullhorn in the middle of the proceedings. and for him to be polling this good, major caveat per what susan said, if the cross-tabs and fine print makes sense and verified this polling but if they show he's ahead there's not a whole lot of republicans i would suggest would want to challenge him in that primary my if he's ahead of generic
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democrat or president biden. i would be more interested to see where generic republican nominee is in these polls, particularly in the five states, because that's what we know it comes down to those still, the big five. >> there's the new headline from the hill that showsfive. >> vice president kamala harris and michelle obama are the current top picks for 2024, that would be if president biden doesn't run. there is also rumor that secretary pete buttigieg is eyeing a run. michelle obama is amazing but she has said a thousand ways to christmas that she is not running. >> as of right now, joe biden is running. joe biden doesn't have a history of lying to the american people, so we should take it as though he's running. in the event that joe biden does not run, i want to be very, very clear to my fellow democrats, kamala harris should be the presumptive democratic nominee.
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it would be wildly disrespectful to somehow circumvent the sitting vice president when this administration hasn't, quote, unquote, done anything wrong. perhaps they haven't sold some of their ambitious plans with as much vigor as we would like to see. but president biden picked kamala harris to be a part of the administration. and that's not to put down pete buttigieg who has a bright future ahead of him. we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss the sitting vice president who should be the presumptive nominee. >> it wouldn't be a sunday without you guys, thank you so much, safe travels if you're out and about getting home. good to see you. you can't blame the supply chain shortage for a shortage of a traditional symbol of the holidays. that's next. mbol of the holidays that's next.
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this year, instead of ho ho ho, you may be hearing no, no, no, due to a nationwide shortage of santas. and the number of oh, christmas trees may be limited as well. nbc's liz mclaughlin is in raleigh, north carolina. liz, what's behind these shortages? >> reporter: alex, the supply chain grinch is at it again. santa claus entertainers, there is a record demand for those. and basically less santas are available to fill those spots. of course we're not talking about the big guy up at the north pole but these friends or helpers, older men more susceptible to covid-19, deciding to hang up their beards and boots. if you're looking to get an appointment at your local mall, that might not be an issue especially if you book ahead online. but if you want a santa for a
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private party, you needed to reserve those months ago or you're out of luck. you can hear sawing going on here, that smell of fresh pine. lots of folks pouring into this farm in north carolina, they're one of the biggest producers of christmas trees in the company. a heat dome is affected the pacific northwest where a lot of trees come from. as you mentioned, economic concerns, smaller farms are closing year after year. we've seen an increasing shortage every year. we spoke to some folks here, workers and shoppers, to see what they're seeing. let's listen. >> we say the earlier, the better. with the limited selection we do get, our limited amount we have, we try to keep up, try to keep the best trees we can in the triangle, but, you know, once we're done, we can't order any more. >> i feel like for the past few years it's been that way. we have some friends who in the boone area just have some farms
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and they've always talked about, over the years, it's been declining. so, i mean, every year it's kind of seemed to be a little worse. i mean, pick what they have available and that's what you do. >> reporter: and expect to pay a little more, between 5 and 15%, if you're out to get a real tree this year, alex. >> liz mclaughlin, thanks for the heads up on that. the emergence of the omicron variant is raising many questions and concerns. in just a moment, a leading expert on pandemic preparedness provides us some facts. not caused by a heart valve problem. so if there's a better treatment than warfarin,... i want that. eliquis. eliquis reduces stroke risk better than warfarin. and has less major bleeding than warfarin. eliquis has both. don't stop taking eliquis without talking to your doctor as this may increase your risk of stroke. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. while taking, you may bruise more easily... or take longer for bleeding to stop.
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