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@THISHOUR WITH BERMAN AND MICHAELA
Hillary Clinton Discusses Future on "Daily Show"; Cheney: Obama Worst President; Illegal Immigrants Smart Enough to Beat MIT; Tough Cable Break Up
Aired July 16, 2014 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Ross, let me ask you quickly, on a sail one to -- scale of one to ten, what are the chances that Christie could get the GOP nomination?
ROSS DOUTHAT, CNN COMMENTATOR: 2.6
2.6743. No, I think the odds are low. I think what he needs now is basically a version of what John McCain needed in 2008, where you remember McCain's campaign sort of went into a tailspin early on and then nobody else emerged to claim the mantel and McCain was able to slip back into contention later on. I think that's the dynamic for Christie at the moment. The party elite wants Jeb Bush to get in the running and Marco Rubio and grassroots want Rand Paul or Ted Cruz. So he still has a chance, but I would have said six or seven pre- Bridgegate and now it's a lot lower.
BERMAN: Maria, "The New York Times" says that Christie is going to rely on his personality to connect with the voters, to propel him in a Republican primary process is that enough do you think?
MARIA CARDONA, CNN COMMENTATOR: No, I don't think it's enough. I agree that he right now is the candidate or potential candidate that does have a out-size personality and that's his appeal to a lot of people and we saw that during his administration, where I think one of the things that people really like about him is that he does what he thinks is right at the time. We saw after Sandy when President Obama went to visit the area, he put his arm around Obama and he said, you know, to hell withal politics, I'm doing what's best for my state. I think that's what people like about him. I think his personality could be something that can propel him forward, but I'll go back to what Ross was saying. I think that a lot of what is going to hole him back is, you know, the bridge gate scandal, everything that he is actually doing right now in his administration, from an economics standpoint, there's a lot of down side to his record, so right now I think his being the nominee is a bridge too far.
Maria, Ross, stay with us. Ahead at this hour, who does Dick Cheney think is the worst president in his lifetime? Here's a hint, it rhymes with show llama. But what does the former vice president think of impeachment? And the most talented on earth. Why we were all wrong about Weird Al Yankovic and now we need him more than ever.
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BERMAN: Former vice president, Dick Cheney, has never shown any great love for President Obama and he showed even more of this not love on "The Lead" with Jake Tapper.
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DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not prepared to call for impeachment of the president. I think he's the worst president of my lifetime. I'm glad to see the House Republicans are challenging him at least legally at this point, but I think that gets to be a bit of a distraction. It's like the impeachment of Bill Clinton did.
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BERMAN: So you heard him say worst president of my lifetime, but generously, the vice president did not say that Mr. Obama should be impeached.
Let's bring back our commentators, Ross Douthat and Maria Cardona.
Ross, that's something I heard from Senator Rand Paul, and congressional leadership right now, Republicans in Congress. A lot of people want this notion of never to go away.
DOUTHAT: For good reason. I think for the politics alone, I think Vice President Cheney's comment about the Bill Clinton apply. There's always the possibility that something becomes a runaway that leadership can't deal with. This happened with Clinton's impeachment, that after the 1998 mid terms, Newt Gingrich said impeachment is not going to happen, and, in fact, it did happen because enough members and enough of the base wanted it. I think the odds of that history repeating itself are pretty slim, but I think that what you are seeing now is an effort to basically rule it off the table completely.
And he tosses around phrases, Maria, like worst president of my lifetime. I know you disagree. Let's take that as a given for a moment. The former vice president is not the only one who has said that. There was this poll just a few weeks where 33 percent said that the president was the worst since World War II. Why do you think this notion is so prevalent?
CARDONA: This president has had challenges that frankly few presidents have had in recent history and he's had them all at once but I think history will be kind to this president, starting with the fact that he prevented a second great depression, and I think the health care act will also be something that will be in the history books as changing the way our country offers health care. Rhine we have almost 10 people having -- 10 million people having signed up for it. I think what's interesting about the exchange with Cheney is that yes he says that President Obama shouldn't be impeached. I think he and other Republicans are very worried about the overreach and the backlash but then he goes on to support this incredibly frivolous lawsuit that Americans absolutely see through and know that it's just a political stunt, and I think that the danger for Republicans is that going into mid term elections where they are not offering any real agenda for the country. Democrats today unveiled an agenda about jobs, policies for women to succeed, education, and Republicans are offering this frivolous lawsuit, and I don't think that that is a distinction that they are going to win on.
BERMAN: Hang on, Maria. I want to get one last question into Ross.
Because the former vice president refused to take any responsibility, I mean any at all for the current crisis in Iraq. He says it's all due to Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and President Obama. This makes a lot of people crazy, as if the Bush administration had no role whatsoever in what's going on in Iraq. What do you think it does to the discussion when Dick Cheney says something like this? Do you think as some suggested, this disqualifies him from commenting on the current policy?
DOUTHAT: I don't think anybody is disqualified from hearing anybody. You don't want to be ruling people out of bounds preemptively. I think that it -- I think that if you look at Cheney's approval rating. If you look at views even among Republicans on Iraq and so on, most Americans tend to sort of tune out his arguments because they do hold him in the Bush administration fairly reasonably at least partially responsible for the situation in Iraq. What you have in the Republican side right now is a very interesting conflict over foreign policy where a lot of Republican voters, I mean, when Cheney was doing his tour recently he was challenged on FOX News about Meggyn Kelly on this very issue. I don't think he's coming out uncontested from the even from the GOP on these questions.
BERMAN: Ross, Maria great to have you wit us. Appreciate it.
CARDONA: Thanks, John.
BERMAN: Ahead for us, they were smart enough to beat MIT, but they were undocumented immigrants, so what happened to them will really surprise you.
Plus, breaking up might be hard to do, but it shouldn't be with your cable company, right? Wait until you hear this now viral phone call.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BERMAN: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Jose Antonio Vargas, is now free after being detained by Border Patrol agents in Texas. He was planning to fly to Los Angeles. Homeland Security officials say he was released because he has no prior immigration or criminal record. He has to appear before an immigration judge. Recently, Vargas detailed his life story in documented, a film that was aired last month.
10 years ago, four high school students from Arizona entered an underwater robotics competition against college students. They won. They edged out the team from MIT but these teenagers were undocumented immigrants from Mexico. A new documentary tells their story. Their path ended up much different than the MIT students that they outsmarted a decade ago.
Joining me now, the film's director, Mary Mazio, and two students from that team, Christian Arcega and Luis Aranda.
Mary, I want to start with you.
This is a film about dreams but also limited horizons.
MARY MAZIO, FILM DIRECTOR: It really is. Here you have these four wonderful kids in the middle of nowhere and what they were able to do and achieve at this competition is just a signal of the extraordinary human capital that we have here in America where we might not think about looking for. And you know, American companies are in desperate need of engineers, scientists, these are the kinds of kids who can really propel our country forward.
BERMAN: Luis, you went to a 10-year reunion with these kids from MIT. What was it like to see?
LUIS ARANDA, STUDENT: It's different because we were in high school when we started competing. They were already in college. They had their plan already made out, pretty much. We were just trying to figure out what our next move was going to be. It was a little different for us.
BERMAN: And that next move and many of those moves have been difficult.
Christian, you finished second overall at high school ask started at Arizona State with financial assistance, but this was all revoked. There were big changes along the way.
CHRISTIAN ARCEGA, STUDENT: Yeah. One year into my attempt to get a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering at ASU, my presidential scholarship was revoked.
BERMAN: Mary, you went back and you showed this documentary many places, you've shown it to college kids now. They were uncomfortable by thee reunion where you've seen all these MIT kids have gone on to big things and the kids from the high school really struggled.
MAZIO: Would you consider taking that out of the film? I feel very uncomfortable, and my response was, good. I hope you feel uncomfortable because maybe you can help change the situation. I mean, here you have kids that their starting line is further back, but kids, you know, kids all over the country that are just like these young men are lining up and they are ready to go and so the question is how do we capture those hearts and minds when they can contribute so much.
BERMAN: You see the film. It begs to be this David versus Goliath. I'm not saying these guys aren't successful. We're happy to have them here. You look at the guys from MIT. There's a difference.
MAZIO: The real story is what these young did for their community. They have spawned a whole new generation of students pursuing engineering, some of whom are at Stanford today. That's really exciting. You see this stream of kids and what they also did is they planted the seed of hope that life was going to be hard, extraordinary poverty, but something different could happen.
BERMAN: That's a measure of success that you can't compare.
MAZIO: I think these young men, Luis and Christian, have no idea about the effect they have had on this community and it's really good.
BERMAN: Luis, when you look at what's going on at the border right now, obviously, the country facing a major crisis at the border, what do you make of it?
ARANDA: It's not a thing that should be happening, but I mean there's not much I can do about it. I don't know much about the situation there. Mine was a little different from theirs so I'm not sure what the plan would be.
BERMAN: Christian, any message for those kids?
ARCEGA: Regardless of where you are in the world, if you have hope, you have to keep it, because that's the last thing you have.
BERMAN: That's a nice message.
I do appreciate you being with us. Congratulations to both of you, everything you've accomplished. Congratulation on the film.
MAZIO: Thank you, my friend. Thanks for having us. We're in theaters now, on television soon.
MAZIO: Thank you.
BERMAN: All right. Coming up next for us, was it a filibuster or a phone call? Still ahead, the 20-minute battle one man waged to cut the cord with his cable company. That's next.
BERMAN: Ma Bell, Brad and Jennifer, Ashton and Demi, all epic break- ups, but none holding a candle to the poor guy who tried to break up with his cable company.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to disconnect, please.
COMCAST EMPLOYEE: OK so why is it that you don't want the faster speed? Help me understand why you don't want faster Internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Help me understand why you can't just disconnect us.
COMCAST EMPLOYEE: Nine years, you've been a Comcast customer. Clearly, the service is working great. What is it that makes you want to change that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because that's what we want to do.
COMCAST EMPLOYEE: Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's none of your business. Your business is to disconnect us please.
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BERMAN: So Nischelle Turner is with us.
I feel like, Nischelle, I've been in conversations, but I was playing Comcast and I couldn't understand why I was getting dumped.
NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN ENTERTAINMENT CORRESPONDENT: Why, John Berman, why are you asking these questions?
BERMAN: It's crazy.
TURNER: Why am I here today, John Berman? It really, it doesn't even seem like it's real. I really thought it was one of those, like, jerky boys phone calls or crank phone calls. Because it was just that funny. Yes, it really felt like I can't get away from you. And he -- I don't even know what to say half the time about it.
BERMAN: And it wasn't short.
TURNER: No, it felt like it was three days long. It was actually 18 minutes long. About 10 minutes into the conversation, Ryan Block said, you know what, I'm going to start recording this, because he just felt like this is going nowhere. I don't understand. This is the weirdest, worst customer service I have ever had. He clicked record. That's when we started hearing all the things we heard. I want you all to listen to a little bit more because I can't get enough of it. Let's listen.
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COMCAST EMPLOYEE: So why not keep what you know works, you know it's good service?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we're not doing that, so please proceed and disconnect the service --
COMCAST EMPLOYEE: You don't want something that works?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess I don't want something that works.
COMCAST EMPLOYEE: I'll disconnect the service.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fantastic, thank you.
COMCAST EMPLOYEE: I mean, it's really a shame to see you go to something can't give you what we can.
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TURNER: After he berated him for 18 minutes, he said, have a wonderful day.
We have to talk about Comcast because he did issue a statement when they found out about this. They said they were embarrassed by this. They said they "reached out to Ryan Block and his wife and did apologize personally to them." They also released a statement to us saying, quote, "The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable, not consistent with how we train our representatives. We're investigating this situation and will take quick action."
This just made my nerves bad, John.
BERMAN: I suppose, I want to play devil's advocate here, he does believe in his product.
TURNER: He believes in customer service, yes, he does, he does believe in Comcast. He says repeatedly, we're the number one provider, why do you want to get rid of the number one provider? Why do you want to leave a product that works? Why, why, why, why, why.
BERMAN: Of course, I'm thinking, why doesn't the dude just hang up if he's getting no satisfaction, just hang up. But the problem is, he wants to discontinue the service. He's got to make sure they're disconnecting or else he's going to be paying the whole time.
TURNER: At some point, it becomes a little bit of a sick game. Like, how long is this guy really going to go on with this mess? How long is he going to sit here and go on and on and on with me? We found out. 18 minutes.
BERMAN: Yeah, I got to say, it was -- it was something.
TURNER: It's the best. You've got to listen to the whole eight minutes. Afterwards, I felt like needed to go to a yoga class.
BERMAN: All right, Nischelle, I want you to stick around.
I want to end the show with a different kind of "Cable Outrage." Today, that outrage is erected at all of us really for failing to appreciate the profound brilliance of Mr. Weird Al Yankovick. Sure, when we were kids, we laughed at "Another One Rides the Bus" and we laughed at his take on Michael Jackson entitled "Eat It."
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BERMAN: So we laughed, but we did not revere. And that is what Mr. Yankovick deserves. Why? You may have heard his new album this week, "Mandatory Fun" which includes the song "Word Crimes."
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BERMAN: Do yourself a favor and please go listen to the whole thing. You might notice, it's a takeoff on the Robin Thicke song "Blurred Lines." Some people might call it a parody, but that would be unjust. "Blurred Lines" is a parody of itself. Its own terribleness mocks its own awfulness. What Al has done is turn something wretched into something wonderful. He's given hope to the hopeless. It's not humor, it's help. And goodness knows, we need more of this help. That magical ability to turn something useless into something useful. Yankovick could turn kale into candy. He could help Brazil stop Germany from scoring.
And then there's Congress. Think of what Al Yankovick could do for Congress. Not a parody, no, they handled that themselves. Yankovick could un-Robin Thicke Congress. He could make it work. He could make it weird. Please, give us Weird Mitch, Weird John, Weird Nancy. Because why not. Because now all we're getting is "Blurred Lines." And if nothing else, in the immortal words of Weird Al, "Congress can just eat it."
TURNER: How does Michaela do this every day?
BERMAN: Thank you, all, for joining us.
Nischelle Turner, thank you.
TURNER: I've got tears coming out of my eyes.
BERMAN: "Legal View" with Deborah Feyerick starts right now.