tv MSNBC Live With Alex Witt MSNBC October 28, 2018 9:00am-10:00am PDT
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that's our show. thanks for watching "am joy" back next weekend. i'm here with alex witt. >> i am here. what a day it has been. powerful two hours, joy reid. >> thank you. >> very good day to all of you. it is just a bit past 12:00 noon in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. new information about the horror from the pittsburgh synagogue from the names to the sea the gunman left behind. >> it was a large, complex crime scene. >> we are treating this as a hate crime. >> there's no way you can rationalize a person walking into a synagogue during services and taking the lives of 11 people. >> a community in pain and stunned by what happened in that close knit enclave.
>> the first initial sound was described as a car crash. just a very loud noise but the next multiple sounds were -- they were unmistakable. >> plus the president's comments about the attack via tweet and the commander in tweet is again called upon to be the comforter in chief. >> not enough that on the day of a tragedy he says the right words if every other day of the year he's saying things to bring us into conflict with each other. and we begin with new information on the shooting. federal and city officials laying out a list of charges against the gunman who opened fire inside that pittsburgh synagogue yesterday killing three women and eight men. officials say the suspect used an ar-15 semi-automatic rifle and three glock handguns. robert bowers now facing 29
federal charges including hate crimes. several are death penalty offenses. he will make his first court appearance tomorrow afternoon. all 11 people have been publicly identified here are their names. among the group a 97-year-old woman, a holocaust survivor. two brothers in their 50s and a married couple in their 80s. officials say victims were found on upper and lower floors of the synagogue. the medical examiner expected to lease more information. a strong message for president trump. >> we've heard the conversation over the past year about how we should arm security guards in our schools. we shouldn't be trying to find ways to minimize the dangers that occur from irrational behavior. the approach that we need to be looking at is how we take the
guns, which is the common denominator of every mass shooting in america, out of the hands of those that are looking to express hatred through murder. >> the shooting a hot topic on the sunday talk shows. coop man adam schiff saying president trump did not strike the right tone. >> there's no escaping the tone that he sets for the country. the constitution contemplates a president that tries to make us a more perfect union and the president has his own constitution in here that doesn't allow him to do that. honestly i think this whole president's modus operandi is to divide us. he gets up with new ways to divide us. it's not enough that on the day of a tragedy he says the right things if every other day he
brings us into conflict with each other. >> nbc's miguel almaguer and ron mott in pittsburgh. kimberly atkins and aaron blake from the washington post and kelly o'donnell at the white house. miguel, a very somber day on this sunday. let's talk about the very latest on the investigation. what do you know? >> reporter: well, alex, we know investigators are pretty clear on their motive. they say this was perfectly fueled by a hate crime. that's clear by what the suspect said. what they're really looking into is the planning of this crime. was it something that he just decided to do the morning he woke up or was this something he had been planning for quite some time. with that the investigators will go through his social media sites he was on. we know as you mentioned, 11 people killed. their ages range from 56 to 97
years old. some of the victims were siblings, others were married couple as you mentioned, a holocaust survivor. another holocaust survivor had pulled up to the church as the shooting was unfolding. he got back into his car. had he arrived a few moments earlier he likely would have been among the dead. had the officers not engaged the suspect in a shootout and then as he retreated into the building, followed him inside, that death toll could have been much higher. this is an enclave for the jewish community. many jews are leaning on one another and their faith to come together. it is the beginning of a very difficult week here starting in pittsburgh. investigators say it will take them up to a week to comb through that crime scene. they call it horrific inside and they certainly said while they wouldn't put a number on the number of bullets spent inside that building, they said the number was incredibly high. >> it is extraordinary because you talk about the crime scene.
i remember the news conference during which the public safety director for the state of pennsylvania, he said it was the worst thing he had ever seen and he included having been to plane crashes. do we know anything? was it mostly on the third floor? do we know where the predominant number of killings took place? >> reporter: we've heard from a former rabbi who said he spoke directly with victims in the after math. from what he put together the suspect first entered the building, went downstairs, opened fire, came back to the main level and then at some point retreated back into the building after there was an exchange of gunfire and was captured on the third floor of the large building behind me. investigators say there were three different areas where the shootings took place and there were three congregations that gathered and used the synagogue for worship services yesterday. it sounds as if all three of
those congregations had been targeted in some manner. the suspect getting many people involved and taking many casual its here. had it been an hour or two later, there would have been more people inside the synagogue. >> an horrific sal vase. let's go to nbc's ron mott. good day to you. let's talk about what more we have learned about him. >> reporter: hey there, alex, good day to you. what we're learning is robert bowers was a truck driver. not sure whether he was a long distance driver or short haul driver, but residents said he kept pretty odd hours. his apartment was right back here, number 11. we spoke with the neighbor who said he was friendly enough but
did not speak to the neighbors around here. here's what she said based on her proximity to robert bowers' apartment. >> very upsetting knowing that someone had that much hate was on the other side of my wall with all those rifles and assault were on the other side of my wall. very unsettling to think you know your neighbor and how friendly they can be but not really at all. >> reporter: last night, alex, the scene was much different. police swarmed the building. some residents were being suggested to leave. they wanted to sweep the building to make sure it had not been compromised which is sad. they cleared the apartment sometime late last night. we're unsure what they took if anything from mr. bowers unit. we've been told that the democrats said his understanding is that robert bowers had 21 guns registered in his name. we have not been able to confirm that with law enforcement. what we do know is he carried
four weapons into that synagogue yesterday, ar-15 rifle and glock 57 handguns. he did use all of them. i asked the neighbor if she saw anything unusual yesterday. she was not here in the morning. we don't know when he left or if he spent the night here. we're trying to locate the landlord here. apparently of all of the people in this community, he's the one that had the friendliest of banter, if you will, with this suspect. he would talk with the landlord a lot more than he would speak to the neighbors here. we're going to try to get to that landlord to see if he had noticed any changes in his personality, if anything, when mr. bowers would go to the office back here. as you mentioned, alex, 29 federal charges. attorney general jeff sessions said yesterday that the death
penalty may be a consideration here. we'll have to see as that long legal process gets underway whether or not the federal government will go after the death penalty in this case. pretty stunned people around this community what happened here yesterday. >> a stunned nation in fact, ron mott, thank you from pittsburgh. no further word from the president but administration officials are talking about the president's tone. kelly, good sunday to you. what new is being said on the topic? >> good to be with you. as you're pointing out, the president does not have a public schedule for much of the day. when he does, it's a very different kind of subject matter. he and the first lady will be hosting the annual first halloween party. a definite different feeling associated with that public event. we have heard from senior administration official who is the cabinet secretary for
homeland security. one of the things she said stood out for me is department of homeland security officials had been at the very synagogue we're talking about here in pittsburgh as part of their outreach for security in areas that are deemed to be potentially vulnerable and certainly places of worship would fall under that category. so there had been a visit to that synagogue in march to offer guidance for their facility, how to secure the facility, et cetera. that was an unexpected comment. she was asked about the overall political climate through the rhetoric and actions and so forth and if that could be at play here. we saw some reporting about the very volatile political views and hateful views of the gunman
who say he was not a trump supporter. here is kiersten nielsen talking about the issue of the culture of the moment and the president's role in it. >> i'm going to hold up the front page from the washington post from yesterday about the capture of cesar sayoc. it doesn't say suspect arrested. bomb suspect, outspoken supporter of trump. what responsibility do you think president trump bears for the actions of this individual? >> i think the president has made it extraordinarily clear we will never allow political violence to take root in this country. i firmly believe in the first amendment, but anybody who uses the first amendment as a cover to threaten or commit an act of violence will not be tolerated. >> reporter: of course, that
clip refers to cesar sayoc, the mail bomb suspect who sent packages, more than a dozen, to former democratic officials, some current members of congress and that's a separate incident but, again, one of the common things we've been exploring this week, alex, is the climate of our culture and the things that are said in all sorts of ways as individuals speak out but the president's in a unique position in the country as a source of example and someone who is so closely followed by his supporters and detractors. i asked the president on the south lawn if he thought there was something he could do differently, the way he engages politically. he didn't think he needed to do anything differently. in the wake of the shooting the president spoke several different times in saturday. we had him in three states in six separate opportunities where he addressed aspects of the shooting at the pittsburgh
synagogue and called out the violence and anti-semitism. he made a plea for people to come together through political differences but to respect each other's humanity. one of his decisions was to keep campaigning. >> kelly o'donnell at the white house. thank you so much as always, kel. let's bring in our panel to discuss all of this. kimberly atkins and aaron blake. kimberly, starting with you here. let's get to the sana'a goiynag shooting. what is the conventional wisdom on that? >> while it seems that you can never attribute the actions of a violent person to another person, in this case the president of the united states, he is the leader of the country and he is engaging in political rhetoric that hits on the kind of themes that seems to enflame
the types of divisions, particularly cultural divisions, religious, racial divisions that we are seeing glowing this country. it is a fact that incidents of anti-semitism are on the rise in the country and has been for years. we all know -- everyone on this panel knows that anti-media sentiment is rising. we see it in our in boxes. there is an increase in incidents like last week when there was a racist attack in kentucky. this is coinciding with very negative characterizations of immigrants, very negative characterizations of people like george soros who is a jewish american, democratic operative. so if the president is engaging and encouraging and taking part in the rhetoric that is taken up there as opposed to being a leader who tries to appeal to the best of americans and not our worst instincts, then there
is responsibility there. there is accountability there. that's one of the things that comes with the leadership. >> keeping with that tone of your answer, aaron, i know you have written about the postal bombs and why it's fair to ask if the president is to blame. here's what you see in part to the post. some conservatives have asked why trump gets this treatment when others haven't. the media isn't blaming him for that. you bring up bernie sanders as one example. is there a parallel between the two? >> yeah, there's certainly a real sense of a grievance on the right whenever we have something like this, whether it was charlottesville last year, whether it was the republican baseball shooting, what's happened this week. they feel that there is a double standard in which we are asking whether trump is to blame when something like this happens to democrats verse wls republicans are to blame when something like
this happens to democrats. there is a different variable here. we have a president that has engaged in a different ret core rick that is unusual, unprecedented. when you introduce a variable into a set of circumstances and then you get different results which is definitely what we're seeing right now with the close ps of maybe the worst assassination attempt in american history as far as the scope, now the worst attack on the jewish americans in history in the course of a few days, when you have a different outcome like that, when you have a new set of circumstances, it's fair to ask that whether something like that might have had an impact here. we should not say that this is because of the president's rhetoric. we do not know that. this could have happened anyways. that is certainly a variable that has been introduced into our political rhetoric. we have a president who often engages in very coded language,
nods to certain people who have not had nods to them politically before and so i think that when you do make that decision as president to engage in these type of rhetoric, it's fair to ask whether that can lead to some different outcomes. >> in terms of the impact kimberly, written about the political impact on the upcoming mid term elections. how so? how do you see that? >> i think it's hard to tell. i think if over the course of the next week and couple of days there is a continued and concerted effort to tone down the rhetoric in the aftermath of this it could have an impact. we have seen in the past the president might modify his language after some incident occurs and then goes back to the same kind of message that he thinks is galvanizing to the base. up to this point republicans have said immigration is the number one issue for the mid
terms and that is the issue that they must drill down on in messaging. you've seen the president doing that, but again doing it in a way that really demonizes people from central america, insinuates that they're middle eastern terrorists among the people who are traveling in -- through mexico toward the u.s. border, just other really, really incendiary language. so if that changes, if he goes back to that, perhaps -- you know, i think the answer long and short, alex, is we don't know, but i think that this is something that goes far beyond the mid terms. i think there's a lot of concern that this type of political language is becoming normalized and this is something that is becoming a mainstay at least for the time being at a time where americans are not only divided but that the very worst of hatefulness is rearing its head. >> you know, the president was speaking in indianapolis yesterday. he was at an agricultural event
there. after condemning the synagogue shooting as evil he then joked about his hair. take a listen. >> somebody just said, your hair looks different today. i said, i was standing under the wing of air force one doing a news conference early this morning, a very unfortunate news conference, and the wind was blowing and the rain and i was soaking wet and that's what i ended up with today. and i said, at least you know it's mine. i said, maybe i should cancel this arrangement because i have a bad hair day. and the bad news, somebody said, actually, it looks better than it usually does. >> so, aaron, the tone he's striking there, he's clearly making a joke, but in the wake of this shooting, there's been some criticism. your thoughts on that? >> yeah, this is really a case in point.
this is the president who likes to troll people. he's trolling us. it is a joke and his supporters feel like they're in on the joke but, you know, i think this is a good example of him at a time when maybe he could be a little bit less over the top in his realities, a little bit more supportive speaking the things that presidents in this case usually would. instead he's cracking jokes. instead he's basically needling the media for asking him whether he should be moving forward with these rallies. people are welcome to decide whether that's appropriate at a time such as this, but it's clear that he is less interested in that unification, that he's less interested in saying the things that people expect him to and la to 40% seem to like that but the rest of the country do not. >> as i've said yesterday and i will repeat today, the president is often at his political best but sometimes we need him to be
at his presidential best. those are often distinctly different things. the anti-defamation league reporting nearly 2,000 incidents last year. a 57% increase. when we return, a look at what's behind the spike. you're in the business of helping people. we're in the business of helping you. business loans for eligible card members up to fifty thousand dollars, decided in as little as 60 seconds. the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it.
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us. it's an assault on humanity. it will require all of us working together to extract the hateful poison of anti-semitism from our world. this was an anti-semitic attack at its worst. >> president trump there speaking on the nature of yesterday's horrific attack. the director of the anti-defamation league released a statement calling it the deadly attack on the jewish community in the history of the united states. he says, this violence occurs at a time when the anti-defamation league has seen an increase in anti-semitic actions. jonathan greenblad is here. we were here yesterday and a couple of things stayed with me. the stats that you offered, how there had been a 10 to 15-year
precedence before 2016 of a reduction, full reduction in the amount of hate crimes and now 2016 it rose 34%. 2017 it rose 57% and i just want to have you share with our viewers what we discussed in the commercial break, where we are in 2018 thus far. >> it's pretty stunning. we've been fighting hate for 100 years and tracking anti-semitic incidents for 40 years and to be clear, we track not only violence and vandalism but also harassment in the jewish community. in 2017 we saw an historic surge. one might imagine 2018 we should see a decrease because it can only go down, right? >> there wasn't a charlottesville. >> there wasn't a charlottesville until yesterday. there wasn't a series of bomb threats. there wasn't some other kind of moment in the public consciousness and yet i sat with the head of the nypd hate crimes
task force earlier this week and in new york city, the largest population of jews, to date as of mid october the number of hate crimes targeting jews was almost exactly the same in 2018 as it was last year. >> with two months left to go. >> for sure. so it used to be that anti-semitism was abnormal. it used to be that hate didn't happen here and unfortunately the abnormal seems to have been normalized and that's why we are just so outraged and engaged to act. >> is there a way to gauge exactly what is driving this? >> well, i think there are multiple factors. i think as your previous panel eluded to, the political climate is so charged. >> so divisive. >> you see it on all sides, but in particular the movement of white supremacists into the political mainstream. think about it, this year we have nine white supremacists running for political office.
it wasn't that there weren't bigoted people in the system before but what we've never had before were them being out and open and explicit. you had a holocaust denier who was brought to the state of the union by a member of congress and you had a series of a pattern of attacks against jews and all the conspiracy theories and the fear-mongering about george soros. i don't agree with every donation george soros makes but the attacks against him are appalling because they invoke long standing anti-semitic precedents. we hear it again and again and no one speaks out. >> but, jonathan, you're telling me what has happened. can you tell me why it is happening? >> well, i think there's anxiety in this moment, and i think that anxiety, which is about the future of our country in lots of ways, is ampling people up. i think we need our leaders to lead. and when those at the highest
level don't unambiguously call out the haters and say there is no room for the people like those who perpetrated what happened in charlottesville last year. when the president doesn't step up and say that. when other leaders don't step up and lead it creates a vacuum that the bigots are all too happy to fill. >> jonathan greenblad, another sobering conversation on this very tragic weekend. thank you so much. >> thank you. the gop and it's involving message on health care. our voters are noticing. you've got answers on that next. i will repeal every word of obamacare. >> thank you. >> everyone agrees we're going to protect pre-existing conditions. >> we have to repeal it. >> pre-existing conditions. >> pre-existing conditions. >> pre-existing conditions. to look at me now,
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john cox, governor. "look what she's accomplished... she authored the ban on assault weapons... pushed the desert protection act through congress, and steered billions of federal dollars to california projects such as subway construction and wildfire restoration." "she... played an important role in fighting off ...trump's efforts to kill the affordable care act." california news papers endorse dianne feinstein for us senate. california values senator dianne feinstein new details on the shooting at a pittsburgh synagogue. officials releasing the names of three women and eight men killed yesterday when a gunman opened
fire. the suspect used an ar-15 semi-automatic rifle and three glock handguns. robert bower is facing 29 federal charges including hate crimes, some carrying the death penalty. he will make his first court appearance tomorrow afternoon. new reaction within the past couple of hours to the horrific synagogue attack in pittsburgh and whether the president's tone made any difference. >> the tone he sets is of division, hatred, sometimes one of incitement. >> i don't see where president trump is somehow to blame for this. president trump and his rhetoric is very direct, but i don't see how you connect president trump to a person who's deranged going into a synagogue. >> joining me now, democratic congressman from virginia, jerry conley. your reaction, sir, to the two sound bites we heard from your colleagues in congress? >> i'm tuck lparticularly struc mr. langford because i know jim. that's pure equivocation. we have explicit incitement of
violence by mr. trump over the last three years at political rallies and other settings. just recently he said that the congressman who pled guilty to body slamming a reporter and got a misdemeanor charge on his record was his kind of guy. that's embracing a violent act. at his rallies he called on people to punch out the centers and he would pay the legal costs. why are we pussy footing around? he has incited violence. for mr. longford to say that pushes the limits of credulity. >> the president talked about how it could have been stopped. let's take a listen. >> well, again, this has little to do with it if you take a look. if they had protection inside, the results would have been far
better. this is a dispute that will always exist, i suspect. >> it's the idea, sir, that let the good guys have guns so they can stop the bad guys with guns. what do you think of that? frmgtsz i think this bad guy should not have had an ses to an ar-15. i think those weapons should be prohibited. the president is equivocatinequ. he's skirting that issue. apparently in the trump world and too much of the republican world, you know, all of our teachers would be armed. all of our professors at universities would be armed. all of our students at universities would be armed and apparently every synagogue goer, temple goer would be packing heat. what kind of world is that? this is madness. what the real answer is, reasonable strict background checks and gun control to prevent these kinds of massacres where other countries have
adopted them, they have been successful. >> there are statistics to back that up, that's for sure. let's talk about the mid terms. a really big issue for voters this election cycle, health care. there are republicans, some of them running for re-election who have started to change their tune. let's take a listen to some of that. >> everybody is in favor of maintaining coverage for pre-existing conditions. >> we have to repeal it. >> i support forcing insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. >> i will repeal every word of obamacare. >> everyone agrees we're going to protect pre-existing conditions. >> if you get elected are you going to vote to repeal and replace obamacare. >> yes, i would. i think it's absolutely vital. >> i support insurance companies covering all pre-existing conditions. >> a republican that can repeal obamacare and put pash ejts and families back in charge of their health care decisions. >> covering pre-existing conditions is personal to me. >> repeal and replace the
disaster known as obamacare. >> republicans will always protect americans with pre-existing conditions. >> competing messages there. clearly a change of heart for some of these guys. how republicans successfully could opted the narrative that they are the ones that are going to fight for america's health care? >> no, i don't think anyone is fooled. if you're going to be a phony, at least be sincere about it. this is the crowd that had 60 repeal votes. the only bill they've ever introduced as a substitute would have made insurance companies -- given them the power to significantly increase the cost of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and now all of a sudden they realize the tables have turned. public opinion, the longer the affordable care act is in place and working, has shifted. they're on the wrong side of that issue. you showed the clips where
almost every one of those republicans, they didn't have a caveat. they basically said repeal it. every word of it. >> congressman, there was an article that was posted recently in which your picture appeared quite prominently. the subject of it is how the republicans have handed the democrats a weapon here should the democrats take over the house of the mid term elections, that being unlimited subpoena power. talk about that and the extent to which you think should democrats take over the house after november 6th that this will be a congressional period of multi-investigations. >> if the democrats, as i think they will, win the mid-term election, it will be a mandate from the american public to provide a check and balance now sorrily missing because the republicans in congress simply will not exercise their constitutional obligation and responsibility for oversight and
accountability. the subpoena power, as the republicans have shown during the obama years is a very powerful tool to compel testimony, to get at investigations and too produce documents. and i believe they've shown how very effective that tool can be and i hope dome kratz have learned from that. we're not going to unilaterally disarm ourselves having won a hard-fought victory and winning a mandate from the american people to do just that, hold this president and others accountable. >> the one word they wish the president wouldn't use. find fortune... romance... ...find freedom, just one touch away.
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the first initial sound was described as a car crash. just a very loud noise, but the next multiple sounds were -- they were -- they were unmistakable. my father was able to make sure that everybody in that congregation was safe and then went down to try to assist one of the other congregations to see if they were safe. and when they were hidden, that's when he was able to evacuate. >> zach weiss describing what his father saw inside the tree of life synagogue. steven weiss made it out of that building alive and used a janitor's cell phone to call his
i'm a nationalist. they said, oh. that's unbearable. >> new this afternoon, president trump doubling down after declaring himself a nationalist, despite facing criticism that the term is anti-semitic. with the welcome to you both, susan, so you just heard the president proudly announcenatio. what are the implications of that. >> the president is using that for political purposes. no doubt. he thinks that term will motivate a certain part of his base. and he will continue to use it. he doesn't care about being politically correct. he doesn't care about what he -- what that brings up emotionally for people, what it means to most americans. he only case if he thinks it will help him win. again, it's all about donald trump.
>> do you think, howard, when he says he's a nationalist, that he's thinking about the negative connotation that can come with that word, especially knowing he's got white nationalists that support him. it's like he knows it's not a word -- it's a word that should not be talked around. is it politically incorrect. let's talk about this message. >> well, historically nationalism is one of the great stories of war. why europe was involved in war for a thousand years. first of all, trump is sort of a negative person. he's really -- he's rebranded the republican party as the party of hate. i don't think most republicans go around hating people, but to not stand up to this is the problem. you have lunatics all the time. right. not just republican lunatics and so forth. the problem is trump empowers the lunatics by saying it's great the reporter who got slammed by the congressman. and by saying that you know, we ought to lock people up in jail
or we ought to beat up the press. trump doze those things. nobody stands up to him. most of them wouldn't if the president of the united states wasn't winking and nodding to the kind of violence we saw yesterday and the violence of the last weeks. >> i think it's worse than just empowering crazy people to act out. it empowers a lot of other people to feel connected and joined through such you ugliness. allows them to feel free to have more every day racist ways about them for to it be more accepting in our society. i think it's taking a stand and dangerous. he is nationalism is not an american value. that's all this president does
is tear apart our values in the country. move forward and get to the bottom line t. most clear line to help him get re-elected. >> it would seem the president may be confusing the term nationalism with patriotism. potentially, take a listen to what he said at the u.n. last month. >> we object the ideology of globalism. we embrace patriotism around the world. >> what do you think about that? that there's a confusion on two terms. >> this is gibberish. everyone is patriotic. this is gibberish. most of his audience has no idea that nationalism is a major source of war and has been. the real problem is behavior. behavior to condone the worst parts of human beings and that is what makes him responsible for the climate of violence and his party will not stand up to
him. if they don't do it, their brand is going to be hate. it will not succeed or help them succeed in the future. it's blaming the president e's vile nationalism there. anti-semitic sentiments there. here's quote, most powerful man on earth uses his podium to dehumanize entire groups. comes as no surprise when others take up arms. your thoughts about that susan. >> the president didn't ask someone to pull the trigger. >> but whether it be the shooting at the synagogue or sending pipe bombs to elected officials, it's a reflection of the president's rhetoric. he is not directly responsible
for it. he knows better. he knows words have meaning and can cause action. we've seen it since charltsville. charlottesville. he doesn't care. he only case about dividing it to his own benefit. >> susan, howard, good to see you both, guys, thank you. so what's next in the investigation of the pittsburgh synagogue attack? going hear from neighbors at the top of the hour. p of the hour. ♪ ♪ p of the hour. (bicycle bell sound) ♪ ♪ (bicycle bell sound) ♪ ♪ explore more with a guaranteed 4pm checkout at over 1,000 fine hotels and resorts. it's another way we've got your back. ♪ ♪ the platinum card from american express. don't live life without it.
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