tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC August 11, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
94% say politics. that's "the ed show." showdown. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. leading off tonight, perry's in. hours before eight republicans gather for tonight's debate in iowa we got the word. nbc news confirmed rick perry of texas, the texas governor will formally announce his intention to run for president this saturday. that's, of course, the same day as the iowa straw poll and a perfect way to for perry to upstage the event and other candidates. sarah palin, too, is in iowa and she and perry are getting lots of buzz.
could that be because republicans are simply unhappy with tonight's debate lineup? the big question, it's not winning the debate, when will the party emerge as dominant? traditional, whose turn is it? guys like romney and pawlenty or the tea party will triumph? the bachmann ring, surrender or treason? a bad showing tonight could spell the end of a couple of the candidacies. also, put together an unpopular dead deal, 30 american deaths in afghanistan, a terrible run on wall street and declining poll number, and what do you get? a bunch of democrats getting very nervous about president obama's re-election chances. and hypocrisy watch tonight. mitt romney has been bragging about how s&p mashed massachusetts' credit rating as governor up there. what he doesn't say, he argued this state deserved that higher rating because taxes had been raised.
well, how's that going to go over with the republican voters? with the tea partiers? we'll ask a strategist. and what could be the final takeover of the republican party we once knew? mark halperin is here, and interviewed governor perry for "time" magazine and john heilemann, national political columnist. mark first then john. impact statement. perry's in? >> chris, i'm sorry. could you say that again? >> what's the impact of perry coming into the race? nbc reporting says he's an actual candidate and will announce on saturday. >> i think by most metric we use to judge candidates he become as first tier candidate if he performs well in the first 15 day, i think for the time it will be a two-person race between him and governor romney. a big if, he's never done this. first time presidential candidate, but if he raises the kind of money they're talking about, fields the excitement in south carolina and iowa in particular, it will be effectively for the time being a two-person race.
>> what do you make of it? two-person race? boxing out bachmann by getting in on the tea party side? >> well, as mark said, we'll see how he performs. has perry is, what he embodies is the possibility, you talked about the different wings of the party. we talked on the show about different brackets, about establishment bracket versus a populist anti-establishment tea party bracket. perry has the possibility of a being a bracket buster. he has real appeal to evangelical, populist, tea party types. because of credentials in texas, longer serving governor in the country, longest serving governor in texas history and because the economy has done pretty well we to appeal to a lot of main stream republicans who want someone with substantial governing experience. he would break the race wide open if he performs well. >> trying to knock out the
establishment candidate who is, of course, mitt romney, he's on the way, seems to me, challenging michele bachmann. when does he begin to prove dominance over michele bachmann, the congresswoman from minnesota? >> chris, we'll get a great realtime test of this, because perry you know, will be in south carolina and new hampshire on saturday. then he comes here on sunday. he accepted a speaking slot at the waterloo county dinner late sunday afternoon and michele bachmann just accepted that invitation as well. unless someone else joins them, they will be the two featured speakers in an important county at a dinner. that back-to-back performance will set the tone how they'll compete. perry has backing from a bunch of groups associated with the tea party. he saw the waves of the tea party well before most other republicans, national figures, and i think as powerful as michele bachmann has been, as much as a following she's already built, perry comes in with a lot of umph, because tea party people are rational. they want someone who can win and perry will have that
governing credential for a lot of people will make a difference. >> whose waterloo is it going to be? explained ho you what he thinks differentiates him in the other candidates. he said, "the key is i've got a record." and that record, particularly when it comes to creating jobs for our citizens, i will put that up against anybody who's running, and particularly against this president. we have today, whose jobs record is abysmal." vulnerability of the president and perhaps his strength. john heilemann, a double header win on the division of the tea party crowd and challenge a knockout mitt romney among whose turn in the crowd. going further on that, does he have the gravitas from what you've seen to be presidential material? >> well, he is a really extraordinarily good campaigner on the stump. he gives a hell of a stump speech.
everyone that sees it is impressed. the question, can he go beyond that first stump speech? how does he perform in debate? in interviews? all of those things are unnoted. he's never faced national scrutiny like he's about to, but he'll go back to the texas record and a lot of people will say if you get up close, that the texas record is not as good as he claims but in a lot of cases we look at the state records from 30,000 feet and from 30,000 feet, texas has produced more jobs than any other state in the country over the court of the down it turn. produced, i think, about one-third of the net jobs in the entire country the past five, six years. from 30,000 feet a very strong record and on the main area? barack obama is vulnerable giving him credibility in the race. >> does he talk honestly, credibly, i don't know the guy, talking about secession, was that a brilliant ploy to the far right to show how angry he was with washington or ignorant of american history thinking texas had a personal, you know, option play here about whether it's in or out?
>> well, the way he talk about it, he didn't go out and give a speech advocating or waving that flag. asked a question, gave an answer. left open the door, secession. that alone in a presidential context is something he'll have to answer for. really have to explain it. make no mistakes, his aides don't think he's going to run. not planned to run talking about secession or even about social issues. i quote him in my people in "times," an establishment type. if i run for president and ask what time it is i'm going to say jobs. he plans to run as a jobs candidate. he knows that's the issue in the campaign, he has 30,000 headline on jobs, and for republicans who want someone who can govern and take it to the president on the issue that matters, he's strong.
>> sure. can he run a hermetically sealed campaign? back to mark on this. can you run a campaign, i'm only talking to party chairs, not allow myself to be interviewed by anybody in the center or left in the media, not going to talk to the katie courics of this world this time around, avoid tricky questions exposing me as a full mooner? can you do that in the republican campaign today? avoid regular reporters and just go to the locals? >> well i think we're going to see a test to that this time, chris. there are, rick perry is not the only one. a lot of candidates have come to believe it's possible to try to get around the filter in a way by talking only to friendly press. that's not just local reporters, also ideologically driven television, the bloggers, others who are friendly press. there are people who think that this is the first election we're going to be able to get away with that. i continue to think it's going to be very hard to do, and that maybe can you get away for it for a number of months, ultimately, the republican party, the mainstream voter will
want to hear these guys in big settings talking to mainstream reporters and answering questions. i think city that's true. i hope it's true, but we're going to see. >> and ingram's morning radio show, want to challenge that, mark? can they get away talking just inside their own hermetically sealed capsule? >> he did do an interview with me. i will to work hard to get it. mitt romney has not done your show, a sunday show. i think governor perry will have to answer by doing some additional interviews. the old days of george bush getting on a campaign plane, i remember distinctly in 1999, first trip to iowa george bush took -- walked on the tarmac and from the "new york times" had a two-way with brian williams. governor bush stopped, started goofing around with rick in the shot. i don't think you'll see rick perry doing that stuff. he's going to keep his distance as he has in texas. but he makes -- one of the reasons it's an advantage to
getting in late, the window he has to hide, if he chooses to do that is a lot shorter than it is for a normal candidate. >> i think this is a quick campaign for this guy. a smart campaign. let's go sarah palin. no stranger to crashing her fellow republicans' big days. remember when michele bachmann kicked off her presidential campaign in waterloo? sarah palin had the premiere of her movie in iowa. mitt romney announcing he was running in new hampshire. palin, through the headlines the next day, was hosting a clam bake for tea party activists. there we see her m.o., john heilemann. doing it again today in iowa in the midst of the debate, but not in the debate. not in the straw poll or in anything except the headlines. is she doing to do that throughout or back perry? >> look, first of all, an element of sarah palin, kind of like, "where's waldo"? you can predict where she'll pop up, as to where the cameras are. if sarah palin has a plan, and she doesn't want to run, rick perry entering the race gives
her a good opportunity to the say, now someone's running who i totally support, represents the issues and values i care about. we find her impossible to predict, because i think most of the ways in which we think how politicians act we apply a filter of viewing them. she acts much more by instinct and whim and caprice. she could have locked it up last thursday. let's go to iowa. that will be fun. it's hard to know why she's coming, but there's at least some part of her that wants to keep the door open at least a little bit. >> i love this. what's she more like? mark, what you hate to do, give me a character assessment right now? is she more the person who's smart and says i want to ride shotgun on the perry campaign? i like that seat off the to right of the passenger. i'll be to his right, give him a few hints and be the clear person behind him. ride shotgun. a western notion on the stagecoach.
shotgun. or will she see him wearing a better looking cowboy suit and be envious. i want to pair the fancy suit i want to be that guy. which is she personalitywise? be the person or the kingmaker behind him? >> personalitywise she wants to be the person. the top person, but i think the reality of the difficulty of getting in, raising money, hiring a staff, building a structure, unless she's done a lot of that secretly behind the scenes, even though rick perry has just started publicly, his people, trained experience political proffers around him, she doesn't have that. perry has movement, not to mention the other people have been in a long time. from a rational point of view, she'd like to be the top person. not sure the window is there unless she moves real quick. >> and what else she wants to do -- >> go ahead. >> chris, what else she wants to do, torment mitt romney, and she's going to have a good time doing that in either seat.
either running shotgun or in the driver's seat, she's going to be tormenting him for months to come. >> wait a few months and endorse perry when it has the most impact. just a out that. i like the way you think, mark and john. have a great day. when we return, the first iowa debate is tonight. which side the republican party's going emerge? will it be the old, whose turn is it? bob dole, nixon, those guys, and mitt romney and jon huntsman or the party ever the tea party? have they taken over? is it a michele bachmann night tonight? you're watching "hardball." only on msnbc.
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with rick perry jumping into the race, another tea party among the republican field of candidates. who will emerge victorious this year and beyond? a tea partier or someone with a, whose turn is it? thank you. we have you on in an unusual circumstance and would like you to advise us. i don't want to argue with you tonight anymore than we have to. what does it look like -- i grew up in a republican family in pennsylvania, moderate republicans. eisenhower, a moderate republican. liberal republican crowd, rockefeller. nixon in the middle all of those years. now it looks like romney, probably running as a kid when his dad failed to win.
pawlenty running for years in his mind, and new people coming into politics, some with a religious background like bachmann and rick perry. who's going to win this? someone way new kind of background in the republican party or the traditional wing, sort of the whose turn is it crowd? >> a good question and hopefully what we'll help to decide tonight at the debate and saturday in the straw poll, and beyond into the caucus and the primary, chris, but i would say this, that one person left out of this equation that there hasn't been much discussion, ron paul who has built a lot of organization here and we should not underestimate the five years of work he's invested in this. aside from that, then i think what you're looking at is, will the energy that's generated by these candidates carry them through a straw poll and fairly high profile that haven't entered into this for the whole competition and that changing the shift of this and actually shifts the debate tonight.
it's going to be interesting to see how candidates that aren't on the ballot in the straw poll on saturday may feel like they've got life to tackle some of the candidates that are looking like they might have a chance to win the straw poll ballot on saturday. >> how much strategy is going into the voter who shows up, in the straw poll, activated, very much a political person. how much thinking are they putting into who can win next november? >> well, there's a fair amount of thinking there, but if i look back on past iowa caucuses and the straw polls that went with it, it seems to me that the strategy on who could win took ahold more moving towards the caucus in february 6th, it's scheduled now, than the straw poll. this poll is more i think about how you can generate the energy to get people to come here for this vote on the day of saturday. that's how i view it, chris. >> so it's really hard? how much do voters feel
excitement? passion rather than numbers? >> well, i think that one of the things i'm watching is the kind of energy that is injected in how people respond, and, for example, last night herman cain showing up to a crowd of about 500 and had a long period of time where he could speak and moved those people considerably. but it's a 2.5 hour drive down to ames. different than if standing in ames way crowd like that. you'd be looking at how much does tim pawlenty invest and how much energy does he generate? rick santorum says a lot of right things. we'll see if they have the energy to come to town. i wish we had mitt romney engaged in this and then more of a balanced measure, but as it is, the debate will set the stage for the straw poll on saturday, and who knows how it will evaluate in the end. >> talk about romney. sam stein of the huffington post, he quoted on 16 separate
occasions, michele bachmann to petition the federal government for direct financial help or aid. a large chunk of those requests for funds set aside to president obama's stimulus program. which bachmann once labeled, and here's a question about jobs. i want to get to policy now, not just politics. the question of job creation. it seems to me everybody when i grew up want add military base near their house because it meant jobs. like the aerospace program. meant jobs. boeing in seattle, meant jobs. the idea the federal government can't create jobs doesn't seem to be questioned locally, even by people like bachmann. they want a chunk of the action if the government's going to spend the money. do federal programs like the stimulus bill that creates job do they create jobs or not and if so, what's the problem with doing them?
>> i hear both sides of that argument. i hear companies that say we didn't add anybody on but had to change our bookkeeping to say we did because they insisted we recategorize employees because of stimulus money under a contract they might have been fulfilling. you can't deny people are earning that money and yet it jobs. here's the connection, it's this -- the vitality of the private sector creates the wealth that is taxed to pay for the government jobs. and we're coming to this point now where the vitality of the private sector, the private sector specifically, is being diminished by taxes and regulation in an increasing way. i think this debate is about the difference between cainian economics, creating jobs by developing a consumer economy versus the private sector, which produces goods and services with a marketable value domestically and abroad. that's the dividing line with this upcoming president. >> and what about world war ii? buildup land lease and support of ever brits and other allies and we got into war?
that boomed our economy because of the defense jobs. wasn't that an example where government spending created jobs? >> there are a lot of economists that will say so, and president obama is one of them. i've heard him say it, along came world war ii, the greatest economic stimulus plan ever. he regrets that fdr didn't spend more money in the new deal, but i will tell you that our dow jones industrial average we watched go up and down dramatically in the last couple of weeks didn't recover from the october 29 crash until 1954. and i believe that part of that was the interest and the principle that we had to service on our debt. there's a balance, and most economists that look at the data say a percentage of the gdp is all you can take, an optimal point. i say 18%. i hope it passes. >> a good debate.
and director for the huffington post meeting group and an msnbc analyst. you heard the fundamental argument. did it nicely. usually yell louder. we had the fundamental argument whether the government can create jobs. i want to ask you about politic. you're an expert. a battle that begins seems to me between what you and i call the establishment wing of the matter, a wilder party of passionate people who don't like government period. who's going to win it in the beginning and who's going to win it at the end? >> in the beginning, the passionate people, as the congressman was saying. the debate tonight will focus on the straw poll on saturday is really, chris, about the base of the base of the base of the new republican party. whether that's evangelical christians or tea party people. people very skeptical of the role of the federal government, even if they're sometimes taking money from the federal government. that's what this event and this caucus season early on is all about.
so the focus tonight and then on saturday is going to be on two people. it's going to be on michele bachmann, who had taken the lead sort of in an energetic wild wing, if you will, of the party, and now with rick perry running around and with sarah palin coming to the, to go to the state fair and so forth. it's whether michele bachmann can kind of hold the lead she forged as the early wild one out there on that side, and then the other person who's going to be under the gun is going to be tim pawlenty. tim pawlenty is from that establishment side and yet he has said i can be the crossover guy. i can work both sides of the street. if he doesn't do well in the debate and if he doesn't do well in the straw poll on saturday, i think he's pretty much finished even before the thing begins. >> beginning to look more like a three-way fight, romney, bachmann and the new guy on the block, perry. taking a heckling. >> you asked your question, i give you my answer.
if you don't like it, you can vote for somebody else. barack obama is killing this economy. why 25 million people don't have jobs and can't find jobs [ chanting ] >> okay. next question? you have a question? over here? >> yes, sir. >> you had your turn. i had my turn. >> sounds like some of my producers out there. this is not a typical republican crowd. is it? >> no. >> populist democrats got into that crowd and they don't blame the government. they blame the wall street guys. >> i would think so. the congressman, he september talking -- he kept talking energy. the base of the base of the base of iowa. i don't think he'd apply the word energy to the romney campaign. he's playing it very safe. he took a pass on being part of the straw poll on saturday. he's going to be in this debate tonight. but romney sort of has a semi pass out of iowa, because of his strength elsewhere in the
country. but you know, if he keeps going through situation likes the one he went through today, you know, that energy factor is not going to be there early on and at some point people are going to start saying, even if you've got money you're not exciting the crowds. >> let me ask you a tough question, not that tough. it rick perry be the republican nominee? can he beat president obama? does he have the stuff? >> the answer is, yes, he's got a chance to do that, mark and john says earlier, he's never faced fastball pitching from outside of texas. he's in the texas league. he's now put himself in the major lesion. even if he avoids most interviews and most tough situations he's going have a lot of questions asked. he's putting his best foot forward on the jobs record, but there's a lot more to be said about him personally and professionally. >> i've got couple for him if he wants to come on this show. thank you, howard simon.
>> thank you. up next, at it again. republicans saying president obama's anti-american. only republican right wingers seem to use that phrase. one thing i'll say for the progressive side of things, traitors. this time it's a poll on this number, not weren't of the brightest polls in the box either. you're watching "hardball." only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] we always try to save you even more money when you switch your car insurance to esurance. i could save 'em 522 smackers. you talkin' dough? bread.
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back to "hardball." now for the "sideshow." straight up, far from the right on the radio today. republican senator jim demint railing against president obama not just against his policies but for being anti-american. >> we saw with a few days that this president was going to be heavy-handed. he was going to implement his agenda and pay back his political allies, and it just
went on from there to obamacare and then to dodd-frank, and it has been the most anti-business, and i consider anti-american administration of my lifetime. this president is doing something that's so far out of the realm of anything republicans ever did wrong, it's hard to even imagine. >> using that term anti-american signify as certain politician? can a republican be anti-american or other democrats held to that moniker? and why only used by those on the far right? they seem to love it. hmm. on a lighter note than that, steve colbert got approval to form a super pact called americans for a better tomorrow released its first ad of the 2012 campaign. let's listen. >> a storm is gathering over iowa. a money storm. out of state groups like growpac and jobs for iowapac are
flooding the airwaves telling you to vote rick perry at the ames straw poll. we want you to vote for rick perry, too, but not their rick perry. our rick parry. that's parry with an a, or america. with an a for iowa. >> i wonder if some know colbert is kidding with all this? anyway, was wall street teetering? stuck below 50% democrats getting nervous about president obama's re-election chances. what should the president do right now to calm the jitters? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
welcome back to "hardball." democrats are getting nervous about president obama's chances for re-election next year and the polls show cause for concern. look at the new pollster.com trend line of the president's approval rating from this year. able to keep his approval rating even all year long. this approval rating starts to tank in july, last month, until the current all-time low of 43%. it's going down now. joining me, political commentator and author ronald reagan. ron -- joan first then ron. seems to me that something has broken bad lately. what do you think of that? joan first.
>> i agree, chris. i think that the president went out of his way to get a deal with the republicans, put a lot of thing on the table as a liberal democrat i wasn't happy with that but rooting for him to get a deal and he didn't. and i think that his, i'm the best compromise or i'm the reasonable man, routine, it's not a routine. it's who he is. that is wearing a little bit thin, and i think we really need to see him begin to articulate a democratic party vision of how to get this country moving again. until he does, we may continue to see slippage. there is something wrong with what just happened in the last two weeks and everyone agrees on that point. he needs to articulate what's going to make it better besides cutting the deficit more than the other side. >> needs to be tougher than the other side or a lot smarter, more clever. he didn't show either in his last go-round. >> he really didn't. progressive, many progressives understand the country is in a place now where we need a transformative leader nap was the sort of leader president
obama promised he would be. he talked about being a transformative president, but once he got into office, we seemed to discover now temperamentally he is unwilling to, you know, break the furniture, you know, tip over the system that already exists here and really get down to the brass tacks of doing something different, transforming the system, which we all agree is broken. he just doesn't want to seem to do that and we get the feeling what we elected was a center right politician. >> here's the "washington post," anxious on the front page, growing numbers of obama's allies expressed disappointment in the past. further are challenged by a string of recent events that are testing his presidential mettle, as a result, more democrats are saying it's time for him to scrap his more cautious, conciliatory approach and advocate bolder programs generating jobs and economic growth, even though many of those ideas would have no chance of passing congress.
of course, that's me talking there. and karen walsh described i'm not a democratic activist but a commentator and that's my view. that sometimes you don't have to be brand new and novel. you simply do the right thing. it a fire's burning, you put it out. sometimes things are basic. people are out of work, put them to work. it ain't complicated, mr. president. what do you think it is, karen? i have to tell you, is he willing to say eric cantor and those, mccarthy and those guys, kevin. is fronting for the tea party people, bringing down the government, skrut whole sale, is he willing to say they are wrong or just disagree with him? sounds like he doesn't want to say they're wrong. >> he has a very hard time coming out and saying they're wrong, and specifically naming the people who were wrong. he did a great job fighting the paul ryan budget, i believe back in april, chris. you and i talked about it. he really sounded like a democrat. he explained to paul ryan why he
was making a lot of mistaken assumptions about the way america works. that was awesome, and he backed away from that. i think was right to try to compromise. it was right to take office in 2009 and try to reach out to the other side and believe there were reasonable republicans, but it didn't turn out to be true. >> he made himself attacked like -- stuck his neck out and this guy punched his head off. this time up against shrewd customers. fronting for the tea party knew what they were doing, had enough behind them to give them bulk and went at the president saying we're going to knock you off here. we don't care what you think. we're going to knock you off unless you say uncle. >> he doesn't seem to understand that he's dealing with people that want nothing more than his destruction. >> yeah. >> with people who are not trying to help the american economy, at least not for the next, you know, year or so. they want the american economy to suffer stow will hurt him.
that's the game they're playing. needs to call them out, identify them and identify their tactics and their strategy as well. >> i agree with you all. thank you. we all awe glee tonight which is scary. thank you, joan, thank you, ron, because i really think it's time for good old action old time religion. put people to work and make the republicans say they can't work because we don't want them to. how's this for hypocrisy? mitt romney blaming how s&p raised the credit rating when governor of massachusetts but doesn't say how it worked. it was that they raised taxes. that's how he got a better credit rating. what will republicans make of that sugarplum? this is "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] undeniably colorful, seriously smooth and in excellent condition... those are your lips with covergirl lip perfection. it doesn't just give you beautiful color now, it gives you more beautiful lips in 7 days. in a single stroke, rich color rocks your lips. in a single week, the silk moisturizing complex helps smooth and soften them. how perfect!
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we're back. american, ready to blame washington for the debt crisis and the s&p downgrade and according to them both parties are equally at fault. plus, mitt romney touting his reign as governor. here it is. under "the washington post," steve mcmahon and pat buchanan. what do you make of the fact romney bragged about the fact that he got better credit rating from the s&p out of
massachusetts but never noted the fact he got because they raised taxes in the assembly up there? >> that wouldn't be something he would want to bring up and put out front. perhaps you think that might be advantageous to him, but it wouldn't be, chris. romney will be hit on think, the taxes, the real taxes, were enacted in the governorship before his, which was a democrat, and then he took advantage of that and got the state's credit rating raised, which i think was a good thing and cut taxes 19 times. i read that, read that closely. i don't think it's really a real issue that someone on the conservative side of the republican party can use to gray effect against romney. >> what do you think, from the liberal sides of things, an issue that shows hypocrisy? got a good credit rating but not by a wild notion he never raised taxes?
>> senator kennedy used to say he wasn't pro-choice but multiple choice. he has a multitude, including a balanced approach to fiscal sanity. massachusetts had it right. they had tax revenue increases where he needed to. made cuts where they had to and had a pretty strong fiscal record. mitt romney took advantage of that fact and, you know, it's a surprise to me now that he's, he is running off the tea party folks and kind of running away from his record in the end. >> i want to go with "the washington post" fascinating poll. interesting question. entry tonight, big news. nbc news reporting rick perry is going in the race saturday. his entry, does it knock out bachmann? more of a threat to bachmann immediately or romney down the road? >> bachmann, emerged as the tea party conservative challenger to romney and one moo will do well in the iowa strong poll. immediately to her. honestly, to romney. it's a threat to her but it's a threat to romney. but look, chris, from rockmney's standpoint, he's going to come down on the other side. who does he prefer, bachmann or
perry. i think looking at it, we should prepare bachmann rather than perry who looks like he would have crossover strength. republican-based and also a movement leader. >> that's what heilman said earlier tonight. last, i have to get to the poll. steve? >> he's over here dusting off his pitch fork, his head is in new hampshire. >> i don't have cross overstrength. >> you never tried. >> "the washington post." asked americans if the federal government is focused on the right things on the wrong things. 71% said the government is focused on the wrong things. when asked who's to blame on the focus for the wrong things, the blame, everybody takes it, 30% say the president and the president. 32% say the republicans.
32% say the most. this is a rotten move right now. this is august. there's nothing that the politicians can do from now to labor day to fix things. it gets nastier between now and labor day. >> nobody won here, everybody lost. there's another number in "the washington post" poll which i don't know if you reported but it was 17% re-elect for your own member of congress. people say congress shouldn't be re-elected but their own congressman should be. 17% for their own congressman is a new low and a new record. >> you and i watched other countries that didn't have a stronger constitution. thank god we got run. we put it on in places like greece before the parliament took over. where the parliamentarians couldn't do the job of the country. latin american countries where the parliament blows with the bs and corruption and wasting our time. the inability of these two
parties to function in a partnership to me is the kind of thing that drives people away from faith and their constitution. your thoughts? >> you know what it looks like, the fourth republic in the 1950s, the worst in algeria and china. >> france. >> frustrated with the government. the people said enough is enough. they called charles de gaulle back in 1958. we're close to a de gaulle moment in this country. but i think this country is so much stronger than france was at that point. france had gone through a real debate and everything. but no doubt three straight repudiate ing repudiating elections and looking like we're headed for a fourth. >> any way you can advise, steve, that this president of ours, president obama, president of the united states, can recover leadership? >> he needs to offer a specific plan for improving the economy. i think he needs to be mindful
of what could pass extending the payroll cuts for employers and employees. pick a fight on the tax cuts for the rich and do things that make it difficult for the republicans to vote against a balanced approach and do things that will help employers create jobs. >> i tell you how he can do it if he'll just recognize this balanced approach, the re of it, you're not going to run the tea party. the tea party is not going to run the ryan plan over you. get rid of it. go first for the cuts on entitlement. go for tax reforms. give the exemptions and all the rest of it. we'll give you the lower rates. if he does that in a two-step way, he could do something. he won in december by telling the republicans, okay, you got your bush tax cuts. you've got those, now let's work on these. if he goes down there and does the same thing again and tries to run over those guys, the same play again, he's going to be stopped cold at the goal line again.
>> i think he has to go to jobs. thank you for your thoughts. thank you for coming in on this show. when we return, my thoughts about the battle of the republican party. we may find ourselves with one choice for president which isn't the american way. the republican party may trash itself by going so far right. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. if you've ly signed up for medicare or will soon, you're starting a whole new journey. and, like many people, you're probably wondering, where do i go from here? consider an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. call now for a free information kit and guide to medicare to get started. basically,
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finish with this republican party, a party that has to make a big decision and right now this week. i grew up in main stream republicans. less government in the home case, less interference abroad. it's for balanced budget, not supply-side craziness that believed in pay as you go economics. it paid as it spent. fascinating, isn't it? common sense down the middle, reasonable economics. well, today we're watching a battle between what once was the republican party, the conservatively inclined middle and the new right, the religious people who vote republicans because they're democrat. they get involved in politics because they get anger. anger over the government not
prosecuting for abortion. anger over the government let's face it, the way things are. it begins in iowa, a straw poll this saturday. there are two candidates running today for the gop nomination who qualify as the kind of republicans most of us grew up with. one is mitt romney, one is john huntsman. michelle bachmann and rick perry are in the religious faction. those who treat election as dlifrns. some deep change that can be triggered by hard stumping. these revivalists are taking charge of the republican party for good. it's a dangerous game we're watching. the country is run by voters who like to have a choice between the democratic party and the republican party. if one of the two parties, the republicans gets taken over by the wild ones, the religious folk will make it harder for the independent voter to choose them.