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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  August 16, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, obama fights back -- sort of. the good news, president obama looks like he's finally ready to take it to republicans. here's the bad news. he seems to running against congress, and guess what? congress is not going to be on the ballot against him next november. the president says he'll put out a program in september to boost the economy and create jobs. my question -- what are you waiting for? also, perry's being perry. in the past 24 hours rick perry has said president obama is the biggest threat to the country. that the federal reserve's policy is is "almost treasonist" or treasonist in my opinion, and also suggested fed chairman ben bernanke would get ugly treatment down in texas. this is why they love him on the right and why the white house might love to run against him. the case tonight against perry. plus, when even karl rove worries that the republican party has gone too far, too far right, you know it's gone too far right.
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he's longing, he is, for someone to jump in and save the gop from itself. any chance? there's word today paul ryan and chris christie may yet reconsider running. we'll ask the "hardball" strategists tonight. plus, maybe the best story of the day. tea tax. at least two congress mist, believe it or not including paul ryan decided if their constituents want to ask them questions, they should pay for the privilege. that's one way for a brave tea party type to avoid tough questions. let's see our "hardball" strategist take that one on. and let me finish tonight with what we know. that the republican presidential candidate will run against government, and what we don't know. what president obama will campaign for. we start with president obama fighting back today. cynthia tucker is a pulitzer prize winning columnist and shawn smith teaches international relations at yale. thank you both for joining us, cynthia and shawn. the interesting question. the president has three options. put up a big harry truman-type plan.
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big and democratic. lots of jobs, lots of spending, borrowing, but do it the democratic way. put people to work. dare the republicans to vote against it. number two, compromise a little of this, a little of that or roll over and give them what they want, more business tax cuts. the options. where should he go? >> b and c are about the same, chris. compromising with republicans is rolling over. that's virtually what happened in the debt ceiling debate. there were absolutely no tax increases, because the republicans wouldn't give in at all, and the president did. he absolutely needs to be harry trouping. >> give him something that you have to choke on. >> you have got to -- even if he proposes small things, they're not going to vote for it. they're going to say no. why not be big, be bold, be imaginative and hang it around the republicans' necks. >> my big question. why wouldn't the president tell us what he would do if he didn't
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have opposition? let him know what he stands for and then let them vote again him? what do you think? >> i think he's being realistic. look at the economy proposals on the table now that are sitting, languishing in congress while they do nothing, they are respectfully to get the economy back moving again through the extension of the payroll tax relief, the extension of jobless benefits for those who are unemployed. he's talked about a massive -- >> we have a the 9.1% unemployment rate, effectively almost 20% underemployment. you're talking a pretty small -- boar, for a does that. >> he's challenged the private sector to hiring returning veterans coming back from afghanistan and iraq. proposed putting unemployed construction workers out of work since the housing bust back to work. the country is in desperate need of infrastructure improvements. you've got 1 million unemployed construction workers. we could put those people back to work tomorrow if congress would act on these things.
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look, i think the president know what he can likely get out of this republican congress, and what is definitely unattainable and i think if you look back on his presidency and the kind of president he said he would be going back to the very first speech he gave at the national level in 2004, it's been about -- he's been a practical problem solver. he's not an ideologue. he is trying to cut through the gridlock and the partisan warfare in washington, and get things done for the american people. >> i think -- >> he's not a grandstander. he's not going to proposal things that have no chance of passing. >> people want to know what he wants. anyway, people want to know what this president stands for and what he wants. let the republicans say no. that's my view. not yours. to president obama flexing campaign muscle over the past couple of days. last night he went after republicans at his stop in iowa. let's listen to the president. >> i know it's frustrating, because the other side is unreasonable. you don't want to -- you don't
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want to reward unreasonableness, but sometimes you've got to make choices in order to do what's best for the country at that particular moment. >> you know, i don't know what that means. >> it sound like an apology for the debt ceiling compromise. quite frankly. you know, chris, i don't blame the president on that one. it is absolutely true that the republicans are extremists, they were unreasonable of the debt ceiling. it needed to be lifted. the country could not go into default. but beyond that, no more compromise it is, and for heaven's sake, let's not hear any more talk of patent reform. that's among the very small bore issues the president is offering up nap makes it ring from the up. that makes it ring from the rafters, patent reform. give us a big, bold plan that would put people back to work immediately. it's true the republicans won't pass it, but they won't pass the payroll cut extension either. they won't do anything that they think is going to help obama in the next election. so why not do something, propose something bold that americans
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can get behind? >> you know, shawn, everybody knew, when you think, ronald reagan, what he was for. everybody got it simple. anybody knew he wanted to beat the soviet union, strategic weaponry for whatever, star wars whatever, he wanted to beat the reds. they knew he wanted to reduce the size of government by cutting taxes. what's the short answer to what obama wants to do? right now, to get the country moving again? what's his program? >> i think, chris, you heard him talk about it out there while he was listening to americans from the heartland. he has talked about ways to bring the job numbers back and get the economic growth moving back in the right direction. you've got to remember that the trend line are going in the right direction right now. they're not moving as quickly as the president would like -- >> what's he stand for? what's the president want the
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country to do right now? >> i think what the president wants washington to do, chris, is come together, not as democrats, not as republicans, but come together as americans and take on the big challenges that are -- >> and do what? >> -- stifling the recovery right now? >> and do what? >> to get an infrastructure, jobs bill passed. to pass tax cuts. to possibly get some new trade agreements. to pass patent reform. i mean, that is a piece of the puzzle. if he can get our entrepreneurs, with their ideas to the market quicker. these are all things that can help and keep this recovery moving in the right direction. keep unemployment numbers going if the right direction. we're moving in the right direction now. we've got to not lose faith in him and not lose faith in his approach, because he's getting us to where we're trying to go. >> okay. let's go. here's the president last night
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talking about his plan. this job recovery plan. let's listen. >> i'll be putting forward, when they come back in september, a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs and to control our deficit. >> well, there you have it. he's promising september. we'll see you in september. here he is, august 16th, i guess we're waiting. two weeks. >> and he's still talking about getting the deficit under control, when actually even many republican economists are saying that's the wrong thing to talk about. we don't have a short-term debt problem. what we have is a jobs problem. that's what americans want to hear about. and, you know, there are unemployed plumbers and painters who don't want to hear about patent reform. what in the heck is that? for heaven's sake, give me a plan that's going to put people back to work in the next several months. go big. >> i'm not sure that's clear. sean, your answer to this
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question, does the president want to spend more money at the federal level, borrow some or spend less? which is it? spend more, spend less? i don't even know that about the president right now. he said deficit reduction, also said do something on jobs. which is it? >> i think that he would like to see the wealthiest americans pay more. he would like to see some of the tax loopholes that they are benefiting -- >> no. you're not answering the question. does he want to spend more federal dollars or less? a simple fundamental question about the president. i don't know the answer to it. do you? should we be spending more money in washington to create jobs, or should we be spending less? that's a simple question. what is it? what's his policy? >> well i think that -- well, i think we're going to find out exactly what his proposal is in september, but we know fundamentally what he believes, about who can pay more to help with the deficit reduction, but
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also that we probably do have to make some investments to get this country moving again, and so we're not shortchanging our future, either. we've got to worry about the long-term economic health of this country and our competitiveness against our rival it's and the rest of the world, in addition to our short-term jobs creation -- >> you think he should spend more? president obama's position right now, this year in this august of 2011, is the federal government is not spending enough money to create jobs? is that his position? >> i think that we'll see what he proposes in a couple of weeks, specifically on that. but i do think that it's likely that you're going to see him propose some things that are investments in our future. >> okay. thanks a lot. sean smith, thanks for coming on "hardball" tonight. thanks for your great article, let obama be obama. cynthia, thank you. coming up, rick perry says president obama is the greatest threat to america -- the greatest threat to america, is what rick perry is saying. he says the fed chairman is treasonist and will get the ugly treatment down in texas. i guess it's like adlai stevenson getting spit on down
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there. what is this? treasonist treatment? is this guy really running for president with this kind of talk? is it this bad? we want something like this? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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president obama, all-time low in the gallup poll. 39%. even that number is three times as good as congress. look at this number. a new gallup poll finds just 13%. like one in seven, approve of the job congress is doing. one in seven. you see people, six out of seven don't like this congress. that ties the record, by the way, of all time, 84% disapprove. that's a record high disapproval for the understanding congress. that's why we're seeing the president campaign against congress. no surprise there. we'll be right back.
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now we'll have some fun. welcome back to "hardball." now we'll have some fun. welcome back to "hardball." how strong of a candidate will governor rick perry of texas actually turn out to be?
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he certainly caused a lot of excitement since his official announcement on saturday. already some of his controversial statements on the trail out there are raising eyebrows. he said, by the way, the greatest threat to the country, the greatest threat to our country right now, is the president's spending strategy. and i thought congress had him all wrapped up. what does that mean? what is that spending strategy? and that fed chairman bernanke might be treasonist if he keeps printing money. what kind of campaign is he running out there, and who is he trying to appeal to? go to two people who really know this guy. wayne, senior political writer from "the dallas morning news." and jim hightower, the great radio talk show.
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great populist hero of texas who ran against perry for texas agriculture committee back in 1990. you could have stopped him right there but you didn't. he went right past you. >> my fault. >> went right past you on the highway to heaven and now is up there running against michele bachmann and romney and he may well be the nominee. what will stop him? will anything stop this guy? or is he just too good, looks too good, is too good politically for people to know what they're up to? what's going on here? >> no. once you get beyond the hair there's the real rick perry. then say the higher the monkey climbs the more you see of his ugly side. perry's got a very ugly side and he's going to get the media scrutiny, chris, that he's not had. >> you came to the right place. tell us how ugly he is. >> republicans get a twofer for him, one, one of the farthest out tea party right wingers in
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perry. sort of michele bachmann with better hair. and then also, though, they get the, the real perry, which is the exuberant corporate republican who never met a corporate lobbyist he wouldn't hug as long as he had a campaign check and a wish list. he really is kind of a george bush plutocrat, without the intelligence or the ethics. that's the real perry that is really going to be it's corporate perry. that's the kind of governorship he's run. for example, he's run around now talking about the great texas jobs miracle that he's fostered here. well, i'm not sure many people think -- >> what about -- what about all of these revival meetings and everything, tent church, church tent stuff he does? that turns a lot of people off where i come from. they like to keep politics secular. why does this guy start a campaign with a big religious meeting, with everybody waving their hands in the air with a very religious fervor? what's that got to do with what he's running on? anti-epa, what's that got to do with religion? >> nothing, of course, but it's his -- it's his answer to pretty much everything. everything that involves human beings, the people's needs. you know, we're in an exceptional drought down here in
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texas, and he had a three-day prayer for rain. god didn't respond. that should send a message to perry, but he puts on spectacles and i don't think they appeal even to religious people. i think jesus said, you should pray in private. >> mr. hightower, he hasn't impressed you. rick perry talking about president obama just yesterday in iowa. let's listen to the road show. >> look, i think the greatest threat to our country right now is this president who's trying to spend our way out of this disaster. >> and here he is at the same event. he had this to say about fed chairman ben bernanke who i think has been saving this country's bacon. let's listen. >> if this guy prints more money between now and the election, i don't know what y'all will do to him in iowa, but we -- we would treat him pretty ugly down in texas. i mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in american history is
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almost treacherous -- or treasonous in my opinion. >> does this guy know any history, treating somebody ugly? that's what they did to adlai stevenson in '63. remember that? appointed by george w. bush, the fed chairman. this afternoon perry said he stood by what he said, of course, but a former aide to president bush tweeted this response to his off-the-cuff remarks -- governor perry's comments about chairman bernanke are inappropriate. that will brush him back. wayne, who do you make of this guy? all hat, no cattle? what do you make of this guy? is he going to sell -- will he travel well? >> for a while. certainly in the -- to the constituencies he's trying to win in iowa, south carolina, maybe north florida and so forth, yeah one of the things that people don't, i think, understand, i know this
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conversation happened inside perry's political camp with this political guru dave carney was, it is not enough to make a pitch to a statistically significant constituency as the evangelicals and tea party activists, but also to be somebody who will take the fight to obama. that's what carney said. what people want is someone who takes the fight to obama. i think a lot of people never figured out that part of donald trump's appeal with that vanity candidacy, and that nutty stuff about the birthers, was that he at least was saying, put me in the ring with this guy obama. that's what this constituency wants. they want somebody who will fight and what perry is doing is telling them, hey, you want a guy who's quick, who fights, who will be there with you, who will stand up against obama, i'm that guy. >> that's how schumer beat demato up in new york. i remember. the democrats liked that, too, jim. you like that, too, don't you, jim? i like you like a fighter. >> oh, yeah. >> so the people on the right like what you want, somebody to
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duke it out way guy they don't like. is that his appeal? is wayne right about this? >> okay, go ahead. >> i think wayne is right about that, but it's only going to go so far, because you have to have a little bit of smarts about it. i mean, this guy has shown, in texas for ten years that he really knows how to put the goober in gubernatorial and now he's going to try to put the ugly in presidential. i don't think it's going to work the same. when you've got even karl rove coming out with perry's comments about bernanke saying that that is unnecessary and unpresidential, i think you've got a lot of hurt with your own party. >> let's take a look at what bob, robert gibbs, the president's press secretary said about him on "morning joe" today. let's listen. >> just two years ago the governor of texas openly talked about leading texas out of the united states of america, and now he's this, this campaign caused him to profess his love for the united states.
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i think it's a remarkable turnaround and i think any day now rick perry will probably ask to see the president's birth certificate. >> yeah. i think there is something there, and i mean that, wayne. i know you're an objective reporter, but i smell birtherism about this guy. his attack on obama isn't just policy. it's about the nature of the person who's president. it seems to me. your thoughts? >> yeah. i was struck at the response through the christian prayer rally. i was there for seven hours, watching that extraordinary event, and one of the things that perry said was, there is a dark cloud over america. dark in the skies and he presented himself as like this bright light for the future. there's something kind of odd, really, a dog whistle i guess is the way we talk about it now. >> sure. >> but it's kind of a reference that clearly is designed to appeal rhetorically to folks who you'll need in the primary. you're right, and jim's right, if this guy is the nominee, then how is he going to turn and pivot and pitch only economic matters and try to not remind people about the secession talk, about the treasonous talk and
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about the various other thing he may have said along the way that could make, you know, modern voters pretty darn nervous? >> jim, he's not even going to get the middle of the road voters until next november. more than 15 months from now. from now until next november, next november, 2012, he can talk to his own crowd, talk to the choir. talk to people who are white, middle class and better off some of them. he's not talking to liberal, not talking to african-americans or hispanics or people who do want racial justice in the country necessarily. who's he going to offend between now and next summer that's going to hurt him? the right winger -- >> the 82% majority that says i don't go with the tea party right now. the 84% of people you just said don't trust the congress either. he may be talking to that narrow band of people, but the whole america is listening to what he's saying, and if they don't want to listen, they can just read his book. he's going to get a readership
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that he did not expect for that book, calling for the end of social security, medicaid and -- >> jim, thanks for bringing that up. another potential for liability. for what perry said about social security and medicare and medicaid in the past. here's what he told "the daily beast" last fall -- i think every program needs to stand the sunshine of righteous scrutiny, whether it's social security, medicare, whether it's medicaid. you have $115 trillion of unfunded liability in those three. they're bankrupt, they're a ponzi scheme. so calling social security, wayne, a ponzi scheme to somebody watching right now this program, who's 65 or older and is getting social security, may not like the sound of it being trashed as a ponzi scheme. they may say, this is a legitimate thing i paid into when i was working for 50 year. i'm now benefiting righteously from it. from it.
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stop trashing it. your thoughts? >> yeah. i think that is absolutely the mode of entry for democrats in the fall, if perry is the nominee. you hear democrats talk now about the texas miracle really wasn't a miracle and you know, minimum wage jobs and pollution and so forth and so on. that's not going to work in the fall, if the economy's still bad. the question is, the attack on perry is, social security is a ponzi scheme, medicare needs to be changed or potentially abolished, not precisely what he said, raising questions about the voting rights act saying it is just a tool for gerrymandering in the south and the civil rights act. the terms under which we established, this has the look of someone who, when he talks about states' rights, states' rights, states' rights, could make some voters, again, very nervous. >> yeah. this could be -- over his smile. thank you very much, wayne slater and jim hightower. up next, michele bachmann's own mother camping her in something of a fib. that's next in the "sideshow." you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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back to "hardball" now for the "sideshow." michele bachmann's alibis. first, as she touted her straw poll win in iowa, she found herself with a jam-packed schedule. on sunday night a reporter asked why she was late for a particular event. listen to her excuse. >> we had a full day today. we had ames earlier today, and i was doing a number of things down in ames and then we had a big family reunion just north of waterloo. >> a big family reunion? well, as it turns out, there was a family get-together on sunday, but bachmann herself didn't attend. in fact, it was the candidate's mother who informed the politico reporter that not only was her daughter not at the event, but she never even expected her to attend, because of her weekend schedule. a spokeswoman for bachmann confirmed today she did not
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attend that waterloo big family reunion but was with other family members at the time. hmm. in other words in other news, for the backman front, the candidate reached out to elvis fans today and wished the rock legend a happy birthday. only problem, this is the day the anniversary of elvis' death. anyway, next up, president obama took on those who derided the health care plan by dubbing it obamacare. during an appearance yen, they were talking about it, of course, also the perfect opportunity to remind us of republican presidential nominee mitt romney strikingly similar healthcare plan up in massachusetts. >> the affordable care act, health care reform, also known as obamacare -- by the way, you know what? let me tell you, i have no problem with folks saying obama cares. i do care. if the other side wants to be the folks who don't care, that's fine with me. you've got a governor who's
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running for president right now who instituted the exact same thing in massachusetts. this used to be a republican idea, by the way, this whole idea of the individual mandate and suddenly -- it's like they got amnesia. >> romney's not having an easy time trying to shake that one. don't expect him to embrace the term romneycare anytime soon. finally the irony. that's what former president bill clinton thinks of rick perry's intentions if he ever actually makes it to the white house. he seems downright amused by this guy. let's listen. >> i got tickled. i watched the governor's announcement for president. he's a good-looking rascal. he says i'm going to washington to make sure the government stays as far away from you as possible, while i ride on air force one and on marine one helicopter and go to camp david and travel around the world and have a good time. i mean, this is crazy.
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>> a good-looking rascal. anyway, the former president just trying to figure out what this perry hype is all about. anyway, up next, tea tax. two republican members, including the great paul ryan, if you will, if you think he's great, skipping the traditional town halls these days and charging constituents money for the privilege of asking them a question or two. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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the international average for the corporate tax rate is 25%. ours is 35%. hey, come on -- let me finish --
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all right. if you're yelling i just want to ask you to leave. >> whoa. welcome back. that was congressman paul ryan in a town meeting in wisconsin back this april. during this august weekend, recess, rather, ryan will meet with many people in this district, including at a 15-per-person rotary luncheon and conducting telephone town halls, but he won't be in a face-to-face open town hall like you just saw in the clip. ryan joins at least one other republican ben quayle, son of dan quayle, opening avoiding the open town hall debates. and when a third party charges a bit of a fee. is this limiting people's right to petition the government? ron reagan, and chief investigator for politico. ron reagan, seems to me the right to petition congress is right there in the constitution. these guys are putting up a little, what do you call it?
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a little toll booth there. do you want to get through the toll booth to talk to me you can. your thoughts? >> well, it's in keeping with republican principles, of course, privatize and outsource everything. why not constituent services as well? i suspect the real reason is, that clip you played earlier here. paul ryan does not want to repeat that youtube moment. these republican candidates don't want to be in a roomful of angry constituents. they come out with this privatized medicare, turn it into a voucher program all the rest of these phony baloney heritage foundation numbers and stuff. show up in home districts and they've got a lot of angry people there who have very pointed knowledgeable questions for them. they don't want to repeat that. >> let's go to this very key question here, ken, that is the objective fact that the town hall, which was such a part of building the rage, of creating this firecracker attitude. we've got to blow up and do
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things and change everything and vote against nothing, or vote for nothing. now once you're in office, and they have situations like defending the budget they passed, getting rid of medicare as we know it, they don't seem quite as horny, if you will, to meet the public? >> well, on both sides it's really become a forum for sort of manufactured outrage, and that's not to say that there isn't a real sort of grass roots sentiment here. it's hard to get people to come out to a town hall in the middle of august when there are plenty of other things they'd rather be doing, but, know what? when you have people coming out, being sort of inventive, actually driven out, if not given instructions where to go with these town halls with talking points to confront their lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, it's easy to understand why these lawmakers want to avoid this and sort of limit their interaction with potentially angry and well-informed, as ron said, constituents who could put them on the spot and make them look really bad. >> ron, do you think it has anything to do with the fact tonight we announced congress'
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disapproval rating -- well, start with the easy number. 13% approval. i have never seen a number -- i don't know whether idi amin had a higher number, but unpopular leaders around the world. >> casey anthony, charles manson. i mean, then you get to congress. >> 13 -- yeah. >> yeah. yeah. amazing. this is -- you know, republicans in particular like to pretend the entire country is with them. that everybody wants to privatize medicare, everybody wants to go down this road of slashing and spending. they get home and realize that, hey, i guess that's not really true. most people don't like what we're talking about here in congress, and they're going to let us know it. you know, again, they're just scared. >> ken, let me get to this objective factor, congressmen having meetings, what's this called, independent businessmen group. the national independent of business people, rotary charging
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$15 to see them. maybe that covers the sandwiches. seems to me there ought to be a right to petition congress. in fact, i think there is a right to petition congress. it's in the constitution, first amendment. how can they charge people, these members of congress, like ben quayle and paul ryan to listen and talk to them? >> well, i mean, these type of events aren't knew. we've definitely seen these sort of like charging whether they're fund-raisers for the actual politician, or some outside organization in order to interact. that said, i think there is something to be said for, you know, the town halls. really the truest manifestation of democracy. it's where you have the most unscripted, the most sort of back-and-forth interaction that you can really have with your elected officials. so the fact that they're limited regardless of precedent here is something that i think is a little bit disturbing, and you
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know, no amount of e-mailing or tweeting or telephone town hall or small group, $35 a head fund-raiser is going to replace that. and you know, these town halls have been a barometer of public sentiment and have actually affected the debate. so, again, it's understandable why these lawmakers would want to stay out of situations where they think they're going to be called on the carpet, but that doesn't make it excusable. >> one of them has been called on the carpet. a spokesperson, a flag for congressman ben quayle says this is their defense. the spokesman said, "the implication that mr. quayle has not been actively engaged with this constituents in a variety of public forums during this recess is false. the district, congressman quayle talking to constuents in various forums about the issues that matter to him most." there you have the defense there. thank you both. up next, karl rove said the republican party's gone too far right. that's rove talking and he wants someone like paul ryan to jump
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in the race and save the party from itself, apparently from rick perry who he doesn't like personally. we're going to ask the "hardball" strategist about this. is this a personal peak or good assessment by mr. ♪
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about aarp medicare supplement insurance plans, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. democrats in wisconsin hoping to stave off recalls. tonight, two state senators are up for recall, after they left the state rather than vote on republican governor scott walker's anti-union agenda. last week two republicans lost their seats in recall elections we're back with rick perry and michele bachmann among the top three republicans running for president. is the republican field just too far right to beat barack obama next year? karl rove warned yesterday staying right may not win the general election. here he was on fox. >> you don't want these candidates moving so right in the republican primary that it becomes impossible for them to win the general election, because it will become a self-defeating message in the primary. people want to win.
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he don't want somebody who goes so far to the extremes of either party that they lack a chance to carry a victory off in november. >> and later last night, rove pushed the idea to chris christie and paul ryan are reconsidering running for president. not sure if that's true. seems the republican establishment, the bush crowd, is looking outside the field. can they convince a grown-up, if you will, to run? not much success with others. let's bring in steve mcmahon. democratic strategist, of course, and republican strategist todd harris. you know these people. i get the sense when rick perry came in this weekend, it's sort of, the cake was baked. these other four people we kept talking about, haley, christie, they're not being asked to come in. it's pure karl rove. he doesn't like rick perry and is sort of settling scores here? >> it's true they don't like each other. pretty public down in texas, but there has been a fair amount of buzz over the last couple of weeks whether it's just gossip, rumors, wishing, longing. there has been a fair amount of buzz among rank-and-file republicans wondering, is ryan going to take another look? is chris christie? >> i don't want to waste time here. he's not going to run. >> no. to the larger question. before i get -- is this team,
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this three-way option of bachmann, rick perry and romney, does that tilt just too far right to position your party for the general? >> no, i don't think so. >> you disagree with rove? >> no. karl didn't say that. what karl said was, look, anytime you're in a primary you don't want to go too far to the right or to the left. >> what primary do you think he was talking about, todd? >> he never said that -- hold on. he never said he thought that that's what was happening now. look at what the white house is doing, polls in iowa, pennsylvania, ohio, it's not what voters think. voters obviously think given the fact all of these guys are tied or with the margin of error of the president, voters obviously don't think -- >> so you think perry is within the 40-yard line, you think? >> every poll shows him within four or five points. >> your thoughts, are you taking advice from carl rove or exploiting him? >> carl rove is a smart person when it comes to republican politics, and he was saying that
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for a reason, and the reason is very clear. he thinks this field is going too far right to be elected in the fall. the truth of the matter is, if it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger, that's a rule that applies to mitt romney right now, he's standing in the middle, he's getting tackled from the right. they may take him down and produce a candidate that can't win in the fall, but if they don't, it will make him stronger because he'll look more reasonable. >> steve is right, if you're the frontrunner, the more people coming in, talking about turmoil, all of it gets benefit. >> "the wall street journal" described the republicans and their candidates, they are desperate to find a candidate to offer a vision of how to constrain a run away government and revive america's once-great american economy.
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if the current field is not up to that, perhaps someone off the field would run, now would be the time. seems to me all your party has the same message, i'm not sure what far right means anymore, government is bad, regulation is bad, taxes are bad, government should go into a cocoon and stay out of our lives. you're smiling, but that's your party's message. >> that's not the message. >> he said the government shouldn't be part of your life. >> his announcement speech was about getting jobs. >> by getting government out of your face completely. >> either government is going to create jobs or the private sector is going to. does rick perry believe that? yeah, he does, but ultimately, the message is about job creation. >> so bottom line, i think you're arguing that the republican party stands vulnerable right now to be taken over by the tea party. >> it's being taken over by the tea party. iowa is a place, god love it, i went to law school there, i love
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the state, but it produces people out of the iowa caucuses that can't win the general election. most of the time they can't win the republican nomination. pat robertson or mike huckabee, you have the right wing party in iowa is -- >> look, i don't know your party as well as you do. you don't know it either. don't you think rick perry can win new hampshire now? >> i think he'll have a tough time in new hampshire, i think mitt romney will do well in new hampshire, he's a neighboring governor and thinks like they do. i don't think perry wins new hampshire. i think perry has a little tougher road when it comes to the primary calendar. >> you agree your party is still segmented with religious people in iowa, evangelicals, then going back to the granite state, old yankee, old republican moderate types, then down to the south, baptists. >> the republican party is no more segmented than the left is,
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unions, leftists, social economic leftists. the democrats have president obama to rally around. >> your party has him to rally around too. >> we do, but the nomination is going to be about contrasts. >> can you see yourself backing rick perry next november if you had to? >> sure. >> my point, not too far right. >> he's going to be too far. the guy wants to -- >> he ran a candidate against him. thank you gentlemen, i just made my point. todd harris will end up with rick perry. when we return, let me finish with the essential question at the heart of this presidential campaign. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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let me finish tonight with the joy of american democracy, what i love is the american voter is always looking for something grander, something that can carry us to a higher, more hopeful place. that's how barack obama won, how ronald reagan won, how jack kennedy won, hope, it's not i'm in the move for love, it's hope. the man from hope, bill clinton, or the picture of the man right now in the white house, and so it will go as this political season gets underway in september, just like the school
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year beginning anew, it's about hope, it's going to be a battle of hope, i hope, between the candidate republican voters choose and what the hope of what obama will be able to do with a second turn of historic action. yes, this is the shape of the battlefield. not who can play defense and who can play offense, not the defense of this administration against the assault of the wrecking machine, it's a battle of two candidates convincing american voters, especially, that 20% in the middle that hold the strongest promise of taking this country to a better, historic place. i say this now because this isn't going to be about playing safe or tough, it's going to be who can convince america that he or she has the stuff to turn this country around to get us back on the track to greatness. the republican candidate will promise that less government is better, less taxes, less spending, less regulation, less involvement, the smart move to pull back in a cocoon of small activity and leave the mighty corporate world, people like us with all the good intentions of
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mankind, all the compassion and human concern, and, of course, looking out for one's fellow man alive and thriving in the executive boardroom, well, the intriguing unknown is what obama will offer, what obama program, push, what obama historic action will be showcased for our consideration as we enter the polling booth, what alternative to the compelling argument that government should get the heck out of the way so the lion of capitalism can let loose its mighty roar, what will be the other war, is myuestion,nd having it now, three years in, is my quandary. anyway, that's "hardball" for now, last word with chris hayes in for lawrence o'donnell starts right now. in the last 24 hours, rick perry has accused the federal reserve of treason and blown mitt romney a kiss. >> we would treat them pretty ugly down in texas.