Skip to main content

tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 23, 2011 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

2:00 pm
things that i have learned about the dysfunction of this country this year, the thing that i will take away from this year is the inspiration of the engagement from you in this audience, for those in the get money out coalitions, and everybody else who clearly is ready to seize the opportunity to fix this country. i look forward doing that with all of you in 2012. and "hardball" is up right now. obama's workshop. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews, in washington, on the night before christmas eve, many off tonight, the president plays "hardball." for much of his term, some democrats have worried that president obama has been the compromiser in chief, that he was more worried about getting along with republicans who didn't want to get along with him and that he and his party were getting rolled in the process.
2:01 pm
but his total victory in the payroll tax fight has changed that. democrats now see a leader who staked out a position, stuck to it, and got what he pushed for. the president is making himself now the defender of the middle class. and that has democrats a bit more optimistic about next november. while the democrats are feeling more confident and satisfied, republicans are angry, confused, and as charles krauthammer pointed out today, look as organized as -- look as organized as that marching band at the end of "animal house." ♪ >> right into that wall. anyway, this particular gop defeat was written and produced, many believe, by the tea party. and many of its members are as frustrated with john boehner, the speaker as he is with them. we're going to talk to two tea partiers about how the gop managed to hand the president a
2:02 pm
huge victory that could have been theirs. plus joe biden stuck it to mitt romney in an op-ed piece saying mitt romney would double down on the very policy, the economic policies that actually caused the great recession. we're going to talk to the "hardball" strategists about what romney and the other republican hopefuls need to do between now and the republican caucus, january 3, to seal the deal. also, what republican turned down desperate pleas he run for president won't say know when it comes to being a v.p., that's in the "side show," and it's our last show before christmas. that means it's time for the new york magazine critic david and me to go over the issue. we start with president obama playing "hardball." michael steele is here, and he's dressed in fine christmas fare. bob, you're in your usual suit. i see no sign of christmas on you, except -- >> it's red, it's red, chris.
2:03 pm
>> red, pink -- >> we have decked the halls with bows of holy here, and you, s , sir, -- >> he wears it well. >> it's a zippered sweater. anyway, the president signed a payroll tax extension into law today and he thanked congress for ending the political stalemate but warned there was more work to be done next year. let's listen to the president. >> when congress returns, i urge them to keep working without drama, without delay, to reach an agreement that extends this tax cut as well as unemployment insurance through all of 2012. you didn't send us to this town to play partisan games and to see who's up, who's down, you sent us here to make your lives a little bit better and to do what's right. and fortunately, that's how this week ended. >> well, i'm going to let you have this first ball here, bob.
2:04 pm
saying he's above politics having one of the big political tussles of the term. >> the analogy i might use, i haven't seen anything this dumb since custer got himself surrounded at the battle of big horn. mitch mcconnell tried to stop them. they have helped the president do exactly what he wanted to do. he doesn't want this election just to be a referendum on the economy, although there are signs that it's getting better. he wants it as you said earlier to be a choice, who's standing up and fighting for the middle class. the polling data has moved very substantially since october on who's better on taxes, and quite frankly, the best thing the republicans can do when they get back is pass a clean extension of this without a bunch of poison pills because that -- they need to get rid of this issue. they don't need to relitigate this fight from a political perspective or from the perspective of the country. >> your thoughts, michael?
2:05 pm
i'm looking at these numbers here. we know there's a 99% to 1% fight going on in this country. seems like he has grabbed the position of the 99% here, the president. >> obama took the easier route. he got above the fray and the noise and he said, look, the american people, it's coming up on christmas, the american people are still concerned about jobs and the future. and so this is at least a little bit of something we can give to get us through the new year. the republicans took -- and i agree with bob shrum here, they took a miscalculated route to in whe nowhere. and they've got to come back in january, got to do a clean bill. you don't want this argument again in february and march of next year. the presidential race is underway, the candidates running for the presidency don't want to have to do this dance on -- >> i love the way, by the way, you say the president took the easy side of being for tax cuts when your party takes easy side as you put on every tax fight i've seen. what's wrong with being on the side of the people? >> how do the republicans get on the wrong side of a tax cut for
2:06 pm
goodness sake? >> you've got a point there. i've looked as these numbers you've looked at. our polls show that the middle class is being defended by the president. they show on the question of taxes, just say the word taxes now and for the first time i can remember, bob, democrats win. democrats -- >> obama had a slight lead on this in 2008. but if you go back to october, he was way down, now he's ahead pretty substantially. and what the republicans did and michael's exactly right, it was a road to nowhere. they ended up looking like they were for tax cuts for the wealthy but they were against tax cuts for the middle class. it's the worst possible position they could put themselves in. >> why does your party do that? i don't understand -- >> why do they tax cuts for the richest billionaires, and don't do it for the people working for their paycheck who get about $40 break every two weeks. the president says $40 a paycheck because people get paychecks every other week, but fair enough. >> right. this is the reality. number one, you're absolutely
2:07 pm
right, the president got the upper hand on this, republicans played themselves out of position. they took the wrong end -- >> why? >> who knows why -- >> this is what i can't figure out. >> i can't understand the lack of coordination between the house leadership with mccarthy whipping the numbers to be able to tell the senate that the numbers aren't there for the bill you're passing or the senate to tell the house -- >> could it be they're in a rut and they're used to voting against anything the president is for? >> that's too easy. i don't think it's that so much as it is -- >> bob, do you think that's it? you're a political analyst as well as a progressive, bob. why would the republicans take this position of opposing a tax cut for absolute regular working stiffs? what is the plus here for them? >> there is no plus. and what happened in my view is that mcconnell made a smart political deal, handled it the way it would have been handled in any other congress. and chris, you worked there a long time, so did i, any other congress over the years. and the tea party guys just
2:08 pm
revolted against boehner, put him in an impossible position, he was about to lose his own caucus, he kept walking down the road with them. and then, by the way, several of them got home, people started yelling at them and said we can't do this, we have to vote for this two-month extension. it was a fiasco. i also think you're right. the fact that president obama was for it meant a lot of those tea party folks were going to be against it no matter what. >> let's take a look at the "new york times." it is liberal on the editorial page, but look at it said todd. the president's biggest move was upending that he was too big to compromise. president obama did not win much substantive ly substantively, but he got a lot politically. a big start to retiring the perception, even among democrats in a pinch with the other party he will inevitably surrender. that's a big turn around for him. looking at the backdrop, in this spirit in the eve before christmas eve, where are you?
2:09 pm
>> it's in west los angeles, actually, about a mile and a half from where i grew up in culver city. >> okay. >> i'm sorry, i thought you were further down south. let me ask you about this. this whole question -- do we have, by the way, let's go to krauthammer. he's a tough, sometimes nasty conservative, let's look at what he had to say today. conservative columnist charles krauthammer. he had the analogy today to sum up the republican party this week. he wrote in the "washington post." having finally realized they had trapped themselves, house republicans quickly caved. krauthammer said the republicans' performance was reminiscent of a scene from the great film "animal house." by the way, we showed a bit of it. and we're going to show it all right now. in the analogy, the republicans are the members of the marching band. let's take a look at this great scene from a fabulous movie. ♪
2:10 pm
♪ >> well, i was wondering who the drum major was. it wasn't you, michael steele, but i'll tell you who looks like the drum major, john boehner. and could it be -- and here's my indictment as we end this segment. i have a theory -- >> what's that? >> that the tea party people are so rip at everything, not only taxes and government and the way things are and whatever they're mad about today and the way we live. they're so angry, they can't pick a leader. they won't pick a leader because they don't like leaders, and they can't pick a presidential candidate they believe in because they don't want to be led, they just want to complain. and that's what i think tea parties are. complainers. whiners with -- >> i disagree with that.
2:11 pm
>> you have brought those tea party people in as your favorite new ally -- >> i'm glad i brought them into the dance. i'm glad i did because what you're seeing in washington is nothing else at the end of the day as you're seeing as members of the congress stand on the principles that they -- that they ran on -- >> and what are the principles? >> walk into the wall. >> well, that may be, but the fact of the matter is -- >> that may be -- that's the phrase of the night. that may be. they marched themselves into a wall. >> but that's a different argument to make than the principled argument is they have on spending and the role of government and all of that. >> but this was about raising taxes on the middle class. >> you get the last word here, bob. my favorite thing about michael steele, by the way, when we were kids playing cowboys and indians, he admits when he's hit. you got me. we got him this time. >> it's christmas, i give you one. >> last thought before christmas eve, bob?
2:12 pm
>> i think the republicans -- and let me tell you, romney and gingrich if he has any chance, but romney in the republican candidates want this thing settled, want it settled early, they don't want it readjudicated, one of the dumbest things i've seen in politics in a long time. and merry christmas to you and michael. >> we have a win/loss record fabulous at times, shrum beat mitt romney once, but he had a good candidate, ted kennedy in massachusetts. >> i had a fabulous candidate. >> thank you. have a nice time out there in california. coming up, with the payroll tax fight over, who's more upset? republicans with the tea party or tea partiers with the republicans? we'll talk to two tea partiers. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. this was the gulf's best tourism season in years. all because so many people came to louisiana... they came to see us in florida...
2:13 pm
make that alabama... make that mississippi. the best part of the gulf is wherever you choose... and now is a great time to discover it. this year millions of people did. we set all kinds of records. next year we're out to do even better. so come on down to louisiana... florida... alabama... mississippi. we can't wait to see you. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home.
2:14 pm
the u.s. justice department has rejected south carolina's new voter i.d. law. wow. saying it does not protect the state's minority voters from discrimination. the department said the new law did not comply with the voting rights act. and that tens of thousands of minority voters might be denied the right to vote. good for them. the justice department must approve changes to south carolina's elections laws because of the state's past failure to protect the voting rights of african-americans. we'll be right back. ♪ i don't need anyone else in my arms ♪ ♪ but you tonight
2:15 pm
[ male announcer ] this is your moment. ♪ [ male announcer ] build your own unique memories with persona beads. now at zales, the diamond store.
2:16 pm
sometimes it's hard to do the right thing. and sometimes it's politically difficult to do the right thing. but you know, when everybody called for a one-year extension of the payroll tax deduction, when everybody wanted a full year of extended unemployment benefits, we were here fighting for the right things. may not have been politically the smartest thing in the world, but i'm going to tell you what, i think our members waged a good
2:17 pm
fight. >> what a normal seeming person that guy is in the end. welcome back to "hardball." that was john boehner yesterday trying his best to explain the payroll tax deal. when he was asked by a reporter whether or not he had caved. a lot of tea party republicans feel boehner did just that. caved. disappointed, horrific, and bad deal were just a few of the ways the angriest republicans have described the deal, but not every tea partier agrees. joining me now to talk more about the tea party's anger with boehner over the deal are michael grim, a freshman republican who was elected with tea party support. and phillip dennis, the chairman of the dallas tea party. you gentlemen are smiling, maybe we can be jovial. nobody agrees on much these days, but let's talk about this issue. taxes, class, all kinds of things involved in here. fairness. congressman, you're from new york. did speaker boehner betray the
2:18 pm
tea party yesterday? >> no, absolutely not. the speaker didn't betray anyone. first of all, you have to remember something, just like myself, speaker boehner has an obligation to govern. and governing is not an easy thing to do. we went into this with good faith. we wanted to push -- that's why i got a big kick of your first segment how we're not protecting taxpayers. we're pushing for one year because it's good policy. everyone has told me since i took office in january, don't do band-aid approaches, don't take the easy way out, stand up and try to enforce good policy even though washington is broken. and that's what we tried to do. maybe we were naive in taking the president at his word that he really wanted a year and maybe i didn't want to believe that he would just trick us, but that's what happened. and the truth is at the end of the day, there's only one loser here, that's the american people because they did not get good policy, they got another band-aid approach and talk to any doctor or any patient and they'll tell you, two months with a doc fix is exactly what
2:19 pm
they asked us not to do. >> and you have to face the same fact when you have to vote on the rest of the year, the rest of the ten months, seems to me you're coming to the same question. is it a band-aid for ten months but not two months? you call everything a band-aid, don't you get stuck? >> no, look, this is common sense. who's to say now that they're going to agree to a full ten months? we thought based on what the president said and his exact words were, it would be inexcusable not to pass it for 12 months. that's what we did. now, they're saying ten months and i hope they're sincere, that would be a better approach, still not perfect, but a better approach. >> you still have the fight over how to pay for it, whether to cut entitlement programs or taxing the rich. let me go to a tea party in plano, texas. mr. -- >> plano. it's plano. >> plano, thank you. you write what the president right, was he right? was speaker boehner right? >> let me quote the words of
2:20 pm
dean wermer, 0.0. the fact that we're sitting here discussing a $40 per pay period rebate to taxpayers is ridiculous when our national debt is over $15 trillion, which means that every american taxpayer owes over $40,000 in national debt. it's ridiculous, the fact that we sent the republicans there to drastically alter and cut the spending and size of the federal government and the best that anybody can do is to come up with a $40 per pay period. if i was going to pay for president obama's vacation period, i'd calculate it, i'd have to work 100,000 pay periods to pay for his vacation. >> now i want to go with your principle here. should we pay for the bush tax cut extension for the rich? do we pay for that with spending cuts somewhere? or do we continue the tax cuts for the rich? i'm just asking that going by your principle. >> well, the tax cuts for the rich -- >> would you pay for the tax cuts for the rich? >> the rich 1% pay over 37%,
2:21 pm
they're taxed enough and those are the ones that create the jobs. that's not the premise you brought me on here, chris. >> i want to understand whether your principles are consistent or not. >> they are, absolutely. >> when they cut the tax rates for the rich because 39% would have the clinton tax cuts again, and your party -- if it is the republican party has opposed restoring the same tax rates we had during the very economically excellent 1990s. your party's for -- >> wasn't president obama today patting himself on the back that $40 is going to help every american family? has anyone ever asked if american families really need $40 per pay period what's going on? i know what i'll do with the $40 he's been asking what i'll do with it, i'll buy 12 gallons of gas versus 25, i'll by 1/3 less food than that. we want boehner and the democrats to do and all of them is drastically change the way washington does business. borrowing and spending is a nightmare disaster and it's about to happen to us like it's
2:22 pm
happened to europe and greece. >> okay. that's good for a protester. you're a protester. let's go to, mr. congressman, you get paid a salary of a staff, you get paid health care. you get staff salaries. all of that to be participating in governing the united states. that's a different job that's standing with a placard out in texas. >> absolutely. >> go ahead, your question. >> i'm asking you the question. what's the difference between being the protester and a member of congress who represents principles of the tea party but has to make the government work? >> i think by doing exactly what i have been doing, i don't understand your question. i go to work every day and i work for the american people trying to bring some change to washington. washington's broken. and, you know, as far as the tea party is concerned, although i'm not a member of the tea party, i support their ideals of getting our debt under control and the size of the government under control. it is completely out of whack. washington's upside down, people
2:23 pm
voted for me because they want me to try to change things. i just tried to change things with this vote saying that one year was better policy and look what happened. politics prevailed. all the rhetoric in the world -- >> i'm with you. i'm against rhetoric. >> it's your business. >> well, no, you can say that. you can always make fun of somebody. here's the question, it looks to me the only way you cut a deal in congress and get it signed by the president is a democrat who disagrees with you is to reach a compromise. why don't you go with a big compromise? a big set of spending cuts if you can get them with some kind of revenue increase for the better off people rather than this road block where nothing gets agreed upon? >> well, that's why i'm part of something called the "go big" caucus. sitting down, three, four times a week to discuss exactly that. we need to have a plan to go big. we've got to control this debt. and for the purpose of discussions, everything's on the table. we're working bipartisan across the aisle, and so far that's
2:24 pm
going very well and i'm very hopeful we're going to be successful in a deal that makes sense to the american people. at the end of the day, i answer for the american people. there's nothing i wouldn't do for this country, but we have to accept the fact there are limitations on what the government can do. big government is not the answer. and we cannot continue to spend money we don't have. these are realizations. >> i'm with you if you get that done. i do want that done. by the way, i love the part of the country you represent, i love staten island and bay ridge. you got bay ridge, right? >> bay ridge -- >> irish-italian. let me go to phillip dennis. do you think now would be a good thing for america to get past this approach of the little bitty deals that don't work to some big deal, big cuts in entitlement down the road, reduction of the debt. but you have to have some revenues on the rich or the democrats will never sign the deal or you'll never get anything done. do you want the deal or no deal? >> everything's on the table. we have never said we are totally anti-tax, but the problem is we have been
2:25 pm
almost -- >> we'll never get anything done. >> we've been almost 1,000 days since harry reid and the senate passed a budget. for one thing, that's against the law. second thing is, we don't want to spend more money because we don't trust washington with our dollars, chris, and you can make fun of tea parties and say all we do is hold placards. but my behind is getting up and going to work to pay taxes for this country. the last time i took a vacation was five years ago -- >> that's a good argument -- >> are you for getting something done or just protesting? >> i'm for holding fiscally squ conservative values. spend no more money than it takes in revenue. and president obama as bad as i did not like president bush from a fiscal standpoint, obama has increased our deficit $4.5 trillion in three years. you don't seem to have a problem -- >> i have a problem with the
2:26 pm
fact that government taxes 15% of the economy and spends 25% of it. i'd like to see it go down to 20%, a little above 20% and cut a deal that actually got it down from 25% of gdp. you guys on the right just argue and yell and hold placards and it never gets below 25% because you won't cut a deal that gets it down to 20%. and by the way, the american people will not live with it being 15% because they'd like to have a military and a social security system and a medicare system and if you don't want all three of those systems, you're not in step with the american people. anyway, who are you for, mr. dennis, for president? >> ronald reagan. >> well, he's not around. that proves where you're right, sir. >> well, who do you want to lead this country? >> the tea party doesn't endorse candidates and i haven't made up my mind yet. >> give me a couple guys you're thinking about. >> i would like to have seen jim demint run or maybe mike lee. i like marco rubio, they're very young but seem to have conservative ideas. >> okay. thank you for that.
2:27 pm
by the way, where are you at, mr. grimm? who are you for? >> governor mitt romney. he's got what it takes, he has the experience, and he's the only one that's electable. >> okay. i think rubio might be a good candidate in a few years. i agree with you on that one, demint, forget it. michael grimm, phillip dennis, thank you. up next, i love this thing if it happens just for sheer sport. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. cuban ca jun raw seafood pizza parlor
2:28 pm
french fondue tex-mex fro-yo tapas puck chinese takeout taco truck free range chicken pancake stack baked alaska 5% cash back. right now, get 5% cash back at restaurants. it pays to discover. [ man ] we've been in the business over the course of four centuries. [ woman ] it was a family business back then, and it still feels like a family business now. the only people who knew about us were those in new england, that moment that we got our first web order... ♪ ...we could tell we were on the verge of something magical. all of a sudden it just felt like things were changing. we can use this to advertise to bakers everywhere. [ man ] browns summit, north carolina. crescent city, california. we had a package go to kathmandu once. the web has been the reason this entire section of the warehouse exists today. we were becoming more than this little flour company in vermont. [ woman ] we're all going after one common goal, which is to spread the joy of baking throughout the whole world.
2:29 pm
♪ ♪ ♪ for a hot dog cart. my mother said, "well, maybe we ought to buy this hot dog cart and set it up someplace." so my parents went to bank of america. they met with the branch manager and they said, "look, we've got this little hot dog cart, and it's on a really good corner. let's see if we can buy the property." and the branch manager said, "all right, i will take a chance with the two of you." and we've been loyal to bank of america for the last 71 years. it's like having portable navigation. a bluetooth connection. a stolen vehicle locator. roadside assistance. and something that could help save your life - automatic help in a crash. it's the technology of five devices
2:30 pm
in one hard-working mirror. because life happens while you drive. this holiday, give someone you love an onstar fmv mirror for only 199. visit for retailers. when you pour chunky beef with country vegetables soup over it... you can do dinner. four minutes, around four bucks. campbell's chunky. it's amazing what soup can do. back to "hardball." and now the "side show." will he or won't he? one more time. did you think the chris christie 2012 speculation would end when it was confirmed he would not be making a white house run? well, you're forgetting that the republican nominee needs a running mate. and surprise, it's not a yes,
2:31 pm
and it's not a no from the new jersey governor, chris christie. here's how christie responded when asked if he would be up for a romney/christie ticket. >> i think it's presumptuous to do that. running for president, that's my decision and mary pat's decision alone, we decide that. vice president's a decision of only one person. whoever the nominee to your party is. and i think it's awful to say i won't do something when it hasn't been offered. the fact is, if governor romney comes to me and wants to talk to me about that, we'll have a full complete conversation about it and mary pat and i will make a decision about what we want to do in our future. >> christie makes sense as a running mate to romney and of course he'd take it. finally get out the vote, newt gingrich would be on the final stretch of pushing for votes in the early primaries and caucuses, but this is not the first time newt has found himself knocking on doors in the lead-up to an election. get ready for this one. here's a slightly younger version of newt hitting up a georgia dominos pizza place back
2:32 pm
in 1992, he didn't exactly strike a chord with the employee who was working here. let's watch. >> how are you doing? this is not a robbery. i'm newt gingrich. >> hi, how you doing? >> and i am the congressman now. i wanted to come by for a minute and ask you -- i'll be the only newt gingrich on the ballot. are most of your calls on the weekends or evenings? >> friday night. >> that's the big time? that's great. well, i'm -- i -- i'm the house republican whip and the second-ranking leader and i'll be running in this summer. and since i'm the only guy with a name like newt gingrich on the ballot -- what's your name? >> john. >> john goodwin, good to see you, john, take care. >> i don't think he wowed that guy. wouldn't it be better with newt wearing the apron? what do the republican hopefuls need to do between now and january 3rd this to win the iowa caucus? it's here, it's starting, january 3rd.
2:33 pm
we'll ask the strategists. stick around for the best -- actually the first annual "revvie awards" guess what they're named after and who. for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams. buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one. together, for your future. ♪ together, for your future. this was the gulf's best tourism season in years. all because so many people came to louisiana... they came to see us in florida... make that alabama... make that mississippi. the best part of the gulf is wherever you choose... and now is a great time to discover it. this year millions of people did. we set all kinds of records. next year we're out to do even better. so come on down to louisiana...
2:34 pm
florida... alabama... mississippi. we can't wait to see you. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home. lord of the carry-on. sovereign of the security line. you never take an upgrade for granted. and you rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle. and go. you can even take a full-size or above. and still pay the mid-size price. i deserve this. [ male announcer ] you do, business pro. you do. go national. go like a pro.
2:35 pm
2:36 pm
your cnbc market -- nasdaq up by 19. the commerce department says new homes rose 1.6% in november, sales so far are way below last year's depressed levels, which means 2011 will likely shape up as the worst year ever for home sales. elsewhere, consumers were conservative about spending last month according to the commerce department, it rose .1%. incomes were only up slightly. meanwhile, durable goods were up strongly rising 3.8%,
2:37 pm
the biggest gain in three months for big-ticket items like aircraft where the key barometer is business spending. if you're hoping for a pair of nike air jordan concords, you're likely to be out of luck. the highly priced shoes went on sale for $180 and quickly sold out. was cleaned out in about an hour. that's it from cnbc first in business worldwide, have a happy holiday, everybody, now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." in less than a week, i'll be in iowa with the rest of us bringing "hardball" to you live from java joe's in iowa. a race that's seen candidates obviously shoot up and flame out one after another. here it goes. since september 1st, ron paul's had a steady climb.
2:38 pm
that's the yellow line on this chart going from 11% at the start of december to take the lead now. that's ron paul in the lead with nearly 24%, about a quarter of the vote for ron paul the libertarian. mitt romney represented by the pink line here on this chart has been rising through december. but seems to have stalled there. look at how it's flattened out there in the last several days. stuck at about 20%. that's always been mitt's problem, getting above 20%. newt gingrich, the green line, it's dropped like a stone since his 31% peak in december, now he's in third place at 17% but with a slight uptick now. a bit of an uptick recently. he may be on the comeback. now to the second bracket of candidates who are the most interesting right now. the one for whom this is sudden death. the ones who appeal to iowa's evangelica evangelicals, the ones with the potential to surprise us on january 3rd. look at rick perry there, he's been gaining strength december. despite all his mistakes in the base and that's the blue line. look at him creeping up,
2:39 pm
doubling his support from 6% up to 12%, meaning he's in winning territory all of a sudden. bachmann, the black line had a small surge but right about where she started the month. she's not going anywhere. 8%. rick santorum who has visited all 99 counties in iowa is doubling his support from 4% only up to 7%. as i said, this is crunch time. how do the candidates pull off a win? i mean really a win. or a surprise finish to get the big second headline on january 3rd. and that's a question for the experts. steve mcmahon is a democratic expert and todd harris is a republican. i want you to look at this coldly from the other side across the other aisle. what do you see happening there? in terms of if we're going to do the old bill schneider one, two, finish, win, play, show. what do you figure is the win, play show? >> as you know, chris, momentum in these things and steady consistent movement is the most
2:40 pm
important thing. so you have to like ron paul's chances. the fact that mitt romney got 25% four years ago in iowa and is at 20% now indicates he's got perhaps a little bit of room to grow, but not very much. the people who are moving and the most interesting are newt gingrich who is moving in the wrong direction having lost 14 points and newt could slip from third to fourth. and rick perry who is coming up on the strength of an appeal that's directly aimed at those christian and evangelicals you talked about. and he seems to be moving his message right now and his advertising is all about being a christian and what that means. christian values, christian upbringing. it's just a very, very blatant appeal. not talking about the economy or jobs or any of the issues that poll very well. >> all right. >> he's talking to a narrow group. >> he's not talking about competence or anything else, he's talking about values. >> yeah. >> that's smart. you say the big winner -- the headline will go to paul and the second headline will go to perry, you think? the one that says strong showing be i perry?
2:41 pm
>> that's what i think right now. the only caveat to that is santorum who is also moving -- one of the hardest thing in politics is the second act. people made a judgment about perry and tossed him off the top of the heap and it's harder to come back than it is to rise. they're the most interesting story lines right now. >> that's perry and paul? paul being -- >> perry and santorum. >> santorum, as well. >> but -- yes. >> i got ya. you're picking ron paul to win the iowa caucuses, he's doing strong now. and for perry and santorum to make the noise on the outside. todd, you're the republican, you're the insider, you know these guys, i think you also have candidate you'd like to see be the nominee because you want to win in november. but that aside, that aside, let's look at this coldly. is steve right that paul will probably be the winner january 3rd that night? >> you know, i think steve could be right. i'm not going to say like i
2:42 pm
normally do that he's flat out wrong. i think that romney is probably going to eke out a win. but i do think that paul -- i do think that paul is going to do incredibly well and certainly better than he did getting 10% of the vote four years ago, and i agree with steve. in fact, i would say even more so. i think rick santorum is the most undervalued stock in this entire caucus race. he has been as you said before to every single county in iowa. he has been talking about values like perry is doing only santorum's been doing it from day one and probably most important organizationally, he has inherited big chunks of the huckabee machine from 2008. particularly the home schooler network. which is incredibly well organized, and those people turn out in caucus. on caucus day. >> look at this thing in the "new york times" today, nate silver said historically most of the candidates who have beaten the polls by a wide margin on
2:43 pm
caucus night have been staunchly conservative. back to you, steve. it looks to me like if you say that, then you guys both have a handle on santorum or perry because the real conservatives in the race on moral issues, social issues like abortion rights and same sex, they get underpolled, they don't seem to talk up or get picked up by the pollsters but show up on cold nights in iowa. >> pat robertson in 1988 got 25% of the vote. gary bauer got 25%, and mike huckabee got 34% of the vote in the republican caucus last time. so it's the silent and very, very powerful and well organized majority of iowa republicans, at least those who show up for the caucuses. and that's why it makes so much sense to look at what rick perry's doing right now. he's not talking about the economy, not talking about jobs, he's talking about christian values. >> i find this fascinating,
2:44 pm
todd. if you're talking the cultural conservatives doing well out there, right? yes or no? the cultural conservatives like perry and santorum? >> absolutely. absolutely. >> okay. so interesting in a time that everybody else in america is talking about the economy, that iowa's going to send this message about religion and culture. i think iowa may lose its power politically if they do that this time. because the country's looking for economic action, not so much moral action rightly or wrongly, we're a secular country right now. thank you, steve mcmahon and todd harris. up next, "hardball's" going to hollywood right now. i've got some real favorites, we've got a real expert coming up here. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. but we believe in helping people take steps to keep them every single day. that's why every day we help people across the country get into their first homes. prepare for a comfortable retirement and protect the people and things that matter most.
2:45 pm
at genworth we believe every day is the right day to take a step toward tomorrow. 2012 may be the year of the u unfilluated voter. left the democratic and republican party since 2008 while the number of independent voters continues to grow.
2:46 pm
that's according to a new usa today analysis of state voter registration statistics. in the eight swing states, the registered voters by party, the registration is down by 800,000, republicans down by 350,000. meanwhile, independents have gained 325,000. we'll be right back. ♪ you, you ain't alone ♪ and just let me be [ male announcer ] this is your moment. ♪ your ticket home ♪ [ male announcer ] this is zales, the diamond store.
2:47 pm
2:48 pm
we're back. it's the end of the year, it's time for one of the segments i most look forward to as a movie buff and political buff. three of my favorites tackle some big topics, race and ethnicity, in america's always a hot topic, money, and american culture. we all read books, actually.
2:49 pm
i'm joined by the film critic for "new york" magazine to talk about my picks. thank you, david. >> thank you. >> let's go to one of my favorites. it's the pivotal scene where emma stone's character, and it's the seed for the book, she's going to write what it's about being a black maid working for these white families during the civil rights fight. let's watch. >> i want to interview you about what it's like to work as a maid. i'd like to do a book of interviews about working for white families. to show what it's like to work for say elizabeth? >> you know what she'd do to me if she knew i was telling stories on her. >> i was thinking we wouldn't tell her. the other maids would have to keep it a secret too. >> other maids? >> well, i was hoping to get four or five. to show what it's really like in jackson. >> unbelievable movie. you know, i know the controversy about this movie, david.
2:50 pm
i don't know. i trained for the piece, going to the deep south, the civil rights -- the pre-civil rights, the jim crow stuff down there, the whites only signs when i wa florida when i was a kid in college. that's the only thing i know, but this movie grabbed me. your thoughts? >> well, i think there was some controversy, with some african-americans who didn't represent their experience. >> as a white person, though, somebody whose parents were professionals and had live-in help, it certainly struck me right in the hard. i loved the people who lived with us, but did i know them, did i have empathy for them? did i understand their experience? any movie that makes us see the world through someone else's eyes and maybe question the social system -- i don't want to sound like a marxist, but
2:51 pm
question the system in this country i think can't be a bad thing. >> what about viola davis winning best actress. can she win it? >> well, she can. i happen to love meryl streep's performance in "the iron lady." >> but that's like a cliche. >> know, another darn accent and all that, but let me say about viola davis, what is wonderful about her, she is hard. you notice from that clip, she has this very, very tough facade. i think that's more representative of what it's like for people -- >> i loved it. >> what it was like for people working in the south. >> dignified contempt for the system, and for the whites she had to deal with. >> tough, unsentimental. >> margin call, a simple movie, thank god, about wall street hell. here it is, how the movement spread around the world. it hits theaters with the cast of investment bankers, a cya
2:52 pm
mission, a bunch of bad guys and average guys defending themselves. here's kevin spacey talking about a group of employees who survived a massive round of layoffs let's watch. >> >> 80% of this floor was sent home for an hour. we spent the last hours say good-byes. 24er7 good people and good at their jobs, but you were better. now they're gone, not to be thought of again. this is your opportunity on every floor of this building and every office from hong kong to london, same thing is happening. by the time we're done, 3 of every 7 guys standing between you and your boss's job are gone. that is your opportunity. >> it explained the hell of lehman brothers, simply about deception, selling bad product to good people so you don't get
2:53 pm
hurt. >> yeah, i mean, what's interesting about this movie, you're not on the side of occupy wall streeters or zuccotti park, you're looking at it through the eyes of these people it's like a disaster movie of an asteroid coming on them. you see why -- it's about how people can do evil. you understand they all take the money, faced with a moral choice, they all take the money unchts my other favorite movie, because i'm a hemingway buff, and i loved "midnight in paris." your thoughts quickly, ten seconds. >> it was great. it was great. woody allen has always wanted to live anywhere, he goes back in time, he sees this enchanting period, yet there's this vein of melon collie.
2:54 pm
>> who wouldn't want to go back there? i would love to go back to the early '20s to be with those guys. thank you, david. i wish we had more time. you are great, sir. i love your values and smarts. >> thank you so much. whether we return, my thoughts about the spirit of holidays and joy of christmas, which always comes wrapped in our childhoods. think about it. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ega for my heart. but to be honest, i find the omega choices overwhelming. which one is right for me? then i found new pronutrients omega-3. it's from centrum, a name i trust. it goes beyond my heart to support my brain and eyes too. and these ultra-concentrated minigels are much smaller than many others. it's part of a whole new line of supplements. there's probiotic and fruit & veggie too. new pronutrients from centrum helps make nutrition possible. new pronutrients from centrum this was the gulf's best tourism season in years. all because so many people came to louisiana... they came to see us in florida... make that alabama...
2:55 pm
make that mississippi. the best part of the gulf is wherever you choose... and now is a great time to discover it. this year millions of people did. we set all kinds of records. next year we're out to do even better. so come on down to louisiana... florida... alabama... mississippi. we can't wait to see you. brought to you by bp and all of us who call the gulf home. we asked total strangers to watch it for us. thank you so much, i appreciate it, i'll be right back.
2:56 pm
they didn't take a dime. how much in fees does your bank take to watch your money ? if your bank takes more money than a stranger, you need an ally. ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense.
2:57 pm
let me finish tonight with
2:58 pm
this. on this night before christmas eve, i want to wish everyone watching a warm -- and if you're really fortunate, a wondrous time this christmas. i was fortunate enough. i remember the excitement that led through all the days this time of year. there was the school pageant in first grade when we all had parts to play. we would gather in the auditorium. we were a class that was so big we couldn't get into a regular classroom. i remember mom and dad taking us shopping for christmas presents, especially to see the real santa claus, who was always at wand amakers. i remember midnight mass that my parents went to. we were allowed to open one present -- it was a book, i would get each year from my grandmore, a biography, and it is no doubt it was one of the reasons i wrote a book about jack kennedy. i'm sure a lot of people will be buying that one for christmas. it's one of my happiest
2:59 pm
achievements. i'm glad to be bringing a good feel about our country back in these very difficult times. i remember like most of us truly believes in santa claus, and thinking i saw the sleigh flying past our window, and i remember getting one my brothers to see what santa claus had brought us. there was so much magic in those days, listening to television and watching all the commercials. i like going into big department stores, the big stores where you hear of music. by the way, johnny mathis seems to be bigger than ever this christmas. i hope all of you, especially people fortunate to grow up like i did loving christmas more than any time of the year, to get some of that feeling back this year. when you bump into me somewhere, anywhere like in an airport or on the street, i only say this once a year, don't forget to say hello. this isn't a one-way deal. i love knowing you're out there. i