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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 13, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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>> so, they are kind of like, yeah, we could need it at any time. >> that is right. common cause, is zoo you in court right now arguing that the senate has this power and to the extent that republicans are doing it that is unconstitutional. >> courts will never touch senate rules. >> wait, i got it. >> i think you did. >> he will next time. looks like kerry. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in
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washington. let me begin tonight with this. president obama deserves the best possible secretary of state. he picked a great foreign policy officer in the first term. he deserves to have one in the second. it's been my view some distance from the white house that the president was truly undecided on who this person should be. ambassador rice's removal of herself from consideration made his decision easier. john kerry could end up a fabulous secretary of state, someone to make this country truly proud. he lost the presidency by a
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single state in 2004, then went on to become a deeply effective chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. he projects a grace under pressure that we see in the president himself, a noble attribute most of us take as quiet courage. as embarrassing as it is to admit, he is one of the few top politicians in this democratic country to master foreign languages. not a small talent in world diplomacy. i like kerry because he's had the guts to run for office just like hillary clinton. he's had the nerve to stick his neck out and ask the voter to like him or not like him, to trust him or not trust him. that to me is the key to true democratic government. i've said so before. i hope the president makes him his secretary of state. it would be the first strong move to building a powerful second term cabinet, to building the team that will, with god's blessing, take barack obama into global history. we americans need to be the peacemakers. john kerry can help barack obama be just that. joining me now is nbc news chief white house correspondent and political director chuck todd and "the washington post's" nia malika henderson. do you know when the president decided with or along with ambassador rice to decide that she should formally remove herself from consideration? >> well, this is not just the story, but it was my
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understanding the president was never -- never asked her to do this. she came to this conclusion on her own sometime in the last 24 hours and decided it wasn't worth it, that this was causing the president a share of political problems. this was causing extra headaches that weren't necessary, so she made this decision on her own. i can tell you, the president has been conflicted on this for some time, and he'd been getting conflicting advice. some of his -- some of the political advice he had been getting is, you know, mr. president, how many fights do you want to have on the hill? democratic senators were quietly sending word to the white house, we've got a lot of heavy lifts to do for the president. a heavy lift on whatever the fiscal deal ends up being or not being. a heavy lift on immigration. don't add to the angst. don't add to the anxiety. look, i think that she's a victim of an old-fashioned media feeding frenzy that we're going to look back on and feel as if -- it's pretty unfair to her the way this went down. but those are the breaks in washington, and she made this decision she made.
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>> i know it's a question of trade craft, and you're the best at it so i'm not questioning how you find out things. but this one is so tough. there's so many disparate streams of thought and emotion in this white house about this appointment. people who have their own interests, people like tom donilon, people on the national security staff, the people close to the president from chicago like valerie jarrett. everybody has their interest. aspects of feminism, accusations of sexism. so many swirling emotions and sentiments. how can you tell me what the president wanted? it seems to hard to get to him, not just to people around him with their own agenda. >> i think you're right. there was a split, if you will. you had sort of the cold pragmatists, all thought john kerry makes a lot of sense. he earned it, he deserves this, this is a good thing. and there's a lot of foreign policy hands who say, you know what? secretary of state should be somebody who used to run -- who almost was president. you know, and the heft of a hillary clinton being replaced by the heft of a person that was
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a football stadium away from being president themselves, that will impress people that this secretary of state has to sit down with, foreign leaders around the world. then there was another part of this administration, people here in this west wing. susan rice is somebody they know very well. they're very loyal to her. this is somebody who has worked her way up through the diplomatic ranks in a way that's different from john kerry. john kerry worked his way up through the political ranks. susan rice has done every job you need to have done in unelected politics, if you will, to be qualified, to have the resume, to have the experience to be secretary of state. and, by the way, don't forget there was also the fact that kerry and rice in some ways some could argue see the world a little bit differently. susan rice is somebody a little more of an interventionist. wants to get involved.
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look at libya. she was somebody that was strongly there. john kerry is somebody who has seen war firsthand and is somebody who is very much hesitant as an interventionist when it comes to things. voted against things. so there was a lot here i think that was more than just am i going to do something with my friend or do something to reward the party. more complicated than that. >> i guess that's why as a commentator i feel more comfortable with kerry, just that's my opinion. let me go to our other great correspondent, andrea mitchell, on foreign relations and the white house intrigue here. i said there were different swirling sentiments here, loyalty to someone who the president is very fond of, and then there's sort of the guy whose turn it is, if you will. what do you know about that -- what can you report from that sort of swirl of interest and self-interest? >> i think it's been very obvious that he wanted susan
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rice. that that was his first choice. they even floated the possibility that john kerry take defense, a job he did not want, that he was not really well-qualified for. he's not a budget guy, he's not someone to deal with the results of the sequester. but people knew in the white house that john kerry has really felt a desire to get into the cabinet, to get out there, to get out of a senate that is largely dysfunctional, and so they felt they owed him something. he's taken a number of tough secret missions on behalf of this president to places like pakistan and afghanistan and worked out some things that were publicly known and others that are not publicly known. some really dicey situations that could not be done by the sitting secretary of state. >> how do you know what the president himself -- we know you can talk to valerie, you can talk to tom donilon, talk to people around the president.
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how do you figure out which one is truly talking for the president? i think the point you're right about is when you said they floated the name of kerry for defense knowing he didn't want it. must have been done with the president's approval because it was floating out there for several days, and the president never shot it down. >> the best evidence aside from my reporting of people who talk to the president and talking to people in the white house team, my best evidence is what you saw yourself. the first news conference after the election when this re-elected president said basically, you know, channeling aaron sorkin said to mccain and graham, don't come after me. if you want -- don't go after her, come after me if you want to attack me. don't go after my u.n. ambassador. and it was right out of, you know, michael douglas and "the american president" as we all noted at the time. and you're a film guy, you know what was going on there.
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he made it very clear he wanted her. again, in a cabinet meeting he led the applause of susan rice. he signaled in every way possible, but she was twisting in the wind. she wasn't a nominee. she didn't have the armor of a nominee. >> what stopped him from once he stuck his neck out for her in personal terms at that press conference, what stopped the president from then doubling down and saying, this is my appointment here? this is it. she will be my next secretary of state. >> the fact some of the people he's closest to, as chuck knows, the reporting that people were advising the president you do not need this fight, and it is going to be a fight. you don't need to expend all this political capital on what is going to be an interminable benghazi investigation. john mccain signaling he wants to go on the foreign relations committee, he was going to lead the way. >> let's get this from chuck as
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well. do you think that clinton, secretary clinton or former president clinton, they have done this i know in private, said what they thought about this, they were for kerry. did they ever express that or lobby for kerry or against rice in this case do you know? >> it's my understanding they didn't. i think that hillary clinton understood where the president's loyalties lie, that he was leaning towards susan rice, and she wasn't going to start a debate and try to -- and i think, in fact, those close to secretary clinton really tried to snuff out those stories that secretary clinton wanted kerry over rice, didn't want to have rice replace her. i think she stayed out of that a lot. so i don't think that they were going to step into that at all. i mean, i know there's always been speculation that susan rice and secretary clinton weren't close, and it all -- some of that all goes back to the '08
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primary campaign. susan rice was a very prominent surrogate and, in fact, you have some people who believe that that's what -- that's the issue john mccain has with her, that this goes back to the 2008 campaign when susan rice was the prominent foreign policy surrogate on behalf of then candidate obama. >> let me go back to andrea on that same question, the role of the clintons here, because i have heard a couple very strong ways, good reporting from people, that the clintons did have an opinion in this matter. >> i'm sure they had an opinion, but i do not think they voiced it. i think they were very, very careful. this was dynamite, to come out against susan rice, for hillary clinton. she said everything that she could to support her. and they did work out their relationship. clearly susan rice was in the camp, as samantha powers and other foreign policy advisers were, of obama, not clinton, during those primaries, but
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hillary clinton has been pitch perfect on being a loyalist to barack obama and on working out her relationship with his former advisers, even those in the white house who have kept her at arm's length. >> okay. what do you think about the appointment? does it come down to two, and, therefore, is it kerry's? >> that is my betting, barring something completely unforeseen. i think john kerry is going to be nominated, and i cannot imagine him not being confirmed, but then again we said that about john tower. no comparison, no comparison -- >> wow. >> chairman of the armed services committee -- >> that's -- >> let me just make my point, guys. i know you're laughing at me, and i don't want to be hoisted on this petard, but when a committee chairman then becomes nominated, their colleagues look at them with great deference, but you never know what you don't know. john kerry is completely qualified, healthy despite, you
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know, a scare back in '04, and we could imagine a very quick and easy confirmation. >> far better this. i'm not laughing at you, i'm enjoying one aspect of the way you said something. do you think this is a much better appointment from kerry's point of view than had he been put up for defense when there was the old issue of his anti-war activities? >> and of his qualifications. he has foreign policy experience, but the military street cred, even though he was a war hero, it's very controversial and he doesn't have the primary budget experience that leon panetta had as a former budget director. >> one thing this does potentially reopen back up, so there had been a lot of reporting, andrea has done a lot of reporting on this, chuck hagel, among the leading contenders to be defense secretary. however, i think the developments here, and i have talked to some senior officials who sort of confirm it, the developments here may change the
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calculus a little bit. the president wants a second-term cabinet that is both powerful and that looks like america. there's not going to be -- so i wouldn't be surprised if you see some of the prominent women candidates that were already being talked about for defense, including michele flournoy -- >> i agree completely. >> -- being considered for defense and seeing that glass ceiling broken. >> go ahead, andrea. >> she was on my show yesterday, and she said she wasn't being vetted. so maybe -- i don't know what to make of that. >> you're a student of politics as well as we are. here is the question, doesn't he need a balanced ticket at the top? defense, state, treasury, and a.g.? we have one african-american as attorney general. doesn't he have to have a woman in the big four? don't you think? >> absolutely. janet napolitano for a.g., but maybe there is a woman for treasury secretary. >> look, brainard is well respected in the international -- been involved in the european debt crisis. i think she could be somebody you see sort of re-emerge as a potential leading candidate. >> i think looking like america is a big deal these days, a very big deal. thank you so much, andrea mitchell. thank you, chuck todd. chuck, you're staying with us on this political thing we're doing next. coming up, the results of our new poll are in, and one thing is clear. the republican party has a sorry reputation right now. do you believe that? big time. the most frequent words people use to describe the party are bad, weak, and negative. for all the millions the party spent to sell its candidates, the american public really doesn't like what it sees when it hears the word republican.
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plus, a preview of coming attractions. hillary clinton and chris christie coming soon to a presidential primary near you. we're talking 2016. could clinton versus christie be the dream match-up for every political junkie this side of heaven. and president obama and john boehner talking again. can boehner deliver enough votes in his caucus. let me finish with that old question, why not the best? this is "hardball," the place for politics. when you give a, it has to work. ♪ make just one someone happy and when it's a toys for tots child, well, what could be more important? so this year, every hasbro toy donated to toys for tots will be powered by duracell. happy holidays. duracell with duralock. trusted everywhere.
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one headline from our nbc news/"wall street journal" poll. for the first time ever a majority of voters support marriage equality. catch this. 51% now say they support same-sex marriage. all you have to do to look at our polls from the past few years to see how fast public opinion has changed on that issue. back in 2004, for example, when republicans used the issue to defeat john kerry, only 30% supported gay mare. in 2009 it was up to 41%. earlier this year support for same-sex was up to 49%. a solid majority, if a small one. we'll be right back. yep, there i am with flo. hoo-hoo! watch it! [chuckles] anyhoo, 3 million people switched to me last year, saving an average of $475.
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welcome back to "hardball."
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we've been saying for a while that the republican party has an image problem, a reputation problem. now new numbers from the nbc/"wall street journal" poll just out prove the point. the democratic party's favorable number is now 44%, and the overall favorable is plus nine. in other words, better positive than negative. the republicans have a 30% favorable right now. that's pretty bad. a negative 15 if you subtract the bad from the good. it gets worst. a word cloud showing the most commonly used words to describe the party, bad, weak, negative. with other words like uncompromising, broken, and out of touch rounding out the top terms. joining me again chuck todd, our holdover from that segment, nbc news political director and host of "the daily rundown ,"and "the washington post's" chris cillizza. back to you, chuck, for this question. let's just be, as you always are, but i'll be as well, totally analytical. what has skunked the republican name in this country in the last several months more than any
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time before? what's wrong? >> well, what's wrong is you've got to realize it's not been several months, it's been several years. the trend data is unmistakable. this has basically been in the wrong direction for the republican party going back to 2005. they've had a small blip in 2010 when they won control and the president was pushing an unpopular health care bill. that was their moment that they were able to get power again, get back into government, but if you look back, this has been a five-year trend of a very slow erosion, and by the way, you don't just see it in polling. if you look over the last ten years, but particularly the last six years, in exit polling and people who self-identify with the republican party, there has been a slow percentage over time that trended down. i think that this is a party that is simply -- i thought somebody really put it well, conservatives said the biggest problem with the party isn't necessarily that it is too
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conservative. it's that it's out of touch. you can be conservative and in touch, conservative and relevant, and they're coming across as not relevant. i think whether it's with hispanics, whether it's with women, where the conservatism and there's too many voices dominating on the wrong side and giving the party brand a bad name. look at it, the party brand, i have always believed, mitt romney could have been ronald reagan, but the party brand was in worse shape than when reagan ever ran. i have always thought there was a 50-pound weight mitt romney was dragging around. >> let's go through them. apparently they're not popular with hispanics, with suburban women, not with younger voters under 35, not with even white independent voters which surprises me. what do you make of that? all these negatives. >> you just outlined sort of the future swing vote for the 2016 and 2020 election. i mean, look -- >> young people will get older, and they will vote. >> suburban women, that's a
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place where republicans have to do better. white voters in general, white independents. this is the problem, chris. it's across the board, and that's why it's not just -- chuck rightly points out, it's not just an election, it's not just a candidate. you're making a mistake if you're saying this is about mitt romney. not really. this is about the fate of a republican brand. chuck mentioned 2010. i look at 2010, 2010 almost in retrospect looks like a false positive. i think a lot of republicans thought, okay, we got beaten bad in '06, beaten bad in '08, and they thought maybe now is the time to reform the party. then '10 comes along and they win everything, and they say people do like the republicans but -- no, it's just in a binary choice election if you decide you don't want what the democratic brand is currently offering, you go with the republican brand. they don't love the republican brand and haven't for a while. >> the importance, chuck, and you're the expert as well as
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chris, the importance of hispanic voters, the importance of younger voters is they don't all vote in midterm elections, but in a general election for president, you have all of a sudden all the negatives in the republican party blossoming into the most important things in the party. so it's the position against legalization of people that have been here a while, its the position on abortion rights, all the issues that affect young people, all the issues that are salient with minorities and young people they're wrong on. >> chris, here is the thing. if they just sit here and say, i have heard this from some republicans, you know what? we'll be fine in 2014, you know, because turnout won't be the same, it will be a better electorate, but you know what? over time that electorate is going to change, too. it takes a little bit longer, but we saw evidence of that. harry reid is still a united states senator because the electorate has changed in nevada even in a midterm.
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michael bennet is now a full term united states senator because the electorate changed in colorado even in a midterm. so this stuff, it is -- you're just suddenly protecting shrinking and shrinking turf. they do have to come to realize, and i think that that's -- that's what's going to make, for instance, watching the immigration debate -- i somehow believe republicans are going to go en masse but maybe they won't. if it ends up being more divisive and ends up being harder to get done and the republican brand is sullied even more with hispanics, they could lose a whole generation. >> just to make the point, a new study released by a prominent republican pollster shows the republican party is in big trouble. quote, republicans have run out of persuadable white voters for the fifth time in the past six presidential elections. republicans lost the popular vote. trying to win a national election by gaining a larger and larger share of a smaller and smaller portion of the
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electorate is a losing political proposition. >> mitt romney won the white vote by 20 points, 59/39. he won the white vote by 20 points because he won voters who said the economy was the most important issue. he won political independents, and he still lost convincingly. i would add to the five out of six popular vote, it's amazing. in the 1980s democrats always worried and they said, republicans have a lock on the electoral college. reagan won twice with over 500 electoral votes. h.w. bush won in '88. the ceiling in electoral college is probably the 286 bush got. new mexico, colorado, montana, if those states start to be swing states or go to the democratic side, it's not even the popular vote, it's the electoral college. >> i have to use a philadelphia reference here, growing up frank rizzo needed to win 87% of the white vote because that was his strength. he got 83%. got to the point where you almost had to get 90% of the white vote to survive politically and it --
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>> by the way, in order to do -- in order to accomplish that, you know what kind of campaign you have to run? that's not a way to govern. when it's over, if you happen to win under that circumstance where you create a racially polarizing environment, ethnically polarizing environment, then good luck governing. >> if you had a nightstick in your cummerbund. coming up, santa claus takes on paul ryan next in the "sideshow." this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ man ] ring ring... progresso this reduced sodium soup says it may help lower cholesterol, how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." it's santa claus versus paul ryan. that's right., a coalition of progressive groups, turned to santa to spread the word about middle class tax cuts. and he has a run-in here with the house budget chairman. >> paul. >> oh, yeah. hey, santa. >> paul, i was looking for you. >> i got to run. i got people waiting for me in my office. i got to get going. >> i just want to give you the heads up, two weeks. coal on the list right now, my friend. don't be a scrooge this
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christmas time. call congress today and urge them to vote for tax cuts for 98% of americans. >> ho, ho, ho. >> a politically charged santa claus might be too much to handle. a ppp poll earlier this week showed a plurality of americans think santa claus is a democrat. a muslim infiltration conspiracy strikes again. this time in texas. school officials in the dallas district received a bizarre chain e-mail linking to this website. check out this headline. islam in texas schools. why can't teachers disclose the content? wow. far from writing it off as a dose of crazy talk, concern within the school board about some kind of islamic bias in the curriculum led to an
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investigation. who did the groupnvestigation that puts together curriculum select to do the review? according to "the dallas morning news," the director said she hired a socially and fiscally conservative social studies teacher who watches glenn beck on a regular basis to seek out any islamic bias. christianity got twice as much attention in the curriculum as any other religion. if there was any islamic bias, it was bias against radical islam. so the conclusion from the 72-page handout the school officials received, texas students are not being indoctrinated by radical islam. finally, there may be gridlock in washington over the fiscal cliff, but members of parliament in the ukraine spent the first two days of the parliamentary session literally fistfighting over the election of parliamentary officials. this was the scene from today.
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anyway, yesterday's session was suspended due to a similar brawl with one man having his ear torn. the election did wind up happening today. ukrainian law dictates that the police cannot intervene in parliamentary fights. the members can't be punished for what they do in them. i guess that explains that. up next, chris christie versus hillary clinton in 2016? wishful thinking for all of us political junkies. what a match-up that would be. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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welcome back to "hardball." with a gritty state of new jersey's home to the boss, bruce springsteen, and the boardwalk of the empire fame, it's also the home of an increasingly popular brass politician by the name of chris christie. he may have sat out the presidential race in 2012, but he later earned high marks for his handling of hurricane sandy. how he's leaving the door very open for a bid for president in
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2016. here he was on abc with barbara walters just last night. >> when you were pressed to run for president this time, you said you didn't think you were ready. what did you mean by that? >> i wasn't ready to undertake a campaign. that's an enormous decision to make for yourself and your family, and i didn't feel ready. >> how do you think you're going to feel in 2016? >> well, you know what? i have no idea. >> in your fantasies when you're just talking to yourself, do you say president chris christie? >> no. no, i don't. >> nobody doesn't like barbara walters. president chris christie, it could happen, but he may need to get past hillary rodham clinton on the way to the actual oval office. john feehery is a republican strategist, and bob shrum is a columnist for the daily beast. gentlemen, sometimes i feel the cosmos shifts and all of a sudden things are all of a sudden different. over and over and over again starting with "the sopranos," this incredible focus on jersey. "boardwalk empire," the wives of
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new jersey, the boss, springsteen, on both major tablets' front page at the fund-raiser. everything, the four seasons, the jersey boys. everything is about jersey. it's always been overlooked. it's a commuter city. all of a sudden it's in the foreground, and sandy is the biggest tragedy in the country for a lot of people, and who is leading it? this big guy with a real jersey attitude. every time we talk to him now we're talking president. >> there's a reason all those wall street financiers were begging chris christie to run last time, because they thought he could win, and i think if he had run this time, he had -- he could have got all those blue collar guys in michigan, all the blue collar guys in ohio, all the blue collar guys in wisconsin. he's a blue collar guy, and he would have won the south anyway. he would have been a great candidate. the question is is -- >> when did you start saying this? >> i said it on your show. the question is in four years can he maintain that. >> let's not talk about four years. let's talk about right now.
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don't do that. don't do what you just said. this is what it looks like right now. >> right now he would be a great candidate. >> shrummy, let's talk about culture. you're a student of popular culture. something says to me it's jersey's turn. it just is. if you don't buy it, say you don't buy that. >> i don't buy that. i think this guy is really interesting. he's a big winner in 2012 -- >> would you ever back a republican under any circumstance over any democrat ever? >> it depends who the democrat was -- >> have you ever done it? >> as a general proposition, no. >> have you ever done it? >> no. >> then make that clear. >> chris, i vote -- you'll get mad at me. i voted for gerald ford in 1976. >> you're a puma. you're a puma wannabe. keep going. let's talk chris christie. >> christie has a big personality. he's going to be a huge factor on the national stage, but he's also got big problems in the republican primaries. this is a guy who favors not marriage equality but civil unions. that's a problem in iowa, south carolina, all those states where
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an increasingly shrunken base is not going to like that and may just look at him and say he's too far out. >> but he's pro-choice -- no, he's pro-life is what he is. >> he's pro-life now. he's like romney now. he's flip-flopped on the issue. i think there will be some suspicion of that in the republican party. and sandy, which helped him in new jersey, makes him virtually a lock for re-election, has left a lot of bad taste in a lot of republican mouths, and that's why he's only running at 14% in that -- >> because? what's the bad taste about? lay it out. >> embracing the president. i mean, you know, there are all these explanations, sandy came along, that's why obama won. christie was too nice to him, that's why obama won. none of it is true, but there's a lot of anger in the republican party, a lot of disbelief about the outcome of this. i think he would be a formidable republican candidate. >> if he had picked him for his running mate, he would have neutralized him. he wouldn't have been in the embrace of and working with the
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president so closely as the running mate for romney. he wouldn't have been that guy who turned out to be politically worthless, ryan. wouldn't that have been a smarter move? >> it would have been an infinitely smarter move. i think he would have embraced the president, and it would have helped romney and christie, not barack obama. so, yeah, i think it was a dumb move. i mean, he would have been a better choice, almost anybody would have been a better choice than paul ryan. >> let me go back to you. do you agree with that? would -- >> the thing about chris christie is he's real. people want authenticity, people who have real pragmatism and can run thing. they need leadership. what christie gives you is his pragmatic leadership. that's why he gave the president a wet kiss. he said i need help, give me the help, and people respond to that. i think there are partisans who -- >> let's look at the match-up potentially of the woman everyone is watching for, hillary clinton. also spoke to barbara walters, and she, too, didn't completely rule herself out for running for
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president. let's watch the secretary of state. >> i've said i really don't believe that that's something i will do again. >> you know your husband wants you to run in 2016. what do you say to him? >> he wants me to do what i want to do. he has made that very clear, and some of what i want to do is just kick back. i mean -- >> yeah, but after you have slept -- >> but i haven't had a chance to do that yet. >> let's give you three months. >> oh, no. >> what would it take to convince you to run in 2016? >> that's all hypothetical because right now i have no intention of running. >> one thing, bob, no candidate, male or female, democrat or republican, ever admits to is ambition. it's not in their memoirs when they're 9 years old. they never admit it when they're 25 years old. it's the one thing you never admit but everybody knows you have. only doing it for children, for old people, only doing it for somebody else or world peace. they never say i want to be president. now, when you watch hillary clinton, i do believe she hasn't
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made up her mind, but do you take that as an acting role when she says i haven't thought about it or do you take it for real? >> i think she thinks about it. when people say they don't intend to run, that's usually a signal that they're going to run. look -- >> they're going to intend to run. >> she could surprise us and decide not to run. i don't think that's going to happen. i think there's a very good chance she will run. very formidable candidate this time. women will overwhelmingly support her, number one. number two, she'd have tremendous financial advantage, and, number three, she's a lot better off running not for a clinton restoration but much more in her own right having been secretary of state, as a successor to obama, and out there articulating the kind of populist themes that worked so well for her at the end of the primaries in 2008 and which have now become central for the president. >> i agree. by the way, every time i have a poll at a dinner party or lunch, i ask do you think she's going
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to run? everybody thinks it's unanimous until you ask them. it's usually a slight majority think she's going to run. never a big majority. people really have second thoughts because they know it's a 12-year run. four years running, eight years serving. it's a really brutal road she's setting for herself. i think she'll run, but i don't think it's an easy decision. >> and i think she's exhausted. being in that public -- i think that's right. she's going to be a tough candidate. >> nobody can beat her i don't think. >> it depends -- >> we'll have you back for christie -- thank you. you'll be press secretary. that would be a great job. you could speak for him. none of your business. the governor says none of your business. the governor says none of your business. every day you say it all day long. thank you, bob. thank you, john, who will be known as the guy who before the governor says none of your business. up next, the fiscal cliff. president obama met again today with house speaker john boehner, but can boehner deliver his caucus? that's the toughest job for him
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and for the country. can he deliver enough republicans to be a respectable republican leader? this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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tonight i'll be speaking at the smithsonian institution here in washington about my book "jack kennedy, elusive hero." big crowd tonight. it's on "the new york times" best-seller list. it's an incredible book for the season because it's a great american story about hope. boy, do we need that. it will take you to a different time, a different man.
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if you're like me, you will love it, that time. we'll be right back. [ woman ] ring. ring. progresso. in what world do potatoes, bacon and cheese add up to 100 calories? your world. ♪ [ whispers ] real bacon... creamy cheese... 100 calories... [ chef ] ma'am [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup.
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welcome back to "hardball." late this afternoon president obama and speaker boehner met at the white house in their first face-to-face meeting since fiscal negotiations last sunday, and boehner is scheduled to return home to ohio on friday for a long weekend. earlier today the speaker made clear that there would be no compromise without more cuts to spending. let's listen. >> i have been pushing all year for us to address this problem. but here we are at the 11th hour, and the president still isn't serious about dealing with this issue right here. it's this issue, spending. >> joining me is congressman chirs van hollen, who is a
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ranking member on the budget committee and a man many expect to be the next democratic speaker of the house. i do mean that. let's start. you don't have to take that back. you're young, you have a shot. let's talk about -- >> i like your book, by the way. >> the book on kennedy. thank you. let's talk about the speaker of the house. you said in the press the last couple hours or day that boehner is waiting to get re-elected speaker so he can have the republicans behind him before he cuts this deal. >> well, my point is this, the big holdup right now is the fact that speaker boehner cannot get a critical mass in his caucus to endorse what every american would think was a reasonable deal with increased rates on wealthier individuals. if he doesn't have critical mass, he has a choice. he could easily bring a bill to the house that allowed for a vote. it might require less than half of republicans joining with democrats, but we can get it done. there's nothing in the constitution. >> where they did they get the idea that you have to have a
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majority of the majority? >> people need to know. this is just something they made up. i mean -- >> how can you by bipartisan if you set as a rule you've got to have a majority of your party? >> that's exactly right. be a leader. take into account the interest of the country, not just the republican party and the house. bring a bill to the floor that can get a majority of the vote. that's what the american people want to see. so my concern is that because he might think he's going to put his speaker ship at risk if he does that before the end of the year, he may be, in fact, holding out until january 3rd, which is when he's officially sworn in. he has to be voted on by his colleagues as speaker of the house for the next term. so my worry is that he's dragging things out for political purposes. >> is it possible you can get a deal that's not the big esz deal in the century but big enough to avoid the cliff? what about a little bit more around a trillion in revenue and a trillion in spenlding cuts?
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does it look like it could be a solution now? $2 trillion in savings from the debt over ten years? >> i think the president says that in order to get a balanced approach and really deal with this issue, you need more revenue. >> do you think you need 1.2? >> i think the president is at 1.4, which is less than bolls. which is less than that revenue. chris, here's an issue. the president agreed to adopt a trillion dollars. he is called for another $6 trillion as part of his plan and he spelled them out. >> what's the republican problem. why could they accept -- >> i thought it was hard to budget the caucus. he's talking 600 million, which is really pushing your caucus. what do they want? the republicans? >> they won't tell us what they want. they won't even tell us how they would get their 800 billion. it's not enough. but they can't tell us how they would get the $800 billion in revenue. people start to see eliminating deductions like your charitable deduction is going to be something people don't support.
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>> by the way, raising the age for many people makes no sense. you're driving a truck, you're working on a trip hammer, why should you have to wait to get medicare? >> simply transferring and passing on the costs to seniors. as opposed to the way the president and democrats did it, trying to overall all health care costs. the president has more in the next ten years than the ryan republican budget than he gets in a very different way. >> i do think you'll be speaker some day. joining me now -- if you want it. >> joining me now is neah malika henderson. neah, here we go. watching this thing as of tonight, are we looking like we're going to get to the cliff? over it? as of right now, end of december, how does it look to you watching this thing as an observer? >> there's certainly a debate inside the white house about whether or not to go over the cliff. whether or not it's actually a political more advantageous for the white house. maybe that strengthens the president's hand. about whether or not they would
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be strengthened if u in fact, this happens. two things happened today. one of which is beranck erksz came out and boehner essentially came out and seem today give a nonanswer of whether or not he would back just voting on the middle class tax cuts. so those two things, i think, both show -- on the one hand, bernancke, where the rubber meets the road here, when the stock market really starts to react and people would be more jittery and the reality would be upon us. and then with boehner essentially being a middle path to get passed this. >> are there really people in the white house who believe that it's a bunji jump? that if we go over in the cliff, we'll come right back up again in the market? that's not what bernanke things. >> you're right. that's not what bernanke thinks. there is a sense that the politics of it and the optics of it would strengthen the president's hand. if people start looking at their 401ks and seeing that decline, it could spell trouble for the white house. ultimately, the economy and the
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stock market ends with the president. >> i think it's a cliff. thank you, nia henderson. we'll be right back with my thoughts about what's going on right now. let finish tonight with this. what i like is the big time. i want the best possible people running this country. i want the heavyweights out there. i want to know when i'm paying attention, the first team is out there on the field. that this country of ours, the best country in the world has its best people out there doing their best for us. when i vote for chris christie to get out there and run for president, it's for a glorious reason. it was a joke to have the republican nomination for president contested by the likes of santorum, kane, bachman and gingrich. it was a shame that one of the two parties got to select that. yes, i want president obama to go out in this country and grab the best possible people for the second term cabinet. i think michael bloomburg is about to become a board. he's playing behind man's bluff. why not call his bluff and ask him to get in the arena. a man who made billions in business in economic communication is the best possible person to communicate this administration's fiscal policy and world trade policy, don't you think? so let's get at it, america.
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let finish tonight with this. what i like is the big time. i want the best possible people running this country. i want the heavyweights out there. i want to know when i'm paying attention, the first team is out there on the field. that this country of ours, the best country in the world has its best people out there doing their best for us. when i vote for chris christie to get out there and run for president, it's for a glorious reason. it was a joke to have the republican nomination for president contested by the likes of santorum, kane, bachman and gingrich. it was a shame that one of the two parties got to select that. yes, i want president obama to go out in this country and grab