tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 28, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PST
so gang, thank you all for a great year here on "the last word." and you have all been doing this for like what? the last 15 years of this -- this particular holiday show. the first generation of guests have all kind of moved on to other things. but there will be many more of these last word holiday shows to come. there is "the last word" staff over there. just to make it official, you all agreed with every pick that i made, right? okay, good. all right, thank you for joining us for "the last word" holiday party. lot more in 2013.
>> deal or no deal. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm richard wolf in for chris matthews. at the 11th hour, just when people were starting to lose hope, the president met with congressional leaders this afternoon and declared he was modestly optimistic about a deal on taxes. speaking in the white house briefing room, president obama condemned congress for failing to resolve its differences in any normal way. >> christin, let's take a listen to what the president said about the up or down vote about what he expects to emerge from the
senate. >> i just had a good and constructive discussion here at the white house with senate and house leadership about how to prevent this tax hike on the middle class. i'm optimistic. if an agreement isn't reached in time, between senate store reid and senator mcconnell, then i will urge senator reid to bring to the floor a basic package for an up or down vote. i believe such a proposal could pass with bipartisan majorities. >> this up or down vote seems to be the big news of the day. isn't this what the white house wanted all along? >> well, it is. it's president's obama's way of saying vote on his basic proposal.
it would extend in employment insurance benefit and deal with unemployment insurance cuts. >> so the question is, could they actually get that many republicans to vote for this package that the president is calling for? >> but politically, what he is doing is essentially saying this is the plan that i'm putting forth. let's get it through the senate and if it fails, it will fail in the republican-led house. essentially having rely cans having owned that failure.
>> i didn't hear also about the debt ceiling that the treasury secretary was just saying we need to raise pretty much any day now. is this going to be the next couple of months in terms of this debate? does the white house have a strategy for dealing with both in the next phase? >> well, they're quite clear that there's probably just too much at this point to put that in this initial package, specifically the debt ceiling. that they're saying there's probably no way that they're
going to be able to address that right now. they know that that's sort of the next big hurdle that they're going to have to face, once they deal with the immediate issue. so in terms of their strategy, if they have one, they haven't revealed their details about that quite yet. but president obama today, i thought it was interesting using the power to put pressure on congress to get this basic deal done that he's calling for. richard, one of the things that he said is that this is not how the american people do business. he said ordinary folks do their jobs. they need deadlines. and the fact that the lawmakers can't do it is boggling to many of them. so the president really trying to ramp up public pressure. this is something that we have seen him do in the past. a tactic that he has taken in the past to really try to get the public on his side to put the pressure on house republicans. >> kristen, thank you for all of your work tonight. >> joined now by joy reed and clarence page. let's just take a listen to what kristen was talking about. let's roll the tape. >> the president seemed to be
>> the president seemed to be much more comfortable today saying enough is enough. >> it did. he sounded like a man who knows he holds if not all the cards, a lot of them. he has the advantage here, the polls indicate, as with bill clinton and this showdown with newt gingrich. the public tends to blame republicans when this happens. especially now at a time when over on the house side, you have
>> it's almost like the white house is stepping out. i think we have some sound from mitch mcconnell talking about the next steps. let's see if we can run that out. >> we had a good meeting at the white house. we are engaged in discussions, if majority leader, myself and the white house in the hopes that we can come forward as early as sunday and have a recommendation. that i can make to my conference and the majority leader can make to his conference. >> i'm going to do everything that i can, i'm confident senator mcconnell will do the same. but everybody, this is -- whatever we come up with, this is going to be imperfect. and some people aren't going to like it. some people will like it less. but that's where we are. and i feel confident that we have an obligation to do the best we can and that was made very clear in the white house. we're going to do the best we expect the caucuses that we have and the country that's waiting for us to make a deposition
exhibit. >> clarence, you've seen this movie before. it sounds like something is in the works here, huh? >> yeah, something is in the works at least on the senate side. on the house side, we still don't know about those hard core intransigents and even if the senate does come up with something, if the house can agree to go along with it, if as kristen said, you've got to have all of the democrat and 30 republicans. there's only about six who come. the rest don't seem to lose any points, as far as they're concerned, by a peering to be as much of a roadblock as they can, even if it means going over the fiscal cliff. so if harry reid and mr. mcconnell can't come up with something, then you've got barack obama's proposal. >> joy, even before it gets to the house republicans, there are
plenty of republicans in the senate who can mess this up, right? even if mcconnell and reid have a deal, there's no guarantee that there isn't a single tea party-backed senator. >> well, i mean, at the end of the day, look, mitch mcconnell is a much better leader of his caucus. and mcconnell has really controlled the leaders. the fact that he's meeting with harry reid means there probably isn't going to be a filibuster. i'll find that very surprising. the problem is that never have we seen, not in my lifetime, a weaker speaker of the house of representative than john boehner. john boehner has essentially thrown up his hands and walked away from this process. he's walked away from the constitutional mandate that senate and tax bills come from the house, not the senate. and he's said you guys pass something. they were going to pass something. it's the house that's the problem.
it's always been. and this is the same congress that has been behaving this way for two years. >> thank you, joy, thank you clarence. we have a great programming note. on sunday, president obama will be david gregory's guest on "meet the press." that's this sunday on "meet the press." but coming up next, whatever became of john boehner. remember him? not too long ago, he was the leader of an increasingly powerful republican party in the house. now, he can't even get his own caucus to approve his celebrated plan b. >> and later, through the magic of digital recording, talking about even the most common sense proposals to limit the ability of assault weapons. and with his annual list of best political movies of the year. this is "hardball," the place for politics. bacon and cheese
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welcome back to "hardball." the president has made clear he wants a deal. but just how will a deal get done? joining me from the hill is nbc's kelly o'donnell. kelly, i've heard a lot about the house bill going from one to senate and getting amended. is this a smoke screen? or is there some legislative need to use the vehicle that's been passed. >> well, being this the eyes glazed over for a moment, you're dealing with something that is about essentially taxes. and the constitutions and the laws make it so that it's a requirement that originate in the house of representatives. one of the challenges beyond the political arguments and the handshakes dial deal making that we hope will happen over the next few days, there are the mechanics of getting it done and getting it done in time. now, i'm always surprised by procedure that there is a way to pull a rabbit out of a hat when they have an agreement.
but there are steps that need to be taken. will they allow for debate? the big power shift is that we have been so focused on the house on what speaker boehner could or could not do. when he was unable to get enough votes for his idea to have the income tax threshold be at a million dollar, when that didn't work, he insisted that the senate begin to act. politically, that's important because they want to see how many democrats are on board. will all of them join in? and how many senate republicans, especially the more conservative members, members who were up for reelection in 2014. how many of them will be prepared to go forward. and then, that gives boehner more muscle to try to get enough of his republican members to go along. in the house, they'll need house democrats and republicans. so there is a mechanical part of this.
there is a political arm wrestling part of this and what will unfold over the next 24 hours in how they can reach a deal. sources in both parties are telling me that part of thesticking point right now is where to unleash that threshold. speaker boehner is also saying the sequester, that big ugly word for automatic cuts, that he wants to make sure that at least some of that stays in, meaning there would be spending cuts and that would certainly change the game going forward. because those big spending cuts could lead to jobs and issues of the unforeseen consequences of what happened here. so while this is an important part, there are many chapters that are going to be happening over the next 24 hours. and we'll see if they can get it done. the goal to have something ready to look at by sunday. >> and my eyes didn't glaze over, honestly. this has been a rough couple of weeks for house speaker john boehner. and it's not hard to conclude that he's the first casualty of
this word. boehner put forward his plan b when he couldn't rustle up enough republican votes. joining me now to discuss boehner's debate is robert costner. john boehner, as we heard from kelly o'donnell, is going to be faced with needing democrats to get this deal through if we, indeed, do have a deal. then he's got to go back to his caucus and say reelect me as speaker. how does he do that? >> i think these are two separate questions, richard. on the first point, boehner is going to have a tough time corraling republican votes. if the president brings his 250 plan to the house floor and that gets through the senate, you're not going to see many republicans go after that. but at the same time, boehner is pretty safe when it comes to his speakership. if those gentlemen were making noise, i think there would be a
huge ruckus. but i don't hear that. i'm on capitol hill every day. i think boehner is pretty safe because there's not a challenger. >> if john boehner is safe at his job, that doesn't seem to be at all relevant. isn't that right? >> i think that's right. but it's in large part because boehner couldn't get his plan through the house. i could only imagine how angry they are because they put him into this bind in which he has to negotiate with harry reid. and then it also gets house democrat support. all the while, he's got an eye when he's up for reelection. house speaker boehner has shown that he's largely, not entirely, but largely. remember, his deputies were both there with him when plan b was
introduced. the logical successes aren't actually there. >> paul ryan is not the guy to watch, right? so paul ryan is the guy who has the real support of the house conservatives. a lot of people don't like boehner, they love paul ryan. now ryan, at the final minute, remember, he was with you for plan b. paul ryan, probably the most high profile guy, he's not running against boehner. he's not even interested. >> but robert, if the president gets this through, and i know that's a big if, doesn't this mean going forward, he just has to negotiate with mitch mcconnell? >> i mean, you always are going to have to include john boehner. he's a speaker of the house and a republican's control of the house. but i think you're making a fair point that the power to drive debate is being under-questioned right now. we're not sure how he can do it moving forward.
people are going to look to this experience as how john boehner may or may not be able to drive this discussion. >> on this deal, things get thrown on to the table and then the base finds out and they get upset. what is a president's base going to get upset about. >> if likely thing will probably be tax rebates. my guess is that in the process of trying to hem up this deal, it gets raised somewhere to around 400, maybe 500,000. such as changing the benefit structure for social security. that likely will not be in this deal. obviously, everything remains to be seen. but those two things will offset the estate tax, as i understand it, is a big sticking point. obama wants to see it go up.
the senate republicans will insist that it stays at its current rate. this is what happens when you make deals with very little time to spare. you basically force your respective party forces to swallow what you give him. >> thank you. we'll be back in a moment. this is "hardball" the place for politics. this is flo. i need you. i feel so alone. but you're not alone.
welcome back to "hardball." what will a deal look like, if there is one, and who's going to wind up giving up more on the tax cuts for wealthy americans. harry reid says $250,000 is a threshold, but that may not hold. joining me now, josh green. josh, for the markets, for the business community, whether it's 250,000, i know it's a big deal for politicians, but 250, 400, 500,000, is there any real difference? >> absolutely none. the business community has said, ceos have said go ahead, raise our taxes, we don't want to go
over the cliff because it's going to imperil the recovery. >> the market has been moving in a pretty volatile fashion. i don't know if we can show that chart that we had, but every piece of new news, whether it was up or down, you can see from the peeks and the troughs here, just from a facebook post, would send the market into turmoil. >> all along, washington will do what it always does. last minute, everyone will come together and stave off disaster. only the last couple of days, has the possibility entered their mind that we won't stave off disaster. when boehner came out later in the day and said we'll reconvene the house on sunday, the market shot up. so if we don't reach a deal by sunday night, you can bet that when the market is opened, the stock market is going to plunge. >> at the end of the year, it's the marking point for how people
perform through the year. the expectations are high and they got to stay high. >> that's the real danger. you said the optimistic tone which raises the perception they are going to work this out. and it will make the backlash, the whiplash to make it stronger. >> and does the market find or business community, do they find any of these characters reassuring? >> i think -- i think they want to hear reassuring things from all of the characters. i think anybody in wall street who's smart, anybody doesn't put a lot of faith in any of these guys. the deal does not include the debt limits. so regardless of whether we strike one or not, we're going to have an even bigger show down two months from now. and from a market stand point and an economy standpoint, that is much, much scarier. >> so is there anyone left?
>> your guess is as good as mine. white house people will tell you obama refuses to negotiate. he thinks the public is behind them. so i think that's the huge danger that nobody is focusing on right now is the debt limit. that is not part of the discussions and that means we're going to go through this all again in 60 days and 90 days. >> and tim said we're already at the limit. do we have 60 days? >> we do. the treasury can pursue extraordinary measures. it gives the government more money and will put off the actual kind of "d" day for the u.s. defaulting on its debt, only by a week or so. but, again, the real thing that should be scaring everybody is the thing that's coming in a couple of months. >> you know, we heard the president talking today about how mind boggling this is. you know, that normal people don't resolve their differences this way. i don't know how you can shuffle around money. that really is mind boggling.
>> welcome back to hardball. the tragic school shooting has put renewed focus not just on the guns, but on school safety itself. >> i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. and to do it now. >> but here's what it looks like when you run the numbers. slate magazine took a look at what a program to put armed guards in every school might cost. there's nearly a hundred
thousand public schools and the average police officer makes about $55,000 a year. so a lowball estimate would be about 5.4 billion a year. what can we really do to keep our children safe from guns? good question. joining me now expert, michael nutter of philadelphia and eugene robinson. mayor nutter, thank you so much for joining me. you're on the front line every time there's a homicide in philadelphia, you know all of the facts and figures. and you certainly know about the school district. let's just look at this as if it came from pluto, this idea. didn't come from the nra. what value does it have to have an armed police officer, a 50-year-old guy, maybe an ex-police officer, retired police officer, standing somewhere near the lobby of the main door of a high school in philly. would it have any value? >> well, here's the deal, chris. in many instances, as we saw in newtown, certainly, the person doesn't always come in the front door.
and while in very specific situations, in certain schools, whether it's officers patrolling nearby or as a part of their regular duties coming into schools, this is not really a serious idea. the issue is less guns. and certainly, less semi-automatic weapons, rifles of this type. the issue is about the type of weapons that should be accessible and available to civilians. and that no one has made any legitimate argument or case as to why military-style, converted weapons, i'm not going to go through the splitting hairs argument about it's not really that, it's been converted to something else. it's a semi-automatic weapon of mass destruction. and the issue is that most civilians should not have them in the first place. they're for military or law enforcement. bottom line. >> what's your thoughts about this in writing about it?
>> i say amen to just what the mayor just said. this is what i have written. there is no reason to have these sorts of assault weapons in civilian hands. they're designed to kill people. they're designed to kill a lot of people quickly. that's not for hunting. >> when you get bombarded, i don't know if you read your comments -- >> yeah, i do. >> when you read a comment along those lines, do you hear from principle second amendment people? or do you hear from deer hunters? >> i hear from all of those people. i also hear from police officer, from responsible gun owners, from self described nra members who say you're absolutely right. you know, yes, i want my hunting rifle, but i don't need the ar-15 knock off or the ak-47 knock off. i don't need that. remember, there were armed guards at columbine who engaged
the shooters in gunfire. and it did not stop it. >> mr. mayor, what are your police officers, charles ramsey and the rest, what do they say? are they concerned about having to face superior fire power in the streets? >> we're always concerned about that. unfortunately, chris, as you well know, five months into my tenure as mayor, back in may of 20008, sergeant steven was confronted with a person who had an ak-47. shot him, killed him and with massive injuries to him. so, of course our officers are concerned about people who have this level of fire power. again, the guy in newtown, we've had other people in situations across the country. why should any civilian be able to purchase or get this kind of weaponry to get ready for massive conflict.
i'm a strong supporter of the second amendment. but i do believe i have a first amendment right not to be shot. i think i have a first amendment right to peacefully assemble and there is no real conflict here. but the ability to protect the second amendment should not interfere with my ability as a citizen and my first amendment rights. we have to be smarter about this. the president is absolutely correct. we need to ban the assault weapons, the high magazine clips and cartridges. we need to improve our background system, the checking system, close the gun show loophole and further provide better mental health services for a variety of people. not just related to this particular incident. and the nuttiest part is mental health services are on the chopping block as it relates to the fiscal cliff. all of these issues are interrelated.
and we just need to get our act together and stop messing around. this is a simple idea from a simple guy that we need not to spend any time talking about. >> let's take a look with somebody who agrees with you on the right. he said this about the nra's proposal. let's watch. >> the public wants guns out of the schools, not in the schools. and they here not asking for a security official or someone else. i don't think the nra is listening. i don't think that they understand. most americans would protect the second amendment rights and, yet, agree with the idea that not every human being should own a gun. not every gun should be available every time, anywhere, for anyone. >> you know, i've mentioned this before on the air because it meant a lot to me at the time bobby kennedy was killed. but, you know, it seems mayor nutter and gene, what happens is everybody gets overreactive.
and notice wayne lapierre waits a couple weeks. a couple weeks from now, he'll be the only one. the pro-gun people are relentless. the anti-gun people have other interests. >> so people who are interested in saying gun control laws have got to keep up the pressure, have got to keep up the focus. and not do what you just said. not conform to this general pattern of it wears off. we forget about it. >> yeah, we're worried about the fiscal cliff. isn't that the problem. >> you've got guys of men, mostly in philadelphia, not all living out in reading, they live right in the city. they think about the second amendment all of the time. >> i think there are many responsible gun owners, again, who are hunters, who know about gun safety and training, they put locks on their guns, they put them in a locker so that they're not accessible to
children or others who should not have them or don't know how to use them. the work that the mayor bloomberg is doing and mayor menino, mayors against illegal guns, that demand a plan activity and web site, people should check that out. they should get engaged and involved. i saw an ad in one of the new york papers asking people to sign up. this issue is not going away. we, as a country, damn well better figure out how to do more than one thing at a time. fiscal cliff? very important. public safety and gun violence? very important. getting people back to work in america? very important. we can actually do more than one thing at a time. mayors across the country do that every day. >> well said. thank you very much, mayor michael nutter. happy new year to you, sir. up next, the best political movies of the year. i love this segment, of course. and this is "hardball," the place for politics.
welcome back to "hardball." this is a big time of year to catch up on the movies you missed this year. we've seen a lot of movies with political themes this year. here to discuss them is new york magazine film critic, david edelstein. there's a lot of politics in movies this year, especially "lincoln." let's take a look at the film, a piece of it. >> please, first common notion is this. things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. that's a rule with mathematical reasoning. it's true because it works.
has done and always will do. in his book, hmm. he says this is self evident. you see, there it is. even in that 2,000-year-old book of mechanical law, it is a self evident truth that things which are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. >> what do you think, david, of that movie? as a movie and then also as history. just educational to americans. >> well, it's fascinating, isn't it? it's like an epic inside baseball movie because it doesn't take the piece of lincoln's life that we're most familiar with. instead, the civil war is almost done. and here is a man who is weighing how to translate this horrible, horrible war and the emancipation proclamation, freeing the slaves and how to turn it into policy, government policy, to say that all things are equal under the law.
so you watch this movie and it makes you think lincoln wasn't just some guy who sat on a pedestal. he was a guy out there playing hardball. he had these three lobbyists in the film. i wish we could take -- >> no, they were on the fiscal cliff. >> the fiscal cliff guys and it says -- >> no, they're the best lobbyists i've seen. it showed that the democratic party of that day were pretty were copperheads. they were playing ball with the war ending saying that they could let the south keep slavery. >> right. and you know everything didn't really change until the so-called southern strategy. i had to keep doing back flips in my mind whenever parties were mentioned. one party seemed to stand for one thing, the complete opposite of what it stands for now. >> well, the republican party picked up the dixiecrats. they played that game.
here's ben affleck in 1980 by pretending to be producing a hollywood movie. >> you've got six people highing out in a town. you want to set up a movie in a week. you want to lie to hollywood, a town where everybody lies for a living, and then you're going to sneak a 007 and then you're going to walk the brady bunch out of the most watched city in the world. >> that's right. >> right. look, i've got to tell you. we did suicide missions in the army that had better odds than this. >> what did you think? i was at a movie theater in washington and everybody cheered like mad at a movie when that was over. >> oh, i know.
i think it's a hustle of genius. i think ben should take that senate position that's open. he proves that he is just a consummate showman in this movie. everything about this movie is real. absolutely real. fetishistically real, except for the climax which is straight out of a hollywood cliff hanger from the 1920s. but it's a terrifically entertaining movie. and it shows you how much we didn't know way back when. >> i know, i remember as a side story, what a great role the canadian ambassador played. it looked like him. anyway, now back to politics and bill murray's portrayal of f.d.r. and his relationship, i never knew about it, with his cousin daisy while welcoming in king and queen of england before world war ii. let's watch a bit of it.
>> you were wonderful tonight, young man. >> what do you mean? >> just what i said. you were graceful. you were confident. you're going to be a very fine king. >> i don't know what to say. >> your father would be very proud. >> i'm not so certain about that. >> if i were your father, i'd be proud. >> well, bill murray playing the charming f.d.r, laying it on the king of england. what did you make -- i will definitely see it. >> it's a strange little movie. it's kind of shapeless. but there is something very interesting going on now. learning as you learn more about the lives of great men. you learn that sexually, they were more twisted than even bill clinton could conceive of on his
kinkier days. to think that so much was going on behind the scenes of fdr, from his polio, you know, from the fact that the country was never allowed to see him in his wheelchair, being pushed around, and the idea that he had this entire harem of lovers, some of them his cousins, it just, you know, it sort of makes you realize just how naive we are in terms of how we're able to understand our -- >> put me down as a skeptic about all of that, except lucy rutherford. and the lucy rutherford relationship was very real. i don't know about these other ones. i wouldn't call it a harem. who else is in this harem of yours, david, i think you're overstating this. give me some names. >> there's a whole bunch of them. in fact, they trade tips about how to please him in the film. >> okay, we're stopping right here. we'll be right back with david. getting a little too kinky for me. right back in a moment with the best political movies of the year. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics, not
kinkiness. we'll be right back. . 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. like gas station sushi. or super cheap car insurance. and then there are good decisions. like esurance. their coverage counselor helps you choose the right coverage for you at a great price. [ stomach growls ] esurance. now backed by allstate. click or call.
back with more on the political movies of 2012, with new york film critic, david edelstein. let's talk about something really hot right now, the movie that's getting all the buzz, dark and positive, some of it not so positive, and it's this movie "zero dark thirty," about the killing of bin laden. what do you make about the buzz about the torture stuff has not been proven, in fact, has been pushed back against it, torture did not get us to bin laden.
>> the movie takes a position, despite the fact that kathryn bigelow and the screenwriter say they're not taking a position. there's no question in my mind that mark ball drank the kool-aid given to him by his cia sources and really believes that one of the key links in the chain that led us to osama bin laden was obtained through torture. that's what happens in the movie. i don't know if it was right. i wasn't there. nobody knows if it was right, except those people high up in the cia. but let's agree that this is what the movie is saying. the movie might not like it. they might say, it's ugly as hell, this torture thing is just terrible. they might deromanticize the violence in the movie. they might show you -- >> how will that affect the awards? will it help or hurt them get an academy awards? it seems like the neocon right-wingers might say, yeah,
that's how you win these awards. how's it going to affect the politics of winning an academy award? because i think she's up for it. >> i think it would put the kibosh on it, frankly. because i do think that's how people lean out there. and you have a much more liberal choice in "lincoln," if you will. the tony kushner certified choice. >> you're right, kushner's going to help. >> i'm very ambivalent about this movie myself. i'm very wishy-washy about it. on one hand, i think it's the most phenomenally made movie of the year. i think it's a great piece of filmmaking. on the other hand, i think it's amoral. i have strong questions about the use of the information. >> we're about to disagree, though. i think "les mis," i saw it last night? your view? >> it's a monster, it's a monster hit. it's an absolute monster. you know in "alien" those face huggers, that sort of impregnate you through the mouth. that's how i felt after i saw "les mis."
there's a movie that's so in your face for three hours. when it's over, there's no question why i was applauding, they were shouting at me for three hours, i wanted to shout back. >> i agree with you, it was tough as a movie, because it still belongs on the stage. my son was in it in high school. i love this play, i love the music. i thought that hathaway was great and hugh jackman was great, and i thought everybody tried, even poor russell crowe, because he shouldn't have been in that part, in a film drama, he would have been great, but in the singing part, he couldn't pull it off. but have you ever seen actors work harder and be more passionately committed to a movie? >> listen, i want anne hathaway to get that oscar, do you know why? can you imagine having to lose all that weight, to have your hair plucked off, so you looked like a chicken when you sang, and have a camera in tight on your face when you're trying to sing an octave higher than your natural register and pull it off, that's some mighty fine oscar bait.
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