tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 6, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
word's senior new jersey political analyst. >> good week for that title. >> thank you, steve. knowledge is power. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with this story that the national security agency has been collecting information on our phone calls. who's calling who, and for how long. this is a good, important debate i think. we need to be vigilant about what kind of stuff the government's collecting and decide if it's truly helpful to catching terrorists. especially and ideally before they attack. we need a find a balance between doing too much of this and not doing what should be done to protect ourselves. i try to ask in matters like
this a simple question. if we are hit, and it comes out that the president had the ability and authority to take action that could is prevented the attack, what would the critics justifiably say that then? what would you say if you knew our leaders failed to do something they could have done and didn't? again, nothing is healthier in our country than a real never ending debate on what we believe is necessary to our defense and what is necessary, too, to protecting our liberty. we begin with nbc news justice correspondent pete williams. pete, i think it's a balancing act. tell us what this new program that we're discovering about at the nsa is actually doing. >> well, the first question i guess is whether it's new, and members of congress say it's not. they say that this is what we've seen here is a little peep into what's been going on for the past at least seven years, they say. and what it is is a request or a demand to the phone companies that they turn over data to the united states, to the nsa, on all the numbers that are in america that have called any other numbers in the u.s. or
overseas. that's a huge amount of data, and it's gathered every day and turned over to the national security agency in this enormous database. now, that's part one, and that's what this court order that was reported by "the guardian" newspaper talks about. it's the gathering of the data. it says nothing about part two which is what can the government do with it? now, the program is classified, so we don't know all the details, but what we've been told today by members of congress and people in the government is that the government must have a specific need to get into that database. they have to demonstrate to the fisa court what procedures they're going to use. and that if they get a telephone number that's found overseas, for example, or that comes up in an investigation, and they want to now check to -- and it's a suspected terrorist, they can run it through the database to see if that suspected terrorist number has called numbers in the u.s. and what numbers those numbers have called. so what they say is that you
can't just idly sift through the data. you can't take the data and run it through a computer to do so-called data mining. you have to wait until you have a specific need before you can dip into the database. >> and i guess the question most people ask at that point is, can the government with that information, that database, that bank of information, can they translate that into wiretapping? can they find out once they know a phone call was made from "a" to "b" for a certain time, for how long, can they use that data to find out what the conversation was, or not? >> no, because remember all the data that's stored is the fact that number "a" called number "b," how long the call lasted, where the two phone numbers were, the people with those cell phones, for example, were. but nothing was recorded then. you can't dip back into the data and say, i want to listen to this phone call that happened on such and such a time. that doesn't exist. if they want to do a wiretap on
any of those suspected phone numbers, they would have to go to court and get a wiretap order. remember, the records we're looking at are backwards. looking back in time. if you want to look forward, that data doesn't exist. >> mike rogers said they didn't use this technology, which may have been longstanding, to stop one of the terrorist attacks. do we know that yet? >> that's what he said. he says he's trying to get the government to declassify when it was used to see if more can be said about it, and the obama administration is struggling with what more they can say about it. i think what's fascinating here, chris, what you alluded to. the different responses from members of congress. we're now seeing in full bloom, if you will, what a debate that's happened to a large extent privately in the congress
or in closed sessions about whether this is a good idea or not. but there's no doubt that members of congress knew about this program and now some feel free to say they thought it was a good idea or a bad idea. >> right. great to have this debate and great to have you as our reporter. thank you, nbc news' pete williams. joining me, robert gibbs and michael steele. both are msnbc political analysts. your gust reactions, first, gentlemen. i love this about our country. we're going to have this kind of debate as long as they live. >> no, i totally agree, and as pete said, this literally is a debate and a conversation that we've had ever since the very first debates on the patriot act in late 2001 after what happened on september 11th. we have had these debates, these particular provisions were reauthorized in '05 and '09. it's healthy we're having this debate and discussion. what's most important, in listening to smart people like
pete williams to explain what this is and what this isn't, because if you picked up the paper today and you're a verizon customer, your first thought is, my god, they're listening to every one of my phone calls. >> my party line. yeah. >> right. that could -- that might make a lot of people nervous. >> i think that's what people think of wiretapping, they think of the martin luther king thing and the kennedys. they're listening to me. in fact, what they're finding out is, okay, i called my wife, ideally my wife in most cases, and i talked to three minutes. i said, what are we having for dinner tonight? >> now the government knows what we're having for dinner. >> i want to know this. i care about this. inevitably it's my big question. i know it's totally political. when something goes wrong, i politically correct maybe up at some airport and saw four guys from the middle east walking together in somewhat of a suspicious action. in fact, they didn't have the right i.d. in some of these cases. would they have flagged them? that was improper to do that. did this stop some terrorism? i think that's the first question.
i think mike rogers says yes. chairman of the house committee. >> my gut tells me because of the amount of information that it's certainly likely. let's be clear, if we were to pick up the understanding that somebody that was bad overseas had a certain cell phone number, you could through the data mining, with a warrant, you could find some, you know, who is that person calling in the united states? and in the united states, who's that person calling? >> my question, would this have stopped 9/11? would you be giving flight lessons to a couple guys who say they're german? where are these people from you're giving flight lessons to? i think they're from germany. they're from the middle east, fine. you don't get that stupid answer from a person who cares about looking out for this country. >> whether or not this would have prevented a 9/11 is problematic, to what robert just said. you need a warrant to listen in on the conversation. this doesn't do that. this is just collecting the data. the phone numbers.
number "a" calls number "b." that's the problem. >> here's a person who disagrees. rand paul. a libertarian. a tea party favorite, of course. frequently mentioned, i think, by himself, as a 2016 contender, called the nsa surveillance an astounding assault on the constitution. "restores our constitutional rights and declares that the fourth amendment shall not be construed to allow any agency to search the phone records of americans without a warrant based on probable cause." he says you need a search warrant for a particular customer of verizon. >> to be clear, if you found a number -- all this information is, as i understand it, is numbers. >> yeah. >> if you wanted to listen or if you wanted to observe a certain number, that would require going back to the foreign surveillance intelligence court and getting a specific warrant for a specific number based on a specific set of suspicions. >> do you think this story got
overhyped because it came out of london, because it came out of "the guardian" newspaper which is a liberal paper in britain? there's talk about this because of jim rosen and fox and the "ap." >> it's coming on the heels of the irs investigation, jim rosen. there are a lot of folks on my side who want to immediately jump and pin this on some administration. >> graham, mike rogers, we haven't heard from mccain. only the outriding libertarian. >> that's consistent for libertarian to have that view. >> good enough. that's why he's there. >> exactly. i think there's a lot of hype there. >> speaking of outliars. i don't mean to be sarcastic. al gore got into the fray. he tweeted his displeasure. "in digital era, privacy must be a priority. is it just me, or is secret blanket surveillance obscenely outrageous?" >> again, if you read the story
and your impression is every phone call made in this country is listened in to by the government, the answer to that would be absolutely. that's not what this is. >> he just sold his station to al jazeera, by the way, to put some things in perspective. >> again, i think to go back to your original point which is these are debates we should have. we should have these debates. i hope in the next few days the debate we've had intermittently, the debate as pete said we have had in closed halls in congress because of its classification, we have a little discussion and discernment about in the news media to explain to people what it is. >> is boehner right, the speaker right in saying the president owes it to the american people to justify this program? you're laughing. is it a good call for him? >> it's an old program. >> i'm laughing because john boehner has voted to reauthorize this program on at least no less than three occasions. >> right.
it's an old program. it's not something that was just made up in the last few years. chris, the bottom line is, it's a legitimate question coming off the 9/11 and patriot act how we create the balance between the privacy component as well as the needs -- >> we're grown up about this. thanks so much, gentlemen. robert gibbs and michael steele. by the way, michael co-authored an e-book called "the recovering politician's 12 step program to survive crisis." coming up, what is president obama fighting for in his second term? where does he want to take the country in the next 3 1/2 years in republicans have made it clear they don't want to work with this fellow. fine. what do you do if you're mr. president right now? not what the haters will let you go. tell us what battles you want us to fight, mr. president. i think many in this country are ready to follow you. also, we've been saying it for days now. darrell issa is trying to turn every administration misstep, real or imagined, into watergate times ten. it's irresponsible and
embarrassing and now even some republicans are saying secretly, quit it, buddy. plus, it's been 45 years since bobby kennedy was assassinated. 45 years since this guy, damaged, himself, of course, tried to bring together african-americans and working class whites. finally, who's going to play hillary in the movie? turns out there's a new front-runner. her name isn't scarlett johannson. amanda seyfried or jessica chastain. this is "hardball," the place for news like that. we'll be right back.
the body of senator frank lautenberg was brought to the chamber of the united states senate today. senators and members of the public were able to pay their respects to this five-term democrat from new jersey who died earlier this week. senator lautenberg, i mean, he was a great american, good liberal guy, will be buried at arlington national cemetery. he, by the way served in world war ii. the last person to do that still in the congress. we'll be right back after this. i did my research. my doctor and i went with axiron,
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well, today actually "washington post" columnist e.j. dionne, i always like to read him, echoed a theme i've been hitting. it was his original thought, too, the president has to get on offense. state his goals out there for the country and tell us how he's going to get there. "what is president obama fighting for? what is point of his second term? his ability to answer these questions in a compelling way will have more to do with his success or failure than all the republican congressional investigations combined." this week, announcing three nominees to the d.c. circuit court and putting insiders susan rice and samantha power in powerful security and foreign policy positions. he certainly did that. he showed he's ready to give efforts of conciliation a rest and push forward with his agenda, the one he believes in and the people he believes in. joan walsh is msnbc political analyst and editor at large for "salon." nira, is president for center of american progress. i want to start with you then to joan. it seems to me this president is always, i don't want to say behind me, because i'm always excited. maybe i'm excitable. and he's one of these cool
characters that slowly gets to where you want him to be like beating hillary back in 2008. i thought he gave her a 20-point lead was enough of a lead. >> i'm just getting over my -- >> so now he's getting -- he does tend to come through on the clutch, like lose the first debate to make it interesting like the nba playoffs but win the seventh game. okay? he's doing something now. i'm not sure it's more than tactics, though. he put in three people, two women. three people, who are probably progressives, as judges, i assume. he said in your face, buddies. i have three vacancies, you can call it court packing. that's my job. the d.c. circuit. then he picks two -- i think he's hard to read until she gets the job. the real person of susan rice, beliefs will let you know who they are. samantha power, i really like, maybe because she's irish. strong progressive foreign policy people with real human rights concerns. okay.
he's not sitting around waiting for john boehner to agree or eric cantor. >> second terms places where you can actually not be so worried about the voters, et cetera, and do what the right thing is. we should recognize what happened. the republican party has moved so far right that for them to -- for you to conciliate with them at this point, you have to move far right. so, you know, i think -- >> there's no deal halfway? >> you know, it's not like they like moderate democrats. they just don't like democrats in general who are -- >> unless he picks a neocon for a foreign policy position, they're going to trash him? >> yeah. there's not a lot of points. >> i think that's true. >> it's not the job of the president to let the opposition dictate the terms. >> you know what i like to do, joan, rattle the cage on the other side. i want to see the lion in the cage growling. i want to see -- i want to rattle and hear the cage jumping around with the crazy guy inside that cage.
i got to believe today when they were absorbing the fact, oh, god, we have susan rice as national security adviser and samantha power over there all to the left, maybe, it's hard to say left or right on some of those things. certainly to the human rights side of john kerry even. they've got what they want now and we lost again. >> yes. i'm happy he did that. i'm happy he gave susan rice the job she very much deserves, chris. i'm happy about the three judicial nominees. i think this is the right tone. now i think we need to see movement on domestic policies. you know? >> tell me. >> nira is out with a great report saying we have to give up on this austerity kick. austerity politics ruined europe. we know that. the deficit is dropping, and jobs are the real crisis. >> yes. >> the president has to give up -- >> can we sing it all together? one word. jobs. >> jobs, jobs, jobs. >> okay, thank you. >> and infrastructure. you know, and infrastructure. we had a bridge fall down, and very little attention to our infrastructure problems.
you know, the president was very good about crusading for a grand bargain that most of us thought he was never going to get. he needs to crusade for things that he thinks he might not get but what we need. he wants a hike in the minimum wage. he needs to be talking about that. just because it can't happen, you have to give people a reason to vote democratic in 2014. >> why is the minimum wage important? >> because we have so many people living actually below the poverty line making the minimum wage. >> you're a labor guy. you know this. when you move up the bottom, you move everybody up in the middle. >> people buy more when they have more income. >> let me ask you about this. i do this ad, leaning forward ads. what i'm really proud of, i caught it this morning watching i think chris jansing. and it's an ad about me in front of one of the most wonderful spots in the world, mt. rushmore. you feel like an immigrant when you go there, you feel so great about america. i'm talking about lincoln, in the middle of the civil war he built the trans-continental railroad.
people in government say we can't do that because the times are tough. he built the railroad across this country in the middle of the civil war when he's facing the rebel war across the river. we're sitting around waiting for somebody else to do it someway down the road. when are you going to catch up to europe, catch up to asia? we are falling behind. >> absolutely. the reason why we did this report today -- >> want to build. >> basically put out a report today that says the problem is washington is having the wrong conversation. we've actually done well in deficit reduction. supposed to be at 8% of deficits to gdp in 2023, a decade from now. it's now dropped to 3%. we're doing deficit reduction really well. what we're not doing is economic growth really well. >> who's advising the president on austerity? >> i think the challenges, we demonstrate how austerity is failing in europe and it's a bad strategy and why we need to have investments now. we have a -- we put forward a proposal where you can invest in
-- >> all i know, joan, every college, every university, every hospital, has a building program. they come to you every year. it's called their capital campaign. they build stuff. that's why schools get bigger like georgetown over here. why doesn't the united states government build anything? >> i want to be clear, and i know nira knows this, too. the president cannot do this on his own. he can't build the buildings on his own, chris, and can't get the money out of congress to do it. i really don't want to be someone who's saying, he can do this, he's just not trying. he's not using his bully pulpit as effectively as he could. he's not articulating what our -- i'm a democrat -- what our agenda as democrats is going to be to give people a reason to come out and turn out these republicans in 2014 and 2016. that's the only thing to do at this point. he cannot build a railroad or a college, himself. i have to say that. >> you know what my speech is at every college graduation, make them say no. if you're a minority going for a job and a minority has never
gotten that job before, make that guy on the other side of the table say no to you. if you're a liberal and want to do things, don't say no to yourself. if boehner wants a screw a jobs program, let him do it. up next, turns out new jersey governor chris christie was against holding a special election before he was for it. wait until you catch this guy's record. a little inconsistent. this is "hardball." the place for politics.
ha! >> back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first, a roundup of democratic reactions to chris christie's plan to fill the senate seat of the late senator frank lautenberg. recap, christie's taken the expected part stan heat for choosing to hold a special election this october, three weeks before the general election. it will cost $12 million, but
allows christie to avoid sharing the ballot that day with popular democrat cory booker. which must have meant a smaller victory or a smaller victory for christie. let's go to jon stewart on this. >> i tell you the one option he's not going to take, that weird october special election. you know, the one that is going to happen three weeks before the general. i know he's not going to do that, because in 2009, governor christie commented specifically on what he would do when he was asked, and this is true, if frank lautenberg died. >> i don't think any responsible governor at this point would call for a special election that would cost $10 million. >> of course they wouldn't. what did governor christie choose? >> christie set a special election for october 16th. >> what the -- what? he chose -- >> another reaction, we turn to a sideshow standby, of course,
texas congressman louie gohmert. the texas winger and birther is upset because he did not appoint a republican for the full remainder of senator lautenberg's term. >> if he had just up and appointed a republican replacement as he's authorized to do, do you think the bromance would continue? do you think the president would come let him win a little toys for him and stuffed animals down at the fair? we're known by our friends, i think machiavelli pointed that out. so you think he would ever get another hug out on the beach from the president if he were to do that? >> geez. anyway, so christie is getting hit from the right and the left. that's probably good news for him. by the way, christie announced today that the state's attorney general, jeffrey chiesa, who is
a republican, will replace the late senator frank lautenberg until the special election in the fall. next, in addition to the short list, the movie version. last week i told you about the lineup of possible candidates to play the young hillary clinton in an upcoming movie about her early days in washington. names like jessica chastain and amanda seyfried and scarlett johannson were on the list. there's a new front-runner, carey mulligan, starring in "the great gatsby." the hollywood performer says the producers are interested. what to do after a tough week capped by a tough night? deval patrick talked to "the boston herald" recently about the 16 hour manhunt that led to the capture of one of the suspects in the boston marathon bombing and what he did after it was all over. "i went for a quick swim and i went to a local restaurant. maggie who runs the restaurant asked, do you want to be near people or away from people?
i said as far as away as i can." i love this guy. "she starts bringing me things to drink as a celebration. by the end of the meal, i was actually quite drunk by myself." patrick later realized he had forgotten to bring any money with him that night. the woman who served him confirmed he did pay up later on. up next, i've been saying it and now some republicans want darrell issa to cool it with his over the top rhetoric about the obama white house. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics.
welcome back to "hardball." has darrell issa gone too far? even for some of his fellow republicans? well, the california republican congressman who chairs the house oversight committee is the face of many these investigations dogging the white house right now. everything from benghazi to the irs. but issa has a tendency to say things he probably should not, i think. for example, he made this comment about jay carney on cnn this past weekend. >> the administration is still,
their paid liar, their spokesperson, picture behind, he's still making up things about what happens in calling this local rogue. >> wow. well "politico" reports today, a big story, in response to that particular comment about jay carney being a paid liar, house republican leadership staffers had a message for issa to cool it. "gop leaders are concerned that the sometimes unpredictable chairman could jeopardize the biggest gift handed to them in months, public outrage over the irs scandal, combined with questions over benghazi. they think issa should stop personalizing the scandals by insulting obama and his aides and focus on the facts." and are they right to be concerned? that's our big question. john feehery is republican strategist. steve mcmahon is a democratic strategist. i think i know what he thinks. john, sometimes fire eaters work. if you get your guy, like nixon got his in the '40s. there are other examples where it's okay to be a bit over the fact. but facts. >> facts matter.
the most effective chairman i saw in this committee, which is an important oversight committee, was bill clinger. he was a guy who just did the facts. he was very calm, didn't say anything silly. the guy after him, dan burton, was a little crazy that would say things -- >> he was out shooting cantaloupes. >> then you had tom davis, and now you have darrell issa. issa has driven a lot of stories effectively. when he says jay carney is a liar, he makes the story about him. he has to keep on the straight and narrow, keep it straight to the facts and not make this about him. >> especially when you call somebody a liar which i'm very careful about. when you call somebody a liar, you're saying i know for a fact this person lied. i know he knew or she knew the truth and told me something else when even in these tricky cases, certainly about the benghazi thing, we don't know what information was given to susan rice. we don't know what she asked for, what she ended up with or thinking at the time. people start using words like perjury and things like that, they have to be real careful.
your thoughts, steve? >> john summarized it perfectly correctly. he's more like burton than the responsible subcommittee chairman john was describing. the problem for the republicans, the reason they smacked him down, this is how brands are made. the republican party is trying to run a campaign in 2014, and if they become known as the overreaching parties, the party that is known for insults, it's not going to go very well for them. >> while you're on the business of trying to help the republicans get their act together. >> i'm not trying to help them get their act together. >> there's good reason to believe there's people over at the irs making decisions that had a taint to it, point of view to it from what the evidence of the i.g. report is, they are basically turning their vengeance on the republicans. if that's a fact, you have to find out why they were doing it, who it was doing it and if there was, if any, a white house connection or campaign connection but nothing so far. >> there's an art form to this. some of the work they're doing is kind of dull.
for darrell issa is really good at actually getting the media attention and pushing the story forward. the problem is when you go over the top, and when you kind of promise more than the story has. so that's why you have to really have some good lawyers and stick to the facts. >> i think that point was made a minute ago. you have a good story in the irs scandal, everybody is ticked about it. i thought the president should have been the first guy out blowing the whistle. here's the congressman from oregon. this guy has to get republicans elected. here's what he said about issa's use of the phrase, paid liar, about carney. "i think you have to choose your words carefully and i'll leave that where it is." nicely put. >> think before you speak. remember, it was dan burton who pushed the committee and pushed the impeachment hearings to the point where the american people rejected the republicans, the republican leadership, and newt gingrich -- >> he was the guy accusing the clintons of murder, wasn't he? >> accuses the clintons of everything. he was the beginning of the overreach for the republicans that culminated in an impeachment hearing and resulted in republicans losing seats and
newt gingrich being gone. >> that's not actually what happened. 2008 they lost the majority. >> i'm talking about 1998. >> 1998 they kept the house. they lost 52 seats. >> they lost newt gingrich. >> they lost newt gingrich. they kept control of the house. i think the bigger point here is that you need, and greg walden is exactly right. i talked to greg walden about this. you need to be careful on these explosive allegations. if you mishandle them, they'll explode in your hand. >> darrell issa uses a technique the "washington post" dana milbank dubbed accuse first, ask questions later. on cnn this weekend, he alleged the tea party targeting was coming straight from washington, but did he have proof? listen to what he said. >> the reason that lois lerner tried to take the fifth is not because there's a rogue in cincinnati. it's because this is a problem that was coordinated, in all likelihood, right out of washington headquarters and we're getting to proving it. we have 18 more transcribed interviews to do.
>> this is all you need to self-condemn this guy. he makes a statement and says in all likelihood there was a connection. he says we're getting to proving it. i don't know if that's good english. we're getting to proving it. in other words, here's the fish i caught today, i'm going fishing. i look at it and it opportunity make any sense. >> makes absolutely no sense. >> he says i've got this story made then i'm going to go make it. what is it? >> i think this story is the story that keeps on giving. >> did the president have anything to do with the irs scandal? >> i doubt it very seriously. >> he said he's on the way to proving it. >> he said washington, he didn't say obama. the question is, where did this culture of trying to attack the tea party from? the president had disregard. the other thing that's interesting about this story is how senators asked the irs, democratic senators asked the irs to target the tea party. >> here he is, the full picture of this guy's overreach. here he is on "meet the press" on may 12th. let's take a look at this. issa going after -- in this
case, fighting it out with david gregory. >> the fact is, we want the facts. we're entitled to the facts. the american people were effectively lied to for a period of about a month. that's important to get right. >> i want to be clear what you believe the lie was. >> this was a terrorist attack the get-go. the attacks, very quickly, in no small part because the consulate or diplomatic facility in ben benghazi was denied the kind of support they needed. it was from the get-go really about a terrorist attack. it was never about a video. >> well, i think the question i have is why did susan rice say that this was about a video when clearly wasn't about a video? >> the cia gave her the talking points. >> you know how that happened. >> petraeus. >> petraeus said he did not
approve the talking points. she went out there and said in five shows, she should have known better. what she was saying was patently false. >> how could she know better? she one there. she got the talking points from the cia and defense. >> you have to do your due diligence. >> she relied on the experts at state department. >> nobody believed this was done by a video. i think this was patently false what susan rice said. >> i thought she did a hell of a job that day. i watched the thing -- >> turned out to not be accurate. >> she did a good job of representing the administration that day. >> it was wrong. >> based on the expert analysis. >> using the word lying is very dangerous. you have to get into her heart and mind and know she knew there was something else she was saying wrong. you don't know that. you don't know she thought it was something else. you think she's a liar? >> i think she was patently false, what she said was wrong. >> lots of people say wrong. they say a guy's going to win a basketball game tonight and they lose. is he a liar? they don't know. thank you, john feehery. you're mostly right. steve mcmahon.
i don't like the word liar because it assumes so much. up next, 45 years since the assassination of kennedy. this guy really worked to bring together working whites who have now gotten more and more conservatives. it's an attempt that hasn't been made as hard as he made it. of course, he was killed in that campaign. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics. i did? when visa signature asked everybody what upgraded experiences really mattered... you suggested luxury car service instead of "strength training with patrick willis." come on todd! flap them chicken wings. [ grunts ] well, i travel a lot and umm... [ male announcer ] at visa signature, every upgraded experience comes from listening to our cardholders. visa signature. your idea of what a card should be.
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and a 30-tablet free trial. welcome back to "hardball." it was 45 years ago, i can't believe it, today, robert f. kennedy died from an assassin's bullet. his death left a question for many americans about what could have been, of course, we'll never know. in his campaign for president he seemed able to reach out to working class whites and african-americans. a big part of his legacy, of course. two months after his own death, another major figure in america was violently taken from us, martin luther king. bobby was in indianapolis where the city's police and mayor suggest he cancel his appearance. kennedy went ahead and spoke. in fact, watch this, he's actually telling many of the people in the crowd of what happened. they hadn't known yet. it was before the internet. they didn't know. before 24/7 cable. they didn't know the people in the crowd who are mainly african-american didn't know king had been killed. >> what we need in the united
states is not division, what we need in the united states is not hatred. what we need in the united states is not violence and lawlessness but is love and wisdom and compassion toward one another. and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country. >> kennedy's message that evening was also a big part of his legacy. i want to get to that with two people who know what they're talking about. rick pearlstein author of "nixonland." james peterson, director of africana studies at lehigh university. you're a young guy. i'm thinking about the legacy you teach in this regard. more and more of the republican party with the exception of the clintons have been able to make a lot of penetration to working class whites pulling them to the conservative side for social economic reasons.
and in the '60s when bobby was killed he was trying to hold together that demolition coalition of working class people in both groups, white and black. >> he was. at least based on his rhetoric and appeal, i think he was doing a great job. the coalition he was pulling together 82 days into that campaign. unfortunately he lost his life. the coalition he was pulling together is the coalition that essentially re-elected president obama minus the working class white folks who have broken more towards the conservative side. one of the things that happened was the industrial complex and how it gets politicized between working folk and democrats, have made some of the whites break to the conservatives. and the policy has been signed to black people and immigrants opposed to the real population of poor folk who live in the south who are white use social service, an effective campaign on the right that says social service is for upper folks. >> you mean the -- >> it's difficult to overcome.
>> our colleague, mike barnicle made this point about why both african-americans and working class whites found bobby kennedy so appealing. let's watch. >> i think it was because both groups of people, poor whites in indiana, steel workers, unemployed and poor blacks in los angeles, they knew they recognized in him a figure who had been hurt by life. who had his own life diminished by loss and had a sense of what their lives were about having been diminished and lost things. that was a huge attraction by both groups of people toward robert f kennedy. >> i can't say it better than mike did.
your thoughts. >> we honor his legacy and it was a remarkable leg gas. i he only got 15% of the white vote in gary, indiana. he got 90% of the black vote. it was a bit of a myth he was able to pull these groups together. robert novak did a house to house election and he was opposing eugene mccarthy 2-1 in the working class areas. on election day he lost 13 of the 14 townships george wallace had won to eugene mccarthy. people really wished -- they dearly wished someone could bring this country together after martin luther king's assassination. the pundit, joseph kraft said united back power and backlash which meant the black militants and white factory workers. >> where were the white working class factory workers voting in the primaries?
>> a lot of them were voting for eugene mccarthy because kennedy really was associated with civil rights. he had said some very bold things about the riots. he said if he was black maybe he would have rioted, too, he understands the rage in the black working class. one of his campaign advisors said he really needed to back off the black issues. in the closing days of the campaign he lost about 14 points among undecided voters. that's not to say he wasn't pointing in that direction. who knows what would have happened. that's the tragedy of bobby kennedy, he dearly wished to transcend these divisions. in the california primary he race baited eugene mccarthy like bill clinton race baited barack obama in north carolina by saying in a debate if eugene mccarthy was elected he was going to build public housing in orange county. >> i talked to gene before he died.
he never forget that charge by the way he was going to bring blacks into anaheim. >> i have legal rights we can't show a great picture of a working class guy and his son both covered in dirt working all day saluting bobby kennedy's train as it went by. it is powerful. >> it is powerful. in terms of political coalitions he doesn't need a large percentage of white working class voters. the future for democrats is about siphoning the vote. >> i do think bobby might have given nixon a run for the working class whites come november. thank you. we'll never know. great book "nixonland" and thank you, professor. at angie's list, you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare written by people just like you. no company can pay to be on angie's list, so you can trust what you're reading.
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let me end tonight with bobby kennedy, the hero we lost 45 years ago tonight. i heard the news early today. i was in a hotel. at first i thought it was a re-dramatization of dallas years earlier. i tuned in to find out who won the democratic primary that night between gene mccarthy and kennedy. only then did i realize this was happening live. bobby kennedy had been shot. people don't remember this. he was shot by a palestinian angry at kennedy's campaign appeal, sirhan sirhan was the
first of middle east terrorism in the united states and shot bobby kennedy because of what the new york senator stood for in foreign policy. for most americans, bobby stood for something all together different. he was a tribute because of his beloved brother's assassination, a fellow soul, someone who knew what it meant to be hurt by the system. i think people loved this guy for something else. a liberal that didn't believe in all the bs too often associated with it. believed in giving people a break and saw the unfairness of life and believed in people playing by the rules. you broke the law, you were a criminal in bobby's eye, big shot or not. that's the person i remember him as because that's the person i see in politics and the person i want very much to be myself. that's it for "hardball." "all in" with chris hayes starts right now.
>> good evening from new york. i am chris hayes. thank you for joining us. there is big breaking news tonight you definitely want to hear about if you have ever used the internet. i mean that seriously. it is pretty incredible what we have just learned. plus, remember when arizona governor jan brewer was doing everything in her power to block obama-care in arizona? crazy thing, she is doing everything in her power to implement obama-care in arizona. that is a picture of the president in the white house situation room being briefed last week to the latest threat to our homeland. that threat is climate change. it's hurricane seasons, everybody. we begin tonight with this guy. this is u.s. district judge roger vincent, a senior federal judge for the northern district of florida appointed by ronald