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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  June 13, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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for joining us. >> thank you, lawrence. chris hayes is up next. president obama's red line is crossed in syria. let's play "hardball." breaking news tonight. a major escalation in the u.s. role in the civil war raging in syria. a conflict which has already claimed some 90,000 lives. the white house says it has conclusive evidence that syrian president bashar al assad's regime has used chemical weapons against opposition forces seeking to overthrow the government. the white house says that syria's use of these weapons crosses what president barack obama has called a red line, triggering greater american involvement in the crisis. in a statement tonight, staffer
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ben rhodes says, quote, following on the credible evidence that the regime has used chemical weapons against the syrian people, the president has augmented the provision of nonlethal assistance to the opposition and also authorized the expansion of our assistance. going on to say that the united states and the international community have a number of other legal, financial, diplomatic and military responses available. on a conference call between reporters, the nic staffers said the assistance would include military support. but he said the administration has not made any decision to pursue a u.s. military operation itself. kristen, what are we going to do for the rebels? >> well, it's still not completely clear, chris. what we do know is the united states will ramp up its military assistance to the rebel forces. here's what we don't know. does that mean lethal aid or nonlethal aid? lethal aid something like guns,
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ammunition. so that is where the question mark is, chris. the white house won't give a clear answer on that point. and that's where senator john mccain comes. in he has said that he wants to see the administration deliver lethal assistance to the syrian opposition forces. he has also called on the obama administration to create a no-fly zone. and as you just pointed out, when white house officials were pressed on that point, they would not answer. just saying that they are still considering a number of contingency plans moving forward, essentially trying to ramp up the president on bashar al assad to step down, to ramp up the pressure for a political resolution. to what has claimed more than 90,000 lives now in syria. so that is where the question mark is. but senator john mccain still urging this administration to engage in a more hawkish response tonight as he responds to this.
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we should also say that house speaker john boehner's office has weighed in. we have a statement from his spokesperson, brendan buck, who says this, chris, and i'll read to it you. he says, quote, it is long past time to bring the assad's blood regime in syria to an end. as president obama examines his options, it is our hope he will properly consult with congress before taking any action. so still a lot of knowns, but we do know that the white house tonight will be ramping up its military assistance to the rebel force there's. chris? >> do you know, is it all about the red line being crossed? >> it is. president obama came out several months ago and said that his red line being crossed would be the use of chemical weapons. the administration confirm they have corroboration that chemical weapons have been used, sarin gas among other things. intelligence officials estimate between 100 and 150 people have been killed with the use of chemical weapons. and the administration underscoring the point that they
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do not believe that chemical weapons have been used by opposition forces. so they believe that this is something that is solely being waged by the assad regime. so that is what has really forced president obama to change his calculation, to change his policy towards syria tonight. but, again, the pressure has really been mounting on all sides, chris. it's not just the use of women weapons. it's the report by the u.n. today which found that more than 90,000 people have been killed. and it's the voices on the hill who have been calling for this administration to engage, to ramp up its response to what is happening in syria. now president obama heads to the g-8 summit in just a few days. he is going to meet with his allies during that conference. and he will be pressuring putin of russia to really increase the pressure on assad. that is what the united states is hoping will happen. they're hoping that russia will really ramp up the pressure and be sort of the final thing that causes president bashar al assad to step down.
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chris? >> okay. thank you much, kristen welker for the hot news. let's go to capitol hill. we have chris coons of delaware and jim mcdermott of washington, both democrats. john mccain, perhaps the senate's strongest hawk, pushing for u.s. intervention in syria broke the news tonight about the white house escalation before the white house did. this was mccain tonight on the senate floor. let's listen. >> just a couple of minutes, the president of the united states will be announcing that it is now conclusive that bashar al assad and the syrian butchers have used chemical weapons. the president also will announce that we will be assisting the syrian rebels in syria by providing them with weapons and other assistance. >> according to nbc's kelly
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o'donnell up on the hill, sources on the hill say sources began advising congressional offices earlier today. the president would acknowledging assad's use of chemical weapons and would help armed rebels. mccain said he was informed about military support to syria, saying quote, i was told by several reliable sources. whether it's true or not, we will find out. if it's not lethal aid, then it is even a worse mistake. i was told it was going to be lethal. ak-47s don't go well against tanks. quote, u.s. credibility is on the line. now is not the time to merely take the next incremental step. the decision to provide heavy weapons to opposition forces in syria is long overdue. but providing arms alone is not sufficient that alone is not enough to change the military balance of power on the ground against assad. the president must rally an international coalition to take military actions to degrade assad's ability to use air power and ballistic missiles and to move and resupply his forces
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around the battlefield by air. this could be done, as we have said many times, using standoff weapons such as cruise missiles. speaker john boehner's office urging the president tonight, we'll get that later. there it is, to consult with congress before he make nice decision. quote it's long past time to bring the assad regime's bloodshed to an end. it is our hope he will properly consult with congress before take anything action. i'm looking at this. let me go to the center. this is the challenge i look at. try to look down the road, perhaps beyond where john mccain looks. and i seem this in "time" magazine this week. sheer what is coming from putin. putin said russia has not yet realized its plans to develop to deliver advanced air defense systems to syria, fearing that they would disturb the balance in the region. and now here is mccain calling for a change in the balance in the war. if we go in with heavy weapons, if we go with a no-fly zone, of
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whatever construction, aren't we daring putin to go with his state-of-the-art defensive weaponry, which will be used against our planes and our attempt to get involved from our side? >> well, chris, i do think that we're in an absolutely critical moment where we need to up both the diplomatic pressure against russia as well as against iran and hezbollah, their ally in the region. and we need to increase the military support and the humanitarian support that we're providing for syrian opposition. you raise a valid point there is a real risk of steady escalation on both sides. but after this clear red line laid out by our president has been crossed by assad, it is i think time for us to act. long past time for us to act. and i think it is possible for us working with regional allies to find ways to deliver support to vetted elements of the opposition such that these weapons will not inevitably fall into the hands of extremists or jihadists. i do think there still remains some hope that with the carefully developed evidence
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that was announced by the white house today, that russia will back off of its support for assad. we have to give this one more try diplomatically, but i also think we cannot stand by as assad continues to massacre tens of thousands of his own people. >> okay. let me go to congressman mcdermott. so we go into iraq to knock off -- well, we knock off a sunni government to put in a shiite government. and here we are in syria playing superman again, and we're going to knock off the government to put in a sunni government. are we going after one country after another deciding who should win. daring putin to come in and challenge us? because he has said he doesn't want to disturb the balance. what happens if we disturb the balance and he comes in to balance it from his end? >> well, chris, i feel like i'm watching deja vu all over again. the same kind of drumbeat to go into war in iraq is going on right now.
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and it is not clear who the rebels are. are the rebels al qaeda? are they shia backed by the iranians? who are they? until we know that, handing them weapons and exploding this situation in my view is not a good idea. i think the president should walk very carefully and very slowly, working with the russians and ramping up the efforts with the iranians. i think both of those situations have to be dealt with if you're going to keep some kind of world war not starting on this issue. >> that's what i think. you know, the neo cons' greatest dream is to get back into the cold war. my concern is, senator, let me go to you, senator koontz. mccain is not happy with the president giving nonlethal aid. he is not happy with ak-47s, heavy arms fire.
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he wants heavy arms and he wants a no-fly zone. is that going to challenge the russians to go in? if we go in with a no-fly zone attempt, even if it's done by stand back weapons, and if we go in with giving heavy weapons to the rebels which would upset the balance and perhaps change the course of this war, do you think we have to consider the question of the russians at this point? >> of course we have to consider the question of russia and what actions they'll take. but we also have to keep in mind, chris, that what we've seen over the last two years is a steady escalation of the amount of support that iran and russia are providing to a murderous regime. our regional allies, jordan and turkey have been bearing the burden of hundreds of thousands of refugees and have been pleading with us for more support and for more engagement. first on the humanitarian side, and now to create safe zones and to support the opposition. recent developments on the battlefield suggest that the opposition is really at a teetering point, and that assad may well retake the advantage on the battlefield as his troops, reinforced with iran's proxy hezbollah are massing for an
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take on aleppo. i really don't think we can afford to stand on the sidelines. in tend, i believe assad will fall. and i think in the region, our allies will not forgive us for standing aside and refusing to take action after assad has crossed a clear red line in the international community. i think that obama will be successful in pressing russia to back off their support of assad. >> do you belief it's in the united states' security interest, to the mothers and fathers of soldiers coming in from states like delaware to perhaps get involved somewhere down the line? is this our national interest to get involved in this war, to get an act of war against the government of syria? that's what we're doing. should we commit an act of war against the government of syria? >> i think it is in our national interest to stand up for the very folks we have recognized as a country as the legitimate representatives of the people of syria and to stand up for our regional allies and for our core values. we have allowed this to go on year in and year out because of our concern for american service people, for the families who
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send their sons and daughters. >> okay we have to go. >> to places like afghanistan. >> thank you. >> honestly, chris, we can't afford not to. >> i hear you. chris koontz from delaware. coming up, six months since the massacre at sandy hook, the victims' families are here in washington, d.c., pushing again for background checks legislation. good for them. the families are making it clear they're not going anywhere. that's going to take congress to get something done here to pass something like what 90% of the american people want to see, background checks. also, does president obama want hillary clinton to run for president? i think that's an interesting question. if she wins the third term, will that be good for him? will that carry on his legacy or bill clinton's or both? plus, republicans just can't stop talking about rape. what is this with these guys? the latest culprit is congressman trent franks of texas. isn't it time for them to learn this when it comes to talking about rape, just don't? and chris christie is the latest celebrity to slow the new slow jam. the news with jimmy fallon. >> what we don't need is another unelected politician just sitting around the congress,
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whether it's in the senate or the house of representatives. >> take it from my man, the love guv. when he sits around the house of representatives, he really sits around the house of representatives. >> if i didn't know better, i would think christie was thinking about running for president, and fallon is a good place to start. this is "hardball," the place for politics. smoothes, lifts, defies? red jars are all the same right? wrong! you need three uses of a $15 cream to equal the moisturizing power of one use of regenerist microsculpting cream. seems not all red jars are created equal. olay regenerist.
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well, on so many issues its president obama's points that spent so much money on tv, but according to cantor media, supporters of immigration reform have spent $2.4 million to just 717,000 by opponents. that's a margin of more than 3:1 for immigration reform. in contrast to issues like health care, wall street reform, and the deficit where. we'll be right back. you kids should count yourselves lucky.
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welcome back to "hardball." six months after the horrific attack in newtown, family members of the victims are in washington, d.c. today, pushing lawmakers to take up gun safety. again. well, let's watch. >> around 9:35 a.m., an armed man walked into sandy hook elementary school and to sandy hook elementary school and opened fire. opened fire and killed 26 people within the school. i am here today to remind congress what happened to my family, to remind them of what keeps happening in america. 5,000 more americans have died due to gun violence since december 14th, and there still hasn't been any federal action to protect us from gun violence.
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well, that was jillian soto, the younger sister of victoria soto. who was killed at sandy hook. that's the daughter of the teacher killed. today the families also met privately with president obama. the senate of course tried and failed to pass new background legislation this spring, and that bill was worked out by two senators who had the strong backing of the nra -- actually the strong opponent of the nra, republican pat toomey and democrat joe manchin. in a shift the organization is going after manchin with a new tv ad in west virginia. let's watch it. >> remember this tv ad? >> i'm joe manchin. i approve this ad because i'll always defend west virginia. as your senator, he will protect our second amendment rights. >> that was joe manchin's commitment, but now manchin is working with president obama and new york mayor michael bloomberg. concerned? you should be. tell senator manchin to honor his commitment to the second amendment. >> well, manchin pushed back hard today, writing, quote, the
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washington-based nra could spend $100 million on ads against me. it still won't make what they say true. if they were honest with their members, they would see that my bill not only protects second amendment rights, it enhances and strengthens them. unfortunately, the nra leadership in washington has lost its way and is more concerned about political power than gun rights. and gun safety. while grieving families show the issue, the nra continues its long journey into the realm of the political fringe. nia-malika henderson is a reporter for "the washington post," and ron reagan a political analyst. i want to start with ron reagan on this. it it seems to me the red line, on syria has certainly moved over to the right. it used to be if you were against guns, now if you take the gun safety position, all you want to do is make sure there's no gun show loophole. people have to do background checks. that's all the people are asking for. and that's what manchin is being pilloried for.
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for supporting background checks on something that is already in effect, but hasn't been widened enough to cover all the sales. >> yeah, we forget i think sometimes that the nra used to support universal background checks. the nra now not only doesn't represent the american public, 90% of whom would like universal background checks, it doesn't even represent its own membership, 3/4 of whom would like universal background checks. the nra represents and is a lobbying group for gun dealers, period. they're about money. if they found out they could sell more guns by scrapping the second amendment all together, they would do it in an eye blink. it's not ideological, it's about money. >> i noticed there that the way this defense by manchin is put together, he keeps saying the nra in washington, not the nra, drawing the distinction between the people who are members of the nra back in west virginia, which isn't so far away, as we know, but to drawing to states who are member of the nra, many of whom do support background
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checks. he distinguishes them from the big shots in washington who get paid to talk like this. >> that's right. he's essentially saying that the folks that run the nra, the folks you see on tv most often aren't the run of the mill folks who are members of that group or the run of the mill folks who like to hunt, and shoot and all sorts of things, and they're gun owners. i think manchin who isn't up until 2018 really embodies the shift we've seen of more generally in the democratic party. it's a party that had been running scared, i think, for many decades from the nra. now you are seeing a president and a first lady go out when they are at some of these fundraisers, they talk about gun control. they say if it weren't for six votes, they would have been this leg through the senate. that's why they need increased numbers in the senate. so i think we are in the middle of something of a pendulum shift.
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the nra think won this round, but i talk to some folks at harry reid's office today. he was out today talking about his own experience, his father's suicide. they aren't going to give up on this. but there is a sense it might not happen right now. it might not happen this congress, but they're going to keep at it. >> well, here is senator reid. as you say, he promised to fight to pass legislation. he also made clear he isn't looking to pass some watered down version of the background checks. so let's watch. >> when republicans voted against this legislation on the senate floor, they voted against 90% of the american people. -- the fight is not over. it's just beginning. i want to be very, very clear, though. in order to be effective, the bill that passed the senate must include background checks and not a watered down version of background checks.
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we're not going to let the forces of an extreme minority water down and damage the content of this bill. >> you know, i know where you stand. you've been very strong on this. i want to ask you. people have long distance running mentalities and spring mentalities. i think the people for gun safety like you and have i been guilty of being pretty good at the sprint. bobby kennedy gets shot, i wrote a letter to my congressman. didn't write one any other time. a couple of months later i'm thinking about the vietnam war. the gun people that. >> think about nothing else, and they never change their minds, never change their attitudes and never change the fricking subject. how do you keep an interest among normal people that keeps up with that intense almost well, obsession that the gun people have? >> it's difficult because obsession is the right word. these are single issue people. they will vote against somebody or for somebody solely on the issue of the second amendment as they would like to visit or gun rights. but somehow the democrats,
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sensible people, 90% of americans who would like universal background checks have to borrow or find that kind of intensity, just as -- you notice the ad against manchin the nra ran. they didn't even talk about universal background checks. >> of course not. >> they said he was teaming up with bloomberg and obama. for what? that's not even identified there. they demonize obama and bloomberg, so you don't even have to say what they're talking about there. sensible people need to do the same thing for the nra. the nra needs to be just as demonized among 90% of the public as obama is demonized among the 10% or so of fanatic gun buffs. >> thank you, ronald reagan, as always. thank you, nia-malika henderson as always. we'll be right back. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first chris christie gets his shot at slow jamming the news with jimmy fallon. the subject? christie's decision to hold a special election to fill the seat of the late senator frank lautenberg in october. it will cost an additional $12 million. but christie won't have to be on the ballot with the cop par senate candidate cory booker. >> now look, i know the election is going to cost taxpayers some money. but these costs can't be measured against the value of having an elected member of the united states senate. that's why i'm throwing my full weight behind this decision. >> oh, oh, oh, oh, come on. come on now, christie cream donut. how are you going to be -- how are you going to be setting me up like that. it's too easy. it's not even funny. >> isn't that what your audience says every night? >> oh!
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>> ouch. >> yeah. that's right. it hurts. so step off, brother. >> isn't that what your bathroom scale says every night? >> he is something, fallon. so in christie's case, it was the news and weight jokes or fat jokes all rolled into one. finally a party snafu featuring congressman ralph hall. it all starts early this month at a capitol hill reception for the victory fund, a group focusing on supporting lgbt politicians. well, attendees at the reception were more than a little confused when congressman hall who is a supporter of the defense of marriage act, doma, showed up at their event. journalist justin snow tweeted this picture of the congressman looking ready to mingle. wandered into victory fund pride reception. he seems to be lost. he is right. congressman hall was under the impression he was at an event to honor one of his colleagues. quote, when i inquired about the congressman being honored, they
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did not know anything than reception and presented his card. at that moment, i realize this was not a reception that i intended to attend. this is ralph hall. and i put down my glass, thanked the sponsor, and told him we would be leaving. many of those in attendance probably were surprised to see me walk in, but were not surprised to see me leave quickly. coming up, will hillary clinton run in 2016? and if you were president barack obama, would you want her to? big question. that's next. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. she knows you like no one else. and you wouldn't have it any other way. but your erectile dysfunction - you know, that could be a question of blood flow. cialis tadalafil for daily use helps you be ready anytime the moment's right. you can be more confident in your ability to be ready. and the same cialis is the only daily ed tablet approved to treat ed and symptoms of bph, like needing to go frequently or urgently. tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications, and ask if your heart is healthy enough
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welcome back to "hardball." do you think hillary clinton
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will be the next president? well, if so, four things have to happen. she just run and run all out. there is no other way. two, she must survive the caucuses and primaries without suffering undue damage to the clinton brand. bill will have to do his part in that. three, she'll have to weather the all-out assault of the party and the vast right wing who will be out not just to defeat her, but to destroy her, to villainize her and her husband. finally she'd have to defeat the republican candidate for what could be 16 straight years. here's what i think. i don't think it will be easy. i think it will be surprisingly tough. perhaps even frightening, but i think she'll make the run. it's what's she's been going for since she spoke out at the wellesley commitment, not when every road sign points to 1600 pennsylvania avenue and you're the one on the road.
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jonathan alder is author of a new book "the center holds." larry savitch, two experts here. today hillary clinton made her first major appearance, speaking at the clinton global initiative out in chicago, where she talked about her portfolio at cgi. she made a point to talk about women. let's listen. >> when women participate in the economy, everyone benefits. this also should be a no-brainer. when women participate in peacemaking and peacekeeping, we are all safer and more secure. and when women participate in politics, the effects ripple out across society. so -- >> that was a hint hint. she also talked about the role of government itself. let's listen to that. >> we understand that you can't look to government to solve all our problems. you can't trust the market will solve all our problems. we need those partnerships that bring public servants and private leaders together. >> and she talked about her goals, which incidentally lead to job creation generally. let's listen. >> certainly i will be focused on applying lessons learned from
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around the world and building new partnerships across our entire portfolio, but particularly in three broad areas that have been close to my heart my entire adult life -- early childhood development, opportunities for women and girls, and economic development that creates jobs and gives more people and more places the chance to live up to their own god-given potential. >> let's start with jon. i may cause some trouble, which i'm prone to do. jon, you know you're going into the trouble area to push that great book of yours. but you have to go in with me. does president obama, this requires some reading, hard reading. does he want to be succeeded in office by hillary clinton, making him somewhere in history between the two clintons? is he happy with that positioning? >> yes, i think he is absolutely fine with that. look, you have to look at this in terms of cementing his
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legacy. remember, after ronald reagan's eight years, we had four years of george h.w. bush. that helped to lock in the reagan legacy. it kept chunks of it from being repealed. it's very important for obama's legacy that he have the strongest possible democrat, and that's hillary clinton, to do the same thing for him. so the strange thing is these two towering figures in american politics, they really need each other. obama needs hillary to cement his legacy. hillary needs obama to perform and have a good enough economy and to otherwise have a record that she is going to have to run on in order to get to the white house. >> okay. it sounds very symbiotic. >> it is. >> do you think bill clinton looks at hillary as someone to complete the obama legacy or someone to complete his legacy and make up for impeachment, and more concerned about his legacy than obama's? do you think that's an unfair
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question? >> no, it's not unfair action and i guarantee it will be asked if hillary runs. but look, bill clinton may want hillary's term to be his third term. i think she probably has something else in mind. it might be a hybrid between the clinton administration and the obama administration. i doubt that it turns out to be all that much like bill clinton's term. >> are you guys both of a mind -- i opened my statement with it, because i believe when you start from where she started, giving that amazing address at the commencement at wellesley college where she really stood out there. and of course when i first saw her speak with bill at the regency in 1991 in new york, the first time they had their debut in new york, she spoke first, then him. i think to her credit, she has had her eye on the highest office since day one. what do you think? >> i think she's running, and partly because there are no other women of her stature on the scene. if there were very plausible
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presence right now, then it would be a closer call. her primary is there be a woman president in her lifetime. this is very important to her. >> how do you know that? >> she's told this to interviewers over many years. right now she's the most likely person to fulfill that dream, and she knows it. does that mean she is definitely running? no. there are things that could come up. but i think she is likely to run. and she's going to have, as you indicated, there will be bumps in the road, but here's the reason why i think this partnership, which is not a close personal partnership. remember, the obamas didn't invite the clintons for dinner until the beginning of the second term. so this is not personal. it's political. and politically, the reason that they're so close is that they really don't disagree on very much. they look at the world in pretty much the same way, which is
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extraordinarily different from what they consider to be a radical republican view of the world. and that i think will keep them together, even if bill clinton says things that are offscript that cause ripples along the way. >> larry, i still think hillary clinton, maybe it's the way i've looked at her and tracked her from before, that she will run a notch or two the right of president obama, especially on foreign policy. she will point out that she is not taking her positions supporting the iraq war, that she will run as maybe the margaret thatcher role you are to be as a woman, even if these days, you have to be positioned a bit more hawkish than the average democratic presidential nominee. what do you think? it's my belief. >> actually, that's a very good point, chris. look, if she wants to do one thing different from obama electorally, it will be to try to bring back appalachian state voters into the democratic party. let's be honest. it's because of race mainly that they abandoned the democratic party for obama in both 2008 and 2012.
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but those were big bill clinton states. now, she won't do as well as bill clinton did, but i think she can certainly reduce the margins of victory for republicans you know, in states from west virginia, arkansas, other state there's in the appalachian region. >> besides what she is, a caucasian white woman, what does she have to do -- i know exactly what you're talking about. i've seen those frightening numbers where you take southwestern pennsylvania, westmoreland, places like that, washington county, and draw a diagonal southwest and go down to kentucky, i don't know the full geography. but basically, you point to a declining vote for obama as opposed to the vote for bill clinton. >> obama actually ran behind people like dukakis, kerry in some of these white counties. and hillary can do better there. i think your point is a very good one. what makes it more interesting, even though she's almost running as obama's vice president, and they're connected in that way,
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she's not actually in office. so it gives her leeway to split with him on certain discrete issues, but if she does too much, then it gives the media an opening to rub those wounds raw. so i think they're going to be very careful. i think they're going to coordinate, give the white house a heads-up when she takes a position that is a little different than the president. >> you're smart. larry, you're into something here. i think the hillary clinton and the bill clinton amazing ability is to have these fantastic academic backgrounds. the credentials are amazing. yale law school, you can't beat that, harvard and wellesley and georgetown, and yet not seem too la-di-da, not seem too uppity. you can appeal to the person working in the dinette, the guy working in the garage, the average american out there who has to make a buck. do you think that is still there for the clintons? they haven't lost that? >> i think that's a big piece of it. and chris, the other big part of the dynamic for me is you have
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to remember, 57% of all the votes cast in democratic primaries are cast by women. as both of you have mentioned, we haven't had a woman president. great britain had a woman prime minister in 1989. canada in 1983. still we've had no woman president. that's the strongest dynamic that helps hillary clinton get the nomination. >> that's true. great reporting there. up next, republicans and women voters. how not to win them over. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ woman ] we had two tiny reasons
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and ask about adt pulse, advanced home management here today. adt. always there. in our continuing series the unkindest cut, we put a spotlight on the people and organizations that are taking real hits because of the across the board spending cuts known as sequester. we ask you to tell us how you're being hurt. in the just the last 24 hours, robert lee tweeted it means less customers for my restaurant. another viewer tweeted i and many others in my community depend on meals on wheels for our one budget a day. our budget has been cut. mom just had a stroke. the disability organization is running her around. subtract 17%. he is not getting the money, and also getting less. we want your input on this. tweet us at #unkindestcut. join the conversation on our facebook page, or go to our website. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." the 2012 election cycle taught republicans anything, it should have been that when it comes to women's issues, particularly abortion and rape, you need to choose your words carefully. senate candidates todd akin and missouri saw their prospects crater hen they talked about abortion and rape. yesterday trent franks stepped into the same perilous territory while pushing for a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, even in the case of rape. let's listen. >> before when my friends on the left side of the aisle here try to make rape and incest the subject, because the incidents of rape and resulting in pregnancy are very low.
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>> the franks statement was less provocative than those of akin and mourdock. about concerns of pregnant women. he was not alone. in wisconsin, the republican-dominated state senate voted to require women seeking abortions to submit to a medically unnecessary sonogram at the very least. trans-vaginal ultrasound. joan walsh is editor at large for "salon" and jonathan capehart for the "washington post," both msnbc contributors. it seems they can't avoid the one word, rape. it's an odd word to talk about in general conversation, even. >> right. >> we don't usually chat about it. and there they are bringing it up. >> well, yeah, chris, and it's because it's what they believe in. you know? during the romney campaign, paul ryan was asked about akin's comments and said the means of conception shouldn't change the law.
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they feel strongly there should be no exception to the law even in cases of rape. they don't have a problem talking about it. we see with scott walker in wisconsin. it's their agenda. it's not just when they're talking about rape when they're in trouble. scott walker said i feel just fine about ultrasounds, i think everybody feels fine about ultrasounds like you're talking about a medically necessary ultrasound which we all are fine with. you know, the potential of a transvaginal ultrasound, people cringe. they're not fine with it. this is what plays to the republican base. this is what many of them feel profoundly and deeply, don't want to act like they're being cynical, this is what may believe, think is good for the country. this is what they're pushing. telling them to re-brand themselves and stop talking about rape is not going to be good enough. >> it's interesting, john, you and i talked about this. when you have someone close to you that you love, for example, is a gay person, you have a different attitude, thank god,
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about the issue. seems to me everybody has a woman close to them, a daughter, a sister, a mother certainly. and you to have a certain attitude when you think in terms of a young daughter, in fact, a young 20-year-old daughter, you want her rights to be pretty much supreme and you want her to have all the options. when you start talking about the laws you're going to pass, people naturally two to somebody they know and say, does this person have the decision here to be left alone by the state or not? >> is that for me, chris, or joan? >> that's for you. jonathan. >> chris, the idea you have a committee filled with men who are talking about women's reproductive health, women's bodies and what they can and cannot, should or should not do with them, and also talking about these issues in ways that are not grounded in fact or in science i think is pretty galling to the country,
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especially, you know, women sitting in congress listening to their colleagues talk about them and their bodies in that way is just, i mean, it's just incredible. >> let me break it to people out there who are watching. you bring up topics like that around this office and the women have a point of view which is let's not generalize these discussions. we know what we're talking about, you don't. i thought it was interesting here that once again a male, if you will, congressman, here a conservative, again, saying the incident of rape, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy is very low. i mean, what are they? do they have some sort of medical journal on the top of their desk? where do they get this such from? is this called the republican medical journal or what? >> what they're doing in these instances, chris, they're calling women liars. they're saying that women who claim that they need an abortion, because they were raped, are lying about it because it's, you know, their body shuts the whole thing down or the incidence is very low. it's a terrible misunderstanding of science. they're wrong on the facts, but they're also wrong in their view of women. they view us as people who would casually lie about something like that and can't be trusted to make our own discussions.
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it's offensive on so many different levels i don't really know where to start. >> let's talk about wisconsin now. talk about what's going on in wisconsin now. there's a bill out there, it requires women seeking abortion to have an ultrasound. wisconsin governor, we all know him, scott walker plans to sign on to this thing. requires women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound and quite possibly a transvaginal probe. it may definitely require the transvaginal probe in the early pregnancy. watch. >> i move the body vote immediately on the current question. >> question before the house is nondebatable. the question before the house is nondebatable. the clerk will call the rule. >> senator carpenter? >> call the rule. >> you're out of order. >> ellis.
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>> sit down. you're not recognized. >> that's a little rough. joan, your view of that. somebody in that chair does not want somebody out there in the assembly to raise their voice on this. >> they don't want them to even talk about it. crazy thing is that they have the votes. he didn't need to be so histrionic about it. you know, if scott walker signs that bill, some people talk about him as a 2016 guy. maybe he's not as polarizing a person as rand paul or ted cruz, but still favorable on the right. if he signs that bill, he's be governor ultrasound and never be president. he may -- >> you're talking to me, aren't you? you're talking to me, aren't you, joan? i was talking about scott walker a couple days as ago as a compromise with christie. as always, that's who you're talking to me. >> i'm always talking to you. >> thanks for the education. jonathan capehart. thank you both for coming on. up next, last year more whites died in america than were born. what that means for our politics when we return. and this is "hardball." the place for politics. why let constipation weigh you down?
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let me finish tonight with this. we just learned today more non hispanic whites in the u.s. died last year than were born. it was a remarkable statistic. obviously people from different groups will have different reactions. white people may feel their position narrowing somewhat. minorities may feel their position is growing. immigrants may feel the country is getting more diverse down the road. the vital fact is the country's democratic face is changing. we're becoming much more like the many faces of beneton in the ad, much like a picture of america when you visit the city rather than countryside.
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more differences of appearance, more apparent difference in background, perhaps in values and politics as well. the challenge really remains to build unity out of differences. one from many. what's changed it is is growing, growing with it is the increased challenge of becoming one. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening, from new york. i'm chris hayes. and thank you for joining us. tonight on "all in," the white house says the so-called red line has been crossed by the syrian regime of bashar al assad. chemical weapons were used against rebel forces, and the drum beat for u.s. intervention grows louder. that's coming up.