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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  January 6, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST

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in that aren't afraid of the lines because a lot of people didn't want to stand in these long lines. so i actually think we've got a lot more people coming that haven't shown up yet. >> okay. robin hackett, who does have weed, america. she has not run out. robin hackett and john ingold, thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> thanks for having me. >> thank you.
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presidents can invade countries, not that that's a great thing that i would advise him to do. i think a president has to approach every new year and every new day with the idea of being the protagonist and of trying to move forward an agenda. and the president has tools to do that. >> howard, he said he is an introspective individual. cover him the way that covering him the way you have, do you think he looks at 2014 as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean, and if so how then to move forward? >> i think he has been in washington long enough to know there are no clean slates anymore. and i don't think he is naive enough to think he has one coming into the state of the union address later this month. but i also think president obama plays a deep game. he plays a long-range game.
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he has a -- as aloof as he can be, he has the gift of perspective. and i think that he wants to use these next couple of years to try to chip away at a big problem of his time and of our time, which is income inequality. it's not going to be easy. there is a cloture vote in the senate today. the senate was forced to go to a cloture vote today to even consider the possibility of extending unemployment insurance. that shows you the sour mood that is here. but he likes the challenge, and i think he is ready to take it on. >> to your point, the president has signaled a major focus in the coming weeks is going to be on that theme of income inequality. in his weekly address, he talked about long-term unemployment insurance which ran out for more than a million people just last month. >> denying families that security is just plain cruel. we're a better country than that. we don't abandon our fellow americans when times get tough. we keep the faith with them until they start that new job. so when congress comes back to work this week, their first
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order of business should be making this right. >> eugene, is that the tangible way in which he tends to move the agenda forward, increasing the minimum wage and extending the unemployment benefits? >> well, exactly. i think when you talk about the income inequality, that's a broad subject. so you have to chop it up into discrete initiatives. the first thing obviously since those extended benefits have run out is getting those renewed from the president's point of view, and i think he'll push on that. and he has already been talking about the minimum wage, which has lagged behind for years and years now. and i think there is a desperate need to increase that. and so you kind of have to pick these things off virtually one by one. there is not going to be some sort of big omnibus piece of legislation to deal with all the issues of income inequality. you've got to start hammering at this one and then the next one
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and then the next one. >> howard, allow me to be a bit of a cynic on this. to those that are employed and those that do not require unemployment benefits are making in excess of the minimum wage, is this at the top of their priority list as well? how does this play in terms of a turnout measure for 2014 i guess with is what i'm asking? >> well, i think you're on to something there. i don't think that those two measures in and of themselves are enough to make an agenda, to make any kind of sweeping conceptual point that the president wants to make and that he is gifted at making. but for the core of the democratic party, it's important. don't forget that some democrats have walked away from obama care. they're wringing their hands about it. some are distancing themselves from him on it. here are two measures, unemployment insurance and the minimum wage which every democrat, virtually every democrat agrees with him on. and it's a way for him to unite
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the party and take the party into battle heading into 2014 midterm elections, but also to try to get some things done on the hill. as i say, i'm somewhat skeptical about that, because here on this first day it's taken -- they've had to stage a cloture vote in the senate just to even get to the point of possibly voting on an extension of unemployment benefits. and talking to staffers and members, there is sort of deep sour cynicism up there that is going to pervade the chamber when he speaks later this month about everybody's motives. the republicans i talked to said oh, the democrats don't really want to pass this. if they had, that is unemployment insurance extension, they would have filed a pay for it. they don't want to it. they're just in it for the politics. the democrats say the republicans are just in it to make the points with their base there is no common ground up there at all. that's really the big challenge that the president has. >> michael, i would point out, though, that those are two issues that -- initiatives,
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rather, that are broadly popular. not only among democrats, but among independents and republicans as well. people just believe that the minimum wage is too low and that unemployment benefits should be extended. >> there is no doubt about that, gene. i was just thinking about it in the same context of, say, legalization of marijuana where the numbers run in excess of the approval rating for same-sex marriage. i don't dispute that at 58, 60%. i just wonder how many people are going out to vote on that issue. and i'm wondering the same thing on unemployment. to howard's point about the internals in the democratic party, your colleague, gene, chris cillizza in "the washington post" made the point that the president has lost the most in this past year among democrats and independents. among republicans he dropped only four points because his approval was frankly already so low. but among independents and democrats, he was down double-digits. and according to cillizza quote, add it all up and you can
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conclude two things. one, obama's best prapsz erhaps strategy is to move things in the near term. he will find himself well short of the lofty ratings of reagan and clinton in their second terms. to make that glass half full, you would say well, he can pick up ground with democrats surely, perhaps within independents. >> well, i think he probably can. as you noted, he couldn't get much lower with republicans. so you can kind of toss that aside. but i'm not familiar with the internals on that poll as to exactly why democrats seem to be disillusioned. my guess would be that it has a good deal to do with is the awkward horrible roll-out of the affordable care act, and that as that improves, and things get better or back to some sort of new normal, those numbers would tend to drift higher by themselves. but you're right. he has some work to do among the
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faithful. >> howard, in the end, is it all about the affordable care act and how well implementation in 2014 takes place? >> well, it's not all about that. but that's a big part of it. and don't forget, a lot of democrats, there are still some democrats, quite a number of them who think that the law didn't go far enough to begin with, that basically, it was climbing in bed with the big insurance companies and the big hospital chains and the big drug companies. and they were skeptical of it. michael moore being a classic example on the left, excoriating the thing. so it has to work to unify the democrats as well as to try to get those independent voters back. i mean, the other point here i would make, michael is that times have changed. back in the times of ronald reagan or even bill clinton, there was a sort of sense of good will in the middle. people wanting to try to do a deal, move the government forward, especially at the beginning or the first year or
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two of a second term that whole spirit of politics is completely gone in the united states. there are two warring camps on the hill there is virtually no middle ground. and that makes it all the more difficult for the president to operate. he's got no choice but to try to operate in that atmosphere. but it's very difficult. i can tell you the feeling on the hill hen they come back this month is not going to be let's roll up our hands and let's all get together. that's gone. that's totally gone. >> pick wrap-up we left off. i get it, sadly. howard fineman, thank you. eugene robinson, good to see you both. >> happy new year. >> thank you. you too. income inequality. the democrats' plan to make this a major issue in 2014. the key exploiting the gop's opposition to extending unemployment benefits or to raising the minimum wage. also, there is an old saying republicans love to repeat. we declared war on poverty and poverty won. poverty certainly isn't gone, but it's not clear the war was lost. still, a lot of people on the right use that as an excuse to cut back on anti-poverty programs and to cut taxes for the wealthy. plus, no one's surprised but the bloodshed is going on unabated in iraq, and to no one's surprise, prominent republicans are blaming
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president obama for that mess. finally, what action film star whose movie posters usually involve three words and a gun is thinking of running for governor of arizona? this is "hardball," the place for politics. e keeps you on yo. you wouldn't have it any other way. but your erectile dysfunction - it 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 medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, as it may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. side effects may include headache, upset stomach, delayed backache or muscle ache. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have any sudden decrease or loss in hearing or vision, or any allergic reactions like rash, hives,
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swelling of the lips, tongue or throat, or difficulty breathing or swallowing, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about experiencing cialis for daily use and a free 30-tablet trial. liz cheney has ended her bid for the senate in wyoming. the daughter of former vice president dick cheney says in a statement that serious health concerns have arisen in her family. nbc news is reporting that those health concerns involve her children. she is the mother of five. cheney was in a primary against mike enzi. polling showed enzi with sizable leads among wyoming republicans. we'll be right back. ♪ like, really big... then expanded? ♪ or their new product tanked? ♪ or not? what if they embrace new technology instead?
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welcome back to "hardball." we're just six days into 2014, and already the political battle lines that will define 2014 are being drawn, furiously. for democrats, it's an all-out assault on the issue of income
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inequality, and it's not just the president leading the charge here. it's the entire party. senator chuck schumer, a key member of his party's leadership outlined the strategy like this. quote, our republican colleagues should take note. issues like job creation, minimum wage, and unemployment insurance are going to weigh on the minds of voters far more than obama care by the time the 2014 elections rolling around. at its heart, the growing disparity between rich and poor is the linchpin in schumer's strategy. and it isn't some progressive myth. it's real. take a look at the figures from the congressional budget office. since 1979, the top 1% of americans have seen their incomes grow by more than 200%. that's a tripling of their income. for the middle of america, the gains stood at a much more
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paltry 40%. if the democratic strategy is defined by action, the republican strategy is just the opposite, inaction. in other words, let the affordable care act do the talking for them. "the new york times" takes an in-depth look at the gop war plan in a great piece titled house gop trims agenda, looking to avert election year trouble. the bottom line, the do nothing congress is preparing to do even less. and members in the party aren't shy about it. tom cole from oklahoma told the times big thinking has more often gotten us into trouble than led us to success. charlie dent, a moderate from pennsylvania said it's pretty clear to me in the house, we don't want to make ourselves the issue. jonathan capehart is an opinion writer with "the washington post." david corn is the washington bureau chief with mother jones. both of course are msnbc political analysts. david, as you know better than anybody else, because you broke the whole 47% mitt romney story, that paid dividends for the democrats in the last cycle, the presidential cycle. will it resonate in a midterm election in similar fashion? >> i was just still chuckling about the big thinking quote
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getting us into trouble. what is a party if not a collection of ideas and notions to put before the public? but the republicans don't want to do that. i do think we have had for a couple of years now, and the white house and president obama has really gone to great pains to make this the narrative, a real strong ideological divide between the two parties. the republicans have moved far further in the libertarian direction than we've seen in decades in terms of saying government shouldn't do anything, shouldn't help, shouldn't be used to goose the economy forward, and really shouldn't be there for anything but the most minimal of a social safety net. and obama has said with democrats in congress basically going along with him that we need to have a proactive government that does what it can to get the economy ready and moving into this century, and
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also taking care of the people who have been hurt by the recession and who are being hurt by economic dislocation caused by these great global changes that have been under way for years if not decades. and that's the big fight. then we end up fighting about the individual planks, whether it's investments in infrastructure, unemployment insurance, minimum wage. so i think that's still a good fight for the democrats. but one thing, you know, people keep talking about calling this the fight over income inequality. i worry politically whether that's the best way to describe this, because -- >> what would you call it? >> having been writing about this for years, and it's a very serious and important suggest. >> how would you brand it? what would you label it? >> i still think it's about getting an economy that works for everybody? >> meaning jobs? >> jobs, because all these things, whether it's minimum wage and infrastructure investment and all those other things, they will address income inequality if we create good jobs with decent wages. >> jonathan capehart, ground zero for an income inequality debate is playing out as we
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speak. it's the issue of unemployment insurance which ran out for more than a million americans at the end of last year. some republicans led by rand paul oppose the extension. and central to their argument is the notion that the benefit, which averages out to just $300 a week dissuades people from finding real work. here is senator paul on the issue. >> i do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. if you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. i do think, though, the longer you have it that it does provide some disincentive to work, and that there are many studies that indicate this. >> meanwhile, democrats like chuck schumer warning republicans that their strategy could result in a historic backfire. here is schumer on abc's "this week." >> i think it's a little insulting, a bit insulting to american workers when rand paul says that unemployment insurance is a disservice. they want to work. they don't want unemployment benefits. they're just hanging on with unemployment benefits. you cut them off, they may lose the house they have paid for, take their kids out of college. so i would hope he would reconsider past the three-month extension.
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and if they don't, it's going to be an election in 2014. >> jonathan capehart, on which side does gravity paul fall? the republicans saying it's going to be all financial issues that affect real people. >> this whole thing is about economic security if you want a rebranding, if not income inequality, economic security. and the longer that obama care, the affordable care act is up and running, fully operational, there might be problems here or there. but the longer it goes on, and the more people are happy with what is happening, the less of an issue it is for republicans. and on the flip side, when it comes to unemployment insurance, minimum wage, that strikes to the heart of what i remember speaker boehner harping on the
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president in 2010, 2011, 2012. remember, where are the jobs, mr. president. every day there was a tweet. every day in a press conference he would ask that question. and here we are 2014. the unemployment rate is still at 7%. people are still hurting. the folks who -- the 1.3 million americans who were dropped from receiving unemployment insurance, these are folks who long-term unemployed who were gainfully employed mostly, looking for new jobs after the economy implodeded, and can't find work. and i have to agree with senator schumer. it's insulting to say that people who are on unemployment are some how lazy getting unemployment. that doesn't speak to what they have been trying to do to get off unemployment, looking for work, and they can't find work. >> what is interesting that at its heart, this is compassion politics, i guess you can say.
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and the polling favors democrats on these issues, big-time. look at some of these polling results. on the minimum wage according to last month's nbc/"wall street journal" report, 63% of americans favor raising the minimum wage to at least 10 .10. just a couple of weeks ago, there is more than a 20% gap between those who support maintaining those benefits compared to those who want to cut them off. these numbers speak to a bigger issue of party image for republicans according to that nbc/wall street journal survey. when people are asked which party shows more compassion and concern for its people, it's a runaway victory for the democrats. they edge republicans by a 28-point difference. david corn, is that enough to upset the figures that all three of us are familiar with? i'm thinking about charlie cook's report in particular that says typically this would be a two dozen seat loss for the party in power, meaning in power at the white house. are these issues going to be enough to stem that tide, david? >> well, i think unfortunately, people don't vote on compassion alone. i mean, lots of different issues involved. and the democrats historically do better on those sort of
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polling questions, who is more compassionate, who cares more about you, who identifies more with the middle class. again and again, they do better than the republicans. republicans, believe it or not right now in terms of the generic vote would rather vote for republican or democrat in the next election are actually doing better than the democrats in recent polling. so even after the government shutdown and everything else. i think we're going to see a very volatile political year, probably two, three, five, 17 things will happen between now and next november. >> no doubt. >> that will shape that we can't predict. i do think this is the narrative that the president has been trying to set up to interest last few years for his own reelection. and then for the coming 2014 campaign that we democrats care more about the economy, care more about you, and are willing to do something. >> david, thank you. jonathan capehart, thank you as always. >> thanks, michael. up next, the latest movie action star to consider a run for governor, next in the sideshow. you want to follow me on twitter? you can find me if you know how to spell smerconish. this is "hardball," the police for politics.
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back to "hardball." time for the sideshow. he is pumped for a run. well, not exactly. but action film star steven seagal is reportedly considering a bid for governor of arizona. best known for films like "under siege" and "above the law", the 61-year-old actor told the press over the weekend that he has discussed a potential campaign with controversial birther fanatic sheriff joe arpaio." segall recently teamed up with arpaio for a reality show joining his posse of 3,000 civilians who track down undocumented workers. while that association may reveal a lot about his politics, it turns out the famed b movie actor is also a long-time friend of another tough guy politician.
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that would be vladimir putin. both are lovers of martial arts, and the russian president has hosted segall in russia where they attended some mixed martial arts together. after donald trump and clay aiken, he is now the third celebrity to tease a political run in just the last two weeks. next up, the upcoming tennessee gubernatorial race may be fought over a raccoon. mark and his raccoons were a viral sensation for over a year. his videos have even appeared on the tonight show. in july, the tennessee wildlife resource agency seized his beloved raccoon rebecca, saying it's illegal to keep a wild animal as a pet. since then, brown and his defenders have been waging an all-out custody battle against governor haslem. now he is taking the save rebecca one step further. he has decided to challenge haslem for governor since the state ignored his petition to return his former pet.
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if elected, brown wouldn't be the first politician to have owned a raccoon. president calvin coolidge had one as a pet in the white house that raccoon, which was coincidentally named rebecca was a gift to the first family and was intended to be eaten for thanksgiving dinner in lieu of turkey. but the coolidges pardoned the animal and she became a hit. rebecca even hosted the white house egg roll with first lady grace coolidge. finally, congressman steve stockman's challenge hit another bump in the road after "the washington post" called him out on several inconsistencies on his campaign website. in a section titled past and present endorsements, the post found that seven of the 12 listed groups had not actually endorsed stockman for senate, including one endorsement, quote, attributed to howard phillips, a conservative
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activist who died seven months before stockman got in the race. also listed the nra who had actually endorsed his opponent. since that article appeared on friday, the entire page has conspicuously vanished from stockman's campaign website. up next, the war on poverty. a lot of people on the right say we're not winning, and that's their excuse to cut back the government's safety net and cut taxes for the rich. and a reminder, chris matthews returns to "hardball" tomorrow night. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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very often a lack of jobs and money is not the cause of poverty but the symptom. our aim is not only to relieve the symptom of poverty but to cure it, and above all, to prevent it. [ applause ] >> welcome back to "hardball." that was president lyndon johnson launching a war on poverty. according to "the new york
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times," many economists believe that official number grossly understates the impact and effectiveness of anti-poverty programs like food stamps, social security, and unemployment insurance. the times said, quote, a fuller accounting suggests that poverty rate, the poverty rate has dropped to 16% today from 26% in the late 1960s. nonetheless, conservatives have branded the war on poverty as a failure. here is a video of senator marco rubio, one that he released on this, the 50th anniversary week. >> 50 years ago, president lyndon johnson declared a big government war on poverty. well, since then american taxpayers have spent about $20 trillion on welfare and other government programs that claim to lift people out of poverty. and yet today tens of millions of americans live beneath the poverty line. in other words, for millions of americans living in poverty, the american dream doesn't seem reachable. and that's unacceptable. after 50 years, isn't it time to
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declare big government's war on poverty a failure? >> michael tomasky in the daily beast said rubio is just plain wrong. it's high time to say the war on poverty was a success, a wild success by nearly every meaningful measure. but no one thinks so, and a big part of the reason is that most democrats are afraid to say so. they damn well better start if we really are going to be raising the minimum wage and tackling inequality, someone needs to be willing to say to the american people that these kinds of approaches get results. cynthia tucker is a visiting professor at the university of georgia. peter biner is with the atlantic. cynthia, have we been fighting the war on poverty for all of those 50 years? >> no, we haven't. you know, we had barely begun to fight when by the 1970s, richard nixon was elected followed by reagan who declared that poor people were poor through their own fault. the nation was tired of hearing
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about poor people. and some of these programs were never fully funded. had we done what we should have done, making programs like head start fully funded, paying the teachers well, we would be a lot farther along. but even though we fought the battle poorly, michael tomasky is right. a lot of it worked. look at what we did with putting people through college. many of my high school classmates went to college on pell grants. they have middle class lives today because those programs were available to them. so don't tell me the war on poverty was a failure. it wasn't. >> peter, how would you characterize the overall rate of success or lack of success? marco rubio as you heard says it was a failure, an abject
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failure. and mr. tomasky says it was a wild success. where do you fall in that? >> i think cynthia is right. if you look at the years in which it really got significant government funding, really up until the second nixon term in particular, you actually saw a pretty dramatic drop in poverty. and a lot of those programs, you know, rubio didn't mention those, like medicare, medicaid, head start, pell grants, expansion of social security are extremely popular. you notice the one thing that rubio mentioned was welfare. he said welfare and other programs, as if welfare by which i assume he means aid to families with dependent children, the relatively small program that was stigmatized in a highly racialized way by people like ronald reagan, that's what he emphasized. and i think that's what is key to understanding about what he said. he wasn't speaking honestly about the broad panoply of programs that have helped people of every race, ethnicity and creed in this country. he was ver very reaganesque that people associate responsibly
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with poor black people. >> wrote in "the new york times" today that the official government poverty rate is not a metric of success by the policies launched by president johnson to combat poverty. he said, quote, the reason, however, not the ineverythingive of the anti-poverty programs that his administration introduced and strengthened. it's that they have had to work much harder in an economy that has made it a lot tougher for those at the bottom to get ahead. some of the contributing factors that make it harder to reduce poverty bernstein says include the growing income in inequality gab, committee klein of labor unions, lower minimum wages. cynthia, you made reference earlier to some of the educational come poefnts this nts of this and we've seen the data how our students lag behind in the math and the sciences. would that be the area where you say we come up the shortest on the stick in terms of trying to better people's lives, education? >> i think that is certainly a
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critical area where we haven't done nearly enough. and we can clearly afford to do better. it is hard in any government program to get credit for what it prevented. and jared bernstein was pointing out how much tougher the economy is these days. if those programs were not in effect, the poverty rate would be much higher than it is. you know, this effort to build and sustain a social safety net ran into the headwinds of an economy that is changing. that is throwing the working class out of work manufacturing jobs are disappearing. and so instead of talking about cutting back that safety net, we need a much stronger one before we can say that we are really fighting the war on poverty. we need to keep food stamps in place so people aren't hungry. we need much better medical care. you know, we gave the elderly as peter said social security and medicare. but we're still struggling to help the working class get good health care. so, yes, the economy has changed.
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so, yes, the economy has changed. and we need a stronger social safety net. >> very quickly, peter, you wrote recently about john edwards, interestingly, being ahead of his time on this issue. who picks up that mantle going forward in your estimation? >> well, bill de blasio has picked it up in new york, proposing universal child care, preschool care which a lot of studies show can really boost the chances for poor kids going to college and succeeding. i think we're going to see there is a huge opportunity for any national democrat who really picks up this mantle and makes it his own. john edwards, he may have had a lot of problems in his personal life, but he was really ahead of time in raising this issue. thing is a lot of opportunity
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for anyone who credibly does it in the future. >> thank you, cynthia tucker. thank you, peter beinart. up next, militants take control of part of iraq. and here at home republicans are blaming president obama. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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the united states supreme court has temporarily stopped same-sex marriages in utah. the high court issued a stay while a federal appeals court considers the issue. utah became the 18th state to allow same-sex marriage just before christmas when a federal judge there ruled the state's ban on gay marriage was
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unconstitutional. since then, nearly a thousand same-sex couples have gotten married in the deep red state as utah officials sought to stop it. we'll be right back.
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we're back. the last few weeks have seen scenes that tragically look like deja vu in iraq. al qaeda-linked militants have taken over the mostly sunni city of fallujah in anbar province. fallujah, of course, was the site of the bloodiest battles in iraq back in 2004. the white house said today that it would speed up delivery of military equipment to the iraqi
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government, but secretary john kerry and others have ruled out sending troops back to the country. senators john mccain and lindsey graham said the president bore some responsibility for what is unfolding. quote, while many iraqis are responsible for this strategic disaster, the administration cannot escape its share of the blame. when president obama withdrew all u.s. forces from iraq in 2011 over the objections of our military leaders and the commanders on the ground, many of us predicted that the vacuum would be filled by america's enemies and would emerge as a threat to u.s. national security interests. sadly, that reality is now clearer than ever. what is sadder still, the thousands of brave americans who fought, shed their blood, and lost their friends to bring peace to fallujah and iraq are now left to wonder whether the sacrifices were in vain. most americans view the iraq war as not having been worth it. they were happy to see us get out, and have no appetite for a return. so what exactly are mccain and graham suggesting that we do? michael crowley is chief foreign affairs correspondent for "time" magazine. david rode is a foreign affairs
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columnist for reuters. david, should we have stayed longer? is that the take-away from this? >> no, i don't think so at all. and it's sort of odd to me by bringing up this idea of sending troops that mccain and graham are helping the administration. america does not want to send troops back into the iraq. but to hold the administration accountable, there is a huge vacuum in the region. you're seeing tensions spreading across the region between sunnis and shias, and the administration has no response to that. but the answer is definitely not sending in american troops. >> michael benjamin rhodes a national security adviser said quote, it's not in america's interest to have troops in the middle of every conflict in the middle east or to be permanently involved in open-ended wars in the middle east.
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when i read that quote, i said it sounds a little ron paulish to me. >> well, to some degree that does reflect the popular mood. this administration knows, i think the president believes strategically that it's in our strategic interests to have a much lighter footprint in the middle east. but at the same time, the american public is just done with this region right now. look at the polling around a possible military strike in syria. there is absolutely no appetite for it. and although as with the surge that bush did in iraq, you can be ahead of public opinion sometimes, i think there is a point at i think there's a point at which public opinion really is a complete road block. >> david, i know you think we, the public, tend to be a bit too simplistic and look at all of these situations as a matter of whether or not to commit troops, when, in fact, there are other opportunities and avenues available to us. what might they be in a situation like iraq now? >> and that's exactly what i think. i don't think that the public is the problem. it's a washington, you know, tenancy to have a debate about we're going to send in the 82nd airborne to fallujah and they're going to sort it out. we've done that for decades and it hasn't worked well. i think it's got the administration is sending weapons in. there are hundreds of thousands of iraqi security forces we've trained. let them lead this fight. that's correct. what disturbs me is when
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americans think we don't have allies in the region and there aren't local forces to support. local people when al qaeda takes over the towns, they're not popular. when there are local forces we can help train or fund and actually back them and look for allies in the region. they do exist. there are moderates in the middle east. >> michael, secretary of state john kerry said that the u.s. would play a role helping the iraqis but ruled out any chance of american boots on the ground. >> this is a fight that belongs to the iraqis. that is exactly what the president and the world decided some time ago when we left iraq. so we are not obviously contemplating returning. we're not contemplating putting boots on the ground. this is their fight. we're going to help them many their fight. >> when he says this is their fight, how much of the blame is attributable to president al maliki and the way in which he purged sunnis from this
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government? >> i think that is part of it. i mean, you do have this civil war that's sort of burning in the region across the border in s syria. syria and iraq are linked in this hellish way now. it is true maliki has not been an inclusive zbompb governor. one reason we have withheld military forces he's been asking for for a while is a fear that u.s. government has had he will violently crack down on his sunni opponents. so we may now accelerate arms to him that we were holding back but a we were worried he would misuse them. by the way, one interesting fact on the question of how the political winds may have shifted. in 2007 when barack obama described his withdrawal plan from iraq he said at the time, i will keep enough forces in the region to deal with al qaeda in iraq if they have a resurgence. so back in 2007, he was kind of holding that option open. again, i think you see the way public o pin whereon on and his foreign policy has gone, no interest in american involvement in iraq right now. >> david, the professionals now characterize this as a proxy war between the saudis and iran. what exactly does that mean? >> that means car bombings in lebanon that we've seen.
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that means al qaeda being resurgent in iraq. it's going to get worse, and i just think the administration needs a strategy. ben rhodes is careful in the statement to "the new york times" sunday saying the answer is not troops, like raising, it's all about wooe e're going to have to reengage militarily. that doesn't leave the administration off the hook from reining in the saudis. it doesn't affect americans now but it could in the future. the administration needs a strategy. not a military one. >> if there is, indeed, a vook acuum created by our withdrawal from the iraq and middle east more so than in the past, who can fill the vacuum that's friendly toward us? who should we be rooting for? >> i think there are -- we vice president been the rooting i think for the right people. i think that we've been siding too much with the saudis. the saudis have been -- we basically step back and syria and the way the saudis dealt with the problem there. >> real quick? >> i would say the jordanian government are moderates. the tunisians. until recently the turkish government had been helpful. >> thank you, both. thank you, michael crowley,
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thank you, david rohde. we'll be right back. you're watching "hardball." the place for politics.
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let me finish tonight with this. things have taken a turn for the \worst in iraq in the past couple of weeks and indeed in the entire middle east. that fallujah, once the scene of intense fighting between ur sen gents and u.s. forces in the
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wake of the 2003 invasion is now said to be completely under the control of sunni militants affiliated with al qaeda. despite the efforts of prime minister nuri al maliki's shiite led government. militants control major areas of ramadi. now, both ma fallujah and ramadi in the province of anbar where 1,300 american service mn men died between 2003 and 2011. in other words, two years after the last american troops left iraq, the government troops trained by the u.s. at a cost of billions have not been able to maintain an upper hand in an area where many americans shed their blood. it's not only iraq that's aflame. lebanon and syria have destabilized in the past couple of weeks, as a result of fanatical islamists. a group calling itself the islamic state in iraq and syria seeks to erase the border between the two countries and create a jihadi haven underscoring the difficulties in this part of the world transcend nations. as for the countries,
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themselves, much of this appears as a proxy fight between iran and saudi arabia. among the questions, what should the u.s. response be? today's "new york times" spoke of the emergence of a post-american middle east in which no broker has the power or the will to contain the region's sectarian hatreds. senators john mccain and lindsey graham, critics of the obama administration's withdrawal of american troops are saying that their predictions that a vacuum would be filled by america's enemies and would emerge as a threat to u.s. national security interests have now been proven correct. secretary of state john kerry said yesterday that the united states is ready to help iraq in any way possible, but that no american troops would be sent in. and that's the right call. better that our energy be focused on attempting to negotiate an end to the iranian nuclear crisis and peace between israel and the palestinians. already 4,410 americans lost their lives in iraq. and another 31,942 were wounded. that's enough. we need to be active
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participants in the middle east but no longer should our response to be open a military base in every trouble spot around the globe. those who would argue our withdrawal from iraq created instability need to be asked what sort of instability was created by the u.s. going into iraq in the first place? that's "hardball" for now. thank you for being with us. chris matthews comes back tomorrow night. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening, from new york. i'm chris hayes. and the first big political battle of the year of the fight over extending unemployment insurance will get a vote tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. today, the battle lines were being drawn. today congress is back in session with the first big fight of this election year. the issue, extending unemployme


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