tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 14, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
leading off tonight. who's sorry now? one week ago, all that noise against the tax cut deal came from the democratic left. now the noise is on the right. limbaugh, palin and hoping to be seen in the same club, mitt romney, complaining about the $900 billion bill. the question you have to ask the what are they complaining about? they love tax cuts. this deal gives you huge tax cuts. are you complaining just because you don't want the president to have a win? is that your economic philosophy? downgrade obama? also, whose presidency has president obama been reading about lately? guess. according to "the new york times," it's bill clinton. clinton's emergence from the ashes of the 1994 congressional defeat could help explain what may be the most important political alliance in america today. bill clinton and bill and hillary clinton. two former clinton administration heavy weights -- robert reich and terry mcauliffe join us in a moment. plus, let the fun begin. the loud noise you heard last
night outside the window was the republican snowball that came when word came that michael steele is running again as rnc chair. how can the party of lincoln stop the guy with all the wins? lining up in favorite of the new s.t.a.r.t. nuclear treaty, why are so many right wingers standing in the way? we're going to debate what could be lost in the treaty goes down. meet the old boss. not the new boss. you'll love this. he's in business to serve the banks. didn't he get the memo? you're not supposed to admit that. we start with the tax cut deal. the "huffington post" howard fineman. so is richard wolffe. can't be any colder than this place. you know, i have to say, romney. this guy is mobile. this guy moves around. he was for the health care plan in massachusetts. pro-choice in massachusetts. the minute he cleared the state
border or commonwealth border, he's now hiding from the health care bill he passed up there and he's changed on abortion rights, but here he is saying he's against this tax deal. help me, howard. help me, howard. i've never needed you more. how can a guy who claims he's a supply sider, loves all kinds of tax cuts, here's a bonanza in tax cuts across the board for all classes, including his? and he's saying he's against it. >> well, there's both substance and music here, chris. the substance is in the op-ed he wrote in "usa today" today, mitt ro romney says his objection is that he wants these tax cuts to be term innocepermanent, not tw permanent. what he's really trying to do is show he understands the music of the tea party. i talked to one of the founders of tea party p patriots and he said what he doesn't like about
the deal is it was quote, done in the dead of night. in other words, it was done with barack obama. what a lot of republican conservatives don't like and what mitt romney -- >> don't hug that guy. don't hug him. >> what mit romney is playing to is the fact that conservative circles this is now known as the obama compromise and that in and of itself is enough to doom it in their eyes. >> even a fist bump is barack obama is lethal now. i mean literally. >> that is the republicans' biggest concession here. for two years, mitch mcconnell has played the strategy of i'm going to make him unacceptable and they've done it really well. >> did you see boehner on "60 minutes?" he said, we will not compromise with him, compromise is a no word. >> right, but they have. that's their problem. they compromise with him. which opens up -- room for the presidential pack to say, we're different. >> let me get it straight. richard, you first. it seems we understand limbaugh. he's out there. that's the theme he has to play
as a radio guy. he always criticized the establishment. their enough. palin is out there. her tweet is inscrutable. it doesn't make any sense what she said. i'm not going to repeat it. then romney, what we consider the establishment republican party. is he trying kill that image by going to the right so he doesn't run as the east coast republican? >> that's one piece of what he's going to do, shore himself up on the right. reading what he's doing in the op-ped is saying, i'm the business guy. i understand ceos. i was -- i understand the mentality, saying it's the uncertainty argument playing in here and, you know, the subplot there is, look, i'm the guy who's run a business, i have this executive experience. there is a track here, a spot for someone who is a business guy, the fiscally conservative guy to separate out from the pack. there's palin and everyone else. the one track he can take is -- >> is there any doubt -- howard,
is there any doubt, both of you, you start, howard, that if boehner and mcconnell had introduced this exact bill as the republican position, not the compromise, he would have been for it? romney, a whole bunch of these guys. for the same reason the progressives don't like it. >> okay. richard's right, though, the true supply siders say you have to promise the cut forever. to make it work. which is ahistorical, because reagan had his tax cuts chopped back in the day. this is to me, at any rate, at least talking to these tea party people. they took notice of what romney did because it was something where romney was saying, hey, i don't like the inside deal. you know, i don't like the fact they're dealing with obama. i don't like the pork in it and conservatives think there's pork in it. that's the kind of thing that the tea party people want to hear. >> that's the big part. the verb. here's rush limbaugh this friday saying where he stands. here's rush limbaugh. let's listen. >> i now hope this deal fails. i say it directly and officially.
let the tax rates go up. on january 1st. let them go up. wait for our cavalry to show up and deal with this the right way. >> exactly, that's what the president was worried about. what rush limbaugh beautifully put. what he wants to happen is nothing gets passed this year, the cavalry, i'm sure he stole that word from me. meaning the republicans control the house, effectively are going to have control of the senate on this issue if you count the numbers. >> we're in a situation where rush limbaugh and moveon agree with each other and on the other side newt gingrich and al franken agree with each other. this makes no sense. >> beyond the 20 yard lines in both directions people are basically not going to go with an establishment deal by nature. you're not an insurgent if you with an establishment deal. by its nature, it's a compromise. a person on either end isn't
going to like an end of the road compromise. >> newt gingrich and al franken. how did this happen? >> the great irony is going to be, according to the conservatives i've talked to today, they think support for this among house republicans is eroding by the moment. craig shirley said the sands are shifting as we speak here. ironically, richard alluded to this, if anybody's going to save this, it's going to be the democrats in the house. we've gone from a situation where we were focusing on the liberal democrats in the democratic party trying to undercut this deal to the fact that in the end it's probably going to be the democrats who are going to save it from a tax from the republicans in the house. >> we'll know that by the end of the week. here are the house republicans as you mentioned. i'm going to list themes who are against the tax -- and the reasons. darrell issa, of course, from california is head of the reform committee. he says it's an incomplete effort. arizona's jeff flake, a fiscal conservative says he doesn't like extending unemployment
benefits without paying for them. utah's jeffrey chaffetz says the bill is larded up with spending. california's john campbell says he'll vote no. indiana's mike pence who i think might be running for president, a smart guy, says he's not tdsed yet but is not impressed. minnesota's michele bachmann who chairs the tea party caucus also does not like the tax deal. you never know what to make of her. start with her for fun, howard. michele bachmann is out there on the right safely away from any establishment deals so she can always lambaste whatever's going on or going right or wrong. >> we should say, chris, that in the end this is going to pass because as you know, wasn't there a congressman from pennsylvania whose advice to everybody was vote for every tax cut and vote for every spending bill? you know, in the end -- >> actually it was jimmy burke in massachusetts i believe. jimmy burke. go ahead. >> excuse me. >> one of my hometowns.
>> in the end, members are going to vote for tax cuts and they're especially going to vote for one that does have the -- >> how does a republican vote against a tax cut for the richest people? >> they're not going to. >> you want that on your permanent record that you voted against the tax cuts? >> what will happen here is the leaders in both parties will make sure they have enough votes to get the thing passed and then they'll let everybody else dribble away who wants to make a statement of some kind one way or another whether on the left or right. >> that's what i think, but it's so cynical. >> surprised? >> the word is the corral. let's explain the corral. you're what's his name -- >> john boehner? >> boehner. you're boehner and you're steny hoyer. you hold about 30 or 40 members an hold them in cattle stalls around the leadership.
you say, you can't leave the floor until we have your vote. it's called corralling. right? >> that's why they call it prime rib. >> that's how it works on the hill. howard's down there covering the mark foley race for mayor, aren't you, down in west palm beach? >> i'm getting some perspective on the world inside the beltway, let's put it that way. >> i think you're getting a wider view and brighter view and warmer view. howard, thank you, you deserve a break, at least for one day at least. anyway, thank you. from the southland, howard fineman, richard wolffe up here in the coldest washington has been since i can remember. >> next year in palm beach. coming up, the clinton/obama alliance is the most important political coalition we've come across in years. it's certainly helping to unify the democrats who can use unity. boy, is it interest to watch. we have two clinton heavyweights coming here tonight. one who likes the tax deal, one who doesn't. they're both going to educate us. ok. uh, a little help...
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there's never a perfect bipartisan bill in the eyes of the partisan and we all see this differently, but i really believe this will be a significant net plus for the country. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was president clinton last friday in one of the most dazzling days in press room history when the clinton/obama alliance was certified on national television. the unity they can bring to democrats is the question right now. we're joined by two former
clinton top guys. terry mcauliffe, closest pals, served for the hillary clinton campaign in 2008 and a former member of the cabinet, former labor secretary robert reich, author of "aftershock." we're showing it right now. secretary, let me go to a couple interesting points. i love it when numbers agree. right now, the support for the deal on taxes and job benefits, et cetera, et cetera, is 69% across the board. what do you make of that? >> listen, i think what people are seeing out there, they like it when people are working together. i think what we saw in the last election, they hated to see the division. they hated to see things not getting done. they like the idea the democrats and republicans are working together to get the economy going. at the end of the day, people are worried about their jobs, chris. they want to see this country moving forward. let's get together and move the country forward.
that's what they want. >> robert, you criticized the bill in print. give me your view overall and politically what's going on between clinton and obama? >> they're both pragmatists. bill clinton doesn't exactly dislike the limelight. bill clinton's favorabilities, if you look at the national polls, are higher than they've been any time in the last ten years. people are nostalgic for the 1990s and the economy of the 1990s and likes bill clinton's folksiness and his favorability importantly over the last three or four months have actually run about 9% to 15% higher than president obama's favorabilities. that's big. that's important. that means regardless of any tension that might have existed between these two major political figures in the democratic party, historically, both of them kind of need each other in a way. certain
certainly barack obama needs bill clinton and they are going to utilize each other. >> let's talk about the people being critical of the president. i looked at the geography. people most passionate are from the northeast. from liberal areas. vermont's not exactly a purple state. it's further over than most states that way. new york is pretty downtown. people like anthony weiner, really loud. is there a pattern there of clinton people or obama people making the most noise or both causing trouble here for the president? it's been a real noise machine and i think fair enough. we've taken both sides. is there a clinton role here to play? >> i think some people on the left, we know the differences on the tax bill. president clinton said the other day, it's not ideal. there are a lot of things, and president obama said it, there are things we like, don't like. >> it's not a democratic bill. >> we have to move it forward, do something to get the economy moving forward. the payroll tax deduction, 2%, you may not like the tax cuts, but we had to do something to get this economy moving again and i think for clinton what he said the other day, a lot of things he didn't like about it,
but overall, it will move the economy forward. at a time, we're in a very difficult position with our economy. it could go either way. i think it's very important to move forward, but he and president obama, they worked together on north korea. he sent president clinton to north korea, he sent him to haiti. >> is this a relationship now or a transaction? you know what i mean. >> it's been a relationship and i think the press has wanted to see this, but president obama's called on president clinton to go to north korea, go to haiti. president clinton did 133 campaign events, worked with the white house. they've been working together. they love this country. they both love the country. they want it to go forward. >> robert reich? >> i think all the political transactions become relationships. all political relationships eventually become transactions. you know, washington is a very peculiar kind of city as you know. let me respond to something terry just said. i think next year on balance this will probably will have a stimulative effect. overall i think if you're just looking at the economics, doesn't really make much sense.
the top are already taking home almost 25%, almost a quarter of the entire national income right now before they get an extension of the bush tax cuts. >> what are they going to do with the money? what do they do with it? >> they save it in a variety of financial instruments many of which go abroad. in search of the highest return. which is fine. absolutely fine. in terms of actually getting jobs back, you need more spending here and it's not going to actually do very much. >> do we want this country to save more or spend more? i've never gotten that straight. robert, what's better for you as an economist? what's better for christmas, the holidays, spend or save? >> when you have this deep a recession, what you want on balance is for people to spend. it's not the interest. here's the irony. it's not in the interest of any individual family particularly when they're still under a huge weight of debt and they are still worried about jobs. it's not in their interest to spend more. if they were being prudent and smart, they would hold back. from the nation's standpoint as
a whole, you want people to spend. >> i always say great black friday, everybody's saving money today. let me ask you about rush limbaugh. we're all looking at the same facts. rush limbaugh susannah was just on the radio. here he is saying, i wish they didn't have a bill, i wish they didn't cut a deal because i'm hoping they let the taxes go up again january 1st, the republicans come in, own the house, effectively i think they would have the vote in the senate, too, they're the ones who cut taxes. they're the ones -- he called it the cavalry, the same image i used. isn't that a good argument of the progressives that both presidents had to do this otherwise the cavalry would come in in january and jam this down the throats of the country? >> this is what you've got to respect about president obama. give him credit for moving forward with this. it wasn't about politics. it was about doing something immediately now. with our economy in a difficult position. put the politics aside. let us move forward. let's do it jointly. the public wanted to see our politicians working together. they're sick of the fighting. i give president obama
tremendous credit for going out and doing this -- >> let's go to the -- >> i give obama credit, too. i think the question is, why did the democrats do this before the midterms? i think there's a very interesting question here. >> i agree with that. >> a lot of people in the white house are saying -- >> i agree. >> robert, tell the guys who lost and the women who lost, like dahlcamper. if they went home and said -- who's the guy from staten island? tell them. >> or saying we had the largest middle class tax cut in history the democrats passed, that we saved the economy, how about with the stimulus money we're going to end up -- >> i want to take on robert reich. i love to argue with you. you're smarter than me on most of this. let's go. suppose it doesn't get passed. taxes go up january 1st for at least a couple weeks, unploipt benefits get cut off, the payroll tax does not get cut. accelerated depreciation does not happen. as an economist, isn't that bad news for obama, bad news for
america? if you're a real republican partisan, real hawk on the other side, good news for you because it screws obama's political situation? isn't it better to pass this? >> you also forgot the alternative minimum tax. one of the biggest pieces of this bill hidden in that bill but is very, very large. initially, yes, if taxes go up right ben the republicans take over january 1st, unemployment is cut off, it is very bad for the democrats but more importantly bad for the country as a whole. >> why are you opposing this deal? >> right now -- >> i read your column. >> chris, if it's a take it or leave it right now, if we have no other all terntive, i say we probably have to take it. that's the issue. >> hey! things happen on "hardball." things happen here. robert reich, man of your iq, has turned on this very show for the president of the united states in this new coalition. >> what bothers a lot of people, it's a take it or leave it situation. we should have never gotten into this hostage taking to begin with.
>> this is a real philosophical thing. terry will get this and you'll get it. lick politics today -- you can' anything passed without a supermajority. it's a sack race. like every fourth of july picnic, this is the sack and the democrats and republicans have a leg in the sack. >> i think you're overlooking one important thing. why did the president not take on the filibuster directly? why not go after the filibuster months if not years ago? number one. >> you're going to try to do that in 1957? richard nixon and the liberals wouldn't help them. they supported the dixiecrats. that was the terrible history. both parties are afraid of the other party dominating. >> if you don't like it, toss everybody out. >> robert reich, if you break the filibuster rule, if you get rid of the 60 -- you'll be the
most famous progressive in history. i think. >> wait a minute. chris, chris, one thing. with reconciliation, the way george w. bush got this tax extension mostly for the -- this tax cut mostly for the wealthy, he did it through reconciliation, said it was only going to be ten years and be a tax bill. another question arises. why didn't the democrats try to do this under reconciliation and actually get what they wanted instead of what the republicans wanted? >> i don't know how many reconciliations you can do a year. they already did one this year. thank you. a great question. terry mcauliffe and robert reich. up next, the republicans are set to take over the house finance committee. the guy who says he's going to do it say washington regulators exist, catch this, to serve the banks. that's his job. help out the banks, help out mr. potter who never gives a loan. is the fox guarding the hen house? the wrong guys win sometimes.
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back to "hardball" now to the "sideshow." note to wall street, spencer bacchus is at your service. here's what the incoming republican chairman of the house financial services committee just told his local alabama newspaper. "in washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks." congressman baccus later tried to clarify saying he simply thought banks shouldn't be micromanaged. either way, is this the guy you want in control? next, where's d.c. school reformer michelle rhee when we need her? michele bachmann says she's planning weekly civics classes for her fellow members of congress.
>> we're going to do what the nfl does and the baseball teams do. we're going to practice every week, if you will, our craft which is studying and learning the declaration, the constitution, the bill of rights. >> wow. here's a sampling of bachmann's pearls of wisdom over the years. she's called the democratically elected congress and white house a gangster government. she's compared americorps to reeducation camps and charged the u.s. census could be a conspiracy. she's called for republicans to slit their wrists and become blood brothers to defeat obama care and called for members of the united states congress to be investigated, to be proeg probed by the media for, quote, anti-american views. this is an odd person to give a class in constitutional law. now for tonight's "big number." yesterday, would-be senator joe miller fought an election challenge with the alaska supreme court three days after a lower court ruled against him. when did the associated press
declare the race for senator lisa murkowski to be won by her? 27 days ago. he's still fighting. alaska tea party joe miller remains firmly in denial. it's a long way from the river, nile. 27 days and counting, tonights "big number." up next, michael steele stunned republicans last night when he announced, yes, he's running again for party chair. after the record of success he's had, be honest, look at the numbers. why shouldn't he stay on the job? and who brings you more natural colors than campbell's condensed soups? campbell's.® it's amazing what soup can do.™ another heart attack could be lurking, waiting to strike. a heart attack that's caused by a clot, one that could be fatal. but plavix helps save lives. plavix, taken with other heart medicines, goes beyond what other heart medicines do alone,
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then turned his own gun on himself. no one else was injured. a tornado tore right through the center of a small town in marion county, oregon. there's a lot of damage on the ground. fortunately no serious injuries. canada, hundreds of drivers have been rescued. dozens more are stranded along a stretch of highway socked in by a severe snowstorm. in london wikileaks founder julian assange is jail. lawyers challenge a judge eegs order to release him on $300,000 bail. protesters clashed with police in italy. prime minister sylvia berlusconi f far lowly survived a confidence vote. a gunman robbed a bank in las vegas getting away with $1.5 billion. back to "hardball." the work of the party that within began over a year and a
half ago, two years ago, needs to continue as we set our sights to 2012 and what we hope will be the election of the republican president in 2012. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was republican national committee chairman michael steele. last night on fox after a surprise announcement by him that he's going to run for another term as chairman, is this a good thing for the republican party? i have two republicans here. pat buchanan is an msnbc political analyst and real life republican strategist, john feehery is hear supporting, well, are you one of the other people running against -- who are you running? longtime strategist maria -- did cheney tell you to do this? are you working for cheney? >> i knew maria before she was a bush person. >> did cheney tell you to do this? >> cheney doesn't tell me to do anything. >> he's the enforcer. is she going to beat michael steele? >> it's an open race. >> the republican party runs
michael steele for big jobs, lieutenant governor of maryland, make him party chairman and keep dumping on him. why do they trust him with these positions again and again and again? >> you want him as lieutenant governor, maryland is one of the toughest states in the union. people thought he ran a credible race. he was in the rate for the chair. >> why are they dumping him all the time? >> they didn't dump on him to begin with. they're dumping on him now because they believe he hasn't made money. people aren't giving to the rnc. he didn't do the job he should have. he's brought on too many people that are cronies. >> your track record of victory should be the ultimate output. the input is money. the output is victory, victory, victory. >> the question is, is he responsible for those victories or didthy win them in spite of him? >> let's look at him last night on fox talking about the midterm results. here he is talking about whether he gets credit or not. let's listen to him.
michael steele. >> we won 64 seats in the house, 21 state legislatures that flipped from democrat to republican. yeah, then certainly that would rest at my doorstep because he hadn't put the appropriate mechanisms in place to win or raise the money to win. and we took advantage of those opportunities to go out and raise the money and win the election. we have control of the house. i'm looking forward to referring to mr. boehner as speaker boehner. >> yeah. john? >> well, i really like michael steele. he has been a fairy mediocre chairman. from the standpoint of money, especially, you know, the rga and all these other outside groups really thrived because people just didn't want to give money to the rnc because they didn't know what michael steele was going to do with the money. you can't have this in a presidential year. you need someone who is an honest broker and who will be gaffe free and be able to run an organized campaign revitalize the republican party. it's not going to be michael steele.
>> two things. there are two rules. one is the spokesman rule, the other -- presidential candidate in george h.w. bush, the president, they were the spokesmen. then you get guys under him, really raise the money. i think that's combination is good. the problem is we don't have a president who can make that selection. >> here's michael steele last night on the phone according to prepared remarks that were distributed after the call. who you will elect as our, that's republican, next chairman will speak volumes about our willingness to truly be the party of lincoln. now, that reference to lincoln was taken this morning on what we -- that little thing from mike alan every morning. mike alan reported this morning on politico, "blackberry to playbook from one of the nation's best wired republicans. you see the party of lincoln bit from his speech, that we'll be judged whether we're the party of lincoln by this election? race card, anyone? he's saying if you dump me for
a white guy, you're dumping a black guy for a white guy. >> lincoln did not pick a black guy in those years, chris. >> i don't think he was that forward looking. he did free a lot of people. >> there's no question about it that one of the attributes of michael steele's gut is he was an outspoken republican who won a credible race and they thought would represent the party well on television. that's one of the main reasons he was picked. if he's taken out, people will say the race is the reason. i don't believe for a second it would be. >> what about the gaffe thing? vice president biden is a very smart guy, but he occasionally says things that people get a chuckle out of. it doesn't seem to be damage. the question is, do michael steele's gaffes do damage? >> they do some damage. they set him back. they get the whole party off message. that's not the principle reason people are running against him. it's all about the money. >> you are working for cheney, i can tell. >> it's about the organization. it's all about trying to put us
in the best position to win the next election. >> why would vice president cheney come back from his retirement and declare he's for this woman, cino? >> because i think that the vice president believes that organization and money are important elements. >> why is he getting involved so much? >> he would like to have a republican administration that credits the bush administration, that brings the republicans back. i don't think that helps him. the ideal guy out there, he won't take it, is haley barbour. >> yeah. >> he's a nuts and bolts guy and -- >> he's had it, though. >> he's had it. if he doesn't run for president, that's who they ought to draft. >> the fact of the matter is haley barbour ran the rga like the rnc. volumes about the decline and fall of rnc. if michael steele gets the rnc again, it's going to collapse. the rga and others will thrive. >> that's right. haley runs a good show. >> i think the man behind the curtain is dick cheney. >> it's halliburton. >> a lot of pieces around, he's got this guy doing it, he comes on the show. he call the me three hours ago
and said put feehrey on. just kidding. good luck. does care about our country, but boy, is he on the right. up next the senate is pushing ahead on new s.t.a.r.t. something i do care about. when we return, let's debate whether new s.t.a.r.t. is good for this country. this couldn't be more important. we're going to have former secretary of state lawrence eagleburger on and former pentagon official doug feith to debate this. a debate, this is the hottest issue. are we going back to the cold war?
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it pays to discover. i am confident that we are going to be able to get this s.t.a.r.t. treaty on the floor, debate it and complete it before we break for the holidays. >> that's a very important issue with me. a nuclear arms control and about possibly getting into a fight with the russians. i don't want to be there. i grew up with that fight hiding under my school desk. that was president obama last week expressing confidence that he could push through this new
s.t.a.r.t. treaty in the lame duck congress this fall, and now senate democrats believe they have the 67 votes needed to ratify the treaty. it takes two-thirds of the senate to ratify a treaty. they're pushing to begin debate on this agreement with the russians as early as tomorrow despite resistance from some republicans. lawrence eagleburger is of course one of the six former republican secretaries of state who's urged the senate to ratify. doug feiff questions the new treaty. he served as undersecretary during the bush administration. mr. eagleburger, i want you to tell us, why is it important, urgent, on the counts you can think of for this to be ratified this fall? >> i think it's important it be ratified this fall or early next year. i'm not one of those who feels it has to be done in this lame duck session. i would prefer it to be done then, but if you'll notice in that piece that all these secretaries of state, republicans once did here
recently, we didn't argue about when it should be done. we simply said it should be ratified. i still believe that, but i don't want to do it if, in fact -- i don't want to do it now if, in fact, that's going to kill it. if we can get it through, fine, but otherwise i want to wait until next year. >> here's a list of republicans -- here they are. george h.w. bush. henry kissinger, george schultz, james baker, yourself, lawrence eagleburger, colin powell, condoleezza rice and former secretary of defense william cohen. jim baker is on the list somewhere there. >> yeah, he is. >> doug, mr. secretary, let me go to doug on this question. what's the problem with this? why are you questioning it? >> i think a number of those republican officials that you mentioned also raise questions about the treaty. the treaty establishes a link, what they call an interrelationship between offensive force reduction and missile defense. this is something the russians have been asking for for years. they tried it when i helped
negotiate the predecessor treaty. the bush administration said, no, that's harmful to the united states, bullet the obama administration said yes. the other thing, the treaty has counting rules. complex counting rules that have the effect of imposing penalties on the united states if we want to convert long-range nuclear systems into long-range conventional systems. >> the pentagon says it's better to create new rockets. if you're going to use it for conventional purposes. mr. eagleburger, isn't that the case there isn't a problem here because the pentagon preferred to create new weapons? >> i don't think there's a problem on either of those two points. numb one, you're correct, the pentagon says they prefer to do new ones anyway, so that's not the issue. on the other hand, the so-called linkage is not there and we have said it's not there and don't accept the russian argument that it is there. so we're concerned it's not there and it's going to stay not there. >> okay. let me ask you -- let's go back to more fundamental questions.
>> the key factual point here, if you look at article 5, section 3 of the treaty, there's a limit on missile defense and there's also the preampullar language. it's not accurate to say it's not there. >> i know for years the soviets wanted to avoid defense because they thought we had the elect n electronics to create such a system and they knew they didn't. we had the cold war because we bluffed them or convince them, reagan did, we could put up a shield against their ammo and they said, whoa, we better call it quits. >> we have technology that's better than theirs. we have technology that worked impressively in the missile defense area. >> let me ask you about the gut feeling. mr. eagleburger, do you think we face a geopolitical threat from russia today? are they our enemy or potential enemy in the world? >> oh, i suppose they're a potential enemy. they are not now an enemy. i think that where they pose a problem is that things like maybe some handing over some nuclear secrets to syria or something like that. in that regard, yes, they are a
problem. in terms of the way they used to be that the two super powers facing each other, no, that's no longer the case. >> doug? >> i agree with secretary eagleburger on that. >> let me ask you positively then. don't we need the russian alliance on issues like afghanistan, issues like iran, toughening the sanctions, helping us do the battle we have to fight in afghanistan as long as we're there? >> we don't have them on a lot of those things. >> we don't? >> it would be desirable to have russian cooperation. and i'm all in favor of trying to improve cooperation with russia. but the russians have been very unhelpful on iran with the exception of one cancelation of an arms sale to them which was good. in general they've been unhelpful. they're unhelpful in a number of other areas. i'm in favor of trying to cultivate better relations. this treaty has serious problems. my view is the problems about this treaty should be looked at seriously, part of the answers to them may come if the
administration releases the record which it's refused to do. i don't think it makes any sense to push it through the lame duck session. >> well, the concern that the democrats i hear from, like i believe the vice president and others, is mr. eagleburger, the concern they have about us going over into next year when you have a much more republican senate, still a majority of democratic senate nominally, but certainly much more conservative, it's going to be harder to get the 67 two-thirds vote next year than now. that's why they fear not getting it done in the lame duck. you're reaction to that? >> my reaction to that is, in other words, this is why i'm now put in the position of being more liberal than my friend on the other side there, and i'm not liberal on this at all, except in this particular case i think it's a treaty worth doing. however, i don't mind if it waits until next year. the fact of the matter is that democratic argument you just used is saying because we lost
senate seats and therefore whatever it is it will be tougher for us to get because republicans are now in those positions is simply saying they want to do this now that they lost their seats in the senate. they want to do it before the lame duckers are out there. that's not the way to move on this issue. >> i think they're concerned. i'll express their concern since i share it, which they're afraid these people come in from the outside. they come in with a very anti-establishment point of view to start with and their view will probably be -- >> we don't know that. we don't know that. we don't know it on s.t.a.r.t. at least and the fact of the matter is, this is the thing i think is so important where mr. feith and i probably disagree. the looming, worst issue we face for not just tomorrow but decades to come is this issue of nuclear weapons. anything we can do to begin to shave off a little here, a little there, needs to be done. i think it's a terribly, terribly -- >> i do agree -- >> -- dangerous issue and we ought to go ahead with it. >> i do agree we have to do everything we can. the thing that concerns me is
some of the mistakes that were made in the negotiating of this treaty may make the proliferation problem harder rather than easier. on your point, i think there are republicans who have serious questions about the treaty who i think, if forced to vote before those questions are answered in a lame duck session, will vote no. whereas they might be satisfied if it comes up later. >> i think it's fair to say we won't prejudge them. thank you. i know the arguments though. former secretary of state lawrence eagleburger, former undersecretary of state doug feith. thanks for giving us this argument tonight. when we return, let me finish with why i think our relationship is critical right now. but only one dad. ♪ show him how much you care with gillette's family of products. ♪ [ male announcer ] there are billions of people in the world. ♪
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"let me finish" tonight with this nuclear treaty with russia. i have a simple view of this thing. we keep the strongest possible relations between our two countries. any student of history knows this bond between the united states and russia is crucial to the world's current strife. which is now between the zealots who used terror against the united states and those other countries that have armies. the war between big power armies is behind us now. the war between states with armies like us and russia and those who use terror stretches
before us. i want peace between the big power countries with armies, so that we can do a better job of defending ourselves against the terrorists. this is the heart of it. i make the basic assumption that henry kissinger, george schultz, james baker, condoleezza rice and lawrence eagleburger, hard nosed people would have spotted a flaw in the nuclear arms treaty if one exists. i assume questions about the treaty on matters of verification, missile defense and modernization have been answered satisfactory. above all, not to fall back into the hostility between moscow and our country that prevailed. we do not need a second cold war on top of the threat we face now from terrorists. we need the strongest possible alliance between america and russia to keep weapons from far from enemy hands. we need russia to build a tougher pressure on tehran to prevent iran