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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 22, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

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you worry that your obviously comedic routine risks losing its comedy by virtue out of -- >> it being real? >> yes. >> i think i will shed tears of reality soon enough. >> all right. that'll do it for us. thank you very much, jeff. "hardball's" up right now. cave men. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews back in washington. leading off tonight, surrender. john boehner and the house republicans finally realized there was no way out of the corner they'd painted themselves in on the payroll tax cut and they've caved. late today, boehner agreed to a vote on the senate bill that calls for a two-month extension. hours earlier, president obama jammed the house republicans with a rub it in their faces
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moment in front of cameras. score one, a big one for the president and the democrats. plus, uneasy lies the head that leads iowa. almost immediately after ron paul topped just one iowa poll, he began getting hit from all sides, from the "wall street journal," from, and from republicans who fear that a paul win in iowa would make the caucuses irrelevant. welcome to the top, mr. paul. also, lest go to the videotape. remember this moment? >> america's never seen a candidate like herman cain. together, we can do this. we can take this country back. ♪ i am america >> well, not quite. we're going to look at our favorite youtube political videos of the year. and leave it to the republicans who oppose anything, anything president obama does, to criticize him for going christmas shopping. that's in the side show. finally, this is my favorite night of the year on "hardball,"
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the night my wife kathleen, we call her the queen at home, turns the tables and interviews me. we start with the payroll tax cut crisis. steve israel is chairman of the democratic congressional campaign committee, and i see a smile on the face of the congressman. congressman, it looks like this may be one of those moments where democrats grab the political high ground, the republicans got stuck on the low ground, and you won. >> well, it's not just me that's smiling. it should be 160 million americans that we fought for who are smiling. because they're not going to see a smaller paycheck. look, this isn't about whether the democrats deserve credit or the republicans. the credit belongs to the american people who expressed a sense of outrage, chris. i had my pre-dawn commuter office hours at the long island rail road this morning. and there was a steady flow of outrage that the republicans were in this internal war, but those middle class people getting on the train were going to be the victims with a smaller paycheck. so they deserve the credit for
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expressing outrage in congressional districts all across america, and they get the win with a paycheck that's not going to be smaller in january. >> well, this is interesting. here's a case where it's the democrats looking out for a tax cut, was in this case, for the regular people, not for the wealthy. here's the president today, late this afternoon, sounding a populist message while he urged house republicans to pass the senate agreement, which they finally did just moments ago. by the way, they're getting around to do it actually right now. he stood in front of a crowd of people who had written into the white house, specifically, to explain what losing the payroll tax break would mean to them personally. let's watch the president and listen. >> this is an issue where an overwhelming number of people in both parties agree. how can we not get that done? i mean, has this place become so dysfunctional that even when people agree to things we can't do it? enough is enough. the people standing with me
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today can't afford any more games. they can't afford to lose $1,000 because of some ridiculous washington standoff. >> how does boehner, who seems like an oldtime republican, meaning the kind of republican that was around, say, 25 years ago, in other words, center right, he strikes me that way, how does he deal with the hard right, i would have to call them fanatical tea party types, who you should call them the no deal as opposed to the new deal. they don't want to do anything that means compromise. how is he supposed to deal with the fact that he's sort of bucking them right now? >> look, he has not been able to do -- he has not been able to deal with them thus far, and that's why you have this chronic chaos. every three months, these tea party republicans are willing to take it to the mat and hurt our economy, and hurt the middle class. boehner has a real problem on his hands. every time -- every day he's got this tea party caucus, this group of extremists, who are offending moderate sensibilities
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and sensibilities of those bucks county independents you talk about so much, and as a result, there has been paralysis in the republican party and it's chronic chaos. that's what voters are going to remember. let me give you one example. in arkansas's first congressional district, you had a congressman, rick crawford, on december 20th, puts out a press release demanding that boehner joining him, and on december 21nd, he put out another press release demanding that john boehner join him in a compromise. >> it looks to me like these people are willing to take a federal paycheck to be representatives and deal in a congressional body, but they play like they're still protesters. they're actually in the united states government, but they refuse to function in the government. let's look at this. after staying quiet most of the week, here's the real old dog republican, senate republican leader mitch mcconnell, he released a statement today calling for the house to pass that payroll tax extension.
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"leader reid should appoint conferrees on the long-term bill and the house should pass an extension that locks in thousands of keystone xl pipeline jobs, prevents my disruption in the payroll tax holiday or other expiring provisions and allows congress to work on a solution for" -- boy, is this senatese. he's talking there. will this be an issue come election day, next november, how the republicans' foot dragged on a tax cut for working people? >> absolutely. every election is about who are you for? and i believe that if we take back the house, and i'm telling you, you've heard me say it, chris, we are within range. it's going to be laser close. we're going to look back at these, the past several weeks, as this defining moment that told moderate and independent voters and middle class voters around the country and our base,
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we're for them. now, here's the important thing, chris. this battle is not over. first of all, you know, john boehner is having a conference call right now. he has these conference calls and thinks he's in good shape and the bottom drops out. but secondly, we have gotten a two-month extension on the payroll tax cut to try to work out our differences for a one-year commitment. and in two months, we're going to be back to where we were today. who are you for? are you going to ask the middle class to pay for a middle class tax cut? or are you going to ask the rich to pay a little bit more in order to provide that tax cut to the middle class? >> alan west and joe walsh, all the real red-hots in the tea party movement will be jumping up and down like jumping bes ju in conference call. it will be the most unpleasant conference call in history. thank you, john israel. with us now is one of the great reporters of our time, major garrett, congressional correspondent for "national journal." he broke the story today that speaker boehner was reversing his position and calling a vote.
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okay! okay. >> the hyperbole settling. >> let me ask you this, major, what broke them? why did boehner finally break to the wheel and say, i've got the teach these tea party people to get in line, if he can do that. >> they came back to him. i don't think this conference call is going to be that contentio contentious. on saturday when the conference call came to look at the senate bill, boehner had been notified with some degree of directness by eric cantor, the majority leader, and kevin mccarthy, the majority whip, that the conference did not like and was hostile to the two-month senate bill. the exact opposite is happening now. the conference wants to break this. they want to get this over with. they have seen the condemnation from the "wall street journal," they see their own internal poll numbers. when steve israel talks about that republican congressman in arkansas, you know what happened, chris. they took one position, looked at their overnights, did some numbers -- >> newt's even warning them. he's saying, stop being obnoxious. >> they know they can't win
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this. that they were too far behind. so this is a cease-fire being called internally after creating a firefight among themselves. >> let me ask you about the big fight. it seems to be something really big, that everybody watching ought to pay attention to, i think. and you're an expert on this as well as anybody. this idea that you can get elected to congress, these tea party people, not with the idea of coming to washington and doing what people have done since jefferson's day, conservative, liberal, middle of the road, you state your position, you take your position, you hear the other person's position, you find common ground, and you get something done. you move the ball down the field. you don't just simply stop everything by saying, no taxes, only spending cuts, knowing that that will get nowhere in terms of spending cuts. this thing about the tea party thinking they can cut spending by not cutting deals, the only way to cut spending is to cut a deal. >> and that's what the proportions process this year, for two years running, has shown. you have to cut deals. you can't get everything, but you have to advance the ball. i wrote 2 1/2 days ago in the national journal, yes, the
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republicans had pride of ownership in their one-year bill, and it's a decent piece of legislation viewed from their perspective. but i asked everyone, suppose you get this magical conference committee, what's your bottom line? what do you want to extract from this? they had no answer. >> they're like the occupy people on the left. >> legislation is about steps and final product. what they've learned is to take steps, but they have not in any way, shape, or form reconciled their mind or strategy to final product. >> yesterday, the conservatives, sometimes right-wing "wall street journal" editorial page took the republican leaders to pass. today the conservative blogger erick erickson had a strong warning for republican people. he wrote, "the payroll tax holiday that as become a mess for republicans. the gop lost and they did lose. here being clubbed to death," -- i love this phrase, i hate it, actually -- "like a baby seal because they abandoned long-held republican principles. it has been a defining principle of the gop that drives the left crazy. the tax cuts need not be paid
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for. tax cuts generate economic growth which then cause the tax cuts to pay for themselves. the gop abandoned this in this case and instead has decided to engage in a tit for tat over cuts with democrats." so since reagan, jack kemp has said, cut taxes for the rich, and they'll pay for themselves in more revenues because people will make more money out there. in this case, tax cuts for working stiffs, they weren't willing to say, these tax cuts will pay for themselves by -- >> or that they should be more offset by tax increases on the wealthiest few americans. that was not the original white house proposal, but senate democrats gave the president a great favor by not taking his tax increases that went down to $250,000, but isolating them on the millionaires, because they knew that polled the best. and republicans walked if and they kept telling me, no, we're not walking into a trap, no, we're not walking into a trap. trust us, we're going to work our way out of this. well, i think today's results give you and everyone else in the audience a sense about
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whether or not they walked into a trap. >> the president, i think the economy, whether it's quick silver or not, is getting a little better. the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.6. we didn't think that would happen until next spring or summer. we've had three weeks of good jobless numbers. really pretty good. we've got a dow that's been dramatically up this week. here's my question. does this economic backdrop give the president a wind at his back in these negotiations? if we were suffering through a terrible week with the dow, terrible jobless numbers, would he still be able to get the republicans to cave? >> actually, i believe there's a completely different answer for the payroll tax, which is, i believe the white house understands that the economic future in europe is unpredictable, and possibly shrinking or recessionary. that will have a negative effect on the u.s. economy. it can't possibly help but not have a negative effect. >> next year. >> instability in europe creates global instability. global instability could mean shrinking markets and less demand in developing countries. i thought the president saw the payroll tax not only something he would want to continue as a matter of policy, but an
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insurance policy for him and for the economy at large over what might happen in europe and what effects that might have -- >> against a decline in the spring? >> and i believe that's not only the politics, but i believe on the economics, that's why the president was so adamant about this. he knows economically he needs this payroll tax cut to give him some buffer -- >> you're also telling me in a kind way to the president, this is going to be one heck of a tough re-election campaign for him. really tough. he may have a good week or so. >> and remember when employment goes down to 8.6 and 300,000 drop off the rolls because they're so sick and tired of finding jobs that aren't there -- >> i know. i know. sober news. thank you, major. now leading into iowa, if ron paul pulls an upset out there and he's winning in some of these polls, what's iowa saying about the party. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪ you, you ain't alone
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you might assume that a texan would always support a texan, but that's not the case with former president george h.w. bush. george 41 offered words of support, close to an official endorsement, not to rick perry, but to candidate mitt romney. the former president told the "houston chronicle" this week, "i think romney is the best choice for us." he also said, "i like perry, but he doesn't seem to be going anywhere. he's not surging forward." on newt gingrich he said, carefully, "i'm not his biggest advocate." what a gent. the former president bush, the senior bush. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." ron paul now leads the race to win the iowa caucuses on january
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3rd. and with that lead comes a level of scrutiny he hasn't yet faced, including a closer look at some of his more unconventional positions. what is paul's popularity in iowa tell the rest of us about that state? and what would a ron paul iowa caucus win tell the country? terry branstad is iowa governor, and it's great to have you on, governor. an honor, in fact. thank you for coming on. you are not only governor of your state, you are a veteran political observer of that state. you have won every race, i believe, statewide, you've ever fought. let me ask you this question. are you surprised by the, what looks to be a blooming support out there in your state for ron paul, and what does it tell you as an expert on the state's politics? >> well, in this caucus race, we've had more leaders than ever before. people are really disgusted with what's going on in washington. the lack of leadership from the president, the fact that we see the national debt going up more than $1 trillion every year. obama's health care is
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unaffordable, unsustainable. i think iowa voters want to send a real signal. we need to dramatically caught federal spending and have somebody that has the courage, and ron paul has had the courage to vote against all these deficits and all this manipulation of the currency. we don't want to be the next europe. we see the disaster europe's in because of their excesses in spending and failing to that evening their fiscal house. we don't want to see that happen in america. and i think people are very concerned about it. but, also, as you pointed out, a lot of people are now starting to focus on ron paul's positions on foreign policy, some other issues, and i think a lot of iowans have some concerns, think he might be naive with regard to iran and some other places. >> well, let me ask you about that. because four years ago, whenever he said something that sounded isolationist or anti-war, about the iraq war, for example, rudy giuliani was there on a platform and he just whacked him and said, 9/11, that was the end of it. he got the applause and ron paul
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was quieted. this time around, is ron paul benefitting from a bit of war fatigue now that we've been over in afghanistan for ten years, we're just coming out of iraq after 8 1/2 years. do you sense in iowa among conservatives a sense of war fatigue on the part of our military? >> no. i think, really, his appeal to conservatives is the fact that he's a libertarian that's been against all this excessive government spending and manipulation of the currency. i think that's his real appeal. he wants to send a real message there. now, he's getting some support from some nontraditional places, from the occupy groups and some of those, who are just plain against defense and against the military. but he also does get some support from rank and file people that serve in the military. so his support comes from a lot of different places. but also recognize, he's now a front-runner and with being a front-runner comes more
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scrutiny. others that have been front-runners have been there for a while and drop back. so i think the iowa voters are looking for somebody that would be the perfect candidate. there isn't such a thing as a perfect candidate, but they want a better alternative. they are convinced the country's going the wrong direction, we can't afford four more years of obama. we need to have the strongest and best candidate. >> it's been a tough audition for all those guys. here's ron paul taking center stage. he opposes any federal regulations, incoming those for car safety, medicines, even air traffic control. he leaves it up to the states whether drugs like heroin, marijuana, and cocaine are legal or not. and he also says it's for states to decide whether prostitution be legal or not. he says the americans with disabilities act should never have been passed. and he believes social security, medicare, and medicaid are unconstitutional. those -- it reminds me of being a kid and liking barry
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goldwater. i think a lot of young people love that stuff. young people are love and healthy, let me ride my motorcycle without a helmet, let me live my life. is that what it's about? is that the appeal of ron paul in iowa? >> right. he's got a lot of support from young libertarians, but also, you've got to remember the iowa caucuses are going to be held on january 3rd. the colleges are going to be on christmas and new year's holidays. so not all of those people are going to be here to vote. and it really depends upon who turns out. he's got tom very strident supporters, but you've also got to remember, there are a lot of candidates in this race, and we're looking at maybe the front-runner getting around 20% or something like that. in theene end, it could change hands another time or two before it's over. it's a wide open race. let the voters decide. i have a lot of confidence in iowa caucusgoers. they'll choose the candidate they think is the strongest and
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the best to be the leader of america. >> well, as you know, the more wide open this election is, this caucus you're having january 3rd, the more everyone gets somewhere around 25% or less, the better it is for romney. that means dividing up the conservative vote. here's ron paul getting front-runner treatment on cnn last night from gloria borger. she asked about incendiary language in a newsletter published under the name "the ron paul report" back in -- here's a 1990 news letter that criticized ronald reagan by honoring martin luther king jr., he called it hate whitey day. borger asked paul if he read the newsletters and ask what happened here next. >> not all the time. well, on occasion, yes. >> did you ever object when you read them? >> we talked about this twice yesterday, cnn has. why don't you go back and look at what i said yesterday on cnn, and said for 20-some years ago. 22 years ago.
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i didn't write them, i disavow them, and that's it. >> but you made money on them? >> i was still practicing money. >> is it a legitimate question? >> when you get the answer, it's legitimate you sort of take the answers i give. >> it's legitimate. these things are pretty incendiary. >> because of people like you. >> no, no, no. come on. some of the stuff was very incendiary, in, you know, in saying in 1993 the israelis were responsible for the bombing of the world trade center, that kind of stuff. >> yeah. come on. >> all right. all right. thank you, congressman. >> well, there you have it. i don't know what happened there. but gloria borger is not usually that -- well, she was asking questions. are they legitimate questions, governor, about what was published under his name in a newsletter that many years ago, 20-some years ago. >> any time you get to be the front-runner, you're running for president of the united states, you better be ready for a lot of scrutiny. that's just the way it goes. politics is tough. you call this "hardball," that's
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what it's all about. it's hardball, especially when you're running for president of the united states. people have a right to know what stands you've taken and even though it might be over 20 years ago. >> i think you're rooting for romney. that's my hunch. but you don't have to respond. my hunch is you want a winner -- you think the best bet is romney. right? >> well, listen, i think that iowa voters are the best ones to decide. i have confidence in them. i've tried to be a good host to all the candidates, i want to treat them all fairly. i want to see a great turnout for the iowa caucuses. and we can't afford four more years of obama. we want a republican that can restore fiscal integrity and focus on helping the private sector create the jobs to renew the american economy. >> thank you very much. iowa governor, terry branstad, a pro, as you can tell. up next, jon huntsman goes musical. he's got talent and that's in the sideshow. you're watching "hardball." yes, you are, only on msnbc. ♪
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back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. first up, striking a chord. jon huntsman and mitt romney both appeared on david letterman this week, and last night huntsman showed his skills at the keyboard. >> is it possible for you to run over there and do a little something at the organ with paul? >> what do you think? >> i'd love to hear it. ♪ ♪ go, johnny, go, go, go ♪ go, johnny, go, go, go ♪ go, johnny, go, go, johnny be good ♪ >> jon huntsman, ladies and gentlemen! >> pretty good, actually. back in his youth, huntsman hit the road with a rock band.
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next up, who needs scrooge? president obama took some time out yesterday to hit up a few stores, buying christmas gifts for the family, including something for the dog, bo. according to some republicans, the gridlock in congress over the payroll tax cut was reason to skip that presidential shopping trip altogether. here's house majority leader eric cantor and senator john mccain earlier today saying just that. >> i think that the president should play much more of a lead role rather than go shopping for his dog. maybe call these people over to the white house, as the previous four presidents that i've served under would have done. >> i saw the president out yesterday doing his christmas shopping, saw he brought his dog with him. you know, we're here. he could bring his dog up here. we are pet friendly. >> that's pretty geeky stuff, if you think about these two guys, giving him trouble for going christmas shopping for an hour or two. let's see, the republicans went after franklin roosevelt for his dog in '44, and nixon played a big defender of his dog back in
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1940, checkers, of course. now president obama's getting attacked by republicans for his dog. human tricks, they never change. up next, let's go to the videotape, the top political videos of 2011 on youtube. you're watching "hardball." by the way, stick around for kathleen, the queen, she's coming on later on "hardball" tonight. only on msnbc. ine. what ? customers didn't like it. so why do banks do it ? hello ? hello ?! if your bank doesn't let you talk to a real person 24/7, you need an ally. hello ? ally bank. no nonsense. just people sense. this was the gulf's best tourism season in years. all because so many people came to louisiana... they came to see us in florida... make that alabama... make that mississippi. the best part of the gulf is wherever you choose... and now is a great time to discover it.
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automatic help in a crash. it's the technology of five devices in one hard-working mirror. because life happens while you drive. this holiday, give someone you love an onstar fmv mirror for only 199. visit for retailers. let's go live now to house speaker john boehner. >> -- a reporting burden is not unintentionally imposed on small businesses. this solution will, at a minimum, prevent small businesses a very new administrative burdens and ensure that american workers will see their tax relief as soon as possible. the senate will join the house in immediately pointing a con r
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conferrees with instructions to reach an agreement in the weeks ahead on a full one-year payroll tax deduction, along with unemployment reforms, an extension of unemployment, and the so-called doc fix for two years. we expect that there will -- these memobers will work expeditiously to complete the one-year extension that all of us want. we will ask the house and senate to approve this agreement by unanimous consent before christmas. middle class families and small businesses are struggling, and they're making sacrifices, and i think this agreement will help our economy. one important provision in this measure that i want to highlight is the keystone pipeline. as you know, this project would create tens of thousands of jobs in our country. this jobs project has bipartisan support in the house and senate.
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it's back bade broad-based coalition and i hope the president will approve this pipeline to put those americans to work. i want to thank our members, particularly our conferrees who have remained here in the capitol with the holidays approaching for their efforts to enact a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut for working families. and under this agreement, we're going to do that just as quickly as possible. i don't think it's any time for celebration. our economy is struggling, we've got a lot of work ahead of us in the coming year. but i want to wish the american people and all of my colleagues a very merry christmas and a happy new year. >> mr. boehner -- >> speaker boehner, do you have assurances from your conference that nobody will object to unanimous consent on the house side? that you have everybody in line? >> i don't know that, but that's -- our goal is to do this by unanimous consent. >> speaker boehner, there are a lot of folks who are saying that you caved on this.
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did you cave? and considering the fallout, was this the worst week of your speakership? >> you know, sometimes it's hard to do the right thing. and sometimes it's politically difficult to do the right thing. but, you know, when everybody called for a one-year extension of the payroll tax deduction, when everybody wanted a full year of extended unemployment benefits, we were here fighting for the right things. it may not have politically been the smartest thing in the world, but i'm going to tell you what, i think our members waged a good fight. we were able to come to an agreement. we were able to fix what came out of the senate. you know, all year, you've heard me talk about short-term extensions, short-term gimmicks, and the consequences they have for our economy. and you know, when you look at this, it's just another, it's
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another short-term extension. this creates uncertainty for job creators. i used to run a small business. i know how this works. kicking the can down the road for a couple of months does cause problems. and when you look at the reporting requirement that came out of this bill because it was hastily put together, it was a big burden for businesses, frankly, of all sizes. >> speaker boehner, on the conference call, i know you spoke, not a lot of questions. i know on saturday, a rather lengthy open mic session. number one, was that by design to not have at this time. and number two, one member i spoke with said he felt that he had been, quote, hung out to dry by the leadership, because people weren't allowed to speak this time. >> i don't set up the conference calls. >> but you're the speaker of the house. >> listen, we got a lot of members with a lot of opinions. >> mr. speaker -- >> speaker boehner -- >> we have fought the fight, the good fight. but, you know, i talk to enough members over the last 24 hours
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who believe that, hey, listen, we don't like this two-month extension. we don't like this reporting problem in the senate bill, and if you can get this fixed, why not do the right thing for the american people, even though it's not exactly what we want. >> if someone objects tomorrow and it's not going to pass by unanimous consent, will you bring the house back for a vote next week? >> absolutely. >> mr. speaker? >> last one. >> mr. speaker, just given the whole last weak and we've seen photo op after photo op and news conference after news conference on both sides. democrats are really charging that the radical tea party element of the house republican conference are to blame for this. do you think that this whole fight was worth it in the political costs that have come up? and do you think that you guys ended up getting a good compromise? >> listen, doing the right thing for the right reasons is always the right thing to do. and while everyone asks for a
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full year extension of these programs, a lot of people weren't willing to put the effort in, as the holidays were approaching, to get it done. our members were. so i'm proud of the efforts that they put into this. again, it's not always -- it's not -- it's not always easy to do the right thing. but we believe that we came here to change the way this town does business. and no more gimmicks, no more short-term this, short-term that. it's time to do solid policy and it's time to do it the right way. thanks. >> thank you. >> welcome back to "hardball." joan walsh is editor at large at salon, and ron reagan is a political commentator for us. thank you, joan. you're smiling because you saw, what, the pain on the face of john boehner? he'd spent a lot of words there, basically saying uncle. >> yes. he practiced in front of a mirror saying it's the right time to do the right thing and
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all those other platitudes, chris, but that was a full-on cave. that was a political pratfall. and you know, i hear -- he's even been hearing from newt gingrich that this was the right thing to do. i think he might be talking to newt gingrich about what it's like to be ex-speaker and what it's like when your members come after you. because this is a full-on meltdown for the house republicans. and it's not pretty to see. you know, i mean, i smiled, but it's also, you know, it's so disingenuous, that they were the ones fighting for the full year and democrats or even the senate republicans didn't want that. but everyone's seeing through it. and i guess that makes me smile, that the entire country is seeing through this charade and these people cannot take our country hostage anymore. that's a good thing. that's a happy holidays story, but the rest of it is not. >> i wonder, ron reagan, if he's not surrounded by 200 people that look different than him, more red hot than this sort of
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calm, sometimes nervous speaker, whether he's got 200 people looking for scalps out there on that conference call with him, and he's saying, let's smoke the peace pipe, to use an old cowboy expression. and he wants to smoke the peace pipe, and these guys want to yell geronimo! again. i think he's the strangest leader for a tea party-led party. it doesn't seem like he's the right guy to lead these people. >> he's not, and apparently he's the one being led here. this has been a disastrous week for john boehner, a zradisastro week, ultimately, for the tea party wing of the house there, and ultimately, a disastrous week for the republican party. they've been revealed here in this whole discussion about the payroll tax extension as a party that really is less interested in tax cuts, per se, than rewarding their rich benefactors. >> well, i remember -- >> when a tax cut for the middle class comes along, they don't like it. >> i remember somebody who was president who said if you cut taxes, the revenues will go up, not down. >> you also remember somebody --
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>> then republicans believe -- >> that's the same -- that same guy said it's not fair that a bus driver pays more in taxes than a wealthy person. for people who are making a valuery, regular people. 160 million, we're told. but then they'll always say, but protect that top millionaire guy, and to protect the people who make the big bucks against any fair tax share. >> right. >> and go after the bus drivers and go after the public workers while you're at it, every chance you get. it's just, it's really a sad sight to see. the other part of this we're not talking about is, a, it's definitely protect the wealthy,
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but it's also get obama. get president obama. this is obama derangement syndrome. they will -- they really thought that they could do anything, that they could get away with anything, as long as it made him look bad. and you know, i'm very happy to see him in the last six months realize that you can't compromise if you don't have a partner. and stand up to this garbage. because they, in the end, are the ones who look terrible. but they're really going after the president. and it failed. >> i know. to wit, or exhibit "a," would be terry branstad, you could ask him where the bus stops, and he responds, here's why we hate this president. that's how they talk like. >> they don't understand how revealing that is. they don't understand how the public is watching this and they're seeing obama being reasonable, will you agree with him or not, but, my goodness with you know, these people are
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just crazy, blood thirst ky. >> thank you, ron reagan. have a nice christmas, if i don't see you, you and your family, and joan walsh. up next, my wife, kathleen mathews is coming on to play some "hardball." we'll talk politics, the economy, and my book i've been out hawking for the last two months, rather successfully. people love the story of john kennedy, these days especially. uniting the country, i'd say. this is "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪ when your chain of supply goes from here to shanghai,
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changers. >> so find me a woman. >> sarah, sarah! >> i will be honored to accept your nomination for vice president of the united states. >> that's irresistible. the movie's going to debut in march. i can't wait. that's on the script, and i mean it, i can't wait. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] imagine facing the day with less chronic low back pain. imagine living your life with less chronic osteoarthritis pain. imagine you, with less pain. cymbalta can help. cymbalta is a non-narcotic treatment that's fda-approved to manage chronic musculoskeletal pain. one pill a day, every day, can help reduce this pain.
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[ male announcer ] this is your moment. ♪ your ticket home ♪ [ male announcer ] this is zales, the diamond store. we're back. now something we've done in the past couple of years. the tables get turned right now and i'm going to be grilled, well, somewhat, by, and i mean it, the great kathleen matthews, who anchored the news here in washington for a while, and then
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became, as she is now, a top executive for marriott international, and has travelled the world. i sit at home at night and she tells me about china and what's happening in the amazon and what's happening in the new st. petersburg and russia. and i'm here, you know, in washington, d.c., covering local politics nationally here, and you see the world. the world! >> it's great to be across the table from you. it's a little bit like the dinner table conversation, right? >> yeah, except you're in charge. >> what's the first thing i do in the morning, every morning? >> he brings me a skim make latte. >> right to the bedside. >> i love seeing the white house here behind you. a live picture. >> people don't realize that behind suss a live picture of the white house. >> to see all the ornaments and everything. >> that picture is not a picture. it's the white house and it's a live camera shooting it. there you are on live tv. >> chris wants me back on the show when he has a book to promote, which in case you haven't heard it yet, he's got a book to promote.
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>> you mock me! >> and, you know, i'm a reader of fiction, as you know. i don't read that much nonfiction. >> what do i read? >> you read nonfiction, exclusively. but when i read this book this summer, i fell read this book, fell in love with it. i was a skeptic. why was a president who was elected more than 50 years ago relevant today? what's the answer to that question? >> i think it's purpose. those of us who grew up when this man was president, and he looks like a million bucks there. we had a country that had a purpose. it was to keep our place in the world, to do it successfully, so kennedy said here's ways to do it. we'll prove our technological expertise, and get to the moon before the russians. everyone will see we've got it birr than a communist system. we have a better economic system that can produce new ideas and innovation, sort of the steve jobs of the time, then we'll go around with the peace corps,
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guys like me, and we'll develop 9 third world in a way that's positive, and make friends for the united states. we'll have the alliance for progress. things like the special forces even. we're not going to go to nuclear war. he found a way to have america with purpose. also ask not what your country can do for you. that was a real call to arms, a call to duty. >> is this something you think is lacking today? >> yeah, i think the reason people like television shows like "pan am" they like "mad men" despite the chauvinism, and they like everything that can get things done action can do. it wasn't the sloppy period in the '60s. and we can do it. i think the can-do thing, and the unity. we weren't arguing over these little tax cuts with these small potatoes arguments just to fight with each other. there was a sense of big stuff. we've got to beat the russians, we can't fight with each other. >> but it also had 9 challenges.
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this was before civil rights. >> he created civil rights. >> up incredible inequality in america. you also economically had periods in there that were not, you know, robust economic growth. so what are the lessons that somebody running for president or running the white house today could take from jack kennedy? >> get tough. obama, president kennedy went down to mississippi, brought the federal troops down there and said to ross barnett, you're going to let blacks in the university, jim crowe is dead, and i'm fixing it. you watch a football game at ole miss, there are black players. in those days nobody played, same thing with george wallace in alabama, crimson tide, all white. kennedy said that's over with. he just did it. that's bracing to think about, a president says i'll bring the troops next time. he did it. this one guy did it. he backed up dr. king when he got arrested in 1960. king was the hero, of course, kennedy played a big role in
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that. >> i think a lot of people today look at jack kennedy's record and feel like it's somewhat eclipsed, because the media of the time didn't cover the warts. today every wart is covered ad nauseam on cable television. >> i'm not saying he wasn't flawed. >> it's hard to be a hero today. do you think he could have been a hero today and still have the double life he had, unfaithful to his wife, sort of a father in the back room, and some really pretty tough hardball politics. >> the old man was a right winger. once you save your crew in world war ii, and you're a hero, and you did protect the men in your unit and did risk your life, people cut you some slack. kathleen is staying with us. when we return, she's been all over the world and she's got good news economically. we can use some. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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we're back with kathleen matthews. i got a big positive. we always do tough economic news on the show. i was bragging on you, because you go all over the world, china, russia, some beautiful places like petersburg, you've been to. what's the good news in all this traveling around you figured out. >> good news is that people are traveling. there's a reason why companies like marriott or hilton or starwood are building hotels in india, china, brazil.
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and that is because no longer is it just an issue of-mile-an-hours or europeans going to those countries to see the great wall, or to see the taj mahal -- >> or the grand canyon. >> it's people within those countries, these rising middle classes. we're talking about hundreds of millions, who want to travel. first they want to see their own country. most of them want to come to america. >> yeah. >> so what we need to do is make it easy for them to get here. >> to get their money. >> for every international traveler that comes to america, we create jobs. >> give an example of that. when i've travelled around this book tour, beautiful cities like chicago and san francisco, and of course new york. every time you walk down the street, i'm not saying it's always the kay, but russians, germans, people from asia, carrying big bags -- >> they're coming here. there's some pullet supplier effect, they're staying in hotels, shopping, going to restaurants, so it's huge for our country. >> our biggest export is people coming here ironically. >> it could be.
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the problem is since 9/11 the u.s. has lost share of international travelers. we used to have -- >> where did they go? >> the numbers are going up. we now have 12%, because we made it challenging to get in here because of our visa policy. we just want to be careful, so it requires places like china, india and brazil an in-person interview. you have to physically go to a consulate. hundreds of millions -- >> just to come over for a couple weeks. >> sometimes it takes as much as 100 days to get an appointment to little a visa. sometimes you have to thattic a big trip to get to the consulate. we're working with the state department, woring with homeland security, add right now on capitol hill there are a number of bills to actually try to make the wait times less. that's important. if we can get more people here to enjoy america, it will be creating american jobs. >> can we solve the problem with travel? >> i think we could. >> i'm amazed. you're talking about a billion people and they have