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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  October 4, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, can't take my eyes off of you. for weeks, republicans have been on their knees, begging chris christie to save them from themselves. romney's a bore. perry can't win. bachmann's, well, bachmann. please, they beg, please get in the race and fill the vast void that is the race without you. today, christie said, no. he loves his home state of new jersey, and he says now's not the right time for him. well, christie's performance today may make republicans like him even more, actually, but he's out, and we'll talk about why the republicans wanted him in so much and what happens next. so as steven stills wrote years ago, if you can't be with the one you love, honey, love with one you're with.
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and who does it look like the republicans are with right now? that old boyfriend, the really nice guy who doesn't turn them on, mitt romney. why the gop can't fall in love with mitt. also, right on cue, good-old eric cantor has said that president obama's american jobs bill is dead on arrival. well, that's an original idea from him. what else is new? the president's on the road, of course, out there doing what we at "hardball" have been saying he should be doing and is doing, pushing a jobs bill and urging america to build, baby, build. and here's a way to destroy a successful career. pretty reliable one, too, by the way. refer to the president of the united states as hitler. that's what hank williams jr. did. he's the guy who sings "are you ready for some football?" every monday night. well, just another example of the relentless out of right field accusations we here call obama derangement syndrome. let me finish tonight with what's now left for the republicans after chris christie has said, thanks but no thanks. we start with christie's announcement today by himself.
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howard fineman is "the huffington post" editorial director, and john heilemann is "new york" magazine's national political columnist. thank you, gentleman. no means no. he's out. he took a veiled swipe, here is today, announcing his decision not to run, and hitting on a theme repeated throughout the press conferences, which is a clip i guess they call it in football, against a couple of other potential presidential candidates. here he is in new jersey. let's listen. >> it wasn't until recently that i paused to really reflect on my decision. when you have serious people from across the spectrum, not to mention from all across the country, passionately calling on you to do something that's as consequential as running for president of the united states, i felt an obligation to earnestly consider their advice. together with mary pat and our children, i believed i had an obligation to seriously consider what people were asking me to do.
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i will always be grateful for their confidence in me. over the last few weeks, i've thought long and hard about this decision. i've explored the options. i've listened to so many people and considered whether this was something that i needed to take on. but in the end, what i've always felt was the right decision remains the right decision today. now is not my time. i have a commitment to new jersey that i simply will not abandon. >> wow. well, you know, howard, i'm going to be cynical here. how many times have we heard, i want to spend more time with my family, when you've been fired. and here we have a guy who says, i want to spend more time with new jersey. now, was that a veiled shot at palin for skipping a job she'd been elected to? was that a veiled shot at rick perry, who has plenty of time to run across the country, and he's still governor of a bigger state than new jersey, and he's got all the time in the world to go running around the country. or a shot at mitt romney, who couldn't get re-elected governor
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of massachusetts. how many bullets were in that gun today? just a thought. i'm being nasty. >> yeah, no -- >> howard? >> well, look, i think if you remembered the speech that chris christie gave out at the reagan library, he basically said in that speech, i'm the only guy who has the record to show the way forward in the reagan style, in the ronald reagan style. that speech itself was full of very sharp elbows, which is one of the reasons people thought, maybe this guy is the big tease. maybe he wants to do it. >> sure. >> because he was saying in that speech, i'm the only guy who's got the right credentials. so this is just a follow-up to that. >> yeah, there was a big strip tease. and when you come out with all the feathers, you're basically a feather dancer. christie suggested being a conservative doesn't mean you can't compromise. let's listen to his argument for something.
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i don't know why he's still campaigning if he's not running. i want john to respond. why is the guy out there selling and who is he selling for? let's listen. >> i've said all along, i am a principled conservative, but i also said in the reagan speech, as ronald reagan did, you have to compromise at times to get things done. and that doesn't mean compromising your principles, but it means not getting everything you want. now, if someone calls that liberal, being compromising, then they're dead wrong. >> what was longer, guys, john, the christie i'm not running speech or the weiner i'm quitting speech? these were pretty long speeches to say no, i'm leaving. >> well, you know, chris matthews, chris christie likes the attention. he's really not made much of any bones about that. he likes being in the center of the spotlight. he also wants to be president. he doesn't think he can be president now, but this is a guy who has national ambitions. he, again, hasn't really minced
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around very much on that topic. and i think he is trying to follow the old showbiz rule, which is to leave your audience wanting more. and he decided this was not his time. it's a fair -- he may be right, he may be wrong about that, but i think he's not saying his time isn't coming. and whether that time is 2016 or 2020, there's a lot of people, all those people who tried to urge him in, he wants to keep reminding them as much as possible why they wanted him so badly and to have them still be hungry for him whenever his time does come. >> if that's true, he's counting on obama getting re-elected? >> well, or 2020. >> well, wait a minute. 2020, you mean eight years from now after republicans -- he's going to make it 16. that rarely happens in american politics. if your party wins eight, it's very unlikely you'll come in and make it 12 or 16. you know that. tell me how often that's ever happened. >> i'm not saying that the odds will be -- >> either you grab your turn or you don't get one, seems to be history tells us. >> chris, i've been saying all along i thought if he doesn't do this this time, he won't get a
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better shot. so i'm with you on that, but clearly he came to a different conclusion, and he doesn't want to close any doors down the road, whether it's one cycle from now or two. >> howard, why did he avoid this shot when it looks like there's a great opening? >> well, i think there are the practical factors of timing, the sense of timing and the practical factors of getting it done. by the way, i want to congratulate ourselves on being probably the first political show to mention the 2020 presidential race. >> yeah, well, we're working on it. >> but in any case, just the logistics of this would have been difficult. much more difficult than i think people realize. he had no ground structure anywhere, and yes, he could raise a lot of money, get a lot of fat cats to bankroll, you know, a lot of super-pac money from -- but you can't just do it with that. you still need to have a ground game of some kind and to put together one in places like iowa and new hampshire, south carolina, and florida in the equivalent of a new york minute
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would have been very, very difficult. >> but a new york minute has propelled mr. herman cain to the top almost, and it's propelled even donald trump to the top for a couple weeks there. this is a very volatile crowd. here's reporters asking governor christie if his calls for him to run said something about the republican field for 2012 without him. and it is now without him. let's get his answer to that. here's what he had to say. >> i don't think it says anything, particularly, about the field. i'd like to think it says something about me. and, you know, there are folks who feel like what we've done here in new jersey in a blue state, in bringing people together and getting things done, is something that they like to see in the country. and i think that's what it was really all about, john. it wasn't my charming good looks, you know that. so i think it's the accomplishments that we have here in new jersey that made people excited that maybe divided government could work, maybe, you know, leading in a very bold and direct way could
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forge compromise. >> astounding thing here. i'm thinking of the hustler and those two guys, jackie gleason against paul newman, i'm thinking of hustling and how good he is, john heilemann. and i'm not knocking a hustler, because a lot of politics is hustle. you find ways to bring people in the tent, and this guy knows how to do it. i don't mean hustle as a street corner bad thing. it's so hard to get people in the tent, and this guy seems to have that ability that mitt romney won't have in a million years, to make himself interesting. mitt romney will never be interesting, and this guy's more interesting walking away from it than running for it. >> he's got a quality in politics, chris, that you can't learn and you can't buy, which is both to be, as you say, interesting, and also to feel authentic and real. and we talk about authenticity all the time in this business, but, you know, everyone who looks at this guy, even people who don't like him, look at him and feel like he's talking from the gut, talking from the heart, talking from the head. that what you see is what you
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get with this guy. he's not playing hide and seek. and that is a very attractive quality, especially at this time in our politics, when so many people on both the left and right are sick of poll-tested, overly canned politicians. >> i'm thinking of jackie gleason, not just about his size, i'm thinking of a guy -- howard, you and i grew up with jackie gleason, minnesota fats. you couldn't take your eyes off that guy in that movie, and you couldn't take your eyes off xwleeson. there are some people who are interesting and some people who are not and mitt romney's a not. >> and that's his problem. >> we're getting to that in the next segment, by the way, the big not. >> but in the case of christie, there's also a little bit of an edge to him. i think john would agree with me on this. there is a little edge to chris christie. just a little touch of resentment that, you know, you don't think i can do it, well, let me show you. i might be this big guy who doesn't look like your standard politician, but i can do it. look at what i've done here. look how i take things on. >> why do we love him more than the guy with the perfect jaw and the perfect hair and the perfect
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everything? why do people prefer him in their sort of deep psyche right now? >> well, you answered the question in you asking it. he's imperfect. chris christie's imperfect. he's a guy who seems to overcome obstacles. he's tough, he's combative. men love him. the polls in new jersey show the women are scared of him. they don't like him, especially because of what he's done on education. but guys like him. guys really, really like him. and it's because of that edge that he has. a little bit of combative edge that he has. >> howard's exactly right. it's an edgy time. chris, you've been pointing this out for the last week. it's an edgy time in america, and being an edgy candidate is not a bad thing. it's an attractive thing for an awful lot of voters. >> people are so tired of being told what to do, especially by their wives. thank you. not ours, of course. they're wonderful. they're, howard fineman. they're sweet, their adorable. thank you, john heilemann as well. coming up, so with chris christie out of the picture, can republicans learn to love the one they're with? there he is, mr. excitement. i can't believe it, he's got his shirt sleeves rolled up. boy, is he wild. he's getting really wild.
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voters are going to the polls today in west virginia for a special election for governor that has implications far beyond the mountain said. the acting governor in the race is democrat earl ray tomberlin. now it's a toss-up. if tomblin loses the governorship there, you can bet fingers will be pointed at barack obama in washington. president obama's approval number in west virginia is among the lowest in the country. polls close at 7:30 tonight. we'll know about that late tonight and we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "hardball." now that chris christie has decided not to run for president, republicans turn their lonely eyes back -- this is like mrs. robinson -- back to mitt romney. he's leading in the polls, but for most republicans, he's now mr. right now more than mr. right. anyway. he's the one big winner today on
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the republican side now that chris christie is out. dana milbank is a columnist for "the washington post". you're the experts coming on here. who picks up the crumbs that this guy's not eating, chris christie? >> it's terrific news for mitt romney. in fact, i think mitt should give him a wing in one of his houses that he's been building. but this is exactly going according to the original mitt romney plan. you see perry fading, romney's again the front-runner, there's no other establishment candidate out there. you've got all these guys fighting over the tea party votes. you've got herman cain, unbelievable, in third place in this poll. and you've got a little bit of bachmann here and there. so romney -- >> wait, let's go to the numbers. i like this theory, we've been playing with the idea of the woman who's very attractive and all the guys who are chasing after him, but one guy just waits and waits and wait. here's the new "washington post" poll of republicans and republican leaners. i love that. they've got romney leading at 25 points. he's been holding at 25 for a long time.
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rick perry and herman cain now tied in second place at 16 each, but look at the movement of how we got to this in the last couple of months. while romney's remained steady, steady at 25, rick perry's dropped 13 points, losing his lead, where mr. herman cain, the businessman from atlanta, he's gone up 12 points to tie. this is so amazing, john, it is unbelievable that you see this kind of movement on the republican side, where there's so little product loyalty that they go from a guy they were red-hot over, rick perry, just a couple weeks ago, and all of a sudden a guy who was an also ran is now a contender, herman cain. >> because they don't know much about these contenders, and their support is falling week to week because they are falling in love with the idea of the candidate, not the candidate so much. if you asked those who were polled that love rick perry probably continue tell you much about him. he'll raise over $15 million for this quarter, a lot of change for a guy who's been on the trail for about six weeks now, and if he can straighten up at the debate and perform a little
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bether he can be in this thing. don't forget, he -- >> who -- let's go who's paying the piper here? who would want that guy to be president of the united states? >> a lot of conservatives around the country. >> okay. yeah, but particular kinds of conservatives. rural, business guys, real right-wingers? >> a lot of business guys. i mean, a lot of folks from the south. i mean, i think business types that just don't totally trust romney. i think a lot of grassroots activists who want a more pure ideological messenger beyond romney. i think there's lots of folks out there, chris, who i think you can see get on perry's bandwagon, but, look, he's had a couple of you have to weeks. herman cain has been sort of filling that void. herman cain doesn't have much of a campaign going. when you leave the campaign trail, chris, to have a book tour, it says a lot about the seriousness of your campaign. >> let's take a look at brooks, one of the brighter lights in the republican field.
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he wrote something very smart today. it was called "in defense of romney." it was bink. "republicans don't want organization man, they want braveheart. romney can be dull, but often the best leaders in business in government and in life are not glittering saviors. they're professionals you hire to get a job done." boy, that is a lean argument for romney. it's like an astronaut argument. you know, he's steady. >> but steady might be good enough when there's so much dissatisfaction in the field. in "the washington post"/abc poll out today, only 9% of republicans are very satisfied with the slate of candidates, which about half as much were at this point in 2000. >> stop for a second. i've been interested in politics since i was 6 years old. i'm not interested in organization men. i don't know anyone of any party that is. when you're down there in tampa, florida, next september, dressed up like a big cheddar crease because you're from wisconsin, are you going to be cheering for mitt romney with any enthusiasm? >> no, i don't think they can
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get fired up about him at all. but the situation he's in, is he's wanting to be the last man standing. >> okay. same question to you, jonathan. can they get excited and go out and ring doorbells and put out leaflets and everything else for this guy -- >> chris, chris, john mccain, the author of mccain/feingold won the nomination for the gop last time. a lot more doubts, especially among professional republicans, toward john mccain than there are towards mitt romney. >> a war hero. >> if they can come -- >> he was a war hero. he spent several years in hanoi hilton. he did something for his country. >> which helped with the grassroots, overcoming his sort of maverick tendencies. but among professional conservatives, i think there's a lot more doubt about mccain than there is romney. how did mccain fix his problem? he put somebody on the ticket who prompted a lot of enthusiasm from the grassroots. i think you'll see romney tend to make a similar move. >> just to move quickly, it's not my plan here, but do you think chris christie was auditioning for vp today?
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i think he was. >> i loved his line about how the presidential nominee would need a food tester if he were the vp. but he very plainly wasn't ruling it out. >> don't you agree? >> absolutely. >> you get it without campaigning, pick it up the next labor day. >> that's the idea. >> you don't have to campaign. by the way, one last thought. 55% of people in this country now believe the republican candidate will win the election against obama. that's how people out there are playing pundit. that tells you they think obama's in trouble. and i think obama is going to jujitsu this and say, okay, i'm the underdog. >> that makes -- that's all the difference there. >> that's what makes politics interesting. thank you, guys. the world without chris christie. what a huge displacement. it's not there anymore. anyway, thank you, dana milbank, great guy. thank you, jonathan martin. up next, speaking of mitt romney, wait until you hear why he said he didn't respond to
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that debate crowd. remember the crowd that booed the gay soldier. not a profile in courage for mitt romney, he won't even say now he has a problem with that booing, even now. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ fema le announcer ] new crest complete deep clean. you feel it working, so you know it's working. and that means you're ready for whatever the day brings. unlike ordinary toothpaste, you feel a deeper clean. you're also protected. with new crest complete, you know you're covered.
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back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. first up, the supreme court justices are back on the job after a summer recess. what's on the table to kick off the season? a ruling on the constitutionality of president obama's health care bill. specifically the individual mandate. let's take a look at how steve colbert teed up the debate just last night. >> the big matchup on the schedule -- >> obama care headed for the supreme court. >> obama care, is it unconstitutional? >> the supreme court might rule. >> the challenge to the president's health care law officially reaches the highest
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court in the land. >> yes, these nine justices could kill obama care. i told you there were death panels. now, folks, the heart of this case is the individual mandate, which will require all uninsured americans to purchase health insurance. and the only pre-existing condition that will cure is liberty. yes, the government cannot force you to buy things. it can only tax you, draft you, seize and sell your property, arrest you, incarcerate you, and execute you. >> i think that's stephen's way of saying he hopes the supremes don't kill a good thing, obama care. and next up, bring on the wishy-washy. that's right. i'm talking about 2012, mitt romney. remember this moment at the most recent republican debate? >> in 2010 when i was deployed to iraq i had to lie about who i was because i'm a gay soldier, and i didn't want to lose my job.
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my question is, under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the progress that's been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military? [ audience booing ] >> you heard the boos then. ever since that rather shocking moment of booing that guy in the need, saving our country, working for us, gary johnson, jon huntsman, herman cain, and even ric santorum have condemned that eruption of booing that we just heard, but then there's mitt romney. >> i don't recall whether this soldier, whether people were booing his question or just booing him -- >> they booed as soon as he identified himself as a gay person. >> you'll have to look at that. i don't know when they booed and i don't know why people booed, but i will tell you that the boos and the applause is not always coincided with my own views, but i haven't stepped in to try and say, this one right and this one's wrong, and instead i focus on the things that i think i ought to say. >> well, the question you have to ask is who is he afraid of
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offending there? who boos american soldiers, mr. romney, and are they friends of yours? and now for the big number. everyday concerns to be heard by your representatives in the house of representatives. well, so does everyone else. that's according to a new report by the congressional management foundation. apparently capitol hill has been experiencing a surge of constituent correspondents in recent years, thanks to recent hot-button issues like health care reform and the debt ceiling debate. what's the total increase in letters and e-mails since 2002 for the senate alone? 548% increase. unfortunately, several offices in the senate admit they struggled to respond to this write your congressman rage, but a 548% increase in communications from voters. and that's tonight's very big number. up next, eric cantor says president obama's jobs bill is dead on arrival. that's an original thought. the republicans say no again to the president. can president obama make them pay politically for being no people? can he get america to build, baby, build? we'll be right back with that hot question. it's about jobs and doing something.
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here's what's happening.
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build, baby, build! build, baby, build! >> build, baby, build. that's our theme here. we're back. president obama's making a strong push for his jobs bill. he even said yesterday he would be calling on the leaders of both parties to vote on the bill by the end of this month, that's october. it didn't take long for republicans to push back. about an hour later after the president, the house majority leader eric cantor of virginia told reporters the comprehensive bill was dead on arrival because republicans wouldn't bring the bill to the floor, preferring to work on, as he put it, i'm not sure he's telling the story here, individual pieces of legislation they say will help the economy. anyway, cantor's pussyfooting
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here. he went on to say, "this all or nothing approach is unacceptable. first, he has problems on his own side of the aisle, as there are provisions in the bill that democratic members disagree with. there are many issues that i've listed here that we can work together on instead of maintaining this campaign posture here." the president kept the pressure on this afternoon at a community college just outside of dallas, texas. he called out cantor and the gop. listen to the president. >> i'd like mr. cantor to come down here to dallas and explain what exactly's in this jobs bill does he not believe in? what exactly -- what exactly is he opposed to? at least put this jobs bill up for a vote, so that the entire country knows exactly where members of congress stand. >> well, the president was speaking right there in mesquite, texas, which happens
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to fall in the congressional district of jeb hensarling, the chairman of the republican conference, where transportation for america reports there are 42 structurally deficient bridges just in that district alone and these are bridges that are in need of immediate maintenance or outright replacement. including the bridge on u.s. 80 west over the big bushy creek near forney, texas. it carries nearly 20,000 cars a day, every day, including trucks. and throughout this segment, we're going to list those 42 deficient bridges in jeb hensarling's district at the bottom of the screen. those are bridges americans could be put to work to fix right now. so will republicans continue to be obstructionists or give the president a vote on his jobs bill. joining us now, u.s. congressman aaron schock, a republican from illinois who represents pieria. i've got to get to this question. what is your party's position on the president's jobs bill? it's the only jobs bill in town right now. are you against it or what? >> i would challenge that it's the only jobs bill. we've been pushing a lot of bills that are pro-jobs, that are pro-growth. it's the private sector, chris, as you know, that ultimately will create jobs that are sustainable. >> you control the congress, did
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you pass them? >> we've passed over 100 pieces of legislation, chris, since republicans took control of the house that are parked over at the senate that harry reid will not allow for straight up or down vote on it. and whether it be regulatory reform, you name it, we have passed -- >> no, we're talking jobs bills. >> yeah, what's the jobs bill? what's the jobs bill, create. >> a bill that creates a job. >> a bill that creates a job. and what we're focused on is creating an environment, chris, that allows the private sector to create jobs. we have tried the last two years to create jobs by the federal government spending money. and it has failed miserably. in august and september, zero jobs net created. >> okay. >> but i want to get to something where -- >> well, let me get to my question here, and then we can move on to your ideas. it seems to me every time a republican wants to get a regulation, get rid of regulations, they don't like epa regulations or get rid of taxes they don't like paying, they put the word "jobs" on it because
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that makes them feel good, at least when they sell it. congressman, i want to ask you a question about the district you represent. how many bridges in your district roughly do you think are below code, described by the transportation department of illinois as being below code? >> too many. >> give me an estimate? how many in your district that you represent -- >> too many, chris. >> give me a number, roughly. >> the president's stimulus bill that he promoted -- >> you're not answering the question. >> -- that he promoted in peoria, illinois, my hometown, that was going to put americans back to work, that would invest in america's infrastructure, was a sham. less than 8% of that stimulus bill went to infrastructure. >> well, we're talking about infrastructure right now, sir. >> but i want to talk about the president's jobs -- >> all politics is local. okay, let's talk about your district. >> i want to talk about the >> president's jobs bill which was a $1 trillion stimulus bill. >> you don't know how many bridges in your district are dilapidated? >> -- was supposed to fix those bridges and it didn't. >> if you did what we did today and called the department of
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illinois, and your own district and checked it out, you'd discover that you have a total of over 277 structurally deficient bridges in your district. we just post it had right now. we spoke with someone from the illinois department of transportation right now, just a few minutes ago, and they told us the number's actually up to 319 now structurally deficient bridges in our district. >> i agree, it's outrageous. >> you agree. you didn't know. >> it's absolutely outrageous. how much of the president's jobs bill that he's promoting now will go to infrastructure? >> at least a third of it. >> no, $50 billion of the 400 billion, chris. the exact amount that he had in the last stimulus bill. >> no. >> how much of that $50 billion that's in this bill -- >> in this bill, a third of the american jobs bill goes to infrastructure. you know that. >> and it has to be spent in the next year. how much of that can go in a year to go and fix those bridges that you point out are structurally insignificant? chris, what we really need is a six-year highway bill. that's the kind of infrastructure investment that republicans and democrats can get behind. >> i'm all for it. >> well, lets pass that. let's talk about a six-year
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highway bill. >> you guys deal in ideology and theory and i'm bringing you information about your district that you needed to know -- >> no! >> -- which is that you've got over 300 bridges that are deficient that need to be fixed that are below safety code. i want to go to congressman mcdermott and be fair here. he has 19 bridges in his district that are below code and structural deficient. one thing you can do is get people to work and give them jobs that need to be done. don't create jobs, do what needs to be done. make our bridges safe. just to start, your thoughts, mr. mcdermott? >> well, it's very clear, chris, that the president has been stymied at every turn by the republicans, because mitch mcconnell made it very clear a long time ago that his only goal was to prevent the president from being re-elected. and to do that, he has to prevent him from getting the economy back on its feet and getting people back to work. people want jobs. there is work everywhere in this country.
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and they stymied him in the amount of money that they would let put in for infrastructure back at the beginning of his term, and now they're still doing it. and they'll find a million excuses why they can't do it. but it isn't happening without stimulus from the government. you are going to have to have that kind of infrastructure money. >> let me ask you, congressman, congressman schock, i'm with you, by the way, i wish more of these stimulus packages -- i wish the whole 100% of them were infrastructure. but let me ask you this question, to make your point. would you vote right now yea to support the infrastructure piece of the president's bill? just the bridge and road fixings? would you vote for that yes? >> if we could pay for it. chris, two points. number one, on the president's original stimulus bill two years ago, i joined with then chairman jim oberstar on an amendment. there were 40 republicans at that time that joined jim oberstar in an amendment that would have doubled the amount in the president's original stimulus bill to be spent on
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infrastructure and nancy pelosi would not even allow a single vote on that amendment. i've been pushing our leadership here in the house, john boehner and eric cantor, to allow for a six-year highway bill to move forward. now, why is a six-year highway bill significant? number one, it's about $400 billion to $500 billion of infrastructure investment, close to ten times what the president wants to spend, number one. number two, it's over six years, so the infrastructure community, the construction industry -- >> why don't you become a democrat? >> i don't need to become a democrat. >> because your republican leadership isn't backing this. >> no, no, no. the same reason president obama hasn't advocated for a six-year highway bill is the same reason that the republican leadership hasn't offered the plan, is because you've got to come up with a way to pay for it. john boehner two weeks ago in a speech here in d.c. said he's looking at doing a six-year highway bill using the current gas tax coupled with revenue from offshore leasing of offshore drilling rights. i don't care what the pay fors are, but ronald reagan passed
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one, bill clinton passed one, george w. bush passed one. a six-year highway bill that's paid for -- >> i know, the problem is, eisenhower broke the interstate system back in the '50s. he wouldn't be sitting around pussyfooting like you guys, coming up with reasons you can't get it done. you say you're for infrastructure. let's get back to mr. mcdermott. we're using up his time. why don't the republicans, like this republican, like theiate jim oberstar works they bounced out of congress last year, why don't they support what they say? he says he's for building and fixing bridges and all but his leadership isn't pushing this bill. >> you're getting the good cop/bad cop experience here. he's the good cop who says, i want a six-year highway bill, and john boehner's the bad cop and says, i can't find any money to do it. they know where the money is. they could tax people over $250,000 in income. they could take away that tax break right now. they could take away money from the oil companies. they have had prsts out the window, and there's plenty of
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places that they could take money, but they will not make the effort to get the money. they do not want to do it. it's just that simple. >> okay, look, thank you, gentleman. i think that's the answer. thank you, congressman jim mcdermott. thank you, congressman aaron schock. i agree with you about road building. let's do it. up next, obama derangement syndrome. the latest example. hank williams jr., i don't believe this guy, referred to the president as hitler. that's the way they do it these days. how far over the top will the talk about president obama get? is there anything they won't say? is there anything their sanity will not permit? that's ahead. this is "hardball," only on msnbc.
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president obama's looking to take a bite out of some of that argument republicans may try to make against him. the president says republicans aren't better off than they were four years ago, but they say his administration has made steady progress to fix the economy. the new cbs poll finds nearly seven of ten say the president has not made real progress on the economy versus just a quarter who said he has. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] a simple gesture can spark romance anytime. and when it does, men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use.
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welcome back to "hardball." just when you thought the crazy talk from the right about president obama couldn't go any lower, there comes a new example.
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hank williams jr., the singer most famous for monday night football's opening theme was asked about presidential politics on "fox & friends" yesterday. he took the opportunity to make a ludicrous analogy about the president, who last month played a round of golf with speaker of the house john boehner. let's watch mr. williams jr. >> you remember the golf game they had, ladies and gentlemen, remember the golf game? that was one of the biggest political mistakes ever. >> what did you not like about it? it seems to be a really pivotal moment for you. >> come on, come on. that would be like hitler playing golf with netanyahu, okay? >> okay. >> not hardly. in the shape this country is in, the shape this country is in, i mean, no. >> i don't understand the analogy actually. >> well, i'm glad you don't, brother, because a lot of people do. they're the enemy. they're the enemy. >> who is the enemy? >> obama! and biden. are you kidding? the three stooges.
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>> can't even count. i think he said obama and biden. that's three. no, that's two. anyway, he didn't make matters worse for himself, but did yesterday releasing a statement that read in part, "some of us have strong opinions that are often misunderstood. my analogy was extreme but it was to make a point." today he issued a second statement in which he acknowledged his comments were dumb and he said he was very sorry if it offended anyone. that's the old dodge. williams' dumb comment, as he put it, is one in a long line of crazy statements coming from the right. what is going on here? cynthia tucker is a visiting professor at the university of georgia and a pulitzer prize winning columnist and josh is a founder of talking points memo tpm. i want to get to the larger question. this stuff about the president being hitler, and his words go on to make it clear he made it venomously. it wasn't two opposites fighting with each other. it was one evil man. he called hitler. the president. >> well, this talk is so common
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among the right wing, chris, that hank williams jr. was probably a little surprised that he's gotten the criticism he's gotten. >> he wouldn't in his crowd probably. >> how many times -- well, it's not just him. how many times did glenn beck compare obama to hitler? this is common place on the far right wing websites. we've seen the signs at tea party rallies comparing obama to hitler. >> the little mustaches they like to put on there. >> exactly. so this is unfortunately very commonplace. this is what political discourse on the far right has come to. >> let me go to tpm, mr. marshall on that, and this question of -- it does seem like the demonization of the president by the right, the people who are wacky and who are just stupid, who make stupid comments. i'm not going to single this guy out. i don't know hank williams jr. his father obviously was quite great, but what do you make of this? >> well, to your point, just because your dad's a genius doesn't mean you're not going to be a moron.
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you know, i think, as you said this, stuff happens all the time. it's been happening for three years. in a sense, it's dog bites man. it's nothing surprising. i think what's different in this case is hank williams jr. has this footprint in mainstream media, not just in the sort of the fox bubble where you can say obama is hitler, and he's stalin and he's, you know, doing all these terrible things. >> but i must say in fairness, just to be immediate on this, in fairness i'm not a big fan of "fox and friends" in the morning, i watch "morning joe." but i thought they were appalled. they looked like they couldn't believe what they were watching. i'm sorry. that was my reading. >> i think in that particular case, but i think people on the fox channel in general, there's really, you know, wide sort of wide tolerance of this kind of stuff. and in right wing media generally. the problem is, obviously, espn has fans of professional football who aren't on the hard right wing, and so it was a
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problem for them. so, you know, in that -- that's what stands out to me, just that, again, he has a footprint in sort of the mainstream, not just the right wing media, and he paid a price for it. as you said, it's not like it's shocking. there's stuff like this that gets said all the time. >> hank williams jr. wasn't the only example anti-obama anti-derangement syndrome recently. earlier today a right wing commentator appeared on fox news and insinuated obama's economic policies had to do with a deep down hostility toward capitalism. the past tied obama to the mao mao movement because he says his movement comes from his father, somehow he's a mao mao killing white people every day. they get away with this stuff. let's watch, by the way, what was said today just to keep up with this stuff. >> some people have thought about obama, that he's just clueless about the economy, but my thesis is that he actually has a deep strain of hostility to capitalism and also to
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america's kind of commanding role in the world. >> theory. isn't it great to say it's a theory? it's just a theory. >> one of the other strings that is extremely common among the far right wing is trying to paint barack obama as someone who hates america and as someone who is somehow alien. he isn't like the rest of us. he hates capitalism. you know, he -- his father was born in kenya, and maybe even he's a kenyan anti-colonialist. which is what denesh -- >> i thought we were all -- i grew up thinking the british were wrong and we were right. >> that's the old days, chris. that's the old days. >> weren't we right when we fought being a colony? i'm sorry. back to you. last thought, josh. even the terminology is going crazy. you damn anti-colonial person. thank you, josh. we're out of town. this loony tune stuff will continue. thank you, cynthia. when we return, let me finish with what the republicans are left with. blah. mitt and rick. can you stand the excitement?
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let me finish tonight with this. chris christie, good-bye. chris christie, don't cry. i watched some of the speech today of the new jersey governor kiss good-bye to the presidential race. kind of a letdown overall. he said he couldn't come up with a reason not to complete his term as governor which made, i figure, a couple of not so great points. one, he's no sarah palin heading off from a job he had been duly
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elected to, a job in his words, asked to have. two, he's not rick perry who's quite willing to spend a year running for president while still keeping the governor's job down in texas. three, he's no mitt romney because he's not clearly intent on, unlike romney, running for and winning a second term as governor of jersey. christie's decision not to run for president leaves a dreary field back there, a field so dreary, so needy that it sat there in the political time-out corner while he made up his mind. so left behind it's only now in the wake of christie's departure we all see rick perry is now tied with herman cain in the national polls of whom republicans say they want to have as their nominee. not only that, but he's rising at such a pace that he could by next week be the party's out and out front-runner. herman cain. donald trump then michele bachmann, and then rick perry and the quest for chris christie and now the real debby downer, the cold sad final realization that this, mr. and mrs. republican is all there is. this is going to end up the mitt
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and rick show from iowa to new hampshire to south carolina and after that, soon probably only one of them, only mitt or only rick. geez. i can't see the republicans nominating either one of them with any conviction. picking mitt would be like outsourcing the nomination. i can't believe the tea partyers are excited about trading four more years of attacking obama for eight years of applauding romney? should perry end up the nominee, millions of republicans will go to bed each night scared their nominee will have blown it before they get up the next day. one candidate has proven himself to be a bit shaky and another who is as solid as a rock. also many of them as exciting as one. can't wet to get to tampa, can you? that's "hardball" for you. thanks for being with us. "the last word with lawrence o'donnell" starts right now. chris christie, he won't quit like sarah palin. won't be scrutinized like rick perry and definitely won't be the republican nominee for