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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  November 2, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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online at our blog. you can follow my tweet the third woman. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington now. leading off tonight, third woman. actually third shoe drops. a third former employee is accusing herman cain now of sexual harassment. the associated press reported late today that a third woman says she considered filing a complaint against cain when she worked for him at the national restaurant association back in the 1990s. according to the report, she says cain engaged in aggressive and unwanted behavior, made sexually suggestive remarks to her and invited her to his apartment. nbc news has not confirmed this report.
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question. will this latest allegation force mr. mccain or mr. cain, rather, to explain the situation, at least to the satisfaction of his loyalists? that's where we start tonight. then, the obama re-election campaign is trying to right those voting wrongs. they have launched a counteroffensive against those new laws passed by republicans that make it harder for people to vote. and more evidence president obama may finally have the wind at his back politically. he's calling out congress and invoking ronald reagan and it's working. his approval ratings are up, and he tops romney, cain and perry in a new quinnipiac poll. there's still a year to go, but it looks like the republicans may be blowing their chance perhaps to beat this president. and it shouldn't come as a surprise. remember this? >> and it's like live free or die. victory or death. bring it. >> well, rick perry is about the only person in the country who thinks his bizarre speech friday went well. that's in the sideshow tonight. let me finish with the importance of a young president learning from his mistakes.
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we'll get to the latest with the allegations against herman cain, howard fineman is "huffington post" editorial director and david corn is the "washington post" bureau chief for "mother jones." both msnbc political analysts. got to get to this new development here tonight, howard. how do we weigh the fact there's a third woman and we're getting a graphic depiction of at least what one woman is saying. he offered -- asked me to go to the company apartment. it's on the nbc news hasn't confirmed these allegations but let me read what the associated presses reporting late this afternoon. a third former employee says she considered filing a workplace complaint over what she considered aggressive and unwanted behavior by herman cain when she worked for the she says the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment. she worked for the national restaurant association when he was its head. she told the associated press that cain made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against him.
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the employee described situations in which she said cain told her he had confided to colleagues how attractive she was and invited her to his corporate apartment outside work. she spoke on condition of anonymity, saying she feared retaliation. cain's campaign declined to comment. howard, sort of a grab bag of charges there, one that would be the most graphic that he propositioned her, come to my corporate apartment. >> yeah. well, first, let me say, the story on its own is a little thin by which i mean she didn't file any charges. >> back in the '90s. >> in the '90s. and she's not come forth to say who she is, so that alone, that story alone would not merit all of the attention that's been paid to this issue of herman cain over the last 24, 36 hours. the problem that he's got is that he's given so many serial and conflicting and painfully and slowly revealing
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explanations of where things are that as this onion keeps being peeled back, no one knows what more is there, nor do they know when they can really rely on him to be telling the full story about behavior which in and of itself might be obnoxious, might have resulted in a settlement that would not in and of itself destroy his candidacy. >> you think the mere fact that he's been myriad -- what's the right word, discursive, trying to move around. >> he's been more than myriad. >> he keeps changing. '>> first he didn't remember anything. then he starts remembering things. >> who does it hurt him with though? he's really appealing to the people in the republican party that don't like romney. >> let me stipulate one or two things quickly here. first of all, anything that the mainstream media, and that would include the a.p., throws at a candidate like herman cain who has the strong conservative republican support that he has, for the most part it's going to
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go down to his benefit because those people, not only do they not believe anything in the mainstream press. if it comes from the mainstream press, they are going to take it out against the rest as politics. >> look what happened yesterday and the day before. he doubled his fund-raising take after politico broke the story initially. i think there's a base of conservative support which is going to stand by him, but -- and that may help him in iowa, but if -- if he manages to make it to january 3rd, which i think there's a 50/50 proposition, he still is going to have to convince republican voters that he's the guy who can go up against barack obama, and if this stuff is still hanging over him, if, you know, listen, we're still waiting to see if one of those accusers, if he or the nra, national restaurant association, is going to let her speak. that's going to play out through this week as well. this story can drag on for weeks, even if there is not a fourth or fifth or sixth accuser. and i think for some republican voters that would be just too much baggage.
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he cannot sustain this campaign over the long run if this isn't resolved somewhat quickly. >> but does he remain, and this is my question, the victor of the western conference? does he remain the chief conservative challenger, the chief tea party champion in this race? >> no, no. >> who overtakes him? >> listen, i think, you know, whether it's going to be rick perry or rick santorum. >> wait a minute. don't be so casual. who can overtake this guy given all of this? >> they will, because they will be making the case to the tea party types using their language that he cannot -- >> who will overtake him because of all this stuff, what will do it? >> i bet come new hampshire that rick perry is in a better position than herman cain. >> i'm not willing to take that bet, and one reason why i'm not is, as i said, attacks by the mainstream media as it's viewed by conservative republicans, especially one like this one today from the a.p. >> and rush is sticking with him. >> i have enormous -- there's no higher respect i have for any
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news organization than the a.p., and i called them to try to get a comment on this but we were on deadline. when you come out with a story that somebody did not file charges, did not file a civil suit and will not give their name and saying they were thinking about it, that's just the kind of story that the conservative republicans will get their back up about. >> sure. context, monday night greta van sustern asked mr. cain if there would be more women coming forward. let's listen to this response because it sort of sets up what's been developed today in the press. >> is there anything else out there that we should lay on the table now? >> to my knowledge, greta, no. remember i -- there wasn't even an inkling of a sexual harassment charge in all of the other jobs that i had all the way up until the time that i worked for the national restaurant association. to my knowledge, no. is it possible that someone is going to make something up?
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yes, but is it going to be credible in terms of that was an actual sexual harassment case filed? no, because i would have known about it. is someone going to step forward and say that i made some inappropriate comments or acted inappropriately that they could call sexual harassment even though they didn't file a formal complaint, not to my knowledge? >> well, what was that about? >> you know, he said initially that he didn't know of any harassment charges and then he said maybe there are some false charges against me. i think -- regardless of the third woman, i think we have a story all week long maybe going to next week about what the first two women actually happened. the details have yet to come out, and they will come out. one way or another, they will come out, and he is going to have to face those down and that's where some of these other republicans support breaks away. >> i'm not saying up-to-date persons but in terms of
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workplace rules, a regular voter, say a 50-year-old voter who will vote for cain otherwise. doesn't it matter whether he may have told a joke at work or he tried to pick up somebody at work sexually, take somebody to a company apartment. doesn't that delineation mean something or not? wouldn't that turn off some of the conservatives? >> yes, but this is david's point which is that we haven't heard directly from the women yet, and the way that the physics of this things works, inevitably we are going to hear from those women. >> it will come out. >> and when we hear from those women, that's going to be the moment of judgment for herman cain. i don't know what they are going to say. i don't know how credible they are going to be, but that question is going to have to be answered, and he hasn't helped himself on the truth-telling front by the peeling the onion way he's gone about this whole thing. >> when it comes to the final public viewing of this, the final public he said, she said -- >> the lawyers will speak and we'll find out how these sentiments came to be.
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>> let's go into this thing. let's look at how it's 6 combustible. today there was a lot of pushing and shoving as reporters today tried to question cain and the security detail tried to push the journalists out of the way. the "new york times" later reported one reporter got hit in the face before the latest story broke. here's a bit of that exchange today. >> let me say one thing. i'm here with these doctors, and that's what i'm going to talk about, so don't even bother asking me all of these other questions that you all are curious about, okay? don't even bother. >> it's a good question though. >> are you concerned about the fact that these women -- >> what did i say? >> are you concerned -- >> excuse me. excuse me! >> step aside, please. >> what part of no don't people understand? >> well, i don't know where that's headed, but it doesn't look like a happy day here. >> he's going to have to come clean, at least in saying these women should speak.
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karl rove today, who i'm guessing -- >> trying to bring down cain. >> i think he would like to keep him in the race because he wants to keep rick perry out of the race. karl rove has a cain stake. he has to let the women speak. he has to say i'm all for this. >> that's very smart. it looks like there's an intramural fight going on. he's now blaming perry guys? >> yes. there may be some politics within the national restaurant association. >> oh, yes. >> board and staff. that's sort of a republican-oriented lobbying firm. what the motives are of all the people are on the board, who were on the board, who they are supporting, all that's going to be sorted out as well, but i will tell you this. a scene like that with -- with herman cain surrounded by the good doctors and being assaulted almost by the media. you play that for likely conservative republican caucus-goers in iowa, and they are going to vote for herman
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cain. >> okay. the cain campaign has just issued a response to the a.p. story. mr. cain has said over the past two days at public events that we could see other baseless allegations made against him as this appalling smear campaign continues. he has never acted in a way alleged by inside-the-beltway media and his distinguished record over 40 years spent climbing the corporate ladder speaks for itself. since his critics have not been successful in attacking his ideas, they are resorting to bitter personal attacks. mr. cain deserves better. that's the end of that statement. i went to get back to real policy value here. the other night mr. cain showed he did not know something that everyone watching this program knows, which is really kind of profound. he didn't know that the red chinese, as we used to call them back in the day, the prc, people's republic, didn't know, didn't know that they had nuclear weapons all these years, that they were thinking of developing one. >> i do view china as a potential threat to the united states.
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>> what could you do as presidents to head that off? >> my china strategy is quite simply outgrow china. i plan to get away from making cutting our defense the priority and making investing in our military capability a priority, going back to my statement, peace through strength and clarity. yes, they're a military threat. they've indicated they're trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have, so yes, we have to consider them a military threat. >> cain seemed to try to clean up the china remarks later today. >> i see china as a national security threat. they long for a military like ours. they basically commissioned a brand new aircraft carrier. they're testing in order to
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improve their nuclear arsenal, so for us to thing if we stay static that they are going to stop developing their military might, i think that is naive. >> you know, it is -- if somebody said that -- i think joe scarborough said today that sarah palin was averill harriman compared to this, the sexist attitude she didn't have her facts straight, didn't know any facts and this guy comes along and doesn't seem to have to know anything and be completely ignorant and nobody holds him against it. there's a new lower standard. >> here's the thing. doesn't seem to know -- saying doesn't need to know. what i find fascinating about his candidacy and really the tenor of a lot of what the republican candidates are saying, including rick perry, is they are saying we don't need to know all those fancy facts. >> yes. >> we have it in our heart. we have one or two simple things that we know. rick perry knows how to create jobs, he says. herman cain's got his 9-9-9 plan.
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we don't need to know all the stuff that intellectuals know. if i've heard rick perry say one, i've heard him say a dozen times, that's an interesting intellectual question and herman cain said i'm not going to know about uzbeki-beki-stan-stan. but he ought to know about china-china-china. >> they're advertising their ignorance, is what i'm saying. >> it would be great if he were running for election in 1956, and can you tell, any time he's come close to foreign policy, he's trying to process index cards. he doesn't do it. doesn't care. >> we're living in two different worlds here. the world of herman cain and rick perry is one that doesn't care about the judgments that we make. >> thank you. >> about who knows what. >> thank you howard fineman. thank you, david corn. >> coming up, the obama campaign is fighting back against the republican laws that make it harder for, well, democrats to vote. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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republican senator marco rubio was caught embellishing his family history but may not be out as vice presidential running mate. according to a newere fo th would vote republican, versus 41% would vote for obama and biden and without rubio on the ticket the best republicans can do is run even in florida.
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back to "hardball." over the past few months we've been detailing for you how many republican-led statehouses across the country have enacted changes to voting rights laws that could affect many traditionally democratic voters to keep them from voting, but now the obama campaign is starting to push back. the fighting is going on now. the "wall street journal" reports that the obama can campaign has paired up with many state democratic parties and grass roots organizations to educate voters and challenge the new laws. ohio is the first state that the obama campaign has had luck pushing back. you can see that there by more than half for in-person voting and nearly half for absentee voting by mail? will the obama campaign's new counterstrategy work? we have joining us right now senator sherrod brown, the democratic senator from the
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state of ohio. also joining me right now is cynthia tucker in a minute. let me go to you, senator. tell me what's going on in ohio in terms of what the republicans were up to and what you've been able to do to stop them. >> first off, congratulations on your jfk book. that's exciting. heard you on the radio talking yesterday. >> thank you. >> well, last fall the elections, as you know, were about lost jobs as they should have been because people in ohio and every other place in the country are very anxious about the economic situation, but since the election it's all been in state after state and ohio especially, they have gone after bargaining rights, collective bargaining rights. that will be on the ballot next week in ohio because you can do what's called a referendum to roll back a law passed by the legislature if the voters -- if you get enough signatures and if the voters vote that way. we're doing the same on voting rights, and they went after worker rights. they went after bargaining rights, voting rights and women's rights in ohio. and so the second petition, the issue on the ballot a year from now, is on voter rights, and
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there were lots and lots of volunteers. the state party was involved. a lot of obama volunteers were involved in the state and the president was involved, but mostly it was a grass roots effort and one in ohio to sound the alarm. i would just invite people in home home to sound the alarm nationally. come to and sign up to help roll back this attack on voting rights. we haven't seen this in 30 or 40 years. after we've made this progress and republicans were helpful in these better more progressive voting rights a decade ago, and now they want to roll them back because it's all part of the ideological mission that they have. >> they wanted to shorten the number of days you could vote ahead of time and shorten the number of votes you could offer by mail or in person. they have to pass affirmatively now next november a ballot measure to shorten the number of days you want to vote. why would voters ever vote to
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limit the number of times they can vote or how often they can show up to vote? >> well, because -- i don't think they will, but republicans will spend a lot of money next year in the november election when it's actually on the ballot. the signatures were gathered this fall. they were gathered too late to go on the ballot this year because it was -- the bill was passed late. the new law -- the new rollback of voter rights doesn't -- doesn't happen until after november 2012, if the voters vote that way. i think you're right. most voters would think why would we roll back voter rights in the republicans have created this myth around the country that there's been vote fraud committed by individual voters voting twice, using fake i.d., things like that. voters -- the real vote fraud in this country, when it happens, hasn't happened that often, but when it happens, it's by jimmying a computer or by transportation of ballots. voters don't vote five times to try to -- to try to turn an
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election. you're too likely to get caught, and you're not going to change an election by voting multiple numbers of times or by voting under a different name, so the real vote fraud is not that. the republicans want -- they have had a campaign, you know, that chris, for years, where they try to depress voter turnout in low income areas, especially minority areas, that's what they are trying to do here and it's outrageous. i'm encouraging people to come to to sign up and help with this. be involved in every state they're trying this. >> thank you. >> joining us to talk about the obama campaign's effort in this regard and prevent any changes in voting rights changes around the country is cynthia tucker, pulitzer prize visiting -- and and visiting professor. means so much, getting a little tired these days. let me ask you about the -- everybody knows what's going on, right? this isn't complicated.
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when you shut the window down, reduce it down by half of when you can vote ahead of time, i'm on the road covering elections. i have to go vote in rockville and they have an office to go in and you ask for your ballot and you vote ahead of time. some people do it by mail and if you can't do it oftentimes you can't vote because you'll be out of town. >> chris, i remember a time when republicans liked early voting. >> yes. the people who went on vacation trips. >> yes, they liked it because they thought it served their middle class constituents. when did they become unhappy with early voting? after 2008. the obama campaign, we all remember, was extremely well organized, and one of the things they did was to encourage their voters to go to the polls early. they did. after obama took advantage of early voting, suddenly republicans say, oops. need to cut back that early voting. >> you know why it's important, not just about good government. beginning to think that my own
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last two weeks, my own brain calculating these things. obama will still probably win by a squeaker, won't win by a landslide. >> yes. >> too tough. >> yes, by picking up ohio or holding on to north carolina, but the republicans for a while there this summer looked like they could pull off a big landslide, things were so bad they were going to win. i think that's probably not going to happen. it's a squeaker in either direction next year and that's why picking up a few points by restricting voter access they can squeak it their way. >> absolutely. all you need in the battleground states is to shave off a few votes, a few votes of college students, for example. >> you tell them they can't vote on campus. >> or tell them you can't use your college i.d. it has their photo, it's an official photo i.d. -- >> good enough for booze. >> but they say you can't use it to vote. you shave off a few votes in battleground states and it could turn their election their way. >> great to have you here. you're coming to my book party. >> yes. >> thank you. >> what did rick perry think of his bizarre speech, this crazy
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speech all over the place this past friday? that's coming up on the sideshow. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. if you've just signed up for medicare or will soon,
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insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company. now for the sideshow. we're all in agreement. when it comes to debates. rick perry is not in his element. today he reminded us of this. take a look at what he said last night on the topic. >> i hate debates, like i used to hate spinning in an aircraft, t-37s and finally and finally i did it and got pretty good at it. so hole on. maybe i'll get better at debates. >> looks like he's giving some sort of talking point but then there's the speech he gave in new hampshire that still has people talking, in fact asking. is there some inner that rick perry is trying desperately to get out?
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>> the good news is that little plan i just shared with you doesn't force the granite state to expand your tax footprint, if you know what i mean, like 9% expansion. >> well, as it turns out. perry found the appearance to be anything but a campaign misstep. let's listen. >> it was a great crowd, good response, and -- and, you know, i guess you can do anything you want with a video and make it look any way you want, but i felt good, felt great. i think the message got across very well, so it was a good speech. >> and good for a psychiatrist to study. up next, as the republicans flat line, president obama is enjoying a nice bounce in the polls. he's taking on congress, invoking ronald reagan, and it seems to be working numerically. we've got more evidence tonight that the president may finally have found the wind to be at his back. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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>> welcome back to "hardball." president obama is keeping the pressure on republicans and calling on them to pass the pieces of his jobs ball, one by pieces of his jobs bill, one by one, in fact. today at the key bridge marriott, key bridge here in washington, obama says the transportation piece of his americans job act is something even ronald reagan would support, and there's a rumbling among some conservative leaders that they would rather lose to obama in 2012 than have romney stick around for eight years.
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these are the topics for our strategists tonight. number one, obama goes on offense saying even reagan would support his efforts. will this strategy work? number two, no love for romney. would conservatives rather have four more years of obama than have mitt romney around for eight more years? steve mcmahon is a democratic strategist and ron christie is a republican strategist joins us from harvard. and a new quinnipiac poll has the president's approval rating at, catch these numbers while you're chuckling there, ron. 47% for the president and 49% for his opponent, approve/disapprove, a big difference from last month when his approval rating was 41 and his disapprove is 55. i'll give you the chance at the beginning, seems like he's done a lot of closure, bringing it up to even, within the margin of error.
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>> he's evolved from being the president of the united states to being a candidate for president of the united states. the reelection campaign has begun. before he was sitting in a situation where it was like a referendum. the president, how is he doing, do i like the economy? and now he's trying to turn that into a choice and the people when they are presented with a choice are choosing -- more and more people are choosing the president. >> today speaking in front of the key bridge which connects washington with virginia. here in washington, president obama said even president reagan would support his jobs plan. let's listen. >> if you don't want to take my word for it, take it from one of my predecessors. one of the previous presidents. he said that, and i'm quoting here. the bridges and highways we fail to repair today will have to be rebuilt tomorrow at many times the cost. he went on to say that rebuilding our infrastructure is common sense. that's a quote, and, quote, an investment in tomorrow that we must make today. that president was ronald reagan. since when do we have republicans voting against ronald reagan's ideas? >> well, there you have it, ron. the president out there building bridges, saying the smart thing for us with so many unemployed
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out there in the country is to begin working on our public sector, and working on things that are below safety code and need to be fixed. what's your counterargument? >> my counterargument is i'm glad he invoked ronald reagan. he was exactly right. i think what reagan said was exactly right. the truth of the matter is when president obama came into office in 2009, the highway bill needed to be reauthorized. it expired in 2009. that is a six-year multi-year effort to build our roads, bridges, et cetera, so while the president is attacking republicans for refusing to go along with part of his jobs bill, there are democrats and republicans in the congress alike who want a six-year reauthorization bill. we've had this thing punted several extensions, the most recent one will expire in march of next year. we need six years so our governors and mayors and elected officials at the local level can actually put the federal money to use to rebuild the bridges and roads, so -- >> so you're with the president on the general principle of creating jobs through road building and bridge fixing?
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>> i am, but only if it's done -- i'm only if it's done on a multi-year effort because mayors and governors will tell you that if you do this on a piecemeal month-by-month basis, they can't plan for it and can't allocate the money so president obama needs to step up and push for a multi-year effort, chris. >> you're loving it to democrat you want more of what obama is promising. let's listen to what joe scarborough have said this morning because i've had this hunch for a while. interesting point. let's watch. >> i'm hearing something remarkable over the past week. i'm hearing conservatives, stalwart conservatives, starting to say, you know what? i would rather lose to barack obama, i would rather give him four more years than elect mitt romney and have him spend money like george bush and have another republican who promises to be conservative go liberal. conservative leaders this week, it's like a light switch has come on, and they say you know
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what? fine. we would rather lose. >> are you with joe? are you hearing what joe scarborough is hearing, a lot of people on the right would rather bash obama around for the next years than have to defend a moderate big spender as they see it in mitt romney? ron christie? >> what in the heck is he talking about? look i love scar borough. i do. maybe he needs to get out of new york and travel around the country and talk to conservatives. >> like up in cambridge, massachusetts, where the real people are up at harvard. >> exactly, where i think i have a caucus of one, chris. look, i'll tell you what. i look at his comments and i think that the one thing that does unify the republican party is our opposition to this president, his policies and the direction for the country. i don't know who joe is talking to but no one who is in a position of influence within the republican party for what their vision and what their ideology is and that is to remove this president from office. >> steve? >> first of all, do you buy scarborough's argument? i think rush limbaugh would rather bash this guy for four years than try to defend some weak noodle ideologically in the middle?
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>> better for his ratings, but the other thing you can see in the polling data and you've been able to see it consistently is mitt romney has a problem. the problem is 75% of the voters in the republican primary don't want him as the nominee. you've talked about this before. got a ceiling of about 25% and go through this rotating list of characters and the people who are going to be the alternative to mitt romney and then they -- >> i think herman cain is the ultimate test. would you rather have him with all the problems than mitt romney? if they would, that means they really don't like mitt romney. you're great, ron. keep up your studies up there. i don't know what course you're taking, but you're getting all that inside intellectualism. >> i'm teaching, dispensing wisdom to the youth of america. >> i'm sorry. i misspoke. >> how is that going? >> i'm sure they are benefiting. and i mean that. >> thank you, ron, thank you, steve. put me in your class. maybe i'll learn something. joe scarborough and i had a great conversation on "morning joe" on "jack kennedy: elusive hero." i really like the way he went after this book of mine. i'm so proud of my book and so glass he took the time to talk
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about it. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] from the moment we arrive... we don't want anything to slow us down so it's surprising that most women aren't getting enough calcium. with over 25 flavors, yoplait original gives you 50% of the daily value of calcium in every cup.
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here's a hot issue being taken up by congress. the house of representatives voted overwhelmingly to affirm "in god we trust" as the official motto of the united states. never mind that the congress won't pass the president's jobs bills or eric cantor promised to to prevent bills that weren't substantive or meaningful, made good on that promise earlier in the year when the house never bothered to hold a vote to honor the troops that killed osama bin laden like the senate did. we'll be right back.
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we're back. my new book, "jack kennedy: elusive hero," which came out yesterday, is certainly something i'm immensely proud of writing and i answered the question, or tried to throughout the book, what was jack kennedy
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like as a person, what was it like to hang out with him? this morning on "morning joe" my colleague and i had a great conversation this morning, the best so far. let's listen to some of that this morning. >> guys like you and me grow up reading biographies of presidents, and i spent so much -- so much time reading about the kennedys. i can't believe though some of the things that you pull out here, and i wrote a couple of things down really quickly. jackie sang that jack's mother never loved him. >> yeah. >> bitterly. you drawing out that bobby was the essential cog in the kennedy machine, the go-between between his old man and jfk. ben bradley, that moment after west virginia where jackie abandoned by jack. >> oh, you remember that. >> just incredible, and some shocking things. the old man getting it so wrong on hitler, and yet also being against the marshall plan
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because he thought communism in europe would be good for his business. and then -- and then this remarkable relationship between kennedy and nixon. >> right. >> you talked to haldeman right before he died, and he said i never got how these two guys had this affinity, this closeness that the world never understood. there's so much in here. >> you're so wonderful laying it out there because you're an expert and the junkie like me about politics, and i thought i couldn't penetrate to the real jack, and i said to myself i want to find out what he was like. if you or i knew him or spending three or four hours on an airplane together in, a room together, drinking together. i killed myself to find out what he was like in school, to be a classmate at choate, and what he was like in the navy, way out in the middle of nowhere. what was it like to have jack kennedy as your buddy out there, and that's what i went for. >> you know, chris, you talk about choate, it's heartbreaking really, and for a country that
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grew up loving all the kennedys, rose kennedy, it really is heartbreaking to read that this is a mother that never visited him in choate. >> yeah. >> when he had these horrible bouts with one disease after another, mysteries diseases. really, the man was defined by the fact that, as jackie said to teddy white right after he died, he had a mother that never loved him. >> he was a lonely kid, and i guess they had that sort of -- she also had a lot of other kids but, you know, jackie made that point to teddy white in that first interview after dallas and said his mother never loved him. she liked being the mayor's daughter, the ambassador's wife, she never loved him and i got this story from his classmate, absolutely remarkable at choate, how the mother never once in four years came to visit her son even when he thought he had leukemia. a mother getting phone calls, what's your blood count? he's thinking he's dying and no one comes to see him, and jackie had that right. some of that is mother-in-law to daughter-in-law, but jackie said
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he was a lonely kid who all his life, especially in his youth, was all alone out there reading books of heroes. he was always sick. i think he had 9 record at choate for the most times in the infirmary. it was always like that, going to chelsea hospital or boston baptist, away for the longest time, sick and alone, reading history, becoming a love of history. he's 14 years old and read church hill's history of world war i. he read "new york times" every day at school. he got it by mail, i guess. he was a self-made guy. >> what a great quote when jackie said history made jack, because he was so alone. he was lying in a hospital beds and infirmaies so off and on. also fascinating, you explain how he goes up to chote as the second son. >> yeah. >> in the shadow of the remarkable joe jr. who you reveal wasn't so remarkable after all.
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a great line in there is how observers said john kenneth galbert said joe jr. started every sentence with, dad says. >> father said. father says. what a replicate he was and yet jack -- i'm a second son. anybody who's a second son or second daughter know, you have to be original, a little rebellious. he was very much like the character, that character, sebastian, this guy, charles ryder who comes back and has older brothers, straight arrow, does everything right. here's a young jack trying to make his name. he's not a jock. jean kennedy, last surviving sibling, said the same thing jacqui said, the key to jack was, he was always so sick, always reading history, became an intellectual but separated him from the rest of the family that were largely jocks. >> no doubt about it.
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could you explain, he gets into congress in '46. he and nixon were former classmates and had an affinity. nixon was taken back, this son from a powerful east coast family comes up to him and his praise of nixon. he had a real affinity for this guy. >> jack would be the kind of guy that would want to room with the quarterback. he'd want to hang out with the top jock in school. in this case, nixon was the star of the class of '46. kennedy didn't care how he beat him, he beat him. he said, that was like beating john mccormick in massachusetts. in 1947 they took the train out to western pennsylvania. mckeesport. they had this booming debate. showed in the book who they really were. they never changed. you and i know about politicians
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about how they are behind in the cloakrooms between the parties when they're normal people. they had hamburgers together at the diner, got the midnight train back to washington together. they flip a coin for the top bunk. it's north by northwest with a somewhat different ending of course. kennedy is on the top bunk. nixon wins the toss and gets a bottom bunk. they have been in a war together, south pacific navy, talk about the coming struggle with the soviet warriors. and they're talking about how they're going to fight this new struggle with the soviet union, having just won the war in the south pacific. it's an amazing war of generations emerging, the young officer corps replacing old generals like eisenhower. imagine the scene of the two guys on the bunk, the top bunk. if they ever make a movie of this, the real story of jack kennedy. >> they really should. >> i'd want that in there. definitely.
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"jack kennedy elusive hero." i want you to buy this book. it's about our country. it's going to make you feel good about a progressive leader, jack kennedy. go to when we return, let me finish with something president kennedy did and president obama should do, i think. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] all over the world, there's a battery that's relied on to help bring children holiday joy, and while it doesn't travel by sleigh or reindeer, it does get around... in fact, every year duracell sends loads of batteries to the mattel children's hospital, u.c.l.a. of course, children here and everywhere don't really think about which battery makes their toy run... but, still... you'd never want to disappoint. duracell. trusted everywhere.
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let me finish tonight with this. in the wake of the bay of pigs, in 1961 when cuban exiles backed by the cia hit the beaches of their home country only to face defeat, jack kennedy took personal responsibility for the disaster. quote -- i'm the responsible officer of the government. he said. he then got the highest approval ratings in the presidency. 83% in the gallup poll. what's wrong with president obama's admitting that the stimulus bill he won from congress in 2009 didn't do what it promised? give the reasons but include the nature of the miscalculation. otherwise, the prediction by his chief economic adviser of an under 8% jobless rate will trail him right through next fall's debates. it's easy to spot the leader in any situation. he or she is the one who deserves to take the lead, because he or she is the one who takes the heat. anyone disagree with that? i once heard arthur schlesinger say that politics is a learning profession. a young person like president obama will do well to show he's learning. it's how you build confidence that your leadership is going to
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be better in the future. kennedy made a lot of mistakes in his handling of the bay of pigs in 1961, most particularly in is overreliance on the inherited advisers. a year later he was older and wiser, shown aerial photographs of soviet nuclear missile sites in cuba, kennedy asked for options. when the joint chiefs called for an air strike on the missile strikes or full-scale invasion, of cuba, he resisted. he relied on a naval quarantine of new nuclear equipment tied to eventual secret negotiations with khrushchev. by the way, it would have made a lot of force of will, it took a lot of force of will to top that from being a nuclear catastrophe. a year later. no one will believe that president obama is learning unless he seems to be. nobody will believe the second term will be better than the