tv Morning Joe MSNBC December 21, 2011 3:00am-6:00am PST
>> i respect his ability to think and do and i eventually hammered out a really proceed duct it i have relationship with him. >> do you respect him >> i don't disrespect anybody who works with me in good faith. i think he was way more political than i would have been. he's defended what he calls politics and i certainly was a beneficiary of it. >> was he an enemy of yours while you were in the white house? >> until he got to be speaker and until the government shutdown changed the public mood. we worked together for five years. >> welcome to "morning joe." look at the pretty christmas lights, we're almost there, it is wednesday, december 21st. with us onset we have msnbc contributor -- >> mike barnicle. get over here.
>> he's kind of slopping in, whatever. come sit down, mike. >> santa's evil helper. >> what have you been doing? >> i'm serious, now they have to fumigate. msnbc political analyst john heilemann is with us, and former chairman of the republican national committee michael steele. i'm not done. >> i'm singing fleetwood mac. t.j., you don't have the bow. pull the camera out and get the bow so you know how horrific this tie is. oh, my lord. >> i don't know what to say. >> that is horrendous. >> i came wrapped for mika. >> oh, my goodness. >> there's something about that chair. chris christie made me uncomfortable yesterday, regis. >> this was a hot chair yesterday. >> incoming from mika. >> seriously, thank god we have presidential historian doris herns goodwin. i can't wait to hear what she has to say about the --
>> red sox. >> -- comments about himself. >> i was going to say the red sox. >> we love the red sox. >> doris, how are you doing? >> i'm all right. good to hear your voice. >> it's good to see you, and we're going to be getting to you in a second. of course, we keep you up there and have the little hammer in case of emergency. the presidential historian. or red sox questions. >> i think she's going to surprise you with part of her answer. >> by the way. barnicle -- what are you doing? >> what are you doing? >> stop that. what's it say? >> no. >> give it to the teacher. >> give me the banana. >> no. >> what did you write on there. >> no. >> i was trying to talk about -- >> here comes teacher, he's going to eat it. >> oh, my goodness. mika, get back here. what did you write on that banana. >> you're doing in the corner.
>> boy, i wish we could do -- >> alan, what does it say? >> how about the red sox. i was going to ask about the fenway book, but we'll do that later. yesterday, we had mitt romney here. >> good. >> and mitt. >> big day yesterday. >> big day, night of a thousand stars. >> mitt said he had no control over the super packs. newt gingrich held a press conference at 2:00 yesterday. >> that was interesting. >> said he's watching "morning joe," saw this, and this is absolutely ridiculous. >> well, there are two things to be said about that. one is that, mitt romney's absolutely correct that if he were to engage in any kind of coordination with one of his super packs that would be a problem legally. as far as i know, there's nothing in campaign finance law that has repealed the first amendment and mitt romney could stand up any time he wants and criticize his super pack, denounce his super pack, distance himself, he could do any of those things.
i will say about newt, his complaint may be fair, but it is the kind of complaint that is usually made by somebody who doesn't have a super pack of his own. there's a self-interest obviously. >> if you're newt, you've got seven people attacking you at the same time. >> yes. >> you can't go out swinging wildly against newt. and also, michael steele, there is the the problem. and you and i have seen it because we've been around political campaigns. if someone is branded an angry candidate going into a campaign and i saw this with a good friend of mine who was seen as a negative guy, the second he put on the first negative ads, his numbers went from 52% to 42%. newt can't swing wildly in the final weeks of iowa or it's over. >> he can't. and i think that's why you've seen him try to get out in front and say, look, you know, anyone who is associated with me when he does have a super pack has created -- and they do their thing. if they say anything negative,
i'm going to come out publicly and denounce them. because of the narrative that's already been set in place about him ahead of time, if he comes out with a very hard negative punchback, it's going to blow up in his face because he has been in the debates the one who has been above it all. >> let's just say this around the table. mitt romney could very easily say -- because i have done it before, when somebody ran a third party attack ad against one of my opponents, just stop it. stop it right now, and i really -- i went to war in the press versus this group and they took it down the next day. >> well, mitt -- >> mitt could do that. >> he could do that very easily. he could've said on the show yesterday morning, look, you know, this is ridiculous, we don't need to eat up republicans before we get to a general election. because all that's fodder for the obama team. he could've put a stop to it that way, and that irks a number of people. and that goes back to 2008. what a lot of candidates said in
2008 -- >> the banana writer. >> i find it semi-amusing that the man in american politics who arguably is most responsible for the demonization of others in politics and the course of campaigns, newt gingrich, now takes offense at negative advertising. >> let's just say he's grown. >> and let's recall that what he stood in his campaign headquarters, i was with him in iowa. about three days later he was attacking romney's work at bain capital and says i'll run a campaign until tomorrow, unless i was attacked. >> he did say, after, again, here i am again defending newt gingrich. he did say after that, i've been hammered by so many people so many times sometimes i mess up and sometimes something slips out of my mouth. it would get to me too. but you look at the ad campai s
campaigns, he's going to have $250,000 to run, and he's going to run positive ads. i will say about the attacks on newt from mitt romney and everybody else, they better be careful. because you go overboard, you turn him into a sympathetic figure, he starts running ronald reagan inspired ads. trust me, the last week of the campaign, they will play into newt gingrich's hands and his numbers will go up. >> i don't disagree at all, it's a perfect platform. >> let me say this, if i'm starting to kind of feel sorry for him -- i mean, whoa. holy cow. they may have jumped the shark. >> let's actually see what we're talking about. here are some of the ads in play. >> you know what makes barack obama happy? newt gingrich's baggage. newt has more baggage than the airlines. freddie mac helped cause the economic collapse, but gingrich cashed in. freddie mac paid newt $30,000 an
hour. $1.6 million. and newt is the only speaker in history to be reprimanded. he was fined $300,000 for ethics violations by a republican congress. newt gingrich, too much baggage. >> so, mika, you multiply that by 1,200, the new york reports iowans have seen anti-newt ads 1,200 times in the last week. this is newt's response. >> is there anything more inspiring than american towns and neighborhoods brightly lit for the holidays? >> we take it as a sign of great optimism. it reminds us of the fire of freedom that burns bright in the america we love, and a prayer that the goodness of our nation will be rewarded with peace and brotherhood. >> from our family to yours, merry christmas and happy new year. >> okay. i missed mike huckabee because i wanted the little ikea cross in
the background. and then we need to go into president obama whose numbers continue to go up in a variety of polls. we asked yesterday if the "washington post" was an outlier, which it usually is. it doesn't look like it is. but mike huckabee, come on, man. the guy would be president right now. a lot of conservatives mad problems with him, but that guy would be lapping this field. >> the nomination process would be over if huckabee were in it, don't you think so? >> he would have so much traction coming into this thing. and he's sitting there looking at that fox contract and looking at this opportunity and thinking, boy, woulda, coulda, shoulda. about this field and nomination process, the base even with a huckabee in there i think still would've -- you would have higher number of undecideds than probably, you know, otherwise.
because there is this vibe right now in the base out there that they're just not feeling, and they're trying to get that right formulation, the right combination of personality, politics, and, you know to fight president obama. >> you get two of the three, you haven't found all three yet. >> you know, the situation with gingrich and his attack ads is perfect for him. because, you know, couple of days ago everyone was asking him to pay back the money to freddie mac. and instead, he's asking people to stop attacking him. he's turned the tables. >> i promise you somebody getting attacked where iowans see 1,200 negative ads against you, that's not good for anybody. it's just not. so this all happens, though, with republicans clawing each other's eyes out with the backdrop of the "wall street journal" coming out today, slamming the republican party in congress saying they're going to help reelect president obama.
and because the "wall street journal" says they have completely fumbled this tax cut, which you've been saying and i've been disagreeing with you. and then the backdrop of the president's poll numbers that just keep going up. >> yeah, there's a new cnn opinion research poll showing president obama winning head to head match-ups with top presidential contenders. the poll shows that the president beats both mitt romney and ron paul by seven points, obama tops gingrich by 16 points, and perry by 18. according to the cnn poll, the president's approval rating sits at 49% with 48% disapproving. and of course, ppp has 42% disapproving. >> there's a difference between some of the polls. gallup around the mid-40s, same with nbc, "wall street journal," but the washington post and cnn have him creeping up 48%, 49%,
and doris kearns goodwin, a president one year out sitting in the low to mid-40s is -- >> with an economy like this. >> is facing doom, but when you start creeping up to 48%, 49%, suddenly that changes the possibilities if you look at -- if you have history as your guide. >> i think and more importantly what you see are those polls when he's up against somebody else. he's doing much better than just up against himself. i mean, right now what we've seen for the last few months are his own approval ratings and people's upset about the economy. but in the end we have to choose between president obama and mr. republican whoever he'll be. and there he seems to be fairing better. >> doris, is there -- do you have historical analogy between the situation right now where you have a president like president obama that actually loses generic contests to mr. republican, but when you put a name, attach a name, they -- a
president with lower approval ratings until these still beating a republican or democratic field on the other side? >> oh, you know, i bet it's happened a lot. i think when you just have the president himself out there and people are not happy about what's going on with the economy, everything's going to be blamed on him. but then suddenly you're in that booth and you're not choosing him versus some great unknown, you're choosing him versus x or y. the interesting thing you talked about earlier was his own judgment of himself in this latest 60 minutes in terms of how he would rank in history. and i was thinking back on that. jfk was asked in 1962 to fill out a presidential ranking poll. and he said how can anybody outside the president fill out a poll? how do they know what it's like to be president? and he refused to do it because the outside professors know nothing. but actually when the poll came out and eisenhower was way down at 28th, he said, this is pretty
good now. and he wished that eisenhower were in europe so he could see the poll. >> he liked it all of a sudden. let's talk about the poll a second, but i want to go around and not just blow past these obama polls. let's start with you, michael steele, former chair of the rnc. >> yep. >> the president in the low 40s in some polls, but he's got two polls, he's in the high 40s and he's pummelling every republican. and again, the "wall street journal" saying the republicans in the house are helping reelect the president. look at those numbers. the gop thought they had this guy, this has to be a real concern. >> can i say something? they never had this guy. and that's the fundamental mistake that's been made i think from the very beginning. and i said it as chairman and i'll say it now and all of next year, you cannot go into this election underestimating the one thing that has sustained this president and that is his likability. the sense that the american people out there want to give this man a chance, give him an
opportunity, they look at his administration, and there's a reason why the president spent 18 months saying to america it's their fault, it's bush's fault, it's their fault, pointing at the other side because they're stuck in the mind set, in the subconscious of people, and they want to give him this opportunity. so you cannot go and underestimating this chance here. think about it, at the worst point, he was at, what? 40%, 39%? >> yeah. >> year out, he's at 48%, 49%, how hard is it to get to 51% even with this economy? >> especially with these opponents. and right now the conservative movement's having a fight over who matches up best. and most conservatives that i have been reading over the past week or two do not naturally assume it's mitt romney. >> welm, they've missed the boat. >> they're still trying to figure that out. the president, though, at 48%, 49%, mika, and you've been
saying this all along. >> i think you talked about likability. i don't think the gop candidates, their friends, their comrades in washington, the republicans have helped themselves a lot. i think they've actually put the president exactly where he is. >> that's what i'm trying to tell you the past -- wait a second, i still think it's a horrible idea. >> and they're killing themselves, the republicans. good luck. >> you call me an idiot, because i would do the same thing. >> well, i do -- >> you also call tom friedman an idiot, jeffrey -- >> are you telling me they're not playing it terribly, the republicans? at this point, john boehner doesn't look like a two-faced completely impeding -- they're so off message. >> let me explain. maybe politically they're doing horribly, but i will tell you -- >> that's what i'm talking about. >> a two-month extension of a payroll tax is an utter and complete waste of taxpayer dollars when we're $15 trillion in debt. >> if you're going to talk to
me -- >> they had an opportunity to get a year's extension a year ago. john boehner, nice guy, he's a very nice guy. his inability to control a small fraction of house republicans -- >> it's not a dictatorship -- >> it's not a dictatorship. >> i understand that, but it ought to be right now for him. >> it ought to be. >> it was when nancy was running it. >> it was when tip was. >> i love the moment when the "wall street journal" is lining up on mika's side. this is an important moment. the "wall street journal" and mika against joe. >> i know. >> i have a very good quote to read in must-read -- >> so long ago, mika, cats and dogs sleeping together, the stay puff marshmallow man invading gotham. >> you always go back to what you think is wrong with the payroll tax cut extension and this and that.
when you analyze something, you analyze whether it's politically astute or not. and you should just agree with me because it's true. >> i agree with you. all i'm saying is this, i agree with you. i agree with everybody around this table. >> we're done. >> but on policy, you said they were idiots for voting against this. >> no, i wasn't talking about policy. >> if i were there, i would be a big fat no vote to a payroll tax increase that i believe didn't help cut -- cut i mean. >> right. >> and at the end, put this country even deeper in debt. >> joe, can i get to the nub of that? i agree with you. if i were there, i'd be with you on that one. this is the point, how come we could not see a better coordination between the house and senate on that vote? >> because the republican party, and this goes back to what you were sort of alluding to, the republican party who for eight
years chided and made fun of democrats for having bush derangement syndrome have obama derangement syndrome. and it has led us to this point where you have people rewarded for calling the president a socialist, marxist, fascist, a racist, and it gets us to a point where the republicans can't get out of their own way. and the house and the senate. >> sounds like you guys are agreeing now? >> yeah. >> i'd rather not. >> that was kind of awesome. >> doris? >> isn't there a question about as we have this debate. joe, as you make this debate -- of course the issue is framed in terms of a two-month extension have much effect on the economy. of course the answer to that is no. but, it just seems that the only reason we're talking about a two-month extension, we can't talk about in a larger frame. and republicans should be in favor of cutting taxes. that is what republicans have always been in favor of. republicans are in favor of cutting taxes. >> also, let me say, 89 senators
voted for this in the senate. they got what they wanted on keystone, which really will create jobs. >> that's the white house democrat -- >> they got a deal that was too good to refuse and the house refused -- again, i'm talking on politics, not policy. >> right. >> the house refused to do it. doris, we're going to be actually playing parts of the president's suggestion that he is the fourth best president of all time. i'm just curious as we go to break, you know, bill clinton was obsessed with his legacy, even george bush, is this a recent phenomenon where presidents get sworn in and two days later they're trying to figure out what type of books you're going to be writing about them eight years from now? >> i do think it's more recent. i think they all walked around the white house looking at pictures of previous presidents and wondering, will i be better than milliard fillmore? but it wasn't as open as it is now. i remember clinton was really upset in 1997 when he was only
voted average and i was sitting next to him at a white house dinner and he was so grumpy. and i said, you know, the dodgers they say may be coming back to boston -- i mean back to new york. and if they come back to brooklyn, i'll put you up a notch on the next historian's poll. and he didn't even laugh because this was so important to him. >> i can't wait to play the interview. i think there's going to be a good debate there. before we go to break, alan? >> you can't read this on the air. >> here it comes. >> oh, let me see that. i want to see it. let me see. >> it looked interesting from where i'm sitting. >> all right. tom brokaw is going to be coming up. he will not be writing on his banana. also, we're going to check in with chuck todd. also, tina brown's going to be here to talk about the new issue of "newsweek." >> there's going to be a punishment. >> here's bill karins with a check on the forecast. bill?
>> good morning, everyone. we've got warm conditions and rain moving up to the eastern half of the country. it does not feel like december. it doesn't feel like the end of december. we are 61 degrees right now in louisville. that warm air is heading right up the east coast. even new york city right now already at 47. and today high temperatures near 60 today in washington, d.c. all the ski resorts are struggling to hold on to whatever snow they have for the upcoming ski break and the holiday break. all the green on this map is rain, there's rain heading for areas north of new york city, all of ohio has got rain. pennsylvania's starting to get drenched. pittsburgh, carry that umbrella. everywhere east of the mississippi needs your umbrella. and very heavy rain east of pensacola. here's the forecast today, very mild air for this time of year. 50s and 60s all through the mid-atlantic. could even see a few thunderstorms today. middle of the country, you're a little cooler dallas and kansas city, that's not too bad.
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♪ dick cheney, you know anything about dick cheney? he was vice president for eight years. and best known for shooting a buddy in the face. and he's saying now that the united states now is the time for us to invade iran. yeah. now is the time. and here's my prediction. we will get ourselves into another war in the mideast when monkeys start riding dogs, you know what i mean? hey, no wait a minute.
is this the greatest country in the world or -- >> 27 past the hour. time now to take a look at the morning papers. we'll start with the "new york times." it's being called the biggest women's demonstration in modern history. several thousand women marched in cairo yesterday. anger has brewed over recent images showing soldiers beating, stripping, and kicking female demonstrators in tahrir square. >> and a photo in the boston globe shows the son of kim jong-il leading procession yesterday past the coffin of his father. south korean intelligent officials indicated that north korea's tightened security and putting troops on alert during this transition of power. the los angeles times has one reason that rick santorum, michele bachmann, and rick perry are polling lower in iowa is all three are locked in competition
for the huge block of evangelical voters. >> i thought it fascinating that one of the top religious leaders went to michele bachmann, and asked her to get out of the race. despite the fact that michele bachmann has constantly polled higher than rick santorum. what do you think would make this leader go to michele bachmann and say, you've run a good race and, you know, it's really cute what you've been doing, but you're going to need to get out of the way of the man. what do you think would lead somebody to go to michele bachmann who actually has been ahead in all of the polls and said you need to drop out of the race -- >> well, the word sexism comes to mind. >> i wouldn't suggest that. >> just wondering the way you were saying it. i don't know. >> the chief white house correspondent for "politico,"
mike allen with the playbook. maybe you can answer that question. i found it fascinating that somebody would tell a candidate to get out of the race when they're polling higher. and it appears michele bachmann has some momentum in iowa. >> well, that's right. and these are probably personal issues that go way back, but i think the other end of that telescope is -- helped rick santorum. he and jon huntsman are the two candidates who have never had their day, week, their bump. we might be looking at a santorum bump at the next couple of weeks in iowa as the field continues to sort itself out. >> what's happening up in what's going to have to be the most exciting senate race. what's happening in the massachusetts race right now? >> well, this is fascinating. there is one senate republican who has thrown the house republicans under the bus in the tax extension fight. he's been saying the house republicans have been acting irresponsibly.
he's been talking populist. who is that? it's senator scott brown of massachusetts, republican, in ted kennedy's seat running against elizabeth warren. turns out he's been playing this very smart. he's kept an independent streak since the day he came to the senate. it's very wise, because if you're not predictable, both sides have to deal with you. he's gone with his republican leadership sometimes, democrats the other times. he supported the successor -- the head of the consumer protection agency that elizabeth warren wanted. he's defused a number of issues she's been able to use against him. at the same time, she's running much stronger up there than people thought. you guys can remember, people se, oh, you know, harvard professors don't run so well in massachusetts. well, she's done very well on her listening tour, done very well with fund raising. you're right, this is the marquee senate race.
scott brown, the new elizabeth warren is a tough competitor. >> harvard professors may not run well, but you need to put a caveat there. harvard professors who know what boomer sooner means and says it with great regularity because she's from oklahoma, they seem to do well. we were up in boston last week at an event, and i'll tell you, i say elizabeth warren's 30-second commercials. wow. >> they're good. >> they are great. and, doris, though, here we have in scott brown also, i think very effective. and a the type of republican -- you have these two very good political candidates clashing. this is going to be quite a showdown. >> yeah, you know, you almost wish they were not running against each other. because i agree with you, elizabeth warren is an extraordinarily authentic character, she brings a lot of
passion, she's down to earth, and she's got that background of an intellectual, but not showing it. she doesn't look like a professor when she's out there. on the other hand, we need scott browns in this world. if there were more scott browns in more states and more cities, then perhaps this partisanship would not be as dysfunctional as it is because he's able to cross party lines and think independently. and i wish he could be somewhere else and she could be somewhere else and they could both win. >> he's thinking independently or hanging on for dear life. there's two ways of looking -- >> even before elizabeth warren said she was going to be running. >> right. >> he was acting independently. and the tea parties were sava savaging from the beginning, mike barnicle. could you see if one of them would consider moving to providence and run in rhode island. one of them in rhode island and one of them in massachusetts. i like them both a great deal. >> it's going to be the best senate race in the country. elizabeth warren will have a real shot at winning this if she can stay out of boston and
cambridge. scott brown is going to have a real good chance of winning if he can run against the culture of a one-party state saying that, you know, it's necessary to have two parties because the massachusetts legislature is totally dysfunctional because it's 90% democratic. >> and i think the party -- the national party overall has to appreciate finally there's a difference between northeastern republicans and the rest of the world. >> yes. >> you've got to embrace the northeast from jersey up, from maryland up, really, and understand that's a different kind of republican. and they have to run the way they run to survive. >> if you're going to win. >> if you're going to win. >> -- in the northeast, you need people like scott brown and olympia snowe and susan collins. so remember, we kept trying to ask a presidential candidate -- >> pawlenty. >> are you glad olympia snowe is a republican. and we asked him five times, he wouldn't answer. >> the answer should be yes. >> the answer is immediately
yes. we had haley on next and we asked him, are you glad -- he's all, hell yeah, i wish jim was still up in vermont. amen, haley. amen. >> is obama the fourth best president ever? he seems to think so. we'll play -- >> hold on, let me think about it -- >> you stop it. >> history will tell the story. >> i've got the answer, no. capital one's new cash rewards card gives you a 50 percent annual bonus. so you earn 50 percent more cash. if you're not satisfied with 50% more cash, send it back! i'll be right here, waiting for it. who wouldn't want more cash? [ insects chirping ] i'll take it. i'll make it rain up in here. [ male announcer ] the new capital one cash rewards card. the card for people who want 50% more cash. what's in your wallet? sorry i'll clean this up. shouldn't have made it rain.
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the issue here is not going to be a list of accomplishments. as you said yourself, steve. i would put our legislative and foreign policy accomplishments in our first two years against any president with the possible of exceptions of johnson, fdr, and lincoln. but, you know, just in terms of what we've gotten done in modern history. but when it comes to the economy, we've got a lot more work to do. and we're going to keep on at it. >> we're not done yet. i've got five more years of stuff to do. not only saving this country from a great depression, not
only saving the auto industry, but putting in place a system in which we're going to start lowering health care costs and you're never going to go bankrupt because you get sick or somebody in your family gets sick. making sure that we have reformed the financial system so we never again have taxpayer funded bailouts. >> welcome back, this is the controversial sound bite you may or may not have seen on "60 minutes." >> they didn't play it on -- >> the "wall street journal" editorial page has a response to this. but let's go around the table. >> no, i want to see what the "wall street journal" says. they said this. and let's lay off of this. ego aside or super duper ego aside, his claims are instructive because they explicitly reject any connection between his actions and the economy. appetite for more government, for more lbj-style
accomplishments have something to do with the weak recovery? the "new york times" reported in november that tim geithner told obama shortly after the election that," your legacy is going to be in preventing the second great depression." mr. obama responded, that's not enough for me. at this point, we'd settle on chester a. arthur or martin van buren. all right. so, i'm sorry. mika, what were you going to ask? >> no, i wanted to go around the table and see if anyone has a problem with him listing some major accomplishments. and i would add that i can think of several of them that were accomplishments that past presidents were completely unable to accomplish. in any way, shape, or form. and some of the most brilliant tacticians of our time. >> why don't we start with doris. >> what do you make of the president's comments? >> first of all, i think there
are accomplishments that will last in history. breaking down al qaeda and getting osama bin laden. what's happening in libya he helped to inspire, passing the first health care universal -- seeming health care law in the century. don't ask, don't tell, education, financial reform. it's almost the mirror image of lbj because none of that is being absorbed right now because people are not happy with the economy. so it's almost going to have to wait five, ten years for people to look back and see those accomplishments, whereas when lbj had the first years in office, and people thought, this is great, medicare, medicaid, corporation for public broadcasting, but then the war became a scar on his legacy, it's taken 50 years for historians to realize, my god, he did a great deal. but it was nice to hear obama say with the exception of lbj because he doesn't get his due. >> i could go through everything
you said, whether it was al qaeda or libya, i do think president obama has done a wonderful job following through on the cheney doctrine. health care reform, that may be overturned, financial reform, too big to fail has gotten bigger. it seems there's a counter argument and we'll have to wait a decade or so to see how all this plays out. let me ask you as a presidential historian. would you be comfortable if you were barack obama suggesting your first three years were more successful than say, george washington's, thomas jefferson's, andrew jackson's, teddy roosevelt's, woodrow wilson's, ronald reagan's, we can go and on and on and on. do you think that's a boast the president can make at this stage in his presidency? >> i would add a few more of those presidents in there. certainly, george washington, the fact he created the dignity of the office. people were saying he should be
called his mightiness and he accepted mr. president. the fact he accepted that people should come visit him and he shouldn't be coming to the inauguration in a gold suit created the whole idea that the president was a man of the people. he belongs in that group. i think harry truman belongs in there, nato, desegregation of the army, sure. but i think the idea of what he's saying is that history will accord him some degree of legacy because of these permanent accomplishments. you're right, if health care gets overturned, that's undone, but that's probably not likely it's going to get overturned and the other accomplishments will loom larger as time goes by, but he is a man that thinks about history, it's very important to him. that's not a bad thing. you'd rather have a guy think of history and how he's going to be remembered than simply thinking about what can i do to gain points today or tomorrow? it's a healthy instinct in a president. >> well, mike, what concerns me is that the president would throw that out that fourth best
president. doris brought up a great example in harry truman. what truman did from april 1945 through 1948, his first three years, shaped the post cold -- post war world. in an extraordinary positive way. i'm just concerned about a president that has that view of himself. >> i don't know. i'm not that concerned about it. it doesn't matter what i'm concerned about. he has legitimate accomplishments he can speak to. some of them will ripple through history. the problem he said and the way we've seen it today is the isolation of the presidency today has him speaking about these things, about his accomplishments when the vast majority of these people in this country are walking around with a hole in their wallet and it doesn't fit. what they hear, what they see. they say, huh, come on, i'm having a tough time here.
>> and as doris said, it's a good thing he brought that up. that was helpful. i was going to say, if i'm ever elected. if i am ever elected to any public office again, dogcatcher, i am going to my inauguration in a gold suit. i love that image. doris just put that out there. >> just for the record, i can't imagine in four years of doing this show that i've ever heard you talk about your accomplishments in congress ever and consistency -- >> i'll tell you this -- you never heard me say i was the fourth greatest congressman of all time. up next, the must-read opinion pages. you're watching "morning joe." nyquil (st uffy
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>> i love the guy, but -- >> i love him too. >> he's a pretty good replacement. >> this is "wall street journal"? >> yeah. >> buckle up, republicans. when the "wall street journal's" saying this about you, water is coming on to the ship. >> gop senate leader mitch mcconnell famously said a year ago that his main task in the 112th congress was to make sure that president obama would not be reelected. given how he and house speaker john boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up reelecting the president before the 2012 campaign begins in earnest. at this stage, the republicans would do best to cut their losses and find a way to extend the payroll holiday quickly and then go home and return in january with the united house senate strategy that forces democrats to make specific policy choices that highlight the differences between the parties on spending, taxes and regulation. the alternative is more chaotic
retreat and the return of all democratic rule. >> michael steele? >> bingo. >> sometimes you have to cut your losses. >> and they need to. there is a lack of coordinated messaging. there's a lack of coordinated policy, of coordinated focus on what the base and the people out there want right now. and i think the fact that when you ask a member of congress, was there a conversation with the senate members on this and you get the -- it's not good. i think the "wall street journal" has it exactly right. this is something -- when you have republicans on the defensive to show and prove that we are actually supporting tax cuts as opposed to what obama's saying. obama's sitting there going, hey, i want to cut your taxes, these guys, you know. it's amazing to me. absolutely amazing. >> there's a key number that i keep thinking about, which is 11. 11% approval of congress right now in the country. >> yeah. >> there's no way in which the
republicans have failed on this politically helps that number go up. it's just going to push it lower. >> i think when they started in january at 29%. when they took over the number of 29% approval and today it's 11%. and that tells you what the course has been this past year. >> so, mika, regardless of what happens now, the president goes into the new year a winner. >> i think so. >> and the republican congress goes home limping. >> and no matter what you think of it. with all due respect to our friend chris christie yesterday who tried to paint a picture that it was the president not giving at all on this issue and the democrats not giving at all, they gave. they gave on the two-month extension, on the keystone pipeline, they gave on the millionaire's tax. they compromised, the republicans look like the narrative that i think i've been listening to and that is that they just want to impede the president. they don't even care if the middle class get hurt along the way. they want to impede the process
of growth. >> and seems like the problem is we've seen this before. the american public has seen this before, particularly during the debt negotiations where they've seen as we thought we had a compromise, we thought we had something, and the last minute, speaker boehner was not able to get his party -- >> like the debt reduction. >> exactly right. >> the interesting thing is the way the president's changed on this. the first time around he played the adult in the room. this time around the president said this is clearly on the backs of speaker boehner and the republican party. >> doris, in my congressional office, i had two pictures up, one of ronald reagan and one of harry truman because of what truman did from '45 to '48, nothing short of remarkable, but you talked about having to look back over time. obviously in 1948, harry truman was on the verge of getting drummed out. and we remember the famous picture dewey beats truman, and yet hep ran against a do-nothing
congress in '48 that worked pretty darn well. do you think we may see a repeat in 2012? >> i think there's something to that. he was able to go across the country on a whistle stop tour and tell people, you know, i wanted congress to do these things, they claimed they wanted to do these things, they did nothing. so he won the support of the country. and i think that's one option for mr. obama now to go against the congress which is so unpopular on the republican side. >> doris, it's good to see you. >> it is great to see you, doris. up next, tom brokaw and tina brown join the conversation. we'll be right back. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro. premier of the packed bag. you know organization is key... and so is having a trusted assistant. and you...rent from national. because only national lets you choose any car in the aisle...and go. you can even take a full-size or above and still pay the mid-size price.
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♪ and i've got a great story to share. and i'm going to chalk this story up to what we do for our kids. can you guess who the guy is in the blond wig and the dress? >> willie geist? >> it's not willie. it's none other than former yankees great don mattingly. took part in a local nutcracker production in evansville, indiana. >> what? >> yeah. and he says i knew at some point the players would get this information and get it leaked on the internet, but he thought it would wait until spring training.
wishful thinking there, donny baseball. it's already out. >> i just went to the nutcracker with my girls. >> did you really? >> he could give them a run for their money. >> mattingly? >> yeah, he looks good there. wes, thank you. coming up, tina brown joins us. >> she was fantastic. >> go, kate. more "morning joe" in just a minute. everyone believes in keeping their promises once a year. but we believe in helping people take steps to keep them every single day.
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against barack obama in new hampshire, and this must bring memories back for you, the press favored obama, correct? >> yes. >> is that going to happen again? is the american press going to favor barack obama over the republican candidate? >> we'll just have to wait and see. >> you know the answer is yes. now my question is why. why does the american press favor the more liberal candidate? >> well, i -- i think there was more to it than that last time. >> well, then tell me -- they didn't like your wife because of what reason? >> i'm not going there. she's the secretary of state, nothing i say can be helpful on this. >> i respect that. >> i have an opinion and i'm going to keep it to myself. >> well, there you go. that was the only answer. i mean, seriously. >> yeah, i've got an opinion and i'm going to keep it to myself. >> welcome back to "morning joe." >> he is so good.
>> seriously. he works 24 hours a day. try lining up a lunch with this woman. >> yes, john heilemann, michael steele still with us. they don't work as hard. tina brown -- >> i disagree. >> tina works more in one day than i work in a year. >> she's already editing -- >> yes, i know. >> the editor in chief of "newsweek" magazine. >> we do have a lot going on. fascinating interview with bill o'reilly and bill clinton. bill clinton showing again why when it comes to politics he's one of the best. and very interesting that he said that the press obviously was biased against his wife in 2008, which is very obvious, but surprising that he said it but didn't go much further than that. >> it would have been hard for him to go further. the press was biased on a number of levels. there were a lot of different things floating around that made for it to be a gripping story. >> this is not breaking news.
i'm not sure what bill o'reilly was trying to get at. >> tina, we talked about it before, yeah, trying to get it out of the president that the press favored barack obama by a long shot over hillary clinton. and you followed hillary around in 2008 and just saw every day, incoming against not only hillary clinton but anybody who supported her. >> absolutely right. she was shredded. and withstood it with greatness. really i think a lot of it was about the press wanted a new narrative. and in the end, obama's story of the first black president, you know, trumped the exceptionalism of her being the first woman president. it was bad luck for her that happened. but it was also a much more fun idea to have this new narrative to write about. everyone was board with the clintons. they didn't want to have another clinton story. >> to put some blame where it belongs, she didn't embrace that narrative, she didn't sell that
narrative. they didn't want to sell her as the first woman president. they had an opportunity to create -- to make her the candidate of change and instead they embraced the candidate -- made her the candidate of the establishment, inevitability, and they didn't talk about her being a breakthrough figure until it was way too late. she bears some responsibility. >> not much. >> not much. >> oh, come on. >> this is all on videotape, john. >> i'm not -- >> this is all on videotape. you can go back in realtime to 2007 and watch people drooling over themselves on networks over this guy. >> you know politics. i totally agree, the press was in the tank for obama. but you know that a strategic imperative of any presidential campaign is to recognize what your challengers are going forward. they saw that throughout 2007, they did nothing to try to counter it and kept her in that safe conventional box until it was too late. >> i think it wases s a mistake run as commander in chief --
>> the press was in the tank for obama. what do we have in news today? >> i'll just say in response to that if i may, okay, is that i agree with the whole table, but you also cannot underestimate how brilliant the obama campaign was. and i would not give the press that much power or intelligence. >> oh, my god. how brilliant they were to write a 40-foot wave into the beach. whatever. let's go to news. >> miserable media moment. >> it was pathetic. >> they just drooled, and -- >> it was pathetic, it was shameless. >> that was -- it was also about wanting a new story. >> i think you're right. it was about the narrative. that narrative of the first black president given the history of this country in race relations and all of that, it was sort of a cleansing moment for the press, at least, to outwardly express what they heard in cocktail parties and
neighborhoods about how the country was ready to move to that moment. so obama rode that wave -- >> he didn't do anything on his own -- >> didn't have to do a whole lot, but did enough to sustain it particularly against the formidable assets that hillary had coming into that campaign. >> it was a bungled campaign, we know that. >> i want to hear the news. can we go to the news? >> sure. all right. that's funny. i've never been asked. oh, right, when he doesn't like a certain point. newt gingrich says the super packs are hurting his campaign in iowa. he is a victim. he's been victimized by these smears. pro-romney groups -- >> it's hard to get through a news story without the editorializing, isn't it? >> you know what makes barack obama happy? newt gingrich's baggage. newt has more baggage than the airlines, freddie mac helped cause the economic collapse, but gingrich cashed in. freddie mac paid newt $30,000 an
hour, $1.6 million. and newt is the only speaker in history to be reprimanded. he was fined $300,000 for ethics violations by a republican congress. newt gingrich, too much baggage. >> the "wall street journal" reported. or the "new york times" reported yesterday. and it is the case. newt is facing unprecedented attacks from all sides. the speaker has said he's not going to respond. he has a $250,000 coming up himself. and this is a message he's going to be sending. >> here it comes. >> is there anything more inspiring than american towns and neighborhoods brightly hit for the holidays? >> we take it as a sign of great optimism. it reminds us of the fire of freedom that burns bright in the america we love, and a prayer that the goodness of our nation will be rewarded with peace and brotherhood. >> from our family to yours, merry christmas and happy new year. >> wow. >> all right. >> well -- >> but i think that's a great --
i think it's a very good counter point to the negative noise out there. what it speaks to subtly is that 11th commandment, that every republican activist wants to see enforced. you hear it all the time about no negative campaign. and we all know it has an impact. but there is to a point you were making earlier where there's a line where it diminishes. >> look what happened with steve forbes. >> he ran the negatives, it hurt him. >> very negative campaign, but rebounded, it absolutely did. >> two thoughts here. one, you learn this time and time again if you run politics, the american people are not stupid. in fact, the american people are pretty damn brilliant. at the end of the day, they always figure it out. so if mitt romney -- i'm not knocking mitt, all the super packs out there. if they don't think that people in iowa are smart enough to figure out whose fingers and hands are all over those attack ads, then they are going to have a cold, cold awakening on january 3rd. hold on, tina.
the second thing is, too often political consultants separate themselves from the reality. let me tell you my reality tonight, my reality is my mom's coming in to town, my sons are coming into town, i'm going to be sitting around hopefully a fireplace and a tv set and we're going to be hopefully watching a christmas movie, and if i'm in iowa and i'm seeing all these negative attack ads and see one guy talking about christmas and the glories of america. if i'm an average voter, i'm going to say with my family, what are these guys coming into my home, it's a linda mcmahon thing. you talk to people in connecticut. they felt violated by all the 30-second commercials coming into their home and it backfired on them. this has backfired, and i'm sorry to go on. but remember, 2004, it backfired on gephart and dean when they were attacking each other through the christmas holidays and that turned people to john
kerry. and i'm telling you, gingrich is on to something here. we laugh about it being too hokey in new york city. in the christmas season, in the holiday season, that resinates. >> and also, he's fending off -- i'm going to show you another sound bite with newt gingrich as he deals with this on two levels. with that ad which i totally, totally agree with you is a smart move, and i think the same problems are plaguing republicans in congress where they're too negative at this point. but he also is fending off the attack ads callinging the former massachusetts governor dishonest. and talking about what the governor said, what mitt romney said on "morning joe" yesterday that he doesn't have any sway over those negative ads. here's romney first then newt gingrich on that. >> super pacs have to be entirely separate from a campaign and a candidate. i'm not allowed to communicate with a super pac -- >> you're not coordinating --
>> if we coordinate in any way what whatsoever, we go to the big house. >> i object to negative smear campaigns and i object to things the candidate himself refuses to support. now, you can decide who's the leader and who's the politician. his comments today are palpably misleading, clearly false, and are politics in its worst form. these are his people running his ads, doing his dirty work while he pretends to be above it. >> is he saying the truth right there, newt gingrich? whether or not that's effective or not, which i think it is. is he telling the truth? >> well, yes in the sense that mitt romney could clearly denounce his super pac, there's no legal proscription against him denouncing the super pac and telling it to stop. in public, the campaign finance laws do not prohibit free speech. he can't coordinate, but he could denounce the super pac
easily. but i don't think it's effective. and i think that generally when politicians get into arguments about ads, that it is a process thing and most voters don't hear those complaints. and joe, to your point about gingrich being on to something in iowa, i think that christmas ad may be nice over the holidays, but he's not been able to muster an effective response to the substance of the charges against him. he does not have a well-organized media machine for him with surrogates and endorsers who are out arguing on the merits that, in fact, he did nothing wrong with freddie mac, that on the substance of the things he's being charged with, and i think in some cases, he doesn't have the organization and in some cases he doesn't have a good substantive response. >> don't you think it makes him an underdog again? which is good for newt, because he's better as an underdog than he is when he gets that puffed up stuff that happens. >> this has come at a perfect
time, michael, has it not? christmas is coming up. it gives gingrich three or four days to get his footing again. >> little break, yeah. >> a little break because we were talking about how things are moving so quickly yesterday. this guy was ahead a week ago he was saying i'm the nominee. and most people believed he was the nominee. everything's blown up in a week's time. this gives him three or four days to collect his thoughts and then really charge and respond. >> i think you're absolutely right there. and that break, that sort of settling moment gives him a chance. and to your point, john, what they're looking to do -- you're right, they don't have the money to do the flash ads out there to respond one-on-one. he's doing town hall meetings, doing the much more personal approach to respond directly to the attacks. and hopefully get some traction that way.
>> the french horn recital. >> yeah, exactly. >> joe. >> tell me about margaret thatcher. these are the days of thatcher. thatcherism is rising in america. >> this terrific piece by the historian amanda foreman who wrote one of the best five books of the year. she's an amazing writer and spent a lot of time talking to all the leaders. she's got an interview with cameron, all about how mrs. thatcher is actually becoming more relevant than ever. there's this big new movie out with meryl streep who is absolutely good in the movie. but what i think is interesting is one of the points she makes is how thatcher has been completely rejected in a sense by feminists even though you could say she's one of the great feminist icons. in 2009, the deputy leader of the labor party launched this poll which talks about the 16 most influential women in british history, she was left off the list, which is unbelievable.
>> that's a joke. >> she's never been claimed in a sense as a woman as well as a leader. >> well, because she's a conservative. it's because she's a conservative. it's just like conservative minorities who are conservatives are immediately, michael steele, dismissed. >> think i know something about that -- >> i wasn't thinking about you. i was thinking about as the only republican at this table, clarence thomas immediately dismissed because he's an african-american and he's a conservative. you can look at -- you can look at the shameful treatment of hispanics by the democratic senate when george w. bush would nominate hispanics. and i could name a long list who were treated shamefully by democrats. if you are a conservative and you are a minority, you are suspect. and it's the same with margaret thatcher in britain. >> she also had to battle the class system. that was as profound for her. she won in two amazing ways. she concord this kind of
patronizing condescending, the kind of class snobs toward her, and she also conquered the gender divide. but she's incredibly relevant with this whole european debate. she was saying then -- >> she was right. they were wrong. >> she didn't want the european union and she's going no, no, no, no -- in the house of commons. >> margaret thatcher, whether you agree with her policies or not, tina, what she started in 1979 created -- created the prosperous great britain that we have today. i mean -- go back to 1978 and tell me what great britain was like. tell americans that are ignorant of the fact of what great britain was like in 1978 before thatcherism. >> she came out of the period that was known out of the -- the winter of discontent when you were having three days a week, grave diggers were on strike. and she did crack that union,
you know tyranny really in england, which was a huge achievement. and of course, the war really reinvented her. she went, you know, to town with this teeny war, but at the same time, it restored britain's sense of itself. it was an effective power, and that was in a sense as important as the political things that she did was that sense of its own stature. >> also in '77 and '78, all the nationalized industries. great britain was considered by the end of the '70s. and i see you smirking, leftist, but great britain was seen as a declining power. anybody that has been to london over the past 20 years c-- >> our dearly departed christopher hitchens said it was like vimar without the nightclubs. >> he went back and forth on
that. >> that's why we had the ministry of silly wars. and at the end of the day, that was the image of britain itself. >> she unleashed entrepreneurial britain. i lived in britain from 1990 to 1994. and she transformed it. not even as much politically, although she did, but culturally and socially, she was battering ram against the establishment, against the class system, against everything that was solty mying. >> that handbag became this huge sort of molotov cocktail sitting on the table. and everyone knew she meant business. >> it might be maggie's moment. >> one of my favorite stories, is she was around with all the cabinet members and the waiter came over and they all had steak and she ordered steak. and the waiter said, what about vegetables. and she looked around at her cabinet and said, yes, i'll have
steak too. >> i remember she was the leader of the opposition, she wasn't yet in power and there was this big sort of grand dinner party and at the certain point the stuffy host said now all the men will depart and all the women will depart and the men will talk and she stayed. she was the one that stayed all the women left. and we all withdrew to this powder room and sat and thought we've blown it. should we made her come with us or should we have stayed? we should've stayed. >> tom brokaw will be here onset, and chuck todd will join us live from new hampshire. we're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. nyquil: you know i relieve coughs, sneezing, fevers? tylenol: me, too. and nasal congestion. nyquil:what? tissue box (whispering): he said nasal congestion...
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about the new operating system for apple. the scroll bar is -- how many times. and john, you, mika, mike, it's impossible. you can't get it. it's too slippery, right? >> you can barely find it. it's like a phantom. >> like a phantom. >> and it's caused some problems. so if you're at home and you happen to have the new operating system, and i just told you and it's like, i gave you a golden goose. >> yes. >> here's how you do it. >> like the "morning joe" genius bar. >> this is a genius bar. and if you have the new operating system, this will save your life, change it forever. go to preferences under apple, click general preferences and go down to scroll bar and click always and you, my friend have been freed up from the idiocy of the phantom scroll bar. let's go to new hampshire with our own apple tech genius political director and the host of "the daily rundown" chuck todd.
we want to have you break things down for us. just give us your sense on the ground of how things are breaking there. who has the momentum? who is losing the momentum? what should we look for over the next two to three weeks? >> well, i think it's pretty clear that gingrich is losing a lot of momentum. watch the way he reacted. the way he reacted to your interview -- he's been on this message about ask them to go positive. and then he chose to let that get under his skin and did it again at another stop. every stop yesterday in iowa was about him complaining about negative ads. that's not a good place to be. here in new hampshire, it's interesting, you know, this is a virtual home state for governor romney. and one thing, you know, over the last -- the first couple of weeks of this month, there was some slippage here from romney. i think you're sensing here and talking to people last night that whatever momentum gingrich had is gone here and, in fact,
just like iowa, the guy who might be surging a little bit here or at least holding steady and may have pulled ahead of gingrich, ron paul. >> i was going to ask you about ron paul, of course, you couldn't walk down the streets of manchester in 2008 without ron paul people running out with their signs asking why don't you guys have a report on us? ron paul could get out of iowa, especially now with a victory in iowa. and then could set him up to do very well in new hampshire. talk about what you're seeing from the poll people up there and the organization. >> well, here it's a little harder for him, i think, to breakthrough than it is iowa. in iowa he can register voters that night, brand new, bring in, you know, wayward democrats, upset independents, get those folks to say they're going to be republicans that night and up his total. he's got a higher ceiling, false ceiling in iowa. and talking to folks over the last couple of days, people wouldn't be surprised if the winner of iowa only has a two in front of their number.
on caucus night where it's just really jumbled where maybe five candidates are between 15% and somewhere in the teens through 25%. and that would be our floor and ceiling, which would, of course, leave a jumble. that's probably good news for romney. here, you know, it's not clear he's got a lot of appeal to the moderate independents. although new hampshire has a history of a libertarian streak. talking to others here, they say, you know what? the isolationism stuff doesn't play as well here as it does in iowa. >> on the ground for new hampshire, is there anything you're hearing anecdotely from people that's not reflected in the polls? maybe the story we're missing? >> reporter: not yet, but everyone in new hampshire bracibrace ing for the iowa surge moment. it doesn't necessarily end up going to win new hampshire. what happens in iowa always impacts and there's always a closing.
it's rarely a blowout. and when it was, remember, it was an upset blowout when john mccain came in here and ran george bush out of the state back in 2000. there's always this narrowing. and the question is, when does it happen? how does it happen? and it's going to get impacted by iowa. mitt romney finishes third in iowa, well, all of a sudden, people start looking around. mitt romney finishes first, well, maybe people will look at who is second and is that person surging here or not? so, you know, i know the one thing i was looking for. is there any signs of a huntsman pulse? and i don't see it as much as i know others talk about here. and there's sort of a weird new ad being run where he's appealing to independents and moderates well, but he's having an ad run for him all about talking about his conservative record which actually may be sending a mixed message. >> you know, chuck, that's what i was going to ask you. you are in one of the three, what they call the moderate triangle in new hampshire.
and you pick up any sense that huntsman who has spent a lot of money and a lot of time in new hampshire has any traction given -- >> reporter: he has some traction here because he spent so much time here, but it isn't that same sense that you saw it in '99 with mccain, and barnicle, you probably remember that well where you'd show up and he had a lot of people in his town halls. and that's another thing. you're not seeing huge crowds at any of these events. ron paul can get a huge crowd at a college campus. newt gingrich occasionally gets a huge crowd, but you're not seeing the same thing we saw four years ago. >> that's why we see sarah palin saying somebody could still get in. >> it is absolutely amazing out in iowa how small the crowds are for these republicans. you'd think by 2008 -- the
democratic side was off the charts because enthusiasm around obama and clinton and edwards was huge. but there were many events in iowa in 2008 for republican candidates' wives that were drawing more crowds than the republican candidates. i'm shocked every time i walk in, it's like 30 people, 40 people. not even in the hundreds. >> an upset, something happening now that talks about another candidates coming in. >> to chuck's point, i think it's too late, but to chuck's point and he could tell you because he's on the ground, eyesight alone, new hampshire in the fall and early winter of 1999, john mccain was drawing huge crowds, spillover crowds outside of churches, town halls, and you knew, uh-oh, if you were george bush, this was going to happen. and chuck, now, very little, right? >> reporter: you don't see it. and that's what -- i've been trying to figure out.
huntsman had his chance, but john mccain had a persona. he had his status as a vietnam war hero and so he had a following that was sort of greater than his political biography. and i think huntsman hasn't been able to create that sort of charismatic connection that i think you need to be an insurgent candidate. even ron paul has that a little bit. i think that's why he gets this attraction with younger -- it's hard to quantify what it is. but the minute you see a candidate have it, you see it on the ground. >> chuck, do you think that newt gingrich could ever now get the organization and the money. is it too late for him really do you think? >> look, the guy's having to go to virginia tonight to hold a rally for signatures to get on the ballot. i think that tells you the status of his organization. it's not great right now. he has not responded very well to these tv ads. and by the way, what number
explanation are we on on the freddie mac stuff? >> yeah. >> he's up to his fifth or sixth different version of this. i only made $35,000 a year on this stuff. if you're still explaining. >> chuck todd, thank you. we'll be catching your interview with former governor romney this morning. >> can i ask chuck a question? are we going to be having a -- by the way, we've rented something out. a back room somewhere in manchester on january the 9th, the night before the primary in new hampshire because that's when alabama beats lsu. are we going to have like a viewing party back there? >> no, we're going to be studying the political election process. >> hey, i'm going to talk -- we just met a great guy at portland's pies, the corner there right on elm street, the hotel we're all going to be staying at. it's a nice pizza place/sports bar. what do you think? >> roll tide. >> it's a party place. >> no, we'll be doing our
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feel good story for the holidays we have for all of you people out there. surveillance video captured a fedex delivery man tossing a brand new flat screen over a fence. the person waiting for the package who was home at the time of the incident said all the guy had to do was ring the bell on the gate. fedex is "shocked", shocked by the careless messenger and released the following statement reading this is an irresponsible act and it will not be tolerated. he will be worked with according to our disciplinary policies. this won't be his best day. >> he was busy. >> i trained that guy. >> i believe it. >> and it was my tv. >> he's got a lot to do. it's christmas. there's a lot of presents. that's just wrong. >> yeah. >> that's a flat screen tv. >> seems a little inappropriate. >> wow. who do we have next? >> coming up next, tom brokaw.
♪ hey, welcome back to "morning joe." by the way, today is my favorite day of the year. >> what's that? >> december 21st. >> yes. >> shortest day of the year. after today, every day gets a little bit longer. >> oh, the shortest day of the year. >> the shortest day of the year. >> joining us right now -- >> dark and cold. i was looking out of my window yesterday at 4:45 and it was dark and cold and i said, why am i not home? i am so far away from florida right now.
>> yes, it is definitely -- >> i'll take you to montana this time of year where it gets light at 10:00 in the morning and dark at 2:00 in the afternoon. >> and there's a whole new definition of cold there. nbc news's tom brokaw is here with us, author of the book "the time of our lives." the conversation about america, who we are, where we've been, and where we need to go now to recapture the american dream. that's the question everyone's asking at this point. >> we were talking about new hampshire and some of your memories. you said is the first time since '84 you're not going to be driving around with tim russert around back roads of new hampshire -- >> the 1984 new hampshire primary. each and every primary. >> like two old guys in a common law marriage. >> yeah. >> exactly. >> complaining about no, we ate there yesterday, i'm not eating there today. >> of course. let's talk about tim for a second. it just seems wrong having a new
hampshire primary without you and tim and you and tim up there. >> well, we were kind of the three amigos in iowa. we had a code in radio about who got the best buy on the pork loin sandwich. and i got a obscure place in des moines for $2.95 for all the fixings, he was furious the rest of the day. i found it before he did. >> yeah, and chuck and i were talking about the national championship the night before in new hampshire. you said you've got two super bowl memories, one connected to new hampshire and one connected to iowa. >> well, mostly to new hampshire. tim and i had taken -- it was the early gathering place when it was a much smaller gathering there. and we said to everybody, we'll have a few pops and a little food and we'll watch the beginning of the super bowl. it was one of the great games, came down to the final six seconds. mike jones who is now a coach in
a st. louis high school made a great open field tackle to stop the titans on the 1 yard line. and i asked him, how did you know that you had him? he said i could see it in his eyes that he thought he had a touchdown and i knew then he didn't know i was right behind him and i nailed him. and it was a great moment in super bowl history. >> unbelievable. what's your take about what's going on right now in iowa in new hampshire? the back and forth with these republican candidates? >> you know, joe, i've said it here before and i'll say it again. it's about now that the overture is coming to an end. and those two states are beginning to pay attention. all people are taking their place for the big musical, the big orchestra. presuper bowl time. folks are starting to talk to each other on main street about who they would like to see for their nominee, who they can imagine in the white house. and you have this kind of pouring in of a much larger body
of potential voters who are out there. i was reading in the "des moines register" front page this morning and newt's difficulties are beginning to bubble up. but a leading evangelical in iowa today imprint said newt gingrich is the don draper from "madmen" with a broken zipper. and so when that begins to get out on the front page of the des moines register, you've got difficulties. what i don't know is how important the organizational piece of it is this year. one of newt's guys said to me with twitter and online stuff, you don't have to have a county chairman in every county. and a telephone alert system, you can get to people quickly. howard dean thought he had the best organization going in all the way to sunday morning. and john kerry in 2004 came roaring into the state with teddy kennedy giving one of the great speeches on a saturday
night before and john kerry blew howard dean out and effectively ended his campaign. >> you've been reporting back to us that people in middle america just aren't focused on washington, aren't focused on the politicians. that seems to be tracking in these two politically crazy states, iowa and new hampshire. chuck todd was saying. and john heilemann both said four years ago, candidates' wives were getting bigger crowds than the candidates. everybody but romney is out of money. are you surprised that even in iowa and new hampshire there seems to be a disconnect between the people and the politicians? >> i'm not, joe. because i think the last four years have been painful and there's a sense of betrayal in the country. everything that they were told at every stage along the way turned out not to be true by whatever party. whether it was a democrat or a republican. that line that george bush
mangled, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. they're really keeping their powder dry at this point. more over in the book, i talk about what's going on around the country in terms of addressing the real issues that are not getting talked about on these campaign trails. job training, for example, the new skill set required for modern manufacturing. how you realign american education. and by the way, it's happening in the public school system. individual teachers and principals in the carolinas and here in new york are taking innovative approaches to make sure that they get a kind of equal playing field for the young people they have coming to their schools every morning. a big public/private movement going on in this country in which private enterprise is moving into the public arena. and education, management of state agencies, and doing it much more efficient lit. that's going on out there without the help of washington, d.c. and the fight that is currently underway about whether or not we're going to extend the payroll tax cut for two months.
they're saying, i can't count on those guys anymore. i've got to get it done on my own terms. >> and also the lack of trust people might be feeling and the lack of interest especially in the early states, michael steele, it may play into the fact that people are wondering, should i put our trust in this president again? is he bringing us on the right track? and they're disgusted with congress and wonder how much that plays into where we are today. and then the other side of it, you know, think of the last election and how exciting the candidates were compared to the field we are looking at today. isn't that a factor, as well? >> well, i think you're right on all those points, which explains why you see despite the numbers are showing, you know, newt and, you know, mitt tied at 20/20. there's still 50% plus of the iowa voters who haven't made up their mind and can change their mind. and to your point, tom, they are beginning to settle down around
at their local bars and talk about this race, talk about the personal effects that they see on their own lives from these individuals whether it's obama or a candidate like mitt. so i think over the next couple of weeks, this retail politics is going to be much more important in terms of that personal one-on-one which goes back to what i was saying earlier, joe, about newt's response is not necessarily going to be on television. it's going to be in the neighborhoods, at a town hall meeting where he's going to confront the voters head on and answer directly the charges against him as opposed to running up a $200,000 ad. and that's a very different space for us to be in politically at this time. >> mike, at the end of the day, we focused on sarah palin a year ago. we focused, i say we, the press, focused on michele bachmann, on rick perry, and all of these other candidates, newt gingrich, that have gone up and gone down. it seems to me when the history is written, this campaign, the republican primary is all about
mitt romney and the inability of the republican voter to embrace him. everything that's happened, the madness, the insanity, the lack of interest overall these -- these candidates, i think, go back to the fact that you have a presumed front runner that very, very people are excited about. he may be inevitable, but he is never going to be loved. >> well, you mentioned lack of interest. and one of the things that you pick up when you walk around in new hampshire, i haven't been to iowa yet, and any place else, is there is a lack of narrative within all these candidates. americans love stories. tom can attest to that. they want to know in their candidates -- they want a candidate to say who they are, where i've come from, why i'm running. connect their own personal narrative to the needs of the voter. i know what it's like to fear losing a job and a home. i know the feeling you must have when your son or daughter gets
into dartmouth in new hampshire and you know you can't afford the tuition and you're hoping that they get into unh to go to the state school. i know what that's like. there's no narrative out there. obama had a narrative. he had a story. i think that was the most compelling reason that many people voted for him. there's no compelling narrative out there today. >> real quick on that, you make such an excellent point. remember in the last debate, for me the most telling moment was the online question. when was the last time you had to worry about paying your bills? when was the last time you felt my pain? and what did the candidates on the stage relate back to? when i was a kid, something 30, 40, 50 years ago. you didn't connect it to me right now and that's that piece that i think a lot of voters are missing, which is why you have such a high undecided right now. >> i think it's very perceptive. i think mitt romney stayed in the shadows far too long and
probably has helped himself a little bit in the last week or so, going on letterman and mocking, yes, it's a hair piece. i saw him last night on charlie rose and he said why are you running. he said my wife -- we wanted obama to succeed, we got excited about that and then we very quickly determined he wasn't right for this country. and my wife said, you know, mitt, you can do a better job. you need to get out there and run. he seems more vulnerable now than he has in the past. that's not unusual. ronald reagan got beat by george bush 41 in iowa. he said i paid for that microphone, mr. green, he got the man's name wrong. george bush 41 got beat by bob dole in iowa -- >> and pat robertson. >> and shows up in new hampshire with ted williams at his side driving a snow plow. >> you know, yesterday, yesterday something happened
here that was -- i looked at it and said, hmm, this might be something too and it's the failure of the media, the collective media. joe and mark halperin were out in the corridor talking to mitt romney and mike bloomberg and they were talking to both of them, one a potential third party candidate perhaps and the other the republican nominee perhaps. and there was such a need of conversation. neither of the men were afraid to speak to people in the media. now we cover process and we miss covering the people. >> it's the same thing when we talk to john about sports. you can blame the media for that, but everybody is so buttoned up now, so careful. whether it's tiger woods and golf or whether it's mitt romney and politics or go back to 2008, barack obama communicated through his website a lot more than he communicated with reporters. you don't go to new hampshire
bars and sit down and have tom brokaw and jack germon and political candidates and hang out and talk. >> one small correction. i don't think that tiger woods was quite as button up as he needed to have been. >> i'm talking about his communications with the press. "the time of our lives" is the book. thanks, tom. we'll be right back. [ laughing ]
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super pacs have to be entirely separate from a campaign and a candidate. i'm not allowed to communicate with a super pac in any way, shape or form. >> so you're not coordinating it whatsoever? >> if we coordinate it whatsoever, we go to the big house. good morning, it's 8:00 on the east coast. welcome to "morning joe" as we take a live look at new york city. we have john hieland, mike barnacle, michael steele and also doris kearns goodwin in
boston. >> newt gingrich held a press conference at 2:00 p.m. yesterday. >> that was so interesting. >> he said he's watching "morning joe," he saw this and this is absolutely ridiculous. >> there are two things to be said about that. one is mitt romney is absolutely correct that if he were to engage in coordination with his super pacs, that would be a problem legally. as far as i know there's nothing that -- mitt romney could stand up any time he wants and criticize his super pac, denounce his super pac, distance himself, he can do any of those things and have no legal jeopardy. but newt's complaint may be fair but it's the kind of complaint made by someone who doesn't have a super pac of his own, so there's a self-interest. >> if you're newt, you've got seven people attacking you at the same time. >> yes. >> you can't go out swinging wildly against newt. and also, michael steele, there is the problem, and you and i
have seen it because we've been around political campaigns. if somebody is branded an angry or mean candidate going into a campaign, and i saw this with a good friend of mine who was seen as a negative guy, the second he put on the first negative ads his numbers went from 52% to 42%. newt can't swing wildly or it's over. >> he can't. i think that's why he's trying to get out in front and say look, anyone who is associated with me, they do their thing. if they say anything negative about any of the candidates, i'm going to come out publicly and denounce them. you're absolutely right, because of the narrative that's already been set in place about him ahead of time, if he comes out with a very hard, negative punch bag, it's going to blow up in his face because he has been in the debates the one who's been above it all. >> exactly. but let's just say this all around the table here. mitt romney could very easily say, because i have done it
before when somebody ran a third party attack ad against one of my opponents, stop it. stop it right now. and i really -- i went to war in the press versus this group and they took it down the next day. >> well, mitt -- >> mitt could do that. >> he could do that very easily. he could have said on the show yesterday morning, look, this is ridiculous. we don't need to eat up republicans before we get to a general election, because all that's fodder for the obama team. he could have put a stop to it that way. he didn't and that irks a number of people. that goes back to 2008 and what a lot of people said about his operation. >> the banana writer. >> i find it semi-amusing that the man in political politics who arguably is most responsible for the demonization of others in politics of the others in campaigns, newt gingrich, now takes offense at negative advertising.
>> let's just say he's grown. >> and let's just recall i was with with him in iowa when he said i will run a relentlessly positive campaign and three days later he was attacking romney. so until tomorrow, when if i'm asked the right question, i'll attack mitt romney. >> well, he did say after -- again, here i am defending newt gingrich. he did say after that i have been hammered by so many people so many times that sometimes i mess up. and by the way, it would get to me too. but you look at the ad campaigns, he's going to have a quarter of a million dollars to run and he said he's going to run positive campaigns. i will say this about the attacks on newt from mitt romney and everybody else, they better be careful. because you go overboard, you turn him into a sympathetic figure, he starts running ronald reagan-inspired ads, trust me -- >> oh, i trust you. >> the last week of the campaign, they will play into
newt gingrich's hands and his numbers will go up. >> i don't disagree at all. >> because let me say, this if i'm starting to kind of feel sorry for him, i mean, whoa, holy cow! they may have jumped the shark. >> so let's actually see what we're talking about. so here are some of the ads in play. >> you know what makes barack obama happy? newt gingrich's baggage. newt has more baggage than the airlines. freddie mac helped cause the economic collapse but gingrich cashed in. freddie mac paid newt $30,000 an hour. $1.6 million. and newt is the only speaker in history to be reprimanded. he was fined $300,000 for ethics violations by a republican congress. newt gingrich, too much baggage. >> so, mika, you multiply that by 1200, they say iowans have seen anti-newt ads 1200 times
the past week. you can't turn on your tv without seeing those ads. this is newt's response. >> is there anything more inspiring than american towns and neighborhoods brightly lit for the holidays? >> we take it as a sign of great optimism. it reminds us of the fire of freedom that burns bright in the america we love, and a prayer that the goodness of our nation will be rewarded with peace and brotherhood. >> from our family to yours, merry christmas and happy new year. >> okay. i miss mike huckabee because i wanted the little cross in the background. i'm telling you, then we need to go to president obama whose numbers continue to go up in a variety of polls. we asked yesterday whether the "washington post" was an outlier, which it usually is. it doesn't look like it is. other polls are moving that direction. but mike huckabee, come on, man. the guy would be president right now. a lot of conservatives had problems with him, but that guy
would be lapping this field. >> the nomination process would be over if huckabee were in it, don't you think so? >> i think he would have so much traction coming into this thing. i know he's sitting there looking at that fox contract and looking at this opportunity and saying, gee, woulda, coulda, shoulda. but having said that, the interesting thing about this field and certainly this nomination process is that the base, even with huckabee in there, you would have a higher number of undecideds probably than otherwise because there is this vibe in the base that they're just not feeling and trying to get that right formulation that, right combination of personality, politics and verve to fight obama and a candidate to go forward and it hasn't clicked yet. you get two of the three but haven't found all three yet. >> you know, the situation with gingrich and these attack ads is
perfect for him because, you know, a couple of days ago the government was asking him to pay back the money to freddie mac and now he's asking people to stop attacking him. he has turned the tables, if you feel sorry for him. >> i promise you somebody getting attacked where iowans see 1200 negative ads against you, that's not good for anybody. it's just not. this all happens with republicans clawing each other's eyes out, with the backdrop of the "wall street journal" coming out today slamming the republican party in congress saying they're going to help re-elect president obama because the "wall street journal" says they have completely fumbled this tax cut, which you've been saying. and i've been disagreeing with you. and then the backdrop of the president's poll numbers that just keep going up. >> yeah, there's a new cnn opinion research poll showing president obama winning head-to-head matchups with top presidential contenders. the poll shows that the president beats both mitt romney
and ron paul by seven points. obama tops gingrich by 16 points and perry by 18. according to the cnn poll, the president's approval rating sits at 49% with 48% disapproving. and of course ppp has its approval at 45%, 52% disapproving. >> so there is a difference between some of the polls. gallup has him around the mid-40s, same with nbc/wall street journal, but the "washington post" and cnn have him creeping up 48, 49%. doris kearns goodwin, a president one year out sitting in the low to mid-40s -- >> with an economy like this. >> is facing doom, but when you start creeping up to 48, 49%, suddenly that changes the possibilities, if you look at -- if you have history as your guide. >> i think and more importantly, what you see are those polls
when he's up against somebody else he's doing much better than just up against himself. >> yeah. >> right now all we've seen are just his own approval ratings and people's upsetment about the economy. but in the end we have to choose between president obama and mr. republican and there he seems to be faring better. >> so, doris, is there a -- do you have historical analogy between what the situation right now where you have a president like president obama that actually loses generic contests to mr. republican, but when you put a name, attach a name, a president with lower approval ratings until these, still beating a republican or a democratic field on the other side? >> oh, you know, i bet it's happened a lot. i think when you just have the president himself out there and people are not happy about what's going on with the economy, everything is going to be blamed on him. but then suddenly you're in that booth and you're not choosing him versus some great unknown,
you're choosing him versus x or y. >> let's talk about the poll a second but i want to go around and not just blow past these obama polls. let's start with you, michael steele, former chairman of the rnc. the president in the low 40s in some poll bus he's got two polls, washington post, cnn, he's in the high 40s and he is pummelling every republican. and again the "wall street journal" saying the republicans in the house are helping re-elect the president. look at those numbers. the gop thought they had this guy. this has to be a real concern. >> can i say something? they never had this guy, and that's the fundamental mistake that's been made, i think, from the very beginning. i said it as chairman and i'll say it now and i'll say it all next year. you cannot go into this election underestimating the one thing that has sustained this president and that is his likability. the sense that the american people out there want to give this man a chance, they want to give him an opportunity. they look at his administration, and there's a reason why the president spent 18 months saying
to america it's their fault. it's bush's fault. it's their fault, pointing at the other side, because it is stuck in the mindset, in the subconscious of people and they want to give him this opportunity. so you cannot underestimate his chance. at the worst part he was at, what, 40, 39? was that the worst? here a year out he's at 48, 49. how hard is it to get to 51 when you're sitting at this point, even with this economy. you cannot underestimate this president. >> especially with these opponents. and right now the conservative movement is having a fight over who matches up best. and most conservatives that i have been reading over the past week or two do not naturally assume it's mitt romney. >> well, they have missed the boat. >> still trying to figure that out. but the president at 48, f49%, mika, and you've been saying this all along. >> i think you talked about likability. i don't think the gop
candidates, their friends, their comrades in washington, the republicans, have helped themselves a lot. i think they actually put the president exactly where he is. >> that's what i was trying to tell you the past -- oh, wait a second. >> and on the tax cut, they're killing themselves, the republicans. good luck, idiots. >> i would do the same thing if i were there. >> i do call you an idiot all the time. >> you also call tom friedman an idiot -- >> are you going to tell me they're not playing it terribly, the republicans? that john boehner doesn't look like a two-faced completely impeding -- they're so au augmented. >> maybe politically they are doing horribly. >> that's what i'm talking about. >> but a two-month extension of a payroll tax is an utter and complete waste of taxpayer dollars. >> but they had the opportunity to get a year's extension a year
ago. john boehner, nice guy, nice guy. he's a very nice guy. his inability to control a small fraction of house republicans -- >> it's not a dictatorship. it. it was when tip was. >> i just love the moment when the "wall street journal" is lining up on 's "wall street jo and mika against joe. >> i have a very good quote to read from the "wall street journal." dogs sleeping together. the stay puff marshmallow man invading gotham. >> you always go back to what you think is wrong with the payroll tax cut extension and this and that. but whenever you're analyzing something, you analyze whether it's politically astute or not. the republicans are sucking wind
politically now, and you should just agree with me on that because it is true. >> i agree. i agree with you. all i'm saying is this. i agree with you. >> good. >> i agree with everybody around this table. >> we're done. >> but on policy you said they were idiots for voting defense it. >> no, i wasn't talking about policy. >> if i were there, i would be a big, fat no vote to a payroll tax increase that i believe didn't hp -- >> cut. >> cut, i mean, and at the end put this country even deeper in debt. >> joe, can i get to that. i agree with you. if i were there, i'd be with you on that one. but this is the point. how come we can't see a better coordination between the house and the senate on that vote? >> because the republican party, and this goes back to what you were sort of alluding to, the republican party, who for eight years chided and made fun of
democrats for having bush derangement syndrome, have obama derangement syndrome and it has led us to this point where you have people rewarded for calling the president a socialist, a marxist, a facist, a racist and it gets to the point republicans can't get out of their n way. up next with the new meryl streep movie and the ongoing euro zone crisis, is right now margaret thatcher's moment for vindication? we'll talk about the "newsweek" cover story. also from coach bobby knight to tiger woods, best-selling author john finestein shares fascinating encounters with some of the biggest names in sports. but first, there's bill. >> hey, bill. what's going on. >> with the weather. >> always equally excited to join you at this time every morning. well, for our viewers that do care out there, i've got people that are split in two camps. people that want a white christmas and those th are just happy as could be because
it still feels like middle of fall instead of the middle of nter. so here's what we're looking at right now of the 27% of the country has snow on the ground, mostly near the higher terrain and the rockies. notice the absence of any snow in the appear placalachians. i know they're losing a lot of money for all the skiers and snowmobiling. as far as what we're looking at today, rain. exactly the opposite of what the ski resorts want. rain is moving into all of new england. much of ohio has a steady rain. that will eventually move through areas of new england. look how warm too, 62 degrees today in washington, d.c. we're in the 70s in new orleans. there's cool air back in the west. the only spot there's a chance of getting some snow is denver. denver and areas of colorado, idaho and montana, you've got a snowstorm heading your way later on. in denver we could get 6 inches by tomorrow. you're watching "morning joe," top of the rock brewed by starbucks. [ morgan ] the super bowl.
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can't even imagine having that steadfastness. >> welcome back to "morning joe." that was meryl streep on "60 minutes" about the woman she portrays in the new film "the iron lady." with us now author and "newsweek" contributor amanda foreman. she wrote this week's "newsweek" cover story and she writes this. maggie's moment. why thatcher is more important than ever. decades ago maurg rat thatcher warred with her european counterparts just as david cameron did this month in refusing to yield control of the national budget to brussels. the difference is the iron lady did not speak softly when she wielded a big stick. the lambasted the bureaucrats. the artificial utopian megastate you want to build, she told them, will be a to your of babel. >> iturns out she was a prophet, who knew at the time.
>> a prophet, i like that. >> she was indeed. she said that a country that gives up its right to set its own interestrates, its right to set its own currency exchange is giving up its own destiny. no one believed her then, but clearly they all believe her now. >> actually amanda and i were talking about it beforehand. i was around her a lot. i can't say i knew her well personally, although well enough when she came to town, i would be invited to breakfast with her. when she would come to the u.n. general assemblassembly, she woe dan rather, me and maybe jim as i remember or something like that. and the menu for breakfast would be the five correspondents who were sitting across from her. she would chew us up, spit u out and everything that we came after her with she would flick away. and her press secretary at the time would just sit very bemused smiling, saying now you know what i do all day.
what i go through. i also think that she saved that country and she -- when she said george bush, don't go wobbly on us now, on iraq one, that was an important moment for him. she gave him the steel to go in and do what had to be done, which is to get the iraqis out of kuwait. >> so you look at the cover of "newsweek" this week, the "wall street journal had a full page, america is rediscovering -- >> strength. >> the strength of margaret thatcher. the question is, will this propheever get the respect she deserves in her own hometown. when will the british press, when will the british elites embrace this commoner, this shop keeper's daughter who got it right and transformed modern britain. >> you've hit the nail on the head. the first problem is she hasn't been embraced by the feminists. in 2009 the labor government put out a list of the 16 most
important british women in all of british history, and guess whose name was not on it. >> the most important? >> yeah. so she's not considered one of them. she's not part of the group think so she's not celebrated. >> why? >> outside of winston churchill and lloyd eorge, what other prime minister in the 20th century was more important than margaret ttcher? >> there isn't. it's winston churchill and maaret thatcher. also class plays a big role here. there's a wonderful story when she came out here in the 1990s to have dinner with the kissingers, they took her to a steak house in brooklyn. she got out of the car and she said i don't think this is my kind of place. they said, no, no, no, you'll love it. they took her in and the entire restaurant stood up and gave her a standing ovation. that's america for you, because she came from humble beginnings and they love her for that. and for that same reason, she is despised in europe. >> so the list of the 16, 15, 16
most important women in the history of great britain, she's not on the list. the queson is, a, who made up the list and why wasn't she on it? >> it was a woman who made up the list. the deputy leader of the labor party. >> somehow that doesn't surprise me. >> it's a labor woman. but i always -- what i always liked about her is the certainty of her mind. we have to remember she was there first. now if you look around the global landscape, we have a woman who is the most powerful figure in europe as the chancellor of germany. and the most powerful financial figure in europe is the head of the imf. you have a woman who is the president of brazil at the moment you have a woman who's president of costa rica at the moment. the most successful woman president of chile, the
preceding president of that country can help bring it back. this is going on all around the country. arguably the most successful and most prominent member of president obama's cabinet is hillary clinton, that she stands apart from the criticism the administration gets in a lot of other areas. most people agree hillary clinton is doing a good job and has had a highly visible role. it began with margaret that mucher. >> it did, it did. >> there's another famous anecdote that during a very important luncheon at downing street just before margaret thatcher was prime minister but she was a cabinet member of ted heath's cabinet, someone very loudly said is there any truth to the rumor that margaret thatcher's a woman? >> oh, wow. you know, it was --and we should talk about the movie portrayal, but just to your point, tom, in this administration with secretary clinton at the helm and valerie jarrett, ty're working hard to
get international leaders, women leaders put to the forefront. did an event last week on just this issue, where it is less surprising to see a woman in a leadership role. the numbers still -- men still outweigh women but it is less surprising to see it happen. margaret thatcher was on the cuttinedge at the very beginning. the movie i am hearing is amazing. meryl streep. >> amazing. >> she can do anything. >> she can do anything, yeah. it was a great "60 minutes" on her. >> she's breath takingly -- it's uncannhow accurate she is. and it's actually rather fair. everyone was worried that margaret thatcher is going to be massacred in the film. she's not. it's a fair film. >> she can do julia child to margaret thatcher to a country singer to almost anything that she wants to do. we've never had a film actress
of this range and this skill moreover with the kind of art that she's had in her life. she's the greatest movie star on the female side for the moment and has been doing this for four decades. >> there's no doubt about it. >> this one i'll actually see. amanda foreman, thank you so much. the article is the cover story on "newsweek" magazine. piers morgan is grilled in the british phone hacking scandal but this morning one of his former tabloid employees is challenging what he said under oath. a live report from london when we come back. [ child ] it's so cool!
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welcome back to "morning joe." we're going to turn now to the phone hacking scandal in great britain. new questions today about piers morg morg morgan, a former newspaper editor there who now hosts a show on cnn. one of his former reporters is pointing the finger directly at him a day after morgan was forced to answer some tough questions. nbc's stephanie gosk is live in london with more on that story. stephanie. >> reporter: good morning, mika. these hearings have been going on for five weeks. the sitting british judge has heard a litany of questionable
tabloid tactics, includingin legal phone hacking, the sifting through of celebrity garbage. this time it was piers morgan feet being held to the fire. before taking over for cnn's larry king or judging contestants on "america's got talent," piers morgan was a newspaper man. an editor of two of london's biggest tabloids, "the daily mirror" and the new defunct "news of the world." >> i would say an editor is aware of 5% of what is going on. >> he testified via a video link from los angeles. he denied any knowledge of illegal phone hacking. >> have you listened to recordings of what you knew to be illegally obtained voice mail messages? >> i do not believe so, no. >> well, you either did or you didn't. i don't think it's a question of
belief. >> reporter: today a former business reporter for "the daily mirror" who went to jail for insider trading said hacking regularly took place while morgan was editor. >> i would say that it was very unlikely that he didn't know that it was going on because, as i've said, he was -- there wasn't very much he didn't know about. >> reporter: during his testimony, morgan was repeatedly asked how he heard a phone message paul mccartney left for his then-wife heather mills, as their marriage was falling apart. >> well, i can't discuss where i was played that tape or who played it because to do so would be to compromise a source. >> reporter: there were moments when the cnn anchor acknowledged that he was aware of some unsavory if not illegal tactics. elton john's bank statements were rummaged from the trash by a reporter nicknamed benjie the bin man. >> did i think he was doing something illegal? no. did i think it was on the cusp
of unethical? yes. >> and there was the photo of princess diana made to look as if she was kissing dodi fayed. >> reporter: in his closing statement, the man who made his start in newspapers defended them and criticized the judge and these hearings. >> i do think there has to be a better balance here because a lot of the very good things that the newspapers were doing in those periods and continue to do are not being highlighted at all. >> reporter: but this inquiry and also the criminal investigation that is ongoing is not about what good the newspapers are doing, it's about reining in an industry a lot of people in this country believe has been operating above the law. there are many journalists here in the u.k., london specifically, think when this all wraps up sometime next year, there are going to be some new rules. >> stephanie gosk in london, thank you very much. >> you look at james murdoch's testimony, you look at piers morgan's testimony, it looks
like these people, mike, are walking on a thin tightrope. >> just the clips of that testimony are preposterous. a newspaper editor who says he only knows 5% of what his journalists were up to? >> nobody believes that. >> that's ridiculous. >> the fact is -- the odd thing is about the two cultures, our press culture and their press culture, i'm not at all surprised there was hacking going on and i'm confident there was a lot more than even we've heard about because it's katie bar the door over there in the tabloid world. the brits who come here say you're all a bunch of limp-wristed liberals that you don't want to do what's required to do to be a great journalist. on the other hand they have got the press council in which you can win libel suits and so it's an odd mix of things that is going on. up next, some of -- one on
ones with some of the biggest names in sports. we'll have that in a moment. it's like having portable navigation. a bluetooth connection. a stolen vehicle locator. roadside assistance. and something that could help save your life - automatic help in a crash. it's the technology of five devices in one hard-working mirror. because life happens while you drive.
welcome back to "morninspor john feinstein, author of the new book "one on one, behind the scenes with the greats in the game." what a career you've had. >> well, thank you. it's great to be with you guys. thank you. it was the 25th anniversary of my first book, "season on the brink" which i wrote when i was 12. yeah, i'm trying to sell that. but it seemed like it was the right time to go back to all the various people i've written about through the years, starting with bob knight, who launched me with "season on the brink" and going on to people like john mcenroe, mike chef chef, tiger woods, and a lot of
not-so-famous people like the kids who play football at army and navy, which i wrote a book about 15 years ago. >> you know, one of the things that struck me in reading your latest book is the way things have changed not just in the coverage of sports, but it applies to the coverage of politics as well. now you have these players and coaches and managers, they appear after the game with a podium in front of them. >> and a corporate logo behind them. >> yeah. talk about that. >> people have asked me a lot if i could have done the things that i've done as a reporter if i started today, and the answer is probably no, because the access has changed. as you said in politics too. but politicians need the media a lot more than athletes do, because they're trying to get elected and re-elected. athletes are just pitching product. they have websites. tiger woods only communicates with the world through his website. and the interview room has been become one of the that's poxes in sports writing today. in the world days you could
establish relationships. go to the locker room and talk to a guy maybe even without a notebook out so you could get to know them as a person. it's much, much harder to do that. >> you could be tougher then too, couldn't you? i notice a lot of sport writers and analysts have become -- especially in golf, where they're afraid to speak an ill word. >> that's why there's a chapter about my relationship with tiger woods, because he kind of picked me out early on as the guy who wasn't and sent his agents to a meeting to threaten not to speak to a magazine i was working for, "golf" magazine at all if they didn't tone me down. so there's a lot of bullying done by agents on behalf of their athletes. but you're 100% right about that, joe. people are intimidated. they're afraid to lose what access that they have. and the other thing is when i was younger, if you wrote
something someone didn't like, you saw them the next day. if they wanted to confront you, that was good. they'd say i didn't like what you wrote and you'd say here's why i wrote it and you have a dialogue about it. nowadays someone just lobs a bomb through a website or twitter and you don't have that. >> there are so many parallels to politics. >> absolutely. >> because i don't care who wins the election in 2012. i promise you whoever the chief of staff is in 2013, they will have the most over-the-top articles written interested in only access, whether it was karl rove in 2001 or rahm emanuel in 2009, no one dared speak the truth about either of them because they wanted access. it sounds like the same damn thing is happening in sports reporting. >> it happens all the time. i covered politics early in my career and people have asked what's the difference between covering politics and covering
sports. i said it's just different lies. there's no difference at all. >> what do you think the consequence of that is on some level? because there's so little like honest writing about these people, it contributes to the whole era of hero worship. then the penn state thing happens and it becomes, oh, my god, jerry sandusky, how we believed he was a saint. it's actually kind of corrosive. we could do a little bit of showing the feet of clay that all these guys have, it seems like it would be good for society if that happened. >> it's a very good point because when i was going back through the notes and tapes from my earlier books as i was starting to put together "one on one" i came across a quote i had forgot fren bob knight. he said to me, i know as long as i win people in indiana will say i'mic eccentric. if i don't win i'll be an embarrassment. >> i love the guy. >> it's a great quote and it's honest.
when coaches win and win and win, they become a force unto themselves. that's what happened to joe paterno where he literally threw the president of penn state out of his house because he came there to suggest he might want to retire and where he told the people in charge of enforcement of rules at penn state, i make the rules for my players, you don't. >> who's the smartest person, like genuinely smart. >> the greatest great. >> we talk about athletes all the time. people say, oh, he's actually smart. they are smart for professional sports, they're not actually smart. who's the smartest, really great athlete, the actually smart guy you ever covered. >> other than manny ramirez. >> i tell you, one of the dispointing things about tiger woods is he is so smart and he has done all these things wrong. i think these father raised him to believe he was gandhi, so he treats people badly. but tiger woods is very smart. i'll tell you who else is very smart in sports is mike
krzyzewski. 909 wins didn't happen by accident. he's very smart in a quiet way. he doesn't show it off the way some people do, but this is a guy who grew up poor in south chicago and came to be the all-time winningest coach. and he's a guy who learned from failure more than anybody i've ever met in sports. i think a lot of it goes back to him going to west point where they teach you to fail. if you don't learn to fail there and you learn to fail on the battlefield instead, people die. it's not -- he was 38-47 his first three years at duke. i was with him at denny's at 3:00 in the morning after they lost their last game 109-66. somebody picked up a water glass and said here's to forgetting night. and krzyzewski said here's to never forgetting tonight. eight years later when he won the national championship, the first thing he said to me on the court was we've come a long way from the denny's.
so he does remember. >> that is a killer quote. >> believe it or not, it appears in the book. >> that is a winner. >> it's good. the book is "one on one, behind the scenes with the greats in the game." >> he's looking no worse for wear for dealing with esther. >> you know, i'm 29 years old. and look at how i look. >> you're 18 and look what esther as done to both of you guys. >> i was 6'4" before. >> more "morning joe" in just a moment.
for the holidays we put together a special segment for you folks called barney frank -- oh, for the love of god, barney frank, congressman, massachusetts retiring. the segment is barney frank, oh, for the love of god. >> so yes, we are aware of the importance and i would just repeat what i said at the first because i have found surprisingly that not everybody listens to everything i say the first time i say it. >> dick cheney, the only thing about dick cheney, he was vice president for eight years and
best known for shooting a buddy in the face. and he's saying now that the united states -- now is the time for us to invade iran. yeah, now is the time. and here's my prediction. we will get ourselves into another war in the mideast when monkeys start riding dogs. you know what i mean? oh, no, wait a minute, hey! is this the greatest country in the world? [ female announcer ] the healing power of touch
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welcome back to "morning joe." it's time to talk about what we learned today. mika, what did you learn? >> if you didn't feel like sometimes you were in eighth grade, go back to the top of the show and mike barnacle writing foul things on a banana. you're grounded for two weeks. >> michael steele, what did you learn? >> i was just too embarrassed by it. what i learned was it's good to see margaret thatcher is becoming her own, people are beginning to appreciate her legacy and what she contributed, not just as prime minister but as a woman. >> mike, what did you learn? >> i learned that i'm shocked to realize that you can write merry christmas and happy holidays on a banana, a simple message -- >> seriously. let's move past this. tom, what did you learn? >> well, i learned by reading the "des moines