tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC August 15, 2013 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
this afternoon. as always, you can find today's interviews and top lines on our website. that's bashir.msnbc.com. "hardball" with michael is next. show me the evidence. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm michael smirkonish in for chris matthews. blocking the vote. ever since the republicans won over state governments, we have watched them move the limit voting rights in ways that disproportionately affect african-american voters. so it was of particular interest to us yesterday when senator rand paul of kentucky told a louisville-based npr station, "i don't think there's objective evidence that we're precluding
african-americans from voting any longer." paul's comments came many the wake of new voting restrictions such as the latest and most sweeping law out of north carolina which requires a government-issued i.d. to vote, cuts early voting by a week, eliminates same-day reg strigs, and kills the state-wide voter registration drive. texas, virginia, florida, and pennsylvania have all passed similar strict voerd i.d. laws, some of which are tangled up in the court system but if they prevail could indirectly disenfranchise minority voters. this is what paul had to say about voter i.d. speaking at howard university, a historically black college, back in april of this year. >> i think if you liken using a driver's license to literacy test, you demean the horror of what happened in the '40s and '50s, maybe probably from 1910 all the way through 1960s in the south. it was horrific. nobody's in favor of that. no republican is in favor of that. but showing your driver's license to have an honest lex i
think is not unreasonable. >> but if senator paul is looking for evidence, he need not look any further than last november's 2012 election. according to a massachusetts institute of technology analysis, black and hispanic voters waited nearly twice as long to vote as whites. the long election day lines around florida may have turned away more than 200,000 frustrated would-be voters who gave up and went home before they cast ballots or saw the lines that were hours long and decided not to join them. according to data collected by the "orlando sentinel". florida governor rick scott slashed early voting from 14 days to eight, which many believe was the leading factor contributing to the long lines and the voter frustration. joining me now, the "washington post's" pulitzer prize-winning columnist eugene robinson and republican strategist rick tyler. gene, what would be your response to senator paul when he says show me the objective evidence of disenfranchisement? >> i'd say the evidence is pretty evident. there is that m.i.t. study about
how long minorities had to wait to vote as oppose todd whites. you already have a system that puts added burdens on minorities who would like to vote. then you add on top of that voter i.d. requirements, which we know are going to disproportionately affect minorities, and you end up with i think plenty of evidence that these laws have the effect if not the intent of turning african-americans away from the polls. >> gene, when i say to folks this is a solution in search of a problem, they often respond to me by saying how do you know there's not more fraud taking place but people are getting away with it? you can't prove it if they're getting away with it. >> well, no, but you'd think this they get caught every once in a while. you'd think that there would certainly be more instances of impersonation voter fraud than we know of. we know of practically none. it just doesn't happen. it's not a problem, and i guarantee it's not that
republicans have not been looking for examples of impersonation of voter fraud to justify these laws. they haven't found them because they're not there. >> rick, is your argument that this is all coincidence that we have all these measures coming at the same time that would disproportionately impact african-american voters? >> first of all, the m.i.t. study was correct in that they identified district where is african-americans waited longer precisely because those districts are controlled by democrats and they should be talking to -- almost without exception every single local polling place, including palm beach, florida, is controlled by the local authorities. and so you go to those local authorities and you'll find in los angeles and those counties where african-americans are having trouble voting, it was the democrats that are keeping them from voting in those long lines. it's not republicans. >> right. but it was governor rick scott, a republican, who cut back the early voting to which people had grown accustomed and consequently lots of folk who is had now come into the habit of voting early could don't so.
>> look, we want an open and fair system, but i'm just telling you, you have ballots that are sitting around for weeks and months and the democrats would to see a perpetual voting campaign, but you're just asking for problems. the other thing is, is things happen, people drop out of the race, scandal os cur, the closer to the election, the better information the voters have. are we going to allow voters whose candidates suffered scandals, i'd like like my ballot back now because i didn't have the right information? there is a responsibility as a citizen to vote and i think a week -- you only have 51 weeks to get people registered to vote and get them out to turn out the vote, it's reasonable to have the election be consolidated into one week as a civic duty. >> gene, secretary clinton jumped back into the political fray on monday, striking the heart of these voting reform bills and condemning the laws that she says are reviving old demons of discrimination. let's watch. >> we do, let's admit it, have a long history of shutting people
out -- african-americans, women, gays and lesbians, people with disabilities. and throughout our history we have found too many ways to divide and exclude people from their ownership of the law and protection under the law. now, not every obstacle is related to race, but anyone who says that racial discrimination is no longer a problem in american elections must not be paying attention. and despite the best efforts of many well-intentioned election officials, discrepancies and resources across prints and polling stations still disproportionately impact african-americans lashgs tino, and you and young voters. >> rich lowery took to the op-ed page of politico to fire back at mrs. clinton for her political tone suggesting she was just trying to gin up the base ahead of a presidential run. "madam secretary hasn't missed a beat. she knows that the calling card of the democrats in the barack obama era is a polarizing
politics that seeks to fire up minority voters by stirring fears of fire hoses and police dogs. its basic vocabulary is imputations of racism. its evidentiary standard is low and dishonest. and its ethic is whatever works so longs as it stirs fear, anger, and resentment. get ready for hope and change 2.0." gene robinson, respond to both of those. >> well, number one, the only people i hear talking about fire hoses and police dogs are republicans. what i hear democrats saying is these are measures that are going to reduce african-american participation in elections. they're not talking about fire hoses. they're not talking about police dogs. that's sort of a red herring that keeps getting brought up on the other side to discredit what i consider legitimate arguments against these laws. second, i think in terms of hillary clinton we should acknowledge two possibilities. number one, she is laying the groundwork for a run for president in 2016. number two that this is something that she believes
deeply and cares about and wanted to express using her bully pulpit. >> gene, in light of polling data on this issue, would the democratic party be wise to adopt the posture of we're fine with an i.d. card, let's just be reasonable and make sure that it's the time of i.d. card that suits all communities? if folks in a particular community don't drive automobiles and therefore don't have a driver's license, there's got to be something else. the concept is fine. >> well, that's kind of where the justice department has come down, actually, in its examination of these laws and decide chg ones to challenge and which ones not to challenge and how to approach these cases. you know, i think perhaps that's a reasonable approach. i still am looking for the problem. i still don't see a reason to interfere with anybody's right to vote in the slightest if there's not a problem that we're fixing. and i don't see the problem. >> okay. rick, question for you, because i hear criticism coming from the
right on this. okay, if we're going to have a national i.d., then why not make it the social security card and let's put everybody's photograph on it? >> look, we can all come to some agreement, and i think states can work it out and the local election authorities. first of all, nobody is denied a vote. if you go to vote today and you refuse to show an i.d. here in virginia or where i live in virginia, they will still allow you to cast a ballot. that's just -- you can cast a ballot whether you provide an i.d. whether it's the law or not. it will be a provisional ballot but a ballot. that's one. two, i can see why hillary clinton and democrats are sensitive and eugene is right, republicans shouldn't bring up fire hoses and certainly democrats shouldn't because all those people with the fire hoses were democrats. all the jim crow laws were written by democrats. all the laws after reconstruction to keep african-americans from voting were democrats. orel was a democrat. the guy to let the black
children in school, that was eisenhower. >> i'm going to save gene his breath. the party was comprised of totally different forces at that time and had different leadership. a florida gop operative spoke to the palm beach post after the 2012 election on the condition of anonymity but remarkably candid. he acknowledged that voting reforms in florida, like cutting back on sunday voting, were designed to curtail the african-american vote. here's what he said. "i know the cutting out of the sunday before election day was one of their targets only because that's a big day when the black churches organize themselves. that's what he said." gene, unquestionably accurate insofar as that is a critical day for mobilizing the vote in black churches. >> yeah. that event has become kind of a traditional day for getting black voters out to the polls. and, look, if black voters are going to go, you know, 95% for democrats in a year when barack obama's on the ballot and perhaps 85% in a year when he's not, one understands why republicans would want to limit
that vote, because it's going to go to the democrat. it's just that you can't do that. we have equal protection under the constitution. >> rick, that comment is reminiscent of what i'm sure we all remember from my home state of pennsylvania, similar acknowledgments that this was all being utilized as a political weapon. >> well, as i remember in pennsylvania, the only objective in evidence was black panther people trying to keep people from voting, presumably white. i assume working for the democratic party. >> i have to tell you something. i investigated it and wrote about it at the time. that was an overwhelmingly african-american polling place where the president ended up with something like 98% of the vote. if you wanted to intimidate voters to vote for barack obama, you'd come out to the lily-white suburbs where i live. you wouldn't go to a polling place where you would get that lion's share of the vote. then i'll ask you, why were they there? >> because they're knuckleheads, and everybody who lives in philadelphia -- >> we agree on that.
>> -- knows they stand outside of city hall with bull horns and manipulated the national media and it worked. if i had more time, i love the issue. coming up, president obama cancels joint military exercises with egypt after yesterday's bloody crackdown. should the u.s. still be sending money to a military government that slaughters its critics? also, reality deniers deny the existence of global warming despite all the evidence to the contrary. what can we do to soolve a worldwide problem when much of the country refuses to admit there is a problem? the hits keep coming for san diego mayor bob filner with yet another knocking video. santa ani ♪ maybe you should resign finally, let me finish tonight with why it's time we all put people ahead of party. this is "hardball," the place for politics. is critical to our economy. delivering mail, medicine and packages, yet they're closing thousands of offices, slashing service and want to layoff
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welcome back to "hardball." a foreign policy disaster for the u.s. that's how nbc first recharacterized the ongoing violence in egypt. with more than 600 people now dead after clashes between security forces and protesters supporting ousted president mohamed morsi, the egyptian military declared a state of emergency and imposed a nightly curfew. today, protesters burned government buildings and reuters reports several churches around the country have been attacked.
in response to the violence this morning president obama announced we are canceling joint military exercises with the egyptians that were scheduled for next month. >> the united states strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by egypt's interim government and security forces. we deplore violence against civilians. we support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest. let me say that the egyptian people deserve better than what we've seen over the last several days. to the egyptian people, let me say the cycle of violence and escalation needs to stop. >> he stopped short of saying that he would cannes tell $1.3 billion in aid that we provide egypt. already some are blaming the president, accusing his administration of dropping the ball and failing to rein in the egyptian military. nbc foreign correspondent ayman mohyeldin is in cairo. ayman, thankfully, a quieter day
today in cairo than yesterday. what, if any, was the reaction to what the american president had to say? >> reporter: well, reaction from the egyptian government has been somewhat muted. in fact, no official comments coming out from either the interim government or the egyptian military. you can rest assured that egyptian government is in probably some serious discussions amongst itself as to how it wants to respond whether or not it is going to change its course of action as a result of this new announcement. but many people here outside of the framework of government don't see the u.s. rebuke as being that severe. they are not necessarily that concerned with how the u.s. has canceled this largely symbolic and for the most part a photo-op of a military exercise between the two countries. to it is not the kind of strong condemnation who those in this country that are concerned with the way the military has been behaving. now, keep in mind the military still does enjoy a tremendous amount of support here,
especially in the wake of what they've done recently, but also in terms of what they did nearly a month ago with the removal of president morhamed morsi. the military's role has been somewhat welcomed in the last several weeks trying to get the country back on track and taking it from the hands of what many people are calling the terrorists of the muslim brotherhood. >> isn't this what the start of a civil war looks like? >> reporter: well, it's very difficult to say that at this point. there are some indications that civil strife may be on the horizon. but to get into a civil war, a full-out civil war, is somewhat premature. there are not all the indicators there that that is where the direction of the country is going for one very simple reason. that is the muslim brotherhood itself, which is perhaps one of the major players this-in this scenario, has renounced violence. they insist that their demonstrations are going to be peaceful. but we know for a fact that's
not necessarily the situation on the ground with many of their supporters. so it is an indication that the leadership of the organization still subscribes to peaceful demonstrations, although there are now some cracks within the organization, and we've seen a rise of some of the militancy in the sinai peninsula. but as a civil war in a pure sense, that is very difficult to project right now, given the fact that you still have a very strong functioning central government, security forces, and state institutions all across the country. >> ayman mohyeldin, thank you, in cairo. for more, i'm joined in washington by robin wright, a senior fellow at the woodrow wilson center. rob robin, here's what occurs to me. we're funding a military leadership that toppled a democratically elected president and is now responsible for the deaths of 600 protesters. how do we square that with principle? >> well, that's the challenge for the obama administration, and i think there's going to be a growing debate in washington about how far to go. the words today from president obama were tough. reaction was rather modest.
i think there's going to be pressure on the hill, particularly from republicans, to take stronger action. there are a lot of different permutations that are possible when it comes to u.s. aid. but i also suspect that the egyptian military really doesn't care, that it's determined to continue on a charted course, to confront and confine the muslim brotherhood to basically eliminate it from the political e equation, and to move forward on its own agenda. and so i suspect that relations between the two countries are likely to get worse and potentially far worse before they get better. >> in "the daly beast today," obama's greatest failure. "by historical standards, the obama administration has presided over few genuine foreign policy disasters. that's no accident. its self-consciously hippocratic approach modeled on world-weary pragmatists like dwight eisenhower and george h.w. bush is designed to avoid them. but sometimes the refusal to take a bold, principled stand turned out to be the riskiest
course of all." responds to that. >> this is an historic moment for the middle east in the same way 2 1/2 years ago the obama administration took one of the most imaginative and boldest positions in saying to president hosni mubarak, an ally for 30 years, it's time to go. and it was an important precedent and standing on the side of the people after tolerating autocratic rule for so long. this is a moment that the administration looks like it is willing to accept a coup, and that is not going to look good in the history books. so it is a moment of principle because this is a precedent. egypt is the cornerstone of the peace process as well as u.s. relations with the entire arab world. so lots ot stake here. >> robin, thank you very much for your time. >> thank you. up next, what bill clinton could teach barack obama about dealing with the other side. and a programming note -- you can listen to my radio program weekdays at 9:00 a.m. eastern.
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back to "hardball." time for "the sideshow." netflix's house of cards is up for nine emmys in september, uns predeblted for an online series. leading man kevin spacey was on the colbert report last night where he revealed the inspiration for his character, frank underwood. take a look at what happened afterwards. >> this character was actually, when it was originally written, was based on richard iii. >> the hunchback king. >> like when i speak i turn my back to the audience, much like you do here night after night. >> yeah. >> although in my case, they listen. >> you haven't won that emmy yet, kev.
okay. all right. no, no, no. no, no, no. >> president obama spoke out on egypt this morning before hitting the golf course with an entourage of white house staff. of course he can look forward to teeing off against republicans over the looming threats of a government shutdown when he returns to washington. overcoming d.c. partisanship has become increasingly difficult over the years. but take a look at this. former president bill clinton had a creative way to deal with that issue. when he was on vacation 20 years ago. >> in vail hshgs colorado, this summer saturday, president clinton on what's being called a working vacation, was part of an interesting golf threesome at a local country club. >> jk make laus missed the cut by a stroke at this week's pga tournament. his consolation, golf in vail with a couple of presidents.
it was gerald ford besieged again by the white house press. >> i need help. >> i want somebody else to talk to the press. >> but it's president clinton who needs help. in the symbolism of this bipartisan outing was inescapable. >> the way i'm going to try to run the rest of my administration. i don't ever want the kind of polarization we had the last six months. >> clinton desperately needs republicans to help pass his two top priorities, a free-trade agreement and health care reform. gerald ford today promised to help clinton out with republicans. >> we've got a few thing where is we have similar views. >> now with bill clinton in hot pursuit of a few birdies and a few votes in congress, it looks bipartisan. >> no word on whether obama has invited any former presidents to the vineyard for a round of golf. next, just when the bob filner scandal couldn't get any creepier, a new woman comes forward. his latest accuser is a 67-year-old grandmother from the senior citizens service desk at san diego's city hall. and then there's this from ut tv, a mash-up of the mayor
and robin thicke's blurred lines. ♪ if you can't tell we're different maybe it's time you let ♪ ♪ maybe you should resign mayor filner you are terrifying ♪ >> and in other news, there's this site. this hot dog truck has been spotted around new york city. it's the latest homage to mayoral candidate anthony weaner and it's dispensing free hot dogs. maybe he has a future in marketing. how do we tackle climate change when the right wing in this country even denies it's happening? that's ahead. my mantra?
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today. the s&p 500 was off by 24, and the nasdaq down 63. unemployment claims dropped by 15,000 last week to a six-year low. the drop is a sign that companies are cutting fewer workers. unfortunately, that good news was bad news. a lot of folks worried that now the fed will cut back on its stimulus program sooner rather than later. consumer prices edged up 0.2% in july, this as gas prices rose more slowly. walmart shares down after the world's largest retailer reported a sales drop in its quarterly earnings. that's it from cnbc. we're first business worldwide. now back to "hardball." so the question is not whether we need to act. the overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and
physics and millions of measurements, has put all that to rest. 97% of scientists, including, by the way, some who originally disputed the data, have now put that to rest. they've acknowledged the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it. so the question now is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was president obama earlier this summer laying out a series of sweeping measures aimed at reducing green house gas e emissions. republicans denounced the president's plan, and while that's hardly surprising, some of their reasoning on the issue of climate change is flatout shocking. as you heard the president say, the science behind global warming and man's contribution to the problem is not in doubt, but that's not the way that the republicans tep it. >> i would point out that if you're a believer in the bible, one would have to say the great
flood is an example of climate change. and that certainly wasn't because mankind had overdeveloped hydrocarbon energy. >> today's environmental alarmists use faulty and in some cases deceitful computer models to prove that the world is being destroyed one way or the other while quite often the ones they're using in the last ten years of course is the world is being dee stroied by manmade carbon emissions. >> the fact this is due to man made hydrocarbons is is the worst hoax perpetrated on the american people. >> that was james inhofe of the senate committee on the environment. like so many issues in politics today, president obama has been tasked to reason with members of the republican party with inflexible and entrenched ideological views. it all comes at a potentially toxic moment for the gop as they look to rebrand their image as a more reasonable party.
but like so many other issues their dysfunction and obstruction isn't just their own problem because t issue is the future of the planet and that's everybody's problem. chris hayes is the host of "all in" on nbc and just finished "the politics of power" airing tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. eastern. how did this issue become one of those that defines the partisan divide? like gun control or abortion. everybody lines up in their usual place. >> it's fascinating, actually, the trajectory of it, because you have basically opposition based on interest and opposition based on ideology. and the story of how one converted to the other is really interesting. the opposition based on interest, the fossil fuel companies who understand it will be their bottom line fundamentally that's going to take a hit as we move forwards renewables. and they've done a lot to fund the denial industry, et set rashgs but they have also successfulfully gone to the conservative base and transformed it into a cultural issue. so it's not an abstract issue. it's about you're going to be
told what kind of light bulbs to put in. it's about the liberal conspiracy that's lying to you. and they have managed to make it a culturally resonant issue with the base so now that base doesn't even need the fossil fuel industry to tell it to hate this. right? it is successfully learning to do so. >> is it in part what you're saying, then, it's driven by what those solutions might be and that those who are progressives, they like what those represent, conservatives do not? >> that is a big part of -- dana rohrabacher was just speaking a few days ago where he basically tipped his hand in this. it's basically if the planet is warming then we'll need government intervention. because we don't like government intervention, ergo the planet goes on warming. a reverse engineered logic that gets them to pose it. >> polls show it's a pressing issue for americans, an issue you examine in the documentary. let's take a look at your work. >> according to a recent gallup poll only one-third of americans are greatly worried about climate change. what can possibly explain this
apathy when 99.8% of scientific study support the existence of human-caused global warming? well, some of the credit goes to the so called experts who peddle dubious science to counter any government attaempt to tack it will issue, the deniers. >> if you do nothing about this at all, for the whole of the next 23 years, the worst that will happen, using the u.n.'s own estimates, is a one fahrenheit degree warming, which will be largely harmless and beneficial. >> i think it's really important for people to realize that climate change denial has nothing to do with science. these people are for hire. they do not have any real scientific credentials. >> not surprisingly, some of the funding for climate change denial comes from the very industry with the most to lose, fossil fuel companies. >> it's obvious why they want
climate change not to be true. as long as climate change is not true, then we can keep selling coal, natural gas, and oil, so remove cause and your business is preserved. >> and yet i hear that same argument being made from the other side, and they say, well, this is all about getting funding research. that's why all these scientists are buying into the notion of climate change. >> you're saying the denialists. >> right. they say it's a gravy train. >> you would have to posit an unbelievably, unprecedented distributed conspiracy of essentially untold proportions to think that were the case. and in fact, given the fact the amount of money there is on the other side, given the money that fossil fuel companies would love to lavish on any research scientist who is credibly finding dissension from the consensus, there would be a huge market for that. >> you want to be the individual who could disprove -- >> exactly. you would be celebrated, get a lifetime grant, probably, from numerous fossil fuel companies. the fact of the matter is i
actually think in some ways we talk about denial, because it's very important to understand the contours in the politics, but it is losing steam. in fact, you've already seen conservatives switch trg denial to an argument about futility. i see it all the time now. even the conservatives in my twitter feed who are e yelling me about this special, they say, well, china and india are going to keep pumping -- you can't do anything about it. >> what is the answer to that? what is the answer to we can't do it single-handedly and russia and china unless there's a movement afoot in those countries that's successful? >> to two answers. one, there are indigenous movements around the world. there are movements in china. there are movements in india to deal with the problem. two is it certainly is not the case we can do it if we don't do something at home first. the necessary precondition to have that conversation with the chinese and the indians and the russians and the brazilians is for us to get our house in order and then we have the credibility to actually come to the table internationally and really start working towards something international. >> thank you, chris hayes. "the politics of power" premieres tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern on msnbc.
j up next, when history happened, he was there. the new movie about the man who served far longer in the white house than any president. (announcer) scottrade knows our clients trade and invest their own way. with scottrade's smart text, i can quickly understand my charts, and spend more time trading. their quick trade bar lets my account follow me online so i can react in real-time. plus, my local scottrade office is there to help. because they know i don't trade like everybody. i trade like me.
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everyone says you're the man that got them to raise the promotions. i had no idea. >> i wish i could take credit for that. >> i'd like to invite you to the state dinner next week. >> i'm going to be mr., miss reagan. >> no, not as a butler, cecil. i'm inviting you as a guest. >> but the president prefers for me to serve in person. >> don't you worry about ronnie. isle take care of that. so we'll see you next week. you and your wife. >> my wife. >> it's gloria. yes e? >> we're back. that was a scene from the new movie "the butler," which opens this weekend. the movie's inspired by the real-life story of eugene allen, a white house butler who spent decades serving u.s. presidents. in 2008, as barack obama was campaigning to become the nation's fist african-american president, "washington post"
reporter wig hegland set out to find an african-american who worked in the white house before the idea of a black president ever seemed possible. his article, "a butler well served by this election," was published in the aftermath of the election, and here's how it describes mr. allen. "president truman called him gene, president ford liked to talk golf with him. he saw eight presidential administrations come and go, often working six somedays a week. he was there while america's racial history becausing with remade, brown versus the boards of education, the little rock skrool crises, the 1963 march on washington, the city's burning, the assassinations. when he started at the white house in 1952 he couldn't even use the public restrooms. when he ventured back to his native virginia." the writer of that article joins us now. he's also the author of the new book "the butler. a witness to history." ron reagan knew gene allen from his father's white house years.
will, i remember that tremendous column you wrote. i think we all do. how did you first get on to the story? >> i had wanted to find somebody who worked in the white house during the era of seg segregation because i thought that then senator obama was going to win. i just felt it in my gut. and so i launched a nationwide search looking for someone, and someone down in florida told me about this man who they thought had served in three administrations. when i finally tracked down mr. allen after 57 phone calls, he let me know very clearly and very pridefully that he had actually worked for eight administrations. >> wow. i know so many of us are anxious to go out this weekend and see the movie. how loyal is it to the real story? >> i think that the arc of the movie certainly gets mr. allen beautifully. but of course hollywood, the great director lee daniels, has
taken some artistic license, but i think it all serves the story quite well, and i think everybody will realize that the movie is unequivocally based on the life of this astonishing man who served eight presidents. >> ron reagan, what do you remember about meeting the real eugene allen? >> well, eugene allen would have been one of the first people my parents encountered when they entered the white house in 1981. in fact, i remember meeting him there after the inauguration. and they developed an immediate and really profound respect for him, not as a butler per se but as a compendium of knowledge about the white house. he was an immensely dignified, enormously competent man. and you realized really that you were in his house in a sense when you were in the white house. you were just passing through. all these presidents that come and go, you know, that's one thing, but eugene allen stayed. and he made you feel like you're in his house but as a very
gracious host. >> hey, let's make clear that your mother inviting him to a state dinner is not hollywood fiction. that happened. >> no. yes, indeed. he was retiring shortly thereafter. and they really did want and th did want to do something nice for him, because they just loved the guy. they were really crazy about him. they thought he has never been to a state dinner except to serve at the dinnerer. let's have him and his wife actually as our guests. they thought that was the most natural thing to do. >> i'm dying to know. how does your mother feel about jane fonda playing her in the movie? she is kind of tickled. she gets the irony of that. jane fonda does too. she is tickled. she is looking forward to seeing it. i don't think she has seen it yet. >> discretion is such an important part of this job that individuals who serve the first family play. >> yes, it is. and i think that's why they trusted mr. allen. he really -- he really took care
of their secrets. and i think also the leaders of the free world who live at 1600 pennsylvania avenue, they're very learned men. they all knew about the emmett till murder, the medgar evers murder, the little rock school crisis. these events happened on their watch. and so they had to know that this was having a deep personal effect upon mr. allen, especially in the years he was serving at the white house before the big civil rights bills. >> let's take a look at another clip from the movie depicting a huge generational guide between forest whittaker who plays eugene allen, and his son. >> what was the name of that movie, honey? >> "in the heat of the night". >> in the heat of the night with sidney poitier? >> sidney poitier is a white man's fantasy of what he wants us to be. >> what are you talking about? he just won the academy award.
he is breaking down barriers for all of us. >> by being white. by acting white. sidney poitier is nothing but a -- look at you. all puffed up. your hat on your head, coming here saying whatever you want. you need to go. >> what? >> get the hell out of my house. get on out. >> now everybody just sit down. >> i'm sorry, mr. butler, i didn't mean to make fun of your hero. >> everything you are and everything you have is because of that butler. >> you can see it's an all-star cast. ronald reagan, on that last subject of discretion, the folks who serve a first family, they really do know where all the bodies are buried. and what a wonderful thing that in a 24/7 news world bubble in which we live, there is still a keeper of secrets. >> it's true. i can remember being in the white house in 1986 and having an argument over dinner with my father about iron contra,
actually, and we adjourned to the living quarters, and things got a little more heated. i was really giving to it old man. i was in my 20s. and suddenly i looked up and there was one of the ushers with a tray of decaf coffee for after dinner. and i thought oh my god, i've been venting here in front of this person. but then i realized absolute discretion on their part. they've heard much worse, i'm sure. nothing ever leaks from the white house from the steward's office there. >> wil haygood, congratulations. i remember a couple of days after the election, we should point out that the butler's wife didn't live to see the election of president obama. and they had made plans as you pointed out in that piece to go and to vote together. it with us the sort of thing i can remember sharing with friends. thanks for finding the story and now being in a position to be able to bring to it the big screen. we're all looking forward to seeing it. thank you both. >> thank you very much. >> wil haygood and ronald reagan. we'll come back to "hardball" right after this. here's lots ofs you can get cash back. i'm here to help you get the most out of your cash rewards.
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let me finish with this. congressman charlie dent and jim matheson belong to opposite parties and represent districts on deft sides of the country. they have something important in common. neither is an idealogue. they're both labeled problem solvers. each has evidenced an independent streak in the house. and now they want to make it easer where for reports to respond in time. they're trying to end straight party voting in federal elections. dent is a republican who comes from pennsylvania's 15th congressional district in the
lehigh valley. matheson is a democrat fromth's fourth congressional district which stretches from parts of salt lake city to spring county in the south. pennsylvania and utah are two of just 15 states that still allow the practice of voters pulling a straight party lever instead of making individual selections in elections. if the people before party act sponsored by dent and matheson becomes law, voters would need to make individual selections for congress, for the senate and for the presidency. nothing would preclude a voter from selecting all republicans or all democrats, but they would have to get there in three steps instead of one. the two congressmen are hoping forcing individuals to vote for party names instead of labels will limit severe partisanship. when voters can walk, in punch a party label and walk out, it diminishes their vote. he said it means we're not looking at individuals, we're just looking at party. supporters of straight party balloting say that it guarantees
that less publicized races are not ignored on the ballot. those who seek to end the practice counter that it will spur consideration of independents and minor party candidates. now not surprisingly, matheson told me that the parties are not pleased with his effort to upset the status quo. and according to dr. randall miller, a professor of history at st. joseph's university, the history of straight-party voting stems from patronage. miller said the straight party balloting has declined sharply with baby boomers who are more inclined to split tickets, but questions the appeal of banning the method. the real problem with partisanship is not straight party voting, but hyper partisan districts created by gerrymandering. miller is right. nate silver has documented the decline of competitive districts. in 1992 there were 102 competitive districts, and now there are only 35. but if we want to support problem solvers like dent and matheson we can take a step forward by forcing voters to make multiple choices instead of
pulling just within lever. that's "hardball" for now. thank you for being was. "politicsnation" with al sharpton starts right now. >> thanks, michael, and thanks to you for tuning in. tonight's lead, the stop and frisk appeal. new york officials announce that tomorrow they'll begin appealing this week's ruling against the city's discriminatory stop and frisk program. even though the judge ruled it violates the constitutional rights of minority, mayor michael bloomberg is defending the policy. >> how do you think this ruling at all threatens your overall legacy? >> i don't know -- it's almost 12 years now people have walked the streets of new york city without having to look over their shoulder. i suspect that's probably a pretty good legacy. >> really? because i know a lot of people who are looking over their shoulders these