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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 12, 2013 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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they used it as an excuse to trot out their favorite conspiracy theories about the president. these birthers are shameless, but thankfully they're heading for the dust bin of history. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. republicans go ballistic. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in new york. let me start tonight with this. third world war in the republican party. 24 hours ago it was just john boehner showing spine against the wild ones out there on the right. the tea partiers from the clown car. what a difference a day made. tonight there's a real war on with boehner and paul ryan manning the fort defending their budget plan.
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not just the tea partiers, paul rand and marco rubio, but also mitch mcconnell and fiscal hawks like senator tom coburn. who are you going to bet on? this suddenly spumpgy speaker or the right wing crazies joined by the toughest of the tough conservatives. should be good. eugene robinson and michael steele. both are msnbc political analysts. it didn't take much to detonate this republican world war iii. you saw john boehner blast the opposition to the budget agreement just struck between ryan and murray. what began as a battle between mainstream republicans and the tea party types has escalated into war. from groups like heritage action
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and freedom works, the leadership is fighting back. today boehner released a barrage of criticism aimed not simply at the cruz wing of the party. >> i came here to cut the size of government. that's exactly what this bill does. why conservatives doesn't vote for this or criticize the bill is beyond any recognition i could come up with. frankly i think they're misleading their followers. i think they're pushing our members in places they don't want to be. and frankly i just think that they've lost all credibility. they pushed us into the fight to defund obama care and shut down the government. that wasn't exactly the strategy i had in mind. if you recall the day before the government reopened, one of these groups stood up and said we never really thought it would work. are you kidding me? >> are you asking these groups
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to effectively stand down? >> i don't care what they do. >> boehner has won the first round. in the last hour the house passed the budget proposal with support. boehner will have to fight more than just the wacko birds. it appears as if the senate's top republican mitch mcconnell is joining those fighting boehner on the budget deal. boehner backs the agreement while mcconnell doesn't. a source close to mcconnell said he will reject the proposal. gene, this is not just a civil war. this is some of the top echelon joining the mutiny. it comes down to what's the strategy going to be? the tactic of all-out war or occasionally a truce, occasionally a cease fire to get through christmas at least? it looks like the all-out buccaneers out there want to keep fighting no matter what the season is. >> this is a struggle within the republican party that's been
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going on for some time. and it's been taking place on the editorial page of the wall street journal and other places where these factions all meet to fight it out. but it certainly has erupted into public view in a most consequential way over this budget deal. and a lot of us wrote at the time after the government shutdown and the debt ceiling fight in which republicans lost and lost again that john boehner actually emerged from that fight in a stronger position. he's certainly acting as if he agrees with that. he's acting as if he believes he has the great conservative middle of the house republican caucus. that they're in the end going to stick with him and not go with the crazies. >> why does he have to pound them for recent mistakes? why does it help him to trashing them for causing the shutdown? why does he want to open that wound again? >> because he's ticked off. because, number one, it's true. and number two, you know, they
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did not treat him nicely. they -- he's the speaker of the house and they treated him like a rag doll. and i think he resents that. i think he doesn't like that. i think that now that he feels he's in a position to carry the day on this and to carry the day perhaps going forward, i think he wants to press that advantage. >> michael, give me the order of battle on both sides. you've got the speaker and the brainy budgeteer on the inside. >> i think he does have the numbers. and i think that's why you see the speaker taking the position he's taken. and i say bravo boehner. it's about time he draws the line in the sand between political hysteria and rhetoric and governing. someone has to come to a consensus of direction and solution or resolution. i think the speaker has done that. more importantly, and i think this is something a lot of the members or at least the third party groups aren't getting,
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bain ser giving them a big cya going into next year. the last thing the republicans need is for the party to be into a conversation about the debt ceiling, sequestration, budget cuts, and all these things that are going to be hot button issues from an economic standpoint that put us much more in a defensive posture in negotiating with this administration than an aggressive posture we find ourselves in now. which is why a lot of the folks on the left are put out by this but haven't said too much because they know they have an upper hand here. i think boehner has given them a lot more maneuverability going into next year that they don't rightly appreciate. this is not just about a primary. this is not just about the political process. this is actually about governing in a way that helps open up greater political opportunities down the road. >> one guy rooting for boehner is chris christie. if boehner wins this, there's still a republican party of the center right. the far right is responding to
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attacks from the mainstream of their party by playing victim. they love playing this to the mean old mainstream out there. a coalition of more than 50 high-profile conservatives known as the conservative action project has put out this statement. it is clear that the conservative movements has come under attack on the capitol hill. quote, john boehner has apparently decided to join mitch mcconnell on the war on conservatives. mcconnell called us fringe traders who should be locked in a barn and punched in the nose. now boehner is lashing out at us. if they don't fight back, they will always regret it. we're going to hang together or hang separately. i don't know here. this is american revolution talk here. a bit out of place in a budget battle over the smallest budget deal and they're making it into
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bunker hill. >> that's the point, chris. that's the way they make everything into bunker hill. in any sane universe, john boehner is a conservative. yet they're not purely conservative enough for some on the far right. and certainly not conservative enough for those far right pressure groups that are raising money in these fights and taking care of their own interests rather than the larger interests of the party. and, you know, i think michael is absolutely right. if boehner can pull this off, he does give republicans more maneuvering room. and actually that's what my column is about for tomorrow. it says that if boehner pulls this off, it puts democrats on notice, frankly, that they need to up their game. they've been able to just kind of coast in terms of policy because look what the alternative was. it was crazy. right? and so, you know, status quo beats crazy. but if republicans are actually going to get back in the game, in the policy game then democrats are going to have to come up with some fresher
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sounding and looking ideas than they have, frankly, recently. >> michael, this is really wonderful actually. and i was thinking if you live in a big apartment building with not strong walls between people and there's one very quiet couple upstairs. they always got along and went to church on sunday and never fought, then you hear this react from upstairs and they're throwing dishes around, they're screaming and cursing at each other. we go, we thought they were perfect. aren't we happier now? because now we know they aren't that perfect. your party is now dish throwing in the kitchen. explain. >> you know, there's a healthy part of that as well. >> oh, really? >> well, no. because, chris, as you know and i've said far couple months now, this is cathartic. you have to work out where the lines of leadership are. what conservatism means at this time in a different america than the one that conservatives thought it was. i think all of that is good. i think what boehner does going
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back to the point in eugene's column tomorrow, he's trying to get us through the noise. he's recognized okay we've thrown much dishes. we've broken enough plates. now let's get to the point where we can begin to reconcile around some fundamentals. and that gives us a way forward. i think to gene's other point for these third party groups, this is about firing up a base that drives money. and at the end of the day, that's why boehner says i don't care what they do. because he knows what their ulterior motive is. >> not to be outdone as you say, paul ryan is upping his part of the tea party clown car as well. yesterday marco rubio kept up their attack on the budget. this is rubio on fox news last night. >> we're going to have a debt crisis in this country. it's going to continue to destroy jobs, threaten our national security. when are we going to get serious about dealing with this once and for all?
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>> this is what rand paul said hours before rubio. >> it's worse than the status quo. it does not significantly alter our course. we're still on a course for disaster. >> now here's paul ryan's response during an interview today on "morning joe." >> marco rubio said this last night. quote, your deal is going to make it harder for americans to achieve the american dream. what would you say to marco? >> read the deal and get back to me. the other thing is we're stopping these government shutdowns. we don't think having two shutdowns over the course of the next year is in anybody's interest. >> it's not pure politics, but i thought that was a profound statement. there's a statement that shutdowns hurt republicans. clear as a bell. >> exactly. it does. and that should be obvious. after the shutdown, the approval of the republican party went to the lowest levels ever recorded.
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so that should be, i think, a lesson that you don't want to do that again. yet there's this far right that's lobbying for exactly that. and it doesn't hurt them. they're going to raise their money. but it hurts the party and it certainly hurts these incumbents who paid attention last time. >> is this noise making or a stickup? we don't know. thank you eugene robinson and michael steele. if i don't see you guys again, merry christmas. >> same to you. coming up, quote, we've all seen it. the folks in line who are using food stamps yet they've got the nicest nails and the nicest pocketbook and they have the nicest car. okay. has this guy been studying the unemployment line? his welfare queen talk might give insight into why some on the right impose extending unemployment benefits which is for people who have been working. it's not welfare. plus, stop playing defense.
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a democratic pollster says people would still prefer to fix the affordable care act than kill it. the numbers are overwhelming. 2/3 of the american people want to fix it. about 1/4 wants to get rid of it. why not run on obama care? not away from it. and by now you've probably heard doubt about the story of the fraudulent sign language interpreter. the late night comics have heard that story. let me finish tonight with the need for more political grownups in this country. this "hardball," the place for politics. rate you can fill that box and pay one flat rate. how naughty was he? oh boy... [ male announcer ] fedex one rate. simple, flat rate shipping with the reliability of fedex.
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combinations of your favorite seafood from lobster to crab, shrimp and mussels in a savory broth. try one today, and sea food differently. now, try seven lunch choices at $7.99. sandwiches, salads and more. here's some good news for obama supporters. president obama and his party are still in better shape when it comes to personal approval with the public than their counterparts across the aisle. according to our new nbc news/wall street journal poll, president obama is viewed positively, personally positive by 42% of the public and 46%
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negative. the democratic party is 36% positive by the public. now to the other side of the aisle, 24% positive. and 45% negative. and the republican party itself even worse off. 26% positive. just about a quarter. 51% negative. for a gap of 25. so see who's worse off. the republicans worse off even than the tea party. best off, relatively speaking, believe it or not the president after all these tough weeks. we'll be right back. commitment to america. bp supports nearly 250,000 jobs here. through all of our energy operations, we invest more in the u.s. than any other place in the world. in fact, we've invested over $55 billion here in the last five years - making bp america's largest energy investor. our commitment has never been stronger.
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you stand behind what you say. there's a saying around here, around here you don't make excuses. you make commitments. and when you can't live up to them, you own up, and make it right. some people think the kind of accountability that thrives on so many streets in this country has gone missing in the places where it's needed most. but i know you'll still find it when you know where to look.
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welcome back to "hardball." for more than a million americans, this christmas is looking particularly bleak. that's because conservatives are pushing to cut off long-term benefits to the unemployed of this country. 1.3 million people of whom will immediately lose that lifeline just after the holiday. well, majority leader harry reid said today the democrats will push for an extension. will try to provide relief
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retroactively even if it doesn't get done before the december 28th deadline. there is little support on the right for extending the benefits. we heard rand paul explain his opposition by saying it would do a disservice, that's his word, to those unemployed people. >> i do support unemployment benefits for the 26 weeks that they're paid for. if you extend it beyond that, you do a disservice to these workers. there was a study that came out a few months ago and it said if you have a worker that's been unemployed for four weeks and on unemployment insurance and one that's on 99 weeks, which would you hire? every employer, nearly 100% said they will always hire the person who's been out of work four weeks. when you allow people to be on unemployment for 99 weeks, you're causing them to be part of this perpetual unemployed group in our economy. >> anyway, rand paul was joined by another tea party republican challenging this social safety net. lee bright who's the number one challenger to lindsey graham down in south carolina next year. here's what he said at a fund
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raising event in oklahoma. he argued if you don't work, you don't eat. >> here's the problem. it's not politically correct to say this. we've got a lot of people that won't work. and they won't because you're providing them food, housing with and spending money. when you think about it, we all have seen it. the people using w.i.c. to buy their food. and we're getting the bill. how many times have they turned around to say thank you? never. able-bodied people, if they don't work, they shouldn't eat. it's that simple. >> joining us now sam stein and michelle goldberg. let me start with you, michelle. nobody is studying people in the food stamp line because there isn't a food stamp line. wherever they go, they might show some food stamps, but
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nobody's really paying attention. so what's this about with fingernails. are they talking about fingernail extenders what are they talking about? >> i think we know. >> what do we think? first of all, these are descriptions of people, the kind of car they drive. did somebody run outside and see the person wearing the fingernail polish is carrying a certain pocketbook to a safeway? >> somehow conservatives cannot go to the grocery store without getting stuck in line behind somebody buying lobster tails with their food stamps. and this is a very old thing. it goes back to reagan who talked about a strapping young buck who was buying a t-bone steak with his food stamps. the idea that the poor are spoiled and lazy is very old in republican politics. >> keep going here. what else are they saying? let's be blunt. is there an ethnic component? >> i think in this one in particular, yes. with the long nails. >> the flashy car. i also wonder about these
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flashry -- i never see anyone looking poor driving a big car. i've never seen anybody doing that. >> i mean, food stamps get you about $1.50 a meal per day. the idea that people are using the excess to indulge themselves is preposterous. the same with unemployment insurance. to me the fascinating thing is they think -- they believe two i think thes simultaneously. they believe president obama has destroyed the economy, destroyed the job market, and they believe there are all these jobs out there for the taking. >> lee bright, he comes off as something i guess you call him a metrosexual. his knowledge of fingernail polish, pocketbooks, and their price. a lot of people i've noticed because they sell them in georgetown, the knockoff pocketbooks. you know, the idea that somebody who has studied to see an authentic prada or something like that, i don't know these names. if you take the words, sam, and examine them. you know it's just simple ethnic
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racial prejudice being thrown out there with detail. that's all it is. >> it's the code words he uses there that sends signals. it's quite the last name for someone to make that assumption about people. but, you know, listen. i think if you actually go and experience what it's like to be on food stamps which my colleague arthur delaney did, you would recognize quick it's not easy. you're hungry. it's not enough to get by to just buy food. >> let's talk about unemployment benefits which only go to people who have been working. let's get that straight. you have to have a number of weeks working before you get jobless benefits. they come off -- some people do exploit them. obviously they take advantage. seasonal workers who work in resorts and they work in a number of weeks then get the unemployment off season. but we're not talking about them. the charge here is against people long-term sitting on their butts watching television seems to be the complaint we're getting from mr. rand paul. >> well, one thing i'd say about the rand paul complaint is it's
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misguide. he says people who are on long-term unemployment are undesirable for jobs. that's because they're unemployed. there's a bias about people who have been unemployed for a long time. he's misdiagnosing the issue here. >> explain why a job -- >> it's just -- you basically if you're trying to hire someone, you have a prejudice against someone who's been unemployed for long. you assume there's a reason they haven't been hired. there's been studies done proving this essentially. it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. >> let's talk the politics. how do the democrats win on this? how do they get back the extension the end of this year? probably the beginning of next year. >> it's tough. it's really tough. what we're looking at right now is a $25 billion extension for a year-long extension of unemployment insurance. you have to figure out a way to
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pay for it. it wasn't always paid for, but in this environment you have to find a way to pay for it. they've gotten to the bottom of the barrel to figure a way to pay for sequestration relief. there's some idea that the democrats have. but the capitulation among republicans is going to be hard to get this extension. >> i want to start with this with michelle. what's a better fight for the democrats? a $10.10 an hour minimum wage, which costs businesses but doesn't cost the government. or fight this fight. or are they both important to fight? i get the feeling minimum wage is an easier one to win. >> i think they're both important. i'm not sure that anything is winnable with this congress. you know, this congress doesn't seem to want to do anything. it doesn't believe that people who are struggling unemployed or people who've been working or not if they're struggling, it doesn't believe that they are entitled to help. >> so you're betting against both successes. >> i am.
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but i think both fights are still really important to wage. because the democrats need to show people in this country that they're on the side of people who are working and struggling. >> you can't win either one, but you have to fight them both? >> well, there's been a debate right now about why democrats are leaving for the break without forcing a vote on this. and when i talk to aides on capitol hill, the logic i hear is they get one shot at doing this. and they don't want to waste it. but i can understand why they would want to actually push a vote to at least put republicans on the spot to say, no, we oppose an extension of unemployment insurance. and we are against raising the minimum wage. at least get them on the record is the theory. it's a question of when do you hold these votes? when do you make the best case? >> thank you so much sam stein and michelle goldberg. happy holiday. up next, what was that fake sign language interpreter doing on stage at the service for nelson mandela?
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go national. go like a pro. did you hear about the sign language interpreter at nelson mandela's funeral? well, he was fake. you know, i knew he was fake. did you notice later in the speech. watch what he did here. >> madiba would emerge as the last great -- [ laughter ] >> that's when i knew. that was a red flag for me. >> welcome back to the sideshow. that was jay leno last night on the fraudulent sign language interpreter. jimmy kimmel invited a real sign language expert to explain what
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the bogus interpreter was really saying. >> let's watch this guy and tell us what he seems to be signing if anything at all. >> hello. welcome so far. well, cigarette join. bringing in different to you. a circle. and i would like to pray this offering basically this is fun. all of these balls to prove. this is good. i'm sorry. [ laughter ] >> so in your opinion, does this guy know sign language at all? >> no, not at all. >> that's good fun for comedians. but reports today paints a scary picture. in an interview, the translator himself said he had a schizophrenic episode while on stage. he started hearing voices, as he
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put it, and hallucinating claiming to have seen angels in the audience. once more he admitted to having a violent past and had been hospitalized with mental health issues for over a year. we'll have to learn more on that. yet he was able to get within three feet of our president. and their country's president. next up, bob barker may have retired from television, but you could say the 90-year-old former price is right host is making something of a comeback. he's in a new political ad for florida congressional candidate david jolly. >> folks, when you get to be as young as i am, you call it like you see it. that's why i'm supported david jolly for congress. because with jolly, the choice is right. >> finally if the latest budget battle on congress is like watching the rerun of a bad movie, you're not the only one. look how the daily show portrayed it last night. >> you've seen the smash hits
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budget battle one, two, three, and four. they had it all. countdown clocks. countup clocks. counting down and up clocks. but now it looks like the congressional shutdown gravy train is pulling into the station. budget battle five. the sequel that the 24-hour news networks demand. it's a fight for ratings against impossible odds. >> this just got real. >> actually, not really. they've been at a stalemate for quite some time. they're just hoping not to shut down the government this time. >> believe that. >> it's not hard to believe. democrats won't deal with entitlements. republicans aren't putting tax increases on the table. >> you're killing me momentum here, todd. >> yeah, well, sorry. >> nice cameo by our friend chuck todd. up next, why it's time for the democrats to go on offense over the affordable care act. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. that's it? i mean, he picks up the tab every time, which is great...what? he's using you. he probably has a citi thankyou card and gets 2x the points at restaurants.
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hey there. u.n. inspectors have confirmed chemical weapons were used in syria in august. the report does not identify whether government forces or rebel fighters were responsible. north korea says the uncle of leader kim jong-un has been executed after he was found guilty of treason. and jordan brown pleads guilty for the murder of her newlywed husband eight days after the wed. back to "hardball." right now what this law is doing is helping folks and we're just getting started with the exchanges. just getting started with the market places.
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so we're going to walk away from it. if i have to fight another three years to make sure this law works, then that's what i'll do. that's what we'll do. >> welcome back to "hardball." president obama is unquestionably playing offense on the health care reform law. and now fellow democrats some of whom have been running away from the law are being told to stop and run on it. the wall street journal poll has a case for that. people want the law tweaked, not trashed. check out these numbers. two-thirds of the american people polled in this new poll, two-thirds say the law needs some changes. only a quarter wanted to eliminate it. after all the negative pr and screwups, two-thirds want to have affordable health care for their families. they want the program to work and be fixed. that's a powerful endorsement for democrats not to turn tail.
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democracy core find more people that live in battle ground states support implement and fix than repeal and replace on the law. pollster stan greenburg hopes it is hopeful news for democrats. for sure the rollout mess hurt the president and shifted the focus away from the hated republican gros. but in the battle ground states, the voters are split down the middle. democrats can and should engage on health care. let's talk about it. joining med dana milbank and neera tandy. i want to start with dana on this. i do watch for secondary characteristics. he was sitting there, i noticed he was looking down at the podium. as he made that point. it's not going away. i'm going to stick to it. ain't going to give up on this. that's fighting words he hasn't been using before. i'm fighting this ground. here i stand like martin luther
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said. i'm standing here. so my question is, is that solid ground for him? is it smart to say start punching back? >> absolutely. there was a period of time where he was really taking a beating because of the website and because of the hullabaloo over if you like your plan you can keep it. he's moved beyond that now and not only is it a good idea, it's imperative because if you're not on offense here, you're on defense. and then the republicans who are opposed to the whole thing are setting the agenda. every time this president has been aggressive in promoting obama care, it's done better. every time he takes his foot off the accelerator is when the numbers turn against it. he and the democrats have a compelling case here. and they need to continue to make it. >> there was awhile where the media out in the country, local affiliates were out there basically looking for people having problems. that was the big story. day after day after day. big spreads of people having
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problems. no questioning of people who liked what they were getting. it was all the traffic accidents, basically that they were reporting. which is normal news coverage. unless the president said something, there wasn't anything countering that. now the question is people you talk to, the democratic party, will they join them and start playing offense here and say damn it this is a good thing. these are on the sidelines against something that people want. neera, please. >> i think democrats really, the temperature has gone down. there's a lot of anxiety about a week or so ago. the website has changed that. i think there's a more fundamental change. we now have hundreds of thousands of people benefitting from this law from coast to coast. in california, kentucky, all throughout the country. and those numbers are just going to grow. and so we now have something that we haven't really had in the past which is those stories of people with pre-existing conditions who haven't been able to get health care but now can
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because of this law. there's thousands upon thousands of people who are benefitting. hundreds of thousands of people benefitting. and that number is going to grow to millions. and then it will be that republicans want to take away benefits to people. and that's why i think they have a losing hand on this. and democrats should be more aggressive in arguing the case that it's the republicans who have an extreme ideological position of disliking the president. >> the old trick back in the early '60s when ronald reagan was offering an alternative to medicare back then, he said he was for an alternative. it was really to kill it. again the republicans are playing that false card of saying they've got an alternative. if you heard them today on tv, i'm watching them all day. these guys on the republican side are saying we want to make it legal to sell health insurance across state lines. like that's going to solve the problem. they're all but going back to tort reform. they don't have a health care plan. what they have are these
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accidental qualities, these things around health care. but they don't have a plan. and i think they think they have to -- do they have to pretend they do. isn't there something we should look like we're doing to the voters. dana? >> it's clear the idea of just repeal is not appealing to the electorate. so it's always been repeal and replace. but okay replace with what? then it's like well, yes, paul ryan is going to come up with some secret plan to be unveiled on some secret date. the problem is there isn't something concrete in terms of alternative. because when it is out there and it's concreting with then people can pick it apart and attack it. you'll have those schisms come out within the republican party. so they're in this awkward position of saying we're not going to enact anything now. we're going to investigate. we're going to have more probes. so you saw they come out at their press conference after reaching the budget deal. first thing out of their mouths, obama care. except it's a litany of complaints and there's nothing that they have been able to put
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forward as an alternative that will boost their numbers which remain historically low in the congress. >> ted cruz who i love to talk about here because he's so far out and joe mccarthy-esque. i get the feeling he's been cut off. i get the feeling he's not quite the leaders he have just a month ago in terms of this issue particularly. he says get rid of it. that's enough. >> i think the issue with him, which i wish he'd talk more, is his position is what damaged the republican party. his whole position of repeal the law as an extortion tactic to shut down the government hugely backfired. and i would also say on the issue of repeal and replace, i mean, the truth is that the only replace plan the republicans have ever had was john mccain's plan in 2008. and that, you know, when you look at the details that meant 20 million americans would lose health care coverage. so it's always been disingenuous
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for republicans to talk about lost coverage. and the reason they don't put forward plans is because their plans will be much worse than what the president put forth. that is the reason why they haven't done, they haven't -- you know, it's been three, four years now people have been talking about repeal and replace and we still haven't seen anything. because their plans are actually much worse for the american people. >> you know there's a difference between the republican and the democratic party. i'm not saying one is bad and one's good. but one party had a health care plan and the other party doesn't. and that's going to be true for a long time. thank you dana milbank and neera than i did. up next, the bully pulpit on what the president should be doing. he's starting to do it. speak up, make your case, win the argument. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. for all those who sleep too hot or too cool,
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can can. a reminder you can take msnbc with you wherever you go with the new app. you can stream on your ipad or your iphone, watch "hardball" and the rest of our lineup on demand and view additional show content. it's free and you can get it now on the app store. we'll be right back. twins. i didn't see them coming. i have obligations. cute obligations, but obligations.
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there's some resistance out there among young people. we've seen it in the polls to enrolling the exchanges and getting involved in their health care. what's your argument? >> i understand why people have been resistant to going on a website that hasn't been working right. and because of some very hard work we've now got it to the point where for the vast majority of people it's working well. and my message to young people is take a look for yourself. >> we're back. that was president obama a week ago today in my interview with him at american university taking advantage of a powerful tool every chief executive has at his or her disposal. the bully pulpit. in the book the bully pulpit doris kearns goodwin paints a
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picture and when it comes to the presidency and the press. she joins us now. doris, explain to those of us who vbt heard it all their life, the bully pulpit. it isn't about bullying kids in the schoolyard. bullying kids i the schoolyard. it means something entirely different. and while you're talking, tell me if president obama is doing a good job of using it. >> bully at that time meant splendid or great. and pulpit meant that the presidency has a platform unparalleled to educate the country and to change public sentiment to force change from the outside in. he had a similar situation to president obama. he had a congress, especially a republican old guard, who are his party, who wouldn't pass the legislation he needed to deal with the problems of the industrial age. so he had to mobilize the country to pressure them, once the bills got to the floor, they passed, and it was good for the party that they did so. and i think as far as the second question you asked goes, i think right now, it's absolutely
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essential for the president to use that bullypulpit as fully as he can. the pieces of the health care act that are there are very popular. the act itself is not. so he's got to explain it in simple terms to people. that's what teddy roosevelt was so good at doing. square deal, speak softly and carry a big stick. he gave maxwell house the slogan, good to the very last drop. he was brilliant at that. >> he was an old police commissioner in new york. he had an amazing career. what makes every republican, i mean, almost, i think every republican and almost every democrat i can think of love teddy roosevelt as a president. was it the rough riders, san juan hill, the heroism of his youth. what was it? why is he on mt. rushmore? he's up there. >> he is, indeed. i think it's a combination of things. one is, as you say, he had a cowboy mentality and a physical sense of being a big active guy. but at the same time, he came from the east, so he spread east and west. he was just so colorful. somebody who came over from britain said that there were two forces of nature in america.
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niagara falls and teddy roosevelt. but also, i think he knew how to speak and communicate. he said, at one point, thaz harvard buddies might think that he talked in too folksy language, but he could meet people emotionally. and he went out on trains more than any other president had. he'd be gone for weeks on end at whistlestop tours, stopping at every village station, waving to people. he loved the that emotional connection to the people. people loved him at the time and they still look back at one of the most interesting characters we've had in the presidency. >> he also spoke at a holy cross commencement address. i know you don't know this, but i have a picture of him on my wall at home, a big picture of him giving a commencement address at worcester mass. let me ask you about the young ones, his great grandson, said he's so trashing the republican party, here says, john g. taft, the grandson of robert taft, going after this, had some
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choice words to say about the gop in an october op-ed. he said, five generations of taft has served the country as stalwart republicans. quote, this recent display of bomb-throwing obstructionism by republicans in congress, another embarrassing sector. i'm not the only one, saying he took all that money from north korea, the communists up there. what do you make of the taft name? why does the taft name mean so much in the republican party? >>ion what's so interesting about that op-ed piece is that taft was obviously, by 1912, somewhat more conservative than roosevelt, and yet he still believed that government had a responsibility to ease the problems in the industrial age. he still believed that you had to break up the big trusts, that you needed food and drug legislation, that you needed to undo the railroad abuses. so the republican party at that time, under the leadership of both teddy and even taft, was beyond where it is today, which is a really interesting thing to
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contemplate. a hundred years ago, many of the problems the same as today, the gap between the rich and the poor, huge corporations eating up smaller ones, ordinary people having a gift time. unions just developing. and yet they had an answer. the collective will of the people had to deal with these problems. and they have to educate the country that was feeling like laissez-faire was a religious conviction. so it was an even harder thing then. but the distrust of government may have returned some of that back again. >> one answered question, did the people back then mind that william howard taft was fat? >> well, not like today, perhaps, because there were jokes about it. his campaign song was, "get on a raft with taft," but there wasn't that concern about obesity being a health problem. indeed, when kids were fat when they were young, it meant a sign of healthiness rather than frailty. so i think that's the one difference between today and then. but, of course, there were cartoons endlessly, because he was 350 at his peak. that's pretty fat. >> that was a big bathtub he had
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back then. anyway, thank you. the name of the book, way at the top of the best seller look, "the bully pulpit." doris kearns goodwin is the best. we'll be right back after this. . . bp supports nearly 250,000 jobs here. through all of our energy operations, we invest more in the u.s. than any other place in the world. in fact, we've invested over $55 billion here in the last five years - making bp america's largest energy investor. our commitment has never been stronger. you stand behind what you say. there's a saying around here, around here you don't make excuses. you make commitments.
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let me finish tonight with again, what i've been hearing out there on the ten-week book tour for "tip and the gipper: when politics work," my story of political coming of age.
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i hear this from audience after audience,ed from applause, the loud deep clap of approval when i say this one line about the endless obstructionism, this constant tilt towards shutdown, this inability to act on your words, deliver what you promise. quote, this country doesn't need more democrats, it doesn't need more republicans, it needs more grown-ups. everyone knows what that means, including the main body of progressive who is come out to hear me. progressives knows they have the biggest stake in government, delivering on their promise. when there's a screwup, it helps the other side. it always hurts those who like me want to believe, believe that we as a society cannot just promise a better country, but deliver on it. i've said it before, because it's true. we used to be able to get things done. my book is all about how we did it. viewed by me, back then from the inside. as jack kennedy said at american university in the year he died. the problems of man are man-made. they can be solved by man and man can be as big as he wants.
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in the past, he has solved the seemingly unsolvable. and i believe he can do it again. and so do i, and do you. and that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right the now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. tonight, the house of representatives delivered a studenti i stunning rebuke to the tea party groups, passing the paul ryan/patty murray margin with only 94 against. today, house speaker john boehner opened up the possibility that maybe, just maybe, he is sick of being the puppet for the tea party and their allies. >> house speaker john boehner going off on skrve groups yet again. >> he said critics of this deal are outside agitators who are stirring up trouble. >> saying some of his own people