tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 5, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am PST
congressman cohen, thank you very much for joining us on this extraordinary statement that you gave in the house. and i really wanted people to hear it tonight. thank you very much. >> you're welcome. thank you for republishing it. whose behind all of this? let's play "hardball." let me start with this. who built this huge lumberring take no prisoners payback machine, this machine that told so many people in governor christie's office to punish the mayor of fort lee to even answer a phone call from him, even in the midst of the traffic jam. the same machine told the deputy chief of staff to alert david wildstein that now is time for
traffic problems. this same machine allegedly told the lieutenant governor to issue a get in line order on a hoboken parking lot for the local mayor to back the project or get stiffed on hurricane disaster funds. what led the attorney general of new jersey to quash the indictments of the governor's allies? why were the prosecutors fired? who is the man behind the machine? who created the statewide payback machine? who? to use a classic term is the man behind the curtain? when will this machine's path of destruction and political be traced back to the man who created it. to the seat of the hurricanet that has blown out of trenton. u.s. attorney of new jersey and the state's attorney general. and howard feinstein editorial director of "huffington post"
group. we were talking and you said something i thought was so powerful and basically explaining this scope of the story that has gotten messier and messier. it is about the whole thing. >> you have to understand that new jersey has one of the strongest governors in the country. i'm not talking about christie himself. i'm talking about the way the constitution of new jersey sets it up. the governor of new jersey has almost unrivalled power in the country. he appoints the attorney general and the cabinet members and appoints middle level officials and appoints judges. he appoints prosecutors. >> and the attorney general. >> nothing moves in new jersey without the governor's approval, at least on paper. christie is one of the strong figures who took the strong office and used it to enhance his strength.
and he did it in the first term, coming to the second term when the event happened on the bridge. he was at the height of his powers and presumably the height of his knowledge. that is why people doubt. they may give him credence for saying he didn't know about this before it happened. the notion he didn't know anything fraumpt day that the bridge closing happened until he was basic surprised it just doesn't stand up given what we know about the way the office is set up and about the way the man operates. >> and that runs at me with everything i know about politics. we will get to the law in one minute. when you make the appointments they owe you every moment they are there. number two, you are always thinking of how they work together. who is the head of the pecking order. sometimes you want fights and sometimes you want people to get in line. thank you for joining us legally.
all these people running around speaking for the governor, a woman in her early 40s saying it is time for traffic problems, a guy at the port authority says yep. everybody operated on the governor it seems, governor's authority. you have the lieutenant governor saying if you don't play ball you are not going to get the money. the same with the attorney general appointed by the governor. everybody is moving around saying i'm here from the governor's office. where does the law come in? where does racketeering coming in? your thoughts? >> well, let me say that we have to analyze all of the facts. and we don't have all of the facts now. and i think we ought to be patient and prudent about that. and secondly since i was the
state attorney general i have to correct the statements that the governor controls the attorney general. once confirmed the attorney general cannot be fired by the governor. that's because it is such a apowerful position. >> so let me ask your judgment. the case where the guy was in there and quashes the local indictments and goes out and fires the local prosecutors for apparently going after some local allies of the governor, you say that wouldn't show the influence or the friendship with the governor? >> listen, most of the attorney generals that i knew in new jersey were really effective and honorable people. there are honest people appointed by the governor of new jersey going back to brendan burn, jim florio, absolutely. in the hunterton county case i don't know the facts about that except that the attorney general
took over the operation of the entire office. you can only do that with the consent of the governor. then she fired assistance. this is from the "new york times" story in the fall -- the attorney general can supersede a prosecutor on any particular case. so puzzling to me why they took over the whole office. that has only been done once or twice in the 40-year history. i'm not going to characterize the position and the relationships based on that incident. i don't know the facts about that incident. >> we are looking at a pattern of a lot of people throwing weight around close to the governor. let me show you the list to look
at. i want to know how this is looked at by a u.s. attorney. this is why it is so hard to believe christie's know nothing defense. in these cases the question remains. let's look at the big ones. during the lane closures when traffic was blocked for all of those days there was apparently an office wide alert to ignore the desperate phone kaulgz. during yesterday's discussion we were reminded that alert pretty much included everyone down to low level aides. we know because christina renna all but apologized to bridget kelly from letting a call slip through to a junior staffer pick up the phone. who gave the order for the enforced radio silence against the mayor. it is clear someone put together this mechanism for payback.
all bridgett kelly had to do was pull the switch. did someone order bridget kelly to do so? if so who? in addition you have lieutenant governor ordering someone to get in line to support a real estate deal. and then reports that the state's attorney general did pull the plug on that indictment by overruling an entire office something unheard of in jersey politics. did someone approve that? that's the question. who has the power to give the orders? who is the man behind the curtain and who can ignore phone calls? who gives the okay to pressure hoboken mayorer? you say an independent official. someone who gave these orders
across the board must be pretty far up. >> chris, i don't want to waste the time here defending the public service of the state of new jersey. what we have here involving governor christie sure somebody gave an order. it is an abuse of power. we don't have all the facts yet. we don't know them and we ought to be patient for that. it certainly seems that a group of people involving human beings in the governor's office and the port authority have gotten together and have done some specific acts. that's why when i was on the news show ten days ago i mentioned rico. and what it really is is a group of individuals, can be an
enterprise, and the predicate acts can be state crimes, federal crimes. i'm not saying that this applies in this situation. i'm saying that we have to get the proof and we have to find out what exactly happened. this u.s. attorney is a very able guy with a lot of integrity. ehe is doing it exactly the right way. ehe is not having press conferences. he is doing this on a confidential basis. and he will get the facts for sure. >> let's start with howard. it seems this has gotten a lot of attention across the country. people in california are talking about it. they are trying to figure out how it happens. some say this is the way it is done. or you can say this is the way it shouldn't be done. but it gets down to people's lives. if everybody is out of line but the governor that gets screwy. he said rather painfully i don't
know how everybody got the wrong idea about what i wanted done. >> i totally agree that there is no reason and no justification for hurrying to a conclusion here. >> except all the people are taking the fifth because they don't want to go to prison over this. >> while the u.s. attorney is slowly and carefully doing his business and i agree that paul fishman is that kind of guy. everybody else in the world is going to wonder what happened here. what i'm saying is the way new jersey is set up legally, constitutionally and politicly you can't be governor in any successful or effective way without needing to know everything that is moving in the vast empire that you are allowed to create constitutionally in that state. that's what chris christie did. that's the guy he was. and you can be made by the machine and unmade by the
machine if it flips on you. in other words, the central control that you have that makes you effective is what also raises questions about what the attorney calls the enterprise of the government of new jersey. that is what we are sitting around here trying to figure out. yes, people have taken the fifth. the legislative committeys that think they are getting public hearings are not. those people want to cut deals. we are not going to know what the facts are until he finds the facts. >> there is nothing worse, by the way, for somebody in the middle of a crisis like this to have a u.s. attorney who is known to be a political and professional which this guy fishman is. he is not a grand stander or partisan guy, basically a professional level civil servant guy who happened to have gotten the job of u.s. attorney.
that is good for christie. it means when this guy has a report it will be definitive. >> thanks for joining us. you deserve all coming your way. coming up everyone had the same reaction when christie accused david wildstein of deceptive behavior in high school. tonight the true story behind the smear. plus the department of distortion how conservatives took a government report can liberate people from dead end situations and turn it into obamacare kills jobs. what did a republican say? and a question that hangs over new jersey, who created this monster. this is "hardball," place for politics.
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this weekend governor christie's team of suing over a matter involving the school board. wildstein in his teenage years soon to get on to a local republican committee, nothing to do with the school board, everything to do with his political admonition to get into politics. christie's team piled on with another charge accusing wildstein of being accused of deceptive behavior. turns out the teacher signed wildstein's petition to run for
school board and wildstein has taken the signature as an endorsement and agreed there was a misunderstanding. joining me now is political reporter bob engel and maggie hagueman. this stuff is so low going after the guy's high school behavior and try to make it look like he was a weirdo in high school politics when it turns out he was trying to get into local republican politics the teacher signed his petition and then used it as an endorsement. i think these are shadings but are highly escalated charges by the christie people. your thoughts? >> i think going back to somebody's high school era to muddy them or make them look a certain way is always sort of questionable. the bigger question is when you see the e-mail you ask yourself and we are asking this, if he was so bad, if all of this was
true why did you appoint the guy to the port authority and praise him on his way out the door. those are very legitimate questions. mostly it surprised people for the reason that what christie is facing is an allegation that his office basically engaged in bullying, that it was a political bullying attempt and to send out an e-mail like that furthers that whether the goal or not that was the perception. >> i think you only get one public personality. for some reason the christie people are not aware that they are promoting the personality they are trying to deny. >> well, not only that but this was such a thing that you have to go back and rethink about the times when we said they were professional hard nosed know what they are doing group. this was just petty. and amateurish.
this is a very political office. >> i think so. tell me about that. tell me your thoughts. attorney general hand picked is rare. when you get hand picked in the political office you are a politician. your view. >> i wrote a book called "new jersey's culture of corruption" we have a whole chapter on attorney general. i was interviewing an attorney general one day and we were talking about a particular situation and this attorney general said to me i would go after that if they would let me. that was an attorney general, supposedly an independent one that is not influenced by politicians. >> go after what? >> well, i don't remember the particular circumstances we are talking about but about something going on in the state and i said why isn't anything being done and the attorney general said i would go after it
if they would let me. >> christie made sure to distance himself from david wildstein in the press conference especially time together and time not together in high school. let's listen to this distancing operation. >> let me clear something up about my childhood friend david wildstein. david and i were not friends in high school. we were not acquaintances in high school. we didn't travel the same circles in high school. i was the class president and athlete. i don't know what david was doing during that period of time. >> turns out david wildstein was doing a lot. here is a "new york times" article from 1978 about wildstein's efforts to get a seat on the republican commit ey. student 16 is fighting for right to run for essex gop panel. this is how prop goes out. over the weekend christie's team
has the right to put out words trashing someone causing you trouble in this case david wildstein. it was linked apparently to stuff put out in the article. all you have to do is look at the article and reealize he was suing over his right to run as a younger person for a job in the local republican committee which isn't the worse thing to say. there you have a kid who was busy in politics and christie is saying never heard of the guy. he is basically a nerd. i was a cool kid, class president. i was the jock. this guy was with the chess team somewhere. that kind of dismissal does fit with the mode of the bully. the kid who can push people around in the cafeteria. >> can you remember the last time a politician say i was the cool kid in class? that is really interesting.
number two, to your point an editor of mine wrote about this this weekend you never escape who you were in high school. christie under scored what he had seen. whether they were going to happen or not i think it took on a personal edge after the press conference where he called wildstein a loser in high school. i think christie's people feel they need to fight back. they argue what wildstein is saying is wrong and made up and basic wlae a guy looking for immunity himself. and i think had they stopped at that it would have been fine. it is just that it went back so far to an article that ended up not being portrayed in the fullest form. >> the journalism coming out of the governor's office is not accurate. they make this big mistake of thinking that everybody is looking back to high school and rooting for the jocks. only a few people are the superstars.
a couple were good guys and a couple were not. they were not universally loved. most people felt they were nobodies in high school. it is a very difficult time in life, high school, as we all know. it is difficult socially. to say i was the king pin back then and this guy was the nerd and his people, christie's people put out the trash talk on the guy. it is bad enough bringing up high school and then to trash you. they are desperate in the governor's office. when you reduce yourself to fouling the other side you want the ball back. they don't have the ball and they know it. >> there is a lot going into it. did they not see what was coming that we were going to be sitting here talking about it on national tv? it was so trite. >> who is the man behind the curtain? who approved all of this stuff? who said it was okay to put out the word it is time for traffic
problems? who said it is okay for the lieutenant governor to threaten the local mayor. who says this is the governor's office calling? that is the question. it always seems to be happening where the governor's office is calling. where is the governor. thank you for asking the question. maggie you are always great on the show. next what chris christie and david wildstein were like in high school courtesy of steve kolbert. this is "hardball." these accusations coming
he is deceased. was it murder? >> that was on the attacks that chris christie dug up from david wildstein's days all distorted. he found a special guest to come on as a character witness, their first grade teacher. here is how that played out. >> i hear you have damaging revelations about what david wildstein was like as a first grader. >> he was an untrust worthy ruffian. one time he said he needed to tinkle. once he was in the bathroom he just played with the soap dispenser. >> did you teach chris christie? >> christopher? he was a joy. a leader with executive experience. >> you're reading off of note
cards. did chris christie's people get to you? >> yes. he closed off two lanes of the lunch line. i wouldn't endorse him and a week later the class goldfish turned up dead. >> next up president obama's haters, what unfolded at a recent town hall is behind reproach. a video of the event turned up on line and shows a local constituent's ugly diatribe. the woman called for president obama's execution and the congressman chose to turn a blind eye and never correcting her. >> he is not president as far as
i'm concerned and should be executed really. the muslims he is shipping into our country through pilots and commercial jets, i can't tell you, i can't say because we are in a public place, that this guy is a criminal. >> everybody knows the lawlessness of the president. he picks and chooses which laws he will enforce or not enforce and does it by decree. ultimately, when it comes to when he can't get that done he uses foreign bodies. >> clown car material there. not only silent about the terrible charges and piled on by saying he is an outlaw. this guy is getting paid by the united states government to do what? be an idiot? we tried to get an answer from his office. we called for comment and received no response. up next the right wing
distortion machine is back in action. the twisted report that says obama is costing millions their jobs when the report says nothing of the sort. here is what happening. [ female announcer ] a gold medal in any sport starts with a good night's sleep in pampers. while ordinary diapers have only 2 layers, pampers has 3 absorbent layers, to stay up to 3 times drier... for bright tomorrows. pampers.
the affordable care act is not killing jobs, the spin about the report released yesterday what the republicans are saying. the report did say the implementation of the health care law could shrink the size of the workforce largely because some workers will choose to cut hours or retire early. it says subsidies will dissuade some people from looking at full time jobs. here is how mitch mcconnell interpreted that obamacare to print even more pink slips. >> the cbo report is certainly not pretty if interested in creating jobs in america. as we know they estimate up to 2 million fewer jobs created as a result of obamacare.
>> the national republican congressional committee echoed mcconnell saying quote new budget outlook says obamacare is hurting workers. here is a tweet from virginia under obamacare millions will lose jobs and those who keep them will see hours and wages reduced. senator grassley had this message according to the cbo the law will hurt economic growth. just to be clear because we go to more ramble. the cbo said the reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply. in other words, the affordable care act is not leading to mass layoffs, it's giving people the freedom to leave jobs because those jobs provide health insurance. don't tell eric cantor that. you always smile at that one.
joy, i'm going to give you the rare opportunity to explicate something. generally the president likes cbo reports. yesterday for whatever reason republicans loved it and twisted it and turned it. they come up with an idea this health care plan is killing jobs when what does the plan say? >> this is another cbo report that generally the white house probably likes because it projected the unemployment rate to go down to 5.8% by 2017 and projected robust economic growth year over year and anticipated the deficit will go down, all good things. on page 39 of the report it had that one paragraph where it said you will see a reduction in the hours worked potentially of workers that is the equivalent of some 2 million workers and
never said in the report and i did spend the day reading through the report and also reading the washington post fact checker, it never said job being lost. if you are talking about job loss you would be saying the demand for labor would go down and businesses would want to hire fewerer people or people who wanted to look for work wouldn't be able to find it. this is about supply and somebody who wanted to retire but puts it off because they need health insurance so they put off retirement or somebody with a part time job but they add more hours trying to keep or get health care. those people not having to do that means they reduce their voluntary supply of labor into the market. part of this is a problem of head lines. the head lines were simplistic. there is nothing a press secretary likes better than a simplistic headline. some were refuted by the first sentence. this is about the supply of the
hours of labor, not, not, not about the quantity of labor demanded. don't take it from me. the guy who runs the cbo testified before the house budget committee with paul ryan sitting in front of him and said what i just said and said it is absolutely a mischaracterization and not about job loss. >> you are the best. here is the cbo director testifying and answering the key question from u.s. congressman about demand for labor as a result of the affordable care act. in other words, will the new health care law increase or decrease jobs. here is the cbo director. >> will boost overall demand for goods and services over the next few years and then you go on to say the net increase for demand in goods and services will boost demand for labor over the next few years. that is the conclusion you make right? >> yes. >> when you boost demand for labor in this kind of economy
you actually reduce the unemployment rate because those people who are looking for work can find more work, right? >> right. >> that's pretty clear. so it takes a little work. headline writers supposed to make things clear. many said these blew it and some we know around the broadcast world did the same thing because they missed the point. it is not about the drop in demand for labor. there is increase in demand which is good economic. people won't work in places they were only in for health care. now they don't have to. that is the news. your thoughts? >> well, i think you have correctly identified the story here. it is really the cbo report itself which joy pointed out which is basically good news for
the economy and good news for obamacare even the part the republicans are trying to make into a negative is actually a positive. the real story is republican dishonesty. you have to wonder how long will the american public put up with with being played by people like lindsey graham, mitch mcconnell? do they think american people can't read plain english and what the cbo report actually says which is totally different from what the republicans are pretending it says? when do we get sick of that nonsense? >> the continual statement, we are talking about it here off camera. the continual statement that gets you where you want to go in politics is simply always being against the president. somebody says the president ought to be executed you say he is an outlaw. anything nasty and the president screwing the economy and anything nasty about this guy has become the main course of the republican party.
you can't put your hand up like john mccain did and said he is a good man when the woman said he is an arab not that that is a bad thing but she meant it as a bad thing. he said he is an american. we disagree on policy but he is not the devil? >> even shaking the president's hand or not being rude to him on the tarmac can be the kiss of death for republican politician. it is worse with the cbo report in a sense because republicans themselves as recently as 2008 and 2009 during the campaign of 2008 john mccain, the heritage foundation and as recently as 2012 campaign people like paul ryan were arguing about something called job lock. they were touting this idea that americans are trapped in jobs they would rather retire from and start a business or they would rather retire and go out and do fishing or do something else other than being trapped in
a job they don't want because they are constricted in health care. john mccain was suggesting tying health care to you and not your job. that was a republican idea. now the very idea that you can look up any american can google these guys health care plans and ideas and are saying the opposite. now they are saying that they are in favor of job lock and people being stuck in their jobs rather than being able to be portable. what the affordable care act has done is make your health care portable and say now my health care is tied to me. i don't have to be stuck working in this job i don't want to add more hours to it because i need my health care. that used to be something republicans were for. they reversed position because obama is attached to it. >> can't keep up with joy tonight. thanks for coming on.
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again. i was proud to serve as peace corps volunteer. the country i served in was one of the hardest hit when it comes to hiv/aids. my wife has spent nearly two decades raising money to care for children born with aids. tonight we're here at hardball, we're getting committed in a new more powerful way on fighting aids, especially in africa. there's a new chapter called born free. if an infected mother takes a pill daily once a day, from the time of her pregnancy and continues through her breast-feeding period, the child will be aids free we can
hopefully cut that number down to zero by the end of next year, that is the goal. the man who succeeded in meeting that goal is with me right now congratulations on trying to do something that can be done so many people give to charities and feel it's a bottomless pit. yours seems to be a goal that's based upon knowledge, can do information you can stop mothers from giving aids to their kids. >> yeah, thanks, chris for having us on to talk about this. it is amazing what's happening. there were 600,000 children born hiv positive, we're down to about 260,000. and i think as you mentioned, most of those, this is a death sentence, so we're able -- we're
going to be able to eliminate this over the next few years. >> what's the trick of taking modern science, takes it through pregnancy. what gets that done for a rural woman. how do you as an organization literally get those pills into her mouth on a daily basis? >> nobody from the outside can carry the ball on this, there's a lot of funding that comes from the outside, very simply, first the pregnant mother needs to get to a clinic, there needs to be a test, and then she needs to be initiated and that sounds easy in countries like the united states and western europe, it is easy, you spend time in swaziland that's not so easy. those are the issues we're
solving right now. >> what can you do with the money, if anybody gives you money, and i hope they do. how do you take american money and transform that into somebody who cares enough about their child to save that kid from a death sentence? >> we're in a position of being a catalyst to make things go very rapidly, the u.s. government has been very generous through both of the last two administrations as well as other western countries. every country in africa wants to eliminate mother to child transmission. how do you get the money flowing in the right places, get it there on time, and the private sector through our organization has been able to step in, put people on the ground, make sure the training is occurring, that the drugs are getting there on time, that mothers show up at clinics, it's a very basic system but not so basic to implement.
>> you make sure those people are people who have one big commitment of not transmitting from mother to child. you make sure they bring their gun ho determination in getting this done? >> yeah, absolutely. so much of this is around talent, right? having really high charged people working within the health ministries, developing training programs, training trainers, taking countries that may have 100 clinics th have tests and have drugs in place, and getting that to 5,000 clinics. how do you do that over 2 years, you have to make sure the program's in place, the money's in place, and the execution occurs. >> we're going to do what we can to help you. born free, hillary clinton is 100% behind this effort to eradicate transmission from mother to child. for more information on the
to say to punish the mayor of fort lee by blocking traffic across the ft. washington bridge? and if so, who? did someone tell david wildstein he should assume the call from kelly was not only to be honored but enjoyed as punishment for the little serbian. if not, who? did someone tell the lieutenant governor to put out word to the mayor of hoboken that she better back the favorite real estate deal of the governor or suffer consequences? and if not, who? who put together this protection racquet, who would have had the power to tell all these people working for governor christie that he wanted these things done in his interest? it's a great question. ? you want government to run this way, you're entitled to know who so you can thank that person. if not, a different way to run things is in order, don't you
think? good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes, we have a new development to report tonight on a story we first brought you yesterday, the biggest contractor in new jersey was fired by the state of new jersey. you'll oath see that reporting here, stick around. the congressional budget office released a report yesterday that kicked off the latest battle over obama care and the creation of a new talking point right before our eyes, you would have thought the mainstream media would have learned by now. >> we have breaking news on the fox news channel. the individual man date has been ruled unconstitutional. >> we just got an opinion. the individual mandateno