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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  October 2, 2009 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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if you want to do wisconsin, you go straight to the wtm. this is a perfectly harlless functional acronym in the the emotive internet came along. now wtf. lmao. overwhelming cybersnark, it de sided it will be known as the tourism federation of wisconsin. as the spokesperson, we didn't want to detract from its mission. what about the world taekwondo federation. or the while turkey federation? should zmae other countless organizations have to jump through hopes because some wise ache order a blog thinks their initials may not something dirty? seriously. wtf. >> kent, will you do the wild turkey sound for me? >> i will, just for you.
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there it is. >> we've known each other a long time and i don't take prozac or anti-depressants in large part because i know i can call you day or night and you will make that noise. >> i'll put that on an mp 3 player. >> i will make an award for that and it will only cost you $5,000. >> thank you. we will see you again tomorrow nature. "hardball" with chris matthews is up next. good night. two weeks' notice. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, big talks with bad guys. america and five other countries talked with iran today about nuclear weapons. we don't want them to have them. we think they're building them. we want them to stop. is talking to them going to get them to stop, or does it simply
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encourage them? and what happened at today's meeting? iran agreed to a second round of meetings, no surprise there. but also agreed to open its nuclear facility to international inspectors. president obama said late today after the meeting that he's giving iran two weeks to give inspectors unfettered access to that nuclear facility at qom. he also wants iran to show us concrete proof that it's going for peaceful use of nuclear power and to prove it, transfer its enriched uranium to a third country for conversion. so is president obama's policy of talking to the bad guys showing progress? we will hear from two members of congress who may well disagree. plus -- the president's leaving tonight for a wonderful copenhagen to pitch for chicago to host the 2016 olympics, but why is he going? does he think chicago's got a real chance? is he doing it because the mayor of chicago told him to? he's taking some heat from the usual suspects, and from some unusual ones. and the inside clinton book,
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former president bill clinton tapped one man to be his historian during his presidency, and now taylor branch has written a book about the unique access he had to the former president. he will be here, right here, to give us the scoop on what clinton thought about the monica lewinsky scandal and other items of interest. also, republicans are still pushing for democratic congressman alan grayson to apologize for saying the republicans want sick people to die quickly. sounds like grayson's not only not going to go down on his knees, he's still blasting away. should the democrats be copying's grayson's anatomy? we'll get to that in the "politics fix." finally, you'll never guess which republican congresswoman railed against a provision for school health clinics. okay. you probably can guess who she was. she's going -- she's doing her odd number again and that's in the "hardball sideshow," where some of these folks, by the way, should set up permanent tents. let's start with today's talks with iran. democratic congresswoman loretta
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sanchez joins us and republican congressman mike rogers of michigan is member of the intelligence committee as well. congressman rogers, you first, this question, has the president moved ahead today by staking out a rule, two weeks from now if iran has not given the international inspectors unfettered access to the facility we discovered in qom, we're going into action ourselves, it's going to come tough for them. what do you think of today's developments? >> unfortunately, it's just a little bit more of the same. you remember that september was the deadline where they were supposed to give all on their nuclear program. well, we haven't quite gotten there yet. we're getting close to being in october here. it's created a real problem. here's the other thing, chris, the president knew this when he gave his speech in cairo. he knew it when he was talking to the united nations last week and it's very, very tepid. it's created a whole bunch of problems in this one sense. iran knows if they just stall a little bit, they can continue, to continue to build to enrich uranium and that's what they've
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done all along. >> and you believe the president's not going to do anything about it? >> well, he hasn't shown me anything yet, even though he knew about this second facility a long time ago. and that's what i'm concerned about. as a matter of fact, they told the french they didn't want to get into all of that ugly iran stuff because they wanted to make sure that his, quote, image of success was protected. that is the wrong way to deal with a country like iran, who is determined to get a nuclear weapon. >> okay, let's talk about that but let's go to congresswoman sanchez. your thoughts about the president's performance today where he said two weeks' notice, and he also wants the iranians to ship their nuclear material to a third country for conversion for peaceful use. he wants hard evidence now, starting today, that they're going peaceful, that they're not going nuclear weapons. >> well, chris, first of all, i would have to agree that we can't trust iran, and they have certainly shown it at this point. and the problem is we have been working in a coalition trying to get all of the important countries that in some ways have been helping iran maybe to get
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to this technology or who have not put sanctions in the way that we need to, to be able to force some very strong sanctions against them. discussing this and telling iran, okay, now we know that you have it, we need to see it. by the way, we need to see everything. we want to see everything, and, yes, i think he's right when he says that he wants that uranium moved to a third country. that's very important with respect to what he's put forth. >> okay. i'm skeptical about a lot of this talk. let me go to congressman rogers, and then loretta sanchez, congresswoman, you can jump in here as well. the question is, do we really have the clout to stop iran from doing what it's doing? you know, you can talk about sanctions. i'm a very skeptical person about sanctions. i watched them for years against south africa. it wasn't until we really got tough that anything happened
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over there. sanctions, we wouldn't eat polish ham for about 40 years. that didn't do much good. i'm not a big believer. do you believe there's any way we can get the chinese and the russians on our side and really cut them off to the point where they're bleeding? >> i do. and as a matter of fact, i argue if you can continue to go through the united nations alone for this, we won't be successful because the chinese and the russians have watered down every resolution, they've stalled, they vetoed, threatened to veto. what we need to do is get our european allies. and by the way, when the french are saying we're not tough on iran, that tells you we're not doing enough here and get the european allies who are eager to do leadership on this and do very tough u.n. sanctions. especially refining gasoline. they can't refine gasoline. they have to import refined gasoline. you start attacking the things that will impact their economy right now, you'll bring them to their knees and more importantly you will send a message to all of the iranians that protested to the streets and said this is ridiculous. the world is watching. the world is with you. you don't want a nuclear iran. we don't want a nuclear iran. maybe we can work something out. >> who doesn't want a nuclear iran, you think the people in
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the streets don't want a nuclear iran? >> i think they don't want to be is isolated from the rest of the international community. >> you think they don't want a nuclear iran, the so-called reformers on the streets? >> i think they don't want to be isolated from the international community. any issue that gets us to that point with that particular group, we ought to be with them. they don't want to be isolated. this is an opportunity not to be isolated. >> there's a huge if here. that is when we start getting tough with iran, their nationalist hackles don't come up and they rally around the flag. i know it's a catch 22. my question is, what are we threatening them with in the end? do they ever think we will really attack them? congresswoman sanchez, do you think you will ever support an attack on iran? >> i think it would depend on what we have in our hands to do that with. obviously, we're engaged in two different wars right now, so the reality is that it's not just about an attack. it's about how can you sustain something because obviously they'll hit back.
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and who else will be with you? so i think one of the reasons why we're looking at dialogue, why we are looking at diplomacy and we're hoping that works, and if it doesn't, why we have been talking to our allies. and i think mike believes that sanctions will work. i believe that sanctions can work also. but only if these allies are with us. and they haven't been in the past. now, we've been talking to russia. they're just as worried about this nuclear issue with iran as we are, so that's a positive. but, yes, there are some wild cards out there. china, for example. we really don't know whether they're going to be with us if we put sanctions because in order to put sanctions, it's not just the european allies. by the way, that was when things went through them to iran. we need to make sure we have everybody lined up and we can put sanctions on. and that takes time. >> let me ask you, congressman rogers, is this -- i understand your thinking here. you want to get us together and lead the europeans, french, the british, et cetera, germans.
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but isn't sitting down with them and making this last college try with the iranians one way to get them to join our team so they can keep their left wing allies quiet in their own countries by saying we tried the peaceful route? isn't this a way to get to where you want to go? >> think about this big hub bub with the announcement and disclosure of the second facility and what happened today? we agreed to have more talks. >> no. why are you so tough on the president? the president said do what you want to do. he gave them two weeks' notice. >> i think the president is not being tough enough on iran. he needs to step it up. listen, this thing is happening. this is what worries me most, chris, it's not about the image of success for president obama. >> i'm not talking about that. >> if iran gets a nuclear weapon, that means turkey gets a nuclear weapon, saudi arabia gets a nuclear weapon. egypt gets a nuclear weapon. the danger and destabilizing factor of that is terrifying to me. what we need to do is say,
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listen, that is a nonstarter. what are we going to do today? you want the russians and chinese on board, go tough sanctions with the european allies. we can't wait for the u.n. >> you believe it's wrong for the president to try to bring our allies aboard by meeting with them today. you think there's some other way to get them to join in tough sanctions other than meeting? >> absolutely. the french president said this president isn't being tough enough on iran. that is a clear -- i would call that a clue. >> every time you have to make a joke, a cheap shot, you bring in the french. you're laughing. it's not funny. i know what you're doing here. every time you guys make a point, it's using the french to jump off from. it's not about a joke. it's about getting serious allies who are conservative governments in europe -- how many conservative governments do you have? >> when the french are saying it's not tough enough and it's a problem, that's right, it's not
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a joke. that means we ought to be concerned that our position in the world is degrading. we want to be leading. we need to be leading on this issue. there is so much at stake and a nuclear iran is dangerous for the world and dangerous for us and dangerous for the europeans. >> i know, i know. i have been hearing talk about sanctions against the iranians for years now and i always hear sanctions against somebody. all i know is we ended up going to war with iraq after all the sanctions. sanctions didn't stop two wars with iran -- with iraq rather. we went to war with afghanistan. we go to war. it seems like in the end that's what everybody's talking. >> chris -- >> would you go to war with iran? i'm asking both of you, would you ever support an american strike on iran? congressman rogers first, would you ever support one? >> don't ever say ever. you should never take it off the table. i think there are a lot of great things we can do before that's an option, but you can't take it off the table or you stop them from coming to the negotiations. >> so you're using war as a threat? >> i'm using sanctions as a
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threat. you're using war as a threat. >> i'm asking you. >> i'm saying leave it on the table. i'm just saying, there's a whole panoply of things you have put on the table. a military strike has to be one you would consider. doesn't mean what you're advocating for. i don't think ms. sanchez or myself would say that. >> i think this two weeks is a stupid thing to argue about. let me ask you, if the president gives two weeks to iranians and then gets on the track that congressman rogers says to get on, get the europeans together, our easier allies, and then go to a larger alliance and try to do a suffocating sanctions regime that really squeezes them on gasoline, refinement so they can't even move their cars over there. is that where you're at? >> well, we certainly have been talking to our allies, who have been talking to russia, who have been talking to china, to india. it's going to require the entire world if we're going to be doing sanctions. but i just want to go back to something my colleague said. way back when we were deciding
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whether to go to war with iraq, the fact of the matter is many of us thought iran was a bigger problem and unfortunately by now having used our resources in iraq, we are not in a position to use military force in iran. not for the long run. you can do a strike but then what? so the answer is we have to work on bringing the rest of the people of the world together with us to do sanctions. but more importantly, we should try, and we should give two weeks to the president barack obama to try to get -- to try to get our investigators in there and our inspectors in there. >> there's one little problem with your argument, okay, and you ought to take it to heart. your leaders in the democratic party rolled in 2002 and went with the president for the war in iraq for political reasons. they all did. john kerry did. hillary clinton did. chris dodd did. they all did. except for the president. they rolled. most of your leadership rolled for political reasons because it was easier to support the war than to fight it. you know why?
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because they're afraid they would be blamed if they didn't support the war. they chickened out. that's why you can't make that case anymore, because too many big shots in your party supported the war. >> chris, i certainly can make the case because i voted against that war. and my number one reason was because i worried about what was going on with iran. well, we just have to stand up and we have to tell people what we believe and we have to vote against it when it comes forward. >> well, you have got too many softies in the leadership of your party that just want to get on deck with every war that stops. thank you, congresswoman sanchez. i love the big issue -- okay. let's do the same old french jokes again. the fact of the matter is europe is moving to the right. we've got a lot of allies over there. let's get together. two weeks is hardly worth arguing about. why don't we come back in two weeks and see what the president has what he's going to do here or just more talk. coming up -- president obama's heading to copenhagen hoping to win the 2016 olympics for his chicago hometown. is this smart politics or is this hometown politics, or is he doing it because the mayor told him to? let's find out when we come back. you're watching "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." republicans are out there criticizing president obama for heading off to copenhagen tonight to lobby for chicago to host the 2016 olympics. that's eight years from now, when issues like health care reform are all heating up here in washington. here's the latest line of attack from house majority leader john boehner. it's today. >> while the president is in copenhagen tomorrow, the american people are going to wake up and find out that hundreds of thousands more americans have lost their jobs. the administration's trillion dollar stimulus plan clearly is not working. >> so is the president right to make a personal pitch for
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chicago? we have joining us eugene robinson from "the washington post," used to dealing with bigger issues than this, and michael smerconish -- look at this guy. he has a phillies costume on. congratulations to the phillies. hometown team division champions in the national league east for the third straight year. now they've got to play the rockies, right, michael? >> sooner or later, yeah. i was afraid you wouldn't say it if i didn't wear the jacket. >> i don't mind a little coaxing, but thank you for that. i wore the hat the whole time they were in the series. look, let's go to the big question, is the president looking too much like a babbitt, a booster, a local yokel by going to chicago? you first, gene? >> am i supposed to play the role of a republican here tonight? >> no. >> i'm balanced. i would have skipped the trip. basically because i think it's a win for obama if chicago, his hometown, gets the olympics. i don't think they're going to get them. i think rio is leading. >> but this is a close call and the word gets out they lost the bid to bring the olympics to
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chicago and to america in 2016 and it goes to rio instead, would he be blamed then for not trying? >> no. >> is this a try or a win? >> no, he wouldn't be blamed for not trying. this is the first time an american president has gone. >> tony blair apparently went to singapore before the 2012 olympics and he won it for london, michael. apparently it worked, this boosterism. show up, you win it. you win it for your country. >> listen, his skill set is such that he thrives on the world stage. why would you make the case not to go when potentially there's $20 billion at stake. if the issue were different, if it were a widget factory in china that we had the prospect of relocating to illinois, everyone would say the president should make that trip. so why should it be different because it's the olympics? and, chris, there's going to be criticism of him on everything. but this is -- this is a phony -- no disrespect to gene, but this is a phony argument, and it's reminiscent of when he
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wanted to deliver a speech on accountability in schools and some people said oh, we can't have that. there will be indoctrination involved. you got to pick and choose your battles. i think the gop looks poor for taking him on this issue. >> isn't jobs a big issue in this country, gene? i hope by 2016 we're out of this recession but isn't the idea of being a booster, a member of the jcs of the lion's club, isn't that very republican to be out there pushing for the hometown? >> it is to be pushing for the hometown. most americans don't live in chicago. i mean, i just wonder -- >> it would be nice to have it here. >> they would like to have it here. certainly more convenient. i just wonder how it plays politically across the country? and i wonder if the republicans get any traction with the -- obama plays while america burns kind of -- >> 24 hours? >> 24 hours. >> michael, let's get back to your larger point so i think we can broaden the discussion. are the republicans attacking on too many fronts?
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are they being gnats? >> chris, i can tell you as one who spends literally six hours a day answering telephone calls on two different national radios, phone calls from across the country, the mere mention of the president's name will draw negative telephone calls regardless of the issue from certain quarters. and i don't think that the president can govern by worrying about what that fringe element is going to say on tomorrow's program. so for that -- and the other point that needs to get made, this is air force one. this is not the three of us flying coach on us airways. so whatever he needs to do, it's at his disposal all the way there and all the way back. he will be back for dinner tomorrow night. >> you know what i think, and let's get to the larger point. let's get out of the world of the olympics for a second. it seems to me, he's going over. it's done. spilt milk. he will be back tomorrow. we can argue about something else. but it does seem like republicans are turning on their tommy guns and hitting him on every front. he's given the iranians to clean up, show up and give us an unfettered look at their facilities in qom.
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what more do they want? ten days notice? two weeks! >> that's hard to argue. the approach of the republican party has been to throw everything against the wall they possibly can and see what sticks. >> and who is this woman bachmann? i don't want to say anything against her. i will let you guys say it. a congresswoman, she represents people. i look up to her for being elected and for running and all of those good things. but she's out there saying this call for clinics in schools. i have been pushing for, for years. i want every school with good clinics and dental and everything and vaccinations and everything. by the time they're out of public school, they're healthy and used to good health and it's good for everybody. she says this is a backdoor to secret abortions and she's just come up with this. >> that's crazy. maybe you can't say it but i can say it. that's crazy. >> why is there a tenor out there which anything thrown at the president will score a point back home? this guy mike rogers hitting him for giving iran two weeks' notice, which i think is pretty tough.
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and now somebody out there screaming, abortion, abortion, abortion. i care about that issue, but i don't like being tricked. >> as smirk said, there is an element, and it's not a majority or even a majority of the republican party, but there's an element that is receptive to any criticism with barack obama and that denies and in some sense legitimacy -- >> i think it's pin the tail on the donkey. that's all it is. it's high school. your thought? >> chris, it's also a fund-raising vehicle. if it's joe wilson shouting out, "you lie." if it's this guy grayson in florida. i predict he will raise $300,000 for people in support of that view. michele bachmann, the more you run that image of her on cable television tonight, the more money she will raise. they have to run every two years. i think they get rewarded is what i'm trying to say. >> that's the price we pay, michael. i hope the phillies get to the series with the yankees. that will be the big show of our lifetime. thank you, eugene robinson. thank you, michael smerconish. up next -- who's the funniest guy in washington is
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like what is the tallest building in scranton? no exception here. you're watching "hardball." only on the "sideshow." we'll be right back.
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back to "hardball." time for the "sideshow." up first, who is the biggest joker in washington, as in as i said before, what's the tallest building in scranton? turns out it's austin goolsbee, a member of the white house economic advisers. what a jester he is. last night he won last night's funniest celebrity in washington contest. here's a joke from his monologue on who the republicans should run against obama in 2012. >> on the republican side, you know, i don't know. i kind of think they might do better to look outside of washington at the governors.
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there's a lot of governors. there's obviously sarah palin wing nut from alaska who's a former governor/quitter and you just cannot -- you cannot rule out that by 2012 there will be a warrant for her arrest, that she will be the nominee. >> well, speaking of governor palin, she's about to have her book come out which somebody wrote for her anyway, and is already selling as a best seller. so like liberace of old, that flamboyant pianist, she's laughing or snow sledding all the way to the bank. next, new health scare. last night on the floor of the u.s. house of representatives, republican congresswoman michele bachmann warned of a provision in the bill for health clinics in schools, something i have always pushed for health clinics in public schools. let's catch her fearmongering. >> the bill goes on to say what's going to go on. comprehensive primary health services, physicals, treatment of minor, acute, chronic medical conditions, referrals to follow
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up for specialty care. is that abortion? does that mean that someone's 13-year-old daughter can walk into a sex clinic, have a pregnancy test done, be taken away to the local planned parenthood abortion clinic, have their abortion, be back and go on -- go home on the school bus that night? >> wow. well, in wacky world you say school nurse, the member of congress starts shouting abortion. school nurse/abortion? secret abortion. that's what's happening in this country. i used to be able to kiss off the nuts on the internet, bloggers huddling in their basement pushing revolution. the trouble is those crazies in their basement are now being read by right wing staffers on capitol hill who feed this stuff to their bosses. and i'm being kind. the nonpartisan group politico fact trashed this conspiracy theory of bachmann of school nurses pushing secret abortions three months ago stating there's no language in the main versions of the bill out there right now that would allow school-based clinics to provide abortions, nothing.
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there's nothing to this. it's completely made up by the wackies. and, finally, our big number tonight honors my former boss, president jimmy carter. jimmy carter library museum reopened today in atlanta after extensive renovations and today just happens to be the nobel prize winner's 85th birthday, jimmy carter. tonight my pleasure to light up 85 candles for president jimmy carter. 85 years old today. tonight's "big number." up next -- bill and hillary clinton are re-emerging as power players in this obama presidency. they're back. coming up, the clinton confidante that recorded hundreds of hours of conversations with bill clinton for his new book "the clinton tapes." he's coming here. taylor branch. what a story. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. bachmann.
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president obama is due to land in copenhagen to pitch for
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the 2016 olympics. the favorite to win the competition competing against tokyo, madrid and rio de janeiro. and on letterman tonight, he revealed that he was the victim of a $2 million extortion plot based on affairs he had with female employees. the accuse extortionist is now in custody in new york. some shipments of the flu vaccines will be delayed this year. production of the swine flu vaccine has slowed delivery in some areas. the full delivery is expected by november. federal authorities say no criminal charge will be file in the case of a facebook poll asking if president obama should be killed. it was posted by a giuliani. there was no intent to harm the president. now back to "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." president bill clinton gave extraordinary access to a story to taylor branch. hell of a historian. he wrote all about the martin luther king years. during his eight years of the presidency, he got to talk to president clinton which was all off the record until now. the tapes are in clinton's possession. after each meeting with the president, taylor branch very cleverly spoke his own recollections into a tape recorder. this is how you do it. it's called trade craft. and they form the basis for this book called "the clinton tapes," which i tell you will sell. it's wrestling history with the president. thank you, buddy. this is an amazing story. i know you like bill clinton in many ways but i think you have journalist scepticism here. that's the part i want here right now. what is the story -- we only have six or seven minutes but there's two big questions people have about bill clinton. of course, there are clinton lovers out there. but there are some people who wonder about a couple of things.
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not that he had this dalance with monica lewinsky but his inability to deal with it ever. what was his way of dealing with it? was it, i cracked up, i blew it? how does he explain how he let his presidency get screwed up? >> well, first of all, he was frustrated that his presidency was off course and besieged by tabloid scandals, of which the lewinsky was the only one that proved any substance. he forfeited the attempt to rise above the cynicism of the tabloid era by validating all of that cynicism with monica lewinsky and his only explanation was that he felt sorry for himself that he was trying so hard to be a good president and all anybody wanted to talk about was file-gate and travel-gate and whether or not he killed vince foster. >> did he think that people -- let's get to some of the more extreme charges against him. did he think anybody thought -- anybody real -- i know we talk about the nut jobs here at night all the time. but does anybody really think that bill clinton put a hit on his friend vince foster? does anybody really think that?
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>> no, but it stayed in the news for six years. >> what news? >> it's astonishing. >> what newspapers carried that? >> well, first of all -- >> the clinton chronicles on fox or somewhere, yeah. >> ken starr could make stories about it all the time. it was an official investigation of the whitewater special counsel. >> i forgot, you're right. the guy who shoots the cantaloupes. >> and the only purpose of that was to lead towards impeachment, which, of course, is where it wound up. that's what you have a special counsel for. hillary told him the biggest mistake of his presidency, which he ultimately accepted, was to agree to the original whitewater counsel. >> because that gave ken starr his license to hunt him -- >> forever. and there's no check and balance on it. it destabilized the checks and balance system. there was no judicial or legislative check on that and it didn't work. so it -- it got to the point where he confessed to me that he couldn't even supervise his own executive branch. >> okay. here's what i don't understand.
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i at the time, i have always been tough on clinton. i'm tough on everybody. i always thought the answer was not impeachment and certainly not conviction. some resolution of any kind would have been fine. say something. national turnip day, they could make national bill clinton shouldn't have done it day. that would have been easy and it would have been over with. i heard a horrible story recently without naming names, henry hyde was ready to finesse it, pass a resolution and let it go, wasn't going for impeachment until somebody in the white house dropped a dime on him and put out word he had an affair 30 years before. he said, all right, you want to play that way, i'm going for impeachment. that's the story i heard. >> i don't believe that. >> you don't? >> no. they didn't have anything else to do. they impeached clinton even after losing the 1998 election. >> that was a political call because they had him. they had him on obstruction of justice, they thought.
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they thought they had him on perjury. >> the senators were furious at them. they thought this was the same kind of stuff that's going on now. we don't have anything else, let's throw all of the mud. we have taken our hit in the election. we've become the first party to lose seats. >> you're giving a political announcement. did they think he was guilty of perjury? did the republicans think he was -- >> did they think he would be convicted in the senate? no. therefore, they were just going to -- and he wasn't. the senate republicans were mad at him. in fact, one of the surprising things to me that hadn't been picked up yet, clinton said his source in the senate who was telling him that the republicans were furious with the house managers was richard shelby, one of the most anti-clinton senators, but he was a prosecutor and said there's no case here. they know they're not going to win. >> i was looking at the time on this show, what was provable wasn't impeachable, and what was impeachable, obstruction of justice charge, wasn't provable. his secretary wasn't going to talk and monica wasn't going to talk if there was a crime, if
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there was a crime. >> so we went through all of that for nothing. >> let me ask you about bill clinton himself. it seems to me he was a genius. he's really smart. and i've always wondered about something personally, he will be interviewing you or talking to you and yet he uses the extra 40 iq points to do cross word puzzles or to play hearts with you. what is it about a guy with that incredible talent, why he doesn't apply it directly to the presidency, for example? why he has to always be using his brain to sort of slice off some of it for other uses. what is that about? >> he fidgets. he has a lot of extra energy. it's almost like one subject was not enough for him. it wasn't always that way. there would be sometimes he would be talking to me about a lot of things and he would -- you could see the strain in his face of the one subject, bosnia, kosovo, dealing with the republicans, dealing with bob dole. we talked about bob dole almost every session.
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part of him loved bob dole. >> i like that. >> he begrudged bob dole and trent lott and even newt gingrich much less he complained about the press because he idealized the press and to him political opposition, he said, if i were on the other side, i would be doing the same thing and that's what we talked about. >> why did he hate the press? >> because he felt that he looked up to the press and he thought they should be trying to do the agenda of the country, but instead they were falling in behind the republicans who were trying to do the tabloid stories. >> most people watching the show -- i'm not talking about our show because i have a tough sort of attitude, but they would say that the mainstream broadcast nets, abc, nbc, cbs, are all sort of somewhat left of center they would argue. certainly conservatives would say, they're not lefty. they're sort of establishment liberal. why would he think that the liberal establishment reflected in the news people's opinions would be anti-clinton? >> that's what -- that's what drove him nuts. but more specifically, "the new york times" and "the washington post" drove the whitewater
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scandal and he always looked up to them, and he thought they were sucked into some sort of tabloid netherworld that was detracting from his agenda for the country, which he, and his mission that he saw was to try to rescue the country from years of cynicism where people thought politics was good for nothing and only a threat. we're still kind of mired in that. and lewinsky, you know, forfeited his opportunity on it. >> did she feel he was a great president? >> i think he feels he lost the chance to be a great president and that he showed some good direction and had some achievements that will be put more in balance later. >> does it bother him that barack obama called him a nontransformative president? >> if barack obama -- if that's what he said, haven't heard him say that, but i'm sure it would bother him. >> he didn't list him among the transformative presidents. >> okay. >> do you think there's a missing gadget with bill clinton, with his personal iq and so many people like him, with all of his charm and brains and everything that seems to be
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going for him, there's something that stops him from being really one of the great leaders of our time, is there something there? >> yeah, us. >> us? >> our country. our country didn't support his agenda that much. we were all -- all caught up on whitewater too. >> so everybody's out of step with johnny? >> everybody's out of step with johnny. we're responsible for the country and we got to fix it out. >> so it's us. the name of the book is "the clinton tapes" by taylor branch. i'm telling you, you got to read this book. because, because this is bill clinton, the most fascinating guy we have been covering in a long time. up next -- if republican congressman joe wilson won't apologize on the house floor for shouting "you lie" on the house floor, should alan grayson apologize? of course he shouldn't. one guy is wrong and one guy is right. "politics fix" is next. (announcer) every woman has many sides express each one more with downy simple pleasures feel more calm with new downy lavender serenity
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we're dealing with people on the other side who are utterly unscrupulous. these are foot-dragging, knuckle-dragging, neanderthals who know nothing but no. >> we're back. that was u.s. congressman, democratic congressman alan grayson of florida speaking about his republican counterparts, who he calls knuckle-draggers. when grayson said on the floor that the republican plan for health care reform was to die
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quickly, republicans demanded an apology. at least they pretended to. it doesn't sound like they're going to get one. time now for the "politics fix." jim warrens, msnbc, our contributor and also writes for the huffington post. and roger simens, chief political comments for politico. jim, i know you got a scoop on the copenhagen thing. hold it for a second. let's talk about this big thing here, grayson, is he going to teach the democrats how to do it? he just comes out and says it. >> he's like a guy on crack who always searches for a bigger high and he knew he was going to go too far. which he did when he said health care in america was a holocaust. >> which is the way republicans deal with it. >> yeah. there are some people in america, a lot of them live in florida, who take that word very seriously. >> it's better to not make comparisons to hitler on any grounds. any grounds. >> this is a congressman that won by four percentage points. >> in orlando. >> in orlando. he's the 12th richest person in congress, $31 million. that's twice as much as the late senator ted kennedy. >> that's ahead of above almost all, seven or eight senators. >> twice as much as john mccain. twice as much as the late senator kennedy.
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>> you looked at the list too, didn't you? >> yeah. >> i looked at it too. >> he only won by four percentage points. >> i looked at the money too. we're all fascinated with that. what do you think, jim? this guy has the cajones to get out there and swing away. when he asked for apologies, he said i will give you more. i don't like the way the health care treatment in this country works. don't make reference to the third reich when you're doing it, of course. but isn't he right to just get out there and stick it? >> yeah, you know, as a devoted viewer of c-span and many, many hours each week of proceedings which i personally covered back in the '90s, i think things are way, way, way too civil among the folks in both bodies. it wasn't too long ago that you had duels. shot ringing out. but questions out of the prime minister in england. that said, it's not a
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justification for rank stupidity and loose use of the word, you know, holocaust, but i also do think that we're a little bit culpable here in the way that we can unintentionally reward and legitimize rank stupidity and even unintentional gratuitous and harmful remarks. >> i don't always take sides, i'll take sides here, i think this guy is right. for this reason, i think the trouble over health care is that the republicans have won a simple argument, stand pat looks good. the president won't say what he wants, they have been able to say, what we have is pretty good, leave it alone. and that do no harm argument is probably what if this thing goes down what wins. and that's why the democrats have got to say we're not
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healthy, we got millions of people without health care, millions of people having their health care denied when they think they have it and we have got to fix it. they have to make that argument. >> they have to make that argument, but let's not forget, the congressional government office dealt a huge blow to president obama by saying change was not necessarily going to be better. it was going to add to the deficit and ever since then, he has been back pedalling and trying to get a measure through that would not add to the deficit. >> he swore he won't. >> which is hugely difficult. you're going to make up $650 billion in waste, fraud and abuse. why hasn't anybody thought of that before? >> 10% -- reagan came along in 1980 and campaigned, well, i'll get rid of that part. we're going to see how the president's going to balance the budget by bringing the olympics to chicago. (announcer) that ball is going, going, gone!
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the "new york times" reporting tonight. john ensign of nevada is in deeper doo-doo than he was. he was contacted trying to get a job for the top washington aid douglas hansen whose wife he was having sex with and he was trying to get the guy off his back. jim warren, this is a problem.
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he is using his office to cover up a little hanky panky. make it official. >> keyword there was cover up once again, d.c. cover-ups much worse than the original crime. and you look at the quotes of about an hour arrest so go, that senator coburn saying on the record, something to the effect of, you know, john did something stupid and then exacerbated the situation by a series of mistakes. and what's most amazing is trying to park the husband of the woman you're having an affair of back in nevada and it turns out he ends up being a lobbyist. there is a comment from that fellow himself that he and ensign knew full well that they were violating lobbying ethics rules. and they simply didn't care. >> clinton was trying to get a job for monica to farm her out.
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at the u.n., everywhere. >> the problem being, what ensign did was a cover up. if you're a sitting senator and you go to a firm and say give a job to my friend, give a $100,000 contract to my friend and then that firm has a bill before congress, and says we need your vote, what are you going to say to that firm? yes. >> that's the problem with going with the hanky panky and getting in the market with it. who got the president to go to copenhagen tonight, you say, you can report? >> generally speaking, accumulation of folks, obviously we know that richard m. daly, david axelrod, rahm emanuel, obviously were all trying to make the case for obama to go and he clearly was not absolutely totally convinced and all throughout, i have been wondering what exactly the