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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 2, 2009 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

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nobody's happy. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews from washington. leading off tonight, fire on the left, fire on the right. did he make the case? it is not hard to find criticism of president obama's speech last night on afghanistan. democrats don't want to send more troops and republicans don't like talk about setting a date for withdrawal. we talk to lawmakers on both sides. the white house party crashers story got more interesting. savannah goouthrie obtained e-mails. the white house staff is accepting responsibility for not doing everything they could to make sure those people did not get in.
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they are going to make sure white house staff are posted alongside the secret service to check off the list of people invited properly to the white house. a big development there this afternoon. mike huckabee's troubles got worse. the coordinator for his political action committee in arkansas resigned of huckabee's granting of clemency for the man who killed four police in washington state. does this give sarah palin the field to herself. gay marriage fails in a state where advocates thought they had a real shot, new york state. check out this case of chair throwing politics. it is not a fight over health care or afghanistan. a parliamentary session gone bad in argentina. first, i have gotten tough calls from parents of cadets and former cadets at west point my
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saying last night the president going to speak up there to maybe the enemy camp. i was talking about the skepticism i saw on the faces in the crowd as president obama spoke. how west point was where president bush went in 2002 to make his most hawkish speech before the iraq war. i have heard too many politicians say that was taken out of context to explain something they wish they hadn't said. let me say to the cadets, their parents, former cadets and everyone who cares about this country and those who defend it. i used the wrong words and worse than that i said something that is just not right. i deeply apologize. those who watch me regularly probably got the military up at west point was a skeptical audience for obama given his strong position in iraq. i was wrong to make that conclusion based on the lack of applause and apparent enthusiasm. cad
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cadets, one former cadet and a friend of mine told me cadets are not supposed to show reaction to a speaker. he reminded me soldiers in training want wars to be fought effectively and ended as quickly as possible. i had no reason to assume the cadets at west point are more hawkish than the president. people who have watched me over the years know i think of my strong devotion to this country and strong gratitude to those who serve. because our military is so good and true i want the civilians who make the policy to get them right in this country's best possible interest. it is something we are allowed to argue about in this country. whenever i meet someone with a service record i say thank you for your service. they know i say it and i hope they know i mean it. to president obama and the criticism he is facing from the left and the right. i spoke with democratic congressman jack murtha of
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pennsylvania chairman on the subcommittee on defense appropriations. mr. murtha, the president wants 30,000 more troops to go to afghanistan and basically get the job done and begin to withdraw them a year and a half from now. does that make sense to you? >> well, what i'm concerned about is not the strategy because i was just in afghanistan over the weekend and i think it's probably the reverse of what we did in iraq. they are trying to help people. they are trying to not kill people. what i worry about is contractors, i worry about the cost and i worry about the fact that i'm not sure that there's as much a threat to our national security as they're indicating. we're going to look into that before we have hearings on the money. our debt, our national debt, chris, is going to be $800 billion. the interest on the debt. so we've got a lot of concerns here and the president said last night in a little meeting we had before he made his tv
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appearance, he said we are going to work something out on the pay. i'm looking forward to trying to work that out. >> mr. murtha, you are a combat veteran from vietnam. do you think it makes sense to send our forces to defeat the taliban in afghanistan that it will somehow defeat the al qaeda forces in pakistan? it strikes me as a rubik's cube. >> this is what we are worried about. al qaeda is not only in pakistan but all over the world. taliban worked with al qaeda. i worry that there is not that threat to us. all of us want to make sure there is no threat to the united states. all of us realize we are in afghanistan in the first place because of a threat to the united states. i'm not convinced the threat in afghanistan is the key. if we can't get to pakistan and i hope the president is going to address this, make sure the pakistanis are doing everything
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they can. you have to work with india to reduce pressure on the pakistanis. this is a very complicated thing and very costly operation. it costs, we estimate, $400 for a gallon of fuel and there's only 10% literacy rate in afghanistan. we have a lot of problems facing us. 104,000 contractors already in afghanistan in addition to the 68,000 troops. we are going to have more troops, chris, than the russians had in afghanistan. >> do you think the american people should be taxed more to pay for this war, this surge? >> i think we should have been paying for the war the whole time. i voted against every one of bush's tax cuts because i felt we should have been paying for the last war. the deficit is a real concern to me. the fact we are losing our economic edge all over the world because of the money we're spending overseas when we've got so many needs in this country. we've got a lot of ways to go.
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there is consternation on the floor. people are concerned about the direction it is going. as i told rahm emanuel when i left that meeting, rahm, the president did a good a job he could do but i'm still not convinced we need to send these troops and there is an achievable goal and how do we measure the goal? those are the things that worry me. >> when you read the newspaper articles that leak out, the vice president joe biden and rahm emanuel are on one side and the former first lady the secretary of state hillary clinton and the military are on the other side. would you have been with biden arguing for a different course had you been on the inside? >> one of the things they are doing talking to general mcchrystal, they are putting more emphasis on training the afghans. this is something joe biden was interested in in the first place. they had 50% of the people they needed to train the afghans.
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that is a crucial part. the other part that is just as important is how they treat the afghans to win their respect. i said general mcchrystal, there is no way you can do this. you are not going to have three years. you have a lot less time. if the president makes his decision to increase the troops you have a lot less time. the british general understood that. he was a two star working for general mcchrystal. he said we've got to the spring. we have to show progress. >> are you concerned the more troops we send to afghanistan the higher the casualty rate. could we be creating to put it blunty more targets for the taliban and ieds? >> historically, the british were forced out the russians were forced out. the more troops you put out there the more targets there are going to be. the main thing is this essential to our national security? is al qaeda so dangerous they are affecting our national
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security? we are going to have hearings with the intelligence people and with the secretary of state and secretary of defense. we are trying to make sure we cross every "t." then the cost of it. we are going to be careful about approving the money until we see exactly how much money the president is going to spend. >> thank you very much. u.s. congressman jack murtha of pennsylvania. thank you, sir. >> nice talking to you, sir. >> we bring in republican congressman mike pens. you heard jack murtha on the appropriations committee. >> hi, chris. >> what do you make -- he made a strong surmise, he wonders whether afghanistan is in our essential national interest. do we essentially have to fight this war? >> one of the high points of the president's speech is he did take the time to walk the american people back through the
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story of our military engagement in afghanistan. the president said last year afghanistan is a war of necessity. he took us all the way back to september 11th when we were attacked from that country. i don't think too many americans are confused about whether or not al qaeda or their previous hosts the taliban represent a serious threat to the united states of america. yesterday despite my concern about the talk of timelines and artificial dates for withdraw and war surtaxes, i commended the president for calling for reinforcements and i'm grateful he did so. >> what do you make of that basic arc of 30,000 more troops speedily brought over there to serve the cause in the current counterinsurgency strategy of general mcchrystal but already the word we are going to begin to draw down in the summer, in fact, in july of 2011. we are in the internet age. we can only assume the taliban learned about that within
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seconds. they are going to hoopla, we have to hold out to the summer of '11 and it is ours. are you worried about that? >> yeah. i think it is -- i think it is very problematic any time in a field of battle to tell the enemy when you will quit the fight. i raised that issue with secretary gates today at the foreign affairs hearing. >> yeah. >> he himself, chris, as i'm sure you know, as recently as september spoke against timelines and exit strategies. i rather like your characterization last night if the taliban would put up a post it note and said if their surge is beginning now, our surge will begin in july of 2011. what we ought to do. what secretary gates said as recently as september is we ought to make a commitment to win, provide our soldiers the
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reinforcements they need and send an unambiguous message we are going to achieve a decisive victory. >> congressman, here is senator john mccain at that hearing with secretary gates. let's listen. >> you either have a winning strategy and do as we did in iraq and then once it succeeded then we withdraw or we -- as the president said, we will have a date of beginning withdrawal of july 2011. which is it? it's got be one or the other. it has to be the appropriate conditions or an arbitrary date. you can't have both. >> as i suggested we will have a thorough review in december 2010. if it appears the strategy is not working and we are not going be able to transition in 2011 we will take a hard look at the strategy itself. congressman, i said something else last night. i want to know if you agree with that, i don't think you will,
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you can't repot afghanistan. it is in that part of the world. we know about the khyber pass and it is a renegade country. do we have a chance of changing the nature of that country in the reasonable near term? can we do it in that period? jack murtha was raising the question, we might be able to make a change in ten years but the american people will not submit to a ten-year war plan. your view. >> you know what? i think we are talking about an extraordinary people when we talk about the afghan people. i have been to afghanistan several times. i have been to the khyber pass. this is a proud and independent nation. i don't think we need to change the character of afghanistan. rather, what we need to do is -- and the president alluded to this, we need to stand up the domestic security forces sufficient to protect themselves
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and everything possible on the front end to defeat the taliban and defeat al qaeda before we head home. i really do believe that the lessons of september 11th and frankly the lessons of charlie wilson's war is we need to finish the job there. we need to give our soldiers first and then the afghan people the resources to stand up against the extremists of the taliban or al qaeda. i'm believing that the counterinsurgency strategy the president embraced last night will work if we give it a chance in afghanistan every bit as much, chris, as it worked in iraq. we are employing the basic surge strategy. i appreciate the president for embracing that. i hope we give it a chance to succeed. >> i appreciate you coming on. the white house admits it
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did not do all it could do to help the secret service keeping the wrong people out. they are going to be standing guard at every social occasion alongside the secret service. big development. just broke late this afternoon 20 minutes before we went on the air. the full story with savannah guthrie. you are watching "hardball" only on msnbc. e can do the small thi, the big things, just about everything... right inside your gm dealership. find out more at bonus on every single purchase. what you do with it is up to you. what will you get back with your cash back? now more than ever, it pays to discover.
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i'm, you know, new to this sort of social scene in washington having commuted all these years. so i just assumed they were part of the, you know, the social fabric of washington. but i didn't know who they were until i saw them on television. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was joe biden explaining
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the advantages of commuting all these years and not knowing people like these and they were basically crashers. the couple that crashed the white house state dinner for the prime minister of india. the white house deputy chief of staff sent out this memo. titled i love this formality, review of white house procedures during the state dinner and new guidelines. after reviewing our actions it is clear that the white house did not do efg we could have done to assist the united states secret service in ensuring that only invited guests enter the complex. white house staff were walking back and forth outside between the check points helping guests and were available to the secret service throughout the evening but clearly we can do more and we will do more. where is this going? savannah guthrie and eugene robinson, a pulitzer prize winning journalist worthy of
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this. savannah, the deputy chief of staff put this baby out. not the chief of staff. your thoughts on what they are up to now? >> reporter: this is an interesting development. monday the first opportunity all of us had to ask the white house about this on camera robert gibbs made a point to say they weren't examining their procedures. the secret service acknowledged the error. it was a secret service problem alone essentially and they weren't going to do a review of any social secretary procedures could have exacerbated the problem or could help them on the other hand. gibbs softened that the next day on the "today" show saying we want to be helpful. now on the third day we have this from deputy chief of staff saying we are going to have new procedures and put social secretary staff at the checkpoints to be fair, the social staff were around. they were mingling around in between the checkpoints and were available.
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there was a breakdown here. one that may have not happened perhaps, speculating, if there had been social secretary staff at the checkpoint. >> what did the white house say? did they say anything about the report from roxanne roberts who covers these events from the "washington post" saying the evening of she went up to two white house staffers and told both of them there were interlopers in the room. how do they explain the fact they got advanced warning of these crashers? >> reporter: basically up until today they have been putting off those questions and underscoring it was a secret service error. there is no question about that. the secret service acknowledged passed these people through looking at the guest list and not seeing them on it. the salahis say they had their i.d.s checked three times and were allowed to go through.
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basically the white house has underscored the fact that was a secret service error. this is the first acknowledgement that the social secretary's office may have played a role here. >> what i find interesting as always is power. i see here if you read this memorandum from the deputy chief of staff, rahm emanuel's chief of staff, jim messina says i met with the office of the social secretary with the lead on the event to review their procedures thereby establishing the decisions and discipline will come from the top. >> yeah, right. they will come from the top. this is embarrassing. this is a glitch. you can kind of understand how it might happen at a first state dinner. it really shouldn't have happened and it shouldn't happen again. doesn't it make sense to have someone from the social secretary's office there were
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the list in case a huge democratic donor forgot his driver's license. >> let me try to remind you because you are an old pro like me and i'm almost as much as of a pro from a different perspective, savannah, it is issues like this that seem small to the public that cause a real problem down the road. it seems like they were smart to deal with it today. back when i worked in a white house, the jimmy carter white house, burt lance got in trouble. everyone circled the wagons, including the late jody powell. everyone got ticked at the press for continuing to pound on this issue. there became a personal rift between the people working for the president and the people covering the president even though it seemed like a small issue. is this why they had to pop the boil and they had to move to smarten out the operation? >> reporter: i think so. the posture we had on monday
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where they were taking no responsibility whatsoever, not making the quite unremarkable statement they will look at every procedure, it extended the story for a few days. instead of the focus on this couple that allegedly crashed the party or secret service people asked questions what about the social secretary. why was she a guest at the dipper? there was a tough piece in the "washington post" about the social secretary. they all realized we don't have to say it is all our fault but we can do better. the deputy chief of staff trying to get a lid on this and get this story behind them. there is a lot of frustration we are all still talking about it. >> somebody made it difficult. earlier today we got the word that the white house basically used executive privilege to deny desiree rogers the social secretary the personal option of going to the hill to testify
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tomorrow. that would have been the big story in your paper and across the country. >> they have preevented that story. >> by fixing the problem. the lights are on and somebody is home. >> the lights are on. >> the piece is about desiree rogers that will continue to get good press. savannah guthrie calmly on the story. i know there is a tempest at the white house. thank you very much. eugene robinson, thank you, sir, for handling this in pulitzer fashion. google releases the buzz worthy names in the past year. the names people searched. how you drop in importance over the year. it is kind of painful, actually. we are going to jump to that in "the sideshow." there's a hospital where technology has a healing touch. there's a factory giving old industries new life.
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back to "hardball." time for "the sideshow." it is year-end list time. google put out its list of the buzz worthy people and topics of 2009. the 15-minute list. the people who had their andy warhol episode of fame without meaning to. number four, john edwards, news of the campaign affair only got worse in '09. number three, rod blagojevich. look for him in 2010 when he faces his corruption trial. south carolina's and south america's governor mark sanford. taking the top rise, bernie madoff. the man who came to symbolize corruption. love that name madoff as in made off with the money. google with falling fastest. people who have gotten fewer searches of their name. number five, sarah palin, though
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i bet her stock will rise again soon. nudging her out at number four, barack obama, and the fastest falling search term this year, you might have guessed it. john mccain. they ended their campaigns in 2008 which probably accounts for the loss of online interest. next, think the debate over health care is out of control. check out this scene at a local parliament in argentina yesterday. this is after the legislature's presidential election, members of the new president's own party called him a traitor as most of the votes came from the other party. what a picture. are mike huckabee's days as a presidential contender over? is he huck-a-was. the guy who shot the police officers in washington state got gunned down himself. does that open the door for sarah palin on the right? you are watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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i'm matt nesto with your cnbc market wrap. the dow slipping despite an upbeat report from the federal reserve. down 19 points, the s&p up a fraction, the nasdaq up nine points. employment reports show mild improvement on the jobs report. the beige book shows a moderate uptick on consumer spending and construction. the dollar picked up lost ground intraday against the euro and yen. a dip in oil prices weighing in on stocks as americans pinch their pennies. retailers mostly higher on a strong showing for sales over
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the thanksgiving weekend. amazon up again after a tracking company said online spending on cyber monday was up 5%. verizon shares slightly higher after at&t dropped its lawsuit over the coverage maps in those new ads. that is it from cnbc. we are first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." the murder of four police officers out in washington state last weekend is a tragedy, of course, and while our thoughts we rain focused on their families and community and loss of life there is a delicate political issue for mike huckabee who granted clemency to the dead suspect shot by police and assumed to be the person who committed the killings of the police officers.
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he commuted his sentence in 2000 and some conservative critics are hammering huckabee. is his political future over? can he run for president in 2012? mark mckin nan is a contributor to the fabulous daily beast. horton comes to mind. al gore dug up that sugar plum on mike dukakis and worked out against him and the republicans lashed him with that issue in '88 and helped george h. walker bush. is this guy going to be willie horton? >> he already is. rush limbaugh is already equating it. mike huckabee probably has a great future on fox news or a motivational speaker. but his career in politics is
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done. stick a fork in him. the incident itself is bad enough but there is a pattern. as governor he granted clemency and pardons to over 1,000 prisoners, three times granted by three former governors. and so this is a problem. this would be a problem in a general election for huckabee. this will be a primary issue in the republican primary where law and order issues are salient. this is a real problem for mike huckabee and it ironically just a few days ago polling came out that huckabee was leading and within four points of president obama. this is a spectacular fall. >> is this considered a human fall? let's get down to this. norman mailor helped abbott get out of prison and he knifed someone in a bar fight after that. when you show christian charity to someone basically stuck with a life sentence you are basically carrying them the rest
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of their lives, aren't you? you are responsible for everything they do henceforth, aren't you? >> you really are. absolutely. having worked for a number of governors, everyone one i worked for said these issues and death penalty issues were the hardest issues to deal with. clearly mike huckabee has a compassionate component to his thinking and, you know, he is a deep christian and i'm sure that factored into a lot of his thinking. precisely those things that create a practical political problem. in reality it may have been seemingly the right thing to do. the victims of the shooting would disagree. >> his potential opponents are circling. tim pawlenty, the form governor of minnesota told laura ingraham on radio i don't think i've ever voted for clemency. we've given out pardons when
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someone served out their term. clemency, certainly not. he put a knife in. you said the fork is in. the knife is in from pawlenty. it looks like the competition has begun. we haven't heard from mitt romney. you are an expert. does this clear the field on the right for sarah palin? i thought huckabee was her biggest obstacle come the iowa caucuses. >> it creates a huge opening and the spiritual nudge that sarah palin talks about. she looks for doors opening to give her thoughts about what her next moves might be. this might do just that. mike huckabee was soaking up a lot of that oxygen on the christian right. with him gone there is a huge opening for sarah palin or rick santorum. sarah palin has got a great deal of attention. >> huckabee is a smart fellow, mark. i want to give him credit as you say he is headed out of the field.
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didn't he say when the birthers were going after the president saying he wasn't born in the country, he was illegitimately elected. he said to his conservatives don't you think hillary clinton would have found this out and used it against him if it were true. that is a tough point. i'm not a birther because i think hillary clinton is a lot smarter and tougher than you guys. >> that is why i like mike huckabee. he has been a good elected official. he has been good for the republican party. i think we'll miss him but he ain't going to be there, chris. i can guarantee you. >> here is what he said in his defense "it really does show how sick our society has become that people are more concerned about a campaign three years from now than those grieving families in washington state. it is disgusting but people use anything as a political weapon. i wonder if he isn't overstating, well, overstating
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what he grew up with, politics ain't bean bag. >> this is practical reality in american politics, chris. >> let me ask you about the field, the republican field for president 2012. you have included the name scarborough on that list. that is fascinating. i think joe is a hell of a communicator should he change fields. why did you put him on that list as a potential? what do you think you know we don't know? he's got the right stuff? what do you think? >> well, i think he appeals to people like me. there are a lot of republicans out there that aren't happy with the perspective field out there. i think he surprises folks with the position he takes. i think he is a genuine conservative but takes moderate progressive positions. he doesn't just drink the kool-aid on a lot of issues and a fairly independent thinker. i think he would light up the boards immediately if he were to take the step.
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i encourage him to do so. >> you want to run his campaign? >> well, i would certain i will be glad to hold the flag and encourage others. >> i'm just teasing. it is interesting. thank you mark mckinnon. president obama made the decision on afghanistan. now the hard work beginning to sell to left, right and center. the independents are tough not just the liberals. that is next on "the politics fix." and you get to choose any car in the aisle. choose any car? you cannot be serious! okay. seriously, you choose. go national. go like a pro.
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we're back. time for "the politics fix" with "newsweek's" howard fineman and bob herbert from the "new york times." gentlemen, heavyweights for a heavyweight question. it looks to me based on our interviews with jack murtha and mike pence this is going to be a tough campaign. a somewhat easier fight with the republican party. i was watching the mayhem with argentina where the president got elected by the other party and the chair throwing started. are we going to see chair throwing bob herbert because the democrats are enraged a war is being prosecuted by their president of their party and the votes of the other party? >> i don't think we will see chair throwing but you are right about democrats being upset and
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liberals are especially angry. barack obama came to prominence essentially fairly or unfairly as an anti-war candidate. now he always, you know, stressed that he was against -- he said he was not against all wars. he was against dumb wars. he said iraq was a dumb war. he did not characterize afghanistan that way. but i must say people did not take -- maybe they were projecting but they did not take away from his candidacy he was going to escalate in afghanistan the way he has chosen to do. >> even though he said he needed two to three more combat brigades in the campaign? >> think an awful lot of people were hearing what they wanted to hear. >> howard, is that true? >> i agree with that completely. it is the war that made him and it's another war that may unmake him here because he really put a huge bet on here.
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however careful and grim and almost woeful his presentation was last night in saying, look, we've got to do this. we don't like it. it is bloody. it is costly, but we've got to do it and choosing the backdrop of west point to speak to the left wing of his party. he wasn't speaking to the soldiers there, but the left wing of his own party. he set the stage for internal conflict. talking to democrats on the hill today he has a tough sell. they are going to send up the national security adviser for a secret briefing tomorrow in the basement of the capitol with all senators. >> what is the secret? this is interesting reporting, howard. what are the secrets they want to tell members of congress the president won't tell us? the secret reason for war? >> my guess would be and it is strictly conjecture, they are sending the national security adviser general jones to talk about the semiunspoken part of the strategy which is pakistan.
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i'm just guessing here. the ways in which what we do in afghanistan can be helpful to us in pakistan. that is politically difficult to talk about in public because of the sensitivities of the pakistanis. >> it is tough to go to a parent or loved one who has fallen in battle, rob, i mean, bob, saying your son or daughter was killed fighting the taliban so the politicians in islamabad and the country next door will get serious about fighting the people that attacked us on 9/11. it is a rube goldberg. i can imagine a weird cartoon where a punching bag hits this and a bucket falls over and that leads to something else. this argument we are fighting one crowd so the other crowd will fight this other crowd. >> it is incoherent. you are presidents are very seldom straight with the public politicians, not just presidents are seldom straight with the
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public when it comes to warfare. the reasons, the ins and outs, the behind the scenes maneuvering and that sort of thing. very seldom do they come out and tell you the straight truth. so, for example, obama was conveying two messages last night. one was that we're going to send 30,000 troops in there, the other is that this is allegedly the beginning of an exit strategy. those are two messages that are just in conflict. i don't care what kind of contortions you go through trying to explain it. that's in conflict. i would be very, very, very surprised if 2011 rolls around and the administration doesn't say we told you when the president made his speech back in 2009 that he would make a decision based on what's going on on the grounds. that he said that there would be, perhaps, the beginning of an exit in 2011 but that determination will be made by the facts on the ground.
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i do not expect any kind of big deescalation in afghanistan in 2011. >> i agree. i think the people have this idea of july 2011 emblazoned in their heads now as the begins of the end of this war. >> he said to begin, he said to begin. subject to further review. >> exactly. >> okay. first of all i hate to make a joke out of such a serious topic, but the great marks brother movie where grouchcho sings the song, hello, i must be going. you have to look at this in the framework of the 2012 election which obama i guarantee you has that clock ticking in his head. there will be some deescalation. bob might be right. it's not going to be a big deescalation. i guarantee you the movement of troops, the arrow is going to be out by the summer of 2012, if not the summer of 2011. there's no question. >> quitting time is not a good argument for a war. you have to sort of say winning time. it's a hard one.
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i'm with you, bob, because i tell you, it's hard to get juiced up about a war. i guess especially if you have to fight one. it's already on the clock. it's already said, this is going to be over, so, you know, everybody knew their magic number in vietnam. now the whole army is going to know the magic number, july 2011. >> the tone of the language of this has changed somewhat. it's less amount eradicating -- although he does use the word -- the president last night did use the word defeat al qaeda. the tonality is not that we're going to eradicate them but keep the pressure on them. there's a lot of language about keeping the pressure on. that doesn't sound like the kind of war most americans understand. >> it reminds me how they say they're going to reduce the amount of ant hairs in your hershey's bars or candy product out there. walter cronkite went on television and said under a new agriculture law, fda law,
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there's only go to be so many animal foll animal follow calls allowed in the candy. we'll be back with more of the "politics fix." somewhere in america, there's a home by the sea powered by the wind on the plains.
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we're back with howard fineman and bob herbert for more of the "politics fix." we probably all agree the younger generation has a different view on same-sex
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marriage than most people over 40. this country if we were only composed of people under 40, it would probably pass. older people vote, older people have influence. the new york state senate, same-sex marriage was defeated 24-38 in a state that most people consider fairly liberal, your state, bob. >> new york is fairly liberal compared to other states, but when you start talking about legislatures and gay marriage you can, for the most part, forget about it. i never thought that would pass in new york. there's a point i would like to make. you know, new york state is in desperate fiscal trouble. it's right at the edge of a budget cliff, and the legislature up there cannot get its act together to deal with the state's financial problems, but it could get its act together to defeat this legislation. very interesting, their priorities there. >> well, are they related at all, howard? a lot of people thinks partners' benefits and those things become
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issues. >> i don't think this was about economics. i think it's about culture. as bob well knows, upstate new york is an entirely different universe from the city. >> it sure is. >> this is one of the places where upstate legislators who feel ignored and abused and led around by the power of downstate can rebel. if you look at the map of new york state, most of the opposition was upstate, which is culturally still -- though it's become more democrat -- toward the democratic party -- >> here in d.c. we have a liberal community, as you know, bob herbert on most social and economic issues. the d.c. city council moved already on this and i guess they might have some congressional review at some point on this. clearly this is a community we're in right now that's pro-same-sex marriage, it's become a big issue like so many issues have with the catholic church and its huge role in social services in this town. >> it's huge. washington is, i think an anomaly when you start talking
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about legislatures in this country. it's very liberal and it is supporting gay marriage, but, you know, i think that politically the deck is stacked against it, which is why you have people like president obama and secretary of state hillary clinton and so many others who are out there on record as not being in favor of. >> howard? >> you look at the numbers, chris. there are 31 states in this country that have been referendum gone on record through votes of the people saying they don't want same-sex marria marriage. six jurisdictions have it. >> is same-sex marriage of right or something up for the legislators and population to vote on? some point along the road the people pushing rightly or wrongly for gay marriage are going to say this is a right, it's not up to vote, a lot of rights wouldn't be approved if you had a vote on them. >> good luck with the current united states supreme court on that one. >> thank you, howard fineman. thank you with the wonderful