tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 10, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
but we are really a poor solution to a really complicated problem. doctor, thanks for what you do i appreciate it so much. >> thank you. >> go mizzou. our tiger fan? >> yes, sir. >> tonight in our telephone poll, i asked our audience are you okay with a health bill without a public option? 8% of you watching said yes, 92% of you said. no and i have got a call to action tonight. they would like to do some of these free clinics around the country, like in north carolina, in charlotte, in atlanta, georgia, and also in connecticut, hartford or new haven. if local officials want to serve up a facility, these folks will make it happen in those communities. "hardball" with chris matthews starts right now. we will see you tomorrow night on the ed show.
an american speaks. let's play "hardball." >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, war and peace. president barack obama spoke to the world today about the role that war must play in finding peace. accepting his nobel peace prize, he spoke of the world's real villains for who the only answer is firepower, of the blood and horror that must be paid to stop them. >> i face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the american people. for make no mistake, evil does exist in the world. a non-violent movement could not have halted hitler's armies. negotiations cannot convince al qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. >> it was the speech not of a peacenik putting flowers in the gun barrels or a neocon who uses the democracy or whatever else is available to justify aggression. no, it was a centrist and
morally powerful speech worthy of a jack kennedy, a leader who refuses to give up the hope that war won't forever be necessary. plus, health care, with christmas and the holidays looming just ahead, the senate turns to pragmatism, getting as much of the loaf as possible. it looks like the public option, at least as it's been described, so far won't be part of the package. then again, candidate barack obama never promised a public option. he's about to give america what liberals have been promising since franklin roosevelt, access to insurance for millions who don't have it. two views coming up. it's my party and i'm going to cry if i want to. republicans have been thrilled to see the t.e.a. partiers and their loud celebrations against the democrats. what if the t.e.a. party people go third party? could that hand close elections to democrats in 2010? we're going to talk to two leaders of the t.e.a. party movement and check in on their plans. also, do republicans want
the economy to tank so they can win elections next year? for the second time in a week, president obama said republican leaders have given up responsibility for helping the economy, saying that they "seem to be almost rooting against recovery so they can win more congressional seats." we'll go after that in the politics fix tonight. and one republican seems to have decided that the argument that the 2,074-page health care bill is too long, was ineffective, so, h'es now saying the bill is too short. give me a break. that story is where it belongs, in the political "sideshow" tonight. let's start with president obama's nobel peace prize acceptance speech today in oslo. chief white house correspondent chuck todd is with the president in oslo. cynthia tucker is with the "atlanta journal-constitution" here in washington. let's look at what the president said about just wars, why we sometimes have to fight. let's listen. >> i do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war. what i do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly
decades ago. and it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace. we must begin by acknowledging a hard truth. we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. there will be times when nations, acting individually or in concert, will find the use of force not only necessary, but morally justified. >> chuck, what kind of an audience was he facing up there? i mean, the swedes didn't even fight hitler in world war ii. so they don't always see the evil that we see. i'm being blunt here. cynthia thinks i'm kidding here. some people just don't see what has to be done and don't do it. and we can be wrong, but at least we see it.
>> look, the president laid out, i think, his vision for foreign policy in a way that we hadn't heard before. and it could be summed up, i think, in two words, realistic idealism. you know, you hear the words realism, idealism. i think what he was trying to show was paint this picture that, look, you can have an idealistic vision, but it's a realistic path to get there. and that is, i think this argument on the just war, you know, would the tone of this speech been different if he had just not sent off 30,000 troops to escalate a war in afghanistan? perhaps. but i think that's what made it powerful. this speech is technically called a lecture. that's what the nobel prize committee calls it, a lecture. and in many ways, it was a lecture to the european community. >> cynthia, your thoughts? >> i thought it was a very powerful speech, chris. i thought it was very well done. it reminded me in this sense of his race speech, his seminal
speech during his campaign when he was at a very tough moment. this was a speech for grown-ups. it was a speech that embraced complexities. there was a lot of talk before he went to oslo about how would he, having just said that he was going to up the ante in the war in afghanistan, how would he stand there and accept the nobel peace prize? well, i think his justification was lucid, coherent and powerful, that there is sometimes a moral argument for war. he did everything but quote reinholt neeber, who was one of those who helped spread the concept of a just war. it may be true that the swedes did not stand up to hitler, but europeans remember how hitler's armies scarred the land and that there was nothing but military force that could have stopped hitler. and obama used that example to great effect, i thought. >> okay. the president made the point that wars are sometimes necessary.
here he is on what america's done for the world over the last six or so decades. let's listen. he's really defending america's role in the war over the recent generations. >> whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this, the united states of america has helped underwrite the global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from germany to korea and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the balkans. we have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. we have done so out of enlightened self-interest. >> chuck, you've been following this president since he was a candidate way back in springfield in 2007. did the speech surprise you, in terms of that strong defense of america's history, in terms of
the wars we've had to fight, from world war ii on through korea and vietnam, et cetera? some people will certainly always argue about vietnam. but we've been fighting, and we've been taking the heat and we've been suffering casualties. and he generally defended the role we've taken across the board. >> i would say the tone surprised me. i don't think i expected as hawkish, and yet in hindsight, probably should have, because nothing in this speech was any different than policy-wise than anything he campaigned on. but a couple things about the section in particular, chris. that's the section of the speech that won over the newt gingiches and the sarah palins and the karl roves who all praised this speech. i believe that's the one section that won them over the most. it sat there and defended america. it was almost like -- if you want to call it, it was like an idealological speech in this sense, defending america exceptionalism, and that america
is maybe the only country that can play this role. one other quick thing, chris, i think this was the section of the piece -- of the speech that justified the nobel committee's picking obama for this because he was basically saying, look, only the american president, only the americans can lead on this path at this moment in time in history. >> you know, i'm going to argue with chuck about what exceptionalism means. to me, exceptionalism means one very clear thing. america's the one country in the world where anybody who comes here does better than where they came from. >> i don't disagree with that. >> it is not a country that has any special rights in the world. i think he was saying, we've had to take this role because we've had the power, and nobody else was doing it, not because we have some special dispensation to do it. your thoughts, chuck? >> well, i thought it was the part, though, where he was basically saying, we have earned the moral authority, at least compared to anybody else in the world, to play this role, to underwrite global security.
i think you and i are finding a distinction without a lot of difference. >> it's a tough call. i think we all think we're a special country. but the question is, what call does that give us? >> why should anybody be surprised that president obama gave a strong and ringing defense of the united states of america? >> because he was totally against the iraq war. and i would argue his speech today was consistent with being against the iraq war. he came out from invading other countries. he clearly separated himself from the dick cheneys and george w. bushes, if you will, the neocons, who take a preemptive attitude which is, if you don't like another country, go after it. >> and newt gingrich and sarah palin may have praised the speech, but i doubt if it made dick cheney happy. he will still find something to argue about. >> here's more of the president today. chuck, you were there. >> i believe the united states of america must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war.
that is what makes us different from those whom we fight. that is a source of our strength. that is why i prohibited torture. that is why i ordered the prison at guantanamo bay closed. and that is why i have reaffirmed america's commitment to abide by the geneva conventions. we lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. >> chuck, do you think the president gets enough moral authority with the rest of this speech to lead those neocons and cheney types, karl rove and the rest of them out of the valley of evil here? can he save them from their at least short-term belief in torture and gitmo and the rest of this? >> well, certainly as far as the relationship to the world is, if that's the -- if that's where you're asking that question from. judging by that applause line, you know, not many parts of his speech invoked applause. and sometimes on foreign soil, when the president's giving
speeches, people will note not a lot of applause. sometimes that will be translation issues, i think that was because of the soberness of the speech and the topic. but that is the part, and chris, it goes to your earlier point, that's the part where he separated himself from his foreign policy doctrine with president bush's foreign policy doctrine. >> cynthia? >> that's what american exceptionalism is all about in my view, chris. we're the people who have the good values, even when it is tough to do so. we don't torture. yes, we will try -- >> cheney does. >> well -- >> the neocons believe in it. >> well, that is not -- >> they come on the show every night. we had ryan christy here sitting in that chair last night, defending it down the line. >> that's why this speech still won't make dick cheney happy. i think many americans ought to be very proud of the speech that president obama gave this morning. >> okay. well, thank you, chuck todd. thank you for joining us, and that great report from oslo. cynthia tucker, thank you. coming up, why are progressives so dead set on a
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kucinich will be here, but first, claire mccaskill from missouri, sits on the commerce committee and aging committee. i haven't seen you in a while, senator, so i've got to get an update. first of all, i want to quote you a couple quotes from your colleagues. "there was no explanation, it was sort of a go team, go," she described the meeting. ben nelson of nebraska said, "general concepts, but nothing very specific at all." so given -- well, whatever you've got at hand, are you hopeful that you could vote for the health care bill that comes to the floor eventually, senator mccaskill? >> you know, i'm pretty optimistic. you know, we're all waiting for the financial analysis. because at the end of the day, that's what this is all about, it's about saving money for americans on health care costs and saving money for the government in health care costs. we've got to look at the numbers and as soon as we get the numbers, then i will make an analysis then. but i'm pretty optimistic.
but this is hard. this is really hard. >> how will it change america for the better for the health care bill? i'm going to give you half a minute here. but what is so good about this, the promise delivered of the democratic party for all these years, going back to fdr? what are you going to deliver to the american people here? >> we're going to reverse a trend that is killing most families in this country, and that is, they're having to go in their pocket for more and more money for health care every year. we're going to reverse that trend. we're going to reverse the trend that is absolutely devouring us in terms of the deficit. and we're also going to bring some insurance companies to heel here. we're going to stop some of the practices that have been so unfair, that have preyed upon people, make the system more competitive and more cost efficient. but this is not easy stuff. and by the way, people need to remember, we are the governing party, because we have diversity of opinion in our party. we're not pure. we have moderates, and we have more progressives. and the reason we're governing right now is because we defeated moderate republicans with
moderate democrats. and people need to be patient about that, and realize that compromise is not evil. >> how will it be different in the hospitals in america? after this bill is passed, as you see it now, will we still have a lot of poor working people waiting in emergency rooms for regular general medical care? >> over time, we will see more and more of those people at clinics. we will see more and more of those people with a primary doctor and with affordable coverage. so that we're not paying the hidden tax that everybody's paying now for those people in the emergency room. the most expensive care we can give right now, we're giving those americans without insurance. it's kind of stupid that we're fighting the notion that we want to quit paying a hidden tax, and be up front about covering people in a way that is cost effective. >> well, you represent the middle of the country, the heartland. i don't think you get any closer to the center than missouri. are the people of your state behind you on this? >> you know, there's a lot of misinformation out there, chris. the people are angry and
cynical. many instances, for good reasons. and they are believing some of the stuff they're hearing, that the sky is going to fall. i mean, this place is full of chicken littles right now. the sky is falling, if you listen to the republicans. but we're going to pass this bill and the sky is not going to fall and things will be okay. and besides that, in missouri, it's a 50/50 state. so i'm kind of used to half the state being mad at me. >> well, let's talk about the democratic party. you have real progressives in that party, liberals, even a socialist in there, bernie sanders, who calls himself that. how do you keep that wing of the party happy without giving them what they want, which is really what they really want is the start of basically national health insurance? they want the start of the government taking a hand in providing health insurance. that's what i think. and they say so, some of them. how can you make them happy, the people that really want the government to begin to run some of this health care? >> well, no one's going to be really happy here. that's the process of legislating. it's about compromises.
and i think the president really helps here. you know, people need to step back and remember, so many things this president is doing is what he campaigned on. this is what he said -- and he said no universal health care, no single-payer health care. he said that during the campaign, that he was opposed to single-payer. so, i think as we have worked through the compromises in our caucus, the progressives understand that everybody's going to have to bend a little to get to that final product that we can get across the finish line for the american people. >> will the president have a health care bill to sign come the new year? >> yes, i believe he will. now, you know, we have no margin of error here. and everyone's tired. and tensions are high. and it is a partisan food fight. you know, this is a rip-roaring partisan food fight. so i hope that everyone stays calm. but what i've been encouraged about is everyone wants to stay and work. no one is complaining about staying here on weekends and people are even willing to stay through christmas if we have to to get this done. and that's a good thing.
>> well, merry christmas, senator. >> merry christmas to you. >> thank you for coming on "hardball." let's bring in u.s. congressman dennis kucinich from ohio, one of the more progressive voices in the congress. can you, sir, ever see yourself voting for any health care bill that could carry a majority of the house here? i'm being blunt here. can you, because of your position as a real progressive, a social democrat by most world standards, could you ever buy what most people in the congress will buy when we finally get to the bottom line here? >> well, to hear the latest plan out of the senate, if they expand medicare so the people under 55 can buy into it, or 55 to 64 can buy into it, that's a positive step. i may be able to support that, chris. you know, it all depends on the details. if their benefits are going to be the same, if the out-of-pocket costs wouldn't be too high, if it's not a pad towards privatization toward medicare advantage, i may be able to support something like that. as you know, john conyers and i were the ones who wrote the bill that provides for medicare for all.
and so, even though the single-payer plan is not what's before the congress, to expand medicare so that people 55 and up would be -- would have the chance to buy in, that would be a step in the right direction, no question about it. >> what they're talking about so far, and i don't know how it will end up, congressman, not that you're provided medicare at the age of 55, but you can buy into it. how do you read that? >> that would be about $400 per person to be able to buy in at age 55. that could cover 25 million to 30 million people. that could be a good step, chris, because right now, people are paying, you know, $500 though $1,000 or more a month for private insurance. so, even though the public option has gone by the boards, i, of course, take exception to that, the expansion of medicare, so at age 55 and up can buy -- to 64 can buy in, that's a positive step, if they can in fact deliver that to the house of representatives in a conference report. >> you're a progressive. what is your sense of history about this kind of a fight?
i look back, as you look back, to the great depression, and what roosevelt was able to do in very difficult times, to get social security through back in the time when it was seen as, well, it isn't what it is today. it was sort of a last-ditch, if you really need it, you got it, but right now, it's much more of your retirement program. medicare, getting through that in the '60s after kennedy's assassination, where there was such an emotional desire to carry on his agenda. if we get a health care bill passed in congress and signed by this president, how does that fit into the progressive, well, success story i think you would have to call it. or what do you call it? >> well, you know, if 47 million americans currently without health care, another 50 million are underinsured, if we can get more people to have health care, that's a positive step.
however, if on the other hand, we are seeing the increasing privatization of our health care system, the bill that the house passed that i voted against was a $50 billion handout to the insurance companies, and basically helped to lock in a private insurance system. if we can't rescue a role for the public here, not by government owning all the hospitals, you know, we have a government-run system, it's veterans, but by government paying the bills and in a medicare for all structure, we're not going to have medicare for all. the president made that clear. but chris, if we can at least take a step in that direction by giving people age 55 to 64 a chance to buy in, then we're reconnecting with some of those ideals that go back to the great days of fdr. >> okay. thank you so much. merry christmas, congressman dennis kucinich of ohio. think you've heard every republican argument against the health care bill? well, now they're complaining about it not being long enough. wait until you hear this. if you think the kvetching is over, listen to this one. that is one republican senator, he says this bill has to have more words on it, next in the side show. you are watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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in it. listen. >> there has never been a bill of such importance as this one from the standpoint of how many people it affects. we talk about 2,074 pages which seems a lot. and it would be for a normal bill that you could debate in a limited period of time, which is what we're being asked to do. but 2,074 pages isn't nearly enough to cover health care for america. >> maybe it would have been a better bill when it was in the finance committee they hadn't dropped out in writing it. back in march, joe bach of california put forth a resolution in the congress to give tiger woods the congressional gold medal, which is supposed to go to someone "who's performed an achievement that has an impact on american history and culture." well, given all that's happened, it's not surprising mr. bach has reconsidered his bid. he put out a statement late yesterday saying in light of the recent developments, he no longer supports the resolution. sorry, congressman, i think the whole exercise was a waste of
time, yours and ours. all this proposing of awards and disposing of them. now for the big number. a new public policy poll, which isn't that great a poll, by the way, it relies on tape-recorded questions over the telephone, like those jokers who call you trying to sell something, ask americans who would they rather have for president right now? the winner, please? obama 50% to 44%. 50% like the things the way they are. 44% would rather have bush back on top. you know, the guy behind an economy that everyone in both parties saw crashing in plain sight last january. tonight's big number. up next, republicans are happy the t.e.a. party crowd is targeting president obama and the democrats. now the t.e.a. parties may run third-party candidates against democrats and republicans. so, will the purification of the conservative movement hand elections to democrats? we'll ask two party leaders of the t.e.a. party. that's coming up next.
i'm millissa rehberger. here is what is happening. 120,000 homes are without power in michigan as a severe storm continues to pound the upper midwest. residents along the great lakes are dealing with up to two feet of snow and windchills approaching 25 below. meanwhile, searchers are fanning out across portions of northern arizona in an effort to reach hunters stranded by heavy snow and freezing temperatures. a shootout in times square today. police shot and kill and armed suspect in an exchange gunfire that shattered shop windows and sent tourists and holiday shoppers diving for cover. on capitol hill, the house approved a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill it contains
generous boosts for domestic programs despite the nation's $120 billion deficit. and if you're fed up with that sudden blast of volume as your favorite shows go to commercial, relief could be on the way. a rhode island senator has introduced legislation requiring that commercials air at the same volume as the programming. now back to "hardball." back to "hardball." the conservative t.e.a. party movement has shown they not afraid to challenge republicans in primaries. could they ramp it up a bit and go third party, go rogue, if you will? sarah palin left the door open in an interview with radio talk show host larson. >> if you run again for something, whatever it is, would you run as a third-party candidate? >> that depends on how things go in the next couple of years. the base of our party is common-sense conservatives. if the republican party gets
back to that base, i think our party's going to be stronger, and there's not going to be a need for a third party, but i'll play that by ear in these coming months, coming years. >> okay. let's shake it up. president of freedom works, which organizes t.e.a. party events around the country. tim phillips president of americans for prosperity. also organized t.e.a. party protests. matt is with me. what's the plan? how do you guys shake things up and move the country where you want it to move? >> i think we've got to get the republicans and the democrats to get back to what i call the fiscal conservative. the issues that derive -- >> who would be a role model for you in that regard? >> i think this is a leaderless movement to be honest. >> has there ever been a strong conservative president, in your lifetime, or your grandfather's lifetime, who do you look to as a good role model for the t.e.a. party people? >> well, obviously, ronald reagan is the closest thing -- >> what did he do, in terms of fiscal policy? >> he said we shouldn't spend mope we don't have, and that the government shouldn't get involved in things that it's not very good at doing. >> ever check the numbers with
reagan? >> i understand. >> the national debt went from under $1 trillion to $3 trillion. he did more to increase exponentially the size of the debt of any president in history. >> president obama is -- >> i'm asking you, i've asked you one president you can look up to who was good at t.e.a. party politics and ideology. if it's not reagan, because he clearly didn't do it, who do you look to? coolidge? how far do you have to look back? >> i think we need to find somebody who meets that standard. >> nobody has recently? >> certainly not. >> let me go to tim phillips. every party, every movement tends to needs a hero. who's yours? >> i think jim demint from south carolina. take these earmarks for example. they don't just vote against budget bills, they refuse to stuff goodies in for their own states. they're good role models. i respect jeff lake for years when the republicans were in power, he would stand up, force the earmark votes. they stripped him of his judiciary committee, hastert and
those, and it was wrong and he stood on principle. those are three guys i really respect right now that i think most movement conservatives in the t.e.a. party movement can be excited about. >> jim deminute wants to encourage the new republicans, he calls to join him in the new senate. demint to make your point. >> when i was deciding whether to run again for another six years in the senate, what i decided if i'm going to be here, i am not longer going to go along with this idea that we're going to keep spending and borrowing and taking over and raising taxes. that i'm going to do everything i can to change things. and to do that, i need some new republicans. >> let me get back to you, ben. you can go back and forth here, matt and tim. i want to know, because it's clearly no president. once they get in the presidency, something happens. they always see the new information, and they never really balance the budget. i think clinton did a couple times at the end. ike did a few times. harry truman did. but they doesn't seem to happen recently. what happens to conservatives
when they get near the white house? how come they only seem to be talking the good talk at the senate level when they don't have to run the show? >> i think any politician, you have to hold them to their word. and conservatives run on fiscal conservatism. but when they get into office -- >> pork city. >> absolutely. it's a two-party problem. the whole reason we organize grass roots is we think any politician that gets elected needs to be held accountable 365 days a year. >> let me ask you, tim, when are congress and senators, except for the holy trinity, you mentioned there, with no disrespect to the real thing, where are they going to say that they write home to their states about how much pork they brought home isn't going to work, and by the way, doesn't it work? and there's newsletters, we get at taxpayer expense, to the postal patron and it says, i got you this, i got you that. doesn't that work with voters? >> i think voters sometimes in the past have looked at that and go, hey, we're getting our money back. i do think, chris, there's a new
concern and frustration across this country. i think people are worried about debt and deficit. i looked that the legislation data, there was a budget bill in the house. i'm sure you saw that all the republicans voted against them. good for them on that. it was a big spending bill. but a bunch of them stuffed earmarks into it. what hypocrisy. that drives activists and americans for prosperity nuts, to see these guys stand up and make a final vote and thump their chest and say we're good free market conservatives, but quietly put earmarks in there. i think next year in 2010, i think you'll see a lot of activists going, wait a minute, do i want to get involved in primaries? do i want to educate folks on where these guys really are? i think you'll see a lot of that next year. >> here's the funny part, it's not funny if you're john mccain. here is a guy that is against pork and he is getting threatened by jd hayworth. would you pick mccain, you first here, tim, known to be an enemy or pork or would you side with the more rabel rousing, perhaps more exciting taste of the month, jd hayworth? no, seriously, the younger guy
the older guy the guy good on fighting pork or just want to make some noise? >> i really respect senator mccain. no matter which party was in power, he stood strong on spending. in the pentagon and elsewhere. on the other issues like cap and trade, for example, which we're strongly against, he's waivered and not been so good. that's one of those races i'll have to look more closely at. i'm not ready to say which guys i would prefer. >> what about marco rubio in florida? are you going to try to back him against charlie crist? >> we don't endorse candidates. but rubio is exciting to see out there. by all accounts, we look at his record as speaker, it was strong on the issues our folks across the t.e.a. market care about. he's one of those guys you can get excited about, you bet. >> what about the t.e.a. party? sarah palin is fascinating. we're all fascinated with her, because she's exciting as a political figure right now. but she's talking third party. she answered the question of
lars larson, maybe it just came to mind, but she said, yeah, i might go third party, something like that. would you guys knock off an incumbent republican, split the right, the dems win? >> it's a better way to do it, to take other the republican party. that's what our goal is. we need to replace the republican establishment with fiscal conservatives that are actually willing to cut spending -- >> do you trust romney or do you think he switches too much on issues? >> i don't know. >> he's your business. >> i think all these guys -- >> oh, wait a minute. what do you think of romney? he sort of runs as a fiscal conservative now. he's pro-life now. he seems more hawkish and more far right than he was when he was governor of massachusetts. what do you think of him? he may well be the front-runner. >> i think if he's running for senator of massachusetts, he's pretty attractive. as president, maybe not less. >> what do you think, tim? i'm trying to think who your guys will back against palin -- you only get to select among those who run. among those out there, pawlenty,
huckabee, sarah palin and mitt romney, who looks good to you guys from your t.e.a. party perspective? >> i think it's way too early to tell. sarah palin excites a lot of folks at the grass roots events. what she's turning out on her book tour is pretty amazing. mitt romney, his rhetoric during his campaign was really good. the health care legislation he put forward in massachusetts worried folks and still does, i think. governor pawlenty, it's just too early. i think 2010, chris, is easier to handicap and look at because you know who actually is out there, what they're saying, what their records are. i think it's tough to kind of put the crystal ball on three years from now with any sense of clarity. but 2010 you can talk about like with rubio or pat toomey in pennsylvania, where a lot of guys are looking at and saying look at what that guy's record was in the house and then what he did at club. >> if pat toomey stays up the crazy issues, he can win that race. thank you, tim and matt. you're more sober than you are
at those meetings. good luck, guys. not good luck. if i say good luck, i will get in trouble. by the way, much more cerebral and sober than you are at those meetings. up next, president obama rams ahead with -- rams heads with republicans over creating jobs, saying they seem to be rooting against the economy. by the way, he has been saying some tough stuff against the republicans, saying they're rooting for the fall of this economy so they can rise again. let go to the fix when we get back. you know why i sell tools? tools are uncomplicated. nothing complicated about a pair of 10 inch hose clamp pliers. you know what's complicated? shipping. shipping's complicated. not really. with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service shipping's easy. if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. that's not complicated. no. come on. how about... a handshake. alright. (announcer) priority mail flat rate boxes
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back with the politics fix with joan walsh and henry hertzberg. let's look at something that came out of "the new york times" today. how to create more jobs. "in opening remarks, republicans said the president who cam pained on a pledge of bipartisanship suggested republicans by their refusal to work with him seem to be almost rooting against recovery, and for high unemployment in an effort to make gains against democrats in the midterm elections next year." joan, it seems to me that we've seen this theme. the president said the other day, talking about, i think it was the economy, that the fact that there's no sign the republicans want to work with him, from the beginning they haven't wanted to work with him. he puts the blame squarely on them for not being bipartisan in
trying to fight this economic challenge facing the country. >> not surprisingly, i agree with him on this, chris. i really think he came into office, he campaigned on a pledge of getting on a gridlock and being bipartisan. he came in, he had meetings, he had drinks, he had the super bowl, he invited them over. he invited them to consult. but i think you and i both know that they decided that the path to 2010 and 2012 was to obstruct everything he wanted to do. so we saw the stimulus, didn't get a single vote from house republicans. basically only got arlen specter and the two lovely women from maine in the senate. they obstructed him from the start in health care. they offered amendments. democrats would accept the amendments but then they wouldn't vote for the bill with the amendments anyway. i think he's thrilled with that "times" story. he's expressing his frustration with the liberal base as to, why are you continuing to work with these people when they are trying to sabotage you? >> rick, it seems like he's
making the point now that the republicans never wanted to play ball with him. with him. >> yeah, well, the quote, which interestingly was from a republican quoting obama but that quote isn't so damning. it says they seem to be almost rooting against recovery. that's a fair observation. they do seem to be almost rooting a gens recovery. they haven't offered any positive program themselves to get us out of this and the things they suggest would actually deepen the recession. >> right. >> so it's a fair observation. >> on tuesday the president said republicans were not helpful in saving the country from a second great depression. let's listen to the president here on tape. >> fear among economists across the political spectrum that we were rapidly plummeting towards a second great depression. so in the weeks and months that followed we undertook a series of difficult steps to prevent that outcome. and we were forced to take those
steps largely without the help of an opposition party, which, unfortunately, after having presided over the decision making that had led to the crisis decided to hand it over to others to solve. >> so, joan and rick, we only have one governing party right now. one party that's governing the country. the other one is waiting, stepping aside if not bitterly, stepping aside. joan? >> absolutely. they have decided that's the only way they can win. i mean, when you go back and look at the stimulus, chris, we had conversations at the time. many of us, many liberals didn't think it was big enough and were kind of irritated with obama for lording it with tax cuts which we didn't think would be stimulative. we were right. there are political benefits to tax cuts and it was a campaign promise and he did it and i'm fine with he did it but he did try. more than a quarter of that stimulus was tax cuts. that's their idea and that isn't the part that worked. they continue to come out with tax cuts are the answer and we saw where that got us in the last administration. so i think he's right to call on
them. i think the base wants to hear it but i also think independents and moderates need to hear it, too, because he can't go on compromising when he doesn't have a partner. rick? >> yeah. that's absolutely right. bipartisanship takes two to tango when you're playing bipartisanship and obama has held his hand out from the beginning, even when it's rejected and slapped aside. that doesn't mean he's not going to fight for what he thinks is the right solution. the republicans just opted out of this. it would be nice, by the way, if we did have a governing party. we don't exactly because at least in the senate the republicans theoretically have the power to stop anything if they can keep their entire caucus together through the filibuster. we'd have a governing party if we had majority rule in the senate. >> right. >> well, some day we'd like to see them vote for that. we'll be right back. i wish they would vote for majority rule in the senate. thank you. we'll be right back to talk about this powerful speech the
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without discussion can carry forward only a crippling status quo. no repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door. >> we're back with joan walsh and rick for more of the politics fix. rick, you first. i thought thafs tt was the most important line in the speech. >> it was a remarkable speech on many levels. this is the fourth president to get a nobel peace prize. the other three all received them either at the end of their terms or long after their term for essentially specific accomplishments. teddy roosevelt for the treaty ending the russo-japanese war, wilson for the league of nations and carter for the egypt/israeli peace treaty. this is the first time we've had a nobel peace prize speech from a president who is actually engaged not only in fighting wars but in exerting power. and i think this speech will be
read for decades to come because it's an extraordinary expression of a philosophy of governing and a state craft that really reflects the kind of president that obama wants to be. >> joan, no repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of an open door. how do you read that line? >> he is defending reaching out to people that are perceived as our enemies. i thought it was an extraordinary speech, also, chris. but some of the credit that it got especially on the right really reflects a misunderstanding of who obama is and an acceptance of this really deceitful and disgraceful idea that he opposes the idea of american exceptionalism or that he doesn't defend america or he apologizes for america. that's never been true. his speeches have always shown a respect for our place in the world, but this really did cover his willingness to talk about
just wars, as well as diplomacy and human rights in a way you really very rarely hear melded. i think that's what we'll take away from this speech and why we'll be reading it for a long time as rick says. >> rick, i don't want to have the term exceptionalism misused by the halliburton crowd. dick cheney uses it as a way to make a lot of money on the defense industry and the industry builds up our defenses so we can justify a lot of wars. i think there's an interesting point here. you believe in america because of what it stands for in terms of values not in terms of its right to do things in the world. my thoughts. yours? >> that's right. american exceptionalism doesn't mean that we are excepted from the rules of civilization but that we uphold those rules. i think that's the point obama was making very clearly. joan's right. this should put to rest any notion that barack obama apologizes for america or doesn't love america. that's -- that was certainly blown away by this speech.