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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  February 5, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EST

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"correlation between the current administration and marxist dictators of latin america." what a swell fest that is going to be. and jon stewart and bill o'reilly go at each other. we will get to you the tape in the side show tonight. but we begin with the republicans and whether they can really win the house of representatives and the senate. chuck todd is nbc's political director and chief white house correspondent, and jonathan martin is the senior political writer for politico. we're going to assume the republicans are in good enough shape to hold on to the seats they have. let's talk about we're playing a game of poker here. let's imagine the republicans get not too great a hand. suppose they get a pair of -- well, an easy pair of republicans they could pick up. there's delaware, you see the map pictures there. and north dakota. that's beau biden, decided not to run, the vice president's son, he's not running.
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castle looks strong. he's a republican. congressman mike castle and governor john hoeven look to be pretty easy winners. your thoughts, chuck, is that a pretty much a gimme for them? >> it is. i would say delaware, democrats did find a good candidate, a better candidate than they found against somebody -- against hoeven in north dakota. and delaware is still delaware, in that it is a lean blue state. castle has to run a very moderate, sort of in the middle campaign. he's perfectly suited for it. he should be able to do it. but, you know, delaware is, of the two, you would say democrats have at least a shot at it. >> you had a former governor in delaware and current governor in north dakota. looks like a pretty good bet. >> very popular governor in north dakota. he's the longest serving governor in america. he's someone who is not going to be facing the only credible democrat who could have run against him, earl palmeroy. >> a good bet, they should be able to move those 41 to 43 seats. here's a possible, we're calling
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it a full house. suppose they knock off three vulnerable democrats. pick up biden's seat there. pick up dorgen's seat in north dakota. and they beat the senator in colorado. and harry reid gets beaten. that is also, it seems to be a reasonable probability -- let's put it that way, that is fairly plausible they win those five, right? >> it is. i would, right now, feel the least comfortable about saying that about colorado in that full house. i think the republican field is not that strong. and the dynamics in colorado aren't as anti-democratic, for instance, as they are right now in arkansas. and then, of course, harry reid's got his own set of problems in nevada. colorado is the one that is a speed bump to that full house. >> but chris, don't forget also, the field in nevada is not that strongly against reid. >> but he's losing to all them. >> right. his numbers are terrible as we all know. he would lose right now to pretty much anybody out there,
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including liberace. but the problem is -- >> i think you're pushing it. nice try. i used to like liberace. >> good chris matthews reference though, right, chris? >> this was a state that was never very fond of president obama. she's going to have a really tough time running as a democrat this cycle in arkansas. >> maybe go up to 45 to 46 in a reasonably plausible outlook. >> it's plausible, that's right. >> let's take a look at the tsunami possibilities. if republicans could get the full house easy, then they might also draw a royal flush. now, this would be tsunami here. look at these five extra ones they might pick up. i can see a couple of these myself as plausible. illinois, the republican primary won there the other night pretty much against the field. and arlen specter is very weak right now, double-digit down from pat toomey the republican. then indiana, the former
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senator, is now the nominee of the republican party in indiana. he's out there in that race. and bloomenthal, the very popular attorney general up at 70%. and barbara boxer always seems to pull it out in california. what's your thought there, chuck? they could win maybe three of them. i don't know about five. >> that's the problem here. this is where you get stuck trying to find the ten for the republicans. and the fact is connecticut and california, i don't think are plausible yet, particularly connecticut anymore. the other wild card there is, with pennsylvania, is arlen specter even the most electable democrat? you've still got that primary to sort out. the indiana thing is a bit of a reach. the real issue here for the republicans is, they can't be counting on connecticut and california to round out their ten. they need to find wisconsin or washington, and they need to bring in more -- they have to
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put more players in the field. they haven't done it yet. but the fact is, they're a heck of a lot better shape today, closer to getting there than they were three months ago. >> and chris, there are so few incumbent republicans who are in any kind of danger. vitter and burr -- >> isn't that unbelievable? have iter with all his problems with prostitutes is probably going to get re-elected. >> but this is the gop in the south. >> we're looking at real possibilities for the republicans to pick up delaware, north dakota, arkansas, maybe nevada, maybe illinois, maybe pennsylvania. is that the way you look at it? >> well, right, this is in this tsunami hypothetical, yeah. >> the only other thing specter could do in pennsylvania, he tends to get something in the end on his opponent. he will get toomey on something. >> but i'm not convinced -- i'm not convinced he gets the nomination. >> neither am i. >> sestak's got a lot of money. i think specter's got a long way
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to go before we can start talking about the general. >> one more fast point, chuck's point is exactly right. republicans need to find more seats to put in the play that did not rely on california and connecticut. two names for you, washington state, kendall -- >> we might see history made here, jonathan martin. we might see the house go. we don't know what's going to happen. if the house does go, you think it's more likely we'll see history, first time ever the house goes one way but the senate doesn't go with it? >> i think it's easier to see the house go with it than the senate. >> you think it is true we will make history here, the senate holds, the house may go? >> i guess my feeling is, no. there's a reason why history is -- there's a reason why we've seen this every single time. and the fact is, they are looking for candidates in wisconsin. i think russ feingold better be careful. patty murray in washington state ought to be careful. that said, there are speed bumps here, too.
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i think the open seat in missouri is a real problem for republicans, because they nominated somebody who is not very anti-washington in roy blunt. and then they've got this louisiana deal. i don't think, you know, the fact is, let's see what happens when david vitter has to deal with a campaign for the very first time, defending his moral values. >> and lastly, chris, we ought to mention new hampshire, too, that's an open seat, the judd gregg seat. that's a pretty big field on the gop side. the democrats already house member paul hose, that's trending toward democrats in recent years. >> you know what's great about politics? inevitably, even in a tsunami year, somebody wins going the other direction whether it's owens and biden back in '72, but also, the unbeatable guy, the unbeatable woman who can't imagine ever losing an election 90also goes down in a tsunami. that happens, too. >> remember 1980. i mean, remember the names? the biggest names of the democratic history in the united states senate.
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>> mcgovern. >> they were just giant names. >> and culver. >> you're absolutely right, chris. this is such a great senate cycle. kentucky's in play. we didn't even mention that. florida's in play, we didn't mention that. there's a whole bunch of races. we may have 20 senate races in single digits or flipping on election night. i'll be honest, i'm pretty giddy about that. that's a lot of fun. >> a lot of tea party action there on the republican side. >> there is. >> marco rubio, cuban-american guy down in florida. charlie crist is making something of a comeback, out there fighting. he's saying he is a reagan guy. what do you think? >> well, look, i think the fact is there are seven more months in this primary. if you're the rubio people, you sit there and you say, i hope we haven't peaked too soon. what goes up must come down. the fact is though, how does crist, it does seem like nothing sticks to rubio. you can see how crist fixes himself, but can he take down rubio with it? but there's a lot of mythology surrounding rubio and a lot of national republicans who are desperately hoping rubio wins
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because they want a non-white face in their party in a prominent position. >> crist has a lot of money in the bank. that primary is not until august. he can spend a lot of money going after rubio. here's the problem for crist, though. it is a closed primary. you have to be a registered voter in that primary. it's in the dead of summer in florida. >> looks like the senate could go republican after all. but it's going to be a long run for them if they do it. a lot of things have to happen. it has to be even worse than it is now for the democrats. >> absolutely. >> has to be worse than it is now? >> look, call me up when they find somebody against feingold and patty murray. then we can really have this conversation. i think we're not there yet. >> where's thommy thompson? >> walt disney once taught me, it's what you to with what you got that counts. chuck todd and jonathan martin. coming up, what we're getting rid of "don't ask, don't tell" do in the military? just been talking about the chance the democrat does and unlock the freshness of the outdoors for your indoor cat. fueling an exhilarating adventure...
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just been talking about the chance the democrat does actually lose control of the u.s. senate as well as the house, but there is a real chance they will lose the seats once held by president obama and vice president biden as well. in illinois, obama pal alexy giannalouis faces kirk. and castle against coons. uphill battle for democrats in both cases. both the candidates, both already talking about scott brown trying to paint themselves as washington outsiders against the republican opponents. both u.s. congressmen. "hardball" returns after this. take 2 extra strength tylenol every 4 to 6 hours?!? taking 8 pills a day... and if i take it for 10 days -- that's 80 pills. just 2 aleve can last all day. perfect. choose aleve and you can be taking four times... fewer pills than extra strength tylenol. just 2 aleve have the strength to relieve arthritis pain all day.
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welcome back to "hardball." just a minute ago, we saw the swearing in of scott brown up at the u.s. senate building. there it is right now. there's vice president joe biden, the president of the senate, obviously, swearing him in. there's paul kirk, the appointed member behind him, leaving office at this moment. of course, john kerry. by the way, john kerry just
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grabbed the senate desk of ted kennedy, which was jack kennedy's desk and i believe before that daniel webster's. now you see the swearing-in ceremony. democracy continues in america. welcome back to "hardball." president obama pledged congress to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. the chairman of the joint chiefs apparently goes along with that. michael mullen supports allowing gay servicepeople to serve openly in the military. how easy will it be to eliminate the current rule? what would it mean for the military? let's turn to two real soldiers, two iraq war veterans. i'll call you by both your names so we don't get confused. john solts, you, sir, give me a real-life example of what it's like to serve with gay servicemen and women and how it works. what's it like and how does it work effectively? >> the way it works right now is you come home from the war, and like i was, i was on vacation
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with a couple of my friends. we were traveling around. and they said, oh, by the way, you know that other officer that was with us, he was gay. i said really? i had no idea. it was completely irrelevant on the battlefield when you have lack of body armor, you're trying to figure out your mission. and, you know, i was just shocked on tuesday when i listened to admiral mullen live when he said in the room, i've served with gays since 1968. everybody knows the gays are there. when you serve with them, you just don't think twice about it and didn't even know. obviously they -- >> my dad said the same thing about the navy in world war ii. just a fact of life. >> when i was in the ground in baghdad in 2003, john and i were in the same unit. there was a soldier, one of my soldiers who, when things got really hairy and there was a fire fight outside our gates, we knew he was gay. you don't ask, you don't tell. and he jumped in a tactical vehicle, drove outside the gate, hooked it up to a burning humvee, dragged it back in. that's a guy you want in the foxhole with you. it didn't matter his sexual orientation. >> really in it. we were in the most volatile sector of baghdad.
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>> michael mullen supported repealing "don't ask, don't tell" earlier this week. let's list tonight admiral. >> it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. no matter how i look at this issue, i cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. for me, personally, it comes doing to integrity -- theirs as individuals and ours as an institution. >> john soltz, i was taken by when i read the remarks later and heard actually say personally. not there because the chain of command, not because the commander in chief, barack obama, the president, because he personally, he put that word in,
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it meant something to me. here's a man of honor. your thoughts, john soltz, about the impact of admiral mullen of chairman, joint chiefs. >> i've been sitting in that room and it was the greatest surprise i ever had in politics. i never expected him to say that. i was absolutely shocked, pleasantly, that he did. i think that means a lot. after that, there was an exchange with senator sessions who said, well, i think this is command influence, which is sort of a dirty word under the uniform code of military justice. admiral mullen shot back and said at senator sessions and said, this is about leadership. and he talked about it being generational. how younger veterans today feel probably differently than older veterans. to say it personally, with no politics involved, i think it's a real credit we have a chairman who's going to give his honest opinion to congress no matter who's the president -- he served for both republican and democrat. it was humbling, and i was certainly honored to be in the room. >> i think one of the things he hit on strongly was the values, integrity. you wear your values on your dog tags. it's an important part of what you do. >> here's john mccain. i respect john mccain, certainly his service. here he is talking about "don't
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ask, don't tell" with another view. >> this would be a substantial and controversial change to a policy that has been successful for two decades. it would also present yet another challenge to our military at a time of already tremendous stress and strain. at this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the don't ask, don't tell policy. i understand the opposition to it. and i've had these debates and discussions. but the day that the leadership of the military comes to me and says, senator, we ought to change the policy, then i think we ought to consider seriously changing it, because those leaders in the military are the ones we give the responsibility to. >> john soltz, what do you make of that? it seems like his policy has changed. >> senator mcchain is completely wrong. >> a few years he was open to
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what he used to the military, and now he's decided this isn't the right thing to do now. >> let's talk about why this is the right thing to do the past few years, the army wasn't meeting the recruiting goals, we were letting felons into the military. these felons came in in a town i happened to be in, which is one of the absolute worst towns you can be in in iraq. this convicted felon murdered a family and then two u.s. soldiers were taken prisoner and killed as a retraction to that, or as a rebuttal. you tell me what has worked for unit cohesion, letting convicted felons into the military because we're so low on recruiting or retention issues we face? yet people who want to serve honorably, like some of the gay troops serving get kicked out? makes no sense. a time the military is overextended guys doing two, three, four tours, units the army reserve and national guard cross-transferred and meshed together, you are going to say this is not the right time it is ridiculous. >> i will take the other view, since both of you are so positive here. try this other argument.
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is the don't ask, don't tell policy basically used not to embarrass people or to keep them from identifying who they are in terms of orientation but it is one more prod toward some sort of disciplinary measure, if you say a person you can't admit you are gay, then you are putting one extra prod to keep the discipline in order? is that an argument for it? >> it was initially put in place as a stepping stone. >> was it? >> i believe so. and i think we're at a time now we can move beyond. i think senator mccain is wrong. there's no better time to move beyond than why we're at war. >> if you were the chairman of the joint chiefs and you were told to implement this policy and you're told by the commander-in-chief, go for it, put this into effect over the next year. what changes would you do in the military code of discipline? i wasn't in the military, i was in the peace corps. i assumed we had gay people in the peace corps. didn't operate in as intimate an environment as the military can be. it was certainly no problem in the peace corps. but let me ask you this. is there anything you have to do to change the way the disciplinary works once you have gay soldiers in the same barracks, for example, close quarters? is there anything you have to do
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differently than you have to do now? >> absolutely not. in fact, the easiest thing to do here is to tell the military, let gays serve openly. the hardest thing to do is let congress pass legislation repealing the law. what our command structure says, goes. so our troops are going to listen to the commanders. we have the strictest guidelines in regards to what we call heterosexual relationships. an officer cannot be involved physically, intimately in any way with a noncommissioned officer. these strict guidelines -- >> so they would apply to gay relationships as well? >> absolutely. >> with it's the same with men and women serving together. >> you were in, i wasn't. thank you. please come back again. i'm sure we'll talk about this again. we'll hear the other side, too, as this debate continues. although the country overwhelmingly in principle supports open service. that's one thing that changed. we will argue about same-sex marriage for years to come, state by state. i think this issue is getting close to resolution. up next, jon stewart takes on bill o'reilly. and this is pure fun.
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and the california senate candidate makes one of the strangest campaign commercials i've ever seen. stick around for the side show. [ female announcer ] you can try and lose weight on your own, until life shows up with hungry. or, you can follow the weight watchers plan entirely online and learn life skills that put you in charge. join for free right now and see how 31,000 food options give you options, and 1,800 recipes keep them fresh, so when life comes knocking, you can learn to live it, and lose weight and keep it off. join for free right now and get living. weight watchers online. stop dieting. start living. aren't absorbed properly unless taken with food. he recommended citracal. it's different --
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one of the strangest jon stewart went on bill o'reilly last night and got on a good argument about the fair and balanced claim they make over there. take a listen. >> the only thing people know is an opinion -- you don't think they know that? >> certainly not clearly labeled. i looked at your promos, you are part of the fair and balanced part. >> you don't think people know the o'reilly factor isn't an opinion show? that's like someone saying they watch your show and doesn't know it's a comedy show. >> this is like being the
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thinnest kid at fat camp. let's get that straight. here's what fox has done. through their cyclonic perpetual emotion machine, that is 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, they've taken reasonable concerns about this president and this economy and turned it into a full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of chairman mao. >> wow. jon stewart is a smart guy, funny guy. let's leave it there. he's dead right about what's going on over at fox, where they yell "fire" every night in the movie theater. words don't do this next video justice. it comes from carly fiorina, running for senate out in california. unveiling an attack ad against tom campbell. she makes him out to be a demon sheep. you've got to see it to believe it. >> tom campbell, is he what he tells us or is he what he's
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become over the years? an fcino? fiscal conservative in name only? a wolf in sheep's clothing. a man who literally helped put the state of california on the path to bankruptcy and higher taxes. fiscal conservative? or just another same old tale of tax and spend, authored by a career politician who helped guide us into this fiscal mess in the first place. >> god, that's a pretty nasty ad this early. the republican primary is not until june. now for the number. over in england, members of parliament got whacked last year for charging the government with highly questionable expense accounts. they were using taxpayer money for things like mortgage payments, horse manure, adult movies. today, the auditor filed his report on the scandal and found quite a few current and former lawmakers were at fault and have to pay the government back. how many in all? 392 members of parliament, a
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figure that includes over half the house in commons. 392 british lawmakers singled out for questionable expenses. tonight's big bad number. up next, republicans talk a lot about ronald reagan but would they accept him today? would reagan himself be considered reagan-esque? would he be reagan enough? that is coming up next. you are watching "hardball," only on msnbc. at&t covers 97% of all americans.
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a judge in haiti has indicted ten american baptists on child trafficking and conspiracy charges. they could temporarily releease on bail but they are not allowed to leave the koun fingerprint north korea says it will forgive u.s. missionary robert park. dia pa's top financial newspaper said toyota will
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recall 270,000 hybrid prius in the u.s. and japan. and back here at home, some airlines are already canceling flights and amtrak is shutting down some train lines as a massive winter storm moves into the northeast. winter storm warnings are already in effect in many states. some mid-atlantic states could see up to two feet of snow. and a brutal selloff on wall street. the dow plunging more than 268 points, dipping below 10,000 for the first time since november. toyota stock in particular getting hammered this week, wiping out about $21 billion in market value. now back to "hardball." well, if i'm a rhino, so is ronald reagan. i mean, i'm a less taxing, less spending, more freedom kind of
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guy. i just take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to government. and if that's not what the people want, they'll let me know. i'm confident. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was charlie crist, fighting a big fight on the right out in florida. he's getting hammered by the tea party crowd down in florida. hard right republicans trying to get the party to adopt a candidate purity test. they failed. but would even ronald reagan have passed that test? pat buchanan worked for president reagan. joan walsh is editor-in-chief of does charlie crist have a point that republicans are submitting themselves to a test that even mr. reagan wouldn't have passed, in regard to amnesty for immigrants into this country, with regard to taxes raised occasionally, with regard to negotiations with the enemy? >> oh, absolutely. i think ronald reagan, if he were a republican politician in 2010, he might very well have a tea party challenger. you know, it's clear when reagan began his career was a kind of a dark figure who played on a lot
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of racial concerns in california in 1966. but by the time he ran for president, he was a sunny guy, he was a compromiser, he worked with your old boss tip o'neill to save social security. raised taxes to pay for medicare. and also did something interesting, which is created reagan democrats. some of them were in my family. i don't see tea party democrats. the tea party movement and people like rubio are really trying to narrow the base, not expand it. i think ronald reagan would have a hard time with this part of his party right now. >> there you are in the oval office with me. you were in that room, weren't you, when -- >> many times. but look, i think it's false to say ronald reagan played on racial fears, riots, disorders in the mid-'60s. the republicans ran against and denounced. but let me tell you why ronald reagan, charlie crist has got a problem. ronald reagan gave that great speech. he was a goldwater right. he was a lion in our defeat in those years. he won his great victory in california. he stood up against the demonstrators. he fought for the panama canal.
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he came out and debated bobby kennedy on television. he challenged gerald r. ford. he denounced detente. all of these things he had done, chris, to make himself a leader of a movement at the same time he is an experienced, practical governor of california who raised taxes in california. and he raised them three times as president. but however, he cut the top rates from 70% to 28%. and he stood up to the soviets, and he won the cold war. what reagan has going for him, chris, is he was an astounding success, the most successful i think almost we've ever had. >> here's another policy position from the failed rnc resolution. we support legal immigration by opposing amnesty. ronald reagan did sign it back in the '80s, right? which was supposed to solve the problem by allowing for legalization, et cetera, et cetera. but it didn't -- >> i was in the white house. >> it didn't really get into effect very well. >> it was a complex bill, that
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simpson could stay but mizzoli's got to go back. but let me say this. we signed that bill -- >> what does that mean? >> a funny line by mark russell. we signed that bill and we did it not realizing how many would be amnestied and believing that they would stop illegal immigration, that we had solved the problem. the truth was we had not solved the problem. and by 1991, this was apparent in california when i ran against george bush. and it's been an enormous problem, what, you've got 20 million or 12 million. nobody knows how many illegals in the country there are. that's why it's an enormous problem. but let me tell you, joan, they're taking thousands -- rather 7 million illegals employed. those are jobs, working class americans, white, hispanic and black get as soon as the unemployment -- as soon as the illegals are sent back. >> let me ask you about ronald reagan. let's go to joan on this question. the question is whether reaganism is the standard by which current policy in the republican party is being set. i mean, that's the question. ronald reagan did on occasion raise taxes to justify the
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fiscal realities. >> right. >> he did try to do something with amnesty with regard to -- it didn't work out. it wasn't enforced properly. he did -- >> but he didn't use the kind of rhetoric that -- >> go ahead, joan. >> he didn't use the kind of rhetoric that has become common about immigration either. he opposed english-only laws. i'm not saying ronald reagan wasn't a conservative. i'm not saying that i agreed with him. i think the point that pat made that, oh, we should be so happy that he cut taxes on the wealthiest americans, we are still living with the problems of that. but he did, once he became president, he did take an approach to compromise and reached out to the other side. you know, poor charlie crist is being hammered for hugging -- for hugging barack obama. i just found a great picture of reagan with your boss, tip o'neill, they're sharing a belly laugh. they clearly liked each other and got along. those days are gone. the tea party factor and the hard right factor is making sure there will be no accommodation with democrats. >> yours is a caricature of
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ronald reagan's tax bill. he came in -- what was the bill? he wanted 30% across the board for all taxpayers, the same cut in rates, and a number of folks who were working poor were dropped from the rolls. you cannot call that a just for the rich tax cut. sure, he cut taxes from 70% to 20% and the economy boomed for 20 years. through reagan and clinton, we created 40 million jobs. >> reagan gets the credit for the clinton boom? all right. >> he gets credit for cutting the budget and keeping it down. frankly, running a small conservative economic policy. i'll give him credit. >> one of the sad -- but one of the sad -- >> it kept the economy going. and so did volcker. but >> but ronald reagan raised the payroll taxes which really hurt -- >> but joan, they're for social security. joan, they're for social security. they make the program solvent. >> there were other ways to do it. he was a person who accommodated reality in a way that the tea
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party folks don't. he was a person that was to the detriment of my party, expanded his party. he was a big tent republican. now we have tiny tent republicans. they want the party to fit into a tea bag, pat. >> let me answer your point about social security. they came in with the recommendation and raised taxes. he did not like it, what they were doing. but had said, okay. if this is the only way to save social security, we've got to do it. you don't see anything like that today in solving social security and medicare. >> first of all, there are different ideas to solve social security and medicare, and they're not necessarily the crisis that they were back then. but barack obama just proposed a fiscal commission that liberals like me really didn't like. and he couldn't get republicans to go along with that. barack obama couldn't do the kinds of things ronald reagan was able to do, because he can't even get the republicans who support the things that he -- >> let me get back to the question. it seems to me, i want to deal
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with practical politics. it seems to me even the tea party people who are ideological are smart enough to know they've got to win elections. you see the situation with scott brown up in massachusetts, he's pro-choice. they know they can't win with a pro-lifer up there, so they go with a guy that can win. it looks like the fellow who won in illinois the other night, mark kirk, i'll bet on him in the general. they're picking a guy that's not a tea party guy. it seems they're not really using this litmus test. >> i agree with you. i don't agree -- >> i don't think the republican party is ready to throw in the towel on moderate republicans. >> i don't think you ought to have a national litmus test. let the state party do it. but i can tell you this -- if a guy comes in at the state level and he wins the united states senate seat and he's pro choice, and liberal on the social issue, i can tell you, chris, he's got a cutoff point in his career. >> where are you in mccain versus hayworth? >> if i'm out in arizona, i would vote for j.d. hayworth who is a friend of mine.
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>> we know where you stand. >> we absolutely know where you stand. he's a birther, an extremist. thank you, pat. >> this is why you lose -- do you know why you lose these people? because you show contempt for them. you call them birthers, call them names. i'm talking about the people, the tea party people, all they want, joan, is respect. and you liberals never give it to them, call them all names. no wonder they go over to the republican party. >> you know what, pat, that's unfair. i went to a tea party in san francisco april 15th. go read about it on my blog. i talked to people who i thought were very common sensical, and i talk to people upset about t.a.r.p., thought it was a giveaway to goldman sachs, pointed to the places the left and right could make common cause. for the most part, these birthers, they're not reaching out. they're hysterical about barack obama and they're dividing the country. don't tell me i'm the problem and i'm not reaching out. >> i've helped put together two coalitions, one for reagan, basically evangelical christians
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and all these protestants down there who didn't like a lot of folks also. you've got to bring them in. also with nixon, we brought the whole wallace movement, at one point it was at 23%, he got 13% of the vote. >> but that was a racist movement. that was a racist movement. >> you call them all that. >> if you're proud of that, that's great. >> who did they vote for in 1964? lyndon johnson, for heaven's sakes. >> thank you, pat -- >> and johnson went to the wall for black people and for civil rights and he said at the time that he was giving the south away and he knew it. >> he would have never called those people names because he came from them. >> well, i come from some of them, too. i'm a working class irish catholic, pat. i just don't like the demonization of the president. >> you're demonizing these people. i don't agree we should demonize the president. you are demonizing millions and millions of people. tea party people. >> i'm not. i'm demonizing the ones that are -- >> i've got to go, guys. this is an important american argument. pat, thank you. and joan.
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actually, both my friends. up next, the national tea party convention. ain't going to be much. we will see. certainly a commercial operation that's going to be in nashville this weekend. wait until you hear what's on the agenda this weekend. pat may be talking about reasonable conservatism when you catch some of these seminar titles. back in a minute.
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civility is not a sign of weakness. now, i am the first to confess i'm not always right. michelle will testify to that. but surely, you can question my policies without questioning my faith. or for that matter, my citizenship. [ applause ] >> wow. a direct response to the birthers out there who question whether he's an american or not on the far right. that was president obama this morning at the national prayer breakfast. what an interesting place to raise that issue. he will have a tough time finding civility at the national tea party convention, perhaps, which opens tonight in nashville. a friday afternoon workshop is called "defeating liberalism via the primary process." sunday, attendees will hear this topic, "correlations between the current administration and marxist dictators of latin america."
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that's interesting. on saturday night they're going to hear from governor palin in their keynote address. does this mooumt have the abili ability to remake the republican party? that's the big question. susan covers politics at the "boston globe" over at the rotunda. susan, you, first. it seems to me there is a whacky wing to every political movement i could argue and certainly the tea parties have their whacky elements. the question is does it have the credibility to really move the republican party to the right? >> you know, i don't know. i think in earlier elections where you had the social conservatives at war with the sort of fiscal conservatives that didn't work out too well for them. i think the republican party desperately needs the tea party movement to help galvanize republicans and keep people energized, the angriest voters in america right now. there are a lot of angry voters. i think it would be a mistake for the republicans to completely adopt their legislative agenda or they'll lose in a lot of districts, you
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know, like that upstate new york district that just isn't going to elect somebody that conservative. >> can they overdo it? >> sure. the republican party has been pulled in this direction since ronald reagan's time as you were talking about in the last segment. the entire republican party is more conservative than it used to be and no matter where the baseline moves there are always people who want to move it further. they're not going to adopt the tea party agenda in full but to a striking extent the republican now is a conservative party especially on role of government issues i think post george bush. >> you don't remember this except you learned it in school. sometimes the party is on a road to victory and they just signal something that's too whacky and scary like spiro agnew back in '70 where they were headed towards huge victory, the nixon party and agnew said a little crazy and they lost a lot of races they could have won otherwise.
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could the republicans suffer from over kill with the tea party crowd? >> i think they could. on the other hand, you know, who would have thought scott brown would have been elected from massachusetts? i think that a lot -- as you know, mid-term elections are largely decided by turnout if they can get a lot of people to turn out, i think they can get a lot of republicans elected this fall. >> the answer to the question is really a 2010-2012 question. mid-term elections it is harder for the party in power to make it a choice election. democrats want to talk about republican ideas. paul ryan the very smart house republican put out a budget last week that talks about again replacing medicare with a voucher for everybody under 55. that's something democrats more than republicans are likely to want to talk about in the fall. in the presidential year if the republican party continues to be pulled in this direction by the tea party energy it is more of an asset i think for obama --
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>> you heard the other night we were basically talking about getting rid of social security for people below 55 and coming in with a private insurance program. >> going back to bush's individual accounts. and, you know, again, in a mid-term election, hard for democrats to get to that. look, in many ways what's happening now is similar to what we saw in 1994 when grover norquist called it the leave us alone coalition. if you have a democratic government, democratic president, democratic house, democratic senate and they're doing things democrats want to do there is a big chunk of the country. somewhere between a third and 40% that will recoil from that. overwhelmingly white, mostly down scale heavily rural. we are replicating what happened in '94. the longer term question between now and november, and 2012, can obama reassure more of those independents who are less ideological but right now are not seeing results. >> we'll be right back with ron and susan to talk about whether republicans can actually sweep this november with the senate as well as the house. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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we're back with the atlantic media's ron goldstein and susan
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milligan from the "boston globe." we were talking about how the republican party could easily pick up delaware and north dakota in the senate races this year because vice president biden's son isn't running and those two races could easily pick up those seats. >> absolutely. look, for the republicans to go all the way to taking control of the senate they need ten seats. the last time either party won ten seats in one election, chris, 1980, ronald reagan, republicans won 12. on the other hand there is a tradition that in big wave years, '94, 2002, 2008, all the close races go in one direction. it's a reach for republicans but not entirely out of reach. >> susan, here's how it works easily. you review these. they pick up delaware, north dakota, they pick up colorado, nevada, arkansas, they beat harry reid who is doing weak performance out there, that seems plausible doesn't it? >> i wouldn't even take illinois off the table. i think if things continue as
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they are and the democrats don't season this they could be in trouble. it's a mistake to assume the populist movement is only conservative. there is a lot of populist anger out there among progressives as well and the democrats have a long time to capitalize on that and tap that energy and energize those people. but, yeah. i could definitely see it happening. on the other hand who knows? i don't know. new hampshire, kentucky, missouri, north carolina. you just don't know. >> where do you see a democrat capitalizing on the incumbent attitude? >> let's see. maybe -- >> missouri might be the best. you've got blunt and robin carnahan who has a good name and is secretary of state there. susan is right. democrats are going to get a lot more breathing room if they can somehow win some of these four republican seats that are vulnerable.
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>> let's get to where you're expert right now. scott brown this afternoon -- susan, last thought from you, what are democrats learning from that defeat? >> well, i think they're learning that nobody is safe anywhere. i think they're also being careful not to read too much into it. i think a lot of republicans are reading way too much into it and thinking massachusetts is going red or they're against the health care plan. it isn't that simple. a lot of people in massachusetts don't like the health care plan because it doesn't have a public option. they're a little shell shocked by that. they know they have to have a better candidate. >> i think you're right. thank you. join us again tomorrow night at 5:00 and 7:00 eastern for more "hardball." "countdown" with keith olbermann starts right now. which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? the junior senator from massachusetts -- >> i do. >> congratulations, senator. >> why would the gop go from demanding immediate seating for senator brown to trying to stall past a series of controversial votes back to immediate seating? republicans for sale. john boehner meets for drinks with the boss of jp morgan, says only the gop can protect him
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from the horror of reform. abdulmutallab singing like a bird. yet mitch mcconnell trashes the american intelligence community and the justice department. says only the gop can protect you from the horror of terror. >> he was given a 50-minute interrogation. probably larry king has interrogated people longer and better than that. >> political points ahead of intel. hello. the christmas bomber now providing leads about the yemeni cleric tied to detroit, the fort hood shooter, and even 9/11. and oh, by the way the president can kill you while you're out of the country if you're working with the terrorists. huh? >> if that direct action, we think that direct action will involve killing an american, we