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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  July 26, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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question, i asked do you believe newt gingrich has the character and judgment to lead this country? 13% of you said yes. 87% of you said no. that's "the ed show." "hardball" with chris matthews starts right on the place for politics, msnbc. we'll see you back here tomorrow night. have a good one. the afghanistan papers. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, why are we in afghanistan? the war was already losing public support and democratic votes in congress were getting harder to come by. then along comes today's bombshell. the release of classified on the ground reports on the war. the afghanistan papers contain evidence that the pakistani intelligence service and military encourage and support
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attacks on afghan and american forces. my question will president obama's democratic base rebel against the war he has made his own? also, should affirmative action programs be ended? democratic senator jim webb basically says yes, because they diskrim narkts he says, against poor whites. we'll debate that one. plus the tax debate. it comes down to this. democrats will argue that republicans want to protect the rich. republicans will argue that democrats just want to raise taxes. we'll have that one out here. and don't meet the press. remember this bit of video of senate candidate sharron angle running away from reporters? well, she's not alone. why are so many republicans, tea party people especially, running away from reporters. they can run, they can hide. can they win? you have to love this. tea party favorite ken buck out in colorado calls birthers dumb asses and it was recorded. wow, that's in the sideshow.
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we start with the leak of documents about the war in afghanistan. congressman shelly pingree. she is a democrat from maine who sits on the armed services committee. congressman jim mcgovern from massachusetts. congresswoman pingree, knowing what you learned today in the "new york times," other large papers, where do you stand on afghanistan and our continued war there? >> i oppose the war in afghanistan. i opposed it before we got in there. i oppose continued funding for it. the fact is, a lot of things we're reading about today many of us knew about before. we've been hearing about it. this reinforces how badly things are going, how much information people need to have about the war, and frankly from my constituents how upset people are about the $7 billion a month we continue to spend in what seems to be a failing effort. >> congressman, my question here, and this is a
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nasty question, but i think it's at the heart of the report today. we keep being told we're fighting for afghanistan to save pakistan. now we find out that pakistan is fighting us and killing our guys in afghanistan. that's a revolting development. >> look, the documents that were released paint a very grim picture. and our men and women who are fighting this battle are doing an incredible job. but what is clear is that they have no reliable partners. they can't trust the government of afghanistan because karzai is corrupt. they can't trust the afghan police or the afghan military because they're corrupt. now we have news that the pakistani intelligence are working to undercut the american men and women we're putting in harm's way. this is an outrage. quite frankly it should cause members of congress to start asking some of the tough questions. >> let's go to the times report. according to "new york times," the documents karch that pakistan's intelligence service,
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the isi, helped coordinate taliban defenses against american forces in afghanistan. quote, on june 19 -- on june 19, isi operatives. the foreigners agreed to this operation and have assembled 20 4 x 4 trucks to carry the fighters into the areas in question. the report said. while the specs about the foreign fighters and the isi are difficult to verify, the taliban did indeed mount an offensive to seize control in maruf in 2006. congresswomanpygree. this question. we're there to defend iraq. i mean afghanistan in order to prevent the overthrow of the pakistani government. who do we trust in this environment when the pakistani intelligence services are seen here helping to kill american -- americans who are trying to save pakistan? >> well, you're right. we've had a lot of distrust of pakistan all along. but many of these things that we're reading about today only confirm it.
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congressman mcgovern mentioned we just continue to put our soldiers in harm's way. there is no way they can trust many of the people around them and we're not having successes. i read in the paper and i know from being in the armed services committee we spent a billion dollars a year supporting pakistan. i know that shouldn't seem like a lot given we're spending $7 billion a month on this whole effort. but the fact is we trust them. we need them in this effort and they're not necessarily on our side and it's costing us a lot of money. frankly, i just don't understand why more members of congress aren't voting to stop the funding for this war because when i'm back home, i hear from my constituents they don't think we're winning. they don't understand why we're continuing the effort and they want to see an end to the conflict. >>lates go back to congressman mcgovern and back to you for the political question. it's not political. it's policy. should the democratic party, which is generally skeptical about overseas adventures and overextension of the u.s., some might say neoimperial designs on the world in the left, is the democratic party in its heart for this war in afghanistan?
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congressman mcgovern on the hill? >> i don't believe it is. i don't believe a majority of democrats are. we had 60% of the democratic caucus vote with me on an amendment calling for the formulation of an exit strategy in afghanistan. the speaker of the house who traditionally doesn't vote actually voted with us. so the majority of the democratic party wants to us figure out a way to get out of this thing. we've been there almost ten years. we have lost thousands of brave men and women. we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars supporting a corrupt government and nation building over in afghanistan when quite frankly, we should be doing more nation building here in the united states. >> let's take a look at another document before we go back to congresswoman pingree. one document from september 2007, three years ago disclosed afghan district officials made brutal assessments of the afghan government to american civil fairs officer. the reports says the people of afghanistan keep losing their trust in the government because of the high amount of corrupted government officials. the general view of the afghans
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is that the current government over there is worst than the taliban. the oldest member told the group the corrupted government officials are a new concept brought to afghanistan by the americans. the officer who wrote the report wrote the people will support the anti-coalition forces and the security condition will deteriorate. i guess that's the question. it seems to me, congresswoman, we've got a problem. we went over there, according to the neocons to extend democracy. we're defending a defeated government in iraq. we're sport supporting a defeated government in afghanistan. i know they're saying one reason we're over there is to extend democracy. we're backing two people in that lost elections that are accused in this case of being corrupt. do you buy the argument that americans corrupted afghanistan, or they just have a history of it, and we joined it? >> i'm not sure i believe that we corrupted afghanistan. i think you're right. this is a government that was corrupt. we haven't been able to improve it, as you mention. many afghanees feel that they're
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safer with the taliban, which is a crazy notion when given how much time and money we've spent there. i have to continue to say, if we don't have a democracy that we're working with, if we can't succeed with our efforts, we are democracy building over there. we're nation building as well as democracy building. we can't afford that level of investment there when we need it here. i just don't see any signs that things are improving. and so many of these documents showed how vulnerable our soldiers are. many of us in congress we make the phone calls, we go to the funerals for our soldiers who don't come back. it's hard to keep telling families that this is an effort they should be participating in. the fact is, as you mentioned it, we don't hear from the republicans anymore about the importance of this effort. i think they're backing down because they're hearing the same things. many of us wanted to give the president a chance. he took over a very tough situation and we've done our best to be supportive. but i haven't been able to vote for this. i don't think i can in the future. >> what do you make of the
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people who charge this is what we call disloyal to our country to release this report by "the times"? where are you on that? all this information about our problem over there. >> this information was going to come out. it's generally known. we read some of this stuff in the "rolling stone." we hear it from our own military. i think the "times" was very careful in trying to protect these people who could be vulnerable in these situations. but this is the information you have to have when you're making tough decisions. this is exactly what congress should be debating. >> congressman mcgovern, let me ask you the toughest question in the world. it's bugging me as a person watching this. if we get out of afghanistan, and we may well do it starting next july under this administration, according to this timetable, we might. what does that say about the chances of al qaeda coming back in there? >> nobody is saying we should take our eyes off al qaeda. in fact, to the contrary. what i'm arguing is that us being bogged down in afghanistan, doing nation building there is taking our resources and eyes off the enemy. we want to go after those
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responsible for september 11th. and hold them accountable. but they're no longer in afghanistan. we need to go wherever they are. if they come back to afghanistan, we come back. there's nothing wrong with a little sunshine. these documents have exposed the truth and congress needs to deal with it. >> are you afraid of the old tag, who lost afghanistan? from the right? if we pull out and afghanistan goes back to the taliban, which it could well do and could offer sanctuary to al qaeda like it did before, congresswoman let me ask you first, it's a tough one, are you willing to take the heat as a democrat for having let that happen? >> absolutely at this point. after the longest war we've been in and no signs of success, i'd be happy to tell the soldiers you can return home. you can be safe. we'll go back if we have to. but we need to put our eye on a lot of other places that could be danger zones. this is not succeeding and this information reinforces that
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more. we have to do the tough things in congress. that's why we're here. >> congressman mcgovern, will you take the heat? will the president take the heat from the right? it will come. you democrats cost us afghanistan by pulling the plug on this. >> the taliban are awful rotten people. but there are a lot of awful rotten people all over the world. we can't occupy every country. here's my hope. if we can set a time line f we can set an exit strategy,that will put pressure on the afghan government to either step up or not. the responsibility lies with the afghan government. we have been there ten years. we have spent hundreds of billions of dollars. we have lost thousands of soldiers. are we going to be there forever? that's the question. we can't afford to do so. we're going bankrupt. >> thank you, congressman and congresswoman pingree of maine. coming up, should affirmative action programs be shut down, how's that for a question, shut down because they discriminate against whites? that debate is coming up next. senator jim webb of virginia
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>> well, democrats may have caught a break in colorado. former republican congressman tom tancredo announced that he will run for govern there as an independent. that would split the conservative vote and hand the race to the democratic nominee for governor. tancredo says he believes the two scandal ridden republicans running for governor are not strong enough to win november. we'll be right back. [ sniffing ] [ male announcer ] missing something? like 2 pairs of glasses for $99.99 at sears optical, with bifocal lenses for just $25 more per pair. hurry in to sears optical today and don't miss a thing. with bifocal lenses for just $25 more per pair. ♪ ba♪ her social networking o into ♪ ♪ she spends her whole day tweeting ♪ ♪ and status updating ♪ but this girl should be friending free-credit-score-dot-com ♪
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back to "hardball." on friday democratic senator jim web of virginia tackled affirmative action in "the wall street journal." senator webb wrote those who came to this country in recent decades from asia, latin america and africa did not suffer discrimination from our government and have frequently been the beneficiary of special
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government programs. the same cannot be said of many hard-working white americans including those whose roots go back 200 years beyond our continuing obligation to assist those african-americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end. political analyst eugene robinson is a pul lister prize winning clust and pat buchanan. pat, this question, i'm not even sure since this suggestion has only been brought up today, how much is left in affirmative action? i know private schools look for diversity. because they think it helps all their students. what is left that bothers you in terms of affirmative action that you think should be gotten rid of, along with jim webb. what is left as a remnant of affirmative action you want to see gone? >> there's an enormous amount of it in the federal government and the workforce.
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i've been looking at it as part of a book. jim webb's point is important and courageous. he's saying don't treat it as a monolith. the folks he came from, those folks never benefited from the wasp ascend answer in boston and new york. they were the victims of that form of discrimination. and they are today the victims of the form of discrimination practice and affirmative action, quotas, set asides and things like that. ask yourself, chris, what is the who are reality? what is the justice of discriminating against appalachian white folks whose father may have fought in vietnam, his father fought in world war ii in favor of folks say from el salvador, ethiopia? discriminating against them when the new comes never suffered under slavery, never suffered under jim crowe. they happened to be people of color. what is the argue of -- argument for discriminating in favor of a person from puerto
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rico and against a person from portugal? i'll mark you down as having no problem with affirmative action for those who suffered under slavery. >> i think the original act to rectify the injustices of slavery and jim crowe had a real moral argument behind them. i don't understand the moral argument for drimtding against working class folks from the south or appalachia or tennessee who never had a break. >> gene robinson? >> pat and i agree on one thing, affirmative action, that there was a moral argument behind the original intent of affirmative action. to rectify slavery and jim crowe and hundreds of years of oppression. >> hundreds of years of free labor in america, too. >> i think it could come as a surprise to native americans to many latinos in fact that, as senator webb says they've never
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been discriminated against in this country. >> but under the law. >> it's different. >> legally held as prisoners. and forced to free labor. >> absolutely. i do think that's a different category. in fact, i would take it further. i think what's needed now is a concentrated program of affirmative action aimed specifically at the black lower class. specifically at the 33% or 40% of and can american. >> who are children and grand chiffon slaves. >> and who have not made it into the middle class and for whom the gap between those who did not and those who did seems to grow. >> what do you make of that? pat, i've never noticed this from you, i think we're all growing in this question about where we're headed as a country in this century. do you think it makes sense in the 21st century to do a limited notion of affirmative action. not for everybody of color,
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everybody who's not white, but for those people who remain, and they are descendants of slaves. still stuck in the cotton south or tobacco south and who have suffered. they're on the other side of the digital divide. they haven't gotten the good schooling, they haven't gotten the break into the hi-tech society. do they deserve affirmative action? >> i would drop the idea of doing it by race. there are folks in the south. there are folks all over the country who have suffered various kinds of discrimination and impairments and probably need help. why separate it out from race? chris, you and i know frank, ricky and his friends those firefighters are not beneficiaries of some great wasp affirmative action in the old days. those guys were discriminated against. those guys' fathers fought in our war. what is the justification for saying, well, since your ancestors came from italy, we're
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going to discriminate against you, and some guy who just came here, never knew jim crowe, we're going to discriminate against him because he's colored. what is the moral argument for that? >> you could have means testing, for example, and say, the cutoff really is income. however, i do think the national -- nation has a special obligation to african-americans. i do. i think that moral obligation has not been fulfilled. i guess i would differ with pat on that question. >> gene, let me ask you this. >> but i do think, pat, that you could make an argument in this day and age for means testing of affirmative action so that, for example, the son or daughter of african-american who have reached the middle class or the upper class or whatever, i think it's perfectly justifiable to ask, as president obama asked
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but he never quite said should his dogs get special treatment. >> let's go to the red hot issues. the working class black against the working class white. the firefighter. the white firefighter who may be italian or whatever. he's been busting his butt, staying up all night. passing the exams. he passed the exam. the african-american guy doesn't. what do we do? do we do it by diversity or who passed the test? that's where the tire hits the road. >> we go by the olympic model if you will. if the top ten slots in sprinters are all african-american guys, and ain high jump and the guys on the swimming team or on the hockey team are all white guys. let's go with the best. whoever wins in fair and free and equal competition, that is what america is all about. >> pat, right away, i think a lot of the nba teams carry white players, do you think so, pat? >> i think they do. >> steve nash was mvp two years
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in a row. he's the best point guard in the lead. dirk nowitzki is not bad. let's not disown white players in the nba. >> i think larry bird got where he was because he was the best. >> they have to at least be able to shoot. >> i'm trying to shoot. by the way. >> they can't jump, gene. >> i'm trying to make pat's point here which is quality and performance should not be the only standard. in the firefighter case, the question was, okay, you have an exam. the question was, does the exam, is the exam itself discriminatory against a certain group. if the instrument isn't perfect, then the result isn't perfect. >> if it's a biased exam, i agree. if it's a bias exam i agree. you foe what the southern coach said when he was asked how many black players he plays?
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he said three at home, four on the road, and five in the playoffs. >> you play the best players. when you go to win. that's very american. >> you are such an american realist. i say that with a certain degree of roux. >> charlie scott started winning for unc. all the sudden everybody wanted in on the act. here's senator webb. let's get back to the world besides sports. policy makers ignored such disparities within america's white cultures. when in advancing minority diversity programs, they treated whites as a fungible monolith. nonwhite groups receive special consideration in a wide variety of areas including business startups, academic admissions. there he is getting to the point here. if an african-american family is well off, should they get affirmative action, gene? >> at this day and age, i say no. take the aide. take the value of the aid and
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redirect it towards low-income african-american who's need. >> pat, where do you think this is taking us? i think jim webb who's a democrat from virginia, which is a traditional southern state in many ways, conservative state in many ways, how is this going to advance the conversation? you acknowledged there was a merit for redressing the evils of slavery and jim crowe. where are we going now from a conservative point of view? >> here's what happened. in three big states. michigan, california, and washington affirmative action was abolished by voter referendum. if it is not abolished by voter referendum, and if the supreme court doesn't overturn it, chris, i think we're headed for real racial ethnic conflict because the only folks now you can discriminate against are white males because all women get preferential treatment, et cetera. they're only one-third of the population. they're diminishing.
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there's a rising racial consciousness here. i think jim webb is on the cutting edge of a huge national issue. >> we'll see. thank you. final thought? >> yeah, final thought. there's another question. this nation as pat pointed out is becoming more diverse. the leadership class of the nation had better be diverse, as well. that's where we'll go to do best. >> that's one of the things i began to realize in college. particularly for that reason. >> first take a look at the limited diversity you find in the ivy league. the scholar at princeton said no poor whites need apply. future farmers of america, junior rotc. read his article. 2,500 words. it's very dramatic. just hit a week ago. >> let's all be positive on this. it is a tricky subject. pat, let's be positive. i agree with you. thank you, eugene robinson. thank you, pat buchanan. coming up, another embarrassing dumb ass i love this word the guy used, that's his quote used
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on tape. here's a conservative trying to get the tea party vote by calling all birthers dumb asses. at least he calls one of them that. that's next on side show. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪
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back to "hardball." time for the side show. first pulling back the curtain. ken buck, front-runner in next month's republican primary for senator from colorado is counting on the backing of tea party folk. but listen to him on this secret tape recording from a june campaign event. buck was speaking with a democratic party operative when he offer this had less than flattering remark about birthers, those people who challenge that barack obama was born in the u.s. >> would you tell those dum asses at the tea party to stop asking questions about birth
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certificates while i'm -- anyway. caught making fun of voters he needs next month, buck through a spokesman, tried damage control today. he said something about not using appropriate language. he did not deny that he had dumped on the bergers and did retract what he thought of their open and relentless skepticism about obama's americanism. speaking of catering to the right wing or not. what's with all the secession talk? he was the latest to join the course when he suggested states could and would succeed from the union over the new health care mandates. quote -- i hope the american people will go back to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government. things got a little too hot for wamp. he backed off a day later saying "when i'm governor of tennessee, of course we will not secede from the union but we will also have a governor who will not cave into barack obama. there needs to be a conflict
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between the states and the federal government. what's that mean there needs to be conflict? what is this all about this nonsense? finally, not everyone is a fan of new jersey shore. here's chris christie on abc's "this week." >> mtv's jersey shore, positive for new jersey or negative? >> negative for new jersey. i mean, because what it does is takes a bunch of new yorkers, drops them at the jersey shore and tries to make america feel like this is new jersey. the jersey shore is a beautiful place. some place everybody should come vacation this summer. we have six weeks or so of summer left. come to new jersey. >> i'm with him. i spent my summers growing up on the jersey shore, ocean city to be precise and loved it. should the bush tax cuts for the wealthiest americans expire this year? democrats say yes. republicans say no. that's the hot one. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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i'm montreal. bp's board of directors has reportedly approved a plan to replace ceo tony hayward with american robert dudley. dudley is currently the head of bp's oil spill response unit. engineers say despite recent weather-related delay delays they are on track to start shutting down the welby beginning early next week. nato found no evidence to support claims by the afghan government that 50 civilians were killed in an allied rocket attack last week. this as the u.s. military accuses two former soldiers and two afghan companies of conspireing to steal about $1.5 million worth of fuel from a u.s. base. facing a $19 billion deficit, the governor of california is threatening to leave a budget proposal unsign fundamental it doesn't contain severe cuts to
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state spending. the city council of bell, california, is going to vote on drastic pay cuts tonight after news of sky high salaries generates outrage on a national level. back to "hardball." >> the responsible thing for the country now is to make sure we leave in place and preserve tax cuts that go to more than 95% of working americans and compliment those with a set of incentives for businesses to expand. and hire. to make that possible and to do that responsibly, i think it is fair and good policy to allow those tax cuts that only go to 2 or 3% of the highest earners in the country to expire as scheduled. the country with withstand that. the economy can withstand that. it's a good policy. >> that was treasury secretary tim geithner, of course, on "meet the press." will president obama get what he
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wants, and if he does, can republicans win back power in november by crying the democrats raised taxes or enacted the biggest tax increase in history as they're saying? with us now is two members of the house of representatives. both in the ways and means economy. joe crowley of new york. thank you, gentlemen. congressman crowley, it seems to me the democratic party, all the people i talk to want to see this tax cut ended. they think it's unfair. they think it's the heart of bush. that and going to iraq are the two worst things bush did. will the president end the tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year? >> i think what mr. geithner said over the weekend makes perfect sense. i think we wouldn't be in the mess today had these tax cuts not gone through for the wealthiest 1% in the country. they can afford a little bit more to live in the best country, the greatest country the world has ever known. we can start to really address the issue of our national debt. we wouldn't be here for but for
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these irresponsible tax cuts and i believe these two irresponsible wars now. >> congressman ryan, is there any tax role from reducing the 1.2 trillion deficit? is there any role in tax increasing to help do that job? >> i don't think it's a good idea when we're trying to come out of a jobless recovery and a slow-growth economy. we have employment at almost 10%. the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the economy. chris, the worst thing for deficit reduction is a slow economy. you hit small businesses with these tax rate increases and you'll slow the economy further. 75% of those who will get hit with these higher tax rates are successful small businesses. tens of millions of your jobs come from small businesses. if you try to blame these tax cuts and the wars for all of our fiscal problems, the numbers don't add up. at best, 14% of the evaporation of the surplus came from these tax cuts. it all came from other things. so what joe earlier said is right which is the taxes will go
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up. i think that's a mistake and i think it's going to hurt the economy. >> it seems every republican on "meet the press" is asked where will you cut? they won't answer. you won't raise taxes. you won't cut spending. in other words, all this bitching about the deficit doesn't mean squat because you won't raise taxes or cut spending. >> last year when we did a budget, i brought a budget to the floor that cut $4.8 billion out of the puth budget and paid for all of these tax cuts and debt reduction. two months ago we put out numerous spending cuts. i can show you all the kinds of cuts. >> that's.003 of the deficit. >> $4.8 trillion is not peanuts.
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it's nothing to sneeze at. >> i just don't see any program cuts. you're talking in general terms. let me tell you this. the major republicans that come on television will not cut social security, medicare, medicaid. they won't cut the mirt. they can't cut debt servicing. they won't get rid of a major cost of government. they'll talk about let's freeze discretionary spending or discretionary and domestic in some generalized way. they won't get rid of government. they seem to like government. in fact, they love to talk against it. >> go to american road map dot org and you'll see legislation the cbo has scored as actually paying off the debt with very specific reforms to the entitlements you mentioned. >> name a major piece of the 1.4 1.7 trillion. just take a chunk out of that 1.4 by getting rid of a big program, good expenditure that the people now watching can understand. >> i would rescind the unspent
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stimulus funds. i would reskend all the t.a.r.p. funds nothing being spent. i would do a federal hiring freeze and pay freeze for the rest of the year. i would cut discretionary spending back to '08 levels and freeze the spending going forward. you can and i can get into a debate. whether it worked or it didn't. i don't think it did. we increased discretionary by 84%. i don't think we should continue to build that kind of a base. let's go back and cut it to '08 levels. rescind stimulus, rescind t.a.r.p. and do a federal hiring and pay freeze. those are a few ideas that add up to $1.3 trillion dl. >> i don't see any cuts in entitlements. go ahead. the big spending. >> you asked me discretionary. >> congressman crowley what, are the democrats going to do about the deficit? anything? >> i did notice, he didn't mention at all his plan to privatize social security. going back to the same bush agenda, the failed bush agenda. the american people rejected that in the election of barack obama. a democratic majority in the house and in the senate. be that as it may, i think
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democrats have really taken steps to be more responsible. we're working under a pay-go system. pay as you go. albeit there are some items that are cut off from that portion of it. we are raemting to bring back a system that was proven to get our budgets in order. to really under the clinton administration really just bring back more fiscal responsible congress and more responsible government. it has worked in the past. i think it will work in the future. the president said he wants to cut the deficit in half. i want to help him do that. >> are you comfortable with a proposal to eliminate the $250,000 and above tax cut. >> i can tell you in my district, there are very few people 0 who make more than that. and i think to live in the greatest country the world has ever known, it's a small price to pay. >> congressman ryan, you have no problems defending tax cuts for people who make over $250,000 a year. >> small businesses. go to wisconsin.
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>> no, no, it's an individual tax cut. >> you have to understand, chris, 75% of those people who pay that top tax rate are small businesses who file as individuals, not corporations. that's the problem with this economic argument, chris. when you think you're just taxing rich people like bill gate you're hitting successful small businesses. when we tax our employers more than our foreign competitors tax theirself, we lose. we lose in global competition. that means low tax rates on businesses and small businesses in certainty. we have a whole new tax on certainty that's hurting economic growth. we need to give taxpayers certainty they're not going to have a huge wave of tax increases in 2011 and 2013. i would argue that's depressing. >> when the debt commission comes back with a two-to-one cut in spending and a $1 increase in taxes, you'll oppose it? >> i'm a member of the debt commission. >> i know. if the proposal for $2 in spending cuts, you're going to
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oppose the majority position on that? >> i don't think it's good form to do table talk. what's on the table or off the table in the debt commission. i'm hoping to put a good dent on the problem. >> i'm with you with that. thank you joe crowley of new york and paul ryan of wisconsin. up next,house how some tea party politicians are avoiding the media, and by that the public. they don't want to answer questions from the mainstream. mainstream media at least. this is "hardball" only on msnbc.
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guess who's coming to a republican national committee fund-raising in beverly hills next month? andrew breitbart, yes, the same breitbart who released the video about shirley sherrod that said she was somehow discriminating as a federal employee. he's also the guy who put out the pimp stuff from the a.c.o.r.n. group.
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he will speak at the rnc election count down next month in beverly hills. we'll be right back. st, longest nights on the planet. and asked frequent heartburn sufferers, like carl, to put prilosec otc's 24 hour heartburn protection to the test for two weeks. the results? i can concentrate on everything i'm doing, not even think about it anymore. since i've been taking it, i've been heartburn free, which is a big relief for me. [ male announcer ] take your 14-day challenge. ♪ prilosec otc. heartburn gone. power on. i want to fix up old houses. ♪ [ woman ] when i grow up, i want to take him on his first flight. i want to run a marathon. i'm going to work with kids. i'm going to own my own restaurant. when i grow up, i'm going to start a band. [ female announcer ] at aarp we believe you're never done growing. thanks, mom. i just want to get my car back. [ female announcer ] together we can discover
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buy a pantech messaging phone like the impact, and get a pantech messaging phone free after mail-in rebate. welcome back to "hardball." lately we've seen politicians, particularly those associated with the tea party, dodging reporters. senate candidate rand paul dodged meet press" after committing to show up. >> super tuesday 2010 unleashed a new power player within the republican party but by week's end, kentucky senate candidate rand paul, son of former presidential candidate ron paul, found the spotlight a little too hot. canceling his appearance on this
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program and raising doubts about his prospects for the fall. dr. paul wondered publicly friday where his honeymoon was citing exhaustion and an unwillingness to answer any further questions about his stand on civil rights and the role of government, canceled his appearance here. >> sharon engel dodged reporters last week at an event that her own xaen billed as a press conference. take a look at her in the background. >> karen, will you answer some questions really quickly? >> we have to go. i'm sorry. >> you sdroent any -- >> we're running behind. i'm sorry.
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>> wow. in politics daily david corn writes that sarah palin concede aid major point about herself. she does not possess a hardy enough constitution to be president. in that interview the daily caller reports palin said the media became a key reason she decided not to finish out her term as governor. while david corn, the washington bureau chief. let's talk about a couple of these. this is on the right. you're on the left. let's be straight about that. >> yes. >> right up front. this strategy of skipping out on reporters that might ask piercing questions, you know, this is what nixon did in 1968. he ran a tightly controlled campaign wresh didn't want to repeat what happened with him and kennedy in 1960. he didn't want to ebbing pose himself. sdoo that was an age when there was a lot less media than now. you could freeze out three networks and a couple of major newspapers and get away with it for a couple of months, which he managed to do. i don't think it's that ease where i these days. i mean, sharon engel looks like she's imitating lindsay lohan in that video, and it, obviously, can work in these primary battles that they won, which you
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have very small pool of voters, republicans, conservatives, who deciding between them and more establishment candidates. >> let me try this. suppose you are -- let's take some cases. suppose you are rand paul, and you have made statements in the past about you question the civil rights act of 1964. you may question other things that have become sort of settled in this country. do you really want someone like you running along beside them saying, hey, are you still on that civil rights issue you had before, or if you are sharon engel, you believe in second amendment remedies like gun play to deal with congress if you don't like it, you don't want to answer questions like that. >> you kun can be guaranteed, at least in sharon engel's case that harry reid will be spending $15 million making sure this every naf nav voter knows about everything she's said about bp being a slush fund, about privatizing social security, unemployment insurance. that stuff is going to come out. the only thing she has to prove is whether she can take the
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heat, explain what she said even if it's, you know, not a great explanation, but, come on, if you want to take part on these issues like the deficit, afghanistan that are hard issues, you're going to run away from local tv reporters and tell the public that you can go back to washington and fight for them? doesn't make a lot of the sense. >> let's get the points here. what's your current betting on harry reid? i think that race is still up in the air. i think sharon engel, despite her weird behavior there running away in her awful comments about use of guns in a political context, waive second amendment, but it's not for politics. lee harvey oswald used it for politics sdwloosh hardball is for politics. >> this is not what we believe in. can she beat them just because the climate is so bad? >> of course, she can. >> if she shuts up. if she completely hides, i don't think it will get her elected. >> i don't think she can completely hide. i think the thing that has to be done is to get rid of these issues that are dogging her now. this is the pure politics, get
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them dealt with earlier than later, because right now she's looking like a fool. i mean, this is what the tv -- local television stations are showing the nevadan voters that she can't take a punch, she can't take a question, and, you know, at the end of the day people i think are going to look at that and say she may not be ready for prime time. >> republicans are out there backing harry reid. there are republicans for reid now because of this. >> even if you don't like harry reid, even if you don't like democrats, you want someone who is up to the job, so i think people -- >> >> do you think sarah palin is up for the job of being president if she's not up to the job of being governor of alaska? >> she told us she's not up to the job. >> i don't know if she would like you that much. when we return, i have thoughts about the americans fighting for our country in afghanistan based upon these new reports in "the times." you're watching "hardball" on msnbc.
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let me finish with the "new york times" store on the afghan war. what got me was today's account on an attack near the small american outpost. the attack on combat post keating happened as the u.s. was shifting from a strategy of defending outposts like keating to one of concentrating forces in key areas. using the urgent messages sent by the forces under attack in keating, "the times" article
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showed what happens when gis get dangerously exposed because of a shift in strategy. in heavy contact, came the first word from the outpost that was under attack from the taliban. then the urgent call went out that close air support be brought directly to the troops under fire. we need it now. we have mortars pinned down, and fire coming from everywhere. we are taking casualties every where. get something up. they were under attack from higher ground. we are taking fire from inside the village now. our mortars are still pinned down unable to fire. multiple enemies running through, and fire coming from the mosque. the police station is shooting at us. the enemy was now breaching the outpost defensive ring. the post was at risk of falling. enemy in the wire at keating. now went the message to headquarters. enemy in the wire. enemy in the wire. we need support. the american aircraft finally arrived just in time. helicopters and f-15s. the outpost was saved, but eight american fighters and several afghans were dead. almost 2,000 americans were

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