tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 30, 2010 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT
is one of hundreds of stars nearby which could host solar systems, so literally, there would be billions of planets like this in our galaxy. >> if you said it with carl sagen's accent, it would be even better. thank you so much. "hardball's" up now. clinton joins the argument. let's play "hardball." good evening. leading off tonight, clinton one-on-one. he says the election is about who you believe. that's at the top of the show. also, james clyburn said on "hardball" last night that if republicans win the house, they will try to delegitimize
president obama. darrell issa called the charge paranoid. let's see what he is in mind if republicans gain control. plus, wait until you hear the threat that carl paladino made last night. >> my daughter -- i'll take you out, buddy. >> how you going to do that? >> watch. >> there's more to this tape. by the way, who is this candidate that's threatening to take out people? and all the president's generals. how is president obama working with american generals in afghanistan? who's calling the shots? remember this scene when michele bachmann was so inspired by president bush that she wouldn't let him go? well, she's turned on bush in her latest ad. first, let's check in on the latest polls in the tight races around the country.
starting with california. a new poll shows what we've seen. boxer's building a lead over fiorina. looks like a real race with joe miller at 38%. murkowski at 36% and mcadams at 22%. finally, to florida. where marco rubio is pulling away. he's up 13 points over charlie crist with meek way behind. we'll continue to check the scoreboard each night leading up to the election day. now, my interview with former president clinton. i begin by asking him about the negativity that seems to be dominating. let's talk about the phenomena
in american life. it's gotten much worse. this fiery negativetivity. >> i don't know how it could get much worse, but i do think -- >> oh, now, it's crossed parties. seems like everything is far left or far right. >> i think you have a polarized political environment and polarized media environment increasing. i think that part of it is that the american people are having a tough time. by the time i left office, we were growing together again since the first time since the 1970s. they saw their incomes go up in percentage terms same as the top 20%. it seemed that the government was working again. the approval of government was higher than it had been in a
long time. then we had the controversy in iraq. the recession. even before the financial meltdown in september of 2008, the economy had only produced 2.5 million jobs, so that depressed wages and after inflation, health care cost double. a lot of anxiety up there. i think in anxious times, people get on the trigger. they're afraid they're not doing right by their families. they're afraid their own dreams are going to be thwarted and the politics that on one extreme of the other seems to have more weight. >> you were on the plane -- the center and you and both tony blair, the former prime minister i spoke to recently, about you, in fact. he's very supportive of what you did and it's very similar. today, in this environment, is it possible to find that third way again? to bring a center left constituency together when
everybody wants to maybe get on the air on msnbc and take a far left position. get on fox and take a position all the way on the right. i don't a republican party fighting that. >> i think there is. >> left rather. >> but there -- first -- i think the answer to creating it is to persuade 2/3 of the american people that you've got your facts straight first. that there is a factual basis for what we're trying to do here. for example, one of the things that has always frustrated me and hillary, we talked about this a lot. is that americans historically have been aware accurately of the exceptional nature of our country and it is in many ways, quite an exceptional place, but they have therefore been resi
resistant to comparative information. so one fact that drives everything i think about health care is the we're now spending 17.2% of our income on health care and wealthy competitors spending 10.5 and they have longer life expectancies and lower infant mortality rates. that means if we had their systems, we'd save a trillion dollars a year and be healthier. a lot f people don't want to hear that. they just know i go to my doctor and i like him and somebody sends me a bill for my insurance. i think it's relative that we recovered 70% of the income we lost from the recession. germany's at 60. japan's at 50. the u.k.'s at 30. we don't have the jobs yet because they come always in the last 30% and then when you're out. >> you think facts like this will turn heart ins this environment? >> first of all, people's hearts are pretty hard, but their ear
rs not closed yet. i think that people's hearts are moved when their lives are changed and this, you know -- i'm not saying those things are self-serving for me as a democrat, but there are accurate facts. and i think that you know, the republicans, i'll give you an example. a republican accurate fact. we have -- they said one thing i've agreed with them on is that adults who are -- ought to be able to buy health insurance policies across state lines. what's the argument against that? new york, where i live, requires a lot of things to be on health insurance policies, but suppose you live in new york and have two kids and want them on some insurance. you could buy a policy in iowa that you think would meet the basic needs of your family. i think you ought to be able to do that. now, the argument for that is
basically, you wind up driving all people into low er policies. in other words, it's not like there's no argument against that, but i'm persuaded that it's right. why? because i've thought about the facts. if you say from the get go, president obama is a closet socialist who wants to you know, extend the reach of government across the length and breadth of the land and chalk off free enterprise and small business and individual initiative and therefore i got to -- or if you say, we beat bill clinton and democrats in '94 by saying, no, we were responsible for health care not passing. for reporting things. and we got credit for it and the things they did do, no one knew because the no drowned out the positive accomplishments. it may work in the short run, but in the end, the country loses. in the end, we have to find a
way forward. i'll never forget when i worked with the reagan white house in '88 and the first incarnation of welfare reform. private, they're perfectly honest with me. even though they were more conservative than i was, they knew i wanted people who could work to work. when i pointed out that you couldn't ask poor people to go to work if they lost their food support or couldn't provide medical care for their kids, they got that and didn't want to take it away. we had a kind of debate that sensible people have when a husband and wife have a difference at home and they work through it by listening to each other and figuring out the best compromise. >> the republican party in the era under you decided early on in the health care fight to just say no and they didn't get hit hard on it.
president obama has decided, maybe it's chicago politics, you don't talk about the opposition. he never mentioned boehner's name. mcconnell's name. now, he's calling them out. >> probably. >> just get away with saying no. >> probably because the other side was system atically attacking not just the president, but also speaker pelosi and senator reid and they're not as gifted on television or depending themselves as president obama. >> so you'd get them in the ring. >> and so they hauled them in there, but the election, the republicans want this to be an election on every bad thing you ever heard about barack obama, nancy pelosi and harry reid. and so the reason the president
is doing this, i think, is not just to hurt them, but to say what they stand for and this is not -- it's a choice between reid and mcconnell. it's a choice between nancy pelosi and john boehner. and it's almost impossible with only a month to go and they've been doing it for maybe a month to fill up the tank as much and -- but it's worth reminding americans that every election is a choice. if you have to run against the ideal, if it's a referendum, every one of us will get beats. we'd have nobody in office because there's no such thing as the perfect public servant. the choices you make in politics are like the choices you make in life. you make the best available choice. >> that's an interesting insight into the obama's strategy. he talked about how what obama is doing is to try to draw mitch
mcconnell and john boehner on to television where they aren't so good and expose them as part of the no team. part of a long interview we did today. part of an upcoming documentary. by the way, that was taped today at the clinton institute on american politics, university college dublin. one of the many institutes being set up by the former president. james clyburn said if republicans win the house, they'll use subpoena power to try to delegitimize president obama. darrell issa said he was being paranoid and goofy. up next, we'll ask iss what what republicans are planning to do with the power that he will have in his hand. you're watching "hardball" from dublin only on msnbc.
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fifth, leaving the country, in some cases going to jail, is an era i hope none of us repeat. in other words, the crimes shouldn't repeat and neither should the subpoenas. >> that was darrell issa a couple of weeks ago on cnn. he's expected to chair the house oversight committee the republicans take the majority. last night on "hardball," jim clyburn told us when he expects republicans get control. >> do you really believe that if the republicans get control, the congress and power, they're going to go after the president's birth records, try to prove he's a foreigner and other nonsense like that? >> i absolutely believe that. i take them at their word. i've watched their actions. what i always say, it's not their words, it's their deeds. let's look at the members of that committee that's been
talking about the government oversight committee. you've got dan burton sitting there. he is a cosponsor of the birther bill. dan, you know, the ranking member, though he says that i didn't mean the birthers bill. i meant to look at fraud cases. well, that's what they're saying. they're trying to delegitimize this president. they're calling him a fraud. so he'll be -- >> let's go to darrell issa. thank you for joining us tonight. so, it's not true. congressman clyburn's dead wrong. you are not going to do the kind of burden stuff. not shooting at cantaloupes out back, not doing birther stuff even though burton's on one of the birther list and so the fortinbury. >> not at all. first of all, that issue is long
since settled. i came into congress when people were questioning whether or not george bush was legitimate. i thought we should work with the president. two years ago i felt the same and i have been since. >> well, let's take a look at some things you said. something on may 25th of this year concerning the issue of joe sestak, your fellow congressman. let's watch. >> an allegation has been made that multiple sources many both parties, anthony weiner, dick morris and other democrats have made it very clear, even axelrod, that they should answer that in fact this is serious, this is an impeachable offense, according to dick morris and i think that brings back the question that it's not about what was done wrong, it's about the cover up.
>> do you believe there was any impeachable offense involved in white house conversations or alleged conversations with joe sest sestak? >> that investigation has been pretty welcol completed. what we're trying to get to the bottom of in the next congress, is this business as usual. something that happened under the bush administration and as governor rendell says, you don't change everything. will the american people
want us to change that, to quit in the future, using taxpayer dollars and positions? save their party money? >> that's the question. okay. that's the question. are you going to spend the next several months if you get to be chairman of the reform
committee, subpoenaing people like rahm emanuel, asking them about a possible deal involving a job offer. are you going to spend your time doing that? >> as i said, when governor rendell said this is typical, it goes on, a member of the press team said similar things happened under the bush administration. what we discovered is that laws on the books to prevent this ree teenly are not considered to apply. as part of reform, it's not a matter of looking back. let's assume that every
administration has done it. we will look into whether or not taxpayer dollars will be used in that way and try to prevent it in the future, but we've got a lot bigger problems. we have 1.4 trillion of borrowed money to get through of each year. we have to find savings, waste. that's the real agenda of our
committee. >> so, it's not impeachable? you're changing your mind. it's not what you called impeachable. no, you use terms like this -- when you go after issues like -- >> i appreciate your comment, but i was quoting what dick morris said. i was in no way, shape or form talking about it. the fact is, i'm on the committee of waste, fraud and oversight and reform. it's really about going after far down below the president, his cabinet officers and get into the parts of government that waste your dollars. that's what i intend to do if given the opportunity. >> okay. here's something else. this is posted this year by your staff. let's listen to it on health care. >> the concern is that if you can bribe and i mean bribe members of the house and the
senate to get their votes, then democracy as we know it simply won't work. >> what we're talking about health care and you're using the term bribe there. you use terms like bribe, impeachable, the subpoena power. the question is, is this going to be another 80th congress. are there going to be a lot of probes like this going after rahm emanuel? >> i wish rahm good luck in his campaign. we have a problem in congress with earmarks, with trading something tr a district for something else. and yes, i'm going work with, i hope, speaker boehner, to end the era of earmarks no matter where they come from and get back to accountable spending. it's not the issue of my committee, but it is the issue
of republicans if we have an opportunity to lead. >> do you believe that members of congress were bribed to vote for the health care bill? you used the term here, it's a legal term. do you mean it? >> i certainly think there were a lot of inducemented, but we can go back to inducements on medicare part d. it is not unique to have the heavy hand from the white house to try to move legislation. the real question is are we going to make it impossible for an administration or powerful members of the house or senate to air drop in spending or benefits in order to get a vote on an unrelated matter. that's important and something i take very seriously. i think all republicans have learned from many republicans falling into that. i think that's important issue. have the republicans learned their lesson from having been in the majority at a time in which
earmarks got out of control. >> you sound very sober now, congressman. i would accept anything you say tonight because you're in a very sober mood, but your staff is putting out terms like this, calling congressman clyburn, one of the ranking democrats, a sock puppet. you call him goofy and paranoid. you think these are appropriate ways to get along with your fellow members? >> i think calling someone paranoid, putting words into mouth when my position is just to the opposite of the president, i think that was appropriate. i think perhaps the democrats are getting paranoid the republicans are going to gain control, so they're coming out with things in fear or making them up. i have supported this president. i've tried to get legislation passed with this president and i intend on working with the president next congress regardless of the outcome, so i would hope we can use better language.
i would hope we would not claim that somebody's intentions are flat wrong. i think we have to make sure the process is fair, transparent and then we all have to live up to the high standards that are set. >> thanks for coming on the show, congressman darrell issa. is ranking member on the reform committee, may be chairman if the republicans gain control. remember when michele bachmann hugged president bush and wouldn't let go? you're watching "hardball" from dublin where i'm traveling with president clinton. back after this. ♪ when it's planes in the sky ♪ ♪ for a chain of supply, that's logistics ♪ ♪ when the parts for the line ♪ ♪ come precisely on time ♪ that's logistics ♪ ♪ a continuous link, that is always in sync ♪
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first, where's the love? remember when michele bachmann first got our attention? she was at the 2007 state of the union. a newly elected congresswoman when he latched on to president bush and wouldn't let go. three years later, she is singing a different tune. check out the opening to her new ad. >> government spending doesn't create good jobs cht that's why i fought and voted against the bush wall street bailout. >> i'm sorry. it's a small point, but where the congressman's bachmann's salary coming from? we'll be back with more of the show.
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following the departure of mark herd. back to "hardball." you know, back when i was a kid. welcome back to "hardball." we used to go at a family up to lake george, new york. something scary happened there last night. it involved carl paladino going after a "new york post" reporter. this is a frightening scene you don't often see even in politics. >> you've descended into the gutter by suggesting he was involved in extramarital evidence. isn't that going into the gutter? >> well, a guy that's been in the gutter and spent a good part of his life in the gutter should think twice about trying to
characterize me. >> you're a lawyer. you've heard the term and i'm -- >> i'm also a lawyer -- >> what evidence do you have? >> i want to know why you sent your goons after my daughter. i want to know about? . >> your charge against cuomo, do you have the evidence? >> three daughters -- >> how can you say that -- >> i have a daughter, too. i have a daughter. >> you brought it out, fred -- >> what evidence do you have? >> going after my daughter -- >> come on! hey -- >> who are you? >> do you have any evidence for the charge we answer read. >> at the appropriate time, you'll get it. >> attorney general of new york --
>> your as -- you send another goon to my daughter's house and i'll take you out, buddy. >> you're going to take me out? how? >> watch. >> just been going across the country getting a look at our country's mood. carl paladino threatening a reporter, threatening anybody to take them out. what's the nature of that threat, earl lewis? >> he used it quite a bit. he's said it about the leaders of the legislation, his political opponent, now, a journalist. he says, i'm going to take him out. that's part of his theme about cleaning up albany. it's a growing list of people on carl paladino's problems or enemies list. >> so, it has an unusual meaning in his case. it's not a physical threat to kill them?
>> the reporter he was talking to has i think a green belt in karate, so i don't know if that was a realistic option. the anger is real. the frustration has been a major theme of his campaign. he's been saying there's just no room. he talks in very rough language. he doesn't just say, i want to get him out by voting him out. he says i think he ought to go to prison. >> that's a legal remedy. joe klein, i'm not so sure of what i'm listening to here up here. sounds to me more severe than i'm going to talk to your employer, mr. murdoch, about you. what do you make of that charge? that threat. >> oh, it's kind of low key, new york politics as usual. but i think, chris, what you're
looking at is a larger trend here. you have within the republican party, you have a majority of people who have been angry at their incumbents. they've voted them out. they've voted in these amateurs and i've seen them, who really don't know how to behavior like politicians and sometimes that's refreshing. other times, it's really embarrassing. >> let's go up to maine to another center of activity. another ring in this fight game. paul lapaige. this scene also involves anger and tough talk. >> and as your governor, you're going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying governor lapaige -- >> there's interesting language. let's take a look at paladino
taking to kate snow. one or our reporters. >> it's okay. it's all right to show people that you're angry. it's sort of gets the discussion going. >> who are you angry at? >> angry at a government that took advantage of the people. a government that is self-sustaining, been eating at the public trough. >> you talk about the anger. you talked about the anger in new york and i want joe to pick up on it because he's been traveling across the country like paul simon looking for america. you first. this anger out there. >> there's definitely anger out there. upstate new york in particular. they've been betrayaled over and over again. when you adjust for the property of a home, it's a highest of the nation. they've lost tens of thousands of jobs.
people's kids just move out of state and it's happening by the hundreds of thousands every year. it's a real crisis and hasn't broken through the media bubble down here in the city and carl paladino is trying to breakthrough that bubble and say, we've got to do something different. the missing ingredient as you say, what's the real plan other than being outraged. >> yeah, joe, tell us about your trip. >> well, listen, you know, i don't as much fist shaking anger out among the people as i do on tv. there's some of that to be sure, but what people are really freaked out, you know, in past economic downturns that you and i have both covered, chris, people are concerned their kids aren't going to be able to lif as good as they have. now, they're absolutely convinced. they're absolutely convinced
that we're going to be number two to china. they're absolutely frustrated with our politicians for not dealing with the jobs and the trade and the outsourcing issues. for every time i hear the war in afghanistan from average americans, i hear china 25 times. they look at washington. they don't see anybody addressing this. >> well, you know the interesting thing is at the same time you hear people say they're against government. they think government's too big and yet they're holding it responsible for not getting their job back. it seems they want a bigger role for government. they want it to get in there and big foot the economy and make it walk right. isn't that a contradiction, joe? >> but there is no consistency. i talked to a cop out in michigan who won't even tell me why he hates the president. obviously, the president's some kind of a secret muslim and then i say, well, what do you think
we should do to make the country better. then he says, the government has to provide more jobs. there's no consist sensy. there is an awful lot of frustration and a sense that -- of fear. a lot of -- you can't imagine how many people as errol was saying, how many people's mortgages are under water in this country and they see their neighbors walking away from their mortgages which reduced the value of their homes. they're saying, are our parents like this? >> yeah. yeah. joe, it sounds like a president, i just talked to bill clinton. is right on this. he say they ought to think of alternatives and what they're voting for or against rather than just pounding their fists.
i know the mood and certainly i haven't seen anything like this guy carl paladino. i hope i don't see too many like him. thanks for joining us. errol lewis -- well, there's quite a -- thank you, joe klein, who's been out there checking out the cages. we'll be back with bob woodward, the best journalist in the country, the best investigative reporter in the country. his big book, an insight into this war in afghanistan. we'll be right back. replant a forest? maybe you want to rebuild homes for those in need? or, maybe you want to help improve our schools? whatever you want to do, members project from american express can help you take the first step. vote,
volunteer or donate for the causes you believe in at membersproject.com. take charge of making a difference. sure ii just wish that all of the important information was gathered together in one place. [ printer whirs ] done. ♪ thanks. do you work here? not yet. from tax info to debunking myths, the field guide to evolving your workforce has everything you need. download it now at thinkbeyondthelabel.com. it's my honor today to remember one of hollywood's all time greats. tony curtis. he died last night at the age of 85. i'll never forget the first time i saw him in "some like it hot."
an unforgettable and iconic gender bending performance. curtis also showed his dramatic talents as a roman slate who held his own against kirk douglas. tony curtis was the real deal. his love of the art came out in every film and tv appearance i ever saw him in. we're going to miss this guy. we're coming back with bob woodward's new book and bob himself. it paints a portrait of the president doing battle with his own military over how to wage a war. the big question, did president obama get control of his generals or do the generals box him into a war. back in a minute. last year. (oof). i had a bum knee that needed surgery. but it got complicated, because i had an old injury. so i wanted a doctor who had done this before. and unitedhealthcare's database helped me find a surgeon. you know you can't have great legs,
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we're back with bob woodward of "the washington post." thanks for joining us. i wanted to know before we get any further into this, your sense, i guess it's something you could conclude as a straight reporter, is barack obama got control of the military right now? >> well, he's the commander in chief and as general petraeus says in these meetings, actually told president obama, we in the military will support you. we're not self-employed. at the same time in the strategy review last year, they really erected this, these blocks of granite that included hillary clinton, secretary of defense gates and said 40,000 troops as
mcchrystal wants and that's it. it's quite baffling and it. it's quite baffle and astonishing to see at these meetings where i have the notes and the whole scene is in the book. the president said, well, you promised three options today and you are essentially giving me one in the military. said, well, yes, sir. obama went at gates and said, look, where's the option? this is unacceptable. an electric moment in the situation room, in the white house. and secretary gates said, yes, we owe you that option and it never came and the president had to devise his own. >> you know, bob, you're familiar with the military. you served in the military and you've covered all of these years through all of your books about presidents and the military. is this one of the cases where
the military is putting the president in a position where eventually they'll get him to do what they want. by the way they sort of uecker him into a strategy plan. >> no. it's not that. but, look, this is not out of conviction on the part of the generals. they believe they need these troops. they believe they need this time. the problem, and this is the problem obama has, he's very cerebral and ana political and he gets all of these intelligence reports. they have a secret monthly update about how the war is going. and the news is not good. out of one of these meetings, he literally comes out and says, given this definition of the problem, i don't see how we're going to design a solution. it is a war that i think even his general petraeus' head spinning. he said, there's been some signs of progress, but when you really dig into this, you find that
there are more signs of trouble and in insurgency taliban, insurgency there that literally still has the upper hand. >> do you have a concluding thought about the president's own clarity of thought? it seems in all that i've read from the book he wanted to get out on a timetable. he didn't want to be stuck in a long-term war or find himself at the end of one or two terms with a bigger war than he started with, but did he honestly accept the fact that there would be constraints to that kind of policy? there were certain dangers to that, things we couldn't control if we're going to leave on a relatively rapid timetable? >> well, he wants out. and the theme music in the background here is vietnam. even though he told me and reminded me that he was so young, vietnam didn't have an impact on him as a young boy, vietnam is there.
and joe biden, the vice president, is all over the president, just pushing and pounding and hammering in a wonderful bidenesque way. saying, we're locked into vietnam unless we draw up these -- this term sheet until the military -- you don't have unlimited time. we have to tell the military when they can't do, not just what they can do. so the condition, bottom line of this, is right now, you go through and read all of this. and it sets the table for the world we're in at this moment which is very unsettled. not just in the politics of the country and where the economy is going but very much the war in afghanistan, the president's going to have to make some tough decisions in the next six to nine months. >> we'll be right back with more with bob woodward. i want to know whether next july
is really going to be the deadline for beginning to leave afghanistan? back with more with bob woodward and his new book "obama's wars" in a minute. hi. you know, if we had let fedex office print our presentation, they could have shipped it too. saved ourselves the hassle. i'm not too sure about this. look at this. [ security agent ] right. you never kick off with sales figures. kicking off with sales figures! i'm yawning. i'm yawning some more. aaaaaaaand... [ snores ] i see your point. yeah. [ snores ] [ male announcer ] we understand.® you need a partner who delivers convenience.
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we're going to be in london tomorrow night on "hardball" and i'm going to have a long interview with tony blair about many of these topics including the war. let's talk now about this quote. here's president obama saying to his military, to his generals, "i'm not going to make a commitment that leaves my
successor with more troops than i inherited in afghanistan." that's a tough charge, bob woodward. he's saying i want to reduce the number of troops. but is he also saying, i want to do a little bit of nation building for the next couple of years. >> well, there's nation building in the strategy of win hearts in minds and protect the people and at the same time he's made it very clear, if you look at and you talk to him about this, as i have, he never uses the word, counterinsurgency, which is really the core of the strategy. and you can see that he's a doubter. he gets into the details here. and the whole theory of the case that he's presented to the generals in the national security team is, okay, you go in to an area, a platoon or a company of our soldiers, you clear out the insurgents, you hold the area, you build the schools, you kind of
nation-build a little bit and then you have to transfer to the afghans and you look at this, and there are almost no areas of the country where this can be done now. so we're not -- the military is not even on the edge of implementing his theory of the ca case. >> does the president have something that he can get done? in his mind's eye over the next two years that justifies the loss of life and limb that will come from staying a couple of more years in afghanistan, then leaving? >> i think he's got to have some good news out of this war. and you know, one possibility of secretary gates leaves, which he kind of has one foot out the door, put somebody in there who's really a leader, who knows how to deal with war. and the name that's being band-aid around is colin powell, of all people, somebody who served in vietnam, chairman of