tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC November 19, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
167. channel 167 monday through friday. have a great weekend. we'll see you back here on monday. "hardball" starts right now with michael smierconish filling in for chris matthews. we'll see you monday. the president is getting it from all sides. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm michael smerconish. in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, getting it from the left as well as the right. senate democrats are fighting mad at president obama. they blame him for losing the message war. here's what they want him to do.
lose that bipartisan talk. put on the boxing gloves and cast republicans as the party we beholden into the special interests. sherrod brown will be here to offer his advice on how the president can regain the upper hand. plus, it's a cloak and dagger story set in cyberspace. a malicious sophisticated computer worm that infected a computer worm that infected iran's operating systems was likely an attack to sabotage the country's nuclear program. and all signs point to israel. this just may be the new way to take out iran's nuclear facilities. and let me get this straight. republicans won't extend unemployment benefits for people struggling to find work, but they're pushing for tax cuts for the rich. can democrats call them out? also, when will our troops leave afghanistan? president obama is meeting with nato leaders in portugal to map out the way forward. he previously set july 2011 as the start of the drawdown, but today, vice president biden called tonight with 4 the dropdead date. and let me finish tonight with some thoughts about my week filling in for chris. let's start with democrats unhappy with president obama.
is it becoming a lightning rod for his own party? senator sherrod brown is a democrat from ohio. thank you for joining us sir. >> okay good to be with you. >> i want to show you some of the reportage from politico today about what went on that caucus meeting that you attended last night and florida senator ben nelson's frustration at the president they reported, nelson told colleagues, obama's unpopularity has become a serious liability for democrats in his state. and blame the president for creating a toxic political environment for democrats nationwide, according to two democrats familiar with his remarks. is that an accurate report? can you paint the picture of what went on behind closed doors. >> well, i don't want to talk about the meeting that was held in private that was not open to the public but i will say that of course, president's controversial, but among senate democrats, we want the president to stand strong. we want him to sharpen the differences, as you just said on the set of show, that republicans want to block
unemployment, maintaining a lot of unemployment benefits for the millions of unemployed workers that are going do see those benefits run out. at the same time the republicans want to do $700 billion in tax cuts for the 2% wealthiest people in the country. we want the president to make those distinctions sharply because that clearly will win the message and will help us govern the way that we ought to govern. >> to what extent does that then limit his ability to deal with the right, particularly these new republican house members, if he gives those on the left what they're looking for? can he have it both ways. >> yeah, that's not giving people on the left what nair looking for? >> 80%, 90% of the country would prefer if it's a choice you maintain unemployment benefits, rather than giving tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country. who've had a very good ten years anyway. you know that the 90% of the country, the broad middle class has seen wages flat or worse in most of the last ten years. while the wealthiest 2%, 3%, 5%,
10% have done very, very well. so why dobyf we give a tax break to those who have done so well and have our children pay for it. that's a good government, that's a fight for the middle class. >> as another indicator of what's going on with the president's own party i want to show you james carville at a recent breakfast hosted by the christian science monitor. let's all watch and listen. >> is he being a wimp or sounding the right time being on the right course and is his approach -- >> i don't know. i'm the guy -- gave him one of her balls would both have two. he doesn't know that and i don't know why. >> indicative of what's going on in the democratic apparatus or an old wound left over of what went on in the primarily season of the last presidential cycle. >> i don't know. i don't comment on people who comment on us that way but i look at this way. the president of the united states, the majority the
republican leader, i'm sorry the republican leader in the senate has said on at least one occasion that his goal for the next two years speaking for his republican colleagues in the senate is to make sure that his number one goal's to make sure barack obama fails. and that he doesn't -- excuse me that he doesn't have -- that he is only a one-term president. this same republican leader we're seeing this same kind of behavior. they wouldn't -- they refuse to meet with the president this week. boehner and mcconnell, the two republican leaders, refused to meet with the president of the united states. someone in the "washington post" wrote that the democrats -- when the democrats move to the senate or the republicans move the center, and that really is what boehner and mcconnell are trying to do. the president needs to stand up it's president, for instance in ohio in 200 8 the president got 2.9 million votes. all of the republican candidates for congress this election and this wave election got only a total of 2 million i believe, 11,000 vote. obama got 900,000 votes.
20 to 30 million votes nationally more than the republicans got this year. so there's no mandate to do tax cuts for the rich. and deregulation and more of these outsourcing free trade agreements. that's not what the country needs to do. >> how much of the problem within the democratic party is his problem, the president's problem, as compared to -- driven by senate democratic leaders? in other words i'm wondering how much of the angst that was exhibited in that meeting last night was self-directed? was there introspection on the part of you and your colleagues? >> introspection off. time, of course. and there's always some difficult times after a losing election. i mean the republicans went through it in '06. republicans went through it in '08. they decided immediately in january 2009, even though you could argue president obama had a mandate they, said, no, no, no. they gave him a good day on january 20th, 2009, the republicans cooperated. by the next day, they were saying no and had been saying no for two years.
i'm not saying no to the republicans but i'm also not -- i'm also saying we're not going to do more tax cuts for the rich. more deregulation of wall street. more job killing outsourcing free trade agreements. those things don't work for the american public. they don't work in cleveland or toledo or mansfield or dayton and they don't work for the whole country. >> senator brown, i've given you two indications of the president's problems within his own party. one, of course, being what went on in the caucus as reported by politico and then james car vi. sam stein reported in "the huffington post" that george soros told the progressives just the following. does he face any kind of realistic threat within his own party in term of the 2012 nomination? do you expect there will be a battle. >> no, i expect none. whenever you lose an election there's second-guessing, there's disappointment, there's anger,
there's anxiety. there's how will we face the next few months? the president will lead, the president's strong, the president needs to step up and make the distinction better. i mean when he reaches out to the republicans and they slap his hand again and won't even meet with him when john boehner says, no -- no compromise, when mitch mcconnell says, my marriage goal is for him to be a one-term president, the president's going to stand up and make that contrast. the voters don't like that when one parent says, we're not even going to meet with him, we're not even going to work with him. the president said that he'll work with republicans. they don't seem to want to so it's time that the president stand up, make the sharp distinction on trade, on jobs, on health care, on the budget, and taxes and when he makes that sharp distinction, it's clear democrats win. i ran a race on that in 2006. i'd run a race on it again, where when i'm in two years on the contrast between what they stand for, the direction they want to take the country and the direction that we want to take the country. i want to work with republicans.
i've worked with ohio's junior senator robb portman but i will not vote for tax cuts. >> understood. >> for the top people in this country the richest people. >> sherrod brown, many think that for your time. with me now is "time" magazine's michael crowley. how much room does the president have to room? >> i asked the sfaernt he gives progressives what nair looking for. what does he do relative to his ability to make any deals with the republicans? >> i think there's basically no ability to make deals with republicans right now. so what i think the left wants is clearer, as they say, messaging and i think that senator brown probably hit on the most profitable theme to the white house right now is this issue. tax cuts. now actually say -- it's interesting because you hear this grousing among senate democrat but they've handled the tax cut issue terribly. i mean they had a chance to really press this before the midterm elections. to force republicans to defend, cutting taxes for the wealthiest, which is really an unpopular positionna, republicans sort of defend because it's built into the infrastructure of their ideology
right now. and senate democrats couldn't -- and the house as well, couldn't get it to a vote. couldn't get consensus on it. i do think this is a place where obama can really start to ham ter and he's not done so, thus far. but it's not like senate democrats have been a model of brilliant political strategy on this particular question. >> but politically speaking, weren't senate democrats equally culpable? >> i mean i think of health care by way of example invest. no one roonit who was seeking re-election. it seems like everyone just hid on the issue. wouldn't they had been better served if they had said, yeah, that's exactly what we did and here's why and try to sell it to the americanem. >> on the obama agenda broadly. >> yeah, in other words i'm saying why is all of the culpability, politically speaking, why is all of the culpability at his end at pennsylvania avenue? >> right, no, i see what you're saying, and again i think that the tax cut fight is a good example where they didn't force the issue in the right way. there were some house candidates who in particular, who tried to ride -- tried to own his agenda. tried to run proudly on it.
tom pieriello in virginia is an example. pieriello outpichld think what would had been the baseline expectations in his district. it wasn't enough for him to win. i think that russ feingold tried to do the same thing. i'm not sure that i see the evidence that the handful of people who really worked out that strategy were able to win. but look, michael, at the end of the day unemployment this, this country is close to 10% so to some degree i think that off. talk about messaging is overstateed. so much that the democrats can do running into the gail force headwinds of an economy like this and hope and pray that it gets before before the next election. >> michael crowley, many thanks for your time. i appreciate it. who is behind the computer worm. experts now say that the computer program was designed to speed up and destroy the centrifuges which iran is using to enrich uranium. we'll go inside of this cloak and dagger mystery next. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. and they work closely with business leaders to develop curriculum to meet the needs of top businesses.
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welcome back to "hardball." a state-of-the-art computer worm known as stuck's net that infected operating systems and equipment in iran earlier this year, was likely a state-sponsored cyberattack aimed at destroying the country's nuclear program, the worm was designed to rapid lie speed up the rotation of sentry fugs used to enrich uranium causing them to blow apart. the coding of the virus point to
israel. terrorism analyst roger cressi who is a former national security council staffer and bob baer a former cia case officer who's now the intelligence columnist for time.com. bob is this a substitute for an aerial attack? oh, i think absolutely. if we look at archaeology of this, four years ago israel was pressing the united states to attack the nuclear facilities in iran. the bush administration refused. it was too dangerous. and i think what's happened is israel's turned to these indirect attacks, if you like. we have the case of a nuclear scientist killed in tehran and now the case of this virus. this trojan horse which is very sophisticated so we see the israelis reverting to indirect attacks. >> is your hunch that it's state-sponsored. i ask that question. on the brain about mike zuckerberg. could it be some cyber geeks who are based in israel and took
this into their own hand? >> no, no it was very directive. it was a very complicated trojan horse. they knew exactly what they were doing. i understand they're very expensive to make. and in this case like an intelligence operation you have to see who benefits. and it's the state of israel who does. >> roger cressi, how does it actually work? hopefully you can explain it to me in lay terms that i'll follow. >> well, think of it this way, it was targeting industrial control systems, michael. and it was going after what's called the plc, the programmable logic controller. so you think of a control system that's used in gas pipelines, power plants, all also critical infrastructure. what happened here was somebody was able to get this into the -- into the infrastructure, probably on a programmable thumb drive, a usb drive and then it started exploiting vulnerabilities, foreof which never exploited before and it compromised and compromised to a point where the gut to its target and then began as you described start to spin these electric converters in a way
that took the centrifuges well beyond the speed of what they were supposed to do, so that type of sophisticated approach, this is what i would call a cyber precision-guided mission. >> i'm constantly bombarded with e-mails that i know that i shouldn't open. >> as bob said this is not a group of 16-year-olds in someone's basement with time on their hands. over 4,000 programmable functions in stuck. multiple layers to it. it was very, very complexed and one of the most impressive malware. that's why i think that it was state sponsored and one of the reasons so effective. >> today's new york times reports that in recent weeks officials from israel have broken into wide smiles when asked whether israel was behind the attack or knew who was. bob baer, to you, i ask, what about the u.s. role? do you think that the united states was involved in this? >> the israelis could do this on
their own. i'm sure that this administration was supportive of this attack. i mean it's better than going to war with iran. you know, and the israelis aren't admitting it. they need plauseibility denieblt. for the iranians they want to remain a mysterious force and i think that it was actually a brilliant operation. absolutely brilliant. >> roger, i hope that i'm not catching you cold to this but to the extent that we were playing a role would it be legal. >> whatever role that we played would be legal because there would be done under covert authorities. the issue always is whenever you launch an attack in cyberspace, their traditional covert authorities, the traditional way that we do covert action doesn't pertain because i said this was a cyber precision-guided mission that is true but still collateral damage associated with it. i guarantee if the u.s. government did have a role and i wouldn't be surprised if it did, that this was very much covered under existing authorities. >> on one hand, to the extent that this is the way that it
played out, and if it were successful and spared either the united states or israel from launching an aerial attack then i applaud it. on the other hand, it raises questions as to our vulnerability, roger, what's your thought on that? i know that both you and richard clarke have published extense identify that subject. >> that's right and as dick said in his most recent book "cyber war." offense and defense is often the click of a keystroke. now seeing is the department of homeland security and others in the united states are looking at the performance of this worm. and saying, with our critical infrastructure, are there vulnerabilities could that be exploited the same way? the real concern, michael, you'll see some people out there who will take the code associated with stucks net, maybe work it on the edges and launch it in a different way. so once something is shot into cyberspace you can never bring it back and that's why you have that problem. >> on that question, i also read that it's extended beyond iran, india by way of example. so how do we prevent stucks net
from entering the united states? >> well, the biggest issue though is what it's going after. it's going after these electroconverters in the century fuges. you could have a computer that's connected with stucks net but it's not going to impact its performance unless it's a computer associated with those types of functions so over 100,000 known infections. worldwide. what it's actually hurting it was only those things that it was originally targeted. these programmable logic controllers. >> bob, it reminds me of well of the taking out of that hamas leader january of this year in dubai. something else widely attributed to the israelis and to the mossad. they seem to relish in the reputationta they're enhancing that they can carry out such attacks. >> oh they want to intimidate. there's no question about it, and now in dubai i don't think that they wanted to get caught but in this case israelis sometimes they're good and sometimes they don't work. >> roger is this a short-term fix in iran?
in other words, to the extent we've been successful and the centrifuges are now running haywire, for how long will that be the case? is it a permanent fix? >> no, it's not a permanent fix, michael. this was a really cool operation whoever did it and what it does is it buys us, israelis and us in the west time. time to continue to work this isflew a nonmilitary means. it was extremely successful and demonstrates there will be other attempts to setback iran's nuclear program through cyberspace and nonmilitary means. secretary gates said last week he does not think the military option is viable so you're going to see us and the israelis look at other options like cyberspace to set the program back. >> i appreciate your time very much. roger cressy and bob baer, thank you for being here. >> you bet. up next, vice president joe biden gave a very diplomatic response after listening to sarah palin say, she could beat president obama. stick around for the "sideshow." you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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welcome back to "hardball." i'm michael smerconish. it's time now for the sideshow. the tsa body scan. nobody, it seems, escapes a pat-down. >> jay, what's up, what's with all of this extra security tonight. >> we have president bush on the program tonight so everybody gets patted down. >> even you? i mean this is your show. >> it makes no sense at all. >> tell me about it. listen, go easy grope master. >> well, my problem is, after one of those, and by god i'm all working for it because if there's a guy walking around with a bomb i want to know about that i don't mind the excessive the groping and the probing. my problem is when it's done i don't know how much to tip the guy. you want to -- i never know. >> and today the tsa announced one group of people who will not have to go through the body scanners or the pat-down, pilots.
now, to vice president joe biden, who found himself in an unfamiliar situation today. momentarily speechless. here he so"morning joe" along with the sarah palin dlap he's reacting to. let's listen. >> if you ran for president, could you beat barack obama? >> i believe so. >> well -- [ laughter ] well, look, i -- i, i, i -- you'll get me in trouble. >> okay, okay. >> i don't think she could beat president obama but you know she's always underestimated so you know i think -- i think i shouldn't say anymore. >> speaking of 2012, the des moines register gives a blunt assessment of newt gingrich's chances. the paper's political columnist writes, quote, he may be intellectually gifted but gingrich's no rock star. he's 6 sech and looks his age. he's workoth paunch with a personal trainer but he can't
match palin or mississippi glp barbour when it comes to car mace. ouch. and tonight's big number. how much will it cost to run for president? republican leaders estimate that the minimum amount of money a gop candidate will need to run for president in 2012, $35 million. that's tonight's "big number." 35 million. up next, republicans block unemployment benefits and at the same time they're pushing to keep the bush tax cuts including the once for the wealthy. democrats say the republicans are helping the rich and hurting the poor, but can they make them pay politically? that's ahead. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.deem my reward points for a gift card. tell points please? 250,000. calculating... ooh! answer: five fifty! 550 bucks?! 5 dollar, 50 cents. minus redeeming charge. leaving 50 cents. say what? happy time! what kind of program is this? want better rewards? switch to discover.
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lisbon for a new european missile defense plan laid out by his administration. and efforts to break a stalemate here at hem over proposed nuclear arms treaty with russia saturday's session will focus on afghanistan. meanwhile, marine commanders in afghanistan have been given the go-ahead to bring m1 battle tanks into the country for the first time this that nine-year war. ground zero workers sickened by toxic dust have almost unanimously accepted a proposed $600 to $700 million settlement from new york city. tsa now says pilots will not have to undergo patdowns before boarding their flights. the fda's take the painkillers darvon and darvo set off of the market. to begin serving a three-kbrierch term for tax-related crimes. back to "hardball."
welcome back to "hardball". last night house republicans and a new democrats voted to block a temporary extension of unemployment benefits. here's vice president biden today on "morning joe" reactioning to that vote. >> i think that they're making a gigantic mistake, not only in terms of historically of what this country's done when unemployment's this high, we've always extended employment but also in terms of economy. the second biggest stimulus to the economy is the unemployment benefits that we're paying. these people go out and they spend the money. they go out and they are to get by to everything from whether they're paying their mortgage or their rent or buying food or just getting by. it has a significant impact on economic growth and in a continuation of economic growth. >> democratic congressman gregory meeks of new york sits on the financial services committee and heritage foundation fellow ernest istook is a former republican congressman from oklahoma. congressman istook, the optics seem bad for the gop refusing to extend unemployment
benefits on one hand, but wanting to extend the bush tax cuts for the upper 2% on the other. depend that discrepancy if it is want. >> what we want is for people to have jobs. not for people to be dependent. and remember the unemployment taxes are eventually bourne by employers as well as by the taxpayers. the circumstance here is that if we want the economy to do well, we cannot raise taxes on anybody right now. when you have the opportunity for taxes to stay the same, it should be the same across the board. the problem right now, a big reason that businesses are sitting on some $2 trillion in retained earnings is because they footer povl tax increases, they fear the huge regulato reg
businesses. you're not going to have higher expenses and that's how we get them to hire people and get people back to work rather than depending upon unemployment. >> congressman meeks, for how long should we continue down this path of extending unemployment benefits. >> look we have to fix the economy. we agree that those 2 million people who are out of work, they want to work. and this is just a short-term painful, long-term gainen what we want to do is extend it so that they can make their monthly payments for their rent and buying food, but we want to fix and create jobs and i think that's what we've got to do. and i think that we've got move this economy. in fact under the -- under the obama administration, we had been moving, we had been creating jobs. not enough. and i think as we start to deal with infrastructure and we start dealing with exports, ebtr exporting more and the president's been talking about an export agenda, we begin to create the jobs, unemployment begins to go down and you don't have to worry about extending unemployment but right now people are hurting. >> congressman -- >> 2 million americans who --
during the holiday season, will be depended upon are. >> we at some point facilitating dependents? i guess that's my question. if we continue this inperpetuity. aren't we depending on the system. >> no because what it sounds like people are saying that unemployment is like giving someone welfare, for example. there's two different things. unemployment is an emergency situation that individuals because of the economy and by the way a lot of individuals when you talk about the upper 1% of individuals to give those tax cuts, they help destroy this economy but because the economy's so bad and unemployment is so high we're talking about a temporary -- we're talking about a short-term situation, when i said short-term pain for long-term gain. we want these people to go back to work. they're not dependent. they don't want unemployment. >> kbhaun. >> -- they want a job. >> congressman istook, same question to you. are we fostering or facilitating dependents? >> there's no line.
unemployment extended for 99 weeks there air lot of people who've been dependent upon, a bit sad but it's true. what we ought to be doing is listening to the people who create the jobs. listen to the businesses that say, we cannot afford a big tax increase that we're about to be hit with on january 1st. we cannot afford these big, new regulations that the obama administration has that they're trying to my through the pipeline and hit the economy with those expenses. again, there is $2 trillion locked up in companies right now that they could be using to create more jobs, to expand, to improve the economy, but they're telling us, it's the uncertainty created by the federal government that is the biggest barrier to am. >> kbrooud agree -- >> congressman istook, you'd agree that the republican party could easily overplay its hand. i mean i understand emboldened from the recent election results no doubt but next week's thanksgiving. the optics of this thing are not
going to be pleasant if this denial continues at a time that we're heading into the holiday season. >> if you've ever watched the world series of poker you know that anybody can overplay their hand unless that you are sitting there with the straight flush -- a royal flush, and nobody's holding a hand like that. so, sure, republicans can overplay their hands but believe me the democrats could, too. the only bipartisan position in washington right now is to say, let's continue the lower tax rates for everybody across the board. you have a number of democrats who've joined with republicans on that theme and the number of democrats who say anybody's taxes should increase, seems to be going down. >> congressman -- go ahead congressman meeks you respond. >> real quick. number one, 97% of american it's well, actually all americans will receive a tax cut under what's proposed because i think that one of the things that's not clear when you talk about the $250,000 per family, it's a middle income tax cut. so everybody up to $250,000 will
get a tax cut. so if you're a millionaire, that up first $250,000 you get the same tax cuts. if you're a family under $250,000, that means that everybody gets that tax cut. you could deduct your entire tax cut for the entire salary. >> we wouldn't be having this argument if it is true. >> it is true. >> how is it not true, congressman istook? >> it is true. >> he's trying to say that everybody gets the same tax cut that's not the case at all. >> up to $250,000. >> he's saying that everybody gets it on the first $250,000. >> everybody gets it on the first $250,000. >> you want to raise taxes on people who are already paying the majority of the personal income taxes. >> everybody up to the first $250,000 gets a tax break and we are also concerned about the deficit. >> all right i want to -- >> and also concerned about how you pay for it. >> congressman meeks, i want to talk about the debt. congressman meeks, i'd like to talk about the debt. here's former senator alan simpson co-chair of the president's debt commission this morning with joe scarborough.
>> anybody that says if you get i received ear markses and waste fraud and abuse and all foreign aid will get you there that will give you 5%. so just babble at them the next time. don't listen to anybody giving you that. you have to go with the meat is and the meat is health care, medicare, medicaid, social security, not balancing the books on the backs of poor old staggering seniors to make the damn thing solvent. >> if the recommendation of erskine bowles and alan simpson were to come before you to vote ocongressman meeks, could you vote yea on that. >> on i can't vote on everything but in's parts of it but fact of the matter is along with my staff we're going through it now and trying to see what i could vote because there's some -- some items that we have to take serious with reference to reducing the deficit. but we've got make sure that we're not doing that on the back of seniors, we're not doing that that's going to be you know damaging to one segment. and that's why i'm saying that even now, as you are talking
about taxes that are concerned, we've got to be sure that we're not just giving multimillionaires an additional tax break and hurting some of the average everyday americans and hard-working spooerns one of the things that we'll see real soon because it's -- you know when you're campaigning it's one thing but when you have the governor or something else, i want to see what the republicans would do when you have to raise the debt ceiling and that's you know something that will really come up very early in the 112th congress. >> what about that congressman istook. >> he wants to raise the debt ceiling in order to pay for the bills that he and the current congress have been running up with their level of spending. i've been talking a lot with the incoming freshman members of congress, and part of what they describe is the american people are responsible on these issues. they realize government cannot give them everything, cannot pay for the same level of health care, cannot continue with social security system or medicare system under their current terms that are going to
go bankrupt and benefit no one so they're trade make some tough decisions which require people to -- >> congressman meeks allow me if i may to show you john boehner. i will give you the chance to respond i promise. about the debt ceiling, quote -- it's pretty clear congress is going to have to deal with it. we're going to have to deal with it as adults whether we like it or not the federal government has abgations and we have obligations on our part. respond to that if you would, congressman sneak i think that now we're really going to see about governing. a lot of these same people when they were campaigning, campaigned against raising the debt ceiling but the united states government does have obligations and we will now see when it's not campaigning time when it's actually, are you going to shutdown the government? are we not going to pay our obligations? are we going to raise the debt ceiling? the other thing that i just want to say because i just can't let him get away with that he said, this administration inherited a huge debt. it wasn't created.
>> made it worse. >> it wasn't created by this administration it. we were in the worst recession since the great depression due to eight years of the prior adsnoorgds gentlemen -- >> things got worse under your policies. >> i appreciate both of your time. congressman gregory meeks, former congressman ernest istook. >> good to see you queen is there you, go civility on "hardball" we like that. up next, president obama's in portugal talking about war in afghanistan with our nato allies. and there's new concern that the 2011 deadline to bring the troops home is sliding back. we'll get do into that when we return. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. client comes in and they have a box. and inside that box is their financial life. people wake up and realize i better start doing something. we open up that box. we organize it. and we make decisions. we really are here to help you. they look back and think, "wow. i never thought i could do this." but we've actually done it. [ male announcer ] visit ameriprise.com and put a confident retirement more within reach.
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and even negotiation points to help you get a better deal. only at lendingtree. we're back. president obama is in portugal meeting with nato allies about security issues and afghanistan. back home, vice president biden talked about the plan forward in afghanistan today on "morning joe." >> we are going to begin to transition. we're keeping that -- that
commitment will be kept. we said then, the slope and the pace in which we get out depended upon the circumstances. but we will begin to transition. and tonight with 4 is now a date that everyone's agreed upon, nato as well as the afghanis that's kind of the drop dead date. but that doesn't mean we're going to have anywhere near 100,000 troops in 2013. >> 2013. >> this -- this is and just like the commitment that we made in iraq. >> iraq veteran pete hegseth is the executive director of vets for from. brian is a senior fellow at the center of american progress. pete, headline today in "the washington post" troublesome at least to me and a bit mystifying, it talks about how our first heavy tank use is about to commence in afghanistan. i thought we were on our way out? >> well, i don't think that it's up to you or i to determine which tactics we should be using to gets the job done there but the problem all year long. the problem with the vice president's words today it's always for this administration has been aboutphyte find a way
out. how soon with we get out. you read woodward's book and it's all about how do we placate. getting out as soon as possible. >> what should it. >> we want to win our damn war. at the end of the day what happens on the ground in afghanistan matters. there's a reason president bush recommitted to iraq because it was important how we finished it. the same thing is that the play in afghanistan. we can't have a safe haven for terrorists. we need a place -- we can't have the rest of the world believing that we don't finish what we started. we can do it. >> it sounds like there's no representation of al qaeda even left in afghanistan. but it's not just about how many member it's number of members of al qaedas here in afghanistan. it's what kind of institution do we leave behind to prevent them from coming back? this fantasy land. things will get better. al qaeda's not there so they will not come back. they'll come back and use it again in the taliban. we've shown this movie before. either we commit now and get done isly with the right general in general petraeus in a counterinsurgency strategy. or pass in to the next
generation which got us here in the first place. >> to me when you say it that we've seen it before it's like groundhog day. brian, what am i missing? it seems like war without end and push backed from 2011 to 2014. >> i think that one thing that we're missing and you've talked about this michael, we've talked about this is killed on 9 s/11. the previous administration didn't get the job done. it distracted country. now we've actually got to get bin laden and the obama administration has committed more resources at doing that. and rather than being passive like the bush administration in pakistan, we actually are much more aggressive there. and like pete likes to fominate and shake his pom-poms on the sideline, this administration has targeted the al qaeda network in a much more focused way by ending the unnecessary war in iraq and actually committing for resources to pakistan. and afghanistan, you know, the big challenge right now is actually how do we actually bring this to completion so we can fight the real enemy.
>> i think we're trying to get out of there as quickly as we can leaving some form of stable government behind. no one wants to be there forever. and pete, i'm shocked on the home front particularly in the last election cycle that there wasn't more concern expressed over cost. frankly afghanistan wasn't an issue in the recent election and the economy was. >> i certainly wish afghanistan was a larger point as well. i was disappointed to see. to brian's point, the bush administration may not have fought the afghan war correctly. fine. and it's good that we're going into pakistan and taking on elements there. those are all good things. but that doesn't mean -- why would we abandon afghanistan? what part of abandoning afghanistan is positive? >> this is going to come across as antiwar and i don't know what. i don't know what the mission is. i don't know why we're still there. i don't know why we're spending all this money. bin laden is not there. he's in the tribal regions of pakistan. that's where place we're not, where we should be.
>> absolutely. and we're spending about $100 billion this year in afghanistan. and that actually is the amount we spend on the department of homeland security and all intelligence agencies kboin y i. when you're getting your pat-down on thanksgiving, it's all of that. we need to realign our priorities to yemen and pakistan and other places. >> on the subject of bin laden, i've got to show you president bush being questioned on this subject by jay leno last night. >> i was determined to bring justice to those who attacked our country. and worked that way for 7 1/2 years. >> why do you think we have not been able to -- find osama bin laden? why has this eluded us? >> if we knew where he was, we would have him. >> right. >> he's hiding in a very remote part of the world, i guess. >> and that remote part of the world is presumably the federally administered tribal area in pakistan where we still aren't and i wish we were. pete, thank you for your service.
i may disagree with you on this, but i applaud what you do for our country. brian, i don't know that predator drones are going to get the job done. in fact, i probably believe that we won't. >> on the predator drones, we've had three times as many predator drone strikes in afghanistan under obama compared to bush. >> that's a good thing. >> we need to take further steps to take care of this business. and i think we're starting to do that. when the history is written on all of this and we can talk about iraq and other things, the real challenge and almost all the terror plots have come out of pakistan. and that passive approach by the previous administration that really let things go to hell in pakistan, that's been reversed. and that's one thing that many republicans, conservatives really don't have much of an answer to. including george bush himself. >> i wish i had more time because i love this issue and it needs more attention. i want to thank pete and brian. appreciate you being here. >> thank you. when we return, i'll have some thoughts about my week
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this concludes what has been a real privilege for me. guest hosting for a week, a program that i love. chris has a great staff. and to them i say thank you so much. it's a pretty heavy experience to come to rockefeller center, across from radio city, and work in an iconic building familiar to most americans. there have been some good moments that made the air and a
few interesting ones that didn't. i think it's been a pretty good week. but i have a few regrets. i probably should not have asked newly sworn-in senator chris coons if he was paddled as part of his initiation. but i am glad i admitted to senator-elect richard blumenthal that he told chris he'd never win. and waters was ill suited for the television audience and apologize to tamron hall for turning her segment on four loko into a primer on whippets. they do jimmy fallon across the hall. i had no idea that the voice i heard was daniel radcliffe or i would have tried to score an autograph for my sons. he must have a happening program. the night after i missed harry potter, there was an acoustic act, it was bruce springsteen. i didn't meet him either. the closest i came was giving a
nod to little steven van zant who for me will always be silvio. i had a nice but brief chat with rachel maddow. but maybe when i met brian williams, i should not have led with "hey, i love you on 30 rock." i thought i had made it until a producer named chris pendi told me he cut some tape of me exhibiting a few of my idiosyncrasies during commercial breaks. ♪ ♪ >> i'm going home now. but not before i stroll past the 75-year-old norway spruce that's in a stand out front next to the ice rink. some look to the white house. but for me the nation's christmas tree has always been the one right here
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