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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  October 20, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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>> do you think they do? in a word. >> i hope so. >> that was a political answer, david, but it's suitable. it's allowed. a wonderful rant. thank you, sir. i am dylan ratigan and "hardball" is up with chris matthews right now. death of a dictator. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. leading off tonight, the end of gadhafi. the death of moammar gadhafi was a validation of president obama's approach to war. critics mocked the president for, quote, leading from behind, but in recent months, osama bin laden was killed. anwar al awlaki was taken out. tripoli fell. and now gadhafi is dead. and all this happened without american casualties. and in many cases, without american combat troops. isn't it too many the people,
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including republicans, give president obama credit for his war strategy? also, it's not just business, it's personal. mitt romney and rick perry are putting a mud fight on the airwaves these days. they have lots of money to spend to destroy each other. and guess who's cheering them on? president obama. also, space invaders. the key moment of tuesday's debate was when mitt romney put his hand on perry's shoulder when perry interrupted him. romney is just the latest of the debate space invaders. remember al gore? remember rick lazio going at hillary clinton? and it usually doesn't work, certainly not so well for the aggressor. and how much longer can republicans talk about electrified border fences with mexico? and crimes committed by illegal immigrants before they squander their chance to win latino votes, which may decide this election? and let me finish tonight with real leadership on national security versus the showoff variety. we start with the end of the gadhafi regime.
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john heilemann is national affairs editor for "new york" magazine. ayman, thank you so much. people need to be reminded and clarified. why did we get involved in the whole gadhafi overthrow? >> well, in the libyan revolution began or the uprising began back in february, the gadhafi regime had seen what happened in tunisia and egypt and decided it was not going out like that. it unleashed its forces on the people there and it became very bloody. thousands had died by that point. they asked the arab league to get involved. the arab leagued asked for international involvement, which came by the way of u.n., so the conflict internationalized. they asked for involvement asking the western countries to get involved and present this one lopsided military force from wiping out all these people. >> this is a rare phenomenon, whereby a third world group of people, the arab league, the arab nations said, come in and intervene in the internal
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affairs of one of our countries. and that's unique in the african experience, up and down africa, the country. >> absolutely. it's a very unique opportunity in which the arab street is asking for international involvement on the ground. now, some will argue that the mandate of what the arab league asked for and what the united nations asked for had been exceeded by nato military involvement. but at the end of the day, what we saw was a convergence of interests that we had never seen before. the people on the streets of libya, the people in the arab world wanted to see the u.s. involved to present this massacre. >> gadhafi's gone. he's been a big part of our life going back to the '60s, right? and now, is anybody in the world going to say the united states did the wrong thing by getting involved? >> i think the outcome is still too premature. no, they were in the going to say that nato's involvement now was wrong. what's going to matter is how the u.s. takes it from here. what kind of soft power, what kind of engagement the u.s. maintains with the u.s. national council, with the people of libya. are they going to turn their back on them and let the situation descend as we've seen in afghanistan and elsewhere, or
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will they remain engaged and see this through until a democratic process is settled. >> let's talk about the morality of u.s. interests. americans don't like being killed, we certainly don't like our people being targeted, especially people in military uniform. this guy gadhafi, who died today, killed americans in a west berlin disco on purpose, right? he supported terrorists that went out and killed our people on purpose. he had a plane blown up over scotland with americans, 189 aboard, on purpose. he is a killer of americans, right? >> yeah. >> that's who gadhafi was, among other things. >> among other things, absolutely. was he implicated in the killing of many of these persons? absolutely. pan am, lockerbie, as well as the berlin disco. even though the judge said he w wasn't personally involved, since then, evidence has emerged that libya sanctioned this attack. >> so he fingered us. he basically said, kill americans, sometimes in his reign. >> in recent years, american government decided to turn its
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back on it. >> when the american people watch this story tonight, let's look at it from a totally american point of view. we watched the overthrow and killing of a guy who devoted a part of his career to killing us. he was our enemy. >> no doubt about it. and at the end of the day, that's why the american people will certainly welcome this news or should welcome this news. it came at a great cost for the libyan people, but at the end of the day, it's beginning a new carpet in libya which the united states can benefit from. to have a country that's democratic, a country with a great amount of resources, but more importantly, one that can share the values of what people want. a democratic country, a pluralistic one, and what that can spring more democracies in the middle east. this was not an invasion, as we saw in iraq. it was an organic movement by the libyan people. >> president obama talked at 2:00 eastern about the victim of gadhafi's death. he did remind us of why we were there. let's watch. >> for us here in the united states, we are reminded today of all of those americans that we lost at the hands of gadhafi's terror, their families and
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friends are in our thoughts and in our prayers. we recall their bright smiles, their extraordinary lives, and their tragic deaths. we know that nothing can close the wound of their loss, but we stand together as one nation by their side. >> well, let's talk about the naysayers. john heilemann, a couple of the republicans, not the most impressive republicans running for president. bachmann and gingrich. let's take a look at what they had to say. let's take a look at gingrich in march of this year, going after this whole mission, which was accomplished today. >> do you think moammar gadhafi has to go as a result of this military intervention? >> i would not have intervened. i think there were a lot of other ways to affect gadhafi. i think there were a lot of allies in the region we could have worked with. i would not have used american and european forces. >> and here's michele bachmann saying she thought the president was wrong to get involved in libya in any way. and here she is back in march as well in iowa. let's watch.
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>> now he has us engaged in yet another, third, middle eastern war. so i think, talk about march madness, can anyone say jimmy carter. >> that is insane talk. i mean, the two wars she's talking about, one and two, were started by george w., she supported that, john, down the line, and in every instance, there she is mocking president obama for getting involved in a war indirectly from behind. >> look, chris, you correctly pointed out that those are not two of the most impressive of the republican candidates, but there is an argument and there was an argument at time, not just on the crazy right, but in a lot of other places that you can make this case that this was a dangerous mission to have undertaken, that the costs might have been proven to be great. we can't argue backwards that it was not a good idea in the first place. there are people who will say that american has overstretched its -- we should be fighting fewer words. there's a principle position on
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nonintervention grounds, on financial grounds, on a lot of grounds. you can make that argument. >> why didn't they begin to make the argument when it's an obama campaign? >> of course. of course there are many republicans who are inconsistent on this point and supported previous wars by republican presidents and now want to attack barack obama. i mean, i think the more interesting criticism is the one that you saw around this time when this intervention started, when an obama administration official in "the new yorker" made the comment about obama leading from behind. and so many republicans jumped on that and claimed -- and it was absurd, the notion that you could lead from behind. well, we have seen now that obama's leadership from "behind," meaning putting together alliances, putting together coalitions, not doing stuff in a unilateral way, that there are advantages to that. and if the goal of this was to accomplish stopping the slaughter in benghazi and getting gadhafi out, it was successful. and so it would behoove a lot of republicans who made fun of that notion to stand up and at least acknowledge that in this case, it actually worked.
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>> and president eisenhower, one of the most successful foreign policy presidents we've had, had what he called the hidden hand. he would get things done through indirection. ayman, let me ask you, just to finish up about this, this campaign was difficult, because the mission statement in the beginning was prevent this man from slaughtering his own people in benghazi. it did grow. tell me how that happened and how we got to go along with that. how did president obama decide to go along with the nato expansion of the mission to getting rid of gadhafi? >> well, it really began with the national transitional council in libya, with their contacts going through the europeans, going through the arab league, they asked for public statements of support for the national transitional council. the arab league came out and issued it, saying the international community, the united nations must do more to get involved to prevent the slaughter. that's what happened. when that got to the level of being an international conflict, the united states took the lead, the united nations passed a resolution that allowed or authorized the protection of civilians by any means necessary. and in this case, the only international organization that can do that is nato and the united states. and that's what happened.
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that's what led the united states to get militarily involved in this operation. >> are we going to do anything in terms of egyptian decision making with regard to mubarak? are we going to get involved? will we let them execute, if it comes to that? >> this will be interesting to watch. the united states has tremendous influence over egypt because of the $2 billion of tax money that goes through the military, and more importantly, because of the relationship between the two militaries. the united states has to exert for influence on the military to allow a clear democratic process to take place. so far, the egyptian military has completely derailed it, not to the extent that the egyptian people want. >> back to pure politics here. my -- check me on this. i don't think a lot of these decisions the president makes with regard to catching bin laden and killing him, bringing down gadhafi, him having been killed, getting awlaki, i don't think they have a lot of immediate effect on the polling, but i think come the debates of next fall, when the president gets in that pit, basically, with one of his opponents, won't it matter a lot that he's been
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successful as a commander in chief? >> i think that presidential elections, as you know, chris, are about character as much as anything. and to the extent that american voters have doubts about the president, i think a lot of them have to do with their notion about whether he's a strong leader, whether he's effective. in all of these areas of foreign policy, he's been decisive, he's been effective, he's done things that others before him could not accomplish. and so i think in terms of helping him on the character front, making him appear to be a strong leader, yes, all of these things will help him in a general election, for sure. although i don't imagine on the specifics of foreign policy, republicans will have much to work with. there's not going to be -- republicans will try to wage this campaign on the economy, because that's where the president is vulnerable. >> i think in the end, if it gets close and it's 50/50, people will go, this guy running against obama isn't that great, the economy's bad, but he's been a pretty good commander in chief. thanks for coming on, ayman
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mohyeldin and john heilemann. coming up, that fight between mitt romney and rick perry is getting nasty, obviously, and it always was, personally. they're spending lots of money attacking each other and president obama must be loving watching this from afar. stand back and watch your opponents kill each other. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. in america, we believe in a future that is better than today. since 1894, ameriprise financial has been working hard for their clients' futures. never taking a bailout. helping generations achieve dreams. buy homes. put their kids through college. retire how they want to. ameriprise. the strength of america's largest financial planning company. the heart of 10,000 advisors working with you, one-to-one. together, for your future. ♪
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welcome back to "hardball." if you saw tuesday's presidential debate, the republican one, you know there's no love lost between rick perry and mitt romney. and the new attack ads out this week from both campaigns continue to knock down the nature of the primary. is that bad news for mitt romney, who many people presume to be the likely nominee? is rick perry essentially doing the obama team's dirty work for them? there's another school of thought, of course, there always is one, that romney is getting battle tested, ahead of the general election, and a drawn-out campaign against perry could help him build organization in many different states, something many said that helped obama in 2008 during his contest with now secretary of state hillary clinton. well, that's the first question we're going to ask our strategist tonight, then we'll turn to the politics of taxes. herman cain has his 9-9-9 plan, and rick perry said yed he's going to unveil his plan for a
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flat tax. both plans will help the wealthiest americans, and the republican party is already in trouble, looking like they can't shake their image as the party of the rich. for that, we're joined by strategist steve mcmahon, a democrat, and todd harris, of course, is a republican. steve, let me hear you right now about this. first of all, can we all look at this fight now? i think it's fascinating. let's look at part of the rick perry new ad campaign going after mitt romney. perry ads are good. >> people who are consulted by the romney administration were also being consulted by the obama white house. all we did was look at white house visitor logs. >> i've spent my life in politics. i hate to lose. i don't think i've ever hired an illegal in my life. we hired a lawn company to mow our lawn and they had illegal immigrants who were working there. i'm running for office, for pete's sake and i can't have illegals. >> you just don't have credibility. >> hypocrisy. there are a lot of reasons not to elect me. >> here's the other point of view. here's mitt romney's campaign
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releasing an attack ad of its own yesterday, going after romney. by the way, the video was later pulled at the request of cnn, because most of the footage came from their network. let's watch part of that ad. >> was it was before he was before the social programs from the standpoint of he was for -- >> do or die for him. >> it's not whether or not we're going of the this policy or that policy. we don't have any plan. >> perry really did throw up all >> perry really did throw up all over himself during the p &h(lc% >> the fact is, americans understand faith. >> rick perry plunging in the polls, rolling the dice. >> he should just calm down. he seemed very agitated. >> a benchmark so low at the last debate. >> i mean, we'll wait until tomorrow and see -- >> he doesn't have his economic plan yet. >> all he had to do was show up and smile. >> he's a shadow of his former self. >> steve mcmahon, are the romney people trying to defeat perry or get him committed to an insane
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asyl asylum? it looks like that ad makes him look so goofball that he shouldn't be allowed to walk the streets? >> i think maybe they're trying to do both, but first they're trying to beat him in the republican primary. they want to knock him out so he can't get back off the mat. he's had two or three really bad weeks, a number of really bad debates, and he's hemorrhaging support. they want to knock him off, because if he gets back up off the mat and starts stringing victories together, he may starting to look strong again. >> is perry getting beat up so much, he's not in the race, he's down to single digits in south carolina. i think he's down to 6 down there. this is the guy who was the powerhouse. these debates are killing him. >> there's no question, they're having a significant impact and they're taking a toll. i always admonish reporters never to pick winners and losers when you're still months away from voting. but there's no question that this is romney's to lose.
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he is out front. yes, the race has taken on an increasingly negative tone, certainly far more negative than it has been. but it's going to get even more negative, because primary fights on both sides, republican and democrat, ultimately these are family feuds. and family fights are always nastier and more personal, even than republicans fighting the democrats. >> let's talk about something that has nothing to do with party. it has to do with religion and whether religion should be off base or not. steve mcmahon, my friend, is it better for a candidate who has a religious difference, say he's from a minority religion like mormonism, to have that dustup early, like now, way before a general election, if you're going to be the nominee, get it over, fight it out with crazy ministers that shouldn't be talking, and assume that by the time it gets the next november, the voters have sort of hashed out in their head and decided it wasn't important. would you rather have that or hit and flash next october? >> in a political campaign, what you want to do is you want to get all of the bad news out early, if there's going to be
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bad news that comes out anyway. and you want to try to get it baked into the campaign well before the decision point. and i think for mitt romney's perspective right now, and even from governor perry, if he's able to get through this, having the sort of crazy preacher and the mormonism discussed openly and sort of baked into the value of the stock, if you will, is something that will benefit them later, assuming that one of the -- when one of them is in the general election. >> todd, you agree with that? better to get the crap over with now? this attack on his religion, there's no way to defend or attack, it just is. it's like the voters have got to make up his or her mind about it and say, does it matter or doesn't it matter? >> i certainly agree, with one ca caveat, which is this. when you're talking to voters in a primary, you're talking to a very specific universe of people, and it's really only that universe of voter that is paying close attention. so even with all this happening now, my guess is if romney is our nominee in the general election, he's going to have to
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expand this conversation to a whole lot of people that weren't paying attention earlier. >> go ahead. >> the reverend wright flare-up happened in the primary. people were paying attention to the democratic party, but others heard about it. and i think it made it -- john mccain did the principled thing and didn't raise it in the general, but i think it would have not been that effective in the general anyway. >> here's herman cain on the issue of taxes, something we cheer for a lot. here he is standing by a previous comment he made saying that protesters should stop blaming wall street about being poor. >> two weeks ago you said, don't blame wall street, don't blame the big banks. if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself. that was two weeks ago, the movement has grown, do you still say that? >> yes, i do still say that. and here's why. [ cheers and applause ] i still stand by my statement and here's why. they might be frustrated with wall street and the bankers, but
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they're directing their anger at the wrong place. they ought to be over in front of the white house taking out their frustration. >> let's deal with the first part of that. are the people unemployed, is the their fault? is that a good tactic for any politician, blame the unemployed man and woman for being unemployed? >> i think it's a good argument, especially in the context of the republican party to talk about self-reliance. but, look, if someone is unemployed, i don't think that any voter really cares who's to blame and whose not. the problem is what do we need to do in this country to create jobs. >> well, he said, blame the unemployed. get off your butt, go get a job. that's what he said. >> i understand what he said, and it's a great applause line, but ultimately in terms of a republican winning in november, what the party needs to be focused on is creating jobs. and, you know, all of the stuff about who's to blame, ultimately -- >> that's a great answer, but it seems like your people don't like people on death row, execute the guys, let's get it
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over and have celebrations. you want to let the guy die on the gurney who's comatose. if a guy's a gay soldier, to hell with him. do you have sympathy for anybody, even a guy who just got fired? do you feel sorry for -- >> very, very wealthy, they feel sorry for, the republicans. and they think if you make a billion, yes, a billion with a "b" a year, you need a big tax cut. and if you don't, you need a flat tax that is -- >> here it is. >> -- that will cause middle class americans -- >> here it is. rick perry proved his own economic plan which he'll unveil next week, he says, it calls for a flat tax, the same percentage for everybody, no matter if you make a billion or $100,000 a year or $10,000 a year. same percentage. everybody pays the same percentage. let's listen to him explain already. >> it starts with scraping -- excuse me -- scrap -- well, you might want to scrape it too, but scrapping the 3 million words of the current tax code, starting
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over with something simpler, a flat tax. i want to make the tax code so simple that even timothy geithner can file his taxes on time. >> well, i guess he's got his notes in his pocket there, that are too complicated for him. but, anyway, todd harris, is this a smart move, to say you want, say, a 15% or 20% tax for everybody, no matter how much they make and not a progressive tax. is that smart? >> it might be smart primary politics. i don't think, ultimately, in a general election or certainly in the white house, i don't think it's going to go anywhere. and one of the reasons is because a lot of republicans -- not even a majority of republicans agree with a single one-rate tax system. now, most republicans agree that the tax system -- our tax system needs to be simpler and flatter than it currently is, but having one rate, not even all republicans are going to get on board with that. >> by the way, you can have a
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simple tax system with different rates. this idea -- i mean, people have brains. if you say, you pay $50,000 you pay a certain percentage, make 100, pay a different percentage. the complications with the tax system are not the rates, the complications are the loopholes to protect interests. >> that's exactly right. everybody wants to get rid of the 9 million word tax code and get rid of the special interest tax breaks and all of the things the politicians attack. but what america is based on is a sense of fundamental fairness. and the tax code reflects that when it's progressive. if you make a little more, then you have probably made a little more because you live in america and you can afford to pay a little more, and it's fair and reasonable to ask you to do that. what the republicans want to do is basically undo that and have the edge fund manager pay a lower percentage than his secretary, the warren buffett conversation. but they also want everybody who makes a lot of money to pay the same rate as people who don't make very much money at all. and that's fundamentally unfair. >> some of these pay a 15% sales
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tax -- >> that's fundamentally untrue, what steve just said. >> you guys are stepping in a lot of crap with this tax thing. todd harris, i know you're not for a 15% sales tax in d.c. and you're not for a flat tax. you're not a balloon head. up next, raising cain in afghanistan. why is karzai talking about herman cain with lihillary clinton. has it gone completely viral over there, they know about our most jughead ideas in afghanistan? they know our worst secrets of stupidity? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc msnbc. so this is enzo, the artiste behind my wardrobe.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first up, the world is watching. secretary of state hillary clinton spent the morning with afghan president hamid karzai, and the talk wasn't all foreign policy. as it turns out, karzai has been
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following, believe it or not, the republican presidential race here in the u.s. and there's one candidate who has sparked his curiosity. and that would be the result of this. >> i'm ready for the got you questions, and they are already starting to come. and when they ask me who is the president of u-becky-becky-beck-stan, i'm going to say, i don't know, do you? >> let's watch his off-the-cuff exchange with our secretary of state. >> what are the republican candidates, i think it was herman cain. >> herman cain, yes. >> the former pizza company executive. >> i see this. >> he started something called godfather's pizza. but the president was saying he saw this news clip about how mr. cain had said, i don't even know the names of all these presidents, all these countries, like -- >> all these -stans.
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>> that wasn't right. but that's how politics are. >> that's such a beautiful day in kabul. >> that's how hillary clinton's like when you meet her. but there are few things i like less than watching somebody overseas like karzai chuckle at how stupid some americans are. and finally this week they marked the dedication of the martin luther king jr. monument here in washington. think there are some parallels between his civil rights protest and the occupy wall street movement? some people do see the parallels, but that's not the case for florida congressman alan west. why should we take his word for it? let's hear his reasoning. >> i was born and raised in the same neighborhood that martin luther king jr. grew up in. martin luther king jr. would not have backed these type of protesters. martin luther king jr. had a focus, he had a message, he was divinely inspired. i don't know what the the inspiration is for these individuals. >> it's always dangerous to say what somebody thinks when they're no longer with once congressman.
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up next, when mitt romney grabbed rick perry's shoulder on tuesday's debate, he became the latest in a long list of debate space invaders. remember when rick lazio did it to hillary clinton or remember al gore's awkward confrontation with george w.? it never works well for the aggressor. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. babe , lo ok. [ reporter ] ...passengers, emergency crews are prepared. they're in place. all we can do now is watch. wait. wait a minute. there's a truck. tough to tell from here, but whoever is driving that truck is right below the plane now. this is -- this is just unbelievable! the broken landing gear landed into the bed... [ male announcer ] the midsized nissan frontier with full-size payload and towing. innovation for doers. innovation for all. ♪ no, i wouldn't use that single miles credit card. hey, aren't you... shhh. i'm researching a role. today's special... the capital one venture card.
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i'm hampton pearson with your cnbc market wrap. stocks lurching to a mixed finish. the dow jones industrials adding 37 points. the s&p 500 gaining 5. the nasdaq falling 5 points. investors sifting through a bucket full of earnings and headlines today. in economic news, we had weekly jobless claims falling more than expected. a surprise jump in mid-atlantic
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factory activity in october. and leading indicators climbing for their fifth straight month, pointing to a modest economic growth pattern ahead. in europe, officials shot down rumors of a second postponement of that upcoming economic summit in brussels. and amid ongoing protests, the greek parliament approved more wage cuts and tax hikes. in earnings news, at&t's revenue came in lighter than expected with slower subscriber growth. drugmaker eli lilly delivered lower profits, but an improved outlook. and microsoft reporting after the closing bell, turning in better-than-expected revenue and earnings in line with expectations. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." it was the moment from tuesday's debate that ended up being the
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photo on the front of nearly every national newspaper. when mitt romney actually put his hand on rick perry during a heated exchange over immigration. let's take a look again. >> rick, um, i don't think i've ever hired an illegal in my life. and so i'm afraid -- i'm looking forward to finding your facts on that, because -- >> i'll tell you what the facts are. you had -- >> rick, again, i'm speaking. i'm speaking. i'm speaking. >> it's time for you -- >> you get 30 seconds -- this is the way the rules work here, i get 60 seconds, and then you get 30 seconds to respond, right? >> and they want -- >> anderson? >> anderson? help me! anyway, "the washington post's" ian gerhart today said romney violated what she calls the unwritten rules of debate -- no hands. she says, "the debate stage has its own set of rigid rules of engagement, the most important being, keep your hands to yourself. you can shake hands before and clap a rival on the back after, and even kiss representative
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mechelle bachman on the cheek, but never, ever make a move on the other guy. and this is baa history seems to favor the candidate whose space is invaded." alex wagner and ron reagan join me now to discuss this and other moments of physicality when invading moments of space has become awkward. ron, i have seen it before. look, mom, no hands. that's the right way to do a debate. your thoughts? >> it's true, generally speaking, you don't want to reach out and touch anybody in these debates. i have to say, in watching that clip, and i've watched it several times now, and just again a moment ago, it seemed pretty natural on romney's part. he hadn't planned to do that. lots of us reach out and touch somebody when we're right next to them and we're talking to them and we want to make a point. you put a hand on a shoulder briefly or something like that, it's not what you do so much as how you do it, i think. and i think in this exchange, and we can get into this a little more later, i think romney actually came off better,
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despite his whining for anderson to bail him out and all of that, but he actually came off better, because he didn't seem like the angry guy. perry looked like he wanted to take a swing at romney, and that does not play well. >> it was a little like rocky yelling, adrian! anyway, just a thought. one of my favorite moments. let me get this straight. physicality, he does reach across the line, he moves in, like, you know, he didn't just reach out, he went at him and put his hand up there. i think it was a clinch. i think he was saying, "shut up." >> yeah, he wanted perry to stop interrupting him. but this is at the beginning of a litany of condescending things rick perry said and did to mitt romney. remember after the hand of the shoulder, if you want to be the hand on the shoulder, you've got to let people talk, you've had a rough couple of debates. i'm surprised he didn't just reach back out and slap him. >> he's like, i'm an
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aristocratic, country club guy. you've had a rough life. this is from the third presidential debate between al gore and george w. bush back in 2000. >> governor bush, you may answer that if you'd like, but i would look to know how you see the differences between the two of you and we need to move on. >> the difference is that i can get it done. that i can get something positive done on behalf of the people. that's what the question in this campaign is about. it's not only what's your philosophy and what's your position on issues, but can you get things done. and i believe i can. >> what about the norwood bill? >> yeah, reagan, what about the norwood bill? when he came up there, i don't know if this is the invasion of the body snatchers or what, this guy comes up, all of a sudden he walks right up to bush, and bush gives him that -- maybe it's the smartest thing bush ever did besides putting his arm around that firefighter on the friday after 9/11, he looked down at
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the moment, and says, what i can't use the word, what a d-being. that look he gave the guy, it was so good! so good! >> that moment didn't work for gore, because it looks contrived. it looks like he was trying to goad bush into some overreaction there by walking up to him like that, like, what are you doing, al? but, again, the romney thing just seemed like a natural thing to do, you know, physically, to somebody who's interrupting you. >> i want to give you another one. here's a male/female one. a moment when many people saw rick lazio give up any hope of beating hillary clinton in the senate race by just, again, going in to her space. a little too close. >> mrs. clinton, do you want to respond? >> yes, i certainly do. you know, i admire that, that was a wonderful performance, and -- >> why don't you sign it? i'm not asking you to admire it, but -- >> i would be happy too. sign it right now.
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>> well, we'll shake on this. >> i want your signature. i think everybody wants to see you signing something that you would say you're for. i'm for it. why don't you stand up and do something important for america, while america is looking at new york, why don't you show some leadership, because it goes to trust and character. >> and this new radio ad from the republican party using soft money is not part of your campaign? >> he looked like a process server there. >> it was such a gimmick, like rick lazio failed, that is not okay. >> male/female, can a guy exercise particular restraint in entering her space. >> it's all almost oxymoronic. women in politics are held to different standard, they're scrutinized to haircuts, emotive qualities, but get on stage and have an aggressive attitude towards a woman, i don't think the american audience likes that or thinks highly of that kind of behavior. >> ron reagan? >> that just absolutely doesn't read well, as it wouldn't in life. if two men are out in the street and one is poking his finger into the other man's chest, that
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reads a certain way. if one of those people is a woman and a man is poking his finger into the woman's chest, that reads an entirely different way. >> i think it's called assault. >> yeah, well, exactly! >> nixon used to be a specialist, he would go up when the cameras were on and go up to jack kennedy and put his finger and say, you were really good in that ohio setting out there. you really did a good job, and kennedy would say, what are you doing here, getting a picture taken. thank you, alex wagner, ron reagan. up next, how much longer can republicans talk about illegal immigration before they alienate all latino voters in this country, and they probably will decide a close election. that's ahead. this is "hardball," only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] drinking a smoothie with no vegetable nutrition?
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♪ [ gong ] strawberry banana! [ male announcer ] for a smoothie with real fruit plus veggie nutrition new v8 v-fusion smoothie. could've had a v8. well, that standoff between the new hampshire and the nevada people may be coming to an end. after two days of negotiations with the republican national committee in las vegas, nevada's republicans are holding a vote this saturday that will likely
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move the state's caucus date to february 4th. nevada had ruffled new hampshire's feathers by setting its caucus date for january 14th. new hampshire was threatening to move its first in the nation primary into december of this year. we'll be right back. ah looks like somebody's a winner. ha, not me! cause shipping is a hassle. different states, different rates. not with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service, if it fits it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. so shipping for the chess champ in charleston is the same as shipping for the football phenom in philly? yep. so i win! actually, i think you deserve this. no, i deserve this. wow, got one of those with a mailman on top? priority mail flat rate shipping starts at just $4.95,
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welcome back to "hardball." this week, republican presidential candidates made clear where they stand on immigration, i'll say. let's look at some of the lowlights, you might call them. >> we'll have a real fence. 20 feet high, with barbed wire,
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electrified, with a sign on the other side that says "it can kill you." >> and mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home and you knew for it -- about it for a year. >> so we went to the company and we said, look, you can't have any illegals working on our property. i'm running for office, for pete's sake. >> i think the problem who really has a problem with illegal immigration in the country is president obama. it's his uncle and his aunt who are illegal aliens who have been allowed to stay in this country. >> unbelievable. does the republican party risk losing all latino support by taking such a hard line? dana milbank is a "washington post" columnist and john fearers is a republican strategist. this is tricky business. dana, you first. have the republicans, just talking in political terms, not legal terms, we need reform, why have they given up on getting any hispanic votes? >> chris, it sort of seems like a death wish to me. not only do you have herman cain, not only do you have everybody trying to outdo each
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other in big tough on illegal immigration, i went to a hearing on the hill just yesterday where you had the republicans just pounding on janet napolitano for not being tough enough on immigration. the effect of the effect of all of this of course is to give legal immigrants and american citizens of latino decent particularly voters the impression that republicans just don't like them. i don't think this is necessarily a problem right now in the 2012 election, but this is the fastest growing and arguably the most important voting bloc that will be deciding politics for decades to come. why they want to antagonize them, it's like a form of ritual suicide. >> when does it become an ethnic slur slur? some people say illegal aliens which was is strong language. that doubles it down. ler's already illegal, let's call them aliens. others call them illegals. i watched that debate the other
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night and i thought they're trying to put these people down. illeg illegal. that's not even a person. how about illegal people at least. >> i agree with dan in one sense. this is a very important voting block and it becomes even more important in the years to come. so republicans have to get this messaging right. i think mitt romney got to it during the debate when he said i am for legal immigration, and believe me, republicans understand how important this voting bloc is. and they are doing everything they can to appeal to legal hispanic voters which are many and will be more to come and that's extraordinarily important voting bloc in the years to can. >> well, let me ask you about this one fight before we get to alabama which is a whole big row oig on how tough they're getting. what's wrong with giving a kid whose parents come here illegally, they get good enough
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grades to get into university and they get the same in-state tuition as everybody else who lives in the say ttate. they don't have official papers, but they live there. why are all the republicans jumping on that? >> well, i think most importants and certainly independent centrist voters would say there's nothing wrong with that. george w. bush would certainly have said there'sing in wrong with that and that's why rick perry was taking a very central position in the republican party. but there's a very angry wing of conserve tim right now that her man cape p man cain's appealing to. they're going after bobby jindal saying these guys are -- >> here's a rubio flash. "washington post" report thagt parents of florida senator marco rubio who often talk about how the family fled castro's cuba actually came to america 2 1/2 years before castro came to
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power. rubio is a rising star in republican parties, often talked about as a possible vp candidate. he said he based it on an oral history and not a he revireview passports and documents. he's always associated himself with the anti-castro community and i've always been with them. but it turns out that his family came here before castro came to power which means they came here during batista. can he claim he's been giving the complete story accurately? >> i don't know all the intricacieses of the story. i do think that marco rubio has a very compelling life story and i do think that he's not only arises star -- >> but is he the son of exiles or isn't he? that's not true. it turns out they came here before castro came to power according to the "washington
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post." >> i didn't read that story. i don't know the intricacies. you'd have to ask rubio's office. alley c all i can tell is you h understands the imgrant experience. he's one of the best spokesman for the the possibilities of america and i think whatever the story says, he is going to be and continues to be a star in the republican party. >> okay. well, thank you very much. we'll get to that story. a lot more tomorrow night. when we return, let me finish with calm, businesslike leadership. president obama is showing that in his number one duty, actually, protecting the country. you're watching "hardball."
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let me finish with this. if the number one duty of an american president is to protect the country, barack obama is meeting will his duty calmly, resolutely, businesslike. condition the way he's going about it. he's accomplished the mission that took us into iraq. bin laden is gone. he's removed the operation of al qaeda. he has persisted to his conclusion his decision to keep moammar gadhafi from slaughtering his people. gadhafi ended up hiding in a sewer pipe. the difference between democrats and republicans clearly the difference between george w. and barack obama is that one knows how to hot dog in the end zone, knows how to run up the mission accomplished banners, knows how to strut. the other, obama, makes a crisp statement in the rose garden and
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goes back to work. you decide which is the most presidential. on that point, have you ever noticed how the least impressive dictators in the world wear the most impressive uniforms? i think of the south american leaders, the same costuming the late mr. gadhafi favored. they love hair military uniforms, love help to be as colorful as their weirdness would allow, love acting the part of military men when they've never been in a war, certainly not one they've won. the lesson in libya is that the nonstrutting leader is the one to put your money on in the long run. it's the clown, the show off, the one who you have loves to adorn himself in uniforms that you can safely predict will end hisscorned.

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