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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  November 25, 2011 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

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getting close now, the big january political fights. let's play "hardball." i'm chris washington, leading o tonight, we're going to look at the primaries in january like an elimination tournament. iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, and florida who has to win and where? mitt romney can survive a loss in iowa, but can michele bauchmann? newt gingrich can afford a loss in new hampshire, but for mitt it may be win or go home. the winner or go home january
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races. next, president obama's chances of beating the nominee. where does he stand in the crucial battleground states? historically, how have other presidents done with approval ratings in the mid-40s one year out? and that's where he is. could marco rubio seal florida for romney? could we see a gingrich/cain ticket? and would president obama consider dumping joe biden for hillary clinton if things looked really bad. what about a third-party run? it would throw the election to one side or the other, but which one? this is no fantasy, we'll be joined by somebody who is making sure that a third candidate will be on the ballot in all 50 states. finally, amateur hour, we'll go to the videotape for the campaign low lights, if you will, in the gop race so far. we start with january madness. politico columnist cynthia tucker who is a visiting prof s professor at the university of georgia. and john heilemann an msnbc
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political analyst. first of all, the iowa caucuses january 3rd. mitt romney's making a push in the hawkeye state. romney is now playing to win the iowa caucuses, television commercials are on the way, volunteers are arriving, and a stealth operation is ready to burst into view in the weeks leading up to the caucuses. let's go to david on that. is this going to happen out there? is he entering? >> well, yeah, he's entering, taking out ads. he's opening the campaign office. they didn't have a grand opening, he's trying to have it both ways. he wants to compete, he wants to do well. >> why is he doing this? why doesn't he take a breather? he's not a cultural conservative, he's questionable on abortion rights and other issues. why didn't he wait on new hampshire? >> my guess is he sees an opening for an early strike. there's no non-romney candidate that's really come together that has materialized, that has money, organization, can survive scrutiny. it's all as you say a pack of circus clowns. >> i've noticed that. does he have to win out there in
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order to win? is it win or lose for him? >> in iowa, i don't think anybody really expects mitt romney to win in iowa. he's not conservative enough for the people who traditionally caucus. >> why does he want to start his race with a possible loss? >> well, it doesn't hurt him at all. it shows he's paying attention to social conservatives. he doesn't want to start off looking as if i'm ignoring you, i don't need you, and if he places second, it gives him a little bit of momentum. >> you're right there. how far down in the polls does he have to -- how far badly does he have to do in iowa to hurt him? suppose he pulls a fourth out there, john? >> well, i think actually once they've decided to go in, i think they raise the bar very high towards actually having to win. i -- look, i think that you are the front-runner in the race, you have sat out on the iowa sidelines the entire year and have tried to cokinvey to peopl you're not going to compete
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there. now that it's a chance to win that state, win new hampshire and put this away quickly. if you go out there as the front-runner and you're playing in iowa, i think the national media narrative is going to be quickly become, is mitt romney making the same mistake as he made in 2008 when he tried to do the same strategy? i think he's raised the bar, he's going to raise the bar very high for himself, it's going to be very hard to lower expectations the way they think they can. >> that's what we call a dynamic. ing we know he doesn't take chances. the national media which leans a little to the left, i could argue, could smash him. >> i think the narrative knows that iowa is different. you know. we've seen in the past but also don't forget, there's a general election, and iowa may be a swing state in the general election. he's going to need these same voters to come out. >> bottom line, who has to win out there? or leave the race? >> who has to -- listen, i think -- >> if bauchmann loses, santorum loses, if they can't hold on to christian conservatives, should they be in the race? >> santorum's out if he doesn't
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do well, newt gingrich, herman cain have these noncampaign campaigns, they can keep going on fumes. >> bauchmann and santorum, one of the two has to win. >> rick perry. i mean for heaven sakes. rick perry -- listen, rick perry has claimed his supporters that he has money, he has organization in iowa and retail politics will make the difference for him. that, you know, forget how he's done in the debates -- >> he won't be able to compete in south carolina if he loses in iowa? >> no, he can still play there, but i think his supporters start dwindling even faster. >> let's start with the bottom feeding here, bauchmann and santorum. >> i think you're right, if they lose there, if they don't win out there, they may try to continue campaigning, but their campaigns will be the walking dead at that point. i think rick perry, if he finishes strong second in iowa and still holding out the hope of south carolina with the amount of money he has been able to raise so far, he would still
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be alive. >> is that right or wrong? >> i agree with that. >> this is the hot one. it's always been the decider. hillary clinton came back on the democratic side and won there. in new hampshire, mitt romney holds a commanding lead over his rivals with -- look his own place in the country gets 40%. most of his opponents are trailing way down in single if not double, but including huntsman at 7%. a closer race between romney and gingrich up there. does he have to win or he loses? >> no, he has to win. >> or what? >> well, he can still stay in the race. >> he can't win at home -- >> well, then i'm here. this is the thing, the media can try to drive him out of the race, but he'll still have money and at that point, it's unclear who can see the one big surprise in new hampshire might be -- i hate to say this, ron paul. you know, new hampshire's moving more libertarian direction on the republican side. >> he always has been a grand stander.
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does huntsman have to win to stay in this race? >> he has to come in second, third, or fourth. >> i say bauchmann's out if she can't win in iowa. i think if huntsman can't win where he says he has to win, he loses. >> well, you know, for heaven sakes, huntsman isn't going anywhere anyway. >> if he wins new hampshire. >> if hep wins new hampshire, then we're talking a new dynamic in this race. >> let me go to john. what do you think? let's talk about the two moderates. mitt romney and jon huntsman. one of them will probably win up there, it's probably mitt romney. what happens if that doesn't happen? >> well, i think it depends on what happens in iowa, chris. if mitt romney wins iowa and then somehow new hampshire does what it does often and hands new hampshire to someone other than mitt romney, i think mitt romney could still survive that. i think if mitt romney loses in iowa and doesn't come in first and then loses new hampshire, he will be fundamentally crippled and won't be able to be the nominee. jon huntsman i think must win in
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new hampshire for the reasons you just said. maybe it's possible that a very, very, very, very strong second place keeps him in the race. but he has put all his chips on the table there and he's bet it all on black. >> let's go south with you. you pick it up here, john. south carolina's been the king maker ever since the party went south. who has to win down there and stay in the race? it seems to be perry and cain have to do incredibly well or they're not relevant among the baptists. >> especially since neither one will be competitive in new hampshire, i don't think. south carolina, they're a regional-based candidacies. if you can't win the first southern primary based on regional strength, you're in significant trouble. mitt romney looks strong in florida, coming up right after that. so you need to -- one of those guys -- >> so everybody agrees that perry and cain is too southern, more conservative candidates. >> perry makes it that far. but i'll disagree with john on one thing. if mitt romney doesn't happen to win in new hampshire, i don't
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think it drives him from the race because the field is so weak. there's -- i mean you can say it should in normal circumstances, but who is there to pick up the mantle? so far, nobody. >> who has to win south carolina? >> i think it's absolutely again, rick perry. rick perry is the one again who has raised enough money to try to persuade people that he is a serious candidate. >> okay. >> he doesn't win south carolina, it's done. >> let's take a look at this, going back to ronald reagan back in 1980, south carolina has picked the republican contender. that's a fact there. and let's go to florida right now and finish this up. does everybody agree you have to win something in this first three? can you be in this race if you haven't won anything, john? or are you out of this race? if you haven't won anything, are you a contender? >> no, you must win to survive. and david's right when he says that the race is fractured in a lot of ways. people will continue to stagger on, but i think the question of who picks up the pieces is who wins in iowa and new hampshire. if mitt romney's lost in those
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two places, someone will have won those states -- >> i have an argument. let me try this argument. we go to florida, i think two people by all the way to florida, romney and newt gingrich. let's go back to you. florida, can that be the one for romney to prove he can win? this, by the way, the first national state, representative state of all the ones we've talked about. is that the one that really decides this thing in florida? the guy who wins or woman who wins there is, in fact, the key front-runner? >> i think if romney doesn't win florida and rick perry has not had a miraculous revitalization, then the party starts to come in and says what else can we do? it's known in the field who anybody is going to want to see get the -- >> you see an intervention then? i love this. i love this. does florida make or break having a nominee that's a front-runner. having a front-runner? >> well, it is, you know, a big pile of delegates, that's certainly true.
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but if mitt romney has lost new hampshire, i don't see how florida helps him very much. so assuming he's won new hampshire and then florida, he's looking pretty good. >> what about the intervention thing he just mentioned? the party says we're not getting anything done here. >> well, if they've got three different nominees by the time they -- three different winners by the time they get to florida, yes, i think there's going to be a lot of angst among the establishment. >> there's so much to do here, john heilemann, do you think there could be an intervention by the party grandees? >> i think the answer is no. >> coming up, we're talking about the president of the united states, barack obama, what are his chances? and where does the president stand right now? and how does he stack up to past presidents with approval ratings like he has now in the mid-40s? you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] you are a business pro.
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welcome back to "hardball." now we want to compare president obama's approval rating currently one year away from election day of that of past presidents. we also want to look at the unemployment rate of past presidents' quest of reelection. what does the past tell us about president obama's future? i love this stuff, obviously. our panel joins us again. let's look at this. president obama's most recent weekly approval rating average, this is gallup poll, averaged for the week is 43%, remember that number. and that number has been on the rise. let's look now to how obama compares to past presidents in the november of their third years in office. george w. bush's approval rating was 52% at this time and just starting to rise. that's george w.'s, he, of course won reelection. bill clinton's was 53% and rising too, he won reelection. george bush 41's was 55% but
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dropping, ronald reagan's was 53% and rising, he won reelection. jimmy carter's approval rating was 40% and rising, although he got a spike in popularity when americans were taken hostage in iran. by november of 1980, his approval rating was back in the 30s and he, of course, lost reelection. richard nixon's approval rating was 49% and rising, he won reelection. read the tea leaves. what do you see there? >> not only is obama's approval rating closest to jimmy carter's which republicans are ever fond of pointing out because they want him to repeat that trajectory. carter, of course, was a one-term president. but i think one of the most telling things was that you mentioned an episode far outside of carter's control which greatly affected his reelection chances, and that was the taking of hostages in iran. we have no idea what is going to happen with the euro and the european union. >> nothing good, though. >> exactly. >> it's a wonderful serendipity going on there.
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>> and that will greatly affect the economy here in the united states that is something outside forces that could have a big effect on obama's reelection chances, and perhaps bring his approval numbers back down again. >> should we say we found the real bin laden again. we killed the wrong guy, we got him again. you write these historical books now like teddy white did. when you look at the pattern, mid-40s, sort of gaining but n minim minimally. the economy's not really substantially improving, but he's sort of inching up a little. how do you read that in terms of history? >> one of the most obvious but most historical points was that incumbent presidents on election day get what their approval rating is in the vote. you don't deviate very much. we have a pretty good idea of what we think about presidents and track that closely. right now he's on track to win about 43% of the popular vote, that's pretty far from what it takes to win. and the second thing that's true
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historically is that the trajectory question is almost what matters most of all. and this period of time in the fall and winter leading in to an incumbent reelection tells you a lot about what's going to happen. if you can get the polls moving in the right direction and that obviously is premised in the economy moving in the right direction. if you were headed in the right direction right now, you can be pretty sure you're going to get reelected. if you're either stagnant or dropping from a low point, you have a lot of problems and that's where the president's in trouble. >> john, i've got to stick with you. you said the president's number is his number. at the same time, you say the next several months are critical. suppose he beats -- using a figure of speech, he beats mitt romney, the front-runner purportedly over the head with a frying pan for the next several months. bang, bang, bang, bang -- is he still at 43% even though the other guy looks worse? >> well, the relevant press isn't there -- george w. bush's rating rose a little bit while he was taking john kerry out in
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just such a fashion. you get a little bit of reflected approval rating bump from seeing your opponent -- by mashing your opponent and making him unacceptable. it's hard to do that starting at 43%. that's the difference. you can move those numbers if you're at 47%, 48%, creep over 50%, hard to get from 43% to 51%. >> that's something we'll talk about later in the show, the third party. it seems obama can beat the heck over whoever's the nominee, but he's not making himself likable. >> whatever obama does a year from now, it will be historic just based on the numbers we've seen. he's going to have to use that frying pan again and again and turn this election into what the consultants call a choice election where it's me and the other guy. usually elections are referendums. people decide they want to keep the guy there -- >> but there's another choice beyond that, looking for a third alternative. free will and free choice, someone in a philosophy choice described to me, free choice is
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limited in the options. that's why i like free will and other things you can think about doing besides having sex, if you can. how about with free will, free will -- >> well, obama certainly has to worry about the so-called enthusiasm gap. he did extremely well under young voters last time around. this time a lot of young voters don't have the enthusiaiasenthu. >> what happens if he's stuck at 43%, what happens to the vote? does he just stay home? >> we'll have to see who voters are most scared of. are they most scared of obama again or most scared of whoever -- >> can you imagine a 22-year-old kid, african-american or white or whatever, a regular 22-year-old, which i have experience with, my kids, you're telling the kid, he's not always going to vote. you've got to get out there and vote against mitt romney. does that work? >> i don't think it works for that 22-year-old. >> remember, obama's numbers have gone up marginally in the last month or two, not on the basis of bashing mitt romney, but on the basis of taking what
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happened and turning into program and policies that people like. jobs and having -- >> there he is. >> he's had success in doing that. >> i think he's got to talk about the future. let's look at how he compares to past presidents with respect to the unemployment rate. this is key, the economy. currently the rate is 9.0% and it's remained stagnant for a long time. in george w. bush's presidency was 5.8% and dropping. the unemployment rate for bill clinton in november of his third year was 5.6% and had been fairly stagnant, it dropped to 5.4% in november of '96. then won reelection. the unemployment rate for george herbert walker bush rose to 7.0%. ronald reagan was 8.5%, but trending downward, a year later, 7.2% on reelection day and he was reelected. the unemployment rate under
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jimmy carter was 5.9% a year out and rising, he lost reelection. the unemployment rate under president nixon was 6.0% and dropping, he won reelection. there you see it, cynthia, things getting better or aren't they? it's so simple, the voters like it getting better. they keep the guy. >> well, even if obama is trending down, 8.7% is still historically a very high unemployment rate. so, yes, he can argue things are getting better, but -- >> what do you think? he needs to get down to convince us he's on a downward, blue skies perspective? >> well, heaven knows something under 8% would help him a lot, but that's not going to happen. >> you're right. it's about the future. >> 8.2% would look good right now. >> 8% would look great. voters have to have confidence that he's moving the country in the right direction so they don't want to change -- >> his policies are working, not just good luck, that we've survived this recession or depression, but his policies are working because they want those policies to continue. >> exactly. >> i'm selling too much here.
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it is about the future, people do vote on what they want. does he have to be a really successful guy to get reelected? >> well, look, i think this goes to david's point before about referendum versus choice. and there's a lot of people in america who do want the president to succeed and they do think he had been dealt a bad hand and played it as best as he could. but mitt romney or whoever the republican nominee is going to be is going to argue that, look, he's done a lot of stuff. he's passed health care, passed stimuluses, all those things we're really not better off than we were four years ago, and for a lot of americans sympathetic to the president, they're going to be very persuadable that we've got to try something else. >> yeah, i think the toughest line, i'm sure they're ready for the president to get slammed. you had your chance, we tried it your way. that's a hard one to come back to even though it's not entirely fair as we know. up next from herman cain on libya to michele bauchmann on the founding fathers and their hatred of slavery to rick perry's oops. we've got the campaign lowlights
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coming so far. if you want to enjoy these for the silly season, here they come again. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. my job is to find the next big sound. they sound awesome tonight. and when i do find it, i share it with the world. you landed the u.s. tour ? done. this is fantastic ! music is my life and i want to make the most of it without missing a beat. fly without putting your life on pause.
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back to "hardball." ready for a look back? it's still over a month until the first votes are cast, but one thing is well underway for the 2012 campaign season. you know it, the republican clown show i've been calling it. and we've got a special highlight or lowlight reel of all the moments which left us thinking, did i just hear that correctly? well, here's some fun. watch and remember. >> our founding fathers never meant for washington, d.c. to be the found of all wisdom. we fought the revolution in the 16th century. >> okay. libya -- >> you owed between $250,000 and
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$500,000 to a jewelry company. what was that about, mr. speaker? >> well, first of all, it's about obeying the law. >> what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. you're the state where the shot was heard around the world between lexington and concorde. >> president obama supported the uprising, correct? >> i would do away with the education, the -- uh. >> corporations are people, my friend. >> i don't agree the way he handles it for the following reason -- >> commerce, and let's see -- i can't. the third one, i can't. sorry. >> nope, that's a different one. >> we know there was slavery that was still tolerated when the nation began. we also know that the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the
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united states. >> did you owe $500,000 to a jewelry company at one point? >> any ad that quotes what i said on sunday is a falsehood. >> i'm not sure what you mean by neo -- >> $500,000 worth of jewelry on credit. >> go talk to tiffany's. >> men like john quincy adams who would not rest until slavery was extinguished in the country. >> i've got all this stuff twirling around in my head. >> i haven't had a gaffe that has caused me to fall in the polls. >> we need a leader, not a reader. >> oops. >> now there's a stocking stuffer. anyway, who's the real winner in all of this? you bet, they're laughing in the white house. and he's living there maybe another five years because of that. up next, could marco rubio put mitt romney over the top, especially in florida? and would president obama ever consider dropping joe biden as
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his vice presidential running mate for secretary of state hillary clinton? our panel is coming back with hot questions and answers. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. you noticed! these clothes are too big, so i'm donating them. how'd you do it? eating right, whole grain. [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios... five whole grains, 110 calories. ♪ i think i'm falling ♪ i think i'm falling [ male announcer ] this is your moment. ♪ for you [ male announcer ] this is zales, the diamond store. take an extra 10 percent off storewide now through sunday. or creates another laptop bag, or hires another employee, it's not just good for business. it's good for the entire community. at bank of america, we know the impact that local businesses have on communities. that's why we extended $13.2 billion to small businesses across the country so far this year.
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hello, i'm melissa rayberger. stun guns and arrests, and we're not talking about occupy protests. more than 150 million shoppers are hitting the stores today trying to snap up bargains, but violent incidents are being reported across the country including a woman pepper spraying a crowd, a shopper stun gunned, a grandfather tackled for allegedly shoplifting, and one shopper shot in the parking lot of a california walmart. three american students arrested for taking part in an
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antigovernment protest in egypt are flying out of cairo tonight after authorities dropped all charges against them. police in ohio say another body found in a shallow grave near akron could be the third killing connected to phony craigslist job postings. and a shortened day of trading on wall street, the markets finished slightly lower for the day. but the dow and s&p posted their worst thanksgiving week since the great depression losing nearly 5% each. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." my panel of colleagues, i love that word, david cornyn, cynthia tucker, and john heilemann are back to talk 2012 stakes. if mitt romney wins on the republican side, who will best serve him politically as vice presidential candidates? and we do hear the rumors about joe biden not being on the ticket and hillary clinton being on the ticket. would that make the president look like a leader or a refugee?
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and that's a tough one for what it says about the president. but we'll get to that and everybody, by the way, i know has an attitude about that one. david, i think marco rubio was on this program a week ago and struck me as a young guy who's bright, positive, and despite about the questions of when his family came from cuba, i'm impressed by his character. >> you know what's good about him? he hasn't been in the senate too long. he doesn't talk about a senator, talks like a real person who is thoughtful. and he's trying to reach out to the other side and come up with policies. and he hasn't been hard lined. >> is he too young? he looks very young. >> no, i don't think his relative youth would -- is disqualifying. what i think, though, is conservatives are very excited because they think he could help bring along the latino vote. in fact, rubio is cuban. that's a conservative vote that's going to be with a republican party anyway. >> you're in new mexico and you see a guy speaking in perfect spanish with a cuban accent, do you like it or not? >> well, you like it just fine.
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but i would be more excited about somebody like the new governor of new mexico martinez. >> first name? >> i can't remember the first name, but she's of mexican heritage. >> suzanne. let's run through a couple of names here. we're having fun here. the names i've got on the sheet, certainly makes sense, rubio, john, and then huckabee because he gives -- we get, for example, mitt romney some christian conservative support there. and then, of course, bob mcdonnell who is a roman catholic governor -- not that he's a roman catholic governor, or rob portman from ohio who normal lly delivers the bill. >> there is only one qualification to become the vice presidential nominee in either party, are you ready to be president from day one? i think that's true not just substantively, but politically, it's a test of judgment and so, i think that marco rubio's an incredibly skillful politician for a man of his age.
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i think he's got a bright future in the party, i don't know he passes that test. not because he looks too young but because he is a little bit too inexperienced. if i look at that list, i say rob portman is a guy who has been a united states congressman, trade representative, head of the office of management and budget and the governor of ohio. he's a guy who can be president from day one and that's the only test that matters to most voters and in addition to that as you say, he carries weight in ohio. that's a pretty important state -- >> i don't think he was governor. >> he -- no? >> no, i don't think so. >> but, i -- that test should be the test in the perfect world. but as we saw as john wrote about in his last book, it wasn't the test they used the last time the republicans picked a nominee. >> they went for a wild hail mary pass and it didn't work. >> well, dan quayle actually did work in terms of -- >> made george herbert walker bush look mature. >> and george herbert walker bush got elected with dan quayle
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on the ticket. >> no, no, i'm saying i'm with david on this. >> he's got the -- doesn't romney seem like an orderly guy, a 9:00 to 5:00 guy. not honorable does she look presidential, the running mate, but somebody who would give you their own state, which would be ohio, an essential state for republican candidates. >> look, david corn made my point. by talking about sarah palin. it's just -- you run a huge risk when you put someone on the ticket who causes voters to to mistrust your judgment by choosing someone who is not self-evidently from day one ready to be president. and as you say, chris, i think when it comes to mitt romney, you look at rob portman and you can see a sympaticoness. >> let's talk about your rule. when you pick that prn, it says who you are. let's talk, i want you to pick
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up here, john. if president obama, whatever he says when he does it, if he drops joe biden and brings in -- and brings in secretary of state clinton to replace him and even giving him the promise of the secretary of state job in her place, does that make him look strong or weak? >> it would provide an incredible jolt of excitement to the ticket. and if you were doing this on political basis, i think you could make the case for why it would make sense. but i think that the president feels as though it would make him look weak. and i think that's the reason it will never happen. i don't think barack obama will do this. i think in some ways he would rather lose. >> what would be his motive if it wasn't weakness? would there be any reason in terms of loyalty or performance? would there be any reason to bring her in? >> no, biden's been a great vice president for this president. he's dealt with the senate and the house, the president, that's not his strong suit.
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his policy team works, you know, in parallel with the president's team. it's been a great team. i think from the president's perspective. the only reason to do this is there was sort of a life and death political reason to do that which would be an admission he was in trouble. >> what is his image going to go through? people who know biden think he's got more political chops than the president. he understands people, he's a good one-on-one person, very likable, and these gaffes are really superficial 90% of the time. but he's known by the saturday night live version of these things. it's what you get named for, it may not -- it becomes the handle. his handle is still the gaffes. >> yeah, but it didn't hurt him in 2008. he has performed very well so far as david just said. not only that, let's remember that one of the reasons that obama picked biden is because biden could help him with those working class, white voters in states like pennsylvania.
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exactly. and biden helped deliver those votes. >> but can he deliver the really hard ones to get the appalachian whites? the ones in southwestern pennsylvania? once you get in that part of the country -- ohio, get a little further west, they're tougher to get than the irish-italian guy. >> and they're going to be tougher this time around because the economy's so bad and i'm not sure that hillary clinton could help any more than joe biden. >> i always wonder when people voted for hillary clinton for that primary in places like that, were they voting for her or against obama? >> i think they were voting for her at that point. >> i don't know. >> that's my guess. most people want to vote for someone they like and feel good about. not to stop somebody else. >> okay. she has looked so good as secretary of state, i don't want to get in the way of anything that would work because we should always get the best candidates. but i do think the role of secretary of state is the greatest job in the world. better than any other job because you get to do the fun stuff and don't have to run for anhing. but the other thing about it in all fairness to her, you don't have to attack the opponents. makes you very likable.
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do your job and she's done it well, very well, obviously. thank you, and john heilemann, as always, sir, as you write you book, you share it with us. up next, what about a third-party run? the more they attack each other, it looks like they're creating space. we've got an organization working to put a third candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. but is there anybody big enough to actually be that candidate and challenge, perhaps, the president? well, certainly the president and perhaps mitt romney. who is equal to that task? i'll be speaking about my book "jack kennedy: elusive hero" next tuesday here in washington. and on wednesday, i'll be up in boston at the john f. kennedy library. what an honor to go to the john f. kennedy library and talk about my book. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. i'm your gps.
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we're back with the republican party fractured it seems right now, and president obama struggling in the polls. could a third party candidate or a third candidate do well in 2012? the chief operating officer, the coo, if you will of americans elect 2012. a political group aimed at nominating a political candidate over the internet in 2012. what do you do for a living? you run this thing for a living, right? >> i work with americans elect. >> that's how you make a living? >> i work there, volunteer. >> you don't get paid -- >> i don't get paid by them. >> where does the money come from that goes to americans elect? >> well, we have a variety of donors. >> do you ever identify them? >> some of them. >> will you tell us your major donors? >> yeah, one is my father, peter ackerman, he gave the seed money. >> how much?
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>> he's given $5.5 million. >> this is a couple of people with a lot of money giving money? >> no, we have about 4,000 donors. >> do you list that donor list. >> go to >> it's public. >> it's streaming live on our website. >> but you're not -- you're set up as a group that can keep its donors secret, right? you can take some money in that doesn't have to be revealed, right? >> let's talk about what that money's going to. >> is it true some of your money's blind? >> some of our money, which are loans have come in and those folks have the opportunity to disclose those loans -- >> why don't -- two political parties you're up against have to disclose their contributions. >> we're not a political party, chris. >> but you're running a candidate for president with secret financing. >> well, that's what you seem to be saying -- >> what do you say? >> we're getting 50-state ballot access. we're not giving a cent to the candidate. >> in terms of setting this up for a third party or third candidate, are you being transparent? >> i think we're absolutely being transparent. you can see our form 990 is on our website as well as our
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audited financials -- >> the bottom line is that not every donor is being identified. you could get $5 million from somebody and not reveal that. you don't have to, is that correct? >> well, you're classifying us as a third party. we're -- >> no, no, i understand -- >> we're getting 50-state ballo ballots. >> just concede this point. >> i think we made our point. are you looking for a profile of a candidate someone in the middle politically? >> we're looking for a nonpartisan ticket. >> what does that mean? >> in 2012, every registered voter in the united states will be invited to take part in the first nonpartisan convention for the presidency. the ticket that comes out of the convention will be on the ballot in all 50 states. into a political system that quite frankly, chris. >> what are you looking for? obviously your dad's put all this money into it and all these people have put money into it. do they want someone to the right of what we have now or to the center? >> we're going to see a ticket come forward that can be a
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republican or democrat, or an independent with a republican. we're opening up the space and inviting every registered voter -- >> i'm looking at the people identified with this, christy whitman is pro-choice. is anybody pro-life. do you have any culture conservatives? >> we have a great group, christy whitman. >> yeah, i mentioned her, she's pro-choice. >> are these people -- are there any cultural conservatives? are they establishment big city liberals? >> i can't tell you exactly how every single person weighs on the abortion issue, but we have people working on this project who have worked in every administration since the ford administration. so your accusation. >> i'm asking if these are people that represent a different point of view than obama and mitt romney, for example. do they -- what different point of view is being reflected in your candidacy here? >> we see a wide variety of views that are represented at the folks who come to american select. the one unifying they want solution based governments come forward in a political system that's run by the fringes of either party. >> it seems to me right now we have a pretty active debate in
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washington about taxation, the role of federal government -- >> is that -- >> is that solutions, though, it's not. >> no, it's it's not, because pe to decide which way they're going to go. i think compromises are being held up, but being in the middle, does that give you any sort of success of bringing together the two sides together -- >> i want to get back to something that affects my feeling about this. my problem it third-party candidates, and if i saw the right one, i proprobably get excited, but what they often do is give people an opportunity to avoid a choice, and i really resented people voting for anderson. they didn't lie carter orrin, and they took a, they're basically voting against the candidates among whom there would be a victor. i don't like people avoiding a vote. my concern about a third party is if you can't get 37% or close
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to 40%, you can't get the electoral votes. you're basically denying somebody a vote. so how do you know you're not going to throw the election to one of the two candidates? >> my response is you say you don't like people spoiling the vote. i would say i don't like a system that tells me my only choice is a republican or democrat. >> but do you really offer the voters a choice of who's going to win or simply a choice of who is going to spoil? >> we offer the voters the choice to put forward candidates they would like to see run. >> what happens if the candidate you put forward is not getting to 35% or 40%, you see it in october, they're clearly not going to win, are you going to pull the candidacy? >> why would we pull it? >> into you it's going to be a spoiler. >> here's the scenario. what's to prevent someone like ron paul, whose people are very organized after coming out of the republican race, coming in and flooding your event and
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becoming the third-party ticket, in which case you've not really expanded the choices out there that much. >> what's obviously is there's a lot of fear in the establishment to see any entity to come forward that could be credible. >> i'm talking about -- >> let me finish. >> i'm talking about somebody who already had a chance. >> we have a two-party system failing spectacularly. the genius of our country is the last self-correcting is the marine people. there's nothing says that the two parties have to exist. when they're failing in the manner they are and we're sitting at thanksgiving weekend with no solutions, why can't the american people self-correct. >> why putting ron paul will change. >> why are you so scared of him? >> i'm using it as an example. if competition is good in ever other facet in our lives -- >> i don't believe it's good in every facet in our lives. >> then we differ on that. i'm american and i think xi 'tis is good. >> let me ask about the
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financing of this, because my main concern is the american people said 86% of the american people said too much influence from big business in washington, about you your dad threw in $5 million. >> we are removing the barrier to entry. >> you're influencing politics. >> let me answer the question. >> sure. >> we have a system where the parties own a ballot. you know about this, the only reason you could ever see a third-party candidate come forward is because they had the resource to remove the entry. all we're doing is removing the barrier to entry. >> we'll have you back. i think it's interesting. i just want to know more about the transparency issue. >> let's talk about it. >> we're going to keep talking about it. there are no barriers to entry on this show, but i do worry about spoilers, about what nader did in the 2000 race. >> let's talk about it. >> that was not good. thank you. thank you for accepting our
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invitation. thank you, david corn, always welcome and always a good guy. let me finish with the stakes for the republicans running for president. this january and beyond. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. think i'm falling ♪ ♪ i think i'm falling ♪ i think i'm falling [ male announcer ] this is your moment. ♪ for you [ male announcer ] this is zales, the diamond store. take an extra 10 percent off storewide now through sunday. that's relied on to help bring children holiday joy, and while it doesn't travel by sleigh or reindeer, it does get around... in fact, every year duracell sends loads of batteries to the mattel children's hospital, u.c.l.a. of course, children here and everywhere don't really think about which battery makes their toy run... but, still... you'd never want to disappoint. duracell. trusted everywhere. that is better than today. since 1894, ameriprise financial has been working hard
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let me finish with this. january does promise to be make or break for many, if not all, of the republican candidates hoping to be the november challenger of president obama. but it's more likely to break candidates than make them.
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that's true even if mitt romney pulls a big upset by winning the iowa caucuses. here's an early line for me. congresswoman michele bachmann and former pennsylvania senator rick santorum make strong appeals to the religious and cultural right, which is strong in iowa. both need to do well, if they are to win req any as real presidential contenders. the same goes for different reasons for mitt romney and jon huntsman the following tuesday. romney was governor of massachusetts and enjoyed overwhelming press coverage in new hampshire. he's also republican in new england. jon huntsman, for his part, needs to be the does the damaging. this is zero sum. if romney loses new hampshire to anyone he's in deep doo-doo.
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south carolina, this presumary which comes next has become the make-or-break state for republicans. this year it's the last chance for the conservatives on the right to show who is tops. if perry loses, he's probably well out of the race. if he wins, he becomes the number one challenger to romney. newt gingrich can win anywhere or lose anywhere, but he needs to come in within the top three in these early races. he could hang in there and become the ant-romney after the ours are knocked out. florida. it could be the decider. if mitt romney holds on and wins in florida, this could be the guarantor he goes right to the convention in tampa. it's just possible that this fight for the republican nomination this time is not going to be settled until the actual convention,for the basic reason that whi