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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  November 29, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EST

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sandusky world idea of this. the people who have been under some of the harshest scrutiny since what happened at penn state happened have been not just sandusky and joe paterno but the entire chain of people who may have known something, who suspected something but stayed silent. and they are very real accusations making about cultures of come police city and the lucrative of sports in smalltowns. >> dave zirin, thank you very much for joining me tonight. good evening. i'm chris matthews out in chicago.
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economy, except when democrats propose them. and a tribute to chicago's first lady. maggie daley. we start with herman cain. chuck todd and john heilman join us. here's a portion of an interview with the woman accusing herman cain of a sexual affair. she spoke to an atlanta tv station. let's watch. >> it was pretty simple. it wasn't complicated. and i was aware that he was married and i was also aware that i was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship. >> chuck, this is amazing, hard to keep up.
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put together these two events over the weekend, that newt gingrich has got tennessee endorsement of the powerful union leader up in massachusetts. at the same time, his chief rival out in iowa, right now atç least, is still herman cain and he's getting killed by this report. >> herman cain's campaign was withering on the vine. it was dying. it was fading. you could feel it anyway. this feels like the final nail. when you read the lawyer's statement, herman cain's lawyer, that statement that lynn wood put out is as close to a confirmation of the allegations as you can come without flat-out saying, yes, there was some sort of affair here. and you put that together with the candidacy that was already fading and you hit the nail on the head. this coming within 24 hours of newt gingrich getting the seal of approval by one of the conservative icons of the movement conservative -- the new hampshire formerly manchester
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union leader, this couldn't be happening at a better time for newt gingrich as he tries to see if he can actually win the not-mitt romney primary. there's been a lot of leaders in the not-mitt romney primary. he's hoping he can win it and move on to the finals with mitt romney. >> here's cain's attorney, lynn wood, releasing this statement, quote bs this is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace, this is not an accusation of an assault. rather this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults, a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. no individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. well, john, that is an argument which may have been stronger 20 years ago. no longer seems to work today. >> i have sympathy with the argument but it's not lynn wood's place to say what's
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appropriate or not. the interesting thing about it, in iowa in particular where you have not just conservative movement voters but you have a religious conservative electorate that is very strong and important in the iowa caucuses, we have said for a long time that newt gingrich because of his marital situation on his third wife and some of the conditions under which he left previous wives would have trouble in amt. now herman cain between the sexual harassment charges and this, he seems to be in real trouble. he seems to be dead probably in iowa. but it's not clear to me that this actually -- that gingrich will be able to capitalize on this, given his personal history. it may just throw the iowa field all that much more open to other alternatives, whether they be rick santorum, michele bachmann, rick perry. i've never seen an iowa field this unsettled. this makes it more so. >> herman cain denied the new allegation. he spoke with cnn earlier today.
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>> did you have a 13-year affair with this woman? >> no. i did not. >> did you know her for 13 years? >> yes. but i did not have an affair, okay? and until i see and hear exactly what's going to be -- what the accusations are going to be made, let's move on. but i acknowledge that i knew the woman. i acknowledge that i've known her fer about that period of time. but the accusation that i had a 13-year affair with her, no. >> chuck, let's get back to politics. it seems to me there's a difference in this campaign. and you can strip it down to -- forget all the stuff about how people have problems in their life. and newt has plenty of them. there's such a thing as professionals in this business. newt gingrich, whether you like it or not, is a professional. he knows how to deal with trouble. he studies it and comes up with a presentment. right now that presentment looks as hard as a rock. amateurs like cain are
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constantly being surprised and surprising us with this crap. >> and i would say that we saw in the first way that rick perry couldn't handle his moment in the spotlight when he was called into question whether it was on immigration right there at the beginning, that he sort of froze, that he was, as mike barnacle put it, a guy that was in aa, not ready for the majors. you get that sense with newt gingrich. i hesitate to say this one's going to last when it comes to this search for the anti-romney. but i thought you put it very well. i think the conservatives that are not sold on romney, that are basically looking for anybody but romney won't be embarrassed by gingrich. there was a sense that, well, cain may embarrass me by supporting him. maybe rick perry embarrasses me because i don't like the fact that he's not coming across as bright as he should be. newt's not going to embarrass me if i support him.
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i think that does matter to a republican electorate that's paying very close attention to this race and really wants to win but wants to do so on a set of princeles. >> john, you're a deep south southern, evangelical by your religion. you can answern't go with herman cain anymore. he's getting more embarrassing every day. he keeps changing his story about him. you've got romney who's certainly not acceptable to you because he's a rhino who keeps swapping back and forth. and then you have newt gingrich who has this history. but his history is just a history of marital failure. but in the south, people have divorces down there. and you have this other factor of the lds religion on the part of romney. it seems he could go through this, certainly scarred and flawed but at least a pro. they need a pro to knock off obama. that's my thought.
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>> that's true, although i would say, though, back when newt had his stumble back in may and june when we saw him going off on a greek cruise, many people size the same things about newt they're saying about herman cain, that he's not serious about running for president. i still think there's a chance for the reasons you just said. i think it's not impossible that rick perry manages to revive himself. it's not too late, i think, because he has so much money and because he has made errors that have not been -- i don't think fatal. it's possible if he does okay in iowa and wins south carolina, he could become that regional candidate that has a strong backing in the south. he has the money to go the distance which newt gingrich currently does not. i wouldn't count rick perry out. >> i think that perry will be better for your book. but i think newt's going to be better for television. thank you. chuck todd and john heilman. thank you.
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coming up, newt gingrich won the endorsement from the manchester union leader. would the white house be happy if newt won the republican nomination? and later, that devastating new dnc video against mitt romney. >> mitt romney invented obamacare before he was against it, you remember? >> well, that's what we did in massachusetts and that is, we put together an exchange and the president's copying that idea. i'm glad to hear that. obamacare is bad news. and if i'm president of the united states, i will repeal it. >> well, can the democrats make that flip-flop charge hurt hard enough? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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barney frank, the congressman from massachusetts, has announced we won't run for reelection in 2012. the 16-term congressman from massachusetts has been in office since 1981 and has been a major player in housing and banking
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policy. he's also been a lightning rod for republicans who oppose his consistently liberal positions and fear his wit. at a news conference today, congressman frank said he originally intended to run for one more term but changed his mind because of the new redistricting map. another blow for mitt romney who hasn't caught on with when a moment might turn into something more. and when it does men with erectile dysfunction can be more confident in their ability to be ready with cialis for daily use. cialis for daily use is a clinically proven low-dose tablet you take every day, so you can be ready anytime the moment's right. ♪ [ man ] tell your doctor about all your medical conditions and medications and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity. don't take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. [ man ] do not drink alcohol in excess with cialis. side effects may include headache, upset stomach,
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another blow for mitt romney who hasn't caught on with conservative voters. as soon as this is for newt, the obama campaign might be happiest of all. howard fineman is an msnbc political analyst and jennifer donahue also joins us. quote, gingrich is by no means the perfect candidate, we would
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rather back someone with whom we may sometimes disagree than one who tells us what he thinks we want to hear. that is a shot. howard, tell me about this. this is an endorsement that doesn't mean you win but it means what? >> well, you don't want to get in the gun sights of the union leader. and it's clear that mitt romney is right there. sure, joe mcquaid, the publisher and president, who i spoke to just a couple of hours ago to ask him about the endorsement is thinking behind the endorsement. and the first thing joe mcquaid said to me was, did you see "saturday night live" last week, in the skit that they did about mitt romney? that's the one where the comedian plays mitt romney and mitt romney says he's been told by his advisers to be 15% to 17% more edgy in the future of the campaign. in other words, making fun of the phoniness of mitt romney as a candidate.
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joe mcquaid was very focused on that. and clearly, he wasn't going to put up with a mitt romney, he didn't endorse him last time, isn't endorsing him this time. picked newt gingrich, because mcquaid believes is the most potent, strongest conservative to go after barack obama. i think what the republican base is looking for, the conservative base is looking for is not only somebody who's qualified, but somebody who can really take the case in the argument for conservative values to barack obama. and newt gingrich, whatever you think about his record, is a terrific attack guy and a terrific debater, and i think that's what joe mcquaid wants to see out of the new hampshire primary. >> jennifer, remind me, because i'm always listening to what you're predicting. weren't you predicting many weeks back that romney had a problem up there? >> i think that romney really still does have a problem up there. you're right, i've been saying it for a long time. i think it's his lack of leadership and what is a perceived inauthentic character flaw, a real trait, that he says
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one thing to one group, says another thing to another group, at a different time. i think mcquaid saw right through that, as many of the voters do. i don't think that romney is reflected in the polls as where he really is. i think he's actually capped. i think gingrich is in a competitive situation, where he might actually be able to turn this into something. some years, the union leader endorsement really means something. some years it doesn't mean that much. this year, i think it has legs. it helped mccain in 2008, when mccain was trying to come back from the dead, and that endorsement helped a lot. we saw today newt gingrich get eight endorsements from house members in new hampshire. and i think voters are going to take a hard look at him. they want a real conservative leader. >> let me just try something by both of you. i think newt gingrich could win the iowa caucuses and go ahead and win in new hampshire. here's why. the union leader has only endorsed three republicans who have gone on to win the actually new hampshire primary.
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that's reagan in '80 and mccain in 2008. but if his goal is this time to chop the legs off of romney, get him down from 40% to 20% and limit him to 20 points, anybody, especially gingrich, can then knock him off. if the goal is to reduce his number, his percentage, can they do it, howard? and then jennifer. >> as i said, i think having covered the state for a long time and knowing joe mcquaid and the union leader and its moves very well, they're more potent when they're going after somebody than when they are endorsing somebody. you don't want to get in their sights. and i think that's precisely where mitt romney is going to be. another point i'd make, chris, and joe mcquaid was telling me this, he was astonished at the amount of coverage that his endorsement got. not only because of 24/7 cable, but because of social media and the internet. this endorsement has reverberated all around the country, and it's important in
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new hampshire, as jennifer was saying in terms of this state officials endorsing gingrich, but it's also very important around the country. this bought newt gingrich a tremendous amount of credibility among knowledgeable political people, all across the republican landscape. >> let me ask you about this, bill clinton. let's take a look at bill clinton here. he's up to something and i'm wondering about it. here's bill clinton talking to news max, a part of his book promotion, i guess. he was asked why he thinks gingrich is surging in the polls. he says stuff here that sounds pretty generous towards newt gingrich, and i wonder how this is going to play in the white house, how it's going to play in the country. here's gingrich saying pretty nice stuff against a republican who well may be the nominee against obama. let's listen. >> because of his performance in the debates, and it's not necessarily -- it's not any sort of traditional charisma, it's he thinks about this stuff all the time, he's articulate and he tries to think of a conservative version of an idea that will
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solve a legitimate problem. for example, last night, i watched the national security debate last night. and newt said two things that would make an independent voter say, well, i got to consider that. i think he's doing well, just because he's thinking and people are hungry for ideas that make some sense. >> howard, what's that about? >> what's it about in bill clinton's mind or -- >> yeah, what's bill clinton -- what is he up to? he's certainly favoring newt there, so is that -- is he playing the white house game of helping newt so he can be the nominee, and therefore be easier to beat? or is he just having a little fun and hurting the president so sell a book? i'm not knocking it. he's making news. we're talking about him. >> i talked to lots of white house and dnc people today, trying to suss out not the clinton story, but the general attitude toward newt gingrich. the campaign's pretty blase about gingrich. the dnc, which is more
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interesting, which has a lot of people who have been around washington for a long time, take newt very seriously. i think the dnc, the party apparatus takes newt more seriously than the obama campaign in chicago does, because they weren't really around here for the most part when newt was a big deal in the old days. i think bill clinton. partly with clinton, it's remembrance of things past. he did all those deals with newt back in the '90s. they had their fights, like ali/ frazier, et cetera. you know, they're old inadvertence. i also think there's no love lost between this white house and bill clinton. there just simply is not. and i don't think it's part of some machiavellian strategy engineered by david axelrod to lift up newt gingrich. i think that would be giving both the white house and clinton far too much credit. >> it would give their love affair too much credit too. what do you think, jennifer, is going on here? we all know newt is smart. he reminds me of a basketball player from the sixers years ago. he came in the game and got ten shots in a row, then lose the
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ball. he was a streak shooter that would throw away the ball. >> right. >> howard knows what i'm -- go ahead. your thoughts? >> it's funny, because i think bill clinton is partly putting the white house on notice. because i think there is a tendency to underestimate newt gingrich. in 1994, when he brought in the contract with america and the first republican house in 40 years, he basically did that under the radar. people were surprised on election day in '94 when republicans took the house. and he did it and he organized it and he led and he created the conservative movement that followed reagan's years, that we now live in. so i think there are a lot of people who are nostalgic for newt gingrich and that style of leadership. i also think gingrich has the capacity to bring out the base in a general election in a way that romney can't do. because they're not ambivalent about gingrich. they feel he's the true conservative. >> well, i could tell you who would like to see -- howard, i can tell you who would like to
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see a gingrich versus obama campaign all next year, that's anyone who works in the media, wouldn't you agree? >> sure. >> the debates would be amazing. >> a month ago, newt gingrich, when he was still at 3%, was saying, i propose seven lincoln/douglas style debates with president obama. and everybody laughed at newt. but we would love it, are you kidding? and i think a lot of conservatives at the grassroots would love it, as jennifer was saying. my reading on them is they want someone who can really take it to the president intellectually in terms of ideas and in terms of verbal combat which the president, at least in the campaign, was good at. that's one reason he's attractive. >> and someone who won't equivocate. i think also someone who won't equivocate. who will say what they think and be a straight talker. >> and he can change his position from time to time, but to quote the dnc -- >> he can put his foot in his mouth from time to time, too. >> to quote the dnc guy to the point that jennifer made, that i spoke to a little while ago, he
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said, anyone who underestimates him does so at their own peril. and that's the dnc talking. but i'm not sure the people out in chicago quite get the same message. >> you got to wonder what the president thinks. by the way, who would the obama campaign prefer to run against? romney or gingrich? well, the latest polling out of new hampshire from the university of new hampshire shows that in a general election match-up, president obama leads mitt romney but just marginally. but look at the matchup with gingrich, it's got the president ahead, 52/40. but jennifer, this time you start, it seems to me in terms of just a pleasant outlook for the year, this president, barack obama, would want to prefer, it seems to me, looking forward to series of genteel debates with governor romney, where he's sort of predictable and he'll throw his sunday punch, but you know what it's going to be, whereas newt will have 40 or 50 follow-up punches and they may be thought up on the spot. go ahead, your thoughts.
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>> i totally agree. i think that newt gingrich turns on a dime. he's a great debater. he's not afraid to really go for the jugular, but he doesn't do it in a very negative way, either. i think he actually could do it and dismantle obama and make it very difficult for obama to be -- defend his record. and i also think that gingrich has the capacity to lead on television, which romney doesn't. and romney also doesn't connect in person. gingrich has more charisma than romney does. >> boy, you are killing romney right now, you know that, don't you? you're assassinating this guy -- >> i really don't believe he's a strong candidate against obama. >> you're saying newt gingrich is a warmer presence than someone else? howard, can you get in there. here's where i disagree with jennifer -- >> you've been with both of them. >> i don't agree with that at all. >> howard? >> i agree that romney is -- as andrew sullivan says -- makes plastic look genuine, but that's andrew sullivan talking, not me.
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>> of course. >> but newt gingrich can be a very, very coldly dismissive guy. he can -- he has a -- there's something slightly off in his rare about his conception of himself. >> i think you're right. it's good to have a little kerfuffle here. howard fineman, jennifer donohue, who thinks gingrich is charming. they're fighting against male , a small town pharmacist set out to create a different kind of cold remedy using powerful medicine and natural ingredients from around the world. he called it vicks vaporub. today, the vicks journey continues. introducing new vicks nature fusion cold & flu syrup. powerful multi-symptom medicine flavored with natural honey instead of artificial flavors and dyes. so you can feel good about what you take to feel better.
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now for the sideshow. first up grayson for the prosecution. after losing his house seat last year with only one term under his belt, florida democrat alan grayson is giving it another go. campaigning again to represent orlando. think you don't remember him? maybe this will help jog your memory. >> if you get sick in america, this is what the republicans want you to do. if you get sick, america, the republican health care plan is this, die quickly! >> wow. that was grayson in his element back during the health care debate. do you think he'll be welcomed back with open arms if the election works out in his favor? maybe not. once his former colleagues catch wind of his recent interview
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with "newsweek." when asked why he's eager to make a capitol hill comeback, grayson said, quote, i'll be down on the floor every day calling them out for the crazy stuff they do that nobody ever finds out about because they're not witnesses to it. and later, the real two-party system in america is the meanies and the weenies. the meanies want to take away your benefits and the weenies want to compromise with them." well, if you think compromise is bad, vote for alan grayson. next up, break out the popcorn, it's "9-9-9," the movie. sounds like a lot to handle, but luckily it's more of a short than a full-length feature. but the herman cain campaign did go with it, releasing a six-minute animated sequence explaining the candidate's tax plan. and it wouldn't be a real movie without one thing, a trailer. let's take a look at the tease for "9-9-9," the movie. >> the federal tax code is an overgrown monster, but it's not even a cool monster. it's a dorky, mechanical monster. the more transparent the tax
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system, the more accountable government has to be. the 9-9-9 plan is simple enough the vanquish squirrely democrats and to prevent cronyism. that's what 9-9-9 is all about. >> perhaps not enticing enough to ramp up excitement for the full six-minute version. i think we hear enough of it from cain himself. up next, republicans are always for lower taxes, right? not in time, they're fighting against extending the payroll credit. one that president obama is for. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. i realized i needed an aarp... medicare supplement insurance card, too. medicare is one of the great things about turning 65, but it doesn't cover everything. in fact, it only pays up to 80% of your part b expenses. if you're already on or eligible for medicare, call now to find out how an aarp... medicare supplement insurance plan,
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the u.s. military has appointed brigadier general stephen clark to lead the investigation heading up the friendly fire pact. and air strikes resulted in at least two dozen casualties over the weekend. election officials say turnout is surprisingly heavy on parliamentary voting in egypt.
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meanwhile, the leaders of cyber monday sales appear to be keeping pace with this weekend's record instore sales. online orders up 15% from last year after retailers racked up this payroll tax is set to expire at the end of next month. the end of next month. the end of the year, this tax cut ends. and if we allow that to happen, if congress refuses to act, then middle class families are going
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to get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was the president speaking in new hampshire last week on the importance of extending the payroll tax holiday. that's a tax cut. when was the last time you saw a republican oppose a tax cut? well, apparently, it's the wrong kind of tax cut. here's how the debate played out on the sunday shows. let's listen. >> the payroll tax holiday has not stimulated job creation. we don't think that is a good way to do it. >> the republican position is, they'll raise the payroll tax on working families? i think that just defies logic. what we should do is to help these working families struggle through. >> well, it appears republicans favor a tax cut, unless it will help lower and middle class americans. and most importantly, unless it's proposed by president obama. they're also opposed to the democrats' plan to pay for it by taxing the wealthiest americans. david corn is an msnbc political analyst and washington bureau chief for "mother jones" magazine and ron christie is a
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fellow at the john f. kennedy institute of politics at harvard. ron, i want to start with you on this for once and give you the honor of explaining this. republicans believe that we should do anything that's onerous on hiring people, because that makes it harder to hire people and reduces unemployment. is that correct? >> absolutely. >> generally speaking? generally speaking, for example, republicans usually oppose any -- or support a differential for youth getting jobs in the summer, a lower minimum wage, for example, because it makes them cheaper, and therefore gets more young people hired in the summer, right? the general republican working principle is, make it cheaper to hire people per hour, whether it's through minimum wage being lower or lower taxes on hiring them, so more people will be hired, right? >> yep. so far, so good. >> what about this time. why are they opposed to continuing the holiday or the tax cut on the payroll tax? >> well, chris, i think there are two things here at play. first of all, politically speaking, at the end of december or before everyone goes home for
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the holidays, i think you'll have an extension of the payroll tax holiday. what we're talking about, really, is a matter of politics rather than a matter of substance. the substance of the matter is, republicans are very much against raising taxes, particularly in a weak economy. for all the reasons that you just outlined, you don't want to hurt those who are helping to create jobs in the united states. what we have here, though, is an entirely different issue. you have a payroll tax holiday. last year, the congress and the president came out with an agreement that said, we are going to divert 2% of the money that you would otherwise b putting away for social security, back into your pockets. that amounted to about $19.24 in everybody's pocketbook, per week. now what we have is a democratic proposal that says, we're going to take 3% out, and not only are we going to take 3% out of social security, but we're also going to tax millionaires, we're going to tax the wealthy people, tax the people who are creating the small businesses in this country to pay for it. so if raising taxes is a bad idea -- >> okay, okay.
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>> -- how is it that you can also say you should raise them. >> david, you take over. i only heard the president say, let's continue the payroll tax cut. there's no quid pro quo in the way it would be legislated. but ron's complicating the thing here. >> of course, the facts get in the way of a good narrative. >> no, no. >> no, no. >> you go ahead, david. >> listen, the republicans are kind of experts at having it both ways on almost any issue. you know, they passed the bush tax cuts without paying for them, and then they extended them without paying for them. they apparently want to extend them again, ad infinitum into the end of the universe without ever paying for them. when the president comes along and says he wants to extend the payroll tax holiday, and he included, in his bill, a way to pay for it, and then the democrats in congress came up with a different way to do that, the republicans are all of a sudden crying foul and saying, we can't extend these tax cuts, oh, my god, we may even have to pay for these tax cuts. these are the guys who have been
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calling for trillions of dollars in deficit reduction for a year now and don't want to pay for tax cuts, but what are they going to do? tell the middle class, hey, when it comes to your tax cuts, we don't want to pay for them, they can go up. but when it comes to the tax cuts for the rich, we don't have to pay for them, let them go on and on and on. i don't think this is a good position to stake out. >> if mitch mcconnell were to ask you or tell you right now, mitch mcconnell has endorsed continuing the payroll tax cut. would you go along with it? if the republican leader in the senate said, it's time to continue the tax cuts, would you support that? >> it's never as simple as that. >> i'm asking you! >> and i'm telling you. as i said at the outset, at the end of the day, we're going to have a deal with the democrats and the republicans and president obama and you'll have that extension.
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as i said, this is more politics than it is substance. david talks about the republicans put tax cuts they don't want to pay for, that's the craziest notion i've heard in my life. you earn money. how much does the government deserve to have their hand in your back pocket, is the question? and the democrats don't want to touch entitlement reform. for this payroll tax holiday that we're talking about, it's $118 billion a year that's being diverted from social security. i think what this really addresses here, david, hang on a second, what this really addresses here is the need for the fact that we need to have overhauling the tax code as one of our key priorities. republicans and democrats alike. >> you changed the subject three times now, to entitlements to tax reform to the issue of raising taxes on the wealthy. let me go back to this principle. i want david to follow up here. the principle here, it seems to be that tax cuts are good if ronald reagan proposes them or if mitch mcconnell jumps in or if some republican puts the intermodem on them. back in the '60s when kennedy tried to cut taxes, republicans opposed them. it just seems unless it's their
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idea, they're fiscally responsible enough to oppose them, just as a general blanket rule. your thoughts, david? >> true, but when ronald reagan proposed tax hikes, which he did five times, nowadays you can't get republicans to go along with that. it really seems the only tax cuts they like now are ones that really benefit the high end. of course you have to pay for tax cuts. there's a revenue stream. if you're going to cut back on your revenue stream for the government, you have to do one of two things. you can say, okay, we're not going to have good food safety programs. we're going to cut back on defense or whatever. or you have to sort of say, we're going to make up for that some other way. the republicans did not do that with the bush tax cuts, and now they're getting into a whole huff about how to pay for the payroll tax cuts. it's making up the revenue. and ron, the pay-for-itness does keep the social security fund whole. that money goes into the social security fund. you're not robbing the social
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security fund to finance these tax cuts -- >> oh, david, david, please. >> let me finish. unless, of course, the republicans want to do what they've done all along the last decade, which is put it on the credit card. >> oh, please. >> we have to go. we have to go. i'm sorry. quickly. >> of course. >> i would predict that scott brown up in massachusetts will vote to continue the payroll tax cuts. >> it's going to happen anyway. >> if you were in the senate, you'd vote for it too, i don't know what you're fighting this in some weird kind of principle here. >> it's about substance over actually politics. substance over politics, my friend. up next, mitt versus mitt. the dnc has a new ad skewering mitt romney for his changing on the issues. >> i will preserve and protect a woman's righty to choose. the right next step in the fight to preserve the sanctity of life is to see roe v wade overturned. >> much more when we return. this is "hardball" only on msnbc. direct rates side by side
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to find you a great deal, even if it's not with us. [ ding ] oh, that's helpful! well, our company does that, too. actually, we invented that. it's like a sauna in here. helping you save, even if it's not with us -- now, that's progressive! call or click today. no mas pantalones!
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when given the choice, americans prefer the current president. 40% of respondents say they'd vote for obama in a hypothetical match-up between the last two presidents. only 31% go for bush and a full quarter of voters say they'd reject both presidents. the reason for that nine-point spread, independent voters break for obama by a significant margin. we'll be right back. m@n@=@sñ
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i'm running for office, for pete's sake. >> who is this guy? can you trust him? >> i have never supported the
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president's recovery act, all right? the stimulus. no time, nowhere, no how. >> i think there is need for economic stimulus. >> you're only allowed a certain number of flips before people begin to doubt your character. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was a portion of an online web video that the democratic national committee has created to remind voters that mitt romney has turned flip-flopping into an art form. it's called "mitt versus mitt," and dnc's having some fun using humor to skewer mr. romney. they've even created a movie-like trailer which will air in six swing state market this is week. >> from the creator of "i'm running for office, for pete's sake," comes the story of two men trapped in one body, "mitt versus mitt." >> i will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose. the right next step is to see roe v. wade overturned. >> two mitts willing to say anything. >> we've put together an exchange and the president's copying that, i'm glad to hear. >> obamacare is bad news. >> see it all at mittvmitt.com.
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>> the dnc is spending about $22 million, which amounts to the trailer running a few times in each market, but obviously we're showing it. the idea is to really get people like us talking about it. alex wagner and sam stein joining us. thank you so much, it seems to me you've got to be mitt romney thinking through how you find your way through the flip-flop issue. is this something, a, he can fix, or b, that the independent voter's just going to say, hey, male or female, you know, i flip a lot on issues. i'm not sure where i stand. is there any way this doesn't hurt him? alex? >> alex first? >> i'm sorry, go ahead, sam. >> i mean, i think this is something that's dogged mitt romney for a while now. and it's sort of ingrained in the voter's mind that he has a problem with consistency. my surprise is it took the dnc to do this. usually you would expect that mitt romney's opponents for the primaries would be the ones who
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did it like they did it in 2008. but of course it creates problems for him. like we saw with john kerry in 2004. if you hammer away enough at someone's core consistency, and accuse him of being a flip-flopper, voters -- tell me the mental process of saying, yeah, but i would vote for him. >> you sort of hinted at it earlier on, which is someone could reasonably say, listen, no one should be totally dogmatic if they can't change positions over the course of time. i want someone who's actually presenting new data, new evidence, and alters their position as such. the problem is that's not how elections are usually waged. so what you see and what you should theoretically see in a primary battle is mitt romney's republican opponents saying, listening, he's hiding his real views. he's actually a centrist. look at all these old clips. they prove he's a centrist. except the republican field's not doing this. it's the dnc. >> you know, alex, sam got to a point there, we're showing this
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ad. the dnc's paying for this ad on a limited basis. republican conservatives are watching it. this is helping to bring down mitt romney. in conservative eyes. >> it's not only bad for potential independent voters, but, yeah, i think you're absolutely right, chris. if you're a conservative and you're doubtful about mitt romney's position and you look in this add, it's not just one issue, it's everything. it's t.a.r.p., it's the auto bailouts, it's a woman's right to choose, it's the stimulus pip mean, literally, the add sort of pokes fun at it and there's a lot of levity in it, but it's very serious. i mean, i think it's just a litany of issues. and look, there's a k-2 of opposition research on mitt romney that i think the white house must be just frothing over at this point. >> i just wonder about -- i wonder how the hard right, the fox viewer, for example, generally speaking, can support a guy who they know doesn't share their rock-solid right-wing attitudes. they just can't believe this guy is a fellow traveler. by the way, we've got a new story to report here. not exactly a happy story. as i told you earlier, an atlanta tv station has aired a portion of an interview with a
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woman who says she had an extended 13-year affair with herman cain, who's still a candidate on the republican side. here's a clip of that interview with her. >> it was pretty simple. it wasn't complicated. and i was aware that he was married and i was also aware that i was involved in a very inappropriate situation, relationship. >> sam, what do you make of this? is this guy already toast in terms of actually winning the presidential nomination of the republican party and this will be just perhaps a coup de grace? how do you calculate here? >> obviously, we should withhold judgment until we see more evidence. but isn't this like the book tour that went terribly awry. poor herman cain, we wants to sell book and doesn't want to be president and all this stuff is coming out. obviously he's not going to be president. this is just another nail in the coffin. if you looked at his lawyer's
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statement, the lawyer didn't deny about this statement. cain went on cnn and did deny it. someone's got the story mixed up. but it's all destruction. and at some point, i would suspect that the elders in the gop would say, enough's enough. this is starting to tarnish the entire party. we look kind of childish and immature here. let's get this guy off to the sidelines, enough already. >> alex, your thoughts on this? maybe he'll stay in now to keep his dignity, but this is the kind of thing he ought to have given some thought to before he announced, i think. >> he should have given some thought to a lot of things, i think, chris. with herman cain, it brings to mind that phrase, denial ain't just a river in egypt, which is quite cliche. i think that this is if not a nail in the coffin, this is just kind of the final nod, exit left, please, herman cain. thing for a while now, people have been waiting for this thing to finally be over. i'm not sure this will be it. insofar as as herman cain seems
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very reluctant to leave the national stage. but in terms of being taken seriously, i think it's over. >> let's do better what we do better than anyone else. does this help to clear the field for newt to the right of romney? you got to get a clean shot that way. that could give him a clean shot. less interference with the cain vote. less interference, probably, from perry already. >> i think you're right on this. i think if newt's looking at this, he would welcome any of those non-romney candidates to get out of the race so he can have center stage. i've got to think that jon huntsman is sitting there, holding his head in his hands, wondering how he can be trailing herman cain after all of this. at some point, huntsman has got to move up, right? >> if he can bring 10 or 15 points in new hampshire, it might be just enough to bring with the help of the union leader, as we saw the endorsement this week, and put those two factors together, they can bring romney down blow 25 and open the door for newt. he could win two in a row. this is very strange, very strange. maybe the white house is
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cheering. thank you so much, guys. and alex, great going with that show of yours. have me on. >> thanks, chris. up next, could the occupy
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maggie daley, the first lady of chicago for 22 years, was a beloved figure in this city. i attended her funeral today at a warm church as beautiful in its human feel as in the fine splendor of its architecture. the spirit in the church was human love, the love of a woman for those around her in this, a circle wide and beyond her grateful family to a grateful city. she's been the heart of chicago, i kept hearing today, and knew it was coming. why? because every once in a while, you may be fortunate enough to meet a person who radiates the positive feelings that light up the world around her. i'm not talking maria in the sound of music. i'm talking about the real thing. i'm glad i was able to come out here this morning, not just because the wife of mayor daley was like him, big on education, a leader in after-school programs and keeping a downtown parish alive. it made me feel good about mankind, in this case, womankind. she is lively proof that humans are capable of being truly

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