tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 2, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
"hardball" starts right now. >> herman cain's big announcement. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm in for chris matthews. leading off tonight, herman cain may be out. nbc news david gregory is reporting that there are strong indications that herman cain will pull out of the presidential race tomorrow during an event with supporters. we'll get to that breaking news story in just a moment at the top of the program. meanwhile, the guy who would benefit the most from a cain withdrawal is newt gingrich. he's confidently reporting that he will be the republican
nominee. he's also taking heat that poor kids don't know the meaning of hard work. that's a doing whistle that is not hard to hear. what is next? donald trump hosting a debate? wait a minute. that's just happened. this isn't the hardball side show. it's really happening rick perry went on leno last night to make fun of his own campaign steps. and the traveling circus that the gop race has become. we start with herman cain and his big announcement tomorrow. david press is moderator of "meet the press" and andrea mitchell is host of msnbc. earlier this afternoon cane said that he would be making a big announcement earlier tomorrow. let's all listen to what he said. >> i am reassessing, because of all of this media firestorm stuff. why? because my wife and family comes
first. i've got to take that into consideration. tomorrow in atlanta, i will be making an announcement. tomorrow we're going to open our headquarters in northwest georgia where i will clarify -- there's that word again -- clarify exactly what the next steps are. >> david gregory, i heard you tell brian williams that he telegraphed that which he's about to do. >> look at the mixed signals. herman cain is talking about a new campaign office. i spoke to campaign advisers and as of yesterday they were making a plan for december. a campaign plan for december. he is sending out fundraising e-mails and looking for support and yet the source that i've talked to tonight indicates that in fact his mind is made up, that he's got a lot of work to
do at home, i'm told, that he wants to shield his family from all of this and the caveat is important. because his own campaign team claims to be out of the loop on this, we can't say declare tifl for certain this will be the final decision until he makes that decision. as i say, the people that i'm talking to, close to cain, who have spoken to him indicate that it's all but certain that he's going to decide to get out of the race. >> angry yeah, if that's the way it goes, the straw that broke the camel's back, his wife apparently didn't know of his charitable endeavors with regard to the woman who has recently surfaced? >> in fact, that was the front page, the screaming headline, that he had not told his wife anything about this long-standing friendship and yet
in the editorial board he did not persuade them at all. they editorialized against him. they slammed him. said he wasn't prepared to be president of the united states and they criticized him for the way he's handled all of this, including the fact that he had not told his wife. he arrived back in atlanta around 5:00 eastern time tonight. went home and this was their first face-to-face conversation. eng say that he puts his family first and this has been a media firestorm. but the facts are that he is the person who did not tell his wife about the and the fact that she on lawrence's show last night on "the last word" made it very clear from her perspective that she was reluctant to talk about this, her own family reasons, the fact that it was completely inappropriate, and she herself said, and was forced into it by leaks that she had not been offered anything, didn't take anything from anyone. so cain also made the allegation
unsupported that she had been making money to talk and she said that there is nothing to that and certainly no proof of it. >> herman cain insisted that his wife did not know of his most recent accuser but as andrea refers to later in an interview with lawrence o'donnell, white couldn't believe that mrs. cain didn't know. watch both accounts. >> my wife did not know about it and that was the revelation and the surprise that my wife found out about it when she went public with it. if she had just been another man that i had helped, it probably wouldn't have raised as much suspicion but my wife is comfortable with the explanation that i told her regarding to help her. >> i would be surprised if she is surprised by this, honestly speaking. i would be surprised. i am deeply, deeply sorry if i have caused any hurt to her to his kids, to his family.
>> in the end, it's alleged infidelity that caused him to exit as opposed to the initial allegations by sexual harassments what's the headline? herman cain support in iowa takes a nose-dive. down to 8%. he was up around 22%. and she can't get back to the message, i think that the kofrt of trying to percent persevere here to stay in the race and this is all playing out so publicly here. but, again, what i'm told tonight, he's got a lot of work
to do at home because of this relationship, whatever the relationship was by his own admission that his wife was unaware of it and unaware of a financial assistance. i'm married. i can tell you that would be a difficult conversation at home. >> i'm a wife. let me tell you, that would be -- >> the left and right hand were no hand and seems to be conducted via a laptop computer. give a watch to this. >> it's time for the truth. the media won't tell you what one of the foremost lie detector results said about herman cain. >> the allegations saying that she's been sexually assaulted by him did not. >> let's focus on what matters. his 9-9-9 plan is easy to understand, can create jobs, and
will get america working again. >> that doesn't sound like a and two commercials were put up today. they were supposed to start airing today or tomorrow. two new kmercommercials. as you saw, he was campaigning in south carolina. the supporters, the staff such as it is at this point because he never really had a hugely staffed campaign, they are still going forward but every signal and every source that david has, he is pulling back and he has canceled a very high-profile dinner party in new york. she called and said that he canceled and that's a big media star event in new york city for sunday night. >> recognizing your big caveat that we don't really know until it's said by herman cain, would be benefit, if anyone, if he withdrew. >> you've seen that newt
gingrich has inherited a lot of that support by iowa and other places. and a lot of people channeling that anger at president obama i think it's an obvious place for it. >> if that's the case, it's one more reason why it's been a tough case for not only mitt romney but it itemizes why it's been so tough. >> you have the tv ad and a testy interview, brett of fox news and then romney complained
about the questioning and then the media endorsement, a a republican debate and then new time magazine with a cover image that says, why don't ne like me? and it's a new york times magazine story by robert draper coming up which talks about these elusive quality, where they are packaging him as the corporate steady as you go guy in a campaign year where people want passion and they want somebody that can be rough against him. >> the last two standing on that stage, meaning romney and gingrich, is there a possibility that jon huntsman could catch the wave? >> i think it's going to be very difficult. i think that the combination of factors here, who can go after obama most strongly, who can really take that criticism to
him, and how does romney make the case for ee electric ta built and still tap into that passion. it's underscored by the fact that you're seeing so many candidates up and then down and it's gingrich riding the rocket. gingrich is riding the rocket in a couple of ways. he can take off with popularity if cain stumbles but come back down because he's newt gingrich because he can be so undisciplined because he can take that fight to obama and that's what voters want to see right now. >> andrea, we're going to talk later in the program about comments that he heard about poor kids. i listened to comments like thark i hear my radio audience, some applaud what they like. it's a primary campaign audience but you wonder how that's going to play if newt is still standing for a general. >> several who served in congress with him, burning up
the phone lines trying to figure out what to do next, they know that romney is a very hard sell but they really are frightened by the possibility that newt gingrich would be the nominee and yet that is the very message, the message you just referred to about children going to work and poor children not having a work ethic. that is in fox. >> i must admit, newt has had a very extensive longs record in washington with various governmental and governmental and to lead the country. this is not a matter of -- that america needs better lobbyists ordeal makers and insiders, i think america needs a leader. >> david gregory, it's been turned up a couple of notches.
>> it has. he used the same attack against perry when he was threatening him by saying he's been in the politics a long time. as governor perry has. gingrich as talked about lobbyists. rolt knew is maugss a making a clear pitch to the americans. that's where he wants to separate himself from the rest of the republican field. by the way, make the argument that implicitly, hey, if you believe newt gingrich is more conservative than me, he's still part of the problem in washington. >> right. >> i think that's where it's going. >> got you. >> and he knows he's got to ramp that up. >> david gregory and andrea mitchell, what a privilege. thanks you both for being here. up next, the latest from newt gingrich. poor kids have bad habits because no one around them works. you're watching "hardball" only
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i'm hosting "hardball" today because chris is on his book tour this weekend for his new biography of the 35th president. the book, "jack kennedy: elusive hero," now high up on "the new york times" best seller's list. chris is in portsmouth, new hampshire today, and then in rhode island at barrington books on saturday. he'll be back here on monday. and we'll be right back. hi, i'm cashing in my points... peggy? no more points - coupons now. coupons? coupons. coupons? next, you convert coupons to tokens. tokens? then you trade tokens for credits. and then i get the cash? then you call back. bye bye. peggy? hello? what just happened? want rewards that make sense? switch to discover. america's #1 cash rewards program. it pays to discover. diabetes testing? what else is new? you get the blood, hope it's enough, it's-- what's this? freestyle lite® blood glucose test strip. sure, i'll try it, but--
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yesterday he was asked about those comments and he doubled down, saying poor kids have no work habits because nobody around them works. it's not the first time that he's demonized the poor for political gain. we're going to get into that in just a moment. also, gingrich is leading in the polls, but does that mean he's the definitive nominee? he seems to think so. and that's what he said to abc news. it's not the first example of his ego that has been out on the campaign trail. let's watch. >> really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working. and have nobody around them who works. so they literally -- they have no habit of showing up on monday. they have no habit of staying all day. they have no habit of, i do this and you give me cash, unless it's illegal. what if you paid them part-time in the afternoon to sit at the clerical office and greet people when they came in? what if you paid them to work as
the assistant librarian? what if -- and i pay them as early as is reasonable and is practical. i mean, i did it all. i did magic acts when i was 12 years old. why wasn't the message for all children? because i think we've all gotten off track in this regard. >> you know, i don't understand the reason why newt made the statement the way he did. it's a very, very important and powerful message for all parents, for all children. i think newt being newt, though, i think that he made -- what he was trying to do, i think he made a very inarticulate statement about what he was trying to say. maybe this was an opportunity for him or he saw it as an opportunity to try to reach out to the poor, reach out to a different demographic, and talk about helping communities rise up and helping children achieve.
and he said it in a very inarticulate way, that looked a lot more negative than i think his intent probably was. >> i'm going to ask you both, but i'll start, michelle, with you. was it a dog whistle? was this coded? was it intended to appeal to his base? >> you know, i'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt, michael. i think he made a very inarticulate statement. i know people will say, he was trying to go after the most racist, horrible motives of the far right, but i don't think so. this is somebody who, i think, was trying to make a statement about pulling yourself up from your bootstraps, having good role models. i mean, if you actually take an honest look at poverty and look at some of the toughest, most impoverished neighborhoods in the country, there are children that are sorely lacking in role models, whether it's education, whether it's working. whether it's families staying together. but he could have found a much more positive way to make that
statement. >> steve kornacki, a dog whistle? what did you hear when you heard that? >> i heard a bit of two things. i heard a dog whistle, but i also heard a very ill conceived temperate attempt at blowing a dog whistle. there's an artful way of doing that if you're a skilled politician. i think it gets to two issues about romney. the dog whistle aspect is pretty simple. you know, part of the sort of core of the conservative message these days is telling a lot of suburbanites, is telling people who perceive themselves as taxpayers who are under siege that their taxes are so high because the government is taking their money and wasting it on poor, lazy, undeserving people. so i think the message was sort of designed to reach those people and say, hey, i get it. i get that your tax dollars are being wasted and this is what it's being wasted on. people who don't understand what work is. it's ill conceived and gets to a real problem with gingrich, which is his tendency to fly off the handle and make inflammatory comments that cause him a lot of trouble and don't necessarily have their intended affect.
if you think back to the last time newt gingrich was really as big as a national player as he was at this moment, it's when he was house speaker. this is the sort of thing that defined his 3 1/2, 4 years as house speaker. he would make statements that would totally blow his party off message for days, for weeks, even for months. i remember when the republicans won in 1994, within about a week of that election, the entire conversation was about orphanages, because gingrich had said -- >> i wanted to show that to you. i wanted to point out, he has a history when it comes to controversial comments about the poor. it was 1994. he advocated that states stop giving money to poor single mothers, instead use the saved money to send to orphanages. hillary clinton, the first lady at the time, called the comment unimaginable and absurd. he responded by referencing the 1938 movie that romanticized orphanages. watch. >> i'd ask her to go to blockbuster and rent the mickey rooney movie about boy's town.
my answer to her in part is, you know, the little 4-year-old who was thrown off the balcony in chicago would have been a heck of a lot better off at boy's town. that the 11-year-old who was killed after he killed a 14-year-old might have had a chance to live in a supervised boarding school. that the children you see in d.c. killed every weekend might be better off in a group home or a foster home. >> michelle, when you put it now in the context of what he said back in the mid-90s, does it make this most recent remark more palatable or less? >> you know, quite honestly, i feel completely numb about it, because i understand -- it's inflammatory, it's crazy, i was actually looking at it thinking, what on earth could he be
thinking about, but here's the thing, michael. if you dig deeper, think about all of the candidates who are running for president. think about everyone who's running for office, whether they are democrats or republicans. we constantly hear about the problems of the job creators. we constantly hear about how important it is to have a middle class. there are no politicians who are willing to talk about what we do to help the least among us. and i'm not saying that newt gingrich is doing that, but he's the only candidate that we hear at least trying to touch on the topic of poverty and maybe, maybe all of the candidates will look at this as a way to reach out to a different demographic and honestly talk about some of the biggest problems facing the country, rather than only focusing on the economic woes of people who are actually getting by. >> with being the front-runner, you know, the gloves now come off. mitt romney appeared on "fox and friends" this morning and took a couple of swings at newt, beginning with the assertion that the odds were high he would be the current nominee given his lead in the polls. >> self-gran dizing po statement abts polls are not going to win elections. i think if america feels that we need someone who's lived in washington for the last 40 years to lead the country, he's a good choice. this is not a matter of america needs better lobbyers or insiders, i think america needs a leader. >> steve, the pitch in part is he's the insider, he's the guy who's been there for 40 years. i'm a business man, but the big picture takeaway is these two are duking it out. >> right, absolutely. the businessman who's really been in politics for at least 17
years now. but i think the strategy for romney here really is pretty simple. it's wait for newt gingrich to do what every other flavor of the month on the republican side has done this year. and that is peak and melt down. he's got about a month to make it happen, or to have newt gingrich himself make it happen. if you look at newt's history, like i'm saying with all of the intemperate statements and he has lots of self-destructive tendencies. there's sort of good reason to think that he eventually will. and the silver lining for mitt in all of this terrible polling news this week is this is the first time i've seen, if you look closely at these polls, it's the first time this year if you look at gingrich's voters and ask them who their second choice is, if they're not going to back gingrich, it's romney. when you look at the other guys who have risen up in the course of the year, whether it's rick perry or herman cain for a while, when you ask the second choice question then, it's not romney. it seems the republican voters have cycled through all the other different options, kind of
given up on them, came to the realization, if it's not newt, you might as well go with mitt. >> 30 days in this context is an eternity. we could have never had predicted this. if we had have written this script, we would say, it's too preposterous and wouldn't even sell it as a novel. thank you. rick perry is making no time making sure he can laugh at his campaign blunders. the latest example of that is coming up in the sideshow. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. all energy development comes with some risk, but proven technologies allow natural gas producers to supply affordable, cleaner energy, while protecting our environment. across america, these technologies protect air -
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see what i'm talking about. >> commerce, education, and the, um -- what's the third one there? >> department of energy. you know, we've all lost our train of thought before, but not many have done it on national tv. if you want a slick debater, i'm obviously not your guy. but you want a clean house in washington with a balanced budget amendment, a flat tax, and a part-time congress, i'm your man. i'm rick perry at -- what's that line again? i'm rick perry and i approve of this message. >> i like it. i think it's a good strategy. and if you're still not convinced that perry can poke fun at his own gaffe, there's always the late-night comedians to help him out, right? let's watch rick perry making light of it all on "the tonight show" last night. >> thanks for coming. you provides us with a lot of material, so i appreciate you being here. >> it's what i do. >> what happened with the brain freeze that night, with the -- you had the three things to remember. >> well, you know, one, two, and, uh, uh -- every now and then, i call my
dogs by the wrong name. >> what happened in new hampshire here? >> those of you that will be 21 by november the 12th, i ask for your support and your vote. >> i was thinking drinking age, maybe. >> drinking age, drinking age. okay, all right. that makes sense. but how about -- >> you got to have an excuse, right? so that's mine, and i'm sticking to it. >> and of course, if that doesn't work, he can always give a go michele bachmann style. remember how she confronted the campaign blunders a couple of weeks ago? >> i haven't had a gaffe or something that i've done that has caused me to fall in the polls. >> there it is. just deny everything, although i think the poll numbers speak for themselves. neither strategy seems to be working. up next, vacation veto. president obama teamed with bill clinton to promote job creation through energy-efficient building projects. and don't think that the president missed an opportunity to nudge congress to pass at least parts of his jobs bill. let's listen. >> we're going to keep pushing congress to make this happen. now's not the time to slam the brakes on the recovery. right now it's time to step on
the gas. we need to get this done. and i expect that it's going to get done before congress leaves. otherwise, congress may not be leaving. and we can all spend christmas here together. >> somehow, i don't think that was an invitation to christmas at the white house. up next, just call it the gop reality tv debate. none other than donald trump will moderate a presidential debate in des moines on december 27th. will he tell each candidate at the end of the evening, you're fired? you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. i know you're worried about making your savings last and having enough income when you retire. that's why i'm here. to help come up with a plan and get you on the right path. i have more than a thousand fidelity experts working with me so that i can work one-on-one with you. it's your green line. but i'll be there, every step of the way. call or come in for a free portfolio review today.
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number of people out looking for work and an increasing number of baby boomers looking for work brought the unemployment number down to 8.6%. people in the western part of the country are cleaning up after violent santa ana winds from southern california to washington state. the pentagon says pakistan is refusing to participate in the investigation into last week's air strike along the afghan border that killed 24 pakistani soldiers. the u.n. has extended the stay in libya. on wall street, the stocks posted the biggest weekly gain in two years. the averages surged 60%. back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." one week before the iowa caucus, donald trump will moderate a republican debate.
news max sent an invitation to candidates that begins, "we are pleased to cardially invite you to the news max ion television 2012 presidential debate moderated by a truly great american, mr. donald j. trump." let's tick through the candidates who have already visited donald trump to get a blessing on their campaigns. first was rick perry, who met with trump on september 14. next was herman cain on october 3rd. michele bachmann visited october 13rd. mitt romney snuck in and out of without being on any cameras. on monday, newt gingrich will meet with donald trump. richard wolffe is an msnbc contributor. i get the feeling that trump decided to send this out, notify the media and then see what happens. >> i guess news max couldn't find ryan seacrest's schedule. the idea that the word "moderator" be in the same sentence as "donald trump" is ridiculous. if they want to project any serious presidential ambition, they'd say no. but they've already made their pilgrimage, kissed the ring of the birther in chief.
if they want to project any serious presidential ambition, they'd say no. but they've already made their pilgrimage, kissed the ring of the birther in chief. >> next time i ask you a question, please don't hold back. tell us what you really think about this. >> i think it's a great idea for democracy, i do. >> joe, richard questions, you know, are they going to show up? let me tell you, jon huntsman will not be attending. his spokesman sent this e-mail, "huntsman declined the trump debate and we look forward to
governor romney suck up to trump with a big bowl of popcorn." will they or won't they? >> you've got one already in the no category. it's hard to determine whether or not the rest will follow. mostly because as richard and you have mentioned, they've already gone to visit. what is another step? but quite honestly, it seems like there's no upside here. i can imagine mitt romney turning it down. herman cain, we don't know if he's going to be around in the next couple of days. certainly, any serious candidate would want to turn this down, because it would be a freak show, a reality show. you never know what you might expect. >> joe, do these candidates know something that we don't know? i mean, is there a trump constituency? are there people seriously waiting for a sign from thedond before they cast their lot with one of these candidates? >> i sure hope not. even if we're talking about political experience, there's no portfolio there with donald
trump. if we're talking business experience, we've got a man who's been through several bankruptcies, who's business dealings have never been fully vetted. so we don't know. but there's obviously something they see, that the rest of us who live in the fact-based community don't really catch on to. >> richard, in a phone interview with tamron hall right here on msnbc earlier today, trump described the kind of questions he will ask as moderator. listen to this. >> i think we'll find out about how they feel about outside forces. i think you know very well, because you've reported it very well, how i feel about the outside world and taking advantage of this country, whether it's opec or china or so many other countries. and we're also going to get into other things, the environment. we'll get into education. we'll be discussing pretty much a large gamut of things. >> you know, i'm sure people are going to watch. my hunch is that this will out-perform -- i don't know what ion television is, i guess we'l find out, but people will say, that was for the public's benefit. >> they'll also watch performing chimpanzees. he says that he's going to ask about the outside world, that's if he ventures into outside world anytime soon. i think david gregory is fine,
his job is safe. the gamut of topics from "a" to "b" will be exhaustive, i'm sure. and you're not talking about "the washington post" doing this with donald trump. if the candidates want to do this, they say there's a 10, 15, 20-point block in the republican party is gettable through this kind of audience. that's just sad. >> donald trump -- joe, let me play one more clip for you to react to, if i may. donald trump says she's not looking to make an independent run, but doesn't shut the door entirely either. >> i'm going to give an endorsement to somebody. and t i'd be satisfied to see how that somebody does. but if not, if it's somebody that i don't think is going to win or if the economy's in particularly -- if the economy is very bad, which it has a very good chance to be, frankly, then we'll see what happens as to the independent -- i'm not looking
to do the independent thing. as most people know, i love what i'm doing. i really love what i'm doing. and i think i do it really well. but i will be probably endorsing somebody right after the debate. >> i mean, he does this every four years. it's remarkable. somebody went back and did the research on it. and i think for the last four cycles, donald trump threatens to run, and of course, never does. joe? >> well, it's sort of like the swells coming back to capistrano or something. or the phrase that sticks in my mind is the eagle has landed. once donald trump makes his grand entrance, we know it's a portion of the campaign season. but ion television is a basic cable network, subscribers on the low end. trump has virtually no expertise. and last i remember of seeing him publicly is being eviscerated by the president at the correspondents' dinner when he basically ripped him and trump was sitting there very stone-faced. he would have to contend with
that i've scrutiny and i don't think he would hold up very well. >> richard, that has always been my belief. for example, i happen to believe that the reason he would never get in is he doesn't want to produce financial records in the format prescribed by the presidential process. i suspect he couldn't withstand that scrutiny and he sued a guy that wrote a book about his financial state in question, what it was really about. >> right, the scrutiny is not something he wants, although he obviously wants the attention. self-awareness is obviously not his strong point. when you consider, he's the moderator, but he's also talking about endorsing and maybe running. does he not think there's a conflict of interest there? maybe we could send him an e-mail or something. >> he said that, by the way, he told tamron hall that he'd have preferred to stay in the race, implying that he once was in, but he couldn't because of his commitment to "the apprentice." listen to this.
>> i hope it does so well as "the apprentice" does, as you know. "the apprentice" has been an amazing thing. and you have equal time provisions. and unfortunately, that sort of makes it impossible for me to do what i would have like to have had done, because i was doing really well and leading in the polls when i left. >> joe, you know, the three of us have kind of dismissive of this whole thing. i happen to think it's a very sad commentary on the spectacle that this process has become. i have to imagine that in campaign headquarters tonight, they truly are not sure what they're going to do with his invitation. >> well, as you mentioned, it's a bit of a conundrum, because there probably is a constituency, a very narrow one, that would tune in and get some information about the candidates. and for all his hubris, donald trump does attract attention. you're absolutely right. this probably would get some ratings. how broadly it would expand, no one knows. it's a bit of a ticking time bomb. this is hardball on msnbc. ♪ for you [ male announcer ] this is zales,
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obama. the november jobs report shows the unemployment rate dropped from 8.6% down from 9% last month. and president obama had fun with former bill clinton at that event to push for more energy-efficient buildings. >> i never got to open for the rolling stones, so i'll try to do my best for the president. >> i am thrilled that president clinton has been willing to take this on. as he pointed out, partly thanks to me, he's home alone too often. >> we'll be right back to "hardball." you name it.
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candidates, we thought it might be interesting to hear from a washington insider about how the establishment really views the republican field and whether or not there's really a lack of enthusiasm for all of these individuals. craig shirley is a historian and the author of "december 1941: 31 days that changed america and saved the world." we'll talk more about the upcoming 70th anniversary of the bombing of pearl harbor and your new book in just a moment. but first, let's get into the politics. is there an establishment favorite among this field? >> actually, i'd say there are two. there's ursa major and ursa minor, mitt romney and jon huntsman, those are the two establishment candidates. what it represents is the what the republican party's going through. it's bipolar. in a way that it was with goldwater rockefeller and later with reagan and ford and then reagan and bush. so the party is going through an
identify of what it stands for and what it is. i know he's lived here. and i've washington. and gingrich, reagan lived here for eight years and he was never considered to be of washington though he was the head of the national government. gingrich never joined the culture here per se. ronald reagan obviously never joined the culture here per se. so insiders have always held him at arm's length because he really wasn't one of them because he never joined the establishment. >> craig, what's the state of the establishment, relative to incivility? there's so much incivility among lawmakers. they ought to spend more time in town, lift a cocktail with each other from time to time instead of running home wednesday night and not coming back until tuesday morning. what's your assessment? >> michael, that's a good point. they don't interact with each other as much as they used to. it's also the function of what happened to the two parties. there really aren't any
conservative democrats anymore per se. there are really very few liberal republicans anymore. in the old days you had conservative republicans who could reach out to -- or conservative democrats who could reach out to conservative republicans and that they could work together in a bipartisan fashion. it makes it more difficult now because frankly the parties are more polarized. in one way it's a bad thing, but in another way you can look at it, it gives the voters an honest choice. this is one party that has one set of principles and another party that has another set of principles. they both have legitimacy and hopefully should come down to a contest of ideas. >> you've been so identified with republican causes over the years. does the incivility extend to sort of the periphery of the system, itself, gentlemen like yourse yourself? >> we've had incivility in politics going back to the election of 1800, where it really started. what's going on today is pretty tame compared to what went on in the past in the election of 186 o or 1800 or more recently. jimmy carter ran for president
in 1980 and said ronald reagan would divide america, north from south, black from white, christian from jew. if that's not incivility, i don't know what is. >> next wednesday is the 70th anniversary of pearl harbor day. also my wife's birth day. i was dealt a good hand. i never forget that day. you break down in your book day-by-day what was going on in the united states and around the globe. i have the question, the howard baker question of what did fdr know and when did he know it? you point out on the 4th of december, a memo marked confidential arrives. when you piece together elements, there were signs something was imminent, no? >> there were straws in the wind. japanese had become more militari militaristic, invaded indochina and taking on a far more mi militaristic cast. we knew strongs were in the wind and there were pieces of the
puzzle there and the memo does advise the president that the japanese espionage was stepping up its surveillance of the panama canal zone, the west coast of the united states and the hawaiian territory for possible military action. but in roosevelt's defense, and in his government's defense and the military's defense, they did not believe and they did not know that a japanese armada would travel thousands of miles, stop in the middle of the pacific to refuel then travel to hawaii to undertake an audacious attack. and you would have to be a really vile person, and roosevelt was not. roosevelt was a magnificent, in my opinion, as a historian, a magnificent wartime president. >> it's a great read. craig, thank you so much for being here to share it. next wednesday the 70th anniversary. thank you, craig shirley. >> thank you, mike. when we return, let me finifi finish why selecting the gop nominee is a true reality show. you can follow me on twitter if
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let me finish tonight with this. i interviewed jim lare on my radio program. he release the a book called "tension city" highlighting his having moderated 11 presidential and vice presidential debates. he's a quality journalist. it's no wonder he'd be asked to repeat that role so often. today it was announced donald trump will moderate the upcoming debate. it's illustrative of what this process has become. it's a reality show. the stakes for the country could not be higher. we're at war in two countries, the debt at $14 million and rising. the divide between rich and poor has never been so large. unemployment dropped but remains too high at 8.6%. the gop race has been fluid. romney and paul's numbers have been steady, the others see great shifts in their popularity. is that because of policy differences on issues like war and taxes? heck know. frankly the race thus far has not been defined by substance.
it's been notable for sound bites. there have been plenty of those. praying away the gay, tiffany bills, a hunting camp named for a slur. an economic proposal dumbed down to sound like the price of a pizza. there's been a record number of debates, but with answers to complex problems limited to 60 seconds, no substance has made the news. the debate headlines have been generated by crowd reaction like when a soldier got booed or someone suggested an e.r. patient with no insurance should be left to die. it's fitting the type of job once reserved for the likes of jim lare has been offered to donald trump. no word yet as to whether he'll entertain questions from the candidates to meatloaf or gary busey. he perpetuated the birther controversy. a guy who plays the media every four years with his own alleged ambition of running for office is handed the power to shape the debate that