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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 28, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm PST

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give. andrew young iii, and brad newman, thanks for all you're doing. thank you for joining me tonight. and remember, if you do nothing else, remember you'll be remembered for what you give in life. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the devil you know. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. leading off tonight, ire of newt. boy, is this guy ticked. a few weeks ago he was mr. big stuff surfing at the top of the polls. his timing couldn't have been better, it seemed. late today we saw the numbers. the reason newt gingrich is fuming. in percent of vote in iowa he's gone from the 30s down to the teens. that's why newt is pouting and
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mitt romney is strutting. the latest from iowa and the big january fights at the top of the show. also, why have we seen a new ç republican front-runner every week with newt falling just as fast as he rose? why can't voters decide on a candidate? could it be because republicans are looking for someone with anti-government simplicity of ron paul, the religious fundamentalism of rick santorum, the war fever mitt/newt? we'll get into that one. plus ben nelson's retirement in nebraska is a hard blow to the democrats' chance of holding the u.s. senate. we'll go over the map and crunch the numbers and also the latest republican play for religious conservatives and whether that will affect the women's vote come november. and let me finish tonight with a democratic guide to the way republicans pick their presidential candidates. it's different. we begin with the latest in iowa, and the new numbers that show more reason for gingrich to worry and an explanation for why the old newt is showing up these past few days. as i said, boy, is this guy angry. jonathan martin is politico's senior political report. we begin with the new "time"/cnn poll numbers out just a short time ago.
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in iowa newt gingrich has fallen dramatically out of first place. he's now in fourth with just 14% of the vote. what a fall. romney and paul each have jumped up five points to lead the pack, and look at rick santorum. he's tripled his support from just earlier in december. he's now running third. and in new hampshire romney has had a commanding lead with 44% of republicans choosing him as their nominee. here again gingrich has dropped substantially from just a few weeks ago, and he and ron paul are now neck and neck for a distant second. mark halperin is msnbc political analyst and also with us joining us. thank you, gentlemen. let's start with j.-mart. newt is looking like the old ç newt, people who covered him on the hill, worked with him on the hill really do recognize. he's angry and pouting and taking shots at romney and all the others. >> well, the challenge that he's had is that he has pledged to not run a negative campaign, and
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he's made much of that out of the high road pledge, but now that he's taken a real tumble in the polls he's trying to make up some ground by going after his rivals. the problem, chris, as you know, instead of us focusing on the underlying charges that he's making against his rivals, namely romney and paul, we are talking about the fact that he's going negative and not the actual charges themselves. >> right. >> so it's the process focus that he's created for himself by holding himself up as this, you know, holier than thou candidate who doesn't practice negative politics. >> well, we're going back to the story line on newt gingrich which always has been newt gingrich personally. here's gingrich lashing out on romney last night on cnn when he heard about the great lucille ball joke that romney made on him. let's listen. >> that chocolate scene. >> i have a very simple message for mitt romney, i'll meet him anywhere in iowa, 90-minute debate, no
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timekeeper or no moderator. i'd love for him to say that to my face, have the courage to back up the negative ads and back up the things his staff has been putting out. if he wants to prove he can debate barack obama, ought to have the courage to stand on the same stage as me. >> talking physical, wants to meet the guy almost out in the parking lot. this morning romney responded to his call for a duel. let's watch. ç >> such a classic scene. those of us that have gotten a little behind can identify with poor lucy. i hope the speaker understands that was humor, and i'm happy to tell my humorous anecdote to him face to face and look forward to seeing him. by the way, we've, i don't know, 10 or 12 debates where we've debated each other, along with others. two more scheduled for january. if it comes down to just the two of us at some point we will debate person-to-person. >> you know, mark, got to tell you, nothing more effective in politics than sticking it to the other guy, chuckling while you do it and having the rest voters and the media laughing with you,
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and then see the other guy sort of pouting about it. this is wickedly effective i think. your thoughts. it's an app. apt description of where these two candidates are. in the inside game gingrich is dead. the insiders believe it's over, that he's caught up in this bad process that jonathan well described. he's got -- he's got to have to hope that the voters of iowa are not caught up in the inside game. >> yeah. >> if you look at our poll, the new "time"/cnn poll, not that far off the pace. the expectations are reduced from where they were a few weeks ago. he has to find a way to be a happy warrior, fight for a victory in iowa, a moral victory at least. that's not where he is in his head right now. that's pretty clear. >> with all the advertising going on out there, you first, mark and then j.-mart. the whole advertising game is something he can't play. doesn't have money to play. and can't get on television in a duel in a debating style where he can really triumph again? >> look, he's overwhelmed on paid media, has been for such a
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long time. people focus on the romney super pac but the ron paul negative ads against gingrich have been ç very intense. he doesn't have a debate opportunity. he has precious few days. he needs to create a moment. like hillary clinton's moment when she teared up in new hampshire. he needs a moment, created or spontaneous, that gets the attention. in presidential politics, earned media, free media is still a bigger deal than tv ads if you have the right moment. he's going to have to find a way to have that, or i do think he is in trouble. >> it looks lying he's trying to create a debate moment there along with wolf blitzer, trying to create something so good as a media bite it's something we all have to talk about as an event itself. as mark just said. >> but it's not fresh. he's been trotted out that line to romney for over a week now. over a week now. chris, what was so telling about that clip that you played from gingrich in response to romney's jab was there was nothing in there on policy, and -- and, you know, mark talks about newt
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needing a moment here. he can't apparently even drive a policy-oriented message against his chief rival here. in that clip, newt was talking all about process, talking about a debate challenge, tell it to my face. there was nothing in there about romney's tax policy proposals are less than mine and here they are, a, b and c. if newt can't drive that message either in front of audiences here in iowa or in tv appearances, then it's not clear to me how he's going to be able in five days to make up the ground that he's lost. >> here he is driving a policy point with another opponent, ron paul. here he is going after ron paul who is vulnerable on this because he's so out of the ç mainstream. here he is saying he wouldn't even vote for ron paul should paul somehow win the republican presidential nomination. this is a policy point and a hard one. let's listen. >> you look at ron paul's total record of systemic avoidance of
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reality and look at his newsletters and look at his ads. his ads are about as accurate as his newsletters. >> if he were to get the republican nomination. >> he won't. >> let's say he were. would you vote for him? >> no. >> could you vote for president obama? >> somebody gets up and says i don't care if israel is destroyed? i don't care if the -- if the iranians get nuclear weapons. >> where does that take him? obviously helping to belt down ron paul's numbers a bit there perhaps, mark, but is it effective for him? >> well, look, people have been going after gingrich. they have been going after ron paul. the game is on the line here. mitt romney potentially, and our polls suggest, on the precipice of winning iowa, winning new hampshire and ending this thing so i understand why people have gone after gingrich. i understand why gingrich is now going after ron paul, but if they are not careful, everybody else in this field is going to look back and say what's going on? there's not been one ad that i know of that shows mitt romney with ted kennedy when they --
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when he signed the health care law in massachusetts. there's been lots of ads showing newt gingrich with nancy pelosi. going after paul is something that is somewhat effective, but, again, i don't quite get the point of it given the circumstances he's dealing with right now. >> here he is talking to chuck todd of nbc where he's trying to make the point, that you were saying a moment ago, playing ç down his hopes for next tuesday and the tuesday thereafter, saying i'm going to make my stand in south carolina as, you know, the lone alternative perhaps at that point to romney. let's take a look at where he seems to be planning his final. >> everyone who has won south carolina has been the nominee. >> that's a fact. >> that's right. >> so if you looked at where we first put our team -- our biggest team is in south carolina. >> how big? >> but -- but i'd like -- frankly i -- i thought if we came in six weeks ago, i would have said third or fourth. i'm rising.
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i would like to come in second in new hampshire. i mean, it's very hard to beat romney in new hampshire, although it will be fun, it will be a much more exciting week than he thinks. >> you still have to get top three? >> top three or four depends on -- whether they are all bunched. what if you have four people that are tied? what if you have ron paul win? at that point i think you have -- people just sort of shake their head and go to the next topic. >> almost the likeable newt gingrich, i have to tell you, mark and j-mart because there's the guy, the corner man, the guy talking like one of us in the back room, being smart and not talking about his own ego which is refreshing for all of us to do, but i thought that was a pretty honest assessment, don't you, mark and j-mart. doesn't he look like a smart tout right there? >> honest and that side is more appealing than a lot of what he's been showing lately. look, the reality is if romney finishes first or second, assuming paul is first if romney isn't, the conservatives in the race, the other candidates are going to say, you know, "x" percent of voters in iowa didn't
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vote for mitt romney and that shows this race goes on. if he's first or second and winç resoundingly in new hampshire it's going to be very hard, i think, to head him off in south carolina and florida, even though right now, according to the last round of polls, gingrich was strong there. >> final question, suppose the way it goes the way mark is lining it up. suppose romney pulls the win up in iowa. it will be cold and he'll win that thing. if he does it's a big deal goes to new hampshire and wins there and won twice. goes to south carolina, which is evangelical and newt comes out as the only alternative to this guy, a moderate guy, lds background, mormon religion and he comes out and plays i'm the only alternative to this guy. he does nick him there or beats him substantially even and goes to florida. isn't there a battle beyond florida if he wins south carolina? having won in south carolina, can he expect to win elsewhere in the deep south, the real south, not florida? >> two important questions there. do santorum and perry also go forward after iowa?
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>> ah. >> if they are there that could take votes from newt and secondly which south carolina are we talking about? is this the south carolina that has always ratified the establishment choice over the course of the last 30 years, or is this the south carolina that last year elected a 38-year-old indian american female as their governor that's a much more populist sort of tea party-oriented state party now. i think you have to get those two answers first before you can actually figure out what happens down there next month. >> what about the party that beat the heck out of john mccain after he came out of new hampshire in 2000, that's the party i still see, willing to do the dirty work on a front-runner? your thoughts, jay? i mean, mark? >> i was going to say -- ç >> that's the establishment. >> romney is going to be in good shape because they will want to pick a winner. >> your thoughts, mark? could they come back and pound what looks like a moderate? >> if you're anybody but romney
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today the thing that should scare you the most is the size of the crowds and the enthusiasm he's drawing in eastern iowa today. that is establishment republicans. they are an underrated part of the turnout here in iowa, and if south carolina establishment, as they always have in the past, rallies with the tea party governor behind him, romney, however many candidates are in south carolina, could win that, too, even though it's not been a strong state for him. >> wow. >> the establishment has one choice in iowa, one choice nationally. president bush 41 sees that, a lot of members of congress see it and gingrich is not doing anything to win them over. i'm not saying romney is a lock, but somebody is going to have to encroach on the establishment vote, both here and in south carolina, or he's going to be very hard to stop early. he could be the nominee by the state of the union. >> this is so powerful. >> and santorum is in south carolina after having a strong showing in iowa, then it's going to be that much harder for newt there to consolidate the right. >> you're both at the top of the game and telling me basically we had the battle for the republican nomination in the year 2011 and that this will be the ratification process come january. thank you so much. powerful development here, if it's romney right through.
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if he runs the table through south carolina, wow. mark halperin, thank you. jonathan martin, thank you. coming up, why are republicans having such a hard time settling on a candidate? we're hearing they may have already done that. there's a new front-runner so far this year every week. that's because the perfect candidate who checks all the perfect boxes on the wish list may not exist. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. what's going on? we ordered a gift online and we really need to do something with it... i'm just not sure what... what is it? oh just return it. returning gifts is easier than ever with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service. if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. plus i can pick it up for free. perfect because we have to get that outta this house. c'mon, it's not that... gahh, oh yeah that's gotta go... priority mail flat rate shipping starts at just $4.95. only from the postal service. a simpler way to ship and return. ♪ ooh baby, (what) can i do for you today? ♪
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welcome back to "hardball." the ever-changing roller coaster republican front-runners has
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shown us one thing for sure, the gop is not happy with their field so far. in iowa, republican caucus-goers are looking for four key ingredients, and trying to determine if the candidates stack up. i put together a checklist to see where they stand. look, let's take a look at the four candidates atop the field right now, paul, romney, santorum and gingrich. when it comes to being a truly solid small government conservative, paul and santorum fit that bill nicely. romney and gingrich's support of health care and talking about climate change hurt them. in terms of being part of the religious right, it's only rick santorum. he's the only real true blue religious right candidate running. republicans looking for a hawk see three potentials now, romney, santorum and gingrich. ron paul, you've got to say that about him, is definitely not a hawk, but if you want someone who could actually win the general election against barack obama the only one that fits that bill is clearly mitt romney. here with me to break this down are robert traynham, formerly a
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spokesman for "the hill" and senator rick santorum in the days and also here with me is talking point memo editor josh marshall. thank you so much. i want to start with josh up here. so far, we don't know where this thing is going next tuesday. we had great conjecture it would be romney as the unanimous okay we'll live with him candidate but so far the only really small government conservative out ç there, two if you count santorum is ron paul. >> yeah. >> got to beat romney, moderate governor of massachusetts and gingrich was all over the place over the years so just in terms that category, it's hard to find the true blue candidate. >> like a ven diagram and no overlap point. you know, i think some of these arguably, i guess, rick santorum is small government conservative by some measures. you know, ron paul is like a no government conservative. >> right. >> there was a thing out today saying he's touting an endorsement from a preacher, ron paul works thinks that gays should be executed, so he's -- he's
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the candidate who thinks that gays should be executed and bin laden shouldn't be executed so that's a tough sell in a republican primary. >> yeah. let's go over that same thing with robert. it looks like if you want the true blue conservative, someone like barry goldwater of the old days, someone an ian rant conservative leave me alone, i'll do my own thing, nobody has a really good record except the extremist, if you will, ron paul. >> you're absolutely right, and the problem with ron paul is that the independent voter out there in pennsylvania in, florida, in michigan and ohio will not even entertain the thought of voting for someone like that. i think the real conservative out there that obviously is not running is jeb bush. if in fact he was not a person by the name of bush he probably would be the front-runner right now because he has all of the qualifications that you just mentioned a few moments ago, chris, but if i can go back to rick santorum for a moment. it would very interesting, let's say hypothetically he won his re-election in 2006 and did not say some of the unfortunate
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comments that he saht about gays, he probably would be the number one front-runner right about now but obviously that's not the case. rick santorum for the very same reasons that i mentioned about ron paul is not palatable to the independent voter out there, and it's a shame because when you take a look at rick santorum on the surface he's a pretty good guy from a policy standpoint, at least for conservatives. >> but he lost by 18 points in pennsylvania so doesn't that shatter your notion he's a strong general election candidate? >> you're right. there's no question about it. look, he lost pennsylvania by 18 points for two reasons, number one, too conservative for the state and number two because he wrapped his arms around george w. bush at a time that was very unpopular. >> and got a ton of money from his county to pay for his home schooling which people in pennsylvania could not understand, how a guy could pull 30,000 from his county to pay for home schooling. they got upset about that in pennsylvania. here's ron paul out with a new ad attacking both mitt romney and newt gingrich. take a look. >> the washington machine is strangling our economy.
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politicians who supported bailouts and mandates, serial hypocrites and flip-floppers who can't clean up the mess. one man stands alone. a real plan to cut $1 trillion year one, balance the budget in three. consistent, incorruptible, guided by faith and principle. ron paul, the one we've been look for you. >> know, it's true, the republican conservative dream and they know it won't sell with the public. it's just unbelievable. >> yeah. >> they know their beliefs run are unsellable. >> the thing i come away from this with, is you know, it really does feel like everything is moving towards mitt romney right now. really could win iowa and then ç he'll win new hampshire. >> you heard mark halperin and jonathan martin who said he can run the table right through south carolina. >> we haven't seen a south carolina poll since like the 19th. i'm dying to see one, because then, ten days ago newt was still ahead. you know, maybe the newt -- the newt team can hold out hope he's still ahead there. >> let me go to robert here.
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i have a theory republicans are more organized than democrats, i'm not the first one to say that. it was will rogers who said that about 100 years ago. they are very organized. i figure if you go to the movies they are early. they are sitting there with a little candy bar, and you come in with your popcorn and big coke. they have been there for 20 minutes. the reason i say this is grew up with a family like that. everything was done on time. they are there for everything. they have thought this through. they thought through that they have a clown card out there, as somebody said out there, the "boston herald." they have a clown car. getting rid of that clown car as fast as they can and running down the street with a guy they know can win a general election and that's mitt romney. >> you're absolutely right. the analogy that i use, go to the republican convention and go to the democratic convention. >> yes. >> republican -- >> where do you have more money? >> more fun at the democratic convention, if you want things to go on time and want to know how things will run go to the republican convention. look, mitt romney, he's -- he's the tortoise in all of this.
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he's the one that has been very consistent. he's the one that's always been on message, the one who hats most money. i predict that mitt romney will be the republican nominee, and the reason why it's because of all the reasons i mentioned a few moments ago. he's consistent, and the problem with that is, again, a lot of primary voters out there on the republican side, they do their homework and they say, wait a ç minute, what about this mormon issue and this abortion issue? wait a minute, what about your signature on the gay marriage license in massachusetts, you're just not consistent for me. however, i do believe republican voters out there, especially the hard core republican voters in south carolina, new hampshire and iowa, they want to win. they want to win come november, and i think they will hold their noses and vote for mitt romney come this time next year. >> older than you, going to democratic conventions when they used to do gavel-to-gavel on tv and all you ever heard was somebody at the convention secretary, a woman would yell, would the delegates please clear the aisles and they never did, they ignored it. table hopping. >> yeah. >> let me ask you, are they that
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strategic in voting, even in south carolina, starting this tuesday, the person who goes into that polling booth will not vote their gut or vote their heart, like a lot of voters tend to do. they will say, no, this is about the presidency. we're going to pick a president. is it going to be that cool and calculating? >> john heilemann had that quote from that unnamed romney aide saying like we can't lose this now. >> that was smart. >> that was cocky but i see what he's saying. >> do you think it helped him? >> no, no, no. i don't think it helped him at all. i do say this. it is hard to figure that primary voters down in south carolina are really going to be thinking that way and you do see romney -- robert was just right. romney through all of this, he's cruising along at 22%, 23% and newt is up and everybody is up and down like this. the question to -- for me is, you know, he's sort of the consensus, the unloved consensus candidate, but at some point something's got to happen. somethino 50.ot to happen. >> when is that going to happen? >> when does he go from 25 to
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50, this mr. right? >> probably right after super tuesday. >> okay. >> chris, if i can go back quickly. this reminds me a bit of 1988. george h.w. bush, the moderate, a lot of social conservatives did not like him, and they knew him, and the whole pat robertson and jerry falwell running for president. at the end of the day primary voters said we're voting for president, the leader of the free country, let's go with george h.w. bush. >> anybody who doesn't think of barbara bush was pro-choice is out of their mind. look at that family. they look pro-choice. maybe it's a class statement, but -- please clear the aisles. thank you both. up next, who are the most admired men and women in america today and which republican presidential candidates make that list? that's ahead in the sideshow. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪
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back to "hardball." now for the sideshow. first up, hit the ground running. rick perry may have slid badly from front-runner status in the gop race this fall, but his campaign team says it sees a possible comeback on the horizon. it doesn't have much to do with politics. what's the secret? according to a cnn piece, quote, rick perry's best asset in the race for the white house these days might just be a pair of brooks running shoes. perry's frequent jogs along iowa roadways and in hotel fitness centers have become both an energy booster and welcome break from his marathon bus tour of 42 iowa cities, a late push that campaign advisers say they hope will vault him to a top three finish in the january 3rd caucuses. perry is back in the game after hanging up the running shoes earlier this year due to injury. although looking at his poll numbers, i'd say he has more than miles to go before he sleeps.ç winning strategy aside, the perry camp fell victim to another campaign blunder this
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morning. at least it wasn't the candidate himself standing at the microphone. the culprit, joe arpaio, that arizona sheriff best known for his ongoing birther investigation. anyway, arpaio made it clear he wasn't quite up to date on all things iowa when he took to the podium to rally for perry. let's listen to mr. arpaio. >> boy, i'm getting to know iowa, the great state of iowa. was it the buckeyes or -- >> no, no. >> what do they call them? >> hawkeyes. >> buckeyes, hawkeyes, what's the difference? it's 3:00 phoenix time. >> what's the difference? looks more like a stand-up routine that didn't go too well. not exactly the boost that perry hoped he'd get from this character and this year's most admired american men and women was put out by "usa today" and gallup. which men and women top the list, president obama and secretary of state hillary clinton each getting 17% of the
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votes in their categories. obama has held the male title since 2008, and this is mrs. clinton other secretary clint clinton's 16th time on the list. following the president are former presidents george w. bush and bill clinton and among females second place goes to oprah winfrey followed by michelle obama in third. the only active 2012 gop candidates to make the top ten are newt gingrich, who is down in sixth place, and michele bachmann who is in ninth place, but what exactly does a sixth place slot in the men's category mean? in&e case of newt, about 1% of the vote, and that means sharing your ranking with donald trump. they are both in the same level. up next, ben nelson's retirement is the end of democratic hopes to hold on to the united states senate or not. let's check into that fight for control of the united states senate coming up here in a minute usual watching "hardball," only on msnbc. my name's jeff.
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i'm chris jansing. here's what's happening. a strong warning for iran tonight -- don't touch the strait of hormuz. the u.s. says blocking the strait will not be tolerated. in north korea tens of thousands saluted kim jong-il's coffin in a processional. his son walked with one hand on the coffin, the other raised in salute. they were rescued three hours later. a medical examiner says three sisters and their grandparents died of smoke inhalation in the fire. officials believe the grandfather died trying to pull one from safety. a nurse-in at targets stores after a facebook post said one
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mother was asked to moved into a fitting room last month. target says nursing mothers should not be made to feel uncomfortable. back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." do republicans have a real chance of winning control of the u.s. senate next year? many gop leaders think the answer is yes, especially after yesterday's announcement by democratic senator ben nelson of nebraska that he'll not seek re-election in 2012.ç nelson was in a tight race in nebraska but now it seems that seat will go to republicans, a republican, whoever it is. the senate is currently split 53-47 for the democrats, meaning republicans need to pick up four seats next year to retake or take control. there's some formidable democratic contenders who could make that task a bit more difficult, like elizabeth warren up in massachusetts. so what's the outlook in 2012 for the senate?
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david calf any is a national political reporter for politico and christina bellantoni is with roll call. two experiments here -- expert here who do it all the time. let's take a look at the map, two key senate races, massachusetts and nevada where the democrats have a shot of picking up a seat, but look at the republican advantages. in nebraska and north dakota, the republicans will probably pick up both those seats currently held by democrats. six other states to watch and these are the big ones according to nbc news, seats currently held all by democrats are tossups right now. hawaii, montana, missouri, wisconsin, ohio and virginia, all pose a risk for democrats next year. let me go to christina on this outlook. let's start with a candidate who has really impressed me. that's elizabeth warren up in massachusetts. i've seen that "herald" poll. she's up by seven over scott brown. is that a pretty good bet right now, or is it still close? >> i think that she has a very
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good chance to win. roll call still has this rated as a tossup. obviously scott brown is a decent candidate with lots of money, you know, the incumbent tends to have the advantage but this is also a state. it's a strong democratic state. presidential year with a lot of turnout so this will be one of those key battlegrounds. theç democrats seem very confident they can hold this seat -- >> you mean wit it? >> win it. >> another woman candidate, shelly berkeley out in nevada. she's on against the appointed senator. what do you make of that one? >> that's against dean heller and this is a very interesting
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race. if barack obama wins re-election it will be in part thanks to nevada and shelly berkeley will become the next senator if that happens. this is where the top of the ticket will really matter. there's a big machine in nevada that obama activated and harry reid used to hold on to his seat last fall but lots of that will be in action. one of those key races to watch election night to see what's happening with the presidential race and what happens for control of the senate. >> the congresswoman is not running against a full mooner the way that harry reid was. she's not lucky enough to run against sharron angle. >> sure. certainly not necessarily the strongest senate candidate in the world. she's going to have plenty of money from the democratic senatorial campaign committee and certainly reid has been out there to bat for her. he cleared the field. had a primary in front of her and that's now gone, so i think -- she's got a strong chance of winning, but it really is going to come down to that national mood. >> let's -- david, tell us about the two races which are probably going to lose seats for the democrats, north dakota and nebraska now? >> yeah. you'll get a lot of pushback from washington democrats on north dakota. they have recruited former attorney general there, heidi hidecamp saying she can be competitive with representative rick berg saying he has some weaknesses. i think that's a stretch that north dakota is going to be a competitive race next fall, so i would push north dakota and nebraska into the republican column. that's a pickup of two seats, but the next two seats, getting to four is a lot tougher.ç you have virginia, you have
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montana. you have missouri. nevada, which we were just talking about. those are all coin-tosses right now and to the democrats' credit they have been raising a ton of money for their incumbents, or even their challengers, and they have a pretty formidable organizations around these candidates and have been drawing a lot of races to a tie despite being battered by ads by cross roads coming outside. >> let me go to ohio. i'm a big sherrod brown fan. sherrod brown looks like the perfect labor democratic senator in ohio. if he can't win and hold that seat when he does everything right in terms of labor issues, tax issues, middle class issues,
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how can he lose? he's such the perfect democrat for that state? >> i -- >> christina, please. >> roll call has this rated that it is a seat that is probably going to remain in democratic hands. for all the reasons that you outline, he's got a pretty strong organization. the republican likely nominee is josh mandel, he's pretty strong but brown is one of those interesting candidates who won in 2006, he ousted mike dewine and really representative, you know, of a vulnerable democrat right after the republicans did so well in ohio in 2010 and actually he's doing okay. polls better than barack obama in his home state and has been able to sort of keep his focus there and a lot of people like him. he might be okay and that's going against the national mood in some sense. >> let me give you another winner for the democrats, i believe in, a close race. i think tim kaine is going to knock off george allen.ç i any george allen is yesterday. i'm not saying the old problems are trying to haunt him. seems like a guy trying to come back. nobody wants the past back. they don't like want to go back to w. i think -- i'll get on to john tester in a minute. think he's a strong candidate. your thoughts about virginia? i think ohio look good. i'm going to get on the john test irin a minute.
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your thoughts about tim kaine? >> a margin of error race, like thune/daschle, which i think a lot of people will remember, but i think it will be very much tied to how president obama does in virginia. i traveled to richmond and saw tim kaine debate george allen. he's a very good debater. he is crisp and put george allen on the defense for a lot of fiscal -- >> i think he runs ahead of obama, what do you think? >> i'm not sure. really interesting to see. kaine people are happy. obama's popularity has declined but kaine hasn't. stayed pretty even. >> i'm with you. >> he could definitely -- it's a possibility that he outruns obama in that state. >> i think it's elizabeth warren so far, i'm not sure about berkley because nevada is very hard to figure unless you have a wacko on the republican side and let's go to john tester. let's talk about him. he is a very attractive candidate, not a lefty from back east. a farmer from the state that he's from, from montana. your thoughts about it, christina? >> don't forget that tester won
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by a very, very slim margin, less than 1,000 votes in 2006. it was also like one of those races like jim webb's in 2006 that helped decide the senate for the democrats, so this was already going to be close. denny reberg is a congressman. he's elected at large so he's already won statewide there. this is going to be a razor thin race and dave is exactly right.ç with all the spending from outside groups, particularly crossroads, it's cheap to advertise there. voters will be real tired of seeing ads on this guy and tester is in some big trouble. you never know. the obama people really recognize that this is a key state so that might mean they stay out of it for the presidential, but they will make sure organizationally people are in place. >> anybody with a crewcut is no lefty. thank you both. happy new year. up next, the republicans running for president move further to the right to attract the evangelical vote do, they run the risk of alienating the average woman voter next çç
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welcome back to "hardball." the republican presidential field has field has moved even further to the right following rick perry's decision to support
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a ban on abortion even in the case of rape and incest. that brings the number to four a majority of the candidates, now who wants abortion banned in all cases. outlawed. rick santorum and newt gingrich and michele bachmann and rick ç perry have signed a pledge for the personhood movement which defines a fertilized egg as a human being. to give you an idea of how extreme this position is, a ballot initiative in mississippi supporting personhood was handily defeated in that republican red state. while this extreme position may clearly appeal to the evangelicals in iowa, is it pulling the party too far to the right politically, and how would it affect the way women vote? republican women included in november. joan walsh is editor at large at salon.com and michelle goldberg reports for "newsweek" and the daily beast. joan, great to talk to you. haven't seen you in a while. happy new year and merry christmas. >> you too, chris. >> seems like we're getting into a territory where people need to think about. if you define a fertilized egg
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as a person, perhaps even a citizen for all i know, in fact at that point it becomes technically a murder. a murder, you're killing a person, if you -- interfere with the attachment of that fertilized egg to a uterine wall. an iud is a murdering instrument. it really gets completely far out here. in what people are actually putting into -- trying to put into statue. do you think people know what they're doing here, even politically know what they're doing. >> i think they do. i think they're trying to get through this primary and some of them may well believe if. you know, chris, you made the point when you're too extreme, you're too far right for the state of mississippi, one of our reddest states, you know you've gone too far. you know, you're getting to a point in the republican party where a female has more rights before she's born than afterwards. this is just turning the clock back even on birth control. i think we've seen signs of this. you know, the teaç party came into the house and they said they were all about jobs but they spent more time trying to
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defund planned parenthood which is about birth control as well as female cancer screenings than they did trying to do anything about our jobs crisis. this is a trend in the republican party. we've seen it for a long time but it's gotten to an extreme. >> the question of physics, you're talking about declaring under law, not religion, under law, a pefertilized egg. a lot of them, perhaps, don't attach to the wall. are they all people, too, for political purposes? >> if a fertilized egg is a human being, basically every woman's uterus is a kind of a slaughter house. you know, fertilized eggs fail to attach in at least half of the cases. >> that's why people don't get pregnant every time they have sex obviously. >> exactly. so, you know, the reason that this went down in mississippi was because beyond just banning all abortion even when a woman's life is at stake, rape or
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incest, it would have interfered with ivf. this is a huge interference -- >> first of all, they never want to officially criminalize abortion because then they have to attach some kind of statutory substantiation to a woman. like if you have an abortion you must pay $5 or go to jail for five years. they don't want to do that. in this case you'll get to that point. >> a lot of americans are uncomfortable with abortion. because of roe v. wade we've been able to take for granted living in a world without back alley abortions, without women dying by the hundreds in hospital emergency rooms. so nobody wantsç to talk about the consequences of an abortion ban. nobody wants to talk about arresting women and putting women in jail. that's already starting to happen around the margins. there's been a number of cases where women in really desperate circumstances tried to end their own pregnancies and have been arrested and prosecuted. >> oh really. >> that's happening now because these restrictions are finally starting to take effect. that's not something the republican party wants to talk
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about. they talk about, like you said, these kind of metaphysical issues of when life begins. the end result is going to be an unprecedented interference into women's lives. >> i personally think we should talk about metaphysical issues but not make them matters of law and politics. 53% of men and 47% of women self-identify as republicans, but 45% of men and 53% of women self-identify as democrats. that's no surprise, joan. i don't want to simplify anything about people's voting habits. people vote out of a cluster of concerns including rights, huge rights, womens rights. education, health care issues, war and peace. taxes. people vote on a lot of things. the jegender gap. will it enlarge the gender cap if republicans go too far here? >> it will enlarge the gender gap. we didn't see a difference until 1980 and ronald reagan. women did end up supporting
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ronald reagan, they didn't support him as wholeheartedly as men did. people at the time said it was a cluster of things. it was the role of the christian right but also in polls women tend to be much more supportive of the social safety net.ç women want programs for the poor. they want programs for the elderly. they are the more economically vulnerable gender. so sometimes it's a matter of these things coming home to them. they're the ones taking care of elderly relatives usually. >> exactly. >> they were also afraid of reagan's belacosity. you've seen a gender gap widen since ronald reagan and open up with barack obama and john mccain. so this is something that the democrats have been able to count on. they were worried white women went back to the republicans in 2010. the trends are looking good for them to come back to the democrats in 2012. >> we'll have more time to talk about this later. thanks for coming on. michelle goldberg. thank you. happy new year. thank you, joan, my great friend. when we return, let me
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finish with the slow, methodical way republicans pick their nominees for president. totally different from the way democrats tend to do it. this is a general statement, but i'm going to live with it. i take an omega for my heart. but to be honest, i find the omega choices overwhelming. which one is right for me? then i found new pronutrients omega-3. it's from centrum. a name i trust. it goes beyond my heart to support my brain and eyes too. and these ultra concentrated minigels are much smaller than many others. it's part of a whole new line of supplements. there's probiotic and fruit & veggie too. new pronutrients from centrum. look for your five dollar coupon in this sunday's paper. what is this shorty?
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let me finish tonight with this. democrats have a hard time figuring out the way republicans go about picking their presidential candidates. the reason is it's totally
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different. democrats tend to go with their heart and gut. they see a candidate like jack kennedy or bill clinton or barack obama and feel something inside them that says go with this guy. that's it. it doesn't always work out so well, of çcourse. george mcgovern got blown away. jimmy carter didn't turn out to have the political chops he needed. the same with others. it always seemed like a good idea at the time. well, republicans are different. their like to see the guy run around the track a few times before they place their bets. nixon had ran and lost then lost again. he lost for governor. ronald reagan lost twice in '68. again in '76. bush lost in '80 and dole in '80 and again in '88 before getting the nod in '96. mccain got his face bashed in in 2000 for finally crossing the finish line in '08. watch the slow movement of iowa caucus voters, the good old romney, you're looking at the love of familiar and voting for one whose turn has finally come.

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