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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 7, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PST

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silver lining. maybe eric cantor and vice president joe biden may be working together to reauthorize the violence against women act. >> yes. >> are you bullish or bearish? >> i'm hopeful. i got to say. i actually think there is an understanding of how important it is to get that done. let's be hopeful there. and who knows, alex. maybe that's an opening to a better day for women in the republican party. >> karen finney, you get tonight's last word. thank you for ending on a high note, my friend. >> take care. >> be sure to join me for "now" at noon eastern, 9:00 a.m. pacific, weekdays right here on msnbc. "the ed show" is up next. "hardball" starts right now. gay marriage. an american right? let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. today the united states supreme court said it would take up the issue of same-sex marriage.
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this is an astounding moment in american history and in the march of rights that began in philadelphia in the last quarter of the 18th century and continues through this first quarter of the 21st. is it constitutional for a state to deny people of the same sex the right to marry under the law? well, let's consider the 14th amendment. nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protections of the laws. and here is justice kennedy, anthony kennedy, in his majority opinion in the lawrence case of 2003 which declared anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional. quote, does a statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violate the due process clause? yes. a statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violates the due process law. quote, liberty protects the person from unwarranted government intrusions. freedom extends upon spatial bounds. liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of
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thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct. the defendants are adults, and their conduct was in private and consensual, and, quote, to declare the issue as one related to the right to engage in certain sexual conduct demeans the claim the individual put forward. so could it happen? could it happen next year? that the supreme court declare it is unconstitutional to deny people of the same sex the right to marry? what a question, what a story. joining me now is the president of the human rights campaign, chad griffin, and gay rights advocate elizabeth birch. i think i know what the majority opinion should look like. your thoughts. >> i couldn't have said it better, chris. it really is an incredible day today, that the supreme court is taking the prop 8 case, the perry case, as well as the doma case. and, you know, look, when this case was filed almost four years ago, the prop 8 case, we made the case in court that in this country we don't deny our citizens a fundamental right, and the supreme court has called marriage a fundamental right no
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less than 14 times in the history of this country, and i'm optimistic that once the court does hear this case and the doma case, they're going to come down on the side of freedom, liberty, and equality just as they have so many times in our nation's past. >> and equal protection of the laws. elizabeth, thank you for coming on. equal protection of the laws. liberty is a pretty profound notion in this country. >> it is. >> pursuit of happiness is our declaration. why not? >> here is the thing, if you are gay and alive in our time in america, we're living in a kind of a policy and civil rights renaissance. we have seen extraordinary leadership from other parts of government already. don't we judge, chris, presidents by whether they stand up to the moment of history in which they live? we have seen president obama step up to this issue, gay marriage -- >> getting rid of don't ask,
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don't tell. now saying he won't endorse doma. >> and our military has stepped up. >> even the marines are doing a great job. >> even the marines are. now we have to see will the supreme court also keep pace in our time with the other major institutions. >> count me as an optimist here. i know there were questions. chad, you're the expert, i have supported it and my wife has for years, human rights campaign. you have a hell of a name, human rights campaign. it's a great name. the liberty clause. if you get to the idea of the 14th amendment. life, liberty, and property cannot be denied to you. you have to do something wrong. it's got to be a crime. you can't just be denied liberty. your thoughts on that issue and how that can be used in the constitution.
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>> that's exactly right. and there is no state interest to deny our citizens and the plaintiffs in this case the fundamental right to marriage. you know, chris, often times we get lost a bit when we're talking about these things, talking about the politics and the law, but at the end of the day there are fundamental lives at stake. when we filed this case, chris and sandy and jeff and paul had been together for ten years. now they have been together for almost 12, over 13 years. chris and sandy's twin boys were just entering high school. when this case is heard, they will be getting ready to graduate from high school. their moms deserve the same freedom to marry just as everyone else has in this country. and in this country we don't deny a certain portion of our citizens a fundamental right. we just don't. it's not american. >> isn't it true that when we had this in the court in the ninth in the appellate level, nobody came forward because nobody could come up with what you call a justification, some compelling reason. just chat on that point. you raised it. there's no compelling reason
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against giving the rights to people, the right to marriage. >> that's exactly right, chris. it's important to note in both of these cases, the united states government has refused to defend doma, the federal law that's now before this court, and when we filed the case right here in california, as one has to do, we sued the governor at the time which was arnold schwarzenegger and our attorney general at the time which was jerry brown, the current governor. both responded by refusing to defend the case and ultimately joined our side in the case and said it was fundamentally an unconstitutional law and they weren't going to defend it. so the judge in our case, chief judge vaughn walker, who wrote that historic ruling in this case, allowed the intervening defendants, the proponents of prop 8, to intervene and to defend the case. on the doma case the small group of folks on capitol hill out of the house have come together and are defending it because the federal government won't. at the end of the day this is unconstitutional, and everyone knows it. >> it's a day in history here. this could be a major moment in the court's history. look at what tom goldstein of scotus blogged last week. quote, i have never before seen cases i believe would be discussed 200 years from now. bush v. gore, obama care were relative pipsqueaks. the government's assertion of the power to prohibit a loving couple to marry or to refuse to recognize such a marriage is profound. so the opposite claim that five
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justices can read the federal constitution to strip the people of the power to enact the laws governing such a fundamental social institution. you know, elizabeth, it's not like we're talking about rock of ages, the big surprise. we have nine states that have done it. in this past election, which i think is pivotal, four states did it completely by popular vote. no court ruling on rights, just public will. >> for the first time in 40 years in four states thanks to the efforts of chad and a lot of other people, for the first time there was a populist vote, and the people spoke. they have never spoken in favor before, but there are really two ways. it's also equal protection under the law and also that the court has found it to be a fundamental right. this is an extraordinary, extraordinary time, and -- >> let's cut this in two. there's two questions here. one is doma, the defense of marriage act. this administration will not
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defend it in the courts. if that gets struck down, what does that say to cases around the country where people have been allowed to marry in the same gender? chad, on that. what happens it doma gets struck down by the court, 5-4 or whatever? >> the ridiculously named defense of marriage act would be gone obviously. >> what would it mean to a gay person who is married? >> that would mean that couples who are married in those states as well as the district of columbia, their marriages would be recognized by the federal government. now, it would mean we still have a lot of work to do, and depending on how they rule in the prop 8 case, we would still need other states to move forward with the right to marry. >> right. >> but social security, if you were in california, for example, and the appellate court is still upholding that prop 8 -- or overruling it, if you're in a state, for example, iowa, new york, massachusetts, connecticut, maryland, d.c., maine, vermont, new hampshire, iowa, washington state, if you're in one of those states and you're married legally, you can have social security coverage, right? >> you can. >> but you wouldn't have it if you're in alabama. what happens if doma gets struck
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down? >> really you're back to circa 1996. what doma says is two things. one state does not have to recognize the marriage law, same-sex marriage law, of another state. that would be struck down and then there would have to be another test as to full faith and credit. >> if you move from california to utah and you're getting the recognized marriage in california but not in utah, but in utah living in salt lake city you'd be able to get social security benefits and all the federal stuff. >> you would -- it's not clear. >> it would depend how the court rules in that case. >> if the court reaches the question of full faith and
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credit, what that is, utah must recognize the marriage laws of california, then, yes -- >> but you'd still be getting your social security checks, wouldn't you? >> it's not clear -- >> let's go back to a clear case. if prop 8 -- if the decision by the ninth , if the decision to strike that down, if that is upheld, where do we stand? what does that do? is equality then the law of the land? is marriage equality the law of land? >> it would depend on how the supreme court rules. if it upholds the ruling as it currently is, it would immediately affect california and marriages would begin again here in this state. and it would prevent any other state from granting a right and then revoking that right as california did. but, look, this court can also go back to judge vaughn walker's ruling which was a broad and sweeping victory that looked at equal protection and it was in the realm of loving v. virginia and brown v. board. when you talk about doma, you don't have to look further than the plaintiff in this case. the aclu brought that case with edie. she had been married to her wife for 20 years. got married in canada. moved to new york and, unfortunately, her wife passed away. and you know what the government did when her wife passed away? they sent her a tax bill for $300,000. they wouldn't do that to you and your wonderful wife, and they
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wouldn't do that to other straight couples in this country. it's not fair. >> let's go to -- let's get revolutionary. we only have a few minutes. wonder looking at justice kennedy, maybe because he's irish, i'm just kidding, there's something about him i find very interesting. >> and from california. >> he's from california. if you look at the majority opinion in the case involving lawrence versus texas which was about outlawing or basically declaring sodomy -- anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional, he says not only in that court decision you can't deny a person's liberty in these cases to engage in intimate conduct but it's about something bigger. marriage is not about having constant sex, it's about having a loving relationship. it's about people. >> right. >> not organs. let me -- >> it's about families. >> okay. you tell it your way. if it gets down to questions of liberty and equal protection of the law, fundamental things that they developed in philadelphia in the old days, those values,
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it seems to me, argue very clearly for the right to choose your partner in marriage, clearly. your thoughts on that, chad. to me it's stirringly a fundamental issue we're at. it's not about sexual mores, not about values about sexual conduct. it's the fundamental right of a person to pursue happiness and define liberty their way and define relationships their way that come to them basically because of who they are. they don't choose to be gay or whatever. >> exactly. you're absolutely right. in fact, that's the only thing it's about. it's actually the most simple of things that we could be talking about. in this country, we deny a portion of our population the fundamental right to marry the person they love because of who they are. how we are born. again, it's un-american -- >> tell that to trent lott. >> we have learned we don't write off anyone. you look at ted olson and so many republicans and democrats who have stood up with us. >> joe looked like a great president. thank you.
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thank you. it's an honor to have you on and your organization. elizabeth birch, good to have you back. much bigger studio now. coming up, the republicans -- it going to be a big hit. we'll be covering this all year. the republican establishment is at war with its crazy wing. they say they lost the election because ideologues pulled mitt romney foo far to the right. that sounds reasonable. wrong says the right wing. we lost because mitt romney wasn't right wing enough. the winner of this little tango will determine whether the gop moves to the center where it might find some votes or becomes an even more fringy party. also, the fiscal cliff. it's down to two people. everybody seems to agree, two people get in the room, the president and the leader of the opposition, john boehner, the speaker. they may be closer, some argue, to an agreement than we think. the question is can they sell the deal to their bases, to their fringies, left and right i must say. plus, republicans say they would change after the election and they are. guess what? they're changing the rules. some of them are proposing to republicans in pennsylvania and
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three other states obama won, they're trying to eliminate the winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes. that way republicans could win electoral votes in states they lose. new jersey governor chris christie finally meets his idol. the man he's seen in concert more than 100 times. the governor and the boss, bruce springsteen. they're friends now. this is "hardball," the place for politics. from our 4,000 television commercials. yep, there i am with flo. hoo-hoo! watch it! [chuckles] anyhoo, 3 million people switched to me last year, saving an average of $475. yeah, i'm kind of a big deal. [sigh] it feels good to help people save... with great discounts like safe driver, multicar, and multipolicy. 731, 732... you want my number, don't you? call 1-800-progressive right now. or visit for an extra $50 online savings. thirsty? 'cause i got a six-pack right here.
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in the costliest presidential election in u.s.
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history, the 2012 race saw not $1 billion, but $2 billion spent. president obama and mitt romney each raised over a billion dollars a piece, and that's just the campaigns and party committees. the obama camp raised $1.123 billion while the romney camp spent $1.019 billion just behind them. when you add in the spending by the super pacs, those numbers go way up. we'll be right back. welcome back to "hardball." here is one of the easiest predictions after any election, especially this one. the republican party would split
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in two. on one side you have the establishment republicans, the john boehner, mitch mcconnell wing of the party. to them the election was lost because the conservative ideologues pulled mitt romney so far to the right in the primaries he could never find his way back to the middle in november. on the other side is the right wing, jim demint, rick santorum, the talk radio conservative media industrial complex. they make the same argument ideologues always make when they lose. the problem to them was our guy wasn't ideological enough. the conflict is playing out in technicolor with demint blowing the united states senate to become the ceo of the conservative movement and firing a warning shot at boehner in the process. joining me are michael steele, former rnc chair, now one of us, and joy reid, managing editor of she's also one of us. thank you, gentleman and lady. i want you to look at something. this is what happens when you go near what i call the misery index, the rush limbaugh show. yesterday jim demint, still the united states senator from south carolina, and the outgoing heritage president ed fuelner went on rush and yuck-yucked
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about john boehner. they made fun of the speaker. let's listen. >> well, i think it's safe to say boehner is not forcing either of you guys out, right? >> that's pretty true. >> it might work a little bit the other way, rush. >> what do you make of that? it might work a little bit the other way. here is an outgoing united states senator not being very outgoing about the speaker of the house saying he might lose his job because demint is going to the heritage foundation. explain that rubik's coupe. >> actually, there's no connection. that's just idle banter with rush limbaugh. the speaker is going to be back in charge. he's negotiating right now with the president. >> but why clip the speaker on the way by? >> it's sort of setting the stage for what's to come. he's going to go out, he's got a new platform, an elevated voice, if you will. he's not one of 100. he's now really representing a lot of conservative voices around the country, but the thing to be careful about here is, you know, you talked about the split within the party. that split has been there for a while. it's not just after this election. it goes back a good number of years, and it's not about some ideological i'm more conservative than you. it really is trying to figure out and marshal together those core principles that revolve around the economic realities that this country has to face. >> what's the fight about? >> the fight is about who gets to articulate it, who gets to decide and make -- >> just personnel? >> it's not so much personnel as it is personality. >> wait a minute. let's step back. i want to bring in joy. looking at it from across the aisle, i know you're more progressive, to put it lightly. here is the story. you have demint out there running a candidate against mitch mcconnell to his right, almost beating him last time around, trying to move the party to the right. selecting candidates like sharron angle and some of the whackier ones like christine o'donnell. all around the country always trying to get several notches to the right of what we have. bob bennett, not right wing enough, john mccain not right wing -- their idea of right wing is way out, and the leader of them all is this guy who is leaving the senate. how do you see it? >> i think this is the place where the conservative movement and the republican party often times part ways, and jim demint has been the burr in the bonnet
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of mitch mcconnell who people on the left think of as this hard right intransigent guy because he said his top priority was making barack obama a one-term president, but really mitch mcconnell in a lot of ways is like john boehner. an old-time deal maker. people like jim demint can't stand people like that. they feel the party has become to easy to capitulate. remember with the budget control act when democrats were screaming bloody murder and thought the president had capitulated? on the far right they thought john boehner and mitch mcconnell had capitulated and lost that negotiation. they want the party further and further to the right. what demint specializes in doing is finding candidates to primary other republicans and to try to push the party further and further to the outskirts. >> what do you think of that? >> i think there's some truth to that. what is interesting to me is during the bush years, where were all these voices when all the spending was going on? >> he wasn't -- >> there's a certain level of disingenuousness there. you have to be careful in making these broad brush -- >> let me ask you a question. if you were back at your old job, rnc chair, you may be there again for all i know, how would you repair this thing? would you go to demint and his crowd moving to the outside to sort of build their sort of logger out there to fight the establishment or would you say, wait a minute, the future is dead center conservative. it's not fringy, it's not john birch, not going over -- >> i would remind them we're a center right party very much like the country -- >> i don't agree with that. >> the country is center right.
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>> they just voted for obama. >> center left. >> that's another show. we'll have that conversation. but the country is center right in large measure. >> we can't have another arithmetic system. >> this is not about the math. this is about the facts and the demint specializes in. you say to latinos, look at this guy. he's brown like you. but when he starts to speak, he has to say the same doctrine script and say party line. he has to be against the dream act. marco rubio was for privatizing social security. he's for all the same stuff that the american people over and over again have rejected ideawise, but he can put it in a nicer package. that's what jim demint has been trying to say. if you were back at your old job, rnc chair, you may be there again for all i know, how would you repair this thing? would you go to demint and his crowd moving to the outside to sort of build their sort of logger out there to fight the establishment or would you say, wait a minute, the future is dead center conservative. it's not fringy, it's not john birch, not going over -- >> i would remind them we're a center right party very much
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like the country -- >> i don't agree with that. >> the country is center right. >> they just voted for obama. >> center left. >> that's another show. we'll have that conversation. but the country is center right in large measure. >> we can't have another arithmetic system. >> this is not about the math. this is about the facts and the realities on the ground. >> the facts. the numbers. >> 51% of the people identify themselves as pro-life. that's center right. >> they don't support outlawing -- >> another show. >> they don't believe in outlawing abortion. >> self-identify as pro-life. let's move on. the point is -- >> no. i can't move on. this country is -- when it comes down to the law, the people are pro-choice. when it comes to values, they may be against abortion. we can't go any further. you have just said the country is a center right country, and your evidence of that is that obama won? >> no, that's your evidence. >> what evidence do you have that it's center right? >> what i'm talking about is on the issues that the conservative movement is going to be talking to the country about -- >> taxing the rich? they're against that. >> there are individuals out there that they can appeal to, and my point is more broadly speaking that you cannot lump this -- what demint is doing and saying that all this gaggle of conservatives are going to be following behind it. >> i agree with that part.
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>> the split is much more than you think it is within the party. and so that's got to be reconciled to be honest about it. it's got to be reconciled, and to your point and your question about what would i say? i would say, look -- >> you're center right. you think the country is like you. >> understand where the country is, and that's where you need to be. >> rush limbaugh's show yesterday demint said conservatives' problem is not their message. their problem is getting their message out. let's listen. >> i think the problem is, as conservatives, we have not taken enough control of our message and our ideas and communicated them directly to the american people. that's what we want to do at heritage. >> don't you love the way he chews on that stogie.
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not that there's anything wrong with it. joy, you're back here again. every party that loses an election, the ideological wing of that party always says, you didn't get your message across. if they only could hear clearly what she was saying. do you buy that? >> it's the packaging. and you know what? jim demint has been saying this for a long time. it's not what's in the box, it's the packaging. look what he did with marco rubio. a perfect study of what jim demint specializes in. you say to latinos, look at this guy. he's brown like you. but when he starts to speak, he has to say the same doctrine script and say party line. he has to be against the dream act. marco rubio was for privatizing social security. he's for all the same stuff that the american people over and over again have rejected ideawise, but he can put it in a nicer package. that's what jim demint has been trying to say.
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>> how do you say self-deportation in spanish? >> i don't think there's a term for it. >> i won't go there. but i think to joy's point, and she makes a good one, that i think the reality for the gop right now is it's no longer about the packaging. it really is about the substance -- >> it's a center right party back to your strong point. >> exactly. it's about the substance of the argument you have to make to the american people, and we can disagree or agree on whether the country is center right or center left, but the fact of the matter is we need to be wherever the country is, that sweet spot to have that conversation. >> can i give you some advice? >> please. >> run christie. >> you got it. >> chris christie against hillary clinton would be -- >> it would be a barn burner. >> one is careful and professional.
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the other is a wild swinger, you don't know what he's going to do, overweight, the whole thing. wow, what an election. thank you, michael steele. happy weekend. joy reid, relax this weekend. 
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welcome back to "hardball." time for the "sideshow." first, governor chris christie, as i said, is an outrageous bruce springsteen fan. he's been to over 100 of the boss' concerts, but self-proclaimed liberal bruce himself hasn't returned the love until lately. last night christie told jon stewart about meeting springsteen at the nbc telethon for hurricane sandy. >> i was on the stage afterwards talking to steve van zandt and max, and all of a sudden they were looking behind me. they moved away and stopped talking. so i turned around, and there he was.
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>> and there he was. >> there he was. >> and he gave you -- >> he put his hand out, and i shook his hand. i tried to be cool, i wasn't. >> no. >> and then he said, come on, give me a hug. and i said, all right. and i hugged him, and -- >> and did he go, come on, stop. >> no. you know, that's always hard to judge, right. when do you stop the man hug? it's hard -- >> you got to give also this, the pat, or did you just go slow dance? >> no, i went slow dance. >> you've got to be kidding. >> i went slow dance. i did. >> no pat? >> no pat, i went slow dance. but then he said the most amazing thing to me. he said, it's official, we're friends. >> oh, wow. that's nice. that's nice. >> sounds like getting a knighthood, a jersey knighthood. next, remember this from the final days of the presidential campaign? >> i will come on "morning joe" and i will shave off my mustache of 40 years if we lose any of
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those three states. >> that's right. our old friend and obama adviser david axelrod was so confident president obama would win pennsylvania, michigan, and minnesota he bet his mustache. he soon turned the bet into a challenge with joe to raise money for epilepsy. he's championed the cause in support of his daughter. thanks to joe and mika, they met their goal of $1 million raised, and ax lived up with his pledge. here is "morning joe" today. >> i have been staring at it for 40 years, savannah. i'm very attached to it. i was up all night, to be honest with you. >> oh, good lord. >> it's a little unsettling. >> well, here you can see side by side before and after footage of ax. what do you think? a little dark on that left side. lastly, lots of speculation about whom south carolina governor nikki haley will pick to fill jim demint's senate seat. our pal stephen colbert put his mind to it.
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>> but who will she pick? let's see, you want somebody young, somebody conservative, somebody from south carolina, maybe somebody who had a super pac. wait a second. watch where you point that thing. it's powerful. i know when i look at the u.s. senate, i say to myself, you know what they could use? another white guy. >> well, the governor responded on her facebook page saying, stephen, thank you for your interest in south carolina's u.s. senate seat and for the thousands of tweets you and your fans sent me, but you forget one thing, my friend. you didn't know our state drink. big, big mistake. well, she was referring to this from earlier this year. >> what's the state drink? >> there's a state drink? >> it's milk. >> i didn't realize my state was so boring. >> makes me think i'm going to like the person she picks a lot less than i do steve colbert. the fiscal cliff. if it's down to the president and john boehner deciding this, what does a win look like for
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both sides? you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
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i'm julia boorstin with your cnbc market wrap. a new jobs report well-received on wall street as the dow closed up 81 points, the s&p gained 4, and the nasdaq slipped 11 points. overall positive reaction to the 146,000 new jobs added in november. cynics warn though that the number doesn't tell all. meantime, the nasdaq was dragged down by apple's 2% drop. apple stock formed the infamous death cross where the 50-day moving average falls below the 200 day. that's if for cnbc, first in business worldwide.
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now back to "hardball." well, this isn't a progress report because there's no progress to report. when it comes to the fiscal cliff that's threatening our economy and threatening jobs, the white house has wasted another week. >> welcome back to "hardball." that was speaker boehner's downbeat assessment of fiscal negotiations. he went on putting blame squarely on the president. let's listen. >> this president has adopted a deliberate strategy to slow walk our economy right to the edge of the fiscal cliff. it's time for the president, if he's serious, to come back to us with a counteroffer. >> shortly after, house minority leader nancy pelosi put the
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blame back on republicans. let's listen. >> the only obstacle standing in the way of middle income tax relief are the republicans' unwillingness to ask the top 2% to pay their fair share. this is a moment of truth. the clock is ticking. christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, but in many homes across america it's very -- a very, very lean time. >> and today's jobs report showing 146,000 jobs added in november and unemployment dipping to 7.7% may give the president some leverage in negotiations with boehner. but while the president and speaker boehner are both negotiating for a win, what is a win for each of them? what adds up to this complexity of getting a deal done? chrystia freeland is author of "plutocrats." cynthia tucker is a visiting professor of journalism from the university of georgia. thank you for joining us
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tonight. let's see if we can define it. it's a game, and it's incredibly high stakes. chrystia, thank you for coming on tonight. if you were the president of the united states and you were looking from here to the new year and the cliff, what do you hope is -- what do you think is a win for you to be able to go into the new year having gotten us off your back? >> i think a win for the president is actually pretty clear. what the president wants is to
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extend the bush tax cuts for the middle class. he wants them to expire for those at the very top, and i think the president is actually willing in this context to agree to pretty significant cuts in revenue. so, you know -- >> cuts in entitlements? >> yes, yeah, exactly. cuts in government spending, sorry. you know, so i think that that is okay for the president. i think what is difficult and why you're seeing this being a really difficult negotiation for john boehner is it's much harder to define a win for john boehner. you know, is a win, you know, holding absolutely fast? is a win saying, you know, great, we were the party that managed to cut social security for the middle class? that's going to be pretty hard to go into another election with. >> you know, do you agree with that assessment that it's easier for the president, cynthia, because he basically wins on taxes. he's the robin hood, if you will, of this issue. he's looking out for the regular people against the people on the top. on the other side he's saying, you republicans, you can be the scrooges this winter. i have to go along with it. but you're forcing me to do it,
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so you're the bad guys. so i think i agree with chrystia. this is basically a setup if there is a deal for the president. >> well, i do think that the president would certainly get a big win with the middle class tax cut piece of this which i think is going to pass. whether it passes by the first of the year is another matter, but i think he'll get that piece of it. but i think it will be more difficult for the president's party to see his agreement to making big cuts in entitlement spending as a win. let's remember that the progressive coalition was strengthened in this election. we have more progressives in office than we did -- there will be more of them in congress in january than there are in congress now. and progressives already think that president obama is too willing to sell them out in these negotiations, so while i think the president is very dedicated to this idea of grand bargain two, you know, yes, if i can get increased revenues, higher taxes on the wealthy, i will certainly agree to some serious entitlement cuts. whether he can get the backing from his party, whether they will also see it as a win for him is quite another matter, i think. >> let's get back to the pressure on them both, objective pressure on both of them. if we do get to the 31st of this month without any deal, who is that tougher on? >> i think it's much tougher on the republicans and on john
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boehner which is why i think they're in such a difficult position right now. the reason it's tougher is game theory or negotiation theory. if we dive off the fiscal cliff or maybe a more appropriate metaphor is we walk gently off of the fiscal beach, that puts the republicans in a much more difficult negotiating position. all of a sudden the president can go out on january 1 and say, look, i am in favor of tax cuts for the middle class. your taxes have gone up because of the republicans. what kind of a crazy party is this which is standing in the way of tax cuts, right? we thought that was what the republican -- their job is to cut taxes. so i think the president has a very good hand of cards right now. >> but on the other hand, doesn't the president have to get certain things done positively? doesn't he want to keep the payroll tax cut continuing? does he really want to take all those cuts in domestic and defense spending? aren't there some things he really thinks will hurt the
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economy over which he's the steward right now? does he want a second depression? no. a second recession. >> it will hurt the economy. i agree entirely. i think the short-term pressure is much more on john boehner, that he has -- if we go to the first of the year and taxes have gone up on everybody, i think that people will largely blame the republicans for that, as think should. having said that though, the longer this goes on, the more likely it is that it puts the economy in a second recession, and heaven knows that's the last thing that obama wants. so the pressure on obama may not be immediate, but it is there. let's remember, by the way, chris, i think it's always important to remind people, your viewers, what we're talking about here. if we all end up diving off this fiscal cliff, it doesn't make the deficit worse. it makes the deficit better. it would go a long way toward curing the deficit, but the deficit isn't the immediate problem for most people, the weak economy is. >> i agree. >> and if we dive off the fiscal cliff, the economy could get much weaker. that's -- >> by the way -- >> -- millions of americans. it's a problem for barack obama. >> just to back you up, i really think the great thing is the economy is just starting to lift up.
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the unemployment rate is really starting to come down. we're getting good job production. thank you so much, ladies, for coming on tonight. thanks for the sharp thinking we >> just to back you up, i really think the great thing is the economy is just starting to lift up. the unemployment rate is really starting to come down. we're getting good job production. thank you so much, ladies, for coming on tonight. thanks for the sharp thinking we got tonight. up next, if you can't win by the rules, change them. that's what republicans are trying to do in pennsylvania. they don't like the electoral college because it didn't work for them. come back for the place for politics. could never happen to them. and that their homeowners insurance protects them. [ thunder crashes ] it doesn't. stop pretending.
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pick up a copy of my book, "jack kennedy, elusive hero." it's high on "the new york times" best seller list. it's the perfect stocking stuffer for fans who treasure jfk's legacy. it will take you into a different time, a different man, a different american, and if you're like me, you will love it. we'll be right back. welcome back to "hardball."
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welcome back to "hardball." there's a potentially big electoral story developing in pennsylvania that you need to hear about. the state's 20 electoral votes went for president obama this year, of course. as is the case in all but two states, the winner of a state's
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popular vote takes all its electoral votes. now a republican leader in the state of pennsylvania -- or the commonwealth i should say wants to change the rules of the game. state senate majority leader dominick pileggi announced he plans to introduce legislation to change how the state allocates its electoral votes. according to mother jones magazine, the new rule would divvy up the vote proportionally based on the percentage of the vote. instead of getting 20, a winner in a closely divided state result might get 11 or 12 votes. instead of getting 20, a winner in a closely divided state might get 11 or 12 votes. why does he want to change the rules? could it be because the state has gone for the democratic presidential candidate? for now, we turn to david corn of mother jones and ron reagan, an msnbc political analyst joining me. i want to start with ron. why would they want to change the electoral state like pennsylvania? why would they do that?
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>> well, i think the republicans have examined the playing field as it were and through long and bitter experience they have come to the conclusion that is it is very difficult for them to win on a national level unless they cheat. so they are going to cheat any way that they can. we saw it in the vote suppression. that didn't work out so well. so let's just change systemically the way we change the votes and in states like pennsylvania, ohio, michigan, florida, like that, these are the battleground states that we need to win and we're narrowly losing them now so let's at least try to get some of the electoral college votes out of this and tip the election. >> ron, you know why he's with him? it's not about the voter suppression. the 60 some counties that always go republican, they can't stand the fact that philadelphia and pittsburgh, large urban population -- minority populations, they just can't stand that fact that that
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affects the statewide results. so i've got an idea. why don't we divide it up? so we get a chunk anyway if we lose the cities. >> like michigan, pennsylvania, new york -- at least where you have a large big city and minorities, they like to cut them off. >> the thing is, there are no rules in the constitution about picking electors to the electoral college. every state gets to -- >> why do they -- >> it became the consensus position over time. that winner takes all. if you wanted to do the system, could you make the argument that you should drop off electoral votes by population in every state. that would be fair if you did that in every state, in which case it would reflect the popular vote. but that's not what they are doing here and they tried to do this before this election and even a more weighted way. if you win the congressional district, you get the electoral from that district and under that situation, obama winning
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pennsylvania would have gotten seven out of the 20 electoral votes. >> ron, if you're in a minority community, it seems that you want it the way it is now because leverage in from michigan to detroit, for example. or chicago. if it was just every person and you didn't give that bloc vote power to people, be they would currently be a minority and permanently out of power because you would look around for other votes. that's a thought. >> that's exactly right. forget about proportioning electoral votes, what if we just went to a national popular vote. the republicans would never win the white house if we had a national popular vote. they seem to think that people who live in cities are like some kind of strange alien. they are not really an american. the urban votes that count are in small burbs and in the rural areas. >> hamlets. >> most americans live in citieses.
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>> that's what he said, we would have done well, we would have done well if it wasn't for the urban vote, which is most people. >> here's the rationale for the move. quote, anyone who voted for governor romney does not have any reflection on that vote or reflected in the electoral college vote. just an attempt to have the popular vote reflected in the electoral vote. that's an argument that a lot of my liberal friends are against it, too. they would like to see it go popular. the idea is to see people spend time in the big states instead of racing around the country. there are arguments back and forth but this one has the look of partisanship. your thoughts, ron? >> clearly this is partisanship. the republicans know that they cannot win nationally in an honest election. if everyone votes, republicans
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never win. they are corralling people in certain districts or to keep them from voting. absolutely it's partisan. >> of course, the republicans are fighting, as we discussed, a very big demographic tide that's not going in their direction. i still think they can win elections in the future with the right candidate versus the wrong candidate. but the tide's against him. >> or any incumbent. >> right. so they are looking for schemes. they can do this with dark money as well. they can do it with voter suppression and the gap is still narrow enough that if you sort of get enough schemes going and different fronts and different states, maybe you can cobble together a victory next time. eventually that's going to be harder for them to do but this is about the next 4, 8 years and they are looking to where they can go. >> it's like in lebanon they have a 1930 census. thank you, david corn, thank you ron reagan. when we return, let me finish with the fight for freedom for all. the supreme court is taking up
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voters in california passed prop 8 four years ago but since then two courts have said it is unconstitutional. american's views on this issue have shifted rapidly, to where whole grain, multigrain cheerios! mom, are those my jeans? [ female announcer ] people who choose more whole grain tend to weigh less than those who don't. multigrain cheerios
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place for politics. let me finish tonight with this. will american be a country on earth where people of the same sex can marry? will it? some day, i would say. why?


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