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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  April 9, 2013 11:00pm-12:00am PDT

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>> you get the last word. thank you, tim. >> thank you. > politically unbalanced. let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in philadelphia tonight. let me start with this. i've learned one thing about politicians over the years. they are who you think they are. it's always the same for me. i meet a politician i've been reading about, been watching on tv. i believe they're not the person i've read about and watched. then after i really get to know them, guess what, i discover they are precisely the person i thought they were by reading about them and watching about them on television. well case in point, mitt romney. were you really surprised to hear him talk about the 47% that are living off the rest of us? did that really shock you to hear him talk in private like an
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economic elitist? case in point, president obama, did it stun you to hear him talk about those people in states like pennsylvania who cling to their guns and religion? did it really? case in point, mitch mcconnell. what did you really think when you heard him say the way he intends to get re-elected is to hammer anyone who might be talking about running against him? any newspaper that might cause him trouble along the way. does it surprise you, he, the senate republican leader who said his number one goal following president obama's inauguration was to detroy him, does it surprise you that he would be sitting there listening to an opp researcher talk about a possible opponent, ashley judd, being emotionally unbalanced? tonight we learn from yet another type -- yet another tape, rather -- what it's like to be in a room with a big name politician and to learn firsthand, again, that they're pretty much the way you figured them. i love these tapes, by the way. i hope they're legal because i think they're great. i'm joined right now by nbc news political director, chief white house correspondent, chuck todd, and the "huffington post's" howard fineman. i want to start with howard tonight. you've got this louisville
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background. tell me how the women of the state of kentucky will respond to this new nastiness from mitch mcconnell. he's already at 36% approval. what will they think of him sitting there talking about a woman they know of, they maybe wouldn't vote for but they know of her, and the fact she's emotionally unbalanced and sort of enjoying that information and how he might use it. how can this help this guy? >> oh, it doesn't help this guy. and i don't think it's just with women, chris. i think it's with all kentuckians. and i lived and worked there for five years and i kept in close touch with kentucky. this just reaffirms and deepens the image of mitch mcconnell as a ruthless, cold-blooded politician who will say and do anything to win election. that might not make him fundamentally different from a lot of other people, but to kentuckians, that's always been a problem with mitch mcconnell. they both -- they sort of respect on one level his
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ruthlessness, but they don't like him personally, and it's one reason why he's never won a runaway election in kentucky. he's always had to take the lowest road and always tried to bring everybody else in the campaign down to the lowest road. and this in a way functionally is the best example i can think of of it. >> let me go to chuck on this. i'd like to stick on this point, before we get to the legality of how this tape was done, because i'm not sure we have that answer. but chuck, mcconnell has been in office for a long time. i always figure an incumbent ought to be positive. let the other guy take the shots. the other woman take the shots. because you ought to have a record to defend. here he is coming in with 36%. going right on offense. >> well, it is, but if you follow mcconnell's history here, and i tell you, howard knows this really well, he's basking in the glory of the louisville cardinals today. >> i am, indeed. >> he knows his kentucky politics, his kentucky sports very well. the history of mitch mcconnell, this is how he rolls. he's a tough as nails politician. he wins tough campaigns. he's never been enormously
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popular in the state of kentucky. even in his biggest victories. they've always just come where he slightly underperformed where a generic republican in kentucky should perform. so in many ways i think this is the way they determine what's their best shot at winning. >> yeah. they used to say jim bunning was an s.o.b. this guy isn't a very nice fellow here. let's take a look at the top of the audiotape. we're allowed to show it. where senator mitch mcconnell sets the tone, explains any opposition coming from anywhere will be stomped by his crowd quickly. >> this is the whac-a-mole period of the campaign when anybody sticks their head up, do them out. >> then a person identified in the "mother jones" transcript as the presenter describes the load of opposition research they've got on ashley judd. >> the first person we'll focus on, ashley judd. basically refer to her as sort of the oppo research situation
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where there's a hay stack of needles. >> then you've got the emotional imbalanced part coming here, howard. again, back to you. tell me what this says to voters. they're going to know about it in louisville tomorrow morning and tonight. >> well, i think mitch mcconnell, as he said, was pursuing the whac-a-mole theory of running for office. >> explain. >> just like in that arcade game, you take out your big rubber mallet and you hit any approaching target over the head with it to keep them out and make them go back in their hole. that's what mitch mcconnell's operating theory has always been. they were preemptively trying to do this to anybody who might dare to run against mitch mcconnell next year in his senate re-election race. >> now it's ashley judd who has pulled out of the race. let's watch what he says. >> she pulled out. doept don't forget, chris, i reported in the huffington post a number of weeks ago that she
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had been telling some other people that she was in. but at the end she changed her mind. in the last analysis she changed her mind. i think one reason might have been, even though if she didn't know exactly what was being said behind closed doors, she knew the kind of race it was going to be publicly and in terms of putting her own family through it, in terms of the type of the campaign it was going to be, i think she may have decided for, among other reasons, that it really wasn't worth the personal trauma that might have resulted. >> well, here she is. here's the presenter. i guess the opp researcher presenting the dirty, scott. saying what he has to say here. i want chuck to respond to this. >> she's clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. i mean, it's been documented. >> ashley judd, of course, responded to that with this statement that reads, quote, this is yet another example of the politics of personal destruction that embody mitch mcconnell and are pervasive in washington, d.c. we expected nothing less of mitch mcconnell and his camp
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than to take a personal struggle such as depression which many americans cope with on a daily basis and turn it into a laughing matter." i think this is devastating. because, chuck, the fact she had this two decades ago. that she admitted in her biography, autobiography she had those 40-some days in tleemt. it isn't like the eagleton thing where it's a press disclosure, an expose. she publicly explained that she'd had this illness. all these years later they're bringing it back and pretending it's in the present tense. she is emotionally unbalanced. >> i tell you what mcconnell aides will say. i've asked them questions about this today. folks that were in that room. their defense of this is, we were doing nothing different than any campaign does in preparing against an opponent. you gather all the information you potentially have that potentially might be a negative that you wouldn't -- that it
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wouldn't be fair to judge them unless they made the strategic decision to then use it publicly. and that their defense on this is, they did not make the decision to go with this line of attack. because i'm with you, chris. i think that this is -- this type of attack is a double-edged sword and would alienate voters and not think that this was a below the belt charge and that -- let's say -- let's war game the campaign. they decide to go with this, they try to bring this up in some way or the other, then they own the idea that they're not sympathetic to folks that have depression issues. >> they're not virgins anymore. chuck, they've lost their virginity. >> i agree. you're right. i'm just telling -- >> any opponent can attack him for this. sfwl. >> right. i'm just telling you what their defense of getting caught on tape saying this -- >> i understand. >> -- is it a reminder. >> things have changed about emotional disease. i remember we all went through this. i went through it with eagleton. and lee atwater would laugh on the other side about guy being
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hooked up on jumper cables. yuck, yuck, yuck. you can't talk about that. you can't talk like that anymore. >> chris, that's why when you asked me the question about how this would play among women, that's why i said it wasn't just women, it was everybody in kentucky for precisely the reason that you say. the world is changing. the world has changed on immigration, the world has changed on gun control, the world is changing on this kind of thing as well. and if allison lundergren grimes, for example, decides to get in this race in kentucky as a young woman. or even if ben chandler decides to run. they can point out the way mitch mcconnell's people and mitch mcconnell himself were talking about this thing. and the whac-a-mole image which is so vivid could come back to hurt mitch mcconnell because it crystalizes the way a lot of people in the state think about it. >> who wants bluto representing their state? he comes across as bluto.
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some thug guy pounding these things down. let's go to the issue now. tricky question. i know, chuck, you're focused on this. this legality question, how we get these tapes in our hands. there wasn't much of a question about how we got the tape of the president with his clinging to guns and religion. >> sure. >> that hurt him a bit. not too much. there was, of course, the mitch mcconnell, a put-away punch for him. this one, what's the state of the art in terms of our ability to play the tape? i know we were given permission to do it. what is the standards now in the media and the law about these tapes? >> well, if we didn't -- we didn't ask for the tape to be made. we didn't illegally make it. we didn't have anything to do with it. this is another news organization that did this. so, you know, assuming we're not being gratuitous about it, when talking about the story writ at large, we feel comfortable dealing with some parts of this tape. not the entire thing. not certain parts of the tape. but, chris, i think we got to remember here, there's a chance this really is a crime. that this tape was made
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illegally. this is the way the law is. >> what would that be? >> if nobody in that room -- >> what would that crime be? >> it's a federal crime. if nobody in that room -- it is a federal crime to tape somebody and release the -- without anybody's permission in that room. >> okay. >> unless -- now, if somebody in that room is the leaker and knew, you know, it would have been perfectly legal for them to record that and not tell anybody else about the recording, in the state of kentucky that's legal, it would have been legal. but if nobody in that room knew they were being recorded, then a crime, then this broke a federal law and that's why the mcconnell campaign has asked the fbi to look into this. they are confident, i've talked to every aide i could find, that was in that room, they are confident it is nobody among their staff that is a mole or anything like that. >> can i also add, chris -- >> yeah, i know. this afternoon senator mcconnell -- we have to get his point of view here. >> right. >> i know that's politics.
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he talked about that -- also stuck strictly to his talking points. in other words, a reporter asked him a question. he ignored the question. here's his spiel. >> right. >> as you know last month my wife's ethnicity was attacked by a left-wing group in kentucky and then apparently they also bugged my headquarters. so i think that pretty well sums up the way the political left is operating in kentucky. >> is it fair game for you to question someone's mental health or their religious sensibilities in a strategy session like that? >> yeah, as i indicated, last month they were attacking my wife's ethnicity, and apparently also unbeknownst to us at the time, they were bugging our headquarters. quite a nixonian move. this is what you get from the political left in america these days. >> mcconnell's reference to an attack on his wife stems from a tweet by the liberal group, progress kentucky, the tweet implied that his wife's asian heritage may have something to do with kentucky jobs moving to
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china. absurdity, of course. the liberal group issued apologies and removed the tweets. mccain campaign aid jesse bent echoed mcconnell's message today saying, we've always said the left would stop at nothing to attack senator mcconnell. but nixonian tactics to bug campaign headquarters is above and beyond. "as the story makes clear, we were recently provided the tape by a source who wished to be anonymous. we weren't involved in the making of the tape but published the story on the tape due to its obvious newsworthiness. it's our understanding the tape was not the product of a watergate-style bugging operation. we cannot comment beyond it." howard, the logic of this is, and it fits much within the logic of all these tapings. somebody taped it for perhaps innocent reasons and decided two months later, this was in february, now it's april, that they had some sort of ax to grind. if it was a professional bugging, some little bug stuck in a lamp or something or in the
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wall somewhere, why wouldn't they have used it immediately if they had done it on purpose? just to hurt somebody? it doesn't seem logical to hold it for two months. howard? >> i think that's a good question, chris. and i talked to david corn today, and he stressed, again, that this was not, to his understanding -- he did a lot of reporting on this, himself. all he can say is it was not a watergate-style bugging operation. and i'm sure he's right about that. what else is involved, i do not know. but what i would say is this. that mitch mcconnell has been around for a long, long time. democrats have tried to take him out again and again. they've come tantalizingly close but have failed. and what mcconnell has succeeded in doing in kentucky is bringing everybody into his style of play. in other words, the mayhem that we're seeing here a year and a half before election day is the
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kind of environment that he knows how to operate in, that he's helped create in the state of kentucky in modern times. not that politics was innocent before. but this is rough, tough stuff. this is the environment that he knows how to play in and knows how to win in. and it -- i suppose it's ironic to many people that he would be complaining about nixonian tactics. but this is the world that he knows. >> as they say -- yeah, chuck? >> he has no evidence, you know, he made this accusation. >> that's true. >> they have no evidence, the mcconnell campaign has no evidence that there's anybody did any bugging and, in fact, i have -- i talked to an aide who admitted that they had their headquarters, when they found out about this yesterday, they hired a security firm, they swept the campaign headquarters and they found no bug. >> they're probably better not to have found one because it reminded me of the 1986 episode involving karl rove when he's alleged to have bugged his own office. >> pretty sure that's the movie "power." >> called in the fbi. >> you know what i think? i think that mitch mcconnell runs well, to use a kentucky
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term, in the mud. he's the kind of horse that wants it to rain the night before the kentucky derby so he can slosh through it. >> excellent reference, chris. >> slosh through it. by the way, everything he's said about watergate and nixon and everything else is a smoke screen. the issue is the word spoken in that room. he has not denied a word of it. thank you, chuck todd, thank you, howard fineman. coming up, rare good news for the gun safety side. actually some good news. democrats now think they may be able to at least get to first base, at least get to debate this issue on the floor. we're going to talk to a sister, by the way, tonight of a teacher who was murdered at newtown, connecticut, who traveled to washington to talk to the president last night. we're going to have more on that. also, rick santorum says the republican party will never, never give in on gay marriage. the conservative heritage foundation, by the way, is coming up with new reasons for republicans to oppose
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immigration reform. well, we'll see. we'll see. is the republican party stuck in the mud, to use my expression? stephen colbert lands an interview with bill clinton. this is going to be fun. >> here are the rules. if you start filibustering, i will cut you off. because we all know i could ask you how you're doing and 15 minutes later you're talking about micro loans to sumatra. >> so true. colbert even got clinton to open up a twitter account, sort of. these people knocking on doors on capitol hill, the victims and their families or families of the victims could actually do some good. and this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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a new ppp poll finds senator mitch mcconnell, we just talked about him, his job approval is under water, as i said. 36% of kentucky voters approve his job. 54% do not approve. these numbers make him the most unpopular senator in america. as measured by ppp's polling. we'll be right back. look at them kids. [ sigh ]
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they have no idea what it was like before u-verse high speed internet. yeah, you couldn't just stream movies to a device like that. one time, i had to wait half a day to watch a movie. you watched movies?! i was lucky if i could watch a show. show?! man, i was happy to see a sneezing panda clip!
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trevor, have you eaten today? you sound a little grumpy. [ laughter ] [ male announcer ] connect all your wi-fi-enabled devices with u-verse high speed internet. rethink possible. welcome back to "hardball." one day after the president's soulful speech up in connecticut when he urged congress to allow the victims of newtown to get a
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vote on background checks, the vice president put more pressure on republicans. >> now it's time for every man and woman in the senate to stand up and say, yay or nay. i'm for or i'm against. the tragedy that traumatized the nation and caught the attention of the entire world, after all the thinking, debate and discussion, with overwhelming majorities of the american people, thinking the proposals the president put forward make absolute sense, the climax of this tragedy could be we're not even going to get a vote? >> on thursday we will get the first big test on whether any headway can be made on background checks in the senate. senate majority leader harry reid said today he would submit a bill this week, that's thursday. if republicans allow that bill to proceed at least to a debate, that would get us to first base, of course. there's still a long way to go. republicans could still block a move to actually vote on the bill itself. 14 republican senators including minority leader mitch mcconnell have threatened to block a debate on gun legislation. even a debate.
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it became clear today the republican party is far from united on this issue. at least seven republican senators and there could be more oppose a filibuster to oppose -- to block at least having a debate. in fact, the spokesman for senator tom coburn put it this way. "he will vote for the motion to proceed. eschewing this debate is a stupid party policy." with 90% of americans supporting background checks, will the republicans act like the stupid party on guns? blanche lincoln is a former democratic senator from arkansas. and sam stein is political editor at the "huffington post." i want to start with sam on the reporting here. it looks to me like there's a good chance they will have 60 votes to at least begin debate two days from now. >> yeah, that's about right. from our count, we have about eight republican senators who are leaning very strongly to openly supporting the first cloture vote which would allow you to go to debate and
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amendment. harry reid may lose two members of his own caucus on that vote. max baucus and mark pryor are both noncommittal at this point. that won't hurt his 60-vote threshold. he could still get over that. that gives gun control advocates a bit more time to craft the legislative language of the background check bill. maybe make it more amenable to some republican votes. like you said, it doesn't guarantee passage. they still have to close the debate period in order to get to actual vote on passage. >> senator, you were there, explain this to people out there, this cloture, this filibuster game now. you can filibuster a bill even before people start talking about it. then you can filibuster it again once you don't like the direction of the debate and might lead to passage, then you can filibuster to make sure there's no vote, is that right? >> almost every move they take requires 60 votes to be able to continue the process of moving forward. toward an ultimate not only debate, but then a vote on the actual bill. for the life of me i can't understand why with all that we have seen and experienced and the families that have been hurt that they would not want to have a debate on this issue.
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it's amazing. >> why do you think? you're political. you know why they would do this. how do they benefit from having it on their permanent record that they opposed any debate or any voting on anything to do with gun safety in the wake of what happened in newtown, in connecticut? >> well, because there's a real effort out there. i mean, there's a lot of money being spent out in, you know, marginal states. states like my home state of arkansas. it's very different than when i voted for an assault weapons ban in 1994. 1994 was completely different. you didn't have the kind of resources that, you know, these groups have. i mean, i've worked with the nra before. my husband's a lifetime member. you know, i've got some friends there. but i knew that the assault weapons ban in '94 was the right thing to do. it was just a ban on domestic production. but the fact is, is they've got real legs on the ground out there.
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and it's really tough. it's way different. and their mediums are so different now. they've got everything. from, you know, the money and resources for television, but you've got twitter, you've got facebook, you've got all of these different things whereas before most of it was postcard campaigns and some television ads. so it's tough against candidates in those areas. >> let's take a look at the republicans here. these are the real hardliners of the hardliners. they're opposed to even the idea having a debate. even talking about it. this morning congressman peter king, by the way, he supports expanding gun background checks. he was asked what his republican colleagues were afraid of. it's an interesting response. he supports background checks. here's peter king. >> even if i did not support that legislation, i would say let this come to a debate. this is an issue which has grabbed hold of the american people. it's an issue which i think has to be resolved. even if it doesn't go down the way i want it to, i think the american people are entitled to a debate. and to me, to use senate rules to block a debate on an issue of this importance is just wrong.
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to stifle a debate, cut it off, almost makes it as if these senators are afraid of something. i don't know what they're afraid of. if they are so sure of their position, let it come to a debate. >> well, johnny isaacs is not atrade. this morning he said background checks deserve a vote. let's watch him from georgia. >> i'll speak for myself on that question. there's no ambivalence on the gun issue. i think everybody knows what the issues are. we have not seen the final draft of the legislation that was produced, i understand, last night. but i think it deserves a vote up or down. >> i think the great question is, sam, what are they afraid of? i want to go to sam stein. what are they afraid of? i'll get to you, senator. what are they afraid of, these senators? why would they want to have a vote to prevent a vote? >> it's a good question. what's ended up happening is there's been a ton of misinformation put out there. a varitable boogeyman of sorts. colleagues on the hill quoted republicans today saying the proposed background check legislation could be an
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unconstitutional infringement on second amendment rights. well, if that's the case, what of the current system that already exists? is that unconstitutional? i hear no one saying we should get rid of that. that's one thing that's not worthy. the other thing is as the senator noted, the dialogue changed so dramatically not just from 1994 but from 2004. we were going through old clips today of george w. bush when the assault weapons ban was set to lapse in 2004, saying he supported it. during his 2000 and 2004 campaigns, his program was for instantaneous background checks. can you imagine a republican today saying they want instantaneous backgrounds checks? i think the dialogue has changed. think the republican party has changed. of all the contributing factors i think redistricting is a real contributor to that. >> okay. senator, your thoughts about why they would oppose a vote on a vote. >> well, i think basically there's a small part of their constituency, of their supporters, that are not rational about this issue. but when it comes to, you know, what you have to do to be able
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to get your voice in there, i used to go to the nra meetings. you know, there were some people in there that didn't want to listen to me and that, you know, were going to not agree with me, but there were rational people in those meetings that understood that, you know, even then, i mean, we had one of the shootings in jonesboro, arkansas, back then. you know, they knew that something had to be done and we had to take reasonable steps. so i think there are people out there, but it's hard to get to them. >> i think fathers teach their kids how to use guns very responsibly. i think every family does that. they all do. which is to teach a kid not to aim and to hold it at a certain way, to carry it in a certain way. not to carry it loaded. this gun safety thing is part of your family training. i don't understand why they're against it being part of our country. senator blanche lincoln, thank you. thank you, senator. >> thank you. >> it's great to have you on. thank you very much, sam. up next, stephen colbert's big interview with bill clinton. this is going to be fun. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. first, clinton and colbert come together. stephen colbert interviewed bill clinton at a clinton global initiative event this weekend. colbert kicked it off with some ground rules. >> here are the rules. if you start filibustering, i will cut you off. because we all know i could ask you how you're doing and 15 minutes later you're talking about micro loans to sumatra. second, we are miles away politically from each other, so if i find myself agreeing with you because of the famed clinton charisma, i will continue the interview staring into a hand
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mirror. because you are the medusa of political persuasiveness. do you understand? >> i do. >> okay. >> i don't think clinton liked that too much based upon his face. that out of the way, rules out of the way, colbert broke the news he started a twitter account for the former president. >> president clinton was taken. william jefferson clinton was taken. but pres billy jeff was available. would you like to break into the 21st century right now and send your first tweet? 140 characters or less. >> just spent -- >> just spent -- >> amazing time with colbert. >> sound good?
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>> is -- question. is he sane? >> is he sane? >> he is cool. >> you got some more left. anything else? you don't have to. >> no, no, i'm done. >> you're done? >> he could run for president tomorrow morning. anyway, there's a good chance colbert still has a stake in that new twitter feed, though. the masthead of it reads, i am president william jefferson billy jeff rodham clinton. steven colbert is my bff. recent tweets from that account include "now that i'm no longer president, i've been downgraded to air force seven." up next, conservatives seem to think the way back to power is to keep on alienating gays. that's smart, and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. >> announcer: an important free offer for men with balding or thinning hair. >> i'm happy with e way i look now. >> with his hair now, it's just this new-found confidence and there's a glow aboutim you just can't match. >> announcer: men, no diet, no exercise program, no new set of clothes can ever improve your confidence, your good looks
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welcome back to "hardball." in the past 30 days, of course, we've seen a tidal wave of democrats publicly supporting same-sex marriage. republicans, however, have been largely well resisted to change on the subject. no matter what the demographics of the 2012 election told them.
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and rick santorum, winner of the 2012 iowa caucuses eventually, and clarion of the cultural right told "the des moines register" today in effect the more things change the more the gop will stay the same. rick santorum. "the republican party is not going to change on this issue. in my opinion, it would be suicidal if it did." santorum may run again. that kind of talk is the catnip to republican primary voters but may not play well beyond the party's shrinking base. michael steele is the former chair of the republican national committee. and michael feldman was an adviser to vice president al gore. let's go to these -- let's go to this question. michael, if you were still chair of the republican national committee, what would you say about the issue of marriage equality? that's the phrase people use today. they usually say marriage equality. >> yeah. no, i think probably what i would advocate is what a lot of us hope the supreme court does. and that is let this be resolved in the states, in the communities where people live. they decide for themselves. you know, where they come down on this issue. it should not be, i think, a federal issue.
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should not be something that's handed down from the federal government for given the intrinsic nature of it, the value that people ascribe to marriage. and certainly the evolution on this subject. i think as a party, we should recognize the changing winds, the prevailing winds, but that doesn't necessarily mean, chris, that we step back from something that many of us fundamentally believe within the party. so it's going to be a delicate balancing act. there's no doubt about that. i think -- >> i don't think you can get away with that. let me just challenge you on the consistency there. >> sure. >> how do you get away with not taking a position on doma, how do you avoid taking a position on whether people who are married out in california, for example, legally, or any other of the states who have legal marriage, can not have the benefits of marriage? tax law, social security law. how do you deny them those benefits if they're married? >> it's not a question of denying anybody anything in that respect. the states will work those things out. the federal government at the appropriate time will make the decision to do whatever resolution with respect to federal benefits it deems necessary.
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but the states should be empowered, as the tenth amendment allows, for them to make their decision on these issues. >> i don't see -- let me go back to mike on this. i know you're a democrat, but i think it's hard for your party not to dump on the republicans if they come out against doing something about the inequality of somebody legally married in california, for example, or anywhere else, since they live together, take responsibility for children together in many cases, not to have the normal benefits of survivor benefits, hospital benefits, tax questions, all to their advantage. but they can't take advantage of it under the law unless you do something about it. >> look, absolutely all that is true. leaving it up to the states won't do. in 10 or 15 years, chris, we're going to be looking back at this and wondering what we're all talking about. this is the civil rights issue of our time, marriage equality is. short term, the republican party, there's a battle for the heart and soul of the republican party that's taking place. what rick santorum said the
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other day is the opening salvo in the primary fight for 2016. he may be out of touch with the american people on this issue but not out of touch with the energy and the base of the republican party. and that fight is going to go on straight through the republican nominating process. i mean, michael knows better than i do, that torque right now, that division within the republican party is real. what rick santorum is doing now is staking out ground early on the issue of gay marriage. >> i agree with that. >> the people in your party who are the craziest, the mourdock, the akins. i think sometimes he's smart about blue collar issues, rick santorum. they are the emblems, more and more of your party. you can't say these are my crazy aunts in the closet, don't open that door. the democrats are going to open that door. i know you're laughing. they're going to open that door and say look who's in here. it's rick santorum. >> they're not crazy people. why is it that people cannot have a conviction that is genuine and real to them that
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even though you disagree with it, it doesn't mean that they're crazy -- >> because they're running for national office. let me ask you this. do you think it helps to have these people in your party? >> you mean to tell me everybody democrat you've come across in the democratic party is supportive of gay marriage? no. i just don't think that that's true. it's not reflective of the country. this is still a 51%, 52% issue. 48% of people out there at least in the last poll have not come around, have not evolved as you hope that they will. maybe they do, chris. look, i think we're -- >> michael, i never made the mistake of saying i'd represent an entire political party like you did. you were willing to go out there and say, i represent the republican party. i wouldn't represent all the democrats in this country. not in a million years. there are crooks out there. why would i want that job? >> you have to understand my chairmanship, i tried to embrace all those different views and say this is all a part and parcel of what makes us
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republicans. i didn't disparage my far right nor did i disparage those, you know, who are moderate. the view of the party should be one that embraces and allows this kind of discussion, this organic discussion. so i just reject out of hand this notion that, you know, i've got to now get on board because democrats are tripping over themselves to get in front of the supreme court before they hear a case on gay marriage. there are fundamental issues with respect to this subject that are still very important to people out there. you just don't dismiss them because you think, you know, that's what we should be doing right now. >> okay. let me go back to mike, michael feldman. can your party cartoonize, the republican party continue to do it using the akins, mourdocks, the rick santorums? >> honestly, if you look at the last presidential cycle, we didn't have to do much work in that area, okay? the primary process was very destructive. if you look at mitt romney's candidacy, by the time he became the nominee in his own right, he had to shift back to the center and take responsibility for a lot of what he had to say in the nominating -- to the nominating elect rat to get the nomination. this is the same problem confronting the republican party as we head into 2016. some of these positions that they're going to have to stake out to get the nomination are going to cost them dearly as they try to tack back to the center and win in a general election. they're not insignificant in the fall.
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they're actually quite significant. >> michael steele, my friend, do you like defending the position of sharron angle, for example, who believed in second amendment remedies? i think some of these people taking shots at prosecutors down in the southwest believe in second amendment rights. shooting public officials. that's an absurd position. you can't defend that. >> i'm not in the position to defend somebody's views i happen to disagree with. what i'm saying is that that is not necessarily -- >> happen to agree with shooting public officials? happen to disagree with? >> chris, if i disagree with someone, that's not representative of the entire party. nor if i agree with them, is that representative of the entire party. i don't know why you want to continue to paint the party with one brush. because it fills some political agenda, maybe. but the reality of it is -- >> no, i enjoy it. >> the party is much more diverse. >> it's not a political agenda. it's a fact of personal enjoyment. i love pointing out the cartoon aspects. >> and you point out the cartoon aspects to your own detriment, i
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think, in the long run because then you're not having a broad based discussion any longer. you're becoming a cartoon of the cartoon. michael -- michael, your problem is you've got to defend too wide a swath of humanity. anyway, thank you, michael steele. and thank you, michael feldman. up next, we'll continue this. this is serious. family members of those killed in the newtown shooting are here in washington pushing for gun safety. something we all agree with. we need, i think. we're going to talk to a sister of a teacher who died trying to save children's lives up there. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. thanks, other merv. mr. clean magic eraser extra power was three times faster on permanent marker. elsewhere against dirt, it was a sweep, with scuffed sports equipment... had it coming. grungy phones... oh! super dirty! and grimy car rims... wow! that really works! ...all taking losses. it looks like mr. clean has won everything. the cleaning games are finished? and so are we. okay, but i just took a mortgage out on the cabinet. [ male announcer ] clean more, work less, with the mr. clean magic eraser extra power. [ male announcer ] clean more, work less, you know it even after all these years.
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louisiana governor bobby jindal scrapped plans to eliminate the state income tax and replace it by raising the sales tax. that would have shifted, of course, the tax burden away from corporations and the wealthy and disproportionately hurt the poor and working classes. jindal's poll numbers have taken a beating over his plan and he abandoned it just last night. if states are laboratories of democracy, this is one experiment that blew up in jindal's face. we'll be right back.
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help this be the moment when real change begins. help this with b the beginning of turning tragedy into transformation for us all. >> we're back. that was nicole, who lost her son in the sandy hook tragedy. this week, family members of newtown victims are bringing their fight for tougher gun laws into washington and today, they kicked off a series of meetings with democrats and republicans. jillian joins me now. she traveled from connecticut to washington. last night with president obama as you can see in this photo. her sister was a first grade teacher at sandy hook elementary who died while trying to protect her students. this is a show, our show, i'm proud to say on televisions all across capitol hill and republican offices and independents, whatever you say i
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hope reaches into those heart of those senators. what would you like to say about the need for some kind of safety? >> just that something needs to get done. nobody else needs to go through the pain that the sandy hook families are going through. it's time now that we do something about it and get some change. there's so many kids who have lost their life in movie theatres, schools and colleges. we don't need this any longer. it's time we do something about it and any senator who doesn't want to hear what we have to say and still thinks there's something wrong, not only do they think something's wrong, that doesn't think something's wrong, hear what we say and still thinks that it's okay, you know, come to my house. come and see what's going on at my house, see all the pain we're going through. i know firsthand what assault rifles do to a person. what it does.
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something needs to get done and now is when we need to do it. >> so, when you think about the tragedy that cost the life of your sister, who was a teacher, what are the elements? you mentioned assault rifles. is that the worst of these rapid fire rifles that allow a person to keep pulling a trigger and enable a person to shoot up to 30 rounds? do you think about that, about background checks, the kinds of people who are able to get guns easily? what do you think are the elements of what needs to be done? >> the elements i think need to get done, i stand with obama and what president obama has said. i strongly support the assault rifle ban. i strongly support background checks. before sandy hook happened, before december 14th, i knew nothing about guns. i did not know that you couldn't, that everybody had to go through a background check. i thought everyone had to. i never thought that anybody could just receive a gun. go to your neighbor who had a
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gun and buy his gun and not have to go through a background check and that's wrong because you have no idea what your neighbor does behind the closed doors. you have no idea what sick mind he could have. even if he has a criminal record and here you are selling him a gun and you have no idea what he's going to do with it. i strongly support the magazine sizes. you know, and sandy hook, you know, the gunman had a 30 round magazine. if he had a ten round magazine, you know, he would have to stop and reload more times than he did and it could have saved plenty of lives. even one child's life. >> what do you say to the nra people? you're not formed about this, there's a lobby sa says don't want anything voted on. what do you say to these professional people? >> only thing i could say to them is think about it from our standpoint.
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from my standpoint. i lost my sister. my older sister. i will never see her again. last time i saw her was thursday night, late from school and i'll never see her again because someone took an assault rifle into the elementary school she taught at and murdered her. and 25 other people. any person who thinks nothing needs to get done needs to think about that. think about if it was your 6-year-old or your 7-year-old who was murdered. who was shot multiple times. would you still feel the same way and think nothing needs to get done? >> i wish you were a senator. thank you so much. staffers by the way working for these senators, members of congress, tell them when nobody's listening, to vote for this. thank you so much for that wonderful expression of belief and i believe truth. we'll be right back after this. >> thank you. this is america.
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let me finish with this. i think these people knocking on doors on capitol hill like the woman we just had on may do some good in the days ahead. i think they can help the contest for gun safety to get the first base and as we know, you can't score until you get on base. here's how it's going to work. first base gets 60 votes to begin debate. that's on thursday. second base gets 60 votes in the senate to close debate and bring up votes on say background checks. third base, past background


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