tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 19, 2013 2:00pm-3:01pm PDT
chris matthews and "hardball" picks things up right now. the berlin story. let's play "hardball." let me start with this. ich ein berliner. 50 years after kennedy, barack obama signaled his support for nuclear arms reduction, the need to move beyond what he called perpetual war and committing to closing guantanamo. tonight the politics of berlin. his close partnership with angel la merkel what it says about a woman's readiness for world leadership. is merkel showing the way for hillary and making it easier for
hillary to take on a world leadership role. >> howard fineman and eugene robinson, a columnist for the washington post. both are msnbc political andlies. before his speech today, president obama shared a podium with german chancellor angela merkel and noted that they don't look like leaders of the past. interesting point. let's listen to it. >> thank you, chancellor merkel for your leadership. your friendship. and the example of your life. from a child of the east to the leader of a free and united germany, as i've said angela and i don't exactly look like previous german and american leaders. but the fact that we can stand here today along the fault line where a city was divided speaks
to an eternal truth. no wall can stand against the yearning of justice. the yearnings for freedom, the yearnings for peace that burns in the human heart. >> it's a bright day in berlin today. we're gettingnous of it. i like to always think about our country first. not the big global possibilities here. but we were just talking. the fascinating thing is a world leader in europe, not since thatcher has there been a woman out there clearly the leader of continental europe today who stands with even success year after year of constant highly successful leadership. you were pointing out, we're trying to make her more of a leader taking on more leadership. >> that was a big part of what the president's speech was about. he was speaking not only to the world but to her. he was saying you are the leader. germany needs to be the leader. economically it has to be even more of the engine in europe which is having trouble coming out of recession.
germany needs to play a big role in security. they were under the brandenburg gate, the symbol of german imperialism that the germans rejected after 1,000 years of triumph and pain. >> how do we get the good aspect of germany? >> that's what the president was saying. he said, look to the good side of history. i think he used that phrase or a phrase like that. look to the good side of history. don't be afraid of what history calls on you to do now. i think he was saying that to her, to the german people and telling all of europe and the world that was the case. >> eshlly after that all of meeting that he had with vladimir putin. >> terrible. >> which is another power to the east saying to the germans you've got to take care of european. you may be reluctant given your own history. >> gene, we're looking at the world of our kids where brazil and india and china and russia will be competing with us probably. really competing with us as equals perhaps somewhere down the road maybe. he's saying, look, lift your load in europe today.
you as an another old power, you've got to carry your load. >> i think if you wanted to sum up the obama foreign policy thus far, it is that the united states is no longer an stride the entire world. the united states cannot run the world right now. others do have to step up. and i think it's an untold story. he has gotten along very well with merkel. there's a relationship. >> what is that relationship? >> you know, i wondered about that. i wondered if it isn't what he started with. we don't look like the normal -- that he kind of outsiders. he's from the east. he's african-american. >> yeah, that being from the east is almost like a pirnt. >> exactly. they're both outsiders now he'ding these societies. i think in a way, you know, ba ram and angel la are the new ronnie and maggie. they can be a dynamic duo. >> i feel a column coming on. >> in other words, the way we used to do it, reagan would be nice to the queen and to
thatcher and then george senior bush would become friends with helmut kohl, some of the establishment owed boys club. he's saying this is not an old boys club, this is something of the outsiders now on the inside who should rally the outsiders of the world. he's saying to germany, look out for the poor people of the world. >> he's basically saying as i say, the germans and i've spent a lot of time there. they're very conflicted at best about their own history. they've seen the downside of empire and the pain and the horror of it. they don't want this necessarily. the german people don't want it. but what the president is saying is, it's okay. look to your good history. you have to worry about greece and spain. you have to worry about europe as a whole. you have to worry economically and in terms of security. that's the part you should look to. again, the terms of ronnie and maggy i think gene is right. they were outsiders in their own way too. >> the conservatives. >> they were conservatives going against the world war ii
consensus and reagan and maggie thatcher made that deal. i think it's a very interesting historical echo for what's going on. >> to howard's point about the germans and leadership, the world for leader in german is fuhrer. the word is fraught with -- >> president obama madenous in his speech. pledging to work to reduce u.s. nuclear weapons and to negotiate rekukz with russia has become a difficult partner out there. let's listen. >> piece peace with justice means pursuing the security of a world without nuclear weapons. i've determined that we can ensure the security of america and our allies and maintain a strong and credible strategic deterrent while reducing our deployed strategic nuclear weapons by up to one-third. i intend to seek negotiated cuts with russia to move beyond cold war nuclear postures. >> this is the smart new world we live in. it's smart. the president reiterated his
determination to close gitmo. here he is talking to the german youth and sort of the liberal left youth of europe here from humboldt university probably. >> as we remain remain vigilant about the threat of terrorism, we must move beyond the mind-set of perpetual war. and in america, that means redoubling our efforts to close the prison at guantanamo. it means -- >> this, gene, is what's so different than our parents. our parents age in germany would not have spoken english like these guys. i was in germany recently. you've been in berlin probably recently. you go to a bruce willis mean like i tend to go to, everybody in the room speaks english. there's no translation. >> they speak english better than bruce willis does. >> could be. so here we have a president who is really talking back to the united states by talking to the kids of europe, the youth. well educated kids of hum bold university down the street about
gitmo. why do they care about gitmo? >> they care a lot about gitmo. they care about that as a symbol of. >> why is he talking to them to get to our young people? >> well, there is an echo here. remember the speech before the election when he spoke to 250,000 people and in berlin and one of the things, one of the hopes that they and a lot of people around the world invested in president obama was he would end a lot of the bush era policies that were condemned around the world. it's very important stuff to people. the torture and guantanamo. >> the war is a huge symbol of 5u8 all of that. there is disappointment. >> is that because they thought african-american democrat, he's a man of the simple left like a lot of the students are. like i remember during the war with iraq, i was covering some things and all the people in bonf said no blood for oil. they were very much against those wars. >> if it's a head snapper for a lot of american who's wonder about the nsa surveillance under
this constitutional lawyer president, yes, it is a much simpler almost cartoon? view over there. he's trying to not have them lose faith. let me say also the president has appointed i think has nominated a very shrewd lawyer named cliff sloan, a brilliant guy to work on the gitmo issue. >> it's a tough one. >> i know it's a tough one, but if anybody can do it, it's cliff sloan. >> figure out what to do with people we can't make a case against but are dangerous. >> this guy has experience all over the place. >> i've got something i want to get off my chest. most of the world leaders in our lifetime in the last 10 million years have been men. >> yeah. >> sometimes we've seen really good women leaders come to fore. gold ma may ear was fabulous. margaret thatcher was great. not necessarily for the coal miners but great for the country and its spirit. certainly indira gandhi was a great leader. i'm thinking whether merkel is
on this level and whether this partnership between our president and her so vividly displayed with the hand over the back, sort of a pal thing going on, isn't that a leading indicator of a hillary clinton leadership role? i think it says to americans watching television, yes, this makes sense. it makes sense to him for hillary to be the next person standing in that role he said. >> that's an interesting way of looking an the it. gee, baby if hillary runs, maybe he'll support her. >> that's what i'm getting to. don't you no he? do you think joe biden likes that picture? i'm just guessing >> howard. >> i know this is a concede i'm working here. >> i think it's very legitimate. very legitimate and i think the more leaders on the world stage who are women the more the message of hillary clinton reverberates. don't forget hillary spent a lot of her time work on advancing women's leadership around the world. her own organization. >> this is important to older men and women. younger people are ready for this. >> by the way, i do think you
have to put merkel on that list at this point. she is the most powerful person in europe, period. >> total little even in her leadership. she doesn't have bad years. >> a long time. she's you know. >> she's not like the phillys, for example. >> i'm disappointed you didn't run the george w. bush video. >> that was a bridge too far. thank you howard. a little bit of partnership but not that kind. eugene robinson. coming up, can you imagine roosevelt giving a back rub to churchill? anyway, some people were out there screaming today in front of the capitol, abolish the irs. the real fringies, it's that kind of tea party jamboree making the gop look like back benchers screaming from the back seats. a grown of adults who want to govern this country, that's no what they want to be. plus, if we're going to get into the war in syria, we ought to declare it somehow. how about a vote in the democrat rick nolan of minnesota, he's a
sharp guy, he's pushing for congress to vote the money or not vote the money to send to syria. good for him. he's joining me in my opinion. coming up next, here are two things that just happened in the immigration reform fight. one the congressional budget office reported they'll save money their argument based on computations and two, speaker john boehner says he won't bring immigration to the house floor absent a majority of republican supporters. is that going to kill the bill and let the right wing of the republican party take control of the whole party? the republican resistance to immigration reform has material for john oliver of the daily show". >> how will they manage to make this bill bipartisan? because it's a win-win. good for republicans because they think it will win them hispanic votes. and good for democrats because they it will actually win them hispanic votes. >> that is really well said. that and more in the sideshow. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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>> i've been saying it for a long time. president obama should have a big jobs program to fix the country's roads and bridges and build things. today the group transportation for america released a new study that finds one in nine bridges in this country is rated structurally deficient. some could be forced to close without substantial repairs. get this. if you were to lay those bridges end to end all the deficient bridges would span from d.c. here in washington to the other d, denver. by the way, the state with the highest percentage of deficient bridge those below code, my home state of pennsylvania with nearly 25%, one in four bridges are deficient. think about it when you drive over them. be right back.
ridiculous, the tea party gang was out together again with a jamboree at the capitol. the on the, well, their anger always their object, going after the irs this time. their event was called audit the irs. >> what's happened with the irs is an absolute outrage. it is an abuse of power, and it fits into the pattern of the obama administration of abusing government power and then misleading the american people. >> you're here and you are clear with your message. and your message is it's time to abolish the irs. take up something where every single american has to pay something to support this mast country. >> anybody want to fire some irs agents? why don't we start with the 16,000 irs agents that are going to implement obama care.
>> well, no matter how ridiculous abolishing the irs may sound, a new cnn poll shows the irs scandal was ordered by the white house. that's gaining ground that idea. i'm so sad that information is getting out there the wrong way. 47% say the irs agents were acting on orders from the white house. that's a ten-point jump from a month ago. 49% say that what irs agents involved have said, that the agency acted on its own. in other words, more than the other half of the people are wrong on this. david coin is a bureau chief of mother jones and political analyst and ab stoddard from the hill. >> look, guys, it just shows the problem of not being smart politically. the white house has let this stupid stew thing stew out there till the average person who doesn't have time to pay attention to this every day of the week, did you hear anything about the irs? i heard something, too. all of a sudden it's out there totally incorrect.
according to elijah cummings with a complete dossier on this thing. comes out and shows there is no political involvement and yet its too late. >> what this shows is when one side is willing to fabricate and even lie in a way that reinforces people's bias, everybody wants to think the worst of the irs politically and tie in the white house. so you have this chorus of republicans out there for weeks saying the white house is behind this, the white house has committed crimes, the white house new, darrell issa said this for weeks it reinforces biases people are inclined to believe. the chous is slow to realize ra this can happen. they are slow footed and can't intervene. >> a.b., the minute they heard about the ig report and should have seen it was trouble, should have had the president jump on it and say whatever screwups are going on in cincinnati, i'm going to fix them right now.
heads are going to roll. there's only two reasons why they didn't do that. they were lawyered up and afraid to say anything or did worry somebody in the campaign had some contact with those people in the irs so they'd better be careful what they say. the only reason for screwing up was they screwed up. they didn't act. >> it might have been out of abundance of caution. >> what were they afraid of? >> it was a political error. they underestimated the potency of this story. while they were answering questions on benghazi and the department of justice investigation and fishing expedition into the records of reporters, they were sort of hit three ways and didn't under how potent the gop. >> if you were driving down the street and see a giant hole in front of you, billed as the grand canyon and you keep driving, is that underestimating? >> this is an absolute -- this is nothing excites the republican base more than the idea that there was political targeting at the irs. the fact that they could have
looked at transcripts that cummings revealed and gone at this much sooner is really an error. at the same time, republicans last week on another know who support the nsa program said to me, he's got to come out and sart explaining to people. it's defensible. >> the right wing are crazy. what they're saying about getting rid of the irs is crazy. the government has to exist. are they saying don't exist? don't have a government? >> one factual point is the deposition, the interview cummings released yesterday, that interview is only done about a week ago. i think the president and people around him have what should be a justified assumption that we wait to see what a story is, you know, we want to have a good investigation. that's the way the world should proceed. and that's indeed what they've done in some of these cases, benghazi, as well. but yet what happens is you have the other side putting out evidence that is fabricated or
misleading and the white house doesn't even have at their fingertips the information like that came out this week and so they're out there sort of in the dark while the other side is not even waiting for facts to determine. >> why didn't the white house snap up that information immediately when they saw the threat coming? they're in a political war here. >> it's not having the information. they have to take steps and action. they couldn't release the benghazi e-mails a lot sooner. he could been for morseful in the first few days of the ig report on the irs business. there are things he could have done. i do think they will believe that we should have institutions that function properly in washington and they are therefore at a political disadvantage. it's kind of crazy. >> let me go back to the clones. sometimes the clintons always love the war too much. but you got to understand. >> the political war. >> you got to understand hillary clinton would have been ready for this or bill clinton. they're used to that from their days in arkansas. it's always 50% of the state or
country. be ready for their latest attack. don't assume we're past politics here. is obama thinking we're past politics and he doesn't have the to worry about ted cruz or rand paul? >> he's always, always taking the long view. he doesn't like petty dailies. he thinks in the long view he'll win out thenous cycle skirmish of the day. >> is he right? >> it is a great frustration to the democrats in year five he has not anticipated political fights, has not done the pro active -- >> does he have a wartime con political people around him. >> we're looking at the irs story and how much he engaged on that, i don't know the how to kaiz tear political accuin en. >> the enemies at war, they're at peace. >> thank you, ab. another republican turns back the clock to the 1950s. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] i've seen incredible things.
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back to "hardball." now the sideshow. the daily show's john oliver takes on immigration reform. he asked, what are republicans really after and is it going to work in. >> a demographic death spiral is a party and the only way we can get back in good graces with the hispanic community in my view is pass comprehensive immigration reform. >> and i lindsey graham say to you the hispanic community we choose to help you not because we want to, but because mathematically we feel we have to. >> i understand that someone else has an amendment to propose. >> that amendment by republican johnen cornyn would force the department of homeland security to reach specific metrics such as apprehension of at least 90% of all illegal border crossers for the overall law to stand.
>> 90% border security. you know what that means? bring nine friends with you and you get in free. you will be up one new country and down nine owed friends. >> we need to have an immigration law we're proud to actually and effectively enforce. next as the time comes to start rolling out additional provisions of obama care, the white house is launching an all out marketing campaign to beef up support. a poll back in april found that 42% of americans did not know obama care was still on the books. according to politico, the white house is looking to an unlikely source for backup, the national basketball association for the administration, the allure is obvious. the nba's season calendar tracks closely with the six-month period during which americans have a chance to sign up for subsidizeded insurance beginning october first. nba fans the key demographics of supporters for the law.
here's an interesting fact. back when he was governor of massachusetts, mitt romney himself looked to the red sox to help beef up support for his health care legislation. also, chris christie thinks outside understand new jersey in a visit to an leaptory school yesterday, one student asked christie about his favorite sports teams. his choice for professional football might not be a political plus. >> my favorite football team are the dallas cowboys. which by the way, is not the smartest thing for the governor of new jersey. >> the giants and the jets pretty much stunk when i was a kid and my father was a giants fan. i used to remember watching him when i was 8, 9 years old. and every sunday he would watch the giants and yell at the tv set. i used to think to myself, why do i want to root for a team that makes you angry. the cowboys were really good back then. >> i think he wanted to fight with his father. being for america's team might
come in handy if he finds himself campaigning down in texas. finally, feeling nostalgic for the 1950s? juror republican congressman phil gingrey was on the house floor speaking out in the defense of marriage act. to make sure that the children of this country have an idea what it means, doma, what it means. >> maybe part of the problem is we need to go back into the schools at a very early age maybe at the grade school level and have a class for the young girls and have a class for the young boys and say you know, this is what's important. you know, this is what a father does that maybe a little different, maybe a little bit better than the talents that the mom has in a certain area and the same thing for the young girls that this is what a mom does and this is what is important from the standpoint of that union.
>> who are these people? let me get this straight. we're going to have classes that teach kids about marriage roles so knowing who usually does the dishes is somehow going to kill the deaf same-sex marriage? what is this guy talking about? up next, there's not even a whiff of scandal at the irs kerfuffle out there. no political motivation involved, no white house involvement. that's not stopped ted cruz and michele bachmann. they want to abolish the irs for this reason. that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. i'm a firefighter. i'm a carpenter. i'm an accountant. a mechanical engineer. and i shop at walmart. truth is, over sixty percent of america shops at walmart every month. i find what i need, at a great price. and the money i save goes to important things. braces for my daughter. a little something for my son's college fund. when people look at me, i hope they see someone building a better life. vo: living better: that's the real walmart.
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suggested the fed could scale back on its $85 billion a month bond buying program later this year. mortgage applications took a hit down from last week. this after interest rates hit their highest level in a year. blackberry shares dropped after an analyst downgraded the stock one week before the company's earnings report. that's it from cnbc. we're first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." >> welcome back to "hardball." they're angry out there and they're loud. let's watch. >> how many people here believe that an individual who has less than a high school education pays more in taxes than they get in government benefits? would you raise your hand if you think that's the case? wow. now, i've asked that question to thousands of u.s. citizens, and not a single one of them thinks
that a person who has less than a high school education pays more in taxes than they get in government benefits. you know the only people who believe that? right there. right there. >> robert rector told us that amnesty costs a fortune. amnesty could also cost something more than just money. it could cost a nation. >> don't come in to be a taker. come in to be a giver. and if you'll come in to be a giver, give us your tired, your poor, because we'll give you a chance to work. but we should not be giving a chance to be a taker. >> wow. that was a rally on capitol hill today hosted by conservative republicans as you can tell. much of their volume focused primarily around the cost of immigration reform. you might remember robert rector. he was part of a duo at the heritage foundation to put
together awhile back estimating amnesty would cost taxpayers over $6 trillion. the study was used as a rallying cry for conservatives even though it got panned by economists who questioned its methodology. well, you might also remember the other co-thor of the study was a guy by the name of jason rich wine who had to resign from the foundation after he argued that hispanic immigrants had substantial little lower iqs. last night the budget office put out a report challenging other critics who argued it would cost too much. $900 billion, that's the amount of the immigration bill will reduce the deficit over the next 20 years. 25% that's the estimated reduction in illegal border crossings pr this bill because it will be more effective at stopping illegal crossing. in total the bill would grant legal status to an estimated 8 million illegals. the bill has been put on life
support. yesterday a much bigger story, republican speaker john boehner dealt the bill a serious blow saying he's unlikely to bring it to the house floor. watch the standard he's setting. >> i frankly think the senate bill is weak on border security. i think the internal enforcement mechanisms are weak and the triggers are almost laughable. and so i don't see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn't have a majority support of republicans. >> that's the hastert rule. nothing comes to the house floor upless a majority of republicans entirety it ahead of time. we're joined by republican steve submit and democrat steve mcmahon. steve, this is really a fight within the republican party maybe by the republican party. i don't know if numbers mean anything in this discussion. i think if you're against border cross willing of any kind by people from latin america, you probably don't care about the
numbers unless you're using them to support your own attitude to support them. >> when hastert said today there isn't going to be a bill in the floor to have anything to do with a path of citizenship unless a majority of his rank and file support it, is that pretty much the big nail in the coffin for reform. >> that's the big nail for it. it would be very difficult to get through the house. one thing, chris, you just alluded to it, the compromise has is as you been predicate on the notion that on the one hand that there's going to be finally real border security in the country and on the other hand, that will enable a path to citizenship. none of these republicans in the house believe the bill that came out of the senate has real security provisions in it. absent that, it's going to be impossible to get a majority of them for it. >> the republican party and the middle of the party, the average republican if you can find one, does he or she believe that the democrats would ever stop illegal immigration
across-the-boarder? would they ever get serious enough to get it down to an electrical, say? >> i think if you could show substantively in the bill that this is the path to how we're going to effectively enden illegal immigration en masse, this is what we're going to do to put workplace sanctions in place and secure the border, this is what the strategy is and you heard democrats go out and say that yes, we agree with that. here's the deal. we're going to settle this problem once and for all. that's not the debate we're having. i think it has a very difficult road in the house. >> steve, do you believe the average democrat male or female supports really shutting down the border to illegal hiring and illegal crossing? they really want to stop illegal immigration? do you believe the average democrat wants to do that. >> i do believe it. i think the average democrat wants to accomplish it partly by border security but also by increasing fines and penalties associated with hiring illegal workers and requiring employers
to take some responsibility. because the workers are coming here generally for a better life and for money to support their families and for opportunity that is provided by people who hire them illegally. as long as those people aren't being held accountable and responsible for doing that, people like mitt romney during the presidential campaign admitting there were a number of people working on his properties who came here illegally, he didn't get in trouble for that. the employer didn't get in trouble for that. the problem is that they come here because there are jobs. so you've got to like take care of that. >> what's the problem then, steve? of here's the problem. if the democrats are sincere about stopping the bulk of illegal crossings, there's always going to be some, we're connected to latin america by land. but cutting down the bulk of the traffic we see every night, if there's serious about that, why wouldn't the republicans go along with i an bill that would stop illegal immigration? because we're not stopping it now. it would improve the situation
from where it is. why wouldn't they be for it? >> a number of republicans have. it looks like that bill in the senate could get 70 votes. a lot of republican votes. there's a group in the house which includes paul ryan who is saying we need to pass bipartisan immigration reform. it's the nut jobs that have taken over the republican caucus and threatened john boehner's speakership putting the nail in the coffin. >> there's your tact to respond. is it the nut jobs in the republican party or the rank and file that want to have a serious border security and serious penalties on hiring and also want to allow a path to citizenship on those conditions? >> look, the nut jobs in the party certainly play a big role in making it very difficult to move this through the house. there's no question about that. but there is also a widespread belief in the house among members in the house that the senate republicans got taken to the cleaners on the border security provisions by chuck schumer. that they did a bad job of negotiating on that point.
and then the second point of it politically is is none of these republicans in the house are in competitive districts. they've been gerrymandered and redistributed into districts where they have almost no chance of ever losing in a general election but for facing a primary challenge for their right for voting something like this. so you have a structural political problem. you have a distrust of the senate negotiators. and then i think there are some real questions about the effectiveness of the border security. i say that as one who's been for immigration reform for a very, very long time. >> both you guys, very well said. i think if everybody's listening they get where we're at. up next, if we're going to going to war in syria, shouldn't we have a congressional vote of some kind? shouldn't we be a democracy on this stuff? i mean, this is "hardball."
the place for politics. vo: i've always thought the best part about this country is that we get to create our future. you get to take ownership of the choices you make. the person you become. i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved and staying engaged.
they're not sitting by as their life unfolds. and they're not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is "how did i end up here?" i started schwab for those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. we're coming back with a u.s. congressman who wants congress to approve any money we send to syria for that war. after all, we do live in a democracy, don't we? we'll be right back after this. [ male announcer ] we've been conditioned
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if you haven't been in the situation room, pouring through intelligence and meeting directly with our military folks, unless you've been involved in those conversations, then it's kind of hard for you to understand that the complexity of the situation and how we have to not rush into one more war in the middle east. >> one more war in the middle east. he's talking about syria. president obama says he's playing the syria game of risk very carefully. it's complex he says as you just heard. we don't want to rush into anything. but by getting the united states involved in a conflict which at its heart had its battle lines drawn centuries ago he's thrown himself and this country into a
very dangerous situation. today the president spoke alongside germany's angela merkel about the conflict in syria. >> we are united to see a negotiated political settlement to that conflict. we want to see a syria that's unified, democratic and at peace. right now, we need to see an end to the bloodshed and we have to make sure that chemical weapons are not used on the ground. >> how do you give humanitarian aid to some of the rebels and small arms to some of the rebels to what he's describing what he wants? let's ask this. i'm looking at what he says he wants. he says he wants a unified democratic and peaceful syria. and the question is, how does he get there? an i'm not alone in asking there be a vote on this matter. rick nolan a democrat from minnesota introduced a amendment into the defense bill to the prohibit the use of any american dollars to armed combatants in
syria without the congress approving it. it's not dead just yet. congressman nolan joins me now. i guess the dog that hasn't barked here is any kind of national national call to have some kind of reference du referendum on whether we're in a war. >> there are two issues here. one should we get involved in the conflict? and the other one is should we have a vigorous debate and congressional approval? a vote on it. i think it would be a tragic mistake for us to get involved in that conflict. but more importantly that congress needs to step up, do its job, and have a vigorous debate and provide either express approval or disapproval whether or not we'll get involved. >> what i have a hard time -- maybe you can delineate this situation. the president will give small arms and bullets or whatever to
the rebels. okay fine. how does that lead to an end to the conflict, end to the blood shed? how does that lead to a transition where the assad family gets whatever is done to them, they're out of the picture. how does that lead to the peaceful solution? i think that's the question. >> i think what's been proposed doesn't lead to a peaceful solution. it leads to violence. the president said unless you've been? the situation room you ought not be speaking out in response to this. i've been doing business in the middle east for the better part of 20 years. i lived there for years. i know the business and the culture. we have no friends on either side. and to make that same old tragic mistake of believing that some how the enemies of our enemies
are our friends has gotten us in trouble again and again. it's a waste of treasury and money. we've got to put an end to these wars in the middle east. start using the money to -- >> is it -- bottom line people would say it's another rwanda. like bill clinton, the former president. i think they're confusing action with motion. just giving money doesn't mean you're getting anything done. they've been fighting it out in every other country like the middle east. >> i think we should provide humanitarian assistance where we can, but this is a battle that's been going on for centuries between the sunnis and shiites. our getting involved is not going to do any good for either side and does america no good. in my judgment prolongs the conflict. >> thank you rick nolan, democrat from minnesota.
when we return, let me finish with john f. kennedy's historic speech in berlin. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. to gauge whether or not the projects will be done in a timely fashion and within budget. angie's list members can tell you which provider is the best in town. you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare. now that we're expecting, i like the fact i can go onto angie's list and look for pediatricians. the service providers that i've found on angie's list actually have blown me away. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust.
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called the crisis years. with the united states and then soviet union firing their arsenals of ballistic missiles. our atmosphere poisoned beyond the level of human survival. it was the city of berlin who could ignite this horror bringing with it the end of life as we could imagine it or would want to recognize it. beginning with the defeat of germany in the spring of 1945, the american, british, and french had maintained an occupation in west berlin. controlled then by the secret police. the stazi. west berlin was in those early years of the 1960s, the detonator cap for a third world war. why? because if the soviets had decided to grab it, the u.s. had just a sliver to resist. within hours we would have had
to decide whether to yield the city up along with the freedom of its residents or use tactical nuclear weapons. this was the prospect, the possibility that kennedy would have to make this choice that kept him worried day and night. that he would be the president forced to start a nuclear war, a world-ending war, if you will. this is what the cuban missile crisis was all about. not the island where the russians had placed offensive nuclear weapons but what the russians would do if we invaded cuba. in a letter to president kennedy that khrushchev would take berlin. thereby setting off the nuclear trip wire starting the countdown to a third world war. this is what berlin meant. it's why kennedy said when he heard they put up that wall, quote, better a wall than a war. it's why the people of berlin
were so exuberant when kennedy came to visit. 50 years ago next week. it's because the american people were defending the berliners. especially the newly independent countries of africa that this was the choice they faced in building their own societies. a free west berlin or a society that needed walls to keep its own people in. >> there are many people in the world who really don't understand or say they don't what is the great issue between the free world and the communist world. let them come to berlin. >> kennedy's speech was the finest staimt of the cold war. what the conflict was about, what the stakes were, what the rising new world should learn from it.
nothing in my life was thrilling as historically than to stand on this eastern side of that gate and ask a captive east german what freedom meant to him and to have him respond in german that it was the ability to talk openly with an american reportering with me. and that's "hardball" for now. "politicsnation" starts right now. thanks for tuning in. tonight's lead. the hunger shames. the gop has been called scary, narrow minded, out of touch. and yet again today they lived up to their reputation. fresh off voting to roll back women's rights, today republicans went after benefits for the poor. the house gop wants to cut $20 billion from the food stamp program. money that goes to hungry kids, disabled adults,tr