tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC June 19, 2013 4:00pm-5:01pm PDT
people go with the people that stand up for their interests. the present leadership of this party, the republican party, are not the leaders that have shown they're not biased against most american people. there was a time you had the john lindsay nelson rockefeller republicans. people responded much differently to. we want to answer your questions. e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. remember, friend or foe, i want to know. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the berlin story. good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start with this. ich bin ein berliner. well, 50 years after john
kennedy, barack obama stood at the gate signaling his support for nuclear arms reduction, the need to move beyond the mind-set of perpetual war, and committing himself to closing guantanamo. tonight the politics of berlin. what his close partnership with merkel 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 analysts. 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. let's listen. >> 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 getting through the news 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. in fact, you were pointing out we're trying to make her more of a leader than she is already taking on more leadership. >> i think 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? it's amazing -- >> 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.
especially 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 oin own history, but you need to do it. >> 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 too. 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 minority. >> exactly. they're both outsiders now leading these societies. i think in a way, you know, barack and angela 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 -- >> that's a nice way of putting it. president obama made news in his speech. pledging to work to reduce u.s. nuclear weapons and to negotiate reduction with russia has become a difficult partner out there. let's listen.
>> 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. i don't know if it's brave, but 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 do. >> 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.
it was a huge symbol of 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 bonn 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 cartoonish 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. 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 know what i'm getting to? 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 working 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. >> yes. and totally 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 fineman. 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 i've been saying this for weeks. if we want to get in war with syria, we ought to declare it somewhere. 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's 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? anyway, the republican
resistance imabrasion reform was tarl 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 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. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] for dad's first job as dad. nissan tests hundreds of child seats to give you a better fit and a safer trip. snug kids, only from nissan. ♪
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. that means they're in poor enough condition some could become dangerous and 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 bridges, those below code i'd say, 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. [ female announcer ] caltrate's done even more to move us. because vitamin d3 helps bones absorb calcium, caltrate has the highest level of vitamin d3. more than any other brand, to help maximize calcium absorption. so caltrate women can move the world.
back to "hardball." from the sublime to the ridiculous, the tea party gang was out together again with a jamboree at the capitol. the object, well, they're 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 corn 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. but you're right. the white house is slow to realize that 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 start explaining to people. it's defensible. >> the right wing are crazy. what they're saying about getting rid of the irs is crazy. and i think almost traitors. 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 have been more remorseful in the first few days of the ig report on the irs business. there are things he could have done. i do think they 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. -- clintons. 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. there's always an opposition out there. it's always 50% of the state or country. you got to be ready for they 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 winout the news 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 people around him or wartime paralegal people around him? >> we're looking at the irs story and how much he engaged on that, i don't know the how to
characterize their political accumen. he waited too long on many fronts. >> the enemy's 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. i'm so glad you called. thank you. we're not in london, are we? no. why? apparently my debit card is. what? i know. don't worry, we have cancelled your old card. great. thank you. in addition to us monitoring your accounts for unusual activity, you could also set up free account alerts. okay. [ female announcer ] at wells fargo we're working around the clock to help protect your money
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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? >> 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
john 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 old 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. and for good reason. 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 subsidized insurance beginning october 1st. nba fans the key demographics of supporters for the law. the nba has yet to comment. 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 new jersey. in a visit to an elementary school yesterday, a 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 stunk when i was a kid and my father was a giants fan. i used to remember watching him when i was eight, nine 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. so i decided not to. 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? georgia 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 is maybe a little different, maybe a little bit
better than than the talents that a mom has in a certain area and the same thing for the young girls. 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. classes to teach kids about marriage roles. so knowing who usually does the dishes is somehow going to kill the idea of same-sex marriage? up next, there's not even a whiff of a scandal at the irs. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. e. every second -- we chip away. making the colors of earth and sunset skies into rich interior accents. or putting the beauty of a forest in the palm of your hands... it will take you to another place... wherever you happen to be. this is the new 2014 jeep grand cherokee. it is the best of what we're made of. well-qualified lessees
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portaliza. 15,000 clash are police as they try to reach a soccer stadium. police fired gas bombs and used pepper spray. a new wildfire raging outside of colorado. residents have been ordered to evacuate. and vice president joe biden joined congressional leaders today at the capitol to dedicate a statue for frederick douglas. back to "hardball." snoop 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. who you saw in that clip. 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-author 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 substantially lower iqs. last night the budget office put out a report challenging other critics of the legislation who argued it would cost too much. let's look at the numbers. $900 billion, that's the amount of the immigration bill will reduce the deficit over the next 20 years. that's the savings for taxpayers. 25% that's the estimated reduction in illegal border crossings from 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 numbers don't look too bad, but the bill has just been put on life support.
here's why. 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 unless a majority of republicans support it ahead of time. we're joined by republican steve schmidt 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 crossing 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 start with. let's start with this. 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 always been predicated 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 trickle, would you 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, this is how we're going to 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 mcmahon, do you believe the average democrat male or female supports really shutting down the border to illegal hiring and to 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? you start here. 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. it's going to happen. but cutting down the bulk of the traffic we see every night, if they're serious about that, why wouldn't the republicans go along with a 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. you've got the gang of eight in the senate. it looks like that bill in the senate could get 70 votes. a lot of republican votes. there's a bipartisan group in the house which includes paul ryan by the way 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. thank you. up next, if you're going to go to war in syria, don't you think we ought to decide it like have a congressional vote of some kind? i've been saying that for awhile now. now rick nolan is pushing to get a vote whether or not we get involved in that war. should we be a democracy on this stuff? this is "hardball," the place
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if you haven't been in the situation room poring 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 syrian 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 between shiite and sunni, 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 blood shed. here's the question. 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? anyway, 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.
congressman, i guess the dog that hasn't barked here is any kind of national call to have some kind of referendum in the congress at least on whether we get involved in a war. >> well, that is thewell, that truth, chris. there are two important issues here. one should we get involved in the conflict, and the other one, should we have a vague rouse debate and congressional approval. should we have a vote on it? as you may or may not know, i think it would be a tragic mistake for us to be involved in that conflict. perhaps more importantly, the congress needs to step up, do its job and have a vigorous debate and provide either express approval or disapproval, whether or not we're going to get involved in this conflict. >> i have a hard time, maybe you can delineate this situation. the president is going to give small arms support to some of the rebel groups we sort of like to cut their gym. fine, how does that lead to an
end to the conflict, end to the bloodshed, peaceful transition where the assad family leaves or gets whatever's done to them, they're out of the picture. how does that lead to that peaceful solution? that's what i don't get. >> well, i think what's been proposed doesn't lead to a peaceful con collision. all it does is increase the violence. and the president made the point, unless you've been in the war room with the admirals and generals, you ought not to be speaking out on this, and response to that, chris, you know, i've done business in the middle east for a better part of 20 years, i lived in the persian or the arabian gulf for four years, i studied the language, the culture. we've got no business in this conflict. we have no friends on either side. and to make that same old tragic mistake of believing that somehow the enemies of our enemies our friends is what has gotten us in trouble again and again, and it's been just a tragic and costly waste of money and treasury and we've got to
put an end to these wars of choice in the middle east. start using those monies to rebuild america. our bridges are falling down, chris. >> is it better -- people would say, it's another rwanda bill clinton saying the former president, i think they're confusing action with motion. just doing something with money doesn't mean you're getting anything done. are we able to stand aside and let these people fight it out? >> 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 and our getting involved is going to do no good for either side. and more importantly, it does america no good whatsoever. and in my judgment, it escalates the violence and prolongs the conflict. >> thank you so much. when we return, let me finish with john f. kennedy's historic speech in berlin 50 years ago next week. you're watching hardball, the
place for politics. breaking news to record, hbo reporting that the actor james gandolfini has died. he's best known for his role as tony soprano, a role that earned him three emmys. he was reportedly in sicily attending a film festival. he and his wife had a daughter last year. james gandolfini was 51 years old. back to "hardball." [ man ] on december 17, 1903,
the wright brothers became the first in flight. [ goodall ] i think the most amazing thing is how like us these chimpanzees are. [ laughing ] [ woman ] can you hear me? and you hear your voice? oh, it's exciting! [ man ] touchdown confirmed. we're safe on mars. [ cheers and applause ] ♪ hi. [ baby fussing ] ♪ help the gulf recover, andnt to learn from what happenedg goals: so we could be a better, safer energy company. i've been with bp for 24 years. i was part of the team that helped deliver on our commitments to the gulf - and i can tell you, safety is at the heart of everything we do. we've added cutting-edge safety equipment and technology, like a new deepwater well cap and a state-of-the-art monitoring center, where experts watch over all our drilling activity, twenty-four-seven.
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show?! man, i was happy to see a sneezing panda clip! 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. let me finish tonight with this. berlin where president obama spoke today was for many of my generation and those older the scariest of places, i'm speaking about the 1906s here, what historians have called the crisis years. the crisis was the frightening chance that this planet of ours would burst into nuclear war,
with the united states and the then soviet union firing their vast arsenals in one devastating confully grags that left the world destroyed. our atmosphere poisoned beyond the level of human survival. always in those crisis years it was the city of berlin that could ignite this horror in our lifetimes, bringing with it the end of life, certainly 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 by the secret police, the stazi, and garrison by 350,000 soviet bloc troops. west berlin was the detonator cap for third world war. why? if the soviets had decided to grab it, the united states would have had a sliver of the conventional military power to resist within hours we would have had to decide to yield the city up along with the freedom
of its residents or use tactical nuclear residents of the army of 350,000 strong. 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 american president who would be forced to start a third world war, a nuclear war, the world ending war, if you will. this is what the cuban missile crisis was all about, not the island in the caribbean where the russians have placed offensive nuclear weapons, but what the russians would do if we invaded cuba. the threat made by khrushchev, setting off the nuclear trip wire, starting the countdown to a third world war. this is what berlin meant in 1961 and '62, it's why kennedy said, when he heard the russians put up that berlin wall, quote better a wall than a war. it's why the people of west berlin were so exuberant when kennedy came to visit in june of
'63. the american people were determined to stand their ground in defending the berliners. more than that, it was our country's statement to the rising third world at the time. this was the choice they faceds 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 a great issue between the free world and the communist world. let them come to berlin. >> john kennedy's speech was for all those reasons the finest statement of the cold war. when the conflict was about, what the stakes were, what the rising new world should learn from it. nothing in my life was so stirring historically than to stand on the eastern side of
that brandenburg gate, it was the ability to talk with an american reporter, me. that's hardball for now, thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes, thank you for joining us. tonight on all in, if you think i'm the only one who believes that immigration reform is the single biggest policy priority of president obama's second term, well, then wait until i show you the circus on the capitol lawn today. this 66-year-old man has been arrested and charged with drug trafficking in south carolina, his story is proof that criminalization of marijuana is well passed ridiculous.