tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC August 13, 2015 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
turn around. david boaz, kavitha davidson, thank you both. a special edition, very exciting, special edition of "the rachel maddow show" called "tale of the tape" is up next. so it's getting to be late summer. it's the august before a presidential election year and country is figuring out who's going to run. who's going to be a real contender. on the democratic side assuredly there is going to be a clinton on the ballot. and that's because in this story, it is 1995. and president bill clinton is running for re-election. now, on the republican side, it's crowded. more candidates that year than anybody could remember for years. they're all vying for the nomination. they're all campaigning hard. they're all doing what they can to try to goose their poll numbers, try to stand out from that packed field that year. it is august of 1995. it is 20 years ago. and 20 years ago in american
politics, all anyone could talk about at that point in the campaign, the scandal of the moment, the controversy in republican politics and in the country at large, the scandal, the uproar, was about the president's wife. and her ambitions. >> later today california governor pete wilson will announce his entry into the already crowded field of republican presidential hopefuls. mrs. clinton, hillary rodham clinton, has decided to go to china next month to take part in the international women's conference, despite some controversy. do you think it's a good idea? >> not really. >> conservative leaders are still unhappy with the whole idea of the united nations conference, which is expected to draw about 40,000 women from around the world. >> i think this removes one barrier, but she still has to face up to the agenda of the women's conference. it's a very left-wing agenda, sort of an anti-family agenda. i still think if i could give
her any advice, she ought to stay here. >> handling the chinese will be tricky enough but the conference itself is controversial. under attack from conservatives who say it is radical, anti-family. >> the conference is a little bit of sugar wrapped around a big bitter pill of failed western feminism. >> in the middle of a presidential election race in which her husband was the candidate to beat, everybody was talking about hillary clinton. specifically everybody was talking about hillary clinton's decision to attend the united nations conference on women. and two decades down the road, that doesn't sound like a controversial thing to do. at the time there really was a political uproar, that the first lady of the united states would dare to give a high-profile speech about women's rights anywhere, let alone beijing, china. >> we're gathered here today to ask the united states not to send a delegation to beijing, china, for the conference on women. father, we pray right now for the clintons. we speak to them, that they would not send this delegation, dear lord.
>> conservative activists and conservative groups and republican candidates, they all went after the first lady specifically and the whole clinton administration on this. they prayed and protested outside the white house. they asked god to please stop the first lady. don't let the first lady get on that plane. but even among some of her allies, even among some of the clinton administration's allies, even just diplomatically, there was unease about hillary clinton's decision to go. widespread unease. not just ideological opposition on the right. i mean at that point in his presidency, bill clinton had yet to make an official trip to china. but here was the first lady deciding that she would go first. in the lead up to the u.n. conference, china had also arrested and jailed a prominent american human rights activist and critic of china, a man named harry wu. china did release mr. wu a few days before the conference was set to start but that led to criticism that china had traded
him. that they had traded harry wu's freedom for hillary clinton. china wanted her in beijing to legitimize that country's terrible record on human rights, so they let this american out of prison in orr to get her there for their own purposes. some of the huge amount of pressure on hillary clinton to not take that trip, some of that was we hate the idea of a conference on women. some of that was just the standard we hate the clintons stuff from the right. substance-free personal vitriol toward both president clinton and mrs. clintonwhich was a hallmark of that political era. but some of the criticism of that trip, the idea that china would be using a visit from the first lady of the united states to validate them, to validate their human rights track record, to excuse that government's behavior toward their own citizens, that was a really substantive worry, and it wasn't coming from a place of knee-jerk ideological opposition to the clintons. of course the way to beat that
criticism is not necessarily to stay home and not go. the way to beat that criticism is to go, but to make sure you don't legitimize their human rights record while you're there, you do the opposite, right? you confront them on it, out loud in front of everyone, on their turf. and you make international headlines doing it. and that is what first lady hillary rodham clinton set out to do in the late summer of 1995. and when she got to beijing, the controversy surrounding her trip only got worse. turns out thousands of women who had converged in beijing, in part because hillary clinton was coming, thousands of women convening for that conference, convening to hear hillary clinton speak, thousands of women were hassled and roughed up by chinese police. and this wasn't just like street protesters. this included women from all over the world. it included high-ranking u.s. government officials. it even included a cabinet member. >> we love hillary. >> thousands of women trying to get into a small arena to hear hillary clinton.
and blocked by chinese security guards, a recipe for disaster. >> why are they here? >> hundreds of women outside beijing have been waiting for hours in a downpour. when rain forced organizers to move mrs. clinton's speech inside to a smaller space, mayhem. >> we are getting into a crowd control problem. >> reporter: the official u.s. delegation didn't fare much better. health and human services secretary donna shalala was pulled through the blockade. >> what happened when you tried to get through the gate? >> they were lined up with their arms locked. >> i'm going through a crowd, i'm going through this one. >> the modern american women's movement has been through more than this. >> there was every reason for hillary clinton to decline that invitation to go to china to speak about women's rights. she had every political reason in the world to cancel that trip. there were legitimate foreign policy reasons to cancel the trip. her allies and her enemies were telling her not to risk it.
her husband's re-election was absolutely no sure bet at that point. the risks of legitimizing china's human rights record were as big as the risks of confronting china on its human rights record. but, you know, she was kind of used to the pressure. she was already under a microscope at home. this was after her unprecedented role in trying to get national health reform and that stinging defeat when it failed. i mean she had a million reasons to excuse not going to china that year. all the loudest voices were yelling at the top of their lungs for her not to go. but she went. she went and she was not shy when she got there. >> voices of this conference and of the women must be heard loudly and clearly. it is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food or drowned or suffocated or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls. [ applause ] it is a violation of human rights when individual women are
raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war. it is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will. [ applause ] if there is one message that echos forth from this conference, let it be that human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights, once and for all. >> hillary clinton's trip to beijing in 1995 was an unlikely thing.
but she went and she stood in the chinese capital and she took the chinese government to task for how it treated women and girls. she took on her critics. she admonished governments all around the world whose policies hurt women. and now this speech is remembered as a political turning point for hillary clinton. now that she's running for president herself, the beijing speech is even in her campaign ads. i mean now, now it seems obvious, even inevitable that she would make that trip and give that speech in 1995. but at the time it was the most unlikely thing in the world. and she did it anyway. so we're doing something a little bit different on the show tonight. we are looking at the presidential candidates in one
specific way. we're looking at what happened in their lives, what happened to them or what did they do that made them into a person who might conceivably be our next president of the united states. and this isn't generic biography about these guys, like the candidates all want to tell us in their campaign ads and their stump speeches when they say i had to walk to school in the snow uphill both ways. this is not what the candidates want us to tell you. what we have done is that we have sort of had this project going on behind the scenes to deep dive into the tv news archives, to find the stories of where these people started, where they came from in political life. and we're starting with hillary clinton tonight because honestly there's nobody else like her. she has been on the national stage for so long and in so many different ways. first lady of arkansas, first lady of the united states, u.s. senator, presidential candidate, secretary of state, now the front runner for the democratic nomination for president. hillary clinton has done a series of things in public life
that nobody else has ever done before, and she has been under the national microscope in public life for so many years that sometimes it can feel like we know everything there is to know about her. turns out, though, there is stuff left to tell about how she became who she is, about how she became this person who sometimes to her own detriment, sometimes to a fault, she refuses to let one or two or one or 2,000 people stand in the way of the vision she has for herself. that stubborn resolve has worked for her. it has worked against her. but it is a defining thing about her as a political figure, and it came from somewhere. so we've got the tale of the tape tonight. we've got stories about secretary clinton and about other presidential candidates. stories that i'm pretty sure you will not have heard before. honestly, this is going to be a really good show. i already want to do another show like this already, even though this one is not even done yet. we have found some really, really good stuff in the archives. stay with us. you're like the poster child for paying on time. and then one day
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way, but there's something that i've never really understood about the way we talk about presidential politics. if you listen to us talk about it, you would think that it is possible in american politics for someone who look presidential. right, it's a great asset for a politician running for the highest office in the land that they look presidential, they look like they could be president. so for mitt romney in 2012, he looked presidential. there's a guy that looks like he could be commander in chief. john kerry got the same treatment in 2004. look at how presidential he looks. look at that gravitas, it's right there in his chin or something. it sure looks like he could hold the job. what does that mean? both of those guys, incidentally, lost their elections and now they do other things with their presidential looks. the way we talk about it, though, looking presidential is
a thing. it's one of the things that we describe as an important variable in presidential elections even if it's not. but if there was ever a person to challenge that made-up presidential metric, i would venture a guess that it's this guy. how's that for commander in chief ready? how's that for looking presidential? we're about to go deep, deep, deep into the archives with bernie sanders. that's coming up next. stay with us. why are you deleting these photos? because my teeth are yellow. why don't you use a whitening toothpaste? i'm afraid it's bad for my teeth. try crest 3d white. crest 3d white diamond strong toothpaste and rinse... ...gently whiten... ...and fortify weak spots. use together for 2 times stronger enamel. crest 3d white.
okay. i just want you to listen to a piece of audio. i know this is tv, we're supposed to work in pictures, but i've never been great at that. listen to this audio clip. tell me who the speaker is. that's going to be kind of easy. but also tell me roughly when you think the speaker said this. all right, listen. >> the problem that we have nationally in this country is
that the two-party system dominated by big money is not delivering for ordinary people, which is why people are giving up on the political process, why they're not voting and why there is a great deal of anger and frustration at the political system as it now exists. >> all right. who is it? not that hard. the distinctive, brooklyn accent gives away pretty easily that that is none other than bernie sanders. but if you thought that was a line from this year, if you thought that was some recent campaign interview bernie sanders gave in iowa or new hampshire or something, you would be wrong about that. because what you just heard is from an interview that happened 26 years ago. >> mayor bernard sanders of burlington, vermont, how does a socialist like yourself keep winning elections in a country we generally consider that has a two-party system? >> well, i think we win in burlington, i should point out
that in burlington, i am the mayor and i won on four occasions, but we have 13 people on our city council. a board of aldermen and six of them are progressive and so it's not just me. we have probably the only strong three-party city in the united states of america. i think that the reason we win and continue to win is that increasingly people are frustrated and angry about a two-party system which is dominated by big money and which does not pay attention to the needs of working people or elderly people or poor people. i think if you talk common sense to the people and say the government is supposed to represent the needs of those people who today are not getting a fair shake, you know what, they'll vote for you. and the problem that we have nationally in this country is that the two-party system dominated by big money is not delivering for ordinary people, which is why people are giving up on the political process, why they're not voting, and why there is a great deal of anger and frustration at the political
system as it now exists. >> that was an interview that bernie sanders gave to c-span all the way back in 1989 when he was the mayor of tiny burlington, vermont. but the themes that he hit in that interview, those are exactly the same themes that he is now campaigning on for president nearly 30 years later. bernie sanders has been on the national stage for more than three decades. and maybe more than anybody else, he has held and espoused the exact same beliefs. he has been driven by the exact same issues all that time. and because he is a freaking socialist and he has called himself that for a very long time, not freaking, but socialist, because of that, he has been a consistent source of fascination for the national media. bernie sanders was first elected mayor in burlington, vermont, in 1981. then he was re-elected a few years later and then re-elected again a few years later. by then this guy who was apparently not a fluke in this city in vermont, he did start to get noticed nationwide.
>> new england has a tradition of political independence going all the way back to the boston tea party. and in burlington, vermont, tonight, one very independent yankee is being sworn in for his third term as mayor. tradition or no, fred briggs reports that some new englanders find bernard sanders astonishing. they laughed at bernie sanders when he ran for mayor, not just because he was a brash outsider from brooklyn, neither republican or democrat, but because he was an avowed socialist. still is. >> to us what socialism means basically is a democracy. a society where you don't have a handful of giant banks and corporations controlling the economic and political life of the nation. >> reporter: burlington was best known as biggest of vermont's small towns and home of the university of vermont. then came ibm with 8,000 employees, general electric, high-tech yuppies and what a political scientist calls marpies, middle aged rural professionals, people who gave up big city money to enjoy vermont's small town way of life. these voters weren't ready to elect the safe kind of mayor
burlington had been accustomed to for two century, but bernie sanders? >> the establishment thought that first victory was a fluke. even though sanders has won twice since 1981, the old guy can't quite believe that burlington isn't what it used to be. a lot of new buildings now and a lot of old buildings gentrified into bars and boutiques, unemployment down to 3% and the ultimate sign of a boom, no place to park downtown. sanders has raised corporate property taxes, would like to impose new taxes on the wealthy. sanders has a foreign policy, anti-nuclear, anti-intervention. burlington has adopted a sister city in nicaragua. >> quite frankly he should be spending his time dealing with the problems of the city of burlington and not getting involved with national politics. >> he said don't spend our money invading nicaragua, give us a break, give us some money for our cities and towns to lower property taxes. >> reporter: the establishment wishes he wore neckties but it knows he won't. some day the opposition will try to recapture city hall, but more than half the voters like it the
way it is and tend to think that bernie sanders, as much as the boom, put burlington on the map. fred briggs, nbc news, burlington, vermont. >> i wonder if he still has that sweater? that was april, 1985. that was when the national media started to discover this eccentric, confident, curly haired socialist mayor from burlington, vermont. for a while bernie sanders was just sort of an object of national media fascination. hey, are we doing a piece about all the yuppies from the cities moving to new england? call that socialist mayor guy. >> rolling, rural, rustic and removed, for many vermont is a state of mind as well as a state if union, luring thousands from new york, from boston, from a nation that seems too much in a hurry. >> they want to live slow, they want to live quiet, they want to go to town meetings. they're trying to escape the fast lane and live the good life. >> reporter: frank brian,
political science professor, vermont native, practitioner of hard scrabble life in the country and co-author of a tongue in cheek book called "real vermonters don't milk goats" nor do they drive volvos and would never be seen with this on their bumper. so what do real vermonters do? >> they want to do what they damn well please and they'll let you do what you damn well please as long as you don't interfere with them. >> reporter: this is the town most people assume is quintessential vermont. let's assume it looks the way that it always did and the people think like they always did. but here as in elsewhere, videos in the college store, cafes in former cornfields, factory outlets in farm towns. more than half the new immigrants live in burlington, vermont's largest city. most adapted but some didn't, wanted vermont to adapt to them. that worries bernie sanders who came here from brooklyn and has been mayor for six years. >> people come up and know so
much and they want to show us how we can be just like they were back home. unfortunately they left back home because they didn't like it back home. >> bernie sanders 1987 in that clip defending the honor, the way of life of small town vermont. but around that time bernie sanders also started to show some political ambitions beyond just being a small town mayor. around that time he ran for governor of vermont as a third-party candidate and he lost that race with only 14% of the vote. in 1988 he ran for vermont's open congressional seat. he narrowly lost that race as well to a republican named peter smith. but when that republican, peter smith, ran for re-election two years later, bernie sanders smoked him. beat him by 16 points. and bernie sanders from that point has never looked back. he held that house seat in vermont for the next 16 years. he was re-elected to the house seven times. he then ran for the u.s. senate in vermont and you know that he won.
but do you know that he won by more than 30 points in that race? and bernie sanders has used his position in congress, his national platform in congress and in the senate to push for, honestly, the exact same issues that he pushed for decades earlier in vermont. mayor bernie sanders, for instance, traveled to nicaragua in the 1980s to argue against ronald reagan's intervention in latin america. here's how congressman bernie sanders responded to the military adventurism of a new president decades later in 2002. >> good evening, president bush today sent to congress a two-page indictment of saddam hussein and asked congress to approve a tough resolution that authorizes the u.s. to disarm iraq, which would lead to the overthrow of saddam hussein by all means necessary. on capitol hill, reaction to the proposed resolution was mostly positive with a sprinkling of loud protests that the administration is way off course. here's nbc's lisa myers. >> >> reporter: today for the first time, congress' anti-war
movement mobilized, launching an extraordinary broadside against the president. >> the president of the united states will lie to the american people in order to get us into this war. >> our moral authority will be shot. we are leading to international anarchy. any country at any time for any reason can attack another country. >> as you might imagine, he voted against the invasion of iraq in 2002. he voted no with an exclamation point. but it has been his economic message. it's been his message that corporations and the banks and the wealthy are piling up too much power and influence. the political system is rigged in favor of the wealthy. it's that economic message that he espoused when he was just the mayor of burlington, vermont, doing c-span call-in shows. it was that unbelievably consistent nuts and bolts populist message that has put bernie sanders in the national spotlight. since he's been a national
figure, led to an eight and a half long pseudofilibuster on the senate floor against the bush tax cuts in 2010. now it's leading to bernie sanders absolutely packing stadiums and venues across the country this summer as he campaigns for president. larger crowds than any other candidate in either party by a mile. the bernie for president campaign, as impossible as it would have been to imagine even a year ago, bernie for president, you couldn't imagine it a year ago, let alone 30 years ago. but his campaign is energizing liberals in the blue states and in the red states. and he's doing it in big numbers, as he attempts to pull off what is still thought of as a basically impossible task. the task of knocking hillary clinton off the top of the democratic field. what bernie sanders is trying to do right now, his message across the country, really is the exact same undiluted message you could have seen coming from him if you had kept an eye out fully three decades ago for what was going to happen next. >> i would like to see somebody who speaks for the underdog, for the people who don't have decent health care benefits, somebody
who understands that in america today, 50% of the people don't even vote anymore and the vast majority of that 50% are poor people and working people who have given up on the system. so essentially i would like to see a candidate who has the guts to have a vision that america could be a land for all people and not just the land controlled by the super rich. song: rachel platten "fight song" ♪ two million, four hundred thirty-four thousand, three hundred eleven people in this city.
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this was taken at a debate. it's a picture of the candidates at the debate, but specifically it's a picture of their shoes, their boots. this photo was taken underneath the table at a political debate almost ten years ago now, but the story behind this image is now part of this year's race for the presidency, and that very interesting story is straight ahead. stay with us.
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we're legalzoom and we've already partnered with over a million new business owners to do just that. check us out today to see how you can become one of them. legalzoom. legal help is here. has the impeachment process hurt the republican party, and does that influence your policy decision making as you approach this impeachment trial so not to antagonize your potential voters in the year 2000? >> well, the first question is has it hurt the republican party. i'm not saying it has. some people have said that, but that isn't necessary. we're not through this process yet. it seems to me if you do what's right, it's going to work out in the end successfully. >> there was a little cameo there from a very, very young senator rick santorum in that clip, but the older man there was republican senator john chafee of rhode island speaking on "meet the press" about impeachment, talking about the ongoing impeachment trial
against democratic president bill clinton. john chafee was one of the last liberal republicans in the senator, one of the last prominent liberal republicans in the country. he had a storied political career. when john chafee died at the age of 77, his senate seat in rhode island had to be filled, and ultimately it was filled by his son. his son, lincoln. linc chafee was at first appointed to finish out his father's unfinished term in the senate. but then he was elected by the people of rhode island to fill in that seat. he went on to have one of the more unconventional political careers out there. he did serve as a republican senator in the seat that had been his father's. he served in that seat seven years. but because he had basically liberal politics, just like his dad did, much of that time was filled with questions about whether he would switch parties and stop being a republican and instead become a democrat. he did not do that while he was in the senate.
he then left the senate after that one term and a bit, and then once he was out of the senate, eventually he did change parties. he got himself elected governor of rhode island. again, just like his dad. except he got elected governor of rhode island as an independent. during his time as governor, lincoln chafee then switched parties again and he did become a democrat in 2013. now two years after that, he is running for the democratic nomination for president of the united states. lincoln chafee's political path to this moment has been not just unpredictable, it's honestly been a little weird. but weird is good. americans like weird. nonetheless, mr. chafee now occupies, let's call it a deep second tier on the republican side, maybe a third tier, if there is room for one. he's there alongside former maryland governor martin o'malley. if lincoln chafee's path has been long and winding, martin o'malley's has been straight as an arrow. in 1999 as the young telegenic mayor of baltimore, maryland,
almost immediately he started getting future of the democratic party sort of attention. before he had even been on the job as mayor for a year. >> in baltimore, there's a bold, brash new beat. ♪ believe it or not this hunk with the bulging biceps, part rock star, part rebel, is also baltimore's new mayor. >> i, martin joseph o'malley. >> hi, mayor. >> how are you? >> the 37-year-old lawyer is different. a white mayor in a city that is largely black. a politician who gets his hands dirty, climbing aboard and helping out on a city snow plow, pitching in on a garbage truck, sending a message -- >> that there's somebody, you know, who cares at the helm.
>> martin o'malley served as baltimore mayor for seven years. he then turned that job into a bigger job in the state when he was elected governor of maryland in 2006. in that job he kept his shirt on more often and he started sewing the seeds for a future presidential run. he signed a law legalizing same-sex marriage in maryland. he signed a law making undocumented immigrants eligible for college tuition. after serving as the mayor of a big city and the governor of a medium-sized state, martin o'malley, naturally, is now doing the next thing. he's now running for president, even if so far at least he cannot seem to get a headline to save his life. so at least for now, it's martin o'malley in that second tier of democratic candidates and it's lincoln chafee, but it's also in addition to those guys, it is one of the most interesting candidates of all from either party. a guy for whom the tale of the tape is probably the most surprising of anyone.
in part because he's a candidate who got his start in the unlikeliest of all places for a democratic contender for president. he's a guy who got his start as a democratic contender for president. he got his start by being to the political right of the ronald reagan administration. and that's next. supersize your lashes. advertise your eyes! supersize your lashes. hypnotize the guys! covergirl's super sizer mascara with the amazing lash styler brush. it loads on. combs through. for dramatic volume. corner to corner. volumize. mesmerize. supersize your lashes. advertise your eyes! the super sizer. new from easy, breezy, beautiful. covergirl and try new intensify me! liner for even bigger drama. so you're a small business expert from at&t? yeah, give me a problem and i've got the solution. well, we have 30 years of customer records. our cloud can keep them safe and accessible anywhere. my drivers don't have time to fill out forms. tablets. keep them all digital. we're looking to double our deliveries.
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and share it. because these kids will grow up with windows 10. get started today. windows 10. a more human way to do. so when you do a deep dive into the news archives to find the backstory on democratic candidates for president, you don't necessarily think you're going to end up in the section of the archives that's marked the ronald reagan administration. but politics is full of surprises, always has been. >> secretary john lehman said he wants to get a job in industry and pentagon officials say his successor will be james webb, a best-selling novelist, vietnam veteran and until a few days ago, an assistant secretary of defense. >> james webb, otherwise known as jim webb. jim webb has been involved in politics in government in some form or another since the 1980s,
since he was ronald reagan's navy secretary. he came to that job as a decorated vietnam war veteran. jim webb had a hard war in vietnam as a u.s. marine. when he came home and he wrote about it, his vietnam books were really, really good and really well received. his novel "fields of fire" i will tell you is a masterpiece. really, if you have not read it, you should read it, it is worth it. it is an amazing book. jim webb came home from vietnam. he became a prolific and very accomplished career as a novelist. but in 1987, jim webb was tapped by ronald reagan to become secretary of the navy. and for jim webb, that lasted all of about a year. >> good evening. who would have believed it. president reagan's defense secretary being criticized by one of his own for not spending enough on defense. navy secretary james webb, a decorated vietnam war veteran, best-selling author and one of
the brightest young stars of this administration resigned in protest. >> resigned in protest. that is sort of how it's gone for jim webb on the national scene. he has been more than a little unpredictable. he has been prone to do things like resign in protest over ronald reagan not spending enough on defense. that's the -- that's the rough equivalent of somebody resigning over dick cheney being too much of a humanitarian, right? but jim webb sees things his own way, he always has. that has led to some decisions that are as inexplicable in hindsight as they were at the time. it has also led to some pretty grand principled leadership decisions. over the last decade of his career, jim webb, the democrat, has not just made his life -- put his life as a combat veteran and a marine at the center of his politics, he has put at the center of his politics his life as a combat veteran and a
marine, but one who is willing to stand against u.s. military intervention around the world, in part because he knows what he's talking about on those subjects. even when everyone else is clamoring for u.s. military intervention or saying it would be easy, jim webb has been willing to be very loud and very aggressive in opposing it when he thought he ought to. in 2006 jim webb ran for the u.s. senate in virginia. he ran to unseat an incumbent republican senator, george allen. during that campaign he traveled the state wearing his 24-year-old son's combat boots. his son, jimmy, was serving in iraq at that time, was a lance corporal in the marine corps. this was 2006, three years into the disastrous war in iraq. jim webb, this decorated vietnam vet, he campaigned on his opposition to the ongoing war. a democrat in deep red virginia, in george w. bush country, campaigning against the war. and jim webb wore his son's combat boots all across virginia during that campaign. he even wore them during the debates against george allen. the night that he won that senate race and defeated
incumbent senator george allen, he held those boots up in victory. jim webb's opposition, jim webb's opposition to the war in iraq essentially defined his time in the senate. he was more than unapologetic about it. he told anybody who would listen, and that included the commander in chief, george w. bush. >> at a post-election white house reception, president bush spotted senator-elect james webb of virginia and according to "the washington post" the president asked about his son, a marine corporal serving in iraq. how's your boy, said mr. bush? i'd like to get them out of iraq, answered mr. webb. that's not what i asked you, how's your boy? webb shot back, that's between me and my boy, mr. president. >> let me ask you about your meeting with the president at the white house during the christmas break.
what did you make the president asking you casually about how your boy was doing over there in the military capacity over in iraq right now? what did you make of that? >> well, my feeling about that, first of all, it's been kind of a bit overblown. but i think when people are now seeing how john mccain is handling the situation with his son being in the marine corps, perhaps they can understand a little bit more what i was having to go through during the entire campaign. >> jim webb eventually did mend fences with president george w. bush, who brought his son, jimmy, to the oval office to meet with the president in 2008. but jim webb's staunch opposition to the war in iraq is the thing that has motivated this whole stage of his political career, it's what made it go. six months before the invasion of iraq in september, 2002, jim webb wrote an op-ed in "the washington post" warning the country not to go along with president bush's war. the title of that op-ed was
"heading for trouble." do we really want to occupy iraq for the next 30 years? jim webb was right about the war in iraq before it was even launched. it remains to be seen what will be the basis for his campaign for president in 2015 and 2016. but if history is a guide, that particular issue, the iraq war issue, can be a potent one in a democratic primary, at least against this particular front runner. if you see jim webb reviewing old 2008 debate tape, you'll know why. >> on what i believe was the single most important foreign policy decision of this generation, whether or not to go to war in iraq, i believe i showed the judgment of a commander in chief that i think that senator clinton was wrong in her judgment. senator clinton mentioned the issue of gravitas and judgment. i think it is much easier for us to have the argument when we have a nominee who says i always thought this was a bad idea, this was a bad strategy. i think we are going to have an easier time making if they can't turn around and say, but hold on a second, you supported this.
behold the 1970s. a member of congress savoring a drag on a cigarette during who house committee hearing on the impeachment of richard nixon. the '70s when you could smoke in a confined space with tons of other people, men mostly, except for one. see there? one of the first jobs out of law school is helping to impeach the president of the united states.
how does that change the way you see politics? stay with us. so we have one national office in this country that you if you have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. isn't it time to let the real you shine through? introducing otezla, apremilast. otezla is not an injection, or a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently.
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they settle claims quickly, which saves money. they drive an all-hybrid claims fleet, which saves money. they were born online, and built to save money, which means when they save, you save. click or call. so we have one national office in this country that you campaign for in its own rite. of the five candidates in the democratic primary this year, only one has tried to win this national office before. hillary clinton made her first run for president in 2008 as the former first lady, as the second-term senator, the establishment candidate, ready to lead. we often talk about elections as fights, but that 2008 democratic primary in political terms that was an all-out war.
at one level, the two leading candidates were both able to enter the race. not just candidates but as a moral historical cost. barack obama wanted to be the first african-american president. hillary clinton wanted to be the first woman president and because of that the race was wrapped in moral purpose. at another level, inside of that contest, fighting it out were two candidates from very, very very bare knuckle democratic traditions. barack obama came from chicago politics where a punch is as good as a kiss. hillary clinton brought with her years of not just surviving but thriving and winning with her family's political machine. we remember it was hard fought between these two in 2007 and 2008. we remember it was hard fought. looking back at the archives of what it was like, you forget how amazing it was to watch it unfold. >> i was working on the streets watching those folks seeing their jobs shift overseas.
you were a corporate lawyer fighting for wal-mart. >> you were respecting your contributor and his slum landlord business in inner city chicago. you talk about ronald reagan being a transformative political leader. i did not mention his name. >> your husband did. >> i'm here. he's not. >> if your candidacy is going to be about words than they should be your own words. that's a simple opposition. lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in. it is change you can xerox. >> he's very likable. i agree with that. i don't think i'm that bad. >> you are likable enough, hillary. >> thank you.
>> i appreciate it. >> you don't believe senator obama is a muslim? >> of course not. there's no basis for that. i take him on the basis of what he says. there's no reason to doubt that. >> he said you take it -- you don't believe it. >> no, there's nothing to base that on, as far as i know. >> as far as i know. you are likable enough. i take him at his word. heading to the 2008 election, hillary clinton was the obvious and unquestioned front runner for the democratic nomination. starting in october of 2007, senator clinton led in basically every poll. she led in dozens and does ens of polls in a row by commanding margins, not just double-digits but some case over 20 points. out of the gate, hillary clinton ran as the candidate who could win the presidency and on track to win the nomination in poll
after poll after poll after poll until suddenly she was not. on the eve of super tuesday with delegates from 24 states and american samoa up for grabs, barack obama took the lead and hillary clinton went from inevitable and unstoppable to playing catch up. she started to trail in the polls and the delegate count. she tried the strategy of lining up super delegates. remember that? members of the democratic party elite who could vote for her regardless if she had won their state. if she could get enough maybe she could win that way. she tried just about everything in 2008. she fought so hard and on so many different fronts, i thought there was with every chance the democrats would not have a nominee for president when their nominating convention started in 2008. in the end, in the very end, the obama campaign pull ed it out. the clinton campaign lost. she had gotten this close to the presidency and no closer. this close.
now, true to form. she's back. she's running as the establishment candidate again. and yet this also has been an election of unlikely candidates pulling in huge crowds in surprising numbers. can hillary clinton turn seeming inevitable in to a win this time? how far is bernie sanders going to go with his underdog moment? how hilarious is it that in the national polls either of them, either bernie or hillary beats donald trump, it is an unexpected race so far. the candidates are more fascinating than they look on the surface. that's our tale of the tape tonight. that's our tale of the tape tonight look at the primary but i want to do a republican one. the republican field has a supposedly inevitable candidate and 15 other people besides that guy and a front runner named donald trump. you realize what's in the tape, in the deep archives tape on those guys? this election, i'm telling you, it's a gift from god.