tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC October 21, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT
right now on "andrea mitchell reports," paul ryan makes a deal. he agrees to speaker of the house but has conditions. >> what i told members is, if you can agree to these requests and if i can truly be a unifying figure, then i will gladly serve. >> the waiting game. as he decides whether or not to run for president, joe biden takes a swipe at the woman who could be his chief rival. >> john kerry is a great secretary of state. hillary clinton was a great secretary of state. but there are times when only the vice president, if it's known of his relationship with the president, can speak for the united states. and meeting of the minds. bashar assad showing up in moscow to shake hands with vladimir putin. what does it mean for the u.s. efforts in syria coming up?
and good day. we have breaking news. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. the ten minutes the vice president of the united states will be appearing in the rose garden to make a statement. obviously, this is the go or no-go. i think there's a lot of concern in washington among democrats that this has gone too far, that he has to make an announcement. that, in fact, he's damage, not only hillary clinton and a potential democratic campaign in a general election, but also damaging himself. i was present at a gathering of carter mondale, a tribute to walter mondale. carter and mondale alumni and other democrats, and there was a general concern after joe biden spoke that perhaps this had gone on too far. so we will, of course, be bringing all of this to you live. meanwhile, here in washington,
the other waiting game, paul ryan setting terms for taking the speaker's job. terms that may not be acceptable to party hard-liners. he's sort of channeling frank sinatra saying, i'll do it my way. >> we need to move from an opposition party to being a proposition party. we need to update our house rules so that everyone can be a more effective representative. we as a conference should unify now and not after a divisive speaker election. the last point is personal. i cannot and will not give up my family time. if i'm not unifying, that will be fine as well. i'll be happy to stay where i am at the ways and means committee. >> nbc's luke russert and kelly o'donnell live on capitol hill. obviously, we want to talk about the speaker and what you know. we may interrupt you very quickly because we are waiting now on word from the vice president. and word, of course, from the president of the united states. and we are all gathering here.
kelly, first to you, what you know about whether the freedom caucus, previously known as the tea party, conservatives are willing to go along with paul ryan's terms. and the terms now with a tweet from brandon buck, his spokesman, his terms are not as categorical as previously described. >> reporter: as we have been watching paul ryan want to be wooed into the job he never sought, so to the freedom caucus wants to take its time and a measure of where it stand within the republican conference. there are some points that they are not likely to be happy about in that list of requests. they might say demands from paul ryan. and one of those is this idea of any individual member can challenge the job of the speaker at any time. the term is motion to vacate the chair. paul ryan wants to see changes to that, he wants to take the threat away from any speaker, whether he serves or someone else of decision by decision
being on the chopping block, that's not a good way for leadership to move forward, not good for the republican house and the house more broadly. so that's one issue. also the idea that paul ryan wants to maintain his family time. many people certainly can understand it, respect it. maybe envy the opportunity to spend more time with your family. others are saying, it's too big of a job to make that guarantee. andrea? >> and, of course, while this is all going on, we are all focusing on the decision by joe biden. clearly he has now decided. here with me is howard sheburger. harold, i don't know if he has given you a heads-up. you have spoken to him since last friday since we last talked to him. has he said anything to you about which way it's going? >> well, first of all, any of the conversations i would have with the vice president would be private. but i will say to you that certainly we are preparing
ourselves as if the vice president is going to announce his candidacy for running for president. >> at the same time, we are hearing that the president and vice president will be in the rose garden for this announcement. and we have the democratic ranking member, california congressman here with us, the party is clearly divided over this. you have form ore obama people who have already joined hillary clinton's campaign, including key staff members. you have clinton people watching the vice president wearily. and you have biden supporters in the senate waiting to figure out which way to go, who are obviously very concerned about this and about the damage to the party. has this waiting game already gone on too long? >> i don't know that it's gone on too long. i don't think there's been any real lasting damage by the fact that the vice president has been taking the time to mill through this. it's obviously very important
for his family to make this decision. probably a vast majority of those supporting secretary of clinton will support secretary clinton regardless of the vice president's decision. but it will certainly add a new element to the democratic primary and be a different dynamic thus far with the democratic candidates. so we all wait with baited breath for the vice president's decision. >> last night the vice president was speaking at this carter mondale reunion. and it is similar to what he said yesterday morning, harold. he said, you know, i am the closest to the president. i am closer than the secretary of state. we have two very good secretaries of state. hillary clinton and john kerry, but i'm the one who is in the oval office making the decisions. he also used the occasion of the carter mondale reunion, if you will, the tribute to walter mondale, to make the case that as jimmy carter transformed the role of the vice president, giving walter mondale almost equal footing, that so had
barack obama done the same. and that he as vice president has made more of the job, because the president empowered it. >> i think what's been pretty clear, first of all, his closeness to the president is more than obvious. the loyalty has been shown to the president and the trust that the president had in him to make sure that it's joe biden, the vice president, that he sends sometimes into the most difficult situations to get things done. it's joe biden that goes to the hill because he's able to understand and work across both sides of the aisle to do something that's not happening right now on capitol hill very often. and in this town, and that is actually getting things done. so i'm not going to parse his words from last night. but i would say that it's pretty clear that he has the confidence and has had the responsibility and delivered for our country and the president, whether it's abroad or whether it's here in washington, d.c. to get things
done. >> let me play a little bit of joe biden last night at that tribute to walter mondale. >> i have now traveled over a million, 100,000 miles as president. my wife didn't want me to be secretary of state because i would be traveling too much. john kerry is a great secretary of state. hillary clinton was a great secretary of state. but there are times when only the vice president, if it's known of his relationship with the president, can speak for the united states when the president can't be there. >> now, some people there who are clinton supporters were offended by that. some people also felt that the vice president was signaling too much. one point to make is that this would, since the president we are told is going to be with the vice president, it would certainly signal an embrace of the vice president's candidacy against the president's former secretary of state.
if he's, in fact, announcing that he's running. it might very well be that president obama being there is the strongest signal that -- >> to the clip, what i thought i heard was after acknowledging the incredible performance of two secretary of states, he said, there are times, and i think that qualifying point is accurate. i suspect there are times when it is the vice president of the united states on behalf of the president that has to weigh in or be a spokesman or represent the country. >> understood. would you be willing, would the firefighters be willing to endorse hillary clinton if it turns out vice president biden chooses not to run? >> we will take a look and see exactly what happens after the primary process and be ready to weigh in on the general election. >> but not before the primary process.
>> it would be unlikely. >> so it is only joe biden who would win the endorsement of the firefighters before the primary process. >> well, andrea, we do a very precise and deep process. focus groups, we poll our members nationally, we overlay that with polling from ten battleground states. we poll our leadership and our district vice presidents are out in the field. we have done all that work and know where our members are. and if the vice president announces his candidacy, then that's where we are going to be, we are going to be supporting his candidacy for president. >> and with us now in the breaking news desk in new york, brian williams. >> well, andrea, as you've been covering, we have just learned in the last few moments that as camera crews are rushing to set up in the rose garden at the white house, we are going to hear from the sitting vice president. we are going to hear from, or at least see the president of the
united states. and andrea, as you speculated, what can we make -- what can we assume from that image of both of them? steve kornacki is here with us in the studio. steve, everybody's scrambling to figure out what we are about to witness. >> yeah, and i just spoke with somebody a few minutes ago who very much wants biden to run and doesn't know what the announcement is going to be. but obviously it's a potential clue that the president is going to be there. because this is such a sensitive subject for him if joe biden were to get in this race. his vice president running against his former secretary of state, so many obama people who are already aligned with hillary clinton, the president himself went to great lengths to get former president clinton to speak at the 2012 convention to give that ringing endorsement of him, called him the explainer and chief afterwards. if joe biden were going to be announcing a presidential candidacy today, it is a little hard for me to believe that president obama would want to be there for that. in any way, just to be present
for it, whether he's speaking or not, that would be sending a signal of some kind of support, some kind of encouragement. i don't think that's the kind of message he would want to send at the outset of this primary. >> but let's talk about the clues you have outlined on the air. the signals he has, he, biden, has embedded in his remarks over the last just few days. >> that's the thing. and you look for signs the last few weeks about preparation, about the groundwork being laid, are they building an organization here? i wasn't seeing too much on that front. but then you started to listen to him speak yesterday. he went out of his way twice in the last two days to contrast his attitude toward republicans with hillary clinton's in the debate, where she's proud to have the republicans as enemies. twice out of his way he went to say, i don't think republicans are my enemies at all. we had them talking about, when i travel around the world, i'm actually speaking for the president. you know, the difference between him and hillary clinton there. so he certainly rhetorically in the last week, i started to look at this and say, this does sound like a guy who is starting to
prepare for a presidential candidacy. the other thing that i look at in all of this, though, is i think back to 2010 and 2011. joe biden as vice president, i know one of the things that bothered him in 2010 and 2011 was he was subjected to no shortage of stories back then saying that his position on the 2012 ticket was in jeopardy. i know that was a sensitive subject and felt that went on much too long. that kind of speculation and chatter. so i always thought that's something to keep in mind here, the last few months as he has dangled the possibility of a presidential candidacy, is he tweaking hillary clinton a little bit in the way that he felt he was tweaked by her a few years ago? i've always wondered if there's a dynamic to keep in mind. >> our senior white house correspondent chris jansing is available to talk to us now. chris, we'll keep looking at the lectern in the rose garden they have set up and the technical crews are scrambling right now, i take it.
>> reporter: and i can tell you that i was in a meeting that was a briefing on the climate summit. and one of the aides came in to whisper in the ear of folks and there was a lot of chattering that went on and a quick departure. so obviously this was something that was set, at least the timing of it, pretty much late. it wasn't something they planned for. i think it is also interesting to look at the context of what this might mean for the administration, brian. i mean, if this is a man who josh earnest affirmed what he said yesterday that spends four to seven hours a day at the side of the president who has been key in some of the things that have happened here from budget deals to nuclear deals with the liason with congress on capitol hill, this obviously has strong implications for what happens here even though josh earnest yesterday tried to downplay that aspect of it. but there was a growing, as there has been everywhere, a growing sense that this decision
had to be made. that he needed to move forward. i can tell you that there was electricity in the room i was in with senior white house officials as everybody left that meeting today, brian. >> chris, i think i can make out, i don't have this image on a big screen, i think the seal on the lectern is the seal of the vice president, despite the flag of the presidency and the american flag behind it. that would be a notable difference from most rose garden appearances we have seen. as chris was talking, you saw the black leather portfolio that contained the minutes. that means we are within minutes of seeing the principle. and shortly we believe from the left side of your screen, we will see the vice president joined today by the president for his remarks.
andrea mitchell, as we wait for this moment in washington, what do you have? >> well, brian, this is dicy business, but i've got to tell you that i agree completely with the interpretation. that if this is, indeed, the vice president making his announcement and his decision, and it is the vice president's seal there, to have the president at his side, if he were announcing from the rose garden that he's running for president against the former secretary of state, would be a real departure of protocol, of political protocol for the president to take sides in a democratic primary at this stage. by his presence embracing the vice president over hillary clinton. i think it would be remarkable. so i think that despite the forward leading, and i was at that event last night and saw the vice president speak, i find it really hard to imagine that he's going to take this plunge, if that is indeed what this announcement is. and it is hard to believe it would be anything else with that
seal. if it were a foreign policy announcement, obviously it would be the presidential seal on the lectern and it would be the president. as we see the camera there coming out, here's dr. joe biden and the vice president's wife and the president behind him. >> good morning, folks. please, please, sit down. mr. president, thank you for lending me the rose garden for a minute. >> it's a pretty nice place. >> as my family and i have worked through the grieving process, i've said all along, what i've said time and again to others, that it may very well be that that process, by the time we get through it, closes the window on mounting a realistic campaign for president. that it might close. i've concluded it has closed. i know from previous experience
that there is no timetable for this process. the process doesn't respect or much care about things like filing deadlines or debates and primaries and caucuses. but i also know that i could do this, i couldn't do this if the family wasn't ready. the good news is the family has reached that point, but as i've said many times, my family has suffered loss. and i -- i hope there would come a time, and i've said this to many other families, that sooner rather than later, when you think of your loved one, it brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eyes. well, that's where the bidens are today. thank god. beau -- beau is our inspiration. unfortunately, i believe we're out of time.
the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination. but while i will not be a candidate, i will not be silent. i intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence as much as i can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation. and this is what i believe. i believe that president obama has led this nation from crisis to recovery. and we are now on the cusp of resurgence. i'm proud to have played a part in that. this party, our nation, will be making a tragic mistake if we walk away or attempt to undo the obama legacy. the american people have worked too hard. and we have come too far for that. democrats should not only defend this record and protect this
record, they should run on the record. we've got a lot of work to get done over the next 15 months. and there's a lot of -- there's a lot that the president will have to get done. but let me be clear, that we'll be building on a really solid foundation. but it all starts with giving the middle class a fighting chance. i know you in the press love to call me middle class joe. and i know in washington that means you're not that sophisticated, but it is about the middle class. it isn't just a matter of fairness or economic growth. it's a matter of social stability for this nation. we cannot sustain the current levels of inequality that exist in this country. i believe the huge sums of unlimited and often secret money
pouring into our politics is a fundamental threat to our democracy. and i really mean that. i think it's a fundamental threat. because the middle class will never have a fighting chance in this country as long as several hundred families, the wealthiest families, control the process. it's just that simple. and i believe we have to level the playing field for the american people. and that's going to take access to education and opportunity to work. we need to commit. we are fighting for 14 years, we need to commit to 16 years of free public education for all our children. we all know that 12 years of public education is not enough. as a nation, let's make the same commitment to a college education today that we made to a high school education 100 years ago. children and childcare is the one biggest barrier for working
families. we need, as the president proposed, triple the childcare tax credit. that alone will lead to dramatic increase in the number of women able to be in the workforce and will raise our economic standards. there are many equitable ways to pay for this. often i hear, well, how do you pay for this? there are many equitable ways to pay for this. we can pay for all of this with one simple step, by limiting the tax deductions to 20% of income. wealthy folks will end up playing a little bit more. but it's my guess, and i mean this sincerely, it's my guess they will be happy to help build a stronger economy and a better educated america. i believe we need to lead more by the power of our example as the president has than really by the example of our power. we have learned some very hard lessons from more than a decade of large scale open-ended military invasions. we have to accept the fact that
we can't solve all the world's problems. we can't solve many of them alone. the argument that we just have to do something when bad people do bad things isn't good enough. it's not a good enough reason for america intervention and to put our sons and daughters' lives on the line, put them at risk. i believe we have to end the divisive partisan politics that is ripping this country apart. and i think we can. it's mean spirited, it's petty. and it has gone on for much too long. i don't believe, like some do, that it's naive to talk to republicans. i don't think we should look at republicans as our enemies. they are opposition. they are not our enemies. and for the sake of the country, we have to work together. as the president said many times, compromise is not a dirty word. but look at it this way, folks,
how does this country function without consensus? how can we move forward without being able to arrive at consensus? four more years of this kind of pitched battle may be more than this country can take. we have to change it. we have to change it. and i believe we need to moonshot in this country to cure cancer. it's personal. but i know we can do this. the president and i have already been working hard on increasing funding for research and development because there are so many breakthroughs just on the horizon in science and medicine. the things that are just about to happen. and we can -- we can make them real. with an absolute national commitment to end cancer as we know it today. and i'm going to spend the next 15 months in this office pushing as hard as i can to accomplish
this, because i know there are democrats and republicans on the hill who share our passion, our passion to silence this deadly disease. if i could be anything, i would have wanted to be the president that ended cancer. because it's possible. i also believe we need to keep moving forward in the ark of this nation toward justice. the rights of the lgbt community, immigration reform, equal pay for women and protecting their safety from violence, rooting out institutional racism. at their core, every one of these things, every one of these things is about the same thing. it's about equality. it's about fairness. it's about respect. as my dad used to say, it's about affording every single person dignity. it's not complicated.
every single one of these issues is about dignity. and the ugly forces of hate and division, they won't let up, but they do not represent the american people. they do not represent the heart of this country. they represent a small fraction of the political elite. and the next president's going to have to take it on. most of all, i believe there's unlimited possibilities for this country. i don't know how many of the white house staff and personnel have heard me say repeatedly, that we are so much better positioned than any country in the world. we are so -- i've been doing this for a long time. when i got elected as a 29-year-old kid, i was called the optimist. i am more optimistic about the possibilities, the incredible possibilities to leap forward than i have been any time in my career. and i believe to my core that
there's no country on the face of the earth better positioned to lead the world in the 21st century than the united states of america. washington just has to begin to function again. instead of being the problem, it has to become part of the solution again. we have to be one america again. and at our core, i've always believed that what sets america apart from every other nation is that we, ordinary americans, believe in possibilities. unlimited possibilities. the possibilities for a kid growing up in a poor inner city neighborhood or a spanish-speaking home, or a kid from mayfield in delaware, willow grove in pennsylvania, like jill and i, to be able to be anything we wanted to be, to do anything, anything that we
want, that's what we were both taught. that's what the president was taught. it was real. that's what i grew up believing. and, you know, it's always been true in this country, and if we ever lose that, we've lost something very special. we'll have lost the very soul of this country. when i was growing up, my parents in tough times looked at me and would say to me and my brothers and sister, honey, it's going to be okay. and they meant it. they meant it. it was going to be okay. and some of you covering me, i say, go back to your old neighborhoods. talk to your contemporaries who aren't as successful as you've been. there are to many people in america, too many parents who don't believe they can look their kid in the eye and say
with certitude, honey, it's going to be okay. that's what we need to change. it's not complicated. that will be the true measure of our success. it will not have met it until every parent out there can look at their kid in tough times and say, honey, it's going to be okay. and mean it. that's our responsibility. and i believe it's totally within our power. the nation has done it before in difficult times. i've had the very great good forwhich yfo fortune and privilege of being in public service since i was 25 years old. and through personal triumphs and tragedies, my entire family, my son beau, my son hunter, my daughter ashley, jill, our whole family, and this sounds corny, but we found purpose in public
life. we found purpose in public life. so we intend, the whole family, not just me, we intend to spend the next 15 months fighting for what we've always cared about. what my family's always cared about with every ounce of our being. and working alongside the president and members of congress and our future nominee, i am absolutely certain we are fully capable of accomplishing extraordinary things. we can do this. and when we do, america won't just win the future, we will own the finish line. thank you for all being so gracious to jill and me. for the last six or eight months and for our whole career, for that matter. but i'm telling you, we can do so much more. and i'm looking forward to continuing to work with this man to get it done. thank you. thank you all very much. [ applause ]
>> in the rose garden, the three of them now turn to go back inside the white house. joe biden saying he is not running for president. andrea mitchell among those watching with us in washington, though andrea, he seemingly just gave the speech he would have given had he gotten in. >> yes. we have been told by people around him that when he puts preparing and considering this, brian, when he announced it would be consequential, he would talk about his values and the middle class and about the fight against cancer and about all the things that he cares so deeply about. this was joe biden giving the speech that he would have given had he declared. and his closest people, his sister valerie, his top advisers and all the others were all there in the rose garden in the front rows. so this was a coordinated
decision with the white house, obviously, with the president standing there silently. and dr. jill biden. painful for the biden family. he so wanted to do -- when i was sitting at the dinner last night watching him speak and carter and mondale on stage, and i looked to a legend senator and said, he's going through a withdrawal process, isn't he? so the indications were even though he was taking shots at hillary clinton and he did so again three times in this speech today, talking about how he would work with republicans. we have to work with republicans. they are not our enemies. seizing on what she now says was a joking reference to republicans being her enemy, one of the enemies at the democratic debate last week. and so, again, even though he was taking shots at her and kind of saying i'm closer to the president than the secretary of state is, i'm the one in the oval office. it did seem like it was a last
hurrah last night before today's announcement, making it final. and there are people, passionate people, i'm here with brian schaitberger. he's the labor leader strongest urging him to run and talking to him for the last few days. >> that was my next question. what changed, because it was the firefighters union boss who said, who gave us the last kind of positive indication that this was coming. >> if i may, brian, harold, he didn't declare to you, but he was certainly -- >> and i was very consistent over all the many, many days when asked. and that is, that he was going through the process. he was checking all the boxes. he would ultimately get to the point where he had to make that final personal gut check. we certainly were planning, and i made that clear for his candidacy, but he made that
decision. and we respect that decision. and are confident he will continue, on behalf of working families, workers, the middle class, to advocate on an agenda that will help to make america better. and he will be a positive force on behalf of the issues. an agenda that i know that our international union and the 300,000 firefighters and paramedics that are out there working every day, and other workers and trades and all the other sectors, those issues that are important to them. and so we respect his decision. we move on. and i'm confident that he'll play a critically important role, not only over the next 15 months, but i'm sure far beyond to advance the agenda on behalf of the american people. >> and, brian, i gathereded also
from harold schaitberger, that his union is not prepared to endorse hillary clinton. >> andrea, thanks. here in the studio we have rachel maddow and steve kornacki with me. and i understand on the telephone we are about to lose chris matthews who has been hanging on listening to the vice president's remarks. chris, can you hear me and your reaction? >> reporter: yeah, i think he came off today as the irish wolf hound. he's going to play predator to anyone who challenges the legacy of his boss, barack obama. he made that clear. he also made clear a couple of things. first of all, he said he wanted to run, he was basically ready to run but it's too late, the clock has run out. and he said that was just the factor of going through the process of healing with his family, but he clearly was saying he wanted to run. and he made a point of not endorsing hillary clinton. not a word about her, except for going after big politics. andrea referred to republicans
as enemies. the talk of him being a middle class guy and being put down for that, i completely identify with that. i understand what he's talking about in the sense that he was not sophisticated enough. there was real irish in that statement today by him. that he has been overlooked, passed over by the elites. he referred to them. i think it was very much a kind of speech where the hillary clinton people in hillary land right now listening with it are not happy with it, he said not only would he endorse her, i'm not going to endorse her, but he's going to make sure she sticks to the loyalty to the president. it was a clear bark in her direction. don't mess with our legacy. a strong statement. i thought it was pretty clear. >> chris matthews, thanks. we can only hope for the passengers around you you are not in the quiet car on the amtrak. >> reporter: no way it's the quiet car, brian. >> rachel maddow, i imagine your findings and feelings are much the same. >> it is interesting to see the vice president give these remarks. i did not realize he had notes
with him until the end when he folded them up. he was very much speaking without his notes whether or not he had them in that folder. with his sort of trademark charm and trademark earnestness, but also very subdued joe biden. we all know the emotional range he can display in public remarks. and this was a very subdued biden. it is clear this was a reluctant decision. he had said essentially i want to do it but need to make sure my family is there. now to come out and say my family is there and we have turned a corner in terms of our grief but it's too late. i can't go. by the way, here's what i would say if i could. he even at one point said, if i could be anything, i would have been the president who ended cancer. talking about those other sort of stump speech points he made. clearly this is something he wanted to do but feels like he can't. i disagree with him that the timing is prohibitive at this point. yes, deadlines are coming, i don't think the timing is prohibitive. i think what is prohibitive is that he could not have won.
and maybe in some way that's a timing issue, but i think that hillary clinton is going to steamroll her way to this democratic nomination. i think he knows that and is a political realist about things. and now he'll try to influrs her course and the course of the democratic politics after the obama era to celebrate what they have done in these two terms. >> and as they both mentioned, laying down the markers along the way in his text. >> this will now be, we can see the sort of capstone of his political career was serving as vice president under barack obama. and i think one of the reasons this was such a difficult decision for joe biden is, he's walked up to this moment so many times in his career. you can go back to the christmas of 1983, he flew away to an island with his wife to try to decide if he should jump into the 1984 race for president. every time joe biden has said no in the past, the silver lining was he could go back to the senate seat and he could wait for the next four years. and he did this six different times over the last three-plus
decades. he's going to be 73 years old next month. this administration as he said is coming to an end in 15 months. he'll be retired from politics when this administration ends. so obviously, he takes a great deal of pride in what this administration did. and i think this is a moment where he realizes he's not just saying no to running for president in 2016, he's saying no to ever becoming president. and i think the other reason that's so tough for him, and this gets into what rachel is saying about hillary clinton's position of strength, this is unusual for a sitting vice president, a sitting two-term vice president who wants to be president to basically be told no by his party. you have to go back to harry dueman's vice president, alvin barclay who tried to get the democratic nomination and was told he was too old and they wouldn't give him the nomination. that's how far you have to go to find somebody in biden's position there that wanted it and couldn't get it. >> we'll go to chris jansing on the white house lawn. well, chris, this will change
the tenure of the conversation there. >> reporter: yeah, without a doubt. and i can tell you to pick up on what steve said about legacy, brian, when you talk to senior administration officials over the course of this long decision-making process, the one thing that they consistently were concerned about, and he's beloved here. they believe he has been an extraordinary vice president. you've heard the president himself talk about that. but their concern was that if he did run and not win, what that would mean for his legacy as this extraordinarily influential vice president. he was the guy who was standing next to the president of the united states when the iran nuclear deal was announced. he was also in the rose garden standing next to the president, for example, when the supreme court came down with the ruling on same sex marriage. the two men have become increasingly close over the years, just yesterday joe biden saying, we spend five to seven hours every day together as long as we're both in washington,
d.c. and their families have become close. i think as we learn more about how this decision came together yesterday, there was a meeting, there was the regular weekly lunch that the president and vice president have, but also jill biden and michelle obama are close. their children and the biden grandchildren are close. and so this is something that is deeply felt here. and i think you also saw on the strong show of support with virtually the entire senior staff there from dennis mcdunna to josh earnest to valerie jarrett and susan rice in the rose garden. just one more point to what rachel had to say, i should mention we are told there were two flat-screens set up for the vice president's remarks, although it will be interesting to see if they put out the remarks, if he strayed from them as he often does. but i think that there is some -- i don't want to say
meloncholy, but this is something he's wanted for a long time. and people here who have worked with him for so many years feel so strongly toward him, that i'm sure they sense, they feel a sense of disappointment that he eventually decided that this was something he could not do, brian. >> i was going to ask if there was a teleprompter set up in the back of the rose garden because his head went back and forth during the meat of the speech. and i thought some of that, at least most of that, might be written. joe biden, a democratic person from the state of pennsylvania. ed rendell, a democrat from the state of pennsylvania standing by. ed, i guess everyone was keying in on these, let's call them markers from the vice president. why does he keep mentioning miles flown? why does he keep mentioning how many hours per day he's with the president, his access to the president during the bin laden
raid? everyone suggested it was to tweak the former secretary of state, hillary clinton. will that go on? and can your party, can hillary clinton's campaign sustain that? i'm guessing they won't like it. >> they may not like it and i don't think joe will keep it up if it was intentional. i don't think he'll keep it up. i think he knows hillary clinton will be the nominee most likely. and i think he knows hillary clinton will be the one to preserve the obama/biden legacy by what she does as president if she gets elected. so i think joe will close ranks eventually. and i think it's the right decision for joe. he's been a great vice president. we're all enormously proud of him. but he couldn't have won. there was no space. the bernie sanders folks are going nowhere and willstick with bernie. hillary solidified her people with a great debate performance. there was no political space for the vice president to get in. and i think he understood that. plus i'm not sure he had the
heart, even though he tweaked hillary in his remarks, i'm not sure he had the heart for what he essentially had to have this become, a personal campaign. >> as chris matthews was the first to point out, it sure sounds like he's carving out a role for himself where he can be the defender of all things obama administration. >> right. interestingly, the one big policy difference if joe had gotten many the race would have been on tpp, the trade bill. because all the democratic candidates came out against the trade bill. joe obviously was for it, as i am. so that would have been a major policy difference. but right, i think these going to be the enforcer to make sure no one strays far from home. but if you listen to the debate, brian, and i know you did, no one is straying too far from the president as it is. >> that's right. ed rendell, thanks. let's go to andrea in washington for some reaction among fellow democrats.
>> indeed. we have reaction from will pierce, the executive director of draft biden saying we are so grateful for the gigantic outpouring of support from hundreds of thousands of americans around the country and our effort to encourage the vice president to run. while the respect has decided not to run, we know over the next year he will stand up for all americans and articulate a vision for america's future that will leave no one behind. and i do think that there is some resentment. there's some broken eggs here between joe biden and his supporters and the clinton teams. they were getting increasingly fractious and upset about this. john podesta's interview with me after the debate saying it's time, he should decide. james carville yesterday right here saying he should decide already. so, even barbara boxer and other former senate colleagues saying
that this had dragged on too long and was hurting her. i think doing it the day before the benghazi hearing tomorrow is a graceful act on the vice president's part because -- also, good for him. because if she does not do well at that hearing, which is going to be very long and very difficult, he could then -- this decision, however it was taken, could be misinterpreted. now it's a little bit cleaner and comes after her highs coming of the democratic debate. he looked at the numbers and saw her poll numbers yesterday, 38% of democrats saying to the nbc/wall street journal poll yesterday they did not want him to get in. only 30% wanting him to get in. bernie sanders has a lot of support. so the poll numbers were not in place for him. and just all of the mechanical things you have to do to run for president just became a very heavy lift. >> andrea mitchell. rachel maddow, you heard andrea say there were broken eggs. this party and the republican
party have to be in the omelet business quite shortly to make a case for their nominees. >> it's been interesting to see on the right, particularly in the conservative media, the excitement about the prospect of a biden candidacy. and the sort of savoring on the right of how the continued questions about whether or not joe biden was going to jump in sort of put hillary clinton in a spot and weren't implicit or undermining her as a candidate. so it will be interesting what happens with that storyline clap clap collapsing in the conservative media. but to that point andrea just made so well about the broken eggs here and how this has been difficult and it has gone on for a long time, the other thing that plays into that is how universally beloved joe biden is as an american political figure. and i say this, granted, i'm a liberal and so people think this is me kissing up to the office of the vice president in some way, i don't know, but honestly, i've talked to republicans as
early as this morning, and democrats and people who like the obama administration and people who don't, and joe biden does not have an enemy in the world. and i don't know any other major political figure in my lifetime who has had such universal respect and just genuine personal affection. and so while he may, as ed rendell says, try to be the enforcer for sticking to the obama legacy and may have caused friction with the clinton campaign with how this played out, long view when you have a life-long history of earning people, not just people's respect but affection, that ultimately gets paid back to you. and i think this turns into something positive and uncontroversial about joe biden very, very quickly. only because people love him. >> andrea, the affection for joe biden is -- you know, it has a lot to do with people having watched him in public life endure more than one tragedy.
>> indeed. i first started covering politics, as you know, in philadelphia. our chair home. and he was just then getting into the senate. and that's when that horrible tragedy happened where he lost his first wife, lost his child. the two boys were grievously injured. we have seen those pictures. he was talked into taking the oath of office by mike mansfield, the democratic majority leader, who persuaded the young elected but not sworn in senator that he could commute, that he could do this, he could take care of the children. and that's the way he ran his life. and it was heartbreaking to watch, but he was on that amtrak every single day. it was then called the metro liner. and that was how he took care of the boys. and his sister helped. and the whole family gathered around. and then, of course, he had the blessing of meeting jill biden. and she mothered those kids and
they had their own children as well. so this is a family that has endured so much, even before the tragedy of beau biden. and we have seen him now, when we have seen him in the past couple of weekends, it's been going out to the kids to their soccer games and their track meets and taking care of beau's children. and, you know, he again yesterday was talking about how his family and the obama family are so close. and how his grandkids and the obama girls are in the same school and in the same basketball and soccer teams, and he said last night, one of the things that you'll appreciate, he said that only this past sunday he was telling his granddaughter that she had to go to mass with him, to 9:00 mass, and she said, no, papa, i can't. because i'm being picked up for
basketball. >> nice. that brings you and your comments back to mike mansfield. i would be curious how many people remember the former majority leader. jarrett bernstein is with us as well. he's been very patient. former economic policy adviser to joe biden. jarrett, you know him well. what did you take away from today? >> well, i think that the vice president is going to be a very effective and helpful campaigner to whoever becomes the ultimate primary winner on the democratic side. one of the things that joe biden did really throughout his whole political career, but also in the two successful campaigns with president obama, was to really connect with the middle class. you know, i think president obama is remarkable as a leader. but you could argue he's more
pr professorial than joe biden. he really connects and that will be a great asset for the democratic party. >> as opposed to joe biden the candidate. >> yes. now, there are a lot of personal moving parts here that i won't get into. you certainly heard him speak emotionally in the rose garden today. i guess as his economic adviser, the thing i can tell you is that the, to the extent that the democratic campaign is really coalescing around middle class issues, wage stagnation, the quality of jobs, factory employment, income inequality, wealth accumulation, excesses on wall street, those are issues that real loom large for the vice president. and he'll still have a chance to weigh in on them, but not as a candidate. you know, from where i sit, my perspective, no one is getting in his head or his family's head. he will play a positive role in the campaign, but he doesn't
have to go through the grueling emotional baggage of a presidential election. >> jared, thank you. steve kornacki, important to remember, 24 hours from this moment, we will be taking a breath to sum up how the former secretary of state has done under what is presumed to be, what is predicted to be withering questioning on benghazi. so this is a fraught period of time. >> yeah, and as andrea said, this does change the way we're going to watch the hearings tomorrow and cover the hearings tomorrow. if joe biden were still hovering over the 2016 race, we would be judging clinton's performance in terms of what it means for biden's potential candidacy. oh, he stumbled on this question, now there's an opening for joe biden. now democrats are getting more nervous. by removing himself from consideration before she goes before the committee, i think what andrea was saying is absolutely true. the other thing that i'm struck by just thinking about this, too, is how close joe biden has come so many times to his dream of becoming president of the
united states. to get to the vice presidency, but if you go all the way back to his first campaign, we don't remember it as a very successful campaign. he dropped out before the iowa caucuses with the whole plagiarism scandal. joe biden was politically hot and moving up in the polls before that happened. he has a reputation now for being a bit long-winded. he was known back then as the best on the democratic side. he was raising big money for the campaign and getting people very excited. there was a clear chance for him in 1988 had he won that nomination back then. in 2004 he walked up to the brink of the candidacy and almost jumped in during the summer of 2003. almost the exact same words from then, we just don't have enough time. that's what he said back in 2003 and is saying again today. i think i remember when he was picked for the ticket in 2008, he had run for president in 2008. there was no room for him in the race and he didn't get 1% in iowa. that was the brink of a
lifetime. when he was put on the ticket for vice president, he knew right then that means down the road there could be one more shot for me. and i think that's why it's so hard for him today. >> just talking about the history, it is also remarkable, what does this mean in terms of the last time a vice president succeeded a president in office? we are back to poppy bush in terms of talking about when that happened. we think of that as the natural order of things in politics, but that's not been true for a generation and for a long while yet. >> if you are just joining us, this was the scene in the rose garden where we are used to hearing from the president at the lectern. but as our first camera shots reveal, that there is the seal of the vice president. today this moment belonged to joe biden with his wife, dr. jill biden, and the president alongside of him giving the speech he would have given if he got in, but his speech predicated that he would not be getting in.
he did lay down several markers that he will be among the democratic enforcers keeping alive the legacy and record of president obama. our coverage will continue of this big story, the rest of the stories of the day, in fact, right after this. i was out for a bike ride. i didn't think i'd have a heart attack. but i did. i'm mike, and i'm very much alive. now my doctor recommends a bayer aspirin regimen to help prevent another heart attack. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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unfortunately, i believe we're out of time. the time necessary to mount a winning campaign for the nomination. but while i will not be a candidate, i will not be silent. i intend to speak out clearly and forcefully to influence as much as i can where we stand as a party and where we need to go as a nation. >> if you're just joining us, that was the scene in the rose garden within the past hour. we'll be handing off to thomas roberts in just a moment, but first more on the breaking news
we are covering. hastily arranged announcement in the white house rose garden. the technical crews were given very little time to set up. we knew it was going to be an announcement from vice president joe biden. we just didn't know what it was going to be. and, indeed, he made his intention clear not to get into the race, but then went on to give, if not the very same speech he would have given when announcing, at least the major elements of it dealing with justice and immigration and health care. the fight against cancer, comparing it to a mission to the moon and on and on and on, including education. andrea mitchell watching along with us in washington, andrea, let's talk more about this in the context of the next 24 hours. you have former secretary of state hillary clinton going before the committee in the congress tomorrow to talk about benghazi. so all eye w