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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  December 15, 2015 10:00pm-12:01am PST

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that's why there's coricidin® hbp. it relieves cold symptoms without raising blood pressure. so look for powerful cold medicine with a heart. coricidin® hbp. trump commits to the republican party. let's play "hardball." the last republican presidential debate from the year is just wrapping uh. for too long, i would say, ever since the build-up to the iraq war, with' been waiting for a real debate on war policy in the republican party. is tonight, we got it. on one side, we heard the candidates who want to keep to the george w. bush policy of regime change as a policy of knocking off governments we don't like. jeb bush, of course, marco
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rubio. carly fiorina, john kasich, chris christie. tonight, these candidates were among the strongest tonight in their hawk talk. here's a look at tonight's hawk talk on stage. >> we're not going to read you your miranda rights. >> one of the things i would immediately do in addition to defeating them here at home is bring back the warrior class, petraeus, mcchrystal, keen, flynn. every single one of these generals i know. >> let's be absolutely clear. isis and radical islamic terrorism will face no more determined foe than i will be. >> we have to go massively where we destroyed saddam's ability to take kuwait. we need to have a coalition that will stand for nothing less than the total destruction -- >> frankly, it's time that we punch the russians in the nose. >> i will tell you this.
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i'm a former federal prosecutor. i fought terrorists and won. when we get back in the white house, we will fight terrorists and win again and america will be safe. >> that's the usual republican argument, quite hawkish. we're going to take down assad and do what we did in iraq. regime change is the policy. on the other side from the republican party's recent history, you had an equal balance of people saying no way we're going to do that again. donald trump, ted cruz, dr. ben carson, rand paul. all arguing that we should not g b in the business of regime change. tonight, they were led, of course, by donald trump. >> in my opinion, we spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly if they were there and we could have spent that $4 trillion in the united states to fix our roads, our bridges and all of the other problems, our airports, and a you would of the other problems we've had, we would have been a lot better off. i can tell you that right now.
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we have done a tremendous disservice, not only to the middle east. we've done a tremendous disservice to humanity. the people who have been killed, the people that have been wiped away and for what? it's not like we had victory. it's a mess. the middle east is totally destabilize, a total and complete mess. i wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. i wish it was spent right here in the united states on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports. and everything else that are all falling apart. >> you just heard the asalt on the george w. bush policy of taking over iraq. we've been waiting for years on a real debate on war policy. i believe tonight we got it. casey hunt, former rnc chair michael steele, howard fineman. i want you to talk about this, because i was stunned.
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one little voice out there, rand paul, tried to yes the iraq policy of george w. bush and got blown away by rudy giuliani who never went anywhere in the party in the presidential fight. but blew away that thought. tonight, it was a real debate. >> you're absolutely right, chris. i nouthought in a way that it w historic in the way the republican party seems to view himself. don't forget, donald trump isn't just any candidate. he's the national front-runner. i think ben carson, ted cruz and rand paul, son of ron paul, are all on that side of the argument. if you put their numbers together, they form by far the majority of support in the race so far in iowa and nationally. i think it's utterly fascinating. and if donald trump is as good a salesman as he's proved to be so far, if he has as good a sense of the marketplace as he seems to have, then the fact that he's all in on saying we shouldn't
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have taken out saddam hussein, we shouldn't have taken out gadhafi, we shouldn't have let mubarak lose power in cairo. if he's saying in a sense, leave assad where he is. if he's doing all of those things, that is a significant shift in the history of the modern republican party in a debate that goes back among republicans all the way to eisenhower and taft in the 1950s. ronald reagan settled that argument, we thought, for engagement in the world, including military interventions. although ronald reagan himself was quite careful. he talked a lot, he was strong in his anti-communism, but he was careful in his use of military power to effect regime change nap's what these people are roping towards. if they get there, that i ear going to dominate the republican party. they already are. >> michael steel, we have a lot of clips to show in the next two
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hour, kbu one of the clips said we will have a no-fly zone. and wolf blitzer said what if you do there's a russian plane flooiing over syria? shoot it down. during the cold war, we made a point of not doing that. he said no, we're not going to go to world war iii. >> that's a hell of a debate and i thought it was a powerful exchange with rand paul sort of clarifying, you know, if you want to go to world war iii, then this is your candidate. chris christie. he tried to make it clear, this is a very important line of demarcation within the gop. whether you're talking about the neo-con caucus approach, or you're talking about something that does go back to reagan and the 1950s cold war mentality which is an on the ground assessment of your opponent before you act. >> like china in 1954. >> that's right. >> let's watch this fight. get everybody back in here.
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chris christie sounded like he was itching far war in russia. and rand paul going at him. >> would you be prepared to shoot down a russian plane and risk war with russia? >> not only are we prepared to do it, i would do it. a no-fly zone means a no-flooi zone. and yes, we would shoot down the planes of russian pilots if they were stupid enough to think that this president was the same feckless weekling that the president we have in the oval office is right now. >> we want in a leader someone with judgment, not someone who is so reckless as to stand on the stage and say yes, i'm jumping up and down, i'm going to shoot down russian planes. i think when we think about the judgment of someone who might want world war iii, we might think about someone who might shut down a bridge because they don't like their friends. >> steve schmidt, i've been waiting for it. we got it. >> look, judgment and restraint are important hallmarks in a
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commander-in-chief. and through the entire history of the cold war, american foreign policy was built in a communication network with the soviets to avoid misunderstandings, to avoid accidents. to avoid something that could precipitate the launching of nuclear missiles. and when you talk about shooting down a russian debate, tough talk in a debate, that's not serious talk. that was a mistake by chris christie who otherwise had a good debate. it's unthinkable for an american presidential candidate to bluster about shooting down the aircraft of a nuclear power like russia. and one of the things that we should learn from the barack obama presidency is you don't draw red lines that you're not prepared to enforce. meaningless threats are just that -- meaningless. that was a meaningless threat. it's not really based. and this debate we saw tonight, i don't think the fault line, chris, is between ron paul. i think it's between the reagan
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foreign policy and the george w. bush foreign policy. between a realist foreign policy and a neo-con foreign policy. when you heard ted cruz making a very sophisticated argument about tonight was the primary focus of america's national security interest is stability. and .sometimes that stability comes with our dealing with and recognizing the legitimacy of very unsavory regime, that the spread of democracy often leads to chaos. and what makes a democracy is not an election in that part of the world, it's the rule of law. and a lot of these elections in these countries lead to regimes that have an impostition of sharia law. we seem not to have enough politicians in the republican party that understand that.
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>> thank you for that. well said, steve. i want to thank everyone who's joining us. we're joined by mike huckabee. he took part in the earlier debate tonight. he's be let's watch a bit of that.. >> are you ready to assure the republican party that you're ready to support the nominee? >> i really am. i feel very honored to be the front-runner and i think i'll do very well if i'm chosen. if .i'm so fortunate to be chosen. polls have come out that say i will beat hillary. i will do everything in my power to beat hillary clinton. >> i hate to ask you about another candidate -- >> but you're going to anyway. >> ten minutes ago, he said he wasn't going to try any third party campaign. >> it was a big deal to get donald trump to commit he would support the republican party and the nominee.
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in other words, he was basically demanded to pledge his loyalty to the party, but chris, it goes both ways. the party has to pledge their loyalty to donald trump if he's the nominee. i just works that way. >> are you ready? >> if he's the nominee, yes. >> another former governor of your party said he wouldn't back him. >> i made that commitment when i decided to run for president. the republican party spent millions of dollars to build infrastructure for us to run. if we want to receive the benefits of being a part of the party, we have to accept that there are some responsibilities that go with that. michael is the party chairman. >> you're an honorable man. offcamera, yo you're not like cruz who goes off to the fundraising people and say the guy is a little, you know what i mean. >> yesterday, today and forever. and then so it's a matter of honor and integrity. either we keep our word or we don't. >> let me ask you about the
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debate that i'm focusing on. i thought wolf did a great job tonight. >> i agree with you. >> he ignored the rules that all of you guys agreed to. >> yeah. back when we wept b into iraq, it was a popular thing. we went to war, it became an unpopular thing. but all through that, there wasn't much real debate within your party. ron paul was an isolationist, that kind of monetary policy. he was shouted down when he tried to oppose the iraq policy. tonight, i counted four candidates were on that stage to flight, donald trump, ted cruz, ben carson and rand paul, all four said we're wrong to get into regime change and we're wrong to do it again in syria. the other five said no, let's keep it up, we've got to knock off assad. are you with the five or the four? >> in the early debates, one of the things i pointed out -- >> you weren't with either the five or the four. but where are you in con snept. >> i don't think assad is our immediate concern.
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our immediate concern are the terrorists who are coming to kill americans. the people who are kidnapping and murdering americans and murdering christians in the middle east. do i want assad to stay in power? no. is that my high fryarty? no, it isn't. our citizens are getting shot at. ours are kbeting bombed. ours are getting blown up at the boston marathon finish line and that's what we've got to stop. >> and our christians over there, too, you mentioned. >> absolutely. they're being beheaded. >> i'm with you on that. i just think it's interesting you single them out and say i care about the christians over there. >> the christians are being targeted. they're being hunted double play and beheaded in larger numbers. but there are also muslims being killed. anybody who doesn't agree to the caliphate, anyone who doesn't bow down to this radical form of jihad, they're targeting for murder. >> what's happened to your party? you've run a number of times. you may do well in iowa again. i don't know, iowa is an
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interesting place. steve king, people like that there. tonight, you're looking at numbers in your party that show trump over 40, jeb bush, the heir to the throne, if you will, at 3. what happened? you're in there somewhere. >> it's almost like this year, the experience you have will be used against you. on the stage where i was on, there were four of us, come beaned, we had more government experience than -- >> that's my question. >> we had more than the nine people on the second stage. >> you had trump with no government experience. fighting with two young senators who have a combination of five years between them. >> yeah. >> where's the experience among the leaders? >> we to start reminding people, you would never put your grand kids on an airplane piloted by a volunteer who had never been in the cockpit. the presidency is not an entry-level job. it's not a time to put someone in and say hey, maybe he'll be up to it. let's see if he can get behind
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the controls and pull the throttle back and get this thing off the ground. >> why do people think like that? >> they're mad and they don't trust government. and anybody who's been in government, they just lump us all together. >> it's a rap sheet. >> i have never been in washington -- >> you and kasich say i've been in government, but i've never been to washington. >> he has, but i haven't. but i have gorned in a state that was 90% democrat. i know how to work with people and get things done. >> it's a small point, mr. republican governor. the people of the district of columbia they didn't elect those people in washington. they're all sent toe washington by the 50 state. you understand? >> once they get there, chris -- >> they' been sent there by the elected states like arkansas. >> once they get there, they never leave. it's like the roach motel. they go in, they never get out.
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>> i'm guilty, one of the roaches. >> an epic battle between bush and trump. things got heated here. let's watch. >> donald is great at the one-liners. but he's a chaos candidate. and he would be a chaos president. >> jeb doesn't really believe i'm unhinged. he said that very simply because he has failed in the campaign. it's been a total disaster. nobody cares. >> donald, you're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency. that's not going to happen. and i do have the strength pop i thought it was very unfair that virtually the entire early portion of the debate was trump this, trump that. in order to get ratings, i guess. >> mr. trump, i was on cnn last night watching -- >> excuse me. i think it's very unprofessi unprofessional. >> it wasn't cnn. i watched you last night for 60 minutes. it's not cnn. it's not cnn. it's america watching you. >> okay, fine.
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>> so i was mentioned so i can bring up something, right? the simple fact is if you think this is tough and you're not being treated fairly, imagine what it's going to be like dealing with putin or the president in chief or dealing with islamic terrorists. >> you're a tough guy, jeb. >> we need to have a leard that is -- >> real tough. >> you're never going to be president of the united states by insuting your way -- >> i'm at 42 and you're at 3. d. >> doesn't matter. >> i'm doing better. you started here and you're moving further enand further. pretty soon you're going to be off the end. >> that wasn't very grown-up. you have rand paul. i just want to make one point. there's jeb bush clearly given some words to use tonight. we call it software. i don't think it made much difference. can he take over, kate? >> i'm standing here with senator rand paul who you've been talking quite a bit about and really taking a different stand. senator, i'm wondering, where do
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you think the voters are on this question of where the republican party should be in standing in the world. you really took a different stand from candidates like chris christie. >> well, i think to be successful, to be a strong country, you can't do it from bankruptcy court. we can't keep spending ourselves into oblivion. war is very expensive. we have to decide, are we going to always be responsible for deciding all of the leaders in the middle east? and has it worked? has it helped us? when we toppled gadhafi, did it make the world a safer place? i think it made the world more chaotic and allowed us to have a failed state in libya. now they're a nest for terrorism. i think we did have a good debate and it's an important debate. i think the first time you're really seeing a real demarcation and a separation within the republican party over what is the appropriate policy. i'm hoping this leaks a little bit into the democrat debate because frankly, hillary clinton is a big supporter of regime change. she and marco rubio are actually
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very similar. it would be interesting to get her into the mix and for people to ask her, is regime change a good idea. these were good republican questions. we would like to see some of them in the democrat debate. >> do you think marco rubio has the same foreign holcy as hillary clinton? >> almost identical. they both believe in regime change, they both believe in a no-fly zone. crist christie, my goodness, world war iii is around the corner if we get chris christie. we went 70 years in the korld war trying not to have confrontation. we haven't have a president who's reckless. >> hillary clip ton and marco rubio being called neo-conservatives. >> that is great. you had a great bite for him. he's saying basically the ideological line there is no longer between republicans and democrats, it's got hillary an rubio on the same side against
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him, trump, carson and cruz. not wanting to knock off governments anymore. >> it's interesting carson and cruz coming down on the same side as this particularly against rubio, chris. >> i thought it was a great debate in that sense. you're somewhere in this big room somewhere, casey. i know you are. i think you're behind me somewhere. i want to go to michael steele, your party has a real edebate tonight. a lot of aye si high school stuff. but it was a pretty balanced debate of those who say we've been on the wrong course of knocking off governments. libya, iraq, we helped bring down mubarak. we've been trying to do something with syria. we just seem to knock off these jokes and these dictators and getting worse.
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we always get somebody worse. >> the idea is that we go in on the premise of regime change. no one asks the question, so when you change the regime, what are you left with? this has been going on. i got into trouble when i was chairman making this point. other republicans have been drowned it oas you mentioned. now it's got a space and a voice and a party. i think overall it's a healthy space for a party to be in for a country that comes into grips and to terms. standing closer where the people of the country are. >> does rubio know he's fighting the old neo-con war that they don't like right now? >> i think the cruz/rubio dynamic on foreign policy a the central dynamic right now. >> it's a debate. >> rubio trying to cast cruz as
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more like rand paul on foreign policy. cruz is trying to seek a balance. he wants to be between rand paul, ron paul and john next mccain. not totally for intervention in the way some of the old hawks are. >> you're in the party. you have to consult these guys. is there a middle position between the party of george w. bush scene the party of what was a couple of months ago, the rand paul/ron paul party. >> i don't think the ron paul analogy is the right one. i think ron paul is a legitimate isolationist and the tradition of taft. you know, he was repudiated by rudy giuliani because he essentially blamed the 9 slrch 1 1/11 attacks on american foreign policy, not the hatred of the jihadis. what we're having a debate about is a restoration of ary gan-era foreign policy. ronald reagan was not a military adventurer. these were presidents who argued
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for restraint in the practice of american foreign policy generally. we didn't want to have a direct confrontation with the soviet union. we wanted to limit nuclear weapons. we wanted to be very circumspect about the use of force. we go back to the powell doctrine. we have a strategy about how we send the american army to war. we have the support of the populati population. we have a clear plan for victory. we use overwhelming force. we have an exit strategy. what all of this debate is about tonight is time and time again, whether it's hillary clinton and president obama in libya or iraq, we topple these regimes with no idea, no plan for what comes next. and ted cruz is on the right side of this debate in terms of public opinion. >> what ted cruz is trying to do and robert alluded to it, is that on the one happened, he's saying no, we don't want regime change. and i think that he and donald
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trump and ben carson and rand paul are all in agreement on that. and the fact that the dominant players in the race are saying that is of great significance. what ted cruz is trying to do that ronald reagan didn't do is talk with a blustery texas swagger about what he's going to do militarily to isis at least from the air. and so he's trying to blend that caution that steve is talking about with a bluster about isis that will satisfy anticipate try to calm the fears of the american people. and he's very shrewd about how he's approached it. but don't forget, donald trump is trying to stand astride both of these things. on regime change and on immigration. and so far, he still remains somebody that those other two people have to get past, meaning cruz and rubio. and they didn't necessarily do it tonight. >> can i just add, though, to howard's point.
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one of the stories, it's a big story in conservative media in this country, are the rules of engagement concerning the air strikes that are under way against the islamic state in the bombing and raqqah. enormous number of air missions returned with their ordinance under the wing of the plane because the target list is not approved at a political level. not so different than the vietnam war. so what ted cruz is doing is he's signaling to a republican audience, listening to conservative media that he will kill the fighters of the islamic state. but that is proportional. that is not talking about wholesale regime change or cultural change in these countries. >> although i don't know that ronald reagan would ever say he wants to make the sand glow. >> no, in a tempered statement of the commander-in-chief for sure. >> anyway, was impressed tonight with that debate. i think one of you guy, reporter, it may have been you, michael, that suggested the real debate tonight was going to be between cruz and rubio.
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i didn't think it was going on ton foreign policy and it was. it was clearly cruz drawing this line from a reaganite restraint, but at the same time, macho. but not being the adventurer, going into the country, changing their cultures, getting us into the kind of mess we've been in in the middle east for many years. michael steel, robert costa, steve schmidt and howard fineman are all sticking with me. coming up, much more on tonight's main debate. the candidates are coming here. this is "hardball." we have to talk about trump saying he's not going third party. that's a big development, i think. it's because he's the front-runner and think headquartes he's got it, maybe. >> if i'm elected president, we will secure the border. we will triple the border patrol. we will build a wall that works and i'll get donald trump to pay
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>> if you elect me president, we will have a president that believes we're the greatest country in the world and we'll have a president that acts like it. >> again and again tonight, senators marco rubio and ted cruz clashed over starkly different world views. >> it's a budget that would radically reduce what we spend on our mill farp. >> isis and radical iz rammic terrorism will face no more determined foe than i will be. we will utterly destroy them by
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targeting the bad guys. and one of the problems with marco's foreign foreign policy is he's far too often supported hillary clinton and barack obama undermining governments in the middle east that have helped radical islamic terrorists. we need to focus on killing the bad guys not getting stuck in stifl wars. >> it sounds like what he's outlining is not to lead at all. we must believe we're the most powerful nation in the world. we need to act like it again. >> wow. 3 when you get into these district attorney baits with rubio, it's easy. just talk to a neo-i don't know. he wants to knock off iraq and libya. now do it with syria. >> i thought we really had a substantive debate over regime change. >> four watter would have liked this. >> this is something that
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ignites marco rubio and hillary clinton. they both supported the regime change in rib yeah. they supported it in syria. but i've been operating the opposite. they're less safe when they topple these regimes. if we were to topple assad. all the neocons wanted to, isis would be in charge of all of syria now. it's a wonderful debate to have. maybe we're going to finally learn from history. regime change hasn't helped us to become more safe. a. >> casey, take over. >> he has to go out and he has to do his thing. he's a three. the polls just came out at 42. i think i would do the exact same thing. i thought that it was unfair that cnn was leading him along like that.
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i really enjoyed this evening. i think jeb tried very hard. he's having a hard time, let's face it. >> senator cruz didn't follow through with any attacks on you tonight. and you seemed to back off some of your earlier criticism. >> we have a very good relationship. and i was very -- i was very happy to see that he backed off the statements that he made. >> time goes by. a. >> you saw cruz not willing to go after trump in tonight's debate. we're going to hear more if cruz will criticize trump as some people are privately saying has happened.
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>> casey hunt who was with donald trump, of course. what do you make of this politics where cruz makes snide comments about trump in a fundraising group and then shows up and says i'm not going to repeat that in public. >> the most important exchange was when i made sure vote voters knew in order to close the internet, you would have to get a troublesome thing called a first amendment to the constitution. and so people need to realize how outlandish the things that he is saying. what they would amount to. he's talking about 3-year-old kids or something. that would go against the geneva convention and really most american sensibilities to kill women and children. and people need to understand that. >> why do 3 out of 5 republicans say they like his proposal for at least a temporary ban on musliming coming into the country.
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your father likes that idea. >> i don't think yet they've heard everything he has to say or the implications of it. he just says i might want to close that internet thing. but that would contravene the first amendment. you would have to say no more speech on the internet. his propositions are more outstandish. >> do you actually believe they take him literally? or he says i'm going to do something about immigration. i'm going to say i'll build a wall but i'm going to get serious about enforcing the law. >> i think as the election gets closer -- >> listening but saying come on, i get his point but i don't think he's going to go that far. >> i think that's a big part of the debate now. his opponents, myself, we need to explain to people that what he's talking about is outlandish. getting rid of the first amendment to the constitution, a pretty big deal.
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>> huckabee said one of the requirements is to be reciprocal. and to back him if he's the nominee. would you back him? he says he would republican as a republican. he would not run third party. should you support him in he wins? would you support him if he wins? >> i pledge to support the nominee. but i can tell you that it won't be with a great deal of enthusiasm. i can tell you that i'm very concerned he would be the nominee. i think he would be wiped out in a landslide. i don't want him to be the nominee. i would do everything in my power to keep him from being the nominee by pointing out the things he's for not really good. >> give the question to senator rand paul. >> well, senator paul, i want to go -- >> uh you're going to have to relay to me. >> where do you go next in trying to make that case? and is the biggest imperative in this race to explain donald trump to the american people and the way you think it's you are
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jept that he be explained. and how does that take place? and is that the number one priority. >> howard has a great question. how do you interpret and get people to think about what trump -- the implications, the consequences of what sound right from trump? >> i think by putting them out there, you have to characterize them and recharacterize them and make people think. they might as first think yeah, we don't want terrorists on the internet. what's the implication of that? shutting down the internet. we will no longer allow speech on the internet. you can't shut down certain parts of speech and parts of the first amendment, frankly, if for those of us who lives in the country is sometimes we will have objectionable things we will have to hear. >> we got a hold of dr. ben carson. >> thanks. first of all, we have to do a better job -- >> we're standing here with dr. ben carson who's currently talking about his potential trich to israel. let's take a listen.
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>> we need 23409 only to monitor it but to put out alternative mess annals, and we need to use cyberwarfare. we need to be working with their server servers. we need to be working with the imams and the clerics and the moderate muslims. they need to understand that they need to be working with us to identify radicals and radicalized elements. if they can't identify them, how are we supposed to identify them. if we can't identify them, that's going to affect our policies. so it will work out, you know, much better if they will join our efforts than if they sit on the sidelines and do nothing. >> i just want to ask you, you worked harder to tie your biography. beautiful like you succeeded? you've fallen quite far here in the polls as the race has turned towards terrorism? >> i don't know that i spent a
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lot of time tying my biography into tonight. i'm not sure the premise of your question is correct, but i'm very pleased with what happened tonight. there's a false narrative that he can't possibly know anything about foreign policy. i think i demonstrated that i do. i could demonstration to a much greater degree. >> you said you don't think people have to be rude to be heard in this presidential race. do you think that donald trump is being rude? do you think h that he's somebody that, sar, iowa voters, we of b would say iowa nice would go for it? o. >> you may notice i don't spend a lot of time talking about other people. i'm not going to start now. >> thank you for your time. appreciate it. chris, back to you. . >> thank you. governor john saysic. tonight's debate was we need people to experience an executive decision making. you, governor christie, i'm not sure who el. trump in his own business world
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as a billionaire. but then you look at the fight, it seems to be right now between two freshman senators say that they're better at trump and they don't have any more experience than he has. >> these guys right behind him in the poll don't have any experience in executive government. >> look, the polls. >> where is your party at when it comes to executive ability? >> 53, 54 days you're going to see new hampshire and then we're going to know. we're going to see iowa before that, but then we're going to see new hampshire and see who emerges. in depth about isis and assad. i was able to talk about enkripg. even able to talk a little bit about the economy. i was very pleased with tonight.
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>> these things are complicated. >> christie and george w. bush. and fiorina. >> i'm for regime change in syria, but but i never would have been for regime change in iraq if saddam did not have weapons of mass destruction. >> where we thought he was a threat to us, i thought he was going to be a threat to us. >> how was iraq -- >> the whole world was with -- >> who thought iraq was going to attack the united states. it never had. >> when he had weapons of mass destruction, even colin powell, one of the most respected national security generals ever -- >> he saluted his boss. >> look, i have a history of this.
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we went to war in lebanon. >> one of the great regrets. >> if he wnt known there were wuk, there was no way i would have thought we should go. so i had a vote in lebanon. and president reagan wanted to have the troops in lebanon. and i was one of the 14 republicans to say no. and your old boss supported it at the time. why do i want to remove him? iran, russia, assad. >> it's adventurism, us getting involved in what we don't belong with. >> what do we gain if we knock off assad? it will stop -- you know who his big funders are, it's iran. iran wants to own syria.
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who else? the russians. who are also aligned with iran. how about the saudis coming out today and saying they've got a coalition of 35 or 40 people to go destroy isis. that's pretty impressive. >> you have a position expressed tonight really well including right here. thank you john kasich who remembers tip o'neill. when we come back, we're going to hear from donald trump. you're watching "hardball" a place for politics. live from las vegas. the last presidential debate of the year. this is the one place we're not afraid to fail. some of these experiments may not work. but a few might shape the future. like turning algae into biofuel... technology for capturing co2 emissions... ...and cars twice as efficient as the average car today. ideas exxonmobil scientists are working on
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we're back from las vegas, and robert, the washington post is joining us right now, i want to go to robert, you're in the business of running main news stories. what's the main bar story tonight? >> trump was calm. trying to protect his front runner status. cruz and rubio defining the party when it m dos to policy battles. >> what about the decision by trump to lay on the line and say i'm going as a republican, i'm a republican candidate, there's no third party option for me? >> he underscored it, he sees the nomination in sight, he's signaling, i'm with you. he was not as pugnacious as usual. had exchanges with bush and others, but was steady. >> that was a statement that his lead is solid?
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>> i think he thinks his national lead is solid. iowa and new hampshire, he's not going to fold. >> how will this translate and crosswalk to a better show in iowa? >> i think he showed a steadiness on foreign policy. he didn't become full of insults tonight, and the iowa voters, they care about temperament -- >> they do, don't they? they don't like nastiness. >> new hampshire, they like the fight and antiimmigration reform rhetoric. they like the hardline, words and insults. in iowa, it's an evangelical crowd. >> they drive past a car accident and don't look. >> they stop. >> i think they do look, but they like to say they don't. >> right. >> let me ask you about the republican party, what i'm stunned sbi a couple things, three out of five republicans, when you polled them, they like the tough, perhaps unconstitutional position of saying no more people of the islamic faith allowed in the
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country far while. they know it's illegal. >> you have bush trying to call trump out on this front, but whether it gets him any traction, who knows? they're trying to play truth teller to trump. whether that's a path dominated by trump, with trump on the issue. >> you know the question i was trying to get to with rand paul. and i said, really people like biblical scholars take trump at his word. really take everything there's going to be a wall or really hear from him, at least this guy's going stop illegal immigration? is that what they hear? that's what i hear, what do you think the people hear? >> they like that he projects strength. that's what they're looking for, a wall, someone who's going to come through, anti-politician. not the enthusiastic rhetoric or the proposal, that's what he projects. >> what happened the last two or three weeks from 25 to almost 40, over 40? was it paris? i think it was paris, what do you think? >> it's not just paris, everyone's trying to capitalize on paris so to say they're the leader, the hawk, he's
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different, he's different. he's a contrarian voice when it comes to his proposal for muslims in immigration. party leaders think it's going to cost him, but in a primary, test helping trump. >> let's look at jeb on trump. trying to get back to the fight. i think he looked very coached tonight. everything he said was prepared, and trump sort of like, he just pushed him back. let's watch. >> two months ago, donald trump said that isis was not our fight. just two months ago. he said that hillary clinton would be a great negotiator with iran. and he gets his foreign policy experience from the shows. >> come on. >> that is not a serious kind of candidate. we need someone that thinks this through, that can lead our
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country to safety and security. >> when he lectures him like that, i don't know. it's not for his benefit. who is he actually letting him? our benefit? we're supposed to be impressed by the way he lectures donald trump. there's something school marmy about it. i don't know. >> i thought towards the end there as the debate wound down and trump was waiting to get off the stage without blowing his stacker -- and robert is right, he kept his cool -- i thought that those practiced lines by jeb got a little bit under donald trump's skin at the very en. it didn't in the end matter at all. and what jeb is trying to prove, i don't know. he criticized donald trump for being a man of one-liner and sound bites. but every one of those attacks was carefully rehearsed. i think some of them were pretty clever. some of them were funny.
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i don't know that it's going to help jeb bush at all. and it's certainly not going to slow down donald trump. so in the end, it was kind of a sad side show, and kind of cota to trump's continuing on on his march. and jeb not really -- not really being able to gain any kind of traction. i wanted to mention one other thing about trump and his demeanor that robert was talking about. it's not just the demeanor many iowa the other thing they like in iowa is iowa is not a military state. there isn't a single big military installation in iowa. even among republicans, it's a very popular thing to say, no regime change, let's be careful about what we're going to do. and that's one reason why cruz has done well and one reason why donald trump still has a fighting chance in that state. >> let me go to steve. steve, you've counselled or consulted with candidates a lot. i just think that -- let's put it this way. jeb bush is not a one liner guy. when you give him these one liners, they just don't seem to fit him. he's diffident, he's professorial. they don't look like him. every time he does this, trump says you're only say this to win.
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no doubt he was. >> bush has gone from center of the stage to the edge of the stage. he's out of room to maneuver. he's at 3%. it's at the middle of the december. increasingly, as you look at some of the candidates on the debate stage tonight, it's not just jeb bush. it's jb bush, carly fiorina, rand paul, very, very difficult to articulate what their path is to a comeback to the nomination, to an early stay win. so he's got to say something. he's got to show some fight. clearly the way you show fight, you show strength is by going after the toughest guy in the room. but i think for jeb bush it's late in the game and the days are getting short. >> it's late in the game. you know, for example, these are little cosmetic things. i wear glasses when i read and i wear them in the movies. there's nothing wrong with wearing glasses. but here's a guy who never seemed to be in public in glasses and all of a sudden he's showing up with these
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professorial glasses. wire rimmed glasses. there's something intellectual and tired about -- diffident is a good word. >> chris, he doesn't even look like george w. bush. he doesn't look like george h.w. bush. he sort of looks like prescott bush. he's like burrowing back into the -- he's burrowing back into the connecticut yankee history of the family. for something to grap on to in terms of his identity. and look, the whole thing has been misbegotten from the beginning. knowing and covering jeb, i never thought his heart was in it, even if he had $100 million in his bank account. i don't think he was ever really gaited for this, especially in the atmosphere we're in right now. it's just -- it just -- it just has been all wrong from the very beginning.
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and, you know, i think he could take a little satisfaction that he got under donald trump's skin a little bit tonight. but that's the most pyric of victories. who cares at this point. >> you had the "saturday night live" sketch this week. of course, with president bush reentering the race, you know, the brilliant will ferrell. but you also had the skit of jeb bush to the sound of the sarah mclaughlin song, the humane society setup. you know, donate to help bush. it's just like he's got ton a place in the race, it's real tough to dig out of, for sure. >> chris christie took time out to contrast his rivals from the senate. take a look at this. >> i want to talk to the audience at home for a second. if your eyes are glazing over like mine, this is what it's like to be on the floor of the united states senate. i mean, endless debates about how many angels on the head of a pen from people who never had to
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make a consequential decision in an executive position. for seven years, i had to make these decisions after 9/11. yet they continue to debate about this bill and the subcommittee. nobody cares about that. what they care about is are we going to have a president who knows what they're doing to make these decisions. this is the difference between having been a federal prosecutor and actually doing something and spending your life as one of 100 debating it. let's talk about how we do this. not about which bill these guys like more. people don't care about that. >> could it be, guys, the reason he keeps talking about his history as a federal prosecutor, not as a governor because the one executive decision we all imagine he made was stop the traffic on the bridge and screw the mayor from ft. lee, because otherwise he wasn't in charge. steve, you handle this hot one. he's bragging about his executive about, his control of events. how he has to make the tough calls.
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and there's one thing we've been dealing now and the trials are yet to come. did he or did he not exercise kpeg tif control over the people in his immediate governor's office or didn't he? why is he bringing that up? >> republican voters care less about the bridge than even democratic voters care about hillary clinton's e-mails. it's not an issue in the republican primary. you know, one thing about chris christie you should understand is that the endorsement of the union leader in new hampshire, the fact that marco rubio is not particularly present in the state, you look at where kasich is -- i thought kasich had another middle to not too great debate performance out on the stage. chris christie has got some growth in new hampshire yet to come. i think he's going to collapse kasich's numbers. he's going to take a point or two out of fiorina. chris christie has a path to win this new hampshire primary.
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and if chris christie wins this new hampshire primary, he gets to go forward. me's a formidable politician, he's a gifted communicator. we're at the stanl of the race now, you have to win somewhere early. you can't get deep into this without winning anywhere. and candidates that can't point with a realistic scenario where they're going to win early, you know, in the first couple of states and then out to south carolina, nevada and beyond, they're not long for this race. and chris christie is not one of those candidates. >> thank you so much. we're coming back for another hour. we think we had donald trump working his way over here. also a vegas odds maker is going to tell us who's got the inside track now to win this nomination. i love the betting stuff because that's where the money is. our coverage continues after this. constipated?
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to learn more about precision cancer treatment. back in las vegas here, and i have sitting here with me the frontrunner for the republican nomination, he is about 40% if you average it out. maybe 42 by his count. jeb bush was supposed to be number one is at three. what happened? >> i don't know, he is a nice man, i think i would probably be doing the same thing if i were him. but you fknow what, he is a goo
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man -- >> you're acting like a winner tonight, what changed your mind? you have talked about that. you said if they don't treat you fairly in the republican party you're going to bolt. >> i am ahead by a lot, chris, i'm ahead by 21%, so what am i going to do? say i'm going to leave and run independent. i have gotten to know a lot of great republicans. i think they will come together and coalesce, so i think we're going to do very well -- >> one of the polls shows carson beating her, do you believe that? >> well, you never know, he is a quality guy. he is a very high quality guy. >> let me talk about a reciprocal question, he is a good republican, would you ever -- >> i have gotten to know most of them pretty well. i like a lot of them, i can't say i love everybody but i like a lot of them and i respect quite a few of them. >> let's talk to them, llo,
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milania, thank you for standing here, letting us have you here. you said that if we had not gone into these wars and a lot of people who watch this show agree with me. this war in iraq, i don't buy this theory for wmd. i think they wanted to fall for it. they cooked up the term, wmd, all of these things, knocking off libya and moammar gadhafi and mubarak, you said if we had not been in this war we could have -- how do we go forward and find that money again so we can rebuild the country? >> well, we're going to just have to do that. the war in iraq was a disaster. you and i have known each other a long time. went to the university of pennsylvania years ago and i have a lot of respect for you. the fact if you look at what we did in iraq, we just totally
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destabilized the middle east, and i was against it. >> tonight, you four guys tonight, carson, cruz and paul, you had a fight going led by cruz -- i'm sorry, cruz was on your side, rubio was on the other side. it was a good fight. >> our roads, our highways, schools, hospitals, airports are falling apart. i go to all of these countries, they have airports -- >> and we -- >> we land at la guardia. >> two weeks ago, you can go on a train in zurich and you put the diet coke on the arm chair and it sitting there the whole way. so are we going to -- >> we can't do it if we're going to spend trillions. the question is would we have been better off if moammar gadhafi was there? and the answer is what did we get out of it? we got nothing out of it.
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i'll tell you what we got out of it. we got debt out of it should. >> i have another question, 40 in this poll, abc just came out, 38-41, but you're not doing it in iowa, it seems to be favoring over to the religious side. >> the polls came out i'm leading in iowa, cnn, the polls were out, they never reported it. >> i read it through, all of these big buildings you put up, everyone is tall. i said why doesn't this guy run a tv campaign in iowa, say this guy, the builder against a debater, you want a debater, and you want a builder, i would play tougher than you. why don't you talk about building? >> you know what, i happened to -- >> i'm giving you advice. >> i said what a great idea, had you said why don't you take a couple of seconds each.
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i built buildings all over. >> what did cruz ever built? >> i don't want to get into it. he has been nice to me. >> at some point he was moving towards you. >> he was very nice, i think he was very nice, very respectful. i respect him. you gave me a good ad, i said it's great, first i listened then i said that is a great ad because i'm doing an ad like that. >> i want to ask you another question, you can leave but i would like you to stay. is donald trump honest when he says that barack obama is not a legitimate question? >> i didn't say you couldn't -- >> can't stop it. >> no, i can't. i should not tell you this but i do watch you a lot. so i knew you were going to ask that question, you know what i say, i'm not going to talk about that anymore. >> you got to answer the questions you like. >> this guy is a total professional. here is the story, i don't answer because you know what if i do answer that is all people
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want to talk about. >> you will have to answer in a general election. >> then i'll answer it then. but -- i don't answer that question because once i answer the question they don't want to talk about the economy or all the other -- >> we catholics believe in confession, you say you were wrong and you move on. you really believe -- >> i don't want to answer the question? >> did you have a good time, was it a good interview? >> well, i watched you for a longer time. but thank you, mr. trump. mr. trump, i do think that is a blemish, i think it's an original feeling. i think our president should be respected. i think there is a little ethnic feel to it, he is mixed race, and i just don't like it. you're a mixed bag. >> thank you for coming over here. >> thank you. >> we'll have you for an hour. >> the cathedral, right?
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>> that is right. thank you -- thank you. >> great show. come here, robert -- what is this guy -- what is this great man's problem that he won't solve his original sin? why wouldn't he admit it? >> he doesn't want to answer it because he knows he is running in the republican primary, he needs the same voters. they still have questions about president obama, so he plays right to them. that is the problem in the republican party, does that non-answer play? the middle of the road voters, swing states, they're not going to chuckle -- >> howard, what do you think of this interview we just did? >> i thought it was utterly fascinating. and that is a guy who thinks that he is this close that he can smell it and toaste it. he might have a little problem with ted cruz, i think when it
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comes down to it he will get after ted cruz, my feeling is to challenge the notion that ted cruz is really an outsider, really a force from outside. that ted cruz is backed by big wall street money. his wife works at goldman sachs, he is a senator of the united states. even though he doesn't want to admit it half the time. he works at a big firm on wall street. he is a debater, i think trump is going to have to take on cruz. he may not do it full bore in iowa but if cruz wins iowa then you talk about making the sand glow. that is what donald trump is going to do heading into new hampshire. because trump absolutely has to win new hampshire. and on and on -- >> and -- >> if he loses iowa he absolutely has to win new hampshire. and i think that is a guy who still feels had he has not put the pedal to the metal at all
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that he has a tremendous amount of reserve in there that will power him all the way. that is my sense of it. i thought you were very right and did not only the right thing but the moral thing to question him about how he really introduced himself back in 2012. whichbirther guy, and you're right. that was the very beginning of the fear element of his politics. and he will have to answer for it. the past is never the past. it's still with us. and that will dog us all the way to election day if he gets that far. >> you sound like william faulkner, but that is true. trump has many resources, he is a multi-multi billionaire, and yet if he were to do this ad campaign on tv would it win for him, or is he all grass roots? >> i think the question we just
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don't know the answer to, how sophisticated is donald trump's ground operation? how sophisticated is the data operation? are they collecting data at these events or utilizing it? is he going to be able to turn out voters who have not previously participated in the process. one thing i think is curious, i agree with howard's assessment. he looks like a man who sees it and smells it and i think he is starting to think about how he closes it out. but i wonder how much he knows about the recent electoral history of the republican party, it is usually a split decision. he doesn't have to win iowa. he is not going to win every state. he needs to do well in iowa and i think he is positioned to do well. but i think so much of his message is predicated on the self-fulfilling prophecy of, i'm winning, winning, winning all of
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these polls. so i think some expectation, as he goes to iowa so he doesn't de-leverage himself in new hampshire -- >> okay, see -- see -- dot those i's and cross those t's and how do you discount it -- >> chris, can i just say one thing for one second? okay, i know for a fact that ted cruz is superbly organized in iowa. they're doing things like renting apartment blocks for kids from in state and out of state to come in and help canvass. you still have to go -- you still have to spend a lot of time and go on the republican side. put your paper ballot in the box or whatever. it's a public display where
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organization is maximum. we have no way of knowing whether trump's people will be willing to do that. and i don't think trump has nearly the organization on the ground in iowa that cruz does. if trump were serious about wanting to try to close it out early he would have to make that kind of commitment. he has not made the commitment that cruz has. and cruz has every evangelical supporter. he has the radio people, the preachers, the evangelical vote nailed down in iowa. trump is not going to get anywhere near that in that state. >> do you agree with that, steve explosi ? >> well, look, whether trump turns out a voter that we haven't seen before we just have no way of knowing. i think we have to say that the one candidate who has been nicest to me, ted cruz, the other candidate doing well in
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this state, followed in my slip string. i'm going to do something and try to do what nobody has ever done before, you know have the miami dolphin's perfect season. i'm going to win the first, the second, hey, you don't win them all but i'm going to win most of them. set himself up to go into new hampshire and south carolina, once the race gets south and if these candidates are numbering four, five and six, donald trump is in good shape. he gets into a two-person race against ted cruz, the becomes a binary choice against the ideological candidate, donald trump gets into that pretty quickly. i'm sorry, a ceiling around 35, now he is around 41. so the trump ceiling has kept moving up in this race. we'll see if it gets to 50. the person who gets over it is the winner. but until you do that you need three candidates in the race.
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>> okay, i'm a big question mark. i'm not sure trump doesn't sell as well in the south as he does everywhere else. anyway, thank you, robert costa, thank you, steve schmidt, much more coming up, including the mayor of las vegas, we'll show you the clips if you missed it. this is "hardball," from las vegas, the last republican debate before the end of the year. the fight before christmas. >> donald, you're not going to be able to insult your way to the presidency, that is not going to happen. and i do have the strength. leadership, leadership is not -- leadership is not about attacking people and disparaging people, leadership is about having the capacity to deal with the threat of our time.
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>> are you ready to reassure republicans tonight that you will run as a republican and abide by the decision of the republicans? >> i really am. i'll be honest. i really am. i am totally committed to the republican party. i feel very party to be the -- i file -- feel very honored to be the frontrunner. and i think i'll do well if i'm chose fn i'm so fortune to be chosen. i think i'll do well, polls said i will beat hillary, i will do everything in my power to beat hillary clinton. welcome back to "hardball" cruz argued against toppling assad. and argued against getting involved in middle east civil wars. this was a great debate, let's watch. >> i believe in america first foreign policy, that far too
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often president obama and hillary clinton and unfortunately more than a few republicans have gotten distracted from the central focus of keeping this country safe. if we topple assad, the result will be isis will take over syria and it will worsen the u.s. national security. >> anti-american dictators like assad who helped hezbollah and get the ieds into iraq, if they go i will not shed a tear. >> it is about more than shedding a tear. we keep hearing from hillary clinton and washington republicans that they're searching for these mythical moderate rebels, it's like a unicorn, they never exist. they end up being like jihadists. >> all right. you know, i love this debate here, i'm watching rubio sing his song to all the money guys
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on the neocon big money guys. he is still trying to woo them and say i'm going to be pro-israeli and knock off all of the enemies, it's not working. >> he is trying to win the billionaire primary. >> singer, i think you got singer. >> he met with him while he was here -- adelson likes rubio, chris, he really does. i have asked that question, here is what his people say. you know, he invested all that money in newt gingrich. that was down a rathole, a personal thing that went back 20 years. he wants to be with the winner. my guess is he is choosing between rubio and cruz. >> but cruz is singing a totally different song. cruz is saying no more wars in the middle east that killed us. >> i don't think he wants trump even though he met with trump,
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he likes what rubio is saying, and he thinks he is the most viable candidate against hillary clinton. he wants to be with the winner, but if rubio is not doing well after iowa, south carolina and new hampshire and nevada, he will not invest money in him. if cruz is doing well, i think he will pick ted cruz. >> even if he is not able to beat hillary clinton? >> he is worried about that. some people think he will wait until the first votes are taken in iowa. he is getting a lot of pressure from some of his friends to do that. >> you're out there all the time, if you add up the votes that tend to be anti-war, certainly trump, cruz, carson and paul, there are four of these guys out there, who says no moe of these adventures like iraq. >> trump is going back and forth on that. he says no more wars, we should
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let russia take care of that. also he is saying we need to take isis out, his supporters are able to cherry pick what they want. if they want to go in there and go to war and fix things, then they will take what trump says. >> they want to go in without getting kicked -- >> he is so vague about what his position is, is he for boots on the ground, yes if it's necessary, or i would like to stay out of it. it's not a concrete thing. >> and a major clash tonight over immigration, let's watch the slides. >> i am personally open after all of that has happened and after ten years on that probationary status where they have a work permit i personally am open to people having a green card. >> there was a time for choosing as reagan put it, there was a
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battle for amnesty, and some chose to support a massive amnesty attack. >> as far as ted's record, i'm always surprised. ted cruz supported a 500% increase in the number of guest workers allowed in this country. >> i understand that marco wants to raise confusion. it is not accurate that i supported immigration, i led the fight against his legalization and amnesty bill. and there was one commentator that to suggest our record is the same, it's like suggesting the fire and the arsonist has the the same record because they're both at the scene of the fire. >> does ted cruz rule out -- >> do you rule it out? >> i have never supported legalization and i do not intend to support legalization. >> well, i think cruz went for boring, the simile of the year, like boring.
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it's interesting, two cuban-american guys both come from that heritage fairly rec t recently, but the adversarial position -- >> the critics out there have said this just doesn't make any sense. how can you be the children of immigrants and not open your arms to immigrants, look at the opportunities you have been able to get yourself here in america. that is a much harder line, because donald trump has taken the entire party -- >> and is cruz really -- >> i'm not into ethnic stuff really, but cruz obviously comes from a cuban background and i'm sure he is proud of it. he is very anti-communist, he was very anti-castro, his thinking had a lot to do with
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his parents. he has a very tough line on becoming a citizen here. >> very accurate, what is interesting about rubio -- >> somebody asked him to speak spanish, and he got angry about it. >> rubio has had this vulnerability lurking there, the gang of 8, can he wants to rewrite history, because he is running in a republican primary he is now trying to paper it over and sound tough on it and muddy the waters and you saw there by saying that cruz wants legalization as well. what is interesting about rubio he also came under attack from paul on this same issue tonight. this is the first time we really saw rubio on the sustained assault. the guy is so smooth. he pivots off it. >> did you notice he went right up to the edge to get a green card, but wouldn't say citizenship. >> trump has taken them so far to the right --
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>> you cannot be for the path to citizenship in the republican party right now because donald trump will hammer you on that. >> we'll be right back. up next, the top las vegas odds maker tells us who has the numbers on her side heading into 2016. there is a giveaway, this ish d "hardball" before christmas. >> several people have had multiple questions so please try to pay attention to that.
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>> i won't get my information from the shows. i don't know if that is saturday morning or sunday morning. >> i think -- it's very sad that cnn leads jeb bush, governor bush, down a road by starting virtually all the questions, mr. trump this, mr. trump that, i think it's very sad. >> and back to las vegas tonight, what a good fight it was, without putting a little wager on it will the field narrow? i'm joined by the las vegas mayor and former mayor, oscar goodman. somebody related. and jimmy, let me ask you about the odds, is hillary clinton still the favorite?
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>> hillary is a big favorite. first of all, hello to carol and the ex-mayor, they're always nice to talk to. and first of all, there is no one in front of her, she will be the nominee for the democratic side. >> how about the general? >> the general, obviously, you know, for the republican side i have three favorites. cruz, trump and rubio. they're all 3-1. the ones i thought did well was christie, so i changed him 51 down to 50, and ben carson, a softspoken guy, i gave him a 20 -- >> give me the line on november. i want the line on november. >> line on november, democratic to retain the white house, 6-5. >> i'm glad he doesn't own a hotel. >> okay, explain that to the public, does that mean hillary is favored or the republicans
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are favored? >> the democrats are favored, a dollar-20 for whoever you want to win. naturally she will be the favorite going into november. but i can say this, a lot of people responsive to the things that we're talking about and especially the odds that i'm putting out. i'll tell you one thing that i did, chris, that drew a lot of attention, i put up a couple of days ago will donald trump go independent? and at that time i put it up he was a 3-1 favorite. naturally, with the turning point tonight, it will go up. you ought to think about the iowa primary in the first week of november. about six days before super bowl sunday. you ought to ask them who they're going to vote on. i think you will be quite surprised. >> okay, that is the first week in february. the odds make perfect sense. i think hillary is favored. i think she will probably win
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the general, probably. i think when she runs for re-election, that will be even tougher than this one. i think it's very hard for a party to stay in power more than 12 years, just very hard. >> you're an east coast guy all the way. >> let me ask you about this city. cold weather out here. >> briefly? >> i was cold -- warmer in d.c. but this fight tonight was a good fight. there are going to be a lot of clips coming out of here, a lot of talk about the debate, mayor. >> i am so excited about it. we're having the final debate next october 16th. and this, tonight, was another interesting night but we have 11 months to go. so a lot of things are going to happen. i'm confident. >> who is your best, is it trump/hillary? >> i remember somebody in the last election by the name of sarah palin who everybody loved to listen to. i think donald trump is a very exciting candidate and he draws
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the media. and so he draws that spotlight. >> oscar let me ask you, former mayor, how does it work for a philly guy out here? pretty good? >> it's the best, the weather wasn't cold, you just thought it was cold. it was balmy. we have had a great one, we had the national finals rodeo last week. we have the football game between byu and utah which is huge. >> but more importantly, we have bryce harper and chris bryant that we're celebrating thursday night. >> most from las vegas. >> mayor carolyn goodman, and former mayor, thank you. up next, our focus group of republicans we had them on earlier tonight. we'll see if they're still thinking the same way. the gop leading independents. we'll see what happens tonight. has the event affected their
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positions? from the republican presidential debate the fight before christmas.
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welcome back to "hardball," the coverage of the republican debate out here in las vegas, it was a rowdy night in sin city. but how did the republican voters respond to what they saw. my colleagues have more. steve, take over. >> all right, that is right, well, here we are with our panel of eight, eight undecided republicans. they're all from the tri-state region around here from new york. so if that is a different type of republican at all we just
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want to make sure that is out there. some people would make that case. so at the start of the night we took your temperature. you guys just watched the debate with the rest of the country. i want to ask each of you first of all. you watched it for two hours. who in your judgment had the best night tonight. andrew? >> best would be rubio, i think, he came off very clear. i really liked his message. and trump seemed very, very relaxed. >> relaxed, glenn. >> yeah, i think trump was very on his game and stayed cool. and he spoke about some issues very clear and convincing. >> chris christie had a very good night. he showed why governors potentially make the best president. he got to those points, made the points. i felt like he did very well this evening. >> tom? >> i think carly fiorina really
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showed a good command of what she was saying. i agree christie also came up strong. and then the cruz/rubio, i think cruz edged out rubio. >> yeah, we'll get to that in a minute. best night, who did you think? >> i was happy to see that jeb bush came across very earnest and thoughtful. and i think he knows a lot more than comes across on the debates. also carly fiorina, i thought she is very well spoken and really gets her points across. >> jennifer? >> chris christie showed up today. he is the guy i wanted him to be six months ago, it was like where have you been? and he finally showed up today. >> i think jeb had his best night tonight. i loved how he stood up to trump finally. that was awesome. and carly, i think she had a really good night, too. >> i think chris christie really showed himself as a leader today. we need a leadership to break away from the pack. and i think chris christie did
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that. rubio stepped up also. i can give him some credit for his performance tonight. >> let me ask you, a couple of you mentioned the jeb bush, donald trump that jeb bush really came to go after donald trump it seemed here. who here thinks that donald trump got the better of that exchange? >> well, i would think that donald trump did because he is so bold. tonight, as far as i'm concerned, jeb bush definitely made the cut and is moving on. chris christie showed up and is absolutely back in the game. >> the flip side of this question, jennifer, i'll ask you, who had the worst night? >> i think rand paul had the worst night. i mean, you know, the poor guy. i feel badly for him. and also dr. ben carson. you know, he said i'm here. it was almost like a saturday
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night live skit. he was there but nobody was talking to him. >> so ben carson was at the top of the polls a couple of weeks ago, let me ask you, who here after tonight would consider voting for ben carson? >> only, i just have to say -- he is certainly a million times better than what is on the other side. in the field, he is being you know -- plowed under by you know, all of this rhetoric that is going on. but in terms of intellectual ability and clarity and being a human being, i think he is head and shoulders above everybody else. but unfortunately, it is a cage fight, not a cage fight but that is our politics. >> we got a bunch of love here for chris christie, as i said, the tri-state panel. we'll check in again but that is our early verdict. >> i'll ask you secretly what you learned there. but let's bring in ruth marcus,
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ben ginsburg -- ben, what did you hear from them? i heard a lot of jersey people talking about christie. and some people that were a little bit more inclined to fiorina than i would have thought. another east coast sentiment, i think. >> a little home cooking, maybe, it's tough to see how this debate will change the dynamics of the race going into the christmas holiday. but it's good to know that the home town guys scored well with your focus group. >> i don't know, the home town -- it's my home state. but he is not polling so well in my home state. so if that was home cooking -- >> i have to assume a lot of people are republican primary voters watching tonight. they vote in the next couple weeks, months. >> there are three more debates before new hampshire.
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think about it. you this one in south carolina and one in iowa. still a long way to go, still very volatile if you look at this. they're all speaking to different consistencies. christie, bush, they're all in that same space there looking for independence. and who can vote in new hampshire. then you have the group on the right and trump kind of stands out by himself. trump is not about issues, it's identity politics, basically. the alienated group looking at trump to represent their anger. >> i think jeb bush helped himself tonight a little by showing energy against donald trump, probably not enough. >> so when he leaves the campaign he won't look so bad, he helps himself s himself? >> he helped himself a little bit, anything can happen. actually the person who hurt himself although he didn't need to hurt himself anymore, was ben
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carson. i think trump is trump. and how you feel about him -- >> you mean that monotonic voice finally got to people -- >> i think maybe he should have shown some dazzling grasp of foreign policy but he didn't do it. >> you know how when you play pool, you play 8-ball, doesn't matter how well you're doing in the game, if you scratch you scratch. i think that chris christie scratched tonight when he said he wants to shoot down russian planes, a nuclear power. reagan wouldn't do it, we avoided fighting with the russians since the cold war heated up. he said we're not going to fight with the russians. that is not what we do. it doesn't work. you know, when anderson was killed in east berlin, reagan said i'm not going to war over there. and here is christie saying
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yeah, let's go at it. let's go knock down russian planes. >> i don't think it was a killer statement. i think he is playing to his audience. a lot of the candidates were playing to their audience. there was an iowa new hampshire primary message, and a couple of candidates were playing the national audiences. and i thought that nobody in the top tier of candidates ca s cha the dynamics tonight -- >> so what was chris christie playing to, a war with russia -- >> we have had world war iii a couple of times but he was playing to a crowd of people who were basically fearful for all the reasons, basically stemming from the obama administration and he will be fine. >> okay, headlines tomorrow, who will say who won? who is the press, reuters, the
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ap wire, if there is such an objective standard anymore who will be the winner? >> i don't think there was a winner. >> yeah, go ahead, ben. >> well, i think cruz and rubio and trump will all be helped. jeb bush will get a nod, chris christie came across to who he wanted to come across to and they will each get points for that. >> i think cruz and rubio going after each other really demeans them a little bit, brings them down a little bit. >> we brought in that debate -- >> it was senate speak. >> it was senate speak. it was an obscure discussion. but they came off as contrast and knowledgeable -- >> and the plan -- >> the plan for their voters. >> thank you, ben, you're great. >> for the voters, they scored -- >> ben, when you get another
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horse let me know. i liked your horse, scott walker, much more of that, we can use you. >> it's always fun. live from las vegas, right after this. we'll be right back. this is "hardball."
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don't be left in the dark. get proactive alerts 24/7. comcast business. built for business. well -- well the dust has settled out here in las vegas after the fifth republican debate. amazing we have been to all of them. and my question is what will the headlines say tomorrow? joining me the former rnc head.
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and in that seat, here is a bit of my exchange with him. >> would you endorse and support whoever wins on your party's side? >> yeah, i would. i would do that. with enthusiasm. >> with enthusiasm. so i just wanted to finish out that news you made tonight. i think it's a headline. >> it's definitely a headline, what is noticeable is that he was largely in the background in tonight, debate. he was not really a factor. he is happy to let these other candidates spar with one another and happy to let ted cruz and marco rubio battle it out. >> wasn't it strange to have these two cuban-american guys battling, one saying that i will not go all the way to citizenship. you become a citizen. he said well, give him a green card. the other guy was like no way,
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jose, you're not getting in here. >> and the headlines tomorrow will be republicans exposed. whether it's on war or immigration which were the two centerpieces tonight, where you say the delineation. >> and we're at the venetian. that guy who is a billionaire, he cares mostly about the aggressive foreign policy in the middle east. he is watching tonight and was watching rubio singing his song. but there was cruz singing the opposite song. and no way, were we going to anymore wars in the middle east -- >> and the candidates had a
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hawkish approach to the -- marco rubio, very aggressive. his wife has taken a liking to ted cruz, i think the jury -- >> really? >> this is a significant division within the republican party and what the u.s. roles should be overseas. >> it was a debate. >> the neocons and the realists. >> i like the way you put it there. thank you so much. and michael steele. and that does it for us in las vegas, thank you for joining us here. join us again tonight night for "hardball," back east in washington. don't forget this saturday democrats will debate. join us for a special edition of "hardball." i just love working saturday night late but it will be another big debate with bernie sanders. he has to make his move. my sister raves about her toothpaste
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tonight on "all in" fear and voting in america. tonight, as campaign chaos is weighed at the last republican debate of 2015 is there anyone who can do anything to slow donald trump? plus the final democratic word before the republican fight. >> we can fought give in to fear. bluster and bigotry are not credentials for becoming commander-in-chief. >> then, school shutdown. why new york and l.a. had two completely different reactions to two nearly identical threats?


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