tv With All Due Respect MSNBC January 12, 2016 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
touch on every single issue i'm focused on. >> we're working on that. we're working on it. >> it seems to be going the other way, though. >> trying to lower expectations. >> you're doing that really well. >> neera and alex, i'll let you go, thank you both. chris matthews and rachel maddow will lead tonight's coverage of president obama's final state of the union address. that begins at 8:00 p.m. tonight. we'll be back tomorrow, coverage of the fallout and back on the campaign trail with more "mtp daily." "with all due respect" starts right now. >> i'm mark halperin. >> and i'm john heilemann, and with all due respect to the rest of joe biden, it's nice to have your mouth back, sir. happy national curried chicken day, sports fans, and greetings from pasadena, california. on the show tonight, the president's last hurrah, joe biden's return engagement, and the gop's escalation. but first, bernie sanders on the
rise. for his first election cycle, bernie sanders, for the first time in this election cycle, bernie sanders is leading hillary clinton in major polls in both new hampshire and in iowa. he's up 14 points in a new monmouth university new hampshire poll and up five points in a quinnipiac iowa poll. add that to the shade that vice president joe biden threw clinton's way in two extraordinary tv interviews in the past 24 hours, plus a stunning ratcheting up of the rhetoric by clinton and her daughter, chelsea, on the campaign trail today, and there is only one inescapable conclusion. and that is that the prospects of a sanders' sweep in the first two states in this nomination contest is now dead real. if you thought that clinton's attacks on sanders were an 8.3 on the 2016 richter scale, her comments today at an iowa campaign event in ames cranked things right up to 11. >> don't talk to me about standing up to corporate interests and big powers.
i've got the scars to show for it. and i am proud of every single one of them. we have a big difference over guns, you know that. and i think it's a telling difference, because if you're going to go around saying you stand up to special interests, well, stand up to the most powerful special interests. stand up to that gun lobby. he wants to roll medicare, medicaid, the children's health insurance program, affordable care act program, and private health insurance into a national system and then turn it over to the states to administer. now, if that's the kind of revolution he's talking about, i am worried, folks. >> and in all our years covering elections and living here on planet earth, we have never seen the next thing that we're about to show you here on television. chelsea clinton playing the role of political attacker. >> senator sanders wants to dismantle obamacare, dismantle
the c.h.i.p. program, dismantle medicare, dismantle private insurance. now, the republicans in congress have voted against the affordable care act 55 times. right? not because they want to replace it with something, but because they want to get rid of it. so i worry that if we give republicans democratic permission to do that, we'll go back to an era before we had the affordable care act. that will strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance. currently, there's a $19 trillion gap, give or take, between what senator sanders has proposed and how he's articulated paying for his proposals. so that, to me, is troubling. >> so how is bernie sanders responding to all of this? his campaign today put out a statement, saying that the clinton campaign is mischaracterizing his position on health care. and even before today's onslaug onslaught, the vermont senator was swaggering away at the iowa
brown and black forum that we were at last night in des moines. >> have you noticed that she's been getting more aggressive with you? >> yes. >> why is that? >> i don't know. it could be -- >> you tell me. >> it could be that the inevitable candidate for the democratic nomination may not be so inevitable today. i have known hillary clinton for 25 years and i have a lot of respect for her. but basically, what we we are looking at here is an establishment politician. i think it's too little for establishment politics and establishment economics. >> so, mark, hillary clinton, chelsea clinton, beating up on bernie sanders. we already have seen bill clinton do that, but just wait. my question for you, is she getting, in your view, smartly tough with sanders finally, or is she panicking? >> i've covered the clintons since 1991 and it takes a lot to surprise me. i am stunned watching chelsea clinton go on the attack. stunned.
never seen anything like it. and the attack, her mother is making her as well, trying to attack bernie sanders from the left on health care, when he supports single payer, i'm stunned by the whole thing. we spent a couple of days in iowa, saw bernie sanders and saw the event last night. there's no doubt that bernie sanders has built something real. there's no doubt that she has too. but the stakes for her now are immense. i think that she's building up iowa and new hampshire. i guess they feel they have no choice. she must do it. so i think attacking him and going after him is smart, but the way they're doing it, i don't think smart. >> i have got to say, we're in the same boat. we say chelsea clinton was about 12 years old when we started covering her in the clinton white house. she's now a grown woman, very impressive in many ways. but this really, genuinely, never have i seen it before. she campaigned in 2008, said only nice things about her mother, never attacked barack obama or john edwards or anybody else. it's incredible. >> it's historic. >> look, this attack is not just strange politically, because the democratic base is with bernie sanders on single-payer or medicare for all, but it's just so disingenuous.
they're arguing what he wants to do is strip away health care for people, as if to say, well, he wants to get rid of the affordable care act and replace it with something else and he's going to give it to the states. it's just a lie. the only way he would ever go to medicare for all which is a replacement for the affordable care act, which would be even broader universal care. >> they had a decent lead in iowa and they were confident the races would be close. if they don't show both races behind as these public polls do, i would be surprised. they're clearly threatened in both states. and the easiest, best way hillary clinton can have a good 2016 is to win either iowa or new hampshire or both. if she loses them both, her 2016 will be very hard. >> here's the conversation i know on the basis of not reporting, but on the basis of just intuition -- >> what i call sense. >> -- what was happening in clinton headquarters. in 2008, bill clinton said for a year, you guys should take barack obama seriously, we need to go negative against him. all the people around hillary clinton said no. he felt vindicated in a weird way when obama won iowa. he said, you should have
listened to me, we should have taken this guy out three months ago. that conversation is happening again now. don't re-live 2008. we cannot let sanders emerge in tact. we have to hit him hard now. and i believe, i'm sure that's his gut. >> might have waited too long. all right, chelsea clinton, as we just said, is coming to hillary clinton's rescue. one person who's not coming to her rescue, her old friend and former administration colleague joe biden. if anything, vice president biden sounded like a bernie sanders' surrogate in two television interviews, one with cnn last night, and one on the "today" program with savannah guthrie this morning, he praised the democratic underdog, if we're still calling him the underdog, for his position on guns and income inequality, and he hit hillary clinton where she is most vulnerable in the eyes of some democratic voters, on the question of, does she have a true commitment to liberal causes? >> does bernie sanders have to change his position on gun manufacturers in order to have your support and you out there campaigning for him, should he be the nominee? >> though, no.
what bernie sanders has to do is say that the second amendment says, which he has of late, the second amendment says you can limit who can own a gun. i think that bernie is speaking to a yearning that is deep and real and he has credibility on it. and that is, the absolute enormous concentration of wealth in a small group of people -- >> hillary's talking about that as well. >> well, but it's relatively new for hillary to talk about that. >> to quote bill clinton, if you see a turtle on a fence post, you know it didn't get there by itself. what is the meaning and motive behind what joe biden just said? >> you see joe biden on a fence post, you know he didn't get there by accident either. there are two things going on here. one is, bernie sanders' brand of populist economics joe biden believes in and has believed in for a long time, as hadvocated for it within this administration, has always wanted the the president -- >> and doesn't believe hillary clinton has the fingertip feel
for that same -- >> or the conviction on policies. believes hillary clinton is more of a centrist on economics than joe biden is. he applauds what sanders is doing on substance. and the second is, he is sick to death of the clintons. that was a huge part of why he considered running against her. and part of this is he's just speaking his mind. >> the other thing is, he wants to be part of this discussion. he wants to be part of this discussion and wants the democratic party to be in a specific place. someone wrote a tweet that said that they'll form a list serve. that was me, by the way, on twitter. because this is now real, between sanders' rise in the polls, between what's going on in the e-mail investigation, between hillary clinton's uneven performance on the stump. she's still the front-runner, but there are democrats who now face the reality of, what if come the night of the new hampshire primary, trump has won both and sanders has won both? does the democratic party feel that that's a good hand for them to have? >> last night, we were in
democrat, a couple of senior sanders people came up to me late last night and were over the moon giddy with what joe biden had said. and i said, it's great, he sounds like a surrogate for you guys, you'll be able to use this when you defend yourselves, but don't be too giddy, because there's some part of joe biden, as he keeps saying publicly, he did the right thing, but regrets not running, there's some part of joe biden that might be stirring up a little mischief, in case sanders wins those two, the establishment might be looking at him. >> and in that interview with savannah guthrie, are you still ruling out running? >> in no situation i can foresee. >> he didn't rule it out by any means. this evening, president obama will deliver his sempvent and final state of the union address to the nation. he will highlight what he accomplished in office and laying out some policy priorities that he considers unfinished business. the white house is also saying that the president's address will attempt to cut through the quote day-to-day noise of
washington and call for a united country. mark, the white house, with every state of the union, this is true, but especially true in this one, the last of president obama's term, they're trying to say, pay no attention to this presidential campaign, take a look over here. have they succeeded in doing that? >> they succeeded on a couple of levels. the press is paying more attention than i thought some in the media would. they're using social media platforms, some i've never heard of, but they understand they can reach audiences. but i think the way they failed it, and this has been part of the administration, i think he's reached his base, but i don't think tonight will give him much of an opportunity to persuade the undecideds. >> this is going to be a speech, i was talking to a senior white house official, everything you need to know about this fact is the fact that edith childs will be in the audience. who coined, fired up and ready to go. this is poetry, not prose. he basically wants to say, he's traveled the whole circumstance. >> this is your life, barack obama. >> the themes that inspired me to run, bring the whole thing back home again.
>> all right. up next, we'll take a look at the republican presidential race. it's gotten least a little bit nastier in the last few days. we'll show you the latest gop attacks and analyze them, after this quick break. you can savor 2 of 7 new and classic creations on one plate for $15.99. like delicious new maple-and-bacon grilled shrimp, because c'mon, what doesn't bacon go with? or get a little kick with these new ghost pepper bbq grilled shrimp. because if you like it spicy, garlicky, or cheesy, trust me you'll like this. but every last flavor is too good to last-so hurry in! her long day as anne. hair stylist starts with shoulder pain when... hey joanne, want to trade the all day relief of 2 aleve with 6 tylenol? give up my 2 aleve for 6 tylenol? no thanks. for me... it's aleve. in my business i cbailing me out my i.all the time... i'm not the i.t. guy. i'm the desktop support tech supervisor. and my customers knowing right when their packages arrive.
another day, another republican poll to talk about. with less than three weeks before the iowa caucuses and a dozen candidates making their final sprint, the top tier may be getting harder to break into. in iowa, there's a new quinnipiac poll that shows donald trump and ted cruz in a statistical tie for first place at 31% and 29%, perspectively. third place, marco rubio at 15, ben carson at 7. everyone else in the field is below 10%. there's a new poll that shows donald trump extending his lead, failed by cruz at 20, rubio at 11, carson at 9. everyone else at 3% or lower. john, our own iowa poll with the "des moines register" will be out tomorrow morning, 6:00 a.m. eastern time, we'll look at
that. but with the caucus clock ticking, based on these latest numbers, who should be heartened and who should be super worried? >> you've got to be a little worried if you're ted cruz, because there's some sign that maybe you're not going to be running away with iowa, you have a big fight coming up with donald trump. jeb bush, got to be just disconsulate, and there's no sign of any uptick. i think chris christie, the sense that he had some upward movement is now pretty much gone. and of course we saw this yesterday, too, i think john kasich is the guy on the establishment side has to be the happiest. he's the one who's seen a surprising sign of life in new hampshire. >> i'll tell you one thing about the way iowa is shaping up. and i always thought people were giving cruzaway too prematurely. if cruz finishes second in iowa, they'll say, he lost his lead, it was a disaster. the reality is, if those two guys finished one and two, trump is first, but cruz is the only one near him, for people in the party who want to stop trump, they may turn to cruz. it may be better for ted cruz to finish second in iowa than first.
>> no, no, no. there are too many people in the party who hate donald trump and ted cruz and don't want to see any sight of that. it would not be devastating for cruz to come in second in iowa. a close second would be fine for him there. but he would rather win that state and use it to propel himself -- >> i would be a little cheeky. of course, he would rather finish first. but secondly is perfectly good -- >> especially if there's a big, huge gap between him and third place, as there is now. >> but i don't think anyone think carson will jump occupy there. but can rubio jump up to be a huge third? we have reached that time in our television program when we talk about the gop circular firing squad. here are some of the latest developments in that area. after donald trump quoted harvard law professor lawrence tribe this week on the issue of ted cruz's canadian birth, cruz jabbed back today at a press conference in hudson, new hampshire, saying, gosh, why are hillary's strongest supporters backing donald trump, end quote. meanwhile, rubio is opening a new line of attack on cruz, this
time over cruz's tax plan and jeb bush's super pac is labeling rubio a flip-flopper on key issues in these two spots. one is an ad that's running in south carolina. the second a web
video released today. >> marco rubio, he ran for senate saying he opposed amnesty, then he flipped and worked with liberal chuck schumer to co-author the path to citizenship bill. he threatened to vote against it, then voted for it. he supported his own dream act, and then he abandoned it. marco rubio, just another washington politician you can't trust. ♪ these boots are made for flipping ♪ ♪ and that's just what they'll do ♪ ♪ one of these days young marco's going to flip-flop flip on you ♪ >> you can't not laugh at that. joe pounder, senior adviser to marco rubio, responded on twitter saying, quote, after spending $75 million with nothing to show for it, @jebbush
campaign exists now for the sole purpose of tearing down conservatives like @marcorubio. mark, you know, all of these establishment guys shooting at each other. what's your takeaway here? who's got the upper hand in the latest round of the circular firing squad, if that's possible? >> i think if i were rubio, i would be a little concerned. all his opponents want to say, he's a flip-flopper, he's not a real conservative. and we still have not seen major money put against rubio on the air on the gang of eight. he's got to be worried about that. all these other attacks, i mean, attacking cruz on his tax plan, i just think it's going to be difficult for anybody to break through with a complicated attack like that, particularly on days when trump flexes. trump hasn't flexed today. that's in part while we're talking about this stuff and why -- but it's still hard for this stuff to break through. like i said, the danger for somebody like rubio, where all his opponents are going to attack him for the same thing. >> jeff pounder is obviously a partisan in this, but there's no doubt what is seeming to happen right
now, that right to rise, which has more money than any other single entity out there on
the republican side -- >> although they've spent down the account. >> they still have a ton of money. they have seemed to basically said, the money we spent on doing positive stuff for jeb bush isn't working, now mark murphy, master of the dark arts, one of the best spot makers ever, is now basically saying, i'm going to try to take marco rubio down, that is not a great place to be. regardless of the substances, you don't want to be there. >> rubio remains the strongest of the four establishment candidates but these other three guys are all eyeing each other. it's complicated. >> i think kasich might be able to draft a little bit in on this anti-rubio stuff. >> when we come back, we'll preview tonight's state of the union with two of the best minds in the business, our colleagues at bloomberg, al hunt and margaret tallum join us after this. it took joel silverman years to become a master dog trainer. but only a few commands to master depositing checks at chase atms.
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could be a missing piece for you. see if you're eligible for 12 months free at mybreo.com. joining us now from our washington bureau to preview tonight's state of the union address and a whole lot more are bloomberg view columnist al hunt and bloomberg white house correspondent, margaret tlif. great to have you here. let me start with you, al. you're the dean on the scene. we've heard all the ways this state of the union will be different. i would like to hear from you whether all the ways in which it's going to be different, is it going to matter at all for barack obama in 2016? >> not a great deal, john. that last state of the union given by any president at this stage doesn't matter a whole lot. minimal effect on the election. they're trying to frame whether it's reagan or bush or clinton and now obama. they're trying to frame their place in history. this will be an upbeat speech tonight. look at the great things we've done. the great just conundrum that he faces tonight, john is, on one
hand, the record's impressive. unemployment, down from 10 to 5. stock market risen 178%. budget deficit down, read matt winkler's column today in bloomberg. on the other hand, people don't feel it. people feel the country is headed in the wrong direction, his popularity is low, people feel that the economic recovery has been very uneven. so, it's a real contradiction that he faces tonight. he'll try to emphasize the former. >> margaret, foreign policy, national security will be an unpredictable terrain for the president the remainder of his term, on domestic policy, what is the best case for the white house, what the president can get done through executive order or through legislation this year? >> there's a handful of things that the white house really wants to get done going forward. and on the domestic front, they include things like not -- probably not major gun control reforms, but at least perhaps some areas involving poverty and a meeting of the minds of the republicans on poverty. you heard house speaker paul ryan and republican presidential candidates signaling that over
the weekend. and a little bit on, similarly, this issue of criminal justice reform. republicans wanting to reach out to minority americans who have sort of had the odds stacked against them in the criminal justice system and say, hey, we want fairness and we want to bring down the costs of incarceration that states in the federal government have to absorb. but a fairly limited amount that they can accomplish legislatively. >> how about trade? got a shot on trade? >> i mean, he hopes so. he wants congress to ratify that tpp and he presumably will ask for that again. he's been asking for it consistently since the beginning. but he doesn't want to put all of his eggs in the "what can get done this year" basket. he very much wants to talk more broadly about what he hopes to accomplish in the years beyond his presidency, as well. that way if he doesn't get it this year, he hasn't failed. >> margaret, you covered -- i want to stick with you. you covered barack obama since he ran for president, you've covered him closely now for seven years. you know how he thinks about big
speeches. and the state of the union has never been one of his absolute favorites. from what you can tell from what you're reporting now, how is he thinking about tonight differently from the past states of the union? >> in the previous states of the union, what he was trying to do was set out areas either where he realistically thought he could get congress to act on his wish list or at least he could make a plausible case for that, so he could then take it to the public and try to run his own executive order campaign. at this point in year eight, he knows he's not necessarily told us, but we can guess, he knows what he still wants to do by executive order, he knows the couple of things he can do through legislation. he's really kind of shooting for, you know, the fences now at this point. swinging for the fences -- i won't say shooting. but, you know, the president is really thinking about how he can shape his legacy, how he can talk to americans about how he wants them thinking. we'll see a little bit of 2016 politics here. a little bit. i expect it to be pretty understated. but he -- as we've seen all week
in the ramp-up to this, wants to kind of cast his optimism and contrast to donald trump's pessimism and some of the pessimism of the republican party. but this speech, unlike previous speeches, i don't expect it to be about, you know, here's what i want to get done this year, and more about, here's what i want the country to become in the years to come. >> john, can i just -- john, jump in here. because let's turn the clock back a year ago. and we said it was going to be an awful year for obama. he had a pretty darned good 2016. if he gets criminal justice reform, congress passes that, and the biggest trade pac in the last 40 years, and maybe something, as margaret said, on poverty, that's a heck of an eighth-year achievement for a president. i'm not sure he'll get that, but, boy, that would be a -- that would really be a package for his final year. >> al, less than a minute, but i'm desperate to hear your reaction to the interesting comments from joe biden and the extraordinary comments the from chelsea clinton today regarding bernie sanders. >> they're nervous, mark.
they're real nervous. they think that bernie could well win iowa and new hampshire. may not change the outcome, but it's going to give them fits for at least months to come. and i think joe's having a great deal of trouble stirring up the pot -- a great deal of fun, rather, stirring up the pot. >> all right. al hunt, margaret talev, thank you very much for coming on. when we come back, we'll talk to two very wise men, bob shrum and fred davis. remember, if you're watching us from washington, d.c., you can now listen to us too on bloomberg 99.1 f.m. i like to ths more of a control... enthusiast. mmm, a perfect 177-degrees. and that's why this road warrior rents from national. i can bypass the counter and go straight to my car. and i don't have to talk to any humans, unless i want to. and i don't. and national lets me choose any car in the aisle. control. it's so, what's the word?...
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>> so two political strategists who live in california, but have spent time all around the country. we're glad you guys could join us. bob, you've watched the clintons for a long time, including chelsea. what is your reaction to what we think is a huge development in this race and in the life span of the clintons, chelsea clinton coming out and hitting bernie sanders on health care? >> i wonder if it's intentional, because i don't think it's smart. i think it's a real mistake to use her as an attack agent, an attack dog. it's not a role that fits her. i think she's much better out there testifying for her mother. and i don't know that these charges are going to hold up very well over time. bernie sanders isn't saying abolish medicare or abolish medicaid. he says, we're going to use the medicare model and create medicare for all. it's kind of a distortion to turn that into, he wants to abolish your medicare. >> smart people work for hillary clinton. very smart people.
i think we all agree what bob just said, and it echoed what we said earlier. how in a campaign does something like that happen? how do you have a meeting and say, let's trot clhelsea out as an attack dog. >> and a fully scripted attack. like she's reading off a script. >> how does that happen? >> that's one of the great questions ever. strange, strange things happen in campaigns. and that's one of the worst. >> this? >> yes, it makes zero sense. exactly what bob said. >> here's the next logical question. the clinton who you would expect to be an attack dog, bill clinton, hillary hitting bernie sanders hard, now chelsea doing it, what happens to bill clinton now? if you were running the clinton campaign, how would you deploy bill clinton to try to stop bernie sanders? >> first, he should be raising money, doing stuff with party leaders, dealing with the dnc. i don't think he should be out there as an attack dog. i think he needs to run as hillary clinton, not the
clintons. and i don't think it helps her to run as the clintons, because it begins to draw all this return fire, it tells a new generation that's unacquainted with it about some of the stuff from the '90s, which i thought we had all put behind us. so i think it's a smart idea to use him and you would use him. >> behind the scenes. >> well, behind the scenes or with very heavy party audiences, raising money, doing that kind of thing. because i think if she wins the nomination, and she's the overwhelming favorite to do so, i think if she wins the nomination, the person she needs to be her bill clinton is barack obama. he needs to do for her in 2016 at the convention what bill clinton did for him in 2012. >> you know, we like to quote hailey barber and say nothing in politics is as good or as bad as it seems. the sanders' campaign seems to be doing pretty well right now. do you see any errors they're making, or all systems go? everything they're doing is working? >> i never thought it would get
this far. i think they're doing a spectacular job. >> anything you would tweak, bob? >> i think he's -- he's drawing crowds, huge crowds, but at the same time, he's doing all this personal campaigning. so, you know, one comment would be, well, big crowds, but, iowa and new hampshire, you've got to go meet people. he's going and meeting people. i think they have a lot of field organization on the ground, and a lot of it is volunteers. so, i think that -- >> and we should say you're a longtime partner, tad devine -- >> my former partner, tad devine, is the strategist for bernie sanders, but i'm not involved in this. >> before we move on and talk about republicans, i want to talk about one more thing related to bernie sanders, and this is really directed to you. the clinton campaign has felt for a long time that new hampshire and iowa are all-white states and different from the rest of the country. she has great strength, historically, with african-american voters, with hispanic voters. if bernie sanders were to win iowa or new hampshire, right, win them both, right? would african-american and latino voters look anew at bernie sanders? would they look at him and say, okay, we have to give this guy a
second look? >> not instantly, but i think there were two dynamics that would come into play aside from the huge amount of the press attention this would get. first of all, nevada would become very important. there's a lot of organization on the ground there for, i think, both candidates. she's had a pretty big lead. there's some indication that the race may be getting closer. and that the sanders' people are very enthusiastic. and then if he would win nevada, then i think you would have a recalibration. thousand, would she still probably win south carolina, most of those southern states, yes? could he survive that? sure. it would matter on those super tuesday states, for example, what minnesota, colorado, massachusetts, which vote on the same day, so southern states did whereby because gary hart showed in 1984 that you could lose a whole bunch of primaries in the middle, you could hold on and make it to the end. and in fact, if he hadn't made the joke about new jersey being a toxic waste dump, he would have been the nominee. >> there's something i want to ask fred about republicans.
if sanders wins iowa and new hampshire, one thing's going to happen, his fund-raising will explode even more than it already has. >> but the people are going to give him another look if he wins those two. >> we'll talk more about the republicans in the next break. but i want to ask you a baseline question, you're working to help kasich and there are some indications that kasich's in this mix now. is it a foregone conclusion to you, that cruz and trump, given their current resources, is it a foregone conclusion to you that those two guys will be finalists in this in march? >> i think so so. >> so the question is, will there be one or two other people who join them? they're in the march sweepstakes at this point, no matter what? >> i think so, barring some horrible error. >> although what error could trump make. >> el witwell, maybe cruz. >> what do you think is the biggest vulnerability, just, we've got to go to break, but one sentence for each, the biggest vulnerability they have now as we approach the voting. >> trump and cruz? >> yes. >> the -- i think it's the same for both.
the strangeness factor. the fact that heir both just bizarre as they come. and i know you're chuckling. but i really think that at some point, it has to sink in. >> and that voters, when it comes to pull the lever will just say, that person doesn't feel right to me? >> they're not typically presidential. they dona't have a presidential dplee demeanor. >> you're kind of an expert in strange. >> that's how i look. >> bob and fred will stay with us, and after the break, we'll ask them to play that time-honored game, it's a political parlor game that we love called "engaging in hypotheticals." that's next.
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try a meta health bar. i'm not going to engage in any hypotheticals here. >> i don't want to engage in hypotheticals. >> i'm not going to engage in hypotheticals. >> we're not going to engage in hypotheticals right now. >> those five people will not engage in hypotheticals, but we certainly will. we're back with bob and fred for our favorite game, "engaging in hypotheticals." we know you're a republican, we know you're a democrat, but we want you to take off your partisan hats and put on your smart guy hats. we'll run through a couple of scenarios and you can help us know how to think about these things. bob, you're advising ted cruz
right now. >> unthinkable, but go ahead. >> and donald trump in the course of the next couple of weeks decides to finally unleash the hounds and goes negative on you with advertising in iowa. so, what do you do? >> you have to go back at him. the one thing i think we've learned about trump in this whole thing is that if he goes at you and like jeb bush, you say, i'm not going to deal with that. it's not going to work. but the real question is, does going back at him work? there seems to be almost nothing he can say, no attack that can be leveled that actually hurts him. one of the reasons i think he attacked bill clinton, and i think this guy is smart and he thinks ahead, was, he was trying to preempt the attack he worries is coming at him, that he donated money to the clintons and to the clinton foundation. >> fred, so far, we've seen ted cruz basically adopt the exact opposite posture than what bob suggested you should do.
which is never attack drump dru donald trump. >> so would your advice be if trump goes in big on the air, starting pummeling cruz about being a canadian citizen and can't possibly be the president, would you say, this is the time to start turning the cheek and putting the gloves on? >> i would start, nothing has worked, nothing has stuck to that guy. i would try to keep the upper ground somehow. >> by the way, if it's the canadian attack, i wouldn't respond to it. >> right, right. >> another serious attack that actually might work with voters, then you've got to think about, what am i going to do? an attack like cruz is really for amnesty, pick up the rubio argument, cruz is really for amnesty. then, he's at least got to defend himself and tell people it's not true. >> this hypothetical that john gave, is there a higher imperative to respond to the paid media, even though he hasn't responded to the earned media trump attacks? >> he may have to, but even then, i would try to keep the higher ground. because he's done it well so
far. amazing. >> all right, we'll move to the next topic, which is to say you're now hillary clinton advisers, and however it plays out in the next couple of weeks, let's say sanders wins both iowa and new hampshire, so you're in the clinton sweep the night of the new hampshire primary, the results come in, you've lost two in a row, what do you do at that point, hypothetically? >> you've got to be gracious about him. you've got to play to your strengths. you've got to get to south carolina. you've got to make sure that you get the latino vote and the union vote turned out in vegas and reno and places like that. and you've got to bank on that firewall and hope that it doesn't collapse. >> fred, what's the message after -- again, she lost -- we're not predicting it, but hypothetically, if she did, bob said be gracious, what's your message that night? >> we've done a few things wrong, we're going to make some changes and come back. and this time, i'm going to show you the real hillary. >> and fire chelsea as a surrogate. >> that would be number one. >> no firing -- >> i think that -- >> i'm sorry, my daughter, you're fired. you're out of here. >> the problem is the lack of
enthusiasm. >> it is. >> what's happening, i think, and what was happening for a long time is these democrats have accepted hillary and are ready to accept her. they're not ready to embrace her. >> okay, this is the most fun of all of these scenarios, the third and final of our scenarios that we want you both to contemplate. donald trump, republican nominee, fred, who would you advise him to consider as his running mate? >> my guess is ted cruz is angling for that spot. >> who would you advise donald trump -- >> not ted cruz. >> in order to win a general election. >> you're in the room with donald trump, the night of the new hampshire primary, you've won it, mr. trump says, i think i'm going to sweep this thing, i'm starting to think about my running mate, who should i consider? >> it's very easy for me, but it's self-serving. somebody who actually knows what they're doing, can be president from day one, and somebody can bring ohio. john kasich. >> okay, that's a little too simple. what about you? >> i think kasich is a good choice. >> i forgot how self-serving you are. >> rob portman. >> portman's up for re-election. you guys are both going for balance the ticket. are you sure that your advice
wouldn't be or that it shouldn't be another outsider, a military person, another business person? >> i am so sure. >> you're so sure. >> i'm so sure that this outsider appeal, which may have sufficient weight to get the nomination. >> to get the nomination in the republican party, is not sufficient to win the election. in fact, i think by any chance donald trump is the nominee, i don't think he'll win the election, but the one thing he has to try to do is reassure people -- >> what about rubio? >> that's what i was going to say, kasich, trump, rubio. >> what about portman? >> well, portman, rubio. >> what about the possibility you could solve a whole bunch of problems, theoretically if you're donald trump, put nikki haley on the ticket, how about that? got problems with women, pick a woman. problems with a wide arrange of ethnic minorities, pick a minority. >> why not carly fiorina. >> i think nikki haley would be a better candidate in that case. she's a woman, she's a successful governor, and she's a
minority. i think if trump were to have any choice, which i don't, but the big thing he would have to do is to try to figure out the electoral math. and that means he has to look at florida, he has to look at ohio. there are a lot of states that are in play, normally, that i think wouldn't be in play. >> i think he has to have somebody the average voter would be comfortable, stepping into the presidency. because he's likely going to continue his talk show host role. >> let me ask you this. the question begs, if somebody like a john kasich is asked by donald trump to be the running mate, they'll have to make a decision whether to do it. do you think if trump wins the first two, do you think he'll be accepted by -- do you think the balance of the establishment party will accept him if he wins the early contest? >> i doubt it. >> what do you think? >> i think they'll resist and resist and resist. and once he begins to amass the delegates he needs, goes through super tuesday, goes into these winner take all primaries, and does well if all that happens, i think most of them will make their peace with it, even though they fear that it could be a
goldwater-like defeat. >> and if he changes his tone a little bit? >> i'm highly disappointed, fred, you did not bring out one of your former clients, sarah palin, to answer that question. i was hoping for it, because the conversation could have really, really taken -- >> that's right! >> that's my -- >> that's my republican ticket! trump/palin. i'm all for it! endorse it! >> bob, wishful thinking. bob and fred, thank you for joining us. up next, we have nicole wallace, jon meacham, and a little bit of historical perspective after this word from our sponsors. yout about a biologic... this is humira. this is humira helping to relieve my pain and protect my joints from further damage. this is humira giving me new perspective. doctors have been prescribing humira for ten years. humira works for many adults. it targets and helps to block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to ra symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened,
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joining us now back at home base in gotham city are two folks who know a lot about the presidency. former white house communications director for president george w. bush 43, nicole wallace, and the presidential historian, jon meacham, whose book, "destiny and power: the american odyssey of george herbert walker bush" can be found at finer bookstores here. it makes an ideal arbor day gift, or any other holiday. nicole and john, thank you for
joining us. so state of the union, you both have seemed like nights where state of the union seem like the biggest night of the year in terms of government. does tonight feel like this? >> tonight is the first of 12 months of lasts for this president. and in the white house, you know, i think a lot of people will, frankly, today there is an international crisis with the ten navy sailors who have been taken by the iranians for allegedly being in their waters. but in the white house, their dealing with this crisis. there are people who would have gone to the speech, but they're in the sit room instead. they're also talking about, the speech writers, are probably talking about, thank god this is the last time we have to staff a state of the union address. but it probably becomes a little melancholy and bittersweet when the staff and the president start doing things for the last time that they have been doing for the last eight years. >> jon, when you think about president obama's states of the union, he's given some really
memorable speeches. are any of his states of the union memorable and can this one measure -- can this one qualify as kind of standing out, because of its rhetorical flourish? >> well, this is almost a pre-farewell address. you know, which is interesting, the news cycle is now so fast, that we have a farewell address a year out, which is, i think, you know, he still is president for a year. my sense of his state of the union address is that they are memorable partly for what other people have said. remember, the i don't thicongre south carolina, who cried out, "you lie," which is a startling moment in some ways, because it violated the good decorum of the house, gave a sense of the anti-obama feeling in the country. and a lot of these speeches have been montages. i remember last year, i think we joked about this, obama approvingly quoted himself from 2004. he said, you know, as i said,
there is one america. so one of the things that significa fascinates me about this is reagan in his second term average, his approval rating was 55%. bill clinton's was 60%. just over 60. george w. was about 37. obama is right at about 47, 48. so, it's almost as though we are ambivalent about obama, unto the end. >> i was going to ask you, and i did before we came on the air, when was the last time a state of the union address mattered in our politics or in our government? because i think he gave a powerful state of the union address the year after newtown, but i can't remember another one that anyone talked about for more than 20 minutes. >> i think it was bill clinton's, the era of big government is over. it was the recovery speech from the gingrich landslide. and so we're working on that and that's almost 20 years ago. >> yeah, i mean, i think the speech is almost as outdated
as -- not to hit close to the bone here, but a weekly magazine. i mean, the idea that an annual event has any impact anymore in this 24-hour cycle seems, i mean, i long for those days, but it seems not to have currency anymore. >> right. but this is -- this is probably the largest audience he'll get. >> one of them. >> depending on what happens, yeah. >> i want to ask you about whether the reported plans that the white house has to take some sort of victory lap about the deal that was struck over the iranian nuclear program makes sense in light of ten american -- >> no. >> do you think they're rewriting it? >> the sophisticated foreign policy answer, no, it doesn't. >> what do you think they're doing? do you think they'll take it ouout of the speech? >> i think he'll make a case with that look he has, occasionally, about how important it is for us to rise to his level. and his disappointment that we are not commensurate with him. i think he'll talk about the importance of bringing them into
the international community, but we must remain forever vigilant. that's why god created complex sentences. >> guys, i want to ask you both, as we close, to ruminate on something about the bushes, who were within either 30 or 45 days of either the greatest political comeback in bush family history, or one of the biggest disappointments that the family is going to see. what do you think is going on now at kennebunkport in houston and dallas as they think about the next 30 to 45 days? >> well, i think that they are sort of strategists at heart, so i'm guessing there are a lot of suggestions and advice. i don't know if they're actually making to it jeb, but they're flying around at other levels of family political power. but i think they are a family that at the end of the day, truly feels each other's defeats, forever. i mean, i think, as you know, from just spending time with 43, the sons still feel their father's loss to bill clinton in '92, in ways that i don't think 41 feels anymore. and so, you know, this is a
family with empathy coursing through their veins in a way that makes the political setbacks of any one of the other family members more painful for the rest of the family than the one that suffers them. >> yeah. >> i think they're as puzzled as the rest of us, to some extent, about exactly what forces have led to the durability of the trump phenomenon. >> yeah. >> mark twain once said, history doesn't repeat himself, but it rhymes, and trump and perot kind of rhyme. and we all see the world through the prism of our own experiences. and i suspect, mark, to your question, in houston, they're thinking about, you know, that outside forces have come along and president bush 41, to this day, believes that ross perot cost him the presidency. i don't think that's true. but they've had these billionaires before, who have complicated their political lives. >> yep. jon meacham in new york and
nicole wallace in new york, thank you both for joining us. remember, the book is "destiny and power," jon meacham's book, you should buy it. we'll be right back. a little bit about iowa and a little bit about florida, after this. ♪ (cell phone rings) where are you? well the squirrels are back in the attic. mom? your dad won't call an exterminator... can i call you back, mom? he says it's personal this time... if you're a mom, you call at the worst time. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico. it's what you do. where are you? it's very loud there. are you taking a zumba class? that reminds me... anyone have occasional constipation, diarrhea... ...gas, bloating? yes! one phillips' colon health probiotic cap each day helps defend against occasional digestive issues. with three types of good bacteria. live the regular life. phillips'. does printing from your tablet give you a jolt of confidence?
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tomorrow at 6:00 a.m., check out bloombergpolitics.com for the republican results in our brand-new iowa poll. >> and tomorrow night, we'll be live with all due respect in pensacola, florida, with donald trump. sayonara. "hardball with chris matthews" starts right now. it's state of the union night and this is "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews up in new york. president obama is getting ready to deliver his final state of the union address and the breaking news late today is that ten united states sailors are being held by the government of iran. american officials are optimistic, however, that iran will release the service people soon. for an update, let's go to nbc's ali arouzi in tehran. ali, do we have real optimism that we'll get our people back?