tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC January 14, 2016 8:00pm-10:01pm PST
>> tavis smileey, thank you very much for joining us tonight. chris matthews is up next live with republican debate reaction. doing the charleston, let's play "hardball." good evening, i'm chris matthews in washington. trump and cruz. the fight is on, at the republican debate tonight in south carolina. the two front-runners clashed over cruz's eligibility to run for president. what are new york values. on cruz's birth, donald trump warned if cruz was the nominee, democrats would bring a lawsuit. cruz said trump was worried about the poll numbers, trump didn't deny that. here we go. >> why now? why are you raising this issue
now? >> because now he's doing a little bit better. i didn't care before. it's true. no, it's true. look, he never had a chance, now he's doing better, he has probably a 4% or 5% chance. >> that's the trump edition. cruz defended his new york values attack on trump. >> most people know exactly what new york values are. >> i'm from new york -- >> you're from new york, so you might not. but i promise you in south carolina, they do. >> we all have the highlights with us tonight. they're going to be something. anyway, who won, who lost, most important, with less than three weeks to go in iowa, did anyone change the dynamic of the race. did anyone change position tonight? a former policy adviser to rand paul and howard fineman. he's never been loyal to anybody in politics. he's a tough customer.
michael steele's the former chairman of the republican national committee. joining us at the debate, katy tur. i always start with someone who's at the place, i don't know about tonight i thought cruz was on the attack, i thought trump handled the attack well and kept it even tonight. your thinking? >> cruz was the one that started this, i think that trump's authenticity is what resonates with a lot of supporters out there, what we saw tonight was his answer for new york values. i think it's the most authentic we've seen donald trump. truly authentic, i think that's going to resonate very well with his supporters that are already out there. whether it's going to have to turn anyone to the side, we're going to have to wait and see. it is that he is himself most of the time. he tells it how it is.
in a way that the others, including ted cruz don't quite have. there's been a lot of booing for donald trump during this debate. i wonder if that's going to sway voters watching the debate. reacting negatively to him, will that change their perception of him. i'm not sure. usually when you see donald trump, it's at his giant rallies, he's getting cheers. for the most part, he's getting these loud raucous cheers. it's different to see him in a situation where people are booing him, and people can be so easily swayed when others aren't necessarily feeling something. i wonder if that's going to be something that plays into ted cruz's hands. >> i wonder if there were little babies out there watching. the math is simple, seven candidates on the stage. clearly they're going to boo the guy i hope everybody can figure that out at home.
it's not too complicated, you're going to boo the guy, especially if he's the front-runner. oh, my god, he didn't go over as well as he usually does. donald trump and ted cruz clashed over trump's repeated attacks to run for president. let's watch. >> back in september, my friend donald said he had his lawyers look at this from every which way. there was no issue there, there was nothing to this birther issue. since september the constitution hasn't changed. but the poll numbers have. 1234 the legal issue is quite straightforward, i would note that the birther theorys donald has been relying on, some of the more extreme ones insist you must not only be born on u.s. soil, but have two parents born on u.s. soil under that theory, not only would i be
disqualified, marco rubio would be disqualified, bobby jindal would be disqualified and donald j. trump would be disqualified. >> not me. >> because donald's mother was born in scotland, she was naturalized. now, donald -- >> but i was born here. >> on the issue of citizenship, donald i'm not going to use your mother's birth against you. >> okay. >> because it wouldn't work. >> you're an american as is everybody else on this stage and i would suggest we focus on who's best prepared to be commander in chief. >> this isn't me saying it, i don't care. i think i'm going to win fair and square, i don't have to win this way. there is a serious question as to whether or not ted can do this.
>> you know what, i thought that was one of the most dishonest things in politics on television. we have a 14th amendment, you're born here in america, everyone knows that. no one questions donald trump being born here. it's a nonsensical thing to muddy the waters and confuse everybody with a bunch of clever words, what is he talking about? nobody on this planet has ever said you need your parents to be born here to be president. why is he saying that? why is he making this stuff up? >> because he's trying to use legal jargon to -- >> no one's ever said this. >> he compared himself to, oh, this was an ambassador's son or service member's son and daughter. >> no, no, no, listen closely to what he just said he just said
there's some people who say both your parents need to be born here. >> this is ted cruz, the college debater, looking to throw dust up on this issue. >> the british style debating where you just make up. -- >> it's college debate versus heavyweight. the way i saw this whole thing tonight, is that ted cruz is the guy trying to pile up pointses with the jabs. but you weighed in on donald trump. any time you weighed in on him, you could get clocked, and i think that happens to him. >> between the two of them, over cruz's new york values number. well, trump was ready to pounce there, as he should have been. let's watch him. the values in new york city are socially liberal or proabortion or progay marriage focus around money and the media.
i guess i can frame it another way. not a lot of conservatives come out of manhattan. i'm just saying. 1234 conservatives actually do come out of manhattan, including william f. buckley and others. just so you understand. and just so -- if i could -- because he insulted a lot of people, i've had more calls on that statement that ted made. new york is a great place, it's got great people, loving people, wonderful people. when the world trade center came down, i saw something that no place on earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than new york. you had two 100 and -- you had two 110 story buildings come crashing down. i saw them come down. people in new york fought and fought and fought. and we saw more death and even the smell of death.
nobody understood it, and it was with us for months. the smell, the air. and we rebuilt downtown manhattan, and everybody in the world watched, and everybody in the world loved new york and loved new yorkers, and i have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that ted made. >> michael steele, what do you make of this back and forth on new york values? how does it help or hurt -- >> i think -- it doesn't help cruz, and i think tonight showed that. i think in trying to explain it, in trying to give it context, it opened up the opportunity to show cruz and quite frankly the country this personal side of trump, this connection to something that's real. something that we're all connected to, and i thought he hit it out of the park, and i thought that that moment when cruz is actually applauding what donald trump is saying, basically ended this conversation, or at least it
should, for ted cruz. >> yeah, i think new york is a great place. i know directors of this show, they're all new yorkers, they don't fly in from iowa or montana, the celebrities, the hollywood stars in the northwest, the johnny carsons, things like that, they're new yorkers and they have a new york ago accident, you may say some are loud. the values are bad. brooklyn and queens are filled with churches. i don't think -- i don't get the new york values thing. are they talking sodom and gomorrah? is this an old trick, all democrats are gay? >> it's not the dog whistle stuff that cruz is attempting here. he's saying that that's the secular, nonfaith, or nonevangelical sodom and
gomorrah place, media and the money. he just left mamman out of it. and that's exactly what he was doing, and he's playing micro politics for evangelicals in iowa. that's all that was really about. it isn't even really about south carolina, where as trump was playing to the whole country. this is the great irony of it, trump was able to embrace the whole country. cruz made himself small in this case. >> st. patricks, i try to go there every time i go to new york. i walk in st. patricks at lunchtime, everyone's in there for mass. i'm not saying it's the most religious city in the world, but to single it out. >> what i don't understand is, it was such an unforced error, ted cruz knew -- he should have known that's how donald trump was going to answer it, he gave that answer last night, it was amazing, why did he set up a perfect layup for donald trump, that is very not with cruz's
usual discipline. >> let's talk about another issue. this involves ni s nikki haley. he was leading the party astray. i really like this back and forth, here he is. >> she did say there was anger. and i could say, oh, i'm not angry, i'm very angry, because our country is being run horribly. and i will gladly accept the mantle of anger opinion our military is a disaster, our health care is a horror show, obama care, we're going to repeal it and replace it. we have no borders. our vets are being treated horribly, illegal immigration is beyond belief. our country is being run by incompetent people, and yes i am angry. >> isn't that wonderful, michael steele, i like politicians when they learn their lessons, instead of fighting with governor haley the way he fought with migen kel megyn kelly, he ,
we're friends, i agree. you nailed me. he didn't do the same thing with cruz. you know why i'm going after you ted cruz? because your numbers are better than they were. he's totally honest about it. >> also recognize what happened today as well, nikki haley was doing a little jujitsu as well, backing off what she said and after her speech yesterday, yes, this was directed at trump. because the blowup inside the party was big. it was played out on conservative radio, it was played out in the blogs. and it was beginning to bite into her a bit. so she dialed it back. trump saw that and took the high ground, i thought very effectively and appropriately. again. turning what could have been an ugly situation into a positive one for him. saying, this is why i'm running, i'm angry about the way this country is being run, and that again draws people to them.
>> who has a better shot at the vice presidential nomination after tonight, nikki haley or john kasich, who i thought for the first time tonight was openly running for a slot on the ticket. with trump. i have to go with you, michael, i have to leave you on this. didn't you see him campaigning for vp of the trump ticket today? agreeing with him on trade and everything. you can see these mates going on. >> the only thing that was missing from case egg's performance tonight was wearing a sweater with a giant o on it for ohio. richard nixon said it's always about ohio. >> elise, what do you think? >> i think her stock has shored this week. >> he handled that visually without saying a word today. fantastic charm. thank you as always. we'll check back with all of you
throughout the night. much more from the candidates, their advisers and political reporters covering this race up front. this is "hardball" the place for politics, with live coverage of the republican presidential debate. >> and if for some reason he beats the rest of the field, he beats the rest of the field -- >> see, they don't like that. they don't like that. no, they don't like that he beats the rest of the field, because they want me. ...but 9 out of 10 americans... ...aren't getting enough important omega-3s. bayer pro ultra omega-3 can help, with two times the concentration of omega-3s than the leading brand. love your heart ... with bayer pro ultra omega-3. ever since i had a pretty bad accident three years ago. the medical bills - the credit card debt all piled up. i knew i had to get serious my credit. so i signed up for experian. they have real, live credit experts i can talk to. they helped educate me on how debt affected my fico score.
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we have a serious problem, and we can't be the stupid country any more. we're laughed at all over the world. >> wow! welcome back to hardball. more now on the wild night in south carolina many let's talk winners and losers. who came out on top. we saw some explosive matchups tonight. the gloves came off between
trump and cruz. the establishment took shots at each other. i don't know to what effect. and everyone went after president obama and hrillary clinton or as everyone called her, hillary rodham clinton. we've showed you some of the trump/cruz fight. here's more. >> here running, we're running, he does great. i win. i choose him as my vice presidential candidate and the democrats sue because we can't take him along for the ride. i gone the like that, okay? the fact is, and if for some reason he beats the rest of the field -- [ crowd booing ] >> he beats the rest of the field -- they don't like that. they don't like that he beats the rest of the field, because they want me. but -- and for some reason, he beats the rest of the field, i already know that democrats are going to be bringing a suit, you
have a big lawsuit over your head while you're running, and you become the nominee who knows if you can serve in office. >> i've spent my entire life defending the constitution before the u.s. supreme court, and i'll tell you, i'm not going to be taking legal advice from donald trump. >> you don't have to. i'll tell you -- >> i'd like to tell you one thing. >> the chances of any litigation proceeding and succeeding on this are zero. >> that's wrong. >> mr. trump -- >> that's wrong. >> robert, down there in that audience, it looks like the audiences are always set up. aren't they packed with people who are constituents of the candidates. 6 out of 7 people will give a tough bronx cheer to trump because he's the front-runner. i hope the audience understands that at home. that's the way these things
work. >> that's right, the tickets were allocated by the rnc. you saw most of the chaampaigns that are rivals of donald trump, they were stacked in the audience, in the sense that they were opposed to trump. i don't think that's reflective of the republican party at large. >> let me ask you about the birther thing. let's go to the new york thing. i think the people around this table so far tonight think that was a big dud or worse for cruz, taking on the empire state and making fun of its values without having the guts to say what he meant. your thoughts. >> those are the two biggest exchanges of the night. by far, this was about cruz and trump going at each other, i think it was a story of two debates, the first hour, cruz taking on trump when it comes to the candidate question. you had cruz bouncing back. but then trump talked about
9/11. >> i know he did it from a building point of view, because he's a builder. he skipped the main part, the heart of those new york firefighters, know they're facing probable death, climbed up their stairs. >> i kept waiting for him to say, the real new york values are with those firefighters who gave their lives. >> in the neighborhoods. >> and the people who rushed in the next day, and took on risks of their own, to try to save the people they could. by and large, i think it's true that cruz was blowing a very loud dog whistle by talking about new york values. in the past there have been religious overtones to those remarks. i think it will still work, but to me, it was interesting that -- you know, you -- cruz won the birther face-off. trump won the new york face-off. and rubio and christie are going their own way. they're fighting each other, but i really think what they were trying to do was to get into the
anger lane with trump. it seems -- >> he did all right in that lane. rubio and christie kept showing how tough they could be. rubio looked like he had taken too much caffeine before he went on. >> what about christie saying hillary rodham clinton. they kept trashing her over and over again. none of these guys have any military experience. and they ar all talking about how tough they're going to be taking on isis. fury and force. over this incident with the sailors. they want to go to war with -- who is that, cruz? go to war over that? >> yes, that's how he opened. >> how do you go to war with something like that. >> this is just -- anger is what -- what was trump's best line tonight? i wear the mantle of anger proudly. they all see that's getting results nationally, he's up in the latest nbc/wall street journal poll. they're all trying to find hire own way of being angry. >> here's the big fight between
the establishment lane, they're fighting for second place in new hampshire already. rubio and christie came to blows rhetorically. here's rubio's attack. >> governor christie has endorsed many of the ideas that barack obama supports, whether it's common core or gun control or the appointment of sonia sotomayor. or the donation to planned parenthood. our next nominee cannot be someone who supports those positions. >> when you're a senator, what you get to do is just talk and talk and talk and talk. and you talk so much, that nobody can ever keep up with what you're saying is accurate or not. when you're governor you're held accountable for everything you do. and the people of new jersey have seen it. and the last piece is this, i like marco too. p and two years ago, he called me a conservative reformer that new jersey needed. that was before he was running against me. now that he is, he's changed his
tune. i'm never going to change my tune. i like marco rubio, he's a nice guy, he's a smart guy. and he would be a better president than hillary rodham clinton would be. >> what's that about? why does he do it that way? >> you talk about assassins, you always use their middle lane. more evil, perhaps? >> let me go to robert costas. new york values are on the plate. what about nirjz values, it's a river apart. is there some demarcation there. does christie have too much attitude? i think his attitude is pretty well received in the republican party. >> you see yes, sirty being painted by his rivals as someone who is close to president obama. throughout the entire night christie pushed back hard on that notion, he would "pose secretary clinton, he would kick obama out of the white house.
what a scrum among these establishment candidates, they're all struggling for political oxygen in new hampshire, they're trying to stay in this race and going at each other. knives are out, all of them. >> what kind of audience is out there, does it have a lot of diversity or is it all white guys? >> the main group, most of these campaigns are targeting, white working class voters, i talked to them. >> are they working class guys in that audience tonight or money guys. >> i have a lot of money guys, a lot of party people here, that's how you get a ticket. >> pretty wealthy looking crowd from what i can see. >> robert costas, thank you. and david corn. whose name gets in the headline, cruz, trump, probably. it should be trump, they may say cruz gets tough with trump. i say trump deserves the headline. our coverage continues after this. >> i'm very happy to get a question this early on.
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inaugurated president of the united states is totally an alternative universe. the simple fact is, that the world has been torn asunder. >> i am convinced if this president could confiscate every gun in america, he would. >> we have a president that refuses to acknowledge the threat we face. >> this guy is a petulant child. that's what he is. we're going to kick your rear end out of the white house come this fall. >> we're going to kick your rear end out of the white house. talk about declining deviancy downward. tonight's debate will be splashed across the front pages of all major newspapers tomorrow. let's get the scoop on the headlines tonight. jeremy peterson of the new york times and heidi preslin. a columnist said something and the old right wing trick is to
complete that with front page reporter. everyone knows "the new york times" is one of the great newspapers in history. i know the yahoos are going to buy this, but it's not true. columnists don't speak for the paper. >> right. >> your thoughts. >> every single republican primary, we go through this every four years when the "new york times" becomes a right wing chew toy. it's part of the territory. trump has made us his punching bag this year. trump's relationship with the media is totally symbiotic. as soon as you leave his rallies, this has happened to me before, my phone will ring and it's donald trump asking, did you enjoy the rally? can i give you a ride back to new york on my plane. most of his constituents who think he's happy to call the media apart would be shocked to know how cozy he is with the media elite. >> heidi, are you part of the
media elite? >> i never considered myself. >> i wish i could get him on the show for an hour, it would be a heck of a hardball. we keep calling. >> i never considered myself the elite coming from the middle section of the country. by virtue of being a journalist. i've had a lot of people automatically make that assumption, because you're in the profession of journalism, and it's really been taken on -- i think new importance over the past four months with candidates like trump and cruz taking it to new heights. >> whose name will be in the headline tomorrow, the major papers. >> trump and cruz smack down. >> you see that, jeremy, what's the a section, the big headline going to look like, do you know yet? >> the story is, cruz and trump. the day tant is over, to the extent it hadn't already kind of -- the foouz hadn't already burned short. now it's open warfare.
>> will it say who won? >> you know, i encourage you to buy your "new york times" tomorrow. i don't know, who won -- i think it's undeniable that cruz came out of this with some wind at his back. he totally. with the exception of that one exchange where he -- donald i think really kneecaped him on 9/11 and new york values. cruz really point by point refuted and took apart every single one of donald trump's arguments about birthers. >> you say silly, because you made a judgment, but it did go on for 10 minutes. there's a lot of time about whether he's constitution ali legitimate or not. i still ask the question, what did the founders mean, the founders mean when they said natural born. i don't know what other meaning they could have other than born here. when we get to clarence thomas and the rest of the original intention people get together. they would have the same literal
interpretation as they have on the second amendment, which is the right to bear arms mines the right to bear arms. natural born means natural born. i don't know when the right wing decides to be literal and when not to be. >> cruz had some great arguments tonight. he went back and unearthed a donald trump quote from september saying this is a nonissue. by virtue of the fact he's spending so much time defending this point by point. he was tweeting out rebuttals too, i think donald trump has won the argument, in that we're going to continue having this discussion, and that hurts ted cruz. >> i would be a lot more defending of ted cruz like you are, on the intellectual points if he had raised his voice just once. just once again -- when obama's accused of being a kenyan. and implicitty a muslim kenyan, and he never ever did. i'm not going to spare the rod in this case. howie jackson is down at the
spin room down there. you can always tell when you hang around the spin room. who looks like they lost, who looks like they won. the ones who lost are racing around trying to make up for what they lost in the first two hours. can you tell? >> not at this point many we're waiting for the chairman to come out. everyone's sort of waiting to get the shot, waiting to ask their questions. right now, the surrogates for governor christie and cruz are out here talking to folks, portraying this as a good night for their guys. you've been talking about some of the story lines that have been emerging, this idea that it was, of course, a trump/cruz battle. the establishment candidates needed a way to stand out. it is questionable whetherfully of them did enough to do that. did enough to pick up momentum in iowa and new hampshire. >> what did you think about the tone? i mean, kick his butt out of the white house. christie talking like that about the president of the united states. you don't have to kick his butt
out of the office, he'll get in the car with you and ride with you to the capitol. >> don't you think that's a -- i just wonder if it's a sign of what donald trump has done to this race. over the last few months -- >> nobody had to teach christie to be -- >> harsher in their language. that's right, no one had to teach chris christie -- that's clear, someone like marco rubio has taken a harsh tone, the sort of language and rhetoric you're talking about in the last few weeks. >> we'll come back to you later. grab some big guys for us. >> yeah. >> thank you jeremy and heidi. republicans are bracing for the possibility they won't have a nominee by the time they meet in cleveland next summer. it is this summer, in fact, could we see a real convention, where the person who comes in doesn't have delegates to win? and then something else happens. and could they take it away from the guy who comes in first? could they dare to do that? this is hardball, the place for
politics with live coverage of the republican presidential -- >> a million dollars is in it for every -- >> well, maria, thank you for passing on that hip piece on the front page of "the new york times." ♪ (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?
iowa. in large part -- you have been going down in iowa, he has been doing better. >> let's go to mark sanford. congressman, thank you for joining us from your home state, south carolina, looks pretty good tonight. i did see a lot of well off business guys in the audience. i didn't see a lot of those white working class people your party's trying to attract in the election. who won? >> you tell me, chris. i mean, it was one of those -- >> trump. >> i don't think there were any knockout blows. did you say trump? >> well -- >> i thought cruz was in the mix. trump had a great performance. probably not the best night for jeb. probably not the best night for, you know, carson. but i don't think there were any real knockout blows. trump stayed king of the hill, if you want to put it in those terms. >> yeah, let's talk about your state. let's talk about your state. it's beginning to look like. we don't know what's going to
happen. these polls, ted kennedy was going to kill jimmy carter in '80s, it never happened. a lot of things never happened. let's say cruz squeaks it out in iowa, he knocks trump off by a couple points, goes to ham happen the opposite happens. trump comes back, and maybe an establishment candidate like christie or rubio, and then they go to your state. it could be a rubber match, your state could be the one that decides the pattern of where it goes from there? >> as you know, historically it has. ever since there's been this republican nominating process, south carolina has been the bellweth bellwether. it's not a caucus state. it's a more diverse state than new hampshire. i think it's a real bellwether. at this point trump has the edge. i didn't see anything that knocked him off kilter here in south carolina, based on the
debate performance tonight. >> south carolina is an interesting state, because it has nikki haley who is a conservative but not a right winger. lindsay graham, who is a conservative but not a right winger. they all can make compromises, they know when to do a compromise on the flag. the battle flag or immigration, i think it's a reasonably conservative state. is that a good estimate of the state? it's not hard right. or is it? >> it depends where you are in the state. i mean, if you go to the i-85 corridor, the upstate as it's called in this state, it's quite conservative, if you come along the coast where i'm from, it's more libertarian. it's more -- less engaged on social issues more ten gauged on financial issues. that's an environmental ethos, in the low country of south carolina, it's a real mixed bag. obama won charleston county, which is where we are right now. that wouldn't be the case with
greenville county in the upstate. >> let me ask you about this situation with your party. i don't know if i can see a coming together of your party tonight. i see a battle of the outsiders, trump and cruz. i see a battle of the insiders, christie and marco rubio. i don't see those two duets coming together into one party. how do you see it? i see the outside and the inside guys, each fighting the intermural fight. like two different conferences in football. i don't see a super bowl where they all come together with one candidate in your party. i wonder whether you're going to get to a convention without a majority winner. >> i think the field will continue to narrow, as it has already. i think that's been the track of this campaign from day one. inside versus outside. i think the mood of the country right now heavily favors outside perspective, at least in the early start of the nominating process, but, you know, i -- i think that what you've seen in the past, the republican party
comes together on this nominee, i think you'll see it again, we have a number of different rounds still to go before we get to that process, to -- of picking the final winner, because it sure ain't clear as of tonight who that person is. >> yeah, well, the way i look at it, you could have the first convention since 1952 and that was a democratic convention where keith fought for one of the primaries. it's going to be a long way until there. you're right about that. let's go to katy tur, who has dr. ben carson in her custody right now. there she is. >> as people actually get serious, and start looking at this, they'll say, wow! this is pretty good stuff. >> another question for you. time is running out before iowa, you don't have a lot of time to make a difference to pick up momentum, if you don't win iowa. what do you do? >> there's plenty of time. >> two and a half weeks? >> yeah about. >> chris, we're going to stick with dr. carson here, keep you
with him here. >> probably 1,000 at least. i'll constantly make life and death decisions and gathering information quickly, and making wise decisions. and actually, i believe those kinds of skills are very transferable to this kind of job. and would go a lot further than just talking about stuff. [ inaudible ] >> i couldn't really hear that question very well. >> that was howie jackson with dr. ben carson. let me go to ben ginsberg. another ben. tell me -- i think it's possible that you could have a party situation in the next three or four months where a candidate is leading in the delegates but not going to go to -- be on their way to winning a majority.
is that feasible? you're the expert? >> it is possible. it depends how many distinct lanes we have coming out of probably super tuesday. is donald trump a lane unto himself. ted cruz winning the conservative lane, somewhere between rubio, christie, bush, kasich in the establishment lane. there are three lanes, three groups of candidates actually winning delegates, then as a matter of mathematics, more likely to have the convention than if there are two. >> can anyone coming into the convention be denied the nomination? >> sure. >> that will not be popular? >> it also will depend on the dynamics and it will depend on the delegates. >> we have some wild cards -- >> i think the country's used to the fact that the person with the most delegates wins. let's go to another lawyer here. we have on the phone, harvard law professor, lawrence trott.
2456r7k you for joining us. what is your notion of what the founding fathers meant when they said, natural born american. natural born citizen? >> i've done a lot of historical research on it, and so have a lot of other people, and the best evidence seems to be that what they meant in 1788 was something more than just citizen from birth. they actually meant a citizen whose birth was sort of natural, not in a biological sense but in the sense of connection to the land. the idea was, that it was something that congress couldn't change, unlike the naturalization process, which congress has monkeyed around with all the time. for example, in 1934, the first time it said, you can be a citizen who doesn't need to get naturalized as long as your mom was an american citizen. and that's ultimately the basis on which cruz has to rely. the funny thing is, that the kind of guy cruz is, he's always
been this way, when he was my student he was this way, he's always said the constitution always means the same thing that it meant when it was adopted. that's why he made this funny joke to trump, you know, saying, the constitution didn't change since last september. well, he thinks it didn't change since 1788, when it comes to gays and women and other things. but when it comes to his own ambition, he's suddenly becomes what he accuses me of being, and it's a pretty true accusation, a judicial activist. that's not the guy he is normally, he's being a constitutional opportunist, a hypocrite. it's sad, because he makes light of it, but it is a genuine open question, and there's no way of getting around it, like if he's the nominee, it won the be hard to imagine some secretary of state somewhere refusing to put him on the ballot on the ground that that secoretary of state i
also an originalist and thinks, if you weren't born on the land of the united states, then you just can't run. at that point, somebody would have to sue them. whether it's ted cruz himself as the nominee, if that's what we've got, or the republican national committee. there's no way to avoid an issue like that going to the supreme court. and the irony is, the liberals on the court, assuming they all voted according to principle, as opposed to politics. it isn't always that way, the liberals on the court, the activists would go with cruz, and the originalists if they were true to their position. >> yeah. >> like scalia, would vote against him. >> because scalia, we understand, looks back for dictionaries from the late 18th century to try to find out what words meant to the founding fathers. natural born to him would mean what they meant by it, it wouldn't mean what ted cruz or someone today thought it meant it would be what the people who
signed the document thought it meant. >> exactly. and the naturalization process in 1934 or 1940 or 1977, they believed in a kind of natural law, and it was unchanging. and i think one of the things that's dangerous about somebody like president cruz. it kind of hurts me to say that, but president cruz would believe that the supreme court doesn't really have much to do with the meaning of the constitution, he said he doesn't think it's binding. so it would be the constitution according to cruz. >> yes, that's right. >> you approach it the way you have to to make the results come out the way you want. >> he's questioned the whole notion of judicial review. i wonder, though, just get back to alan grayson, he's somewhat of a wild guy, he knows what he's doing on this one, he's very liberal, he's from florida, he's talked about suing, who would have standing to challenge a presidential candidate. >> his opponent would have
standing. so whoever the democratic nominee is or the democratic national committee would probably have standing, i don't think they want to do that, because that would make them look small. i think allen grayson believes he has standing. i don't really quite see how he's injured. but the example i gave, is a clear one where there would be no standing problem. if there is an official in any of the 50 states who says, i don't think you're a natural born citizen, you have to sue me if you want to be on the ballot. well, then, whoever's being kept off the ballot would have standing. and sometimes, you know, courts duck issues because they're political hot potatoes. i can't imagine the courts ducking an issue about whether the nominee of one of our great political parties can be kept off the ballot in a state. >> well, let's see what antonin scalia is going to say after
hearing you tonight, and how this conversation has percolated up. thank you, professor laurence tribe. thank you for joining us tonight. it's a critical point. let's go right now to donald trump who's in in the spin room. >> a lot of people think this is my destiny, i don't know, i don't really care. >> would you explain what new york values are. or was he pandering? >> i don't know if he knows what new york values are, but i mentioned a couple things, fox is a new york -- fox tends to be conservative, and i mentioned the name of william f. buckley, who was a proud new yorker. if you look at somebody that -- ronald reagan was a liberal person, fairly liberal and he became quite conservative, people change. >> did you mean -- >> i think a lot of people were very upset with him today when he took that stance against new york when we went through such a tragedy, so recently.
>> did you mean to offer him the vp slot if you become the nominee? >> no, not at all. i was just doing that as a joke. i said it as a joke. you couldn't do it. he has a serious problem, we'll find out what happens, but he has a serious problem. his law professor is the one that says he has a serious problem. beyond that, there are many, many lawyers, great constitutional lawyers who say he can't run for president. so, look, he's going to have to solve that problem. >> are you trying to -- >> i guess the bromance is over he hit me. i hit him after the fact. he started talking about new york in a negative way, and i thought it was inappropriate. >> are you trying to sew the seeds of doubt in voters mineds that he may not be -- >> it's not a question of seeds. there is a doubt. and if it was a 1% chance, and it's much more than that. if it's a 1% chance, you just can't run. he has to solve the problem. i like him, you can't run.
there's a 1% chance. and there's a lot more than that. >> what are you going to do in iowa to win. >> right now, i'm going to do "morning joe." we're going to be on at 6:30 in the morning, i'm headed out to iowa many we're doing a nice rally in iowa, and we're going out to new hampshire. >> the crist campaign says they have the winning ground in iowa. >> let's wait and see, february first we'll see what happens. a new poll came in, i'm winning in iowa. >> do you think you can actually get those people to -- >> i have the most people showing up. >> i have the most people showing up, i have by far the most spirit. you see it in this room. everyone said i won this debate tonight. >> can i ask you about the audience. your campaign manager thought that maybe the audience was stacked against you. >> what, tonight? >> it didn't sound like a pro trump crowd, how did you feel? >> i thought they were great. the audience and i, i thought it was fantastic. in south carolina i'm winning
the polls by a tremendous amount. this has been a great state for me. i thought -- >> you thought the audience -- >> i thought the audience was great tonight. >> why do you think people would go out and caucus -- >> the audience gave me a standing ovation. >> why do you think people are going to go out and caucus. we've never caucused before? >> we're going to have to see, i've done a good job. i'm spending a lot of time in iowa, i have a lot of friends in iowa. i think they're going to go out and caulkess and do well. >> february 2nd if for some reason you do not win iowa, are you going to have enough momentum. >> i'm in it until the end. let's put it this way. i'm reading every national poll, i'm leading every state. now, including iowa. in fact, the real clear poll just came out. i'm sure if i wasn't leading, you would tell me. i'm leading every single state, and i'm leading every national poll. i think i'm going to do very well, we'll find out. >> you are the front-runner zm. >> by the way, you know what the key is, we're going to make
america great again. that's the key. >> well, there he is, donald trump saying that. did you hear that, he said that he had a standing o tonight, everyone said he won. and won handily. that was his -- >> it's a wonderful feeling. >> i thought that was a dramatic -- let's talk about your party again. this question of the eligibility and you're a lawyer. what does natural born mean. i know i'm pushing this, it's a simple phrase put in the constitution for a purpose. what was the purpose of putting that phrase in, if not to make sure you were born here. >> if you were born here, it's been transferred over time. the larger point -- >> no, the constitution hasn't changed -- >> as part of -- this statement in the constitution, has never been interpreted by the u.s. supreme court. so there is no definitive ruling. >> what could it mean? >> it could mean one of two
things, you actually had to be born in this country. but that apparently is not the case, because we've had other presidential candidates who have been born not in this country who were allowed to -- >> there was no challenge, that's all. >> there was no challenge, everyone sort of unanimously agreed on it. or -- >> unanimously? >> well, who stopped john mccain from coming on the ballot, for example. >> he was born on u.s. territory, the canal zone. it wasn't -- >> george romney was not born in -- >> he was born in mexico, because his family immigrated because of religious reasons. >> he wasn't on the ballot, it wasn't a challenge. unanswered legal question by the highest court in the land. >> plesi was challenged. thank you. let's bring in john kasich. governor kasich, thank you for coming on tonight. you were very nice to donald trump tonight. i was wondering whether you were
recognizing the fact that the guy is way ahead in the polls. he's 33% nationally tonight. >> no, chris. look, i agreed with him look, ih him on trade. i've always felt this way about trade. but i think for too long when countries have shafted us and sold stuff to this country and take our jobs and it takes a couple years to fix it and our people lose their jobs, it infuriates me. i think he happened to be right on that basic issue. in terms of a tariff or something, that's a whole different story. but you must take actions when people cheat. that's what i'm trying to say. >> what do you make of tonight's kind of macho performance? everybody was going to kick butt, kick the president out of the white house as if obama's term wasn't going to end automattly january 20th next year, yeah, i'm going to kick him down the stairs. i guess that works in jersey,
but i think it's ridiculous. and the tossing off of the insult to jeb bush from trump, there's sort of a lot of trash talk still going on in this debate. did you notice? >> well, there was some heated rhetoric. i was very pleased with the debate, because i felt i was able to talk to -- directly to the public that's worried about wages and jobs and their kids getting a job. look, i think it's reflected in the polls. i don't know what you know this or not, but in three of the last four polls, i'm in second place in new hampshire, which is where i wanted to be, so i could speak my message and get known. so i think what i did tonight, i'm very happy with it. it's what i've been doing and we're rising in new hampshire and i think we keep going. i come out of new hampshire and i'm a big story in the mind of chris matthews and other media people, i think i'll be the nominee. >> let me ask you how you do that. i agree, i was talking to
congressman branson -- what's his name? from south carolina. >> doesn't matter. >> and this idea that it comes down to three early states now. iowa, which is very conservative, new hampshire is more gritty, irish italians and others. a little bit of anger, but a different kind than you get in the midwest. then you go to south carolina, it seems to me -- what happen it is you come in second to say to trump in new hampshire, does that -- in other words you beat out rubio, does that put you in play in south carolina in a real trifecta here if >> oh, yeah, no question. look, the fact of the matter is, we have people on the ground in south carolina. i'm in the ballot now over 30 states. we'll be in every single state. i have people on the ground in nevada. as you know, the great trent
lott is supporting me in mississippi and we feel strong in the south and then you go to the midwest, illinois, michigan, ohio, pennsylvania, these are all places where i could do very, very well, chris. >> i know. >> so i'm very optimistic. if i do well, i'll get the money and i'll have the name i.d. somebody said, what lane are you in? this other reporter said to me, you know, there's the establishment lane and the anti-establishment lane. you're in your own lane. and i always have been. >> let me ask you one last question. how do you campaign in new hampshire? what's your strategy for the next three, four weeks? >> basically live there. i go to town halls. i've done over 50 of them and i'm going there tomorrow. i'm going to be at my daughter's 16th birthday on saturday, then going to new hampshire on sunday. i'm just working like crazy up there and i have a team. listen to this, chris. i have about six or seven guys living in one of the campaign
headquarters we have. they're sleeping on mattresses and heating their food with hot plates. what does that sound like? >> sounds like "the god father," going to the mattresses. thank you, governor. i think it's going to be a hell of a fight with you up there. >> thank you, chris. >> how could i forget the same mark sanford? he was just on. >> oh, yeah. >> sometimes you get in the press for a long time, you get forgotten. any way, it's just past midnight on the east coast. the first republican debate of 2016 just ended less than an hour ago. the big news, for the first time in a debate, donald trump and ted cruz went at each other. they went head to head, clashing on a number of issues. including cruz saying trump values new york values.
let's watch a bit of this. >> and for some reason, he beats the rest of the field, i already know the democrats are going to be bringing a suit. you have a big lawsuit over your head while you're running. and if you become the nominee, who the hell knows if you can even serve in office? >> why are you raise thing issue now is >> because now he's doing a little better. i can't care before, it's true. look, he never had a chance. now he's got a 4%, 5% chance. i'm not bringing a suit, but the democrats are bringing a lawsuit and you have to have certainty. you can't have a question. i can grow with you or not, but you can't have a question over your head. >> do you want to respond? >> listen, i've spent my entire life defending the constitution before the u.s. supreme court and i'm not going to be taking legal advice from donald trump. >> you don't have to.
>> what's so funny? amrosa, you were helpful in our documentary we did on citizen trump. i thank you for that. are you still hot on this guy's chances? i think you are. go ahead. >> did you see him tonight? he was outstanding. he was dynamic. he came out punching. he was landing major, major hits on his opponents. he is in it to win it and you saw that front and center in this debate tonight. >> has he got something -- i think he has something in defending new york against the cheap shot about new york values, which reminded me of the old gene kirkpatrick attack on what she called the san francisco democrats, hint hint. that whole thing. the fact that he was trying to portray new york as sod dom and
gomorrah and landing that on the head of donald trump, i'm not sure that worked. i want you to respond to this. trump continued to hammer cruz over questions about his eligibility to be president. let's watch that piece. >> everyone understands that the values in new york city are socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, focus around money and the media. i guess i can frame it another way. not a lot of conservatives come out of manhattan. i'm just saying. >> conservatives actually do come out of manhattan, including william f. buckley and others, just so you understand. and if -- i've had more calls on that statement that ted made. new york is a great place, it has loving people, wonderful people. when the world trade center came down, i saw something that no place on earth could have
handled more beautifully, more humanely than new york. you had -- [ applause ] you had two 110 story buildings come crashing down. i saw them come down. people in new york fought and fought and fought and we saw more death and even the smell of death. nobody understood it, and it was with us for months, the smell in the air. and we rebuilt downtown manhattan, and everybody in the world watched, and everybody in the world loved new york and loved new yorkers. and i have to tell you, that was a very insulting statement that ted made. [ applause ] >> do you think he meant by new york values, the values that led those firefighters, 227 of them, to climb up the stairs when everybody else was coming down to save the people, do you think those were the new york values he was talking about or this notion that new york is all this
soddom gomorrah country that sounds like "the music man" out in iowa? won't they react to that and say we're not hicks, stop talking to us like this? >> you know, i think it was a major mistake for ted cruz to make these comments about new york city. you think about new york city, you think about the statue of liberty, you think about 9/11 and the world trade center. >> i think of fox news channel on 6th avenue. i think of william f. buckley and the national review out there in new york city, right downtown. >> rudy giuliani handled the 9/11 crisis beautifully. but to attack new york city and new york, new yorkers at a whole, i think it was a big fumble for him and he was making such good ground. >> heidi, the logic is that will be somewhere near the lead, the fight over what new york stands
for. "the new york post," they'll havine something to say about this. >> let me make a point about cruz. what have we seen in all of these debates? we've seen jeb bush try to land punches on donald trump and get totally pummelled. what we saw tonight is trump's most able adversary, yet cruz really did fight back hard and he made some good points and turned donald trump's own words back on him. i'm not sure the audience caught it, but the comments about conservatives not coming out of manhattan was kind of comments trump made earlier about him, and evangelicals, so he did land some good blows, but like always, trump always has the last word. >> the difference, chris, is that ted cruz is an incredibly able collegiate debater. he knows how to win points on the flowcharts of the judges in
this kind of thing. and i agree with you, i think on the birther issue, i think ted cruz fought back very ably, even though he used a lot of time to do it. but donald trump paints in big, sweeping, emotional language. and he knows how to connect with people in a way that cruz doesn't. cruz is microtargeting, and for certain voters in iowa, and i've been covering the iowa caucuses sense 1984. he's trying to squeeze every evangelical vote out he can. and that's the way they tend to view big cities. and it could be des moines or new york. >> here's a big moment that happened right at the end of the debate between marco rubio and ted cruz on the subject of immigration, another hot issue in the country. let's watch. >> when i'm president, if we do not know who you are or why you are coming, you are not going to get into the united states of america.
>> so your thinking has changed? >> the issue is a dramatically different issue than it was 24 months ago. 24 months ago, you did not have a group of radical crazies named isis who were burning people in cages and recruiting people to enter our country legally. >> radical islamic terrorism was not invented 24 months ago. 24 months ago, we had hezbollah, al qaeda, iran. it's the reason i stood with jeff sessions and steve king and led the fight to stop the gang of eight amnesty bill. because it was clear then like it is now that border security is national security. >> ted cruz, you used to say you supported doubling the number of green cards. now you say you're against it. you used to support a 500% increase in guest workers. now you're against it. you used to say that you were in favor of birthright citizenship.
now you say you are against it. and it's not just on immigration, you used to support tpa. now you're against it. i saw you on the senate floor flip your vote on insurance because you thought it would help your vote in iowa. that is political calculation, not conservatism. >> well, i do have a problem with rubio, but that was very effective. i get the sense that everything he says is all prerecorded and it's always a series of items laid one on top of another like tuna cans, always from some other stack. it's never spontaneously a reaction. it's all prefab. it's cute, i guess. >> in that particular exchange, cruz was lucky that that happened at the very end of the debate. >> he had that ready.
>> but he wasn't able to use it until the very end. it was 2 1/2 hours into that debate. i thought it was pretty effective. and what it shows is, again, that as you were saying, this is really a two-person race. this is basically a cruz/trump race and there are people ganging up to decide who they want to pull down. >> you're hillary tonight. pretend you're hillary, or as rubio says, hillary rodham clinton. i'm going to start with you, amrosa, who does hillary clinton want to see as an opponent? i'm sure she watched tonight. who looked the more terrifying to her in a razzle dazzle general election campaign? >> there's no question that donald trump is hillary clinton's worst nightmare. donald trump will say things that none of these other opponent also say. donald trump will bring up
things -- this is a person that she can intimidate or undermine. donald trump will go head to head with hillary clinton. she's shaking in her boots. if donald trump becomes the republican nominee, these issues with bill clinton will become forefront topics. >> why? >> she has an issue with some of the things about people saying about her enabling and undermining some of the people that have been victimized by bill clinton. donald trump will bring them out and hammer these issues until her numbers go down and he's the victor in the polls. >> i don't know anybody that hillary ever enabled monica lewinsky and bill clinton. >> there are tons of other people who said that bill clinton victimized him. >> we know all that. >> it's not just monica. >> one thing the republicans agreed on tonight, president obama wants your guns.
they all agree he's out to confiscate. let's watch. >> the first impulse of barack obama and hillary clinton is to take rights away from law abiding citizens. >> i am convinced if this president could confiscate every gun in the country he would. >> the president wants to do things without working with his congress and without the consent of the american people. and the fact is, that's not a democracy, that's a dictatorship. this guy is a petulant child, that's what he is. >> they seemed to go further by going out and grabbing the 350 million guns we have in the country. >> this is "duck dynasty," this is take up the guns. again, i've been covering this for a long time. at the heart of the pro-gun movement is this fear that the federal government's real aim and barack obama is the embodiment of it, is to take up the guns.
that's the phrase. >> you know the circularity of it. why do you want so many guns? because i want to be armed when they come to take my guns. >> the argument is, if you do anything more to register guns, that it all feeds into this covert database the government is keeping, that one day they're going to use to go and confiscate everybody's guns. if it gets to that point in this country, they don't need a database, they'll just go door to door. >> what percentage of the liberal base would like to get rid of the second amendment, just get rid of it? there's some. what percent? if you go to all the people that live in cities, more liberal, how many would just like to get rid of it? if they had their way? >> i have no answer to that question, but i will say this. anybody who is trying to get to the right of ted cruz on guns on
the republican side is going to lose. this is the guy who did a video where he wrapped bacon around the barrel of a rifle and shot it off to sizzle the bacon. this is hard core. this is a guy who is comfortable with taking a loan from goldman sachs, who went to princeton and harvard and is wrapping the bacon around the gun. >> howie? >> i love south carolina. >> mr. trump, one more. [ inaudible question ] >> we're watching him leave the room. thank you, howard fineman. >> i can tell you what he said. he said, everybody told me i did great tonight. that this is my debate and won
handedly. >> you looked great tonight, amrosa. thank you for being in my documentary on mr. trump. thank you, howard. and thank you, heidi. coming up, much more from north charleston, the site of the sixth republican debate, the first of 2016. we just saw it tonight. this is "hardball," the place for politics. >> on tuesday night, i watched "story time" with barack obama and i've got to tell you, it sounded like everything in the world was going amazing. [ applause ] [ sneezing ]
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>> i think jeb bush showed up tonight without the exclamation point. i didn't see it tonight. welcome back to "hardball" on this debate night. there was some spectacular fireworks between ted cruz and donald trump. but there were also plenty of attacks aimed at, for whatever reason, hillary clinton. for as governor christie called her, hillary rodham clinton. >> everybody on this stage is better than hillary clinton. i think the focus ought to be making sure that we leave this nomination process, as wild as it will be, this is not bean bag. these attack ads are going to be part of life. everybody just needs to get used to it. everybody's record is going to be scrutinized. at the end of the day, we need to unite behind the winner to defeat hillary clinton, because she is a disaster. >> wow. joining me is white house correspondent april ryan, steve mcman, and michael steele. michael, are they beginning --
certainly the polling tonight from nbc says that 65% of the republican party can see backing trump. so maybe something is coming together on the right and center right. is it? >> well, i think there's been a lot of things like that going on. i think the establishment types have come to the mind that they're looking at a land where there's ted cruz on one side and donald trump on the other. they're going to go into the land of trump, and so there is this settlement that's beginning to take place. and you referenced the comments about hillary clinton. she is the main objective here. i think a lot of folks, particularly the establishment candidates, had to try to show they're bona fide, that they could be as tough as someone like trump on hillary and take it to her, because again, for the base, this is about who is prepared to take this fight
straight up the gut and make it matter and until now, they haven't been able to do that, which has given trump the space he needs to gain the ground he has. >> so they don't want a presidential candidate who will be like john mccain or lindsey graham, out on some congressional trip matching shots with hillary in the middle of the night, they don't want friendship? >> no, this is full-throated takedo takedown. this is not about the niceties and politeness of politics. this is about pure, hard-nosed politics from here on out. for a lot of folks, what's at stake is the country, their kids and grand kids and they want someone that will go into that ring starting at the beginning of these conventions who is prepared to come out of those conventions ready to take on hillary in a big way. >> i was thinking maria bartiroma could have asked, which of you hate hillary clinton? i hate her more than anything.
what i didn't like, the way they treated the president. chris christie with his, whatever you want to call it, saying i'm going to kick his butt or something like that out of the white house. >> like a petulant child, as well. kicking him out of the white house? it's not about the person, it's about the presidency. bill clinton, in his worst day, we never heard anything like that. in george w. bush's worst day, we didn't hear those kind of things. >> i don't think bob dole ever said i'm going to kick his butt -- >> we're now seeing the old chris christie reemerge. he's trying to distance himself from that picture where they were hugging after sandy. but he's gone too far. >> it's either the old chris christie or the new republican party. the republicans seem to be rewarded disproportionately on the basis of how personal, how out -- outrageous the claims
about the president. ben carson was created as a candidate because he was basically rude and said outrageous things at a conservative conference about barack obama. >> in front of the president. but this was chris christie's shock and awe moment. he might have had the visual -- >> did you see carly fiorina tonight what she said about hillary clinton in the undercard? unlike another woman in this case, i actually love spending time with my husband. what has that got to do with running for president? >> i've seen hillary clinton and bill clinton together on numerous occasions, before this and during this. i really believe there's some kind of -- they are together, they are a couple. so does carly fiorina know what's going on? you never know what's going on with a married couple. >> obviously. you don't know what's going on with any other person in life.
charles dickens said that, he said you don't know what's going on with the person next to you. any way, thank you, april ryan, michael steele agrees with me. each of us has to find our own salvation in st. paul's gospel -- he didn't have a gospel actually. steve mcmann, and the"hardball" returns after this with our coverage of the first republican presidential debate of 2016. his. but i really love it. i'm on the move all day long... and sometimes, i just don't eat the way i should. so i drink boost® to get the nutrition that i'm missing. boost complete nutritional drink has 26 essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin d to support strong bones and 10 grams of protein to help maintain muscle. all with a great taste.
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welcome book "hardball's" coverage of the first republican debate of 2016. and while the focus on tonight's debate was largely about ted cruz's debate with donald trump -- let's watch. >> i sat on the stage and watched marko look at governor bush and say someone told you that because we're running for the same office, criticizing me
will get you to that office. this is question on entitlement. and the reason -- you had your chance, marko. you blew it. >> let's go to howie jackson with donald trump. >> we're going to know on february 2, right? we're going to know at the end of february 1, but we'll know february 2. i'll find out whether or not my guys are good or not. but generally speaking, i've always had good ground game. >> you've been out at rallies and events almost every day. what is -- >> i'm going to be back here in two weeks filling this stadium. we're not doing a halfer. >> what can we expect to see from you strategy wise? >> i'm going back to iowa, florida, virginia, all over the place. but i'm loving it. high energy.
>> donald trump is working it pretty late tonight. i'm joined by robert costa and amanda turkel. robert, i wonder if the major press will make a decision about who won between cruz or trump or whether they'll do a double barrel and make it like, well, cruz really took on trump tonight, bla, bla, bla, without a clear statement of who won. >> we're writing just about the first hour, it would be about cruz slicing apart trump's argument about cruz's canadian birthplace. but this was a multihour debate, and trump came back talking about immigration, trade in china, and really taking cruz on, on new york values. and those were the two exchanges
that dominated and that tension became the story. >> why are those reporters out there taking cruz's side on his right to run, is it because they want a bigger number of candidates? if you look at the constitution in the original intent -- for example, if cruz were voting on who would be getting on the supreme court, he would be voting only for one a literal interpreter of the constitution. what did they mean by that back in the late 18th century? and what did they mean when they said "natural born?" he wouldn't be talking about liberalizing it. why are they getting away with this two-face cruz attitude where i can be liberal in my interpretation when it is convenient to me personally, how do they get away with snit >> we're reporters, no one is taking sides. >> yes, they are. >> my point is, chris, we're reporting on the front-runner in
the republican party is taking on the guy that's next is saying he's not qualified and it seems to be an open question in the gop. it's inflamed this presidential debate and it seems to have overwhelmed these debates. you had all these other exchanges with rubio and cruz and others so that trump-cruz dynamic on canada, that was the story. >> i want to bring in amanda turkel. what do you think was the lead story tonight and where is it going? what story has legs coming out of tonight? what tonight got started as story that will continue on for the next week? >> i think trump showed that he's still in it. you may not like where he stands on banning muslims and everything, but he didn't back down. i thought his answer on new york values was very strong, as someone from new york city, i liked him defending new york. but if you look behind what trump is doing, it's never quite as it seems. there's a 9/11 group that reached out to him twice to get
his help for passing a health care bill passed for first responders. >> howie jackson is out there. what did we miss as you chased after trump to get those little tidbits tonight? >> i'm telling you, chris, several times you came to me, it was too late. we talked to him a couple times and we asked him a few questions, specifically whether he is going to continue this eligibility questioning line that he's attacked cruz on, that we've seen that come up, given that exchange we saw in tonight's debate. and trump said, that, yes, he continues to be asked about it. so he will bring it up when he's asked about it. i pointed out that he brings it up on his own at rallies. there are questions about it and that is a vulnerability of ted cruz, and that's a way to raise questions about cruz's viability as a candidate. i wanted to know who -- trump said he won the night and he's
feeling very good. i said other than you, who else did well tonight? he said john kasich did well, marco rubio. he talked about chris christie and he talked about ben carson. so trump able to compliment a couple of the other candidates on stage. but notice who was missing on that list is ted cruz. i think that is going to be the dominating story line as we move forward, as that fight came up several times, each of them ending up, perceived at least, ending up on one side or the other, cruz coming out better on the eligibility question, trump when he invoked 9/11, it was a poignant moment. and i talked to his son, and eric believes that was his father's best moment. >> i think so, too. i also wonder about cruz's ability to not answer the question about what natural born means. he's a lawyer, he went to harvard, why can't he answer the
question? what does natural born mean? he never answered the question. what did the founding fathers mean when only someone who is natural born can be running for president? he didn't answer the question. i didn't hear it. he did a lot of clever rhetorical numbers, but not answering that question. your thoughts? >> my sense is, because cruz and his campaign feel that question has already been settled, that they do believe he is a natural born citizen and it's time to move on. what you saw cruz do, chris -- >> he's a natural born citizen of canada. he was born in canada. he obviously has the claim to be a natural born citizen in canada. if he's a natural born citizen in canada, how can he be a natural born citizen in the united states? it's one or the other, right? he's natural born in canada. >> reporter: yeah. i think you look at sort of the legal documentation around this, it is that, as i said, the campaign believe because --
>> we're talking about statutory information. those are all statues that give citizenship to people who have american born parents. but congress has the right to say -- they don't have the right to say he's a natural born citizen. that's what the professor said tonight. they don't have authority to interpose someone as a citizen if they're not natural born. >> reporter: donald trump just invoked lawrence tribe's name here and he pointed to tribe's argument. and i pointed out that senator cruz has painted tribe as a hillary clinton supporter, and trump said, who cares? i think we're going to continue to see this line of questioning that trump will bring up. >> okay. hally jackson out there with donald trump and everyone else. robert and amanda, thank you for joining us. much more "hardball" ahead. and this is the place for
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welcome back to "hardball" on this debate night. there were some spectacular fireworks. jeb bush continued to take shots at trump. this time he went after trump on what trump was asked the ban on not letting any muslims in the country. he really hit him on this. >> is there anything you've heard that makes you want to rethink this position? >> no. [ applause ]
look, we have to stop with political correctness. >> i hope you reconsider this, because this policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build a coalition necessary to take out isis. >> he made those comments and they represent him being unhinged. >> yeah, they are unhinged. [ applause ] >> well, after they made him, his poll numbers went up eight points in south carolina. >> 11 points to be exact. >> are you saying that all those people who agree with mr. trump are unhinged? >> no, not at all. we're running for the presidency of the united states here. this isn't, you know, a different kind of job. you have to lead. you cannot make rash statements and expect the rest of the world to respond as though, well, it's just politics. every time we send signals like this, we send a signal of
weakness, not strength. which is why i'm asking him to consider changing his views. >> i want security for this country, okay? [ applause ] i want security. i'm tired of seeing what's going on between the border where the people flow over, people come in, they live, they shoot. i want security for this country. >> joining me right now is francesca chambers and perry bacon. francesca, i had this mixed feeling when i watched jeb bush, he's like an older brother, the voice of experience and reasonableness and he's also a bit of a debbie downer. everything he says is reasonable and very good and christian and good values come out of jeb, but they seem somehow dull. and when he turns his head to that sort of canine thing he does. now, really, donald, you can't
say that. it really is pathetic. why is it pathetic when he's saying the truth, the good stuff? >> this is something jeb has struggled with in every debate, this low energy claim that donald trump is making at him. there's a reason he's saying things like that every time jeb comes out with sharp attacks. they come off as low energy as donald trump has said. >> perry, would a guy with a little more new york in him put down trump? >> christie would be much more effective. but trump is leading every poll as far as i know. he's leading in iowa. he's leading in new hampshire. why aren't they attacking him more? cruz sort of lightly attacked him, bush did, kind of a low energy, flat attack. neil cavuto put bush in his place, you said unhinged and
trump's numbers went up by eight sports. but what are rubio and christie doing attacking each other? >> because they're trying to win that second place in new hampshire. >> i understand that, but if trump wins by 20 points in every state, second place is not that valuable. swhaz did you think, francesca? it seemed like everybody held their position in the race tonight. cruz maybe gained a little tonight, i don't know. it seems like marco rubio, every time he speaks, it seems like part of a prerecorded speech taken from somewhere else. christie is fighting it out with rubio. kasich sounds good tonight, he sounded great tonight. i'm not sure he's in the race, but he points out he's the number two in new hampshire. but the big battle tonight was between the two front-runners.
>> john kasich did come out strong, but he kind of faded as the debate went on. chris christie came out swinging and performed well. that could help him in new hampshire. as you were just talking about, you got four candidates considered establishment. christie, kasich, you've also got jeb bush there. and they're all fighting for the same position there and it's going to be very difficult for any one of them to win in new hampshire with all of them in the race. and none of them are going to get out of the race before new hampshire. and that's a lot of what their problem is. >> unless they don't make the next debate cut. i have to tell you, it's really something to see jeb bush, who really likes and knows him, being pushed further to the edge of the room. he's now just near the tipping point. next time he gets pushed over. he won't be there anymore. thank you for hanging in there tonight. final thoughts on the first republican debate of 2016 coming up. our coverage tonights after this. caring for someone with alzheimer's means
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sounds like my ride's ready. don't get stuck on hold. reach an expert fast. comcast business. built for business. we're back with this special debate coverage with some good reporters to tell us what really happened tonight. joining me right now at the debate site is msnbc political reporter casey, and howard fineman and david. give me your synopsis of what happened tonight and its significance and where it's taking this battle for the republican nomination for president. >> so far, chris, i think that there's an early story line with how ted cruz handled donald trump on this question of his
citizenship. but i have to say, we've gone through a lot of those debates and had the early analysis be oh, so and so good in a punch on donald trump or so and so succeeded at x, y, and z and every single time the person that's come out on top at the end of the day, whether in the polling or any other metric you use, it's been donald trump. so whether or not voters buy into this idea that cruz is potentially a worthy adversary, somebody that could stand up next to donald trump or not, i think aside from that, we're looking pretty much at status quo. i think the evolving conventional wisdom is trump is a strong front-runner. >> thank you, casey. >> i agree with her analysis. i think first of all, this is a two-person race. the rest of the people didn't
matter a whole lot. this was not a very substantive debate in terms of policy issues. this is personal and both men, both donald trump and ted cruz, are trying to make the other culturally illegitimate. donald trump is saying, you can't be president because you were born in canada. and ted cruz is saying, you can't be president because you're new yorker. >> you certainly can't be president by iowa standards. >> the other thing to note to me is ted cruz is a master of my thr microtargeting. >> david? >> i don't see anyone moving the needle greatly based on this performance. donald trump said, i -- >> trump's up by 13 going into tonight. is he still up by 13?
>> more or less. he is the candidate of anger. cruz is going for that legendary evangelical vote in iowa. tonight, everything he did worked to that. i think the rest of the establishment candidates, someone said they're like crabs in a pot. >> i'm waiting to see how many constitutional lawyers come out in the next few days to join this argument. thank you, casey and howard and david. join me again tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern for more "hardball." our coverage of the first republican debate of 2016 continues after this. stay fit. yet 68% don't know ... ... physical activity increases our need for antioxidants. let's add one a day men's vitacraves. a complete gummy multivitamin with antioxidants ... ... to help meet your increased needs. one a day. the 88th southern parallel. we had traveled for over 850 miles. my men driven nearly mad from starvation and frostbite. today we make history.
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let's play "hardball". >> good evening, i am chris matthews in washington. tu trump and cruz, the fight is on. the two frontrunners clashed over cruz's eligibility to run for president. and what exactly are new york values? donald trump warned if cruz was the nominee that democrats would bring a lawsuit. here we go. >> by now why