if it's wednesday, it's no ordinary hump day. it's a meganight of politics on the place for politics here on msnbc. town halls with donald trump and john kasich, interviews with hillary clinton and bernie sanders, it's all right here tonight. and right now the place to be is "mtp daily" and we start right now. good evening. i'm chuck todd in new york. this may be a week without a primary, but, wow, is it a major week in the presidential race. welcome to "mtp daily." donald trump under fire again, for controversial comments, again, these about women, again. and these he made today during an exclusive msnbc town hall that was taped earlier, but you'll see later. you'll want to hear this, because it has set the trail on
fire. and with that said, you're going to want to buckle up for a jam-packed night, right here on the place for politics. at 7:00 eastern, it's my exclusive town hall with john kasich, here in new york, the borough of queens. at 8:00 p.m., chris matthews does a full-hour town hall with donald trump. at 9:00 p.m., it's hillary clinton's one-on-one with rachel maddow and at 10:00 p.m., another one-on-one with rachel with bernie sanders. let's dive in, because right now everything we're seeing on the campaign trail comes back to trump and it's fallout over these town halls. the gop primary has become a trump referendum. it's trump versus non-trump. trump versus cruz, trump versus kasich. on the democratic side, all they're talking about is who's stronger against trump. clinton or sanders? well, we have some new polling out of wisconsin, which votes on tuesday. and it shows trump in trouble, trailing cruz by ten points.
it's cruz 40, trump 30, kasich 21. this is the marquette university law school poll. this ist most accurate and best poll in the state of wisconsin and consistently has been. so not to say you take it to the bank, but you take these numbers very seriously. then there's the chaos inside the gop over supporting trump if he's the nominee. cruz says he won't support someone who's attacked his wife and kasich sounds ready to dump trump for his own reasons. in our own town hall that airs at 7:00, kasich spoke personally about the trump campaign and the difficulties in supporting him. here's a clip. >> you called his campaign -- his foreign policy ridiculous, his rhetoric incendiary. i can't imagine you ever supporting somebody you thought was incendiary or ridiculous. so how do you -- >> here's the thing, here's the thing. i am a republican, okay? we are all in the arena, there's only three of us left. but anybody who got in the arena -- i mean, it's not easy running for president, i can tell you. i mean, it's great.
my dad was a mailman, i'm sitting here with chuck todd in queens, okay? it's fantastic, okay? but trump's in the arena with me and sometimes it's a roller coaster, is the way i see him. sometimes he calms down. the last debate we had was very calm. and then these crazy things start happening. it's not just him, but look at cruz, saying we should patrol muslim neighborhoods. this is very disturbing to me, because it pulls the country apart. but i was thinking about this today, actually driving over here. so i have two 16-year-old twin daughters. and whatever i say, who -- if he happened to be the nominee, i would have to tell them why i would endorse him, if i did. so i -- >> you haven't figured that out yet, have you? >> i haven't. i haven't. >> you don't know what to tell them? >> well, i don't know what i'm going to do yet. and honestly, i don't think he's going to be the nominee. and i'm going to tell you why. because nobody's going to have enough delegates to go to the convention, and when we get to the convention, people are going to think about two things, who can win in the fall, which he or cruz can't, and secondly, who
could actually be a good president? i mean, that's a crazy thing to think about! who could actually run the country?! >> and then there's the big news of the day, folks, which came courtesy of you know, donald trump. he may have hurt himself with women voters in an attempt to appeal with ardent pro-life groups in the republican party. here's a preview of what he told chris matthews on the topic of abortion and whether or not women who get abortions should be punished. >> should the woman be punished? for having an abortion? >> look -- >> this is not something you can dodge. >> it's a -- >> if you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under the law. should abortion be punished? >> well, people in certain parts of the republican party and conservative republicans would say yes, they should be punished. >> how about you? >> i would say it's a very serious problem. and it's a problem that we have to decide on. is -- >> but you're for banning it. >> wait. are you going to say put them in jail? >> no, i'm asking you. you say you want to ban it. what's that mean? >> i am against -- i am
pro-life, yes. >> how do you ban abortion? how do you actually do it? >> you know, you'll go back to a position like they had, where people will, perhaps, go to illegal places -- >> yeah! >> but you have to ban it. >> you ban it and they go to somebody who flunked out of medical school. >> are you catholic? >> yes. >> and how do you feel about the catholic church's position? >> i accept the teaching position of my church on moral issues. >> but do you know their position on abortion? >> yes, i do. >> and do you concur with that position? >> i concur with their moral position, but legally, get to the question -- here's my problem -- >> but let me ask you. what do you say about your church? >> it's not funny. >> it's really not funny. what do you say about your church? >> the church make their moral judgments, but you running for the president of the united states will be chief executive of the united states. do you believe in punishment for abortion? yes or no? as a principle? >> the answer is that, there has to be some form of punishment. >> for the woman? >> yeah. there has to be some form. >> ten cents? ten years? what? >> that i don't know. >> why not? >> i don't know. >> you take positions on
everything else. >> i do take positions on everything else. it's a very complicated position. >> well, there you have it. full context there, as you saw. it's worth noting that even some of the most ardent pro-lifers in the republican party do not talk about punishing women. they usually talk about punishing the medical facilities or the doctors that perform abortions? in fact, here's former presidential candidates mike huckabee and rick santorum. they're two of the party's fiercest critics of abortions. was they have been very clear when it comes to questions of who should be punished. >> what would happen to doctors or women who participated in abortions? >> it's always the point of trying to say, are you going to criminalize -- that's not the issue. >> well, if it's illegal, it would be. >> it would be. and i think you don't punish the woman, first of all. because it's not about -- i consider her a victim, not a criminal. >> i believe that any doctor who performs an abortion, that i would advocate that any doctor that performs an abortion should be criminally charged for doing so. i don't -- i would never support a criminalization of abortion for mothers, but i do for people who perform them. >> to say, as you can see, that
has been essentially the mainstream pro-life position, frankly, for years. i caught up with john kasich after we taped our town hall. here's what he had to say about trump's comments. >> should women who get abortions be punished? >> absolutely not. and i do have exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, but of course women shouldn't be punished. look, i think, probably donald trump will figure out a way to say that he didn't say or that he was misquoted or whatever. but i don't think so. i don't think that's an appropriate response. and it's difficult enough situation. and to try to punish somebody. >> let me ask you this. how do you enforce a ban on abortion? >> look, i think it's rape, incest, life of the mother and you build some restrictions around it. but i think you have to be very careful in the way you do it. we're a long way from there. >> the cruz campaign -- the cruz campaign also put out this rapid response. quote, don't overthink it. trump doesn't understand the pro-life position, because he's not pro-life. and then a little over an hour ago, trump put out this statement on abortion via his campaign. "this issue is unclear and
should be put back into the states for determination. like ronald reagan, i am pro-life with exceptions, which i have outlined numerous times." and then moments ago -- literally, about two minutes before air, trump put out another statement. this time, not just a full walkback, call it an electric slide of walk-backs of sorts. "if congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman." "the woman is a victim in this case, as is the life in her womb. my position has not changed. like ronald reagan, i am pro-life with exceptions." nbc's katy tur is, of course, on the trump campaign beat. she is in wisconsin today. and katy, this is rare air here, where the trump campaign actually backtracks. they don't like to backtrack
very often with statements, but they did it not once, but twice. >> reporter: we've seen a couple of these lately, most notably, right after the detroit debate, when he was talking about the hb1 visas for highly skilled workers. on stage he said he was flexible with that. that he believes that there should be more highly skilled workers in this country. almost immediately after the debate, after that set off of a bit of a firestorm in itself, a smaller one, albeit, the donald trump campaign came out and clarified his statement, saying that he was fully against the expansion of h1b visas. so we have seen this in the past. this is certainly a more glaring walkback, especially because you got that first walkback, that tried to clarify his words, saying that he was anti-abortion rights, and then, again, coming out and realizing that they hadn't fully addressed the controversy at hand, which is is that he was putting punishment on the women in this case, which he's pretty much alone on
politically, even when it comes to hardline anti-abortion rights republicans like senator rick santorum and governor mike huckabee. even against those two people, donald trump was standing on his own with this. the campaign came out and re-clarified his words. this does seem to be a somewhat ongoing theme with the campaign, that donald trump will say something in an interview and the campaign will later have to walk it back or donald trump himself will walk it back. we saw the other day when we asked if the u.s. should continue helping israel with defense aid. he immediately walked that back a few minutes later, when he was asked about it again. the candidate seems to shoot from the hip, if you will, when it comes to his opinions. and then fully digests the content of the question and the meaning of the question a little bit later. >> reporter: >> no, he does. and i think everything is now through the prism of what would pat toomey, kelly ayotte, rob portman have to do with a statement? and i think you see the trump campaign realizing that --
>> reporter: can i just add one thing? >> they have to win over the insiders here that they have to get more and more concerned that this only seems to come with what the general election might look like if he's the nominee. >> reporter: absolutely. and i think one of the things you're seeing with that, is that he's opened -- or he's opening a congressional office in d.c. to sort of mend fences with the establishment, who's trying to build some relationships there. but when it comes to his words and the meaning behind his words, i will note that those supporters for donald trump don't hold him to the standard of having to be correct or politically correct or in line with the establishment on these issues. they give him the benefit of the doubt over and over and over again, even on issues that they might vehemently disagree with him on. so donald trump has a unique position in politics now, and ever, where he doesn't necessarily have to worry about what he says. >> and katy, we've been here on many a wednesday or a thursday before a primary, talking about something that may cause donald trump problems in said upcoming primary, only to see lucy pull
away from the football from the not-trump movement. anyway, katy tur on the scene in wisconsin, thank you, katy. we've got a lot more, actually, from the chris matthews conversation with trump coming up here, including what he's saying about who he'd target with nuclear weapons. but we turn now to the fight on the left, which, as we mentioned, has also been dominated by talk of trump. it was only a matter of time before the clinton campaign went straight after trump's issues with civility and accusations of xenophobia. the campaign is out with his first ad in new york, and it's targeted at trump. and it aims to contrast her campaign's message of inclusion and diversity with footage of a trump
supporter coldcocking a protester. here's a clip. >> so when some say we can solve america's problems by building walls, banning people based on their religion, and turning against each other, well, this is new york and we know better. i'm hillary clinton and i approve this message. >> if you're wondering about that little trump coming in '16,
i believe that's footage of what trump is developing in washington, d.c. by the way, clinton also slammed trump when she sat down with rachel maddow in that interview wi that will
air tonight exclusively at 9:00 p.m. >> do you think he's manifestly unqualified to be running for president, given what you just described as his approach to foreign affairs? >> well, i'll let voters decide that. but i look forward, if he's the nominee and i'm the nominee, to really going after him on issues. because, remember, the republicans still have not gone after him on issues in large measure, because they agree with him on so many issues. so when they start moaning and groaning and gnashing their teeth and the best they can do is insult each other's wives and call each other names, their not dealing with issues, because they're afraid to deal with him on issues, because he'll turn around and say, well, you said this, and you said that, and i know where you stand. i'm the only one who will be finally taking him on, on
issues. and i believe once we start doing that, the american people, who have been watching this like the most ramped up, you know, reality, celebrity tv show, are going to start saying, he is scary. >> meanwhile, both democratic candidates were quick to slam trump for his comments about being open to the idea of punishing women who have abortions, if it were legal, something he eventually walked back. this afternoon, before that trump walkback, clinton tweeted this, quote, just when you thought it couldn't get worse, horrific and telling. and then it was a re-tweet of his quote. sanders also denounced trump's comments saying, quote, your republican front-runner, ladies and gentlemen. shameful, again, on top of a re-tweet there. and just a moment ago, bernie sanders was speaking to rachel maddow for her 10:00 one on one with sanders and he responded to trump's comments on abortion. >> after the word spread that donald trump had made those remarks today about abortion, that a woman needs to be punished if she seeks an abortion and abortion should be
banned, you said today that was shameful. what is shameful about it? >> well, i think it is shameful -- shameful is probably understating that position. first of all, to me, and i think to most persons, women have the right to control their own bodies, and they have the right to make those personal decisions themselves. but to punish a woman for having an abortion is beyond comprehension. i just -- you know, one would say, what is in donald trump's mind, except we're tired of saying that? i don't know what world this person lives in. >> all of this comes as clinton and sanders, they're neck and neck in wisconsin, in a new poll out of wisconsin. the one i told you about, marquette university, well, the democratic side has sanders up by four points, obviously, within the margin of error, and anything that's 50-50 splits the delegates in half. ca
. kasie hunt has been covering the sanders campaign and kristen welker is here in new york. kasie, on one hands, that's good news in wisconsin for the sanders' campaign, but it's one of those weird things, now the burden of expectations is on them to win. and can they ever win by a large enough margin to make a delegate impact? >> reporter: well, that's obviously the question. and you'll remember back in nevada, they played the expectations game very wrong, and of course, that was viewed as a major defeat for him. i think it's shaping up to be something similar in wisconsin, although i will say that it seems like if he is able to pull out a victory here, then he's going to have a couple of weeks before the new york primary gets set, where he'll be, you know, the beneficiary of that narrative, and they'll probably have more reporters come out and cover them. all of a sudden it's going to seem like hillary clinton's in a little bit more trouble. who knows what that -- >> this is the super -- delegate play, right? which is win wisconsin, win new york, and say, hey, look at how
weak, she's limping to the finish line, hey, super delegates, are you sure? is that the mind-set of the sanders' campaign? >> reporter: i think that's part of it. i think that they are -- look, all these dominos have to fall in exactly a certain way, but there are still currently enough delegates on the line that there is a way for him to come out on top of this. and they are, behind the scenes thinking very carefully about exactly how that has to happen. it rely very heavily on california, but of course, getting to california in a position to actually win it requires all of these other steps. so i think we still have a little bit more to see. but i think you heard that conference call earlier this week, that to a certain extent, they're suddenly saying, oh, hey, this might actually be superdelegates we will feed to win this nomination. so a little bit of a shift there, chuck. >> that's for sure. let me bring in kristen here. who's hillary clinton running against now? >> very good question. two people. >> there are some days i think when she makes the full pivot. and then last night, she's back to, even today, hey, be careful
of these pie in the sky idea. i think they were on the way pivoting full to trump and then they were going, looking, and saying, sanders is still hanging on. >> she can't completely pivot, because sanders could win wisconsin. and the clinton campaign thinks even if he wins wisconsin, he's not going to amass a huge number of delegates, but they have to win new york. that's why this ad she put out is so fascinating. it kind of shows she's running against donald trump and bernie sanders. she's hitting trump hard in this ad, but she's making the point she would be the strongest candidate to go against donald trump. >> the problem is, the numbers don't support this. that's the issue she has. >> she would make the argument that, look, less is known about bernie sanders and so once the fall spotlight is put on him, his numbers would drop against donald trump. but you're right, that's one of bernie sanders' strongest arguments. that polls show him doing better. >> and stgs been consistent now. it's state after state after state. very quickly, there's almost an
enthusiasm inside the critteni campaign,. is it working yet for them? has this been finally the way they've been able to tap into women getting excited about her candidacy? >> it could be his achilles heel. and i think you're absolutely right. there has been an enthusiasm gap. this helps them to galvanize women. obviously, group that she needs. look at the numbers, chuck, she's beating donald trump in a potential matchup among women by 30 points. compare that to 2012, when president obama beat mitt romney by 11 points. >> and that still was a win. >> right, exactly. and republicans are saying, look, we don't have to win women to win the white house, but we have to close that gap. >> they can't afford to have it -- >> exactly. and that's exactly what's happening right now. >> kristen welker, kasie hunt, thank you both. before i go, by the way, ted cruz has an expanded statement here that i want to read. he's out criticizing -- and i want to give you just part of it. he just says this. "of course we shouldn't be talking about punishing women.
we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring, life, into the world." just a part. before cruz had done a short statement. they have a much longer statement out and i wanted to get that on the record as well. don't go anywhere. we have a busy hour. we'll have top advisers from both the clinton and sanders' campaigns coming up. and then we'll talk to a veteran of the '76 open republican convention. stay with us. wrely on the us postal service?
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they're hearing, a guy running for president of the united states talking about maybe using nuclear weapons. nobody wants to hear that about an american president. >> then why are we making them? >> out of context, you'll have to see the whole thing, but you won't believe where that conversation between chris matthews and donald trump goes next. we'll show you that exchange and where trump says he'd be willing to use nuclear weapons. that's ahead on "mtp daily." and so my new packing robot will make jet warehouses even more efficient and save shoppers money.
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rachel maddow, will speak one on one with bernie sanders and hillary clinton, but right now we have two of the top staffers from each campaign. the clinton campaign chief strategist joel benson will be here in a moment. but first let's hear from the sanders' side. jeff weaver is the campaign manager. welcome back to the show, sir. >> hey, chuck, how are you? >> i'm good. let's start with wisconsin. on one hand, good news for you, you're leading. on the other hand, if my math is correct, you're not leading by enough. so, walk me through the path forward. >> sure, look. it typically happens when you go into states, you know, most states where we have won, we were behind. the week before we were behind, sometimes in double digits. bernie sanders' presence in this states, talking to people, talking about his agenda to deal with a rigged economy and a corrupt campaign finance system has the potential to move voters in mass quantities as we get closer to the election. the polls obviously in wisconsin are very promising. he's there right now and will be fighting very hard there until
tuesday. so we're feeling very good about wisconsin. it's a long way to go, but we're feeling very good about it. we're in a better position than we are in most states when we go in. >> it's interesting, on that conference call with your campaign earlier in the week, tad devine made the claim that in states where you guys truly compete with hillary clinton, you win more than you lose, but there have been states you haven't competed in, which is why -- and she has built a vast majority of your delegate lead in those states that you left uncontested. i guess i have to ask you, why'd you leave those states uncontested -- let's take you at your word here. why'd you leave those states uncontested? >> and when we say not contested, the senator visited a number of those states -- >> and spent money, i get that. >> but we did not run full flenlgs of advertising. we had a decision to make on march 1st. the secretary would be very strong in the south dakota. she was the first lady of arkansas for a decade, and her
husband, obviously, very popular throughout the south. and what we determined and i think it was the right determination, is we were going to compete in a subset of states on march 1st and demonstrate that the senator could win statewide all across the country. and we did exactly that. >> but you've never won in the south. >> we came very close massachusetts. >> but you've not won in the south. you just talked about winning in every region, but with all due respect, you have not won in the south and the south is one of the four important regions. >> well, there are no more southern states on the calendar, so that's not really an issue. >> so at the convention, you want to make super delegate case, but at the convention, do you think the candidate who has earned the most votes in the primary should be the nominee? >> well, you mean nationwide? >> nationwide. >> it's a very complicated process. there are some states where senator sanders won with 75 to 80% of the vote. should all the super delegates follow their state's lead and vote for senator sanders?
the truth of the matter is when we talk about delegate math, i know there's been a lot of talk about it, it seems very, very unlikely that either candidate, either secretary clinton or senator sanders is going to go to the convention with a majority of pledged delegates required to lock up the nomination with pledged delegates alone. so in essence, all of this talk about a republican open convention, the truth is that the democrats are likely to go into an open convention with neither candidate having a majority of pledged delegates. >> but do you think you can get the super delegates to remain unpledged in that scenario? >> they're not pledged until they actually vote at the convention. there's no such thing as a pledged super delegate. but when you look at the polls, the poll you were just talking about in wisconsin, senator sanders beats donald trump by a far larger margin than secretary clinton. she's tied with ted cruz in wisconsin. she loses to john kasich. bernie sanders beats both of them. i mean, do the democrats in november really want to be in a position where they're competing for wisconsin? i'll tell you, there are similar polls out of new hampshire. we were up there, competing in new hampshire, if democrats are competing for wisconsin and new
hampshire in november, they're going the lose badly, unfortunately. >> all right. jeff weaver, i'm going to leave it there. jeff, thanks very much. let me turn to the other side of the democratic primary fight. joel benson is chief strategist for hillary clinton's campaign. so let me ask you, let me start with this electability question. because that very wisconsin poll, if it wasn't for donald trump's disastrous favorable rating, favorable/unfavorable rating, i think it was something like 22-60 something, the candidate who would have the worst fave/unfave in an election is hillary clinton. you go state by state, you can't find a state -- it's hard to find a state where hillary clinton does better in a general election than bernie sanders. and we're getting late in the campaign to keep making the excuse, oh, but there hasn't been a campaign run against bernie sanders yet. >> first of all, i've not said that. what i say about these polls, and you've heard me say this. if you look at back at polls at this time in general elections, they have no bearing on the outcome. these elections change when there's a nominee against another party's nominee. it's a choice between two
candidates. there is no doubt, democrats right now, there's a range of polls that believe that hillary clinton has a better chance to defeat donald trump and the republicans and will take the fight to them more effectively. more importantly, i think, you know, with all due respect to jeff, who's been part of a very successful campaign effort so far, they have lost outside of the south. they have lost in states they have competed in by sizable numbers. we are winning close to 60% of the votes cast in democratic primaries. you know, they've won two primaries only, where more than 7% of the eligible voters participated. i just think that the reality here is that we're 2.5 million votes ahead in the popular vote. we have a nearly insurmountable lead in pledged delegates. you know, in the ninth inning of a ball game, when you're losing by five runs, you don't say, let's change the rules and play another inning. >> what about the pledged delegate issue. they believe neither candidate will have a majority with just pledged delegates alone. >> that's fine. >> but do you buy that? do you buy that math?
>> first of all, tad devine knows when he ran walter mondale's campaign in 1984, he's doing it -- >> look, i know it, the super delegates -- >> barack obama didn't have a majority of pledged delegates in 2008. >> so you expect that this could be the case, too, for hillary clinton? >> i think it's quite possible, but you know, that's not what matters. this is an argument that's being made because they can't overtake us in pledged delegates. and let me just add about the states we're going into, wisconsin is probably going to be close. polls today, one has us behind a few, we've been up a few. we think it's going to be very close. it will not be enough to dent what is a nearly insurmountable pledged delegate lead that we have. >> let me go to new york, though. losing her home state? >> i'm sorry? >> if she lost her home state, the state she represented in the u.s. senate -- >> she'll win new york. >> do you put that in the bag? >> i think she's going to win in new york. i do. i think we're in a strong position. i think this is a state that's well-suited for us. let me make a real important point, please, chuck, and new york fits this pattern, there's
only one candidate in this field, on either side, democrat included, who has put together the kind of diverse coalition that it takes to win elections for president. senator sanders has done a wonderful job with voters under the age of 30 and he's dominated with those voters. but if you look at the states in the exit polls, voters over the age of 30, we are winning them almost 2 to 1. we are winning women by 2 to 1. we are winning african-americans and latinos by 3 to 1. you have to assemble a diverse coalition to win in november. and we're the only candidate that's done that. >> do you think super delegates will be watching the republican convention closely? and i say this, because the democrats come second. if they find a more leblgt nominee, and this suddenly turns into referendum, hillary clinton a referendum, are you concerned that the convention could turn against you if suddenly republicans end up with a much more electable nominee than it appears they have. >> i think super delegates, they know both these candidates, senator sanders has been in congress and in washington longer than hillary clinton or
about the same -- no, a little longer, is the 90, i think. and in congress, these super delegates know both these candidates. they're making their choices based on who they believe will be the best president, who can keep us safe, who will make a real difference in people's lives, because that's what the democratic party is all about. we're the party of people. we feel that strongly. senator sanders, sometimes he says we are, sometimes he says we're not. i think democrats are going to be with the person who's going to be the strongest candidate for the democratic party. that's hillary clinton. >> joel benson, i'm going to leave it there. thank you, sir. and remember, tune in tonight, you'll see both democratic candidates sit down with our own rachel maddow, starting at 9:00 p.m. hillary clinton in the 9:00 hour and bernie sanders in the 10:00 hour. coming up, we'll tell you what donald trump had to say about using nuclear weapons. a lot of continents, potentially. stay tuned. ♪ he has a sharp wit. a winning smile.
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market wrap. >> hey, there, chuck, thank you. stocks ending the day with gains. the dow rising 83 points. the s&p adds 8. the nasdaq finishes up 22. companies added 220,000 jobs to payroll last month. this according to the payroll processor, adp. that was in line with expectations. meanwhile, boeing is planning to cut about 4,000 positions. the aerospace giant expects roughly half of the cuts to occur through attrition, with the rest the result of buyouts. and lululemon was a winner today. shares up nearly 11% after the company reported better than expected results. that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. can work for you? while you guys are busy napping, peanuts are delivering 7 grams of protein and 6 essential nutrients right to your mouth. you ever see a peanut take a day off? no. peanuts don't even get casual khaki fridays. because peanuts take their job seriously. so unless you want a life of skimming wifi off the neighbors, you'll harness the hardworking power of the peanut. (cheering)
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it isn't the only head-turning moment from that town hall tonight with chris matthews. here's trump being pressed about his stance on nuclear weapons. of course, which had been opened up in a previous town hall in conversation and interview, sets of interviews last week. here it is. >> i have been trying to think how we could conceivably use a nuclear weapon in the middle east or in europe in fighting isis. where can you -- and why put it on a table or leave it on the table if you can't imagine -- >> i didn't say, don't take it. i said, i would be very, very slow and hesitant. >> by why would you just say, i don't want to talk about it. >> we were talking about nato, which i said was obsolete. >> but you got hooked into something you shouldn't have talked about it. >> well, with i don't think so -- some day, maybe. >> maybe? where would we drop a nuclear weapon in the middle east? >> let me explain. somebody hits us -- >> isis? >> you wouldn't fight back? >> no, you drop a nuclear weapon in a community of people? >> first of all, you don't want to say take everything off the
table, you're a bad negotiator if you do. >> just nuclear. >> nuclear should be off the table. but could there be a time when it could
be used? possibly. >> but when you said that, the whole world said that. they're hearing a guy talking about running for the president of the united states said that. >> if i was against iraq, i would be the last one to use the nuclear weapons. >> can you tell the middle east, we're not using the nuclear weapons? >> i would never say that. i would never take any of my cards off the table. >> how about europe, we're not going to use it in europe? >> i'm not going to take it off the table. >> you're going to use it in europe? >> no, i don't think so. >> well, why don't you just say it? i'm never using a nuclear weapon in europe. >> i am not taking cards off the table. >> you can catch the rest of that trump town hall right here on msnbc, that's at 8:00 p.m. right after john kasich at 7:00. we'll be right back. a fair pric, and that horrible smells are really good at hiding. oh, boy. there it is.
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as the 2016 gop race morphs into what is essentially becoming a referendum on trump, both in the republican primary and frankly the way the democrats are trying to set up a general election campaign agnst him, there are those who say, the strikes made against the republican front-runner mirror those made against ronald reagan, as he saw this party's nomination in 1976. in fact, these are comments that were made by then congressman pete mccloskey, who would say a reagan win would mean disaster for the gop. and congressman james cleveland at the time predicted another quote, goldwater debacle if reagan is the gop's nominee. and then there was senator chuck percy, an illinois republican who said, a reagan nomination and the crushing defeat likely to follow could signal the beginning of the end of our party as an effective force in the american life.
wow, very familiar words, right? we soon saw reagan prove all of those nay sayers wrong? could trump ever do the same thing? are the comparisons fair? reagan biographer craig shirley joins me now. he's the author of the latest book on reagan called reagan's revolution. mr. shirley, you have been somebody who has been very hesitant and cautious about dumping on what trump's been doing. you've been cautious from the beginning. you've been cautious on various ways. cautious on trump himself trying to compare himself to reagan and cautious on the way others have treated trump. what say you in this comparison? >> well, i would say that there's, chuck, there's a similarity in terms of dynamics and institutions and how institutions react to outside threats. the institution of the republican party, washington, media, what have you, reacted very, very violently, in some ways to -- or at least very aggressively to ronald reagan in
1976 and 1980. and in similar fashion, they're reacting the same way to donald trump. i would never compare the two individuals, there's worlds of difference between ronald reagan and donald trump in terms of the character of the men, the behavior of the men, the anger, the attitude towards women. reagan, you know, was -- believed that the sun was always rising. he believed in an optimistic future. i'm not sure that's the same about donald trump. but it is fascinating, to see history, not necessarily repeating itself, but there are similarities that make it very interesting. >> you know, when you hear trump on abortion, what ted cruz has criticized him for is saying, he's such a new convert to the pro-life movement that he doesn't understand it. >> yeah. >> is that fair? >> i think that's fair. is that reagan was also a convert to the pro-life movement, but when he left office, he did something very significant when he left office. first of all, he wrote a very
important treatice, abortion of the conscience of the nation, which was a very important paper, as president of the united states on abortion. and he said that when he left office, he regretted that he didn't do two things. one was to control federal spending more and one was to slow down or stop abortions in america. but he, like a lot of people is, is that the republican party actually had in its plank in '76 was silent on the issue of abortions. it was only until 1980 when they put anti-abortion language in the platform. >> when you look, let's move to the contested convention issue. because i incorrectly i.d.'d you as somebody who was a player then. you have probably just written the best account of that '76 campaign between ford and reagan. so you know all of the players inside. >> yes. >> are we making a mistake trying to even look back at '76 as some sort of historical comparison? i kind of think that -- part of me thinks, actually, you just -- you got to almost throw that
out, because we live in a whole new world. >> we do live in a whole new world. and yet, as george santaina said, those who won't say that like a guideline, hard and fast rules, but '76, you know, we all understand the difference between contested conventions and brokered conventions. '76 was a contested convention. this convention is obviously going to be contested. whether or not it will be brokered, we don't know. >> walk through when you say brokered, you mean. >> trading votes. i mean like henry clay trading votes to john quincy adams in order to become secretary of state. or a brokered convention as in '52 between due we and eisenhower. there still may be in 2016, but it certainly going to be a contested convention. just simply because the presence of three candidates, all vying
for the nomination. >> all right, craig, i'm going leave it there. you're going to become a very popular man because of your knowledge of that '76 convention. any way, mr. shirley, always a pleasure, sir. >> thank you, chuck. more "mtp daily" right after this. what a day. it's just beginning on the place for politics.
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panel is here. beth fewy, susan, and jamaal smith, first time i've been able to say mtv news for you, congratulations on that. >> appreciate it. >> let me start with what we're dealing with with trump and with abortion here, and susan, i want to point this out to you. it took about 90 minutes, emily's list, the democratic abortion rights fundraising group for the democratic party, already linked trump criminalizing abortion to barbara comstock, who became one of the republican members of congress, giving back all trump donations. this is what republicans fear with trump. >> it is. i'm surprised it took them 90 minutes. it should have been under 106789 it is exactly what republicans are concerned about. whether it being state legislative house races in the senate, donald trump especially
with his relationship with women, it is becoming a disaster for candidates right now. and just when you thought numbers couldn't go higher than a 74 disapproval rate, i think he is going for 100% on this one based on his actions of today. >> beth, what may surprise some of the viewers, the pro-life condemned his remarks. it is an important development. it explains, as i said earlier, trump didn't walk it back, he did the electric slide. >> i don't think he knew that was the pro-life community's official position. >> which is cruz's point. he is only learning what it means, what the pro-life positions really are. >> the pro-life position traditionally has been women are not prosecuted for having abortions. they are not punished. they are victims. in fact, that's the word trump used in his statement when he came out basically walking back his original argument. >> what are we supposed to say. >> they're victims. it's criminalizing the providers and not the person who receives it. that's always been a strong part
of the pro-life argument. we're not against women. this is their way to bring women back and broader coalition comfortable with the pro-life cause. >> that's what makes especially republicans crazy about donald trump. you can see in the interview, he tried to throw it back on chris matthews, and he was just buying time. he was trying to figure out what his answer should be, because he didn't have an answer. he is a thumbnail deep on any type of policy. >> republicans concerned with the rhetoric on planned parenthood. that seems so minute, and yet there were swing states worried about this. what about this? >> yeah, i mean, here's what the thing. he didn't walk back the part that men aren't responsible for abortions, and that they should not be held criminally liable. unless they're doctors, men are in the clear no matter what happens. and then he is still not walking back the criminalization of abortion, the fact that he said
well, you know, women are going to have to go into back alleys and have abortions, like that's going to be okay. that is not okay. it's not. abortion is not going to be banned. it's going to be criminalized. >> look, there is a majority, it depends on how you slice it, right, no pure majority position on either, but you put it together, there a majority in this country who don't believe in criminalizing it. they may be against it, but it's a moral reason, or -- this is -- this is -- most americans are very nuanced on this. we don't give them enough credit. very knnuanced on it. >> what he said to chris matthews, absolutely, i don't believe in punishing women, no, no, he was almost able to position himself as a moderate, when in fact as governor, he stepped off the campaign trail, defending planned parenthood. john kasich is no moderate and this gave him an opportunity to step out and to step away from
trump and to sort of remind people that strangely enough, he is the moderate in this race. >> susan, here is the other thing i was thinking about, i'm becoming convinced, okay, maybe the republican party, when they get to the convention, whoever is left, will stiffen their spine and say we'll do what it takes to stop him, even if it means losing the general. losing without him is better than losing with him. we don't go 72 hours whether he has to walk back a statement, or a republican has to distance himself from something he says. >> if he comes in at 1,236, they're going to fight him, because the party is going to be better off, even if they have to lose with cruz, i hate to go into that expression, then actually having him as the nominee, it will be a disaster tore him. >> again, we've been here before. >> we also have only seen a couple, now we're down to three candidates. that's the difference. you don't have 12 people piling
into the discussion. >> i want to give jamal the chance for last word, i wonder if tuesday means if he does lose, it's a house of cards. >> it's a story line, that's for certain. what we have here is i think a real a sign of his campaign weakening. it's actually starting to affect votes. >> we'll see. like i said, we've been here before. we'll see what the voters in wisconsin say on tuesday. thank you all. "with all due respect" starts right now. i'm john helemann. >> and i'm mark halperin. with all due respects to michelle fields' pen -- pen, this is a class four grenade, three clicks, four second fuse, another three disarms it. the pen is