tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC December 31, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm PST
>> the best of "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. we'll call it a political earthquake, an unraveling of the system or even a revolution. 2016 changed the face of american politics forever. there was the nationalist and populist ascension of our next president, donald trump, the collapse of the clinton dynasty, the revolutionary fervor that reshaped the democratic party with the socialist senator from vermont, bernie sanders. even a growing call for a third
party solution represented most effectively by libertarian, gary johnson. and all of these elements will rewrite the american political narrative for years to come. over the past months, all four of these leaders, trump, clinton, sanders, and johnson appeared at "hardball" town halls and college tours. here's a sampling. >> you and i look at the world differently. you look at it inside the beltway. i'm not an inside the beltway guy. i'm an outside the beltway guy. >> but the people who vote on taxes are inside the beltway. can you tell the middle east we're not using a nuclear weapon? >> i would never say that. i would never take any of my cards off the table. >> how about europe? >> i'm not going to take it off the table. >> you might use it in europe? >> no. >> there's always these political games you could play. if somebody would have assassinated hitler before he took over germany, would that be a good thing. >> name a foreign leader you respect. >> i guess i'm having an aleppo moment. >> i'm giving you the whole world! >> i know. >> joining us, john brabender, april ryan, and "new york times" reporter, jeremy peters, an msnbc contributor.
we begin tonight with donald trump. the country's next leader made waves in march back then when he told me that he believes women who get abortions should get some form of punishment. he then later walked it back after facing unprecedented criticism from the left and right. and here's a major news refrain. here's that moment from march's "hardball" town hall. >> should the woman be punished for having an abortion? >> look -- >> this is not something you can dodge. 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 that it's a very serious problem.
and it's a problem that we have to decide on. it's very -- >> but you're for banning it. >> are you going to say, "put them in jail"? >> i'm asking you. you say you want to ban it. >> i am pro-life. >> how do you ban abortion? how do you actually do it? >> well, you'll go back to a position they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places. >> yeah! >> but you have to ban it. >> do you believe -- >> but you -- >> 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 everywhere else. it's a very complicated position. >> april ryan? >> that was a tough -- that was a major moment during this campaign season, but he got over it. but it goes back to that issue. and it still rings so vivid and so harsh, hearing him say that. it's a crime.
he basically said it was a crime. now, what happens is, if he goes back -- if they deal with that in 2017 at all, you know, it goes into, should women be put in jail? should there be legal ramifications, punishments? and that's a real tough thing, because roe v. wade was put in place to give timelines and parameters from what time to what time you are allowed to have an abortion. so this is a tough issue and it goes right back down that road that he tried to step around about women and how women are viewed. it's a tough issue. >> jeremy had no problems saying the male involved in a pregnancy, if you have an abortion, should not be punished. he had a quick answer on that one. >> he did. i think two things here. one, this whole episode is indicative of how donald trump ran his campaign and is likely to run his presidency. and that's that he makes up a significant portion of it as he goes along. you could tell, chris, when he was responding to you, that he hadn't thought this out. and as he thought through it, a few more clicks down the logical road there. he said, yeah, finally, when you pushed him, yes, there must be some form of punishment. but he hadn't thought about it and he didn't quite anticipate or factor in what the ramifications of making such a
statement would be. and just how serious that is to say -- that is a position, by the way, that not even the hardest of the hardline abortion opponents would support. putting a woman -- punishing a woman for getting an abortion. they actually repudiated that after he said it. and the other thing here, and this, i think speaks to -- >> what do you think -- here's my hunch. i'm going to go to john, because john knows this world. i thought what he was doing was projecting what he thought would be the logical implication of people who believe that you're killing human life, and not only just killing a form of human life, but killing people. >> what he's saying is, i'm pro-life. if you're pro-life, you believe that abortions should be illegal. if you make it illegal, there's got to be some penalty -- >> or else what does it mean? >> right. but here's the key. none of this mattered in the election. >> tell me why? >> two reasons. first, you have the conservative side. they want to make sure they can trust donald trump. he did two things, that's all he
had to do. he put out his list of who he would nominate to the supreme court. he made mike pence, his vp, his running mate. that checked the two boxes he had for conservatives and he didn't have to go down other paths on this. that let him now become the anti-washington, reform candidate. he didn't have to become the pro-life candidate. >> i agree with you, but you forgot the third box, abortion. that is one of the themed pieces. you know, pro-life for the republican party. he had to fall up under that banner that he was pro-life. >> i think he was mimicking -- >> yeah, but at up with point, at one point -- he might have been mimicking, but at one point, there was a question, and he answered that question in one of the harshest ways possible for the republican party. >> well, but, who are you going to vote for on abortion if you weren't going to vote for donald trump? hillary clinton? >> there was a concern in the leadership that if he felt under the banner of certain things, and that's when he -- >> absolutely. he said, i'm pro-life, but then he did those other things, he
checked the boxes and they were comfortable compared to hillary clinton -- >> i don't think they were that comfortable. he went very far with that -- >> john, you probably know this, but he talked to social conservatives in the movement about a real turning point in the campaign. it was when he stood on stage during the third debate and made that very vivid description of what late-term abortion is like. and there are conservatives i spoke with who said, you know, that was it, for me. i had never heard a candidate describe it in that graphic terms. >> but he cleaned it up after carly fiorina made the mistake she did in that debate. that's when it became a really big issue. >> in the crudest way, he became a pro-lifer. anyway, during the townal march, donald trump also refused to take off the table using nuclear weapons in the middle east or even using nuclear weapons in europe.
let's watch him. >> why would you just say, i don't want to talk about it. i don't want to nuclear weapons. the president doesn't want to talk about use of nuclear weapons. >> the question was asked. we're talking about nato. >> but you got hooked into something you shouldn't have talked about it. >> well, some day, maybe. >> maybe?! >> of course! if i was against iraq, i would be the last one to use the nuclear weapons. that's sort of like the end of the -- >> can you tell the middle east we're not using nuclear weapons? >> i would never say that. i would never take any of my cards off the table. >> what about europe? >> i'm not going to take it off the table? >> you might use it in europe? >> no, i don't think so. >> just say it. >> i am not taking card off the table. >> most of the people there were laughing because the people realize, you don't talk about blowing up france or germany. europe is a small place. you don't drop one bomb one place and not bomb everywhere. >> well, this is a problem that we were just getting at with that abortion answer, is that he mimics, he says what he thinks people believe. people whom he's trying to reach.
so if he's trying to reach conservatives there, he's trying to reach hawks who want to hear that he's taking a hard line on nuclear weapons, he's going to say what he thinks they believe. because he doesn't fully understand it. and because he doesn't fully understand it, he trips himself up like that. >> i thought he used the phrase, i'm not going to take anything off the table, as a line hawks use in the middle east all the time. we might bomb iran, i'm not taking anything off the table. it's a line of coverage if you want to be appealing to the right. >> here's the problem we all have. contextually, we're trying to thinking of donald trump as a traditional candidate. and we try to look at his answers and say, why did he say that? this is the guy who's the art of the deal. and the first thing we learn in a deal, you never show your cards. are you telling me you think he thought the answers out ahead of time. >> do we write down what he says or not? >> let me tell you what i think about donald trump. what i believe is that he doesn't know what he doesn't know, okay? that's what i believe about donald trump. and that showed him early on being a very novice in this political game.
he's a businessman and let's give him that. he's a shrewd businessman. he still has to learn governments and intelligence. that's a piece that he still has to learn. he's not there yet. >> but people don't care. they really don't. >> is that right? >> they didn't care if he knew every answer. they just knew that even when he made mistakes, that made him authentic and more believable. >> remember the kid who starts at the post office and the fastest mail sorter in the history of his post office. he's unbelievable. and at lunchtime, the post manager says to the kid, you are the fastest mail sorter i've ever seen in my life. and the kid says, wait until i learn how to read. you can do a lot of stuff fast, but you screw things up -- you have to know certain things, right? >> you guys want him to memorize everything -- >> he's going to be the leader of the free world! >> i understand that. >> intelligence is key! oh, my god. >> this is a guy -- believe me, he has intelligence -- >> i'm talking about national security, national -- global security. it's not just about business. and that's --
>> yeah, it is. >> i'm sorry. no, it's not. >> this is a guy who may not know the answer, but he knows hows to -- >> it's about adversaries and how we handle them. >> then we must all be shocked that he won. >> i am. >> how did he win? how did he overcome all these incredible odds? >> people wanted something new. >> this is my biggest fear. how do you avoid? the things i worry about are wars. one thing i worry about. a lot of people get killed, you can't bring them back to life and they're gone, it's over. war is final in many ways for people. >> it is. >> and so we made mistakes in past history, i said this the other night, deen atchison drew the line for north asia and didn't include korea. next thing you know, we're in war with north korea. same thing with april glassby with iraq back in the first gulf war. she said that's a border issue to saddam hussein, we're not
really involved. all of a sudden we're fighting a war we didn't think we had to because we didn't tell people. i want a president smart enough to tell the people, you know what, vladimir putin, we're going to have to fight for lithuania. if nato gets attacked, we've got a problem and it may mean war. don't go grabbing some of these baltic states. this is a problem, presidents have to be clear to our rivals what not to do, what trip wires exist or else we get into trouble. >> i think part of the problem -- >> and people die. >> two things there, one, trump doesn't know what those trip wires are because he is not familiar with geopolitics. and he is relying on his generals to do that. and that's, i think, the second point here. is that part of the reason he surrounded himself with so many generals is the human cost you
were talking about. he wants people around him who understand the finality, the gravity of going into war. people who -- with general kelly, his homeland security chief, who lost a son in combat. this is very important to him. and i think -- >> good news. >> yeah, that is, but on the other hand, you're talking about a guy here who flies off the handle and gets into twitter fights with people. >> and the moon does not bark at the dog. he is now the moon. the moon does not bark at the dog and he does that a lot. i'm with everyone. i want to see the next president succeed, but he has a big learning curve. >> the moon does not bark at the dog. >> you like that? based on a true story. >> that's going to be with me when i go to bed tonight. that's in my head. john, april, and ryan are all staying with me. coming up, what hillary clinton told me about assassinating foreign leaders. this is stunning. and later, the star-studded cast of the new movie "hidden figures," they're all coming to "hardball" to talk about this new movie about three mathematicians who worked behind the scene to get the space shuttle in orbit. ♪
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welcome back to "hardball." while the 2016 campaign was grueling for everyone involved, hillary clinton faced some headwinds when it came to her vote to authorize the war in iraq. in my town hall interview with secretary clinton in march, i had the time to question her on regime change as an instrument of forms. in that discussion, we spoke about whether the assassination of foreign despots is ever a legitimate way for this country to instill change abroad. let's watch the conversation. >> what do you think of the whole history of the united states in your lifetime of knocking off leaders, whether it's iran or guatemala or knocking off ayenday in chile or knocking off patrice lamamba in the congo. i'm skeptical. what do you think of all of those assassinations and those
attempts to change the history of other countries. should we be doing that kind of thing? knocking off leaders? >> in the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. but there's always these historical games you can play, if somebody could have assassinated hitler before he took over germany, would that have been a good thing or not? you cannot paint with a broad brush. >> wow. we're back with a roundtable. john, april, jeremy, that blew me away. i thought she would give me a 1960s answer saying, of course, we should not have assassination as part of our tool kit. and no! she said, what about hitler? her argument was, you know, we've got to be ready to do this. i was amazed by that. you're shaking your head? >> you know, i'm amazed by it, too. she was the dove. she wanted to show that hard line, that hard stand. and you know, the question is, is she -- she may be right, you know? if hitler was taken out -- >> but that wasn't the question. >> i know.
but we are not supposed to -- by law, we are not supposed to take out any other foreign leader. but she makes a good point, but i think mostly, when it came to hitler -- >> i didn't bring up hitler! >> but she brought up hitler! the -- issue hillary clinton brought up hitler, the issue is, i think she wanted to show she could take a hard line, she could be a hawk and not a dove. >> you think that's because of her gender? >> her gender. >> the fact that she's the woman of diplomacy around the world. >> people like me think of her as a hawk. >> i saw her as a woman of diplomacy. >> there were a lot of things she believed in that were more many line with the republicans runs in the primary than they were with the democratic party platform. but what's the joke, if you bring up hitler, you're losing the argument? >> i think it's generally -- >> i'm not going to say anything. >> why does it bother you that you criticize that donald trump doesn't have an answer for things like that. her answer was "maybe." her answer was, no, but here's where we could, so you don't know, so her answer was maybe. she's a former secretary of state. >> exactly! she was the former secretary of state. she dealt with -- >> so was her answer yes or no?
was her answer yes or no? >> are we for regime change? i went through libya with her. >> she said maybe. >> she didn't recognize the need for regime change for something trump ran against. whether we believe him or not. >> something she pursued as secretary of state. libya. syria. >> exactly. >> we got involved somehow with the downfall of abar, too, i think we were rooting for his downfall. maybe we have no choice in a lot of things. we don't rule the world. >> there was a lot of split decision on that one. there's been a lot of belief that we've made some mistakes, getting people that turned out that their enemies were worse than the enemies we thought we had. >> of course, but everyone warned us after assad, and after assad question mark, if there's ever an after assad, it will be worse. >> but i think during those times, i think social media played in the immediacy, when we had to go in to see some of these leaders that we had allied with at one time, we saw the world community and particularly the mmunities in those countries rise up against their
leaders. and then they looked to us, this nation, to say, what are you going to do? how are you going to help us. that was the big problem. >> in our interview, hillary clinton, secretary clinton also spoke about how she stacks up against more natural politicians, like her husband, bill clinton, when it comes to actually campaigning. this is telling here. >> i enjoy it, but i'm not deluding myself. i mean, i'm not speaking in poetry. i'm not bringing people to fever pitches of, you know, incredible admiration. but every time i've had a job, i do it well. and i do it in my own way. and i produce results for people. you know, when i ran for the senate, you know that, you covered that. i ran for the senate, people are, oh, my gosh, she can't win. i won. i'm somebody who believes, okay, you have a job to do, you want to help people, you want to produce results. and maybe that is more governing in prose than campaigning in poetry, but that's what i want to do as president. >> she's making a reference to mario cuomo, the former governor
of new york, late governor, who said that governing is prose, but campaigning is poetry. >> one of the most eloquent men of his generation, politically speaking. >> what do you think she was telling us then? that was very telling. she said, i'm not a debate of public campaigning. i'm more of a policy person. >> this is the great paradox that the people who hoped hillary clinton would win found so frustrating. on the one hand, she tried to be herself. she let her rougher edges show. but at the same time, she ran a campaign that was completely at odds with that. focus grouping 85 different slogans and debating over every last sentence in a speech and every last policy position she was going to take, being endlessly litigated by her strategists. so there was something that while she said she was being authentic, she really wasn't at all.
>> you know, i have the funny feeling, i don't know when -- i remember watching her rise to power. i remember watching her at the regency hotel back in '91 when she and bill clinton ferris presented themselves in new york. it was a freebie, breakfast, y could go. it wasn't about money or anything. i went there and i thought, hmm, she gave the first speech, bill gave the second. they were running as a duo, remember, two for the price of one. she had an ambition somewhere in her head that she was going to rise up, maybe not to the presidency, maybe all of this just came to her, but she was never somebodyho went out there and loved to shake hands, you know, she wasn't bill. bill was easy to take, because he had no moral pretensions. he liked hamburgers and women, and that was it. >> oh, my goodness! >> sorry. sorry! >> reporter: he's gregarious. he loved being the last guy to leave the party. >> yes. >> but i actually feel sorry for her. she had trouble connecting. and where this was most pronounced is when the president would be on stage with her. you would see just people looked like groupies who were going
to -- they would do anything for him. >> how many great politicians -- >> that's why i feel bad for her. >> reagan, kennedy, because walter mondale wasn't great. john kerry wasn't great. >> let's say bill clinton, too. >> mitt romney wasn't great. it's hard to be a politician. >> and bill clinton and barack obama are great orators, but hillary clinton knows, it's in her heart. she's not the politician. she basically admitted, i am not gregarious, i am not my husband, that's what she said. >> don't you think that hurt her? >> she's linked to one of the most successful politicianof modern time. and the problem is, she is not her husband. >> look who is a good politician. we never thought she was, did we? >> who? >> michelle! >> where'd she come from? >> she speaks truth. she's real. >> i also asked secretary clinton how she trusted polls after her surprise loss to bernie sanders in that michigan primary.
in hindsight, considering the general election polls predicted the wrong winner in terms of the electoral college, her answer was certainly telling. here she is. >> do you trust the polls anymore? no. honestly, i don't, chris. and in large measure, because i think pollsters are trying to do the best job they can, but it's very difficult to poll now. if you have only online information, that's been proven to be often unreliable. if you try to call land lines, you miss everybody with cell phones, if you call cell phones, you miss people often because they don't answer. so, no, i think it's very difficult now to predict the outcome of elections. and somehow we're going to have to get better at it, because people do rely on that information. >> that wasn't filtered, john. that was her talking like a regular person. because she's talking about the mechanics of running for the office. >> and she was likable. >> when you talk turkey with her, she's great. it's when she has to put on the show of politics, she's not as good at the bs than others are. up next, my interview with bernie sanders.
se council endorses a cease-fire. if the cease fire does hold, peace talks will take place next month. now back to "hardball." >> welcome back to "hardball." in february of 2016, in the heat of the democratic primary fight, i interviewed vermont senator, bernie sanders, on the "hardball" college tour at his alma mater, the university of chicago. senator sanders made his case for a political revolution in this country, but when i pressed him on how he could actually get his progressive platform through the u.s. congress if he were elected president, sanders put up a fight. let's watch. >> now, you're asking me, how do i pay for it -- >> i haven't asked that. i asked you, how do you pass it through the senate? how do you get 60 votes for any of this? >> you pay for it on a pass through -- >> who's going to pass that tax? >> the american -- look, chris, you and i look at the world different.
you look t a it from inside the beltway. >> but the people who vote on taxes are inside the beltway. >> you always get the last word in this business. jeremy, he was saying, i was trying to ask him, how do you win the coalition for any of this stuff. he wants to tax wall street a certain percentage, to pay for student low payouts. i said, fine, but how are you going to do it? >> this is always one of the biggest and most indicting criticisms of bernie sanders' campaign, is that it sounded like a lot of great ideas, but how are you going to get it done? and ultimately, there's all this revisionist history going on now. okay, so what if bernie would have been the nominee? he could have beaten trump. who knows. but it's a pretty, i think it's a pretty damning thing to ask someone, how are you going to accomplish what you are promising people you will, and they don't have an answer. >> by the way, i don't know how bernie would have done it. it would have been a different general election, that's for sure. >> jeremy's absolutely right. i remember, i would go out on the street and poll grassroots people. and i would say, what do you
think about bernie sanders? oh, i think his ideas are great, but how are we going to pay for free education? people were very concerned about having to pay more for this free item. >> and free health care. >> they thought that was great. >> medicare for all. but it was coming out of -- >> by the way, we might end up with medicare for all if this system gets anymore complicated. >> but he kept going so far. he kept adding everything. we're going to get rid of the letter "l" from the alphabet and get somebody to pay for it. >> let me give him a kudo. he got away with the word "socialist." i'm not sure it's my word, but it's a word, in europe, it's fine. europe countries are pretty much like us. they're not as cowboy as we are, but they say social democrats, that's the term of most the political parties in europe or labor, and they're not offended -- they don't think it means communist, because in europe, they know socialists are the biggest rival of the communist. >> it's not a pejorative, but it shows how thirsty people were for change in the two-party system and they don't trust the republicans or the democrats, so
when someone says socialists, they kind of overlook and discount that baggage. >> the system is broken and people are looking for some kind of magic fix. and bernie sanders was welcomed. his voice was welcomed, even though he had not been a democrat. he came into the democratic party with something new and maybe it could have fixed, but ultimately, he didn't win it. but, you know, his words live on. >> and you know, young people want to know, my kids were like this. they still are, they love the '60s. anything i tell them about the '60s, they love. it's rich, it's wild, and if you want to know what the '60s are like, watch bernie. he's much older, but as howard fineman said, it's like the guy going up to the administration building with a bull horne, making demands. he's just very insistent, very demanding, clear-cut, i'm right, you're wrong. anyway, your last thought? >> yeah, for him to be the age that he was, it's not about the age, it was about the message for him to -- >> very youthful. >> yes. >> another stop on the
"hardball" college tour coming up, with the university of new hampshire, where i sat down with libertarian candidate, new mexico governor, former new mexico governor, gary johnson, and his running mate, former massachusetts governor, william weld. but johnson was stumped when i asked one direct question, let's watch. >> who's your favorite foreign leader? >> who's my favorite -- >> just name anywhere in the country, any continent, name one foreign leader you respect and look up to. anybody. >> mine was shimon peres. >> okay, i'm talking about living. go ahead. you've got to do this. anywhere, any continent, canada, mexico, europe, over there, like asia, south america, africa, any foreign leader you respect? >> i guess i'm having an aleppo moment in the former -- >> but i'm giving you the whole world! >> i know, i know. >> anybody. pick any leader. >> the former president of mexico. >> which one? >> i'm having a brain -- >> fox, calderon. >> who's your favorite former leader? >> fox. he was terrific.
>> any foreign leader. >> uh, merkel. >> jeremy peters, i mean, i gave him the world. >> you gave him a lifeline, you let him pick someone from the audience, practically, to give him the answer. >> he got a phone call, too. >> then he put the dunce cap on himself by saying another aleppo, because he was referring to the fact that he didn't know what to do with aleppo in an earlier interview. and he's running for president of the united states, commander in chief of our forces, head of us in the world! and didn't ever think about the world long enough to think about, you know, i've been looking at some of these leaders, some of them are pretty impressive. he could have said merkel the first second. nobody would have questioned it. he could have talked about winston churchill. you know, i know you're talking about now, but winston churchill is my -- >> you know bill weld is sitting there thinking, how do i get off -- >> bill wasn't jumping in either. >> that interview might have won
the race for donald trump. because trump was actually struggling with some johnson voters who were anti-washington. and the more that he was exposed made trump look better. and i think some of those people gravitate. so congratulations, you may be responsible for the trump victory. >> never further got trump at the end of the campaign. not got hillary clinton again in the campaign. i think i did get a shot from gary johnson, because he's just willing to go in the barrel, get beaten up every time. he doesn't care. thank you, john brabender, jeremy peters and april ryan. coming up, the story of three african-american women, mathematicians who helped launch the american space program. a totally true story. actors octavia spencer, taraji p. henson, and the director will be here, and pharrell williams. what a star-studded lineup. they're all coming here next. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics.
we're coming back with the stars of the soon-to-be released movie "hidden figures" about the pioneering african-american mathematicians who helped launch america's space program. here's a clip from the film. >> the pastor mentioned your computer at nasa. pretty heady stuff. >> yes, it is. >> they let women handle that sort of -- that's not what i mean. >> what do you mean? >> i'm just surprised that something so taxing -- >> mr. johnson, if i were you, i'd quit talking right now. >> i didn't mean no disrespect. >> i will have you know, i was the first negro female student at west virginia university graduate school. on any given day, i analyze phenomenal levels for air displacement, friction, and velocity and compute over 10,000 calculations by hand.
so, yes, they let women do some things at nasa, mr. johnson, and it's not because we wear skirts. it's because we wear glasses. >> the stars behind this great movie are coming here, next. it's going to be great to watch. this is "hardball," the place for politics. on my moderatefocusing to severe chronic plaque psoriasis. so i made a decision to talk to my dermatologist about humira. humira works inside my body to target and help block a specific source of inflammation that contributes to my symptoms. in clinical trials, most adults taking humira were clear or almost clear, and many saw 75% and even 90% clearance in just 4 months. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common,
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>> absolutely. and she speaks. >> yes, sir, i do. >> which one? >> both. geometry and speaking. >> ruth, get me the -- >> do you think you can find me the ferna frame for this data, without using the -- >> algorithm, yes, sir. i prefer it. >> welcome back. that was a scene from the upcoming film "hidden figures," the true story of three african-american mathematicians and the key role they played at nasa to launch the first american into orbit. the film sets the struggle for equal rights recounting a time when even at nasa, african-americans were segregated from their white counterparts. this is a film about women who broke barriers in more ways than one. here's a clip from the trailer. >> katherine! >> we all going to end up
unemployed riding around in this pile of junk. >> you're welcome to walk the 16 miles. >> or sit in the back of the bus. >> do you have identification on you? >> we're just on our way to work. at nasa, sir. >> i had no idea they hired -- >> quite a few women working in the space program. >> what do you ladies do for nasa? >> engineering. and i'm proud as the devil to be working with you. >> how could you possibly be talking to these white men? >> it's equal rights. >> if you were white, would you wish to be an engineer? >> i wouldn't have to. i'd already be one. >> well "hidden figures" is out in select theaters on christmas day. i'm joined by those people who made this movie come to life, including the stars of the film. taraji p. henson is right there. she's the superstar. octavia spencer, i'm in love with her for a long time. janelle monae, thank you, there you are.
you all look very glamorous right now. in the movie, you're dressed like bureaucrats. the great kevin costner is here, and singer/songwriter pharrell williams, who composed the sound track for the movie and the score, as well, and director, ted melfy, thank you. i want to talk to you, taraji. you dominate that movie and i have to say that. and the scenes of putting up with jim crow and putting up with jim crow in a federal institution, but what grabbed me in the beginning was the cop who stopped you guy in your '57 chevy. stops you in your car and he's got the usual color mentality going on, black/white thing going. and all of a sudden he says, you're in the space program. and his patriotism kicks in. >> yes. >> tell me about it. >> well, i think that's the overall message of this story. when we put our differences aside as humans, that's when we're able to move the human race forward.
because at the end of the day, we're all humans. you know, a mind doesn't have a color, you know? when it comes to calculating numbers, i don't care what color you are. i don't care who you sleep with at night. can you find the math? >> i love the score, when this person that taraji's playing, a very smart woman, like everybody, has to go to the bathroom. and everybody knows the experience of having to go to the bathroom now, and it's like a bad dream. i've got to go to the building where there's a colored woman bathroom and you've got this great music. tell me about the music you put in there. >> the music was largely just led by the -- >> it's called "running." >> yes, sir. that song was just based on the story. it's like when we got the script and said, okay, these women are living in the matrix of the 1960s where the physics and the gravity for african-americans was much more heavier. and it was twice as heavier on a
woman. so having to run to the bathroom, which is not on the other side of the building, but on the other side of the campus -- and there were campus bikes, but for women, we forget, as men, you know, long skirts, long dresses, so, they had to run, rain or shine, 30 to 45 minutes round trip to the other side of the campus just to use the bathroom. >> so ted and the other ladies here, high heels are a big part of this, for some reason. maybe it's your photography, but the women look great, of course, but you're always shooting the legs and the shoes. and the shoes at one point get caught and you almost get killed in this -- it's in the middle of a wind tunnel. janelle, you're in a wind tunnel. you look great, by the way, in a wind tunnel. everybody's looking at your legs and your shoes. and you get stuck, and the guy says, the shoe ain't worth it. >> yeah. >> and then there's the other thing, when you're running to the bathroom, it's all high heels. so women in high heels, being african-american, in a jim crow setting and wearing high heels. >> yeah, we did it all. just like we continuously do every day.
what's so, so inspiring about this film and these women is that they did not allow those obstacles to deter them and stop them from their dreams. yes, you know, we were dealing with racism, we were dealing with sexism, we were dealing with classism. but the great thing about when nasa and all the men and women put all those isms to bed and buried them all, that's when they achieved the extraordinary together. they all realized at the end of the day we all breathe the same color. >> i think of you all the time in a movie -- i'll see this a lot of times, but i think i've seen 13 days a bunch of times. here you have a movie that's pretty much the same time period, '61, '62. i think it is '62. this movie includes the reality of american life much better. >> it seems like a lot of stories don't get told. they are in the pages of history.
they don't come out. and you can give some of that a pass because how many stories can you possibly tell? if you look beneath the surface, you'll find this story. the thing that i find disturbing the, was if you are going to tell the original story of john glenn, not about the women who are working off to the side, but if they're going to tell that story of john glenn, there's a moment where he was going to go or wasn't going to go. so it would be like telling a joke and maybe leaving out the punchline. there was a moment that he was going to go or not go and it hung on the balance of a young woman who was going to have to do the math by hand. i don't know about you, but in great storytelling, you don't leave out that bit. if you leave out the human computers, i can see that story emerging, i'd like to know about that a long time ago. but that seminal moment where he said i'm not going unless i know, that's something we should have known abo a long time ago. >> he was a good guy in the movie? >> he was a good guy period.
i learn something about him that i didn't know and it made him that much more of an american hero to me because he did something that was unpopular at the time. he put his life in the hands of this african-american woman. if her numbers didn't match up, he wasn't going to go. if her numbers matched up, of course, he went. >> he wanted to know where he was going to land. >> absolutely. >> that's key information. they got to get to it with the ship. but you were in "the help." >> i was in "the help." >> i always remember that meal you cooked up for that white lady. this tastes interesting. so you've gotten out of the jim crow thing a couple ways now. >> jim crow is a very difficult time to immerse yourself in, but when you're doing a period film, we have agency as contemporary women that african-american women did not have in the jim crow era. so there's something wonderful to be said about the solidarity that we felt on the set. very insulated. ted created a safe place for us to work and have fun.
>> i liked the way you look up at the sign as you leave the room, colored computers. they designate you by your ethnicity. let's take another look at the movie. >> go find your way over there. >> that colonel jim is a tall glass of water. >> that he is. tall, strong, commandi. >> oh. >> and i bet he's like that day and night. >> mary, it's sunday. please have some shame. >> i will not. he's coming over. >> now, why would he be doing that? >> because mary's waving at him. >> no. >> ladies, fix your hair.
>> hello, colonel. and this is catherine. she's not married. she's a widow with three beautiful little girls. so well behaved. angels on earth is what we like to call her. dorothy, slice of pie? >> excuse me. >> so it's so great you're doing this. i'm so glad you took this project. i'm glad that everybody took it because hollywood needs it. let's talk. it's not a redo. but it's something. >> we need to see this story. we need our little girls to see this story. we need little boys to see this story. we need people to know that history wasn't a bunch of white guys in a room. history of nasa was very diverse. nasa celebrates these women. these women are not hidden from nasa. nasa has been honoring these women for a long time. great to tell the public that. >> guys, thank you all. an honor to meet you all. kevin and everybody here. pharrell, music, you get steve and me. mr. straight arrow. you can keep the mugs, we'll get you hats. politics and culture are together. they are the same thing, this collection, whatever you think of it, culture and politics are together. we got to put it all together.
merry christmas to everybody. happy new year. >> thank you so much. >> i was just going to say, you're not mr. straight arrow. we've been watching you for years. >> yes. >> yeah. >> and your interviews is and the way that you keep people straight is amazing, and when people veer off and they don't answer the question, there's no one that slices through it better than you. >> thank you. that's not in the script. we'll be right back. per roll
well, here we are at the end of the year. a good time for me to thank all the people that bring "hardball" to you night after night. you don't see them, but i certainly do. i know how important, supportive and valuable they are. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for watching and happy holidays. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪