tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC September 26, 2010 7:00am-7:30am EDT
politics gone mad. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chuck todd in for chris matthews. leading off, politics gone mad. today may be remembered as the day american politics jumped the shark. when comedy central stephen colbert came to testify before congress about the plight of migrant farm workers, he did so in character as a right wing, blow hard cable anchor. it's not clear whose reputation took a bigger hit today, congress' or colbert's.
>> as we've heard this morning, america's farms are far too dependent on immigrant labor to pick our fruits and vegetables. the obvious answer is to stop eating fruits and vegetables and if you look at the recent obesity statistics you'll see that many americans have already started. >> it didn't stop at capitol hill. harry reid and sharon angle supporters broke out into a full on brawl at a local christian school. politics gone mad at the top of the show. plus, the republican pledge to america. what does it really mean? some on the right say it's pablum to change votes and change nothing. some on the left say it's nothing more than a smokescreen to disguise radical ideas. and the comeback kid with another comeback. how many does he get? bill clinton may be the go-to guy president obama needs to save him and his party.
at least in the rust belt states for 2010. but ask yourself this, how appropriate is it clinton to backseat driving obama when he used to bristle the same thing happening to him in 1994. also, finish the following sentence. the tea party is "a," tearing apart the republican party or "b"," energizing the gop and opening up an enthusiasm gap. with democrats, the answer that may tell us a lot about what happens in november. you think republicans say nasty things about each other? wait until you hear about eliot spitzer that wants his own job back. that's in the side show. the side show is the lead today. the politics editor for msnbc.com. we have to start with what happened on capitol hill. it's with a michigan kangman and stephen colbert today.
>> i'm asking you to leave the committee rom and submit your application in writing. >> i'm here by request from the chairwoman. >> that is correct. >> thank you very much. that's fair enough. >> vaughan, let me start with you. you have been doing this as long as i have, watching the 24/7 news cycle infect congress and now it's gone to a level i don't think any of us ever thought where an actor or comedian decided to go, in character, on capitol hill. what did we witness today? >> we have seen celebrities parade in congress. kevin costner was talking about coast guard issues. they are in and out all the time. for colbert to be there in character was taking it to a new level.
bizarre at that. they were trying to get attention. they were trying to get attention for this issue. she succeeded. i think she and other democrats on the hill are going to be surprised at the negative attention rather than the issue itself. >> here is more of colbert testifying today. take a listen. >> we know there's a long tradition of great nations importing foreign workers to do their farmwork. after all, it was the ancient israel lites that built the food pyramid. this is america. i want a tomato picked by an american. >> john, we are going to go to the craziness that you are in the middle of in nevada in a minute. you are in washington, i'm in new york.
we are offended that an institution can get mocked all the time, went down a road we thought they weren't capable of. how did you see this from your perch? >> wait a second. that's a stephen colbert character? it's not the real stephen colbert. people hold congress in just disrespect already. they think it's a joke, then stephen colbert goes to congress in character and make those comments. i don't see how it helps democrats. it's a higher profile to an issue, but people see it as a comedy issue. >> here is more. take a listen. >> i have to ask. why isn't the government doing anything. maybe this add jobs bill would help. i don't know. like most members of congress, i haven't read it.
>> what i don't understand, stephen colbert knows what he is doing. he didn't make a pretense he would be anything other than what he was. why were all the members of congress sitting there? why didn't he leave? >> i think it's a good question. conyers was giving the early warning signal. i'll not sure members of congress got what was going on. when he talks about entering the footage of his colonoscopy. it's reinforcing the negative opinions people have of congress. they are going to be surprised. it's going to have backlash against them. >> pelosi was asked about his testimony today. let's listen to how she responded chltd. >> do you think it's appropriate
he testified today? >> of course it's appropriate. he's an american. he can bring attention to an important issue like immigrat n immigration. i think it's great. >> one thing i'm wondering about. i have seen reaction on twitter. john, you are a big user of it and i am a big user. today felt like a day that embarrassed the constitution. folks argued from a blue state-red state divide saying hey, that's what satire does. sometimes it's the best way to bring out an issue and bring attention to an issue in a very smart way. is this one of the things where there is a blue state-red state divide and they are going to say it's why we want to throw the bums out? >> i think in the 24/7 world we live in, you mentioned twitter and things being posted. they are being posted as we
speak. i don't think it's going to last that long. the problem is what we talked about earlier. immigration is a serious issue. then stephen colbert, who is a very, very funny guy. he has oscar goodman on his program last night in a farce. to take an issue and have him talk about mexican's picking tomatoes, it's going to rub blue state folks and red state folks the wrong way. >> this stuff, you can't see tone. you can't read tone. it's going to live forever. i want to jump to nevada. john, we have to show the video of what happened last night. a fight at a christian school. i guess nobody was channelling their inner christian between angle supporters and harry reid supporters. this is a race to the bottom.
you wrote today, you wrote a column that said, you almost see why voters in nevada are going to put up their hands and not want either one of them. you have the above on the ballot. john, you were there. what happened? >> it was a very strange crowd, just to set the stage so people know. it was an hour-long forum. harry reid wasn't there. he previously answered set questions. they played the video tape, then sharon angle was there. there were 800 people there. clearly, the reid folks sent people in there and the democrats sent people in there. both sides were equally unruly. angle, who was live, was getting heckled. at the end, there was a scuffle that broke out. there are astonishing pictures on the las vegas sun website of a man who was an angle supporter throwing a fist at a woman who was really bothering him and
trying to get by him. who started? who knows. who cares? this is the kind of passions going on on both sides. it's not go sharon or go harry. it's kill sharon or kill harry. this is just astonishing. >> every cycle, we say boy, it's never going to get stranger than this or that. this cycle, every election cycle takes on its own personality. this one, it feels like all the venom you read about on the left and the right is starting to be channelled at rallies. >> i think you have seen that throughout the campaign, frankly. you have seen commercials that talk about get your arms together and go against the federal government. >> absurd rhetoric like newt gingrich used.
>> exactly. whether we expect to start happening other than open brawls at campaign events. >> you wonder if it's going to start turning people off. you know, the irony of what colbert are trying to do. have a rally for sanity and yet colbert contributed to the insanity. we have the voter confidence index. tell us about it. >> we are trying to measure the anger we have seen out there. we are taking the average of poll questions at the major polls and averaged them together. we came up with a number. negative is bad. positive is good. president obama started with very high ratings. he's now down to negative 38. we have taken that and looked at how the numbers stacked up
historically to other elections. now, the president and his party are about the same level as bill clinton was in 1994. a little bit better shape, in fact. they are worse than where president bush was in 2006. we are not trying to be predictive. we are trying to give people a look at what's going on and what it could mean for the mid-term elections. >> it's like the dow jones ticker. vaughn and john. john has a front row seat and can use boxing cliches to cover a senate rasz and mean it. anyway, thank you both. >> coming up, the latest poll numbers and the gop pledge to america. liberals say it's a smoke screen for radical change. we are going to try to figure out both sides on this one. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. [ female announcer ] you use the healing power of touch every day.
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welcome back to "hardball." time for the score board. we are going to start in california. a field poll shows barbara boxer leading fiorina. in florida, sink has a seven-point edge of rick scott, 47 to 40. now in new york, a poll fines cuomo leading paladino 52 to 33. finally, the big senator race in nevada reid and angle are tied at 43. that's in a las vegas review
journal mason-dixon poll. we shall see. we are going to continue to check the "hardball" score board each night leading up to election day. we are only picking the polls we know have a long track record of being accurate in those states. time for more on the pledge to america. here is kevin mccarthy today on a show i'm familiar with "the daily rundown." >> the one thing you have to realize. it's not a platform for the party. these are bills that can be taken up today. if you look at the 43 page, it lays out each and every bill and where it goes. it can be taken up now. >> all right. will this help the republicans in november? does it help democrats by giving them something to bash? let's bring in richard wolffe and perry bacon.
it seems there's a lot of criticism pledged to america not from democrats, but republicans an conservatives wondering why you put anything out and make yourself a target and two, what you put out was too milk toast. >> it's not a rallying cry, is it. it points s ts to two things. this is a talking point for republicans. you have an agenda. people need to take off the criticism there's no plan out there. as you heard, this is a plan you can move forward with. it's true, but it begs comparisons with 1994. that's the benchmark. can they make 54 seat gains in the house. if not, they are going to fall short. the '94 comparison may not be helpful. the other thing it points to negatively is how unruly the house republican caucus is going
to be after november because the splits are ready to burst if they haven't already. >> perry, what did we learn from watching this? it could be gone in a couple days. we might not be talking about it as much. what did we learn about how the house republicans can govern, the leadership versus the rank and file? >> two things. one, we learned from watching john boehner from how to talk about abortion, gay marriage, those issues. he did not know what to say beyond that. it's not a great answer. the second thing is, they know what they are against. they are against obama's health care plan. they are against a lot of things the democrats have done. they are not sure what they are for beyond making the government smaller in fairly undefined ways. the question next year, if they are in charge, what do they do
in march? once they repeal the health care bill, what do they do when they have to solve problems? that's the most important thing the document says. >> does john boehner own this? hey, this is woehnor's. he starts out as speaker that's going to be, if he becomes speaker is so answerable to the grass roots he won't be able to cut a deal with the senate majority leader whether reid or mccon nell or the president without losing his own caucus. >> it's going to be a tough job. normally, the discipline questions come in for the senate side. in the house, he's going to have trouble with a big class of freshmen coming in, if all the predictions are correct. at the same time, he has to
worry about the young guns pointing at him. the people criticizing him on the message. if he falls short, they are trained on him. >> there are a lot of speakers in waiting when they look in the mirror. >> thank you both. coming up, chris christie is not afraid of a fight, especially to defend a young lady. today feels like an entire show that got turned into a side show. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪ ...honor... ♪ ...and trust... an unspoken bond that, while common among men... is exceedingly rare among companies. the ram 60-day handshake. ram.
>> hey, listen. hey, listen. hey, listen. you know what, if you want to yell, yell at me. but don't give her a hard time. we're here talking about the future of the state of california and the future of our country. and you know what? and you know what? and you know what? let me tell you this. you know what? it's people who raise their voices and yell and scream like you that are dividing this country. we're here to bring in country together. not divide it. >> christie services are in demand. california's just the first stop on his 11-state political tour. he says he's not thinking about running for president in 2012. let's see how 2010 goes. moving to new york. pot meet kettle. ex-governor elliott sbits spitzer laughed at andrew cuomo. spitzer said yesterday -- this is coming from the guy whom himself had to resign over his own personal scandal. ouch. this is coming from the guy who
had to resign over his own personal scandal. ouch. finally, the white house sends it regrets. check out today's lead item in page 6. obama trio planning to skip ex-budget director peter orszag's wedding. the paper reports that there were last minute cancellations because of a new york times column that orszag wrote this month. orszag's wedding is set tomorrow in manhattan. i think that this stuff has a lot more to do with something that isn't about that column and may have to do with how they work together in the white house. now for tonight's big number. it started with lisa murkowski up in alaska. and now delaware's mike castle's reportedly conducting polls to see how he would do as a write-in candidate. well, they face long odds. there's been just one senator that's been elected as a write-in. how long ago was it, 1954. the candidate, longtime south carolina senator, strom thurmond. 56 years since the last and only