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tv   Hardball Weekend  MSNBC  October 23, 2010 5:00am-5:30am EDT

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fire at the fence? let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, backlash. national public radio feels the heat after firing commentator juan williams. in an interview on fox news,
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williams had said he gets worried when he sees people as he put it in muslim garb on airplanes but he said it was crazy to generalize about people of a certain religion. but in a country where people backed war and arab iraq out of angry in 9/11 in which people oppose the building of an islamic center near the site of the world trade towers, is this really a firing offense? conservatives say firing williams is a liberal corrective move run a muck. political or otherwise, it's our top story tonight. then, three key races that could decide who controls the united states senate after this january. california, pennsylvania, and nevada. we'll find out which side has the momentum in each one of these races right now. plus, it's been the most productive congress in years, but house democrats have been unable to campaign successfully on their accomplishments especially with the core constituency of women voters and a growing number of democrat candidates who are running away from house speaker, nancy
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pelosi. florida congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz joins us to talk about it. and follow the money. water gate's deep throat have never been more relevant in today's "the new york times" that the chamber of commerce is getting huge donations from companies at home and abroad. they're using the efforts to thwart president obama and defeat democrats and democrats are trying to fight back. let me finish tonight of what i learn from the young people, we met in this week on the "hardball" college tour. around the country. all that's ahead. first let's get the latest polling from races around the country. for that we check in with the "hardball" scoreboard. let's start with the pennsylvania senate race, we were there yesterday the muhlenberg/morning call tracking poll has that race deadlocked. literally 43 points each. joe sestak and pat toomey. in the pennsylvania's governor's race, dan onorato is coming on strong trailing tom corbett by five points. corbett's lead was 15 just last
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month. finally to florida and the governor's race there, it's all tied up again. rick scott and alex sink the democrat both polling, boy these are getting dead evening, 45%, 45%. we'll continue to check the "hardball" scoreboard each night lead-up to november 2nd. we're going to start with the exchange want williams had on fox's "the o'reilly factor" monday night. that interview follows o'reilly's talking points in which he defended his comments on "the view" earlier. let's listen. >> so where am i going wrong, juan? >> well, actually, i hate to say this to you, because i don't want to get your ego going, but i think that you're right. i think, look, political correctness can lead to some kind of paralysis where you don't address reality. i mean, look, bill i'm not a bigot. you know the kind of books that i've written about the civil rights movement in to country, but when i get on a plane, i've got to tell you if i see people who are in muslim garb and i
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think they're identifying themselves first and foremost as muslims, i get worried. i get nervous. now i remember also that when the times square bomber was at court -- i think this is just last week, he said, the war with muslims -- america's war with muslims is just beginning. the first drop of blood. i don't think there's any way to get away from these facts, but i think they're people who want to somehow remind us all, as president bush did after 9/11, it's not a war against islam. wait a second though, wait, hold on. because if you said, what, timothy mcveigh, the atlanta bomber, these people who are protesting against homosexuality, at military funerals, very obnoxious. you don't say first and foremost, we've got a problem with christians because that's crazy. >> but it's not at that level. it doesn't rise near to that level. >> correct. and when you said in the talking points' memo a moment ago that there are good muslims, i think that's a point. >> okay, eugene robinson is an msnbc political analyst and pulitzer prize winning columnist with "the washington post." michelle bernard is president of the end pen depth women's forum. thank you for coming on. and this is a tricky bit of
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business and people have to listen carefully and i guess that we have to be careful with how we deal with this issue. but juan williams' been canned. fired from the job that he's had a lodge time. we all know the fellow. we know his fight for civil rights. he wrote "eyes on the prize." he's been all on the side of so many good issues. what's this about? >> well you know i think npr's firing of juan was wrong. i think -- and i think they seized on a pretext to do something that they seem to have wanted to do before. you know, npr's a great news organization. it's one of the great news organizations of this country or any other country. and i have great respect for it, but i don't have great respect for the way that npr handled this -- handled this decision. they seized on the, you know, airplane remark about muslim garb or whatever, when it seems clear if you listen to the whole conversation, the thrust of what he was trying to say was the opposite. that we should not stereotype
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muslims and paint muslims with the brush of terrorism. that that's wrong. and i -- in a, but, there has been criticism from some npr listeners of juan's role on fox over time. and i certainly have the sense that they were uneasy with it. >> yeah, was this a matter of constituency people, the people that back npr calling in and complaining to their managers? is that what's triggered this or was this a judgment of values? what was it a judgment of? i can't get to it. >> you know, to play devil's advocate -- first of all, npr doesn't have to hire -- nobody has to hire anyone that you don't want to. you don't have to hire anyone. you can fire anybody that you want to as long as you don't do it in a discriminatory matter. so to play devil's advocate i've been thinking to myself what if someone had gone on fox or another network that was also working with npr and said you know what, every time i walk down the street and i see a black man i get scared and i
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grab my purse and i pray that they're not going to rob me. people would call into npr and they'd be very, very angry and npr may or may not fire that person for saying those kinds of words but it seems in this sense it was very, very different. juan williams, if you looked at the entire context of everything he said, it was almost like a shirley sherrod moment. but -- but it seems -- >> tell me what the whole context of what he said. >> basically what he was saying is that -- i think he was saying something that a lot of americans -- particularly right after 9/11 told you. there was incredible fear and sometimes people will look at someone and say, you look muslim, i am fearful, are you going to blow my plane up? but he also, then ended that by saying, you absolutely cannot indict an entire religion. you cannot indict an entire people because islamic fundamentalists are crazy. >> i am on six nights a week, and sometimes i worry about saying the wrong thing and on
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occasion i have said the wrong thing. things that i wish they didn't say then. even if they had a grain of truth they weren't the whole truth and here's my question. here's not a guy expressing a point of view like helen thomas making those anti-israeli/iraq. she's pro-israeli. she's clear on where she stands in the middle east. pretty damn tough on that point of view. this isn't a question of a guy saying i don't like arabs. >> exactly. >> this is a guy giving it what he considered an honest account of his reaction, certainly right after 9/11, to getting on airplanes and thinking about that. okay. and now in other words, what was wrong? that he had that reaction getting on the airplane? or that he said -- >> the fact that he said something. >> that's the question. is he in trouble for giving an honest recounting of his reaction or is he in trouble for having had that reaction when he gets onto the airplane in had is the problem with getting the mind control. >> any member of the american public can honestly believe that no one at npr ever had that feeling even for an instant after 9/11. >> for instance i get on the air after 9/11. i never noticed on the plane. there could be 500 arab guys on
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the plane and i wouldn't have noticed. he would have had no trouble even though that would had been a lie. i mean, i mean this is the thing. and this get into trouble. i was looking into what sanchez said the other day, rick sanchez. that's a point of view. he said, it's obviously offensive. it's something that you don't say, given the whole history of the 20th century. it's offensive to everybody. why do you do it? that's a comment. this is a recollection of what his personal reaction was getting on airplanes and i think that's really tricky when you're just basically saying the guy will keep it to yourself is basically what they're saying at npr. >> what i wonder about is how that is supposedly conflicts with his role as an npr analyst with the political analysts which -- >> speaking of his reactions? >> -- it wasn't a political statement. it wasn't a pro or a con kind of statement. look you know, has written and spoken since. and -- >> let's watch him. i'm sorry, gene. let's let juan williams, our colleague all of these years and still is, thanks to -- thanks to fox, he is. here he is talking about his firing this monday. let's listen. >> this is one of the things in
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my life that's such a shock to me because i grew up here on the left. i grew up here in new york city and i always thought that the right wing were the ones who were inflexible, intolerant and now i'm coming to realize that the orthodox at npr, if it's representing the left, it's just unbelievable that you know -- and especially i think for me as a black man to somehow you know say something that's out of the box. they find it very difficult. i think that's right, george. i think they were looking for a reason to get rid of me. that they were uncomfortable with the idea that i was talking to the likes of bill o'reilly and sean hand ty hannity. >> do you realize where this is heading? like not using certain words. that you're not into speak on the air. and they have a list that you're not supposed to live. in other words if they heard it, they'd block it out and no more problem. it would be knocked out. so in other words if they knocked this out it would be no problem. because he wasn't saying a point
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of view. he was simply giving a person recollection and then he could have said afterwards did you really feel that way when you got on airplanes? i guess some people did, maybe they shouldn't have. is that the issue or that he said it. >> i will raise two questions, is it that he said it, or also that he's a black conservative? i will tell you, for example -- >> he's not conservative. >> but i will tell you for example i was with a group of black journalists this morning. they feel that juan williams is a conservative. and a lot of -- >> because he appears on fox. >> because he appears on fox and because some of the statements he has -- some of the political inclinations that he has is a little bit different than your typical civil rights organizations. that being said -- >> coming up, the three big races that could go a long way to determine who wins control of the united states? we have three hot races, pennsylvania for the senate, nevada for the senate, california for the senate. they are going to decide to a large extent who controls the senate come january. let's take a look at the state, which way is the mow going?
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back to "hardball." president obama's out there across the country crossing the country into a swing to help democrats keep control of the u.s. senate. here to talk to me about some of those big fights is david gregory, the moderator of "meet the press" and howard fineman. gentlemen, start with the east coast in pennsylvania with the new muhlenberg tracking poll. 43-43. david, sestak has creeped up this to even. >> the democrats are coming home. that's inflection of the president's impact, the vice president's impact, and where is the impact? when they went to delaware, did
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some big rallies, they weren't there because chris coons were in trouble. they were there to impact the pennsylvania race. the democrats, i talked to -- >> because it's in the same media market. >> yeah if you're watching tv in philadelphia and i don't have to tell you any of this, that's where they've got to drive home that turnout. that's where they've got to get the democrats to get them to pay more attention and that appears to be happening. note something from that poll. you're still talking about pretty low numbers. pretty low numbers. >> 14% undecided. philadelphia and the counties, to vote their population, and still you just said it a minute ago about whether party voting can mean something, that's what sestak is counting on. >> you know, howard i always kid about the democrats in the last one to show up fortunate movies. they're not that organized but when they realize, they get there, go to the refreshment stand, ten minutes after the previews, they walk in, but they get there and that's the question, are they going to get there in time, and in sufficient numbers to win these blue states they should own politically? >> well, chris, i was in philadelphia on monday and tuesday and i talked to our mutual friend, representative bob brady who runs the show up there in the philadelphia
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democratic machine. and i spoke to him before all of the polls came out showing just how much this had tightened and he said that the democrats were beginning to come around. i don't really think it was the delaware thing. i don't think people -- people in pennsylvania care about delaware or even if it's in that market. i think it's the fact that sestak's been able to focus attention on pat toomey, himself. and talk about what the tea party, which would include christine o'donnell, that's true. >> well, he's tying him to the witch, too. are. >> are saying about social security, et cetera. what brady told me is that the message has finally gotten home to traditional democrats, that the tea party republicans and other republicans are somehow a threat to your social security, to your medicare, to all of your traditional benefits. pennsylvania voters, as you know, chris, are not philosophers. they're not into ideological experiments. make grouts about corrupt politicians, but don't mind government in pennsylvania.
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and they want the government benefits, and they don't want people like toomey threatening them. that's brady's message. plus the message about money for ads. secret money for ads, which i thought was an insiders' game. brady says that's actually cutting now in his -- with his people. at least he's telling his precinct captains to get out there and talk about it. >> chris, you pointed. >> david? >> it's the shadow effect of the outside money, is it karl rove, is it tied to people who want to go back -- >> foreigners, foreign money. >> yeah but i think that the foreigner piece, it's you know, it's big money, republicans, swift vote guys, who want to try to influence the agenda going forward. it scares people, and democrats. and the point that i was making, howard, and i think that we're saying something similar here which is there a tide to delaware, in that, they're tying toomey to the idea of this is your republican party. and you know -- bless you. >> we've been outside all week. >> there's not enough sneezing on tv anyway. but you know there's somehow the tea party could have an
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influence to their interests. >> you do hear the name, o'donnell, howard, up there a lot. >> yeah. >> i think that republicans don't want to hear that name because they think she's a little crazy at times. well, had been in the past anyway. and they don't -- they don't think toomey should be painted with that brush. but he is getting painted with that brush. >> another small point, chris, it's a less ideological one. sestak's a pretty good campaigner and he has a history of closing strong. and -- >> yeah. >> -- and he's really being very energetic and out there. toomey, he had a chance to put him away early and toomey didn't do it. originally sestak was the outsider, not liked by the machine guys like brady and et cetera in pennsylvania. >> i know. >> but now they're coming around saying, okay, we don't like sestak that much, but he's our vehicle for helping to save the programs that we care about from those crazy people on the right, that's basically the mess age. >> well, some bobby kennedy in this guy. he's a little guy, he was out there, he's scrappy. he was not quitting, he doesn't have a lot of what we call it, charm, right? call it charm with other people. take a look at california, that huge state out there.
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senator barbara boxer has a five-point lead over businesswoman carly fiorina. and i really like barbara boxer, i've known her forever but if i were her i would worry about that number. only 43% for a re-elective, somebody that everyone knows. there's nobody out there that doesn't know barbara boxer. >> and i'm talking to republicans out there who say a couple of things, the anti-washington anger is real and it's severe and it's the difference between why whitman is not doing as well against brown, but fiorina's doing -- >> why? >> -- well, because jerry brown's still a known figure in california. the brown name means something. he could be doing better, it's a little bit harder for boxer. she's running a wedge campaign here. she's counting on undecided voters, being women, pro-choice, coming out and breaking against fiorina here, republicans working with fiorina and otherwise think snooes got a real shot here to put this thing together. because of the economy, because of the anti-washington sentiment. >> yeah, you know, howard, i go by body language and i've been watching fiorina.
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she can be a little severe at times, but lately i've seen her looking kind of upbeat and happy like she knows something that we don't know. same thing with giannoulias this week. >> couple of things, first fiorina's learned a lot about campaigning. she was a complete novice at this. she's made it more of a race than some people thought it would be which is giving her some hope and i think that a lot of republicans that i've talked to in washington thinks that she's got a real shot now. already planning of making her part of the leadership if she makes it here because she's good about making the case for business. remember obama won california with 61 -- the president won with 61% of the vote. and for boxer to be in this big of a dogfight with obama won just less than two years ago with 61% tells you a lot about barbara boxer's weakness in that state. >> thank you, experts we have here. up next, the republican party continues to celebrate its
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back to the "sideshow" after all of these days and now, first, where's the love? a local fox reporter says republican would-be senator sharron angle shushed him at a las vegas event yesterday. watch this report. >> angle addressed a roomful of general contractors during a luncheon at the orleans and she did not answer questions immediately, but she did shush me. sharron, can we talk to you about -- >> shh. i have to get on but i want to
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get you to get out the vote. okay, thank you. >> what her fellow tea partier joe miller did up in alaska to another reporter this week, shushing is much kinder than handcuffing. next, rocky mountain high, colorado's tea party senate candidate's already in hot water for comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. this sunday based on credibility earned from statements like that one, ken buck declared this one in a fund-raiser attended by jim inhofe on wednesday. >> well, as h.l. megan once put it, never argue with a man whose job is on the line, that convinced. the senate for oklahoma is saying what works for him back home in the oil patch. when referees do that, we call it home cooking. finally, you say you want a revolution, republican congressional candidate stephen broden a texas pastor said last night that a violent overthrow of the u.s. government is, i love this phrase, on the table. here's the report from the local affiliate.
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>> broden says revolution first means at the ballot box but a violent overthrow is an option. >> our nation was founded on violence. >> in 2010 you'd urge that as an option though. >> the option is on the table. i don't think that we should ever remove anything from the table as it relates to our liberties and our freedoms. that's "hardball" for now. coming up next, "your business" with j.j. ramberg. [ female announcer ] where are people with moderate to severe
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