tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC September 9, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
backgrounds. it's funny how people that look at america see us all as one. i'm fighting and i hope you are, that we begin looking at ourselves as one. treated the same, given the same opportunities. and that we have as much regard for our oneness as those that are our enemies. that's why we need america to be better. remember that on 9/11. thanks for watching, i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. the battle for richmond. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, give them hell barry. last night democrats again heard the man they elected in 2008. a barack obama forceful, hopeful, challenging, inspiring.
the president promised to take his case to "every corner of this country "and began making good on that promise by traveling today to eric cantor's district to sell his plan. the president may have finally grabbed the initiative. question, can he keep it? plus, ten years later. still learning more about what went on and didn't happen behind the scene on 9/11. tonight, two guests are with president bush, and with vice president cheney. i said president, not by accident, with america under attack. also, walk around the streets of new york today and it will be clear that officials are taking no chances in light of word that another much smaller scale al qaeda attack may be in the planning stage. we're going to get the latest tonight on "hardball." and shirts versus skins. and mitt romney isn't the only republican looking over his shoulder with dreaded rick perry. here comes karl rove and the bush political machine. this time it's personal. let me fish with my big hope for america. we start with president obama on
the road selling this jobs plan. we start with gene and both msnbc analysts. gentlemen, signs of the president. for months i said the president should take his fight straight to the republicans and highlight actual projects in their own republican district daring them to vote no for projects that help and in fact are needed in their own hometowns. according to a group called transportation for america, my new favorite group of this country, there are now more than 65,000 structurally deficient bridges in country. the bridges we travel over all the time and in immediate of immediate repair, maintenance or outright replacement. we could put americans to work fixing them right now. right now, by the way, mr. cantor, listen up, and those who vote for him on occasion, 94 structurally deficient bridges in your district, mr. cantor, down in virginia, where president obama travelled to this morning to speak on his jobs plan. throughout this segment at the
bottom of your screen we'll run the locations of those bridges to give you a sense of all the opportunities in virginia's district that are now represented at least currently represented the southern district by eric cantor, play not be for long if he doesn't get the bridges fixed and follow me on twitter for more on the topic. i think we've got to take the issues to the people. talk about real dangers. school buses going over bridges and they start to rattle. think of eric cantor. my line is hardball underscore chris. do you think it's about important idea talking about real term, this abstract jobs program thing? >> i do. what could be more concrete than concrete? >> and steel. gene, way to start off -- you didn't just think of that, did you? >> you do what you can. this -- this initiative has not
only the support of liberals who want to stimulate the commerce. the chamber of commerce is in favor -- >> every morning in america, 10:30 in the america, it's called delivery time. when all the bridges are covered by trucks coming or bringing -- here are signs by barack obama. we saw it today in richmond. the president that got elected. taking his jobs plan directly -- enemy camp in this issue. with the republican leader down there, eric cantor. here he is urging the gop to pass the bill. let's listen. >> the time for action is now. the time to create jobs is now. pass this bill. the next election is 14 months away. we cannot -- we cannot wait. the american people do not have the luxury of waiting another 14 months for some action. some of you are living paycheck to paycheck, week to week, day by day. now is not the time for people in washington to be worrying about their jobs.
it's time for them to be worrying about your job. now's the time to put americans back to work. now's the time to act. >> you know what he's campaigning against. now he's not sitting around waiting to run against rick perry or lucky to run against alan keys again. looks like he's campaigns. what's the score? rousing up the troops? a favorite crowd. they like him down there. is it to win bill or some something to blame against republicans? tell me how to score this? >> i think right now he's straddling those two missions he put hit team on the field waiting to see how republicans come and. he has a few options. go right at there, campaign mode. >> get the bill? >> not to win the bill but win the next election. or he can try to put pressure on them and work with them to get something passed. won't get everything passed. get something passed. >> away from politic as split second. gene, this economy needs a little kick in the ass right
now. it noods something mp. needs stimulus. sneeds jobs. >> the environment changed. more realization, among conservative economists and i think among ordinary americans, and ultimately maybe even amongst republican congressmen in -- that were about to slip into a recession again. that would be disastrous. >> i get the feeling he is worried. a lot of people are worried. putting on the pictures now. here he is. look at the bottom of the screen. the names of bridges in eric cantor's district down in the richmond area structurally deficient. that bridge that fell in minnesota described at structurally deficient before it collapsed. >> don't forget, too, with republicans in congress, they came out of the debt ceiling fight lower than the president. they did not do well. >> does that mean they're vulnerable -- i. think they are. the president was effective this morning.
he went out and got concrete again. he said here's our choice. we can either fix 35,000 schools for our kids and make them work or we give tax loopholes for oil companies. we can't do both. >> let's not kid our side. better to get action than blame assignment. right? you're -- >> no, no, no. >> is it better get the bridges fixed and roads? >> get the bridges fixed. >> he needs to have some economic improvement to do well next year but also has to deal with recalcitrant republicans. >> giving republicans including especially house republican leader eric cantor a little credit for not outright rejecting his proposal. not yet. here's more of his speech today in cantor's own district. he is really leaning forward here. to use a local phrase. let's listen. >> to their credit i was glad to hear some republicans including your congressman say that they see room for us to work together. they said that they're open.
to some of the proposals to create american jobs, but, we've got to give them a little help to do the right thing. so i'm asking all of you to lift up your voice. not just here in richmond. anybody watching, listening, following online -- >> you know, he gets into that church voice. that church -- what does that tell you? you grew up with that, gene. does that tell you i'm getting ready to lose one or getting ready to win one? >> when you're in the church, you're getting ready to win. you want to win those polls, right? >> not about, let's awe suffer? >> no, no. it's about let's do something. >> i wanted to know that. >> now, the question is, eric cantor was sort of equivocal in his initial reaction. so is that just plain rope-a-dope, to -- >> i know what you mean. >> something you're used to or -- >> just waiting -- >> what i was hearing from the white house before the speech is, they are going to press for this bill. they're going to press for the whole enchilada --
>> remind everybody who wasn't watching, didn't watch the president last night. this bill has a couple big ingredients. something so easy for republicans. tackling practice. all you have to do, reduce the cost of hiring labor by put cutting the payroll tax for the employer and worker. right? >> right. >> and incentives for hiring people. that's an easy thing to buy for republicans, right? >> should be. should be a no-brainer. >> the other thing, bridges and schools. will they choke on that? >> they may. >> spending, they can nick this thing to death with 1,000 different cuts to committees and start attacking with poison -- >> why wouldn't they want to cut taxes on workers that makes it cheaper to hire people? they are pro business. >> i think they'd rather cut taxes from millionaires and billionaires. >> no, but -- >> they haven't done that. she had a chance to do this the last two years. you're on laughing gas now. >> you really think -- they always say the small businessmen
is the image of america. walmart, the small business -- >> last year the republicans held up a small business bill for over nine months. why? because it has a made by obama sticker attached to it. i mean, 40, 80, 100 tea partiers who may not go along with anything that's even a reasonable eric cantor -- >> you say neither, i say neither. is it that bad on the republican side? they just want to screw the guy? >> it's been that bad and been worse. will it be that bad this time? i'm not sure. >> locally, break boehner so he at least gives him a vote or brings to serious close to passage what he wants. how does he get boehner -- >> good start. go to cantor's district then boehner's district and so take it -- he says he's going to take it to every corner of the country. >> what we're going to do for a small educational role here, keep doing what we're doing on the lower screen. continuing to show the bridges in this district.
in this case, 90-some bridges that need repaired. he'll do the same thing on tuesday. the president is not doing this. doing more his job than -- but by the way, here's congressman cantor's own reaction to the president's jobs speech last night. listen with luke russert at nbc. >> i think there's a lot in this speech that we can actually begin to work on together. you know, tax relief, suggestions we ought to streamline, the process of structural spending suggesting we ought to reform the unemployment benefits in this country. what i did take exception to was the all or nothing approach that president took. he continued to say pass this package, there's nothing controversial in this package. anybody that doesn't embrace this, he's going to taking it to all corners of this country. obviously, he's going to my district tomorrow, and i reject that approach, because i think there's a lot of areas that we
have in common in his proposal, but there's certainly some differences. >> that's kind of a -- nobody thinks barack obama ever demanded all or nothing. we have to agree about that. >> where as house republicans repeatedly demanded all or nothing. so it's -- >> the president is always open to -- >> i think when you see eric cantor talking reasonably, it shows he's scared. you know -- >> like smithsonian sweat there on the lip, maybe? >> i don't think he has to worry about it in his district. >> what about the deal? >> you talked about targeting cantor and boehner. forget about them. there are 25, 30 republican house member whose maybe, whose seats may be at play next year. those are the people. the without, there should be a political director in the white house looking at those districts and that's where they should match up with your bridges. >> we have bridges for them. >> okay. >> we'll apply to them as dates go on. by the way, every time they show up on the show we'll show the
bridges that need repair. let me ask you again -- >> don't forget water treatment plants. >> and sewage as well. let me go right now, you guys are political students. get off the complete ideological track one moment, david. >> i'm not -- >> part of our whole theme. ideological warfare. in terms of the president, here we are in september. the school year's begun. he is bringing out karl rove, andy card used to say, bring out your product. by christmas. by the holidays. doesn't he have to have something done on this front? not just a debt reduction on creating jobs or else he's got problems in policymaking? >> well, it helps in policymaking. >> he needs something done. >> success is always better than failure. so -- but i think he also needs to be fairly hard line in terms of saying, look, you've got to do this stuff. we're not going to nickel and dime this bill to death. >> does he want to get something done? >> he does. this guy likes results. if you he can't get it done, he has to blame the other side.
>> plan b. here is the president pinpointing projects in ski states, which just so happen to be in home states of boehner and mich mrk con el. and 2012 front-runner rick perry. listen to it all a. bridge that needs repair between ohio and kentucky on one of the busiest trucking roads in north america. a public transit project in houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. >> well, that's plan offense. >> well it is. it's about time. people want to see him go after these guys after they, really, had him on his knees the last two years. especially with the debt ceiling. >> it's not that bad. >> the debt ceiling, a gun to his head. >> these images drive me crazy. >> you don't think they were playing with dynamite? another image. the debt ceiling -- >> s.o.b.s, but i just don't -- >> okay. i take that back.
>> the ironic thing about ohio and kentucky. mitch mcconnell and john boehner, dealmakers. >> that's how you get to be a leader. >> mitch mcconnell, get rid of earmarks. are you crazy. but can they stand up to the tea party. >> i love it. >> couldn't make the deal. >> they're engaging. >> military warfare? they call that -- >> close encounters for of the third kind. >> at a time -- that would be bad. >> eugene robinson and davis corn, have a nice weekend, even though it's the 9/11 weekend. still learning what did and didn't happen behind the scenes of 9/11. behind the scenes in the bush, cheney white house that day. talking to guests there with president bush and with vice president cheney when we were under attack. finding out what happened in those rooms. this is great tick tock, as we say. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. ♪ ♪♪
report of a terror threat on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks stepped up concerns around the country. but our nbc news/"wall street journal" poll out this week findings the number of americans that say we're safer now is on the rise. 42% say we're safer than before 9/11. a hike from a year ago. one-third say as safe as we were before the attacks. one in five says we're less safe. we'll be right back. [ thinking ] i wonder what other questionable choices i've made? [ '80s dance music plays ] [ sighs ] [ male announcer ] choose taste. choose prego. o0 possibilities are everywhere. multiply them with the premier rewards gold card
the man that had a lot to do with catching bin laden. speaking at the pentagon, right on the ten-year anniversary of the attacks on the pentagon almost ten years ago. this morning wall street held a moment of silence to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 attack there. joining us are two people who had a front row seat in at moment of history. lieutenant colonel darling and the reporter in the white house bunker that morning with vice president dick cheney and wrote about the book entitled "24 hours inside the white house bunker," and traveling with president bush, consulting with purple strategies. i want to get to the cheney part and what happened in the white house. you and president bush, with him when he was teaching at the school. tell me what's interesting that most don't know about that morning? 9/11. >> he been told by the head of the white house situation room on the trip as we walked in only
that the plane had hit the world trade center. nobody knew more than that. many reporters were on the phone, with respective desks and i happen to talk to one of my editors who was narrating in my ear quietly. >> we're looking at the president's face. boy, did he look young then. talking to the kids with a school book. didn't know it was anything. thought it was a small plane? >> didn't know size or scope. i was hearing from my phone, from my editor, a narration of the second plane hitting. he told me later when he was looking across the room at us it was like watching a silent horror movie. he could tell from looking at our faces something very terrible was going on and it was just moments after that when andy car leaned over in that iconic image of that day and whispered into his ear. >> two planes, a hell of a lot different than one. shows it wasn't an accident. >> absolutely.
he was frozen in the moment, doing an event, surrounded by all of these young children, and the tension in the room was growing literally by the second. >> let's go to colonel darling now. colonel, thank you for joining us. you were on duty there at white house. you were in a bunker. tell us about how the vice president assumed the authority basically of the chief executive absent the president, absent the secretary of defense busy putting out fires basically at the pentagon at that time. >> right. great to be with you, chris. the minute we walked in there it was about 9:50 that morning. they evacuated the white house at 9:45. i went down into the peoc. told me to answer the phones rings off the hook. my first phone call, another hijacked plane 15 miles south of pittsburgh inbound to washington, d.c. turned to my right. there was the vice president and i passed the information immediately on to him. >> from that morning, september 11th a piece of audio made public just this week.
one of 140 shared since that week. a conversation between military commanders on the ground and fighter pilots up in the air just after 10:30 discussing an order given by vice president dick cheney too shoot down civilian planes if needed. let's listen. >> you need to read this's region commander has declared that we can shoot down tracks if they are not responding to our directions. >> okay. i'll pass that to weapons. >> okay. >> the region commander, the region commander has declared that we can shoot down aircraft that don respond to our directions. >> so if you're trying to divert -- you have a conflict on that? you got a conflict on that direction? >> right now, no, but -- >> okay. >> hey. >> you read that from the vice president? vice president has cleared us to intercept tracks -- >> of interest -- >> and shoot them down if they do not respond per conr cc. >> giving the president
executive authority as commander in chief, through the secretary of defense, both chain of command wasn't effective. how did the vice president -- looks like there was a little conflict in that air conversation, in that transmission about the line of authority there. is that how you read it? what was going on in terms of the right of the vice president under the constitution to act in that regard? >> the minute i gave the vice president information and he ordered right over to the national military command center, a general officer in the bunker at the pentagon, he said i want two f-15s from the air national guard base. stand by to shoot that aircraft down. no discussion. he seemed to have full control. he seemed to have the authority. he was in full combat mode at that point. >> how does that work, though? you know the constitution. we all know we're sworn to uphold it. the vice president has no executive authority. was it derived? given to him, designated by the president that morning? how did that happen? on the assume giving the emergency situation, he would
take his risks under the constitution and do what he taught as a top officer in the government? >> according to his testimony elsewhere he and the president had multiple conversations that morning. at some point he felt he had the authority to take that kind of taction. >> gotcha. >> from the bunker complex, no discussion with the president. the moment i gave him that information, he immediately responded back to the pentagon asking for those fighters. if he had the authority he got it before we entered the bunker complex. >> let me go back to you again. what were you afraid of at the time? you were with the whole clash of reporters, clash of reporter es. what were you all thinking? i was with bill griffin, it's executive producer of this program. we were trying to figure it out and figured two planes don't cross the hudson by accident? >> right. we knew as we were going to the airport from the school after a very hasty statement from the president, we knew it was an act of terror, like the president, like vice president cheney, nobody knew what was next. the motorcade was very unusual.
>> how afraid were the people around the president that they would try to get to him? not like the lincoln assassination where there was of it? >> a real concern. obvious. when we got to the airport, chris, you know, when you cover the president, you get a security clearance once in date. >> and you're in the bubble. >> and only get another one if you leave the bubble. when we got to that aircraft, all of these extra secret service guys materialized with bomb-sniffing dogs. had to go through this again. i was literally running's the back steps of the plane telling me to move faster. the plane was rolling before i got to my seat and it wasn't a takeoff, it was a liftoff. >> let me ask you, colonel, about the decisions of the vice president to recommend the president's itinerary that day. sending back to the nebraska. he got back to the white house that day, important for the country that he be back in his own home. tell us about the vice president
of the traffic direction by the president. >> they put two classified into effect. continuity of presidency and government are now in effect. the president and vice president and speaker of the house can no longer be in the same geographic location. as are the principles of the three branches of government. putting the president out of d.c. for the foreseeable future. >> all around, a great show for our country. thank you, gentlemen, very much. thank you, colonel darling and good reporting by both of you. up next, good history. up next, caught on tape. house speaker john boehner. this is light-hearted. talking. we'll tell you what they were talking about. 2 wasn't exactly the hot issue of the 9.1 unemployment rate. that's next in the "sideshow." you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. [ kimberly ] when i was 19, i found myself alone
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back to "hardball" now. the "sideshow," first making up for lost time. as vice president joe biden joined speaker boehner in anticipation of the president's speech last night, it wasn't all business they had to catch up on. let's listen. >> hey, we had a heck of a lot of -- >> the river golf club, you. got -- hit the ball hard --
[ inaudible ] pulled in -- >> the next day i go to sam hills. i shoot an 86. one day i play great. the next day i play awful. this was the round of the decade. >> a couple of scratch golfers there. never seen such an animated conversation. golf seemed to be the common ground. speaking of exchanges. was this really a heated moment. you might think so looking at this snapshot of ron paul. look at he and rick perry during a break at the debate. paul looks like she's getting an earful. was it an angry conversation? let's hear how ron paul summed it up, the encounter, at a campaign event yesterday. a picture came out last night and it is on the internet
this morning and it's a picture of myself with, i think it's the governor of texas or some place. very -- looking straight at me and he had his hand my arm like he's not going to let me move and doing this to me. i wish it were a much more interesting story than that, because i don't even recall the moment that that was occurring, and i don't know remember exactly what he said. >> turning that into a shtick. a stand-up routine. he doesn't remember anything at all. not sure if i remember that one. anyway, the unconfirmed terror threat on the tenth anniversary of the september 11th attacks. something everybody is worried about up in new york. especially a lot of concern up there. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. look at all this stuff for coffee. oh there's tons. french presses, espresso tampers, filters.
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here is what is happening. three servicemen were killed in afghanistan today. a magnitude 6.4 earthquake rattled vancouver island north of washington state. in texas firefighters started using a massive modified d.c. 10 to help battle the incredibly destructive wildfires. a river has crested and is starting to recede adding pressure to extremely stressed levies. meteorologist are tracking three big storms. katia is losing strength heading towards britain. maria is heading back out to sea. tropical storm nate is expected to push west into mexico. honda is recalling honda pie uvs because of seat belts.
there are the dow plunges 300 points due to the european debt cries is. now back to "hardball." back to "hardball." the news of a potential terrorism threat right now using car bombs in bridges and tunnels in both new york and here in washington broke last night. it's already added to the heightened security in both cities, and with this weekend's 9/11 memorial events marking what happened ten years ago. administrators are taking to air waves to held americans to remain calm and tell them to remain vigilant. i'm not sure what you're supposed to make of those two calls. listen to the vice president explaining the threat on "today" early this morning.
>> this is information from a credible source that indicated this was an intent. we've not been able to confirm, nor that source confirm that we know who the individuals may be that are trying to find access to the united states, and -- but we're taking it seriously. >> joining us now, nbc terrorism experts, analysts rather. i don't know if anybody's an expert. evan cohen and michael sheehan who also served as former nypd anti-terrorism. thank you both. michael first then evan. the generalized threat something to do with bridges and tunnels. that specificity grabbed a lot of us in washington. we don't have a leak in the lincoln tunnel. nothing like new york with millions going through it. how do you find out that specificity. >> apparently that came up with the chatter involved with this source. >> somebody in pakistani language was talking about tunnels and bridges? >> i think it came from the source. we've known al qaeda has a long interest in tunnels and bridges prior to 9/11 interest in tunnels and bridges in new york
city and we've always had -- >> like a chug point? >> absolutely. a bridge would have a dramatic effect. you could see it. a tunnel, of course, trying to get a flooding effect. in the tunnel and then into the subway. >> that will catch your imagination. won't it? >> sure will. >> up to evan and the whole question of new york. i understand new york is -- not saying in a frenzy, certainly in a state of serious concern up there. what's it like in new york and temples of this, and is that a reasonable response to what we know? >> look, there's added security. anyone passing through penn station today would have noticed there are additional police officers out there. there are dogs. there are checkpoints. it's not overwhelming, though. i think people may have the wrong idea, and i don't think people are freaking out quite yet. i think most people understand that, you know, in this city after 9/11 we have to take all threats with a degree of caution, and with an abundance of concern. in this case, you had a source that was not internet chatter. not internet websites. not rumor. it was something that apparently
was deemed credible enough to take seriously. >> human being? >> apparently a human source. a communication from a human source, but the reality is that we don't have these names of these potential individuals who may or may not have entered the u.s. there is no 100% indication that there was even anyone who did enter the u.s. but, look. i mean, we had an individual here less than a year ago. about a year ago, who managed to get inside the u.s. was a u.s. national. passed by the pakistani taliban, got close to blowing up a bomb in times square. only thing that stopped him, too stupid to put a bomb together properly. that's not an assurance next time. whether there is plot at all, that won't stop it next time. local, state, federal, have to take this seriously and let the public know about it, inform them even if it's a fairly farfetched threat. >> i've got to ask you, michael.
i don't know anything about terrorism except what we read in papers. seems to me israel, back in the i.r.a. day, small scale, in a room, kill a bunch of people. blow up a police station. that kind of low-level terrorism has not hit this country. only by this iconic event and what happened in east africa and some other places. is al qaeda bent on only dramatic events? >> no, i don't think so. al qaeda would love to do something small. they've been exhorting their people that adhere to their ideology in the u.s. to take action, even with a .9 millimeter pistol, anything they can do. >> horrible stuff. >> talking about a couple guys coming in with perhaps better training that may or may not have entered country. we have to take this seriously and actually, the pan am 103 bombing, rumors the government knew something before that. there's legislation that requires the u.s. government to share --
>> what do we know about the information? the example? >> pan am 103 bombing in 1989, blew up the scotland airliner. had a lot of students on it -- >> lockerbie. >> exactly. after that bombing, rumors people might have known something in add answer and a regulation. >> all chatter has to be shared. >> not all. credible stuff noted. >> thank you, gentlemen. we hope we don't need you again for a while but we know this has to be looked at seriously. s you well noted, michael, people will wonder why people didn't warn them. michael sheehan, evan coleman in new york, thanks, gentlemen. up next, barbarians at the gate. how worried are karl rove and the bush crowd, the political establishment of the republican party, about the emergence of this longtime rival rick perry? shirts versus skins looks like in the republican party. the establishment versus the tea party. they don't like these wild people from the right coming in and taking their jobs away from them.
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to read and consider carefully before investing. only on msnbc. the republican debate turned it into a two-man fight between mitt romney and rick perry many believe. with michele bachmann sort of out of the picture already, bachmann's campaign is regrouping and say they'll campaign almost exclusively in iowa to get that campaign back on track. a far cry from this summer when she was the iowa front-runner and once perry got in the race, bottomed out. i'm surprised how quickly this is happening. surprised at all of it. if she can beat perry in iowa, she's in. if she can't, my guess, she's out. we'll be right back.
of our citizens, will you face the ultimate justice in the state of texas, and that is, you will are executed. well, that was a real crowd pleaser out there at the reagan library. i couldn't believe the instantaneous clapping across the audience of executing prisoners. like in the roman coliseum. and calling social security a ponzi scream and doesn't back down from any of this stuff. not your bush-style, never said george w. bush was an elitist, but making it clear, he's not their man. there are two parts to the republican party. they seem to be on a collision course right now. talking about it, alex and a huffington post reporter.
thank you. author of 'the e book: rick perry and his eggheads." can't resist the title. we'll start with you. hearing people coming out of the woodwork, karl rove, having a problem with rick perry because he's now high in the polls? is it personal or ideological? >> mostly personal. 1998, these guys were both running statewide in texas. they didn't run on the same ticket. so bush was guaranteed re-election and rove looking ahead how to make this guy a viable presidential candidate in 2000 and wanted 70% of the vote, which means winning democrats in texas. rick perry in a really tough race for lieutenant governor and needed to be a strong democrat and perry wanted to go negative and the circle was that perry was sabotaging the campaign telling him not to. so as to keep democrats coming out voting for bush at the top of the ticket. >> the truth of this whole thing?
>> interesting totally diverge and ever since a feeling that the bush entrapped themselves and supported kay bailey hutchinson, being in their way loyal to the republican party, and i think these two guys battling for primacy of the great texas governor -- >> is there a -- alex, is there a clash aspect to -- class aspect to this? the the cross-coat republicans? >> george bush wet to yale. rick perry's farmers, in parts of texas that nobody wants to farm. his story is compelling and absolutely a fiscal difference that lies between them, a class difference. i've got to say, to the -- the kerfuffle between the two camps, some part of this is psychological. because any criticism of perry is inextricably linked to criticism of bush. it reminds of bushies of the
line of attack that was whithering and launched at bush, the cowboy stuff, texas stuff. >> yeah, but now they are on that side, part of those making that attack. >> there are a couple things going on now, chris. >> one couple of things. one is carl rove very much sees himself as a king maker of the party. there's a sense they can win this in 2012 and they need a candidate that can win in the general and they don't think that candidate is rick perry. >> here he is talking about rick perry, he needs to deal with extreme language in his books, calling social security a ponzi scheme, let's listen to it. >> what they've done this far is inadequate. we didn't write the book with a presidential campaign in mind, fine, but they are going to have to find a way to deal with these things, because as you say they are toxic in a general election environment and in a primary. >> carl has been over the top
for a long time and some of his remarks. i'm not responsible for carl anymore. >> there you have it. >> i think there's this difference that when bush first started running for president in 1999, he was thinking about the general election and never won a difficult primary before. perry's having to get through a primary, not thinking about the general election. he can't be an inclusive, b broad-based candidate that bush was. and we're seeing the first hints of that. >> mitt romney said perry's more extreme positions can be the end of the party. >> if we nominate someone who the democrats can correctly characterize as being opposed to social security, we would be obliterated as a party. >> you know what, he sounds like a guy, alex, who's trying to make the case that although you may like this guy more than me,
he's too dangerous, but he's admitting i'm the safer candidate, i'm not the most exciting. in fact, i'm not the red meat candidate, but safer move, pick me. >> exactly, choose me, i'm the guy for the rest of the country. the fates of mitt romney and rick perry are twinned. they are jigsaw puzzles where one is concave, the other convex, so whatever is a negative for rick perry is a positive for mitt romney, and he's going to play this out as much as he possibly can. >> i'm going so ask you both for your assessments looking at the field. is the republican party now so red hot they don't want to hear from a cool-headed middle of the road type? >> no, there's always a turn in the campaign people start looking at electability. >> already? are primary voters and caucus voters impulse voters? >> people we hear from now are emoting and as the calendar goes on and pool of candidates
expand, they are more sensible and pragmatic. >> smarter to run romney? >> romney's making this case, and i think there's an open question as to whether perry -- >> alex, i've heard the argument democrats love to run against the far right because they can beat them easily. carter thought he could beat reagan. is that your general view, do you accept that view? >> i don't know of the the next debate is in florida. go down there saying social security is a ponzi scheme, you're going to have a hard time winning the message war in that one, chris. >> we'll see, i'm betting perry. thank you, alex wagner. people don't go in the voting booth to be strategic. you may both be wrong. when we return, let me finish with what's missing in america today. our national soul. i know you're worried about making your savings last and having enough income when you retire.
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helping business, and the world...work. let me finish tonight with a phrase you don't hear these days, war effort. it's when a country gets together in common purpose to support a war. not everyone is at the front. some are in the support of the fighting forces, some are back home doing work that speeds the victory, some are stars out there selling war bonds, millions more are buying the bonds are accepting rationing or higher taxes, all in it together, hoping for our forces to carry the day, doing our bit.
this spirit captured that phrase is as sparring to us now as the old newsreels at the movie theater. i wonder if this is the feeling that's missing in this country today, the sense of common cause of being in this thing together and being willing to accept the burden as well as the freedoms and familiar joys of what is a uniquely american life. i wonder on these days of this thing missing in america today is america itself, that america that got us through the great depression and world war ii, and yes, to the perilous days of the cold war when you feared a nuclear exchange, the thought of which -- whose absence leaves our sense of this country leaves it so soulless. how did we get to be a clattering clash of separate interests who identify not as a country, but fighting legions
who want to guard their treasure. angry classes facing off against each other making each day taken. i want to take this moment to recall there have been times, even in the early part of this century, this young century, when we stood proudly and strangely happy together when the young and better off cheered the passing fire truck and firefighters, when our eyes glistened again and again in thought of that guy running up the stairs of the world trade center when we were all running down, when people's first impulse was to rush to those towers and to the flaming pentagon and to the cockpit of flight 93, knowing that plane could take only so much chaos and held before it too crashed, but not on the u.s. capitol. a symbol of dignity and honor as a people, how can we fear a dangerous world when we have countrymen like