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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 29, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EDT

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conservatives and the gop primary continue to hold. >> i wonder where chris christie is going to be if rick perry will get the nomination. will he be so critical of someone in his own party. that's "the ed show." i'm ed schultz. "hardball" starts now. crying for christie, apalled by palin. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. leading off tonight, here it is. desperate republicans. who would have ever thought they would wind up comparing chris christie to sarah palin? palin made a career of running and not quite not running for president. last night she said being president, her words, shackle her. shackle her? what is she talking about?
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running for president shackles someone. meanwhile christie can't say why and won't say no to republicans so miserable about third candidates' list that they are begging him to run. tonight, the two big republican teases. also, republicans can't stop charging president obama with playing the class warfare card. well, hey what. keep the kettle black. anyway, for the last three decades republican policy has helped tone rich the wealthy and lower their tax burden. who is the really guilty party on this? plus, rick perry's texas-sized problem. the "new york times" "sunday" magazine reports that some texas republicans feel burned by "b" and wouldn't no part of hour cow buy-booted g-dropping governor and no book has gotten under the skin of the obama administration than the book by ron suskind. tonight some pushback. let me give you the choice president obama has to make, please the base or aim for the middle.
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we start tonight with howard fineman, msnbc political analyst and joan walsh of, editor at large. i want to start with the big crying story that hasn't quite been told. if they are so horny for christie, if they are going crazy about this often overlooked character from jersey, now they are in love with a guy they don't actually know, but they know he's car safetyic, doesn't that tell you they are crying in their sleep, that these people, you know, can't get no satisfaction. they hate the list they have been given. they keep looking for somebody to relieve them of the boredom of running with romney, the frightening possibilities of rick perry and whoever else they get stuck w.they don't like their list. >> well, i think you have that right, chris, and all the polls show it. mitt romney is not beloved, even by people who are supporting him for now. rick perry had a huge run-up, but is running down just about as fast as he ran up. the republicans think they have a great opportunity, and talking to people around chris christie,
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you know, they have told others if he were interested, would you be willing to go, but that doesn't mean chris christie himself is going to do it. >> let me go to joan on this. just the question, it looks like they are so out of love with what they have got. >> and this is terrible for mitt romney, too, because it keeps some of the money, the big donors on the sidelines. there's a clear clamor for kristie from guys like ken langone and some of the really serious people and, of course, david koch, this populist chris christie has a lot, a lot of wealthy backers. and romney just can't quite close the deal. every time you think he's got some good luck, donald trump is not going to run and that was a joke anyway. perry galions in and everybody loves him and now he's really blown his chance to make a good impression. romney seems to just stand there and smile and say, yeah, this is going to be mine and it's not. somebody is always there to take it away from it.
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it's got to be really tempting for kristie to get in. >> like the guy that keeps asking the woman, the woman keeps saying i'm washing my hair tonight. i don't know what the comparison is. i guess i've never heard that. >> i did. >> but if i did i'd be miserable. >> it's a bad thing. >> it's not a good excuse. chris christie seemed intentionally vague about a presidential run. he is out there teasing after being implored by a supporter right there to get into this race. let's listen to the back and forth. >> i say this from the bottom of my heart, from my daughter who is right here and my grandchildren who are at home. i know new jersey needs you, but i really implore you, i really do, and this isn't funny, i mean this with all my heart. we can't wait another four years to -- till 2016, and i -- i really implore you as a citizen of this country to please, sir, to reconsider. >> that heartfelt message you
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gave me is also not a reason for me to do it. that reason has to reside inside me, and so that's what i've said all along is i know without ever having met president reagan that he must have felt deeply in his heart that he was called to that moment to lead our country, and so my answer to you is just this. i thank you for what you're saying, and i take it in and i'm listening to every word and feeling it, too. >> wow. this is getting to be high drama here. neighbors's political reports, you are chuckling, anyway i knew those crocodile tears weren't for real a minute ago about the trouble and tribulations of the right wing money machine. a republican close to christie told "first read" here that you could interpret those words as him reconsidering. howard, he looks like -- here he is at the reagan library giving
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a speech on american exceptionalism at the request of our friend nancy reagan, was in the first row. he really wants to be out in the front ring being asked. >> well, chris, if you watch the speech or read the speech, that was a campaign speech. now, it was tailored for a specific spot which is the reagan library, but what better spot for a republican to tailor a campaign speech for than that. he gave several paragraphs in there of explaining why he thought his record in new jersey was the kind that would save the country if not the world. everything in that speech was the campaign announcement except for the line, and, therefore, i'm running. >> right. >> right. >> talking to people around him, some guys who work for him, in his governor's race. close people around him have said would you be available if he were to decide to do it? now, that was last night. my reporting today is nothing has happened today. he's out there raising money for the new jersey party in california. he's having a party in beverly hills to raise money for the new jersey party.
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>> right. >> he's in missouri, in louisiana. he's moving around the country. >> okay. >> in a way that leaves open the possibility still. >> by the way -- go ahead, joan, your thought? >> well, he's go the to be careful not to start -- we're comparing him to sarah palin, but that comparison is going to start to stick if he doesn't make a decision. i sat here and listened to that answer, and that woman was -- you know, it was a cry from the heart, and there had been other cries from the wallet, and he's hearing a lot of this. he's either got to shut it down or do it. i think it's going to start to be a little bit annoying to republicans that he's basking in the spotlight and loves it, but he's hurting the party at a certain point. >> joan, to your point, here it is. last night kristie referred supporters to a video mashup, a collage, of all his statements on politico, if you want to know whether he'll run for president. here's part of his answer. let's listen. >> no way. >> going to run? >> no. >> not going to happen. >> fur still saying categorically not runing? >> no. >> in 2012. >> i'm not running. >> i'm 100% certain i'm not going to run. >> i don't want to run, don't
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feel like i'm ready to run. >> first you have to have in your heart, want it more than anything else, more than anything else. i don't want it that badly. >> you have to believe in your heart and in your sole and in your mind that you are ready, and i don't believe that about myself right now. >> you have to believe, as i've said before in your heart and your mind that you're ready and i don't believe that i am. >> well, sarah palin said she's still deciding on a presidential run on last night's "on the record" with greta van sustern. let's listen. >> i'm going to keep repeating though, greta, through my process of decision-making with my family and with my close friends as to whether i should throw my name in the hat for the gop nomination or not for 2012. is a title worth it? does a title shackle a person? are they, someone like me, who is a maverick, you know, i do go rogue and call it like i see it and i don't mind stirring it up, somebody like me, is a title and campaign too shackling? does that prohibit me from being
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out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me? >> you know what it sounds like? you get into shackle and that weirdness and all the handlers. she's basically saying her choices were to be annie okoli out there, popular modern western cultural figure or someone who is running for office, but she acts like she will never win because she says it's just a tight. i'm not running for president to win and still sees it as some sort of derby you enter for fun and you get a lot of attention, howard >> i think her comment shows her own belief in the implausibility of winning. >> of winning and of her ever being president. she wouldn't be shackled by the presidency. presumably she would want the presidency. >> joan, your thoughts, why would she talk about shackles and a title? the presidency, ladies and gentlemen, is not a title. it's an amazing role in the world. >> it's not. >> why does she use that word? >> because she doesn't really want it and she knows she's not ready. she should be honest like chris christie. she clearly sees herself as having this incredible freedom
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and doesn't want to buckle down to the discipline of running a campaign, let alone being president. you really can't go rogue as a president. i actually thought that might be the clearest statement we've ever had as to why -- she's simply not running because to put it out like that, that's her thought process, can i answer that question for her and so can you and so can howard. you don't want to run if you want to continue to go rogue. >> i think it's hurting her here among the people who would normally give her a shot. guests on rachel maddow had high ranking positions on the mccain/palin campaign. let's listen. she's not getting a lot of respect right now. let's listen. >> i think that is there have been failures in the vice presidential vetting process, and i was involved in one of them. >> my advice for anyone, but particularly for her, and she has a whole nest of problems that would, you know, that she would have to confront, but the first one would be to resist her
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most partisan and polarizing instincts because that would make her the wrong candidate for the moment. >> does she have anything to offer beyond that? >> look, you know, i was inspired about her and was inspired to write a book called "cuckoo for coco puffs." i guess saying that she's a ditz. why are they more openly criticizing her? >> i think they have been trashing her from inside the campaign at the very end to be honest with you, chris. they really, really got tired of her before the election. neither of them has had a nice word to say about her. i admire nicole for saying what she said because it's like don't come to me for a fair and balanced appraisal of sarah palin. she's cuckoo for coco puffs. i think that she fail, and now they have been joined by a lot of other people who feel, a, she's really not ready, and, b,
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she's playing this out. she's making a lot of money. she's loving the attention, but she has no intention of getting in, and she should shut it down, too. if you care about the republican party, and i do, they are an important institution in our country, you make a decision right now. you don't -- you don't draw this out unless it's all about you and all about your glory. then it must be a lot of fun. >> i thought she was going to jump in on behalf of rick perry when he needed her now. i don't know what she's up to. what do you think, howard? >> i don't know. i think it's impossible to say. i've thought for a long time she wasn't running. i think she doesn't want the discipline of it, as joan was saying. i think in the case of chris christie. right now the land that i call huh dockistan, fox and the "wall street journal" and all that. those people and that whole crowd in new york loves, loves, loves chris christie but joan is wright. if he's going to just screw around with them he needs to cut him off because eventually they will get mad. >> i think he's running for vice president. the way he's going he's going to
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get on the ticket for vice president. he's revving himself for an offer and better accept it after all of this. coming up, the republicans keep saying president obama is playing class politics and class warfare but for 30 years the republicans have helped make the rich richer by lowering their taxes. just look at the numbers. let's find out who is actually waging this class warfare. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. so, at our company, we pay about the same, even though i'm a great driver and he's... not so much. well, for a driver like you, i would recommend our new snapshot discount. this little baby keeps track of your great driving habits, so you can save money. amazing!
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well, it's going to be hard. back to "hardball." here with our two top strategists to debate our two big topics. first, there's no doubt that wealthy americans have increased their wealth while their taxes have decreased the last few decades, so are republicans right to call obama's tax plan class warfare? and new battleground polling shows that obama is now neck in neck with rick perry and mitt romney in both pennsylvania and ohio. can the president be re-elected without both of those states. let's ask democrat steve mcmahon and republican todd harris. very good. you guys are all calling obama a class warrior, why? >> because he is. when you go around the country talking about millionaires and billionaires and corporate jets and hedge fund managers and big oil and -- >> talking about welfare claims? >> that's class warfare and firing up your liberal pass. that's class warfare. when you pit one class against another that's the definition of class warfare.
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what i don't understand is why the obama administration is getting so worked up over what republicans are deciding to label this. >> by the way, aren't a lot of republicans out there bitching to use the word that the poor people aren't paying any taxes now? i keep hearing orrin hatch -- they are attacking poor people. >> the poor people. isn't that class warfare in. >> the poor people don't make enough money to -- to pay taxes so we resent them for it, and so it -- i mean, it's a little class warfarish, if you will. the president is really just doing something the democrats have always done which is talking about how the wealthier among us ought to be willing to pay their fair share, and for generations the wealthy among us were, and i actually think many of the wealthy among us still are, but the republicans don't want to do it. they are talking about jets. they are talking about warren buffett paying a lower tax rate than his secretary because it's something that people can understand, and it's something that people frankly don't like very much. when they find out -- >> you can respond to that, todd.
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here's the president earlier this week hitting republicans for using the class warfare argument against him. >> republicans are going around talking about, well, that's class warfare. you know what? if asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plummer is class warfare, then sign me up. sign me up. i'll wear that charge with a badge of honor. the only warfare i've seen waged is against the middle class in this family, an ordinary family. >> answer that. >> if that were an economic argument that he actually believed that -- that this -- this would be good economically for the country, then he wouldn't have been opposed to this exact same thing two years ago. when he said raising taxes in the middle of a recession will dry up economic demand and put business deeper in a hole, it's a bad idea. so two years ago he thought it was a bad idea. now he's on the verge of an election. suddenly it's a good idea.
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>> but you never want the bush taxes to end. you don't care. you never want them to end. can they end in two years, the tax cuts? three years? what do you want them to end, tax cuts for the rich? >> let's put tax reform on the table. let's close the loopholes. >> you never want it to end. >> republicans have always conflated personal individual income tax rates with corporate tax rates. the corporate tax rates in the united states the president has actually said we should lower. he said it isn't a good idea to raise them in a recession but we're talking about individuals like warren buffett, hedge fund managers paying 15% when the secretary and plummer are paying 25% and the president is saying that's not fair. most americans think that's not fair and the republicans refuse to repeal those tax breaks. >> let's look at some numbers now, talking about numbers. the wealthiest 1% of americans in the united states increased their share of the income -- income generally from just under 10% of the country to nearly 23%, so they are getting a bigger chunk of the apple here. at the same time their tax
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burden has dropped from 37% in 79 down to 31%, so their taxes are getting lighter and their wallets are getting bigger. >> look, if democrats want to soak the rich, and they want -- and democrats want this to be their message, that's fine. run on that. it's a loser. al gore tried it. you know, people -- >> why are you getting mad about it? >> i'm not. what i don't understand is why they don't just embrace the label. it's class warfare. after all -- after all the hope and change and promise of obama, it's come down to debating the definition of class warfare. that's what this is about. >> spent the last two years sticking it to him. let's stick to politics. the battleground states. quinnipiac, great polling with this. ohio republicans, potential matchup. here they are, president obama leads texas governor rick perry, 44-41, also a dead dead and president obama has a 44% to romney's 42%, again within the
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margin of error. these are close. what do you make of that? >> that's ohio. >> it's going to be a lot more like the kerry/bush election than the obama election of 2008. this is going to be a hard fought disqualify your opponent kind of campaign. the president needs to win pennsylvania, but the republicans need to win ohio, because if they don't win ohio it's difficult for them. >> can the democrats win re-election? can the president stay in furr more years if he loses ohio? >> you'd have to come up with something. >> how? >> you'd have to pick up other states that if you're losing -- >> if you win florida you can win without ohio but it becomes a two or three electoral vote margin. the president has to win pennsylvania. >> florida is harder to get than ohio. why would that happen? let's get back to this, ohio. tim russert was brilliant at this figuring out the state that would matter the most. what do you think it is now? >> it's -- i would say florida, pennsylvania or ohio. >> yeah. >> it's going to be -- >> whoever wins two out of three of those is probably the
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president of the united states. >> the problem is if the president loses a state like pennsylvania, that's going to be a barometer that things have gone really bad in a whole lot of areas. >> oh, yeah, i think you're right. here's an interesting point and didn't want to trick you into this because, todd, you're smart about politics and you're almost as smart as i am, this thing about -- here we are talking about an election like this, like this. 50/50, 51/49, is it going to be like that? could it be a wipeout against the president if the economy stays stinking like this? i don't know. >> you can have elections very, very close in terms of a vote but still look like a wipe youth in terms of the electoral outlook. >> popular vote. >> i think popular vote is going to be very, very close. >> why does the president survive after all the bad economic news? how can he get a 50/50 situation out of 9.1% and holding? >> he'll have his base and the fact that we would run solely against the president, and we will make this campaign a referendum on him, you know, you
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can't run against somebody with nobody, and so -- >> that's it. >> nobody. >> so the democrats -- >> you have a campaign. you know who you're going to run against, obama, just don't have a candidate. you guys have a candidate but you're not sure how to run. >> we have an incumbent -- we're going to break that down, the great democratic invite, probably invited because the democrats haven't figured out whether to go down the mid, slightly to the left like harry truman or all the way to the left like roosevelt. >> right now what the president is doing running a primary candidate to gin up the base and then he'll move to the middle in the fall. >> no, presidential campaigns are won in the middle. independent voters will decide the outcome of this. >> why is your party -- why are you dying and crying for christie? why is the party going crazy for this guy? only in office for two years? why you so desperate? >> very successful governor of a blue state, because of his demeanor, because of the way that he approaches -- >> is that what you call demeanor, yelling out the window
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at the cab driver that just cut you off? >> that's awesome. it's great. he excites people. >> unemployment in new jersey is higher than anywhere else in the country, the crime rate is going up. governor of a blue state but his numbers are upside down. >> is christie getting in? >> not sure. >> palin getting in? no way. >> thank you. you're half right. todd harris, you're a brilliant guy. still waiting for rubio. i think chris christie is taking his job as choice for running mate. >> coming up next, rick perry in today's verbal "sideshow."
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back to "hardball." now for the "sideshow." stop smiling, that's how many
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residents and lawmakers in south carolina are feeling this week after a new mandate from governor nikki haley which requires, catch this, state workers to answer the work phone by saying, hello, it's a great day in south carolina. with sky high unemployment in the state, the chairman of the state's democratic party says of the governor, she believes that if you say that lie enough, people may begin to believe it. but we know that the state is in the toilet. that's a rough talking guy. take a moment to think about the issues dealt with by state offices. think everybody calling in is in good cheer. take this one example from a local blog of how the new script could be put to use. hello. it's a great day in south carolina. thank you for calling the state office of victim assistance. how is that for whist lange past the graveyard? and now for the big number. sticking to the facts. well, not always. as in the case of the three recent republican debates, but one of the candidates seems to be pretty fond of some common phrases that include the word fat.
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let's hear it. >> the fact of the matter you is look at the state of texas and see what we've done. the fact of the matter is, texas has made great progress. >> the fact is people continue to move to the state of texas. as a matter of fact, i betemit and jon would both agree. the fact is i erred on the side of life. the fact of the matter is. the fact of the matter is this. the fact of the matter is. as a matter of fact. the fact is. the fact is. the fact is. as a matter of fact. a very clear statement of fact. >> well, as a matter of fact, he lost three straight debates, governor. wow, new analysis took a tab of how many times each candidate used the so-called political cliches. how many did the texas governor rack up? 33 of them, that's more than double the amount for all the other candidates, combined. 33. that's tonight's big numero. up next, rick perry has a texas-sized problem, as we all know. big-time texas republicans can't bear the thought of him as president of the united states. they like him but not president. the latest from the lone star
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welcome back to "hardball." rick perry's performance, if you can call it that in the last debate, has created doubt about him in the minds of many people around the country, but an ad from the texas democratic party apologizing for george w. bush and warning the rest of the country to be wary of rick perry sums up how democrats in texas feel. take a look. ♪
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>> our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. they never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. >> so sorry. >> you might be a little surprised. you might be a little shocked. you might be a little appalled! ♪ i was such a fool >> rick, i look forward to having you by my side. >> well, you can't beat brenda lee. according to an article in this week's "new york times" magazine some republicans in texas are beginning to feel the same way. a crisis of confidence deep in the heart of texas, quote, explains it like this. quote, typically we close ranks when faced with criticism from outsiders, but the possibility of a president perry has brought about a strange and to my mind never-before-seen turn of
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events, bragging about how bad things are here in texas. wow. texans really turning their backs on the governor? mimi schwartz is the author of the "new york times" magazine piece i talked about and the editor of "the great texas monthly" and wayne slater is the senior political writer for "the dallas morning news." you let the cat out of the bag maybe, and i thank you for t.oftentimes we think that all texans like all texans. not true, or at least not for president? >> not for president. i think this is something i don't remember seeing before, but i think there is -- there's a lot of questioning about whether this is a really good idea for texans and for the rest of the world. >> you know, i go back to wayne on that, because wayne, for months i followed politics assiduously, if you will, i'm a junkie. never heard anybody talk of rick perry for president until a couple of weeks ago and then all of a sudden he was flavor of the week or month, and i wonder how come i've never heard anybody talk him up before?
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a question that's sort of in your ear and you forget about it for a while, but it's coming back again. the reason nobody ever talked him up for president before is what we've seen the last three debates, right? >> well, because these people know him. mimi has it exactly right. a couple of weeks ago i was in -- at a private club here in austin with some bush folks, a lot of republicans, moderate democrats, some going all the way back to the johnson years, and one of the things that i noticed was ten years ago when i was at that club and talking to many of the same people, they could see george bush potentially as a president. what i kept hearing two weeks ago from these people privately was rick perry, really? i -- i don't think this is the guy. >> does that tell you when you're sitting around with him over a coffee or a beer, when you're casual, he never says anything weighty, is that it? never seems to understand anything with incision or compelling thought behind it. is that what you're saying? it's not just articulated on tv. it's when you get to meet him, you don't get impressed by him.
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>> i'm not going to say i'm not impressed by him. let me just say one thing to mimi. all the years i've talked to perry and been around perry, the thing that stains strikes me, not that he never says anything weighty, he doesn't, but that he isn't interested in anything. he doesn't seem to be not just curious, incurious like george bush, but the thing that he's most interested in is having the office. none of these issues, none of these themes, public education, higher education, all that other stuff, i ever felt was something that he felt deeply about. >> well, mimi, let's go through this. your reaction to that thought, is that he didn't have any depth of interest? >> well, he does have a depth of interest, and it's been extending his power in texas. he's transformed the governorship because it used to be a symbolic job, and he has shown that through appointments it can become an extremely powerful job, but the question
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i'm asking and the question i think wayne is asking and everybody else is to what end? who has benefited from that, and i would submit it's not the people of texas. >> you make him sound like idi amin, all power and no content. let's go. let's go to perry's record as governor has many texans up in arms. in the "new york times" magazine piece you quite, quote, not just democrats but also a growing number of republicans are quick to mention that perry pushed the legislature to cut $4 billion out of public education and they talk about how texas now has the lowest rate of the uninsured in the nation, the largest percentage of uninsured children, too, and how we're dead last in the percentage of adults with high school diplomas. it's education and health, both. >> yes, it's education and health care, and it's the work force of the future. so i think what's happened is you have a lot of very serious, very moderate republicans suddenly saying what's going to happen to this state down the rhode road? >> well, again, we go back to wayne. is there any chance that obama
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could carry texas against a republican candidate? >> no, no, whether it's rick perry, whether it's newt gingrich, whether it's -- no, no. >> you mean newt gingrich would carry texas? boy, that is a blistering assault on the president. >> it's a very republican state, not just -- it's not just a republican state. the theme here, and one of the reasons why rick perry has won again and again, and there's lots of reasons, is because he understands that while mimi is right, the establishment, many people look in a far way about the higher education spending and public education spending and they are concerned about what's happened in our state. that is more than offset by a general instinct in this state that government is the enemy. the less money you give to government, the better it is. that is a big constituency. >> okay. let's go to a tougher question. i really want to get to this. you wrote this provocative piece. i want to know how hard you go on this. i don't think it's a question of articulateness or failure to prepare for a debate.
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i sensed watching the face of governor perry in these debates, i'm not saying that as being cute, why am i here, no matter why he's there, why did i get in this situation, why are these people being so mean to me, these questions are hard? your thoughts in. >> he just hates to debate. historically if you look at -- he refused to debate bill white during the last governor's race. he was eaten alive by garry mora the last time he had to debate him. he knows this is something he's not great at and will probably go to great lengths to avoid. >> what does it tell you about him? what's it tell you about a guy that can't stand up there? >> excuse me? >> yeah, go ahead. >> well, in terms of texas i think historically we've been a state, been an anti-government state, but i think what has finally happened here is that people are seeing that government can do some good things, and now they are not around. for instance, during the forest
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fires, you know, because of cuts, there weren't enough people to fight the fires, and i think this is where suddenly these anti-government people are going to experience a lack of government personally in the next few years, and -- and i'm hoping they will change their minds a little. >> thank you so much, mimi. wayne, we'll have you back next time. as always, you're a great guest, too. >> thank you. >> we've heard a lot of pushback from the white house about ron suskind's new back called "confidence" and how the economic policy got put together. suskind is coming here to respond. coming up on "hardball," ron suskind, only on msnbc.
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just a couple weeks ago when the republican candidate won that special election in new york to replace anthony weiner, there was a lot of talk about president obama losing support among the jewish community. well, that's all changing now. first, president obama picked up an enthusiastic endorsement from former new york mayor ed koch, who had been very critical of
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the president's policies in the past. he obviously picked him up with the u.n. speech. a new poll by "the jerusalem post," an english language paper, shows a shift of opinion. the poll shows pro-israeli, 54% and let's see if those numbers help with the president with jewish voters here at him. democrats tend to do well in that community. we'll be right back.
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we're back. ron suskind's new book called "confidence men" paints a president overwhelmed. suskind writes during so many days of crisis in his first two years, president obama often
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felt that performance pressure, having to play the part of president, in charge and confident each day in front of his seasoned, combative prideful team, many whom had all together recently served another president. not surprisingly the white house has pushed back hard on the book. anyway, we're going to get to that. ron suskind, thank you. let me get to this point. i'm not a media critic. you can have your fights with other people. i want to know about your book what, you've learned. i have thought from the beginning that the president put a lot of faith into larry summers, the former president of harvard. he's a libbial and keynesian. when the consumer is not spending and business isn't investing, the government's got to pick up the load to do that. he did, that big stimulus bill. why are we still facing 9% unemployment? that's what most people ask it. >> he did a big stimulus bill, by the summer of 2009 he realized it hadn't worked. it wasn't enough and got in a swirl, lots of relitigation. larry says division aggregate demand, not enough demand. >> need a bigger demand. >> and then they got into the budget battle. between the deficit hawks and
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people wanting stimulus. the president couldn't decide all the way into 2010. >> right now when we look at our president being very populist now, looking to the left a bit in his rhetoric, does he have a sense in his head that if he had no opposition out there, would he be spending more, running up the deficit or would he be spending less? >> my sense right now that he's looking for alternatives. the whole book is about his evolution, and i think he's going back to the closet, to things he wanted to do but his team wouldn't let him to do to say what have i got in the tool kit that i can use now, including more innovation because he's not been very innovative. >> okay. he did the big stimulus bill and now doing the american jobs bill, putting people to work building roads and bridges. we've been pushing that like bandits. think it's a big thing and he's going after the rich rhetorically. get the rich to pay for the bridges. >> exactly. at the end of the book we have an interview and the president said i've learned hard lessons, not technocrat in disease, i'm past that now.
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you'll see a more dynamic president going forward. right now he's trying to fill that larger role. let's see how he does. only has a few months before the campaign eats him next year. this is his best last chance. >> when he's in the room and is in trouble, who is the lifeline, who does he call? i don't know what's going on. the market is going down. the market just did. what do i do? who does he call on the phone? >> i'm not sure which economist he's turning to now. i know when he's in a pickle, he tends to turn to pete rouse. right now i think the president is improvising saying i can handle this, i understand economics, he's learned a lot, and let's see what i can do at this moment. >> he's saying basically he's not made up his mind. he tried stimulus, trying to do bridges, trying to get the rich to pay their fair share. cramer helps me sometimes, jim cramer. why does wall street hate this guy? the market has gone up 3,000 points since he came in. it was killed by bush, who they
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seem to like. w killed them, and they hate him. >> i asked senior wall street that very question. what is it -- he couldn't have done more, opened the public purse to save the skin. >> he saved the auto industry, the banks industry, wall street. >> wall street's position -- >> is this like the french after world war ii. you're absolutely right, but when we say he's antibusiness, he does more. it's a rhetorical position. he know deep down he couldn't have done move. ultimately his big opportunity, his rooseveltian tuned in the spring of 2009, he could have restructured the financial systems so we wouldn't be in the gyrations of a week or two. he missed the chance. >> so dodd/frank didn't work? >> no, certainly it's wide, but shallow, it doesn't really restructure the way wall street's business model works, which is invest around the world, saddle america with debt and not have accountability for
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profits, even when things go bad, the government is there for that. that business model stays intact, which is why there's fear here and abroad. >> what does he have to do to keep this economy better along wars in this country, they don't like long recessions. are we stuck in a reset. >> he has to break from his essentially left/right -- he needs new yes, i did and dynamism in the mix. what new ideas will he offer that is off the grid that people say i'm not sure what to think about that. that's dynamic policy-making. >> he would be a better second-term president if he gets one? >> absolutely. this book is how he got into this mess and the evolution of the central actor of this period into a fuller actor now. he says that in his interview, i don't dispute that.
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the question is can he do what he needs to do now. -- that means they have to deal with it. it's way off of message, if you will. originally when i went through the final period of reporting they were feeling good. the president had his most midterm victories. he had the gabby giffords speech. bin laden was in the cross hairs. they felt the period, this tough middle period where much of the news is was past -- >> so did we all. >> but now some people are saying, no, no, this long tough period hasn't ended. >> i agree. in the early part of this year we thought we were to the end of the recession. now we're talking second dip. is there going to be one? >> you know, look -- >> just say i don't know. >> i absolutely don't know. i love the book. when we return, let me finish with a big question for us.
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how 'his going to do it? should he go to his base on the left or should he play down the middle? big question. he's got to answer it. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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let me finish tonight with the big question of how president obama should run for reelection. should he run like franklin
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roosevelt did in 1936, basically dividing the country between pro-new deal and anti-new deal. tell the voters you have a choice here, stick with the direction i'm teak the country in, or go back to the republicans and big business and the rich people who hate me. choose. you're either for government public activist solutions to our problems or for got back to the corporations and the banks go about their business. or win reelection the way bill clinton did. do something like he did when he made his big concession of saying the era of big government is over, when el had signed on to the republican-passed reform bill, when le worked with newt gingrich in balancing the budget. as humphrey bogart said in "the african queen" you buys your ticket and you takes your chances.
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and both won, but each won a totally different way. one went left, one went down the middle. which way should obam ooh go? which way will offer the most compelling case for reelection? what will attract the majority of voters, four more years, and setting national direction is a better bet than giving the republican candidate a chance. you can't say you should decide based on which republican runs against him. maybe it would be sharp to go left on romney or appears to most people to lack a policy compass. maybe smart down the middle if you're facing a rick perry who will scare the middle our your way. the problem is like a batter in the major league. by the time you know what pitch is coming your way, it's too late to adjust your swing. it would be best to make up his mind, hard left or down the middle. this coming monday night we've debate this issue.


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