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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  September 17, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT

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this hour. chris matthews and "hardball" are next. romney's mad men. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington wishing everyone celebrating rosh hashanah is happy new year. let me start tonight with the danger of running for president without knowing why. that appears to be mitt romney's situation or predicament. it's the reason his campaign is out of whack. how do you run a coherent campaign for president when the candidate himself lacks any coherent reason why he wants to be president? all this focus on romney's inability to focus on a simple campaign theme has a bottom line. it's that romney lacks a bottom line himself. he's shown from the beginning that he'll say what the right wing wants him to say, promise what they want him to do, sign
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the pledges they put before him. he's done it with the hawkish kneow cons, with grover norquist and his no tax pledge, and with the religious right, of course. determined to get that office, to get that house he's shown not a single sister soldier moment, not a moment of independence to the people to whom he's sworn his allegiance. perhaps the people writing his speeches and tven ads should skip a step and check with the various elements in the hard right to get the copy straight. why check with the mouthpiece, romney himself is too busy trying to get the orders straight. too scared he might offend someone or group who could take away the prize on which he has set his heart. joim ined boy jim van dehigh and joanne reed managing eder to of the grio.com. you've written a piece that's caused a lot of noise in washington that the romney's campaign's missteps of recent weeks going through the convention and clint eastwood and the missteps in glaund and
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all the mix stakes in the lastself months have their roots in what? you explain what seems to be the dysfunction in that campaign. >> right. the piece focuses very much on frustration internally inside the campaign and externally among republicans with stewart stevens, and i think with mitt romney himself about this lack of having a campaign message, the lack of having a plan to use the conventions and then use the time afterwards, this period between the conventions and the debates, to really define romney with specificity, to show how he would govern differently than barack obama. as you've talked about on your show the last week, conservative after conservative starting with "the wall street journal," the weekly standard, trent lot, many others have gone on the record to say, come on, we want specificity. we want a war of ideas and we're not getting it from you. and i think that has had a ripple effect internal will why people who are privately uneasy are being more vocal about how uneasy they are with the direction of the campaign. >> let's take a look at some of the that criticism. it is mounting of the romney campaign from the right.
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here is what eric ericsson, a conservative blogger for red state wrote this morning. quote, team romney seems so scared of being more unliked than he is already that they refuse to actually pound a consistent, hard hitting message. negatives be damned, his message is too muddled for voters to be anything other than confused. jennifer reuben, a conservative blogger who appears in "the washington post" wrote thshg the problem, and there is one, in the mitt romney camp is not the lack of policies or the wrong policies. if a campaign is too cautious, too afraid of a misstep, too anxious to retreat when the mainstream media howl, too slow to you'll lies the stories of the day and too intent on trimming its sails, the campaign will not succeed. joy, my contention, it may not be yours, is that the reason he's incoherent, the reason he's so scared of offending the right is that he's in bed with the right. he needs those supporters. he's not a real gut right winger, sort of a political tunist but his attorney is saying anything that offend
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grover nor vis on tquisnorquist. he's so scared of offending his keepers that he gets very hesitant generally. >> chris, i call it the endless primary. this guy is constantly trying to appeal to the right to tell them he's one of them. look, and you will relate to this having worked with tip o'neill, the bottom line is i have been campaign staff, been communications staff, you can do a lot for a candidate but you can't give them a core. the staff can't give you a core. you have to come into the campaign with it. and the problem for mitt romney is that the only thing that seems to be at his core is ambition, the ambition to be president. but he didn't come into this race with a set of idealogical principles worth fighting for, so he's just adopting whatever principles his base says are important. and the base wants more than just someone to mouth the words. they actually wanted their ideas put to the fore and debated in the public arena. they feel like the political people constantly hide true conservative ideas because they're afraid they will be unpopular. now they're seeing that played out in mitt romney's campaign.
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>> talk about -- jim, talk about the writing -- you know, everybody remembers the great acceptance speeches. nixon even had some fabulous ones in '60 and '68 and reagan had a dynamite one. they're known to be sort of like jack kennedy introduced his new concept in the acceptance speech. the acceptance speec of romney has been like chinese food, it's worn off quickly. i can't remember the words from it except the nice words which you cite about his father george leaving a rose at the bedside table of his wife every morning for her to see when she gets up. what a -- it didn't tell you much about mitt, but it told you wonderful things about his dad. except for that apparently they didn't have a coherent message in putting that speech together among the speech writers in your article. >> right. and it was sort of slapped together at the last second. they had to scrap eferl versions because stuart stevens and the candidate didn't like what they saw. what they ended up with was a speech that at the time everyone thought was a pretty good speech
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but in retrospect i think it's been picked apart in two areas. one, it really lacked in the type of specificity, the war of ideas stuff, that conservatives are really hungry for, and then for whatever reason it never mentioned the troops, never mentioned afghanistan, never mentioned al qaeda. and to a lot of conservatives national security -- to them it was inexplicable. it's inexcusable. those two things have been the things that are sort of the taste that sticks in the mouth after that speech. >> what's -- >> there wasn't really that much of a bounce. >> what's still there? i think acceptance speeches are when your country aparty says y be president. i thought it had thunder to some extent compared to all his other addresses. he had some strength there. he was comfortable with it, but it didn't seem to leave a message. i don't think i can remember what the message was. >> yeah. and nor really can i, which i think is a big issue. it's not just a speech, it was the convention. i think they did a good job of
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showcasing the next generation of republican leaders. i thought they did a good job of making the case against barack obama. but the speech didn't leave you with this sense that, yes, this is mr. fix-it, i get it, i get his theory of the case. and i get what that fix looks like. it's one thing to say, you know what? my tub, it won't drain, watt thor won't drain. we know that but how are you going to fix it? that's what i think people were looking for from mitt romney and, listen, there's still time. you know, we're talking about what a bad campaign people think he's running. he's still within a couple percentage points against an incumbent president who has a bad economy, bad on employment, a lot of bad figures from the size of the annual deficits to the number of people on food stamps. a lot of stuff that romney could work with if he wants to say, hey, you net change and here is the change i'm going to give you. >> okay. he has that, but i think things are beginning to be more optimistic ever since bill clinton's speech at the convention where that was the catalyst or not, people feel a little better about things getting better.
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anyway, romney was asked today about that politico piece you wrote in an interview with telemundo. here is what he had to say in response. let's watch, to your piece. >> i've got a terrific campaign. my senior combine people work extraordinarily well together. frankly, these process stories take away from what's really of concern to the american people. >> no changes in your campaign -- >> no, i have got a good team. >> let me go to -- do you want to respond? these process pieces. a minute with you here. to me that piece talked a lot more than -- there was a lot of backstory there, a lot of importance. you wrote about process, sure, about how the campaign can't have a xo coherent message. the biggest message was it doesn't have a clear sense of why he's running. joy, do you want to jump in here. he called it a process piece.
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that's an interesting shot. >> chris, it was interesting. that was a ceo talking to his board of directors about why they had a bad quarter and explaining it away. that was not a guy who can explain to you at his core, at his gut why he wants to be president and what he thinks the country should be doing differently than it's doing now. that's what romney lacks. there's a thing that campaign staff does and jim probably knows about this, probably written about it, where you float an op-ed. you write an op-ed piece and you find someone to sign it. the romney campaign is an op-ed piece finding someone to sign it and he's just the signatory. he's a ride along to his own campaign. romney needs to get in his gut why do you want to be president? because that's what the american people want to know if you're looking at replacing the president who is already there. >> there's a larger question here, jim, as you cover the campaign. that there are things he wants to do or is willing to do he doesn't want to share right now. for example, what he wants to cut, what tax breaks he wants to eliminate. >> yeah. i mean, it's a predicament he's in. i think it is heart of hearts
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and i have talked to enough people who talk to him all the time, that he really does believe he would be an effective leader, would probably govern from the middle in a way that would be offensive to a lot of krves. i think he would try to do something on immigration reform. >> how do you know he won't be the guy he's promised to be? i know a lot of people who think who you think. they think he's further to the left from the right wing stances he's taken, but i wonder, that also says he's so cynical that he will sign onto the grover norquist, the neocons and not be controlled by them once he's in office. you are saying he will fire all the people around him and all these people from the far right. how will we get freedom from the people he's bought his ticket from? >> i think you have a fair critique. i do think that he'll try to govern more from the middle based on his pattern in massachusetts and sort of what he's -- >> but he's disowned that. totally disowned that. >> it is a problem with his campaign that we have two candidates.
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you have to hold barack obama's feet to the fire on this one as well. we have two candidates who really aren't telling us much at all about how they'll govern. people ask me all the time, will president obama govern as a liberal or as a centrist? we get paid to figure this out, and i don't know the answer to it. he's not talked with much specificity about how he's going to manage the government, about how he's going to deal with all the kick the can policies that expire at the end of the year, the tax breaks, the spending cuts that kick in, the medicare doc fix. this isn't blake believe. it's real stuff and we have two candidates who don't talk at all about it. on both sides. >> but, chris, jim vandehei is correct, then you're going to see an eruption from the right unlike anything you have seen right now. if they start to believe that romney is just rolling them, that he's just saying that he'll govern as a conservative, then he's going to have an even bigger rebellion on his hands because that's not what he's telling them even with the ryan pick. he's promising them that once he becomes president, their principles will be actionable in governance. if that's not true, i think he's got an even bigger problem on his hands.
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>> jim, i think the problem with being a fast dealer like you're suggesting he might be, someone who will use the right to be elected but then operate from the middle, is you have to have tremendous stature on the right to pull that off. like nixon did on going to china. you can't be like george herbert walker bush who didn't have stature on the right. the minute he went down on that deal on taxes and spending, the minute he cut that deal and violated his read my lips promise from the convention, they killed him. don't you have to be a legitimate man of the right or the left to be trusted by them to go to the center. if jur a guy they never really trusted, if they go we thought he would do that and there he goes, your thoughts. >> i don't think people understand why he picked paul ryan. people thought it was because he was going to have this war of ideas. he picked paul ryan because he was thinking about this in the context of governance. he knows if he has paul ryan on his ticket, if he were to win the white house, he has one
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conservative who has authentic credibility with the most conservative people in the country which are house republicans and that it would give him some capacity, some wiggle room to cut a deal. i'm not saying he's going to govern as bill clinton. i'm just saying i don't think he's going to go in there and govern from the hard right. i think -- >> this is exciting stuff we're talking about. this is the reason this campaign is fascinating. >> you wouldn't know it. >> a lot of people think romney is to the left. some on the right think president obama is to the left of how he presents himself. here is my last question to you. if paul ryan is nagging him to be unleashed y do you have any faith he will give him cover to move to the center? >> well, i think -- >> what gives you hope -- >> think about what you have to do, we could spend the next 20 minutes on this. think about what happens after this election. you have all of those tax cuts that expire and you have automatic spending cuts that kick in. it means congress will have to do some kd of global deal, whether it's simpson/bowles or something else.
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it has to be done in a four to five month period. as part of that you have a real opportunity to do entitlement reform. if you think about the ryan plan, there are components of it that you could put into a broader deal. they would be very appealing to conservatives that don't kick in for a decade but start to give you some semblance of stability or possibility of stability for medicare in the long term that would resonate with the ryan crowd, would look different from what the ryan plan looks like today, but there are pieces that you can piece together. it's like the health care plan. you could repeal the obama health care plan, retain some of the provisions. that's why when mitt romney said he would retain the provision to cover people up to 26, he probably would. there are components they would want to retain. you can piece it together. i'm babbling. >> you're great. especially with joyce, i will quote to you the words of the great jesse of california, you have to be sibcle and make deals to get elected and do what you have to do. he said if you can't sleep with
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their women, drink their booze, and take their money and vote against them the next morning, you don't belong in this business. that's the way politicians look at things. i'm not sure romney is that cynical. he might be. thank you jim havandehei, thank you joy ann reed. coming up next, why are these people talking out of school in not seven weeks before the election day and everybody is talking about that campaign. is it too late for them to change? well, he doesn't seem to want to change. also, four more americans were killed yesterday in green on blue attacks in afghanistan. that's afghan allies killing our guys and women. that makes 51 coalition troops killed in 2012 by their afghan partners. how much longer will america put up with this? if you can't impress the voters, you suppress them, right? that's when the republican playbook all year. we'll show you how hard republicans have made it for democrats to vote in pennsylvania. and live from new york, it's
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"saturday night live," "snl" began its new season with lots of politics including a mock anti-bain commercial. >> i then got hired part time at an orange julius until bain acquired that franchise and shut it down. now, not the whole company you understand, just that one store. >> that's coming up in the side show. this is "hardball," the place for politics. humans -- even when we cross our t's and dot our i's, show. this is "hardball," the place for politics. sideshow. this is "hardball," the place for politics. " this is "hardball," the place for politics. which is why, at liberty mutual insurance, auto policies come with new car replacement and accident forgiveness if you qualify. see what else comes standard at libertymutual.com. liberty mutual insurance. responsibility. what's your policy? something this delicious could only come from nature.
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that's too close for comfort. that's a state he needs. that poll has consistently been close to other polls in michigan. finally to pennsylvania which looks more like safe ground for obama. a new poll from the philadelphia enquirer shows the president with an 11-point lead. heard about that today. 50%/39%. tomorrow night at 7:00 eastern we will have the brand new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll complete with the big presidential match-up. we'll be right back. ...is only . ♪ ♪ introducing a stunning work of technology. ♪ introducing the entirely new lexus es. and the first ever es hybrid. this is the pursuit of perfection. to meet the needs of my growing business. but how am i going to fund it? and i have to find a way to manage my cash flow better.
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welcome back to "hardball." he's been running for president for five years now, but today the romney campaign is signaling a midcourse correction in messaging and strategy. this comes on the heels of a "new york times"/cbs news poll this weekend showing president obama surpassing mitt romney on who will do a better job of handling the economy and unemployment. previously a romney stronghold question. romney leads -- obama leads by one point but he had been consistently behind. why this need for change and new branding? let's ask our "hardball"
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strategists. mark mckinnon and steve mcmahon. mark, let's go to you because you worked on the republican side over the years. i want to ask you, i was stunned -- first of all, it looked like the only group in that poll this sunday that is with romney are people over 65. if the only people in this country that could vote were under 65 he'd get swamped. you're laughing but it's an amazing situation to be in, to only own the old people. your thoughts and is that one reason why they're advertising to try to get some demos as we call them in this business? >> at least i have a reliable demographic, i can count on those folks to come out anyway. chris, i just remember in 2000 about this same time we called that month black september because we came out of that convention pretty strong and then gore had a really good convention, we were down suddenly three points. suddenly all the guns turned at
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us. everybody wanted me fired because the ads were terrible. >> okay. your guy, w., pulled it out in the debates. of course that's why you won. that isn't complicated. >> absolutely. that shows why the debates are so important. we haven't had the debates yet, so the point is that romney's got an opportunity. i mean, there's still a couple of chapters left to play in this game. >> is there a romney personality that will show that we haven't seen yet, a likable guy? i mean it. a charming debonair romney that will be compassionate and connect with people that we've never met before? >> well, i think people saw a side of reagan in 1980 they hadn't seen in the debates. i think a lot of people who haven't been paying close attention will pay attention. the question is does he have some core to show, some vision, some humanity we haven't seen, and it's been a long campaign and we haven't seen it yet but there's that opportunity, chris. and three points, this is a tight electorate -- >> okay, smart guy, does he have an inner core that you suggest or doesn't he? what's your answer?
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continue. mark? >> oh, for me. sorry. >> does he have it inside? >> well, as i said, chris, you know, we knew that george w. bush had it. we'd seen a lot of signs of it throughout the campaign. we saw a lot of muscular policy speeches early on in the campaign, and i'm surprised that there hasn't been more specificity, more policies, something that shows what the broader vision is. i mean, 50 days is not a lot of time left to do that. >> but, mark, you're a wordsmith and you have given me 100 words and all i want is one, yes or no. does he have an inner core of personality and compassion that the american people will find attractive but haven't seen yet? >> chris, i have no idea. i have no idea. i don't work for romney and i haven't seen it yet. >> okay. >> i haven't seen it -- >> i love the answer now. steve, let me go to this whole question. with the campaign in mid-september, the weather has changed, we're in the fall, this is when we have general elections now. the question i have, can you -- romney doesn't fire people, he
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says he likes to fire people, he doesn't fire campaign people. how does he turn things around to his satisfaction? >> well, i think today's move wasn't so much a change in strategy as it was a distraction. they wanted to take attention off a story written in politico. i don't think he changed campaign strategies and began to argue the case against the president. he wants to talk about the middle class and who is going to be a better president for the middle class. that's laughable. he's losing that argument by 15 points -- >> a majority of the american people, more than a majority, 53% in "the new york times" poll this weekend say he's out for the rich. only one-fifth of the voters think obama is out for the poor. it's not sim met trik. it's overwhelming and the ad are working. >> thor taetally working. the other thing that bill clinton did was he took the argument are you better off -- >> look at the number. >> -- and he turned it against them. the president is winning on every key measure that this
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election will be about, and mitt romney is losing and he's decided to take the case to those measures that he's losing most badly. today he was speaking to a hispanic audience, an audience he's losing by 40 points. needs to go back to talking about the economy if he wants to have any hope and not talking about all the issues that the president is defeating him soundly on. >> i have to get to this. i don't want -- i want to ask you, mark, because you're a pro and i think you're refusing to answer my question thoroughly was probably a mark of a smart person because i don't think we have any evidence to believe he is this compassionate, wonderful guy because he wouldn't be talking about it. he spent his whole acceptance speech saying i'm a human being. let me ask you how do you knock this idea he's the elitist candidate. 53%, that includes some republicans apparently, who believe he's basically out for the rich. how do you kill that between now and november? >> well, you've got to articulate that you have some real policies that would really affect the middle class, and you can't -- >> would they hurt the rich? is anything he's going to do hurt the rich? does he have any bright sister
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shoulder with the -- >> i think a sister 10e8ders moment would be great. let me agree with steve on an important point. in the bush campaign, this is something we believe, i'd rather have a consistently executed strategy that's flawed than a strategy that changes month to month reacting to external events and pressures. >> i'm sorry, mark is absolutely right. he's absolutely right. >> so don't change -- >> if you look at it, the president has a little lead on the economy right now but it's one point. if you're were prosecuting that case, it's a one-point case. you have a chance to win. if you're prosecuting a case you're losing by 15 points -- >> you know in boxing when a guy gets a cut on the eye they keep punching that spot over and over to the end. that's what they do. the other guy would always punch him and punch him. he's bleeding, keep punch him there. why doesn't romney keep punching the yes, i do obama doesn't know
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how to fix the economy. >> i think steve and i both agree that's what he ought to be doing. that's clearly his opportunity, clearly the spot and he's got to prosecute that argument all the way to the end but he's got to persuade the jury. i think it's problematic to be switching arguments in the middle of the trial. >> mark made another great point, which is you have to actually lay out some policy positions that convince people that you're going to improve the situation whether you're talking about the middle class and if people think you favor the rich, you need to talk -- >> you know who did that? bill clinton did that for obama. >> he did it beautifully and mitt romney hasn't done that for himself and hasn't had a surrogate do that for him. that's what he desperately needs. >> you guys are great. both smart and i do learn a lot from, mark, from your silences. thank you very much mark -- i don't think romney liked that silence. steve mcmahon. gentlemen from who different worlds but both brilliant. "saturday night live" is back and doing what it does begs. look at that, the son of mitt romney and clint eastwood next. don't go away.
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this is "hardball"," the place for politics.
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow" signal ."s "snl" was back. here is it's take on clint eastwood. >> just american legend clint eastwood performing one half of a conversation with an invisible, irritated, and foul-mouthed barack obama. it's the show audiences are giving a sitting ovation. obama isn't the only politician in the hot seat. don't miss clint taking it to jimmy carter. >> nice work on those hostages. that turned out great. >> may your michael bloomberg. >> just let people eat soda. >> and chris christie. >> i think we're going to need a
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bigger chair. >> what happens when bain capital comes to town. >> after bain capital shut down the mill, i was out of work for a year. >> mitt romney and bain capital bought the textile mill where raymond had worked for 18 years, then shut it down. >> next i worked as a trucker, but then bain came along, bought the trucking company and i lost that job, too. i then got hired part time at an orange julius until bain acquired that franchise and shut it down, not the whole company you understand, just that one store. at this point i said to myself, what the hell is going on here? i got a job at a shoe shine stand under an assumed name working just for tips but bain somehow found out, bought the business, and moved it to china. >> each time raymond mccoy got a new job, mitt romney and bain capital would buy the company, apparently for the sole purpose
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of laying him off. >> that is the best ever. no doubt there is much more to come once the debates get going. neck, guess what crowded business owners have two sets of business plans for the holiday season, one if president obama gets re-elected and one if mitt romney wins the election. gun retailers responding to the concern that president obama will put stricter gun laws in place if he gets a second term. "the wall street journal" talked to some people in the guns and ammo business and found that, quote, if mr. obama wins a second term, they are preparing for a surge in sales from buyers fearful the president would back policies to make buying a gun more difficult. well, a spokesman for one retailer got more specific saying, if mitt romney is elected and there's no perceived threat on the freedom to own guns, people might decide to spend disposable income on things like outer wear instead. buy outer wear instead of guns? the article says gun owners had the same fear in 2008 and we have yet to see a surge in stringent policies on gun
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ownership. none from obama so far. up neck, the rise of so-called green on blue attacks in afghanistan. afghan police, the people we're supposed to be helping and training, are opening fire on our troops. how much longer are we going to stay over there? 51 killed this year. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. ♪ ♪ lord, you got no reason ♪ you got no right ♪ ♪ i find myself at the wrong place ♪ [ male announcer ] the ram 1500 express. ♪ it says a lot about you. ♪ in a deep, hemi-rumble sort of way. guts. glory. ram.
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5s in the first 24 hours of preorder sales. how about that? and that's it from cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." there was another attack this weekend in afghanistan where an afghan soldier opened fire on his military trainers. the victims on sunday were four american soldiers killed in a remote checkpoint is southern afghanistan by a member of the of a zbn security forces. since the start of this year, 51 international troops have been killed by members of the very security forces we are trying to train. is that mission now at risk?
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we have the associate editor of the "washington post," author of "little america." john salts is an iraq war veteran. he was embedded with the iraqi army as an advise we are. i'll get to you john to talk about what this means to the morale of our soldiers, but what is causing this attack from the soldiers standing next to you? >> well, this is a great question, chris, and nobody has a good, clear answer. it's a very effective strategy by the taliban to go right at the heart of the u.s. mission there which is to get the afghan security forces to stand up on their own, to take charge of security in that country so our men and women in uniform can come home. you know, u.s. military has sought to claim this is the result of a whole variety of causes, sometimes personal feuds or grievesances as well as taliban infiltration. that is true, but it's certainly
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a tactic that's being used more by the taliban as they see it having an effect, as they see it creating distance between u.s. troons and their afghan counterparts, as they see it, for instance, leading some of the nato members to accelerate their withdrawals from the country, particularly the french and the did you zealanders. so it's having the impact that the taliban commanders want it to have unfortunately. >> i don't buy the idea these are personal tiffs. it's not throwing a football at the guy that just tackled you. you don't commit suicide, and these are murder/suicides, aren't they, most was time, if you are just angry at the guy working with you. does that sound credible? >> well, yes or no, chris. we're dealing with a country that's been involved in 30 years of warfare. people there don't always have traditional ways of settling disputes like we do in this country and with guns at the ready. these guys are all armed to the teeth. it's a stressful environment
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there. yes, sometimes, unfortunately, these disputes between americans and afghans wind up resulting in gun fire. but certainly taliban infiltration and coordination by the taliban here is a big part of this. >> let me go to jonathan, who served our country. thanks for your service, as always. i mean that, of course. what i'm struck by is the numbers here. 51 killed by people serving alongside them, that they that i they're friends with. they may think this guy wants to protect his country from the taliban. it turns out the guy turn the gun on him and in that split second he knows he's done for at the hands of someone he was working with. >> it's hard. i remember where i was at this time last year, embedded with the iraqi army. we spent lots of time teaching our soldiers to get close. we work a lot on cultural training, language training. every time there's a shooting like this, something comes down
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from the command that makes it harder to get close to the people we're trying to advise. we want to be understanding of their faith and understanding of their language, and the success the taliban is having here is specifically it's making it harder for us to be close to the people that we're trying to advise and train and then the fact that that pushes us further away from them at a time when we need to be taking the training wels off and letting them stand up against the taliban is a very credible strategy. >> let me get to the larger issue. we have to leave in 204. i don't think any administration will keep us there much beyond that. the american people have war fatigue in afghanistan. the question is what we leave behind. do you see a credible army right now that can ward off a takeover at least of the capital by the taliban? >> well, yeah, i think it's going to be messy, chaotic, and e afghan army is going to be pretty raggedy, chris. i think there are going to be a lot of areas where the army will fold or desert. in other places, you know, obviously afghanistan is made up of a number of different ethnic
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groups and the nonethnic pashtuns, those from the northern part of the country, may well go back up to their home areas to reinforce those places, but i think if there's enough u.s. assistance, enough partnership, they will probably be able to hold onto kabul and the other major cities, but a lot of yurl villages and valleys will fall to the taliban. but are those areas going to be that strategically significant? but there's going to be a lot more fighting ahead. i don't think anybody thinks as u.s. forces loo he have that country at the end of 2014, and that's only conventional combat troops. the pentagon will likely want to keep special operations troops and military trainers there beyond 2014 but i don't think anybody thinks as we get to 2015 or 2016 the situation will be all that much better. >> let me ask you about the troops, you have to do a little projecti projection, but it seems to me when you're facing the end of a deployment and you can see we're almost in '3, we'll be in '14
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fairly soon, you're fighting at the tail end of the war where the conclusion looks murky. it's not like we're going to go to tokyo and take over japan or take over berlin. we're not going to have that kind of triumph at the end. how does a soldier feel? >> this is the story of the war. the same soldiers have gone two and three times and the res of the country hasn't. a lot of these troops are like, hey, this is the end date and that just means i don't have to deploy as much anymore. there's very little focus on the end state. the mcchrystal plan was to go into the populated areas, the 75% of the population zone and that's sort of where the policy right now is murky. we should be retracting in in afghanistan. we should be focused more on the hi highest population centers. the desif sif battle will be in 2014 when we cut down on troop numbers.
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despite the fact a lot of people, and i certainly would support this, want to transition quicker to an advise, train, assist mission which was in the mission i was in iraq which is on the base in the afghan forces so we can evaluate them. these decisive battles in 2014 after we leave, the afghan army could lose some if we push them out too far to terrain they can't hold on their own. we haven't been able to evaluate them yet on their own. >> let me get back to the larger question. i love talking to people that know what they're talking about. this insult that the islamic world who has faced from these crack pots who seem to get a kick out of insulting islam at a safe distance, will we ever be able to explain they have a free society. can we say we disown and discredit and really don't like -- in fact, we take as an insult this insult to religion without debasing ourselves in the process. >> u.s. commanders and u.s. diplomats are trying to do that
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in places like afghanistan every day in their interactions with the local population. it's just so hard for many of those local residents though to believe it. they just see this as something that had to have been sanctioned by the sucht government. they don't get the concept of freedom of speech that exists in our country and freedom of religion. and so it's a tough sell, and what it does is it fundamentally puts the americans who are serving there in uniform, out of uniform in such a difficult position because they're trying to convince the people that they're not enemies of islam, yet at the same time they see these web videos and hear about protests happening in other parts of the world and they feel compelled to react. >> the dangerous thing is they believe we believe in free dopp and they don't believe in freedom because they see some of our dirty movies by their starts get made in this country. they get circulated around the world. they say why should any country allow those movies to be made
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that degrade women. are we ever going to get common ground on this? >> there are fundamental cultural inxatabilities. just basic lack of understanding. look, trying to achieve that is going to be a much longer-term process, much harder than anything we face between here and 2014, chris. >> maybe international transmission of students back and north ail -- forth will get the word out. thank you. this new fot toe voter i.d. law in pennsylvania. this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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new polling in that key senate race up in massachusetts. wait until you check this. we're checking the "hardball" scoreboard. according to a new ppp poll, elizabeth warren has a two-point lead over republican incumbent scott brown. a month ago brown was up by five. she's moving. in a new western new england university poll, warren's lead over brown is six points, 50% to 44%. she's got something going up there. we'll be right back. i'm freaking out man.
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we're back. we've done a lot of stories on voter suppression. i think it's an important subject. today we bring you a report from the front lines of that fight. ann went out and did the job. she went to the busiest dmv office in philly and talked with people there, not for a new license. they were not there to get a new driver's license. they were there to get a photo i.d. which has been dubbed the card of last resort, people are calling it, so they can simply vote in november. these are registered voters, by the way. these are people that took time off of work and waited in endless lines and filled out forms. tell me -- i'm going to give you more time than i give most people on my show. walk us through -- you found a 50-year-old woman and what it
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took for her to simply get to vote like she had always had? >> well, first of all, they didn't have a dedicated line for people trying to get their voter i.d. they are there with people trying to get their permits and license and take a test. and she came in there to try to get a photo i.d. her daughter had told her that she needed something. she had heard about it, so she came in. first she had to fill out a form that is a request for a nondriver's license, which requires homeland security documentation, like birth certificate, social security card. then you fill that out, then you take it to a clerk who then looks at it it and says, do you have your birth certificate, do you have your social security card, do you have two forms of address in they say no. they say then you have to fill out this other form for the state department to cure i.d. for voting purposes only. and take that, go off again to another clipboard, fill it out, come back, then they call the
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board of elections. they call the board of elections. they can't check it in the database online, even though you can check your registration online, which i know because i said, i better make sure i'm not still registered in philadelphia. they call on the telephone, they wait, then she gets to affirm that she has no other way of getting the i.d., she doesn't have the other documents, they finally let her sign, check her pay stub, make sure she has an address, has her picture taken, she emerges finally four hours later. >> there's 200 people, you wait for your number to be called like a butcher shop. you wait and wait until e-38 or b-240 shows up. you wait and wait and wait and have to give it a weekday probably. >> right. >> saturday -- they are only there tuesday through saturday and close around -- they might have the same regular hours on saturday. they are going to finally have evening hours only in philadelphia, only on thursdays,
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and not until the end of the month because a lot of working people can't go. >> here's my concern. philadelphia is a city of a million and a half people, right? >> uh-huh. yep. >> only 300 people have gotten cards so far. >> that's right. >> that's scary. an overwhelming number of people don't have the ability to vote and they are going to find out when? >> they will find out when they go to the polls and they can't vote. now, 3700 people, i think, that's about right, have gotten the nondriver's license because you can do more things with that any way. you actually have a government i.d. or anything you need to do. so in philadelphia county. so that's something. >> philly is a city with the least number of drivers. >> that's right. >> i've red that -- i'm reading from -- it's amazing. it's row house people that own their homes, they are not wealthy homes, but they take the subway to the bus and that's how they get around. >> there's a big creative class of young people under 30 and they bike. they don't have a driver's license. >> rent cars when they don't
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need one. >> very important enterprise reporting. we've heard a lot about this problem. you've explored how difficult it is for one person to vote. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. conversations help us learn and grow. at wells fargo, we believe you can never underestimate the power of a conversation. it's this exchange of ideas that helps you move ahead with confidence. so when the conversation turns to your financial goals... turn to us. if you need anything else, let me know. [ female announcer ] wells fargo. together we'll go far. ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing a stunning work of technology. introducing the entirely new lexus es. and the first-ever es hybrid. this is the pursuit of perfection.
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nah. [ dennis' voice ] i bet he's got an allstate agent. they can save you up to 30% more by bundling your policies. well his dog's stupid. [ dennis' voice ] poodles are one of the world's smartest breeds. are you in good hands?
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let me finish tonight with this. do not ask what mitt romney stands for. simply check with the right wing pressure groups to which he has

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