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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  October 18, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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candidates, whoever they may be. but to protect everyone's right to vote, whether they vote your way, my way, every vote must be protected and every vote is the american way and we must, in these 19 days, make sure we do that above and beyond all questions. thanks for watching. i'm al sharpton. "hardball" starts right now. binders full of women. let's play "hardball." ♪ >> good evening. i'm chris matthews in new york. it's an amazing thing how many politicians forget or choose to forget that most voters are women. i know that sounds a bit bizarre to the reactionaries of this country, people who live in the 1950s where contraception is still a hot issue and where women are always at home and with the kids and, of course, papa bear is downtown at work. "leave it to beaver" is a cool show, and father knows best
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means just that. so bring on the binders. we can actually hear mitt buzzing it in from the inner office. binders filled with women, whole binders of them. women we have never met, strange people from another planet that mitt romney apparently never visited. anyway, it's not that funny. romney would make abortion effectively a criminal act. if you believe the platform he's running on, the running mate he's chosen, the words he's spoken about outlawing abortion, the judges he wants to put on the supreme court. do you know what's cooking here? it's not daddy coming home early for supper. mr. job creator is coming over to boss you around just like he did to jim lehrer and tried to do to candy crowley. he's the big shot who wants to tell what you birth control coverage you can get at work and what you can do with your body. he's got plans for you, and you owe it to yourself to know them. with me is activist lilly ledbetter and jane walsh, whose new book is "what's the matter with white people." thank you for coming on the
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program tonight. it really has come down to the strange way in which mitt romney speaks, how he speaks almost in a 1950s pre-"mad men" era, if you will, about men and women in the workplace. >> that's right. and he's scaring me to death. it scares me for my family, my neighbors, and all the people across this nation because if he's elected and these crazy ideals are implemented, i don't know where we common people will end up. it is so scary, chris, for where we're headed, and these are not even common sense thinking ideals about what he wants to do. i don't and would not want an employer of mine to decide what i can do with my body or my birth control or what medications i can take. i just want my equal pay for equal work at work, and then i do not want and do not believe that abortion is killing someone. i do not because most of those are done simply because it's to save a woman's life. >> let's take a look at this. mitt romney's problem with many
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women voters stretches far and wide. these are some of the highlights we put together here. number one, the republican party platform, everyone should read this part of the platform, criminalizes abortion. basically says from the moment of conception the fetus has the rights of the 14th amendment to personhood, to life, liberty, and property, whatever that means. number two, romney says he'll abolish obama care. abolish. his plan to replace it boils down to getting you, if you're still alive, to the emergency room, if you're still alive. number three, he'll voucherize medicare. boy, is he serious about that. number four, eliminate federal funding for planned parenthood. >> number five, he supports the blunt amendment which allows employers to, by their own fiat, deny contraceptive coverage to employees as they see it. joan, this is a round robin of a lot of stuff. >> what's happening here now, chris, is very obvious. we had a summer and fall in
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which mitt romney was hung up on his support for the personhood amendment, his support for the blunt amendment which again would put the employer in the way of birth control and anything else -- >> said it would be terrific to sign a law outlawing abortion. >> i saw that interview with anderson cooper. then he picked paul ryan, and then we were talking about legitimate rape and todd akin. this was his problem through the spring and summer, and we watched that gender gap expand, go nuts. he figured something out, women don't like these extremist positions, and he's backtracking as fast as he can on every single one of them. the obama administration is being very smart and they're not letting him. they're putting out his real words in ads, the president on the stump. >> here he is, joan. campaigning at manchester, ohio, president obama recalled romney's debate line about getting those, quote, binders of women when he was staffing his cabinet up in massachusetts as governor. let's listen. >> by the way, we want our sons to thrive in math and science and engineering, but we also
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want our daughters to thrive in those fields, too. we don't have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women who can learn and excel in these fields right now. and when these young women graduate, i want them to receive equal pay for equal work. >> well, that's a good commitment there. you don't get that from the other side. mitt romney's line about binders of women, which was a dodge of a question about this very point, whether he supports the lilly ledbetter fair pay act. >> by the way, we want our sons to thrive in math and science and engineering, but we also want our daughters to thrive in those fields, too. we don't have to order up some binders to find qualified, talented, driven young women who can learn and excel in these fields right now. and when these young women graduate, i want them to receive equal pay for equal work. >> well, that's a good
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commitment there. you don't get that from the other side. mitt romney's line about binders of women, which was a dodge of a question about this very point, whether he supports the lilly ledbetter fair pay act. his response with that strange wording about binders full of women went viral mostly due to his awkwardness, and in addition to being awkward, it's not true. let's start with the line itself. >> i went to a number of women's groups and said, can you help us find folks. they brought us whole binders full of women. >> well, shannon o'brien, mitt romney's opponent, said the scenario romney presented in which he proactively sought out the binders full of women was not exactly the case. it came from the women's group. let's listen. >> i call it another one of mitt's massachusetts myths, and he's made himself the shining knight. the fact is there was a group, massgap, which is the government
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appointments project put together by a number of bipartisan women's groups. at the time there were approximately, i don't know, 30% of women in high-ranking positions in that administration, and this group got together and demanded, frankly, of me and of mitt romney that we make a pledge, that we pledge to bring more women into whether it was my or his administrations. we actually signed -- i think he did, too, signed the pledge. >> he did what he was told to do. the organization shannon o'brien references there put out a statement reinforcing it was they who reached out to romney, not vice versa. they reached out to all the candidates. they said, massgap committees selected top applicants for each position and presented this information to the administration for follow-up interviews and consideration for
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appointment. romney got into trouble on this. he told something dishonest suggesting he was the good guy when he was responding to pressure, appropriate pressure. because he wouldn't answer the question. from everything you know following this campaign, where is he on the bill named after you on equal pay? >> well, chris, i think he will veto it or try to do away with it simply because his running mate, paul ryan, voted against it, and mr. ryan has been out on the campaign trail talking against the ledbetter bill, saying it wasn't needed, and i can assure you it was needed, and the house and the congress and the senate, they passed it. they knew it was needed. it had been there for many years, and i don't think that he's ever going to commit, and it's so simple because it's just a fundamental american right, and the men in this country, like yourself, they all understand it now because their wives, their daughters, their daughter-in-laws, their granddaughters are all working. it takes two people to earn a living. i don't think mitt romney is ever going to bring himself to
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commit, yes, the ledbetter bill will stay on the books, yes, it's a good bill, we need it. i don't think he will, and i know paul ryan is not because he never supported it, and this is such a terrible injustice to the working women and their families across this nation. it's not right. it's a simple bill. >> is it insane -- what is it on his part, is it tom donahue, the u.s. chamber of commerce, what pressure is he doing not to do what seems to be the reasonable thing to do, equal pay? why would romney, who is not an idiot, why would he take that position? >> well, the united states chamber of commerce probably is pushing for that because they sent in a lawyer to argue against lilly ledbetter the two times i testified in the house and the two times i testified in
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the senate. so they are not for the ledbetter bill. >> it makes sense he's getting pressure. >> he is. >> that doesn't show good faith with american women. american women vote. most of the voters, yet he'd rather go with the downtown group, with the u.s. chamber of commerce. why? that's got to be psychological. why does he feel more comfortable with a bunch of guys downtown with some money to spend when he has all the money in the world? >> well, because he's their candidate. he represents them. that is what he's going to restore to the white house, but i also think we have to say, he will not commit to being against
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it either. i mean, ed gillespie came out and said, well, it turns out he was against it in 2009, and then he had to come out and say, well, actually he didn't take a position. and then somebody came out and said, well, actually, he was against it. he just -- >> dare i say the obvious, candy crowley gave him an opportunity to say what he's for or against and he didn't take it. >> put it on the record if that's how you feel. he's too cowardly to do that. >> this issue of abortion rights, which i didn't think would get into this campaign. a new romney ad airing in washington, d.c., and suburbs. this ad attempts to make romney's position on abortion and contraception seem less extreme. the obama campaign fired back with an ad of its own. let's watch both of them together starting with the romney ad. >> turns out romney doesn't oppose contraception at all. in fact, he thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother's life. this issue is important to me, but i'm more concerned about the debt our children will be left with. >> that's the most dishonest ad in the world. we don't debate the legality of contraception in this country, not since the '50s. for him to come out and say that's the issue. the issue is do you get help
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from your insurance company. >> is it like another medical -- >> i'm sorry, i interrupted. let's get the obama ad before we jump in here. >> seeing this from mitt romney, then take a look at this. >> if roe v. wade was overturned, congress passed a federal ban and it came your desk, would you sign it? >> i would be delighted to the sign it. >> he goes further to say it would be terrific if he could sign it. i would say that's a declarative statement. he wants to outlaw abortion and, by the way, reading his party platform, he wants to criminalize it. you're creating a murderous situation on the books. i don't know what they're talking about with parenthood and all this if it isn't to criminalize it for the woman as well as the doctor. that's the most extreme ticket we have ever seen on this issue i can remember. lilly ledbetter, your thoughts. >> absolutely. >> that's a direct statement. >> that is a brazen ad, chris. that ad is a brazen ad that he -- >> i lived in this area for 40 years now. i know so many people who lived
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over in arlington, northern virginia, bedroom communities, they work in washington, a lot of them are single. they're very keen on knowing this stuff. >> that's why the obama ad is brilliant to call him out on it. >> it assumes you're incapable of understanding the words. >> it starts with somebody going to google and trying to find his positions. i hope women go to google and find his positions. he wants to sign a bill that would overturn roe v. wade. he's on the record because he says so. >> anybody voting out there, man or woman, who cares about these rights issues, you don't vote on somebody's right. you ought to know these things. everybody i think will by the time we vote. lilly ledbetter, an honor to
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have you on the show. >> i thank you. >> and joan walsh, of course. coming up, the big dog and the boss hit the campaign trail together. i think that might be fun in ohio. while the president is courting women, bill clinton and bruce springsteen were in ohio going after what you might call white blue collar people like where i came from. also, prospects for the democrats holding the senate are brightening. we have some real brand new poll numbers that suggest the democrats may just hold onto this senate after all. one state where they face an uphill battle is nebraska where bob kerrey, great old bob kerrey, is hoping for a comeback. he's coming here in a minute. coming up, the big dog on the campaign trail for president obama. in ohio together today, working springsteen's white blue collar base. also, brand new poll numbers that suggest the democrats may just hold on to the senate after all. one state where they face an up hill challenge is nebraska where b
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bob is homing for a comeback. both presidential candidates will be at the al smith dinner in new york. i'll be there. it's a big election year ritual here in this country. >> impressive crowd, the haves and the have mores. some people call you the elite. i call you my base. >> that's going to be a lot of fun tonight. this is "hardball"hardball," th for politics. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open,
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and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else. we're working to fuel america for generations to come. our commitment has never been stronger. with less than three weeks to go to election day, you can learn a lot about the election by simply looking at where the campaigns are spending the most money on tv ads. and this week four of the top five cities are in wisconsin or ohio. number five, madison, wisconsin. number four, columbus, ohio. third, cincinnati, ohio. number two, denver, colorado. and the top ad this week, green bay, wisconsin, again. so the battle is mostly in the midwest. for the first time there are no cities in virginia or florida in the top ten. at least not for now.
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i had, i don't know, 20-something jobs before i got elected president, but this is the first time in my life i ever got to be the warm-up act for bruce springsteen. >> 45-minute warm-up act, and it was a good 45 minutes. welcome back to "hardball." 19 days to the election, and barack obama is bringing in the big guns. the big dog and the boss. two legends in their own time. they came together for a joint appearance near cleveland this afternoon, and they made the sales pitch for the president's re-election and i guess energized a lot of blue collar voters out there who love this guy, rust belt people, hoping to shore up what i call the scranton/oshkosh corridor, where we make things in this country. i want to offer up a small thought, i think obama has yet to hit the right note about the auto industry and saving it. i think autos in this country are part of our culture. we love cars, loved the new models when we were kids. the fact we make our own cars and we're leading the world in
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production right now and sales is a fantastic achievement this president deserves to have on his credit, and he's not taking enough credit for it, and the other guy was for bankruptcy. bill clinton made the sales pitch to northeast ohio voters, many of whom have jobs in the auto industry. let's watch. >> he said it's important to remember that one in eight jobs in the state of ohio are tied to automobiles, and he saved those jobs, a million of them. >> i love ohio. it's an old-school place. we like our families, we like our communities. we value personal loyalty. when you were down, you were out, and your whole economy was threatened, the president had your back. you got to have his back now. >> this guy can sell shoes to
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imelda marcos. >> bruce springsteen touted the president's accomplishment in between a few tunes, and they were great tunes. >> i have lived long enough to know that despite those galvanizing moments in history, the future is rarely a tide rushing in. it's often a small march, inch by inch, day after long day. i believe we are in the midst of those long days right now. and i'm here because i believe president obama feels those days in his bones for all the 100 percenters. i believe he's got the strength, the commitment, and the vision to live these days with us and to carry the standard forward. >> thank you. we've got john heilemann and ron
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reagan here. this cultural importance of tying into people, regular people, i think it's a big deal. >> well, it's a huge deal, and, you know, in a state like ohio, working class voters, lower middle class voters, particularly women but also men in that state are going to make the difference, and to a large extent ohio has become the state president obama must win or mitt romney must win to be president. and president obama has a little bit of a lead there. he's got to get those people to come out for him. i went to an event last time around four years ago on the sunday before the election. right outside the cleveland browns stadium. bruce springsteen, 20,000 people, a lot of working class folks who had been at the
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football game, came from the football game, watched bruce springsteen, the president showed up. you remember springsteen did the 2004 event for john kerry. he's become a regular surrogate in places like ohio, and people love him there. he speaks to those kind of people in a way the president sometimes has a hard time doing. >> are these guys anecdotes to the crap that's been thrown by people like donald trump saying the president is really from kenya, his ideas are from europe, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. and then you have these two guys, the big dog and the boss, come in and say we are sui generis american like obama is, but they have a special claim on a certain kind of voter. do you see it that way? >> yes, i do. the conventional wisdom, as john
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has pointed out, is this election will come down to ohio, and ohio comes down to the very kinds of voters we're talking about, working class people that used to be called reagan democrats, now a lot of them are independents, and these people are not necessarily obama's natural constituency, but they are reachable on economic issues, and nobody is better, not barack obama, not joe biden, nobody is better than bill clinton at speaking to folks like this in terms they can understand and dissuading them from voting against their best economic interest. he can say it cuttingly. he can cut romney off at the knees in a way maybe president obama shouldn't go there, but bill clinton can. >> you know, i'll just say one thing, ron is so right about this. i wrote this cover story in the magazine about the clinton -- clinton's role. >> great story. it's out now. >> the thing clinton kept saying while he was writing that convention speech, these people don't need eloquence, they need education, they need explanation.
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you have to tell them the facts. you have to lay the case out for them and the brilliance of bill clinton is not just that -- he invests the people that are listening to him with the intelligence to figure it out. if he lays the case out for them and clears away ideology, that they will understand and then do what the right thing is. >> well -- >> that's a very powerful tool. >> here is more from bruce springsteen talking about what the president has already done. maybe he'll do a better job than the president of selling himself. let's listen. >> i came here today because i'm thankful for universal health care, you know, the lack of which was for so long an embarrassment to our country. i'm thankful for a more regulated wall street. i'm thankful gm is still making cars. i'm here today because i'm concerned about women's rights. i don't have to tell you the dangers to roe versus wade under our opponent's policies. i'm here because i'm deeply concerned about the continuing
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disparity in wealth between our best off citizens and our everyday citizens. >> you know, ron, it's always great to have you on. it's always a contrast between your thinking and your dad's, but you're both amazingly good communicators. this ability to talk, i used to think your dad, although he made a lot of money in hollywood, he always had the magical ability to get on television or radio, especially radio, and talk to the guy working on the line somewhere in milwaukee, and that guy, maybe it was all those days of touring on the train with ge theater. bill clinton has gotten even better than he was before at talking to people the way they talk. >> it's true, and bruce springsteen, let's give him some credit, is an iconic figure among the kind of voters we're talking about. let's be frank, bruce springsteen is a very rich man. he's much closer to mitt romney kind of wealth than any of the rest of us, and yet his message, his songs speak to the voters we're talking about, they speak plainly and simply, just as bill clinton does in another realm. >> isn't it ironic he's saying with all his money and coming
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down in the middle politically, although a bit to the left, saying this land is your land. he's singing woody guthrie, these old depression songs. you, too, john. "born in the usa" but then today he was singing woody guthrie. >> "born in the usa" widely interpreted as being a patriotic anthem. bruce springsteen is kind of progressive. his politics are not radical but quite liberal, and yet he can talk to a wide swath. you have republicans who love him. in a lot of ways he's like ron's dad who at some point -- now there are a lot of democrats who kind of look at reagan as kind of a figure that they don't like to criticize in the same way there are a lot of conservatives who don't like springsteen's politics, but they don't want to knock springsteen because he's this tribune for the working guy. when it comes to this state, ohio, so much of whether the president wins there is about enthusiasm. >> ohio, ohio, ohio. >> it's about enthusiasm, and this is what this is about here. >> i think it was odd to do it thursday afternoon, but maybe they got an audience anyway. thank you, ron reagan and john heilemann. we'll be back right after this. this is "hardball," the place for politics. ♪
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act of terror. you said in the rose garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror? it was not -- >> please proceed. >> is that what you're saying? >> please proceed. >> when you feel you're about to spring what you, governor romney, think is the checkmate moment of the debate and your debate opponent says to you "please proceed," are you trying to open that door? allow me to open it wider. when your opponent does that, you might want to take a breath and wonder if, a la wile e. coyote and the road runner, that door your opponent is pointing to is merely paint on a rock. next, wisconsinite paul ryan
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is a green bay packers fan, but he praised on the browns. specifically, quarterback brandon weeden. the problem, ryan was talking directly to a player he thought was weeden. >> i'm a big college football plan, so, big badger fan, we've been watching you. you're really fun to watch. you guys got a great young team. you've got a great -- oh, yeah, there you are, sorry. you always had a helmet on. >> well, condi rice stepped in to redirect his attention. ryan was mistakenly addressing the backup quarterback, colt mccoy. he used to play for archrival texas. after the incident another team member tweeted, quote, today's locker room laugh from practice was hearing how paul ryan looked colt mccoy dead in the eye and said good job at oklahoma state. a swing and a miss for ryan who was saying he was washing pots and pans that were already clean. but a swing and a whiff.
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here is how president obama went after the lack of details in mitt romney's tax plan. he did it today. >> on tuesday governor romney took another stab at trying to sell us this $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy. he took another swing at it and he whiffed. instead of telling us how he'd pay for it, he said i'll let you know after the election. i'm going to let you in on a little tip. when a politician tells you he's going to wait until after the election, it's not because their
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plan is so good that they don't want to spoil the secret. finally, with all this talk about binders full of women from romney and after romney's remark at tuesday's debate, some people have turned to an unlikely place to weigh in, check out some of the latest product reviews for, you bet, binders. quote, maybe it's just my women, but they don't seem to want to fit into the space i've designated for them in this binder. they keep sticking out of the edges, even getting away in some cases. or stride forward with a new binder. finally, as a woman i was disappointed that the gap-free claim was in reference to the rings in the binder, not to gender equity in wages. that's a serious point. up next, former united states senator bob kerrey of nebraska wants his old job back. he's got a challenge on his hands, of course. he'll be with us in just a minute. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. the best schools in the world... see they all have something very interesting in common. they have teachers... ...with a deeper knowledge of their subjects. as a result, their students achieve at a higher level. let's develop more stars in education. let's invest in our teachers... they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
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here's what's happening. lawyers for ex-penn state jerry sandusky are asking for his convictions to be overturned. student loan debt has reached an all-time high. gas prices are finally moving lower thanks to rising fuel supply. the average price for a gallon
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of regular is now $3.74. that's down 13 cents from a mid-september high. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." when nebraska's ben nelson announced last year he was retiring from the senate, democrats immediately began pushing nelson's predecessor, bob kerrey, to run for his old seat. as "the new york times" pointed out, the last time kerry was on the ballot, tom foley was on the ballot and "seinfeld" was the number one show. congress has become more polarized, which might make for a more difficult fit for kerry. what is he trying to accomplish
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going back to the senate? bob kerrey joins us from omaha, nebraska. senator, i have to remind you, when we were growing up, davey crockett was on television, and davey crockett was in the alamo, and they were about to get attacked by all these mexican army guys, and his buddy sneaks out of the fort and comes back and says, i went for reinforcements, but i couldn't get any. davey said to him, why did you come back? so why did you come back? you're in the middle of this fight to hold the senate. you had it pretty good outside. you were safe out there. why did you come back? >> yeah, i'm worried about our country. congress has gotten way too partisan. we've got significant problems with the budget deficit again. we balanced the budget when i was there before because republican and democrats worked
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together with george herbert walker bush in 1990, with bill clinton, john kasich. when i left, we were paying off debt. i have promised in this campaign to cross party lines and have already done so with social security, with medicare, with additional cuts that i think will put me in a position to work with republicans who have not outsourced their loyalty to this lobbyist grover norquist by pledging not to raise taxes. i think we can get it done. you just have to do it. you have to be willing to actually cross those party lines. the results thus far have been encouraging. we're only five points behind. we have i think a significant issue. my opponent got caught trying to take her neighbor's property, and it very much connects with
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what she's been saying in this campaign. in very soothing tones, i won't hurt your social security, medicare, keep your commitment to seniors and veterans, but her budget proposal does just the opposite. it takes benefits and an awful lot of prosperity from working nebraskans. >> we'll get to that thing locally in a moment, but, you know, there is a tradition in your state of moderate -- relatively conservative democrats, ben nelson that's still there leaving this year, did the voters of your state get the idea of a relatively conservative democrat, not everybody being like nancy pelosi who comes from your state, for example? >> yeah, no, it's not really about ideology. it's about willingness to say we've got to get this job done, being practical, looking at the numbers. if you look at the problem of social security and medicare, it's a $60 trillion unfunded liability. it's not caused by either party. we have overpromised. we have an obligation to the americans under 40, we have an obligation to fix it. it's not so much ideology, it's a willingness to work with
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people of the other party who also agree this is a problem that has to be solved, and they're willing to take heat for people in their own party as well. >> speaking of heat, you have a new ad going after your opponent for a lawsuit she filed 17 years ago against her neighbors in a land dispute. this is real hatfield and mccoy stuff. let's watch. i'm not sure what it's about. >> it's very valuable land because it's along the snake river. >> they grazed their cattle there for years and didn't charge them anything. >> i think the fishers knew what they were doing by suing them for land they did not own. the courts ruled against the fishers of trying to take that land. >> what the fishers did just isn't right. >> neighbors do not sue neighbors. >> they incurred $40,000 from this lawsuit. >> i lived in valentine most of my life, and there are people who are scared to cross the fishers. >> i think it speaks a lot about her character. >> well, this is a case that goes way back even to your term. why is it relevant today, senator?
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>> well, it's relevant because it speaks -- it does speak a lot about her character, and nebraskans don't know that much about her. she was -- she won the republican nomination by joe ricketts basically put a bullet in the head of the attorney general and killed him just before the primary. they don't know that much about her. this speaks to her character. everything in the advertisement is factually correct. after trying to buy the land, she went to court and tried to take the land through a thing called adverse possession, and it connects very much to the way she's conducting herself in the campaign, talking in very soothing terms, we have to keep our commitment to our seniors, our obligation to veterans, keep our military strong, but if you look at the budget that comes out of her pledge to this lobbyist grover norquist, the problem is it does just the opposite. it takes benefits away from seniors. it takes benefits away from our veterans. it weakens our commitment to our military. it does the opposite of what the soothing tones of her language says. so it very much connects to her campaign and what she's saying in this campaign. >> why don't we take a look at some of the aspects of the campaign which are unique to you. your friendships are so wide and varied. let's look at an endorsement from joe lieberman who is quite the hawk. this is what he said about you. this is joe lieberman, the independent who votes for the democrats but is very hawkish from connecticut endorsing this gentleman, bob kerrey. >> i served with bob here for years. he became one of my best friends, but it's not just out of friendship that i'm coming to help him. the senate needs bob kerrey
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because he's an independent thinker who always works across party lines to get things done. >> okay. senator, it's great to have you on, bob kerrey. want to see you back in the senate. good luck. >> thanks, chris. up next, tonight is the al smith memorial foundation dinner in new york city. sharing the stage will be president obama and mitt romney for the first time since tuesday. what can we expect from the both of them tonight? something of a casual night, but these things can be very important. they're only going to be standing a few feet from each other for a long time tonight. this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool if we took the nissan altima and reimagined nearly everything in it? gave it greater horsepower and best in class 38 mpg highway... advanced headlights... and zero gravity seats? yeah, that would be cool. ♪ introducing the completely reimagined nissan altima.
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so talk to your doctor about low t. hey, michael! [ male announcer ] and step out of the shadows. hi! how are you? [ male announcer ] learn more at [ laughs ] hey! we've got a couple new polls in some key senate races. in massachusetts elizabeth warren is opening up a lead over senator scott brown. according to a new ppp poll for the league of conservation voters, it's warren up by 9. in connecticut, democrat chris murphy is leading linda mcmahon by six. there's a surprise. 44%, 38%. in wisconsin, tammy baldwin and tommy thompson are locked in a tight race. in montana, a new ppp poll shows senator jon tester holding onto a two-point lead. we'll be right back. ♪
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their enthusiasm. even in the media. he usually is at table 228, for example, is my old friend and greenroom pal, chris matthews, he used to like me but he found somebody new. somebody who opened his eyes so somebody who gave him a thrill up his leg. and we've talked about it. i told him, maverick, i can do wh but messiah is above my pay grade. >> that was, of course, john mccain at the 2008 dinner, new york archdiocese's annual charity gala which i'll attend again tonight. it's a ritual for presidential candidates, one of the bases you are to touch on your way to the oval office. we're going to see how president obama and governor romney do in a lighthearted setting tonight, a far cry from this tuesday's knockdown, drag-out debate. with me, bob shrum, and host of "inside city hall" earl lewis.
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here we are thursday night in new york, two days after the big fight the other night in hempstead, new york. the big debate between the presidents with candy crowley as the moderator. we had the other debate on foreign policy coming up monday. how does this fit in between tuesday and next monday in this sort of obstacle course to the presidency? >> if it works the way it's supposed to, chris, it will be a moment of sort of bipartisan not unity but comedy where they can sort of get along, even tell jokes on themselves and each other, in a setting of what's left of the american establishment is all there. the military leadership, political leadership, financial leadership and of course the catholic religious leadership all in one place, all sort of pushing in the same direction. of the business at hand, is, of course, to raise some money for those who need it. more importantly, it sort of shows the world we have something of an establishment here, in whatever the policy differences, they're all kind of looking out for the best interest of the country.
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>> here's president obama last time around. he kept the punch lines rolling at the 2008 dinner. let's listen. >> there is no other crowd in america that i'd rather be palling around with right now. i do love the waldorf astoria, though. you know, i hear from the doorstep you can see all the way to the russian tearoom. while the collapse of the housing market has been tough on every single homeowner, i think we all need to recognize this crisis has been eight times harder on john mccain. >> wow. shrumy, you know this crowd. it's a pretty well-off crowd, as george bush, we'll show you a clip in a moment, george bush jr., w., referred to, what is it, the better off and still better off. this is the richest group of catholics and jewish people and other people in the country. they love being establishment. what's this matter politically? i always find is interesting to see the cut of the -- who's confident, who's weak, who's nervous, that kind of thing. >> yeah, it's a bit of a revelation as to whether or not people can be self-deprecating, whether or not they can bring a lighter touch to this process.
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understand who his crowd is. i mean, you go back to 1960 where kennedy gave a tour de force of a performance at the dinner. and nixon was fine but kennedy was supersuperb. most of the people in the room even though kennedy was catholic were for nixon. as you observed in the past, chris. the bishops were for nixon. >> no nuns at the dinner. i don't think, by the way, we should read what kennedy said at that amazing dinner in 1960. here's what he said. he delivered a barn burner. quote, cardinal spelman is the only man so widely respected in american politics that he could bring together amicably at the same banquet table for the first time in this campaign two political leaders who are increasingly apprehensive about the november election. who have long eyed each other suspiciously and who have disagreed so strongly, both publicly and privately. vice president nixon and governor rockefeller. now, there he was putting a slice right, earl, between the republican party saying the joke here is, the democrats are
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united behind me, the republicans are hopelessly divided, i'm going to win this darn thing. that's the kind of thing you're going to see tonight. the clever shot in the papers the next day. >> that's right. it's reminiscent of john mccain four years ago saying there are many in this room who were for me then he sort of turns and says, good to see you, hillary clinton. you know, i mean, there's a lot of the good natured kind of human humor. it underscores an underlying sense, you know, whoever wins the country or at least this portion of it, the establishment, is going to be okay. >> let me remind, bobby, by the way, the quote was w., not exactly, well it was self-depreca self-deprecating, but let's have a listen to it. the tape. >> an impressive crowd. the haves and the have mores. some people call you the elite. i call you my base. >> well, of course we've come a long way. that little chuckle worthy there from the w. man who's being hidden in an undisclosed
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location for the next couple weeks is exactly what this election is about. by the way, it ain't funny to be for the haves and have mores. that's what this election is about. it ain't no joke. bob, we have to go. we'll be back to talk about it after this. if we want to improve our schools... ... what should we invest in? maybe new buildings? what about updated equipment? they can help, but recent research shows... ... nothing transforms schools like investing in advanced teacher education. let's build a strong foundation. let's invest in our teachers so they can inspire our students. let's solve this.
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let me finish tonight with this. i'm heading to the al smith dinner tonight here in new york. as fred astaire would say, i'm
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putting on my white tie. this dinner has been a big part of the american political ritual since i can remember. it's been a tough matchup. the old days between old dick nixon in 1960, it was a tough night for him, because, a., it was a home game for jack kennedy being an irish catholic who grew up in bronxville here, and b., ted had ten sorensen running speeches for him that night. john mccain gave maybe the best speech of his night here. by the way, being a war hero and that celtic name of his didn't hurt, either. tonight at the waldorf astoria, to measure the charms, the weight and the sense of place these two gentlemen can bring to the moment. the winner tonight is not always the winner of the election but very often it is. after the rough trade of this tuesday the charm rivalry of tonight will be a very different form of challenge. it will show who is worried, who is upbeat, and who in the midst of this tough competition has their act together. i'll arrive like everyone else with my own attitude. i will leave with it in tact. i also cheer


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