tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC November 13, 2012 5:00pm-6:00pm EST
(sfx: loud thud sound) awhat strange place. geico®. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. thanks for watching. "hardball" starts now. night of the generals. let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm. i'm chris mast you up in boston. let me start with this petraeus sex skour. sex, sex, sex, that's what it's about. the testy, seamy search for something wild in the button down world of spies, spoox, whatever they call themselves these dayened a the shined boots and chest medals of the combat elite. a general has an afir with a
young reporter. that young reporter spies some competition, tells her po bug off. that competition becomes the target of tens of thousands of e-mails from yet another general. what a soap opera. but guess what? one of the generals, actually an ex-general, is head of the cia, or just was. the other general, the one sending the e-mail by the bushel, is our commander in charge in afghanistan. if this were a british plot and it sure is kinky enough, we'd be calling it carry on generals, but there are stakes. and one of them is our country's security. let's not forget as we dig deeper, that fact into this plot tonight. joining us right now is "washington post" reporter sauer ri horowitz, and david woods senior military correspondent for "the huffington post." give me a sense, i don't want people to get lost before we start, let me take may own shot at this, how the whole thing is put together. let's watch. the messy and complex web begins with david petraeus. in 2006 petraeus meets paula broadwell, a west point graduate and doctoral student after giving a speech at harvard.
fast forward to may of this year. another woman, jill kelley, a friend of petraeus and his wife, begins receiving harassing e-mails. she asks a friend at the fbi to help launch an investigation. the e-mails it is eventually discovered are being sent by broadwell. the fbi also discovers that broadwell and petraeus have been having an affair. meanwhile, the fbi agent who kelley approached gross frustrated after he's kept off the case. his supervisors reportedly are concerned that he has, quote, grown obsessed with the matter. it's also uncovered that he has sent shirtless photos of himself to kelley. that agent contacts republican congressman david reichert to air his frustrations. reichert then passes the information on to house majority leader eric cantor who speaks with the fbi whistle-blower in late october. it turns out that another major military figure, general john allen, the commander of u.s. and nato troops in afghanistan and petraeus' successor in that
position, has been having an e-mail relationship with jill kelley. the fbi uncovers somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 pages of documents that contain, quote, potentially inappropriate communication between allen and kelley. one senior u.s. defense official ta tells "washington post." there was an unidentified account that was traced to none other than paula broadwell. well, there you have it. you're investigating this. i tried to explain this and i'm trying not to be light-hearted but there's such an aspect to this story above or rather well below the importance of the positions these men hold. one of them being, of course, our commander in afghanistan. the other one until recently head of the cia. this aspect to it, it's just -- well, i don't know what to say. i'm not used to covering these kinds of stories and woond be if these weren't the people involved. your thoughts about how -- fill it in as the rorner what i'm missing here. >> you did a very good job of
pulling that together. i commend you. you really got the high points. it's fascinating this big scandal affecting two commanders, bringing down petraeus, affecting general john allen, started really with a social scene in tampa. jill kelley is a socialite there. sort of an ad hoc ambassador of sorts, a social ambassador to the military base there. she's known for throwing lavish parties, cigars, champagne, string quartets and socializes with these people. she goes to an fbi agent she knows, again very politically well-connected in tampa, and says in june i'm getting these strange e-mails. what do i do? this agent takes them to the tampa office of the fbi and says investigate. now, you know, the fbi doesn't investigate all harassing e-mails but again there's a connection. he's never on the case. that's an important thing to note. he's never on the case. but he does get frustrated after months and months and months that nothing is happening, and, of course, he's heard that this
investigation led to paula broadwell and to general petraeus, and so he contacts eric cantor and says, hey, i've got this explosive thing i know about. it could affect national security. and that's how the whole thing is blown open to the public. >> well, that's where my friends in the blogosphere on the left i must say begin to get suspicious. why eric cantor, a man of the hard right in the republican party, a very partisan figure. why would an fbi agent go to him? >> well, he actually went -- a friend of this fbi agent went to a representative from washington state originally. there was some kind of personal connection with the fbi agent's friend and he went to eric cantor. >> i see. >> one thing that's important to say, i mean, you talked about the sex and scandal is apparently the national security concerns have all been knocked down. at this point there don't appear to be from the justice department or from the fbi any national security concerns. >> well, let me go to david wood
on that very point. david, your sense of this watching it from above, meaning from the policy level looking at the sordidness of this, what does it mean? it looks like petraeus' career has ended. he did the honorable thing i think in the end by just falling on his sword. that's over with. what about general allen, our commander in afghanistan? this would seem to be somewhat distracting to be sending something like 30,000 e-mails or whatever out. i don't even know how you do that. i don't e-mail that much but when i do send them they're short, a couple lines to my wife or my kids. what does this guy -- is he at the typewriter or computer all day? >> yeah. it's pretty astonishing to contemplate a guy who has his hands full running a very, very difficult war in afghanistan sending off 20,000 to 30,000 e-mails or documents or whatever they were. but, look, one thing that's really struck me about this, i know it's said there are no national security concerns raised by the scandal, but, in fact, this thing has detonated
like a gigantic ied down in the ranks where the key ethic that holds this military together is that you do the right thing when no one is watching, and, boy, i talked to some drill sergeants this afternoon who were saying like how are we supposed to teach young recruits to do the right thing when no one is looking when these guys at the top weren't doing that. it's a real tragedy. >> yeah, and i think -- tell me about the culture of the military. i mean, i'm watching it from outside, and i'm thinking, generals and their wives spend a lot of times together socializing. they have drinks, parties that go on for hours i assume because the pressure of the military life and the danger of it. they become intimate across marriage lines. the fact they're all hanging around together hours after hours. love affairs could start. potentially people could develop fondnesses for each other. i can see it happening in human terms. what is it about generals and generals wives and all this e-mailing? what is this thing about? >> don't forget -- >> is it unique to the military?
>> don't forget generals are often deployed into a war zone and the wives are not. the wives are at home. and i think when -- in the case of general allen when he's home and his wife gets an invitation from jill kelley saying, hey, we're having this big extravaganza at my mansion, please come, wow, that's terrific. she gets to go buy a new dress, gets to show off with her husband and get some shared glory. there's a very, very strong attraction. i think what you were saying about how the military parties together, you know, in war time not really the case. you know, those guys when they're in afghanistan are pretty much focused on the fight. you'll recall that when paula broadwell went to see general petraeus -- >> i'm talking about tampa. i'm talking tampa where a lot of this happened. >> well, that's where the trouble begins, you're absolutely right, chris, and it's awfully easy for military people to fall into that trap of
being adored by high society and these glittering parties and so forth. it's really a trap. >> you know, i keep thinking about -- saari, i keep thinking about homeland which i'm obsessed about, thinking about the guy that went off and got captured in afghanistan and had a miserable time, may have been brainwashed. meanwhile his best buddy is messing around with his wife and he cops back and has a big fight with him at the barbecue. remember that scene? >> yes. >> that's what i'm thinking. the white house briefing today, jay carney said the president still has faith in general allen. he's the top general in afghanistan. he expressed appreciation for general petraeus' service. let's listen to the president. >> he has faith in general allen, believes he's doing and has done an excellent job. the president was certainly surprised when he was informed about the situation regarding general petraeus on thursday. he greatly appreciates general petraeus' remarkable service to his country both in uniform and
at the cia. >> big pick fur watching this, he's not shaking his hid saying, guys, we need a more confident sense of leadership here. >> i think he's not going to make grand pronouncements or decisions about things based on, you know, two situations, two individual cases. he's focused on the missions that the military is tasked with. >> okay. let me go back to sari as you report the story. why was the fbi who found out about this, was brought into the case, why was he taken off the case? what was that about? >> let me explain something on the general allen piece of this just before you go on is that at this point the fbi and the justice department are not investigating allen at all. there's been no sort of idea that he's -- there's criminal charges. the fbi agent was never on the case. he brought the information to the fbi, but he was never part of the original investigation
because he was a friend of miss kelley's. >> so what is all this thing about him being frustrated because he wasn't on the case? >> he was frustrated because he learned about the information that was being gathered. he brought the original case, he was frustrated that the information about petraeus and broadwell had not come out yet, and he thought that the justice department and the fbi were dragging their feet, so he -- that's why he went to the hill. >> okay. let me get back to david on this, on the military end of this thing. why was petraeus basically forced to resign? why did the matter come to his superior, mr. clapper, head of all the energies services? why did he get confronted with basically a request to resign? how did that happen if this wasn't criminal, what he was doing? >> because he wasn't on active duty, and, of course, in the military under the uniform code of military justice, marital infidelity is a criminal offense. not so in -- >> even for retirees i understand. >> well, not if you're retired.
you're no longer under the code of military justice. >> well, i just got a different reading on that. i just got a different reading on that ten minutes ago but maybe you're right. >> so the lawyers can fight over this, chris. you're right. but the larger point is that the shame that he feels he's brought upon himself and his service trumps any legal niceties, and he i'm sure felt that he had to resign because he'd really violated the trust that everyone in the military had in him, even though he was retired. don't forget that he was -- go ahead, chris, i'm listening. >> the other general allen who is now leading our services is a more live question. how does he explain to the president sending 30,000 e-mails to this attractive hostess in tampa. does he have to explain that to the president? >> sure he has to explain that to the president, but the president has got to be hoping
that allen comes out of this cleanly because, you know, general allen has got two big jobs he's doing for the white house. one is that he's finishing off, you know, the reorganizing the forces in afghanistan, and then he's supposed to go to nato and hold together the alliance to keep the focus on afghanistan and to keep people from dribbling away. so those are two huge things that the white house has been depending on him, and they've got to be hoping he comes out of this clean. >> interesting -- >> we'll have you on later, sari, again. we have to get back to politics. we're going to get away from sex in ten seconds. thank you very much. coming up el governor bobby jindal says its time for his party to stop, quote, being the stupid party. e urges the republicans to reject intellectualism. jindal is teaching creationism
in his public schools. the fiscal cliff, how much room is the left willing to give president obama on entitlement reform. what is the breaking point? we're going to talk to one of the people who was in that room. fascinating stuff coming up. yes, people are looking forward to 2016 and the name on everybody's list and lips is hillary clinton. the nomination will be hers if she wants it. who doesn't know that? finally, think we're all coming together after the election? not in texas where 60,000 people have signed a petition to secede from the union. what else is new? one gop official down there even wrote a column asking for an amicable divorce from what he called the maggots who elected president obama. read my lips, no new taxes. that republic ain't coming back. this is "hardball," the place for politics. americans are always ready to work hard for a better future.
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how is this for in new definition of landslide. all the democrats how they dominate voting in the big cities but in 2012 in 59 voting divisions in my city of philadelphia where i grew up, mitt romney got zero votes. 59 divisions. not one person in those 59 dwithss voted for romney, not one. and the score in those 59 divisions was 19, 605 to nada. the neighborhoods were primarily african-american. we'll be right back. holiday gi aww, not the mall. well, i'll do the shopping... if you do the shipping. shipping's a hassle. i'll go to the mall. hey. hi. you know, holiday shipping's easy with priority mail flat rate boxes from the postal service. if it fits, it ships anywhere in the country for a low flat rate. yea, i know. oh, you're good. good luck! priority mail flat rate boxes. online pricing starts at $5.15.
welcome back to "hardball." so now they tell us. republicans are becoming brutally honest in the wake of their defeat last week. so the party that spent much of the campaign telling us that evolution is a lie, global warming a hoax, tax cuts pay for themselves, and pollsters were conspiring against the winning romney campaign, is now apparently making an effort to join the reality-based
community. the latest, louisiana governor bobby jindal who told politico it's time for republicans to, quote, stop being the stupid party. sounds promising until you remember he signed into law a measure that allows for teaching creationism in public schools. with me are two msnbc political hot shots, howard fineman is "the huffington post" boss and john heilemann with new york magazine. both great guys and brilliant. let me ask you about this republican party. as someone once said in the communist world, the road to damascus is very crowded these days. there are a lot of what do you call them, a lot of converts out there. i was thinking howard in a nonreligious, in a secular sense, boy, are there a lot of them coming out. kristol is out there, some of the really smart guys are saying we blew it, let's think. >> yes. well, some people like david brooks and bill kristol who are thoughtful conservatives, but they kind of suspended their disbelief i think during the
last days and weeks of the campaign. they were all on board with romney. they were all saying the polls were going to be wrong and romney was going to get it and romney was on the right track and romney had the right ideas, et cetera, et cetera. they're to be expected to be among the early changers, among the early people on the road to damascus because they've got one foot in politics and the other in journalism. but i think jindal is interesting. i think the real fight now, chris, is not whether people are getting on the rooted. it's what they're saying on the road because they have different theories about how to go forward. one is economics, one is cultural, and one is immigration. i think there are basically three routes there. >> i wonder whether they're all agreeing to changes in their party philosophy that don't affect their central beliefs. let's take a look at jindal who is a cultural conservative. he's acknowledging the republicans must not be the party of 1%. quote, we've got to make sure that we're not the party of big
business, big banks, big wall street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything. we cannot be. we must not be the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys. now, that's a good southern populist statement by a southern conservative bobby jindal, john heilemann, but you will notice he doesn't give an inch on the cultural stuff like we've got to teach creationism in our public schools. his idea of compromise, stay out there on the far right on the cultural stuff, i'm sure abortion rights and same-sex, but move in on the rich guy stuff. >> well, yeah. look, i mean, i'm not sure we've got yet a comprehensive statement from bobby jindal about what he think modernization and reform of the republican party would look like. you put your finger right on the button. there is going to be a place in the republican party for an outsider who is going to be not washington figures, particularly those who come from places where the republican party is still strong, people in the south, so you think about people like jeb bush, people like bobby jindal who will bring a message of reform, and it's not surprising
on some level that the economics will be central. there's a big strain of southern populist conservatism. he's a harvard educate policy wonk on things like health care reform. he's an interesting marriage. he's not that different in that respect in this mix of southern elite schooling and populist instincts to bill clinton back when he brought his project of southern populist moderation to the democratic project back in 1989, 1990, 1991. so there's a road map here and bob ji jindal i think is the first one to jump on it but he won't be the last. >> but the thing is though -- >> i go add had. >> the thing is that jindal is sticking with the cultural conservatism. he's a brown educated guy with a rhodes scholarship but he's for teaching creationism in school. a big part of the tea party thing has been resistance to opening the doors on immigration. that's something he's not
dealing with at this point. >> right. >> i wonder how many immigrant families that come to the united states and want their kids to be doctors really want them to study this creationism as premed. do they want them to take organic chemistry or this other thing, this religious thing, john heilemann? are they serious? do they really want the doctors they go to not to believe in science? it's one thing to believe in your religion, which i do, but to go transfer some biblical scripture into science and try to use it for a different purpose than it was meant. it's meant for spiritual and moral leadership, not meant for scientific inquiry. for them to keep doing this like he does and claiming he's going to lead the country into the 21st -- through the 21st century? i think that's kind of not smart or dopey thinking. what downey? how can you claim to be a reformist and talk about creationism. >> i'm not sure that bobby jindal is talking about creationism very much in the stants he made to politico. >> he hasn't stopped. >> he hasn't stopped yet. again, this is very early days. i'm not trying to make excuses for him.
i think -- in any way. i'm pro-science, i think we should be proud if you're going to be a credible reformer in the republican party you will need to embrace the reality of things like climate change. there's no question about that. but, you know, i think there is going to be -- this is where some of the cleavages will come among various strains of reformism. howard pointed to one, the question of immigration. some like jeb bush will be on the liberal side of creationism. because bobby jindal is a minority, he almost visually carries an inclusiveness that some of the other more white, standard brand caucasian republicans don't carry. he can probably get away with more conservative on the immigration front but there are these strains been the parties that all these guys will be trying to figure out how to work around. and a guy by bobby gin cal, health care policy is his specialty, he's a guy of science. right now at least so far he's
not going all the way there on the question of cultural -- >> here he is this summer, the slate wrote about the louisiana science education act of 2008 and its implications by saying the act allows so-called supplemental textbooks and other instructional materials to be brought into classrooms to support the open and objective discussion of certain scientific theories including, of course, evolution. as educators who have heard such coded language before quickly realizeed, the act was intended to promote creationism as science. it seems to me that everybody understanding -- my dad, who was a republican, used to say the big problem with the republican party from his point of view is it only cared about the big, rich corporations. he loved all the other stuff, self reliance, and low taxes and leave me alone. it seems they do all agree defending the 1% was their worst mistake from the smart guys like kristol to all of them, jindal, they all agree on that. >> that's one of the major puzzles and challenges for the
republican party now as it was a generation ago. ronald reagan in part with the help of jack kemp, a generation ago, found a way to sell supply side economics as a blue collar alternative. to sell it to the common man. that's what reagan and kemp were all about. the republicans lost the ability to do that. they lost the argument once. they're going to have to figure out how to make that argument again because if they're going to say that unleashing the power of the free market is the route forward for the middle class and the working people of america, they need convincing arguments and convincing people to do it. mitt romney, if you look at it from even the slightest distance, was arguably the worst possible carrier of that message. they need somebody else. they need to southern populism or populism from somewhere, but they also need the proof. they need the evidence. and lacking the evidence last time in the election of a week ago, a week or two ago, people
went with the -- what they knew, which was the president's belief in the power of government to work well with the economy. >> i think they realized during the campaign thanks to some extent to the advertising we have done on this show and others, they understand that the koch brothers exist and they didn't feel they were in the same tax bracket as those characters. if they're up to something with the tax brackets maybe it's not in my interest and may families. i want this to go on. i wish the campaign was still going on. rick perry became the butt of late night jokes when he suggested texas secede from the union. didn't we go through that with lincoln? three years later others are picking up on that talk again. i don't get these people but they're there and they're part of our wonderful community. the seceders. this is "hardball," the place for politics. hey sis,
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." during the gop primaries steve colonel bear started his own super pack. it was a spoof of course. with karl rove facing backlash from his donors who expected a vastly different return on their investment in mitt romney and other republicans, colbert offered up a response to his own donors. >> karl is in big trouble. they're going to take his thumbs. and karl is almost all thumb. i took a lot of money for my super pac and my 501 c 4 colbert super pac shh which stands for shh. okay? money from some anonymous scary donors. that's not pixel ated. that's his face. listen, fellows, i didn't waste your money. running a super pac is expensive. i mean, we had legitimate costs. we had handling costs and we had
legal fees, and the biggest expense, almost $90,000 of it was for the commercials the super pac ran while he was kind of sort of running for president of south carolina. i want even in charge of the super pac then. >> in his home state of south carolina, of course, colbert was at one point polling ahead of a legitimate candidate, jon huntsman. next, people in the other over 30 states have submitted petitions to the white house asking that their states be allowed to secede from the union on the heels of president obama's re-election. one petition from texas has 70,000 signatures last week. last week by the way texas gop official peter morrison wrote a column asking for a, quote, amicable divorce from what he called the maggots, his words, those who re-elected president obama. we'll hear -- well, how about the texas governor rick perry, by the way, who said this on the issue of secession back in 2009. >> texas is a unique place. when we came in the union in
1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that. we got a great union. there's absolutely no reason to dissolve it, but if washington continues to thumb their nose at the american people, you know, who knows what may come out of that. >> first of all, all that nonsengs about texas having the option to leave when it wanted to a inaccurate. governor perry believes in the greatness of our union and nothing should be done to change it. he also shares the frustrations many americans have with our federal government. now more than ever our country needs strong leadership from states like texas. never forget, perry couldn't even remember when he was running for president the names of the federal agencies he wanted to eliminate let alone all the agencies. didn't know the ones he hated. next job opening in the house science committee. the position of chairman will be up for grabs when the current chairman steps down from the post. three republicans have said they want the job.
based on the lineup you might think they're vying for a post on the house anti-science committee. the contenders are, first% lamar smith, accused the media of skewing in favor of global warming alarmists. jim sensenbrenner who offered this nugget on the subject of global warming back in 2009. quote, i personally believe that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles than anything human beings do. scientists disagree with the member. facing off against these two, there's dana rohrabacher who asked this question of the u.n. hearing on climate change, quote, is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases? as we all learned in grammar school, yucker people watching, trees absorb carbon monoxide. who could be more counterproductive than chopping down entire rainforests. they're evidently not looking for -- well, they're not exactly looking up -- things are not
looking up for the science committee. up next, the president met with unileaders to get them on board as he prepares to deal with republicans and see if he can get a deal done on debt reduction. you're watching "hardball," the place for politicer picks. when you take a closer look... ...at the best schools in the world... ...you 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... ...so they can inspire our students. let's solve this. can i still ship a gift in time for christmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery.
i'm bertha coombs with your cnbc market wrap. a down day with stocks with investors worried about upcoming meetings on the fiscal cliff in washington. the dow down 59, the slp slips 5 and the nasdaq lower by 20. home depot bucked the trend ending 4% higher. earnings ahead of expectations. after the closing bell earnings from cisco systems beat estimates. revenue was also better than expected sending shares up after hours. that's it from cnbc. we're first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball."
♪ welcome back to "hardball." today president obama began another campaign to get both democrats and republicans working together to avoid the economic mess that looms ahead. the so-called fiscal cliff. well, today he met with labor leaders and leaders in the progressive opportunity to soften the ground for a deal and found out how much leeway they will give him. here is president richard trump ka immediately after the meeting. >> we're committed to making sure that the middle class and workers don't end up paying the tab for a party that we didn't get to go to, and the president is committed to that as well. are we going to collectively stand up and make sure that workers get a fair shake in all of this? absolutely we are. do we believe that the president
is committed to that same thing? absolutely we do. >> but in a prior interview with salon, trum ka took a harder line saying, quote, if any bipartisan deal includes cuts in social security, medicare, or medicaid or extends the bush cuts for the top 2%, we will oppose it. whenever something is good for workers, we'll support it. if it's bad for workers, it doesn't mat mother proposes it, we won't be on board. we won't be taken for granted. it doesn't sound as if he's giving the president much room to negotiate. timothy geithner for example made his first comments about the fiscal crisis since obama's re-election. reuters reports the secretary says, it's not possible to cut deficit without modest tax increases of some kind. there's a big story coming up right now for us. mack mccarty was chief of steph to president clinton. a piece published yesterday in "the washington post," he suggested enlisting bill clinton and mitt romney who just lost the election to work together to get a tax deal done. dennis van roukel is president
of the national education association and he was in today's meeting with the president. thank you very much depp nis, and thank you very much, mack, for joining us. let me ask you about this deal, first. i want to ask you the best part. let me go to dennis. what was in that meeting today? did you get a sense there was give on the left and the right? >> i think this meeting was a very important meeting. it was one of three. he first met with labor leaders and progressives. tomorrow with the business community and friday with members of congress. i think it's a good start. we have to find what we're all most interested in, how to find a way through this very difficult task. >> well, most people looking at it from 30,000 feet say the deal has got to include revenues, entitlements, defense, everything. what's your view? everything or not some things? >> absolutely. we have to look at the whole picture. we came into this meeting very clearly wanted to talk about fairness and taxes, talking about no cuts to social security, medicare, and medicaid, but also about jobs. we've got to keep this economy going. >> wait a minute, you just took
all the entitlements off the table in that quick line of yours. you said no cuts in any of that stuff. >> well, it's really important we look at the benefits that come to people. we have to make sure the middle class is not dumped on again -- >> i'm for you're bargaining poe sis but did you say it was on the table or off the table? the entitlements? >> of course they're going to be discussed within this process. there's no way they will not. so will taxes, fair taxes, not only to eliminate the taxes for the wealthiest 2%, but also looking at taxes that unfairly determine your tax rates by whether you earn your income by work or by wealth. those ought to be equal -- >> i'm with you on that one. >> and we need to look at corporations who make billions who pay no taxes and get this offshores thing away so that every corporation pays taxes on what they earn. >> let's fight for that. let's get to mac and your interesting idea. you talk about bringing bill clinton back in, the master of arithmetic. what did president obama call him, the master of how to count things. then you have the loser who had
some interesting ideas about getting rid of deductions it seems. where do you see the real plus of these two fellows coming in on this deal and helping the president cut a deal? >> chris, the real theme of the piece, my long time clegg nelson cunningham and i wrote, we have to have all hands on deck to solve these issues that are clearly before us. they're solvable but not without a sense of purpose and unity. basically you have president clinton who has the credibility of balancing the budget and then leaving a surplus. that's a pretty strong record to stand on and a lot of knowledge and experience. secondly, you hit it, he is -- he does do arithmetic well. he's also a pretty good salesman, pretty good persuader. i think you have those two great attributes with the former president. and governor romney, he's a problem solver, he's a business person. he knows how to read a balance sheet. he knows how to make numbers balance in a good manner. i was heartened this morning on the front page of the "new york
times" when senator conrad talked about he was receptive to open-minded about this capping of deductions at the higher income level. that's one way to go at it. so that was really the thought behind the piece. >> guys, did you ever have a tree stump on your lawn you just had to get rid of so you got your neighbors all together and start hacking away and finally you had to pull the damn thing out? think of mitch mcconnell as that tree stump. there he is in the way of you cutting the lawn. he shouldn't be there. he's not growing. he's not getting any better. today mitch mcconnell did not signal a big surprise he was ready to compromise. the tree stump ain't moving. let's listen. >> the time for the president to lead is now, and that means offering a concrete plan that takes into account the fact that half the congress opposes tax hikes. not because we're selfish, not because we're stubborn, but we know it is the wrong thing to do. we know it will hurt the
economy, and we know it will destroy jobs. >> you know, the nonsense behind that, guys, is that if you go by who we elect to congress deciding our national policy, then by that standard heidi heitkamp winning in north dakota means north dakota is a liberal state, and tester winning in montana means that's a democratic state or that mccaskill winning missouri -- no, that's not how we vote. we vote national ideally for the president and we have an electoral college to decide it. let me go back to dennis. the nea is failed with very literal, very smart people with tremendous understandings of public policy. what is your rank and file like to see get done to avoid this fiscal cliff? do they ever speak up from the ground up, from the teachers up to the union? >> absolutely. you know, we have a $1.2 trillion problem we have to solve so when mitt says he wants to take off the table the elimination of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, that's $827 billion. you can't take that off the table and find a solution that will solve all of these problems.
it's just not possible. but there are ways to get there. fair taxes in terms of whether you earn your wages through work or through wealth, that generates over $500 billion. if you look at closing the loopholes in corporations, that closes over $500 billion of problems. that makes it a way to get to the $1.2 trillion pretty easily. >> i wish you'd keep coming back. thank you. dennis, please come back again. mack, it's great seeing you again. keep building the headlines. keep them up there. keep that bat loon up in the air. up next, it's a good idea. up next, secretary of state hillary clinton says she's tired. is a year or so enough rest before a presidential run. by the way, if you missed at least last night on veterans day, i talked about that staten island group doing such great work. go to their website. it's a great gup. called dratlasfund, all one
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of every -- certainly every washington and capital and political conversation i'm a part of or anybody's a part of, because we know barack obama is president for the next four years, which immediately opens up the mystery can, who's going to be the nominee for next time? it's the way things work. we won't drag on this story. nia-malika, what can you tell us here, the democratic field, andrew cuomo, people like martin o'malley of maryland, governors of new york and maryland. clearly they're in the on-deck circle, do they stand there not knowing how hillary will do? >> i think everyone will wait to see what hillary will do. one big question democrats are doing, as they face this demographic shift, is it a democratic coalition or obama coalition? i think one of the answers to that could certainly be hillary clinton, who could most certainly hold that coalition together. she's widely favored among african-americans, latinos. you remember that puerto rican
primary she won handily in 2008. certainly she's a favorite of women is i think one of the questions, though, if presidential elections are always a referendum on the future and looking toward the future, i think one of the questions she would have to answer is whether or not she embodies the future or whether or not it's sort of back to the past. if she faces someone like marco rubio, who is younger, cuban, that might be a problem. you saw that obama ran a very effective race against her, tying her to the past. she's are campaigns we've seen typically, candidating run and run very successfully. >> the only challenge i could see facing her is the tendency of the united states voters in general elections not to like to see one party stay in office too long. eight years is often like the terminal date, but there are exceptions like george bush sr. getting elected after reagan. do you see anything standing in her way if she decides to run, politically? >> i have always believed she's an absolutely qualified person to run for president, which is
why i supported her first time around. i think she's focused on running out her tenure as secretary of state. something you asked about a third term is something historically political strategist look at. i don't think that's something specific to an issue for her. i think it would be an issue for any democrat who's going through the list of pros and cons interested in running for office. >> well, let me ask you, you're more political, an inside politician, do you think this was her -- she will obviously -- i don't know her that well but she will obviously take some months to consider and get her head clear, stay home, read some novels, enjoy life. at some point do you think the other candidates have to decide to run or not run, assuming she won't run or assuming she will, like cuomo, like o'malley, joe biden? >> havei have to tell you as a veteran of six presidential campaigns, i think people who really want to be president run, regardless of who else is in the field. they may have staff or
strategists who suggest not this year, not next year, but people who truly have that fire in their belly, the passion to serve in that capacity, they're going to run regardless of who's in the field. because as you well know from your years of coverage, rarely does it end up in the way it always looks on the front end. >> so wise, kiki, thank you, because you can't predict the future and you never know who's going to be your opponent. nia-malika henderson, thank you for coming on. when we return, let me finish with hillary with my own thoughts. it's not as smart as that, but she does have a to-do list facing her unlike anybody else i know. [ male announcer ] every day, thousands of people, like you, are choosing advil® because it helps you keep doing what you love. no wonder it's america's #1 selling pain reliever. you took action, you took advil®. and we thank you.
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let me finish tonight with this. i love this hillary clinton story. just look at her resume. valedictorian yeah wesleyan, first lady of arkansas, first lady much the united states, united states senator from new york, united states secretary of state, that would be enough to get anybody in the who's who list, don't you think? i really wish because i really like her for this great america to simply take a break like she wants to. get away from all the outside influences, read those novels you put off, see some movies with your pals, have some fun with bill, but see what comes to mind. see what visions and purpose come into your long-term outlook. there are few people in this planet or history of our country that have the presidency of the united states in their possible to-do list. there are few people with the historic role that secretary hillary clinton could play down the road. the smart move is for her not t