tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC February 21, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
one nation, under god, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. human rights for everyone. not just forsome. that's the mission and we won't stop until we get there. thanks for watching. i'm a.m. sharpton, "hardball" starts right now. >> sabotage. let's play "hardball" ♪ >> it's a down and dirty world when youp decide shop cho ping the government is screw up traffic control, whatever raises the noise lefrl. bashes the democrats and lowers hope. is this what satisfies the boys
in the back row? is this john boehner's version of feedings the zoo? is this final payment to insanity? the last ves taj of what calm republicanism is ready to cough up. how else can you let this frankenstein monster, this doomsday machine, this sequestration go ber circumto damage and mor real to the people. gentlemen, i wrant to start with you, michael, because i know you'll disagree with me. i read a lot of reporting today that says great. let's have sequestration. let's cut $85 billion out of the economy. let's remove hope from the country.
i doubt that you read that it said take hope out of the country and ruin the economy. but i get your point. what i find interesting in your argument, chris, is that you seem to overlook the fact that you have just as many democrats out there screaming the same thing on the left. starti ining howard deem. also, the whole idea of sequestration emanated -- >> what office does howard dean own? >> i'm just saying. you're pointing and say ing say >> it pushes both of these folks -- >> i'm sosh ri. i just want to check your facts. what democrats holding office in
the congress want to see sequestration. >> the ones who voted for it. starting with them. you mean this whole thing got passed just on republican votes? >> it was called kicking the can -- >> are you kidding? >> i'm going to ask you again, do you believe right now there are any democrats in the house or senate who want to see sequestration? >> yes. >> name one. >> there have been folks on the record, chris. i can't name one off -- >> just one. >> -- at the moment, but there are -- check the records. there are democrats on the record just as there are republicans now -- >> a lifeline out there. i hope they call in right now because you need a name. anyway -- >> chris, wait a minute -- no, chris, you're not going to -- >> name a name. >> give me a second. go ahead. >> okay. governor rendell, your thoughts. i think i know a lot of democrats who don't like sequestration because they're afraid it will not only cut the government, cut government spending, which is already a
problem with reduced government jobs out there, but actually really hurt the economy, certainly morale of the country. your thoughts. >> there's no question. think of it, it's alice in wonderland. democrats are fighting to make sure we don't have willy-nilly cuts that harm the military strength of the country, and republicans are advocating for cuts that would severely diminish the military capability of our country. it's nuts, absolutely nuts. it is politics over what's good for the country. the president, chris, put a balanced solution of cuts, significant cuts, including entitlement cuts and raising revenue by making sure that everyone who makes $1 million pays a tax rate higher than the ordinary working person. >> what's wrong with that? that's what the polls say. >> that's wrong with that. >> "the new york times" suggested that congressional republicans are not concerned about how this fight will pan out for their party. they report, quote, house republicans say they are feeling invulnerable to the current clash. redistricting has made most of them immune to political threats and entreaties for many representing conservative district where the president
holds little sway. an attack by president obama is a badge of honor. here is some of the tea party types we found today, just today, michael, who are backing the cuts. ohio congressman jim jordan said back in october, quote, i would say the only thing that's worse than cutting national defense is not having any scheduled cuts in place at all. louisiana congressman steve scalise told "dow jones business news," quote, the consensus is we want the sequester numbers to come in and finally reduce spending in washington. south carolina congressman mike mulvaney said we want to keep the sequester in place and take the cuts we can get. georgia congressman paul broun, i want to see it go into place. and rand paul in his tea party response to the state of the union said, not only should the sequester stand, many pundits say the sequester really needs to be at least $4 trillion to avoid another downgrade on america's credit rating. there you have a lot of people on the record, michael, on the republican side saying they want
the sequester. i'm curious why you contend this is not a partisan issue. >> because it isn't, chris. chris, it passed on a bipartisan vote. so unless you're telling me that those democrats, including those in the white house who supported -- who originated this idea of sequestration are now saying that that vote didn't matter, that's just ludicrous. that's my only point. yes, republicans have come to a point where republicans are now saying, yeah, okay, let's see what -- >> i think a fair analysis of this is that the democrats who voted for the sequestration, those who did thought that republicans would never put up with a big cut in defense. i think -- >> so they didn't mean it. they were just toying around with the economy. >> you could call it toying around. >> i can -- oh, yeah. >> i'm not defending everybody that votes -- >> look, you're not getting the democrats off -- you're not getting your side off the hook on this and dropping it all on the republicans' lap because that's the mantra and the spin you want to put on this. >> okay.
>> both sides are equally responsible -- >> i have to examine that phrase, my fat off the hook. i just found that incredible as a metaphor. it must be an old time expression. >> you're trying to get your fat off the hook. >> that's a barnyard expression, i guess. governor rendell -- you've lost so much weight i don't think that counts. the fat off the hook. >> i think it means the meat off the grill so the fat doesn't burn away. am i right, michael? >> that works, too, governor. >> well, i want to ask michael one question. >> go ahead, take over. >> michael, and i agree with you, democrats did vote and support the sequester, although i don't think many democrats, if any, would be for the sequester going into effect. but what is wrong with significant cuts in entitlements, more cuts than raised revenue when the only revenue we're raising is on millionaires to make sure that
they pay the same tax rate or slightly higher than ordinary working people pay? what's wrong with that? >> didn't we just do that? hey, governor, didn't we just do that last month? >> no, let me respond to that. let me respond to that. what we did the last time is we raised the rates, but we didn't stop rich people from having their accountants and tax lawyers -- >> oh, lord. >> -- rip asunder that and wind up paying 15%. while a secretary pays 28%. >> you guys are just greedy. you're just greedy. you want to spend, you want to spend, you want to spend. you don't want to deal with the debt and this deficit. >> this plan does deal -- >> two chairmen fighting. let's look at the "hardball" scoreboard. let's look at the latest poll numbers from bloomberg. president obama is at 55% approval rating, the highest he's been since the first couple weeks of his administration way back in '09. 55%, michael. let this sink in. 55% job approval. >> okay. >> i want it to sink in. >> what's your point? >> that's a point in itself.
the republican party, which you still represent vaguely, is at 35% job approval. 35% for a political party that needs 50% to stay in the business. look at this other number up to date. who is to blame for what's gone wrong in d.c. right now? 43% say congressional republicans. and by the way, they're the ones you have to defend here, and 34% say obama and the democrats. i think these numbers are pretty scary if you are mr. boehner. >> chris, i'm not going to argue the politics on that. you're absolutely right. the messaging of the gop has, quite frankly, sucked on this issue. there's no doubt about that. but it still doesn't change the underlying facts that democrats, including the newly elected -- re-elected president, are on the
hook for this just as much as the republicans are. neither side have effectively dealt with this. we've left simpson/bowles sitting on the sidelines. we've now had simpson/bowles two, no one is talking about that. sequester is something that both democrats and republicans put on the table. and now everyone is acting like, oh, my god, we're going to do this? come on. >> so the republicans are losing the fight over public opinion, governor. it's usually important in politics, public opinion. >> it's not important until it's time for an election. >> and the republicans are losing the fight and democrats are winning it, and the question is who is playing fair here? i don't think boehner is at fault. i think boehner's problem -- and i use the phrase feeding time at the zoo very accurately -- i think he's keeping the right wing of his party now satisfied. they want the sequestration. they don't mind if government takes a big hit. that's what they have been trying to do for years. don't they benefit there? if you're in a far right wing district, aren't you better off saying we wanted this and we got it, a big cut in government? >> that's true for the people in the far right districts, but is it true for patrick meehan and fitzpatrick and dent in suburban philadelphia? i'm not so sure.
i think they're risking losing the house. if john boehner had his druthers, he and the president back in august of 2011 would have entered into a grand bargain which would have had plenty of entitlement cuts, raised revenue, $5 trillion of debt reduction, and we wouldn't be facing these problems. but boehner took it back to the caucus, and the caucus said no. >> is that fair, michael, what he just said? >> i think some of that is fair, yeah. i'm not going to play the whole partisan card here and jump up and down screaming because i'm on your show. no, i think some of that is fair. >> you don't have to do that. you never do that. >> i never do that, but i think some of it -- just to bring it back into the real, i mean, i get the whole partisan game of wanting to put the blame on one side, but you know at the end of the day, that poll notwithstanding, the president also risked coming out of this thing on the 2nd of march a little bit more bloodied than he is today as do the democrats. >> they're all going to get hurt, but i do believe if the republican party were a united party today of the slightly or somewhat center right, a bit to the right, maybe a couple notches, it could come to terms -- >> you're going to give us just a couple notches? that's it. just a couple notches? >> how far right do you want to go? >> until i'm comfortable.
>> i think it isn't a bargaining party. that's the problem, and the president needs somebody to bargain with like the israelis when they have a good government and can't find somebody on the other side of the river to deal with. >> like i said, when i come into the room to bargain with you, i want you to still be in the room, and the president has often times left the room, too. >> i want to say, chris, the president has no fat on the grill. he has no fat on his body at all. >> fat on the hook? michael, let's get the metaphor. fat on the hook? >> fat on the hook. >> what in god's name does it mean? >> i think it's "on the waterfront." i think it's how rod steiger ended up with that movie. thank you, michael steele and ed rendell. coming up, the karl rove schadenfreude express. he was bush's brain, the architect, the evil genius. then came 2012. now the tea party has declared war, and progressives are as happy as hell munching on popcorn and watching this whole spectacle. karl rove is in the middle of trouble. also, here is the latest critique of the gop appearing in today's "washington post." the party has become too extreme, too ideological, it's position is irresponsible.
you might expect it from nancy pelosi, but it's from virginia's lieutenant governor bill bolling. it's republican lieutenant governor by the way. and things are pretty bad when republicans are talking that way about their party. and are prisoners at guantanamo getting federal benefits? no. it's an online joke that some republicans fell for. let me finish with what happened to the republican party of 1960. it was all about civil rights, all for voting for civil rights and voting rights. you should see the numbers. today it's the party of reince priebus and all that voter suppression. and this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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"the national journal" is out with its ideological rankings of every member of congress, and in the senate no republican is further to the left of the most conservative democrat. totally polarized parties. joe manchin of west virginia is the most conservative democrat, but he's to the left of the most liberal republican, scott brown of massachusetts, who is no longer in the senate. the most liberal senators, new mexico's tom udall and richard blumenthal in connecticut. jim risch of idaho is the most conservative. there he is all by himself. we'll be right back. and then treats day after day... block the acid with prilosec otc and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. you may be muddling through allergies. try zyrtec-d®. powerful relief of nasal congestion and other allergy symptoms -- all in one pill. zyrtec-d®. at the pharmacy counter.
welcome back to "hardball." politicking of course can be a blood sport, and karl rove's critics must smell blood in the water. democrats liked "w's" brain or the so-called architect or bush's brain, but now it's conservatives who are on the attack. a popular tea party group doctored up a photo of rove in a nazi uniform. of course, they later apologized, but that picture is out there. on fox news sunday journalist bob woodward slammed his new venture to broaden the base by selecting more winnable candidates for office. let's watch that.
>> you're going to set yourself up as a kind of politburo vetting these candidates. i mean -- >> no, no, no. >> the whole theory of republicanism is to let the local state or district decide. >> i think rand paul had a right. everybody has a chance. we believe in markets. let people go in and participate. it's the opposite of politburo. >> rove waited three days to jab back at woodward. >> the last time i checked, the politburo was the ruling body of the soviet communist party which enslaved hundreds of millions of people, oversaw the extermination of tens of millions of people, and during the cold war threatened the united states with nuclear annihilation. just because woodward is a sort of center left journalist, he can get away with calling me a communist and nobody is bothered by that. >> well, the source for rove's troubles with the right are the
result of spending hundreds of millions on losing candidacies and then lecturing the tea party on how to win. john feehery is a republican strategist, and wayne slater is the co-author of "bush's brain." let's go to this, i want to go to an expert, wayne, about this guy, karl rove. i don't know much about karl rove, believe it or not. but it seems for me for him to wait three days and then have a big bee in his bonnet about the word politburo as if bob woodward meant to call him a commie. victimhood used to be a democrat specialty. what's he doing this for? gee, whiz, he's calling me a communist. he only thought of it three days later. no problem at the time. go ahead. your thoughts. >> that's the surprise. he really is usually much faster than this in his response. he's quick to call himself a victim. he finds himself a victim of his own making. the making here is that he created or was part of the creation of a coalition bringing on social conservatives and pro-tea party types who have now turned on him because they feel
used after the bush years, and now the millionaire/billionaires who gave him all this 300 and, what, 28 million dollars feel used. so he's basically fallen into a trap, and when somebody says i'm like a politburo, he's really more like a 19th century monopolist. i want to be the guy who decides everything. >> do you think people were madder at him, john, or madder at bernie madoff? who are they maddest at? his percent return -- wait, his return on $100 investment, as if anybody only gave him $100, was $1. that's $1. that's $99 lost. you got it? >> karl rove is a very smart political strategist. >> what happened? >> he was right on the immigration debate well before a lot -- >> how -- >> he helped design a governing coalition for george bush that
won two elections. the problem is the republican party, the republican establishment, but the whole party -- >> let's not change the subject. i want to enjoy this for a moment. here he was with megan kelly making megan kelly look even better than she is. let's get a little look at this, please, if we can. >> do you believe that ohio has been settled? >> no, i don't. it may be that barack obama wins the state, but it seems to me that, you know, you got a lot of votes yet to cast. >> can you tell me whether you stand by your call on ohio given the doubts karl rove called. >> we're quite comfortable with the call in ohio. >> he have megan kelly winning her polk award basically because of him. >> he wasn't the only one. almost every conservative, including me, thought we were going to win this election, and we were all surprised when -- >> did you go in and question the returns? did you question the analysis of the returns like did he? >> i didn't, but i didn't have the data. >> did he? >> karl rove is a smart guy. i usually -- i think -- >> did he think he could bully them out of their prediction? >> i thought he was stunned. i think we were all stunned, and then you know what -- >> you know the guy personally. i thought he went into the room thinking he could talk the
analysts out of the results. his willpower would somehow overwhelm them, megan and the other guys. >> i remember sitting at a table in 1990 in new hampshire talking about -- filling out a napkin about why with great sets of numbers george bush was going to win the new hampshire primary. he lost the new hampshire primary. karl wins some, and karl loses some. >> no question. >> but you're right, the force of his personality, the force of sort of the intellect and the reputation allows him a lot of times to bully folks. he's certainly tried to bully me. >> well, bullies are almost like, you know, sonny liston, they can't lose until they can't win, you know what i mean? liston couldn't be beaten as a boxer until he couldn't win again, and then muhammad knocked him out. newt gingrich -- who is more likable, he or karl rove? anyway newt gingrich slammed karl rove so he could make winnable elections. here he is in an op-ed piece in "the human events." gingrich is reduced to writing there. he was simply wrong last year. he's talking about rove. he was wrong about the
presidential race. watch a video of his blowup on fox election night about fox news calling ohio for president obama. he was also wrong about senate races. republicans lost winnable senate races in montana, north dakota, ohio, wisconsin, pennsylvania, virginia, and florida. so what's this, karl rove getting attacked by all sides, the establishment, people like -- i don't know if they have an establishment but getting hit by everybody now. >> he's getting blamed for everything, and it's not his fault. he had a lot of money, and there was a lot of things he could have done better. the big problem for the republicans is they spent so much money on campaign ads and not enough money about organization. the one thing about barack obama that republicans attacked is the fact he was a community organizer. we could use a community organizer -- >> i think the problem is you don't know where to go with your base, which could cause problems in the general, or fight your base and lose them. isn't that the problem? if they fight the wacko right and say we don't want you, they say we'll go third party somewhere. >> what they want to do, karl has over the years cultivated the far right of the party for particular gain, but now after a
time they realize it's really a problem. i mean, john is right, look, karl, as you know, is a very, very, very smart guy, but when i see him attacking ashley judd trying to make fun of ashley judd as a potential candidate in kentucky, then i have to ask, has the mighty fallen here? is this really what it's all about? >> yeah, and she was good in "double indemnity." >> that could be a mistake. >> she was actually -- she was actually great -- >> "double jeopardy." >> -- in the movie "bug" where she locked herself into a room and was fearing something terrible was going to come in and get her, and now we know it was karl rove. >> well done. i like the way you wove that together with rove. thank you, john feehery. thank you, wayne slater. we have much more on karl rove on the website. be sure to check us out on facebook as well. republicans fall for another fake news story. they keep falling for these. i think they want to. could it be they want to believe this nonsense?
this is coming up in the "sideshow." you won't believe what they believe. and this is "hardball," the place for politics. [ kitt ] you know what's impressive? a talking car. but i'll tell you what impresses me. a talking train. this ge locomotive can tell you exactly where it is, what it's carrying, while using less fuel. delivering whatever the world needs, when it needs it. ♪ after all, what's the point of talking if you don't have something important to say?
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reduce or stop cymbalta. dizziness or fainting may occur upon standing. take the next step. talk to your doctor. cymbalta can help. back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." early this week i told you that the state of mississippi only just got around to officially ratifying the 13th amendment to the constitution which bans slavery. well, a professor went to see the movie "lincoln" and did the research afterwards, and it was discovered even though lawmakers voted to ratify in 1995, the paperwork was never filed. well, jon stewart went back to where it all began, 1865. ♪ >> hello.
greetings and salutations. my name is jon stewart, and given the times, i'm obviously neither jewish nor on television. the state of georgia has voted to ratify the 13th amendment. oh, delightful. being the 27th state to so vote, the amendment is nationally adopted and slavery is abolished in these united states. there remains a few stragglers. i'm looking at you magnolia state. how much longer are you going to wait? 148 years, that would be ridiculous, wouldn't it? >> after 148 years the state of mississippi has finally ratified the 13th amendment. >> so, mississippi, two things on the recent ratification. first, better late than never. and, second, this is prey [ bleep ] late. >> he's unbelievable. a late start and a very late finish, but at least it got done. next, conan o'brien will be hosting this year's white house correspondents dinner in d.c. in late april. he headlined the event in '95 for bill clinton.
according to the reviews at the time, scored hurricanes of laughter. you might need to get in your own way-back machine to recognize the setup material. >> i am honored to be a part of this event though. when i got the invitation, i was thrilled i would be speaking in the same room with the most powerful man in the country, and, well, then i heard judge ito canceled. but you move on. >> judge ito, for those who forgot, was the judge in the o.j. simpson murder case. here is one from the political scene at a time when many democrats were becoming republicans. >> the first announcement is for the democratic congressmen present. please refrain from switching parties during the dinner. it's very confusing to your
waiter, all right? i understand nathan deal got the same dessert twice. we got to work that out. >> nathan deal. he was one of the democrats who switched from democrat to republican after the '94 midterm election. a loss for the blue team. by the way, the danger right there is the danger of using topical material. it goes away. finally, check out the headline from this military news blog. guantanamo prisoners to receive gi benefits. hopefully red flags are going up, right? this is a military news parody. a website called the duffle blog. the same idea as the onion, but the stories are military related. one citizen fell victim to the joke and sent a letter to mitch mcconnell. was the issue put to rest by mcconnell's office? not quite. the senator bucked the question to the pentagon, and here is a look at the letter courtesy of "wired" magazine. i am writing on behalf of a constituent who has contacted me regarding guantanamo bay prisoners receiving post-9/11 gi bill benefits.
i would appreciate your review and response to my constituent's concern. well, in some alternate reality where the whole thing were true, wouldn't it be more than a single constituent's concern that gi benefits were going to terrorists? anyway, somebody in mcconnell's office called it a humorous misunderstanding. you think? another headline on duffle blog's site reads, syria to host iraq war re-enactors. what people will believe. the gullible out there. up next, the republican party has lurched too far to the right. it's one thing to hear a democrat say it, but a republican? and that's ahead. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. now, here's one that will make you feel alive. meet the five-passenger ford c-max hybrid. c-max says ha. c-max says wheeee. which is what you get, don't you see? cause c-max has lots more horsepower than prius v, a hybrid that c-max also bests in mpg. say hi to the all-new 47 combined mpg c-max hybrid.
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appointed a new chief inves ga tor after he had murder scharjs of his own for a prior shooting. . and the dow closed below the 14,000 mark today. now, back to "hardball" ♪ welcome back to "hardball." it's not unusual to hear someone say the republican party has become to extreme and unwilling to compromise. millions of voters said that on election day. but when an elected republican officeholder says it, it's news. enter virginia's lieutenant
governor bill bolling. he said not every government program is bad and not everyone who receives a public benefit is a freeloader. it's just a challenging time for the republican party when a conservative mainstream guy like me doesn't really feel comfortable with his party. the party has moved too far and it's become too extreme and too ideological. that's from the lieutenant governor of virginia. those comments don't seem as surprising when you learn bill bolling is considering a run as an independent. right now former clinton adviser terry mcauliffe is tied with virginia attorney general ken cuccinelli at 38% even. if bolling runs as an independent, he starts out with 13% to start with and could go higher, of course, much higher. but what makes his remarks so rare is he's saying the republican party is becoming too extreme for even conservative republicans. tom davis is a former u.s. congressman from virginia who also ran the republican congressional campaign committee, and chris cillizza is managing editor of postpolitics.com and an msnbc political analyst. i want to go to chris for the tight political analysis right now. this guy, bolling, gave a great interview to the post, and just to put it in context, he slam banged his republican party as everything you hear on this show a lot of times. too far over, too intransigent, everything bad, won't negotiate, won't do anything for the country.
is that to set himself up as a centrist or slightly center right candidate as a general election independent candidate or is that just what he believes and he's angry? >> well, look, i take him at his word. i'm not going to question his motives. i think -- >> that's all we do here. go ahead. >> i think it is what he probably believes. he's a more establishment guy, but context matters. look, this is a guy who in 2009 got pushed out of the race for governor by bob mcdonnell because bob mcdonnell was more conservative and better positioned to win the race. he stepped aside with the expectation from everyone in the republican party that in 2013 he'd be the guy. well, along comes ken cuccinelli, and the reality is it's a convention there, a very small group of people, activists, conservatives by and large, that pick the nominee. even in a primary i'm not sure bill bolling beats ken cuccinelli. so i think some of it is that he's kind of angry at the way in
which his political fortunes have played themselves out, but i think part of it, too, is an expression of the kind of establishment, for lack of a better word, within the republican party who looks at some of the folks in a more conservative wing and says these folks are pushing us to a place that is going to get us losing elections, never getting the hispanic vote, and going to relegate us to minority party status nationally for the future, and we've got to speak out. so i think it's a little bit of what he believes and a little bit of his own circumstances that have made him more willing to speak out. >> i always see you as more of a middle of the road republican. the question is what happened to your state, and you may lose an easy one. you could beat terry mcauliffe. he's a democrat. >> should beat him. nine straight times our governor has come from the opposite party of the president. right now it's a close race, but if history is any judge,
republicans should win it. >> they tend to reverse. >> these are nationalized elections for governor. and mcdonnell has problems with his thesis. it just didn't take. voters were more interested in taking a message to washington. that's been the repeated theme in virginia gubernatorial races. >> i keep thinking it's the old question of politics. do you go to your intensive hardline base risking losing some of the softer republicans in the middle and independents but knowing your crowd will show up or you bring on a guy that's considered too watery a republican or democrat and risking the fact your base won't show up. >> i think the calculation this time is the fact that this is an off-year election, and you want to intensify your base and bring it out in virginia. >> because it's not the general electorate. >> if everybody shows up, we know there are more democrats than republicans. obama has proven that twice. but if you look at the off-year turnout models, it's been much more republican. >> so work your base hard makes sense. so cuccinelli makes more sense. for you that's an odd thing to say. >> i'm just talking about the raw political calculation. you still need to hold your party together. the last poll only showed 3% of republicans defecting. there will be so much money going back and forth. >> how does this vaginal thing,
that crazy thing about requiring things to have abortion, how is that working in this state? >> i'm sure it's going to be in a lot of tv ads, but cuccinelli didn't vote on that. he was the attorney general. but a lot of legislators will have to defend that. >> bill bolling also told "the post," the lieutenant governor of virginia who says he's not going to run in the primary, it seems these days that compromise is a four-letter word in many people's eyes. they view it as a sign of weakness, but in reality it's the essence of a workable democracy. chris, you and i cover this all the time. he's talking the way the most middle of the road journalists call it, not knocking the right but saying you have to be able to negotiate. if you don't compromise on a lot of middle of the road things, how are you going to get anything done? obviously there's some things you will never compromise on. >> and, chris, i would say -- i actually think take immigration and marco rubio. marco rubio is not a guy i think most people would describe as a centrist moderate, but this is a guy who on immigration is
saying, look, i understand that there's a part of the party that's never going to be happy with any kind of path to citizenship, but we have to come together at some point on some of these big issues if we're going to move forward as a country. so i actually think it's beyond just kind of the jon huntsmans and michael bloombergs of the world. i think haley barbour, the former mississippi governor and republican national chairman, has said, look, we're going to have to find some common ground. may not like obama and where we stand on the issue, but we have to find some common ground just to move the country forward and keep us sort of viable in the world of economy. >> chris, i think you're more hopeful than me. i think the hard right being hard right, i watched that scene in arizona the other day, i think those people standing up to a guy like john mccain showed the republican party is definitely ruled almost by its hardest right. the hardest right seems to scare everybody else out. i have yet to hear an elected official take on rush limbaugh ever on any issue. it's still the hard right that makes the noise. thank you.
tom davis, not a member of the hard right. up next, republicans have been trying to to make it harder for minorities to vote, and now the supreme court of the united states is considering whether a key part of the 1965 voting rights act should be struck down. that's section five. that's the one that makes every state check out any changes in its election law with the justice department. this is "hardball," the place for politics. postal service® works for thousands of home businesses. because at usps.com® you can pay, print and have your packages picked up for free. i can even drop off free boxes. i wear a lot of hats. well, technically i wear one. the u.s. postal service®, no business too small.
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himself reflected on its significance. >> by passing the voting rights act, what you did was to ensure that those regions of the country, those areas that had a history of preventing african-americans or latinos or other ethnic groups from voting, they would have to be cleared by the justice department in any changes they had to their voting practices. if section five of the voting rights act is struck down, then that preclearance process would go away, and, you know, there's some parts of the country where, obviously, folks have been trying to make it harder for people to vote. >> well, there are nine states covered by section five of the voting rights act. there they are. mostly southern which the president talking about. the states in yellow. it's also affected some counties in these additional states in green. you can see that for a total of 16 states. in the 2012 election, section
five protections played a crucial role in preventing minority voters from being disenfranchised in texas and in florida. ryan haygood is director of the naacp legal defense and education fund. he represents parties involved in next wednesday's supreme court hearing. and julie fernandez is a former deputy assistant attorney general in the department of justice's civil rights division. she's now a senior policy analyst at the hope and society foundation. let me start with ryan, mr. haygood, on this thing, put it together. we've talked a lot about on this show which i have talked about in the last year is what i didn't like being done in my home state of pennsylvania where i came from and other states like florida where i could see what looked like clearly discriminatory efforts where you had the head of the pennsylvania legislature, the republican guy, coming out and basically saying if we get this voter photo i.d. law, we're going to win the state. in other words, it's going to
discriminate against superficially democrats, but we all know he meant urban minorities. number two, you see the same thing in florida where bill clinton said it was the most flagrant case of voter suppression because african-americans for years have gone to church on sunday and voted together. as a kind of ritual way to spend that day two days before the election.that, ending that it was clearly aimed at blacks. bluntly-s there a connection between voting rights section 5 and what rooens appreciateus and his party did last year? >> chris, thanks for having me on the show. it's one we grappled with pretty substantially at the legal defense fund where i am an attorney. what congress did in 2006 when it considered whether to reauthorize the voting rights act was it looked at the whole country and it focused on those areas where voting discrimination was most concentrated, where it was most intense and most persistent and most adaptive, and it recognized that those jurisdictions that are all or part of 16 states that are covered by section 5 of the voting rights act are those places where voting discrimination has over time
been most intense and most persistent and most adaptive. in the past election we saw section 5 of the voting rights act strike discriminatory changes in the state of texas, in the state of south carolina and in florida. and this is not to say that states like pennsylvania as you mentioned, chris, or wisconsin or ohio, states that are not covered by the voting rights act, don't also experience voting discrimination. but what congress recognized very keenly in 2006 is that the type of discrimination that we see in the covered jurisdictions, those jurisdictions covered by section 5 are those places where discrimination is most intense and where congress needed to have the strongest antibiotic to cure the racist discrimination in those covered jurisdictions. >> let me bring this in here. since 2010, not long ago, state legislatures have made it harder to vote in these 17 states, whether by requiring photo i.d., cutting back early voting, or imposing new restrictions on voter registration drives. julie, i thought -- i'm not a lawyer like you guys, but i thought the idea of voting
rights was a remedy. as ryan just said a minute ago, we're talking about people that have done bad things in the past, we're going to stop them from doing it again. that's why there's a justification for federal intervention in what is normally a state matter. but i think there are some new culprits out there that aren't covered by voting rights. is it fair under due process or equal protection to point out certain states that may be doing bad because they've done bad but excluding out other states that have done bad like pennsylvania? >> well, first of all, the voting rights act in general applies to the whole country. so the voting rights act outlaws voting discrimination based on race everywhere. section 5 is a very particular remedy to remedy a particular type and kind of discrimination that we saw most intensely, as ryan said, in the states that are a part of the geographic reach of section 5. so when congress passed the voting rights act in '65, they said okay, we have to stop, we have to give a sword to people to be able to stop voting discrimination. but there are places where it is
entrenched, recalcitrant, where it keeps coming back, where it -- once you push down it's like a whack a moel, you push down, it pops up somewhere else. so you needed to have a remedy that ensured that that stopped. and section 5 does that. >> ryan, there's two different goals to discrimination. one is local, whites want to run the show. there's a majority of whites, they use that advantage. you know better than i do how the game is played. maybe widening the voting district or any other trick in the world to make sure whites run the show. but what i also noticed besides what i call that racial discrimination is political discrimination where you see in a state like pennsylvania, this isn't out to screw the blacks necessarily, this is to make sure their candidate wins the state, the statewide election for president. so it's not that old southern thing. it's just pure raw political gamesmanship. >> but -- >> there's a distinction in your eyes. i don't know. >> what we've often seen is this is old poison in new bottles. we see the effect of the voter changes, for example, in the state of pennsylvania, with the photo i.d. measure, people of color are disproportionately less likely or more likely not to have the type of i.d. that the commonwealth was requiring there. but what we also saw in the past
presidential election is that where there was a proliferation of voter suppression tactics outside of the states covered by section 5, so in pennsylvania or ohio or wisconsin, there we saw that state-level remedies and to julie's point a different provision volting rights act, section 2, was enough to cure the discriminatory change at issue. but in the jurisdictions covered by section 5 congress recognized that those places were the ones where discrimination over time had been the most resistant to change and required the strongest antibiotic. >> julie, quickly, one answer, julie, whether you win or not. >> we are going to win. >> are you going to win? are you going to keep the voting rights act? >> we'll absolutely win. and that's because four times the supreme court has recognized the constitutionality of the voting rights act. congress developed a 15,000-page record in support of the voting rights act. and, chris, the experience of our clients and millions of voters on the ground in the covered jurisdictions all point toward the supreme court upholding section 5 in this challenge.
>> thank you, sir. great to have you on. rein haygood of the naacp. and julie fehrnandes. we'll be right back. [ fishing rod casting line, marching band playing ] [ male announcer ] the rhythm of life. [ whistle blowing ] where do you hear that beat? campbell's healthy request soup lets you hear it... in your heart. [ basketball bouncing ] heart healthy.
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let me finish tonight with this. what happened to the republican party of the 1960s? you know, all those gop senators who voted for the civil rights act and the voting rights act. what happened to them? what happened to that republican party? for the civil rights act, the republican vote in the u.s. senate was 27-6. in the house it was 136-35.
four out of five republican members in both houses for civil rights. for the voting rights act the following year the republican vote in the senate was 30-2. in the house the republican vote was 112-24. overwhelming in all cases. i'm watching this debate over the voting rights act and the immediate for it today and i'm struck with the reality that the reason for it today is the republican party. not the party of the 1960s but one of the reince priebus's parties, that one. the one that's backed voter suppression efforts in dozens of states and keeps on doing it. every time a state run by a republican legislature and governor passes another bill making it harder to vote, cutting down on voting days, expanding voter i.d. requirements, you have to wonder, are they doing precisely what the voting rights act was designed to stop? are they deliberately making it harder for minority voters to get into the vote booth and cast their ballots? the republican party can be proud of its heritage in certain regards. certainly abraham lincoln pushing through the 13th amendment outlawing slavery. certainly the backing of men like senator